6 Interactive Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Apr 28, 2017

Cosplay might be the ultimate fan interaction on display at Planet Comicon this weekend in Kansas City.
Credit Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

You can try to go it alone. But it’s more fun to be interactive.

Experiences worth sharing with your fellow humans this weekend include the area’s biggest comic book and pop culture convention, mosh-pit friendship, getting all warm and fuzzy with the Muppets, air guitar players aiming for international glory and a dog stunt show with a cute quotient powerful enough to make audiences roll over.

See what’s possible when we play together? OK, rolling over is optional.

1. Planet Comicon

Full disclosure: My nerdy interactivity with this year’s Planet Comicon will have me not only attending the region’s largest comic and pop-culture blowout, as usual, but also working for one of the show’s vendors. I’m such a nut for comics and their creators that I simply can’t help myself. Not that Planet is a place to hold back. It’s where you can totally be yourself – meaning you can dress up as anyone else.

Besides abundant cosplay, there will be ample opportunity to scope out the vast variety of funny books and other collectibles, attend an entertaining panel or line up for that treasured autograph from one of the many comic and pop-culture guests. Actor Ron Perlman perhaps? He was the perfect “Hellboy.” Or maybe artist Amanda Conner? She sure can draw Power Girl. Remember, the longer you wait in line – and interact with other feverish signature seekers – the bigger the thrill. Would I con you? Only at the con!

Friday, noon-7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Bartle Hall, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; daily admission: $25-$38 adults (three-day pass $65), $8-$15 ages 8-12 (three-day pass $25).

2. Sing Along with ‘The Muppet Movie’

The first and best Muppet movie from 1979 will give families giggles, goose bumps and chances to interact with beloved characters in new ways during this interactive family film experience that includes live puppetry, kiting and shadow acting. Produced by Heather Henson (daughter of late, great Muppets creator Jim Henson), here’s a chance to feel good about the world, starting with Kermit the Frog (as only Henson could voice him) optimistically singing “The Rainbow Connection” over the opening titles. Is that a lump in your throat? Ribbit.

Sunday, 4 p.m.; Yardley Hall at the Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kan.; tickets: $21-$25.

3. Killswitch Engage and Anthrax

Mutual mayhem awaits all who dare enter the general-admission mosh pit in front of the stage at this weekend’s co-headlining metal concert starring Killswitch Engage and Anthrax, as well as other heavy-duty bands to die for. Well, maybe not die. How about just super-squished? Good luck to those with the nerve to interact with all of the wildly appreciative fan behavior down front. May the swarm be with you, as opposed to on top of you.

Sunday, 6:30 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $33 ($38 day of show).

4. U.S. Air Guitar Championships – 2017 Qualifier

Twang! Wakka! Kerrang! Those may be some of the milder sounds that performers will emotionally evoke from the totally imaginary axes they’ll be clutching onstage during this regional air guitar competition. The stakes are even more awesome than the strenuously mimed shredding on display, with contestants earning the highest marks from an independent panel of judges moving on to seek their pretend rock god destinies as the possible U.S. and (gasp!) world air guitar champ. The all-ages event will be hosted by 2013 Air Guitar World Champ and Lawrence native, Eric “Mean” Melin, who no doubt will be interacting in a most encouraging way with all in attendance.

Friday, 9 p.m.; the Bottleneck, 737 New Hampshire St., Lawrence, Kan.

5. Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience

Extraordinary dog trainer Chris Perondi and his canine stars will delight all ages, although it’s mostly the kids who will be invited onstage to join the cool pooches (each and every one a rescue animal) as they pull off an incredible range of stunts, tricks and other coups of enhanced bow wow behavior. Yes, there will be precious dancing dogs. What else can you say but “ahh”? Well, I suppose there’s “ooh,” too. Save both for the best acts!

Friday, 7 p.m.; Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Dr., Lawrence, Kan.; tickets: $20-$30 adults, students/youth $11-$16.

6. Pig and Swig

How to describe the mouth-watering interaction between barbequed pork, bourbon and craft beer? Delicious would be a good start. Feel free to elaborate further with other bbq and booze fans at the latest installment of Pig and Swig on the streets of the Kansas City Power & Light District. Keep in mind that you may choose entirely different words after you get home and weigh yourself. Unless, of course, the bathroom scale is obviously broken again. Whew, that was close!

Saturday, 3-8 p.m.; Kansas City Power & Light District, 1330 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: $25.

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