Jim Harrison is the good-old-boy author of the novella Legends of the Fall, which was turned into a film of the same name starring Brad Pitt as the irresistible protagonist, Tristan Ludlow. After a prolific but commercially unsuccessful writing career, Harrison turned to screenwriting in Hollywood, where he made, and then lost, millions of dollars, befriending Jack Nicholson along the way. Now the Michigan native has written a novel about his homeland, True North, a story that, the promotional blurb says, "pits a son against the legacy of his affluent family's desecration of the land" and has an "entirely surprising and tragic crescendo." Well, we simply adore surprising and tragic crescendos, so count us in when Harrison discusses the book at 7 p.m. at Unity Temple on the Plaza (747 West 47th Street). Call Rainy Day Books at 913-384-3126 for more information.
Friday, June 11
As much as we like watching dudes of all sizes smack the crap out of each other, boxing sort of confuses us. Seven fights go down tonight at Municipal Hall (301 West 13th Street). One is an IBA (International Boxing Association) Welterweight Title Championship between 16-0 Rico "Lightning" Land and 4-1 Donovan Casteneda. The other is an IBC (International Boxing Champs) bout for the heavyweight title between 9-0 Leroy "Big Daddy" Childs and 13-3 Ralph West. IBA, IBC -- WTF? We'll just have to shell out somewhere between $25 and $80 for tickets so we can ask some educated fight fans to explain the difference among the three-letter abbreviations. Regardless, we're putting our money on the fighters with the cool nicknames. The action starts at 7:30. Call 816-931-3330 for tickets.
Saturday, June 12
The Crossroads Arts District now affords its visitors more than just a standing Friday-night social engagement each month. Now there's shopping! From 10 a.m. to noon today, Kansas City Home Design magazine doles out free pastries, shopping bags and maps of the mile-wide district near its offices at 118 Southwest Boulevard. Visitors can check out shops, including Black Bamboo, a gorgeous new space selling Asian antiques and home accessories; Hudson Home, a modern design studio and showroom; and the new location for Retro Inferno and its midcentury furnishings. The stores stay open until 5 p.m. with promises of special discounts, food tastings and Webster House Antique's annual warehouse sale. For more information, contact Katie at 816-421-4111, ext. 230.
Sunday, June 13
When we called the St. Dionysios Church (8100 West 95th Street in Overland Park) to get the lowdown on this weekend's 43rd Annual Greek Festival: The 2004 Food Olympics, volunteers were already hard at work chopping peppers in the church kitchen. That was last Friday -- they were chopping vegetables more than a week ahead of time. That's a good indicator of how many hungry people they're expecting (10,000 gyro-chomping and ouzo-swigging visitors). The festivities started yesterday, but we're gonna cool off and hope today's crowd might be a little smaller so we can get a clean shot at the baklava table. Admission and parking are free, and the air-conditioned tents are filled with souvlaki, spanakopita, dolmades and galactobouriko. Traditional Greek dance performances are at noon, 2, 4 and 6 p.m. (The festival itself goes from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.) For details, call 913-341-7373.
Monday, June 14
The original tagline for Monty Python's Life of Brian read "See the movie that's controversial, sacrilegious, and blasphemous. But if that's not playing, see The Life of Brian." That was 25 years ago, but with the timely rerelease of the Biblical parody, its tagline is almost prophetic, especially given the recent Mel Gibson flick about You Know Who. In the 1979 film, Graham Chapman plays Brian, a man born on the original Christmas who, rather than bearing the sins of mankind, bears a slight resemblance to Jesus. Mistaken-identity comedy as could only be performed by the Monty Python crew ensues (including John Cleese taking on multiple roles with variations on London's cockney accent). The irreverent satire plays tonight at the Rio Theatre (7204 West 80th Street in Overland Park, 913-383-8500) at 5:10 p.m. for $6 and 7:35 p.m for $8.
Tuesday, June 15
The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival is terribly romantic, isn't it? Listening to the compelling verse of Julius Caesar, sitting on a blanket under the stars, breathing that grassy summer air and, if you're as lucky as we are, walking five blocks from our car to our apartment because festivalgoers have left NO GODDAMNED PARKING. Yep, starting tonight and lasting until July 11 every night except Mondays and the Fourth of July, if we don't want to flounce half a mile in heels, we must be home in our Southmoreland apartment by 6 p.m. or not plan to get home until midnight, when everyone has cleared out. The show starts at 8 and is free if you bring your own chair or blanket -- otherwise you can rent a chair for $5 or reserve a seat up front for $10. Southmoreland Park is located at 47th and Oak streets, and there's parking in the lots at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (44th and Warwick), the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (45th and Oak), the Kauffman Foundation Memorial Garden (48th and Rockhill) and the UMKC Parking Garage (50th and Oak). So park there. Call 816-531-7728 for more information.
Wednesday, June 16
To be perfectly honest, we don't usually go out and party in Westport on Wednesday nights. However, some new information has come across our desk that causes us to reconsider the hump-day party embargo: The Westport Beach Club (4050 Pennsylvania) has started hosting Reggaeton Wednesdays. At first we thought, Tons of reggae? We're SO there. Then we did more research and discovered that reggaeton is a Puerto Rican hybrid of reggae and hip-hop. We're still so there. The fiesta starts at 9 p.m. and, in a surefire way to monkey-wrench your Thursday, goes until 3 a.m. For details, call 816-931-2224.