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."

Trailnet / Flickr-CC

Brrr! Can you dig it?

Either way, there’s wintry stuff to do this weekend, whether laughing in the face of freezing is your thing or doing whatever you possibly can to escape the chill is more your style.

One thing’s for sure: It’s nippy. And it’s important to keep moving. Here’s a mitten-full of ideas to embrace or deny the cold reality.

1. Winter Storm – The Pipes and Drums Concert

Scrapper / Flickr--CC

At the end of every year, we all say it: Things will be better next year.

Even if you had a super 2014 – and I hope you did – there’s something in human nature that encourages us to look ahead with bright eyes. And, wouldn’t you know it, there’s some pretty wonderful stuff coming up that could help make 2015 a year to remember in the shiniest of ways.

Franklin B Thompson / Flickr--CC

Blink and they’re gone. I’m not talking about your salad days – although, sure, those, too. I’m talking about the holidays.

For all the monumental buildup to the season, you better watch out or you’ll be looking back and crying – or at least pouting – at stuff you might have done when the halls were decked and bells were jingling and Santa Clause was still coming to town.

So be sure to share the spirit by getting out and grabbing some before next year. If that sounds a little nutty, well, it is the holidays. Here are some ideas. I’ll try to be quick about it.

Courtesy / Theater League

What comprises a revue? Technically, it’s a show consisting of music, dancing and/or skits, often with a lively or sometimes lampooning tone.

More loosely — and we like to keep it loose around here — it’s any entertainment that evokes the essence of a variety show, where a succession of engaging bits makes up the whole.

If you remember The Ed Sullivan Show, then you’re with me. If you don’t, something tells me you’re still with me because you’re curious to see what revue-centric amusements the weekend has in store. Still there? I knew it!

Wikimedia -- CC

To tread or not to tread the boards is rarely the question for devoted stage performers.

The more urgent query for such folks is, “When do I get to hit the stage?” And this weekend offers a potpourri of opportunities.

Artists will press their existential envelopes in theater, music and comedy when they tackle plays, concerts and perhaps the most daring thing of all: Standing alone onstage while trying to make people laugh.

Thank goodness for the live platform of creative tension. Where would our weekend entertainment be without it?

chocolatsombre / Flickr--CC

Out of town guests visiting for the holiday need stuff to do.

As do hometown family and friends who might crack if someone doesn’t eventually put the kibosh on one more game of charades.

The solution: Show off what’s happening in the city that may not be as familiar to others as it is to you. Share iconic local attractions, traditional holiday extravaganzas and maybe even something completely different – would you believe Santa goes diving with penguins?

1. 85th Annual Plaza Lighting Ceremony

Nick Harris / Flickr--CC

The big holidays are almost here. But there’s still time to do something that’s little before having a momentous bite of turkey or ceremonial cup of cheer.

This weekend may be your last chance to enjoy a tinier activity compared to family gatherings and parties that can be consuming and more than a tad crazy – “OK, Uncle Phil, it’s time to take off the lampshade now.”

So before it all gets larger and nuttier – “Now means now, Uncle Phil!” – do something smaller. From insects and puppets to marbles and more, take a walk on the little side.

Larry Darling / Flickr--CC

From bluegrass and honky-tonk to stuff that can seem a lot like pure pop, country music is a relative thing.

And, shucks, if it don’t just keep on a changin’ with the times. (How do you like my drawl? Trust me, it’s swell.)

Anyhow, the malleable music and adaptable culture of the country experience is available to all around the metro this weekend – 10 gallon hat optional. Well, unless you already own one, and then you have to wear it. Them’s the rules.

1. Hunter Hayes

pocolover1957 / Flickr--CC

Shocking as it may seem, everyone can’t be famous.

No matter how many technologically driven opportunities are being created to enlarge one’s legend on this channel or that screen, true fame lasts longer than whatever fleeting bit of time the modern news cycle allows for instant renown.

But have no fear, fame junkies. Even if most of us are doomed to be left at the fame altar, the persistent distinction of other people, places and things can be accessed and even reveled in this weekend in Kansas City. Prepare to share the spotlight!

Greg Boege / Flickr-CC

“All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” wrote William Shakespeare, suggesting that life may be a theatrical work in progress.

Whether humanity comprises the cast of a cosmic play – heavy stuff – this weekend does offer genuine opportunities to embrace the drama, both onstage and off.

But wait: If the entire planet is really a proscenium arch, how can anyone ever be truly offstage? Oh, Shakespeare, you rascal!

1. Union Station’s Open House Celebration

Chris Murphy / Flickr--CC

What’s scarier than Halloween?

Actually, the macabre cluster of events taking place the weekend before All Hallows’ Eve might put more hair on your chest – which is great, especially if you’re the ghost of Lon Chaney, Jr. (And if you are the ghost of Lon Chaney Jr., please keep it to yourself, because that’s too scary.)

The spooky bottom line: Why put all of your Halloween frights into Oct. 31, when you can frontload a quality howl at the moon this weekend? Sound good? Hey, just going my job. You don’t have to fang me for it.

Joe Newman / Flickr -- CC

We all must eat and drink. But sometimes it seems like we’re just absorbing fuel, rather than being delighted by our dietary decisions. Not this weekend!

That which is consumed so that we may press on can provide greater meaning — as well as a greater waistline —when folks gather around the metro to make a fuss over chili, barbecue, beer, wine and more.

And, remember, it’s the greater meaning that makes the difference at the table – along with maybe a napkin.

Vladimir Agafonkin / Flickr--CC

There’s something funny going on around here – make that some things.

From stand-up comedy and a phantasmagoric (now there’s a funny word) stage spectacle to droll drawings and the outdoor antics of more than a few family dogs, the Kansas City area is chock full of variously amusing stuff to experience this weekend.

So exactly which witty to sidesplitting activities await the intrepid go-and-doer? Funny you should ask.

Eva Rinaldi / Flickr--CC

There’s only one way to rock, and that’s any way you want.

Long ago, the term “it rocks” went well beyond rock ’n’ roll to encompass anything deemed personally appealing or individually scintillating. What rocks for a fifth-grader probably won’t do it for grandma. Then again, maybe it will – and that’s the beauty of it – including this weekend in Kansas City.

From classic rock to zombies that rock, the town is yours to rock. So are you ready to – all together now – ROCK? I knew you were.

Natalia Dotto / Creative Commons

Don’t freak out, but summer’s over.

It became official earlier this week with the First Day of Fall. Soon, the leaves, like the calendar pages, will be falling. Unfortunately, you can’t run around in short pants with a silly smile on your face trying to get a suntan forever. Believe me, I’ve tried, and the neighbors talk.

Whether those who ignore history are really doomed to repeat it is a tough call. 

Either way, it’s safe to say that folks who refuse to acknowledge the past are doing themselves no favors in the fun department, because retro is where it’s at people — especially this weekend in Kansas City.

Get ready for a dose of yesterday, from sentimental celebrations of the Fab Four and Neil Simon’s pseudo-youth to a festive remembrance of the Show-Me State’s favorite 19th-century psycho outlaw.

Looking to get down this weekend?  Brian McTavish has suggestions from classic disco to improvisation on his Weekend To-Do List!


KC and the Sunshine Band
Classic ’70s hit disco entertainment with costume party
7 p.m. Saturday
Kansas City Live! Block, Kansas City Power & Light District, 13th and Walnut
Admission: Free

Something for the ears, eyes and mind. It's all part of Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List!

Buzz Beach Ball
Rockin’ with Arctic Monkeys, Weezer, the 1975, J. Roddy Waltson & the Business, the Mowglis Broods, Meg Myers, Ume
3:30 p.m. Friday
Sporting Park, 1 Sporting Park Way, Kansas City, Kan.

Everything's better with bacon, especially the weekend!  Check out Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List where there's something for every taste.

Bacon Fest 2014
Massive appreciation and ingestion
2 to 5 p.m. Saturday
Union Station, 30 W. Pershing
Admission: $50 (GA), $100 (VIP)

The Weekend To-Do List: August 8-10

Aug 7, 2014
Josh Grimes /

For the competitor, the spectator, or the music fanatic- Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List surely has the Kansas City area event to rock your weekend!

U.S. Air Guitar National Finals
Fake strumming elevated to an art form
Saturday 8 p.m.
Midland Theatre, 1228 Main
Tickets: $20

It's a music-packed weekend in the Kansas City area.  Whether enjoying a hotdog or indulging a guitar-shredding fantasy, Brian McTavish has the event for you in the Weekend To-Do List!

The Weekend To-Do List: July 25-27

Jul 24, 2014
Starlight Theatre

 The hills are alive with the sound of...hip hop, comedy, and rock & roll. No matter your taste in entertainment, Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do list is sure to have you covered!

The Sound of Music
Classic family musical
Opens at 8 p.m. Friday with performances through July 31
Starlight Theatre in Swope Park
Tickets: Start at $12

The Weekend To-Do List: July 18-20

Jul 18, 2014

Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List packs entertainment for every taste, from one big picnic to a funky art festival. Have a fantastic weekend!

Steely Dan
Classic rock under the stars
8 p.m. Saturday
Starlight Theatre, Swope Park
Tickets: $40 to$150

The Weekend To-Do List: July 11-13

Jul 10, 2014
Monty Python's Spamalot

Whether it's live music, comedy theatre, or the largest water slide on earth, Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List has got you covered for summertime entertainment!

Verruckt Water Slide
Opening of the world's largest water slide
Opens Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
Schlitterbahn Water Park, 9400 State Ave., Kansas City, Kan.
Admission: $36.99; $28.99 for ages 3 to 11/55 and older

Weekend To-Do List: July 4-6

Jul 3, 2014
KC Riverfest

Have a star-spangled weekend with this sizzling list of area entertainment from Brian McTavish!

Big Bang: Jackson County’s Fourth of July Celebration
5:30 p.m. (gates open) Friday; free admission
Longview Lake, Shelter #13

KC Riverfest: Music and Fireworks
4 p.m. (gates open) Friday; $5 admission after 5 p.m.
Berkley Riverfront Park

The Weekend To-Do List: June 27-29

Jun 26, 2014

Make the final weekend in June your best one yet with Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List!

Maker Faire
More than 350 makers show off their creations, from robots to quilts to arts and crafts.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Union Station, 30 W. Pershing, Kansas City, Mo.
Admission: $12 adults, $9 youths and seniors

The Weekend To-Do List: June 20-22

Jun 20, 2014
We Will Rock You

Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for June 20-22 will keep you rolling from one exciting event to the next all weekend long.

Big Slick Celebrity Weekend
Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis, and Rob Riggle
5:30 p.m. Friday
The Little KC at Kauffman Stadium
Admission: Free with a ticket to the Royals/Mariner game

We Will Rock You
8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday
Starlight Theatre
Tickets: $10 and up

The Weekend To-Do List: June 13-15

Jun 12, 2014

If you're looking for a variety of entertainment this weekend, look no further than Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for June 13-15.

Don McLean and Judy Collins
8:30 p.m. Friday
Knuckleheads, 2715 Rochester
Tickets: $68.50

Theatre in the Park

If you're looking for a variety of entertainment this weekend, look no further than Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for June 6-8.

Styx and Foreigner with Don Felder
Classic rock
7 p.m. Sunday
Starlight Theatre in Swope Park
Tickets: $20 to $127.50

Tom Beetz / Flickr-CC

If you're looking for good music this weekend, look no further than Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for May 23-25.

Tony Bennett (pop music legend), 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $70 to $150.

Westport Roots Festival (Billy Joe Shaver and 25 bands), Saturday, indoor music at noon, outdoor at 2 p.m. at the Westport Saloon, 4112 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $28.