Wednesday, May 21
Prom represents the dreams of an age that has long been out of date. Who (other than the student council) dreams of dressing up like his or her parents and pretending to be married to the boy/girlfriend while attending a faux nightclub that won't let you drink? Jackie O and John Kennedy are dead; let's let prom die, too, shall we? The Children Under the Stairs would seem to agree; their Gothic Prom is being held today at the Complex (2515 Chouteau Avenue) from 10 p.m.-3 a.m., and it has a decidedly dead, or "undead," flair. Wear your finest leather tux or ripped and musty lace bustier (or both), dance to the record collections of Institches, DJ Bad Kitty and DJ Skeletal, and then drain your date's body of blood just after midnight so you can find a more suitable necro/lycanthrope/vampire mate. You must be 21 or older to enter, and there's no charge for admission. Call 314-772-2645 for more scary details.
Thursday, May 22
More fans need to come out and watch the action at the twentieth annual Roho Gateway Classic Wheelchair Tennis Championships, held today through Sunday at the Chesterfield Athletic Club (16619 Swingley Ridge Road). This tournament, sponsored by the U.S. Tennis Association and the Gateway Confluence Wheelchair Sports Foundation, offers big cash prizes and draws in top-ranked athletes from around the country. The competitors are split into men's, women's and quadriplegic divisions ("quadriplegic" is defined as someone who has at least one upper and one lower limb disabled, explains tournament director Lyn De Laney). In the quad category, some of the tennis players must tape a hand to the racket to maintain a grip, and one young man actually rolls a tennis ball onto his foot and kicks it into the air for his serve. Call 618-377-3622 for more on the free games, which begin at 8 a.m. each day.
Friday, May 23
In addition to laying the foundations of Western civilization, the Greeks are noted for being some of the heartiest partiers the world has ever seen. For proof, attend the St. Louis County Greek Fest, held at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church (1755 Des Peres Road). This is a celebration so epic, they need four days to fit all their partying in. Beginning at 11 a.m. Friday, they'll have traditional Greek food for sale, as well as unbelievable Greek pastries (handmade by the ladies of the parish), a marketplace of imported crafts and objets d'art, the passionate dancing of the Greek isles and the music of the Bouzouki Pete Orchestra. The party winds down at 9 p.m., but you can come back Saturday, Sunday and Monday, if you have the stamina. Admission is free, but be prepared to drop a bundle on the food; there's nothing like hot spanikopita to make a man a fool. Call 314-966-2255 for more info, or just follow your nose.
Saturday, May 24
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when the only reason anyone came to the Delmar Loop on a Saturday night was to drink or to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the old Varsity Theatre. The staff of the Pageant must remember those days fondly, because they've figured out a way to combine the two hobbies into one delightful evening. This week's Pageant Picture Show is double-fisting the nostalgia with Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein (that's "Franken-shteen") at 8 p.m., and the beloved family musical Rocky Horror Picture Show at 10 p.m. They're providing a cash bar, and audience participation is encouraged. Time-warpers 21 and older are invited to break out the rice, load a squirt gun and relive their sexually ambiguous youth for one night only. Admission is just $5. The Pageant is located at 6161 Delmar Boulevard, and the phone number is 314-421-4400 -- but castles don't have phones, asshole.
Sunday, May 25
The strawberries you pick at Eckert's Country Store & Farms in Belleville (near the intersection of Illinois Highway 15 and Greenmount Road) are just 99 cents a pound, so plenty of folks who go there buy, like, ten pounds of strawberries, go home and immediately hit the recipe books to figure out what to do with all of them. Picking them is only part of the fun at the Strawberry Festival, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, today and Monday at the farm. You'll ride in a tractor to the berry patch and return with your bounty to the festival, which features live country and bluegrass music and sales of kettle corn, funnel cakes, hot dogs and fresh-strawberry desserts (including concretes). Turn the children loose in the "Fun Corral" ($2 admission), which includes a petting zoo with goats, chickens and rabbits; pony and carnival rides; and a playground, tricycle racetrack and sandbox. Call 618-233-0513 or visit www.eckerts.com for more.
Monday, May 26
The primordial struggle between man and beast has captivated the human imagination since time immemorial. From cave paintings to epic folk tales to gladiators, right on down to When Animals Attack, the idea of pitting a savage animal against a desperate man armed with nothing more than his wits and strength has proved a ratings blockbuster. If Vince McMahon could figure out a way to get a great white shark to go up against the Big Show, by God, he'd have that on pay-per-view before you could say "scripted sports entertainment." In the interim, there's Kachunga and the Alligator Show. Identified on his Web site (www.kachunga.com) only as a "real American Bushman," Kachunga grapples with blunt-nosed bruisers from the Everglades, risking his life (or at least sizable chunks of his body) for your amusement and, maybe, for the glory. Kachunga's bio doesn't state whether he's an acrobatic or a turnbuckle-daredevil-style wrestler or a scientific combatant who dispatches his scaly foes with the more traditional suplex-to-elbow-drop-to-three-count technique. What is certain is that Kachunga is performing at the Six Flags Sherwood Forest Theatre (I-44 and Allenton-Six Flags Road) beginning today, and that, like Cher and Elvis before him, he understands that if you're larger than life, you only need one name. Shows are free with regular admission; call 636-938-4800 for a schedule.
Tuesday, May 27
There's a photo exhibit on view at the museum under the Gateway Arch now that may make you think about the Arch in a different way. Structures of Our Time: 31 Buildings That Changed Modern Life is a traveling exhibit that showcases buildings that have received the American Institute of Architects' annual 25-Year Award. The award goes to buildings that have been around for a quarter-century or more and influenced their communities, as well as the discipline of architecture itself, in a big way. The photos depict such structures as the stark white skyscraper of NYC's Rockefeller Center, Richard Meier's light-filled Smith House residence (in Darien, Connecticut) and Eero Saarinen's swoop-roofed Dulles International Airport in the District of Columbia. One of Saarinen's other gems, the Arch, is in here, too, along with buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Louis Kahn; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; and Charles and Ray Eames. See the free exhibit through August 3. Call 314-655-1700 or visit www.stlouisarch.com for more.