Picture this: You're outside enjoying an alcoholic beverage, noshing on some dinnertime treats as the lovely Brandy Johnson coos songbird-like into the mic. The sea lions clap to the beat as the Commonspace break-dancing troupe spins and flip-flops around. Talk about sensory overload! Get ready for yours from 5:30 to 10 p.m., rain or shine, at the Saint Louis Zoo in Forest Park, where the Young Zoo Friends host their "Jammin' at the Zoo" summer party (sponsored in part by the RFT). The event is lakeside in the center of the zoo, and parking's free in the south lot (the one visible from Highway 40). Pay the $5 admission fee to see and hear all of the above (and also Javier Mendoza); drinks and food cost a bit extra, but you can swing it for the animals, especially since we hear you've been talking dirty to them. Call 314-768-5450 or visit www.stlzoo.org for more information.
Thursday, July 22
Art lovers, you know that feeling you get right before a payday. Its called broke, and it makes your heart hurt because youre stuck sitting at home with nothing to do and nothing to drink. But this week, you have options. Not only are Kara Newell and Jennifer Bickel opening their new show, Art for Peace, at Niks Wine Bar (307 Belt Avenue; 314-454-0403), admission is free and theyre giving away three drinks to all attendees between 7 and 9 p.m. Newell and Bickel are known for their Dyezines, which are hand-dyed silk fabrics. The best of their work has a shimmering, celestial beauty, like youre getting a sneak peek at some far-away galaxy through the Hubble Telescope. Dazzling art, free hooch and a chance to get out of the house, with your direct-deposit check waiting in the bank when you get home: Thats a successful weekend-starter.
Friday, July 23
Friday night is typically movie night at the Night & Day headquarters, wherein the entire staff assembles in the spacious editor-in-chief office park (after his departure, of course) to watch movies on his ludicrously sized plasma-screen TV/DVD setup. This time, however, the majority of the N&D staff will be over at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0072), watching the special 7 p.m. screening of the Jim Jarmusch/Johnny Depp headscratcher, Dead Man (tickets are $5). A Western of strange dimensions, Dead Man follows William Blake (Depp), an injured fugitive who wanders through a dream world, seemingly powerless to stop this world from swallowing him whole. It's a metaphor, one that dovetails nicely with the weekly grind of making a paper, and it also ties in with the Art of the Osage exhibit at the museum, as well as the William Blake (English artist/writer, not Depp's character) edition of the Book of Job that's also on display. Folks call that synergy, or so we're told.
Saturday, July 24
It's never too early to start planning for Artica. The outdoor, multimedia arts party that revitalizes the riverfront just north of the Arch for two days is scheduled for September 18 and 19 this year, but Artica organizers are already hard at work. They've organized a fundraiser, River Roots and Blues, that kicks off at 8 p.m. at the Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust Avenue; 314-241-2337). The Soulard Blues Band, Leroy Pierson Band, the Ill-Mo Boys and the Orbits all throw down the so-sad-it's-happy music beloved in the River City, with the $10 door charge going to help put on the best Artica possible. So what is there to feel bad about, really? Maybe just that even though we're talking about it, Artica is still two months away. Patience, grasshopper. Artica wasn't conceived in a day.
Sunday, July 25
There are worse things to do than go to brunch. For one, you could be hitting the ivory Castle for the late-night belly-blaster supfast. That's always scary. Combining breakfast and lunch is a lot more appealing: You're eating two meals at once, and you're saving precious, valuable weekend couch time. Has the hungry-yet-lazy Night & Day duo convinced you yet? What about if we told you there was a new brunch in town? That's what we thought. Schlafly Bottleworks' Benefit Brunch is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 10 percent of sales goes to the locally founded Women's Support and Community Services organization. Stop by the beer brewer's Maplewood location (7260 Southwest Avenue; 314-241-2337) to have your breakfast, lunch and beer too. Mmmm, beer.
Monday, July 26
Nobody watches musicals anymore. Even though they're not realistic at all, they are simplistic -- and sometimes that's just what complex lives need. When everything in life is a song, it's hard to get stressed out or mad; you just sing, sing, sing until you're happy. Don't you want to be happy? Go back to your cheerful childhood and visit the Muny in Forest Park for The Music Man. The enormo-fans cool you off until the show begins at 8:15 p.m., and during the show, you won't pay attention to the heat because you'll be singing "76 Trombones" along with the cast. The musical runs from Monday, July 26, through Sunday, August 1; call 314-361-1900 or visit www.muny.com for more information. Tickets range in price from $8 to $56 and can be purchased through MetroTix at 314-534-1111.
Tuesday, July 27
The tsunami of 1904 World's Fair mania that's sweeping the city shows no signs of abating until December 31 and, quite frankly, some of the events are starting to blur together. But the 1904 World's Fair Flight Cage at the Saint Louis Zoo stands apart from the frenzy. Recently renovated and strung with electric lights to replicate its appearance in 1904, the Flight Cage is distinctive because of its simplicity. At 8 p.m. the lights are turned on as the zoo is closing. Sitting outside the zoo just opposite the Flight Cage, you are initially underwhelmed. White lights flick on when the sun sinks behind the trees. Meh. But then you watch your fellow St. Louisans, happy and exhausted and exhilarated, streaming out of the zoo into the night, and you see St. Louis at it was a hundred years ago. Pedestrians, giant trees, few cars moving through the park and the sense of accomplishment a well-spent summer day at the zoo brings, all under twinkling lights. Simple and elegant, as we imagine 1904 was.