It's hard to believe that Clayton, our squeaky-clean, mini-metropolitan suburb, would have anything that's the best of its kind in the country, much less for a messy and creative lot such as artists. Believe it or not, though, the St. Louis Art Fair, which spreads over shiny downtown Clayton once a year, is consistently ranked as one of the country's best art events. It even took the top spot this year in a publication called the ArtFair SourceBook (whose name suggests knowledge of the subject).
What makes the St. Louis Art Fair so popular that it makes the intersection of Central Avenue and Forsyth Boulevard look like Times Square? Maybe it's because it's a hands-on fair that brings out everyone's inner artist, with a Creative Castle where kids can make everything from Guatemalan worry dolls to Lego castles (adults can get similarly involved at the Art Studio). Maybe it's the food brought in from great restaurants like Cardwell's and the Blue Water Grill. Or maybe it's the money, which attracts 165 artists from all over the country hoping to get their latest work on an affluent Clayton resident's mantelpiece. See for yourself what makes the Fair so popular Friday, September 5, through Sunday, September 7, in downtown Clayton (5-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday). For more information (and sample art), visit www.saintlouisartfair.com or call 314-863-0278; admission is free. -- Niles Baranowski
Reading in 3D
Shakespeare, Hemingway, that guy who wrote Who Moved My Cheese?: all popular authors who, for some disappointing reason, worked in two dimensions only. Yawn. Experience the third D at the St. Louis Artists' Guild newest exhibit, Under Cover: Book Arts (2 Oak Knoll Park, 314-727-6266, www.stlouisartistsguild.org). Contributing artists (hailing from St. Louis, Australia and dozens of points between) have created wearable (!) books, books that contain ceremonial bowls, books that double as wall installations and -- oh yes, we would not lead you astray -- pop-up books. The free exhibit runs from Sunday, September 7, through October 22. Go, and then speculate about how kick-ass The Sun Also Rises would have been in 3D. -- Brooke Foster
Adni Come Lately
And DJ Hadis, too
Due to the relative minuteness of the scene and the limited choice of venues, cross-pollination and psychic inbreeding in the St. Louis club/DJ circuit is almost a given. In other words, a group of people doing the same thing at the same times and places starts to sound, well, the same. Into the STL microcosm comes the Miles Away crew, a group spawned, quite literally, many miles away from here. DJs Adni and Hadis hail from Eastern Europe and are joined for their free "Just Chill Sunday" at 9 p.m. at the Upstairs Lounge (3131 South Grand Avenue, 314-773-3388) by live percussionist and fellow world-traveler Tolga. Whereas spinning downtempo alongside congas sounds like a recipe for a train wreck, by all accounts it's a peanut-butter-and-chocolate combination -- odd at first take, but just right in the end. -- Erik Carlson
Scott Air Force Base re-opens its gates to the public this weekend for the free Airfest 2003 (it was canceled last year, out of security concerns). Aerial demos by the Golden Knights Army parachute team; the Tora Tora Tora vintage squadron, who will recreate the bombing of Pearl Harbor (seriously); and dozens of other military craft begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, September 6 and 7. Parking will be extremely limited, so consider taking the MetroLink to the Shiloh-Scott station. For more info, call 618-256-2003 or visit public.scott.amc.af.mil. -- John Goddard