As we warned you last week in Night & Day, this is the night the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus brings their unique stage show, From the Gutter to the Glitter: A Night Out with the Bindlestiffs, to Cummel's Café (1627 Washington Avenue; 314-231-9627 at 8 p.m.). Mr. Pennygaff, Philomena and pianist Peter Bufano promise an evening of circus-style performance the likes of which you just can't get from either of the Ringling Brothers. There's music and juggling and balloons and surprises. What kind of surprises? Well, people who witnessed the Bindlestiffs' last appearance in St. Louis are still talking about the group's unique take on the old plate-spinning act, which required a remarkable degree of trust and accommodation on the part of Mr. Pennygaff's lovely assistant. Tickets for the performance are $8, but if you come in costume you need only pay $5.
Thursday, January 20
Are we as a nation at the point of total Ben Stiller saturation? Yes? No? If you have room for just a smidge more Stiller, Ciné 16's "A Matter of Perspective"-themed program may top you off nicely. The 1987 short film Shoeshine is on the bill, and it features a much younger Ben Stiller performing opposite his father Jerry. Also on the program are Han Van Gelder's Adventures in Perception, a 21-minute-long meditation on the works of M.C. Escher, and the microphotography marvel Seeds Scatter, directed by Georg Schimanski. The free evening of short films begins at 8 p.m. at the Mad Art Gallery (2727 South 12th Street; 314-771-8230).
Friday, January 21
Of all the places in St. Louis to view and discuss examples of reinforced concrete in architecture and the building material's advancement through the years, where is better than the Sheldon's Bernoudy Gallery of Architecture (3648 Washington Boulevard; 314-533-9900 or www.sheldonconcerthall.org)? As you drive up Washington to the Sheldon to park and attend the Perret and Le Corbusier: A Dialogue in Reinforced Concrete opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. tonight, you pass some of the coolest reinforced concrete in the St. Louis area: Tadao Ando's Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts (although not the best view of the structure) and Brad Cloepfil's Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. The photographs of Auguste Perret's and Le Corbusier's work included in the exhibit highlight the architects' differing concrete philosophies, which should leave you with a more inspired appreciation of our own concrete masterpieces as you drive past them on your way home.
Saturday, January 22
Show of hands now: How many of you went out and bought Nick Drake's Pink Moon after the romantic Volkswagen commercial aired? We understand why you're a bit embarrassed that you didn't know about this beautiful songwriter before he showed up in between segments of your favorite show, but there's no need to be ashamed -- at least now you own the album. How many of you were sad to find out that this artist, unfortunately long dead, would not be making any more melancholy music? Us too. It was about as sad as the day that Elliott Smith died. Now we're faced with the grim reality that he too will record no more music to comfort us on our saddest day. Join us in mourning the loss of both of these irreplaceables at the Webster Film Series presentation of A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake along with Lucky Three an Elliott Smith Portrait Friday and Saturday (January 21 and 22). The films screen at 7 and 8:30 p.m. both nights at Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue). Tickets cost $5 to $6; call 314-968-7487 or visit www.webster.edu/filmseries.html for more information.
Sunday, January 23
If you carefully follow the daily plan that Night & Day lays out for you, you've probably been up all night boo-hooing about Nick and Elliott. Your pillow needs time to dry. Pick yourself up, take your CD player off repeat, and head over to the City Museum (701 North 15th Street). And before you start wailing some protest of despair at us about how you don't want to crawl around with kids and how you're just too sad, know this: We're not sending you there for exercise (although it wouldn't hurt); we're sending you there to eat cotton candy. Feeling better yet? Today you get to go to a CD-release party, but not just any CD release party: You're going to the party for Circus Harmony: First Movement, which is a compilation of some of the multicultural music performed during Circus Harmony's shows. Your $7.50 to $10 party admission price includes City Museum access, circus workshops, popcorn and, of course, cotton candy. That'll cheer you up! The party runs from 1 to 4 p.m.; for more information visit www.circusharmony.org or call 314-436-7676.
Monday, January 24
Only three weeks into the new year, and all the resolutions are shot already. Instead of eating carrot sticks and practicing twenty minutes of yoga during lunch today (read: "sleeping under the desk"), hop the MetroLink up to the University of Missouri-St. Louis (1 University Boulevard at Natural Bridge Road) for the Monday Noon Cultural Series. Author Phyllis Moore, director of the liberal arts program at the Kansas City Art Institute, reads from her work in a program entitled "The Decay of Lying" from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. in Room 229 of the J.C. Penney Conference Center. The reading is free, and light refreshments are served. Call 314-516-5699 for more information.
Tuesday, January 25
Double your arts pleasure on the campus of Webster University. At the May Photography Gallery (8300 Big Bend Boulevard; 314-961-2660), you can enjoy the Annual Faculty Photography Exhibit, which has its opening reception between 5 and 7 p.m. on Friday, January 21. Faculty exhibitors include Jack Rinehart, Susan Hacker Stang and T. Ann Tolin. And just down the street at the Cecille R. Hunt Gallery (8342 Big Bend Boulevard; 314-968-7171), you can experience the difference between two and three dimensions at the Three Sculptors, featuring the works of John Watson, Joe Chesla and Stephen Yasko. Three Sculptors also opens on Friday, with a 6 to 8 p.m. reception. On Tuesday, January 25, you have more than two hours to appreciate the art, however; the May Photography Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the Hunt Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free at both galleries.