Wednesday, July 23
The Ivey-Selkirk auctioneers are constantly handling turn-of-the-century iron banks, '50s pedal cars, 75-year-old Felix the Cat toys and the like. So these appraisers are a natural choice for the Trash or Treasure Toy & Collectible Appraisal at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard at DeBaliviere Avenue). Bring your old lunchboxes, baseball cards and the bottle-cap collection willed to you by the uncle who died in the asylum to the Museum at 7 p.m. You'll have to call 314-361-9017 for advance tickets to this one; if you don't make reservations, they won't let you inside. Bring 1-3 items for an appraisal fee of $2-$5 per item.
Thursday, July 24
Urban legends, those modern folktales told via the ubiquitous "friend of a friend," have enjoyed a recent surge in popularity. Hook-handed teen-killers, spider-infested beehive hairdos and Chihuahuas that are really rats are pop-culture totems, and have popped up in movies and on TV (MTV's cleverly-named Big Urban Myth Show), as well as online (www.snopes.com is an excellent reference). America is either becoming more interested in ethnology and sociology, or we're getting stupider or more paranoid. If you're young and bored and interested in finding out why Bill Gates hasn't yet sent you a check for beta-testing his new e-mail program, head over to the Florissant Valley Branch of the St. Louis County Library (195 New Florissant Road, 314-921-7200) at 4 p.m. to join their Urban Legends Teen Summer Reading Club. It's free to attend, and you just might learn something -- like that Dick Cheney died of a heart attack before the war on Iraq started, and that's why he's never on TV...
Friday, July 25
Is this the summer Metallica regains all their metal credibility? Critics and fans alike have come down hard on the new album, the new lineup and the newfound sobriety the thrash godfathers are pimping with their Summer Sanitarium Tour, which comes to the Edward Jones Dome (Broadway at Washington Avenue) at 3 p.m. -- but what do they know? St. Anger is thicker and nastier-sounding than any album the Bay Area bruisers have put out since ... And Justice For All, and early tour reports note that Metallica is playing nothing that came out after 1992 in the show. Live "Battery"? Live "Ride the Lightning"? Come on, dude, your fingers should be twisting into devil-horns just at the thought of a 10-skabillion-watt "The Thing That Should Not Be." Tickets are $75 and you have to sit through Mudvayne and Limp Bizkit to get to Metallica, but still, it's almost worth it if James focuses all his clarity and regret into a devastating "Master of Puppets." Call 314-241-1888 for tickets.
Saturday, July 26
The highlight of this weekend's NOPI The Fast and The Furious Race Wars may be tonight's foam party at Gateway International Raceway (700 Raceway Boulevard in Sauget). Imagine a washing-machine explosion that coats hundreds of nubile young bodies in suds, loud dance music and a light show, and you get the idea. The focus of the two-day event, however, is drag racing. Instead of racing illegally on the street, draggers (especially draggers of imports with high-pitched vrooming engines) will race at Gateway for prizes and the chance to advance to the next level of competition. The circus of events also includes an auto show, $1,000 bikini contest, "Scorched Earth" burnout competition, plenty of cars with monstrous sound systems and the "Neon Glow-off" featuring cars with neon-light effects. The action happens from 10 a.m.-11 p.m. today and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. tomorrow, though most events are scheduled for tonight. Don't forget to look for the auto-accessory booths, food and drink stands, and special cars decorated with an X-Box theme. Admission is $25-$40; visit www.nopi.com for more.
Sunday, July 27
For some of us, the extent of political protest during our college days was building a shanty to protest South African apartheid and sleeping in it over a weekend. In the 1982 film The White Rose, based on a true story, we meet a group of collegians who protested at a time and place that would not forgive dissent. In 1942, a small group of students at Munich University were repulsed by Hitler's quest for world domination, so they published a one-page screed of resistance. The White Rose was printed in a basement, then quietly left on trains and scattered in university hallways. The anti-Nazi leaflet emboldened other students, who rioted when a crusty old Nazi suggested that the soldiers in his garrison would be happy to mate with the homely girls of the university to produce more troops for the Fatherland. In a country where people said "Heil Hitler" instead of "good morning," though, the outspoken students could not escape punishment. This subtitled German film screens at 2 p.m. at the Holocaust Museum & Learning Center (12 Millstone Campus Drive). Call 314-442-3711 or visit www.hmlc.org for more on the free event.
Monday, July 28
Oh, the places you'll go when you finally tear the packaging off your new Global Positioning System unit. Somebody spent a small fortune on that thing, so you might as well learn how to use it quickly and easily from the pros at the GPS Workshop. This nifty three-part class begins at 7 p.m. tonight at outdoor superstore REI (1703 South Brentwood Boulevard). Come back Wednesday night for Part 2, and then test youself at Queeny Park Saturday, Aug. 2, at the course's final meeting. Students will be airlifted into a valley within the West County park containing horny mountain lions, rabid buzzards and J.C. Corcoran, with nothing but a GPS to find their way out, and a Chocodile to sustain them. St. Louis County Parks sponsors the training, which costs a meager ten bucks for all three sessions total. Call 314-615-4FUN for reservations.
Tuesday, July 29
In the hectic, hurly-burly world that is modern America, it is all too easy to forget life's simple pleasures: a good book, that first cigarette of the morning and getting a group of friends together to build a human tower. The Mapapa African Acrobats, who perform daily at Six Flags (I-44 at Allenton Six Flags Road), are here to teach us the error of our ways with their hyperkinetic stage show. The seven members of this Kenyan troupe jump, flip and dance with reckless abandon, stopping only to erect intricate towers and structures bearing exotic names such as "the Hilitoni" and "Utah" (well, that's more homey than exotic). But "the Ndege Star," that's pretty alien-sounding, and it denotes a sense of danger, too. Live dangerously. Seize Tuesday. Enjoy the bravado of these talented acrobats, then go smoke a cigarette whilst reading. Performances are free with park admission ($38.99 plus tax); call 636-938-4800 for more info.