Skipping LouFest? Hey, it's your life; we won't judge you. If you'd rather spend the weekend in an air-conditioned theater than traipsing around Forest Park, that's OK with us. Here are five picks for smart movies and interesting plays available in St. Louis this weekend.
2. Catch a fascinating documentary at Webster U.
The life of Dr. John Romulus Brinkley reads like a Carl Hiaasen novel line-edited by Harry Crews. Brinkley was born dirt-poor in North Carolina to a former Confederate army doctor and died dirt-poor in Texas. In between those hallmark events he bought a phoney-baloney medical degree, "perfected" the transplantation of goat testicles into mens' scrotums (for virility purposes, duh) and then branched out into implanting them within women (the surgery cured flatulence, as if you didn't already know that). He then started a successful sideline business as a simultaneous radio station owner, DJ, ad salesman and pitchman. Brinkley earned millions of dollars, crammed goat balls in the coin pouches of some of Hollywood's most famous actors (allegedly) and ran for governor of Kansas twice, losing only because of election fraud — which was perpetrated by his opponent, amazingly enough. Brinkley should be pictured on the $2 bill, but instead he's consigned to the dustbin of history. But no longer. Penny Lane's perfectly titled documentary Nuts! chronicles the amazing life of Dr. John Brinkley in animation, historical reenactments and archival footage. The film is screened at 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday (September 9 to 11) at Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; www.webster.edu/film-series). Tickets are $4 to $6
3. See a Sondheim classic at the Rep
The Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis opens its 50th season with Follies, the epic musical by Stephen Sondheim and William Goldman. The show requires a massive cast in order to recreate the lavish musicals produced between the world wars. As the older but none-the-wiser stars of the Weismann Follies return to their old stomping grounds for a reunion, old romances and resentments bubble to the surface, and a pair of marriages are stretched to the brink. Among the large cast are Broadway regulars — Emily Skinner, Bradley Dean, Christiane Noll and Adam Heller — as well as local favorites Joneal Joplin, Zoe Vonder Haar and Ron Himes. It's a big show, and it's bound to be a signal moment in the Rep's history. Follies is performed Tuesday through Sunday (September 9 to October 2) at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road; www.repstl.org). Tickets are $18 to $81.50.
4. Think about race in a new way at RAC
Clinton Johnson raises a host of puzzling questions in his play Am I Black Enough Yet? Through a series of vignettes performed sketch-comedy style, the players challenge the audience to rethink what race means now that science has proven that any two random humans' DNA will be 99.9 percent identical no matter what they look like. If the two people in question come from the same part of the world, speak the same language, dress the same way and use the same slang (as in the skit "Two Black Girls, One of Them White"), why does that .01 percent of DNA matter so much? Tesseract Theatre presents Am I Black Enough Yet? at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 4 p.m. Sunday (September 9 to 18) at the Regional Arts Commission (6128 Delmar Boulevard; www.tesseracttheatre.org). Tickets are $15.
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