6 Awesome Things to Do in St. Louis This Week for $15 or Less

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What was life in St. Louis like in 1875? A new exhibit at the Missouri History Museum suggests some interesting answers. - COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM
  • Courtesy of the Missouri History Museum
  • What was life in St. Louis like in 1875? A new exhibit at the Missouri History Museum suggests some interesting answers.

Unlike last Friday, we aren't contemplating a three-day weekend. Alas. But that doesn't mean there won't be a ton of stuff to do this weekend and into the workweek. Best of all? None of these options will break the bank.

Here are picks for six things you can do in St. Louis this week that'll cost you $15 or less.

1. Check Out The Threepenny Opera Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera opens with a jaunty song about an unrepentant murderer and ends with the bad guys winning. Why? Because if you're going to satirize both opera and a corrupt society, you go all the way. Macheath is our charming killer, and he's currently toying with Polly Peachum's tender affections. Mr. Peachum, the king of the beggars, isn't happy with his daughter's taste in men and plans to set up Macheath for arrest. Mr. Peachum doesn't know, however, that the chief of police is Macheath's bosom friend. Crooked cops, murderers getting away with murder and backstabbers getting stabbed — it's all very familiar to modern audiences. Not bad for a musical written in 1928. New Line Theatre closes out its season with what is arguably (but there is no argument) the best musical of all time. The Threepenny Opera is performed at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (May 28 through June 28) at the Washington University South Campus Theatre (6501 Clayton Road; 314-534-1111 or www.newlinetheatre.com). Tickets are $15 to $25. — Paul Friswold

2. See an Art Show "New York art" makes you think of that hard-edged contemporary stuff, but that sort of thinking limits you to art from the five boroughs. New York, the state, is more than just its urban centers. The Hudson River Valley has inspired artists for decades, and Jefferson, NY, the new show at the Philip Slein Gallery (4735 McPherson Avenue; 314-361-2617 or www.philipsleingallery.com), is a continuation of that tradition. Joan Nelson, Editha Mesina, Kevin Larmon, Nancy Shaver and Don Powley all call Jefferson home. While geography may unite them, it doesn't define them; each artist follows their own path even though it wends through the same town. Jefferson, NY, opens with a free reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 29. The show remains up through Saturday, June 27, and the gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free. — Paul Friswold

3. Get a Ticket to the Circus Circus Flora invites you to take a trip back to the good old days with its new show, One Summer on Second Street. Set on a typical street in an American city during the Jazz Age, One Summer on Second Street features a Romeo and Juliet love story in a melting-pot community. Your new neighbors train house cats, the Wallenda family crosses the street by skipping along the clotheslines stretched between buildings, and the carriage drivers race their horses through the nighttime crowds. Circus Flora performs One Summer Tuesday through Sunday (May 29 through June 28) at the Circus Flora Big Top (3511 Samuel Shepard Drive; 314-289-4044 or www.circusflora.org). Tickets are $10 to $48. — Paul Friswold

Turn the page for more awesome events in St. Louis this week, including a bike tour.

The circus is coming to town -- Circus Flora, that is. - PHOTO BY DAN DONOVAN
  • Photo by Dan Donovan
  • The circus is coming to town -- Circus Flora, that is.

4. Take a Bike Tour of Museums Trailnet continues to lead the way to a happier, healthier life with Tour de Museum, a leisurely eight-mile bicycle ride to some of St. Louis' finest art museums. During the four-hour ride, participants seek out mystery works of art at each of the participating venues — the Contemporary Art Museum, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the World Chess Hall of Fame, and the starting point, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum on Washington University's campus (1 Brookings Drive; 314-436-1324 or www.trailnet.org). Pedal pushers who locate the mysterious masterworks at each stop will be eligible for a special prize drawing at the end of the ride. But even if you don't win the art hunt, you're still a winner — you saw some art and enjoyed a nice bike ride, after all. The free tour departs the Kemper at 10:30 a.m. — Mark Fischer

5. Check Out a View of Old St. Louis Cartography is not considered a fine-art form, but it should be. Because of its association with practical utility and the accurate visual translation of purely physical information, cartography tends to get short shrift in aesthetic circles — if indeed it gets any shrift at all. Such, perhaps, is the price of overvaluing the romantic abstract at the expense of the quotidian tangible. Regardless, give us beautiful maps to pore over any day — especially, Compton & Dry's masterpiece of cartographic artistry: 1875's Pictorial St. Louis. This duo's staggering ambition was to draw every single home, building and street in St. Louis, all in super-accurate perspective. The new exhibit, A Walk in St. Louis 1875, employs this astounding pictorial map (enlarged for more visual bang) as a backdrop for a depiction of our city as it looked and felt in 1875. Photographs, artifacts, news pieces and assorted writings flesh out the compelling detail. The exhibition is open daily through February 14, 2016, at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org). Admission is free. — Alex Weir

6. Meet an Major League Star The Molina brothers are a baseball dynasty rivaling the DiMaggios in career achievements. Growing up in a tough Puerto Rican barrio, Bengie, Yadier and José Molina each went on to establish themselves as successful catchers in the majors. However, as Bengie Molina writes in his new book, Molina: The Story of the Father Who Raised an Unlikely Baseball Dynasty, the real inspiration behind the brothers' success is their father, Benjamín, whose death fueled their drive and determination to make it in pro ball. The two-time Gold Glove winner puts down his mitt for a book signing at 5 p.m. this evening at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731 or www.left-bank.com). You must buy your book from Left Bank to get it signed, ($25), and Molina will only sign one piece of memorabilia in addition to his book. — Rob Levy

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