Night & Day Events

Thursday, November 24
Considering all your war involvement, do you think it’s possible you have anger-management issues? To what extent is Tom Pendergast involved in your administration? And what was your deal with Jews, anyway? On “The Buck Stops Here” — a special installment of Mike Murphy’s Mid-Morning Medley radio program at 11 a.m. today on KKFI 90.1 — acclaimed re-enactor Raymond Starzmann channels President Harry Truman to answer these questions and others about Independence’s nonmeth-related claim to fame. (At 11:30, Dwight Frizzell takes over with “Harry’s Shadow” and explores what it was like growing up as Truman’s neighbor.) Call 816-931-5534 to submit your question.

Friday, November 25
Trains hold a certain romance for melancholic types — including us. Sadly, we can’t promise much glamour from Union Station’s audience-participation murder-mystery, A Christmas Conundrum, which premieres tonight at 6:30 at Union Café (30 West Pershing Road). But it could be fun. Tickets are $59, and advance reservations are required; call 816-813-9654. The Nelson-Atkins Museum continues the theme with All Steamed Up: Art and the Railroads, which considers how trains are depicted by European and American artists in prints, paintings and photography. We’ll be there looking for someone from the wrong side of the tracks. The free lecture begins at 2 p.m. in the Atkins Auditorium (4252 Oak); call 816-751-1278.

Saturday, November 26
We think cupcakes and wine would definitely be the body and blood of our Christ. So going to the Fahrenheit Ballroom (1717 West Ninth Street) to partake in both would be like going to church, right? From 8 p.m. to midnight, kneel at the altar of the Malachy Papers, the experimental jazz band made up of Mike Dillon, Mark Southerland and Brian Hicks, for a party co-sponsored by 18th Street anchors Shuttlecocks, Spool and Birdies. Peregrine Honig and company hope to make it an annual thing; we’ll just consider the $5 cover a gift to the collection plate.

This time of year, we always appreciate the efforts of our favorite formerly homeless cab driver, Richard Tripp, who puts on a giant party, handing out free food, warm clothes and personal supplies to whomever needs them. There’s usually a rock band playing and plenty of happy people hanging around. Survival 5 goes down from noon until 4 p.m. today at the Levitt Warehouse, 2107 Central. (To find out more about the hardworking Tripp, check out his Web site at www.coppinc.com.)

Sunday, November 27
We’re dreaming of a retro Christmas, and so is the Johnson County Museum of History (6305 Lackman Road in Shawnee, 913-631-6709). As usual, the museum’s 1950s All-Electric House goes all out with space-age decorations, its halls decked with ideas plucked straight from ’50s women’s mags such as Good Housekeeping and Family Circle. We’re especially excited about the aluminum tree, with its color wheel that changes the tree’s branches from silver to green to pink. (Hey, they didn’t have cable back then.) We’re also intrigued by the display of archival photographs depicting Johnson County families celebrating the holidays and by the era-appropriate gifts under the tree. Mom’s getting hats; Dad, an electric razor. The kids? Games and toys. Tickets are $2 for adults and $1 for children 12 and younger. The house opened Saturday and remains open until December 31. Guided tours are available every half-hour from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Sunday. (Tours on Saturdays run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) None of this, however, changes the fact that we still want our iPod Nano.

Monday, November 28
Gerald Dickens‘ name has a certain familiar ring to it, no? Yep, he’s the great-great-grandson of Charles, and he’s in town today to read from A Christmas Carol. He’s an actor who has performed Dickens-style pieces at Gad’s Hill Place (Dickens’ last home), as well as at the Dickens Fellowship in Dickens’ hometown of Rochester, England. He has toured the United States with A Christmas Carol for the past few years, but he reportedly has a soft spot for our area. No word on whether he’ll bring chains to play the part of the Ghost of Christmas Past, though. Dickens reads at 1 p.m. at the Parkville Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library (8815 Tom Watson Parkway in Parkville, 816-741-4721) and at 7 p.m. at the Antioch Branch (6060 North Chestnut in Gladstone, 816-454-1306). The readings are free, but reservations are requested.

Tuesday, November 29
Let’s do the math. Pony up $35 to become a member of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (4420 Warwick) and score a 20 percent discount on all gift-shop purchases, beginning today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you spend at least $175 — in other words, take care of some of your holiday shopping — you’ll break even. May we suggest copies of Alex Katz: Small Paintings for your six dearest friends —including us? Call Dawn Biegelsen at 816-457-6128 or see www.kemperart.org to join; the sale ends December 4.

Wednesday, November 30
Sandra Boynton‘s newest book, Dog Train, is a book-and-CD combo that includes a duet by “Weird Al” Yankovic and Kate Winslet called “I Need a Nap.” The lyrics could be the story of our life: I’m so tired of this day, and I don’t want to play/And I don’t want a story to read. Sadly, though, this song wasn’t written for our age group. Much like the rest of Boynton’s oeuvre, it’s aimed at the preschool set. That much is apparent from Dog Train‘s dedication, which begins, “To all of the terrific children (some of them furry) of the entire Dog Train crew” and lists several names, including “Taddy and Faddy (frogs).” Dog Train may be the only book we have that thanks frogs, now that we think about it. Boynton appears tonight at Head Start of Shawnee Mission (8155 Santa Fe Drive in Overland Park, 913-649-9714). The evening’s activities begin at 5:30. Check out a 9-foot dog train, face painting, show dogs, and local celebs reading Boynton’s books; $40 admits a family of four and includes a copy of the book. Call Head Start to register or for more information.