Take That to the Bank
Around lunchtime, when workers are jetting back and forth across the skywalk at the Commerce Bank Building (922 Walnut), it’s obvious who’s in the lobby to look at art and who’s there to bank. The bespectacled chick in a bright-orange peacoat? Looking at art. The countless people in suits who are looking at her funny? Banking. The aerial photographs of Alex MacLean show our city’s structures from directly overhead, making this an appropriate display for a skywalk. The Westport urban grid looks like a series of unassembled little Legos sitting side by side, whereas the southern Johnson County developments form a cluster of spread-out, pointy rooftops. The northeastern Johnson County photos are practically all tree; the homes are nestled somewhere inside all that lush, leafy growth. Meanwhile, the bunkers at the Sunflower Ammunition Plant look like pieces on a Monopoly board. Railroad tracks look arterial, and roads leading away from developments resemble curling vines.
To understand what MacLean is doing in these photos, have a seat in one of the two round-backed chairs in front of the movie screen placed at the top of the escalator. Before you leave, be sure to check out the art in the bank windows, too.— Gina Kaufmann
Pearls Before Wine
The Unicorn Theatre celebrates thirty years.
Though it may be a little softer of belly than when it debuted thirty years ago, the Unicorn Theatre can still claim to give the art form an edge. The Unicorn got where it is today by mounting shows that less-adventurous groups wouldn’t touch — among its 215 productions over the years have been plays such as Aunt Dan and Lemon (a primer on fascism) and the homosexual Holocaust drama Bent. And when a show is more commercial, like last year’s presentation of Bat Boy, it flies just fine, too. Thirtieth-anniversary festivities started last month but conclude on October 12 at Drexel Hall (3301 Baltimore) with an event called Faux Pearls. The party, from 5 to 9 p.m., is being called an “uncultured celebration,” as in jeans and T-shirts, and will include a parodic sketch by Ron Simonian and video clips of past Unicorn shows. Call 816-531-7529 for more information.— Steve Walker
There’s no time like lunch to clean up downtown.
If you’re not sick of celebrating our favorite bits of Kansas City yet, here’s another Best Of category for you: Best Underappreciated Aspect of Downtown: It’s clean. Our downtown is relatively tidy compared with some downtowns, and that probably has something to do with the annual Keep Kansas City Beautiful downtown cleanup, which last year attracted more than 400 volunteers to pick up litter, clean graffiti, sweep sidewalks and attack weeds. Andrea Babbit is expecting to hear from downtown dwellers, lurkers and workers who want to volunteer themselves and their families, friends and coworkers to help clean up several downtown neighborhoods this Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. For details or to volunteer, call 816-561-1061, extension 102.— Michael Vennard
Radio Free Flintoff
When it comes to having a good broadcast handle, National Public Radio’s personalities have names that are second only to rappers and wrestlers — and they’re birth names, as far as we know. Try Sylvia Poggioli or Carl Kasell on for size. Corey Flintoff, who has one of the coolest NPR names, will deliver a lecture on language and culture at Rockhurst University’s Mabee Theater in Sedgwick Hall at 7:30 p.m. The university is at 1100 Rockhurst Road; to register, call 816-501-4607. — Vennard