An Evil Forest, a Beer Festival and 6 Other Fun Things to Do This Weekend

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Enter the Evil Forest in Godfrey, Illinois.... but don't say we didn't warn you.
  • Enter the Evil Forest in Godfrey, Illinois.... but don't say we didn't warn you.

Ah, October! When it's not too cold and it's not too hot, things can get really fun ... or really creepy, depending on what you're into. This week's events include everything from a dance show about the marvels of grass-cutting to free art and music shows. Make plans now, and you could stay busy all weekend.

Here are our eight picks for things to do this weekend.

1. See a dance show about ... lawnmowers?

Harmony in 3, the new exhibition in Laumeier Sculpture Park's 2015 Kranzberg Exhibition Series, mows down preconceptions about dance, sculpture and groundskeeping. Video artist Zlatko Cosic and choreographer Ashley McQueen pay homage to the labor-intensive work that keeps Laumeier's 105 acres perfectly landscaped, while simultaneously celebrating the institution's extraordinary partnership with the St. Louis County Parks Department. The exhibition synthesizes a series of 2014 dance performances designed by McQueen in a short film by Cosic. Their collaboration features dancers Alexa Moor, Sarah Starkweather and Ellen Vierse as the ultimate mobile sculpture, their movements inspired by the precision choreography of the lawnmowers piloted by Don Gerling, Yvette Luedde and Tom Schweiss as they detail the park every week. Harmony in 3 opens in the brand-new Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, October 15, at Laumeier Sculpture Park (12580 Rott Road, Sunset Hills; 314-615-5278 or www.laumeiersculpturepark.org). The work remains on display through Sunday, February 14, 2016, and the gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free. — Rob Levy

2. Explore the secret history of African art

The Kota people are an ethnic group located in Gabon known primarily in the Western world for their magnificent guardian figures. Made of copper or brass, these figural sculptures represent not just the artistic and aesthetic prowess of their makers but the powerful — and secretive — religious rites of a mystical order. Belgian computer engineer Frederic Cloth designed a database that organizes key visual data to group the guardians and better understand their origins, and perhaps unlock some of their symbolic meanings. Kota: Digital Excavations in African Art, the new exhibition at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation (3716 Washington Boulevard; 314-754-1850 or www.pulitzerarts.org), showcases more than 50 Kota reliquaries as well as providing visitors information about Cloth's database and methodology. Kota opens with a free reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, October 16. The exhibition remains open through Saturday, March 19, 2016, and the Pulitzer is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. — Paul Friswold


3. Go into the woods

The Great River Road hugs the Mississippi north of Alton, Illinois, for a serene stretch of some of the most beautiful mileage you'll find in the Midwest. Get on up there and be prepared to fall in love. Or, this weekend, in fright, because it's time for the Evil Forest special event at the Talahi Lodge in the Olin Nature Preserve–The Nature Institute (2213 South Levis Lane, Godfrey, Illinois; 618-466-9930 or www.greatriverroad.com). The trails at the Nature Institute wend their way through southern Illinois forest — ideal habitat for getting the pants/skirt/whatever scared off of you by volunteers dressed in frightening costumes of their own wicked design. This annual excursion through the gloaming starts at 7:30 p.m., wraps up at 9:30 p.m., and costs $10 per person with no pre-registration required.— Alex Weir


4. See a classic British thriller

The setting: a once grand but now forbiddingly dark London house in 1880. Within these unwelcoming walls live a married couple, Mr. and Mrs. Manningham. The wife fears she is losing her mind; her own mother died in an institution for the mentally ill and she worries the same fate awaits her — perhaps sooner rather than later, too. Fragile Bella Manningham is nearly at the end of her tether; her husband Jack assures her she's playing wicked tricks and pranks, none of which she can remember. Angel Street (Gaslight), by the ace English writer Patrick Hamilton, is a taut period thriller with a twist. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents Angel Street (Gaslight) Tuesday through Sunday (October 14 through November 8) at Webster University's Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road; 314-968-4925 or www.repstl.org). Tickets are $17.50 to $79.50. — Alex Weir


Turn the page for more October fun....



Have a pint or twelve at MoBot's Fest-of-Ale, which kicks off Friday.
  • Have a pint or twelve at MoBot's Fest-of-Ale, which kicks off Friday.

5. Drink beer for a good cause

The beauty of nature requires no beer goggles, yet there's just something grand about combining fall splendor with delicious local brews. See what we mean Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Fest-of-Ale at the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard; 317-577-5100 or www.mobot.org). Your ticket includes a beer sampling, a commemorative tasting glass, appetizers and live music courtesy of Grass Fed Mule. More than twenty breweries are on hand to dole out their tastiest suds; try beers from Perennial Artisan Ales, Earthbound Brewing and Old Bakery Beer Company, among others. All proceeds from the evening go to the Doris I. Schnuck Children's Garden. Admission is $35 to $45, but designated drivers can attend for $15. — Brooke Foster


6. Enjoy a free concert

So you've got your Halloween costume ready, you've started watching scary movies, but yet you still haven't prepped your ears for the spookiest of holidays. What are you waiting for?! Head over to the 560 Music Center (560 Trinity Avenue, University City; www.bandtogetherstl.com) on Saturday for That Which You Fear, BandTogether's Halloween performance. Expect to be delightfully frightened by the volunteer concert band's show, which aims to share the scares and get you, and maybe even some ghostly special guests, in a most fearsome mood this evening. The show begins at 8 p.m., and admission is free. — Alison Sieloff


7. Catch a play by a modern master

Few playwrights capture familial tension, strife and love better than August Wilson. His Pulitzer Prize-winning 1990 play, The Piano Lesson, introduces us to the Charles family. Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression in 1936 Pittsburgh, the family fights over a valuable treasure: an heirloom piano. Some members want to sell the instrument in order to secure a better economic future, while others see it as a meaningful connection to the past. This affecting show explores the intricacies of — and breaking points within — family relationships. Clayton Community Theatre presents The Piano Lesson at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (October 15 through 25) at the Washington University South Campus Theatre (6501 Clayton Road, Richmond Heights; 314-721-9228 or www.placeseveryone.org). Tickets are $12 to $20.  — Brooke Foster


8. Give in to tragedy at the Touhill

For Medea, domesticity is not bliss. She's unable to work, shut in at home and forced to care for her child alone following a humiliating estrangement from her husband, Jason. She endures frazzled nerves, sleepless nights and an overwhelming sense of helplessness, but Medea refuses to let her straying husband escape unpunished. Euripides' drama Medea, first performed in 431 BCE, is presented by the UMSL Fine Arts and Communication Department at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday (October 15 through 18) at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; 314-516-4949 or www.touhill.org). Admission is $5 to $10.  — Rob Levy


See also: After Growing Up in St. Louis, Kathleen Madigan Is Coming Home to Make Us Laugh

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