8 Terrific Things to Do in St. Louis This Week

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The St. Louis County Greek Fest kicks off tonight in Town & Country - PHOTO BY JON GITCHOFF
  • PHOTO BY JON GITCHOFF
  • The St. Louis County Greek Fest kicks off tonight in Town & Country

Rain or shine, this weekend is full of great things to do around town. Stuff your face with spanakopita — or see the amazing dance show that's drawn performers from all over the country. Looking for something a bit more off the beaten track? You could do worse than our newly released list of "50 things you haven't done in St. Louis — but should" or our roster of four handy-dandy road trips that don't require driving more than a few hours in each direction. It's a three-day weekend; why not make the most of it?

Here are our picks for the best things to do this weekend and the early part of next week.

1. Get thee to the Greek (fest)
The first official day of summer is still a few weeks away, but the unofficial start of summer is already here: It's time for the St. Louis County Greek Fest. The family-friendly festival is a great way to ease into the season, thanks to its bounty of food, live music and folk dancing, as well a unique marketplace. This year's St. Louis County Greek Fest takes place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday (May 27 to 30) at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church (1755 Des Peres Road, Town & Country; www.stlouisgreekfest.com). Admission is free.

2. See an amazing series of dance performances
Dance St. Louis'
Spring to Dance Festival is like Christmas morning for dance lovers, if only Christmas stretched across three nights. Each of those nights has ten companies from across the nation performing a new program with no overlap or repetition. Each night also has opening acts. You'll see everything from traditional West African dance (St. Louis' own Afriky Lolo) to high-flying aerialists (Aerial Dance Chicago) to the unique work of the Dancing Wheels Company, a Cleveland-based company that blends the talents of dancers with and without disabilities. Spring to Dance takes place at 5:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday (May 27 to 29) at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri–St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; www.dancestlouis.org). Tickets are $10 to $20.

3. Get a sneak peek at the Ren Fest
Do the words "renaissance festival" conjure images of big ol' turkey legs and mead and little else? You should educate yourself about what really happens at the ren fest, which is easy to do thanks to the St. Louis Renaissance Festival's free preview weekends. The fully fleshed-out version isn't until autumn, but this sneak peek lets you see some of the live entertainment, such as the stage performers, the wandering actors who portray the citizens of the sixteenth century French village Petit Lyon, and yes, the food, which does in fact include turkey legs and mead. But those are good things. St. Louis Renaissance Festival is open for previews from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (May 28 to June 5) at Rotary Park (2577 West Meyer Road, Wentzville; www.stlrenfest.com).

4. See an opera company take on Shakespeare at OTSL
Shakespeare's
Macbeth has everything you could ever want from a story. A power-mad man rises to the throne — but only thanks to the blood-thirst of his grasping wife — and is eventually undone by the vengeful heirs and friends of his victims. You also get an eerie prophecy, walking trees, ghosts, violent madness and bloody dreams. Giuseppe Verdi bound all of these crowd-pleasing elements together with music in his operatic adaptation of Macbeth. The grisly masterpiece is the second show of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis' current season. Macbeth is performed in English at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 28, at Webster University's Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road; 314-961-0644 or www.opera-stl.org). OTSL presents Macbeth in repertory six more times through June 26. Tickets are $25 to $129.

Turn the page for more great things to do this weekend.

Beautiful Planet comes to an IMAX screen near you. - COURTESY OF IMAX
  • Courtesy of IMAX
  • Beautiful Planet comes to an IMAX screen near you.

5. See a classic Italian film

Snàporaz (Marcello Mastroianni) follows a beautiful woman off a stopped train. She leads him through a forest to a hotel, which is packed with women attending a feminist conference. Surprisingly (for Snàporaz, at least), the women don't need a chauvinistic, philandering, middle-aged Italian man at their symposium on polyandry. When they scare him off, he retreats through a dream-like world of former lovers, angry older women and exuberant gals on roller skates who practice their crotch-kicking skills on poor Snàporaz. City of Women is Federico Fellini's 1980 meditation on changes in the way men and women viewed each other, and perhaps on the unkind way a younger Fellini treated women (Mastroianni is Fellini's usual cinematic stand-in). The Webster Film Series screens City of Women at 8 p.m. Friday through Tuesday (May 27 to 31) at Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; www.webster.edu/film-series). Tickets are $4 to $6.

6. Enjoy a huge antique market — for a good cause
For 44 years now the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association has raised money for the symphony's educational concerts by presenting the Gypsy Caravan. This massive antique market has grown to involve more than 300 outdoor vendors and 150 indoor vendors, thanks to its recent move to the Family Arena (2002 Arena Parkway, St. Charles; www.stlsymphony.org/gypsycaravan). This Monday, vendors will sell vintage furniture, art, craft items and legitimate antiques from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10, with an early-bird option that gets you into the show two hours early for $20.

7. See space from a new angle at the Science Center
Filmmaker Toni Myers wrote and directed the 2002 IMAX documentary Space Station 3D, which was about the construction of the International Space Station. Fourteen years later she's returned to the space station for her new documentary, A Beautiful Planet. Using footage shot by astronauts and by cameras mounted on the station, Myers' new IMAX film offers a spectacular view of Earth. You'll see a lightning storm popping like camera flashes from under heavy clouds, the unblinking eye of a hurricane and the surreal sight of the aurora borealis from above. You'll also see the continents aglow with electricity in the dark, and the greenish-brownish haze of our atmosphere as the station races around the globe once every 92 minutes. A Beautiful Planet is now showing daily at the OMNIMAX theater at the St. Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue; 314-289-4424 or www.slsc.org). Tickets are $9 to $10.

8. Have a brew and watch a movie at Schlafly Bottleworks
Luciano Ercoli is an acknowledged master of giallo, the flash-and-dazzle style of horror/thriller films popular in Italy. Death Walks on High Heels is only a minor classic of the form, but it still has a great deal going for it. Famed jewel thief Rochard is slashed to death on a train, and the police bring in his daughter Nicole (Nieves Navarro, billed here as "Susan Scott") for questioning. She doesn't know anything about the missing jewels her father stole, and besides, she's too busy with her exotic dancing to get involved. Then a masked man with shocking blue eyes and a straight razor starts menacing her, demanding she tell him where the jewels are. Is there any way this sordid tale doesn't end with more bloodshed? The Strange Brew Film Series presents Death Walks on High Heels at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Boulevard, Maplewood; www.webster.edu/film-series). Admission is $5.


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