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Playa Lovin'

Against Da Grain has a good rap.

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WED 6/11

The rap world is enjoying another positive-message trend. With "I Can," Nas encourages kids to choose education over drugs and sex. Eminem proclaims the healing potential of rap in "Sing for the Moment." And even Snoop is full of redemption, declaring monogamy to a "Beautiful" woman (though he indeed will smack a nigga that tries to pursue it). The new Kansas City rap group Against Da Grain is getting in on the affirmative beat with its self-titled debut album (not to be confused with the 1999 Youngbloodz release of the same name, marked by lyrics such as I feel like killing stuff). Against Da Grain's members, raised in the Quindaro neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas, produced their record through leader Daniel Hill's own company, Inner Man Innertainment. In case the company name doesn't give it away, Hill says the group's main objective is to create encouraging and inspirational music. Against Da Grain performs at noon at the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library (625 Minnesota Avenue). It's the first show in the library's summer concert series, which also includes Irish rock, mariachi and Celtic performances. The concerts are free, and people can bring their own lunches or buy a slice of pizza on-site. For information, call 913-551-3280.-- Sarah Smarsh

Dress Derby
Models hit the street.

SAT 6/7

Claire Coleman, the woman behind Isabel's Fashion Spectacle, is a wee bit disappointed. Oh, it's not the clothes -- roughly fifteen designers and textile artists are contributing exquisite garments made from fabric, paper, vinyl and everything in between for the show at Isabel's Boutique on West 18th Street between Baltimore and Wyandotte. And the T.J. Dovebelly Ensemble will perform, surfing models down the outdoor runway on a jazzy wave of improvised song. Even the runway itself is remarkable -- it now stretches the length of the block. With everything coming along so swimmingly, what could be the pea under Coleman's pin cushion? Three words: Commando Fashion Raid. "We wanted to have the models rappel down off that building across the street," Coleman says wistfully. The cost of insurance was prohibitive, so this year's spectators must make due with a miniderby of exhibition skateboarders and models transported on scooters and lowriders. The show runs from 6 to 10 p.m.-- Kelly Sue DeConnick

Baklava to the Future
A bake sale goes festive.

SAT- SUN

The festival hosted by St. Dionysios Greek Orthodox Church (8100 West 95th Street in Overland Park) is a middle-aged success story, celebrating 42 years this weekend after starting as a modest sale of Mediterranean pastries. The recipes are timeless but time-consuming, which is why church members start baking weeks before the event. "We've become a well-oiled machine," says Paula Sanborn, who personally grinds the nuts for the 3,000 wedges of baklava baked by the ladies of the parish. An all-volunteer crew tosses salads, slices gyros and grills the souvlaki, lamb and chicken on charcoal grills. From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on June 7, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on June 8, it's an orgy. Of eating, that is.-- Charles Ferruzza

Silent Scream

WED 6/11

One of film's grisliest images is a razor slitting an eyeball in the 1929 surrealist masterpiece Un Chien Andalou. Discover what it means in the four-week Communiversity class Silent Horror Classics, which starts Wednesday. Instructor Lauren Burdolski says, "Because of all the gore now, sometimes the silents are the scarier ones. Just because someone is disemboweled on screen doesn't make it a horror film." Call 816-363-6310 for information on the class, which is held in room 403 of UMKC's Royall Hall.-- Steve Walker

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