This Weeks Day-By-Day Picks

Thursday, May 1, 2003
Any profession that has apprentices is pretty badass. And an International Sheet Metal Apprentice Contest? Even more badass. The two-day competition starts today, testing metalheads at sheet-metal drafting, welding and architectural interpretation. Jason Ferguson of Edwardsville, Kansas, represents his home state as well as Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska in the second-year-apprentice division. You may scoff, but this is an international competition, folks — Canadians are included — and this is its 31st year. You can watch the competition from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Westin Crown Center Hotel (2450 Grand Avenue). At 6:30 p.m., there will be barbecue and jazz at Sprint Festival Hall in Union Station (30 West Pershing Road). For more information on the free event, call 816-353-0038.

Let’s face it. It’s hard to exist in our modern world without feeling a little guilty for not being Buddhist. But author and psychologist Joan Borysenko is convinced that people can find inner peace without spending hours repeating mantras. Borysenko, who wrote the 1987 best-seller Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, is all about acceptance and mindfulness. But she’s most concerned with getting the Palm Pilot set to simmer down. Borysenko discusses her new book, Inner Peace for Busy People, at 7:30 p.m. at Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 West 47th Street). For tickets, which cost $20 to $35, call 816-561-1627.

Friday, May 2, 2003
Tonight the Unicorn Theatre opens a philosophical drama, Bee-Luther-Hatchee. When an up-and-coming editor attempts to rectify history by publishing once-silenced African-American authors, she forms a surprising bond with the elderly writer of the memoir Bee-Luther-Hatchee. The true nature of their link to each other is a mystery, and in its unraveling lie questions about the barriers between artists and those who attempt to understand their art. Throw in race issues and some corporate ladder climbing, and you’ve got yourself a drama. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Unicorn (3828 Main Street). For tickets, which cost $22.50, call 816-531-7529. The show runs through May 25.

Saturday, May 3, 2003
The Chucky Lou AV Club defends our city’s status among the greatest urban centers in Kansas City: Sleazetown U.S.A. This celebration of hometown pride argues that KC is not a “fifth-rate shitropolis with a well-earned inferiority complex” but rather a burgeoning hotbed of mob control and gross political malfeasance. To demonstrate that we’re on a par with the seedy underbellies of Chicago and others, the event includes a 35-millimeter feature, a performance by the Stretchmarxxx and a 16-millimeter take on “the two faces of Kansas City.” The skankiness commences at 11:40 p.m. at the Top Two Theater (5909 Johnson Drive in Mission). Tickets cost $6. For information, call 816-471-1190.

The conservatory at UMKC has a gamelan. The gamelan is a massive set of large bronze gongs, metallophones, cymbals, drums, flutes and fiddles, all of which are housed in elaborately carved and painted teak cases illustrating scenes from Balinese legends. This bad mama jamma, which took seven months to create before being shipped from Indonesia to the United States, is the largest of its kind in North America. The gamelan sees action in its inaugural concert at noon today at University Playhouse (51st and Holmes). The free event includes Indonesian dance, traditional masks and new music by Western composers with Indonesian influences. For more information, call 816-454-2765.

Sunday, May 4, 2003
Long before there was SpongeBob SquarePants, there was Gertie the Dinosaur. Actually, Gertie even preceded Mickey Mouse. How different would the world be had the wee rodent not stolen the lumbering brontosaurus’ thunder? We suspect that ABC would still air offensive programming like Politically Incorrect and Britney Spears would still be in Louisiana. Catch Gertie, she who never launched an empire, in the Kemper Museum Animation Festival. The museum’s Sunday Cinema starts at 2 p.m. and includes a group of silent-era animated shorts accompanied by live music: Gertie the Dinosaur (1913), Newman’s Laugh-O-Grams (1920s), The Great Chinese Robbery (1920), and 1920s Felix the Cat flicks Felix Woos Whoopee, Polly-tics and Forty Winks. For information on the free festival, call 816-753-5784.

Monday, May 5, 2003
OK, so this has nothing to do with Cinco de Mayo, which is today. Furthermore, it is a lecture. But this one promises to be really good. Iris Marion Young, a philosophy professor at the University of Chicago, speaks on “Responsibility as Distinct From Blame.Young uses current events to explore matters of social justice, which means that political sensitivities will be running high — thus heightening the potential for drama. The free lecture begins at 8 p.m. in Alderson Auditorium at the Kansas Union (1301 Jayhawk Boulevard in Lawrence). For more information, call 785-864-4213.

Tuesday, May 6, 2003
Honky-tonk hero Dwight Yoakam leaves his guitar pedals — and his band — at home and brings a different sound tonight to the Beaumont Club (4050 Pennsylvania). Fresh off the lot from a big-budget Harrison Ford movie, Yoakam took time away from making his forthcoming album, Population Me, to briefly traverse a few states in the Southwest and Midwest with his “Almost Alone” tour. Distorted electric riffs are a staple of Yoakam’s renegade country sound, so this acoustic outing is a rare one. What remains to be seen is whether Yoakam will wear skintight snakeskin pants and work in his trademark boot scoot at such a stripped down, relaxed performance. Yoakam, accompanied by Keith Gattis on various stringed instruments, goes on at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20 or $30, and though it’s an all-ages show, there’s a $3 surcharge at the door for anyone under 21. Call 816-561-2668.

Wednesday, May 7, 2003
Morimur, a dark collage of Bach compositions, is partly beautiful music and partly a controversial thesis. Based on the research of Helga Thoene, a German violin professor, Morimur‘s arrangement includes “hidden chorales” discovered within Bach’s famous Ciaccona. Alternating between one of Bach’s violin pieces and voices singing the chorales, Christoph Poppen’s Morimur proposes that Ciaccona is an epitaph for Bach’s first wife. The spooky, classical chart-topper starts at 8 p.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church (9150 Pflumm Road in Lenexa). Call 913-469-4445 for tickets, which cost $25.