What does it mean, this musical at the Muny? Worlds collide at Fiddler on the Roof, the show based on the humorous Jewish folktales of Sholom Aleichem. Times are changing in the shtetl, or small Jewish village in Eastern Europe, as the nineteenth century becomes the twentieth. Not all of the daughters of Tevye the poor milkman will obey the "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" and surrender to arranged marriages. Indeed, one of them will even marry outside the faith. And the village itself has an uncertain future, what with state-sanctioned pogroms led by vicious Cossacks. "Tradition," as the tune goes, won't last forever, and the audience will hear the siren song of village life and all its earthy charms under the propeller fans at the Muny in Forest Park at 8:15 p.m., through Sunday, June 22. Call 314-361-1900 or visit www.muny.com for tickets, priced from $8-$54, or claim one of the free seats in the back.
Thursday, June 19
While film is generally accepted as a visual medium, the brain trust over at Mad Art (2727 South 12th Street) have decided to counter that belief with an evening of movies titled Word Up. The June installment of their Cine 16 Film Series features short movies about language, including some musings from the urbane Peter Ustinov and the inane Andy Rooney. Good thinking. Sound was the epoch-shattering, Lucasfilm-type special effect back in the silent-movie era, and it's about time somebody showed some respect toward language and its importance in film, 'cause it sure hasn't been a factor in any of the "summer blockbusters." The show starts at 8 p.m., admission is free, and there will be the usual cash bar and concessions. Just don't talk with your mouth full, and keep it down.
Friday, June 20
With the release of U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's new memoir Living History, comedian Darrell Hammond is more than likely rarin' to go with new material. After all, Hammond rose to prominence on Saturday Night Live with his uncanny impersonation of Senator Clinton's hubby, former President Bill Clinton. You think Hammond hasn't read and re-read certain chapters of Hillary's book, underlining key passages for their comedic value? Welfare reform is funny stuff, and Hammond is sure to make much comedic hay with that, as well as Clinton's sterling work with keeping employment up and banking all that budget surplus. If he has time, Hammond might even delve into the nitty-gritty of the Clintons' personal lives -- wasn't there some sort of dry-cleaning scandal or something with them? Well, find out at various times tonight and Saturday at the Westport Funnybone Comedy Club (I-270 at Page Avenue) when Hammond performs his stand-up act. Tickets are $25-$35. Call 314-469-6692 for info.
Saturday, June 21
Classic rock legend J.D. Blackfoot has a thing for the St. Louis area. In addition to recording a watershed live album in Mound City during the '70s, he continues to live in nearby Iron County and play the occasional show here in town. For his next show, J.D.'s upping the stakes with a total blowout: the Potosi Ghost Ride is a combination motorcycle ride, outdoor festival/benefit show that proves once and for all if you like your rock on a grand scale, look to the '70s. The festivities begin at noon today with a 50-mile round-trip motorcycle caravan from Wings Lake to the Potosi Correctional Institute. Upon returning to the Wings Lake Amphitheater (off Highway EE), hunker down for a marathon flashback starring the current incarnations of Mountain, the Yardbirds, Badfinger, Vanilla Fudge and J.D. Blackfoot himself. It's The Ultimate Prophecy fulfilled, rock and roll done moustache-style. Tickets cost $40, and you can camp overnight at Wings Lake for an additional $5, with all the money going to the Potosi Youth Fund. Call 573-860-7772 for more info and directions, or just head toward the dust cloud.
Sunday, June 22
Attention college professors and Jerry Springer Show fans. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is all about your worlds. Edward Albee, always determined to rip the skin off bourgeois smugness and poke at its entrails, wrote this angry play about two couples having a friendly little dinner party. The older pair features a burnt-out history professor and his virago of a wife. The younger couple, a less-intense young biology professor and his bride, has a few secrets of its own. The violent verbal "games" will leave audience members wondering just what all the screaming is about, until finally, the skeletons tumble from their closets. Hot on the heels of local performances of The Zoo Story and Marriage Play, the Albee-fest continues today at the JCC's Wolfson Studio Theatre, 2 Millstone Campus Drive. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is performed by a new troupe of actors, the Vanity Theatre, named after their mission to cast themselves in roles they've always wanted to play. Tickets are $10; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Monday, June 23
You might think your 1988 Chevy Monte Carlo -- or your '73 Camaro or your '68 Dodge Charger -- is old-school. Plenty of classics just ain't old enough -- or tough enough -- to race in the annual Great Race, a cross-country trek from Michigan to Florida by way of Texas. The History Channel sponsors the annual caravan of 120 pre-1959 cars stopping in 40 cities. The trek starts this Friday in Livonia, Michigan, and ends in Daytona Beach, Florida in time for the Fourth of July. Today, at some time around the dinner hour (it's hard to say exactly when the cars will start pulling up), you'll be able to see a 1934 Ford Indy car, a 1917 Hudson, a 1925 Pierce Arrow, a 1925 Rickenbacker, a 1953 Corvette and so many more beauties riding up to St. Louis Union Station, near the intersection of Market and 20th streets. Visit www.greatrace.com or call 314-421-6655 for more info on the free spectacle.
Tuesday, June 24
Dragonflies possess a strange mechanical grace: hovering just out of reach, they dart so swiftly from point to point that it seems they are teleporting, not flying. This, combined with their iridescent carapaces and sleek fuselage-type bodies, make them fascinating, not just as living creatures with secret agendas but also as aeronautical marvels. The Busch Memorial Conservation Area (2360 Highway D in Weldon Spring) gives kids ages 3-6 the opportunity to examine these little helicopter-rockets with two fun and informative sessions called Dragons in the Sky at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Kids will learn a little about the dragonfly's flying lifestyle and then make a craft project with a dragonfly theme. It's a combination of fun and education that can only be called fun-u-cation. Call 636-441-4554 to reserve a spot in this free class for the young naturalist in your life.