This Weeks Day-By-Day Picks

Thursday, July 17, 2003

We recommend the reading and signing of High Strung by Quinn Dalton for several reasons. First, the author and the book have great names. (Please note that if the female author’s first and last names are reversed, you have a very plausible man’s name.) Second, the main character in High Strung is incredibly likeable. Worried that she’s like her mother, the “underfed, sexually exhausted, pornographically overwhelmed” London-dwelling adult-novel editor moves to Ohio, which she discovers is not boring but crazy in a whole new way. And that brings us to the third reason people should attend this event: to experience the feeling that the Midwest is not the picture of normality that everyone says it is but, rather, is home to a hypernormality that makes people even weirder than they would be elsewhere. The reading is at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 West 47th Street, at 7 p.m. For information, call Rainy Day Books at 913-384-3126.

Friday, July 18, 2003

If you like bands with simple, descriptive names (rather than names that are cryptic phrases that make no sense), you might appreciate the Above Average Basement Band, playing classic rock in a free outdoor concert in Howard Station Park, Third and Southeast Main in downtown Lee’s Summit. The Above Average Basement Band plays from 7 to 8:30 p.m.; About Lisa takes the stage from 8:30 to 10 p.m. For information, call 816-246-9355.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Bulldogs may appear intimidating — unless you imagine them as Alfred Hitchcock, their jowls suddenly taking on an uncanny resemblance to the suspense master’s rubbery, old-man neck fat. Then they just look funny. That’s what’s great about the wrinkly dog breeds in general. They are so easily personified. If imagining the bulldog as Alfred Hitchcock is not comforting — Hitchcock did stage scenes of shower murder, identity fraud and bird attacks, after all — try imagining them as regal sorts, the folds of their skin resembling robes or suggesting that they’ve eaten like kings and they labor not. Actually, bulldogs work very hard, if not as people’s companions then often as show dogs — where pink eye rims are considered a cosmetic fault, narrow hips constitute a serious flaw, and lips should be full but not pendulous. People who love their bulldogs just as they are should bring their pups to Antioch Mall (Vivion and Antioch roads in North Kansas City) to register them for the Heart of America Bulldog Club Fun Match — a show geared toward amateurs who want to have fun with their dogs and look at other members of the breed. Be there between 10 and 10:30 a.m. for registration; the show gets under way at 11 and continues until around 12:30 p.m. If you are deathly afraid of dogs, today is not the day to shop at Antioch Mall. For information, call 816-230-3335.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Going to see a play called The Cemetery Club might not sound like the most uplifting way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Though a few characters die, this play is a comedy about the deceased characters’ widowed wives, à la The Golden Girls. And The Golden Girls remains one of the most popular syndicated shows on television, with a Web site featuring a game in which Internet surfers can find out which Golden Girl they most closely resemble. The 1992 film adaptation of The Cemetery Club didn’t play to rave reviews, but a handful of critics commended the script for its unusual take on older women. The play begins at 2:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center of the Kansas City, Kansas, Community College, 7250 State Avenue. Today’s performance concludes The Cemetery Club‘s run. For information, call 913-621-2047.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Up for a weird-ass road trip? If so, we recommend the Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas. A retired schoolteacher began building the Garden of Eden in 1907, using 113 tons of cement and many tons of limestone to construct his “log” cabin and a bunch of scary-looking sculptures. Also on the grounds is the mausoleum he built for himself and his wife. Yes, the garden’s creator remains on the premises. With his wife. Don’t watch any scary movies before you go. To get directions, call 785-525-6395.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Fred Schlomka, a peace activist living in Israel, is the operations manager for the Committee Against House Demolitions, He believes that people who don’t live as neighbors can hardly overcome their struggle to find common ground. That’s why he engages in nonviolent actions opposing the demolition of Arab homes and organizes multiethnic housing cooperatives in Israel. To hear his perspective, head to Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 West 47th Street) at 7 p.m. For information, call Citizens for Justice in the Middle East, 816-524-3904.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Today at the Kemper Museum (4420 Warwick, 816-753-5784) is a program called Art of Food/Food in Art — Sandwiches. But unless you have already signed up, you cannot attend this class. It filled up almost immediately upon being announced. In the event that you had been looking forward to perfecting the art of sandwiches today but dragged your feet when it came to reserving your spot in the workshop, we have some suggestions. Suggestion No. 1: Attend the Summer in Italy class on authentic Italian cuisine at the Kansas City Culinary Institute (7917 Foster in Overland Park, 913-341-4455). Suggestion No. 2: Stick with the sandwich theme, pile into the backseat of a car with two other people, and squish the person sitting in the middle during sharp turns as though he or she were the filling between two pieces of bread. Suggestion No. 3: Go to the Kemper and check out Wayne Thiebaud’s paintings of food, which inspired the popular class, and then stare longingly in the direction of Café Sebastienne in hopes that you will look pathetic enough to weasel your manipulative way into the class despite your lazy, procrastinating nature.