The Chippendales are coming! The Chippendales are coming! And if that makes you think of Chris Farley gyrating on Saturday Night Live rather than a fun night out on the town, don't despair -- there are lots of other things happening this week in St. Louis, too.
From a documentary about how MTV shaped R.E.M. to the St. Louis Renaissance Faire, trust us when we say there is something in this list for just about everyone, no matter how random their tastes. Here are our picks for the week's seven most interesting.
1. See Some Beefcake in Lemay Ladies, let's be real: If your last encounter with a bulging package was an ill-shipped Amazon delivery, you owe it to yourself to see the Chippendales at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (May 15 and 16) at River City Casino (777 River City Casino Drive, Lemay; 888-578-7289 or www.rivercity.com). Tasteful enough to avoid total NSFW status, yet saucy enough to take the top spot on any girls-night-out bucket list, this event features a variety of song-and-dance numbers that showcase the handsome lads'...skill set. Be prepared to fan yourself as this legendary troupe demonstrates the meaning of "intimate fan participation." Mercy! Tickets are $22.50 to $67.50. mdash; Brooke Foster
2. Do It His Way at the Fabulous Fox As of now, what happens in Vegas no longer stays in Vegas — it's at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1111 or www.fabulousfox.com). Frank Sinatra famously sang that he did it "My Way," and the guys taking center stage for the musical The Rat Back Is Back do it his way too. The legendary big-band bombast and banter that Frank, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop immortalized during their stint in the Copa Room at the historic "Summit at the Sands" has been meticulously re-created to transport audiences back to the defining days of Las Vegas, when the kings of cool lounged about onstage with a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday (May 15 to 17). Tickets are $35 to $80. — Mark Fischer
3. Learn Something for Once at the Science Center You, your dog and that plant on the windowsill all share a common trait: Each has a complete set of genetic material encoded within. This genome contains information about your ancestors and any potential offspring, meaning on some level, a part of you is nigh eternal. It's only been a decade since the human genome was decoded, but much has been learned about the human species in that time. Genome: Unlocking Life's Code, at the Saint Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue; 314-289-4400 or www.slsc.org), explores the frontiers of genome research. A joint project of the Smithsonian Institute and the National Institute of Science, Unlocking Life's Code features interactive displays, 3-D models and videos that demonstrate what we know and how much we have to learn. The exhibit is open daily through Monday, September 7. Admission is free. — Paul Friswold
For even more awesome events this weekend, turn the page.
4. Enjoy Some Amazing Dancing Prepare to have your senses dazzled tonight at the African Dance Celebration. This year's show is titled Kids Crossing Oceans, and it features Afriky Lolo (as always), joined for the first time by the Ugandan Orphans Choir. Afriky Lolo specializes in the vibrant dances of West Africa, which require colorful traditional costumes and powerful drumming; each dance is a celebration of life's moments and must be performed with joy and exuberance. The Ugandan Orphans Choir, a group of children ranging from eight to twelve years old, brings the music and dance of East Africa to bear. The show starts at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Edison Theatre on Washington University's campus (6445 Forsyth Boulevard; 314-935-6543 or www.edison.wustl.edu). Tickets are $25.— Paul Friswold
5. Get Thee to the Renaissance Faire If you want to party like they did in the sixteenth century, come to the quiet hamlet of Petit Lyon in Rotary Park (2577 West Meyer Road, Wentzville; 800-373-0357 or www.stlrenfest.com) for a celebration of all things Renaissance without the famine and pestilence. The St. Louis Renaissance Faire evokes the spirit of the age with colorful costumes, authentic food, merry drinking, armored jousting and nine stages of entertainment featuring comedians, magicians and musicians. More than 100 artisans will be on hand selling their wares and demonstrating woodworking and blacksmithing skills. Children's programming includes a petting zoo, games and period-themed activities. The festival is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (May 16 through June 14), and Monday, May 25. Admission is $8.95 to $15.95. — Rob Levy
6. Check Out a Free Show by Symphony Members Are you on the hunt for a cheap and romantic date night? You're in luck, because Cortango Orquesta performs a free show at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Public Media Commons (3653 Olive Street; www.slso.org). The group is comprised of members of the Saint Louis Symphony, including Cally Banham, who is herself a trained social tango dancer. Once you know that, is it any surprise that the group came together in part to play music suitable for social dances? Cortango Orquesta plays the popular hits of the good old days of tango orchestras, as well as original compositions. — Paul Friswold
7. See a Movie About R.E.M. R.E.M. was the quintessential American indie outfit until around 1988, at which point the band signed to Warner Bros., dove into the mainstream and stayed there, quite profitably. Crucial to the band's mass success was its omnipresence on MTV, as decisively central to its generation as YouTube is to today's. R.E.M. was one of those bands with a visual sophistication that matched its musical one; the guys from Athens were a hand-in-glove fit for MTV. The documentary R.E.M. by MTV relates its story from bar-band origins to international stadium tours. The film draws heavily on rarely seen footage culled from MTV's vast archives, and also features exclusive band interviews, clips from award shows and talk-show performances and, of course, Georgia jangle. R.E.M. by MTV screens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Wehrenberg Ronnies 20 Cine (5320 South Lindbergh Boulevard; www.fathomevents.com). Tickets are $15. — Alex Weir