Troost or Dare

SAT 5/14
Father David Altschul wants to erase Troost Avenue’s shoot-’em-up image from the minds of Kansas Citians. Altschul, a Troost resident since the ’80s and a priest at St. Mary’s of Egypt Orthodox Church, wants to replace that ghetto not-so-fabulous image with what he says he left the suburban malaise of Leawood for: the “mosaic of human life.” That mosaic goes into motion at noon Saturday on the 3100 block of Troost (between 31st Street and Linwood) for the first-ever Troost Avenue Festival. Teenage drum-and-dance unit the Kansas City Marching Cobras gets the party started before the afternoon moves through a mix-and-match lineup of reggae, blues and gospel acts. KCUR 89.3’s Walt Bodine even hosts a storytelling session about his father’s drugstore, once located at the same corner as Saturday’s festival.

For those who are more interested in buying a mosaic, about a dozen artists, such as Troost resident and fashion designer Susan Wiegand, will participate in an art fair. Looking to sit back and get caffeinated? Head to the coffee tent. Festival founders hope that attendees will discuss stimulating social issues — the revitalization of Troost, perhaps? For more information, call 816-756-0099 or see www.creativeprocess.net/cgc/troost. — Neil Mulka

Surreality Bites
We’re heading to the Nelson for a Sommer vacation.

SAT 5/14
Frederick Sommer‘s associates were a Who’s Who of modern art: Man Ray, Max Ernst, Alfred Stieglitz, Peggy Guggenheim, Helen Levitt. But Sommer’s artistic leanings were rooted in the earth: He worked as a landscape architect before experimenting with watercolors, small drawings and the photography for which he would later be most well-known. Some say Sommer was a surrealist photographer after surrealism had gone out of vogue. Photographs from the early ’30s contain gruesome-sounding elements such as chicken parts and amputated feet, yet somehow retain a stately elegance (trust us). His later work has a dreamy quality to it, and his out-of-focus nudes seem timeless, like they could have been printed yesterday or at the turn of the century. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Sommer’s birth, and to properly give the oft-overlooked master his due, Frederick Sommer: Photography, Drawing, Collage — A Centennial Celebration opens Saturday at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (4525 Oak Street). Call 816-561-4000 for more information. — Rebecca Braverman

The Religious Vote
Faith and politics: Aren’t these banned from polite conversation?

THU 5/12
Upon our recent discovery of the diet book What Would Jesus Eat? we started wondering what other ways the Jewish carpenter’s message could be appropriated. What Would Jesus Wear? probably would not look kindly on sweatshop-manufactured goods. What Would Jesus Drive? Well, we bet it’s not a stretch Escalade with spinning rims. Another thoroughly intriguing modern question: How would Jesus vote? The KC PRIDE Democratic Club, an organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered political types, hosts a panel discussion with the same name at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Rockhurst University Community Center (5401 Troost). Up for debate: faith, politics and how the two intersect. Call 816-523-3135. — Braverman

Power Plant

SAT 5/14

We admit it: Fancy-schmancy benefit parties aren’t really our scene. But sometimes we wish they were. Particularly from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Bloom Goes to Rio, the Kansas City Free Health Clinic’s poolside fund-raiser at the Fairmont Hotel (401 Ward Parkway). Excuse to dress up plus froufrou drinks equals big fun. Deterrent? Tickets cost $75 — or, for us, two weeks’ worth of groceries. Anyone offering to buy our ticket can call 816-777-2762 or see www.bloomparty.com. — Annie Fischer

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