It's All Happening

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The Commonspace

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

By Amanda E. Doyle and Brian H. Marston

Through July 6
Art Exhibit: "Lilly at Rest," Art Quilts by Gen Obata
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
View the postcard

If you're not hip to the coolest cat around town, now's your chance to catch up: Lilly, a fabulous black-and-white feline who graciously shares her home with St. Louis artist Gen Obata and his family, has more adventures every day than some of us will have in our lifetimes. She's lurked atop City Museum, she's stood up balancing herself on the Arch. (Of course, that's nothing compared to when she commandeered that cable car in San Francisco ... read about her adventures on her blog.) But even Lilly must rest, and these cheeky quilts portray her doing just that, in all her glory, on colorful couches and more. You can come enjoy our cozy upholstery while you peruse the exhibit.

Every Saturday
Urban Knitters
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
Free, all ages, noon-3 p.m., 314-531-1707,

Are you a fan of the textile arts, that satisfying click of needles? Or have you just been wanting to find out more about knitting? This informal weekend gathering of knitwits is a great place to cast on — bring your latest project and knit with us!

Sunday, June 6
Concert: Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, "A Space Odyssey"
Outside the McDonnell Planetarium, St. Louis Science Center in Forest Park
Free, all ages, 7 p.m.,

It's the sit-outside-summer-music season, and we particularly like this match up: the SLSO plays crowd-pleasers including excerpts from Holst's "The Planets," plus "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," (it's hard not to envision Mickey and all those devilish brooms), and John Williams' "Suite from Star Wars." Bring a blanket, a beverage and someone to share the stars with.

Thursday, June 10
Reading/Signing: Candace Bushnell
Schlafly Branch, St. Louis Public Library, 225 N. Euclid Ave.
Free, all ages, 7 p.m., 314-539-0315

Bash chick-lit all you want, that stuff is addictive! Nobody knows that better than Candace Bushnell, author most recently of "Trading Up," but a household name mostly because of the column she penned for the New York Observer that evolved into the guilty pleasure "Sex and the City." Is Bushnell the snarky, materialistic blonde you secretly want her to be? Come on down and ask her.

Friday, June 11
Art Opening: 3rd Floor Gallery Grand Opening
Mossa Center, 1214 Washington Ave
Free, 7-10 p.m., 314-241-1010

The third floor of Mossa, one of downtown's hippest (okay, and only) retail establishments realizes its potential with the opening there of the first of what we hope will be many art shows to come. Featured artists include Evelyn Astegno, Craig Downs (you know him from behind the coffee bar at People's Coffee, Christopher Gustave and Julie Malone. The curator, fittingly, is Mossa's own Mark Pannebecker.

Friday, June 11
Black World History Museum Griots Gala
Millennium Hotel, 200 S. 4th St.
$50, 7:30 p.m., 314-241-7057,

The Black World History Museum, housed in a cool renovated building at 2505 St. Louis Avenue, has always been a bit on the cutting edge (though it eventually dropped "Wax" from its original name, perhaps afraid of drawing the freaky Madame Tussaud-seeking crowd?) Tonight's swanky event features the drumming and dance of African Voice, jazz by local legend Denise Thimes and more, all in celebration of the inaugural Griot Awards, presented to St. Louis notables whose life's work is in line with the museum's mission. Awards recipients include Cookie Jordan, Robert Powell, Normal Seay and Dr. Donald Suggs.

Saturday, June 12
Skate Day
South City Family YMCA, 3150 Sublette
Free, all ages, noon-4 p.m.

Defying logic and likely their insurers, the South City Y has acquired a bevy of new ramps, grind boxes and other skate rat equipment, and is evidently going to let south city's young turks loose on it. Today's the kickoff, with a DJ, contests, demos by local sk8ters and a cash BBQ. Flyers even promise an "all around AWESOME afternoon!" Even dullards like me who don't know a grind box from a pine box can get with that.

Saturday, June 12
Concert: Rap duo A-K
Cabanne Branch, St. Louis Public Library, 1106 Union Blvd.
Free, all ages, 2 p.m., 314-367-0717

It's probably been going on since time immemorial, but now that hometown boyz Nelly, Murphy Lee, J-Kwon and the rest of 'em have hit the big time, it's increased the fever among all the young kids out there who plan to hit the big time rhymin' and stylin'. Today's showcase features young St. Louisans Yamen Jackson (a.k.a. Aktion) and Rasheed Ingram (a.k.a. Kronik), with a family-friendly twist: clean lyrics only. A nice throwback, don't you think, to the time when the hottest songs were about tight kicks? You'll like the way they do it right thurrr.

Thursday, June 17
Brownfields Tour via MetroLink
East-West Gateway Council of Governments (call for location details)
$20 (includes lunch and MetroLink pass), 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 314-421-4220

Brownfields, kinda like their name implies, aren't exactly the most alluring of places — often remnants of past industrial usage, they are sites often targeted for redevelopment after a modest level of clean-up and assemblage. Plenty of them exist in the urban core of our fair city, and today's tour is a chance for you to ride along with elected officials and municipal planners and find out about redevelopment opportunities linked to light rail. Sites on the tour include Emerson Park in East St. Louis and locations along the St. Louis riverfront. Plus, you get to ride MetroLink all day! That's cool, and you can dream of a time when it'll have spurs.

Saturday, June 19
SLACO Neighborhoods Conference Planning Session
Harris Stowe State College Telecommunity Room, 3026 Laclede Ave.
Free, 10 a.m.-noon,

By now you know what fans we are of the annual SLACO Neighborhoods Conference, and this morning is the opportunity for civic-minded folks to get involved in planning next year's big event! 2005 marks the 10th year for the conference, and if there's a topic you think is burning for discussion or a keynote speaker you know would just kill, bring your ideas and share them.

Saturday, June 19
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., 314-531-1707,

Do you know what a freeze is? A hollow back? How about an air chair? Come find out at our monthly breakdancing session, and be sure to watch the latest b-boy video.

Sunday, June 20
The Big Draw!
Saint Louis Art Museum, One Fine Arts Drive in Forest Park
Free, all ages (family program), 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 314-655-5298

Ever wished you could magically be transported to Montmartre and artist café society, sitting around drinking absinthe and making charcoal sketches all afternoon? Well, minus the glowing green drink, this afternoon at the Art Museum is made for you, when the Sculpture Hall is turned into a giant hands-on extravaganza, with artists of all stripes demonstrating techniques for you to try, and models for your muse (and music for your ears) setting the proper ambiance. Maybe you're a budding Picasso and just need to turn your creativity loose. Best of all, drawing materials are provided, so you don't have to invest in pricey pastels only to find out you're terrible!

Sunday, June 20
Kangaku Social Justice Book Club
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
Free, 3-5 p.m., 314-795-2663,,

June's book is "Doing What's Right: How to Fight for What You Believe — and Make a Difference," by radio host Tavis Smiley. 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.

Tuesday, June 22
1904 World's Fair Trivia Night, hosted by Johnny Rabbitt
Schlafly Branch, St. Louis Public Library, 225 N. Euclid Ave.
Free, all ages, 7 p.m., 314-539-0315

Sometimes it seems like you can break St. Louis into just two camps: those who are sick already of the continuing nostalgia surrounding 1904, like it was the last time the Lou was ever worth a damn, and those who keep the dream of all the hype surrounding that year's events alive. For the latter group, put on your top hat and bunny ears (no, wait, let the emcee do that), and form a team to compete in this evening of Fair ephemera. Don't know anyone else who'd be seen in public with ya? You can also just show up and team up with others that night. (Hint: The Pike. It's bound to be an answer...)

Thursday, June 24
Wanda Jackson & the Luster Kings
Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave.
$12-$15, 21-up, 9 p.m., 314-773-3363,

If you've ever tuned in to KDHX's "Dangerous Curves," you've probably heard Wanda Jackson, belting out "Fujiyama Mama" or some other shakin' tune. Jackson is the Rockabilly Queen whose heyday was in the 1950s and '60s; she's sweet with a wild streak (although her official bio is quick to point out that, "in real life, WANDA is a devoted Christian and lives happily with her husband/manager, Wendell Goodman, in Oklahoma City.") Come watch her kick it tonight in one of the most pleasing listening rooms in town.

Friday, June 25
Bicycle Film Festival
CAMP, 3026 Cherokee at Minnesota
$5 recommended donation ($8 if you drive), all ages, 8 p.m.,,

Riding a bicycle and watching independent films are two great ways to get an alternative perspective on mainstream American culture. Now you can do both at one fun event — a bike-in theater benefit for the Community Arts and Media Project. They'll be screening "BIKE LIKE U MEAN IT," "Red Light Go," "Return of the Scorcher" and "Pedalphiles" and serving up tasty treats from Black Bear Bakery. If you own an SUV, you might want to leave it at home.

Saturday, June 26
Confluence All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast
Black Bear Bakery, 2903 S. Jefferson at Pestalozzi
$6-$10 suggested donation, all ages, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.,,

I always regard all-you-can-eat meals as a challenge, like I've just been double-dog dared to stuff myself, and this promises to be a delicious challenge indeed. It will feature organic pancakes of the multigrain, whole grain and vegan varieties. You can't have pancakes without toppings; Confluence and Black Bear Bakery have you covered there with lots of fruit toppings — many made from local, hand-picked fruits — plus traditional maple syrup. This year they've doubled their pancake making capacity. They must have heard I was coming.

Saturday, June 26
Melissa Neels Band
Beale on Broadway, 701 S. Broadway
21-up, 9 p.m., 314-621-7880,

We first told you about Melissa Neels when she played at the Union Avenue Christian Church's "Rhythm & Roots" service; she's garnered a lot of acclaim for her blues guitar, and the Beale on Broadway is a great place to catch her with her band. It's a joint in the best sense of the word — not long on décor, just some chairs, some tables and a wooden bar. (Rumor has it an outside patio has spiffed up the place a bit, though.) Well, you can't stop progress.

Sunday, June 27
Free Candy! with Amanda & Julia
The Commonspace, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center, one block north of the Fox Theatre
Free, 7 p.m., 314-531-1707,,

It's a talk show — that much you can probably imagine: there are hosts, guests, a couch for said guests, a rockin' band and so on. Now, move that mental image to a living room setting, where you (a member of the studio audience) are comfortably sitting on a plush sofa, enjoying a tasty smoothie from People's Coffee. Interesting guests, from the improv king of St. Louis to former mayors, pass before you, offering entertaining commentary, hidden talents and more. You might get selected to ask a question, or to take part an in impromptu boxing lesson. And best of all, there's none of that Oprah-like pressure to dress for success...'cause it's not broadcast or recorded for posterity! Just you, us, the Sugar Daddies' hot tunes and an evening of fun. Oh, and free candy. Fo rizzle.

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