The thing that everybody talks about, as far as the Japanese horror film Ringu goes, is the death-by-videotape curse that kills off most of the characters in the movie. See the static-filled, cryptic video of a woman, a mirror and a well; receive a mysterious phone call; and a week later, you're dead. The true attraction of the film, though, is its compelling use of suspense. The mystery of where the video comes from and how to break the curse is lengthened into a tautly paced tale. The ending, on the other hand, leaves room for debate. Teens ages 14-17 are encouraged to come to a screening of the truly creepy flick (which was later adapted into the American film The Ring) at 7 p.m. at the Kirkwood Public Library, 140 East Jefferson Avenue (314-821-5770, free).
Thursday, October 23
War, the Topic (not to be confused with War, the Band), has become a hot-button issue lately, but we'd rather not get into that now. Instead, think back to when you were a kid, and you spent hours recreating the D-Day Invasion on your mother's living room floor. Now, do you want to storm the beaches of Normandy today? Of course not; so don't get all huffy when we broach the subject of visiting the Old Ordnance Room at Jefferson Barracks Park (533 Grant Road, 314-544-5714) to examine their Military Toy Display. Playing with toy soldiers, guns, planes, tanks and other pretend armament doesn't make kids become warmongers any more than playing with officially trademarked fashion dolls causes kids to grow up to become stacked beauticians. What's at issue here is fun and reliving the conquests of childhood; revisit forgotten moments of your past by reviewing the tiny metal and plastic armies on display, and fondly remember when your life was simpler. The Military Toy Display is open from noon to 4:30 p.m. today, and admission is $1-$2.
Friday, October 24
Scattered across the globe is a very small and very secretive group of martial-arts black belts privy to the knowledge which allows them to read minds, speak with animals and levitate. Also scattered across the globe is a very small and very secretive group of "LEGO MasterBuilders." Each member of this elite force of 40 men and women can turn a pile of LEGOs into a five-foot-high replica of Mount Rushmore with alarming speed and uncanny accuracy. They can also perform an emergency tracheotomy with a single toy building-block. One of these MasterBuilders will be on hand to offer advice to the children toiling away at the LEGO Challenge: What Will YOU Make? The weekend event at Forest Park's St. Louis Zoo also includes a "three-minute family-building challenge," a six-foot-tall robot made from more than 20,000 blocks and the chance to add your creation to the all-LEGO St. Louis skyline replica. Come to the Red Rocks area near Big Cat Country from noon-5 p.m. today and Sunday, or 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday for the free fun. Call 1-800-422-5346 or visit www.lego.com/create for more.
Saturday, October 25
The days are getting shorter, so you have to cram more into them to get your money's worth. Today, head over to South City Open Studio and Art Gallery (4255 Arsenal Street, 314-865-0060) for the Music, Magic and Mask-Making Festival. Beginning at noon, you can enjoy live music and a Keith Jozsef magic show and also stuff yourself with barbecue, hot chocolate and apple cider (for $1 per item). For an additional $2 suggested donation, you can make a scary mask (Dick Cheney Flying on Brown Acid is our official recommendation) and then wear it over to the Rocket Bar (2001 Locust Street, 314-588-0055) at 8:30 p.m. for the Sicbay show. Sicbay don't come down from their Minneapolis high horse often enough, so if everyone shows up in Dick Cheney acid-fry masks, that ought to freak out vocalist/guitarist Nick Sakes, but in a good way; maybe he'll visit a little more frequently, just to keep tabs on what's going on in his former hometown. Besides, Sicbay's thinky art-punk flat-out rocks, and opening band the Conformists are pretty scary in their own right. The cover charge is $10.
Sunday, October 26
People who collect all manner of crap come together for the annual Great American Paper Show at the Two Hearts Banquet Center (4532 South Lindbergh Boulevard), way down in the hinterlands of South County. The aforementioned crap includes any- and everything made from paper: election paraphernalia, baseball cards, stock certificates, film and circus programs, pulp magazines, wartime newspapers, postcards, autographs, playing cards, vintage photographs, sheet music, stamps, paper money, art prints, in-flight menus, auto brochures, train schedules, pin-up calendars, comic books, novels, film lobby cards, matchbooks, letters and ephemera of all kinds. You can buy and sell, get an appraisal of that box of vintage Gent magazines Great-Uncle Larry left you, and check out historic displays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $2; call 314-496-6225 for more details.
Monday, October 27
What better time than Halloween-time for the next expansion of our local goth scene? Requiem is a new weekly night of "old and new gothic, industrial, ebm (which stands for either 'electronic body music' or 'evangelical bible mission,' depending on your particular subculture), synthpop, darkwave and '80s" music, dancing and eyeliner in the gothic environs of the Kastle, 3207 Washington Avenue. Post Mortem Productions presents local DJs including Admortem, Skeletal and Xbot; projected videos of horror-type stuff; mood lighting; and drink specials. Admission is free for tonight's inaugural event and $3 each week thereafter (or free before 10:30 p.m.). Expect free CDs and goodies tonight only, while they last, from 10 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Visit www.rosemortem.com for more.
Tuesday, October 28
Pop-culture historians are working overtime to revise the history of the '70s so that everyone believes the Pimp was King; but the pimp wasn't king, Paul Williams was. Pimps were underground anti-heroes, while Mr. Williams was starring in and scoring major Hollywood productions like Phantom of the Paradise, Brian DePalma's glitter-punk retelling of Phantom of the Opera, and the bizarrely entertaining all-kid gangster musical Bugsy Malone, which starred a young Scott Baio and Jodie Foster. Williams' melodic sense was (and is) keen and hooky but also retained a burnished edge, like a catchier Tom Waits, or an interesting Randy Newman. If you've ever cried to Kermit the Frog singing "Rainbow Connection," you've cried to Paul Williams, my friend. He brings that song and many others to the Blanche M. Touhill Center for the Performing Arts (8001 Natural Bridge Road, 314-516-4949) tonight in a joint performance with Melissa Manchester. Tickets are $20-$40, and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.