We here at the RFT have a long history of knocking the South Side. We call South Siders 'hoosiers' and poke fun at their perceived cultural deficiencies, their cars, their clothes and their choice of beverages, but then at the end of the day, half of the staff goes home to the South Side, or at least stops by for a drink or two. The truth is, we love the South Side, because it's made up of great neighborhoods and great people. Kisses -- kisses to you all.
Hearts and Hands and Voices is one of those neighborhood festivals that only the South Side could produce: a celebration of fine art, craftwork, architecture, music, dance and even Mr. Wally the Clown, all centered around St. Mark's Episcopal Church (4714 Clifton Avenue, just east of Hampton Avenue; call 314-832-3588). From 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., you can tour the historic and beautiful church, ramble through the many vendors' booths (including Ecuadorian hand-woven goods and free-trade coffee sales), try your luck in a cake walk, purchase fine art or just stuff yourself with brats and delicious, nutritious Schlafly beer. They've thought of everything, including sales of Ted Drewes' concretes. The night ends with a benefit concert by folksters Leela and Ellie Grace in the friendly acoustics of St. Mark's. This weekend, treat yourself to a little southern hospitality right here in town -- go Southside. -- Paul Friswold
They're burnin' for you
There's hot, and then there's vinyl-car-seat-in-a-St. Louis-summer-hot. The vinyl car seat, while not classified as a torture device, probably should be. Only a masochist would think of covering a seat with something that, when exposed to sunlight, becomes a pliable, body-hugging branding iron. Who among us hasn't experienced the divine pain of near-molten vinyl searing the delicate intaglio of seat-stitches into your backflesh --through a T-shirt? Even better is the unspeakable horror of having to peel your own skin off the devil-vinyl-inferno like some sort of epidermal Fruit Roll-up. Who doesn't love that ripping- paper sound of partially intermingled skin and vinyl being separated by force? Ah well -- at least it's a dry heat. -- Paul Friswold
Mi Casa es Su Casa
Cohousing shares the love
Since the idea first arose in Denmark some 35 years ago, cohousing has become one of the most innovative trends in urban living. A cohousing community is somewhere between a commune and a condominium, if you will. Each individual or family owns a private living space with bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms, while sharing public areas ranging from children's playrooms to offices to laundry facilities. Through both physical design and ownership structure, cohousing strives to create the kind of community ties that have all but disintegrated in modern urban life. The local Culver Way Cohousing has already sold out its first phase, and some 150 other communities across the country are in various stages of development, indicating that the cohousing experience offers something that antiseptic subdivision "communities" do not.
But hey, don't take our word for it. Representatives from Culver Way and other area cohousing projects will be on hand to meet the public and answer questions at the Commonspace (615 North Grand Boulevard) from 10 a.m. to noon. It's free to attend. Call 314-534-4780, visit www.thecommonspace.org, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. -- Jason Toon
Independence Day, en Français
The Soulard Bastille Day celebration kicks off on Friday at 6 p.m. at Nadine's Gin Joint (12th Street and Allen Avenue). Join angry peasants in the walking parade from Nadine's to Soulard Market Park, where the ceremonial beheading of dethroned monarchs Louis and Marie Antoinette gets the fête into gear. The celebration boasts live music, food, libations, art and sporting events all weekend. For more information, call 314-865-1994. Vive la Révolution! -- John Goddard