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Dec 2002 / it's all happening :: email this story to a friend

It's the End of the Year as We Know It
By Thomas Crone and Amanda E. Doyle

Monday, December 2
Herbert Lottman: Art of Biography Series, Albert Camus
West Campus Conference Center, Washington University, 7425 Forsyth Blvd.
Free, all ages, 7 p.m., 314-935-5576

Albert Camus The author of what is regarded as the premier biography of Albert Camus (the simply and effectively titled "Albert Camus: A Biography"), Herbert Lottman comes to St. Louis for two events, including this reading, part of the campus' "Art of Biography" series. His 1979 work has been hailed by the New York Times thusly: "What emerges from Mr. Lottman's tireless devotions is a portrait of the artist, the outsider, the humanist and skeptic that breaks the heart." Tomorrow, he will hold a seminar and discussion in the McMillan Cafe, Room 115, Old McMillan Hall, at 4 p.m., also on the Hilltop campus. What's more perfect than a bit of Camus in December? (TC)

Wednesday, December 4
Cine in the City: "Female Trouble"
Beatnik Bob's in the City Museum, 15th & Lucas
$4, all ages, 7:30 p.m., 314-968-7487,

Directed by camp king John Waters, 1975's "Female Trouble" saw Waters edging towards accessibility, while keeping one foot deeply in the underground. In this one, Dawn Davenport (Divine, in fine form) moves from loving daughter to wacked-out mass murderer. All in 97 minutes. With pitfalls and sight gags a-plenty. And lots of Baltimore. A perfect, don't-think-too-much movie for the holiday season. As always, light smoking, eating, drinking and talking are perfectly okay at this fun, funky venue. (TC)

Wednesday, December 4
Marty's Baking at the Left Bank, 395 N. Euclid
Free, all ages, 8-9:30 p.m., 314-361-WISK,

Are you a college grad who misses the pulsing, vibrant repartee you encountered in that first humanities class, when your mind was opened to Deep Thoughts? Are you a person who truly enjoys the give-and-take of meaningful conversation, so much at a premium in our fast-food, throwaway society? Are you an insufferable ass with an opinion on every matter under the sun? Well, the first two of you should come down to the delightful intimacy (no, not that kind) of Marty's Baking, next door to venerable Left Bank Books, for an "improvised facilitated discussion" on philosophical topics to be chosen by the group. Webster U. philosophy prof David Hilditch will lightly moderate the group, which could take on such topics as, "What is a good life?" (Pretty easily answered, right there in the threshold between the city's greatest bookstore and the home of the city's best lemon bars...) If you answered "yes" to question three above, stay home and make strictly Internet friends. (AED)

Thursday, December 5
Cine16: "Music, Madness and Matisse: A Journey"
Mad Art Gallery, 2727 S. 12th
Free, all ages, 8:00 p.m.,

For the first two months of this new, monthly movie series, the Mad Art Gallery has been at capacity, a remarkable feat for a debuting project. And the subject matter shown on these "lost" 16-mm movies has been a real treat. From artistic projects of the 1970s to the biology of houseflies, the programming has been delightfully all over the map. This month, the selections are a bit focused, but just a bit: music, madness and Matisse. Four films, none longer than 30 minutes, comprise the night's fare. The shortest of the lot sounds as intriguing as any of the rest: "'Rendezvous' (1977) 10 min., dir. by Claude Lelouch. Racing through Paris at dawn with a camera strapped to the front bumper of his Ferrari, the director takes us on a heart-stopping tour through major monuments, arriving at Sacre Coeur for a rendezvous with his wife." Last bit of advice: get there early. (TC)

Thursday, December 5
Washington University Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program: Poetry and Fiction Reading
Washington Univ. campus, Duncker Hall, Hurst Lounge
Free, all ages, 8 p.m., 314-935-7130

This is your chance to say you knew them when....'cause don't you just know that somewhere, right now, the dude who lifeguarded with Jonathan Franzen all through high school is like, "Man, I knew that dude! I knew he said he was a writer and stuff, but I thought that was just to get the ladies!" Bet he wishes he'd paid more attention...Anyway, listen up tonight and hear the voices of tomorrow, today. Students in the MFA writing program at the Harvard of the Midwest will share their work with the public, and all you have to do is show up. Wine in a box, anyone? (AED)

Friday, December 6
Hope for the Holidays 2002
A benefit for Stray Rescue of St. Louis
The Boat House in Lafayette Park, near Lafayette and Mississippi
$60, 6:30-11 p.m.,

Hi, my name is Sasha, the dumpster-diving diva.  Randy rescued me.  Now I live with Brian and Amanda (and Minx and Fang and Homer). Paws for a moment, and reflect: for every stray pooch you've ever seen dashing madly through traffic in some of our fair city's neighborhoods, for every roadside casualty you've not been able to help — now is your chance. Randy Grim, the savior of St. Louis (and eastside) strays, joins hosts Randi Naughton (Fox 2) and Dave Glover (97.1 FM) to present this fundraiser, which includes food from more than 17 local restaurants, drinks, music, a candlelight walk and blessing of the dogs (the well-behaved ones, whose attendance is welcome!) and a book signing of Grim's new book with co-author Melinda Roth, "The Man Who Talks to Dogs." The cause couldn't be more worthy, and as the owner of a former Stray Rescue pup, I can vouch that the dogs will be grateful. Go! Stay! Reservations required. (AED)

Friday, December 6
Local H
The Galaxy, 1227 Washington
$10/$12, all ages, 8 p.m., 314-421-4400

A couple of months back, Local H played a last-second show at the Way Out Club and word-of-mouth brought out a hundred or so folks at that late hour. The Zion, IL, band, around for the better part of a decade now, showed why it survived the end-of-'90s purge of guitar bands, playing an energetic, hour-plus set, featuring new and old material. There's still just a touch of gimmickry to their band's two-man approach, but on a given night and in a given mood, they can rock the change out of your pockets. (TC)

Saturday, December 7
"Tie a Ribbon Round the War Machine" mixed-media art opening, by Liz Kueneke
Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts, 3151 Cherokee
Free, all ages, 6-10 p.m., 314-276-2488

It's always good, crazy fun at Fort Gondo, and the latest art installation will surely be no exception. At the opening, expect fatigue-clad merrymakers, military rations, and sensory delights as part of the "pacifist jihad" that Galen Gondolfi and the other Gondolians have declared. Get your peace on! (AED)

Saturday, December 7
Nadine with Magnolia Summer
Frederick's Music Lounge, 4454 Chippewa
$7, 21-up, 9 p.m., 314-351-5711,

By now, most St. Louisans will have heard of Nadine, who've maintained a relatively low profile in St. Louis in recent months. For this show, they'll be joined by a new local group, Magnolia Summer, which is headed up by guitarist/vocalist Chris Grabau, formerly of Stillwater and Kamikaze Cowboy. (TC)

Sunday, December 8
Holiday Art Auction
Art Coop, 1520 Washington Ave., 7th floor
Free (registration required), all ages, 1-5 p.m., 314-644-7676, ext. 511,

Is it "Art Co-op," pronounced as in "cooperatively," or "Art Coop," as in flew the? I kinda prefer the more chicken-y of the two, but whatever. All's I know is that they're offering you the chance to procure some awesome, original, St. Louis-produced art for your family and friends, rather than the "same old crap" they imagine emanates from the malls and chain stores. Twenty-five area artists will each offer a single work, and the high bid rules the day. This is a bit confusing, so pay attention: attendance is free, but you gotta have an invitation. And to get that, contact the coop by the means above. Also, just an auction word-to-the-wise: make sure you and any of your party are very clear about which piece you desire, or else you might end up owning a gape-mouthed ceramic frog coin-holder, rather than the much cooler ceramic frog-in-beret leaning on a trash can that you actually wanted. (Painful childhood incident involving my well-meaning grandfather...but I'm almost over it.) (AED)

Sunday, December 8
Jeweled Ornaments: a family program at the Saint Louis Art Museum
One Fine Arts Drive, Gallery 216
Free, ages 5 and up, 2-4 p.m., 314-721-0072,

In conjunction with the literally dazzling new special exhibit at the museum, "Jeweled Arts of India in the Age of the Mughals," kids and their adult companions can draw inspiration from the collection to create their own sparkling baubles. It's indoors, hands-on and free...what's not to love about that? And in the end, your little mughal will have a holiday gift for Gramma. (AED)

Monday, December 9
Short Attention Span Christmas Shorts Spectacular w/ Pee-Wee Herman's Christmas Special
Frederick's Music Lounge, 4454 Chippewa
Free, 21-up, 7 p.m., 314-351-5711,

Pee-Wee Fred's co-proprietor is keeping the Pee-Wee flame alive in St. Louis, showing the classic funnyman's best work on a semi-regular basis at this South City establishment. This time out, it's the "Pee-Wee Herman Christmas Special," which is as nutty as you might expect. What a wonderful holiday bit of fluff! Joining Pee-Wee on the bill is a host of short films, the first night of three straight Mondays given over to holiday productions great and small. Fun! Keep the popcorn warm for me. (TC)

Wednesday, December 11
The Schwag
Vintage Vinyl, 6610 Delmar
Free, all ages, 9 p.m., 314-721-4096,

The popular jam band holds forth in the jazz section of the Loop's biggest music store. We are certain that within the framework of at least one tune, mad improvisation will break loose. (TC)

Friday, December 13
Lecture: "The Archaeology of Monsters in the Ancient Greek World," by Deborah Ruscillo Cosmopoulos
Saint Louis Art Museum auditorium, One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park
Free, 8 p.m., 314-721-0072,

For Friday the 13th, a semi-spooky topic: were there honest-to-God, real-life inspirations for the legends of such creatures as Medusa and the griffin? Cosmopoulos, adjunct professor at both our town's universities that start with "W," presents the archaeological and paleontological evidence that might've been behind the mythology, including the remains of ancient whales and other creatures that have since become extinct. (AED)

Saturday, December 14
"White Christmas" festival
American Theatre, 416 N. 9th St.
$10, all ages, 1 and 7 p.m. (doors 30 minutes prior), 314-421-4400,

Chestnuts will be roasting, albeit perhaps not on an open fire (heaven only knows what permits the City would require for that), and Jack Frost will most definitely be nipping at your nose, but that's all the more reason to hustle inside the beautiful American Theatre for carols, a visit from Santa, and a screening of the Bing Crosby 1954 classic "White Christmas." Pile in a group of six friends and upgrade yourselves to the cabaret table seating — there's a holiday tradition worth starting! (In that case, give a call to the group ticket folks at 314-231-5554). Bring the kids, the grandparents, even that surly nephew who hasn't said a word all year: no one can resist the charms of Rosemary Clooney. Super-special bonus: come for the evening show and you're invited to a reception at the nearby Mayfair Hotel. (AED)

Sunday, December 22
Winter Solstice Sunrise Observance
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, 30 Ramey St., Collinsville, IL
Free, all ages, 7 a.m., 618-346-5160,

Wake up, wake up, you pagan-heads; get up, get up, the sun is red! Yes, it's time to trundle out to honor your Mother and her winter season on this, the first true day of it. Bad news for night-owl pagans: the observance is at dawn. Good news: in the winter, that means 7 a.m.! Meet other hardy souls at Woodhenge, on the site grounds. Pack a thermos (or a flask, we won't tell!) and toast the solstice. (AED)

Friday, December 27
Gallery Opening: Nannette Vinson & Erin Kuechler
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand
Free, all ages, 7-10 p.m.,
view the postcard | map | interviews with the artists

Christening the newly painted walls of The Commonspace will be the evocative talents of two local artists: Nannette Vinson and painter Erin Kuechler. Note: this will be the first art opening at the new Commonspace — and, for that matter, the first public event in the room. Don't be the only person on your block not there. And bring a checkbook for some art. You need it. (TC)

Saturday, December 28
Book signing: "The Man Who Talks to Dogs"
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand
Free, all ages, 3:00-4:30 p.m.,

Author Melinda Roth and subject Randy Grim will be at The Commonspace to sign and read from their book, "The Man Who Talks to Dogs," which chronicles Grim's battles as the founder of Stray Rescue, now nationally recognized for its efforts in saving stray animals in the St. Louis region.


"The Pop Life"
KDHX, 88.1 FM
Wednesday, 2-4 p.m.

Dig this set of music: Soul Coughing, Avril Lavigne, Pretenders, Burnt Sugar, Orchetra Baobab. Now dig this set: Spring Heel Jack, Las Ketchup, Yohimbe Brothers, Cafe Tacuba, Kronos Quartet. The commonality? Both were actual five-song runs on "The Pop Life," one of the longest-running shows on KDHX. Hosted by Anton (who also frequently mans the board for the preceding "World Beat Dance Party"), "The Pop Life" might be one of the three or four most eclectic programs on the KDHX airwaves. And if you don't believe it, just remember that in the same show touched on above, you also had Madonna, Nirvana and Sebadoh. Eclectic, thy name is "The Pop Life." (TC)

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