Michael Rips' book, The Face of a Naked Lady: An Omaha Family Mystery, is a warning to all people who lead secret lives. Upon the death of his father, the younger Rips discovered a cache of paintings made by the senior Rips. All of them were of the same nude African-American woman. How did the old man, a conservative "normal" Midwesterner, keep his artistic endeavors secret from his family for his entire life? Who was the woman? Rips embarks on a quest to answer these questions, and in the process realizes that no one is as simple as he or she seems -- not even your own father. Rips reads from and signs his memoir at 7 p.m. at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731 or www.left-bank.com). Admission is free. (Note to self: Burn all artwork.)
Thursday, March 31
Much like Whitney, we here at Night & Day Global believe the children are our future. And the folks over at the St. Louis Artists' Guild and Galleries (2 Oak Knoll Park, Clayton) must agree: They're hosting the Emerson's Young Artists' Showcase, a multimedia, juried exhibit that features the works of young local artists (ages fifteen to twenty-one). Even though you already missed the opening reception for this special show, head over to the Guild today from noon to 4 p.m. (or any day Tuesday through Sunday) to check out just what the future of art holds. You know, someday these artists will be leading the way -- and we should let them (and we should show them "all the beauty they possess inside"). The exhibit runs through May 7; call 314-727-6266 or visit www.stlouisartistsguild.org for more information.
Friday, April 1
Despite the April Fool's date and the police, uh, attendance at the last play to open at SPOT nightclub (4146 Manchester Avenue; 314-918-8424), SPOTlight Theatre is really and truly debuting its production of Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune at 8 p.m. in that venue. And the April Fool's date is appropriate, since Johnny is a fool for love. Middle-aged, romantic and an inveterate loser in love, he's convinced that his one-night stand with Frankie is in fact the beginning of relationship bliss and not another dead end. Frankie, well, she has other ideas. SPOTlight Theatre performs Frankie and Johnny at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 7 p.m. on Sunday (April 1 through 10). Tickets are $15 to $18, and no one younger than eighteen will be admitted (harsh language, you know).
Saturday, April 2
Not only has American Idol taken over every facet of life off college campuses, it appears the FOX show has also infiltrated the annual drag ball of Webster Pride, Webster University's LGBT group. This year's event, called Drag Ball Idol, features both amateur and professional queens and kings, and even has a segment where attendees get to judge their fellow audience members dressed in drag (not the required dress code, but a fun one indeed). During this special intermission show, there'll probably be some of the awkwardness of Idol auditions, a portion of the audience participation of The Price Is Right -- and all the fun a drag show can muster (which is a ton, trust us). And for free (with a cash bar)! The show runs from 8 to 11 p.m. at Webster's Grant Gymnasium (in the University Center, 175 Edgar Road); e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Sunday, April 3
We said it here first: Face-painting is going to be the new tattooing for grown-ups. And it's all because of the temporary nature of face-painting. Why not get a rainbow on your cheek today? It will be mostly gone by tomorrow (convenient for those of us who can't decide whether or not we even like rainbows). So you want to get painted? Go by Shaare Emeth Congregation (11645 Ladue Road, Creve Coeur; call 314-568-0506 for more information) for the free April Art Fair and Family Fun Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This fundraising event features face-painting (of course!), kosher food, jewelry, hand-woven tallit, blown glass, Israeli dancers and much more. And we recommend getting there early for all this fun -- the food will last all day, but you know how long that paint line will get in the afternoon.
Monday, April 4
Hello there, out-of- town basketball fans. You might be scratching your head about our strange little city, wondering "What do these people do for fun when not in the grip of March Madness?" Why, we experience madness of a different sort: the beautiful lunacy of the City Museum (701 North 15th Street; www.citymuseum.org or 314-231-2489). This wonderland of the imagination is normally closed on Monday, but since you're in town, the doors are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so you can live the fantasy. Marvel at the giant slides! Exhaust yourself in the outdoor, adult-scale ball pit! Gaze in horror at the Neosho Nougat Works, the source of almost 90 percent of the world's nougat! Admission is $7.50 to $13.50, and an additional $5 if you want to explore the World Aquarium (which has real sharks -- if that's not worth $5 more, what is?).
Tuesday, April 5
Most St. Louis lifers can recall that school field trip to the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Scaling Monk's Mound, puzzling over how Woodhenge could be a calendar, trying to imagine what the vast city of the Mississippians looked like in its prime -- it seemed so far away, and yet you were standing in the midst of its remnants. After surviving centuries of the elements and human interference, it's easy to assume the Mounds will be around for years to come. And they will be, but only because of the efforts of people such as archaeologist Bill Iseminger. He's part of the team of researchers and preservationists who work behind the scenes to maintain the site. Find out just what it takes to keep Cahokia from fading into the mists of time as Iseminger presents a lecture entitled "Preserving Cahokia from the 19th to 20th Centuries" at 7 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org). Admission is free.