This Little Piggie

The theory holds that, when a sitting administration veers sharply to the right and uptight, arts groups compensate by migrating the other direction. Performance artist Karen Finley, for example, enjoyed much more fame when the embattled National Endowment for the Arts was under the thumb of the Republicans than as just another struggling artist in the Clinton era. Lawrence’s EMU Theatre offers a firm middle finger to Bush’s second term with two one-acts opening at 8 p.m. Friday. The late Harry Kondolean’s Self Torture and Strenuous Exercise is an existential screwball comedy about people isolated by their perceptions of the universe. The second piece, Futz, first staged in the ’60s and considered an avant-garde classic, is a sort of love story between a farmer and his pig. Modern American Drama called author Rochelle Owens’ risk-taking “more radical in certain aspects than Beckett.”

“It’s a play I’ve admired for a long time, and no one in the play is anything less than despicable,” says Futz director Ron Willis. He calls it a parable that questions where the boundary is between “individual freedom and victimless crime.” Performances run through February 20 at the Lawrence Arts Center (940 New Hampshire, 785-843-2787); tickets are $6. — Steve Walker

Do the Deed
A hometown chorus goes blue during the
red-heart season.

Delving into 16th-century madrigals, Victorian-era standards, Shakespearean ditties and bawdy tavern tunes, the Kansas City Singers provide historical context with their upcoming performances, which include numbers with euphemistically bold lines such as If all them young laddies were butchers so sweet/I’d hang on their hooks, and I’d pound on their meat. Though not Eminem-explicit, Making Love is raunchy enough that parents must accompany spectators younger than 17. (Of course, racy material is about the only thing that would make unsupervised teenagers want to attend a quasi-classical concert.) As a souvenir, concertgoers can grab a calendar that depicts the singers and their partners in, um, provocative poses. The series starts with a reception at 7 p.m. Friday at the Just Off Broadway Theater (3051 Central); additional sets follow at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Call 816-361-0431. — Andrew Miller

Neo-Soul Sister
Sharon Jones gets her groove on.

Sharon Jones might be the best singer you’ve never heard of. She frequently merits comparisons to James Brown protégées Marva Whitney (a KC native) and Lyn Collins; her latest album, Naturally, has earned über-flattering reviews; and a recent knock-’em-dead performance on Late Night With Conan O’Brien scored her legions of unlikely fans. Yet she’s still relatively unknown. Maybe this weekend will change that — locally, anyway. The funk revivalist and her band, the Dap Kings, follow the Golden Republic’s 7 p.m. show Friday at the Bottleneck (737 New Hampshire in Lawrence, 785-841-5483), before heading to the Music Café (120 South Ninth Street in Columbia, 573-815-9995) for a 7:45 p.m. show Saturday. — Annie Fischer

Made in Taiwan

SAT 2/12
While the leaders of Western civilization were splitting each other’s skulls with bronze weapons and feeding their enemies to lions in arenas, entertainers of the Han Dynasty of China were developing stunts — mostly involving household objects — that are still astonishing 2,000 years later. See the National Acrobats of Taiwan at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Folly Theater (301 West 11th Street). Call 816-415-5025. — Jason Harper