6 Miscellaneous Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Aug 17, 2017

The Ethnic Enrichment Festival 2017 is just one of the various activities going on in KC this weekend.
Credit Courtesy Jim Wilson

Out with the same game this weekend.

Among varied delights, sample an international array of food flavors, get into idiosyncratic country music, bow to the full force of female-fueled classic rock or simply take part in a rare public expression of gourd gratitude – yes, it’s a thing.

Whatever you choose, may the miscellaneous be with you!

1. Ethnic Enrichment Festival

How many different cultures from around the world can one’s enquiring taste buds attempt to tackle at the 38th annual Ethnic Enrichment Festival? More than 60. Good luck with that. But even if you don’t have the time, money and digestive gift to enjoy every exotic edible available, the festival’s ongoing music and dance entertainments from dozens of countries will be a feast in itself.

Friday, 6-10 p.m.; Saturday, noon-10 p.m.; Sunday, noon-6 p.m.; historic entrance to Swope Park, 5605 E. 63rd St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: $5, ages 12 and younger free with adult.

2. Dave Rawlings Machine

The old-but-new-again sound of the Dave Rawlings Machine makes me think of bluegrass-embracing alt-country-rock stuff from the early 1970s. Like a brand new fiddle encased in ancient amber. This sweet-and-simple string band is led by veteran singing and songwriting cohorts Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch, who in 2015 took home the American Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award – which I’m sure wasn’t encased in amber, but it’s never too late.

Friday, 8 p.m.; Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $24.50-$37.50.

3. Lez Zeppelin

“All Girls, All Zeppelin” is the spot-on slogan of New York-based Led Zeppelin tribute band Lez Zeppelin. About the group’s arguably provocative name: If you want political correctness, then you’re probably not into Zeppelin, anyway. And be assured that this totally female outfit is more than a novelty act. See and hear these gals kick out any and all jams while singing with a “Whole Lotta Love” about “Rock and Roll” as they ascend their “Stairway to Heaven.” See what I did there?

Saturday, 8 p.m.; CrossroadsKC at Grinders, 417 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo.; $16.50-$51.50.

4. Capital Cities

The pure pop of Capital Cities – Los Angeles duo Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian – broke out in 2011 with the infectiously upbeat top-10 hit, “Safe and Sound.” Subsequent efforts included “I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo,” which didn’t fare nearly as well on the music charts, but at least this band understands its priorities. Capital Cities keep the personal anthems coming on its 2017 EP, “Swimming Pool Summer.” Dive in!

Friday, 8 p.m.; KC Live! Block Stage at Kansas City Power & Light District, 13th and Walnut streets, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15-$45.

5. GOURDen Party

Don’t go out of your gourd, just celebrate it at this special outdoor garden party, where you can learn how to transform a gourd into a shekere (a percussion instrument from West Africa) and make music with it. Have fun, but remember – shake it, don’t break it!

Saturday, 9-11 a.m.; Missouri GOURDen bower, south of the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center parking lot., 4750 Troost Ave., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free (must register by noon Friday; call 347-687-5247).

6. Kansas City Improv Festival

What will happen at this year's Kansas City Improv Festival is anyone's guess. Not even the performers really know, since so much of the material is made up on the spot. Go with the funny flow as dozens of local and national improv and sketch comedy acts do their silly best to crack you up. Family friendly alert: Saturday's 5 p.m. show is designed for all ages. Nice to know spontaneity doesn't need to be naughty!

Friday, 7 and 10 p.m.; Saturday, 5, 7 and 10 p.m.; KICK Comedy Theater, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15-$25.

Correction: This post originally contained an event, "Motown The Musical," that does not take place this weekend. It has been removed.

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