The only thing scarier than going 230 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, where a diver can easily get lost in the minimal visibility and strong underwater currents, is being 230 feet underwater in a Nazi graveyard. But that's where two scuba divers repeatedly found themselves over the course of 6 years as they obsessively labored to solve the mystery of a sunken World War II German U-boat 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey. Historians had never before verified that a German submarine had ever made it that close to American soil. But after bringing swastika-emblazoned dishes to the surface, the divers knew they had the chance to rewrite history -- if they could only identify which U-boat lay below. Author Robert Kurson recounts their pursuit in Shadow Divers, detailing the underwater missions, the crackpot requests for Nazi skulls, the endless hours of research and interviews with aging U-boat captains. Kurson speaks at Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 West 47th Street) at 7 p.m. Call 913-384-3126 for free tickets.
Friday, July 23
It's Friday night, so get all dolled up if you want -- but leave your heels in the closet and trek over to Larrytown for the Downtown Friday Gallery Walk. From 7 to 9 p.m. in downtown Lawrence, 13 art galleries stay open late to the public, including Ad Astra Eclectica Galleria (205 West Eighth Street), the Lawrence Arts Center (940 New Hampshire), Signs of Life (722 Massachusetts), Olive Gallery and Art Supply (15 East Eighth Street) and the Red Dresser (524 North Second Street). Coordinated by Sheila Wilkins (Fields Gallery, 712 Massachusetts), tonight's art walk is the largest to date. For more information, call 785-842-7187.
Saturday, July 24
Whether you want to listen to extended mandolin jams from the comfort of a tent or take in glitchy electronic pop within arm's distance of another beer, we've got your back today. For fans of the former, the Bogart Music Festival at Cedar Hill Amphitheater 45 minutes south of town is a sure thing, with a full roster that includes Brody Buster, Back Porch Mary and the Nace Brothers. The festivities started yesterday, but there should still be some decent tent-pitching spots left when the music starts again at 2 p.m. today. Take U.S. Highway 71 south to Missouri Highway 7, then head south toward Clinton and turn east at the Urich exit. A single night plus camping costs $25; it's $15 for noncampers who want to leave after the fireworks at 1 a.m. Call 816-753-4068 for details. For live music fans of a different ilk, the Brick (1727 McGee) provides an air-conditioned, mosquito-free alternative with Namelessnumberheadman (whom we've taken to calling Nonamedigitcabezadude), the Silver Shore and the T.J. Dovebelly Ensemble. The 21-and-over show costs $7. Call 816-421-1634.
Sunday, July 25
The Gaslight Tavern (317 North Second Street, just across the bridge in north Lawrence) might be smaller than a dorm room, but it can fit twice the party -- and, more important, it has a liquor license. On Sundays, DJ Konsept kicks out a laid-back party vibe with Dirty Boogie -- old soul, doo-wop and blues -- in the teensy-weensy cottage bar. We all know that Lawrence recently harshed the mellow of its tobacco smokers, but that's not a problem at the Gaslight. The Gaslight offers inhaling room on its patio, which effectively doubles the size of the place. Purchasing power is also doubled with $3 Bloody Marys and $3 Guinness draws. For details, call 785-856-4330.
Monday, July 26
Hometown hero Harry Truman is known more for stopping the buck than for his fashion sense. But even though he might have dropped the bomb, he never dropped the ball when it came to looking dapper. Before he was the 33rd president, Truman owned a haberdashery. It went out of business, but you get the point. The Truman House (223 North Main Street in Independence) likes to show off the president's wardrobe with such exhibits as 2002's The Many Hats of Truman. This year hauls the shoe trees out of the presidential footwear for Truman's Shoes. We would've called it The Shoe-Me State. Anyway, the free exhibit is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through November 15. Call 816-254-9929 for details.
Tuesday, July 27
Nesting: It's a Chick Thing is a hideously named how-to book on ways to become a domestic goddess. We were prepared to hate it, but some of it actually resonates. We felt ostracized by our friends who were embracing their new Kitchen-Aid mixers, because we didn't think cooking sounded fun at all. Not until we read the wise tip from one Sallie Tisdale did we understand we'd been going about it all wrong. "Like impulsively chosen lovers," she writes, "a lot of recipes look less appetizing in the cold light of day." Now you're speaking our language, Sallie! We've since realized that if we get good and sloppy, cooking sounds superfun. The authors responsible for supplying our revelation, Ame Mahler Beanland and Emily Miles Terry, come to Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 West 47th Street) at 7 tonight. Maybe they can help you, too. Call 913-384-3126 for more information.
Wednesday, July 28
According to the terribly polite woman who answered the phone at the American Jazz Museum, salsa is "a uniquely American blend of Latin and African music." Apparently it's a blend so unique that the museum is devoting a whole new exhibit, which opened Saturday and runs until October 17, to exploring its evolution. Ráices: The Roots of Latin Music in New York City, in the museum's Changing Gallery (1616 East 18th Street), includes 3 months of concerts and workshops dedicated to sexy pas de deux. If you couldn't make it to the opening reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, check out the exhibit today; the museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 816-474-8463.