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Feb 2004 / it's all happening :: email this story to a friend

Darn the Groundhog; Full Speed Ahead!
By Amanda E. Doyle and Brian H. Marston

March events

Tuesday, February 3 (and Tuesdays thereafter)
Stitch'n'Bitch St. Louis
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
Free, all ages, 7:30-9:30 p.m.,

It's the hankering for the authentic plus the love of the throwback that brings together folks (groovy chicks, yes, but hip dudes, too) in Stitch'n'Bitch knitting circles around the country — all devoted to the art of the handcrafted item, from wacky arm-warmers to the tried-and-true baby blanket. The St. Louis group is newly formed, so there's no time like the present to grab some needles and yarn and come on down, for inspiration, advice, instruction or just a structured time set aside each week for your craft. One great thing about the needle arts is that while they require your hands to be engaged, your mouth is free to gab. Knit on! (AED)

Tuesday, February 3
The 2004 Presidential Election: Who's Likely to Win and Who's Likely to Vote?, by Dr. Thomas Patterson
Millennium Student Center (Century Room C) at UMSL, 8001 Natural Bridge Rd.
Free (reservations requested), all ages, 7:30 p.m., 314-516-5521

So, you've gone and cast your vote like a good citizen should, and now you're ready for the politickin' after-party? Head on up to UMSL, where Harvard University's Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press will address the topics of electoral participation, mass media coverage and the ever-shifting tides of public opinion. Might as well wait for returns in a room full of other wonks...and since we're sure he gave a truckload of cash for the privilege, we'd like to say "attaboy" to UMSL alum Gary Esayian, who funded this annual lecture series. (AED)

Wednesday, February 4
Gateway Green Alliance Forum: News Media Moguls at War with Their St. Louis Workers
Genesis House, 6018 Delmar
Free, 7 p.m., 314-863-1125

Here's a recipe for a long-winded evening: plop Joe Pollack (bon vivant and theater/film reviewer about town), Ed Bishop (editor of the St. Louis Journalism Review and two former reporters for the Journals in a room and let them wax eloquent about what's wrong with Pulitzer Publishing. The publisher of both the Post-Dispatch and the Suburban Journals (along with the Ladue News, which somehow manages to skate above the labor fray) is again at odds with its Newspaper Guild workers, and the Gateway Green Alliance sees more trouble on the horizon with the ever-decreasing pool of media ownership. If media monopolies are your conversational bag, this is the place to be. (AED)

Wednesday, February 4
CSI: Saint Louis Zoo
The Living World, Saint Louis Zoo in Forest Park
$3-$5, reservations required, all ages, doors 7 p.m./lecture 7:30 p.m., 314-768-5450

Ah, t.v.: it's made dummies of us all. Still, it's also provided the occasional amusing spin-off, as in this real-life, local franchise of the popular forensics drama CSI. To our knowledge, David Caruso will not be skulking around the underbelly of the zoo; rather, staff pathologist Dr. Mary Duncan will talk about her job — investigating animal deaths to determine patterns of disease that might threaten the health of other zoo animals. And anything's better than the pathetic last season of "Friends." (AED)

Thursday, February 5
Race and the American Urban Landscape, by Walter Hood
Contemporary Art Museum, 3750 Washington Blvd.
Free, reception 6 p.m./ lecture 7 p.m., 314-535-4660

Walter Hood, professor of landscape architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, is also a frequent member on international design juries, and has authored two books, "Urban Diaries" and "Blues & Jazz." Tonight, he will discuss his approach to the design of urban environments, part of an ongoing lecture series at the Contemporary. (AED)

Friday, February 6
Art Opening: "Dealer's Choice — Art on and About Business Cards," by Shannon Maddie Earnest
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
Free, all ages, 7-10 p.m., 314-531-1707,

Using business cards as a canvas, Shannon Maddie Earnest examines themes of identity and community. How does the shorthand we use for ourselves on business cards communicate the essence of who we really are? What if you had cards for each distinct aspect of your personality? Come out to enjoy the artwork and meet the celebrity guests, St. Louis notables who donated their own business cards for the project — because you like nice things. (AED)

Saturday, February 7
Book Reading/Signing: "It's Never Too Late," by Dr. Ed Wolfgram
Schlafly branch of the St. Louis Public Library, 225 N. Euclid
Free, all ages, 2:30 p.m., 314-367-4120

Not to make you feel bad, but what exactly are you doing with your life? Ed Wolfgram is probably kicking your butt — after all, he just won first place in his age division (age 70-74) in the Hawaiian Ironman World Championship Triathlon, beating his nearest competitor by 45 minutes. But his point is not to gloat; rather, he wants you to know you could do it, too. The physician and Wash U professor will speak on health and fitness and the importance of maintaining both at any age, even if you're starting late. Personally, I think it would be great if someone would challenge him to one-armed push-ups, Jack Palance-style...(AED)

Saturday, February 7 & Sunday, February 8
Webster University Film Series: "Wild Style" and "Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme"
Moore Auditorium, 470 East Lockwood
$4-6, all ages, 7 and 9 p.m. both nights, 314-968-7487,

If you like to throw down on the 1s and 2s, this double-header will rock your world: "Wild Style," called "the best hip-hop movie of all time" by The Source Magazine, is a contemporaneous film documenting the emerging South Bronx scene in 1982, and "Freestyle" focuses on the underground MCs and DJs who built the scene — including now well-known names like Mos Def, the Notorious B.I.G., The Last Poets and more.

Friday, February 13
Concert: Gen Obata & Lydia Ruffin
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
$5/Free for Friends of The Commonspace, all ages, doors 7:30/show 8 p.m., 314-531-1707,

Prolific area guitar-man Gen Obata (of Raven Moon, the Seldom Home bluegrass band and his own solo career, just to name his musical pursuits and silver-throated Lydia Ruffin team up for an evening of folk, with each taking a turn in the spotlight before the two pair up for some original material. Perfect Friday evening in the public living room. (AED)

Sunday, February 15
St. Louis Bike Fed Bicycle Swap Meet and Classic Bike Show
The former K-Mart in Deer Creek Center, 3200 Laclede Station Rd.
$3 ($10 for one-hour-early-bird admission), all ages, noon-3:30 p.m., 314-707-5001,

We're big fans of the St. Louis Bike Fed, not least because they do so much with so little, in terms of bang for cash bucks — all the more reason you should support this annual fundraising event. The Bicycle Swap Meet has a little something for everyone: riders can get an eyeful of bikes for sale/trade, gearheads can get every little cycling geegaw they've ever wanted, the entire family can enjoy the entries in the Classic Bike Show...and aficionados of smart development can marvel at what happens when a big box goes bad (with any luck, it gets donated for use by worthy groups!) (AED)

Sunday, February 15
Kangaku Social Justice Book Club
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
Free, all ages, 3-5 p.m., 314-795-2663,,

February's book is "Searching for the Uncommon Common Ground" by Angela Glover Blackwell, et al. As a bonus, Angela will be in St. Louis for SLACO's Neighborhoods Conference on March 20. The Kangaku Book Club encourages learning to promote social justice. Its goal is to create a community of learning in the search for justice and truth. The group seeks to learn about local, national and international issues through books and through each other. Each month, they will choose a book related to various themes such as globalization, poverty, politics, education equity, the death penalty, women's issues, indigenous rights and struggle, etc. We, of course, encourage you to get your copy at the library or Left Bank Books. (BHM)

Monday, February 16
Performance/Discussion with jazz guitarist Dave Black, part of the Monday Noon Cultural Series
J.C. Penney Conference Center, UMSL, 8001 Natural Bridge Rd.
Free, all ages, 12:15-1:15 p.m., 314-516-5699

Black is one of the most well-known, awarded jazz guitarists playing in St. Louis, so his appearance today might be a good calendar entry for aspiring musicians: along with playing from his vast repertoire and talking about his unique, semi-acoustic guitar, he'll be offering advice on how to build a professional music career in our town. Ya gotta think he knows of what he speaks. (AED)

Wednesday, February 18
African Choral Odyssey VII: The Music & Dances of Botswana
Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Blvd.
$15/$20, all ages, 7:30 p.m., 314-652-6800,

The Moeding Dance & Cultural Troupe of Gaborone, Botswana, takes to the Sheldon's renowned stage this evening, part of a two-week residency by the group in St. Louis, where they'll also be giving master classes. The St. Louis African Chorus has been around, fostering a better understanding of Africa's rich cultural heritage through music and other art forms, since 1994. (AED)

Friday, February 20
Concert: Anna Roland and Chad Wells
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
$5/Free for Friends of The Commonspace, all ages, doors 7:30/show 8 p.m., 314-531-1707,

Guitar grrl Anna Roland covers the range of emotion in her songs, from sweet-but-not-sickly love songs, conjuring up a summer night drive and the wind in your hair, to her growly tirades against The Man, his government and his corporations. Chad Wells, a singer-songwriter who accompanies himself on guitar, acquires most of his material through what he describes as spiritual (not "religious") moments. He has great love and appreciation for the "universe" and gifts of it, and a passion for nature and real human emotions. He reflects this in his songwriting and performance.

Saturday, February 21
Concert: The Music of Lewis and Clark
Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Blvd.
$8, all ages, 11 a.m., 314-534-1111,

Kids, in case you've been under a rock, it's "all Lewis & Clark, all the time" here in the Lou in '04. In addition to the really excellent exhibit on the topic at the History Museum, die-hard fans might want to sample this one-hour concert featuring stories and folk songs that help recreate the time of their historic journey. Songs from St. Louis, the small towns of the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountain region are included. (AED)

Saturday, February 21
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.,

The Beans&Cabbage crew will throw down on the turntables while the b-boys throw down on the linoleum. Hip hop hooray! Your homework assignment before this installment of our monthly breakdancing seminar is to watch You Got Served, then come see how it's really done. (BHM)

Sunday, February 22
Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary
Central branch of St. Louis Public Library, Great Hall, 1301 Olive St., downtown
Free, all ages, 2 p.m., 314-539-0315

It's one of those things that you hear about in school all your life, to the point where it may have become relegated to the names/dates/dead people school of history...but the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case is very much a living issue, and two of the sisters who were students in the Topeka school system, Linda Brown Thompson and Cheryl Brown Henderson, will share their memories of the Supreme Court case brought by their father and more than 100 other plaintiffs. Eventually, the case resulted in the 1954 decision that the doctrine of "separate but equal" was inherently flawed; a curiously relevant case for our public school situation today. (AED)

Sunday, February 22
Free Candy, with Amanda & Julia
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
Free (it's right in the name!), 6:30-7:30 p.m., 314-531-1707,

We're taking entertainment back, waaaaay back, with this pilot episode of a new, live talk show, with your co-hosts Julia Smillie and yours truly. Now, by "live," let's make sure we're clear, here — there will be no broadcast of the show, just right-in-front-of-your-eyes action, with witty segments, interesting guests, the debut of the show's band, alternately called The Candyband or Sugar Daddies, depending on the day. We've got a couch for guests, and we will be saying "roll the clip." Beyond that, no guarantees — except that you don't want to miss it. (AED)

Saturday, February 28
Variety Show & Open Mic
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
$5/free for Friends of The Commonspace, all ages, 9-10 p.m., 314-283-2498

The first half of the evening will feature a variety show presented by OXCA (Open Xpression thru Community Arts), the group that gave a wildly popular performance of "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf" at The Commonspace last October. The second half will be an open mic. Want to be a star? This is your chance. The night promises diverse entertainment for a diverse audience. (BHM)

Sunday, February 29
Comic Book & Collectable Show!
American Legion Post 111, 7300 Lansdowne
$2, all ages, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 314-544-2812

As difficult as it is for me to admit this, after a lifelong dedication to indifference to the comic arts, I recently became hooked on the graphical novel. (For fellow doubters of the form, I recommend the funny, poignant Persepolis as a starting point.) In any case, it might also be time to revisit my prejudice towards the more traditional comic book: after all, a good story, efficiently told, is the sweetest reward for any reader. If it's your thing, you'll find current titles, out-of-print classics from both the golden and silver ages (I'm unclear on when those divisions occurred), sports cards, anime and more at today's show. And, uh, there's a knockoff Hulk on the handbill, just daring you not to show up. (AED)

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