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Four Art Events You Should Not Miss in June


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Get to Know 30 Americans

From June 1 through August 25, the Nelson-Atkins exhibits a traveling collection by 30 African-American artists, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Carrie Mae Weems, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas, Nick Cave, Rashid Johnson, Kara Walker, Hank Willis Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley.

Kara Walker, working in the tradition of black paper silhouettes against a white ground, creates startling displays that tell the untold. Carrie Mae Weems marries daguerreotypes and other vintage photographs with sand-blasted text on glass. Kehinde Wiley places African Americans in European art forms—in triptychs, equestrian portraits, sleeping poses. Nick Cave exhibits larger-than-life Soundsuits of fabric, fiberglass and metal that draw on African masks.

Through more than 80 paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs, and videos, the influential artists in 30 Americans are significant contributors to the complex dialogues surrounding race, history, identity, and beauty that have shaped contemporary American art and life for the past four decades.

Get Into the Act

You’ve heard of method acting in which actors get in—and stay in—character even when the curtain closes and the cameras stop. Now you can explore the Suzuki-Viewpoints actor training method. Actors use everything they’ve got—heart, mind, voice, and body. A strong physical presence is a must. But how do you get that? On Monday, June 3, Kansas City Public Theatre will perform a demonstration of the Suzuki-Viewpoints actor training method, which draws on martial arts influences and those of Japanese Noh, Kabuki, and the ancient Greek chorus. Suzuki teaches that acting “begins and ends with the feet.” Numerous exercises include controlled (and repetitive) forms of stomping and squatting, which create a connected center and bring the body to the brink of exhaustion.

The demonstration will be interspersed with selections of KC Public productions from the past year to demonstrate the outcome of such work, including Medea: An American Tragedy, Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen, and Her Own Devices.

The Lab will be participatory, meaning that any audience member who wishes to participate to explore the use of movement in devising theater work is welcome to join in.

Fiddlin’ Around

June’s in, school’s out, and wouldn’t it be great to go to camp again? Maybe not the smelly-tent, out-in-the-woods, bunk bed kind of camp, but what about a fun evening experience? Every Thursday starting June 6 through July 18, (No class on July 4) you can learn to fiddle a different bluegrass tune in a relaxed setting at Belger Crane Yard Studio. Drunken Fiddles is a group class for adults who would like to learn how to play the fiddle. “We drink wine, we laugh, we have fun and, most importantly, we fiddle!” says instructor violinist/fiddler Laurel Parks, a graduate of UMKC’s Conservatory of Music. Her background includes classical training, fiddling, composing, and improvisation. BYOV—Bring your own violin.

Fee: $150/person, $250/same household couple.

5:30-6:15 Slow Jam (beginners). This workshop is for people who have never played before or feel they need to get a refresher on the basic fundamentals of fiddle including how to hold the bow/violin, string names, tone production, etc. Participants will learn a few tunes and scales in the fiddle keys.

6:30-7:30 Intermediate. This workshop is a step above the beginner level. Participants will learn tunes piece-by-piece with sheet music. Tempos will be slow to moderate. Some tunes will have multiple harmonies to choose from. Plan on learning a new tune each week.

7:45-8:45 Advanced. This workshop level is for people who want to be pushed and challenged with learning tunes quickly at a fast tempo. Focus will be on style, driven bowing techniques, and double stops.

Fake Tan? Real Tan? A Queer Eye Guy Tells All

Put this one on your summer reading list. Tan France, the fashionable member of the Netflix reboot series Queer Eye, who also happens to be the first openly gay Muslim man on mainstream television, returns to Kansas City for the debut of his memoir, Naturally Tan, on Friday evening, June 7 at Unity Temple on the Plaza.

Tan grew up gay in a traditional Muslim family in Doncaster, England, working summers at his grandfather’s denim factory. After a long and winding journey to find his place in the world, he came out to his family at age 34 and told them he had married a Mormon cowboy. Who knew?

Says France, “The book is meant to spread joy, personal acceptance, and most of all understanding. Each of us is living our own private journey and the more we know about each other, the happier and healthier the world will be.”

This is a ticketed event through Rainy Day Books.