Is your first time the best time? I thought that might get your attention – at least at first.
Now it’s up to the weekend to deliver on a flurry of firsts as realized by stellar basketballers, accomplished musicians, an earnest explorer of the spirit world and curious kids interacting with encouraging canines.
If it’s the last thing you do, be part of the debut crew!
Since the 1920s, the Harlem Globetrotters have shown off their amazing basketball skills and comedy talents. But each year is always the first time for the world-famous team’s rookie class of expert roundballers. This year’s crop of flashy newbies performing to the happy-go-lucky melody of “Sweet Georgia Brown” is Torch George, Bulldog Mack, Money Merriweather, Primetime Maberry and 4-foot-5-inch Hot Shot Swanson, who’s known as a mini Michael Jordan. Another notable introduction from the Globetrotters in 2018: Basketball’s first 4-point line, measuring a full 30 feet from the hoop – that’s more than 6 feet outside the NBA’s 3-point line. Heave it, Hot Shot!
Saturday, noon; and Sunday, 2 p.m.; Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, 19100 E. Valley View Parkway, Independence, Mo.; Saturday, 7 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15-$138.50.
2. Gene Watson
When old-school country crooner Gene Watson warbles “For the First Time,” it’s time to bring on the goosebumps: “For the first time in a long time, I want the sunshine to shine on me/I want those hillsides to feel me walking, and I want your love all over me.” The same goes for Watson’s other 1970s and ’80s chestnuts of never-ending longing, including such uplifting weepers as “Nothing Sure Looked Good On You” (“When we were down to nothing, nothing sure looked good on you”) and “Should I Go Home or Should I Go Crazy” (“I’m begging you, please, make up your mind…or I’ll lose mine”). Oh, my. If you’re looking for a good cry for the first time in ages, you can’t do better. Or should that be worse? You know what I mean. Take it away, Gene.
Saturday, 8:30 p.m.; Star Pavilion at Ameristar Casino Hotel, 3200 N. Ameristar Dr., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $20-$35.
3. Kelli Miller
“The Heartland Medium” from Omaha, Nebraska, is psyched to meet her fans for the first time in Kansas City, where she’ll focus on penetrating the veil of the great beyond – you know, where dead people live – with both good humor and professed expertise. Miller says she largely hid her special ability from others while growing up, but in recent years has gone all in on communicating with the dearly departed on behalf of those still with us. She pledges to help attendees who feel “lost and confused” and to do as many individual psychic readings as possible. She will also bring along crystals, pendulums and chakra sprays. Should I be skeptical? First things first: What’s a chakra spray? Hmm, really? I’ll take two.
Saturday, 7 p.m.; The Guild, 1621 Locust St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $40 advance, $50 at the door.
Velvet Acid Christ has played Kansas City before, but every time feels like the first. That’s because these radically trippy purveyors of electro-industrial/goth music always take your head (or what’s left of it after they’re done) to a new weird place. Emerging from Denver in the 1990s, the group’s at least mile-high state of mind lends itself to inner-sanctum soirees where participants can vicariously have “Fun with Drugs,” sample a “Suicide Picnic” or “Bend the Sky.” Any advice on how to bend it back? Yeah, I know, definitely a first-timer question.
Saturday, 8 p.m.; Prohibition Hall, 11th and McGee streets, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $20.
Teen solo musicians vie for $2,000 in scholarship money and the chance to perform with the Kansas City Symphony for the first time in this arts event sponsored by the Woman’s City Club Charitable Foundation. Official judges will hold sway in ranking the final six contestants, but not when it comes to the “audience favorite” award, which brings to mind this old saw: You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. So be sure to sell it kids – and don’t forget to smile!
Saturday, 11 a.m.; Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1602 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free (reservations requested).
Has your little one ever read to a dog? At length? Well, there’s a first time for everything. Young readers can practice reading aloud to at least one “certified and well-behaved” therapy dog, whose mere presence provides a positive audience, at this Saturday morning inter-species get-together. And if for some reason it’s not your child’s initial experience extensively sharing a book with a pooch? That’s where you can come in: “I do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like them Sam I Am!” Woof! Now isn’t that fun?
Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-noon; Antioch Library, 8700 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Merriam, Kan.; admission: free.
Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at email@example.com.