Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle
Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue is among the restaurants that have proven that world-class barbecue can be served in Johnson County. There’s little doubt, consequently, that exquisite food will be prepared at this weekend’s Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle. As with the American Royal World Series of Barbecue, the 185 teams participating in the Lenexa competition are not required to provide visitors with samples. Vendors including the Lenexa Hy-Vee, the Lions Club and Angie’s Italian Ice will sell food and beverages. The veteran rock band the Nace Brothers will provide a rousing soundtrack for chefs and diners on Friday and Saturday.
Friday-Saturday. Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park. lenexa.com/parks. $5 on Friday, free on Saturday.
Kansas City Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
Although gay and lesbian characters are increasingly common in mainstream television and film productions, dedicated forums such as the Kansas City Gay & Lesbian Film Festival are still imperative. The weeklong Showcase of Film Premieres at Tivoli Cinemas in Westport will feature more than a dozen titles. Two films typify the festival’s expansive range. “Kumu Hina” is a documentary that tracks the challenges faced by a transgender teacher and student as they attempt to find acceptance in traditional Pacific Islander culture. “Tru Love” is a stirring film about a daughter’s reaction to her mother’s unexpected romance with a younger woman.
Thursday-July 3. Tivoli Cinemas. 816-561-5222. kcgayfilmfest.com. Festival passes are $65. Tickets to single screenings are $6.75 and $8.50.
Diamond of Dreams
As the Kansas City Royals became an American League powerhouse in the 1970s, the team’s shiny new stadium also served as an occasional concert venue. Major attractions including the Allman Brothers Band and the Steve Miller Band performed at the ballpark. The locally based Michael Beers Band will entertain listeners on a stage in the outfield at Kauffman Stadium on Thursday during the Diamond of Dreams fundraiser for Royals Charities and The University of Kansas Hospital’s Neonatal Medical Home. La Bodega and Barrel 31 are among the restaurants providing food and beverages. The charitable evening concludes with fireworks.
7 p.m. Thursday. Kauffman Stadium. 816-504-4040. kansascity.royals.mlb.com/kc/community/diamond_of_dreams.jsp. $125. V.I.P. tickets are $250.
Royals vs. Angels
The young phenomenon Mike Trout, the former Independence resident Albert Pujols and the celebrated slugger Josh Hamilton are the core of the Los Angeles Angels’ modern-day Murderers’ Row. The team’s pitching staff is no less imposing. Even so, the Royals’ less-renowned lineup has demonstrated that it’s capable of meeting its considerable potential. Both teams are legitimate playoff contenders. Promotions for this weekend’s three-day series include “Buck Night” and fireworks on Friday, a giveaway of 10,000 James Shields bobbleheads on Saturday and player autograph signings and a children’s fun run on Sunday.
7:10 p.m. Friday, 1:10 p.m. Saturday and 1:10 p.m. Sunday. Kauffman Stadium. 800-676-9257. kcroyals.com. $13-$297.
For people who swear by the curative powers of the natural spring waters that made Excelsior Springs famous, Waterfest is a rightful celebration of the wonders of nature. Yet even skeptics of the waters’ restorative qualities will find plenty to appreciate at Waterfest. The three-day event in the town about 30 miles northeast of Kansas City includes live music, theatrical productions and a quilt show. Competitions range from a 5K run to a doughnut eating contest. Trolley tours will offer visitors a peek at Excelsior Springs’ charms.
Friday -Sunday. Excelsior Springs. exspgschamber.com. 816-630-6161. Many events are free.
In addition to being loads of fun, Maker Faire events are a tangible means of addressing the science gap that threatens the productivity of the United States. President Barack Obama acknowledged the potential of the celebrations of innovation by chatting with inventors at a Maker Faire exhibition on the lawn of the White House earlier this month. The Kansas City edition of Maker Faire will feature scores of creations, ranging from robots to alternative energy devices, at Union Station. Live music and a barbecue competition will provide additional diversions.
Saturday-Sunday. Union Station. makerfairekc.com. 816-460-2020. $12 per day or $19.50 for a two-day pass.
Owen/Cox Dance Group, ‘Memory Palace’
Helen Gillet has earned the right to be considered an honorary citizen of Kansas City. The New Orleans-based cellist’s frequent area performances and ongoing collaborations with Kansas City musicians and performing arts groups have surprised and delighted local audiences for years. Her contribution to the Owen/Cox Dance Group’s production of “Memory Palace” is one of her most ambitious partnerships to date. The production’s world premiere also features contributions from saxophonist Mark Southerland and artist Peregrine Honig.
8 p.m. Saturday. Spencer Theater, 4949 Cherry St.owencoxdance.org. $22.50.
CASA SuperHero 5K Run/Walk
Every Clark Kent and Diana Prince in the Kansas City region has a perfect excuse to unleash their inner Superman and Wonder Woman in Leawood on Sunday. The CASA SuperHero 5K Run/Walk encourages runners and walkers to proudly reveal their hidden identities by wearing costumes. There will be a superhero costume contest, and every run/walk participant will receive a T-shirt and goody bag.The event is a benefit for Court Appointed Special Advocates, a group that “recruits, trains and supports community volunteers to empower abused children and give them a chance for a brighter future.”
8 a.m. Sunday. Town Center Plaza. 816-785-4097. casakc.org/superhero5k. The registration fees are $35 for the 5K and $20 for a kids’ fun run.
Damien Echols and Lorri Davis for ‘Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row’
One of a trio of men known as the West Memphis Three, Damien Echols was convicted of participating in the 1993 murders of three boys in Arkansas. The case became a cause célèbre. Johnny Depp was among the stars who lobbied for an acquittal. Lorri Davis began writing to Echols after viewing a HBO documentary about the controversial prosecutions, and they married in 1999 while Echols was still incarcerated. Echols and the two other men were released in 2011 after spending 18 years in prison. He and Davis will discuss the new book about their uncommon love story.
7 p.m. Tuesday. Unity on the Plaza. 913-384-3126. rainydaybooks.com. $27.95 (plus tax), includes one hardcover book, one autograph admission and two passes to the talk.
Highlights from the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures
The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures recently posed a poignant question: “Have you ever seen a museum with nothing in it?” The post included a photo of an empty gallery.The museum on the campus of UMKC has closed for renovations until 2015. Beginning July 2, a portion of the unique collection of dolls, earthenware, furniture and assorted oddities, including a miniature microscope, will be on temporary display at the nearby Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
July 2-Feb. 22. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. 816-751-1278. nelson-atkins.org. Free.
Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star