Things to do in Kansas City: May 8 and beyond

05/07/2014 1:00 PM

05/08/2014 10:03 AM

Dav Pilkey, Dan Santat

Dav Pilkey has compelled countless parents to bite their lips. As the man responsible for the popular “Captain Underpants” series of children’s books, Pilkey instigated an avid interest in reading among many previously disinterested youth. Part of the appeal of “Captain Underpants” is the subversive delight children take in agitating adults by demonstrating enthusiasm for the unrepentantly juvenile series. The “Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot” series is among Pilkey’s latest efforts. He and current “Ricky Ricotta” illustrator Dan Santat will be at Reading Reptile on Thursday.

3 p.m. Thursday. Reading Reptile, 328 W. 63rd St. 816-753-0441. readingreptile.com. Free, tickets required. Katt Williams

There may be funnier comedians working today, but almost no entertainer has established a more distinctive persona than Katt Williams. Even though Williams may be small in stature, he possesses a gargantuan presence. True to his self-deprecating sensibility, Williams playfully mocked his image by lending his voice to a character who insists that he be called A Pimp Named Slickback on television’s “The Boondocks.” Williams’ irredeemably indelicate musings will be aired on his Growth Spurt tour.

8 p.m. Friday. Municipal Auditorium. 800-653-8000. ticketmaster.com. $47-$127. Spectrum Fantastic Art Live

A forum for “fantasy, science fiction, horror, and otherwise uncategorizable artwork,” Spectrum’s lavish publications have presented readers with compelling fantasy art for 20 years. While the subject matter is often shunned by the gatekeepers of so-called “serious” art, the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live at Bartle Hall will allow open-minded attendees to revel in the full breadth of the format. Participants in the three-day event include illustrator Wayne Douglas Barlowe, action figure designer Tim Bruckner, comic creator Frank Cho and Camilla d’Errico, the author of “Pop Manga: How to Draw the Coolest, Cutest Characters, Animals, Mascots, and More.”

Friday-Sunday. Bartle Hall. 913-538-1142. spectrumfantasticart.com. $40 for three-day passes, $20 for single-day tickets. KC Ballet’s ‘Cinderella’

Audiences at the Kansas City Ballet’s production of “Cinderella” will be forgiven if they opt to close their eyes. Sergei Prokofiev’s stunning composition is so thoroughly engaging that it demands to be heard without distraction. Even so, an embarrassment of riches will be displayed at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The choreography of Victoria Morgan, an elegant set and lavish costumes will complement the Kansas City Symphony’s rendition of Prokofiev’s score. A small army of professional dancers and children from the Kansas City Ballet School will present the classic fairy tale.

Friday-May 18. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-931-2232. kcballet.org. $39-$109. Fort Leavenworth Homes Tour

Fort Leavenworth is the site of a military prison that has long served as the residence of prominent inmates ranging from William Calley to Chelsea Manning. The Fort Leavenworth Homes Tour allows visitors to experience an entirely different side of the community. Organized by the Friends of the Frontier Army Museum, the 37th version of the annual fundraiser allows access to 10 homes built in the 1800s. The structures reflect the crucial role the fort played in that century’s westward expansion.

10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Fort Leavenworth. ffam.us. $15. Chiefs Finish on the 50 run

Almost every weekend warrior and fitness buff has fantasied about playing for a professional sports team. The Kansas City Chiefs are allowing amateur athletes to add a large dollop of realism to their Walter Mitty daydreams. The finish line of the second Chiefs 5K at Arrowhead Stadium is the 50-yard line of the hallowed sports arena. Many participants could achieve their personal best times as they unleash their inner Jamaal Charles during Saturday’s noncompetitive event. The post-run activities include a tour of the stadium and the opportunity to mingle with Chiefs’ cheerleaders and KC Wolf.

9 a.m. Saturday. Arrowhead Stadium. 816-920-4327. chiefs5k.com. $45. First ladies man Andy Och

Bess Truman was born in Independence in 1885 and died there in 1982. She lived longer than any other first lady of the United States. Such trivia is almost certainly treasured by Andy Och, one of the producers of the C-SPAN series “First Ladies: Influence and Image.” Och’s project documents the lives of the women who have occupied the position from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama. Och’s access to historians, biographers and the living spouses of presidents makes him one of the pre-eminent scholars on the topic. He’ll share his insights about first ladies during a Mother’s Day presentation at the Truman Library.

2 p.m. Sunday. Truman Library. 800-833-1225. trumanlibrary.org. Free with museum admission, $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $3 for children ages 6 to 15. NASCAR at Kansas Speedway

The lights that were installed at Kansas Speedway in 2010 will be put to use this weekend. Kansas Speedway president Pat Warren said last year that Saturday’s Sprint Cup night race is “something Kansas City fans can compare to having a Monday night football game at Arrowhead Stadium.” Race fans will still be able to get sunburned during the first Under the Lights weekend at Kansas Speedway. Following the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition on Friday night, a plethora of pre-race activities begin on Saturday morning. The festivities include a concert by country artist Brett Eldredge and dozens of interactive displays on the midway.

Friday and Saturday. Kansas Speedway. 866-460-7223. kansasspeedway.com. $15-$60 on Friday and $29-$139 on Saturday. Cirque du Soleil: ‘Varekai’

“Varekai,” a touring production of the renowned aerobatics troupe, is set in a “captivating forest inhabited by whimsical and enchanted creatures.” Elements of “Varekai“ have a passing resemblance to the 2009 movie “Avatar,” but the show’s distinctive visuals and compelling music are unmistakably part of the Cirque du Soleil tradition.

Wednesday-May 18. Sprint Center. 816-949-7000. sprintcenter.com. $28-$150.

Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star

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