You're young, you're hip, you're well-connected; you go to all the right clubs and you know what to drink and how to order it. The problem is, you can't dance. Now is the time to correct your glaring social inadequacy (and dude, you should -- people are beginning to talk behind your back). The Focal Point (2720 Sutton Boulevard, call 314-869-8216 for info) offers Cajun Two-Step and Waltz Lessons tonight at 7:15 p.m. You don't need a partner, beginners are welcome, T-Wayne and the Swamptones are the house band, and you need $8 to get in. And before you look down your swizzle stick and scoff about how bucolic Cajun music is, take a look at yourself performing some of your "moves" in the mirror. Embarrassed? Now shut up and show up, because once you master the basic moves, you can apply them to any style of music. Nobody ever laughs at P. Diddy's capering, and most of his moves are slightly modified polka steps done at half-speed.
Thursday, September 11
"Punk Rock": The Phenomenon is fast approaching its thirtieth birthday, which, as all the crusty old punks huddled around the trash-fire of popular culture will be quick to point out, is an abomination. Punk is about youthful indiscretion and anger, and it should have had the decency to die before it got old. And yet punk bands continue to blossom from the suburbs and the sticks like so many cases of untreated scabies, which is a testament to punk's enduring "we-ain't-got-no-way-out-but-these-guitars" appeal. The Spunks, a self-described "bubblegum-rocking" punk band of Japanese-Americans from upstate New York, are proof that as long as kids are bored, these punk outbreaks will continue to flare up with satisfying regularity. The Spunks ride into town tonight to shiver the Creepy Crawl's timbers (412 North Tucker Boulevard, 314-851-0919) along with three other like-minded bands. As Sex, Drink, Motorrides is the name of the Spunks' new album, there will probably be many short/fast/loud songs about these topics throughout the course of the evening. Tickets are $6-$8, and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, September 12
It's time to come to the aid of one of our town's most shy people. Together, we can bring him out of his shell, teach him to be confident and outgoing and ultimately, perhaps, free to let it all hang out. Of course we're speaking of Bob "Ambassador of Mirth" Jamerson, the man who walks through the Central West End environs in panty hose, a wedding dress, a tutu, a tiara, etc., while twirling a baton. Bob's Day Out is a collection of photographs "chronicling the adventures and costumes" of Jamerson snapped by Susan Pittman, on view at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue, 314-367-6731). Come to an artist's reception from 6-8 p.m. tonight, or any time before October 18 to bask in the glow. It might be best to come tonight, though. Jamerson will entertain outside the bookstore from 5:45-6:15 p.m. before making a grand entrance under a floral archway of his own design. The reception will also feature paintings of the performer by talented artist Mary Sprague, done while Jamerson was "in motion" in her studio (note cards of the paintings will be for sale, also), along with refreshments. Head to www.ambassadorofmirth.com for more on Jamerson, including his new baton-twirling class and a recent, bizarre performance at a wedding.
Saturday, September 13
Each year, local theatre connoisseurs await what is inevitably the funniest stage comedy in town, the Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre parody of film and TV fare. This year's production, The One-Hour Star Wars Trilogy: Live!, has to rank as one of their best ever. Anyone who didn't get a chance to see it this spring is in luck, because the troupe is invading Kirkwood High School (801 West Essex Avenue) for 8 and 10:30 p.m. performances, Fridays and Saturdays through next weekend. The highlights include the cheesy conversations that always manage to happen in the midst of light-saber battles; Luke's horrible wig flying off into the audience; and R2D2 and Yoda, played by a trash can and a hand puppet, respectively. Reservations, at 314-361-5664, are recommended; tickets are $10.
Sunday, September 14
"Thunderbike" is an evocative term that conjures up images of mohawked raiders tearing through the wastelands on chopped and heavily modified motorcycles while pursuing Mel Gibson. The term is actually a class designation used in the world of CCS Motorcycle Racing, and it applies to "an eclectic mix of bikes indexed together"; more simply, it means motorcycles of various engine sizes compete head-to-head in the same division. If this sounds like your type of event, get thee to Gateway International Raceway this weekend for some Championship Cup Series Motorcycle Racing. Preliminaries are on Friday and Saturday, and the riders race for the prize money beginning at 10 a.m. today. And don't be disappointed by Thunderbike's prosaic definition: the "Unlimited Grand Prix" class is the anything-goes monster-motorcycle class, and it allows "unlimited modification in all areas," according to the official CCS rules, so that's where the truly malevolent super-mod bikes will be duking it out. Gateway is located at 700 Raceway Boulevard in Sauget, Illinois. Call 618-482-2400 or access www.gatewayinternationalraceway.com for ticket prices or more info.
Monday, September 15
In the Andrew Hudgins poem "In the Well," a boy suspended by a rope is lowered into a well by his father: "I could taste/my fear./It tasted first of dark, then earth, then rot...I gagged, and pressed/my neighbor's missing dog/against me. I held its death/and rose up to my father./Then light. Then hands. Then breath." Hudgins, an English professor at Ohio State University, is a powerful poet who ushers in a new season of readings as part of the River Styx at Duff's Series, tonight at 7:30 p.m. (Duff's, 329 North Euclid Avenue, 314-533-4541, $4-$5). River Styx litmag welcomes Hudgins, a poet who does not cloud the page with confusing language. Another poem, 1992's "Praying Drunk," is about exactly what you think it is. Also reading is essayist Robert Stewart.
Tuesday, September 16
Come join the tribe. You don't need Polynesian tattoos or lip plates to blend in at Tribal Dance & Art, the latest attraction at Don Ericson's Art Coop. Each Tuesday starting tonight (5 p.m.-1 a.m., $5), an ambitious lineup of activities may include: teach-ins, workshops, artists, DJs, bands, poets, dancers, body-painting, yoga, drum circles, singing bowls and nude-figure drawing. That's all well and good, but we're waiting for other primitive fun, like pulling out guests' teeth with only a string and a slamming door, or a contest to see who's got the hairiest back. Head to 1620 Delmar Boulevard (enter from rear, on Lucas Avenue, 314-428-3747, firstname.lastname@example.org).