The rapper 2 Chainz isn’t the only celebrity who has embraced the motto “I’m different.” The catchphrase serves as the title of Tony Roberts’ most recent comedy special, now on DVD. The project showcases the comedian’s routines about offbeat subjects such as the unintended message sent by young men wearing sagging jeans. Anyone who has seen his features on HBO, Showtime, VH1 or BET knows that Roberts’ shows have a lot in common with the work of the popular comedian and actor Kevin Hart.
8 p.m. Thursday, 10 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday. Kansas City Improv. 816-759-5233. improvkc.com. $17-$25.
Booms & Blooms Festival
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By scheduling the Booms & Blooms Festival a day prior to the Fourth of July, event organizers at Powell Gardens have provided guests an opportunity to partake of a refined holiday celebration in advance of more typical celebrations on Friday. The centerpiece of Booms & Blooms is a fireworks display that immediately follows a patriotic-themed performance by the Lee’s Summit Symphony. Students from the Lee’s Summit’s School of Rock will entertain revelers earlier in the day. The pastoral setting includes an array of more than 400 daylily varieties.
Thursday. Powell Gardens. 816-697-2600. powellgardens.org. $12.
T-Bones vs. Sioux Falls
Few activities are more all-American than spending an evening at a minor league baseball game on a Fourth of July weekend. The Royals may field superior talent, but the charming atmosphere at T-Bones games provides an unusually relaxing way to experience the national pastime. Fireworks won’t be the only thing overhead Friday at CommunityAmerica Ballpark: look for the a skydiving team. Saturday’s game against the Sioux Falls Canaries also will be followed by fireworks. Promotions at Sunday’s game include pregame player autographs and a postgame opportunity for children to run the bases.
7:05 p.m., 5:05 p.m. and 5:05 p.m.; CommunityAmerica Ballpark. 913-328-5618. tbonesbaseball.com. $6.50-$16.
Thousands of people who take the Fourth of July seriously will opt to spend the holiday at Richard L. Berkley Riverfront Park. The festivities include a fireworks display over the Missouri River and customary hot dogs and beer provided by vendors. Musicians will perform an impressive variety of music at two stages. Eddie Moore & the Outer Circle will represent Kansas City’s jazz heritage while the Jorge Arana Trio will demonstrate the style’s noisier possibilities. Modern rock band Akkilles and Celtic rockers Flannigan’s Right Hook are among the additional performers.
4 p.m. Friday. Richard L. Berkley Park. kcriverfest.com. $5. On-site parking is $10.
First Friday in the Crossroads
No tradition in Kansas City exemplifies the metropolis’ newfound vitality more than First Friday celebrations in the Crossroads district. The festive holiday will make this weekend’s event especially memorable. The purpose of the monthly gathering is the opportunity to peruse the offerings of artists at the neighborhood’s plethora of galleries. Yet many people just admire the sounds of street musicians, relax over food and beverages at restaurants and lounges or admire the shifting shadows on the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Friday. Crossroads Art District. 816-994-7313. kccrossroads.org. Free.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago
America’s current obsession with the World Cup has astonished many observers, but the phenomenon comes as no surprise to people in the Kansas City area. Thanks to the winning ways of Sporting KC, soccer has become an integral part of the region’s social fabric. The club’s matches are consistent sellouts and the impressive play of Matt Besler and Graham Zusi in the World Cup has validated the loyalty of Sporting KC’s passionate supporters. The crowd at Sunday’s contest against the Chicago Fire, consequently, should be one of the most fanatical in the club’s increasingly impressive history.
2 p.m. Sunday. Sporting Park. 888-452-4625. sportingkc.com. $20-$275.
Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss & Union Station
Willie Nelson isn’t getting older, he’s getting better. Nelson, 81, maintains a schedule that might exhaust musicians half his age. His dynamic new album “Band of Brothers” outshines most contemporary country music. The project demonstrates that Nelson’s cracked voice and exquisite guitar work are more evocative than ever. The beloved musician is joined by Alison Krauss & Union Station and Jason Isbell on his current tour. Krauss’ lovely voice and sensitive approach have initiated renewed interest in bluegrass. Isbell, formerly of Drive-By Truckers, is one of the most vital songwriters working today.
7 p.m. Sunday. Starlight. 816-363-7827. kcstarlight.com. $29-$99.50.
Missouri River 340
A true test of endurance, the Missouri River 340 competition tests the physical and mental toughness of its participants. Athletes in canoes are allotted 88 hours to complete the 340-mile river course from Kansas City to St. Charles. Last year two in three teams successfully managed the feat. In addition to battling fatigue, competitors must dodge obstacles including commercial vessels, water-skiers, bridge pilings and buoys. Organizers note that vast stretches of the Missouri River are spectacularly scenic, but that serious participants will be too busy paddling to relish the views.
Race starts at 7 a.m. Tuesday at Kaw Point. 913-244-4666. rivermiles.com. Registration fees vary.
‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat‘
In spite of its electrifying subject — the biblical story of Joseph’s betrayal by his jealous brothers and his subsequent redemption — the tone of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is playfully innocent. The musical is one of the earliest works of Stephen Sondheim and Tim Rice and it showcases the sillier side of their tremendous talents. “Song of the King,” for instance, is a good-natured goof on Elvis. The current production stars former “American Idol” contestants Diana DeGarmo as the Narrator and Ace Young in the title role.
8:30 p.m. Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. Thursday (July 10), 8:30 p.m. Friday, 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Starlight. 816-363-7827. kcstarlight.com. $10-$135.
John Hope Bryant for ‘How the Poor Can Save Capitalism’
“There’s a difference between being broke and being poor,” John Hope Bryant has said. “Being broke is economic but being poor is a disabling frame of mind, a depressed condition of your spirit, and you must vow never to be poor again.” He details his innovative ideas and ambitious goals in his book “How the Poor Can Save Capitalism.” Bryant, a member of the council of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability and “the only best-selling business author in America who happens to also be African-American,” will discuss his message of financial liberation at the Central Library on Friday.
6 p.m. Tuesday. Central Library. 816-701-3400. kclibrary.org. Free.