“Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage”
Opens Thursday at the National Archives at Kansas City
While nothing is as valuable as a human life, the wanton destruction of historic sites by Islamic militants is one of the most discouraging global developments of the past year. The loss of architectural and artistic treasures in the cradle of civilization makes the traveling exhibit that opens at the National Archives on Thursday even more momentous. “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage” contains materials found at Saddam Hussein’s headquarters in Baghdad in 2003. Many of the ancient documents required extensive restoration. The first installment of a corresponding lecture series is Wednesday, June 24.
Thursday, June 18-Saturday, Aug. 15. National Archives. 816-268-8000. archives.gov/kansas-city. Free.
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Jazz in the Woods
Friday and Saturday in Corporate Woods
The author of the Kansas City jazz blog KC Jazz Lark recently characterized Jazz in the Woods as “Kansas City’s oldest, most successful and least respected jazz festival.” Founded in 1990 as a humble showcase for locally based jazz musicians, the fundraiser organized by the Overland Park South Rotary Club has grown in size as it has veered away from booking mainstream jazz acts. Smooth jazz heavyweights Peter White, Rick Braun, Jeff Lorber and Julian Vaughn perform on Friday. Saturday’s lineup includes silky crossover jazz star Najee and Kansas City blues sensation Samantha Fish.
5:30-10:15 p.m. Friday, June 19-Saturday, June 20. Corporate Woods, Overland Park. jazzinthewoods.com. Free.
Big Slick Celebrity Weekend
Friday at Kauffman Stadium and Saturday at Pinstripes and the Midland theater
Children’s Mercy Hospital has friends in high places. Three successful actors with local roots have raised well over a million dollars for the institution in the past few years. Rob Riggle, a graduate of Shawnee Mission South, and former Shawnee Mission West students Paul Rudd and Jason Sudeikis began hosting Big Slick fundraisers in 2010. Along with Eric Stonestreet and David Koechner, celebrity pals with area ties, the men will host three events this weekend. Prior to a 5 p.m. softball game at Kauffman Stadium on Friday, they’ll relax with donors at a tailgate party. They’ll bowl at Pinstripes on Saturday. A party and auction will be at the Midland theater on Saturday.
Friday, June 19-Saturday, June 20. Multiple venues. bigslickkc.org. $50-$1,250.
The Parkville River Jam
Friday and Saturday at English Landing Park
A “jazz, blues and fine arts festival,” the Parkville River Jam has hosted celebrants since 1996. The event emphasizes good-time music that sounds best in the open air. The 20th anniversary of the event looks particularly promising. The Ori Naftaly Band, an ensemble led by an Israeli guitar slinger currently based in Memphis, is the headliner on Friday. Blues band Levee Town and self-described “gnarly roots” ensemble Old No. 5s serve as support. Danielle Nicole, the powerhouse vocalist of the disbanded Kansas City blues-rock band Trampled Under Foot, tops Saturday’s bill. Regional jazz mainstay David Basse is among the day’s other performers.
5:30-11 p.m. Friday, June 19, and noon-11 p.m. Saturday, June 20. English Landing Park. 816-880-9026. parkvilleriverjam.com. Free.
Kansas City Royals vs. Boston Red Sox
Friday through Sunday at Kauffman Stadium
For years the Boston Red Sox were an American League powerhouse while the Kansas City Royals seemed stuck in rebuilding mode. Times have changed. The Royals became the darlings of baseball fans last season as they charged into the World Series. The Red Sox, conversely, ended the season 20 games under .500 as they finished in last place in their division. But the Red Sox still possess formidable star power. Mighty slugger David Ortiz, stocky third baseman Pablo Sandoval, pesky second baseman Dustin Pedroia and former rookie of the year Hanley Ramírez will assume the roles of underdogs this weekend.
7:10 p.m. Friday, June 19; 6:10 p.m. Saturday, June 20; 1:10 p.m. Sunday, June 21. Kauffman Stadium. 816-921-8000. kansascity.royals.mlb.com. $20-$163.
Friday through Sunday at Starlight
Just as Daddy Warbucks took in mop-haired orphan Annie and provided her with a bright future, Jay-Z breathed new life into the somewhat shopworn musical by redefining its significance for a new generation. The rapper’s 1998 hit “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” famously sampled the musical’s “It’s the Hard Knock Life.” The unlikely reintroduction reminded people who had written off “Annie” of the musical’s wonderful songs like “Tomorrow” and “Easy Street” and the scrappiness of the titular character exemplified by selections including “I Think I’m Gonna Like it Here.”
8 p.m. Friday, June 19, Saturday, June 20, and Sunday, June 21. Starlight Theatre. 816-363-7827 kcstarlight.com. $12-$142.
Friday through Sunday in the West Bottoms
Kansas Citians apparently can’t resist the combination of music and beer. The overwhelming success of the inaugural Boulevardia festival in 2014 reflects an enormous appetite for suds and sounds. The event created by Boulevard Brewing Co. is no less inviting this year. Culinary and drink offerings will be accompanied by music on three stages. The Mowgli’s, the band behind the hit “San Francisco,” headline the main stage on Friday. Superb soul revivalist Mayer Hawthorne appears on Saturday. A performance by Colorado rock band Big Head Todd and the Monsters closes the festival on Sunday.
5-11 p.m. Friday, June 19, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, June 20, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, June 21. West Bottoms. boulevardia.com. $15-$75 per day.
Fiesta Kansas City
Friday through Sunday at Crown Center Square
Musicians featured at this weekend’s Boulevardia and Jazz in the Woods festivals may be more familiar to general audiences, but the three headliners of Fiesta Kansas City are superstars in the Mexican-American community. La Original Banda El Limón, an ensemble with a formidable horn section, will perform on Friday. Actress and vocalist Ninel Conde appears Saturday. Los Horóscopos de Durango, a band featuring charismatic vocalists Vicky and Marisol Terrazas, is Sunday’s headliner. The festival also has nonmusical attractions for children and adults.
5-11 p.m. Friday, June 19, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, June 20 and Sunday, June 21. Crown Center Square. 816-472-6767. fiestakansascity.com. $10 per day. $20 for a three-day pass. Admission is free before 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Children 12 and younger are free with paid admission.
David McCullough for “The Wright Brothers”
Friday at the Central Library
Noted historian David McCullough is best known in the Kansas City area for his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Missouri native Harry S. Truman. His latest work is an examination of the lives of airplane innovators Orville and Wilbur Wright. McCullough characterizes the brothers as “renaissance men” with “a profoundly American story.” The Ohioans were ardent scholars with inventive minds. McCullough explains why the brothers and their outspoken sister Katharine became celebrities in France while the significance of their achievements was slow to be recognized in the United States.
6 p.m. Friday, June 19. Kansas City Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. 816-701-3400. kclibrary.org. Free, reservations recommended.
Free State Festival
Opens Monday in Lawrence
A “weeklong celebration of film, music, art and ideas,” the Lawrence Arts Center’s Free State Festival opens with a panel discussion about “Health Information Technology and Privacy.” The evening immediately takes a turn toward the macabre with a forum titled “Writing Murder, Kansas-Style.” Other symposiums will focus on Lawrence’s culinary scene and the intersection of weather and poetry. Film screenings include “Songs My Brothers Taught Me,” a new drama set on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Art installations and concerts are also part of the ambitious festival’s programming.
Monday, June 22-Sunday, June 28. Lawrence Arts Center. 785-843-2787. freestatefestival.org. VIP passes are $150. Prices for individual events vary.
UMB Big Bash with Rob Thomas and the Plain White Ts
Monday at the Sprint Center
It’s appropriate that Rob Thomas is the featured entertainer at a charity concert sponsored by a bank. The musician is a proven moneymaker. As the mastermind of Matchbox Twenty, as a solo act and as a songwriter for other artists, Thomas has crafted material that has come to define pop’s mainstream. His signature hits include Matchbox Twenty’s 1997 breakout song “Push,” the 1999 smash “Smooth” with Carlos Santana and the 2009 solo effort “Her Diamonds.” Plain White Ts, the band responsible for the 2006 chart-topper “Hey There Delilah,” is also on the bill.
7:30 p.m. Monday, June 22. Sprint Center. 816-949-7100. umbbigbash.org. $67-$127.
KU basketball vs. Team Canada
Tuesday and Friday at the Sprint Center
The disappointing performance of Kansas’ men’s basketball team in the postseason tournament left a bad taste in the mouths of Jayhawk fans. The team’s busy summer schedule might serve as a palate cleanser. Before it travels to South Korea to represent the United States in the World University Games, the team will play two exhibition games against Team Canada at the Sprint Center. The contests will provide the first opportunity to see how newcomers Carlton Bragg and Lagerald Vick look in Kansas uniforms. The incoming freshmen will join a roster that includes returning starters Perry Ellis, Wayne Selden Jr. and Frank Mason.
7 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, and Friday, June 26. Sprint Center. 816-949-7000. sprintcenter.com. $27 on Tuesday and $37 on Friday.
Compiled by Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star