2. Be riveted by Dances of India
In the ancient world, cities often grew up near rivers, for the obvious benefit of having clean water nearby. In India, the nature of this relationship between people and water is sacred — all rivers are associated with goddesses. Among these is Saraswati, who is revered as the goddess of intelligence, creativity and wisdom. Called the mother of eloquent speech and melodious music, she's believed to be present at every confluence. It is the civilizing, poetic spirit of Saraswati that flows through Dances of India's 39th annual performance, The Music of Water — Tales of Adventure, Love and Magic Along India's Sacred Rivers. The group will present stories from the epic Mahabharata and other favorites from Hindu myth, as well as both a classical dance from south India and a piece that fuses contemporary style with a classic dance from northern India. The Music of Water is performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (November 11 to 13) at the Skip Viragh Center for the Arts (425 South Lindbergh Boulevard; www.dancesofinidastlouis.org). As a special treat, Saint Louis Ballet will dance George Balanchine's Serenade at Friday's show. Tickets are $15 to $20.
3. Laugh your ass off at Compass Improv Festival
St. Louis' improv comedy scenes welcome the rest of the Midwest to town for the 2016 Compass Improv Festival. More than twenty teams perform, including the local all-woman group Casual Pussy, Chicago-based Devil's Daughter (they perform the iO's signature improv style, "The Harold"), and Louisville, Kentucky's Damaged Goods (a Compass Improv Festival favorite). The performance part of this year's festival takes place from 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday and 8 to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (November 10 to 12) at the Improv Shop (510 North Euclid Avenue; www.compassimprov.org) and at the Improv Shop Annex (4742 A McPherson Avenue). Tickets are $15 for each show. A series of seminars are also being offered for improv performers who wish to learn new skills or hone the ones they already have.
4. See some amazing sculpture at the Pulitzer
Italian sculptor Medardo Rosso was ahead of his time. Rather than creating heroic sculptures of figures from myth or doing a lucrative business in the monumental bronzes that were popular in the late nineteenth century, Rosso's sculptures seem to be caught emerging from bronze or wax. These almost-manifesting faces and forms are incredibly responsive to light, giving his work a fluid, ephemeral nature not often associated with sculpture. Medardo Rosso: Experiments in Light and Form, the new exhibition at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation (3716 Washington Boulevard; www.pulitzerarts.org), includes almost 100 examples of the artist's best work, including some of his photographs and drawings. Experiments in Light and Form opens with a free reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, November 11. The show continues through May 13, and the museum is open Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is free.
Turn the page for more things to do this week in St. Louis, including interactive theater.
6. Catch some intriguing films at SLIFF
Today is the final day of the St. Louis International Film Festival, but the day's programming refuses to take the easy way out. Mean Streets: Viewing the Divided City Through the Lens of Film and Television is a free slate of films that deal with urban spaces and the racial and ethnic strife that often breaks out when people of different backgrounds share close quarters. Keith McQuirter's Milwaukee 53206 is a documentary about Wisconsin's largest city, which has a sizable African American population — and 62 percent of the men living there have served time in prison. The film explores the way mass incarceration has affected communities and the people in them. It's less depressing than you might fear. Bogdan's Journey is about a community on the other side of the world — Kielce, Poland. In 1946, citizens of Kielce killed 40 Holocaust survivors who were seeking shelter downtown. No one spoke about the attack ever again. Catholic journalist and psychologist Bogdan Bialek spent more than a decade trying to to get his fellow citizens to confront the past and find forgiveness by reconnecting with the Jewish community. Milwaukee 53206 starts at noon, and Bogdan's Journey screens at 3 p.m., both at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; www.mohistory.org).