Classic Rock Clowns

Cars & Guitars benefits Ronald McDonald House

No, it's not Elvis' garage sale. "Cars and Guitars" instead refers to the Casino Queen's first annual two-day party (3 p.m.-midnight August 6-7, free, East St. Louis riverfront) benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Among featured sights and sounds are free parking-lot concerts by still-rockin' groups Little River Band and .38 Special (at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.) Former football Cardinal, NFL Hall of Famer and frustrated singer Jackie Smith belts out the national anthem with the Cleveland Junior Naval Academy each evening, too.

Hungry? Award-winning Cowboys Barbecue rode in from Texas. You'll need more fuel after testing your skills at the "Pit Stop Challenge" and the multimillion-dollar driving simulator, both part of the Indy Racing League Fan Experience. Don't forget the vintage-Indy, novelty and drag-race car displays; Harley-Davidson and RV displays; helicopter rides; Gateway Grizzlies speed-pitch booths; face-painting; sports-figure autographing area; and Gateway International Raceway spokesmodel contest.

Like a car race, there's action in every lane. As Gateway public-relations chief Pete Wickham puts it, "If you have to turn, you're not going fast enough."

Lawn chairs, blankets and donations are encouraged. Coolers are not.

For more information, go to www.casinoqueen.com/CarsGuitars/MainPage.htm or call 618-874-5000. -- Cathy Cohn

Comedy Camp Out
Chris Farley Foundation Chari-Thon is a laughing jag

FRI 8/8

If you don't have a great sense of humor; you're not a sunshiny, feel-good type of person; comedians get on your nerves; you view laughing as a sign of weakness; and you prefer to waste away in sullen loneliness, stay away from the second annual Chris Farley Foundation Chari-Thon at the CITY Improv (top floor, northeast corner of St. Louis Union Station, Market at 20th streets) from 7:30 p.m. Friday all the way 'til midnight Saturday -- a 24-hour-plus event that features non-stop improvisational comedy by dozens of local and national acts (tickets are $20 at the door). Proceeds will help fight teen drug abuse.

Chari-Thon coordinator Tom Peter says sleeping bags are optional. For more gags about this gig, call 314-241-1527 or visit www.cityimprov.com. -- Tom R. Arterburn

Say It Loud
I'm black, gay & proud

Now that St. Louis' gay population has had the requisite six or so weeks needed to recuperate from the phantasmagoria of June's Pride St. Louis festival, it's time to ratchet back on the party dresses. The weekend of August 8-10 will see the Black Pride Festival, three days of partying, pageanting and socially aware merriment.

Sponsored by the St. Louis Black Gay & Lesbian Pride Committee, the festival's schedule makes room for the important and the frivolous. At a jazz brunch on Sunday, two $500 scholarships will be officially presented by the committee to a pair of local high-schoolers. Meanwhile, the finals of two local beauty competitions -- the Mr. Black Pride contest and the drag-tastic Miss Black Pride Pageant, which has held previous face-offs at popular gay hangouts Magnolia's and the Complex -- will culminate on Sunday. Forest Park's Steinberg Skating Rink is the setting for the centerpiece event -- Sunday's festival, which includes a health fair, vendors and live entertainment.

Some festival events -- the brunch, plus a pool party and a dinner/revue show -- cost $15 admission. For more information, call 314-645-6451. -- Rose Martelli

BBQ Page Match

TUES 8/12

Wrestling announcer Jim "J.R." Ross, best known for his Okie twang and mock outrage, has published a cookbook/book of top-ten lists tailored to the extreme-sports-entertainment fan. In addition to recollections about his wild and woolly career, J.R. offers up some actual recipes, along with this startling revelation: number four on his list of "Top Ten Devious Delights" is "Linda McMahon's Hershey's Pie." (Must fight urge to work blue!) Ross signs copies of J.R.'s Cookbook at Borders Books & Music-Brentwood (1519 Brentwood Boulevard, 314-918-8189, free) at 5 p.m. -- Paul Friswold

 
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