Anime films can bring to mind the all-too-literal enormity of technological (and biological) advancement of an imagined future, a bleak megalopolis of gunmetal-colored, megalithic buildings and the ridiculously large sword-wielding gundams who guard them. The cityscapes, however, are often less breathtaking than the impossibly proportioned women who populate them. Thanks to our obsession with plastic surgery, you're more likely to see people who look like "Sailor Moon" than to see the city of the future, but that's beside the point -- this is only one side of a diverse genre with myriad styles and series. If you want to see the subtle nuances of this classic animation style in action, check out the Fant-Asia St. Louis club's free screenings of anime films and shorts at the Fantasy Shop-St. Charles (2426 West Clay Avenue, 636-947-8330) from 5-10 p.m. Visit www.fantasyshoponline.com or animedat.com for screenings at other Fantasy Shop locations, too. -- Mark Dischinger
Jimmy Chamberlin schools you
Drummers are living proof that in the ongoing battle between man and machine, man is still winning. Drum machines and computer programs can perform the same duties as the average rock drummer -- i.e., keep the beat and add percussive punch to what would otherwise be endless guitar strafing. But how many bands opt for the relatively cheap, always reliable beatbox instead of the idiosyncratic, moody and occasionally stoned-out-of-his-mind behemoth lovingly known as "our drummer"? Not many. That's because a great drummer adds more organic oomph to a song than any machine.
And Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins, Zwan) is a fantastic drummer. Lush, powerful and inventive with his fills, Chamberlin presents a drum clinic at 7 p.m. in Blueberry Hill's Duck Room (6504 Delmar Boulevard, 314-727-0880). Take a lesson from a modern master for only $10. -- Paul Friswold
A what is born every minute?
American Idols Live is tonight at the Savvis Center (1401 Clark Avenue, 314-241-1888) which means that, for once, it or some variation of it will not be on TV. Psych! American Idol is always on TV! The torture never stops: From Justin to Kelly, the movie based on the show, tanked after screening exactly one-and-a-half times, and the show stays on the air; Ruben beat Clay (or vice versa, we're not sure which one is which) in a shocking upset, and the show continues unabated; nasty Simon Cowell is found behind a Red Lobster devouring a still-screaming child while Paula Abdul looks on, and...you get the idea. They sing! They dance! They sing some more! You drain another bottle and pray for sweet death. Tickets are $27-$47, the "entertainment" starts at 7:30 p.m., and there's no end in sight, God help us... -- Paul Friswold
Return of the King
Joe Edwards' annual celebration of the Elvis Aron Presley Saga takes place tonight at Blueberry Hill (6504 Delmar Boulevard, 314-727-0880). See Steve Davis imbue the King with more humanity and charisma than all other E.P. imitators combined. Witness the spectacle of the entire Presley clan, including Lisa Marie's ex-husbands, the Colonel, beloved mother Gladys and even Elvis' favorite horse, all crammed into the front window. Swoon as Elvis hits that glorious bridge in "Suspicious Minds" and all the pain and regret of Elvis and Priscilla's failed marriage comes rushing back. The free window shows start around 8 p.m., and the full-blown stage production costs $15 and begins at 9:30 p.m. in the Duck Room. -- Paul Friswold
Fly, Rover, Fly
Dogs -- they'll chew your furniture, pee on your loafers and attack the mailman.
But there's something about a dog leaping into the air -- tummy retracted, legs stretched, open mouth headed straight for a Frisbee -- that begs forgiveness.
Actually, says Bob Niemeier, air boss for the St. Louis Disc Dog Club, seeking and destroying flying saucers "is just part of the dog's natural prey-instinct to kill."
Teach your pooch to kill Frisbees with grace from 9-11 a.m. at Deer Creek Park (intersection of North Laclede Station Road and Marshall Avenue, behind Cousin Hugo's) in Maplewood, at a free gathering. Call 314-771-1763 or visit www.stldiscdogs.com for more. -- Tom R. Arterburn