6 Sophisticated Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Jan 18, 2018

Culture. Refinement. Stylishness.

The hallmarks of sophistication – not to mention its cadre of classy synonyms – beckon this weekend from a variety of corners. The trick to appreciating them all? Keep an open mind to their attendant intricacies, some of which may challenge preconceived concepts of what it really means to be erudite.

So put on your thinking cap. OK, beanie, if you want. Sure, with a propellor on top, if that makes you happy, smarty. Thanks for getting in the sophisticated spirit!

1. Jerry Seinfeld

Just because a funny person can make you laugh until it hurts doesn’t mean they’re not being sophisticated. The opposite is frequently true and is absolutely the case when it comes to the Master of His Domain, Jerry Seinfeld. Although the man requires little if any introduction, allow me to yada-yada-yada: Seinfeld starred in a hit mainstream TV sitcom in the 1990s that forever skewed the way people look at hit mainstream TV sitcoms. The show, supposedly about nothing, was an innovative appreciation of brazenly self-serving behavior as expressed through ridiculously quirky friendships/alliances/vendettas. Since “Seinfeld” went into rerun land nearly 20 years ago, Seinfeld has shared his painstakingly perfected stand-up act with audiences that can pay crazy money simply to be in his presence. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Friday, 7 p.m. (sold out) and 9:30 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $85, $175.

​2. 2Cellos

Whether finding the sweet spot between Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” or divinely transforming Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” into a singular serenade suitable for longhairs as well as funksters, the virtuosic cellist duo known as 2Cellos oh-so-cleverly combines classical music with classic pop/rock. Classically trained Croatian string fiends Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser have collaborated with a litany of diverse musicians since 2011, from Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang and Elton John to the London Symphony Orchestra and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. How sophisticated is that?

Sunday, 7 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $29.50-$67.50.

3. ‘Defying Gravity’

Here’s a loosely designed yet highly sophisticated stage play that examines the existential implications of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in at-once personal and cosmic terms. The thought-provoking “Defying Gravity” gives the floor to Christa McAuliffe, who was to be the first teacher in space, but who tragically died with her six crewmates only moments after the shuttle’s take-off. In addition to McAuliffe’s insightful contemplations about what was and what still might be, the script sensitively and imaginatively crisscrosses the sorrows and dreams of those who seek to be part of the seemingly impossible.

Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, 3614 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15-$49.

4. Kansas City Bear Fighters

This unusual local folk band may not actually wrestle with deadly furry critters, but its oppositional words and music are well worth grappling with. Take the group’s little ditty, “All Hail the Dark Lord,” whose sing-songy melody pushes against such subversive verses as: “Where the shadows climb and the vultures perch/Where children play in a burned-out church/And the pools of blood flow to the sea/That’s where I want to be.” Ah, but do we? Or are we already there? Play on, strangely sophisticated folkies, play on. A peek at the band’s Facebook page reveals that its non-musical interests are carnivals, the bowling alley and taxidermy. Oh, those poor bears.

Saturday, 4 p.m.; Westport Saloon, 4112 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

5. 2018 Party Arty

The tickets are pricey, but the payoff is worth every penny: Eternal youth. Ha! Actually, the Young Friends of Art’s ultra-sophisticated masquerade-themed mixer and fundraiser aimed at young professionals won’t do a darn thing to stave off getting older. But it will allow those for whom too many calendar pages have yet to fall plenty of opportunity to meet others of their still fresh-faced ilk over “creative cocktails,” while ensconced in “abstract elements” and “dim lighting.” Ooh, dim lighting. Keep it clean, kids!

Saturday, 7 p.m. (Young Friends of Art members only), 8 p.m. (all-access); Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St.; tickets: $175.

6. Kansas City Restaurant Week

You don’t have to be a culinary connoisseur to be a satisfied customer at any of the roughly 150 area dining establishments taking part in the final weekend of Kansas City Restaurant Week. One and all may enjoy all sorts of laudable cuisine at a tasty discount. So here’s to sating your suddenly affordable appetite for multi-course meals costing as little as $15. Who says there’s no such thing as a best-thing-next-to-free lunch? Fill your sophisticated tummy and make some new pals. So … are you going to finish that?

Through Sunday at various locations; cost: $15, $33; for more information, go to kcrestaurantweek.com.

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