First Friday, Shaq to heat up Downtown scene this week

Downtown KC will be in the center of the U.S. gymnastics world next weekend, as the national championships come to Sprint Center next weekend, Aug. 8-11.

Roll the highlight reel for what’s coming to Downtown KC this week – Monday to Sunday, July 29-Aug. 4:

Hairball, the ultimate 1980s tribute band will rock CrossroadsKC this weekend.

Crossroads KC, 417 E. 18th St. This week,heating up the outdoor concert scene with three back-to-back nights of live music, including American Idiots – a tribute to Green Day – with guests Synchrocity at 8 p.m. Friday; Hairball – the ultimate ’80s tribute band – at 8 p.m. Saturday; and The Mighty O.A.R. featuring American Authors at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Crown Center – Bask in the summer WeekEnder series this Friday! Featuring food trucks, a local band and a classic movie under the stars, the fun begins at 6 p.m. Friday with a free performance by The Zeros, followed by a free showing of The Wizard of Oz at 9 p.m.

First Friday will illuminate the Downtown arts scene this Friday in the Crossroads Arts District, 18th & Vine, the City Market and the Power & Light District.

First Friday – KC’s coolest night of summer – is set for this Friday, featuring a sizzling collection of arts and cultural experiences throughout Downtown, including:

  • City Market presents Be a Part of the Art, showcasing local artists who will demo their techniques and exhibit their works from 6-9 p.m. in Pavilion 1 in City Market Square.
  • Crossroads Arts District featuring arts organizations, galleries, studios, and a wide variety of local businesses in a celebration of local, regional and national artists and live entertainment from 5-9 p.m. Take a peek at the district’s galleries and studios at
  • 18th & Vine delivers a cultural experience of music, art, food and shopping on First Fridays year ’round. Shop local artists and diverse food trucks from 4-9 p.m. in and around the Museums of 18th & Vine.
  • Film Festival – A summer series of free, short film festival returns at 7 p.m. Friday in the MTH Theater at Crown Center. The venue opens at 6:30, and the screening begins at 7:30 p.m.
  • Urbana First Friday – Come eat, drink, hear live music, see public art displays and more during this uniquely Kansas City experience beginning at 5 p.m. Friday at in the heart of the Power & Light District, including the Two Light Luxury Apartments.
  • Warehouse Weekends – one of the finest vintage marketplaces in the country – flourishes every First Friday weekend (Friday through Sunday) in the West Bottoms.

KC Public Library, 14 W. 10th St. This week, featuring the ongoing exhibition of the artwork of Ralph Steadman at the Central Library.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts1601 Broadway. Next up, Iyania Vanzant celebrates the updated 25th-anniversary edition of her internationally acclaimed bestseller, Acts of Faith, on Friday, Aug. 23.

Knucklehead’s , 2715 Rochester. This week, the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town will be sizzlin’ hot with 6 summer shows this week, including Hayes Carll with Travis Linville at 8 p.m. Thursday, and Johnny Lang & JJ Grey & Mofro perform Blues in the Dark at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Midland, 1228 Main – Next upKirk Franklin, the reigning king of urban gospel, will light up Downtown at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9.

Power & Light DistrictThis week, the KC Live! Block will be swayin’ to Hot Country Nights featuring the Brett Young at 6 p.m. Thursday; and Shaq’s Bass All Stars – featuring Diesel (aka, Shaquille O’Neal), Valentino Khan, Eliminate, Nitti Gtirri and Bayati – will rock the house for the Coors Light Block Party at 6 p.m. Friday; and District Rhythms featuring Ida McBeth tops off the week at 6 p.m. Sunday/

Sprint Center, 1407 Grand. Up next, the national sports spotlight will shine on Kansas City next month, as the U.S. Gymnastics Championships return to Downtown KC next weekend, Aug. 8-11.

The Truman, 801 E. Truman Rd. – Up next, Buckcherry will rock this city with special guest Joyous Wolf on Thursday, Aug. 15.

Union Station – 30 W. Pershing Rd. Ongoing, StonehengeThis U.S. premiere exhibition represents the ancient marvel comes to life in this large-scale exhibition, suitable for all ages and featuring multiple hands-on interactives to amplify key elements of the monument’s mysteries. Click here for hours and more.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, including three colorful productions this week:

  • Elephant and Piggie’s ‘We Are in a Play’ – This lively and irresistibly charming musical look at friendship has become one of the best-selling and loved young readers’ series of the past decade. The show continues through Sunday at The Coterie in Crown Center.
  • Let’s Disco – From Stayin’ Alive to I Will Survive, this Musical Monday & Tuesday production will feature all the disco hits that you love to hear. Don’t miss this disco party sure to have you on your feet beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday at the MTH Theater at Crown Center.
  • Nerdelesque Festival aims to celebrate the art of burlesque and all things nerdy. A combination of a comic-con and a burlesque festival, the festival – dubbed Strip Like A Rebel – will attract nerds of all shapes, sizes, and colors together to share their fandoms in the sexiest way possible. The festival will run Tuesday through Sunday at the Just Off Broadway Theatre.

LIVE MUSIC is on tap most nights at these Downtown clubs and joints: Blue Room Jazz ClubBlack Dolphin, The Brick, Gem TheaterGreen Lady Lounge, Hush, The Majestic Jazz ClubMutual Musicians FoundationThe Phoenix, Prohibition Hall , throughout the Power & Light District, The Record BarThe Ship … and, aboard the KC Streetcar from 5-7 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 1.

AND, UNIQUE TREASURES are plentiful via Downtown museums and attractions, including the Airline History Museum, Downtown Airport; American Jazz Museum, 18th & Vine; Arabia Steamboat Museum, River Market; Black Archives of Mid-America, 18th & Vine; Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity, Union Station District; Boulevard Beer Hall, Westside; City Market, River Market; College Basketball Experience, Sprint Center; Garment District Museum, Garment District; Kansas City Public Library, Central Business District; Hallmark Visitors Center, Crown Center; Hy-Vee Arena, West Bottoms; Kansas City Museum, Corinthian Hall; Money Museum, Federal Reserve Bank of KC; National Archives, Union Station District; National WWI Museum and Memorial, Liberty Memorial; Legoland Discovery Center, Crown Center; Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, 18th & Vine; Riverfront Heritage Trail, River Market area; Science City, Union Station; Sea Life Aquarium, Crown Center; 21c Museum Hotel, Historic 9th District; TWA Museum, Downtown Airport; and Union Station, Union Station.

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out ArtsKCGo and