"You get into a rut, walking around in a circle and chanting 'hey hey, ho ho, something's got to go' over and over," says Lara Granich, director of St. Louis Area Jobs with Justice. A coalition of some 62 labor and community groups, Jobs with Justice does great work supporting struggles for social justice. But don't these tireless activists deserve to have some fun once in a while?
"Bread & Roses: A Juried Exhibition of Creative Resistance" (7 p.m. at Carpenters Union Hall, 1401 Hampton; tickets are $30, $15 for low income/student, www.stl-jwj.org) is an art show sponsored by JwJ to raise funds as well as spirits. This year's theme is "Visions of Multiracial Unity," a motif that Granich cites as a recurring presence in JwJ's recent work.
"A lot of the campaigns that the organization has worked on have really been impacted by racism, especially in a city like St. Louis," she says, "Like the Justice for Janitors campaign, with an 80 percent African-American workforce, or the campaign for civilian oversight of the St. Louis police."
The juries, which will award prizes for visual art, music and poetry/spoken word, include more local luminaries than we can name here, including St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Sylvester Brown, RFT contributor and Vintage Vinyl stalwart Steve Pick, the Vaughn Cultural Center's Cookie Jordan and folks from both Subterranean and Left Bank bookstores.
The artists are equally diverse, upholding the old Popular Front ideals of cultural democracy: local artists such as Terrell Carter (Intimacy, 2003, pictured) yes, but also non-artists who have something to say. "We have submissions from postal workers, from needle-trades union workers," Granich says, "just regular folks who've been dealing with these issues all their lives." -- Jason Toon
Hell in a Head Gasket
Sonny Barger's belles lettres
Well before Saddam Hussein, Ayatollah Khomeini and Martha Stewart, there was another public enemy number one -- Sonny Barger, founder of the modern-day Hell's Angels -- an outlaw on an iron horse, who, if you believe what the government wanted you to, terrorized the nation with his club of fun-loving motorcycle enthusiasts.
And believe it or not, he's still alive and rolling down the streets. See for yourself when he signs his new book, Ridin' High, Livin' Free: Hell-Raising Motorcycle Stories at Doc's Harley-Davidson (930 South Kirkwood Road) from 4 to 8 p.m. And don't be afraid. His publicist assures us that he's mellowed in his old age and can even take a joke on occasion. For instance, did you hear the one about the biker wh- AAARGH! MY ARM DOESN'T GO THAT WAY, SONNY!
It's for charity, baby
Elvis is that rare case of a cultural icon guarded by a fierce army of zealots, some of whom are ready to proclaim not only his vocal talent and station as one of rock & roll's founding fathers but also his divinity. After you push the E-vangelists aside, the rest of the madding crowd may be on to something -- after all, 50 million Elvis fans can't be wrong. And among this number walk those few who are able to channel the spirit of the dear departed King. Jimmy Smith, an Elvis performer who's logged more than 500 shows in the past three years, is reportedly one of these, and he will perform "Reflections of Elvis" at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (11228 Lone Eagle Drive in Bridgeton) at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20, and the show benefits the Jason Carroll Heart Transplant Fund. Call 314-291-6700 for details. -- Mark Dischinger
Hootenanny in Aisle 10
Wouldn't it be easy to write a musical that takes place entirely within a grocery store? Imagine a gleeful "life-is-swell!" song-and-dance number in the produce section, with a big cast high-stepping past the bananas. Someone juggles cantaloupes while the lead furtively pops a strawberry into her mouth, smiles and dances over to the pineapples. The Grocery A Go-Go party at Whole Foods Market (1601 South Brentwood Boulevard, 314-968-7744) transforms the supermarket into a musical dance party from 7-10 p.m. The '60s-themed benefit features live music, funky lighting and go-go dancers in the aisles, plus food, wine and beer samples, cooking demos and raffles. The free fun is intended to facilitate hard-core shopping; five percent of the day's grocery sales will be donated to the AIDS Foundation. -- Byron Kerman
Maybe the scariest scene in the 1981 flick The Evil Dead is when the kids are joking around to see if one of them has psychic powers. One of the girls is actually able to tell what card has just been drawn from a deck of cards without looking. Faster and faster she announces the correct card and suit, until, whirling around, the others see that she has become -- POSSESSED BY ANCIENT EVIL! NOOOOOO! Probably the most disturbing moment in the cult classic is the raped-by-trees scene (oh, Lordy). Perhaps the greatest achievement of the film is Sam Raimi's insane camera-mounted-to-a-2-by-4 cinematography. Probably the best thing you can do with six bucks is attend the midnight screenings of The Evil Dead at the Tivoli Theatre (6350 Delmar Boulevard, 314-862-1100, Fridays and Saturdays through August 31). -- Byron Kerman