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."

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 Bernfield / 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

Steven Depolo / Flickr--CC

This weekend is your chance to get into historic people, places and things – and perhaps even be part of history in the making.

Options include honoring the greatest saxophonist in the history of jazz; eyeing the precious personal effects of Major League Baseball legends and adulating the latest batch of teenybopper heartthrobs vying to be the biggest…band…ever.

How about you? Will you make the history books? First you’ve got to show up!

Jacob Meyer / KCBMC

By the time the weekend arrives, a little comic relief is welcome. So how about more than a little?

You can begin with a comic book party, a comic beard contest and that funny little comic who made “makin’ copies” a catch phrase on “Saturday Night Live.”

I know, it’s never enough. How tragicomic.

1. Kansas City Comic Con

Walter / Flickr - CC

Choices for being adventurous this weekend include beholding cosmic swashbuckling, singing along with pop idols in their spicy prime and getting totally soaked on a colossal downtown slip-and-slide.

Your mission: Don’t pick just one. Because where’s the adventure in that?

1. ‘Star Wars’ Marathon

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr - CC

Want to get real?

I hope not, because this weekend’s shaping up to be a surreal treat, with music, comedy and festival action promising to be out of the ordinary, fantastic and even dreamlike.

So … want to lose touch with reality? I knew you could do it all along.

1. Dolly Parton

Jelena Ivanovic / Wikimedia Commons

Being pleasing is the point of the pop world, where things that strike people’s fancies rise and fall and perhaps rise again with what might be described as consistent unpredictability.

Bands or shows or concepts given permission by the masses to be truly pop are only there to be enjoyed for the time that they have in the sun.

Wait, are those clouds forming? Better get popping.

1. Duran Duran

Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation

When something touches people, are you one of those people that that something touches? Would you like to be?

Whether you’re all heart or an emotional fortress of solitude, we all need time to be tender. How much you want – or can handle before falling to pieces – is another matter.

So allow me to point you in the right direction. Tenderly.

1. ‘Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’

Kris Krug / Wikimedia Commons

Can I give it to you straight? Probably not. Even if I could, would you take it that way?

Increasingly little these days appears to be totally safe from a potentially ironic interpretation – the sense that the opposite may be true of whatever professed message is being sent, often with humorous results.

Of course, there’s both intentional and unintentional irony, which sometimes can be tricky to differentiate. So I won’t try here. Unless I just did. But I probably didn’t!

MoDot / Flickr-CC

It’s that weekend for doing fireworks, waving the American flag and, by all means, having a slice of all-American apple pie.

But you can also sublimely groove to a top-of-the-charts pop princess or be nostalgically serenaded by a famous southern Missouri rock band from the 1970s. However you opt to have fun this Fourth of July weekend, remember, it’s your right to decide.

It’s said that genius is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration. Actually, Thomas Edison said that, but doesn’t Mr. Light Bulb already get enough credit?

Regardless, given the continuing high summer temperatures, there may be more than a few geniuses in the making out there.

With plenty of perspiration available, where might one find the elusive inspiration to reach one’s lofty potential? Read on, my fellow near-geniuses – we’re so close!

Courtesy Heart of America Shakespeare Festival

Do big things ever really come in small packages?

Good luck finding out this weekend, when the true enormity of things won’t be concealed – whether that means abundant celebrity power, beer-food-and-music ecstasy or unmitigated artistic genius.

So go ahead and go big. What choice do you have? (Waiting until next weekend doesn’t count.)

1. Big Slick Celebrity Softball Game

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