Aside from having an awesome name, Screaming Cherry Cheeks (an enormous vase constructed of murrini glass by Stephen Rolfe Powell) is an amazing piece of art. With a positively voluptuous bottom end, deftly folded in on one side, and a slender neck that tapers in and flares out at the mouth, Screaming Cherry Cheeks is a traffic-stopper. Powell's piece is just one of many gorgeous examples of murrini glass in the Sam Stang-curated exhibit Traditions Transformed: Murrini Glass, on display at the Craft Alliance (6640 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-725-1177 or www.craftalliance.org) through March 6. It's definitely worth taking an extended lunch break to see the show.
Thursday, January 27
By now you've already seen the exhibit Yoshitomo Nara: Nothing Ever Happens at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660), or at least you should have, because the show's been up for almost two months. You've studied Nara's work, noted the playful/malicious nature of many of the children in his drawings and watercolors, and wondered about that big dog in the middle of the room. What does it all mean? Find out at 7 p.m. when curator Kristin Chambers discusses Nara and his work in a lecture entitled "A Visit to Naraland." Admission is free, and the discussion is preceded by a 6 p.m. reception. Feel free to ask questions, and be an active listener. You'll learn more stuff that way.
Friday, January 28
Oh Friday, precious Friday, you are here at last! All week we've longed for you, and now it's decision-making time. With so many events today, how are we to pick just one? If the dedicated readers would like to make Friday a marathon-event day like us, follow the schedule outlined here: Start at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0072 or www.slam.org) for the opening of the African-American Art: Selections from the Works Progress Administration exhibit. This show is the first part of a three-part series and is free; the museum is open until 9 p.m. tonight.
Walking around and looking at art always makes us hungry -- but what kind of hungry? We might be hungry for tapas, and, fortunately, Sappington Barn Restaurant (1015 South Sappington Road, Crestwood; call 314-966-8387 for your recommended reservation) hosts a Tapas Night from 6 to 9 p.m. After paying a $2 cover, you can buy as many little Mediterranean snacks as you can eat and folk out to Mark Gordon's acoustic guitar.
But unfortunately, tiny plates never fill up our big belly like chili does. That's why after tapas we're heading to Suson Park (6071 Wells Road; call 636-391-3474 for your required registration) for the Friday night rendezvous. The park offers $5 all-you-can-eat chili from 5 to 9 p.m., and it's to be enjoyed while you're trout fishing. Ranger Tim supervises both the fishing and his three chilis of varying spiciness. After some of his "burn-your-socks-off-hot" chili, it will be time to go home -- trust us.
Saturday, January 29
Relatively speaking, in fifteen minutes a person or group can go from obscurity to fame. Maybe that's what will happen after Celestial Theatre's Lightbenders troupe performs for fifteen minutes at Velvet (1301 Washington Avenue; 314-241-8178 or www.velvetvibes.com) around 12:45 a.m. tonight. Celestial Theatre and its costumes are already famous in some circles (and around this office especially), so the Lightbenders' experimental "black-light theatrics" are bound to get some attention at the club. At the very least, the troupe will add some interesting visual depth to "mushroom jazzy" DJ Mark Farina's set. Tickets cost $10 to $20 (www.groovetickets.com), and believe us, it will be money well spent.
Sunday, January 30
So, it's been a little more than a month since the tsunami in southeast Asia, and the death toll keeps rising. You meant to donate some money, but the time just slipped away. It's not too late, though. You could drive out to the Bass Pro Shop (1365 South Fifth Street, St. Charles; 636-688-2500 or www.basspro.com) and make a $1 or $5 donation, which will be matched 50 cents for every dollar by the Bass Pro Shop company; all the funds go to the American Red Cross International Response Fund as part of the Bass Pro Shop's Tsunami Relief Challenge. Or, if you're more the stay-at-home type, you can check out Contemporary Productions' Rock for Relief auction on eBay. Go to www.ebay.com, type in "Rock for Relief" and bid on items autographed by Maroon 5, Toby Keith and Gretchen Wilson, among others. The auction ends at 5 p.m., so swoop in and nab your Cyndi Lauper merch before it's too late. Proceeds from this one also go to the American Red Cross.
Monday, January 31
As with most of the television generation, Mr. Night's introduction to the delicate beauty of the harpsichord came through the intermittent stylings of The Addams Family's Lurch. But where to turn when one is in need of a fresh harpsichord glissando? (Lurch only has so many performance pieces, and they've long been memorized.) Ah, fret not, gentle music lover; the Aulos Ensemble performs at 7:30 p.m. at the Sheldon Concert Hall (3648 Washington Boulevard; 314-516-5818 or www.aulos.org for information), and Arthur Haas, harpsichordist, is among its membership. Aulos Ensemble performs Baroque music on period instruments, and, in addition to the music of Vivaldi, Bernardo Storace's Ciaccona for solo harpsichord is on the program. Look for the swooning man holding a lighter aloft during this one; it shall be Mr. Night. Tickets are $18 to $23.
Tuesday, February 1
As everyone knows, in St. Louis it always comes back to high school. Like the lingering resentment (jealousy?) we still have toward all those people who would sashay around French class, fresh after a weekend to New York, wearing Broadway play T-shirts. We never got to go to NYC to see Les Misérables; we never got to buy an overpriced, oversize T-shirt with a small child depicted on it. It's not fair! But now's the time to settle those old scores and hear a new one: Les Misérables opens at the Fox Theatre tonight (527 North Grand Boulevard), and tickets cost $26 to $62 (314-534-1111). With prices like that, we'll be able to afford one of those T-shirts! And now we'll know just what the people in the musical are so miserable about (maybe they've been denied a shirt, and happiness, too). The show plays at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, at 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday (February 1 through 13).