Oh, Whole Foods Market, you continue to make us so happy! Mr. Night, a lapsed vegan, delights in your yummy foods, and Ms. Day, a semi-drunkard, adores your wine classes. Like today's Wine on Wednesday-Pinot Envy class -- Ms. Day loves it a lot. Why, you ask? How awesome could it be? For $15 you get to taste pinots from around the world, and all you have to do is show up at 1601 South Brentwood Boulevard (in Brentwood) at 6:30 p.m. and learn from instructor Gretchen Morfogen for 90 minutes. Then we bet your love for Whole Foods (and pinot) will blossom, too. Call 314-968-7744 for more information and to register.
Thursday, March 24
If you're in the mood to do something meaningful with a large group of coeds, the Take Back the Night Rally is the place for you. This semi-regular rally against sexual assault and violence usually involves a large group of women and men (anyone concerned with making the city safer, really) marching through the night while chanting empowering slogans, beating drums and generally letting the bad guys know you're mad as hell and you won't take it any more. This year's rally kicks off at 7 p.m. in the Brookings Quadrangle on the Washington University campus (Forsyth and Skinker boulevards). Participation is, of course, free, but if you have questions or concerns, shoot an e-mail to TakeBacktheNightWashU@yahoo.com
Friday, March 25
Already society has been blessed with so many gifts from the Italians: nice leather shoes, yummy baked pastas, Ferraris and now weekend plans. No, we're not suggesting a trip to the boot-shape nation (though that would be nice); we're talking about the St. Louis Italian Film Festival (314-422-3102 or www.italystl.com), which features the premiere of three Italian films over the course of three weekends. We're smack-dab in the middle of the fest, and today, you can see the first 180 minutes of Marco Tullio Giordana's La Meglio gioventù (The Best of Youth). This film, which was super-successful in Italy, follows the lives of two brothers for forty years -- it won't take you quite that long to watch the movie, but you will have to come back tomorrow (Saturday, March 26) to Room 100 of Washington University's Brown Hall (Forsyth and Skinker boulevards) to see the last 180 minutes. Weekend plans, indeed. The entire film series is free, and all films screen at 7:30 p.m. (in Italian with English subtitles).
Saturday, March 26
Dogs are only the greatest pets on earth -- pipe down, cat lovers. We're not saying cats are bad (they make nice companions, too), but we're just saying dogs are better, that's all. And now we'll tell you why: There's no way that you can be in a bad mood after you've seen a happy dog (which is any dog). We even saw a dog once with only one ear, who was not bothered by this in the slightest and who was actually delighted to cheer us up. What a sweet puppy! If you live in an apartment or are otherwise unable to cohabitate with a canine buddy, you probably aren't smiling enough. Head out to the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog (1721 South Mason Road, in Queeny Park, Ballwin; 314-821-3647) any time today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to see the museum's new exhibit, Dogs in Whimsy. Admission costs $1 to $5, and we can pretty much guarantee you'll be howling with happiness all the way home after seeing many doggy artworks including Bob, a painting of a terrier smoking a pipe (pictured), and an original Peanuts storyboard, featuring none other than Snoopy. The exhibit is up until May 28, but your grin will last much longer.
Sunday, March 27
After you've cleared the debris of another successful Easter Sunday egg hunt from your lawn, head over to the Saint Louis Zoo in Forest Park (314-781-0900 or www.stlzoo.org for more information) to see how the animals tackle the searching and destroying of treat-filled eggs at Enrichment Egg-stravaganza. The zoo's enrichment program provides new objects for the animals to play with, usually with food tucked inside the item as a reward for the animal (you know those huge rubber balls you see in the bear pit occasionally? That's enrichment in action). Between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., the staff of keepers and volunteers stay near the animal enclosures to answer questions and explain why enrichment programs are necessary. Stake out a good location by the sun bear exhibit to see the ursines working over egg-shape piatas at noon, and those lovable lemurs get colored eggs for snacking at 1 p.m.
Monday, March 28
Hunter S. Thompson, what were you thinking? You were invincible to us. Also incorrigible, incoherent, inchoate and incandescent on the page. You gave great advice to writers, too; in the intro to Generation of Swine, you recommended reading the Book of Revelations when suffering writer's block. The flaming, dire prose of Saint John may have been the catalyst for many a Thompson explosion on the page, but a dragon with seven heads and ten horns still don't come down as ferocious as you did. You crazy bastard -- what were you thinking? Frederick's Music Lounge (4454 Chippewa Street; 314-351-5711) memorializes Hunter Thompson with a double feature of movies inspired by the good Doctor and his notorious lust for life. Where the Buffalo Roam, starring Bill Murray, screens at 5 and 8:30 p.m., and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro, screens at 6:30 and 10 p.m. Admission is free, and be sure to drink a stiff one or six, and tip your waitstaff heavily. That's how Hunter rolled.
Friday, March 29
The fine folks at Subterranean Books (6275 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-862-6100) have transformed the shop's upstairs level into a spiffy little art gallery. The current show, Reload, is a multimedia show of work created by the staff of the art magazine ARTillery, put out fairly regularly by Washington University students. Mr. Night easily spends the third of his income that doesn't go to Vintage Vinyl at Subterranean, but even he stopped perusing the shelves when faced with the stunning King Kong-inspired drawing/mobile installation bursting out of the gallery wall. Nora Korsts Salzman's intricately wrought illustration of aging strippers working the pole is also a show-stopper. Reload remains up through March 31, so hustle in and see it before it's gone. And grab a copy of ARTillery while you're there -- it's good stuff.