David Alan Grier
Thursday through Sunday at Kansas City Improv
David Alan Grier’s name may not ring a bell, but his face is likely to trigger nods of recognition. The comedian and actor has appeared in myriad stage, television and film productions. A graduate of the University of Michigan and the Yale School of Drama, Grier made memorable contributions as a cast member of TV’s “In Living Color” in the early 1990s, leading to additional high-profile roles. He recently starred in the comedy series “Bad Teacher.” Grier will exhibit his skills as a stand-up comic during his four-day residency at Kansas City Improv.
8 p.m. Thursday, April 16, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, April 17, 7 and 10 p.m. Saturday, April 18, and 7 p.m. Sunday, April 19. Kansas City Improv, 7260 N.W. 87th St. 816-759-5233. improvkc.com. $20-$27.
Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest Forum
Wednesday through Friday
Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest Forum gives people a chance to view the city through the lens of arts, tech and culture.
This year’s Forum kicks off Wednesday, April 15, at the Kauffman Center with a sold-out presentation by Malcolm Gladwell, the celebrity author of best-sellers including “The Tipping Point.”
On Thursday and Friday, the event moves to the Kansas City Star Press Pavilion, where big-name speakers include skateboard star Sean Malto, Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Frank Byrne, executive director of the Kansas City Symphony.
▪ Thursday: Event registration and a pop-up shop from 5 Points, a local collective of artisans, start at noon. Panel discussions start at 2:15 p.m. An open house with craft beer and an installation by Two West starts at 5 p.m.
▪ Friday: Event registration and breakfast start at 8 a.m. Speakers and panel discussions start at 9 a.m. A closing reception starts at 4:45 p.m.
A full schedule and $35 tickets for Thursday and Friday events at The Star Press Pavillion are at middleofthemapfest.com.
Record Store Day
Friday at Zebedee’s RPM and Saturday at Mills Record Co., Records With Merritt, Vinyl Renaissance and the Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven
Scores of indie-rock fans proudly clutch newly acquired albums at concerts, and reports detailing the ways in which the music industry is being revived by interest in a once-dormant format have become commonplace, but the resurgence of vinyl is especially evident on the annual celebration of Record Store Day.
Eager consumers line up to purchase limited edition releases created to heighten awareness of brick-and-mortar outlets. Several area retailers will celebrate the day with in-store events.
Zebedee’s RPM gets a jumpstart on Record Store Day with four live performances beginning at 6 p.m. Friday. Early birds present at the 8 a.m. Saturday opening of the Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven will be greeted with coffee and bagels.
A few of the region’s most notable musicians will be among the dozen acts that will perform on indoor and outdoor stages at Mills Record Co. beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday. Records With Merritt will also host several sets of live music.
Vinyl Renaissance is sponsoring a Record Store Day after-party at the Brick that also serves as a benefit for KKFI. People who pay the $5 cover charge will receive a $5 voucher that can be redeemed at Vinyl Renaissance.
Mills Record Co. 816-960-3775. millsrecordcompany.com.
Records With Merritt. 816-585-7366. recordswithmerritt.com.
Vinyl Renaissance. 816-756-0014. vinylren.com.
Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. 816-361-9555. facebook.com/TheVinylUndergroundKC.
Zebedee’s RPM. 816-960-6900. zebedeesrpm.com.
‘American Ninja Warrior’
Friday and Saturday at Union Station
What are you doing at 3 a.m. Sunday? You probably have a date with your pillow, but if not there still might be time to snag tickets to overnight filming of NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior.” Now in its seventh season, the show and its famous (and always-changing) obstacle course travel the country looking for athletes who are good at hanging from their hands and swinging across bodies of water. About 125 contestants will try to successfully complete the KC course. Most will not, but 15 or so will do well enough to make the finals in Las Vegas — a course with a $1 million prize that no one has ever conquered.
Filming starts around 8 p.m. Friday, April 17, and Saturday, April 18, outside Union Station. Register for free tickets online at on-camera-audiences.com. The 2:30 a.m. seatings may have open spots.
Friday at Independence Events Center
One of country music’s most dominant figures in the 1990s and the 2000s, Alan Jackson now seems like a deposed king. Like George Strait, Jackson found commercial success without pandering to trends. Country’s gradual shift toward pop and rock — a development he rejected on his 1991 hit “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” — finally caught up with Jackson: His last chart-topping hit was released in 2009. He is likely to revive old favorites like “Chattahoochee,” “Gone Country” and “Livin’ on Love” on Friday. Jon Pardi and Brandy Clark, younger artists who share Jackson’s traditional inclinations, open the concert.
7:30 p.m. Friday, April 17. Independence Events Center. 816-442-6100. independenceeventscenter.com. $25-$67.50.
Make48 invention team competition
Friday through Sunday at Union Station
Kansas City’s status as an up-and-coming hub of technological innovation will be put to the test during this weekend’s Make48 competition. The tagline of the inaugural event — “Dream. Invent. Pitch. Win. In 48 hours.” — encapsulates the concept. During the “collaborative 48-hour invent-a-thon,” competitors will develop a new commercial product, build a prototype and present the creation to a panel of judges. Participants will receive guidance in workshops and gain inspiration from innovation experts. Speakers include representatives of a law firm, Hallmark Cards and an advertising firm.
Friday, April 17, Saturday, April 18, and Sunday, April 19. Union Station. 816-226-8385. make48.com. $90.
Kansas City Royals vs. Oakland and Minnesota
Friday through Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium
The euphoria generated by the Royals’ incredible postseason run and the heartbreak of the loss in the seventh game of the World Series obscured the impact of an offseason roster move involving one of the team’s most popular players. Billy Butler, affectionately nicknamed Country Breakfast, now plays for the Oakland A’s. He’s likely to be greeted with welcoming cheers as his new team takes on the Royals this weekend. The sterling defensive work of Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez will be acknowledged in a pre-game Gold Glove Award ceremony on Friday. A three-game series against the Minnesota Twins begins on Monday.
vs. Oakland: 7:10 p.m. Friday, April 17, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, April 18, and 1:10 p.m. Sunday, April 19.
vs. Minnesota: 7:10 p.m. Monday, April 20, Tuesday, April 21, and Wednesday, April 22. Kauffman Stadium. 800-676-9257. kansascity.royals.mlb.com. $9-$72.
Saturday at the RecordBar
Comedians have a reputation for poking fun at members of their audiences. Sitting near the stage at a comedy show is just asking for trouble. People who attend Bridget Everett’s appearance at the RecordBar on Saturday can expect an even more immersive experience. The manic performance artist seems to have a complete lack of inhibition and little awareness of the concept of personal space. Everett’s profane propositions, lurid songs and wildly inappropriate jokes make her one of today’s most exciting comedians.
9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 18. RecordBar, 1020 Westport Road. 816-753-5207. therecordbar.com. $20.
Saturday in Olathe
Merely reading the detailed description of the lengthy course of Saturday’s marathon in Olathe is more than enough to exhaust many people. The 26-mile route covers a significant portion of the county seat of Johnson County. Organizers note that the race “will be run in commercial development areas, residential streets and on a paved suburban running trail with the start and finish at the Garmin Headquarters.” Hundreds of intrepid athletes will take on the daunting challenge. The event also includes a half-marathon, a 10K, a team relay and a children’s run.
6:45 a.m. Saturday, April 18. Olathe. 913-764-1050, ext. 238. ozrun.org. Participation in the marathon is $120, the half-marathon is $100, the 10K is $50 and the team relay is $260. The children’s run is free.
Saturday at the Folly Theater
Many of the most successful artists repeatedly defy expectations. The Artemis Quartet, a renowned Berlin-based ensemble, is best known for its expert renditions of Ludwig van Beethoven compositions. Yet Beethoven isn’t on the program of Saturday’s concert. Instead, the quartet will perform works by Antonin Dvorak, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and contemporary composer Peteris Vasks. The counter-intuitive programming reflects the Artemis Quartet’s adventurous inclinations. By refusing to rest on its laurels, the ensemble is likely to maintain its reputation as one of the world’s elite string quartets.
8 p.m. Saturday, April 18. Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St. 816-474-4444. chambermusic.org. $20-$30.
Lyric Opera of Kansas City, “Tosca”
Opens Saturday at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
An extra dash of drama was added to a San Francisco Opera production of “Tosca” in 2012. After the woman cast in the leading role of Floria Tosca fell ill in the first act, her understudy, Melody Moore, filled in. A critic commended Moore’s “wonderful combination of vocal power and dramatic fervor” and suggested that her effort was “a voluble, richly communicative performance.” The soprano stars in the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s rendition of Giacomo Puccini’s opera. The Kansas City Symphony and a cast that includes dozens of chorus members will enhance the action-packed drama.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 18, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 24, and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 26. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-471-7344. kcopera.org. $20-$170.
“State Divided: The Civil War in Missouri”
Opens Saturday at the Jesse James Farm & Museum
Prior to the crime spree that led to his celebrity status, Jesse James acted as a bushwhacker during the Civil War. The Confederate loyalist battled Union sympathizers. The bloody era is examined in “A State Divided: The Civil War in Missouri.” The traveling exhibition is likely to provide new insights into the environment that spurred James’ violent life. In addition to inspecting the exhibition at the Jesse James Farm & Museum, visitors may view the site’s permanent collection of James-related artifacts, view a 20-minute film and take a guided tour of the grounds.
Saturday, April 18, through Sunday, June 14. Jesse James Farm & Museum, Kearney, Mo. 816-736-8500. jessejamesmuseum.org. $8. Discounts for youth and seniors are available.
Wednesday at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Responsible in no small part for initiating the current craze of story-based programming that has become appointment listening on public radio, David Sedaris is a groundbreaking author and orator. Sedaris isn’t merely a literary comedian. His humor is girded by keen social commentary and pointed political observations. The author of best-sellers including “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” Sedaris is likely to read excerpts from his latest book, “Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls” in his unmistakable voice during his appearance at Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center on Wednesday.
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 22. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-994-7200. kauffmancenter.org. $43-$52.