KC Folk Festival sets the tone for entertainment this week

The Kansas City Folk Festival, the rebirth of the Birth of the Cool; New Moves by the Kansas City Ballet; and the touring production  of  Phantom of the Opera are the headliners for the upcoming week of arts, entertainment and pure fun in Downtown. Here is the highlight reel for what’s happening in Downtown – Monday, Feb. 13 to Sunday, Feb. 19:

Arenacross – one of the world’s most extreme racing environments returns to Downtown KC with unparalleled levels of competition and a fully engaging environment for fans. Arenacross will tear up the dirt battlegrounds at 7 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday at Sprint Center.

Birth of the Cool – The 60th anniversary celebration of this 1957 landmark Miles Davis recording will be celebrated with a nine-member all-star band performance at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Gem Theater. Presented by the American Jazz Museum, pianist Phil Dunlap will give a talk on the History of Birth of the Cool.

Folly Theater will light up Kansas City’s performing arts calendar this week with three thrilling performances, including:

  • A Valentine from the Maestro – The Kansas City Chamber Orchestra has prepared a Valentine of an evening of romantic music for strings and soloists. Revel in the gorgeous sounds of Tchaikovsky, Finzi and Villa-Lobos for Valentine’s and feast on settings of great romantic poetry by KC’s own Jean Belmont Ford, featuring Sarah Tannehill Anderson, soprano. This Valentine begins with a pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m., followed by the performance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Venice Baroque Orchestra with Nicola Benedetti – One of the finest period instrument ensembles returns to the Folly with a Harriman Jewell Series favorite, violinist Nicola Benedetti, to play lush concerti by Vivaldi and others. The violinist’s musicianship and dynamic presence has made her one of today’s most influential artists. The performance is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
  • Robert Glasper headlines this Folly Jazz Series performance. Glasper is an American jazz pianist and record producer. His 2012 album Black Radio won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album at the 55th Grammy Awards and his style is as surprising as it is captivating. He will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Impressions in Sound breaks new ground for one Downtown art gallery that traditionally a showplace for visual arts. This new show takes a different approach, appealing to your ears rather than your eyes. The experience may serve as a reminder of the superior sound, importance and thrill of high quality music – and hopefully ignite a passion for Kansas City music. Now showing through March 31 at The Box Gallery.

Billy Bragg

Kansas City Folk Festival featuring Billy Bragg & Bobby Rush, GRAMMY Award winners The Okee Dokee Brothers, David Wilcox and many more artists from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Westin Crown Center. Produced by the Folk Alliance International, the festival is a family-friendly, indoor celebration of folk music, culture and arts. Visit KCFolkFestival.org for ticket information.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will be in the spotlight this week, featuring four performances in four days, including:

  • Bill Engvall – the Grammy nominated, multi-platinum selling recording artist and one of the top comedians in the country – will rock Downtown KC at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre
  • Kansas City Symphony performs its latest edition of the Classical Series – this weekend featuring Beethoven’s Eighth and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 – at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in Helzberg Hall.

The Midland will rock this Downtown with two major shows this week, including:

  • Run the Jewels presents its Run the World Tour with very special guests The Gaslamp Killer, Gangsta Boo, Nick Hook and Cuz beginning at 8 p.m. Monday
  • Skillet serves up The Unleashed Tour with Sick Puppies and Devour the Day beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday

New Moves – The Kansas City Ballet presents this opportunity for audiences to see tomorrow’s sought-after choreographers today! It is a very up close and visceral experience for audience and dancer alike over six performances from Thursday through Sunday at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity.

Pompeii: The Exhibition tells the story of a city hidden from view and forgotten for centuries until its rediscovery more than 250 years ago. This global showcase – featuring nearly 200 artifacts, including vibrant frescoes, detailed mosaics, lifelike statues and precious personal objects – is on exhibit at Union Station.

Two Kansas City-based kings of today’s science fiction world will present this latest edition of Sci-Fi Storytellers on Thursday at the Central Library.

Sci-Fi Storytellers – Two KC-based stars of today’s science fiction world, will take center stage at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Central Library. Marvel Comics’ headline-grabbing move to a female Thor a little more than two years ago came out of Kansas City and the mind of Jason Aaron, one of the superstars of comic book writing. Meanwhile, local visual effects artist Bruce Branit was piling up Emmy nominations – now totaling six – for his imaginative work on such TV series as Star Trek: Voyager and Breaking Bad. Click here to RSVP.

Arenacross will tear up the Sprint Center during two shows this weekend. Are you ready to rumble?


Spectrum: Autism, Art & Music – An innovative and powerful exhibition featuring Denver-based mother and son artists Juliette Hemingway and Javari Eugene-Poet Chase, who use art inspired by music to bring awareness to Autism, will hold court in the Changing Gallery of the American Jazz Museum through April 3.

UMKC Men’s Basketball will face off against Chicago State at 5:05 p.m. Saturday on their home court at Municipal Auditorium.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature these four performances this week:

  • I Got Rhythm: Songs from the early days of film musicals (Steppin’ Out With My Baby, Puttin’ On the Ritz to Broadway’s 42nd STREET (Shuffle Off To Buffalo) and Jerry Herman’s MACK AND MABEL (Tap Your Troubles Away), the Quality Hill Playhouse will celebrate the music that will leave you saying, I GOT RHYTHM. Who could ask for anything more? Performances continue through Sunday.
  • Phantom of the Opera – presented by Across America – returns to Downtown KC this week. Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom is featured as part of a brand new North American Tour. Phantom runs through Sunday at the Music Hall.  Click here for tickets and more information.

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.