It's All Happening

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The Commonspace

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

By Amanda E. Doyle

Through July 31
Exhibit: "Brick by Brick: Building St. Louis and the Nation"
Saint Louis University Museum of Art, 3663 Lindell Blvd.
Free, all ages, open daily except M from 1-4 p.m., 314-977-3399,

Okay, so maybe you've heard the urban legend that every damn building in New Orleans was built from bricks of demolished St. Louis buildings...come find out the truth behind the brickyard industry in 19th century St. Louis. Our city's love affair with the brick has left us the legacy of a most distinctive urban architecture, something maybe even Richard Florida and Joel Kotkin could agree upon.

Saturday, May 1
Puppetmaking Workshop
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
Free, all ages, 10 a.m.,

For kids — and kid-like adults (like us) — our free puppetmaking workshop will be a hands-on celebration of the creative possibilities of old socks and leftover fabric. Materials provided, but yours are welcome, too. This will also be an informal planning session for upcoming People's Coffee puppet shows. No, we're not kidding.

Saturday, May 1
Readings at City Museum: Kristy Odelius, William Allegrezza, Garin Cycholl and Chris Glomski
Beatnik Bob's Theater in City Museum, 701 N. 15th St.
$5 (includes museum admission), 8 p.m.,

Poetry impresario Aaron Belz has assembled a Chicago poetry mafia to come down the interstate and pay a visit to our fair city — among them they edit poetry journals, maintain poetry blogs (truly, on the Internet, there's a fan base for everything), collect doctorates and minister at Chicago churches. Yep, they're collaborating for an evening of Chi-town verse, and we had best be there to enjoy and, even more importantly, give it right back, 'cause otherwise they'll go home talking about how lame St. Louis' poetry crowds are. And for God's sake, we can stand any more Chicago envy!!

Thursday, May 6
Discover St. Louis series: "Sprawl and the Last Chance Landscape," by Jane Holtz Kay
Missouri History Museum's Lee Auditorium, Lindell and DeBaliviere in Forest Park
Free, all ages, 7 p.m., 314-746-4599,

The final session of this year's discussion series brings Kay, the author of "Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America," to the museum to bring some light to the heated discussion of "sprawl" and offer solutions to promote livable communities and smart growth. As always, expect a lively discussion from the opinionated folks in the audience.

Friday, May 7
Exhibit Opening: "Bread & Roses: A Juried Exhibition of Creative Resistance"
American Postal Workers Union Hall, 1717 S. Broadway (across from Soulard Market)
$10-$20, all ages, 7 to 9 p.m., 314-644-0466,

There's a long tradition of using the arts for collective action, political expression and daily struggle, and the St. Louis Jobs with Justice coalition has capitalized on the merger of art and economic survival for its annual fundraiser, an exhibit whose theme this year is "This is What Democracy Looks Like." Art, music, poetry and more take the stage, with Harriet Woods and Bernie Hayes serving as emcees.

Saturday, May 8
Concert: "The Best of American/British Rock," by Dave Simon's Rock School
Blueberry Hill, 6504 Delmar
$5, all ages, doors 2:30 p.m./American show 3 p.m./British show 4:30 p.m., 314-727-0800,

Right, so you saw "School of Rock," right? Yeah, so it's like that, but real, and local. Dave Simon, noted guitarist-round-town, takes kids aged 10-18, from diverse backgrounds and areas of St. Louis, and teaches them the skills they need to survive in a modern rock band. Sixty of his protégés will perform (in ten groupings) today, rockin' out to the classics as well as throwin' some of their original compositions into the mix. The legend of the rent was way past due, dude.

Wednesday, May 12
Lecture: What is Eligible for the National Register?, by Esley Hamilton
Washington U's Givens Hall, Kemp Hall (Room 116)
Free, 5:30 p.m., 314-421-6474

Esley Hamilton is our local eminence on architectural preservation and historical topics, and his one-hour slide lecture will give you a taste of his academic-yet-accessible style. He'll explain why certain St. Louis buildings have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, what such a designation means for owners, architects, local officials and the general public, and even play the popular parlor game, "What are the chances..." with audience questions.

Friday, May 14
Reading: "Found: The Best Lost Tossed Items," by Davy Rothbart
Mad Art Gallery, 2727 S. 12th in Soulard
Free, doors 7 p.m./performance 8 p.m., 314-771-8230,

You know those random little bits of someone else's life's ephemera you come across — say, they left their grocery list in your basket, and you get to see that they were looking for vodka, cheese, antifungal cream and condoms — and you think, "Someone should do something with this great stuff!"? Well, Davy Rothbart heard your call, and though it's just lately he's hit the tipping point and become the media darling of both Letterman and NPR, he's been plugging away for a while now, cataloguing life's detritus as a means to better finding his way in the world, helping himself feel, as he says, "not quite so alone." His readings from Found magazine, along with some great audio finds and songs composed of found material by Rothbart's brother, Peter. That's good entertainment, kids, and it's free.

Saturday, May 15
Tour of Old North St. Louis
Begin at Old North St. Louis office, 2800 N. 14th St.
$10 (includes ice cream at Crown Candy!), all ages, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 314-241-5031,,

To be inspired about the possibilities of urban living, and to get a taste of some of St. Louis' best ice cream to boot, ante up for the self-guided tour of ten homes and two gardens in one of the north side's most vibrant neighborhoods. Long-time residents and excited newcomers alike are working hard to stage a revitalization in this National Register Historic District.

Saturday, May 15
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.,

Hip hop, hippity hop, we don't stop. Hip-hop culture is everywhere. Come get down with the underground to find out why. DJ Kram's got the funky retro beats covered. Bring your moves or curiosity to add to the mix.

Sunday, May 16
St. Louis Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony
Next to Blueberry Hill, 6500 Delmar
Free, all ages, 1:30 p.m., 314-727-STAR,

A kickoff with ragtime and Dixieland jazz! That's an auspicious start to this, the 15th Walk of Fame induction, and the Class of 2004 will take their places alongside such STL notables as Pierre Chouteau and Redd Foxx. Get there early to get prime gawkin' real estate.

Sunday, May 16
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,,

May's book is "Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment," by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James Houston. This book is fitting for Asian Pacific American Heritage month. 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 book at the library or Left Bank Books.

Wednesday, May 19
Bottleworks Farmers' Market
Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave.
Free, all ages, 4-7 p.m.,

We don't know too much yet, but what we know, we like: Schlafly, purveyors of most that is good about St. Louis, has employed a full-time garden manager to oversee the growing of yummy things for the Bottleworks restaurant in a large, adjacent garden. That's a good thing. Then, they decide to team up with the good folks at Chef's Collaborative (they run the snooty-but-tasty Clayton Farmers Market) to put on a market once a week from May 'til October. Good stuff!

Thursday, May 20
Independent Musicians Workshop
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
Free, all ages, 7:30-10 p.m., reserve space with

Join other local solo or small-group musicians to share ideas, skills or services. Perhaps you need another keen ear to critique your works-in-progress, or suggestions on how to beef up your beats? Maybe you don't have time for a band, but are looking for collaborators who share your artistic vision? Want to trade riffs for beats, or see how someone else might add another melody to your piece? Come on down, meet your otherwise invisible peers and network to bring everyone's art to the next level. Open to musicians of all kinds, from singer/songwriter types to ambient/noise projects.

Friday, May 21 and Saturday May 22
Theater: "Mary's Dream"
A.D. Brown building, Tucker and Washington, downtown
Suggested donation $15, doors 7 p.m.,

So, a psychology experiment, a rock concert, a performance artist and a Bose acoustical cannon walk into a bar...stop me if you've heard this one. I'll be completely honest: I have no idea what the hell this event actually is, but it involves a ridiculous amount of geek hardware and something called a "Bose acoustical cannon," so I'm betting it's loud and plenty fun. But don't take my uninformed word for it — you can go be geeked out for yourself. These two shows are billed as "encore performances," so that could mean anything from true, popular demand to W.B.-style "EasyView" rerun. Still, what else are you gonna do? Go to that one bar and drink that same beer you always drink? Shake a leg.

Sunday, May 23
Free Candy, with Amanda & Julia
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
Free! just like it says, 7 p.m.,,

Remember that Seinfeld episode where they found the set from the old Merv Griffin show in the trash, and proceeded to put on a talk show? Yeah, it's like that, but even more funnier and relevant, since each month Amanda and Julia host St. Louis notables, the famous and infamous, all on our glorious purple couch. Last month's highlight? That'd have to be the Boxing Granny. We broadcast live to an appreciative crowd of, say, 35 folks and the only place you can catch it is in our studio audience. Thrills, chills and sometimes spills — but always the house band, The Sugar Daddies, and of course, free candy. Pull up a couch and watch the mirth unfold.

Friday, May 28
Exhibit Opening: "Teapots: Object to Subject"
Craft Alliance, 6640 Delmar
Free, 5-8 p.m., 314-725-1177,

Now, I thought I was fancy-pants when I got a Fiesta teapot for a wedding gift, but that's small potatoes compared to the myriad of form and function you'll encounter at this exhibit, a biennial affair co-sponsored (appropriately enough) by the folks at the Republic of Tea. Media include fiber, clay, metal and more, and interpretations run the gamut. Surely you'll find a few that are just your cuppa. Curator Leslie Ferrin — an internationally known teapot authority! Face it, that's pretty cool — will speak at 6:30.

Saturday, May 29
Satire Night Live
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
$5/free for Friends of The Commonspace, mature audiences, 9-10 p.m., 314-283-2498

Sure, you could sit at home and watch another episode of "Saturday Night Live." Or, you could come to The Commonspace and experience the electricity of live theater at "Satire Night Live," a hilarious half-hour of theme-based skit comedy presented by OXCA (Open Xpression thru Community Arts). Their last show had people falling off the couches with laughter. This month, the theme is "Ladies' Night." For the second half of the evening, the mic is open to anyone with a talent to share. Baby, you're a star!

Sunday, May 30
Film: "Haiti: A Painted History"
Schlafly Branch of the St. Louis Public Library, 225 N. Euclid
Free, all ages, shown continuously from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. (last start), 314-367-4120

As part of the St. Louis African Arts Festival, the library will be screening two films about Haiti, which this year celebrates the 200th anniversary of its independence (though the current political situation doesn't leave much to cheer about). "Haiti: A Painted History" is the film version of an exhibit which featured native painters of the island and their works on its history.

Church and State | Games | Expatriates | Communities | From the Source
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