If fake eyelashes are better than real lashes and wigs are superior to hair, it follows that spinning records is better than strumming guitars and singing. For adherents to the cocktail-lounge group Combustible Edison's "Doctrine of Inauthenticity," tonight's show at The Pub, 1727 McGee, promises to be an extravaganza of simulated pleasures, with tiki dolls reigning supreme. DJs Nathaniel Stewart and JJ present an "assault on the senses" called Random Acts of Splendor, transporting listeners to the world of exotica using not only sound but sight, smell, taste (with the help of bartenders), and touch (for the lucky) as well. Fabulous attire is recommended. For more information, call 816-421-1634.
Yesterday's rebels are today's classics, so The Beatles are honored with a re-release of A Hard Day's Night at the Fine Arts Theater, 5909 Johnson Drive in Mission. Tonight's opening presents a rare chance to buy a ticket to a Fab Four show, albeit in movie form. The movie captures The Beatles' U.S. debut -- right after the group appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show -- and it ought to explain to virgin audiences how these four singing Brits won Americans' hearts. Even for A Hard Day's Night first-timers, though, the songs are familiar standards, and all viewers can get a sense of the excitement people felt when such catchy tunes as "And I Love Her" and "Can't Buy Me Love" were new. Plus, The Beatles are really cute, and it's fun to watch them dance around. Tickets are $6 for adults, but screaming young girls who love that Ringo may qualify for a children's discount. For more information, call 913-262-4466.
A lot of people claim to be Lovelorn, but Alex Fox makes an inarguable case. That word is not just the name of the country music duo in which she sings, accompanied on the guitar by Teague C. Hayes. It's also tattooed across her knuckles; Fox has been branded by her ill-fated affairs. Original songs -- such as "Abby," dedicated to her ex-boyfriend's wife, and "Watermark," about how new loves can serve as reminders of more piercing past loves -- demonstrate the group's strong lyrical capabilities. At the same time, Lovelorn's ELO covers and down-home versions of songs from Grease (My mind says, "Fool, forget him"/My heart says, "Don't let go") serve to amuse, but in the hands of Fox and Hayes they also take on a surprising sincerity. Fox may have branded knuckles, but her heart-shaped tattoo (right by the elbow) does imply that there's hope for the future: Inside the heart fly two flags, one blank, the one below it reading "forever." She's holding out for possibilities. Lovelorn opens for admirers Rex Hobart and Brendan Moreland of Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys tonight at The Pub. For more information, call 816-421-1634.
At Westport Presbyterian Church, 201 Westport Road, tonight's Christmas Eve candlelight communion service includes a Christmas Eve in Cyberspace presentation. Computer images of art by Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Vincent Van Gogh, Vassily Kandinsky, and Sandro Botticelli coincide with scripture reading, anthems, and hymns. The presentations give worshippers a new and exciting way to connect with Jesus in the cyberspace age, according to the Reverend Scott Myers. When combined with choir singing, the visual show ought to stimulate the senses in a way that the Christmas story never has before. The service begins at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 816-931-1032.
For people who aren't into Christmas, December 25 can be an incredibly boring day. Luckily, synagogues are full of bearded elders with years and years of experience in trying to stay amused, busy, or at least sane on Christmas without so much as a single tree ornament. These wise men have begun pondering matters other than gold, frankincense, and myrrh: First, there's the eggnog. Then there's Chinese food. But for those who have been filled with the Christmas spirit and a desire to partake in the season of giving without giving a dollar to the shopping malls, Temple B'nai Jehuda is staffing the Ronald McDonald House with volunteers this week. One needn't be Jewish to be unobservant. This home for terminally ill children and their families appreciates the gesture, and the workers who devote their time to the home year-round are grateful to have Christmas off. For more information on this and other Christmastime service projects, call 816-363-1050, ext. 216.
Kansas Citians who have been sitting at home on the couch because of the inclement weather may be trying to conjure up images of temperate springs and falls. It's not easy, though, so a trip to Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center, 1401 N.W. Park Road in Blue Springs, may be necessary. Tonight the center shows a variety of nature videos for Winter Movie Fest, with topics including snakes, Missouri mammals, hunting and fishing in Missouri, endangered species, and the all-time favorite from school days, Smokey Bear. That's right, Smokey Bear is back, and he doesn't mind if you burn wood in your fireplace -- just don't go starting forest fires. Hey, even the American Red Cross is doling out warnings on the fire hazards of holiday traditions, reminding people not to put Christmas trees near heat sources, such as radiators, as well as pointing out the perils of putting toys that generate sparks under the tree. For more information on the Winter Movie Fest, call 816-759-1000.
People are probably getting tired of seeing nativity scenes on lawns by now. After all, Christmas was two days ago, and even before it arrived it had outstayed its welcome. Still, maybe now that the commercial onslaught has subsided, Kansas Citians can stop and remember what Christmas was all about before greeting cards became necessary. Yes, before Hallmark there was Bethlehem. The Paul Messner Puppets take viewers back with their annual performance of Nativity at Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral, 415 W. 13th Street, tonight at 7. Elaborate, larger-than-life puppets tell the story of how one silent night, Jesus was born. Actors dressed as monks (don't be fooled, they're not really monks) manipulate puppets to musical accompaniment. Tickets cost $10. For more information, call 816-235-2700.