9 Fun Things to Do in St. Louis This Week


Sunday is for the dogs. - PHOTO BY JON GITCHOFF
  • Sunday is for the dogs.

Glorious weather this weekend should bring crowds out in droves for the pet parade through Soulard — and that's not the only fun thing on the calendar. You could get a taste of Soulard, see a musical, even gear up for the bicycle season thanks to an event at Ballpark Village. Whatever you do, just don't stay home!

Here are our nine top picks for the next seven days.

1. Remember Billie Holiday in Tony Award-winning play
Billie Holiday was a groundbreaker who paved the way for the sounds of jazz and pop. Her songs transcend her time, and her voice was an untouchable instrument that filled the room with unbridled emotion. Her life was also turbulent, as she experienced drug abuse, racism and misogyny. One of her last performances was at a small club in Philadelphia. That night is the setting of Lanie Robertson's Tony Award-winning musical, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, presented by Max and Louie Productions with Alexis J. Roston in the title role. Lady Day is performed at 8 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, (February 17 to March 4) at the Kranzberg Arts Center (501 North Grand Boulevard; www.maxandlouie.com). There is one matinee at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 4. Tickets are $35 to $45. — Bill Loellke

2. Laugh along with comedian Krish Mohan

With each passing day it becomes more clear: America is at war with itself. Will anybody ever be happy again? Comedian Krish Mohan thinks it's possible. His new show, Approaching Happiness, addresses the nations big issues drugs, gun control, racism and ties them all into the way they cause our mental health to deteriorate. The healthier we are, the happier we'll be. Krish Mohan brings his Approaching Happiness tour to the the Monocle (4510 Manchester Avenue; www.themonoclestl.com) this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 to $10. — Paul Friswold

3. Get a pre-Mardi Gras Taste of Soulard

Mardi Gras in St. Louis means eating too much and maybe enjoying a drink, which is what the Taste of Soulard is all about. Drink refreshing Cruzan Rum, sample some delectable dishes and enjoy one last hurrah before Lent. If you purchase a ticket, you will get one Cruzan Rum drink voucher and six food vouchers. Some of the dishes featured will be chicken sausage jambalaya at Carson's, a shrimp and crab rice bowl at Great Grizzly Bear and pulled pork and Baja fish tacos at Social House. Food, family and friends make for frivolous times, and this Mardi Gras staple has them all in abundance. The Cruzan Rum Taste of Soulard takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (February 18 and 19) at participating establishments in the Soulard neighborhood (Allen Avenue and Menard Street; www.stlmardigras.org). Tickets are $25. — Bill Loellke

4. See George Takei's musical on the big screen
A week before Thanksgiving, frequent Fox News guest Carl Higbie claimed that America's use of internment camps for Japanese-American citizens during World War II sets a precedent for establishing a government registry of Muslims. Many people were shocked by his statement, but not because of its content; instead, they were surprised to learn that the "greatest generation" locked up innocent American citizens during the war. Actor and activist George Takei was one of the internees. The musical Allegiance tells a fictionalized version of the Takei family experience, with George in a starring role alongside Lea Salonga. How does an entire segment of the American population lose their homes, businesses, property and freedom? Quicker than you think; all you have to do is look the other way and the deed is done. You can see Allegiance locally at 12:55 p.m. Sunday at the AMC Chesterfield 14 (3000 Chesterfield Mall; www.fathomevents.com). Tickets are $21. — Paul Friswold

5. Go to the dogs in Soulard

It's a dog day afternoon in Soulard. The popular Beggin' Pet Parade kicks off at 1 p.m. at Twelfth Street and Allen Avenue (www.mardigrasinc.com). Well-behaved dogs are encouraged to wear their best costumes and march with their people in this annual Mardi Gras tie-in, with the best-dressed pooches invited to the Court of the Mystical Krewe of Barkus. If your dog is more of a speedster than a stroller, the Wiener Dog Derby starts at 2 p.m. Sunday at Wiener Stadium (Lafayette Avenue and South Ninth Street). There are four divisions based on age, with the Wiener Wannabe class open to non-dachshunds small enough to fit in the starting box. Both events are free for spectators, though its $10 to enter your mutt in either the parade or the races.— Paul Friswold

6. Take a trip Into the Woods
It's time to take a trip back to the woods, where some iconic fairy tale characters are waiting to entertain St. Louis audiences. Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's legendary musical Into the Woods brings together Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Rapunzel. The story follows a baker and his wife who want to have a child, but can't as the result of a curse placed on them by a vengeful witch. In desperate times, they go on a journey that will see them interact with the famous characters in the hopes of lifting their curse. Into the Woods is performed at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Peabody Opera House (1400 Market Street; www.peabodyoperahouse.com). Tickets are $30 to $82. — Bill Loellke

7. See a comic play at Westport Plaza
Graeme loves Game of Thrones so much that he decides to recreate it on stage with help from his best friend and former crush. But Graeme doesn't have the budget, cast or acting talent to pull it off. Regardless, he works to put on a show that will bowl over the influential producer who is rumored be in the audience. Graeme believes George R.R. Martin would approve. Would he? Who knows, but the critics certainly have. Game of Thrones fans will, too. Graeme of Thrones is performed at 8 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 and 6 p.m. on Sunday (February 21 to 26) at Playhouse at Westport Plaza (635 Westport Plaza; www.playhouseatwestport.com). Tickets are $60. — Bill Loellke

8. Get ready for cycling season at Ballpark Village
The start of spring is just one month away and if you're itching to resume your weekly rides, the Fat Tire Camp Fire will surely get you in the mood. This cycling expo gives you a sneak peek at the latest bikes and new gear, and also lets you meet with Pro Skills instructors from Roots Mountain Biking and Off-Road Cyclists representatives. You can also test your skills on the Fat Bike Log Ride Challenge and virtual indoor MTB rides. The Fat Tire Campfire starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Ballpark Village (601 Clark Avenue; www.stlballparkvillage.com). Admission is free. — Paul Friswold

9. Learn about the life of Curtis Mayfield from his son

Curtis Mayfield grew up in Chicago's Cabrini-Green projects, and the hardship he witnessed there informed his music for the rest of his life. With the 60s soul group the Impressions, Mayfield composed some of the most influential music of the nascent Civil Rights movement, such as "People Get Ready and "Keep on Pushing, which became an anthem for Martin Luther King. When Mayfield went solo he continued to write socially-conscious songs about black life, including the major hit "Super Fly," the theme song for the Blaxploitation film of the same name. In 1990 Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down when part of a lighting rig fell on him. Even that couldn't slow down one of soul music's greatest writers, and he continued to record new music until his death in 1999. Mayfield's second-oldest son Todd shares the story of his father's life in his new book Traveling Soul: The Life of Curtis Mayfield. Todd Mayfield discusses and signs copies of Traveling Soul at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Subterranean Books (6275 Delmar Boulevard; www.subbooks.com). Admission is free. — Paul Friswold

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