So far, this column has focused mostly on high-brow events like the symphony, theater and classic film. But your Kansas City Connection recognizes that sometimes you just want to take a little trip to go out and buy stuff.
Lucky for you, the Kansas City area is now home to not one but two Trader Joe’s stores. Famous for its so-called “Two-buck Chuck” (Charles Shaw wines, $2.99 a bottle), Trader Joe’s offers a staggering variety of snacks, drinks, frozen dinners — perfect for throwing a party or stocking the pantry.
The Kinks once sang, “Give The People What They Want,” but Trader Joe took it a step further by giving the people what they didn’t even realize they wanted — at least that’s how I felt while stuffing my cart full of dark-chocolate-covered coconut mango bites. Locations at 4201 W. 119th St. in Leawood (near the Apple Store) and 8600 Ward Parkway in KCMO.
If you visit the Ward Parkway location, check out the shopping center itself, which includes an interesting mix of larger retailers (Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, TJ Maxx) alongside classic mall attractions like a hat store, an eyebrow threading kiosk, and one of those giant funnels you put quarters in (which I’m convinced is what keeps the whole mall afloat).
Indian Creek Fine Silver and Jewelry has a great selection of hand-made beads, and Off Broadway Shoes is a fun place to try out a bunch of low-cost kicks without having to seek the assistance of a sales agent.
If you have kids, try to visit between noon and 5 p.m. on Saturdays or Sundays to see Train Town, a permanent exhibit of model trains (traintown-kc.com). For a full store directory, visit wardparkwaycenter.com.
Art: Nerman Museum exhibits
Visual arts enthusiasts are encouraged to make the relatively quick trip to the Nerman Museum, an impressive contemporary art museum located on the campus of Johnson County Community College at 12345 College Blvd. in Overland Park.
The permanent collection includes an eclectic mix of painting and sculpture from up-and-coming as well as established artists, and is free and open to the public every day but Monday.
A public reception will be held this Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to kick off two new exhibits. “Dark Light” showcases ceramic works by Christine Nofchissey McHorse, whose sleek, fluid vessels resemble modern art as much as Southwestern-style pottery.
Also opening that night is “Pins and Needles,” a series of colorful, incredibly intricate, large-scale paintings by Asad Faulwell. For more details, visit nermanmuseum.org.
Music: Pianist Alexander Melnikov
On Friday, the Friends of Chamber Music presents Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov at the Folly Theater at 8 p.m.
Melnikov was already performing Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto at the tender age of 12, and nearly 30 years later he’ll be making his Kansas City debut with a program that includes works by Schubert, Schumann, Scriabin and Prokofiev.
Tickets range from $15 for students to $40 for adults and can be purchased at chambermusic.org.
Comedy: Puppet Slams
Local comedy fans know all about Jason Sudeikis and Paul Rudd, but what about Paul Mesner Puppets?
Mesner’s kid-friendly puppet studio is now in its 25th year, and his quarterly Puppet Slams are attracting a growing number of adult comedy fans as well.
“The show is a comedy club-style event with short vignettes and sketches,” says the studio’s executive director, Bill Prenevost. “It does get a little racy and bawdy, so this performance is recommended for adults only.”
The Puppet Slam will be held Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at Mesner’s studio, 1006 E. Linwood Blvd. in Midtown KCMO. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at 913-235-6222. Visit paulmesnerpuppets.org for more information.
— Lucas Wetzel grew up in Westwood, Kan., graduated from KU in 2004, and has since worked as a freelance writer, editor and language trainer in Leipzig, Germany, and Kansas City, Mo.