Photo by Holly Ravazzolo.
The World Naked Bike Ride Rolls into St. Louis this weekend.
It's hot as hell out there right now. Your only safe options are staying indoors, or stripping down — and this weekend, we got you covered on both counts. Here's everything worth doing in St. Louis this weekend, from movies to art to, yes, biking in the buff at the World Naked Bike Ride. Go forth in search of fun, and stay hydrated.
1. Make fun of a bad movie with Jonah, Tom Servo and Croooowww!
Cult classic TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000
has risen from the grave and returned to the serious business of making fun of bad movies, thanks to a very successful Kickstarter campaign and the streaming giant Netflix. This revival is poetic justice: How many films did hosts Joel, Tom Servo, Crow and Mike drag off Hollywood's scrap heap and then make inordinately popular thanks to wry comments about bad special effects and wisecracks about plot holes big enough to drive through? Now the fans who obsessively recorded and traded tapes of the early years have dragged their heroes from the void. The refurbished MST3K still has robots Crow and Tom (Joel serves as executive producer and occasional on-screen talent), but there's a new human host in Jonah Ray, and the hijinks are as sincerely delightful as they were in the show's golden years. The new crew visits the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; www.touhill.org
) at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 13, for a live screening of fan-favorite horrible monster movie Eegah
, with encouraged audience participation. New mad scientists Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day) and TV's Son of TV's Frank (Patton Oswalt) will beam in through the magic of liquid video transmission. Tickets are $39.50.
2. Check out an art show
The faculty of the Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design (6640 Delmar Boulevard, University City; www.craftalliance.org
) are artists as well as teachers. Once every two years they gather to show their work where they work at the Craft Alliance Faculty Show
. More than 40 artists participate, including Maxine du Maine, Shweta Sarraf and Jeff Hornung. This year's exhibit opens with a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 14, at the Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design (6640 Delmar Boulevard, University City; www.craftalliance.org
). The show remains up through August 13, and the gallery is open every day except Monday.
3. Ponder the American Dream
In the nineteenth century the American Dream was tied up in Manifest Destiny. We would spread across the continent from the East to the West on foot, by wagon or train. Once the West was won, the dream changed and became nice home, a fast car and an open road. But what is the American Dream today, when we cover the land from sea to sea and all frontiers are gone? Amy Granat's Cars, Trees, Houses, Beaches
is a silent 16 mm film loop of Hawaiian beaches, muscle cars and modernist homes, among them Kirkwood's own Russell and Ruth Goetz Krauss house, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The film ruminates on these conquered frontiers, many of which are once again the stuff of dreams for Americans. The Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; www.slam.org
) presents Granat's film as part of its long-running New Media Series. It shows on an endless loop from July 14 to November 12 in gallery 301. Admission is free, and the museum is open every day except Monday.
4. Enjoy the awkward wonder years
David Nadelberg somehow persuaded regular people to stop sharing stories and photos from their embarrassing teen years on social media — and instead reveal them to a crowd of strangers. Even odder, people have embraced his quest and now voluntarily participate in Nadelberg's traveling show of profound shame. His Mortified
program is now both a book and a TV show, with celebrities providing some of the revelations in the latter. Nadelberg will be at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; www.camstl.org
) at 7 p.m. Friday, July 14, to discuss the dark art of baring your teenage soul to random people. He'll also participate in an audience Q & A and share tidbits from his own teenage years. A pre-selected group of volunteers will read from their old journals and tell their tales of embarrassing dates. Tickets are $20 to $50.
5. Let's get naaaaked
Saturday marks the tenth running of St. Louis' World Naked Bike Ride
. The grassroots mission — to raise awareness of alternative transportation and decrease oil dependency, while also promoting positive body consciousness — seems to be making progress. Auto giant Volvo recently announced that all its cars will be electric by the end of this decade, and every day comes a new story of body shamers being publicly derided for their stinkin' thinkin'. But there's work yet to do. At 5 p.m. Saturday, July 15, a vast horde of cyclists of all shapes, sizes, colors and ages will begin gathering in the Grove at the intersection of Kentucky and Manchester avenues (www.wnbrstl.org
) to disrobe to their personal level of comfort. At 7 p.m., they will then ride freely through the streets of the city along a predetermined route before returning to the Grove for an after-party. You don't need to register or pay any fees; just show up, drop trou and get cycling.
7. Try to catch the Trane
John Coltrane let his music do the talking.
John Coltrane wasn't always the leading light of jazz. The saxophonist had serious alcohol and heroin addictions, which left him functional enough to play with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk — but only barely. When Davis sacked him for his unreliability, Coltrane quit everything cold turkey and rededicated himself to his art. He reinvented jazz several times over after that, drawing on his deep spiritual beliefs and experiences in the Jim Crow South to create music that is personal, revelatory and thrilling, even 60 years later. John Scheinfeld's Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary
seeks to tap into Coltrane's past and his inner drive in an attempt to understand what powered his indelible music. Using old print interviews read by Denzel Washington (Coltrane was never interviewed on tape or film) and archival footage, as well as the memories of contemporaries and admirers such as Sonny Rollins, Benny Golson and former president Bill Clinton, Chasing Trane
attempts to capture Coltrane's inner light. The documentary screens at 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday (July 14 to 16) at Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; www.webster.edu/filmseries
). Tickets are $5 to $7.
8. Let the nostalgia wash over you
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are a pile of contradictions. Turtles are famously slow-moving creatures, but these four boys caper and leap about while performing high-flying martial arts. And while ninjas are notoriously silent, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo are constantly clamoring for pizza — and shouting "Cowabunga!" when they get it. Perhaps the Turtles are not to be analyzed, but merely enjoyed for what they are: a group of goofy teens fighting for their place in the world. These heroes in a half shell have delighted three generations of children with their good-time superheroics and can-do attitudes, and so of course their first film will be shown yet again as part of the Reel Late Film Series at the Landmark Tivoli Theatre (6350 Delmar Boulevard, University City; www.landmarktheatres.com
). The non-Michael Bay Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
screens at 11:55 p.m. Friday and Saturday (July 14 and 15). Tickets are $8, or two bucks a turtle.
9. See a festival of locally-sourced films
Holly has been alone and drinking steadily since her husband died. She's surprised to find a black teen outside her window one morning, mostly because she lives on the top floor of a multi-story building. Eugene is in some sort of trouble; he climbed up to hide while he figures out what to do next. The two spend the Fourth of July figuring each other out and waiting for the inevitable fireworks display. But Eugene's problems are still waiting for him on the streets, and Holly's husband isn't coming back. Robert T. Herrera's Palacios
is the director's first narrative feature. It screens at 4:45 p.m. Sunday, July 16, at the Landmark Tivoli Theatre (6350 Delmar Boulevard, University City; www.landmarktheatres.com
) on the first day of the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, which runs through Thursday, July 20. Tickets are $13.