Things to do in Kansas City: May 2 and beyond

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04/30/2014 1:00 PM

05/16/2014 1:33 PM

‘Let the Wookiee Win: A Star Wars Quiz’

Experts on Princess Leia’s genealogy and the architectural design of the Death Star will congregate at watering holes across the United States on May 4. The local version of Geeks Who Drink’s Let the Wookiee Win: A Star Wars Quiz will be in Brookside at Charlie Hooper’s. Organizers encourage every potential participant to study “like a thorough padawan.” The prize derived from the $5 participation fee is at stake. The opportunity to marvel at the trivia mastery of Star Wars obsessives — many of whom will come in dressed in full intergalactic regalia — should be rewarding even for people who wouldn’t know a wampa from a tauntaun.

6 p.m. May 4. Charlie Hooper’s, 12 W. 63rd St. geekswhodrink.com. $5 per person. Kansas City Burlesque Festival

Tempest Storm was one of the most illustrious dancers to appear at the Folly Theater when the venue was a renowned burlesque house. Storm, 86, returns to the historic building as a judge of this weekend’s Kansas City Burlesque Festival. Before she rates Saturday evening’s performers, Storm will participate in a question-and-answer session at 5 p.m. A band led by Dave Stephens will provide accompaniment for Saturday’s dancers. The noir-themed band the Late Night Callers will perform prior to Friday’s performances. Both nights feature many of the nation’s elite burlesque dancers. The festival kicks off Thursday with a shindig at the Kill Devil Club.

7 p.m. May 2 and 8 p.m. May 3. Folly Theater. 816-474-4444. kcburlesque.com. $22-$63 each evening. Truman Heritage Festival

“Sometimes I crave an old-fashioned adventure,” Josh Gracin sings on his 2006 hit “Favorite State of Mind.” The Truman Heritage Festival should satisfy that itch for Gracin and the thousands of people who will attend the free event in Grandview. Gracin, a country artist who rose to fame during the 2003 season of “American Idol,” performs on Saturday. A prestigious barbecue competition, a parade, a carnival and additional music acts are among the attractions of the three-day event.

May 1-3. Downtown Grandview. 816-316-4888. grandview.org. Free. Zest and Zing

The meaning of “farm to table” will be fully realized May 1 in downtown Overland Park. Sponsored by the Kansas Farm Bureau, Zest and Zing at the Culinary Center of Kansas City is billed as a means to “connect farmers and foodies.” Chefs Gary Hild and

Richard McPeake

will demonstrate their skills in a competition judged by reality television star Danni Boatwright Wiegmann and blogger Angela Muir. Area farmers Craig and Amy Good, Derek and Katie Sawyer and Nick Guetterman will be on hand to offer details about their produce as attendees enjoy appetizers and drinks.

6 p.m. May 1. Culinary Center of Kansas City, 7920 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park. 913-341-4455. www.kfb.org/zestandzing . $35. Chelsea Handler

Energetic comedian Chelsea Handler is double-dipping during her visit to Kansas City. She’ll sign copies of “Uganda Be Kidding Me,” a collection of humorous travel essays, at Rainy Day Books in Fairway on Friday afternoon. She’ll entertain a substantially larger crowd at Starlight Theatre a few hours later. Handler is best known as host of the long-running television program “Chelsea Lately.” As the ringleader of a panel of commentators on social media topics and the foibles of celebrities, Handler resembles a caustic version of Oprah Winfrey or a mean-spirited Jimmy Fallon.

2 p.m. May 2. Rainy Day Books, 2706 W. 53rd St., Fairway. 913-384-3126. rainydaybooks.com. $27, includes a hardcover copy of “Uganda Be Kidding Me”

8 p.m. May 2. Starlight Theatre. 816-363-7827. kcstarlight.com. $50.50-$70.50. Brookside Art Annual

As much of a community celebration as an art fair, the Brookside Art Annual is a tremendously convivial affair. The 29th version of the event features children’s activities and the wares of about 200 artists from California to New York. While it’s possible to spend a few hours examining the paintings, sculptures and jewelry of exhibitors, much of the allure lies in serendipitous encounters. The likelihood of chance meetings with old friends and the opportunity to slip off to one of the many nearby bars and restaurants in Brookside contributes to the art annual’s ongoing appeal.

May 2-4. 63rd Street and Brookside Boulevard. 816-523-5553. brooksidekc.org. Free ‘Listen to Your Mother’

Whether they’re comical sagas of well-intentioned incompetence, abuse-ridden horror stories or tales of selfless sacrifice, accounts of motherhood are inherently compelling. “Listen to Your Mother,” a program of staged mother-themed readings, has become a nationwide phenomenon. Kansas City is among 32 cities hosting “Listen to Your Mother” shows in celebration of Mother’s Day this year. At last year’s inaugural event in Kansas City, the readings ranged from laugh-out-loud funny to heart-rending reports about bullying. Bloggers, authors and a poet are among the 14 women who will share their stories on Saturday.

Amy Zoe Schonhoff

is among this year’s participants.

7:30 p.m. May 3. Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th St. listentoyourmothershow.com/kansascity. $15. NewEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble

Contemporary classical music has begun to gain a foothold among aging fans of indie-rock. The works of composers including Steve Reich are now heard at festivals that also feature members of bands like the Velvet Underground and Radiohead. Newcomers to the music may be surprised to learn that the NewEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble has been presenting innovative classical sounds in Kansas City for 20 years. Saturday’s “Distant Travels” concert features works by new music giants John Luther Adams and Lou Harrison and a 1999 piece by respected composer Dan Coleman.

8 p.m. May 3. All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 4501 Walnut St. 816-235-6222. newear.org. $25. $12 for students. Polski Day

Pierogis and polkas. Many longtime residents of Kansas City, Kan., might insist that every party should revolve around those two ingredients. The Polski Day Celebration at All Saints Parish church will abound with the traditions associated with the neighborhood’s Eastern European community. The delicious dumplings known as pierogis are for sale with cabbage rolls and smoked Polish sausage rings. Some diners will opt to include beer in their feasts. Polkas will be provided by accordionist Don Lipovac, the Ed Grisnik Band and Sheelytown. The festivities begin with a parade at 11 a.m. and include a polka Mass at 4 p.m.

11 a.m.-7 p.m. May 3. All Saints Parish, 229 S. Eighth St., Kansas City, Kan. 913-721-0081. polskiday.com. Free. Derby Fest

Attending the Kentucky Derby holds a prime spot on the bucket lists of countless sports fans and society mavens. The rituals associated with the horse race in Louisville — including sipping mint juleps while wearing opulent attire — are irresistible for many social climbers. Others simply want to gamble on the race that’s known as the “greatest two minutes in sports.” Kansas City area folks have an opportunity to redirect those impulses to a charitable purpose during the 140th version of the Kentucky Derby. Derby Fest, a lively fundraiser for the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center, includes a hat contest, auctions, raffles and live music.

3-6 p.m. May 3. Power Light District. 816-803-7406. kcderbyfest.com. $35-$75. Marble Day

Parents who fret over the excessive screen time their children spend on phones, tablets, computers and TVs are sure to find Marble Day a refreshing analog respite. The happily anachronistic activities revolve around the Moon Marble Co. Marble Tournament. The competition is open to ages 15 and younger. Children also can enter art and inventor contests. Other throwback activities include a parade, tractor rides and a cake walk. Burn off extra energy in a bike rodeo and a 5K walk-and-run race ($20 per participant).

8 a.m.-2 p.m. May 3. Downtown Bonner Springs. 913-441-1432. marbleday.com. Most events are free. Chihuahua Parade

Owners of small dogs and larger canines are aiming for a big record on Sunday. The theme of this year’s Chihuahua Parade is the “World’s Largest Costumed Dog Parade.” Organizers of the annual event are attempting to set a Guinness world record. Funds raised by the $5 entry fee per dog will go to Great Plains SPCA, a local no-kill animal rescue and shelter organization. Each dog will be given a chew toy. The festivities will conclude with a concert by Valentine and the Knights. The veteran band is known for its faithful covers of current pop hits and old favorites.

1 p.m. May 4. Barney Allis Plaza. 816-520-8430. kcdogparade.com. $5 per dog.

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