6 Exotic Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Mar 2, 2017

Deathcore band Whitechapel is probably pretty exotic for most, but who knows? You might end up loving them.
Credit 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.

1. ‘Around the World in 80 Days’

Escape the rut by taking the long route to adventure, courtesy of the Kansas City Symphony’s world-premiere take on Jules Verne’s fanciful 19th-century tale of explorer Phileas Fogg’s speedy-for-its-time trek around the globe. Hurry up, Phileas, the calendar pages are falling! The family show features symphonic music from exotic lands, engaging storytelling and imaginative puppet fun. Leave it to puppets to always shake things up.

Sunday, 2 p.m.; Helzberg Hall at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $10-$42.

2. KC Fringe Presents: ‘Audience’

Talk about an exotic role reversal: Playwright David Hanson’s experimental “verbal symphony” places audience members onstage, while four pairs of actors out in the seats simultaneously engage in independent conversations about their lives. Can all of the conversations be followed in real time? How might they be connected thematically or otherwise? And exactly who are the actual patrons and performers here? To get closer to the bottom of it all, back-to-back evening shows will be presented by KC Fringe, allowing patrons to immediately return for a second helping of this intentionally challenging theatrical endeavor.

Friday and Saturday, 7 and 8:30 p.m.; H&R Block City Stage at Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15 for one show, $25 for two shows.

3. Alan Parsons Live Project

Other realms are just around the corner whenever the music of the Alan Parsons Project is involved. Before emerging as a prevalent progressive rock artist in the 1970s, Parsons was a recording engineer on such high-profile albums as The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be,” and most notably “Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon.” Manning the knobs of his own recording projects, Parsons made use of a shifting array of talented singers and players on a series of successful concept albums devoted to the works of Edgar Allen Poe (“Tales of Mystery and Imagination”) the possibilities of artificial intelligence (“I Robot”) and the weird future (“Eye in the Sky”). He’s mostly a touring act now, but always happy to accept passengers on his head-space express. Go there if you dare!

Saturday, 8 p.m.; Star Pavilion at Ameristar Casino, 3200 Ameristar Drive, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $40-$50.

​4. Whitechapel

Into deathcore? Find out by checking out Whitechapel’s ultra-heavy-duty metal concert this weekend in unsuspecting Westport. Named after the London neighborhood where Jack the Ripper behaved very badly, Whitechapel from Knoxville, Tennessee, grinds its way into the hearts of hardcore deathcore fans by “down-tuning” its guitars so that they can’t possibly make you feel good in a conventional way (c’mon, don’t be passé), while pumping out frenetically growling diatribes from such discs as “A New Era of Corruption,” “Our Endless War” and “Brotherhood of the Blade.” I hear the kids love it. Seriously. Support bands at this neck-snapping gig include Cattle Decapitation, which Whitechapel sites as one of its influences. It’s nice to know they can work together.

Sunday, 6 p.m.; Riot Room, 4048 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $25.

5. 1,001 Arabian Nights Belly Dance Show

Be educated and entertained in a most exotic manner at this monthly local showcase for skilled belly dancers focusing on authentic dance moves from the Middle East and North Africa. Guest performers may also share other forms of tribal or fusion styles made famous in faraway places. I’m sure no pun is intended when organizers promise a “well-rounded experience.” Well, I’m pretty sure.

Saturday, 7 p.m.; Uptown Arts Bar, 3611 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; cover: $5.

6. Devon Henderson

The notion of stand-up comedy aimed at families instead of the over-21 crowd is exotic, to be sure. Yet homegrown comic Devon Henderson, a K-State grad, has made it his successful domain. Henderson’s all-ages comedy show not only keeps the jokes clean, but also delivers magic, singing and a bit of freestyle soccer action. The only four-letter word to fear is “done," when it’s time to go home.

Saturday, 4 p.m.; Kansas City Improv at Zona Rosa, 7260 N.W. 87th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $7.

Brian McTavish is a regular arts & culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at brianmctavish@gmail.com.