Luci Harper developed an eye for experimental short films when she was a student at the University of Iowa. When she moved to Kansas City, she realized there was a void in local exposure one she wanted to fill. "No one else was really doing what I had in mind," Harper says. "So I decided to start my own festival."
Her first attempt at the Lucid Underground Media Arts Festival (in the West Bottoms, circa 2002) was a grassroots success, thanks largely to word-of-mouth publicity. Now LUMAF is all grown up: This year's installment, presented in conjunction with the Kansas International Film Festival, includes two showcases of 20 experimental films. Screenings are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Glenwood Arts Theatre (9575 Metcalf in Overland Park, 913-642-4404).
Culled from more than 70 submissions from around the United States and Canada, the subjects are widely diverse: zombies, gerbils, the effects of technology and, as always, the quest for the meaning of life. For those who need an awards fix, the first-, second- and third-place films are announced, along with the Audience Choice Award, after Saturday's shows. Tickets are $8 each night, available at the theater or at www.kansasfilm.com. Ray Barker
Expose yourself to a photog party.
During our adolescence, we were determined to become a world-famous photographer. Sadly, our black-and-white series of Sparky sleeping in the mud Dog in Descent didn't strike the proper emotional chord with audiences. At one point, a so-called "mean-spirited" shot of our sister crying on Christmas morning was even given a housewide ban. These days, the Nikon gets dusted off only when somebody is passed out and obscenities have been Sharpied across his forehead. Fortunately, serious photographers are out there doing much more than pointing and clicking at kindergarten humor. The Society for Contemporary Photography appreciates these folks and honors them at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Exposed! party. Check out the group's new digs (520 Avenida Cesar E. Chavez), have some cocktails and place bids in an auction of works by well-known artists David Maisel, Jim Dow and others. Tickets are $35; call 816-471-2115. David Hudnall
A dreamy author goes back to his sweet home: Alabama.
For Rammer Jammer Yellowhammer: A Road Trip Into the Heart of Fan Mania, writer Warren St. John (who works for The New York Times) bought a '78 RV and joined the diehard University of Alabama fans who follow their football team around the South. There's some message here about sports and fandom and freaks (such as a family who skips their daughter's wedding for the 'Bama-Tennessee game). But honestly, ever since Gawker.com named St. John a "Gawker Hottie," we've just wanted to ogle the Birmingham-born journo in person. Leer with us at 1:30 and 5:30 p.m., when he speaks and signs books in the Entercom parking lot (7000 Squibb Road in Mission). Call 913-384-3126. Rebecca Braverman
You Better Work
Lee Friedlander must really like his job.
"When I turned 65, I retired from everything but work" that was a famous joke by the renowned photographer Lee Friedlander. So it's appropriate that a traveling exhibit opening Saturday at the Spencer Museum of Art (1301 Mississippi in Lawrence, 785-864-4710) explores 16 years of America's occupational landscape. We swear Lee Friedlander at Work is less boring than it sounds. Annie Fischer