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Boot Scoot Boogie

Burro brigadiers develop a new twang.

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SAT 3/26
The Donkey Show -- Kansas City's vaudevillian, animal-attire-intensive variety forum for local talent -- provides concertgoers an alternative to stylistically static three-band bills. Now that the increasingly successful spectacle has reached its sixth installment, the founding promoters have launched a spinoff. On the hooves of the latest mule revue comes Bootleggers Union: Local 816, a concert series extolling the virtues of same-genre showcases, which makes its debut at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday at Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club (3402 Main). The Union rounds up some of the region's finest groups in all our country-spurred fields. Basically, any musician who has ever inspired a drunk listener to yell yee-haw is eligible. This first crop includes bluegrass (Joe Roberts Trio), twangy tunes from a moonlighting metal act (John Nash, featuring members of Cruxed), Western swing (Yellow #5) and rustic rockabilly (Johnny Switchblade and the KC Crooners). To encourage the theme, they'll knock a few bucks off the $10 cover charge for cowpoke costumes. For more information, call 816-361-2455. --Andrew Miller

The Gong Show

FRI 3/25
Who knew that Kansas City had the largest Balinese dance ensemble on the continent? The Gamelan Genta Kasturi (Balinese for blossoming sound) is a UMKC Conservatory-based group of mostly experienced community musicians and dancers whose elaborate performances are inspired by the communal traditions of Bali's isolated Hindu population. Even the group's instruments have a fascinating history. Constructed out of bronze in Bali and Java over a period of seven months and housed in ornately carved teak cases, the gongs, metallophones, flutes and myriad other instruments were painstakingly tuned, then blessed by priests for their journey to Kansas City. The dancers, whose facial expressions are essential to their dances, provide a visual context for the music. The troupe performs for free (though donations are welcome) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at UMKC's Pierson Auditorium (4949 Cherry). Call 816-235-2742 for information. -- April Fleming

Radio Free Academia

SUN 3/27
Second only to A Prairie Home Companion, the University of Missouri-Kansas City's weekly radio program New Letters on the Air is the nation's oldest English-major-hard-on-inducing talk show. Since 1977, the broadcast counterpart to the school's literary mag has been bringing diverse authors to the microphone. To plebeian ears, this has amounted to a three-decade sophomore lit lecture; to aspiring writers, the show has been a stolid, weekly dose of self-affirmation. Women's History Month is the show's theme for March; Arundhati Roy fans should tune in to KCUR 89.3 at 5 p.m. Sunday for an interview with Indian novelist Bharati Mukherjee. -- Jason Harper

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