Smokers, we feel your pain. There was a time when you could sit in your cubicle and smoke freely and gaily while mountains of paperwork sprouted from your inbox. Sure, second-hand smoke was tarring the lungs of your co-workers, but think of the time saved by smoking at your desk while playing Tetris. Why, now you're forced outside every time you need to light up, and even then you're driven to the alcoves and alleys of neighboring buildings, where passersby regard you with the disgust normally reserved for lepers and the guy in the next cubicle who suffers from explosive farts.
But there is a safe haven, and it's on wheels. The Macanudo American Passion Tour bus, a rolling smoking lounge that is tastefully appointed with leather furniture and a bitchin' hi-fi (along with other fancy consumer electronic doo-dads), pit stops at Briars & Blends Tobacco (6405 Hampton Avenue; 314-351-5801) from 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 14, and then swings by the St. Louis Cigar Club 94 (12788 Olive Boulevard; 314-757-5782) from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, July 15. Admission? It's free. Smoke 'em if you got 'em? Indeed, and if you don't have a cigar, a tasty Macanudo will be provided free of charge. Fabulous prizes (Macanudo swag) will be awarded, but the real joy here is that you can sit in a comfy chair while watching an enormous TV and luxuriating in your stogie, and there's not a damn thing any of those pink-lunged busy-bodies can do about it. -- Paul Friswold
You may remember political-exile-turned-longtime-St. Louis-resident Wiktor Szostalo from these very pages. Over a year ago, one of his sculptures "pissed" off a few corporate types (visit www.wsart.com to refresh your memory). Come see what the activist and his mixed media (wood, steel, iron, glass, fiberglass, gunshots, you name it) are up to now. His show of large, brightly colored sculptures (example above) is displayed at Mad Art Gallery (2727 South 12th Street; 314-771-8230 or www.madart.com) as part of Watching a Re-Run of the Final Battle Between Good and Evil. The opening begins at 7 p.m. and also includes the premiere of his son Michal's five-part musical composition and Wesley Fordyce's sculptures. -- Alison Sieloff
There are a lot of comic book "fans" who believe comics are Serious Art and that they are to be regarded with the utmost gravity. Such fans are advised to go read their Classic Comics adaptation of Proust instead of attending the free Jim Mahfood live-art performance at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park (5600 Oakland Avenue; 314-644-9231) from 6 to 9 p.m. Mahfood, best known for Zombie Kid and Grrl Scouts, will create huge murals in his inimitable style while his brother (DJ Mahf, of local band Essence of Logic) runs the wheels of steel. Mahfood has performed similar antics with DJ Shadow and MF Doom, so you know he knows what's what. -- Paul Friswold
Hey, summer's half-over -- have you learned anything new yet? No? Well, hustle on over to the Third Degree Glass Factory (5200 Delmar Boulevard; 314-367-4527) for its monthly Third Friday at Third Degree blowout. You can marvel at the pros as they superheat glass to its molten state and then create beautiful objets d'art from its liquid mass. You can even try your hand at blowing your own glass ornament. Better yet, sign up for a class while you're there, and then next month you can be one of the pros impressing the neophytes with your mighty huffin'-and-puffin' powers. Admission is free and Third Degree provides the music and sno-cones. You have to put the BYO in BYOB, but at least you won't be overpaying for your Stag. -- Paul Friswold