This weekend in Kansas City: The Junior Leagues Holiday Mart, ‘Da Vinci’ at Union Station, and Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder performs Friday, Oct. 23, at the Sprint Center
Stevie Wonder performs Friday, Oct. 23, at the Sprint Center Invision/AP

Junior League Holiday Mart

Thursday through Sunday at Bartle Hall

Paying for the privilege of spending money may seem counterintuitive, but the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, has raised more than $10 million for charity through its annual Holiday Mart, in part by charging shoppers to attend. Thousands of people will gladly forfeit money at the doors of Bartle Hall for the opportunity to inspect a plethora of goods displayed by almost 200 retailers. The event offers a few diversions for visitors who need a break from shopping ’til they drop. Lela Davidson, the author of “Faking Balance: Adventures in Work and Life,” will discuss her book at noon Sunday. Beneficiaries of this year’s Holiday Mart include the Don Bosco Center, the Urban Neighborhood Initiative and Wonderscope.

Noon-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22; 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25. Bartle Hall. 816-444-2112. jlkc.org. Single-day admission is $8 in advance and $12 at the door. Children 12 and younger are free.

“Da Vinci: The Exhibition”

Opens Friday at Union Station

The level of celebrity attained by Elon Musk of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, and the recent tantalizing discoveries of astronomers and geneticists indicate that interest in scientific endeavors has been renewed. That’s one reason the timing of “Da Vinci: The Exhibition” at Union Station seems fortuitous. The traveling exhibit focuses on the scientific musings of the brilliant Italian. The show contains “65 fully built, life-size inventions … including his designs of the helicopter, tank, SCUBA, crane, clock, submarine and his plan for a modern city.” Re-creations of da Vinci’s art and plenty of interactive displays are also designed to inspire creativity in visitors.

Friday, Oct. 23-May 1. Union Station. 816-460-2020. unionstation.org/davinci. $14.95. $13.95 for seniors. $10.95 for children 3-12.

Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers of India, “Spirit of India”

Friday at Yardley Hall

The culture of the subcontinent of India is woefully underrepresented on stages in the United States. Rahis Bharti intends to balance the scales. The India-born musician and raconteur founded the Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers of India in 2012. The large troupe provides “an authentic taste of the richness and excitement of Indian music” and an immersive sampling of the country’s “music, dance, dynamic rhythm and spirituality.” As the name of the 17-member ensemble suggests, there’s a bit of razzle-dazzle in its presentation. Bollywood, the Hollywood of India, is known for its lavish productions. Friday’s program will balance exaggerated antics with India’s folkloric traditions.

8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. Yardley Hall. 913-469-4445. jccc.edu/theseries. $30-$40.

Stevie Wonder

Friday at the Sprint Center

Stevie Wonder is just 65, but the profound impact of the musical contributions he made in the 20th century can make it seem that he’s older than Methuselah. Although a set list consisting of nothing but his game-changing hits would last for hours, that’s not what ticket-holders to Wonder’s concert will experience on Friday. Instead, Wonder is performing the entirety of his “Songs in the Key of Life” album on his current tour. The 1976 release is sprinkled with familiar hits including “Sir Duke” and “Isn’t She Lovely,” but it’s also heavy on more challenging material like “Have a Talk With God” and “All Day Sucker.” Fans eager to hear hits like “Superstition” will have to wait for the encore.

8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. Sprint Center. 816-949-7000. sprintcenter.com. $37.50-$147.50

Great Midwest Balloon Festival

Friday and Saturday at the National Agricultural Center & Hall of Fame

Thanks to the prolonged postseason play of the Royals, Kansas Citians have become accustomed to spotting a blimp in the sky. The airship provides interesting angles of Kauffman Stadium to television viewers. Even more graceful sky-bound contraptions will soar over the metropolis this weekend during the Great Midwest Balloon Festival. The event provides several unique experiences. During the “balloon glows” on Friday and Saturday night, “all the balloon pilots fire their burners and light up at the same time.” Children can trick-or-treat the balloon pilots. Fifty-minute balloon rides ($235 per person) are also available. Live music in a beer garden, a carnival and pie-eating contests are among the supplemental activities.

4-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23; 2-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24. National Agricultural Center & Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs. midwestballoonfest.org. $15 per day. $23 for two-day passes. $8.50 per day for children 4-14. $13.50 for two-day passes for children 4-14.

Kevin Smith

Saturday and Sunday at Kansas City Improv

Kevin Smith, a cultural tastemaker for more than 20 years, received the honor of “Geek Pioneer” at the 3rd Annual Geekie Awards this month. The producer of the show “by geeks for geeks” noted that “Smith is the poster child for anyone who fights hard and is dedicated to building their own career, and he’s someone we all look up to when it comes to doing whatever it takes to make something cool.” Smith currently stars in “Comic Book Men,” a reality television show that depicts his antics as a comic book obsessive. He’s also a prominent filmmaker, actor and author. Smith will pontificate about his many interests at three appearances at Kansas City Improv this weekend.

7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24; 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25. Kansas City Improv. 816-759-5233. improvkc.com. $30.

Missouri Mavericks vs. Wichita

Saturday at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena

With a new season comes a newly renamed home, an exciting new affiliation and new ownership. The Missouri Mavericks will open the 2015-16 campaign at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, the freshly rebranded sports complex formerly known as the Independence Events Center. The status of the franchise received a huge boost during the offseason. The Mavericks are now a minor-league affiliate of the NHL’s New York Islanders. Last February the Mavericks were purchased by Lamar Hunt Jr. The first home stand of the season kicks off with a match against the Wichita Thunder on Saturday and a contest with the Quad City Mallards on Tuesday.

7:05 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27. Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. 800-745-3000. missourimavericks.com. $16-$38.

Boo at the Zoo

Saturday and Sunday at the Kansas City Zoo

The waddle of penguins is adorable, and the odd lope of kangaroos is fascinating, but part of the appeal of viewing exotic animals at a zoo is the inherent thrill of being in the presence of menacing predators. Watching the pride of lions at the Kansas City Zoo, for instance, allows visitors to realize that they wouldn’t stand a chance against the big cats in their natural habitat in Africa. The appetites of some of the zoo’s inhabitants will be on display in the Tropics area as pumpkins are introduced to their enclosures at 9:30 a.m. Children can trick-or-treat and enjoy other Halloween activities at the zoo from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The most genuine scares, however, will still be provided by the likes of snakes, baboons and lions.

9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, Sunday, Oct. 25, and Saturday, Oct. 31. 816-595-1234. kansascityzoo.org. Free with zoo admission, $13.50 for adults, $10.50 for children 3-11, $12.50 for 55 and older.

“Reinventing Radio: An Evening With Ira Glass”

Saturday at Muriel Kauffman Theatre

By temporarily prying people away from the computer, television and phone screens that are an otherwise indispensable aspect of modern culture, Ira Glass has done the seemingly impossible. The host and producer of the public radio program “This American Life” has spearheaded the revival of storytelling in the audio medium. His sold-out appearance at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts promises to act as a survey of the most memorable segments of “This American Life.” In addition to discussing how the program is put together, Glass’ presentation blends “his narration with pretaped quotes and music, re-creating the sound of the show as the audience watches.”

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24. Muriel Kauffman Theatre. 816-994-7200. kauffmancenter.org. $39-$69.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh

Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium

With a losing record and its most valuable player, Jamaal Charles, out for the season, the Kansas City Chiefs appear to be in dire straits. Many fair-weather onlookers have already abandoned their support for the team, allowing loyal fans to commiserate with one another without interference from unfaithful bandwagoners. Chiefs fans might consider attendance at Sunday’s game a true barometer of their allegiance. After all, the social media hashtag #foreverroyal associated with the other sports franchise based in the Truman Sports Complex didn’t become trendy until the team made the playoffs last year. Most of the fans rooting for the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday are genuinely #foreverchiefs.

Noon Sunday, Oct. 25. Arrowhead Stadium. 816-920-9300. kcchiefs.com. $115-$365.

Geraldine Brooks for “The Secret Chord”

Monday at Unity Temple on the Plaza

Geraldine Brooks is part of the long line of journalists who have earned even greater acclaim as novelists. The works by Brooks, who was born in Australia in 1955, for such publications as The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker provided much of the inspiration for her five books. “March,” her 2005 novel that’s set during the American Civil War, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Brooks and moderator Robert Lee Hill, minister emeritus of Community Christian Church, will discuss her new work, “The Secret Chord,” on Monday. In the fictional examination of the life of King David, Brooks envisions the fears, passions and ambitions of the biblical figure.

7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26. Unity Temple on the Plaza. 913-384-3126. rainydaybooks.com. $27.95 plus sales tax, includes a hardcover copy of “The Secret Chord” and an autograph admission ticket.

Janet Jackson

Tuesday at the Sprint Center

When a sample taken from Janet Jackson’s “Any Time, Any Place” was used as the hook of rapper Kendrick Lamar’s 2013 hit “Poetic Justice,” it was the first time in years that many people had heard Jackson’s lustrous voice. Jackson hadn’t released an album of new material since 2008 until “Unbreakable” was issued this month. “No Sleep,” Janet Jackson’s first single in years, made it clear that the star has no intention of joining the oldies circuit. Jackson, 49, tells her lover that “we ain’t gonna get no sleep” on the seductive song. The Unbreakable tour offers fans a chance to get re-acquainted with a veteran hit-maker who continues to issue vital music.

8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27. Sprint Center. 816-949-7100. sprintcenter.com. $37.50-$123.

Steve Perry

Wednesday at Pierson Auditorium

Steve Perry seems to have solutions to the seemingly intractable problems that have plagued American families for generations. The featured speaker at UMKC’s Ninth Annual Social Justice Book Lecture has aggressively confronted inadequate public education and unstable family structures. As the founder and principal of a magnet school in Connecticut, Perry demonstrated that economically disadvantaged students can thrive in a structured setting characterized by high expectations. The author of “Push Has Come to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve — Even If It Means Picking a Fight” insists that “our children are capable of amazing things if we just give them an opportunity.”

6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28. Pierson Auditorium. 816-235-1727. umkc.edu/diversity. Free, registration required.

“Transformative Stories” with Jill Bolte Taylor and Carrie Newcomer

Wednesday at Unity Temple on the Plaza

Most people know that the right and left hemispheres of the brain specialize in different aspects of human activity. The differences and connection between the logical left side and the creative right side will be explored in a unique presentation at Unity Temple on the Plaza on Wednesday. Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist and recovered stroke victim, will be paired with folk singer Carrie Newcomer. Taylor’s TED talk about her experiences is one of the most watched installments of the series. Newcomer’s recording career began in 1991. The pair’s “Transformative Stories” presentation is billed as “an actual ‘performance’ of how the two hemispheres of the brain operate.”

7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28. Unity Temple on the Plaza. 913-362-8951. festivaloffaithskc.org. $20 in advance or $25 at the door.

Bar{k}: A Happy Hour for Dogs

Tuesday at Kansas City Bier Co.

Dogs may be man’s (and woman’s) best friend, but they usually make for lousy drinking buddies. Although they possess excellent listening skills, dogs simply aren’t capable of providing the social interactions most people desire while they’re imbibing. Bar{k}: A Happy Hour for Dogs, solves the dilemma while benefiting the Great Plains SPCA. The charitable event also provides an opportunity for dogs to become celebrities. Elias Weiss Friedman, the photographer responsible for The Dogist, an Instagram account with 1.3 million followers, will be on hand to promote his forthcoming book.

5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27. Kansas City Bier Co. eventbrite.com. $10, includes one drink ticket and a dog treat. Children 10 and under are free.