Pop! Goes 2016

A cultural calendar for the new year of pop, classical and everything in between














KC Culture Picks Through Spring

Virtuoso Violinist Midori

January 15-17

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

   Sparks will almost fly off her bow as Midori dazzles audiences with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and caps off the concert with Stravinsky’s Pétrouchka, the tragic story of a puppet who comes to life, only to be murdered by his rival. Midori performs with the Kansas City Symphony and will be conducted by Michael Stern. For tickets and info visit kcsymphony.org.


The Magical Music of John Williams — Star Wars and More

January 21-23

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

   No one writes more majestic or recognizable movie scores than John Williams. This celebration of one of the world’s most famous film composers, as part of the Kansas City Symphony’s Pops Series, includes favorites from Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List. Younger listeners will be entranced by special costumed guests, including Darth Vader, Chewbacca, C3PO and Storm Troopers — plus a laser light show. For tickets and info visit kcsymphony.org.


Swan Lake by Kansas City Ballet

February 19-28

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

   Mesmerizing audiences for more than 100 years, Swan Lake is considered by many to be the most recognized classical ballet in the canon. Expect magnificent costumes and sets, with choreography that captures the heart of Tchaikovsky's romantic score. As timeless as the love that binds Siegfried and Odette, the mysterious and lyrical Swan Lake will leave you spellbound. For tickets and info visit kcballet.org.


Reflecting Class in the Age of Rembrandt & Vermeer

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Feb. 24 to May 29

   Peek at intimate scenes of 17th-century Dutch private and public life with more than 70 master works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Hals, Steen and de Hooch. Portraits, genre scenes, church- and- city-scapes and still lifes reveal the rich details of life in the Dutch republic at all levels of society from fishmongers to wealthy merchants and nobles. Highlights include Vermeer’s luminous portrait of A Lady Writing in her fur-trimmed jacket and Rembrandt’s elegant portrait of a city regent Andries de Graeff in a black satin suit. Pieter de Hooch serves up domestic scenes of middle-class life with housewives, children and servants. Other Dutch artists portray more rustic scenes of taverns, fishwives, street musicians and beggars in this fascinating exhibit with a dash of social history.


National Geographic Live Presents Photographer Steve Winter

On the Trail of Big Cats: Tigers, Cougars and Snow Leopards

Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

   Go around the world in search of big cats with award-winning photographer Steve Winter. Winter will lead you from Asian jungles where resilient tiger populations persist, to the Himalaya, home of the rare snow leopard. And follow him into the rainforests of Latin America to view the elusive jaguar. Co-author of the book Tigers Forever, Winter’s mission is to share the beauty of big cats while working to save them. For tickets and info visit kauffmancenter.org.


British Invasion by the KC Jazz Orchestra

Feb. 26, 8 p.m.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

   “London’s Calling,” and the KC Jazz Orchestra has answered with great songs and swinging arrangements ranging from World War II, such as “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square,” to The Beatles, Tom Jones, and other British artists topping the music charts in the 1960s. For tickets and info visit kcjazzorchestra.org.


Pink Martini Kauffman Center

Pink Martini

March 20, 7 p.m.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

   "Pink Martini is like a romantic Hollywood musical of the 1940s or '50s, but with a global perspective which is modern,” says Thomas Lauderdale, the group's bandleader and pianist. Think nostalgic lounge music of the ‘50s and ‘60s from a Parisian-inspired “Sympathique” to a Brazilian bossa nova-like “Lilly” fronted by lead chanteuses China Forbes and Storm Large and backed by an 8-piece band. The group’s seductive music blends classical music, Latin jazz and old-school pop for a romantic and cosmopolitan evening as frothy as a pink martini. For tickets and info visit kauffmancenter.org.


Roof of the World

Feb. 26-March 27

KC Repertory Theatre

   “Part spy thriller, part Downton Abbey, this world-premiere production is an epic love story about a British explorer and an Indian spy during Queen Victoria’s rule. This high-speed, sweeping drama takes you into uncharted territory (quite literally), where suspense and romance keep your pulse racing and your knees weak.”




April 5, 8 p.m.

Arvest Bank Theater at The Midland

   These two young Croatian cellists have taken the musical world by storm with their passionate, fluid renderings of everything from Bach and Vivaldi to Rhianna’s “We Found Love,” Sting’s “Shape of My Heart” and  Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.” Their tour is to support their latest album, Celloverse, released in early 2015. The duo has performed with Elton John for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace and have collaborated with artists like George Michael and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  For tickets and info visit midlandkc.com.



April 23 – May 1

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

   The Lyric Opera of Kansas City presents the classic Carmen this spring. “The passionate and devastating masterpiece by Georges Bizet may be the opera even those unfamiliar with opera will recognize. Bizet’s score is seductive, alluring and perfectly matched to Carmen’s conquest of bullfighters, soldiers and smugglers. The fiery gypsy sings the signature “Habanera” as she sets her sights on local corporal Don José. He quickly falls under her spell, only to be cast aside and humiliated. The music follows his descent from soldier and lover to desperate murderer as he sends Carmen to her doom against the roar and cry of the bullring.” For tickets and info visit kcopera.org.


Middle of the Map Fest

April 27-May 7

Locations TBD

   There is no word yet on this year’s lineup, but expect 11 days of cutting-edge regional and national music on several stages, as well as film screenings and idea-laden symposiums. Consider this KC’s version of Austin’s SxSW festival. Last year’s fest included the bands OK Go, Iron & Wine, Lord Huron and local acts Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, La Guerre and The Republic Tigers. For more info visit middleofthemapfest.com.


Can’t-Miss Arts Highlights Beyond KC

Habsburg Splendor

 through Jan. 17

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion

through May 15

High Museum of Art, Atlanta

   View Hapsburg dynasty treasures, from suits of armor and master paintings by Titian to a magnificent gilded sleigh and horse-drawn carriage, all on loan from the famed Kuntshistorisches  Museum in Vienna until Jan. 17. This well-organized exhibit truly lives up to the adjective “splendor” with its assemblage of objects evoking and celebrating a European dynasty that spanned centuries and countries, including Austria, Spain, Italy, Prussia and Hungary.

   If you are too late for the Habsburg exhibit, check out the exhibit on Dutch avant-garde fashion designer Iris van Herpen, including a transparent crystalline dress made with liquid polymer and a 3-D printed dress that looks like a baroque exoskeleton. Forty-five futuristic frocks are on display through May 15. For more info and tickets visit high.org.


Vigée Le Brun: Woman Artist in Revolutionary France

Feb. 15-May 15

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

   More than just one of the prized court painters at Versailles or Marie Antoinette’s personal portrait maker, Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun was one of the finest French painters of the 18th-century. And she just happened to be a woman: one of only four admitted in the France’s Royal Academy. As a painter she witnessed it all — from the splendor of Versailles to the French Revolution. In fact, she was forced to flee to Italy in 1789 because of her association with the queen. She painted the royalty of Italy, Austria, Russia and Germany before returning to France. View 80 of her works, including many technically proficient and also empathetic portraits of noted 18th-century women. For more info and tickets visit metmuseum.org.


Pop Art Design

through March 27

Musem of Contemporary Art Chicago

   Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe and Campbell soup cans, Eames chairs, Marshmallow sofas, and Verner Panton’s heart-shaped seating exhibit the ebullient optimism of pop design in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Companion show The Street, The Store and The Silver Screen: Pop Art from the MCA Collection organizes pop art via influences such as street culture, commercialization and the allure of Hollywood glamour. Highlights include works by Ed Ruscha, Warhol’s silk-screened portraits and Claes Oldenburg’s papier-mâché sculptures of candy. For tickets and info visit mcachicago.org.




Culture Dates

Golden Globes Awards 

Jan. 10

Ricky Gervais is host. Denzel Washington will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award.


Sundance Film Festival

Jan. 21-31

The lineup for this year’s films was not available at press time.


SAG Awards

Jan. 30

Carol Burnett will receive the SAG Life Achievement Award.


Super Bowl 50

Feb. 7


New York Fashion Week

Feb. 11-18


London Fashion Week

Feb. 19-23


Milan Fashion Week

Feb. 24-March 1


Paris Fashion Week

March 2-9


The Oscars

Feb. 28

Chris Rock will host the show.


Categories: Art, Arts & Entertainment, Dance, Museums, Music, Theatre