Are improv-comedy nights becoming the open-mic nights of the new millennium? Not that we're complaining or anything, but these things seem to be popping up everywhere. Here's one now, at 7 p.m. at the Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust Street; 314-495-9454). The Mob, a mix of newcomers and familiar faces (that's Howie Hirshfield leading The Mob; you may remember him as the man behind Who Stole Woofie's Hot Dog?, the only murder-mystery dinner theater to revolve around a purloined frankfurter), presents a grab bag of short- and long-form improv with its sketch comedy. Admission for the show is $10, and you can check out www.entertainmentgroup.biz for more information.
Thursday, December 30
The nation's amateur night may be tomorrow, but it's never too early to get back to the traditional ways of celebrating New Year's Eve. Put on your parka, don your three-quarter Beatle boots and scooter on over to the Carnaby Street at Lemmons' Pre-New Year's Eve Party. From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., all the cool kids get down Maximum R&B style, in addition to enjoying the finest sounds of the new-wave '80s, Brit-pop, punk, ska, etc., etc. Dancing is encouraged, videos will be shown, and prizes will be given away. Lemmons (5800 Gravois Road; 314-481-4812) is a 21-and-older club, and there's a $4 cover charge. And in the spirit of the holidays, if you see any of those South City Teddy Boys, just leave 'em alone; we don't need another Mod-Ted gang war in this town.
Friday, December 31
New Year's Eve used to be so simple: hanging out at Grandma's house while your parents went out, enjoying some leftover Christmas cookies, trying to stay awake until midnight by playing with your plastic bowling set. How awesome was that little orange bowling ball? Pretty sweet! Relive some yesteryear in more ways than one at the AMF Western Lanes' New Year's Eve Dollar Bowl (at 4041 Bingham Avenue; 314-832-2442). Sadly, this is the bowling alley's last New Year's Eve -- and last month. But you'll have plenty of money to drown your sorrows in beer since games and shoe rentals cost only $1 each. The party runs from noon to 1 a.m., and the bar opens in the evening.
If some extreme bowling is more your speed, check out AMF Strike 'N Spare Lanes' Extreme Pizza Bowl from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. (at 1309 North Lindbergh Boulevard; call 314-432-5757 for reservations). For $40 you and five friends share a lane for two hours, eat a pizza, drink some soda and rent some shoes. And by the way, two hours is definitely enough time for things to get extreme.
And for the classy bowling types, Concord Lanes' New Year's Eve Party (at 11801 Tesson Ferry Road; call 314-843-9200 for reservations) includes bowling for six from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Champagne, and hats and noisemakers. Shoes aren't included in the $70 price, but if you are, in fact, classy, you have your own.
Saturday, January 1
It's the first day of a new year. The bloom is still on the rose, the horizon is distant, and everything in between is wide open; all things are possible at this juncture. What's the best way to celebrate this once-a-year feeling? Large-scale paintball warfare, friends. Wacky Warriors (I-70 and Wentzville Parkway, Wentzville; 636-298-8198 or www.wackywarriors.com) urges you to rain paintball doom on your friends and family in the thirteenth annual New Year's Day Big Games. More than 300 warriors (some of whom are certain to be a little wacky) gather to hunt, stalk, snipe and just plain empty the guns on each other in this good-time simulacrum of total combat that lasts from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you have your own gun, the cost is $15 to participate; cost of a rental gun and participation is $20. Mowing down your colleagues and family in a John Woo-inspired fusillade of rainbow death? Priceless.
Sunday, January 2
So the St. Louis Steamers have steamed up the pages of this paper with their sassy naked ads. Hopefully, some of that sass (and a little less ass) makes its way to the indoor soccer field on this, the day after New Year's Day, when the team challenges Baltimore to a second match on the home turf (Savvis Center, 14th Street and Clark Avenue). The game begins at 6:05 p.m., and tickets cost $16 and $30 (314-241-1888 or www.ticketmaster.com). With any luck, the home squad will blast (ha!) Baltimore all the way back home. Go Steamers -- you've beat the Blast once, so do it again! Visit www.stlsteamers.com for more information.
Monday, January 3
Modern America today owes much to Kenny Rogers. His smooth-talking and singing has made many a fiftysomething love him. But you must know who else should love him -- all the poker-playing fanatics, that's who. Without Kenny and his bitchin' end-of-"The Gambler"-echo (and perhaps the Bravo channel), no one would know that there is an appropriate time to hold or fold your cards. These poker players would have no idea when to count their money, and they would be absolutely clueless as to what the secret to survivin' is. So for this, we thank you, Kenny. With his special song in your heart, take your knowledge of Texas Hold 'Em or your love of watching the game to Rue 13 (1313 Washington Avenue; 314-588-9797) this and every Monday night. Martinis will be consumed (until 3 a.m.), poker will be played (at 7 and 10 p.m.) and music will be heard -- sounds pretty good for a Monday.
Tuesday, January 4
Here's a little something you may not know about Mr. Night: He ice skates with the lithe grace of an arctic gazelle. It's true. He's spent hours honing his ice-skating moves, and he has three different three-minute routines worked up for 2005. The first is a carefree exploration of his body set to Barry Manilow's "Mandy"; the second piece is a sultry seduction of the audience, choreographed to Neil Diamond's "Thank the Lord for the Night Time"; the third is an athletic tour de force backed by the punishing blasts of Immortal's "Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms." Sad revelation number two is that Mr. Night wears the same flesh-colored body stocking no matter which routine he performs. Join him at Steinberg Ice Skating Rink in Forest Park between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. as he works on his new routines. Admission is $4 to $6, and if you need to rent skates, that costs an extra $2. Call 314-361-0613 for more information.