Regina Taylor's musical drama Crowns is a view into a world Mr. Night knows nothing about, which is a bonus, because theater should transport you to another world. Inspired by photographer Michael Cunningham's series of photos depicting African-American women in their church hats, Taylor wrote a story about a young woman sent to live with her grandmother after a family tragedy. Through her grandmother and her large collection of hats (and a score that jumps from gospel to blues to hip-hop), Yolanda learns about dignity and the importance of style. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents this joyous celebration of chapeaux at 8 p.m. at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves; 314-968-4925 or www.repstl.org). Tickets are $12 to $58, and Crowns continues Tuesday through Sunday at various times through April 15.
Thursday, March 17
There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but today, thanks to the Irish-loving folks at Patrick's at West Port (342 West Port Plaza, I-270 and Page Avenue, Maryland Heights; 314-878-6767), you can have a free breakfast from 6 to 10 a.m. And, what's more, you can have green beer with that free breakfast -- how's that for a way to start your St. Patrick's Day?! After enjoying Patrick's yummy eggs and drink, you might as well keep the celebrations going with the St. Louis Irish Arts step-dancing performance at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org). The Irish dancers take the stage at 2 p.m., and the performance is free! Lucky you!
Friday, March 18
The Commonspace, as a physical presence, is long gone (the TC still keeps it real online, though, at www.thecommon-space.org), which means you can no longer get your monthly breakdance fix through its good urban graces. But not to worry: Last November's "Settle the Score" breakdance/funkstyle competition was captured via the digital medium and is now available for purchase. You can snag your copy of the Settle the Score 2004 DVD between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. on the seventh floor of the A.D. Brown Building (1136 Washington Avenue; www.digitronical.com for info), which will be ground zero for every funkyfoot, goodfoot and Boogaloo Shrimp in the metro area. Live DJs will make with the "wikki-wikki" all night, dancers will throw down, and minds will be blown. Admission is free, but the DVD is $15 the night of the show and magically becomes $20 at the close of the evening.
Saturday, March 19
Change: We here at Night & Day Global Industries hate change with every sinewy part of our lithe bodies. Why do things always have to be different? Why do places we like have to close? These are the questions we'll be pondering as we flood Elliot Smith Contemporary Art (4729 McPherson Avenue; 314-361-4800 or www.elliotsmith.com) with our tears on this, the gallery's last day. Join us from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for the Last Picture Show artwork sale. ESCA's been good to us for the past 21 years, and for that we will sorrowfully miss the gallery. Maybe we'll take advantage of the art discount and purchase a little bit of ESCA to take home and forever cherish -- it won't be the same, but having something to hold dear is better than nothing.
Sunday, March 20
Remember back when you traveled across the country on the Oregon Trail? Wow, those were wild times, what with the disease, the lack of supplies and the sometimes-unfriendly natives. Covered-wagon travel just isn't what it used to be: It's hard to find a computer that will let you play that old-school Oregon Trail game (not the newfangled fifth edition that recently came out). Relive the difficult days of yore this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, March 19 and 20) at Oregon Trail Days at the Daniel Boone Home and Boonesfield Village (1868 Highway F, near Defiance). Along your eight-stop mini-trail, you get to reminisce about the food you once ate and hear about the illnesses you once fought off from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Admission is $5 per person; for more information call 636-798-2005.
Monday, March 21
Many a young man dreams of flying, especially in a fighter jet. The sexiness of the military birds and the dashing image of the pilots (aided in large part by the Top Gun phenomenon) convinces most boys that the wild blue yonder is a bang-up place to be -- but not Mr. Night. A delicate inner-ear condition and a weak stomach conspire to make any trip in a plane a vomit-fraught nightmare (and yet he still insists on wearing a fourteen-foot-long white silk scarf, for dramatic effect!). Mr. Night contents himself with daydreams and movies about flying, such as the new Omnimax film Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag. This documentary, which screens at the St. Louis Science Center daily (5050 Oakland Avenue; 314-289-4444 or www.slsc.org for times), follows Captain John Stratton through the rigorous training combat pilots undergo at Nellis Air Force Base. The aerial acrobatics are sure to be nauseatingly realistic on the big Omnimax screen. Tickets are $6 to $7, and if you see a woozy man wearing a white scarf, you'd best sit a row behind him.
Tuesday, March 22
Andrew Winston is the quintessential St. Louis author: born elsewhere, educated at Washington University, then off to Chicago for success and fame! It's a story as old as the Hill (or the El). Winston's much-acclaimed debut novel, Looped, is a strand of momentary glimpses into the lives of a diverse group of Chicago denizens. Sometimes those lives intersect, and sometimes those lives are isolated from each other by the thinnest of margins; Winston's depiction of these people has garnered his book praise for accurately mirroring "the multicultural reality of 21st-century Chicago." Winston returns to St. Louis (of course; they always come back once they've made it elsewhere) at 7 p.m., when he reads from and discusses Looped at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731 or www.left-bank.com). Admission is free.