6 Optimistic Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Oct 6, 2016

140 bands on 41 porches? You'd have to be pretty optimistic to catch them all, but hey, here's to trying!
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The best is yet to come, right?

If you have to think before answering in the affirmative, you may need a boost from one or more of the following events offering potentially positive attitude adjustments, from friendly porch concerts and comedy shows to uplifting expressions of gymnastic splendor.

If I could promise that afterward you’ll see the world in a whole new way, I would. Oh, why not: You’ll see the world in a whole new way. Gosh, that was easier than I thought. We might be onto something here.

​1. PorchFest

This cheerful community get-together featuring bands playing myriad musical genres on the porches of a residential midtown neighborhood is back for the third straight year. Bigger and porchier than ever, PorchFest 2016 has more bands (140) performing on more verandas (41) during an extended six-hour window. Just don’t peek into the windows of participating homes, unless maybe you’re scouting locations for Living Room Fest. Can the anticipated pedestrian throngs possibly get around to hearing all of the musicians? Realistically, no. Optimistically, keep the line moving.

Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Valentine Neighborhood, north of Westport between Broadway and Southwest Trafficway, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free (tips for musicians encouraged).

2. Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees

Pure-voiced country music queen Emmylou Harris is leading a bill of top-flight country, folk and roots-rock singer/songwriters on an 11-city tour to raise money for the Jesuit Refugee Service's Global Education Initiative that helps refugees living in camps and urban areas. In Kansas City, Harris will share the stage with Steve Earl, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller and the Milk Carton Kids, but apparently not former Led Zeppelin rock god Robert Plant, who recently announced his involvement in seven other cities on the tour. Ok, now, stay positive!

Saturday, 8 p.m.; Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $49, $69.

3. Elvis Costello with Larkin Poe

Elvis Costello, the melodic punk rock impresario who gave us another Elvis to worship beginning with his 1977 debut album, “My Aim Is True,” is currently hitting the bullseye on his “Detour” solo tour by mixing career-retrospective songs on guitar and piano with well-delivered autobiographical stories. Although Costello’s music has certainly spewed some memorable venom over the years, fans at this show can perhaps expect a more life-affirming if no less sharp-witted approach. Just so you know, there will be childhood photos. Opening female duo Larkin Poe will also join the headliner for a few numbers. If past set lists are any indication, those tunes might include “(What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding.” Not a darn thing.

Saturday, 7 p.m.; Yardley Hall, Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kan.; tickets: $46-$125.

4. Tour of Gymnastics Champions 2016

They’re young and strong and all are 2016 Olympic Gold Medal winners: Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabrielle Douglas, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian – collectively known as the “Final Five” from this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio. Why not let these confident gymnists put a spring in your step? Which, you have to admit, is even better when you don’t have to break a sweat yourself. I’d say things are looking up!

Friday, 7 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $27-$297.

5. ‘BeMused!’ and Laughs for Limbs

Here are two comedy shindigs committed to being hopeful. First is ‘Bemused!,’ part of this month’s First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District, at which KC Improv Company performers will create scenes in response to viewing a work of original visual art for the first time. Good luck with that! Next is the second annual Laughs for Limbs improv comedy show and silent auction, featuring players from Comedy City, to help people afford prosthetic care.

‘Bemused!’: Friday, 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.; Fishtank Performance Studio, 1715 Wyandotte St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $10; Laughs for Limbs, Saturday, 7 p.m.; The Record Bar, 1520 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $40-$100.

6. Miami Heat vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Local pro basketball fans will get a precious live dose of what they’re missing at this pre-season NBA exhibition game. So will KC ever again nab an NBA franchise? Look, it’s OK to be optimistic, but let’s not get carried away. Oops, I think I fell off the sanguine wagon.

Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $13-$198.

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