The Bright Side of Life

Eric Idle's not dead yet

FRI 11/7

And now for something halfway different. Not three years after Monty Python alum Eric Idle circuited the country with his audaciously (if accurately) titled "Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python Tour" -- an evening of comedy songs and sketches lifted whole from the British comedy group's greatest-hits reserves -- the self-proclaimed "third tallest Python" (that includes the late Graham Chapman) swings through St. Louis this Friday to perform bits both old and new on his Greedy Bastard Tour.

While Idle dips once more into the Monty Python well to restage old sketches, the new material comes courtesy of his recent, mostly musical CD, The Rutland Isles, which is part homage to Idle's love of all words containing the term "rut" (he kicked off his tour in Rutland, Vermont) and part bathroom-humor smutfest. The new comedy album features such ballsy tracks as "Penis Fish," "Pre-Chewed Food," "Killing for God," "Muff Diving" and "Homo Semi-Erectus." In other words, both the CD and the show run amok with the sort of naughty niche humor that's offensive to most but damn-near vital to a diehard few. The latter subgroup therefore knows what it means (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) when Idle requests that showgoers brace themselves for "lots of very rude sing-along opportunities" and that they "dress strangely." (For additional cryptic messages, devotees are encouraged to scour Idle's frank, folksy online tour diary at www.pythonline.com.)

The performance begins at 8 p.m. at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of University of Missouri-St. Louis. Tickets cost $34-$39 and can be purchased by calling 314-566-4949. -- Rose Martelli

Will Work for Food
Calling all vertebrates

TUES 11/11

Some guy -- maybe it was Santa Claus -- once postulated that if you throw a little bread on the water, it comes back to you; but what if you throw a little bread -- or better yet, canned ravioli -- on your lower lumbar? It might not be as painful as you think. Dr. Rebecca Gould of the Healing Center (734 DeMun Avenue, call 314-727-2120 for an appointment) is offering free chiropractic and acupuncture treatments today in exchange for bags of non-perishable groceries. All of the foodstuffs will be donated to an area food pantry so that it can stock up before Thanksgiving (so don't think Dr. Gould is doing this just to get out of eating leftovers for a few weeks). Even if you don't want anybody manipulating your spine, you can still swing by and drop off some groceries. In the long run, it will all come back to you. -- Paul Friswold

Swallowing Alien
With two sets of jaws

Few cinematic moments are as terrifying as when John Hurt's belly explodes during Alien. Two-point-five decades later, this genre-defining scene and a number of terrifying others have been re-polished, re-tooled and re-released as Alien: The Director's Cut.

Back in the day (that would be 1979), Alien responded to Star Wars' gimmicks and glitz with a gritty, tense, claustrophobic drama. H.R. Giger's Oscar-winning visual effects, combined with Sigourney Weaver's turn as Ellen Ripley, cinema's first ass-kicking female, were wild, and of course the alien itself bled acid -- how cool was that?

In 2003 Ridley Scott's masterpiece could not be more welcome. Now, in the multiplex world, most sci-fi films are plotless and pathetic. Alien: The Director's Cut features newly edited scenes and almost twenty minutes of extra footage -- and those lovable acid-bleeders return next summer in Alien vs. Predator (at Ronnies 20 Cine, South Lindbergh Boulevard at Baptist Church Road; and St. Charles 18 Cine, 1830 First Capitol Drive South; 314-822-2463; check for film times at www.wehrenberg.com). -- Rob Levy

Frippery

FRI 11/7

Make way for the king. Nope, not King Diamond, the one and only King Crimson. Tonight Robert Fripp and co. will be at the Pageant (6161 Delmar Boulevard), singing hymns and playing untouchable prog rock. Be there, make love, get high and fall dead. Fans of Living Colour will soil themselves when they learn that the Day-Glo funk-metalists are opening, too. Just remember, you can't smoke at KC shows, so ask Aunt Crystal to whip up some brownies for you.

Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show's at 8. General admission is $27.50; reserved balcony seating (21 and older only) is $35. A $2 surcharge will be levied against minors. Tickets are available at the Pageant box office, all Ticketmaster locations (314-534-1111) and at www.ticketmaster.com. -- John Goddard

'Shroom to Improve

WED 11/5

Mushrooms offer nature's version of Russian roulette -- you're never quite sure which ones are going to be tasty and which are going to force a call to Poison Control. Still, they go well in any kind of cuisine and are the rare common ground between carnivores and vegetarians (a grilled portobello sandwich beats a veggie burger any day), so why not give yourself an edge when traipsing through the forest? Chuck Yates of the Missouri Mycological Society will be teaching the Green Center's "Beyond Button Mushrooms" class about hunting, identifying and preparing edible mushrooms, at Wild Oats (8823 Ladue Road, 314-721-8004) from 7 to 8 p.m. Admission is free, so any reason not to go is pure shiitake. -- Niles Baranowski

 
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