Shiner Bock Beer
There were days when you couldn't get Shiner Bock beer in St. Louis, days that reached out darkly until the past couple of glorious months. Now, you don't have to remember to pick up a yellow-and-red case, or two, when driving through Kansas City. These days, you can head to the Way Out Club, where Shiner is on draft, or to the Rocket Bar, where it's available in bottled form. Shiner Bock is the toast of Texas, made just outside of Austin by the Spoetzl Brewery, founded in 1909. Though an established brand, the beer's probably been best popularized by the South by Southwest Music Conference, which brings in attendees from all over the country. In Austin, during SXSW, Shiner is downed in relative consumption to tap water. It's tasty, yum! Though we'd never want to down our friends in the local brewing industry, trying out a Shiner Bock shouldn't make you feel guilty, either. It's just really good beer. (TC)
Rose Martelli Trivia
Llywellyn's Pub Above, Euclid & McPherson
Wednesdays, 8 p.m.
Trivia is played in VFW Halls, in church basements, in storefront neighborhood centers. And, sometimes, in bars. It's a perfect game, really, for a bar, as it makes you socialize, communicate and think (but not too hard). It's the antithesis, really, to the idiot box sitting on the bar-top, the touch-screen game that sucks quarters and souls into a mindless, numbing vacuum. Trivia is good for the heart, brain and soul. And trivia-master Rose Martelli keeps things light at Llywellyn's with fun topics and fast pacing. A decent-sized crowd, but not so many that the cutthroat in you will emerge. Unlike some trivia contests, this one won't punish you for being in your 20s or 30s. In fact, you'll prosper if you can identify Huckleberry Hound or you can remember that one-hit-wonder Marcy Playground wrote the track "Sex and Candy." It's an altogether right-on place to spend your Wednesday evening coin. You might even win a bar tab, but don't count on it, because some of these teams are getting pretty darned good. (TC)
Monday Movie Feastival
Lemmons, 5800 Gravois
Mondays, 7-11 p.m.
The granddaddy of contemporary Monday movie nights was at the Way Out Club, though that tradition effectively ended with the move to the new venue. Then came the birth of Paul Stark's video collection being played for all, at Frederick's Music Lounge. With Monday Night Football on spring/summer hiatus and music banned from the basement, Lemmons hit upon a successful formula in recent months, running cult classics and mainstream fare, to go along with the already-popular, free pizza-and-wings blowout. It's a touch confusing with three of the five TVs on the films and the other two on sports (best is when half the crowd is looking right past the other half), but you'll orient yourself soon enough. Just grab another plate and let your eyes settle in. (TC)
"Elimidate" & "Blind Date"
KPLR, Channel 11
The best shows on late-night television are even later-night, now that the genius programmers at Channel 11 realized that the only people watching these reality/dating shows are coming straight to the TV from the local tavern. This timing only solidifies that last call shouldn't be trifled with; finish that drink and head home immediately. We'll note, too, that "Change of Heart" follows these two shows, but even the most avid fan of trash TV can't support that one.
(Note: Before we even published this missive, KPLR realized the error of its ways and restored "Elimidate" and "Blind Date" back to the midnight hour. Obviously, the viewers have spoken, another indication that people do have the power.) (TC)
At MU330's April show at the Creepy Crawl, the band set out the usual barrage of merchandise. For MU, that means about a half dozen different shirt designs, more than a dozen discs and videos and a supply of further odds-and-ends, priced to move. Mixed in was Bagheera's demo CD, "Twelves." The group features MU drummer Theodore Moll and guitarist Heather Dallape. Together, the married pair was part of the late Climber, one of St. Louis' most neglected, hard-edged pop bands. Now recording as a duo, "Twelves" showcases a really understated set of songs, captured in lo-fi glory by Moll. With both sharing vocals and mixing-and-matching instruments, the album will appeal to fans of subtle, sneaky, sometimes crunchy pop, like His Name is Alive and Volumizer. The disc is so deft, in fact, you'll wonder why the pair have been hiding this material. If they only recorded from here on out, that'd be okay, but it'd be fun to hear these tracks worked out in the live setting. A total gem, really, "Twelves" is the local disc you need today. (TC)
Les Baton Rogue (with the Good Griefs)
Way Out Club, Thursday, April 17
I didn't see Siouxsie and the Banshees at their most vital, probably because I was 10, living in the middle of the US and still had a fascination with baseball cards, not post-punk. But I'd like to think I was treated to something pretty close to the original when Berlin-based, Portuguese-born Les Baton Rogue played the Way Out on a nondescript Thursday in April. Fronted by live wire Suspiria Franklyn, the band's a bundle of energy, shooting out sparks of inspired garage and punk rock. Though only playing to a few people, it seemed everyone in the room knew that this was a show to see: Kopper and Jason Rerun of KDHX; Vintage Vinyl's ubiquitous Jim Utz; and the duo of Dancing Larry and Beatle Bob. And three dozen other lucky souls, who may've stumbled across the best rock'n'roll show of early 2003. If Les Baton Rogue give this kind of effort to a small house, mid-way through a tour, you can only imagine the power and gusto they'd have at, say, a big European festival. Frightening. Time to invest in the band's small back catalog. And time, already, to wait for the next show. Hopefully, this year. If not, next. Mark it down now. (TC)
Taproots Book Arts Fair
April 5 & 6
I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but the variety and intricacy of the display at Taproots' annual Book Arts Fair blew me away. In the exhibit space, projects ranging from an exploded, shredded book still contained within its covers to a collection of photos of old signs and buildings, neatly bookended (heh, heh) by two red bricks. After viewing all that (frustratingly, usually only with my eyes, since even the projects one could handle with actual white gloves were limited), fairgoers were perfectly primed to head up to the large artists' market and buy all kinds of supplies rubberstamps, handmade papers, calligraphy inks and more to do it themselves. Or not: many artists also sold their own completed books, from blank journals to the architectural adventures of everyone's favorite St. Louis cat, Lilly. Onstage music upstairs, and a comfy poetry sidebar (organized by Underwood co-director Kent Shaw) made for a full afternoon, and sent me back out into the world with my head full of book dreams...(AED)
"The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas"
Davy Rothbart isn't a St. Louisan, though we've run across him twice now, each time out pimping his hilarious zine, "Found Magazine." The last time through town opening for the heavily-hyped Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players Rothbart read for the better part of an hour; this time, he lopped the time, but still squeezed in a few randy tales shocking in that the room was actually filled with kids. Out in the lobby, after the gig, Rothbart was hawking copies of a self-published collection of stories, attractively packaged as "The Lone Surfer." Five tales of young people doing dumb things, falling in and out of love (more dumb things) and plying scams. There's just something special about picking up a book from the author, who grabs it from a heaving stack, pockets your cash and scrawls his name all over your new buy. Long live indie publishing. (TC)