The best arts and entertainment events in Kansas City in November 2022, including the Plaza lights, a photography show at the Nelson-Atkins Museum and more.
Highlights from the Photography Collection
William Klein’s “Yellow Coat + Bus + Crane,” which is among the images in the Nelson’s latest show of highlights from its peerless collection of photography, was originally taken while he was working for Vogue magazine.
That was not his preference, says April Watson, the curator who put together the show.
“Klein really wanted to pursue his own work, and though he was very good at fashion photography, it was not his first love,” she says. In the 1950s, Watson says, photographers weren’t yet treated as artists by the gallery and museum world, so the best photographers of the day worked for magazines out of necessity.
While the images were snapped for magazines, photographers like Klein and his well-known contemporaries Robert Frank and Richard Avedon handled the assignments their own way. Klein, Watson says, “upended the way typical fashion photographs were made,” shunning studios with controlled sets and lighting and instead taking models out into the streets of New York, “using the gritty, everyday realities of the city as a natural backdrop.”
That background adds depth and richness to the very striking “Yellow Coat + Bus + Crane.” The work juxtaposes with another piece from this show, Richard Avedon’s “Dovima with Elephants, Evening Dress by Dior, Cirque d’Hiver,” which Avedon shot in Paris in 1955 for Harper’s Bazaar. It’s part of Avedon’s body of work that portends much of contemporary high-end fashion photography
GO: The latest Highlights from the Photography Collection is open now through April 30, 2023, in galleries L10 and L11 at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Free.
Monet & Friends Alive
Starlight Theatre is partnering with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to present Monet and other impressionists’ works in a new way channeling them through “rich, dynamic display of light, color, sound and fragrance.” November 1–December 31. Times vary. Starlight Theatre.
November 3, 8 pm
Stand-up Kevin Hart knows something about checks—any comedian richer than he is spent a decade or more on weekly television. On the Reality Check tour, the pint-sized comedian returns to the road billing himself as “the biggest touring comedian of all time.” It’s telling that promotional clips for the tour depict Hart jumping around amid pyrotechnics but include no jokes. November 3. 8 pm. T-Mobile Center.
November 5, 1 pm
How do you make a fight over water rights into one of the great films of all time? Write a neo-noir screenplay in the vein of Raymond Chandler, get a talented director, and cast Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway as the leads. November 5. 1 pm. Screenland Armour.
First Fridays at Gallery Bogart Opening
November’s iteration of the monthly First Friday art walk brings a new gallery to the West Bottoms. Gallery Bogart focuses on contemporary Latin American art and picked the West Bottoms because gallery owner Miller Bogart sees the area as “the frontier of the art scene in Kansas City.” For its inaugural show, the gallery will present Dialogo Figurativo by Cuban artist Abel Massot, who lives and works in Havana. His work “explores the emotional bonds and existentialist questions of the modern human being.” Opening reception November 5. 4–7 pm. Gallery Bogart, 1400 Union Ave., KCMO.
The second annual Kansas City Whiskey Expo will feature forty distilleries and the chance to learn about the whiskey-making process. As you sip, you can enjoy an appetizer buffet. There will be other spirits offered, but the expo is confident it can find a whiskey for everyone. November 5. 6:30–9 pm. Harrah’s Kansas City Casino & Hotel.
November 5, 7:30 pm
Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata has become a staple of opera since its premiere in March 1853 in Venice. The classic tragedy follows Violetta Valéry, a famed French courtesan, and the hopeless romantic who falls in love with her, bringing them both to ruin. Lyric Opera will perform the piece in the original Italian with English subtitles. November 5, 7:30 pm; November 11, 7:30 pm; November 13, 2 pm. Kauffman Center.
November 11, 8 pm
Katt Williams has the kind of flawless delivery and all-encompassing persona that can only come from working comedy clubs for decades. His new Netflix special includes a hilarious and profane defense of “big daddy” President Joe Biden who “be doing the best he can.” November 11. 8 pm. T-Mobile Center.
Legally Blonde: The Musical
November 12, 4 pm
The story of a California sorority girl turned top-of-her class Harvard law student, in a role made famous by Reece Witherspoon, gets the Broadway musical treatment in this nationally touring production. November 12. 4 pm and 8 pm. Midwest Trust Center.
November 13, 7:30 pm
One of the most successful country crossover acts of all time, Carrie Underwood’s new record, Denim & Rhinestones, has a throwback feel and enough melodrama to carry an arena tour. November 13. 7:30 pm. T-Mobile Center.
November 18, 5 pm
Overland Park’s annual Mayor’s Holiday Festival is back this month with an evening full of train rides, hayrides, live reindeer, a performance and Santa. The free entry is a perfect way to kick off the holiday season. Make sure to bring your family and friends for a festive night. November 18. 5–8 pm. Downtown Overland Park.
November 18, 7 pm
This showing is part of a series of screenings of four movies discussed in writer Kier-La Janisse’s influential House of Psychotic Women, “an autobiographical topography of female neurosis in horror and exploitation films.” Footprints follows a freelance translator who wakes one morning missing all memory of her past three days. It’s described as among “the most criminally underseen giallo of the ’70s.” November 18. 7 pm. Stray Cat Film Center.
November 18, 7:30 pm
With fifty-plus top ten hits, a sitcom and a successful Broadway run, Oklahoma-bred country singer and actress Reba McEntire has done about everything there is to do. She can play an hour or two of nothing but No.1 hits and will close the show, as she always does, with “Fancy.” November 18. 7:30 pm. T-Mobile Center.
November 18, 7:30 pm
Legendary R&B/gospel singer Mavis Staples, is in her early eighties, but can belt out songs from across a catalog that now stretches over eight decades with intensity and grace. November 18. 7:30 pm. Lied Center in Lawrence.
November 19, 8 pm
Plains is a project from Overland Park resident Katie Crutchfield (better known as Waxahatchee) and LA-based singer-songwriter Jess Williamson. Their collaborative album, I Walked With You A Ways, released last month, finds the women leaning into The Chicks and Dolly Parton. “We gave ourselves permission to lean into the music that raised us and write the kind of classic timeless songs that we both grew up singing along to,” Williamson told Stereogum. This show marks the end of a national tour. November 19. 8 pm. Knuckleheads Saloon.
Big Dad Energy Recording
November 23, 7:30 pm
Jamie Campbell started his career in Chicago but now lives in KC, where he’s a member of the KC Improv Company and a fixture in the local comedy scene. His show Big Dad Energy debuted at the Kansas City Fringe Festival earlier this year and was a hit, so now he’s putting it on tape. The show is advertised as PG-13 and will be recorded at the Bird Comedy Theater the night before Thanksgiving (a.k.a. the second busiest bar night of the year). A friendly reviewer called the Fringe Festival production of the show “possibly the most positive stand-up act in existence.” November 23. 7:30 pm. The Bird Comedy Theater.
A Christmas Carol
November 18 – December 24
Charles Dickens’ all-time Christmas classic tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s redemption through visits from the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. KC Repertory Theatre’s annual production of A Christmas Carol creates generations of memories and helps families of the meaning of the season. November 18 through December 24, KCRep Spencer Theatre.
Plaza Lighting Ceremony
November 24, 5 pm
Kansas City’s ultimate holiday tradition, the Plaza Lighting Ceremony, finds a celebrity guest throwing the switch to light up the century-old shopping district on the evening of Thanksgiving. The tradition started just after thePlaza opened and is now in its ninety-third year. There’s also holiday music and fireworks. November 24. 5-8 pm. Country Club Plaza
Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 25, 9 am
While a celebrity guest gets the honor of turning on the lights in Country Club Plaza, the city’s mayor gets the honor at Crown Center. Mayor Quinton Lucas will light up a hundred-foot tall pine tree from Oregon to kick off the busiest shopping day of the year. November 25. 9 am. Crown Center Square.