Night & Day Events
It’s been the longest-running thriller on Broadway. Now American Heartland Theatre in Crown Center kicks off its new season with Ira Levin’s Deathtrap, a mystery about a washed-up playwright who cooks up a scheme to kill one of his students and steal a surefire script. Hilarity ensues. For tickets, call 816-842-9999.
Kent Haruf has said that he wrote his best-selling and critically acclaimed novel Plainsong with a wool stocking cap over his eyes. This odd ritual allowed him to “get in touch with the intuitive, the visual, the spontaneous” by preventing him from second-guessing himself and rewriting sentences. It worked: Plainsong is a simple yet engaging story about the inhabitants of a fictional town in Colorado’s high plains, particularly those of a teacher whose wife has left him to raise their two sons, a pregnant teenager whose mother has evicted her, and the two elderly bachelor cattle ranchers who take her in. The book is now available in paperback, and Haruf (rhymes with “sheriff”) makes a stop in Kansas City on his tour promoting the paperback. He reads from the novel at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th tonight at 7:30. Reservations are required; call 816-701-3518.
Daisy Mae’s story is a tragic one. After being rescued from a backyard breeder, the 10-year-old bloodhound gave birth to 12 puppies whom she could not nurse, having been bred so many times over the years. Within two weeks 11 of them had died from severe internal parasites. Since then, however, Daisy Mae has been adopted, and she and her surviving puppy, Pearl, lead the 10th Annual Strut With Your Mutt Dog Walk, where canines of all varieties have a chance to show off their stuff and sniff butts while their human companions raise money to benefit Wayside Waifs. The bragging and wagging takes place at Mill Creek Park on the Plaza, with on-site registration beginning at 8:30 a.m., followed by a two-mile walk/run at 10 a.m. and dog contests at 10:45 a.m. Drawings for bonus prizes lap up the event at 11:15. The registration fee is $25; for more details, call 816-761-8151, ext. 317.
Kansas Citians have a chance to immerse themselves in Japanese culture this weekend at the fourth annual Japan Festival, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the UMKC campus. Highlights include a koto (a string instrument approximately 6 feet long) and shakuhachi (bamboo flute) concert at 2 p.m. in White Recital Hall, Center for the Performing Arts, 4949 Cherry Street. Also scheduled are performances of Suzuki violin, Bon Odori dance, and Kyogen comedy, as well as a turn by the Denver Taiko drum troupe. Other festivities at the UMKC University Center at 50th Street and Rockhill Road include demonstrations on Japanese tea ceremonies and lectures on Japanese gardens, religion, and such board games as Go and Shogi. For more information, call 816-471-0111, ext. 107 or 115.
He may engage in still-life painting, but Donald Sultan‘s art is anything but traditional. Rather than using canvas, Sultan covers Masonite with 12-inch vinyl floor tiles, cuts shapes into the vinyl, and fills the cutout space with plaster or tar before painting over it. Through this technique he creates huge, colorful images of fruit, flowers, dominoes, and other everyday objects against black backgrounds. His works permanently adorn the collections of many prestigious institutions, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Today his 8-foot lemons brighten the walls of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, 4420 Warwick Boulevard, when the exhibition Donald Sultan: In the Still-Life Tradition kicks off with an opening reception at 2 p.m., when Sultan talks about his work. For information, call 816-753-5784.
Young (and old) fans of the American Girls Collection of historical books, dolls, and accessories have been long awaiting this month’s debut of Margaret “Kit” Kittredge, who, as the seventh heroine in the collection, teaches girls about the Great Depression. Those fans have a chance to get to know Kit better at The Johnson County Museums’ American Girls Pastimes Party this weekend at the Carriage Club, 5301 State Line Road. Inspired by American Girls’ stories, this museum fundraiser lets participants take part in the characters’ favorite pastimes as well as see shadow plays and a slide show about their eras — and win American Girl stuff. Each child gets to take home crafts and a “memory book.” The cost per person is $15; call 913-631-6709 for tickets and information.
This is the last week to catch 3 Women Show, an exhibit focusing on the work of three Barstow School faculty members. The show, at the school’s Embry Gallery, includes work by Yvonne Rosseser, who, while working as a Barstow art instructor for 20 years, has placed a piece in the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Many of her recent works in the Embry Gallery are pastels capturing the light over midtown trees and rooftops. Mallory Hilvitz concentrates on life drawings in charcoal, while gallery curator Tinsley Wert contributes a series of recent ceramic works. The gallery is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Barstow School, 11511 State Line Road. The show closes September 22. For more information, call 816-942-3255.
The American Restaurant, at 25th and Grand Boulevard, closes out its latest series of wine seminars today at 5:30 with “The ‘Other’ French Wines,” an exploration of bottles from the southwestern regions of France. The seminar, open to anyone who wants to buy a ticket — including wine novices — offers an opportunity to discover affordable yet unusual French wines that often get overlooked in the United States. Call 816-426-1133 for reservations; tickets are $40 each.
Forget Miss Saigon. The Lyric Opera opens its new season this week with the opera on which the Broadway musical was based. The Lyric presents Madama Butterfly, Giacomo Puccini’s tragic tale of a cross-culture love affair in early 20th century Japan, in Italian, with the English translation shown above the stage. Tonight’s performance begins at 7:30 at the Lyric Theater, 1029 Central. Tickets range from $10 to $50; call 816-471-7344.