Maybe you won’t make it to the top. But going over the top this weekend should be no problem.
Overachieving ascending action: The work of brain-searing illustrators redefining the boundaries of fantasy art, Canadian funny men turning depictions of alcohol dependency into believe-it-or-not comedy gold and ambitious performers striving for the farthest reaches of live burlesque, spoken poetry and throwback record-store love so real it just might feel like 1979.
There’s more, although most likely no shark to jump over. But you never know!
If you can imagine it, you can draw it, paint it, sculpt it, design it or otherwise create it. The remarkable results of that lofty ethos will be displayed by some of the world’s greatest practitioners of fantasy art at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live. A cadre of celebrity guest artists will join hundreds of other visually-creative minds from across all media to network and sell their work to both casual and hardcore fans – well, maybe mostly hardcore. I guess not everyone is into hanging over the mantle over-the-top images of robots, dinosaurs and half-naked warrior women. Their loss! Whether you’re into fine art, film, comics, video games or a techno-platform to be named later, Spectrum is the place to be if your mind can’t help but wander to other universes.
Friday, 2-6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Kansas City Convention Center, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: $5.
Real alcoholism is sad. But anyone who ever laughed at faux-drunk comedian Foster Brooks (look him up on YouTube, kids) has to admit that certain exaggerations of highly intoxicated behavior are just plain funny. Shameful? Deal with the guilt later – after you’ve been ridiculously entertained by Canadian funny men Pat Roach and John Dunsworth, best known as Randy & Mr. Lahey, two of the super screwed-up, alcohol-obsessed characters from the crazy Canadian TV series, “Trailer Park Boys.” All I can say is, thank you, Netflix. What might you be able to say after witnessing Randy & Mr. Lahey’s “No Pants Unpissed U.S. Tour”? That might depend on how many drinks you’ve had.
Saturday, 9 p.m.; Aftershock, 5240 Merriam Dr., Merriam, Kan.; tickets: $25.
Burlesque and variety performers from our area will compete for more than applause at this regional competition happening for the first time in Kansas City. Magicians, jugglers, singers, clowns, ventriloquists, side-show attractions, drag acts and, of course, gals who shed most of their clothes (but not their twirling tassels) will be among those contending for over-the-top honors, along with cash, medals and a shot at international recognition at the Burlypicks finals this August in Denver. Go ahead and just let your jaw drop now. Good prep.
Friday, 10 p.m.; the Batcave at Rhythm & Booze, 423 S.W. Boulevard, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $10-$30.
The power of the spoken word can move mountains. So it should be a snap to move emotions at the Kansas City Poetry Throwdown, a three-day fest featuring more than 30 highly accomplished poets/authors from across the country who will stand up and speak the words on the pages that they wouldn’t mind listeners purchasing before they split the verbally hip scene. Can you dig it? Consider it dug. Now about those mountains, perhaps I was speaking metaphorically …
Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m.; Prospero’s Books, 1800 W. 39th St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.
At least eight area record stores specializing in new and used vinyl will be part of Saturday’s national Record Store Day, intended to draw attention to the old-fashioned platters that ruled recorded music for decades until the rise of compact discs, which aren’t exactly selling like hotcakes these days. So stop streaming and put away those earbuds for a few hours and be lifted higher than perhaps you thought possible (or can remember) by the true majesty of hi-fi stereo sound at a friendly neighborhood record shop. Most stores will also offer a mixture of DJs, live bands and exclusive RSD vinyl product. Wax on.
Saturday, various locations (to find a participating shop, go to recordstoreday.com).
The family that runs obstacle courses together falls down and gets back up together. It’s called collective character building. So if your brood is up to the challenge, here’s an all-ages (5 and up) outdoor event that organizers pledge will be far more fun than furious. In addition to the sense of accomplishment derived from traversing the 2-mile course at your own pace, participation includes a souvenir t-shirt, wristband, event photos and, if Fido is part of the plan, a wooden dog-tag finisher medal. Wouldn’t this have made a great episode of “The Partridge Family”? C’mon, get happy!
Sunday, staring times 8:30 a.m.-noon; Zip KC, 12829 Loring Road, Bonner Springs, Kan.; tickets: $44 (Four or more persons $39 each).
Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at email@example.com.