In 1978, no one snickered at the mention of John Travolta's name -- not even the people who bought his disco single, "A Girl Like You," which is one of the worst musical crimes committed in the name of entertainment (and that includes William Shatner's album). Travolta was funny, a smooth dancer and handsome in that big hair/big dimples way that makes both young girls and their gay best friends swoon: in short, he was the Ashton Kutcher of the late '70s. Who knew that he would drop out of sight after a few bad movies, only to return with Battlefield Earth, which is the worst cinematic crime committed in the name of entertainment (and that includes Dude, Where's My Car?).
Tonight, the Pageant Picture Show (6161 Delmar Boulevard, 314-726-6161) gives us the chance to enjoy John as he was, not as he is. They're showing a double bill of dancin' Travolta: first, the inexplicably popular Grease at 8 p.m., followed by the coming-of-age disco classic (there's an oxymoron) Saturday Night Fever at 10 p.m. They're projecting song lyrics at the bottom of the screen during both movies, too, so you can sing along (not that you'll need prompting). And all for $5. -- Paul Friswold
Describing the nebbishy allure of They Might Be Giants isn't easy. For two decades, wily Brooklyners John Linell and John Flansburgh have melded geek-chic, aw-shucks hipness with shamelessly uncomplicated promotion and straightforward musical craftsmanship.
Now, Edwardsville's AJ Schnack has filmed a documentary to make sense of it all. Gigantic (A Tale Of Two Johns), which screened at last year's St. Louis International Film Festival, uses concert footage, animation, music videos and backstage wackiness to discover what makes the duo tick. Their popularity, merit and pop-culture relevance are also discussed by comedic/musical/literary peers such as Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Frank Black, Janeane Garofolo and Dave Eggers (at the Tivoli Theater, 6350 Delmar Boulevard, $6-$8, 314-862-1100, www.giganticfilm.com). -- Rob Levy
Ferguson Boogie-Woogie Swing dance for all levels
You saw it at the Fox, now do it at the Savoy! You can swing dance at St. Louis' own Savoy in quaint old downtown Ferguson, at 119 South Florissant Road. Every Wednesday in July, you'll learn a few tricks from the pros and enjoy the ballroom setting, with its chandeliers, elegant cash bar and hors d'oeuvres. What better tradition than to trip the light fantastic in a space named after the legendary Harlem night club that featured performers such as Bennie Goodman, Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway? Starting at 8 p.m. you'll find yourself "Stompin' at the Savoy" to famous swing-dance tunes and dance music from the '20s through the '80s, including jazz, blues and disco. So get off that sofa and join the free beginning swing-dance lessons taught by Steve Williams and Michele Stockl from 7:30-8 p.m. (They'll also offer advanced lessons around 8:30 p.m. for $3/person.) Vote with your feet so the action continues into August and beyond. Call 314-830-3276 for more. -- Regina Popper
It's a safe bet that the folks who comprise the Vegetarian Potluck Society never grumbled when their moms told them to "eat their vegetables." If you ever wondered about the world of vegetables beyond the pale of side dishes and garnish, the VPS Monthly Dinner is the perfect event for you: Just show up at Blackburn Park (Edgar Road at Florence Avenue) at 6:30 p.m. with $3-$6 and your appetite, and they'll introduce you to a world of tubers, tofu and casserole that you never imagined. Call 314-995-2699. -- Paul Friswold