The St. Peters Community and Arts Center (1035 St. Peters Howell Road, 636-939-0217) hosts a weekly shindig they call the Acoustic Jam. Anyone with an acoustic instrument is invited to show up between 7 and 9 p.m. to make a little music with like-minded musicians. Most of the people who show up are probably toting a guitar, or a banjo or maybe even (dare we say it?) a hammered dulcimer. But technically, any non-electric instrument is an acoustic instrument -- so maybe there's a tuba-toting desperado longing to blat out a brassy version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," or a bongo-banging bon vivant who can thump out the extended drum solo from "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," and they just need a venue for their dream. It's an open invitation; tell 'em Night & Day sent you.
Thursday, August 21
Can daisies deter crime? You might be surprised. Anyone who's ever planted flowers and shrubs in a depressed neighborhood understands the psychological effect that gardens can have on a community. Get the facts at the UM-St. Louis Public Policy Research Center Lunch and Learn series, from noon-1 p.m. in Room 362 of the Social Sciences Building, 8001 Natural Bridge Road. Gateway Greening, a volunteer group allied with the Missouri Botanical Garden, has been planting community gardens and showing folks how to care for them for years. Today, the group presents the findings from a study evaluating the impact of these gardens on urban areas. Do begonias make people safer -- or does it just feel that way? Call 314-516-5276 for reservations for the free talk. Bring or buy lunch; soft drinks are provided.
Friday, August 22
If you've been to the lovely, new modernist Fine Arts Building at Fontbonne University (6800 Wydown Boulevard), you've probably seen some of the impressive student and alumni art in the gallery. Now's your chance to take home some of that art at reasonable prices, during the Student and Alumni Cash & Carry Sale, going on from 3-7 p.m. Thursday, August 21, through Thursday, August 28. Check out a wide variety of paintings, drawings, ceramics, sculpture, photography and graphic art. Pay by cash or check, and do your part to support starving artists, young and otherwise.
Saturday, August 23
Is it wrong to split your booty with a thong? Yes and no. See what we mean at Murphy Lee's Summer Splash 3 'Peat, a pool party hosted by the St. Lunatic at Maplewood Municipal Pool (7550 Lohemeyer Avenue). The second of three such parties features Q95.5-FM's Charlie Chan as DJ and a "thongs allowed" policy that may turn the proceedings into one big rap video. Press the flesh from 8:30-11:30 p.m., and continue the alleged bumpin' from 10:30 p.m.-3 a.m. at the Hard Rock Café's beach-themed after-party (St. Louis Union Station, 20th at Market streets), featuring DJ Nappy Needles. Call 314-534-1111 or visit www.metrotix.com to purchase $15 tickets. They say that rap is constantly changing -- and yet the thong remains the same.
Sunday, August 24
Did you grow up in St. Louis, attending soccer games at the Checkerdome (later the Arena), watching Carl Rose, Jeff "Chicken" Cacciatore, Daryl Doran, Tony Glavin, Steve Pecher and of course, all-star goalie Slobo Ilijevski power the St. Louis Steamers on to victory? Remember the team introductions, when players trotted onto the fog-shrouded arena floor to the strains of disco hit "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now"? Relive those thrilling days of yesteryear by actually playing for the new-look Steamers. The venerable soccer team hosts tryouts at the Vetta St. Charles Sports Center (Mid Rivers Mall Drive at Ohmes Road in Cottleville) from 9-11 a.m. Saturday and today ($15). In case you hadn't heard, the Steamers still have Daryl Doran, who has played more pro indoor-soccer games than anyone else (756), only now he's the head coach. The team features a bunch of standout players from area prep schools, too. Call 636-410-0388, ext. 461, or visit www.stlsteamers.com for more information.
Monday, August 25
In 1993, World Champion chess player Gary Kasparov co-founded the Professional Chess Association (or PCA) with the goal of ushering in "a new era for professional chess and to make our sport into a household game." A decade later, chess has yet to rival the popularity of PS2 or even the GameCube. But it has surpassed the Atari 2600, and for that, we as a nation of chess players have the PCA to thank. Well, the PCA and places like the Jamestown Bluffs Branch of the St. Louis County Library (4153 North Highway 67, 314-741-6800), which sponsors a free Chess Club from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., open to players of all skill levels (except for the guy who yells "king me" every time his bishop hits the back row; he's still not welcome). Here, on the tiny, black- and white-checked field of honor, future Kasparovs practice gambits and defenses while dreaming of their futures as professional chess players, with all the lucrative contracts, and the posses, and the broads and the glitz of the professional chess circuit.
Tuesday, August 26
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a fine example of what movies were like before they were expected to earn Gross-National-Product-of-Switzerland-type money on opening weekend, thank you very much Messrs. Lucas and Spielberg. A nasty little brute of a plot involving revenge, gold, murder and betrayal, strong acting from the Cowboy Trinity (Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and the reptilian Lee Van Cleef), a kick-ass Morricone soundtrack, desolate scenery, black comedy, beautiful cinematography: this movie is the complete and whole magillah of spaghetti-western iconography. The only thing missing is about twenty minutes worth of scenes that the studio cut from Sergio Leone's epic, and now those minutes are restored in the deluxe print of the movie screening at the Tivoli (6350 Delmar Boulevard, 314-862-1100) daily at 4:15 and 8 p.m.