Stargazing

Monday Mixer: Eric Stonestreet roots on Wildcats; Janelle Monae on ‘Hidden Figures’

Eric Stonestreet joined the Kansas State marching band over the weekend while rooting for the Wildcats.
Eric Stonestreet joined the Kansas State marching band over the weekend while rooting for the Wildcats.

Anyone else a little sleepy this fine Monday?

That was a heck of a Chiefs game last night. And “Westworld” and “The Walking Dead” weren’t so bad, either.

Here’s our weekly rewind of weekend wonderfulness, including a look at what our local celebrities were up to, who’s coming to town this week and what’s new in stores this week.

KC’s stars

▪ “Modern Family” star and Piper grad Eric Stonestreet watched his Kansas State Wildcats defeat the University of Kansas Jayhawks Saturday to secure K-State Coach Bill Snyder his 200th career win. He also sat in with the drum corps of the Pride of Wildcatland, the Kansas State Marching Band, and posed for photos with fans.

▪ Singer turned actress Janelle Monae of KCK portrays one of three mathematicians who helped NASA win the space race against Russia in the 1960s in the upcoming film “Hidden Figures.” She tells AllHipHop.com, “I became obsessed with figuring it out and making it a personal duty of mine to make sure these women’s stories were hidden no more ” Read the full interview here. The film also features Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer. It doesn’t open in Kansas City until after the first of the year, but it is being released in select markets so it can be eligible for the Oscars.

Weekend reviews

▪ Kenny Rogers’ holiday show Friday at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena started off a little rough, but Rogers regrouped, and The Star’s music writer Timothy Finn wrote, “for the most part (Rogers) delivered at least worthwhile renditions of his best-known songs. As the show progressed, he sounded stronger on songs that required more vocal heft than on the ballads.” Read the full review here.

▪ Classical music correspondent Libby Hanssen reviewed the Kansas City Symphony’s performance on Friday, and said guest conductor Bernard Labadie and pianist Robert Levin helped the orchestra provide lively selections from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Joseph Haydn. Read the full review here.

TV recaps

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

▪ There has been a lot of talk about the ratings for “The Walking Dead” being down so far this year. Perhaps the fans themselves feel a little bludgeoned with the deaths of Glenn and Abraham.

But the subsequent episodes have whipsawed us all around AMC’s zombieland, making it hard to focus on (or invest in) any one narrative. We’ve been to the kingdom of Ezekiel, Darryl’s cell, Alexandria and the Hilltop, so far.

On Sunday’s episode, “Swear,” we caught up with Tara and Heath. (Who? Exactly. To be honest, I’d forgotten all about them.)

The show opens with Tara washing up on a beach, where a young woman saves her from being brained by a little girl. Then, in flashback, we see Tara and Heath have a heart-to-heart about whether their world is one for all and all for one or if it’s everyone for themselves. The pair got separated, which, we learn, is what led Tara to wash ashore. Tara follows the woman who saved her back to her Virginia beachside community, where there are no dudes.

These last few episodes have been reminiscent of those episodes of “The X-Files” that focused on freaky monsters, rather than answering the questions of the larger mythology. “Swear” is mostly forgettable in that same manner, except how this new community might fit in to the season’s eventual climax. The women also have a history with the Saviors, and “Swear” sets up another game piece for what we all hope will be a final showdown with Negan and his basket of deplorables.

Alanna Masterson, who plays Tara, tells Entertainment Weekly she was bummed she didn’t get to participate in the filming of last year’s finale or this year’s season opener here. The trailer for next week’s episode is below.

▪ While “Walking Dead” is building layer upon layer for something to come, HBO’s “Westworld” is revealing all-new levels of storytelling that were there all along.

We finally learn a few things about Albert, including which of the hosts is made in his image. Bernard threatens Ford to give him back all of his memories, which gives us the return of Clementine (huzzah!). We discover who abducted and perhaps murdered Elsie. Maeve recruits Hector after showing him there’s nothing in the safe he’s been programmed to rob for all eternity. Teddy violently dies (again), while the Man in Black is nearly hung by a horse. Billy has a confrontation with his future brother in law, who threatens awful violence against Delores. And Delores takes a mind-bending trip down memory lane for the big reveal of that Arnold looks a whole lot like Bernard.

We’re dealing with a lot of stuff going on here, man.

It’s really quite a remarkable series, and it recently was renewed for a second season. Which is good, because the first season finale is next week.

This week’s concerts

▪ The Fray and David Cook perform Friday at KC Live in the Power & Light District. The show is free. For more info, go to powerandlightdistrict.com.

▪ Sara Watkins, formerly of Nickel Creek, performs Friday at the Garage at Knuckleheads. Tix are $20 in advance. More at knuckleheadskc.com.

▪ Trans-Siberian Orchestra performs Saturday at Sprint Center. Tickets range from $35.50-$72. For more: sprintcenter.com.

New this week

▪ Movies: “The Eagle Huntress”; “Man Down.”

▪ Books: Robert Harris, “Conclave”; Chris Smith, “The Daily Show (The Book)”; Stephen Harding, “Dawn of Infamy”; Mark Ribowsky, “Hank: The Short Life and Long Country Road of Hank Williams”; Wally Lamb, “I’ll Take You There.”

▪ Music: John Legend, “Darkness and Light”; Childish Gambino, “Awaken, My Love!”; Deadmau5, “W: 2016 Album”; The Rolling Stones, “Blue and Lonesome”; Pete Doherty, “Hamburg Demonstrations.”

▪ Video: “The BFG”; “Pete’s Dragon”; “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie”; “House of Lies: The Final Season.”

David Frese: 816-234-4463, @DavidFrese

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