FC Kansas City vs. Western New York
Thursday at Swope Park Soccer Village
Four of FC Kansas City’s best players — Lauren Holiday, Amy Rodriguez, Heather O’Reilly and Becky Sauerbrunn — have been selected to play for the team that will represent the United States at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The international competition begins next month in Canada, but three preliminary matches in a Send-Off Series may prevent FC Kansas City’s stars from competing in Thursday’s match against the similarly depleted Western New York Flash on Thursday at Swope Park Soccer Village. The nine teams in the National Women’s Soccer League are bunched together early in the 2015 season. Thursday’s contest may help provide separation in the league standings.
7 p.m. Thursday, May 14. Swope Park Soccer Village. 855-452-4625. fckansascity.com. $11-$25.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Kansas City Improv
A master of the meme, Donnell Rawlings has invented several risqué catchphrases and gags that have become Internet sensations. The comedian and actor is best known as one of the most amusing cast members of the television series “Chappelle’s Show.” Appearances on the MTV2 programs “Guy Code” and “Guy Court” have further popularized Rawlings’ coarse brand of humor exemplified by his Ashy Larry and Ashford Lawrence personas. Rawlings’ standup comedy routines address social ills, popular culture and race relations. He’s also willing to joke about sacred cows, including Martin Luther King Jr.
8 p.m. Thursday, May 14, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, May 15, 7 and 10 p.m. Saturday, May 16, 7 p.m. Sunday, May 17. Kansas City Improv. 816-759-5233. improvkc.com. $20-$25.
Kansas City Symphony, “Disney Fantasia Live in Concert”
Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Helzberg Hall
A significant portion of today’s core audience for classical music was introduced to the form through film. “Fantasia,” the 1940 animated feature created by the Walt Disney empire, has served as one of the most effective ambassadors of the classical repertoire for 75 years. That tradition will continue in spectacular fashion at Helzberg Hall this weekend. The Kansas City Symphony will perform the soundtrack as the influential film is shown. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain are among the works that will be revived as Mickey Mouse scampers across the screen.
7 p.m. Friday, May 15, 7 p.m. Saturday, May 16, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 17. Helzberg Hall. 816-471-0400. kcsymphony.org. $35-$65.
Kansas City Royals
Friday, Saturday and Sunday vs. the New York Yankees and Tuesday and Wednesday vs. the Cincinnati Reds
Resentment of the New York Yankees — a caustic attitude that’s widely held among baseball fans who don’t actively cheer for the Bronx Bombers — is a time-honored tradition. The bitter perspective is particularly acute in Kansas City. The Yankees beat the Royals in the American League Championship Series in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Now that the Royals have returned to winning form, the team’s supporters can unleash their loathing of the Yankees from a position of strength. Fans are likely to aim much of their wrath at the controversy-laden Alex Rodriguez over the three-game series that opens Friday. The Cincinnati Reds come to town for games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
vs. New York Yankees: 7:10 p.m. Friday, May 15, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, May 16, 1:10 p.m. Sunday, May 17. vs. Cincinnati Reds: 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, May 20. Kauffman Stadium. 800-676-9257. kansascity.royals.mlb.com. $6-$163.
Friday at the Folly Theater
Kansas Citians are rightfully proud of musicians from the area, including Janelle Monaé, Tech N9ne and Pat Metheny who are thriving on the international stage. Although he’s less familiar to the general public, pianist Behzod Abduraimov is no less artistically significant. Born in Uzbekistan in 1990, Abduraimov won the London International Piano Competition when he was 18. Currently the artist-in-residence at Park University’s International Center for Music, Abduraimov has made Kansas City his home. Having already performed in concert halls in Istanbul, Helsinki and New York in recent months, Abduraimov makes his formal Kansas City recital debut on Friday.
8 p.m. Friday, May 15. Folly Theater. 816-474-4444. follytheater.org. $25-$100.
Sporting Kansas City
Saturday vs. Colorado and Wednesday vs. New England
A rare dispute among the passionate supporters of Sporting Kansas City may provide area sports fans who have stubbornly refused to embrace soccer with an engaging point of entry to the game. Sporting KC finds itself in the soccer equivalent of a quarterback controversy, long a favorite topic among people obsessed with the Kansas City Chiefs. After years of stability at the position, Sporting KC has used both Luis Marin and Tim Melia as goalkeepers. Marin, a star in his native Chile, was benched in favor of Melia this month. Melia’s sterling performance against the Chicago Fire made him an instant fan favorite. The results of matches on Saturday and Wednesday could either defuse or heighten the debate about the essential position.
vs. Colorado: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 16. vs. New England: 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 20. Sporting Park. 913-912-7600. sportingkc.com. $20-$275.
Merriam Turkey Creek Festival
Saturday at Antioch Park
An oasis amid suburban sprawl, Antioch Park is one of Johnson County’s most cherished treasures. The annual Merriam Turkey Creek Festival will be held at the beautiful setting on Saturday. Athletic-minded people will begin the day by participating in a related 5K run or walk at the nearby Irene B. French Community Center (registration fees apply). Others will prepare for the remainder of the day’s activities by indulging at an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast ($5 for adults and $3 for children). Arts and crafts booths, plenty of children’s activities, and performances by the bands Southern Vixen and Twice On Sunday round out the festival.
7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday, May 16. Antioch Park. 913-322-5500. merriam.org. Most activities are free.
Ozanam Guild’s Martini Mile
Saturday near 31st and Oak
Anyone discouraged by the usual roadblocks associated with competitive races will find a lot to like about the Ozanam Guild’s Martini Mile event on Saturday. For starters, there’s no need to get up early. The race begins at 4 p.m. Training’s not essential either. The course is only one mile, and that short distance can be split up by teams of four runners. Each team selects its own “baton.” Participants caught up in the proper spirit of the event are likely to use bottles. The focus of the charitable run — proceeds go to a support group for a youth treatment center — isn’t really the race. Participants are encouraged to celebrate the brief burst of exercise at a post-race party at nearby bars.
4 p.m. Saturday, May 16. Near 31st and Oak. martinimile.com. Advance registration is $30 per person and $120 for a four-person team.
Cycle in the City
Saturday on Ward Parkway between Gregory Boulevard and Meyer Boulevard
Bicycles are optional at Saturday’s Cycle in the City party. Ward Parkway will be closed for much of the afternoon to allow participants to ride on the scenic thoroughfare, but the festival offers options for people without an interest in cycling. Celebrants may elect to walk or skate on the pavement that’s usually the domain of cars. Although there will be no start or finish lines on Ward Parkway, people eager to work up a sweat without a bicycle can scramble up a rock-climbing wall, jump in inflatable bounce tents, take dance lessons or dance to music played by a DJ. Others may elect to relax at an area dedicated to yoga. A BMX bike show, an arts and craft exhibit, and roaming street performers are among the additional entertainment options.
2 - 5 p.m. Saturday, May 16. Ward Parkway between Gregory Boulevard and Meyer Boulevard. 816-728-4972. cycleinkc.com. Free.
Hopfest Craft Beer Festival
Saturday at the Waldo Outdoor Pavilion
Waldo isn’t lacking for inviting watering holes. The neighborhood centered at 75th Street and Wornall Road is home to many sports bars, taverns and restaurants. Even so, the Waldo Outdoor Pavilion will be the most appealing place for thirsty beer drinkers on Saturday afternoon. The Hopfest Craft Beer Festival will offer unlimited samples of the offerings of more than 50 breweries ranging from regional favorites like Tallgrass Brewery to national concerns, including Samuel Adams Brewery. People who take beer extremely seriously may opt for $60 VIP tickets that provide access to tastings of rare beers and an extra hour of drinking.
2 - 6 p.m. Saturday, May 16. Waldo Outdoor Pavilion. 816-361-1700. waldowell.com/hopfest-craft-beer-festival-2015. $40. VIP tickets are $60.
Tour de Bier KC
Sunday at various locations
Two of the most fashionable crazes in Kansas City — cycling and craft beers — will converge on Sunday. A “point-to-point bicycle tour of Kansas City’s breweries, historic brewing landmarks and other breweriana,” the Tour de Bier KC begins and ends at Knuckleheads in the East Bottoms. The event offers three separate tours of varying length and different themes. Groups will makes stops at area establishments including Big Rip Brewing, Cinder Block Brewery, Boulevard Brewing Co., Kansas City Bier Co., Martin City Brewing Co. and a handful of bicycle-related businesses.
7 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sunday, May 17. various locations. 816-205-7056. tourdebierkc.com. $50.
Sunday at the Gem Theater
The true star of the music video for Twista’s 2004 hit “Overnight Celebrity” isn’t the lead artist, guest rapper Kanye West or the beautiful models who serve as Twista’s love interests. Instead, a curly-haired violinist makes the most lasting impression. Hip-hop fans know Miri Ben-Ari as the woman who has added classical elements to hip-hop hits by the likes of Twista, West and Akon. The latter artist shouts her out on “Miss Melody,” a 2005 song that’s made distinct by Ben-Ari’s violin. The Israeli-born musician is likely to exhibit her hip-hop leanings as well as her roots in classical music at Sunday’s benefit concert for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
7 p.m. Sunday, May 17. Gem Theater. 816-221-1920. nlbm.com. $25-$35.
Kansas City Triathlon
Sunday at Longview Lake
The impeccably conditioned men and women who participate in triathlons have earned the right to scoff at the boasts of participants of other sports. Triathletes are among the only people who may feel free to belittle the 26.2 bumper stickers displayed by people who have completed traditional marathons. A new round of bragging rights will be earned at Longview Lake on Sunday. Two courses are available. The olympic option features a 1.5K swim, 40K bicycle course and 10K run. Less ambitious athletes can opt for a race that consists of a 500-meter swim, 20K bike course and 5K run. Event organizers recommend that participants arrive “shaved, lubed and ripped.”
7:30 a.m. Sunday, May 17. Longview Lake. 913-955-2700. kansascitytriathlon.com. $130-$170.
New Kids on the Block with TLC and Nelly
Tuesday at the Sprint Center
Nostalgia for three eras will be indulged at the Sprint Center on Tuesday. The triple bill of New Kids on the Block, TLC and Nelly will perform youth-oriented music for an audience consisting of adults who likely first heard one of more of the acts when they were in their early teens. T-Boz and Chilli, the surviving members of TLC, began racking up hits in the early 1990s. “Waterfalls,” TLC’s biggest song, has retained its charm. New Kids on the Block are the tour’s headliners. The former boy band thrilled fans in the late 1990s. Although Nelly, a rapper from St. Louis, is best known for his racy 2002 song “Hot in Herre,” he’s still a presence on the pop and hip-hop charts.
7 p.m. Tuesday, May 19,. Sprint Center. 816-949-7000. sprintcenter.com. $27.50-$90.50.
Nitro Circus Live
Wednesday at the Sprint Center
“You have to succeed or you die.” That’s how one member of the Nitro Circus cast characterizes the stunts conducted by the troupe of daredevils. Nitro Circus bills itself as “the only action sports entertainment company that delivers the biggest and best, mind-blowing cross-platform entertainment for daredevils and risk-taking wannabes in the spirit of fun, friendship and camaraderie.” The company rose to prominence through a series of DVDs and a television reality show that focused on their high-octane exploits with automobiles, trucks, bicycles and motorcycles. The foolhardy men and women will demonstrate their penchant for taking inadvisable risks at the Sprint Center on Wednesday.
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 20. Sprint Center. 816-949-7000. sprintcenter.com. $39-$99.