If St. Louis ever aims to reclaim its fame as one of the country's premier jazz cities, Jazz It Up At the Landing makes a good case. From 4-10 p.m. Saturday, free musical offerings of what has been called America's only original art form can be had on four separate stages.
Now in its fourth year, Jazz It Up features both national and local acts. The main stage, down by the President Casino, at First and Lucas Streets, will feature Sunnie Paxson -- whose cover of the B.T. Express funk classic "Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)" on her debut CD was dubbed "the feel-good record of the year" by one New York jazz-radio DJ -- and guitarist Blake Aaron, whose upcoming album is already being called 2003's best smooth-jazz guitar release. Meanwhile, stages along Second Street, at Martin Luther King Drive and at Lucas and Morgan streets welcome beloved St. Louis bands the Urban Jazz Naturals and Afro-house fusion faves the Hot House Sessions, who have already assembled quite a following from their regular gigs at Nik's Wine Bar & Hookah Lounge.
"What we've done this year is take a newer, fresher approach to jazz," says Dawne Massey, executive director of the Laclede's Landing Merchants Association. "We think a lot of St. Louis' bands are providing a new look at jazz -- not just here but on a national scope. Jazz is growing a lot in St. Louis, and we plan to show it off during Jazz It Up." Head to www.lacledeslanding.org or call 314-241-5875 for more info. -- Rose Martelli
The sight of 25,000 St. Louisans descending upon more than 500 antique, craft and junque vendors (from 30 states) gets the blood of a true bargain hunter moving. The amazing farrago of chattel for sale at the annual Gypsy Caravan, ranging from comic books to bush hats to furniture to miracle cleansers, is yours to explore for $6 (ages eleven and younger are admitted for free).
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra benefit, running from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., takes place on closed streets near St. Louis University (from Highway 40, take Grand Boulevard north and follow the signs to parking). Head to www.gypsycaravan-stl.org for a $1 discount coupon, or call 314-286-4452 for more info. -- Byron Kerman
The Dark Arts
The free monthly Central West End Gallery Walk gives you a chance to suck in art between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m., when galleries are usually dark. Check out the impressionistic landscape and still-life paintings and collages of Glenda Hares at Norton's Fine Art & Framing; the artistic jibes at commercialism by Daniel Raedeke at Kroma; Elliot Smith Contemporary Art and Centro, which recently traded spaces; the African-American works at Hughes Fine Art; the vintage oversize ad posters at Galerie L (love those Bugattis!); the relocated Xen Gallery, featuring the funky and the functional; and the top-name postwar American artists at the Greenberg Van Doren and William Shearburn galleries. Call 314-361-2850 or visit www.thecwe.com for more info. -- Byron Kerman
Unpillaged Jewel Box
St. Louis is indeed fortunate to have never been invaded by Vikings. Our crops would have been stolen, our livestock slaughtered and our precious buildings incinerated by those wolves of the sea. Take Tuesday morning off to appreciate our good fortune by joining the Landmarks Association Architecture Tour of historic buildings throughout Forest Park, including the Jewel Box (left). The free tour, led by park staffers, runs from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and you can pack your own lunch. Call 314-421-6474 for a reservation, because you never know when ominous black sails will appear on the horizon. -- Paul Friswold