Brian McTavish

Contributor, Up to Date

Brian McTavish follows popular culture in the belief that the search for significance can lead anywhere.  Brian explains, "I've written articles and reviews ... reviewed hundreds of concerts, films and plays. And the thing is, these high arts all sprang from the pop culture of their day.  Don't forget: Shakespeare was once Spielberg."

Melissa Rose / Flickr — CC

There are more girls than boys in this world. In the next? For all we know, it might be all girls.

Whether you regard the above as a serious forewarning to misbegotten males trying to get to heaven or simply a silly fantasy, something tells me that gals could take over the planet if they wanted. Have you seen Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”? Don’t tell me you missed that metaphor!

Othree / Flickr — CC

Want to get far-far away this weekend, but can’t? There might be a way.

Get your international travel ticket punched by taking advantage of local go-and-dos that can transport you – well, at least in spirit – to Ireland, Japan and other distant lands by way of music, dancing and even costumed role-playing.

How far can you go? Don’t look at me, I’m following you!

 

1. Snake Saturday Parade and Brookside St. Patrick’s Day Warm-Up Parade

Victoria Morse / Flickr — CC

Most folks manage to find some comfort in the inevitable routine of daily life. Call it a survival skill. Or perhaps a self-imposed prison of the mind?

OK, that’s a little scary. So here’s your chance to break out from the humdrum – if only for the weekend – by experiencing the exotic pull of relatively unusual or even outlandish things to do.

Caution: Don’t get too carried away, unless you don’t want to go back. Now that would be scary.

Eric Sherman / Hairball Online

Think of the weekend as a pizza. Or a taco. Or a bursting bag of potato chips. No, wait, make it an ice cream sundae with extra whipped cream and three cherries on top.

To be honest, I didn’t set out to reveal my diverse junk-food addiction in this space, but there it is. Just as you may not have intended to do something completely different with your weekend, but here we go.

Check out some things to do that are downright dissimilar from each other, even if your adventures are fueled by a run-of-the-mill healthy diet. Me, I’m cruising with a candy bar!

File Photo / Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Giving the people – the folks, the general population, basically everyone – what they want can be challenging. Especially since everyone these days seems to want something different.

Yet the inclusive notion of pleasing the masses may be a little easier this weekend with a folksy lineup of experiences grounded in proven public predilections, from time-tested musical entertainment to the timeless appeal of dinosaurs.

Remember, the common bond of folksiness is where you find it. So start looking!

Matias Galan / Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, the day that hearts are won with candy, flowers and other expressions of sweet love and enduring devotion.

Consider this weekend the lovely lead-up, when couples can engage in events that mean something special to them – even if one person might get a bit more out of a given activity than the other. Because isn’t sacrifice a part of being someone’s Valentine? It’s not like Cupid’s arrow doesn’t sting for a reason.

One more thing: Don’t forget the card. Then you might be sacrificed!

Lance Cheung / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons

Jazz musicians have always gotten together to “jam,” but at some point the term also became a synonym for partying or any collective endeavor committed to cutting loose.

It goes at least as far back as the late 1970s, when I attended a couple of Summer Jam stadium rock extravaganzas that promised to blow my mind. They must have worked, because I can hardly remember a thing!

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Do you believe in magic? Great, now I’ll never get that Lovin’ Spoonful song out of my head.

Yet the question is more than apt this weekend, when a mix of magical experiences — including public memories of a magnetic young man shockingly no longer with us — may be able to transform the way we look at the world.

Brace yourself for magic. And maybe tears.

 

1. 2017 Royals FanFest

Kevin Rushforth / Wikimedia Commons

Ready to make a move?

From poetry in motion (championship ice skating) to manic action (professional motocross) to emotions in motion (ah, the theater), this may well be the weekend that was when it comes to getting a move on.

Don’t look back and wonder, “Why, oh, why wasn’t I along for the ride?” Count yourself in and let’s … get … going!

1. 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Tomas Forgac / Wikimedia Commons

May the gridiron gods be with our Kansas City Chiefs as they seek to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers at noon Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, allowing Alex, Travis, Tyreek and the rest to advance to the AFC Championship Game and ultimate victory in the 2017 Super Bowl.

So … what else might there be to do this weekend?

Food! Music! Comedy! Hike! Oops – well, it is a big game, you know.

Josh Grenier / Flickr — CC

Like to be a kid again? Ha! Who wouldn’t want to take another crack at their tender years, if only for a day or two?

The next best thing to finding the Fountain of Youth this weekend: Doing concentrated kid stuff with the little ones in your life and getting a residual whiff of bona fide childhood wonder.

If the kiddos you’re hanging with also happen to be successfully avoiding bath time, the whiff can be even stronger. Lucky you!

1. Jurassic Quest: Out of Extinction

Cristian Bortes / Flikr -- CC

So here comes 2017. But before abandoning the current calendar year for whatever amalgam of cheer and challenge that lies ahead, why not celebrate New Year’s Eve with a look back?

Not just back to 2016, but waaay back to times and traditions that you may never have experienced firsthand, but are still cool to “remember” with a little imagination.  

Want to visit the Roaring Twenties? Maybe dust off your Funky Chicken? Out with the old and in with the old!

1. Roarin’ recordBar 1920s New Year’s Eve Party

Southbank Centre / Flickr - CC

Entertainment is all over the place this Christmas holiday weekend, offering the perfect opportunity to get out and see a show with family or friends.

Wait, you still have presents to wrap? Food to prepare? Relatives to practice being nice around? Then you really do need a diversion.

And if you find yourself flying solo, don’t fret. Your brothers and sisters in holiday fun are out there, just waiting to lift you up. Now let me give you a hand.

​1. Radkey

David Jones / Flikr -- CC

Look around. What do you see – really?

We get so used to our surroundings that it’s easy to take them for granted. This weekend is your chance to see some familiar things in a different way or even gaze upon a brand new item or two.

Mainly, just try looking around with fresh eyes. See where that takes you!

 

1. Arrowhead Stadium Tours

Esther Honig / KCUR 89.3

It’s better to give than to receive, without a doubt.

But it takes cooperation. There’s no way for any giving to happen without someone receiving on the other end. So here’s this weekend’s big ask: Take the free or almost free things offered to you.

That might be a simple pat on the back or a warm hug, as well as more formal experiences that come with little or no money changing hands. Free advice: If anyone wants cash for a kiss, don't do it! Just give them money, if you can, because they must really need it.

 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

 It’s December and there’s no turning back: The holiday season is upon us – or if you’d prefer a friendlier image, it’s sharing space with us.

And there are plenty of related festivities to go around, too, including community friendly tuba carols, the balletic exploits of the Sugar Plum Fairy and heavy metal tidings of comfort and joy.

Tis the season for sharing the merry, however you and yours decide to go about it.

 

1. TubaChristmas 2016

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Now that Turkey Day’s out of the way – except for the leftovers – here’s your chance to shake off any lingering tryptophan-induced lethargy and take advantage of the long weekend’s entertainment choices.

That could mean being serenaded by a retiring country music legend, having the kids get their faux Victorian picture taken with a treasured toy or just screaming your happy head off at a body-slamming wrestling throw-down.

It could also mean that while you’re out there having a great time, someone else gets the leftovers. Hide the dressing!

Mary Harrsch / Flickr - CC

For all that avoiding the wild side has going for it – achieving longevity immediately comes to mind – why are so many folks still interested in flirting with ferocious disaster?

I’m afraid there’s no easy answer. But since I like easy, let me try: Tame is tedious. Ferocious is fascinating. Sure, you can gum your food and get by. Or you can use your fangs and spill a little blood. Oh, my, I’d better clean that up.

Jennifer Milikien / Public Domain

Not to bum you out, but the weekend is finite.

A way to creatively stretch it: Do things that have a decent chance of enduring in your mind, things whose proven appeal has already lasted decades or even centuries in the history of entertainment.

Can’t take Friday or Monday off? No problem. You can still make the weekend last!

Greg Boege / Flickr - CC

Scratching the surface may be fine, if you’re halfheartedly cleaning the basement.

But this weekend’s entertainment choices are begging to be fully experienced, if only so they can offer insight into some of the deeper meanings of life. Well, they will, if you want them to.

And who wants to clean the basement, anyway? I can’t believe you even brought that up.

 

Duncan Kinney / Flickr-CC

It’s that time of the week when your inclination to feel invigorated may have wound down a tad. Don’t worry, I won’t tell the boss.

That said – and I may have already said too much – this weekend offers some fine reasons to revive yourself, including refreshing food and rousing music.

Perk up and get your zest on!

1. American Royal World Series of Barbecue

goaliej54 / Flickr - CC

Emotions can simmer, skyrocket or be seemingly scarce, but they’re always there.

This weekend you can investigate your feelings or maybe hitch a ride on those of others (holy empathy!) by way of stuff that aims to evoke love, fear, joy and who really knows what else, because emotions can take us to some unpredictable places.

Can you handle it? For that matter, can I? Now look who’s getting emotional!

 

​1. Grouplove

Jordan Green / Flickr - CC

It can be intriguing when performers may not show everything they have, yet still impress. 

Well, that will have to wait! Because no lights will be hidden under any bushels this weekend, with a diversity of shows divulging a harvest of talents and captivations – from oh-so-sultry singing to over-the-top stage gore.

Do you see? Oh, you will.

​1. MattyB

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The best is yet to come, right?

If you have to think before answering in the affirmative, you may need a boost from one or more of the following events offering potentially positive attitude adjustments, from friendly porch concerts and comedy shows to uplifting expressions of gymnastic splendor.

If I could promise that afterward you’ll see the world in a whole new way, I would. Oh, why not: You’ll see the world in a whole new way. Gosh, that was easier than I thought. We might be onto something here.

scottgunn / Flickr - CC

You don’t have to spend any money to have a good time. OK, maybe a few bucks, because it’s a jungle out there and even the squirrels might want to charge you breadcrumbs to chase them. And they say the recession is over.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, patting the old wallet, which you can keep fatter than you might think while investigating free or frugal stuff this weekend, including yummy apples, cool comic books or an afternoon of family friendly team competitions for a good cause.

Missouri Division of Tourism / Flickr - CC

What to gaze upon this weekend?

There’s plenty to see, including rodeo performers and commemorative warbirds in daring action, scads of visual art around the Country Club Plaza and a singularly crazy sock puppet that successfully blows up the norm – funny how it only takes one.

So set your peepers on “watch” and revel in the readily observable. If it gets to be too much, I guess you can close an eye. But not both. C’mon, let’s get with the program.

1. American Royal Pro Rodeo

Patrick Emerson / Flickr--CC

We can’t all be triumphant at once – unless we share our victories.

That’s the ticket this weekend, when winning talents and other successful allures invite each and every one of us to beat back defeat and exult in glorious achievement.

How’s that for a triumphant attitude? Feel free to pass it on!

1. Cyndi Lauper

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR 89.3

Try stopping a sneeze. You can’t.

So it goes with similarly inevitable stuff happening this weekend, including the Chiefs’ 2016 season-opener, area visual artists making their annual pilgrimage to Westport and the never-ending return of Frank, Dean and Sammy.  

Don’t sneeze or you might miss out. Oh, that’s right, you can’t help but … ah-choo!

1. Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers

Ed Webster / Flickr - CC

Without imagination there would be no Picasso, no pyramids, no pantaloons – don’t ask me where I came up with that last example. Oh, that’s right, my imagination.

In any case, folks with enough faith in their minds’ eyes look to have the most fun this Labor Day holiday weekend, with offerings that include professional (as in pretend) wrestling, the ethereal promise of the spirit world and the area’s annual trip back to the 16th-century.

Don’t forget to wear your pantaloons!

1. Pops in the Park

Pixabay / CC

Much in this life is about getting it and keeping it together.

Well, I’m no anarchist – contrary to what a biased babysitter or two may have reported back in the day. But it’s clear to me that if you don’t let it go every once in a while, you might blow. And who wants to spend the weekend cleaning up that mess?

Thank goodness for timely opportunities to be at least a little carefree. You know, just a smidge. Aw, c’mon, the babysitter’s not even looking.

1. Rhythm ’N Balloons Festival

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