Tex Avery has forever poisoned Mr. Night on Mozart's Marriage of Figaro. Avery's cartoon rendition involves the solo vocalist (the "bad" bulldog of so many Droopy cartoons) struggling to complete the famous "Figaro" aria (the only lyrics being "Figaro-Figaro-Figaro") while being harassed by a magic wand substituted for the conductor's baton. It culminates in the dog dancing a semi-stereotypical hula dance and appearing as Carmen Miranda with a full fruit headdress. How can the real thing compete? Well, the Mozart Festival Opera presents a lavishly costumed and designed production that remains true to Mozart's vision at 7:30 p.m. at the Touhill Performing Arts Center (1 University Boulevard at Natural Bridge Road; 314-516-4949), and perhaps it will sway Mr. Night. This Figaro is performed in the original language (and supertitles) with a full orchestra and chamber chorus. Will authenticity trump insanity? One can hope, but it's never been the case with Mr. Night yet. Tickets are $23 to $45.
Thursday, November 11
Mythology is often dismissed as the detritus of old religions now powerless, but even current belief systems retain a body of mythology; still, most of the faithful don't much like it when you refer to their beliefs as "mythology." Howard Schwartz, author and professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, has no problem discussing these issues as he tackles the myths of the Hebrews in his new book, The Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism. This comprehensive look at more than 700 myths gathered from the Bible, apocryphal texts, medieval folklore and Hasidic works reveals a rich mythology that is much more complex and vibrant than you might suspect. Schwartz discusses his book and the mythology at 7 p.m. at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731), and all this knowledge is free.
Friday, November 12
The former Soviet Union has yet to produce a really great heavy metal band, but when it comes to philharmonic orchestras, these cats are doing the Lord's work. Take the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, for example. Once the official house band of the Russian Imperial Court, the SPPO also has the distinction of being the first orchestra to debut the works of a very young Dmitri Shostakovich. At 8 p.m. the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra lights up the Cathedral Basilica (4431 Lindell Boulevard) under the esteemed baton of conductor Yuri Temirkanov. Tickets for the concert, which features Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 "Pathétique" and Dvorak's Symphony No. 8, are $30 to $50 and available through MetroTix (314-534-1111) or by calling the cathedral at 314-533-7662. Visit www.stlcathedralconcerts.org for more information.
Saturday, November 13
Few know this about Ms. Day, but long ago, in her wild and youthful days, she would drop just about anywhere and do the worm. We're talking about at parties on beer-covered basement floors, the mall parking lot, the airport, you name it. Nowadays though, she has to merely sit idly by and watch those who can still do the breakdancing -- that old back of hers isn't as limber as it used to be. Well, good news has arrived! Today is a great day to vicariously live out the days of youth! Drop by the A.D. Brown Building downtown (1136 Washington Avenue) at noon for some funk for that ass. Digitronical hosts "Settle the Score 2004," which features b-boy and funkstyle battles and grudge matches. (Da Fly) D-Ex, from Blueberry Hill's The Science Friday-night spins, along with DJs Mark Lewis, Espi and Trackstar break it down old-school for these breakdancers. Compete for $10 (pre-registration required) or sit on the sidelines with Ms. Day for $5. For more information visit www.digitronical.com or call 314-803-8800.
Sunday, November 14
There's no denying it: The Classic99/KFUO-FM from the Garden, Live! concert series holds sway over Mr. Night's heart. What's not to love about free concerts in the beautiful surroundings of the Missouri Botanical Garden (4434 Shaw Boulevard; 314-725-0099 for information)? This week the series outdoes itself with Klezundheit! The Yiddish Prairie Home Companion. Bob Herman and his band perform the wild and raucous klezmer music of the Old World, and they add a little sizzle to the show by mixing in skits of the Borscht Belt variety. Mmmm, Borscht Belt. The noon performance is free with regular garden admission ($1.50 to $7), but seriously, they had us at "Klezundheit."
Monday, November 15
Homecoming has passed, and now Thanksgiving and the December holidays are upon us. Who among us doesn't wish that school holiday breaks weren't wasted on the youth? The young 'uns think finals and term papers are hard? Try paying your bills and feeding your drinking habit (that you have thanks to college) without the parental money -- now that's something that should be rewarded. Tonight, take your sorry, somewhat larger post-college self to Frederick's Music Lounge (4454 Chippewa Street; 314-351-5711 or www.fredericksmusiclounge.com) to reclaim those days of yore. The rustic bar/concert venue screens Old School and Animal House, two of the silliest movies about college ever made -- the only earnestness in these films is regarding partying, not studying (real college isn't like With Honors anyway). And the films are free, so there's more money for PBR!
Tuesday, November 16
Optimism is highly underrated these days. Everyone's always all doom and gloom, holding out nothing but despair for the future -- in all fairness, though, it's hard to have hope when things don't go your way (ahem, November 2). Let the Queen of Hopefulness, the Princess of Sanguinity (a.k.a. Mary Engelbreit) brighten your spirits today at Warson Woods Antique Gallery (10091 Manchester Road; 314-909-0123 or www.warsonwoodsantiques.com). That's where the merry maven signs Queen of the Class, Queen of Christmas, The Night Before Christmas and Home Sweet Home from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The signing is free but is limited to the first 150 attendees -- in other words, the early bird gets the worm. Now if the woman that coined the phrase "Life is just a chair of bowlies" can't cheer your outlook on life, you may just be uncheerable. After all, Engelbreit's office is just upstairs from Night & Day Global Industries, and we operate a very jolly enterprise indeed.