Wednesday, December 1
The St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley Photography and Fine Arts clubs (3400 Pershall Road; 314-513-4916) honor World AIDS Day (Wednesday, December 1) with an exhibition of work by faculty and students, as well as by members of the St. Louis chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art. The exhibit, 9 Days of Awareness: Women and AIDS, officially opens at 10 a.m. Wednesday, December 1, and remains up through December 9. You can view the show on the opening day and then return on Thursday, December 2, to see four panes of the Names AIDS quilt and hear a guest speaker discuss the implications of the ongoing AIDS crisis. There is no admission charge for the exhibit.
Thursday, December 2
Ice skating has become an ever-more-expensive proposition. Once you've budgeted for hair coloring and extensions, tanning, sequins, and a rainbow assortment of skates to match every costume in your closet, there's hardly any scratch left over for ice time. But wait! The Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park (314-367-7465) offers Free Ice Skating if you bring a new, unwrapped toy for Cardinal Glennon Hospital for Children. Ah, charity begins at the rink, friends. Imagine how your lutz will flow when your spirit is soaring on wings of giving! Your landings will be smoother, your jumps higher, your spins spinnier! The rink is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., so get there early and stay late. And if you forget your skates, you can rent them for $2 -- but don't count on the rink having a pair that matches that low-cut chartreuse number you usually wear on Thursdays.
Friday, December 3
Unfortunately, whenever anyone around the office lair mentions the word "labyrinth," no one can escape the instant mental image of a mulleted David Bowie strutting around M.C. Escher's dream palace in electric-blue Spandex pants in the movie of the same name. Scary. But there are other less evil uses of labyrinths. Like in former St. Louisan Charlotte Durgin's exhibit Labyrinths: Multimedia Constructions, going up today in the Bofinger Chapel at Christ Church Cathedral (1210 Locust Street), courtesy of Art & Soul Café. The free opening reception is from 6 to 9 p.m. and includes drumming circles (hourly, starting at 6:30 p.m.), other live music and a canvas labyrinth to wander through. But don't worry: There won't be any Muppets in this maze -- it's for meditation. Visit www.artandsoulcafe.org or call 314-231-3454, extension 246, for more info on the exhibit, which is up until January 15.
Saturday, December 4
Post-Thanksgiving engorgement, Mr. Night decided it was high time to get back to his fighting weight, and so a-bicycling he went. Unfortunately, the late-November climate chapped his sensitive face unto the color and texture of a crusty turnip. Exercise has been abandoned, and Mr. Night instead enjoys the more sedentary pleasures of admiring photographs of bicycling. Join him from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Big Shark Bicycle Company (6133 Delmar Boulevard; 314-862-1188) for an exhibit of cycling photos from six area photographers. The two-wheeled fury captured by Matthew James, Daniel Elavsky, Phillip Shoulberg, Kim Morris, John Mussleman and Matt Cazalas includes scenes of local and regional racing, presented in a variety of photographic formats, and most of it is for sale (for those of you in the market for Christmas gifts for your cycling friends). The exhibit is free, and refreshments (courtesy of the New Belgium Brewing Company) are free as well.
Sunday, December 5
So fine, this is more of a Saturday-night thing to do than a Sunday event, even though it does begin at 2 a.m. today. But after you're done hanging out wherever it is you kids like to frequent these days, head over to the east side to celebrate Gary Mac's 30th DJ Anniversary Party in the VIP room and on the heated patio of the Oz Nightclub (300 Monsanto Avenue, Sauget, Illinois; 618-274-1464 or www.oznightclub.com). If for some freakish reason you haven't caught one of the ubiquitous Mr. Mac's legendarily smooth sets, you'll have your chance right after a few of his friends (Steve-O, Marc Buxton, Moody James and Kid Delicious) warm up the decks to usher in the local superstar's headlining set and his 30th year on the tables. The cover for the six-hour party is an affordable $5 -- that's a dollar a DJ -- so maybe you can buy Gary a little somethin'-somethin' with the money you save on your party entry fee. But make a note: He probably doesn't need any more records.
Monday, December 6
There are lots of things you can bring to the free Hanukkah Celebration at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers in the Schnucks Ladue Crossing shopping center (8871 Ladue Road, Ladue; 314-862-6280). For example you can bring your children promptly at 6:30 p.m., so they don't miss any storytelling or the play performed by students from the orthodox H.F. Epstein Hebrew Academy. And why don't you bring along your willingness to celebrate the ancient holiday a night early? Also, some empty space in your pockets might be good to have on hand: The kiddies get some chocolate coins to take home, and you'll probably have to carry those. You can also pack your good cheer -- that'll brighten everyone's spirits, almost as much as the menorah will at the end of the holiday. But as festive as it may sound, do not actually bring your menorah -- you know, it's probably a fire hazard around all those books.
Tuesday, December 7
Man, every year it seems like Kwanzaa festivities start earlier than last year. The holidays officially last from December 26 through January 2, and yet here we are with the first Celebration of Kwanzaa already, presented by the Meramec African-American History and Culture Committee (at noon at St. Louis Community College-Meramec, 11333 Big Bend Boulevard; 314-984-7661). But that's OK, really. There haven't been any cheesy Kwanzaa television specials aired yet, nor are there any "Big Kwanzaa Sales" commercials blanketing the air waves. That's because Kwanzaa eschews commercialism, focusing instead on the seven principles of unity, self-determination, collective work, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. Selling washing machines or carpet is not on the list. This early Kwanzaa gift to the community is free and features a brief program on Kwanzaa's history and meaning, followed by African music and refreshments.