Maybe it's just the way we see things from our golden cubicles, but we seem to be a bit behind on what we like to call "The St. Louis Plan" -- which is, of course, graduate high school, graduate college, get married, have babies. If you are struggling to complete the Plan also, or if you're embracing your swinging single years, take your nonconformist self to St. Louis Magazine's Top Singles Bash at the Chase Park Plaza's Khorassan Ballroom (212 North Kingshighway Boulevard; call 314-727-0900 for more information). A free drink is sure to increase gregariousness, just as eligible singles congregating in one place (from 6 to 10 p.m.) is sure to increase Plan completion, at least for some. Tickets cost $18 to $20, and proceeds benefit Food Outreach -- remember, generosity is sexy. And you'll have your own free food at the event anyway: Red Moon, Moxy, Eleven Eleven Mississippi, 609 and others there serve their goodies for free, but you shouldn't.
Thursday, November 25
Ah, Thanksgiving. You get the day off (hopefully), and relaxation is the top priority. But then you see your relatives. You love them, and even more than in that mandatory sort of family way, but you kinda hate them too. All the bickering and complaining -- why don't they act more like you? You're just minding your own business, eating your mashed potatoes, and then the attention turns to you. When you've had all the "constructive criticism" and "career advice" you can stomach, head out for some Relative Relief at The Country Club (288 Lamp and Lantern Village, Clayton Road and Highway 141, Town and Country; 636-256-7201). This neighborhood bar opens at 7 p.m. -- or, as we like to call it, just in the nick of time. Blueberry Hill (6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-0880) provides a respite as well (beginning at 8 p.m.), and you can play a game or two of darts, BYOF(amily photographs).
Friday, November 26
Are you disturbed by the nationwide rush to start Christmas the day after Thanksgiving? If so, you must not be a kid, because the little ankle-biters can't seem to get enough of that Christmas stuff! So give in to your childish urges, and get to the Saint Louis Zoo in Forest Park for the US Bank Wild Lights kickoff. Between 5 and 8 p.m. the zoo's south entrance officially becomes the gateway to a winter wonderland rich in animated light displays (including the new "Penguins in Paradise" and the traditional elephant of lights atop the ZOO pylon), storytellers, costumed characters, carolers and the new Polar Bear Express photo station. It is everything you imagined the North Pole should look like, minus the snow. Tickets are $4 to $5; call 314-781-0900 for more information.
Saturday, November 27
Has J.C. Corcoran really only been a part of St. Louis radio since 1984? There are days when it seems like the brash DJ has been around since Sweetmeat was just a piglet. But the facts don't lie: Corcoran's been the voice of one station or another for a mere two decades. (Maybe it was those forced breaks he took from broadcasting that make his tenure seem longer than it is?) Corcoran delves into his checkered and highly successful past in his second book, Twenty Years of J.C.: The Man. The Legend. The Lawsuit. (Corcoran's first book, Real Life Stories of J.C. and the Breakfast Club, or Twenty Minutes in the Dark with Madonna was published in 2000.) This meditation on the Federal Communications Commission, the conservative ownership of the media and himself (of course) is required reading for fans of the man who altered the history of the morning drive-time radio show in St. Louis, for better or for worse. Corcoran signs copies of Twenty Years of J.C. at 2:30 p.m. at the Saint Louis Galleria Waldenbooks (Brentwood Boulevard and Clayton Road, Richmond Heights; 314-725-9655).
Sunday, November 28
The NHL hockey strike drags on, but the Missouri River Otters keep going strong. OK, they're not in first place (not yet, anyway), but they're still playing the sport of Canucks, and that's all that matters to a hockey-deprived Mr. Night right now. The Otters tangle with the Kansas City Outlaws at 1:05 p.m. at the Family Arena (2002 Arena Parkway, St. Charles; 636-896-4200), and already-low ticket prices are dropped even lower for this Family Four-Pack Night. Twenty-nine bucks gets you four tickets, four sodas, four hot dogs and a post-game skate with the Otters. And no, you can't try to goad one of these guys into dropping his gloves during the skate; are you nuts? Otters are vicious when cornered.
Monday, November 29
After gorging yourself on Thanksgiving treats, the last thing you want to do is put on your skinny pants. Your belly is king, and it doesn't like to be all crammed in and cut off by tight waistbands. So don't torture the king, indulge him. Put on your big underpants and your even bigger sweatpants (or workout pants, if you'd like to fool yourself), and head over to the City Museum (701 North 15th Street; 314-231-2489 or www.citymuseum.org). The playground for adults (and kids) is open this special Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pay the $7.50 to get in the museum (and we recommend paying the extra $2.50 for MonstroCity) and climb and crawl around -- you'll be glad that sweatpants are all you can fit into (and that the kids are in school so you can play all day, unhindered).
Tuesday, November 30
The Webster Film Series' "Decision 2004" is democracy in action. WFS audiences were polled about what they felt were the best movies of all time, with the top five vote-getters being awarded a slot in the WFS schedule. We're up to number two this week, the "vice president" if you will, and it's the godhead of all action movies: Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai. But the titular samurai of the movie are not the cardboard heroes of the modern action movie. Over the course of the film's glorious three-hour running time, each samurai is revealed as a fully realized person, which makes the dénouement that much more powerful. Pick a favorite if you must (it's gotta be Toshiro Mifune's "Kikuchiyo"), but be aware not all of them survive. The Seven Samurai screens at 7 p.m. at Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-968-7487). Tickets are $4 to $6 but are free to Webster Film Series members (see? membership has its privileges).