Event Previews for the Week of May 29, 2014

05/28/2014 7:00 AM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

Janet Williams

Minnie Pearl died in 1996, but her legacy of down-home comedy is perpetuated by Janet Williams. She may not wear a hat with a price tag and her jokes are occasionally vulgar, but Williams delivers them in a thick country drawl. Known as the Tennessee Tramp, Williams focuses on the dire consequences of her ongoing relationship problems. When she visited the set of a local television program in 2011, Williams joked that she loved her children so much that she “let the state take ’em.” After all, she suggested, her demanding kids tended to “wanna eat every day, they want shoes without cardboard, it’s just ‘blah blah blah’ all the time.”

8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 7:45 and 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Stanford’s Comedy Club at The Legends in KCK. 913-400-7500. stanfordscomedyclub.com. $5-$35.

Just For Her Event

Freed from the unwanted distractions caused by men, attendees of this weekend’s Just for Her Event will be able to relax at the customized forum for women. Artisans, charities, wellness services, retailers, travel agencies and yoga studios are among the more than 200 exhibitors at the Overland Park Convention Center this weekend. Activities include cooking demonstrations, a silent auction and fashion shows. The Pamper Her Lounge offers mini-spa treatments while thirsty patrons can quench their thirsts with cocktails. A VIP party on Friday night offers an additional opportunity to nosh.

Friday through Sunday. Overland Park Convention Center, 6000 College Blvd. justforherexpo.com. Three-day passes are $5. Tickets to Friday’s VIP party are $20.

Festa Italiana

Buona sera! Two good evenings and three lively days of activities are on tap at Festa Italiana this weekend. Louis Prima Jr. & the Witnesses serve as the headliner on Friday. The son of the swinging star will perform hits including “Buona Sera,” “Just a Gigolo” and “Jump, Jive an’ Wail.” Additional highlights of the opening day include a performance by smooth jazz saxophonist Joseph Vincelli and a meatball eating contest. The operatic vocalist Micheal Castaldo and a tribute to Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons and Dion are among Saturday’s attractions. A cooking demonstration that promises to reveal a “secret recipe from Garozzo’s head chef” takes place on Sunday.

Friday through Sunday. Zona Rosa. 816-587-8180. zonarosa.com. Free.

Symphony presents Verdi’s Requiem

The Kansas City Symphony can’t be accused of patronizing its audience. The final performance of the lauded ensemble’s 2013-14 season features the imposing Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi. Associated with mourning, the Requiem opens with a prayer to grant the departed eternal rest. Michael Stern will conduct the Symphony, while Charles Bruffy will oversee the Kansas City Symphony Chorus. Ticket availability is limited. Call the Symphony box office for information.

8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-471-0400. kcsymphony.org. $25-$76.

Midwest Small Press Festival

A defiant retort to the popular assertion that reading for pleasure is on the decline, the Midwest Small Press Festival is a celebration of the region’s independent publishers. Founded in Milwaukee, the annual festival takes place this weekend in the Crossroads Arts District and in midtown Kansas City. The wares of more than two dozen publishers will be featured Saturday at a book fair at the Green Lady Lounge. The festival also includes readings, a poetry slam and a literary tour. A reception at Hammerpress on Friday opens the literary festivities, and a Sunday brunch at Kansas Town concludes the event.

Friday through Sunday. Crossroads Arts District and midtown. midwestsmallpressfestival.org. Free.

D.L. Hughley

Part of the new wave of politically oriented comedians that includes Bill Maher, Dennis Miller and Stephen Colbert, D.L. Hughley is a popular actor and an occasional incendiary social commentator. Hughley has joked that his poor showing during the 2013 season of television’s “Dancing With the Stars” threatened to spoil “a perfectly good stereotype.” He also kids about gay marriage, the legalization of marijuana, global warming, the Obama presidency and our increasing dependency of technology. Audiences should expect a mix of thought-provoking discourse and lowbrow humor during the native Californian’s three-day stint at Kansas City Improv.

8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday. Kansas City Improv, 7260 N.W. 87th St. 816-759-5233. improvkc.com. $30-$40.

Kids Triathlon

The concept of a triathlon for kids might raise eyebrows among advocates of children’s welfare. However, these concerned citizens should be relieved to learn that the distances to be traversed at Saturday’s event in Gladstone are relatively short. The longest component in three age brackets is a 3-mile bike ride for children ages 12-14. The running portion of the contest for kids ages 6-8 is only a quarter of a mile. Event organizers suggest that participation will help place participants on a path to healthy living and good habits.

9 a.m. Saturday. Gladstone Community Center. 816-423-4200. gladstonecommunitycenter.com. $55 for one entrant and $50 for each additional participant.

Crawl for Cancer

Anyone who observes a tipsy person in or around the Power & Light District on Satruday afternoon is encouraged to withhold judgment. Hundreds of revelers will be imbibing for a good cause by participating in the nationwide fundraiser Crawl for Cancer. Money raised in Kansas City will be funneled to charities including St. Luke’s Cancer Institute and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Teams of 10 to 12 people will visit five of the 15 participating establishments during the four-hour pub crawl. Hardy participants will convene to further celebrate their good work at an afterparty.

1 p.m. Saturday. Power & Light District. crawlforcancer.org/kansascity. Advance registration for the sold-out event was $55 per person.

Wylliams-Henry dance company

Kansas City’s elite cultural institutions are thriving, but the depth of the area’s artistic community is exemplified by the exceptional work of lesser known ensembles. While the Kansas City Ballet receives more attention, Kansas City’s Wylliams-Henry Contemporary Dance Company has showcased the art of dance with graceful perseverance since its inception since 1991. The spring production of the dance troupe, the UMKC Conservatory’s artist-in-residence, will feature the works of female choreographers including a piece by artistic director Mary Pat Henry.

8 Friday and Saturday. White Recital Hall. 816-241-4511. wylliams-henry.org. $24, $18 for seniors and $15 for students.


From her dazzling appearance to the uncanny ways in which she reinvents herself, Cher, 68, is one of our most fascinating celebrities. Her recording career began in 1964 with the Phil Spector-produced novelty song “Ringo, I Love You.” The cheerful Sonny & Cher hit “I Got You Babe” made her a star the following year. Television’s “Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour,” hits like “Half-Breed” and a tumultuous personal life kept her in the headlines throughout the ’70s. After becoming a movie star in the ’80s, Cher’s massive 1998 hit “Believe” marked the beginning of her surprising calling as a dance music icon. Cyndi Lauper opens Saturday’s concert.

8 p.m. Saturday. Sprint Center. 816-949-7000. sprintcenter.com. $27.50-$107.50.

Free Summer Movies Series at Legends 14, series begins Tuesday

Legends 14 Theatre in Kansas City, Kan., is providing a welcome alternative for caretakers of children looking for comfortable, affordable and age-appropriate activities. Beginning Tuesday, the theater will show free double features at 10 a.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The series commences with “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!” and “Madagascar.” Next week’s show pairs “Ramona and Beezus” with “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.” The series concludes Aug. 5-7 with “Rio” and “The Smurfs 2.”

10 a.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. June 4 and 10 a.m. June 5. Legends 14 at 1841 Village West Parkway. 913-428-2992. phoenixtheatres.com. Free.

I-70 Series: Royals vs. Cardinals

The 20,000 Royals tote bags that will be distributed at the June 5 game may come in handy. Should the home team prevail, fans of the Royals can make room for a year’s worth of bragging rights in the promotional offering. If the Royals fare poorly, the bags can be used to pack the troubles of locally based baseball enthusiasts. The games on June 4 and June 5 follow a pair of games at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. For a passionate and highly competitive subset of fans, the results of the contests between the interstate rivals are no less important than the overall season standings.

7:10 p.m. June 4 and 7:10 p.m. June 5. Kauffman Stadium. 816-921-8000. kcroyals.com. $24-$413.

Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star

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