There is a very fine line between genius and outright stupidity. Dav Pilkey, creator of popular children's story pooperhero Captain Underpants, clearly has no idea that any such distinction exists. Pilkey's books are a mishmash of toilet humor, subversive-kids-vs.-boring-adults action and clever in-jokes that prove you have to be pretty smart to be this stupid. How stupid is smart? Well, using Professor Poopypants' online Name Change-o-Chart, the Night & Day staff discovered their Pilkey-names are Lumpy Pottychunks and Doofus Barfnose, respectively. Add insightful to the list of Pilkey's traits. The University City Public Library (6701 Delmar Boulevard, 314-727-3150) celebrates all things Pilkey with a free Captain Underpants Party at 4 p.m. There will be songs, games, refreshments, and yes, the finest toilet humor this generation can provide.
Thursday, July 10
Cabaret is an exercise in maximizing minimalism. In the more intimate setting of one voice, one piano, a performer must choose material powerful enough to engage the audience, but not so powerful that it overwhelms the singer. Joey Landwehr has stacked the deck firmly in his favor for his cabaret performance of Christopher Jackson's The Boy Next Door. Jackson, the man behind the devastatingly funny "Chris' Corner" theater-review section in EXP Magazine, applies the same biting wit and fondness for a deftly turned phrase to his calling as a composer, as proven in such songs as "Meeting Howard." In just under four minutes, Jackson evokes all the dreamy wistfulness of a young man yearning for a career in musical theater; his joy at meeting his idol, Howard Keel; and the self-doubt that dogs young artists. Jackson throws in a knowing joke as well: "Should boys have matinee idols?/Is that queer--- I mean, odd?" Landwehr meets the challenge of Jackson's composition every time, and vice-versa. The Boy Next Door begins at 8 p.m. at the Sheldon Concert Hall (3648 Washington Avenue, 314-533-9900). Tickets cost $25-$50.
Friday, July 11
The summer season of ACT Inc. shows begins with Pride and Prejudice, a theatrical version of the Jane Austen novel, presented at 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, and at the same times in two weeks. RFT theater critic and Natural Bridge litmag contributor Deanna Jent adapted and directs the romantic comedy at the Fontbonne University Fine Arts Theatre, 6800 Wydown Boulevard. The meditation on class differences, scandals and spousal entanglements in the Victorian era features Kelly Schnider (who did an outstanding job in Echo Theatre's Problem Child about a year ago) as middle-class Elizabeth Bennett and Magic Smoking Monkey Theater veteran B. Weller as the wealthy Mr. Darcy. The bickering Mr. and Mrs. Bennett are played by real-life husband and wife Richard and Nancy Lewis. Pride was adapted in the "chamber theatre" style, explains Jent, meaning that lines from the novel are turned directly into dialogue for the play. This version also features live period music and period dancing. Call 314-725-9108 for tickets, priced from $12-$15.
Saturday, July 12
The great horde of Gen-X zombies surrounded the newbie, stroking his clothes, shoes and hair. "Do you want to make the city of St. Louis a more fun and less crime-ridden destination?" croaked one of the creatures. "Do you want to live in the city, on a gentrified corner, in an overpriced loft, surrounded by the pounding house music from the nightclubs?" asked another. "Do you want to join our club?" "Do you want to be friends?" "Would you like to be on a committee?" "Okay, okay, OKAY!" screamed the newbie. "Back off and I'll come to the Luau in the Lou anniversary party and benefit for Metropolis St. Louis from 6-11 p.m. at the Triple A Golf & Tennis Club at 5163 Clayton Road. I will dance the limbo, I will drink from a Tiki glass, eat appetizers, receive party favors, enter contests and dance to live music. I will pay 30 bucks to get in, and I'll visit www.mstl.org if I have any questions." "Yes, yes, yes," chanted the zombies. "Back the city!" cried their leader. "The city is back!" replied the masses as one.
Sunday, July 13
One RFT staffer who previewed Deadly Force: The Case Against the Injustice System summed it up by saying, "It borders on propaganda, but it's effective propaganda." The compelling new documentary on police brutality in the St. Louis area debuts tonight at the future home of Atomic Neon glass studio, 2016 Marconi Avenue. We learn from the film that the number of official public complaints made about St. Louis City police compared to the number of punishments doled out for misconduct is an extremely lopsided ratio. The filmmakers also succeeded in getting interviews with St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch and defense attorney/civil-rights crusader Brad Kessler. In the credits, though, they wrote that they would "not like to thank" St. Louis City Chief of Police Joe Mokwa, who refused to come on camera. The film screens at 7 p.m., with a suggested donation of $5. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, July 14
By day, you are an idle office worker, or perhaps a bored-to-the-point-of-paralysis-cashier. Huge expanses of your day are spent in utter stillness. There are glaciers that move more than you do, and the glaciers probably have a more interesting nightlife, as well. But it doesn't have to be this way: inside you lives the greatest daredevil the world will never know --- unless you let it out. Sacha's St. Louis School of Circus Arts is here to aid you. Every Monday and Wednesday night through August 23, Alexandre Sacha Pavlata and his staff will instruct the wild-at-heart in the graceful art of the flying trapeze. Imagine yourself swooping towards freedom while hanging by your knees from a bar suspended twenty-six feet above the ground. Now make it happen. Classes meet from 6-7:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays at Vetta Sports Club-Hampshire (6727 Langley Avenue) and cost $45 per class or $275 for seven. Call 314-355-3308 to reserve space, or email email@example.com.
Tuesday, July 15
Nicola Griffith is a publisher's dream. Her science-fiction novels include Ammonite, a femme-centric tale of a world with no men; and Slow River, an award-winning cyberpunk adventure centered on lesbian characters. She's edited three Bending the Landscape anthologies, in which gay authors showcase horror, fantasy and sci-fi stories with queer touches. Finally, her mysteries starring the no-nonsense, Scandinavian, lesbian sleuth Aud Torvingen are acclaimed for their sensuality and journeys into self-discovery. So Griffith is a triple-dipper -- sci fi/horror, mystery and gay readers all want to crack open her books. Her latest, Stay, finds detective Torvingen searching for a sociopath. Meet Griffith and ogle her Joan-of-Arc-style hairdo at Left Bank Books, at a free 7 p.m. reading and book signing. Call 314-367-6731 for more info.