The old "loves me/loves me not" dichotomy grows ever more complicated in this technologically advanced world. Switches turn on and off. Computer programs read a binary code. We use number two pencils to take tests, and we'd better erase all mistakes completely. It's always yes or no. A person could become truly obsessed with the words yes and no, as obsessed as a kid with a crush and only the number of petals on a daisy for answers. Maura Cluthe certainly exhibits such obsessive tendencies in her artwork, on display at the Blue Gallery, 7 West 19th Street, through Saturday. Grid::Continuum is a maddening circuit of the word yes, the word no, the occasional maybe and a lot of angsty drawings of frustrated people. For more information, call 816-527-0823.
Many the nü-metal band proclaims it's on a mission to save rock. Saying that rock needs a Messiah is like asserting that pro basketball is teetering on extinction. But when LA's rough-and-tumble garage-rockers The B-Movie Rats make a similar claim, it's a different story altogether. Mixing the soul and flair of Chuck Barry with the aggression and attitude of Mike Ness, the Rats have progressed from straight-ahead punk to emotional, intense, thought-provoking material with plenty of rough edges. In the religion of rock, that's like making whiskey out of whine. Joining the B-Movie crew tonight at the Pyro Room, 1809 Grand, are Grand Punk Railroad and kill.pop. For more information, call 816-221-7976.
Wylliams/Henry Danse Theatre is a local dance company with top-notch modern dancers brought in from major cities around the world. They've been presenting works by big-name choreographers like Dave Parsons for ten years now. So why don't more people know about them? "If I could figure that one out," says Artistic Director Mary Pat Henry, "I'd be in good shape." She suggests that maybe locals assume the gigs from out of town are the only ones worth seeing. Which is too bad, considering that Wylliams/Henry is about as innovative and polished as modern dance gets. Included in the group's tenth-anniversary performance are works like Sweet in the Morning, a lyrical and elastic narrative about an experience that the late Leni Wylliams had in church one morning, and Esperando nen Silencio, Henry's charged piece about the mothers of Argentina who protested a war by standing together and holding up pictures of their missing loved ones for everybody to see. The show starts at 8 p.m. at White Hall, 4949 Cherry. Tickets cost $18. For more information, call 816-235-6222.
The infestation begins today -- and we're not just talking about the mob of ants beginning to congregate in your kitchen sink for their annual spring meeting. Powell Gardens, 1609 Northwest U.S. Highway 50 in Kingsville, welcomes Dave Rogers' Big Bugs to Kansas City. A 25-foot ant, an eighteen-foot praying mantis and a two-hundred-pound grasshopper have been invited onto the premises. Luckily, it's the sink-sized bugs that outnumber people a million to one, not the Powell Gardens-sized bugs. Rogers' sculptures are created using whole trees, branches and other forest materials. Ants tower over treetops. A praying mantis says his meditations over a whole field. A dragonfly casts a shadow over the entire span of a pond. The size of these bugs alone serves to reverse the roles of humans and insects, leaving people in awe of creatures they take for granted on a daily basis. For more information, call 816-697-2600.
The Iron Giant, showing at 2 p.m. in the Kemper Museum's Sunday Cinema Series on animation, is a good movie. Most critics feel compelled to qualify this statement by noting that even though the film is animated, it's surprisingly entertaining for adults as well as children -- but this political satire needs no such apology. In this 1999 movie, a boy named Hogarth Hughes happens upon a giant metal creature -- who must be from either space or from Russia -- and somehow ends up befriending the dangerously humongous iron man. Meanwhile, the adults who spot the Iron Giant don't take so kindly to un-American robots, and young Hogarth, who only wanted a pet, becomes the object of a McCarthy-like witch hunt. For more information, call the Kemper at 816-753-5784.
Tonight might be the night to dine at Tribal Grill, 1808 West 39th Street, where local artist Peter Max Lawrence's Big Train and the Mystery Game is on display. The oil paintings on wood panels depict various childhood drawings. Although he's been enmeshed in controversy of late -- his homosexuality irked some viewers at the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library -- this display is playful and shouldn't cause too much uproar over dinner. And if the display brings back any old fears of monsters under the bed, we recommend extra garlic sauce; it tastes good, and it's bound to keep even imaginary foes at bay. For more information, call 816-756-5566.
Recent high school and college graduates, take note: Tonight is WorldQuest 2001, a trivia contest sponsored by the Young Ambassadors of the International Relations Council. Knowledge, however useless, will be rewarded. Kansas Citians can dispense with information that's been accumulating and festering; this knowledge may even be challenged. A sample question: "Who is the prime minister of India?" Anyone who's afraid their knowledge isn't up to par for this kind of quiz might be interested in attending just to learn. The games begin at 6 p.m. at Pierson Auditorium at UMKC, 4949 Cherry, and the $40 reservation includes a dinner over which contestants can try to pirate one another's grasp of current events. For more information, call 816-221-4204.
Books on empowerment for women are plentiful these days, especially on Oprah's list of favorites. But an author like Jennifer Weiner stands out for her ability to make a serious point without losing all ability to laugh at herself. She reduces the story of her life between 1975 and 1986 to the simple phrase "many unfortunate hair and fashion choices" and unabashedly declares that after graduating summa cum laude from Princeton in 1991 she was qualified to do nothing but write self-conscious stories about her parents' divorce. She's coming to Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 West 47th Street, at 7:30 tonight to share some insights while discussing her new book, Good in Bed. And though we're a little disappointed that it's not what it sounds like, the book is still stimulating. The main character, Cannie, is a plus-sized woman whose ex-boyfriend writes a newspaper story called "Good In Bed" about what it's like to "love a larger woman." Though initially mortified, Cannie gets over it and learns to take the compliment. For more information, call 913-384-3126.