We pride ourselves on St. Louis being a historic city, but let's face it: "Historic" is just a euphemism for "old," which is a just another word for "having lots of problems." Often, lights don't work because of bad wiring, toilets won't flush thanks to corroded pipes, and our kids are poisoned by lead-based paint. And while "Did you eat paint chips as a kid?" might be a humorous retort to a buddy's moronic antics, childhood lead poisoning -- something in which St. Louis ranks high nationally -- can cause serious learning and behavioral problems.
In Jimmy's Getting Better, Seattle-based playwright Josef Evans shows us how lead poisoning affects a young man from his baptism as an innocent child to his difficulty focusing in school and controlling his temper to his eventual arrival at juvenile hall.
Since its 2000 debut in Minneapolis, Jimmy has visited ten cities, including lead-plagued Detroit and Seattle, and now it arrives in St. Louis. The first public performance of Jimmy -- there will be eight in all -- is at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, during Community Science Day at the St. Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue; free).
The Gateway City production of Jimmy is sponsored by CLEARCorps, a national lead-abatement organization, and three local groups (the St. Louis Lead Prevention Coalition, the Black Rep and Healthcare USA). To find out more about lead poisoning and future performances of Jimmy's Getting Better, call the St. Louis Lead Prevention Coalition at 314-664-9922. -- R.L. Nave
St. Louis falls for that heavenly sound
Many and varied are the events surrounding the anniversary of the 1904 World's Fair, but none stirs the blood more than a free concert of music from the popular film Meet Me in St. Louis -- performed entirely on (wait for it) harps. Harpists from the Saint Louis Symphony, Fox and Muny orchestras are gonna throw down at 2 and 3 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell and DeBaliviere boulevards; 314-746-4599). "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "Meet Me In St. Louis, Louis" are (of course) on the program, but you ain't lived till you've experienced the majesty of "The Trolley Song" when it comes at you in a glissando of heavenly strumming, always leading back into the popular refrain, "Plink-plink-plink went the trolley." Aw, make it pizzicato, babies! -- Paul Friswold