July 9, 2014

This week in Kansas City: A beach party, ‘Spamalot’ and Paul McCartney

Sample some wine in Lawrence, watch horses jump at Kansas Speedway or Rock the Crossroads at a family event.

Salute! A Festival of Wine and Food

Vineyards in Kansas may not yet produce the nation’s best-known wines, but that doesn’t mean that residents of the Sunflower State don’t appreciate fermented grapes. The three-day Salute! A Festival of Wine and Food begins in Lawrence on Thursday with the Mass Street Mosey, an opportunity for ticket holders to enjoy wine and food at a variety of merchants in downtown Lawrence. Friday’s winemaker dinner at the Oread Hotel pairs wines with a six-course meal. Saturday’s grand tasting at the Lawrence Holiday Inn features more than 250 wines. The event is a fundraiser for Cottonwood, a Lawrence-based organization that assists people with developmental disabilities.

Thursday-Saturday. Various venues. 785-842-0550. salutewinefest.com. Tickets to Saturday’s tasting are $75 and $125; Thursday’s and Friday’s events are sold out.

Jack Devine for “Good Hunting: An American Spymaster’s Story”

As a member of the CIA for 32 years, Jack Devine played an outsized role in engineering the current geopolitical landscape. Devine’s work in Chile gave him a firsthand look at the coup that overthrew Salvador Allende. He’s even better known for his participation in the United States’ covert operations in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Devine analyzes the unintended consequences of those actions and the inner workings of the CIA in his new memoir, “Good Hunting: An American Spymaster’s Story.” He’ll discuss his fascinating life and his concerns over the current state of American intelligence-gathering at Thursday’s talk.

7 p.m. Thursday. Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th. 913-384-3126. rainydaybooks.com. $27 purchases one hardcover copy of “Good Hunting: An American Spymaster’s Story,” one stamped autograph admission ticket and two passes to the talk.

Bastille Day Celebrations

Étienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont was the first European known to explore the land that would eventually become Kansas City. The Frenchman began the region’s longstanding ties with his native country. Westport Café and Californos are two of the local establishments hosting commemorations of Bastille Day, the French equivalent of the Fourth of July. Members of Alliance Française de Kansas City will present French-themed music, dance, games and cuisine at Californos on Sunday. Westport Café is offering a special four-day French menu culminating with a Bastille Day party on Monday.

Westport Café, 419 Westport Road. Friday-Monday. 816-931-4740. westportcafeandbar.com. Admission is free, standard food and beverage prices apply.

Californos, 4124 Pennsylvania Ave. 2 p.m. Sunday. 816-531-7878. afkc.org. $3. Regular food and beverage prices apply.

Family Beach Party at Power & Light

Footage of large crowds in the Power & Light District watching World Cup matches provided a tremendous publicity coup for the downtown complex. Already firmly established in the Kansas City area as a premier entertainment destination, soccer fans around the country were made aware of the attraction during the sporting event. In addition to serving as an adult playground, the main courtyard of the Power & Light District is featuring activities tailored for children every second Saturday through October. Saturday’s attractions at the Family Beach Party include a puppet show, a treasure hunt and a slip ’n’ slide.

11 a.m. Saturday (July 12). 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Power & Light District. powerandlightdistrict.com. Free.

“Monty Python’s Spamalot”

It takes gumption for the primary artistic creator of a musical to use his production to ridicule the customary plot devices employed by other musicals. Yet Eric Idle of the British comedy troupe Monty Python has made a career of mocking societal conventions. In “Spamalot,” an adaptation of the absurd 1975 musical comedy “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” a number titled “The Song That Goes Like This” lambasts theatrical clichés with lines like “I’ll sing it in your face while we both embrace” and “let’s stop this damn refrain before we go insane.” The production at White Theatre stars Reed Uthe as King Arthur, Joel Morrison as Sir Robin, Adam Branson as Sir Lancelot and Josh Brady as Patsy.

Saturday-July 27. Lewis and Shirley White Theatre, 5801 W. 115th St., Overland Park. 913-327-8054. jcckc.org. $11-$22.

Rock the Crossroads 5K

The streets of the Crossroads Arts District are usually filled with party-minded celebrants on Saturday evenings in July. This Saturday, however, revelers will have to share the roads with participants in the Rock the Crossroads 5K. While winners will be rewarded with prizes, both serious and casual runners will bask in the novelty of traversing the area’s familiar streets in a race. A concert by the Kansas City rock band the Strive at Crossroads KC serves as further reward for the athletes. The event is a benefit for Ozanam, a treatment center for children in south Kansas City.

7:30 p.m. Saturday. Crossroads KC, 417 E. 18th St. 816-569-4508. rockthecrossroads.com. $35-$40.

Psycho Psummer Run

The websites of most running events feature photos of carefree participants smiling into cameras. Organizers of the annual Psycho Psummer Run have opted for a very different approach to promote their event. Athletes are seen grimacing as they navigate the race’s challenging terrain in Wyandotte County Lake Park. Another startling image shows a tattoo of the event’s logo sported by a particularly passionate devotee of the race. Clearly, the Psycho Psummer Run is far from a casual walk in the park. Participants may opt for 10 mile, 20 mile or 50K courses on treacherous unpaved paths that organizers warn are “rocky, rooty, and hilly.”

8 a.m. Saturday. Wyandotte County Lake and Park. www.psychowyco.com/id75.html. $80-$100.

The Temptations

Otis Williams, the only original member of the Temptations still with the legendary group, didn’t sing lead on any of the ensemble’s hits. Given that the Temptations formed in 1960, however, expecting a perfect facsimile of the vocal group’s classic years is unreasonable. Besides, renditions of monumental hits rather than the presence of specific vocalists are the primary attractions at the Temptations’ concerts. The innocent “My Girl,” the exuberant “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep,” the desperate “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” the devastating “I Wish It Would Rain” and the agonizing “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” are just five of the Temptations’ dozens of eternal classics likely to be performed on Sunday.

7 p.m. Sunday. Ameristar Casino and Hotel. 800-745-3000. ameristar.com/kansas_city.aspx. $25-$35.

Cass County Fair

“Timeless Traditions,” the theme of this year’s Cass County Fair, is an apt summation of the many offerings of the annual event. The fair, 34 miles southeast of downtown Kansas City, offers a delightful array of quintessentially American traditions. Motocross races provide a loud start to the fair on Tuesday. The next day features a rabbit show. Thursday’s activities range from a quilt show to a demolition derby. Friday begins with a goat show and ends with a fireworks display. A bluegrass-oriented music festival is among Saturday’s attractions.

Tuesday-Sunday. Pleasant Hill. 816-540-3135. pleasanthill.com. Free, fees apply to some activities.

Paul McCartney

The creative impulse and exceptional energy Paul McCartney continues to display should inspire every aging rocker. While spoilsports grouse that it’s unbecoming for musicians born in the 1940s to bounce about stages like giddy teenagers, the joyous antics of McCartney, 72, seem entirely natural. Besides, McCartney still merits his moniker as “the cute one.” His recent set lists are heavy on selections from the Beatles catalog such as “Paperback Writer,” “Hey Jude” and “Blackbird” and also include favorites from his extensive solo career like “Maybe I’m Amazed.”

8 p.m. Wednesday. Sprint Center. 816-949-7000. sprintcenter.com. $27.50-$250.

Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star

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