Kansas City Connection: First Fridays a K.C. must

Whether you’re a longtime resident or a first-time visitor, the quintessential Kansas City night out is still First Fridays in the Crossroads, when all the galleries, businesses and ersatz art spaces open their doors to the masses.

If it’s nice enough out, plan on dinner (or dessert) from one of the growing number of food trucks while watching the break-dancers, fire-jugglers or hula-hoopers do their thing. Be sure to stop by Grand Arts (1819 Grand Blvd., grandarts.com) to see Anthony Baab’s monumental installation, “A Strenuous Nonbeing.”

Another space that’s always worth stopping by is the Honeytree Gallery (504 E. 18th St., honeytreegallery.com), an art space and craft market operated by former Lawrence resident Kate E. Burke. And of course you’ll find dozens of places to check out in between.

Opera: “The Flying Dutchman”

Growing up, I remember my grandparents’ house shaking from the sounds of opera on the family gramophone. Decades later, I’ve finally developed a taste for the stuff, thanks in part to the evocative folklore, elaborate set designs and musical bombast of Richard Wagner.

This Saturday, The Lyric Opera begins its series of four performances of Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center (1601 Broadway).

Tickets range from $80 to $150 and are available at kcopera.org.

For an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the production and set design, visit kcopera.wordpress.com.

Music: Making Movies

No less exciting (to my ears) is a Saturday night performance at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.) by red-hot Kansas City ensemble Making Movies, who blend Afro-Cuban and Latin rhythms with ethereal guitar sounds that would be right at home on Radiohead’s “OK Computer.”

This one-of-a-kind style caught the attention of Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, who produced Making Movies’ new album, “A La Deriva.”

The band, fronted by the always energetic Enrique Chi, will be joined by Javier Mendoza as well as the outstanding Kansas City dream-pop trio The Shy Boys.

Tickets for the 9 p.m. show are $10 and available at theriotroom.com. Should be a blast.

Film: Rendezvous with French Cinema

Also in Westport this week is the annual Rendezvous with French Cinema, which includes nine contemporary French films at the Tivoli (4050 Pennsylvania).

Tickets are $8.50 per film, which will be shown twice each between March 1 and 10.

The films feature familiar names like Audrey Tautou and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and the variety should be a nice change of pace from all those Éric Rohmer flicks you saw in film school.

Visit tivolikc.com/Rendezvous.html for showtimes and trailers.

Food: McCoy’s Public House

Special K.C. Connection tip: hang on to your Tivoli ticket stub and redeem it for a free beer down the street at McCoy’s Public House (4057 Pennsylvania, mccoyskc.com), a hearty brew-pub reminiscent of Free State. I highly recommend Chicken Fried Chicken and public house rolls with a pint of Hogpound Brown.

If you’d like to go somewhere you can actually order in French, walk another block to Marrakech Cafe (4116 Broadway), a comfortable, quiet restaurant that serves delicious couscous plates, chicken tagine and refreshing cups of Moroccan mint tea.

See a full menu at Marrakechcafekc.net. (Open for dinner only.)

Music: Guitar trios join forces

Next Sunday, March 3, offers a treat for guitar music enthusiasts when the California Guitar Trio and the Montreal Guitar Trio join forces at Yardley Hall (12345 College Blvd.) to treat audiences to ornate arrangements of songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Tickets range from $22 to $32 and are on sale at www.jccc.edu/performing-arts-series. The show starts at 7 p.m.

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