"Once upon a time I was falling in love, but now I'm only falling apart. There's nothing I can do -- a total eclipse of the moon." So fine, those aren't exactly the lyrics to the Bonnie Tyler song, but they're close enough -- especially since tonight is the night of the Lunar Eclipse. Take your bright eyes to the St. Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue; 314-289-4453 or www.slsc.org) to check out the skies (weather permitting) and a little bit of science. Your heart -- wait, we mean the moon -- is completely eclipsed by the Earth from 9:23 to 10:44 p.m., but the free eclipse event and telescope viewing runs from 7 p.m. to midnight on the archery field just west of the James S. McDonnell Planetarium building's parking lot in Forest Park. And if peering through a tube ain't your thing, telescopic images are projected onto a screen, and inside the Planetarium you can watch The Sky Tonight. You never know -- forever just might start tonight. After the eclipse, of course.
Thursday, October 28
The people at Simon's Café (79 Forum Center, at the intersection of Olive Boulevard and Highway 141; 314-469-2210) are pretty smart. After all, we have to think that this week's free Garlic Festival and Garlic Contest has been carefully timed to line up with the spooky Halloween weekend. Everybody knows that's when the vampires hit the streets: scary. Join forces with other garlic lovers Wednesday through Friday (October 27 through 29) beginning at 5 p.m. each day. Two hours should be more than enough time to prepare for the 7 p.m. contest. Eating more than fifteen roasted garlics in ten minutes -- the current record -- should be no problem for the likes of you and your cast-iron belly. And don't worry: The belly dancers performing at the fest love garlic breath, but we bet your loved ones won't -- and the vampires will definitely stay away from your supple, tasty neck. Mission: accomplished.
Friday, October 29
According to history books, there was a time when movie theaters had expansive screens, beautiful décor, low-cost snacks, live music courtesy of the house organist and a host of short reels and cartoons before the feature even began. Compare that to our modern dinky screens, tacky carpets, high-price junk food, piped-in Muzak and the interminable trailers, and it's no wonder that senior citizens think we're idiots. If you'd like to experience the Golden Age of Movies, check out "The Majestic Comes to Maryville: Movies, Music and Mirth" at 7 p.m. at Maryville University (13550 Conway Road; 314-529-9300). This benefit for Maryville's Music Therapy program features a parade of costumed ushers, Music Therapy students in period dress performing the music of the Andrews Sisters and Gene Krupa, and the good parts of The Phantom of the Opera (1926 version) accompanied by the live organ music of Jack Jenkins. Tickets are $2 to $5 at the door, and movie snacks are retro-priced.
Saturday, October 30
It's not a question of "if" you're going to celebrate Halloween this evening, it's a question of "where" you'll be celebrating Halloween this evening. How about the Third Degree Glass Factory (5200 Delmar Boulevard; 314-367-4527; $8 to $10) at 9 p.m.? The hip glass-arts center is transformed into a hip, scary party center for the Spooky Costumeball. With live music courtesy of Alphahouse, Big Thumb, Speedball, and Flex Boogie & Pituko; a trippy light show; visual art supplied by ArtDimensions and the H'Ok Age Art Gallery; and the requisite food and adult beverages, it should be a delightful evening of sensory overload. The only sense the party hosts won't stimulate for you is smell, but since costumes are encouraged, you can wear one of them stinky rubber masks and give your nose a thrill, too. If you get down hard enough, you may even discover that sixth sense people are always talking about. Stranger things happen this time of year....
Sunday, October 31
Zombies are the new pink. From Resident Evil to Shaun of the Dead to John Ashcroft (ha! Just kidding!), zombies are the current hip accessory. Why, just look at the Broadway Center of Arts (124 East Main Street, Belleville, Illinois; 618-233-0341): It's chock full of zombies right now! Zombies from the Beyond, James Valcq's musical comedy lampooning '50s America, science-fiction movies and the Cold War, wraps up its successful run with one last 4 p.m. performance. Laugh as American rocket scientist Trenton Corbett juggles the beautiful Mary, the exotic Queen Zombina of Planet X, a Russian spy and the demands of science at the Milwaukee Space Center. Tickets are $8 to $10, and audience costumes are encouraged, which raises a question: If you go as a zombie, should you cheer for Corbett or the zombies?
Monday, November 1
Long ago, architects like Richard Neutra worked hard to change not only the style of homes people lived in but also the face of architecture in general. If you prefer a ton of windows and an airy sense within the structures you call home, then Neutra's Miller house, built in Palm Springs, California, in 1937, is for you. Not that it's on the market or anything. And it wasn't designed with you, specifically, in mind, but it was designed for another St. Louisan: a woman by the name of Grace Lewis Miller. Hear more about this marvel of modern-style architecture when Washington University Associate Professor of Architecture Stephen Leet gives a free lecture about his book, Richard Neutra's Miller House, at 7 p.m. at Wash. U.'s Steinberg Auditorium (Forsyth and Skinker boulevards; 314-935-6200 or www.arch.wustl.edu). Afterwards visit Centro Modern Furnishings (4727 McPherson Avenue; 314-454-0111) for the reception, where Leet signs copies of his book until 9 p.m.
Tuesday, November 2
People will tell you that professional wrestling is not real; these same people may tell you that "reality TV" is real. These people don't know anything. Take the WWE's Smackdown! for example. The popular sports-entertainment show is taped live at Savvis Center (14th Street and Clark Avenue; 314-241-1888; tickets are $20 to $40) at 7:30 p.m., right in front of your eyes. You can watch The Dudleys, Booker T and Kurt Angle pound on each other in person and then compare it to the later television broadcast on UPN. What's realer than that? They may fake the love triangles, and the punching and the surprise entrances of various performers and...wait, are we talking about wrestling or reality TV? It's difficult to distinguish between the two sometimes.