Beneath Sprint Center's lights and rafters, the Command cruise up and down arena football's condensed gridiron during a trio of hard-hitting skirmishes. A slow start to the 2012 season has forced head coach Danton Barto to shift gears on the fly and acquire former NFL quarterback Matt Gutierrez. Rather than constructing a Lego statue of himself on the 30-yard line, Gutierrez opted to make his mark on the field by throwing for five touchdowns during his Kansas City debut on April 7, including three to second-year receiver Bradly Chavez. During breaks in the action, the Command Girls dance team charges the field, distracting opponents from eavesdropping on team huddles or playing makeshift games of Jenga with the end-zone pylons.
After five years away from American stages, the immutable hard-rock juggernaut of Guns N’ Roses reuses its illusions to whip crowds into a frenzy during a notoriously raucous live show. Enigmatic siren Axl Rose, beloved for his lack of hubris and punk-rock stance against prolificacy, leads his wrecking crew of Roses through a two-hour tour of greatest hits culled from the band's groundbreaking mainstream debut album, Appetite for Destruction, the long-awaited Chinese Democracy, and everything in between. The group soars and shines throughout a marathon performance, ranging from turbo-charged rockers such as “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” through ballads including “November Rain.” With hatless new axeman Dj Ashba stepping into the shoes of Slash, and The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson replacing Duff McKagan, Guns N’ Roses is recharged and ready to quench destructive appetites with pure organic rock wrung from handpicked bandanas.
Now in their 86th season, the Harlem Globetrotters continue to entertain millions of parents, children, and general basketball admirers with a trademark blend of athletic precision and razzle-dazzle showmanship. For the team's 2012 world tour, a rotating roster of Globetrotter favorites take to the hardwood each game, so spectators might spot Special K Daley sharing a behind-the-back pass with newcomer Jacob “Hops” Tucker, the 2011 NCAA slam-dunk champion whose 50-inch vertical leap cruelly dashed his dreams of working in a ceiling-fan store. The Trotters might also present a study in contrasts with five-foot-two Too Tall Hall and seven-foot-eight Paul "Tiny" Sturgess, the world's tallest pro basketball player.
Since its origins as a converted parking garage, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has ushered film-lovers of all breeds into its auditoriums, even gaining a following among Hollywood legends; Quentin Tarantino has been known to host five-day movie marathons at Alamo. The theater has earned that reputation by making moviegoing a personal experience, from the menu of handcrafted snacks and locally brewed beer to the completely ad-free presentations before shows. A long table stretches in front of every row of seats, enabling servers to unobtrusively pick up written food and drink orders throughout each screening. The staff enforces a strict no-talking, no-texting policy by kicking out any offenders, falling just short of yanking them from their seats with a giant's shepherd's crook.
Both first-run blockbusters and classics are projected onto Alamo's silver screens in crisp 35-millimeter or digital format. Meanwhile, surround speakers immerse audiences in the cinematic soundscape, whether they're seated in one of the expansive theaters afforded to blockbuster reels or the more intimate spaces reserved for indie films wound around tiny bobbins. Despite Alamo's vow of silence, fan-centric Quote-Along and Sing-Along nights encourage guests to shout their favorite lines, and actors, directors, and other celebrities often attend special screenings to lead in-depth discussions. These exclusive events have led to acclaim for Alamo from publications such as Entertainment Weekly, which called it “one of America's most fanatically unique moviegoing experiences,” and Wired, which opined that it "might just be the coolest movie theater in the world."
The performance begins with Kansas City Symphony Music Director Michael Stern leading the ensemble through Maurice Ravel's 1919 Le Tombeau de Couperin, a four-movement orchestral homage to baroque composer François Couperin. Next, the evocative melody of Samuel Barber's 1947 lyric rhapsody for orchestra and voice, Knoxville: Summer of 1915, fills the air as Ms. Murphy narrates scenes from author James Agee's dreamlike childhood memoir. After a brief intermission for flutes of champagne and handfuls of de-sloppied sloppy joes (also known as Dapper Dans), Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 4 sneaks into the concert hall with the jingle of two sleigh bells, then erupts into a ghostly scherzo that builds to a solemn march before finally reaching a gentle conclusion with the soprano's bucolic, childlike warbling.
Quality Hill Playhouse parts its curtains through October 23 for Noël and Gertie, devised by Sheridan Morley and featuring the words and music of Noël Coward. One of six musicals and cabaret revues the theater puts on annually, Noël and Gertie is based on Coward's own diaries and musical compositions and delves into the friendship of two former stage personalities, Noël Coward (Robert Gibby Brand) and Gertrude Lawrence (Melinda MacDonald). The witty and occasionally heartfelt performance celebrates the fun and sophistication of the roaring '20s without the drawback of state-mandated lessons to learn the Charleston. Quality Hill Playhouse's intimate 153-seat theater ensures patrons don't miss a single sight or sound, and the newly renovated lobby bristles with casual elegance. Multiple performances take to the stage each week in order to accommodate busy schedules and revisit important plot points for forgetful goldfish.