This week in Kansas City: Butterflies, hot dogs and ‘Idols’

07/30/2014 7:00 AM

07/31/2014 10:47 AM

Boulevard of Dreams

Scores of volunteers have fulfilled even the most farfetched desires of more than 25,000 sick kids for the Dream Factory. Boulevard of Dreams, the sixth annual fundraising event for the Kansas City chapter of the charitable organization, will be at Studio Dan Meiners near Union Station. The evening includes cocktails, an auction and entertainment from Reddell Productions. Food sponsors include Blanc Burgers + Bottles, Spin! Neapolitan Pizza and Westside Local.

7 p.m. Friday. Studio Dan Meiners, 2500 West Pennway. 816-471-2559. boulevardofdreams.org. $75-$100.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia

The Royals, the Chiefs and the once-locally based franchise that’s now known as the Sacramento Kings have burdened their long-suffering fans with untold heartache and unspeakable frustration over the past few decades. The upstart professional soccer club Sporting Kansas City has claimed two league championships in the past 15 years. And in signing World Cup stars Matt Besler and Graham Zusi to long-term contracts, Sporting KC has signaled to its supporters that their loyalty is likely to be rewarded with ongoing success. The area’s most fruitful professional team takes on the Philadelphia Union on Friday.

7 p.m. Friday. Sporting Park. 1-888-452-4625. sportingkc.com. $20-$275.

American Idol Live 2014 Tour

The hopeful perspectives of the vocalists who tried out at the recent American Idol auditions at UMKC served as further confirmation of the television program’s ongoing power to fuel the dreams of aspiring stars. Even though the singing competition no longer draws breathtakingly high ratings, and most previous winners (including former area resident David Cook) have struggled to sustain their popularity, several promising talents were showcased during the program’s 13th season. Winner Caleb Johnson, a rock-oriented belter from North Carolina, will be joined by nine finalists Friday at the Midland theater.

8 p.m. Friday. Midland theater, 1228 Main St. 816-283-9921. midlandkc.com. $59.50-$99.50.

“Ragtime”

When organizers of Theatre in the Park opted to include “Ragtime” in its summer season, they probably didn’t consider the political implications of their decision. Immigration — forced and voluntary — to America is one of the primary themes of the musical based on E.L. Doctorow’s 1975 novel. “Journey On” and “Success” are among the selections that invite contemplation about the current challenges faced by the United States. An ensemble of more than 50 will be featured in the thought-provoking production that depicts a very different America than the nation portrayed in more conventional musicals like “Oklahoma.”

8:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday and Wednesday-Aug. 9. Shawnee Mission Park. 913-826-3012. theatreinthepark.org. $6-$20.

Festival of Butterflies

The delicate beauty and fascinating behavior of monarch butterflies make the insect one of our planet’s most amazing animal species. A delicious elixir of rum and mint, mojitos are among summer’s most refreshing drinks. Powell Gardens has combined the disparate elements for its “Evening Escape: Monarchs & Mojitos” event Aug. 9. The exceptionally promising function is just one aspect of the facility’s Festival of Butterflies. Beginning Friday, visitors will be charmed by hundreds of butterflies at Powell Gardens’ indoor conservatory. Children’s activities take place all six days of the festival.

Friday-Sunday and Aug. 8-Aug. 10. Powell Gardens. 816-697-2600. powellgardens.org. Garden admission is $5-$12; “Monarchs & Mojitos” is $30.

Heart of America Hot Dog Festival

The breakout 1984 album by Morris Day & the Time may have been titled “Ice Cream Castle,” but hot dogs will be on the minds of revelers at the band’s concert on Saturday. Day’s funk band is the featured entertainment at the Heart of America Hot Dog Festival. The stated mission of the second edition of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s event is to “bring the community together through one of our nation’s favorite pastimes.” Adults can enjoy beer while children romp in bounce houses. Locally based entertainers at the festival include the Latin contemporary ensemble Aztlan.

Noon Saturday. Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, 1616 E. 18th St. 816-221-1920. hoahotdogfestival.com. $10-$15.

KPRS All-Star Comedy Jam featuring Mike Epps

Mike Epps’ minor role as Black Doug in the 2009 film “The Hangover” introduced the Indianapolis native to a vast new audience. Yet Epps had been featured in movies for a dozen years before his appearance in the hit comedy. He’s also an established standup comic. As his Twitter biography suggests, Epps is an “underrated and never faded” actor and comedian. Epps headlines the KPRS All-Star Comedy Jam on Saturday. The politically incorrect and conspicuously profane Epps will be joined by comedians Corey Holcomb, Darius Bradford and A.J. Johnson.

7: 30 p.m. Saturday. Starlight Theatre. 816-363-7827. kcstarlight.com. $29-$99.

Kinky Friedman

Two days before voters in Kansas and Missouri head to the polls to cast ballots in the Aug. 5 primary elections, a man who has made multiple political bids will perform at Knuckleheads. More than 80,000 Texans voted for Kinky Friedman in a recent primary for Texas Agriculture Commissioner. Although he narrowly lost, he has dubbed his current outing the Kinky Friedman Victory Tour. The satirical politician, author and musician is best known for amusing songs like “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore” and “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed.”

8:30 p.m. Sunday. Knuckleheads, 2715 Rochester. 816-483-1456. knuckleheadshonkytonk.com. $25.

Sunflowers to Roses Bike Tour

Participants in the 12th version of Sunflowers to Roses, an annual event that “raises money and awareness to fight cancer and promotes cycling as a safe recreational family activity,” will take one of five routes that range from 4 to 72 miles on Sunday morning. After making round trip treks to locations including Heritage Park, Spring Hill and Hillsdale Lake, cyclists will return to Bike Source in Leawood to celebrate at a party by enjoying burgers, brats, pizza and beer. The noncompetitive event raises money for Cancer Action and the Children’s Mercy Hospital Survive and Thrive Program.

7:30 a.m. Sunday. Bike Source, 11500 W. 135th St., Leawood. sunflowerstoroses.org. $40. Children are free.

T-Bones vs. St. Paul

Jose Canseco was a productive professional baseball player, but the slugger may be best known for his unfortunate off-field decisions and for a spectacularly goofy play in which a ball bounced off his head for a home run. He will participate in the Jose Canseco Home Runs for Harvesters Challenge at Community America Ballpark on Sunday. Other promotions during the T-Bones’ four-game series against the St. Paul Saints include free food for the first 2,000 kids on Monday and a mascot gnome giveaway to the first 1,500 fans on Tuesday.

5:05 p.m. Sunday, 7:05 p.m. Monday-Wednesday. Community America Ballpark. tbonesbaseball.com. $6.50-$16.

Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star