This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, June 4Beatnik Bob's Café, located in the City Museum (715 North 15th Street) may just have the best movie theater in town. They allow smoking, their snack bar features both ice-cream novelties and delicious beer (try them together!) and the Neosho Nougat Pipeline is within easy walking distance (because what's a movie without a little nougat?). Anyway, with the help of the Webster University Film Series, they're screening This Is Spinal Tap on Wednesday, June 4, at 7:30 p.m. If you don't know about the Tap, there's no point trying to explain, because your knowledge of cinema is obviously so small that it's in danger of being trod upon by dwarves. Tickets to the greatest rockumentary of all time are a measly $4. Call 314-231-CITY for more info.

Thursday, June 5We may have to wait a while longer for Overland: The Musical or Central West End: A New Opera, but Christopher Jackson is ready to unveil his Gaslight Square: The Musical. The Hammerstein of the Heartland has been hard at work with collaborators Daniel Pearlmutter and Bruce Marren (director of the documentary film Gaslight Square: The Forgotten Landmark) to create this musical tribute to St. Louis' extinguished party district. For ten bucks, guests will enjoy scenes from Jackson's forthcoming work, including glimpses of power couple Jay and Fran Landesman, those fondly remembered early performances by Barbra Streisand and the joys of the Olive Street trolley. What will become of the Beatniks? How will they simulate a tornado onstage? Will there be a number about the fateful murder that, some folks say, was the beginning of the end for those two blocks of sweet liberty? The show must go on at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays through June 12 at the Missouri History Museum, Lindell Boulevard at DeBaliviere Avenue. Call 314-361-9017 for tickets.

Friday, June 6What began as an invitation to the common person to step up and express him- or herself artistically has in recent years been co-opted by a small group of people who now maintain a stranglehold on this vital means of free speech: We're talking about Open-Mic Nights, and the truth is, they're not so open anymore. Taken over by the struggling musician/poet/artist, this town's open mics have become nothing more than a showcase for the "talents" of a handful of perennial contenders, and the casual open-mic-er has been squeezed out by a cast of regulars. What's sorely needed is some new blood. This is a good night for the rank amateur to take back the mic, get up there and spew forth the free-verse ramblings that have been bottled up for far too long. Who cares whether it's good, as long as it's honest? Cummel's Café (1627 Washington Avenue, 314-231-9627) and Genesis Coffee House (6018 Delmar Boulevard, 314-726-4063) host open mics tonight (Cummel's runs 8 p.m.-midnight; Genesis' starts at 7:30 p.m.), so crash 'em both. They're free, because wild hearts can't be tamed, baby!

Saturday, June 7June baseball games are still a little early in the season to be considered important or meaningful, but for the baseball-loving St. Louisan, this week's series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Baltimore Orioles is rife with significance: For the first time in 59 years, the former St. Louis Browns return to their ancestral home to play the team that beat them in the 1944 World Series. This is the sort of history-steeped match-up made for a city that prides itself on its rich baseball tradition and long memory. Former hometown rivals? World Series rematch? Finally, interleague play pays off. To commemorate the return of the once-hapless Brownies, both clubs will wear retro uniforms patterned after the uniforms worn in the fateful '44 Series in today's afternoon game at Busch Stadium (Broadway at Walnut Street). They're calling it Turn Back the Clock Day, but honestly, in this town, it's always a historic day for baseball. The game starts at 3:05 p.m., tickets cost a very un-retro $9-$55 and you just know people are going to show up wearing 60-year-old Browns hats. Call 314-421-2400 for ticket info.

Sunday, June 8Kids will go gaga over all the fun things they can do at the Friends of the Kirkwood Library 25th-Anniversary Street Party. The attractions include balloons, face-painting, a petting zoo, performances by African-style drummers and storytellers, shows by Jessica Hentoff's St. Louis Arches acrobats, live music, children's comedy and free ice cream, cake and lemonade. Karl Kindt will creak around in a full suit of armor, and Sparky the Fire Dog will lick all comers. Head to the Library, at 140 East Jefferson Avenue, from 2-5 p.m. for the perfectly free festivities. Call 314-821-5770 for more info.

Monday, June 9The weather heats up, and Forest Park fills with Rollerbladers, baby carriages and young couples lying on blankets on the grass, stuffing cheese into each other's faces. The Park offers a bazillion options for outdoor fun, and you may not be familiar with all of them. Over at the Steinberg Rink Café, you can buy snacks and drinks, including $1 draft beers, and imbibe while you watch the roller-skaters go to Xanadu. The Café is also the destination for folks who want to rent equipment, including roller and inline skates ($1, plus $3-$4 to skate in the rink), bicycles ($7-$25) and fishing poles (for use in Jefferson Lake). Paddleboat, canoe, rowboat and sailboat rentals won't be available this summer because of the major renovations affecting the park grounds. The rink and café are open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, with live music from 7-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Call 314-367-RINK or visit stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/parks/forestpark for more.

Tuesday, June 10Sprawl is what we've made of our cities. Homogeneity is our watchword. The suburbs are our shrines to utilitarian death. Sound dramatic? Check out The Automobile in the Garden: Suburban Photographs by Barbara McDonnell, a new exhibit opening at the Sheldon Art Galleries, 3648 Washington Avenue. The photographer has captured an empty St. Charles industrial park, as sterile as an operating room; a cluster of Cottleville backyards subdivided by a web of white fences, slicing a greensward into tiny protectorates; a bank egress in Fenton, lined with ATMs, cutting into a forest; and the dormant cinema at Chesterfield Mall, which might as well sit under a blinking neon sign reading "Capitalist Waste." McDonnell's horizontal-strip images taken with a "banquet camera" depict "strip malls, subdvisions, parking lots and corporate structures ... an endless expansion of pavement," according to press materials. Experience them from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, beginning Saturday, June 7, and running through Sept. 27, with a reception from 5-7 p.m. Friday, June 6. Call 314-533-9900 or visit www. sheldonconcerthall. org for more. These photos are like stills from the latest film in the Koyaanisqatsi series, shot in our backyard, starring us. Cue the Philip Glass music. Go west, young man.

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