When is it socially acceptable to make jokes about dwarfism? Comedian Brad Williams almost certainly has the right to kid about it. Born with the congenital condition that limits his height to “4 foot nothing,” Williams jokes about the challenges associated with his size. As his biography suggests, “anyone can overcome their shortcomings.” The Californian’s most distinctive routines address people’s inappropriate reactions to his stature. Yet he doesn’t stop there. Williams also covers subjects such as racism and commonplace complaints about the hassles associated with traveling on airplanes.
7:30 p.m. Thursday; 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Saturday; and 7 p.m. Sunday. Kansas City Improv, 7260 N.W. 87th St. 816-759-5233. improvkc.com. $16-$23.
Paint the Night: “Around the World” Street Fair
The Park Place shopping center in Leawood isn’t the type of place where one would expect to run into a snake charmer, bagpiper or mariachi band. Yet the Paint the Night: “Around the World” Street Fair will surround visitors with a dizzying array of international experiences. Musicians performing music associated with Germany, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica and Mexico will be complemented by street entertainers. A charitable $25 donation to the Greater Kansas City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen provides a front row seat to a choreographed fashion show set to live music.
5 p.m. Saturday. Park Place. 913-381-2229. parkplaceleawood.com. Free.
FC Kansas City vs. Sky Blue FC
Sporting KC isn’t the only winning professional soccer team in the Kansas City area. FC Kansas City, the women’s team that plays at Stanley H. Durwood Soccer Stadium on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus, is faring well in the National Women’s Soccer League standings. With only three home games remaining in the regular season, FC Kansas City is in prime position to make the playoffs. Lauren Holiday, a star who earned two Olympic gold medals as a member of the United States teams in 2008 and 2012, has contributed to FC Kansas City’s success. Her unassisted goal on a corner kick in a July 6 match against Jersey Blues FC is one of the most memorable soccer highlights of 2014.
5 p.m. Sunday. Durwood Stadium. 855-452-4625. fckansascity.com. $14-$50.
Royals vs. Cleveland; Royals vs. Minnesota
The Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins are playing as if they didn’t get the memo that 2014 is supposed to be the Kansas City Royals’ year. Both teams are refusing to meekly concede the American League Central division to Kansas City. The Royals will attempt to remind their rivals of their ascendency in the team’s first home games since the All-Star break. Promotions during the two series include a postgame concert by Christian artist Matthew West after Saturday’s game for Faith & Family Night and a free pregame performance by the blues-rock band Katy Guillen & the Girls before Wednesday’s game as part of Ink magazine’s Local Music Showcase.
Against Cleveland, Thursday-Sunday. Against Minnesota, Tuesday-July 31; Kauffman Stadium. 816-921-8000. kcroyals.com. $13-$114.
“The Sound of Music”
The gold standard of family-friendly Broadway musicals, “The Sound of Music” is aging gracefully. The enduring power of the classic work of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II was confirmed by a live television broadcast in December that starred Carrie Underwood as Maria. While that production was panned by many viewers, the new version at Starlight Theatre is likely to be enthusiastically received. In the role of Maria, Analisa Leaming will sing classic selections including “My Favorite Things.” Locally based youth actors will be featured on beloved compositions including “Do-Re-Mi” and “So Long, Farewell.”
Friday-July 31. Starlight Theatre. 816-363-7827. kcstarlight.com. $10-$139.
“Across the Indian Country: Photographs by Alexander Gardner, 1867-68”
A conspicuous witness to history, photographer Alexander Gardner documented the striking visage of Abraham Lincoln and the bloody battle scenes of the Civil War. Soon after capturing the hangings of the conspirators in Lincoln’s assassination for posterity, Gardner headed west. An exhibit displaying two sets of Gardner’s works will open at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on Saturday. “Across the Continent on the Kansas Pacific Railroad” includes fascinating shots of trains cutting through the Great Plains. “Scenes in the Indian Country” captures images of treaty negotiations between tribal leaders and government representatives.
Friday-Jan. 11. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. 816-751-1278. nelson-atkins.org. Free.
Ringside World Championships
Sports fans who love statistics will take delight in the impressive numbers associated with the Ringside World Championships. The event boasts about 1,500 amateur boxers competing in approximately 1,000 bouts in six rings. The quantity of punches that will be thrown is almost incalculable. Each of the event’s seven sessions will feature up to six simultaneous bouts. Sponsored by the Lenexa-based Ringside, a supplier of boxing equipment, the tournament attracts boxers from around the world. The athletes will test their mettle in the event billed as “a rite of passage.”
Check-in and coaches’ meetings take place Monday-Tuesday. Competition runs Wednesday-Aug. 2. Independence Events Center. 816-795-7577. tournament.ringside.com. $5 per session or $20 for a tournament pass.
Walter Kirn for “Blood Will Out”
Walter Kirn was duped. While most people would attempt to conceal their gullibility, Kirn wrote a book about his deceitful friendship with a man he knew as Clark Rockefeller. Kirn believed the man to be a scion of the wealthy family, but he was actually a dangerous impostor who would eventually be convicted of murder. “Blood Will Out” is Kirn’s memoir of his relationship with the man. Two of Kirn’s previous works — “Up in the Air” and “Thumbsucker” — inspired films. He’ll discuss his prominent career Tuesday at the Central Library.
6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. 816-701-3400. kclibrary.org. Free.
The music most closely associated with circuses was written by European classical composers like Julius Fucik and American bandleaders of the early 20th century. UniverSoul Circus marches to a decidedly different beat. Founded in Atlanta 20 years ago, UniverSoul Circus favors hip-hop and funk rhythms during its performances. The alteration is just one way the UniverSoul Circus tweaks tradition. The current production includes Chinese acrobats, Colombian high-wire artists, Chilean dogs, Ethiopian gymnasts and magicians from Trinidad.
Wednesday-Aug. 3. Liberty Lot at Kemper Arena. 800-745-3000. ticketmaster.com. $16-$35.
Les Stroud (aka Survivorman)
“Survivorman” is one of television’s most extreme reality shows. The premise is encapsulated by the series’ tag line: “One man. Alone. 7 days. No food. No TV crew.” Les Stroud, the creator and star of the show, isn’t just a daring outdoorsman. In the tradition of other stars of television and film like Kevin Bacon, Macaulay Culkin and Gary Sinise, Stroud leads a band. His earnest rock is in keeping with fellow Canadians like Bryan Adams, Anthony Gomes and Gordon Lightfoot. In spite of the show’s unmistakably urban setting, Stroud and his fans should feel right at home in the Czar Bar on Wednesday.
7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Czar Bar, 1531 Grand Blvd. czarkc.com. 816-421-0300. $25 in advance.