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May 2003 / it's all happening :: email this story to a friend

May Is National Bike Month
By Thomas Crone and Amanda E. Doyle

Friday, May 2
Cinco de Mayo celebration
Kiener Plaza, downtown
Free, all ages, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., 314-837-6100

Sí, it's really the "dos de mayo," but since cinco's on a Monday, you'll have to get your fiesta on a little early this year. Expect great Latin/South American food and beverages, exhilarating performances from local folkloric dance groups, plenty o' arts and crafts vendors, door prizes and more. And beer! Mayor Slay will give a little speech to kick it all off, and then you can party your socks off to the music of Fantasia; if you get there at 10 a.m., you'll be good and ready to call it a day — and head over to see the new Urbis Orbis show (below) — by 5 or so. The best news? It's all for a good cause, with most of the fair's proceeds going towards providing scholarships for college-bound Hispanic students. Bueno. (AED)

Friday, May 2
"The Road to Redemption: Washington Avenue Landscapes" — paintings by Alan Brunettin
Gallery Urbis Orbis, 1409 Washington
Free, all ages, 5-9 p.m.,

For those of you (and we know who you are) used to seeing Alan Brunettin paint tightly framed portraits, this show will come as a bit of a shocker. Instead, he'll be offering up whimsical and even "heroic" looks at icons of the Washington Avenue streetscape improvements. Things like the orange traffic cones. Can't wait. And that's no jive. No less a source than the Post-Dispatch has labeled this a "hot new gallery," or some such. So come out. And, around the corner at the City Museum, a photographer named Bob Reuter will have a new group of photos, apparently relating to some type of recent boxing event. Sounds interesting! Make a night of it, we say. (TC)

Saturday, May 3
Bang! Bang! with Tijuana Hercules
Way Out Club, 2525 So. Jefferson
$5-6, 21-up, 9 p.m. (doors), 314-664-POET,

Here's a gross exaggeration for today: you can't walk down the street these days without running into a club that's featuring a band with '80s vibes. Right? After all, the decade's musical excesses (and subtleties) are being mined more than ever — and "Chicago sex rock music" outfit Bang! Bang! are in on the revival. The three-piece creates spare, yet energetic, pop flavored by, oh, a few hours listening to Wire and Magazine, let's say. Fans of Hot Hot Heat and other dancey rock bands of late-night radio are well advised to head to Gravois and Jefferson on this evening. (TC)

Sunday, May 4
St. Louis Record Collectors Show
American Czech Center, Landsdowne and Kingshighway
$2.50, all ages, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Our favorite Sundays of the year are spent inside the ample gymnasium of the American Czech Center, an old-school ethnic gathering place for Czechs. And five times annually, record geeks. With dozens of tables peddling everything from bootleg KISS videos to European Tricky b-sides, you'll find something you like; or something you like a little bit less, but at a better price. The occasional calls for "pretzels, 50 cents" on the house PA only add to the ambiance. (TC)

Monday, May 5
Men Cookin' for a Cause, featuring Nelly and the St. Lunatics
River's Edge at the Saint Louis Zoo, in Forest Park
$75, 5:30-8:30 p.m., 314-727-0888

The teaser for this one is, "Who says men can't cook?" (Hate to burst your bubble, sisters, but in my experience the ones who do are few and far between...) Anyhoo, a bevy of Important Male St. Louisans — including U. City's favorite brown-eyed handsome man and his rappin' friends, Ron Himes (Black Rep.), Cleveland Hammonds (outgoing SLPS superintendent), Gene Dobbs Bradford (Jazz at the Bistro), Vince Schoemehl (uh, everywhere) — will be in attendance at this fundraiser for the Black Rep's Education Programs. Now, here's an interesting catch: none of these men will, in fact, be cooking. (See my earlier comment.) Rather, they will "taste" food prepared by caterer Bryan Young; sure, these dishes are ostensibly recipes from prominent men in the area, but how are we to know that for sure? Well, whatever. Who says men can't eat? No one. Live entertainment and a recipe book are part of the package. (AED)

Tuesday, May 6
St. Louis Symphony Chamber Concert
Piper Palm House in Tower Grove Park, near Magnolia and Tower Grove Ave.
Free, all ages, 7 p.m., 314-286-4432

The last concert this season in the insanely popular "Tower Grove Tuesdays" series, this evening promises to be a lovely one, with music in the verdant (and acoustically prime) Palm House and a free reception following the free concert. Did we mention it's free? When you've got a symphony orchestra as good as ours, shows are a bargain at any price...but one of our favorite price-points is "free." Limited seating, so arrive early or be left to press your nose up against the glass; not usually a good first date, by the way. (AED)

Wednesday, May 7
A Public Dialogue with Richard Serra
Saint Louis Art Museum auditorium, One Fine Arts Dr. in Forest Park
Free, 6:30 p.m., 314-721-0072

It's a love-hate thing with this town and Serra, perhaps most acclaimed/reviled for his work "Twain," which sites astride downtown's green swath along Market Street. More recently, he fashioned the playful "Joe," a site-specific work for the courtyard of the Pulitzer Foundation. Audiences of all ilks (boy, I'm really wondering if "ilks" is a word) can enjoy this onstage discussion between Serra and Princeton's Hal Foster: come and hear him explain his brilliance, or delight in his attempts to justify his "art." (AED)

Wednesday, May 7
Cinema in the City: "Repo Man"
Beatnik Bob's Theatre, City Museum, 15th & Lucas
$4, all ages, 7:30 p.m., 314-968-7487,

If everyone who cites "Repo Man" as a camp classic actually saw the film, then it'd be one of the top-grossing films of all time. Often name-checked as one of the coolest underground movies of its generation, Alex Cox's "Repo Man" (1984, 92 min.) is a funky duck of a film. Part comedy, part post-noir drama, the movie brings together a host of character actors, punk rockers, and stars on the rise and on the wane, and throws them into a convoluted storyline about the repo game. The movie wins for its audacity and the isolated moments of weirdness...not necessarily for being a sensible, holistic film. Still, it's an odd one, well worthy of your time, and perfect for a repertory series such as this one. (TC)

Friday, May 9
Cafe Music presented by Crossings, Inc.
5th floor of the Blanke Building, 1310 Papin St., downtown
$25 suggested donation, 8 p.m. (pre-concert drinks at 7:30 p.m.), 314-726-3426

The good folks at Crossings, a nonprofit group that presents intimate evenings of classical and other forms of music blended with other art forms and delightful refreshments, offer St. Louis a night of "cafe music," including: a chamber piece performed by Melissa Brooks (cellist for the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra) and two other musicians; and a New Orleans-based duo, pianist Tom McDermott and clarinet player Evan Christopher. Once you're in that mood, you'll be primed for the New Orleans-style fare that will follow the concert. Reservations are a good idea. (AED)

Friday, May 9
Rock and Roll Prom
Way Out Club, 2525 So. Jefferson
$6, 21-up, 9 p.m.,

She started a local record label named after a favorite St. Louis foodstuff, and then Nancy Catalina had to take it to the next level: thus was Rock and Roll Prom born. (Is it just us, or have others noticed the prom zeitgeist of late? To everything, turn, turn, turn...) You'll want to get decked out in your finest powder-blue and taffeta for this social event, the theme of which is "The Moon, the Stars...and The Cheese!" The bands are the Bamboo Kids (NYC) and Bleed (Milwaukee), plus selected recordings spun by Jeff Hess of KDHX's "Afternoon Delight." A prom king and queen will be crowned, and the all-important party pic will be there, too. One can only hope they managed to dig up the gold-foil palm tree from my natural. (AED)

Saturday, May 10
Tivoli's "Reel Late" series: The Matrix
Tivoli Theatre, 6350 Delmar $6, 18-up, midnight

#1: The Matrix is cool because it features St. Louis-made SKIF designs.
#2: You must remind yourself — or, heaven forbid, catch it for the first time — of the finer points before Matrices 2 and 3 come to a theatre near you later this year.
#3: There is still, well past your teenage years, something subversively fun about seeing a midnight show.
#4: There's just about no better place to see a flick than the Tiv's main screen.
#5: You'll finally be able to figure out what the hell Ajay Zutshi was talking about. (AED)

Sunday, May 11
Behind the Scenes at the Campbell House: Historic Preservation Month 2003
Robert G. Campbell House, 1508 Locust St.
Free (reservations required), all ages, 1-3 p.m., 314-421-6474

Downtown's historic Campbell House is in a particularly interesting situation at the moment: right smack in the middle of a restoration campaign, with wall paintings being researched and meticulously recreated, and much of the furniture packed away while the house itself gets a spruce-up. Campbell House's history parallels that of the young city of St. Louis itself, and curator John Dalzell is an entertaining font of information on All Things Campbell. Just one of the many great activities sponsored by Landmarks Association to mark the annual Historic Preservation Month. (AED)

Wednesday, May 14
The Celluloid Couch film series: Boys Don't Cry
Saint Louis Art Museum auditorium, One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park
$5, 18-up, 7 p.m., 314-721-0072

The St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute presents a fine film series wherein each night's offering is introduced and discussed by psychoanalysts: tonight, "Boys Don't Cry," the 1999 movie starring Hillary Swank as the real-life gender-dysphoric teen Brandon Teena and Chloe Sevigny as his erstwhile love. Word to the first-time viewer: watching this movie was, for me, akin to getting kicked in the stomach. Which is not to say it's not worth doing. Other films in the series (all on Wednesdays at the art museum) include Insomnia (starring Al Pacino and, again, Hillary Swank) on May 21, and Frida (starring Salma Hayek) on May 28. (AED)

Thursday, May 15
Book reading and signing
"Her Dream of Dreams: The Rise and Triumph of Madam C.J. Walker," by Beverly Lowry
Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid
Free, all ages, 7 p.m., 314-367-6731,

The tale of Madam Walker (nee Sarah Breedlove, in Louisiana to plantation-slave parents) is a fascinating chapter of St. Louis history: she rose from the status of washerwoman in Mississippi to become an entrepreneur, beauty magnate (inventing all sorts of products, including various hair tonics for black women) and philanthropist. Walker was, at the turn of the century, the first self-made female millionaire in U.S. history. Come find out more when Beverly Lowry shares her story in the friendly indy bookstore nearest you. (AED)

Thursday, May 15
Cine16: "Building Circus"
Mad Art Gallery, 2525 So. 12th St.
Free, all ages, 8 p.m., 314-241-4950,

The monthly series of 16-mm films is given over to four shorts on the evening, a varied bunch to be sure. There's a tour of John Ringling's house, an interview with Frank Lloyd Wright, a view of a house being erected by wonderfully named Bozo people of Mali, and a look at one Alexander Calder, a Frenchman with a mini-circus. Even if you don't like the circus (and let's stand up, those of us who really just don't care for the circus!!!), these films will undoubtedly win you over, eight-to-30 minutes at a time. (TC)

Friday, May 16
National Bike to Work Day
Missouri History Museum in Forest Park
Free, 6:30-8:30 a.m.,

Yes, we know: St. Louis ain't the easiest town in which to bike-commute. But that won't ever change until there are more folks doing it, and of all the days of the year, this is the day to show up in force. Why? For the tasty treats from Companion Bakehouse, served by Miss Missouri 2002, Shandi Finnessey? To see Francis Slay in Lycra? To have that warm, fuzzy, I'm-not-alone feeling? These are all valid, and whatever it takes to get you there — even our civic leader in form-fitting bike shorts — is okay by us. (AED)

Friday, May 16
Men and Animals Tour 2003: The Short Films of Jim Finn and Dean Rank
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
$5, 7 p.m. (doors)/8 p.m. (films), 314-531-1707,

Men! Animals! We love 'em all...Finn, a U. City native, and Rank, his partner-in-crime in Chicago, bring their national touring film festival to the 'space for a screening of their latest short film/video work. There's something for everyone, including (in the words of one recent reviewer), "a preponderance of ideas about alienation, representation and small animals." The schedule includes: Super-Max (2003, Finn), a tour of maximum-security prisons shot from a moving car, their hulking forms framed by telephone poles and power lines that divide landscape and sky; Team (2003, Rank), uniformed young men and the sport they love; and wüstenspringmaus (2002, Finn), three minutes wherein "the Golden Age of Hollywood takes on the history and evolution of this delightful pet." Eleven films, 74 minutes of good fun. (AED)

Saturday, May 17
8th Annual St. Louis Microfest
Upper Muny parking lot, Forest Park
$17 (advance)/$20 (day of), 21-up, noon- 6 p.m., 314-436-BEER,

Spend your spring Saturday sipping delightful microbrewed beers (along with the occasional rogue drink, like Fitz's Hop Pop) at this annual benefit for the worthy programs of the Lift for Life gym/charter school. For starters, it's sponsored by our friends at Schlafly Beer, so that's a good sign. There's live music (it's fun to watch drunk people dance to Farshid Etniko), and you get these darling little tasting glasses that you can — yes, it's true! — just walk up to any booth and demand filled with ambrosial beer. Well, we actually suggest you ask, not demand. Sample your way around the world of microbrew. It's a good thing. (AED)

Saturday, May 17
Breakin' @ The Commonspace
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
Free, all ages, 2 - 4 p.m.,

DJ Chilly C will man the 1s and 2s while the breakdancers do their thing. Last month's breakin' session was supa tight. Come out to see what's going down in the underground. (BHM)

Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18
Chinese Culture Days
Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd.
$7 (free ages 12 and under), all ages, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 314-577-9400,

It's high time we all learned a little bit more about our neighbors to the Far East, especially when we've got things like SARS out there, bringing us all a little closer. But for Chinese influences of a more positive sort, come enjoy traditional music, fashion, games and dancing, along with arts and crafts, t'ai chi, tours of the Chinese garden and — yum — an authentic Chinese food court. Note to self: avoid the marrow smoothie. (AED)

Monday, May 19
Book reading and signing: "Guilty Pleasures" anthology, ed. by Holly Silva
Duff's, 392 N. Euclid
$5, all ages, 7:30 p.m., 314-367-6731,

Eight St. Louis-based contributors to this effort — a rollicking assemblage of essays on women's secret obsessions, from food to footwear to forbidden language — gather for a release party, of sorts. When you hear them talk about their guilty pleasures, maybe you'll be more comfortable with your own; unless, of course, it's really weird and sick, in which case you should feel terribly, terribly guilty. (AED)

Tuesday, May 20
Twilight Tuesdays concert: the Flying Mules
Missouri History Museum in Forest Park
Free, all ages, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 314-361-7293,

May is the time for enjoying the far-too-fleeting spring, and Twilight Tuesdays are a perfect place to do so. Bring a picnic (or heck, buy a picnic there), perhaps a bottle of wine, definitely a blanket, and enjoy the front lawn of one of our best public institutions while the dulcet sounds of the Flying Mules — bluegrass, with a little gospel/rock/jazz/swing/blues in the mix — permeate the night. Om. (AED)

Thursday, May 22
St. Louis Public Schools Performing Arts Night
Fox Theatre, 527 N. Grand
Free, all ages, 7 p.m., reservations required, 314-345-4449

Have you, as a childless person, ever regretted missing all the recitals/marching bank competitions/one-act play nights you had no compelling reason to attend? Have you, as a parent, ever thought, "Sure, I go to every production little Susie Q is in, but I long for more, more, more!" Hie thee to the first-ever SLPS showcase night for students in choirs, concert bands, guitar ensembles, jazz ensembles, orchestra and more, all in the Byzantine Psychotropia of the Fabulous Fox. It's billed as a "non-stop two hour production"! Nonstop! (AED)

Saturday, May 24
Stockton House Garden District Tour: Historic Preservation Month 2003
Robert H. Stockton House, 3508 Samuel Shepard Dr.
Free (reservations required), all ages, 1-3 p.m., 314-421-6474

Perhaps you've been parking in the hinterlands of Grand Center, walking to your show at the Black Rep or Jazz at the Bistro, and been struck by the few, remaining lovely homes in a tight cluster, surrounded by lush gardens. That stuff doesn't just happen by accident, you know, and this Saturday afternoon is your chance to find out more about renovation efforts (25 years in the making) at the Romanesque Stockton House, along with the beautiful gardens that extend from it into the neighborhood. Frederick Medler, frequent contributor to The Commonspace, will lead the discussion. (AED)

Saturday, May 24
LAN videogame party
Free, all ages, noon - midnight, RSVP to

Bring a computer with a network card and strap yourself in for 12 hours of head-to-head gaming action. Also bring any software titles you want to play and a network switch, if you have one. Viva the Atari generation! (BHM)

Sunday, May 25
Fred Boettcher Memorial Night
Frederick's Music Lounge, 4454 Chippewa
Free, 21-up, 314-351-5711,

Our guess is that someone will play some Fred Boettcher tracks on the jukebox. Someone else will tell wildly implausible (but true) stories. Another someone will drink a Budweiser and smoke a cigarette. It'll probably be quieter than normal, except for moments when someone peels off a wildly inappropriate comment to the patron next to them. It'll be that kind of singular night. (TC)

Tuesday, May 27
STL BookCrossers Monthly Meeting
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
Free, all ages, 7:30 p.m., 314-531-1707,

BookCrossing, the hottest global book exchange/Internet tracking phenomenon going, has a local group of partisans, and the monthly meeting is the place to meet up with them, bring books to release "into the wild" and get a new stack of books for your own reading pile. Though you don't have to bring books to participate, it must be said that it makes you more popular with this literate crowd... (AED)

Wednesday, May 28
World Wide Wednesday: Iran & Persian Culture, with Farshid Soltanshahi, Julia Thornburg and Sara Garrow
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
Free, all ages, 7 p.m., 314-531-1707,

Our series bringing locales from elsewhere in the world home to St. Louis seems especially relevant this month, with Iran being much in the news of late due to current world events. Come join us for an evening of music (courtesy of Farshid Soltanshahi, of Farshid Etniko), Persian art (by St. Louis artist Julia Thornburg) and discussion (led by Iranian native Sara Garrow), to learn more about this amazingly rich culture and how the current political climate affects some Iranian-born St. Louisans. You're bound to learn a thing or two, and have a good time, to boot. (AED)


Reggae-Dub Record Spin
Mangia Italiano
Free, 21-up, 324-664-8585,

If you're looking for option to wind down that sometimes-stressful Seventh Day, you might try the reggae-dub spin at Mangia, where DJs Gabe and Dino hold down the fort. It's a mellower crowd in the room on that night, but not an antisocial one. And with that classic tin ceiling, you know those compressed snare shots are gonna bounce, and bounce and bounce... (TC)

St. Louis Go Club
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
Free, all ages, noon - 4 p.m., 314-531-1707,

"Go is to chess as philosophy is to double entry bookkeeping." —Trevanian

You may recognize the game from the movies "Pi" and "A Beautiful Mind." The American Go Association sums it up like this: "Go is an ancient board game that takes simple elements — line and circle, black and white, stone and wood — combines them with simple rules and generates subtleties that have enthralled players for millennia. Beyond being merely a game, Go can take on other meanings to enthusiasts: an analogy with life, an intense meditation, a mirror of one's personality, an exercise in abstract reasoning, or, when played well, a beautiful art in which black and white dance across the board in delicate balance. But most important for all who play, Go is challenging and fun." Whether you're a ranked expert or interested in learning how to play, stop by to pick up a game, and be sure to sign up for the stlgo Yahoo! Group. (BHM)

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