The Mississippi River Celtic Music Festival -- the Tionól, or "assembly" -- is a weekend-long invasion of Irish musicians that will ease your despair at the passing of the feast of St. Patrick.
Sessions start at the Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust Street) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 2. In traditional Tionól style, improv sessions are played by musicians of varying skill (all better than you) who haven't necessarily met each other prior to the performance. Following the sessions is a ceilidh (KAY-lee), which is a called dance, so you can join in even if you've never seen the dance before, let alone tried to pronounce it. Tickets are $5 to $8, and if you want to learn to play some Irish folk instruments (such as the tin whistle or the hammered dulcimer), there will be free workshops at Nerinx Hall (534 East Lockwood Avenue in Webster Groves) all day Saturday, April 3.
The concert at the Sheldon (3648 Washington Avenue) on Saturday is the culmination of the weekend, featuring top Irish musicians from around the world. Tickets are $12 to $24 and are available through MetroTix (314-534-1111). For more information, visit www.tionol.org.
To really get the full Irish experience, or at least the best you can find in St. Louis, you've got to see the free session beginning at 10 a.m. at John D. McGurk's (1200 Russell Boulevard) on Sunday, April 4. In the old country, this is where the stuff is played: at the pub, with a pint. -- Mark Dischinger
Just add Paragon!
Hearkening back to the exciting days of live hurdy-gurdy accompaniment for movies, the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra provides the soundtrack for the otherwise silent antics of Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton at 8 p.m. at the Touhill Performing Arts Center (8001 Natural Bridge Road, 314-516-4949). Under the direction of Rick Benjamin, the PRO has been performing America's great contribution to world music (that would be ragtime) for more than fifteen years now, and they know when to swing and when to lie back. Tickets for the "Clown Princes" performance are $14 to $28. -- Jedidiah Ayres
Don't know how to act at your first powwow? Here are some basic intertribal guidelines: 1) The regalia that the dancers wear are not costumes. The dancers are considered to be in dress, and what they wear are heirlooms or precious handcrafted items that express their personal heritage, so don't touch. While this isn't the strip club, where wandering hands get an introduction to the fists of Guido, you will offend everyone and their ancestors. So hands off -- and no pictures without permission. 2) The dancing circle, or arena, is sacred ground and has been blessed before the event. Stay off unless invited by the MC. 3) Respect the MC, the elders present and any traditions of those hosting the powwow. 4) When it's time for the Blanket Dance, show your respect for the dancers by giving what you can.
Put these tips to good use Saturday, April 3, and Sunday, April 4, as the South County YMCA Adventure Guides host a powwow at 11 a.m. on the grounds of Jefferson Barracks Park (Telegraph Road and Kingston Drive, 314-849-9622, ext. 271 for info). Admission is $2. -- Erik Carlson
An evening of opera is nowhere near as boring as the cartoons would make it seem. Passionate music performed by fantastically costumed people standing in front of elaborate scenery while a 50-member-strong orchestra kicks out the jamis? And every opera ends with a death! What could possibly be more exciting than that? Teatro Lirico D'Europa returns to the Touhill Performing Arts Center (8001 Natural Bridge Road, 314-516-4949) at 7 p.m. with a lavish production of Verdi's Rigoletto. Tickets are $20 to $40, and you can wear a monocle if you like. -- Paul Friswold