Photo by Kelly Glueck.
Insight Theatre is performing Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery at the .ZACK.
Sure, it may not feel like fall outside — but what's bad for sweater-wearing makes for a great outdoor festival. And guess who has a couple more of those before winter comes roaring in? St. Louis does. Get out there this week and live your best life at some of these events.
1. Bathe in fake blood and slapstick comedy
Sam Raimi's Evil Dead series of films is a late-night staple for both its outlandish gore and its bizarre sense of humor. A team of Canadians led by comedy writer George Reinblatt believed that with one major tweak — the addition of songs — the cult classics could also rule the stage. Evil Dead: The Musical is as tongue-in-cheek (and as explosively gory) as the films, with everybody singing as they lose limbs and suffer possession by deadites. The plot remains mostly the same, with a group of friends heading to a cabin in the woods for sexy times, only to suffer some very unsexy times indeed. If you are one of those special people who believe a musical would be enhanced by geysers of blood raining down on the people in the front row, you're in luck — you can buy tickets for the "splatter zone." Evil Dead: The Musical is performed at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday (October 12 to 22) at the Grandel Theater (3610 Grandel Square; www.thegrandel.com). Tickets are $50 to $90.
2. Oktoberfest returns to Soulard
Never doubt the resilience of the German people, who will always find a way to celebrate autumn in high fashion. This year is no different, as Soulard Oktoberfest is back in action. The party takes place from 5 to 11 p.m Friday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday (October 13 and 14) in Soulard Park (Lafayette Avenue and South Eighth Street; www.soulard-oktoberfest.com). There will be bands, brats and beer, and not necessarily in that order. Tickets are $20 and include a commemorative one-liter stein and access to the Bierhall and its traditional culinary delights. This year's non-beer entertainment includes a human glockenspiel, a German market, a wine garden and live music from Die Spitzbuam, Terry Thompson & Bavarian Stompers and the Good Times Band.
3. Enter the horrible and cute world of Killer Napkins
Killer Napkins (who also goes by Jason Spencer) is a St. Louis artist who combines his passion for horror with things that are conventionally cute. His paintings range from totemic combinations of icons to the grislier realms of fantasy/nightmare; his sculptures hew closer to pure horror, with an emphasis on disembodied heads and damaged faces. His exhibition, Killer Napkins: Crummy Deities, showcases new work in both painting and sculpture and should feel seasonally appropriate. Crummy Deities opens with a public reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, October 13, at Hoffman LaChance Contemporary (2713 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood; www.hoffmanlachancefineart.com). The show remains up through the end of the month, and the gallery is open noon to 3 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
4. Is this a danish I see before me?
In its 50 years of operation, the Repertory Theatre St. Louis has somehow never mounted a production of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. That all changes this year — the company's 51st season. Prince Hamlet mopes around castle Elsinore, trying to figure out what to do with his life now that his father the king is dead and his Uncle Claudius has assumed both the throne and the heart of his sister-in-law, Hamlet's mother. When his father's ghost tells Hamlet that Claudius is a murderous usurper, the young man finds his bloody purpose in life. Will he throw away everything to avenge his father? The Repertory Theatre St. Louis presents its first-ever Hamlet Tuesday through Sunday (October 12 to November 5) at Webster University's Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves; www.repstl.org). Tickets are $18.50 to $89.
5. See what's new in the world of small press printing
Back for its fourth year, the St. Louis Small Press Expo once again returns to the central branch of St. Louis Public Library (1301 Olive Street; www.stlouissmallpressexpo.com) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 14. More than 80 vendors selling comics, art, literary magazines and traditional books are scheduled to attend, providing an in-depth look at the small-press scene. A host of informative seminars and classes will also be on offer — everything from a creative writing workshop for kids to a seminar on copyrights. The library's Creative Experience area also gets in the act, with a digital drawing demo by Marie Enger and an intro to podcasting session. Admission to all of this is free, but bring your funds for that vendor room.
6. The people demanded more beer in St. Louis, so...
This year's Brew in the Lou features more than 40 distilleries and craft breweries (national and local) serving up samples, as well as dozens of local restaurants and businesses serving up everything from bundt cakes to barbecue. Wristbands are $40 to $50 and include unlimited tastings and a commemorative glass — you won't go home hungry or thirsty. And for all you competitive types, there are three different arenas of action: the People's Choice Home Brew Competition, the Battle of the Bratwurst and a Brew Chili Contest. Brew in the Lou takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 14, in Francis Park (Eichelberger Street and Donovan Avenue; www.lesastl.org). Proceeds benefit the Lutheran Elementary School Association.
7. Watch the times a-change in 1969 Pittsburgh
August Wilson addressed the black power movement and civil rights in his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Two Trains Running. Memphis Lee's diner used to be a hot-spot in the Hill District, a successful black neighborhood in Pittsburgh. But in 1969, there are very few people left. Memphis knows eminent domain is about to push him out of his own diner, but not before he gets payment for it — not their price, his. Sterling is a young man fresh out of prison and trying to convince Memphis' regulars to attend a rally about racial injustice, but he finds few takers. The old-timers are more interested in rehashing old grievances and avoiding unnecessary confrontation. The times may be a-changing, but that doesn't mean people want to change. Clayton Community Theatre presents Two Trains Running at 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (October 12 to 22) at the Washington University South Campus Theatre (6501 Clayton Road, Richmond Heights; www.placeseveryone.org). Tickets are $12 to $20.
8. Come, Watson; the game is a-footlights
What if Arthur Conan Doyle was more interested in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson getting laughs than in solving another thorny case? This is the conceit of Ken Ludwig's comedy Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. Something stalks the Baskerville family, killing off the male heirs with startling precision; is it the fabled beast that prowls the moors, or is it a greedy relative? Holmes and Watson take the case, and in due course an ensemble cast of three essays the 35 different characters entangled in the investigation. Insight Theatre Company closes its 2017 season with the fast-paced comedy. Performances take place at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday (October 12 to 29) at .ZACK (3224 Locust Street; www.insighttheatrecompany.com). Tickets are $20 to $35.
9. Witness the return of the lone cartoon samurai
Samurai Jack, Genndy Tartakovsky's acclaimed cartoon series, finally got an ending in 2017, thirteen years after it went off the air. The complete series will be released in a Blu-ray boxset on Tuesday, October 17, but the day before you can go back to the very beginning with a special screening of Samurai Jack: The Premiere Movie. Fathom Events presents the fully remastered origin film, which begins the saga of a samurai prince who is trained to defeat the ultimate evil — malevolent sorcerer Aku — and almost succeeds in his goal. Cast forward in time to a futuristic world now controlled by Aku, Jack must finish his quest and also find a way to get back to his own time. Samurai Jack: The Premiere Movie screens at 7:30 p.m. Monday, October 16, at Marcus Wehrenberg Ronnies 20 (5320 Lindbergh Boulevard; www.fathomevents.com). Tickets are $12.50.
10. They've got some Stanley Cups, we've got Tarasenko
The St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks have been joined in rivalry since the Blues entered the NHL, with good reason. Chicago stinks and deserves misery and woe, and for many decades the Blackhawks provided that for their fans. Meanwhile, the Blues were good but never great. Now the Blackhawks have multiple Stanley Cups, and the Blues remain good — but hopefully great someday soon? We'll find out this year. The Blues take on the Blackhawks for the first time this season at 7 p.m. Wednesday, October 18, at Scottrade Center (1401 Clark Avenue; www.stlblues.com). Tickets are $48 to $165.