Thursday at Memorial Hall
Decades before sites such as Crossroads KC and the renovated Midland theater became the preferred midsize concert venues in the Kansas City area, hundreds of prominent performances were held at Memorial Hall. Live music will return to the Kansas City, Kan., venue on Thursday afternoon during Carnival KCK. Eight bands will perform on two stages during the business-to-business “exploration event” hosted by the city’s chamber of commerce that’s designed to showcase the “KCK renaissance.” Exhibitors will spread the word about their goods and services as attendees network while enjoying food and drinks. Performers include David George & a Crooked Mile, the ensemble responsible for the new touchdown celebration song of the Kansas City Chiefs.
3-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24. Memorial Hall. 913-371-3070. member.kckchamber.com/events/details/carnival-kck-262. Free.
Plaza Art Fair
Friday through Sunday at the Country Club Plaza
The promotional literature for the 84th annual Plaza Art Fair encapsulates the event’s enduring appeal: “After more than eight decades, it continues to be a weekend of people simply celebrating art and each other, as well as Kansas City’s unofficial welcome to the fall season.” The offerings of 240 artists provide the foundation of the fair, but the communal component is the primary draw for many of the tens of thousands of people who contentedly linger on the Plaza during the three-day celebration. The music emanating from three stages is among the other attractions. The Ink Live! Stage, sponsored by Ink magazine, will present 23 of the most acclaimed bands in Kansas City near the southwestern corner of the fair.
5-10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27. Country Club Plaza. 816-753-0100. plazaartfair.com. Free.
Daniel Handler and Brian Selznick
Saturday at the Kansas City Library’s Plaza branch
For enthusiasts of unconventional children’s books, the two men at the event presented by Reading Reptile are the literary equivalent of a dream double bill of Taylor Swift and One Direction. Daniel Handler and Brian Selznick are enormously accomplished writers with avid followings. Handler is best known by his pen name, Lemony Snicket. His delightful “A Series of Unfortunate Events” novels subverted the conventional relationship between author and reader. Snicket is likely to read from “Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?”, the conclusion of his “All the Wrong Questions” series. Selznick is promoting “The Marvels.” The third book in a trilogy begins with almost 400 pages of illustrations.
2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Kansas City Library’s Plaza branch, 4801 Main St. 816-701-3400. kclibrary.org. Free.
Marcus Luttrell’s Patriot Tour
Friday at the Folly Theater
Mark Wahlberg doesn’t look like Marcus Luttrell. Yet the actor portrayed Luttrell in the 2013 film “Lone Survivor.” The movie recounts Operation Red Wings, a 2005 military operation in Afghanistan. Luttrell, the only man in his team not killed in the maneuver, was rescued after receiving assistance from sympathetic Afghans. The Texan’s dramatic story and plain-spoken patriotism have since made him a prominent war hero. His Patriot Tour features speakers who “personify the warrior spirit, fighter’s drive” and a “team commitment.” Luttrell and two other men affiliated with the Navy SEALS will be joined by Taya Kyle, the widow of the famous military sniper Chris Kyle.
7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25. Folly Theater. 816-474-4444. follytheater.org. $50-$265.
Ernest James Zydeco
Friday at B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ
The music of Louisiana is often diminished by cheap caricatures. Sounds that may please unknowing tourists are scorned by natives of the Bayou State. The Kansas City band led by vocalist and accordionist Ernest James strikes the proper balance between good-time party music and musical substance. An Ink review of the ensemble’s 2008 album “Jubilee” suggested that “Ernest James Zydeco takes the roots of zydeco and infuses them with elements of blues, jazz and reggae to create a unique sound that brings the bayou to Kansas City.” The group will celebrate the release of the scorching album “Automatic Harvester”— the triumphant result of a one-night recording session — at BB’s Lawnside BBQ.
9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25. B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ, 1205 E. 85th St. 816-822-7427. bbslawnsidebbq.com. The cover charge is $5.
“Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College”
Opens Friday at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Members of Kansas City’s art community are rightfully proud of the work of Thomas Hart Benton. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s extensive collection of Benton’s works is among the most popular components of the institution. The important works of another famed muralist will temporarily be exhibited in the same facility. Hale Woodruff, a contemporary of Benton, is best remembered for the striking murals that were installed in the Savery Library at the historically black Talladega College. The artistically acclaimed and socially significant works will be displayed at the museum through Jan. 10. A series of programs related to the Woodruff exhibition begins in October.
Friday, Sept. 25-Jan. 10. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. 816-751-1278. nelson-atkins.org. Free.
Friday and Saturday in Lee’s Summit
Friday and Saturday at Grünauer
The annual German-themed events sponsored by the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce and Grünauer restaurant are two of the area’s most notable Oktoberfest celebrations. Both parties feature live music, German food and plenty of beer. The activities in Lee’s Summit range from a stein-hoisting competition to a Kids Street area with free pony rides and face painting. Children of all ages will be attracted to the adjacent carnival. (The carnival portion of the festival will also be open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.) Grünauer, one of the region’s most popular German restaurants, is featuring entertainers including Los Angeles-based band Hazelnuss. The ensemble’s repertoire includes the “Chicken Dance” and “Sweet Caroline.”
Oktoberfest in Lee’s Summit: 5-11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Downtown Lee’s Summit. 888-647-5470. lschamber.com/oktoberfest. Free.
Oktoberfest at Grünauer: 4 p.m.-midnight Friday, Sept. 25, 1 p.m.-midnight Saturday, Sept. 26. Grünauer, 101 W. 22nd St. 816-283-3234. grunauerkc.com. $12, includes one beer or food token.
Kansas City Royals vs. Cleveland
Friday through Sunday at Kauffman Stadium
The slight September swoon of the Kansas City Royals came as a shock to fans who had come to expect that the team would win every remaining series with ease. The regular season concludes with seven road games, but the final series at Kauffman Stadium prior to the playoffs provides an opportunity for newly pragmatic ticketholders to demonstrate that they remain fully supportive of the team. The Royals split a four-game series with their division rivals in Cleveland earlier this month. The team’s pitching staff will need to find a way to contain Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor this weekend. The 21-year-old’s excellent play against the Royals has enhanced his chance to become the American League’s Rookie of the Year.
7:10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, 1:10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27. Kauffman Stadium. 816-921-8000. kansascity.royals.mlb.com. $20-$173.
Lyric Opera, “Don Giovanni”
Opens Saturday at Muriel Kauffman Theatre
The symphonies and chamber music composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are among the most familiar components of the classical canon. Mozart’s humanity, however, is perhaps most evident in his operatic works. The Lyric Opera’s production of “Don Giovanni” should allow audiences to easily discern the composer’s playful and occasionally bawdy personality. The company’s set and costumes place the story of a lusty nobleman, played by Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch, in a noirish setting. In addition to offering plenty of laughs and thrills, the opening production of the Lyric’s 58th season will resurrect the vivid personality of the great composer.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26; Wednesday, Sept. 30; and Friday, Oct. 2; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4. Kauffman Center. 816-471-7344. kcopera.org. $34-$174.
Hallmarket: A Hallmark Art Fair
Saturday at Crown Center Square
Hallmark Cards is such an integral part of Kansas City that it seems that most longtime residents of the area have a connection to the iconic company or at least know one of its current or former employees. The fourth edition of Hallmarket: A Hallmark Art Fair, consequently, may occasionally resemble a family reunion. The event billed as a “maker fair” will showcase the creativity of more than 100 Hallmark employees. Rather than exhibiting the products they make on behalf of Hallmark, artists will display the art they make in their free time. The sale will include “textiles, turned wooden bowls, sculptures, art quilts, jewelry, oil and watercolor paintings, and photography.”
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Crown Center Square. 816-274-5745. corporate.hallmark.com. Free.
Saturday at Helzberg Hall
One of the leading lights of Broadway for 20 years, Audra McDonald has won six Tony Awards. Next year she’s slated to star in the highly anticipated “Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed.” McDonald is performing Broadway favorites and material from the Great American Songbook on a tour that recently included two nights at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Noting that she is in her prime, a critic for The Los Angeles Times suggested that, “No one on Broadway can touch her.”
7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Helzberg Hall. 816-415-5025. hjseries.org. $30-$80.
Sunday at the Midland
Comedian Russell Peters manages to tell racial-oriented jokes without seeming racist. His friendly demeanor and eagerness to poke fun at his ethnicity allow the Canadian to get away with gags that would otherwise be offensive. Peters good-naturedly mocks his Indian heritage. An undercurrent of social commentary runs through his comedy. In his 2006 special “Outsourced,” Peters notes that security and customs agents at airports “need to learn the difference between a terrorist and an Indian. … Terrorists hate Americans. Indians hate each other. … A terrorist will blow up an airport. Indians like to work at the airport.” Peters will almost certainly mock every demographic present at the Midland theater on Sunday.
8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27. Midland theater. 816-283-9921. midlandkc.com. $39.50-$55.
The Bridge Presents Bands and Brews
Sunday at Knuckleheads
Radio station KTBG may not be a ratings powerhouse, but the community-oriented noncommercial outlet known as the Bridge has loyal and responsive listeners. Many of them will be present at the station’s Bands and Brews event on Sunday. In addition to performances by seven bands that reflect the Bridge’s adult alternative musical orientation, the event acts as a showcase for three businesses in the West Bottoms. The butcher shop Local Pig will serve roasted pig at Knuckleheads. The nearby distillery J. Rieger & Co. will offer tours of its facility every half-hour during daylight hours. The Grisly Hand, the Late Night Callers, Maria the Mexican and Walkenhorst and Porter are among the entertainers.
2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27. Knuckleheads. 816-777-0099. bridge909.org/events/bridge-bands-brews. $10.
Monday at the Midland
Successful rock musicians are rarely fully formed when they make their first impression on international audiences. Yet the initial single by Mark Knopfler’s band Dire Straits possessed all of the winning qualities that continue to characterize his work decades later. The 1979 hit, “Sultans of Swing,” about listening to a Dixieland band in a London pub, showcased Knopfler’s gruff voice, fluid guitar work and mordant sense of humor. Most of what Knopfler has done in the intervening 36 years under the auspices of Dire Straits and as a solo artist is an extension of that song. Knopfler’s consistently tasteful work includes the classic romantic ode “Romeo and Juliet” and exquisite soundtrack work on films including “Wag the Dog.”
7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28. Midland. 816-283-9921. midlandkc.com. $49.50-$137.50.
FC Kansas City Watch Party
Thursday, Oct. 1, at the Lee’s Summit 810 Zone
As fans of the Royals, Chiefs and Sporting KC wring their hands over each team’s prospects, another locally based professional sports franchise has reached the championship game of its league. FC Kansas City will play the Seattle Reign in the championship game of the National Women’s Soccer League on Thursday, Oct. 1. The match in Seattle will be televised at 8:30 p.m. by Fox Sports 1. The official watch party is at the 810 Zone in Lee’s Summit. The first 250 fans to arrive at the establishment will receive an FC Kansas City drawstring bag. FC Kansas City is playing in its third consecutive title game and hopes to retain its title as league champions. The match also marks the end of Lauren Holiday’s career. The World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist is retiring after Thursday’s contest.
8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. Lee’s Summit 810 Zone, 1672 N.W. Chipman Road. 855-452-4625. fckansascity.com. Free.
Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star