Though most metro counties voted against a bistate tax that would have bankrolled stadium improvements and the performing arts, local sports fans and culture enthusiasts still have hope. Only alarmists think the Royals and Chiefs will pack up and leave, the athletic exodus accompanied by sorrowful string arrangements until the Kansas City Symphony dies from insufficient funding. Still, Jackson County must do something; it owes both teams massive stadium upgrades in the next few years. Desperation might serve as the catalyst for a downtown baseball stadium, which might jostle the checkbooks of some corporate contributors. Mayor Kay Barnes and City Manager Wayne Cauthen have concocted their own proposals, which they'll unveil at a luncheon Thursday at the Central Exchange's Avenue Grill, 1020 Central. For $20, visitors get grub and the opportunity to question Barnes and Cauthen after the presentation at 11:45 a.m. Call 816-471-7560 for details. -- Andrew Miller
Hail to the King, baby.
1/15 & 1/17
Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday calls for a few hours celebrating the man whose accomplishments overshadow a few extra hours of sleep. At 1 p.m. Saturday, the Blue Valley Northwest High School jazz combo plays in the school's commons area (13260 Switzer in Overland Park, 913-239-3400) while displays on the civil rights movement, speeches, music and skits are in the performing arts center. On Monday, the American Jazz Museum (1616 East 18th Street, 816-474-8463) opens from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and hosts spoken-word performers and live music in the Gem Theater from 2 to 4. Meanwhile, at Rockhurst University (1100 Rockhurst Road), Kansas City Harmony (816-231-1077) aims for the younger crowd with storytelling, civil rights sign-making and puppetry from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. -- Christopher Sebela
You can't bitch if you don't vote, right? Then come to the Central Library (14 West Tenth Street) at noon on Wednesday, when the Downtowners Book Club hosts a meeting to choose the ten titles it will discuss over the next year. The most opinionated bibliophiles should come with a couple of selections in mind, new or old, fiction or nonfiction -- and be prepared to campaign for them -- whether those opinions (which, in literary circles, so often seem to become accusations) include "Proust was a pretentious fuck," "Danielle Steel is so underrated" or "What do you mean you've never read A Confederacy of Dunces?" Participants will then vote to determine the winners. The first group discussion is February 16. Call 816-701-3400 for more information. -- Annie Fischer