Did you know that St. Louis played a pivotal role in the civil-rights struggles of the '60s? There were hundreds of locals protesting, boycotting and raising their voices in the struggle against discrimination. What many folks may not know is that, in particular, the women of St. Louis helped win the day.
One of the women at the center of it all was attorney/activist/author Frankie Freeman. Freeman recounts her story at "Side By Side: Women in the St. Louis Civil Rights Struggle," a breakfast and lecture program from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Missouri History Museum, located at Lindell Boulevard at DeBaliviere Avenue in Forest Park. (The talk is part of the museum's ongoing African-American History Series.)
Freeman championed public education in the city (we need you now more than ever, Frankie!), served on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and successfully argued the groundbreaking case Davisv. St. Louis Housing Authority, which put the nail in the coffin of segregation in St. Louis' public housing. Last April she published a stirring memoir, A Song of Faith and Hope.
A trip to Hot Topic is so much more than a visit to a gift shop aimed at teens -- it's a journey in which one comes face-to-face with the ultimate semiotic, sociological question: What is Cool? To wit, who is buying the retro Strawberry Shortcake, Thundercats, Iron Maiden and Social Distortion T-shirts? Fourteen-year-olds who sense that, somehow, cool resides within these 100 percent cotton fibers? Or superannuated '80s kids like, um, the Night & Day staff? Will someone please drop us a note and explain where the irony starts and ends at Hot Topic? To paraphrase former teen idol John Travolta as Vinnie Barbarino, "We are so confused." (Hot Topic stores are located at Westfield Shoppingtowns South County, West County, Chesterfield, Crestwood and Mid Rivers, and St. Louis Mills; www.hottopic.com.) -- Byron Kerman
Powder to the People
At Hidden Valley ranch
Skiing in Missouri? Yes, Virginia, there is a mound, and it's in Wildwood, about 30 miles west of the St. Louis city limits. Weather permitting, guests should be able to swoosh down the promontories of Hidden Valley Ski Resort by the time you're reading this, but it's best to check at www.hiddenvalleyski.com or to call the snow hotline (636-938-6999) to be sure. Changes for this season include four new runs, a new quad chairlift and a "one-third increase in snow-making capacity." At the end of December, midnight sessions, which go from 10 p.m. until 3 a.m., will start for the party monsters. Or, if you're the type who prefers to sit by the fire, munch on cheese sticks and scope out the ski bunnies, the newly renovated lodge should be quite comfy (west on I-44, 2.5 miles north on Highway 109 and one mile west on Alt Road; prices vary). -- Ben Westhoff
Christmas can be a tough time of year for goths. The cheer, the goodwill, the bright lights: It all brings a good goth down. But being depressed and pissed off are the malevolent meat and pernicious potatoes of the goth emotional diet, so of course they're having a holiday party to celebrate their misery. Get your gloom on at 9 p.m. at the Kastle (3207 Washington Avenue, 314-534-1571) at the Nightmare Before Christmas Party. Tickets are $3, and that includes a free buffet-style spread. -- Paul Friswold