In a Brooklyn neighborhood where stray cars are taken in more often than stray cats, a young Eddie Lama, the subject of the documentary The Witness, went from cat sitter to cat lover to vegetarian to animal rights activist. Despite the fact that his cat-sitting experience was sparked more by a desire to get to know the woman who owned the cat than a desire to look after the cat, Lama ended up falling for the kitten instead of the woman. Knowing that prime-time television would rather depict animals in such scenarios as When Good Pets Turn Bad, Lama started showing footage about animal cruelty on the side of his van, which he drives around New York's shopping districts. This documentary, which delivers the anti-cruelty spiel in a different, grittier voice, screens at Westport Coffeehouse, 4010 Pennsylvania, at 7 p.m. For more information, call 816-756-3222.
According to the Web site for the literary journal McSweeney's, www.mcsweeneys.net, the existence of author Neal Pollack in the three-dimensional world most of us -- chat-room fiends and eBay junkies notwithstanding -- inhabit has been called into question. If doubts persist despite the publication of The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature, the dying breed of skeptics can go to Unity Temple, 707 W. 47th Street, at 7:30 p.m. The sight of Pollack may be obscured by members of Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys, who will accompany Pollack for the show, but the author's voice likely will stand out a bit, giving him away as the one who writes as opposed to the ones who sing. This event is not so much a reading as a literary performance, and judging by his anthology, which parodies all that's sacred to American literature professors, it should prove fun and irreverent. For more information or for tickets, call Rainy Day Books, 913-384-3126.
Spalding Gray, the neurotic New Yorker who's more a contemporary of Woody Allen than of Jerry Seinfeld, has become a beaming father who wants to talk about the kids. It's hard to say which is scarier, that he's molding the character of innocent children or that he's moved to the Hamptons. Fortunately, Gray has maintained his ironic sensibility, which pervades Morning, Noon and Night, the monologue he'll perform at the Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th, at 8 p.m. In a performance reminiscent of Dylan Thomas' Under Milkwood (minus the charming Welsh accent), Gray sits at the mic with a glass of water and a script, recounting a day at home with the family. Tickets cost $25. For more information, call 816-474-4444.
Although he wrote many a published book, Charles Darwin was not known for his storytelling prowess. So with all due respect, although there may be a scientific explanation for why the duck has a short tail, many of us would prefer to hear Dr. Louis W. Ballard's explanation in the form of his original composition based on the Native American folk tale Why the Duck Has a Short Tail. Performed by the Paul Messner Puppets at Gano Memorial Chapel on the William Jewell campus in Liberty, the enactment of the tale helps fulfill Ballard's need to help people "understand and learn from the aboriginal American what motivates his musical and artistic impulses." The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $12. For more information, call 816-781-7700, ext. 5184.
At the risk of giving away the ending, it needs to be said that the association between blood and weddings in Federico Garcia Lorca's tragedy Blood Wedding has nothing to do with consummation. Whatever visions theatergoers may have of a sweet story with flowers, rice, rings, honeymoons and an innocent bride and groom can be tossed out the window. The poetic beauty in Blood Wedding doesn't come in the form that wedding enthusiasts might expect. A Spanish bullfight without a bull is probably a better frame of reference than a white wedding anyhow. The play, newly translated by Lillian Garrett-Groag, shows at 7 tonight at Missouri Repertory Theatre, 4949 Cherry, and runs through April 1. For more information, call 816-235-2700.
Rock and roll and high school have always had a symbiotic relationship. The school hassles the kids, and the kids look to rock as a way to hassle back. The marriage between loud guitars and stinky gymnasiums has been documented in such images as Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video (envisioned as a punk-rock pep rally), The Ramones' appearance in the camp classic Rock 'n' Roll High School and a pivotal scene involving Ian MacKaye and a high school gym's unsuspecting basketball hoop in the Fugazi documentary Instrument. According to Internet reports, Weezer's comeback arena tour continues the theme, with its stage setup offering a warped tribute to grades nine through twelve. The geek-rock standard-bearer will preview such tunes as "Island in the Sun" and "Don't Let Go" from an album due this summer. Ozma and KC's own The Get Up Kids will open the show, 8 p.m. at Memorial Hall, 600 N. 7th Street in Kansas City, Kansas, after being chosen as ideal warm-up acts by visitors to Weezer's Web site. For more information, call 816-931-3330.
When Ronnie James Dio's horned baby, the forked fist of the devil, is thrust into the air in these postmodern times, it's hard to decide whether the gesturer is paying heartfelt expression to insane riffage or just making a lame sarcastic joke. Enemymine straddles the fence between these two camps, satisfying both the OZZfest crowd and the college-radio flock. Rising from the ashes of semilegendary sludge duo godHeadsilo, Enemymine focuses where vocalist Mike Kunka's former outfit meandered. This trio ransacks Black Sabbath's riffs but adds enough spark and playful energy to separate itself from the stoner-rock slag pile. When Enemymine lumbers through its low-end-heavy plodders at the Replay Lounge, 946 Massachusetts in Lawrence, even irony-minded indie fans might produce an earnest sign of the beast. For more information, call 785-749-7676.
With the vision of snow fresher in our memories than the smell of flowers, it's strange but true that the time of year for flower arranging at Loose Park is upon us. Susan Looney, who studied Ikebana (the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement in Japan), gives a demonstration at this month's meeting of the Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group. The group meets at the Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, at noon. To make reservations, call 816-741-7165. Meanwhile, beware: The ides are approaching.