This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, October 1

When it comes to Star Trek, you're either a Kirk fan or a Picard fan -- there can be no middle ground. But even if you end up watching Picard, you can still enjoy yourself if you know the rules for the Star Trek Drinking Game: The Next Generation. Just Google 'em, print 'em out and set coordinates for Frederick's Music Lounge (4454 Chippewa Street, 314-351-5711). Beginning at 6 p.m., Frederick's will screen two episodes of the lesser Star Trek, also known as Star Trek: The Next Generation, which should enable you to get well and truly toasted, like an overloaded dilithium crystal. (See, that's a drink right there.) There's no cover charge, drinks are affordably priced (go for the Stag) and you should probably check with the bartender on the Ensign Crusher rule beforehand (that's the rule that says you have to throw food at the screen every time Wil Wheaton appears: If you don't throw, you have to drink; if you throw and miss, you have to drink. It's a good rule). Ahead drunk factor five, Mr. Stag.

Thursday, October 2For the uninitiated (basically, anyone who was never wedgied for arguing the merits of Blake's 7 in a high-school cafeteria), a four-day science fiction/fantasy convention such as this week's Archon (at Gateway Convention Center, Hwy 157 north of I-55 & I-70 in Collinsville, Illinois) is open for ridicule. Yes, the Klingons will be there, and a lot of wizard/knight types (and perhaps a dark elven cleric/assassin), and a ton of people selling appropriate merchandise, but did you know that these fine people will also sponsor a blood drive on Saturday and that a portion of the admission proceeds go towards the "Reading Is Fundamental" literacy campaign? Yeah, Archon's about geeking out with a couple thousand of your closest friends, but it's also about social conscience. Not so easy to ridicule now, is it? Admission is $20-$30 a day, today through Sunday, but you can buy a four-day pass for $45. Call 636-326-3026 for info, or visit www.stlf.org/archon/27. P.S.: They will also have a Filk Guest of Honor; filking is a form of folk music wherein the musician sings songs about sci-fi, fantasy or role-playing games. So, Archon will be full of filking nerds! Tee-hee!

Friday, October 3If you've never heard of ArtDimensions, this weekend is your chance to get acquainted with the local-art coalition and their swank parties. Artistic Unity in Artistic Diversity turns the moody environs of the Kastle (3207 Washington Avenue) into a two-night art show with flowing booze and live music. For a $5 cover, ages 21 and older can ogle works by more than 35 artists from 7 p.m.-midnight tonight and tomorrow night. Call 314-772-ARTD or visit www.artdimensions.org for more info. And walk... slowly... down... that dramatic staircase, which looks like it was taken from a gothic manse on an English steppe.

Saturday, October 4

An International Street Fair brings people of all cultural origins together, so we can recognize the commonalities that make us human and celebrate our differences peacefully over the greasy, organ-clogging foods that every single country on the planet has created to hasten our mutual destruction. Pass the empanadas, samosas, falafel and chimichangas, brother. Edwardsville, Illinois' City Park (112 South Kansas Street) is the center of today's multi-ethnic street party, from noon-6 p.m. In addition to doughy treats, you'll find dancers in mysterious costumes, exotic live music and vendors with a stunning variety of trinkets from Taiwan -- oops, sorry, we mean "from their indigenous homelands." Call 618-650-3371 for more on the free fun.

Sunday, October 5The harpsichord, that delicate-sounding yet emotionally charged instrument, has fallen out of favor in recent centuries, and it's a damn shame. Lurch, the Addams Family's trusty manservant, was the last real proponent of the harpsichord's tinkling charms, and he played it with sensual abandon, revealing the savage beast in its civilized breast. This afternoon, as part of the month-long English Festival that's taking place at diverse venues throughout the metro area, Dr. Charles Metz will coax the almost-forgotten secrets of the harpsichord once more from its genteel bosom at St. Peter's Episcopal Church (110 North Watson Road, 314-993-2306). Dr. Metz will be joined by the church's choral group, making for a veddy British sort of evening. The site www.englishfestivalstl.org lists performance times as 5 and 5:30 p.m., so expect a brief teaser followed by a longer, trip-out show. Admission is free at both.

Monday, October 6Halloween, being the coolest holiday ever invented by godless pagans, means a host of evil events throughout October. You've got your various costume contests and blood-drenched orgies, but until now, you haven't had much in the way of a Mexican-style Day of the Dead fiesta. Enter Gilberg Perennial Farms' Day of the Dead Festival, a month-long celebration featuring a mini-museum that explores the history and meaning of this macabre Mexican ritual, complete with hundreds of those cute little skeleton figurines in dioramas and such. The daily fun (9-5 p.m.) includes a gift shop full of the bony little dolls and a pumpkin patch, but on the weekends Gilberg busts out with hayrides ($1), a petting zoo, Mexican food and drinks, Mexican music and photo-ops on "pumpkin mountain" (2172 Highway O in Robertsville, near the Gray Summit exit off I-44, 636-451-2530, www.gilbergfarms.com). Look for the giant sunflowers.

Tuesday, October 7Night and Day is divided on the John Carpenter movie They Live. Mr. Night claims the sci-fi movie about sunglasses that allow their wearer to see the subliminal messages in advertising and the aliens who walk among us (disguised as Young Republican-types) is a biting satire on the blind consumerism of American culture; Mr. Day claims that any movie involving an eleven-minute long, WWE-style wrestling fight between Rowdy Roddy Piper (the ersatz star of the film) and Keith David is a flawed attempt at consumerism itself and is kitsch, not satire. The fact that They Live musters such raging arguments in the otherwise placid Night and Day enterprise justifies another viewing of this neglected cinematic gem. So catch it tonight for free at 7:30 p.m. in the Lewis Room of the Fontbonne University library (6800 Wydown Boulevard, 314-719-8061) and then join the intellectual fray.

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