Aging groupies and sci-fi/fantasy fans have a few things in common: They often bulge from their clothes, for one. You'll be able to compare and contrast the two groups when Ozark Mountain Daredevil Steve Cash comes to the Ladue Crossing Barnes & Noble Booksellers (8871 Ladue Road, Ladue; 314-862-6280) at 2 p.m. to read from, discuss and sign his new fantasy novel, The Meq.
Masters of one style of writing aren't always able to switch horses: Witness The Rum Diary: A Novel, the awful book by the late, lamented Hunter S. Thompson. So you'll be forgiven for wondering if Cash, who co-wrote the Daredevils' '70s hits "Jackie Blue" and "If You Wanna Get to Heaven," really has what it takes to pen a fantasy novel.
Pick up Cash's debut, The Meq, to find out. Telling the tale of an orphaned Meq -- which is a race of almost-perpetual twelve-year-olds who live among humans -- named Zianno Zezen (mercifully shortened to Z), The Meq sees the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries (including the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, natch) through alien eyes. So basically, the novel is about as far away from "Chicken Train" as you can get.
Springfield, Missouri's Daredevils have seen a lot of their early albums re-released on CD over the last few years. The Meq, first published in England, got good reviews in limey-country. So the time is right for Cash to, um, cash in with this book. -- Jordan Harper
Song of St. Louis
Paul Thiel has done St. Louis a great service by collecting and publishing the diverse stories that make up Under the Arch: St. Louis Stories. More than a score of authors relay their distinct impressions of a city that can be both maddening and intoxicating by turns; much like the weather, one's impression of St. Louis can change hourly. But Thiel has compiled memories and fantasies of the city at its best, stretching our traditional two-week flirtation with spring into a month of halcyon Sundays. James M. Huggins, Michael Kahn, Colleen McKee, Rick Skwiot, Charles Wartts and Michael MacCambridge (his "Heman Park: The Urban Tennis Jungle" is really outstanding) all read from the book at the University City Library (6701 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-3150) at 2 p.m. Attend, and fall in love with home all over again. -- Paul Friswold
Big Apple, Big Show
New York is coming to town! The contemporary choreography of New Yorkers, as performed by the Saint Louis Ballet, dances into the Center of Creative Arts (524 Trinity Avenue, University City) Friday and Saturday (March 4 and 5) at 8 p.m. During "New York Choreography: A Ballet Series," see just what these big-city types, like Francis Patrelle and Jessica Lang, have to offer our, um, smaller city. And, of course, the Saint Louis Ballet's own Gen Horiuchi (who's originally from Tokyo but gracefully landed here by way of, you guessed it, New York City) answers back with a piece. Tickets cost $25 and are available through MetroTix (314-534-1111); call COCA at 314-725-6555 for more information. -- Jedidiah Ayres
Stop Your Idoling!
It's Tuesday night, and you've plopped onto the couch (again). You could watch sitcom re-runs, a crime-solving show or something labeled "reality." You'll probably end up taking another American Idol injection, but before you pick up that remote, imagine yourself at a real concert hall, enveloped in music produced by live musicians. It's a crazy concept, but worth a listen. The Gateway Men's Chorus offers such an opportunity for you with its "All Acoustic" show at 7:30 p.m. at the Sheldon Concert Hall (3648 Washington Boulevard; 314-533-9900). Tickets are $10, and the concert benefits Food Outreach. Live music and a good cause -- what are you waiting for? Visit www.gatewaymenschorus.org or call 314-621-7286 for more information or to order tickets. -- Amy Helms