Local beer baron Tom Schlafly is always looking for an excuse to throw a party; it's good for business, obviously, but it's also good for the soul. Seasonal affective disorder and the holidays go together like beer and whiskey (uh, and another beer, please), but the hangover from depression is a lot worse than the headache-'n'-cottonmouth that go with overindulgence -- and you can drink with friends (unlike depression, which is a solitary activity). Give Schlafly credit for finding a way to cram yet another party into an already crowded season; nestled between last week's office Christmas party and next week's New Year's Eve party is Schlafly's Twelfth Anniversary Party (at the Tap Room, 2100 Locust Street, 314-241-2337). Falling the day after Christmas (and on a Friday, no less), this birthday bash is the perfect stopgap for the bibulous celebrant. For the working stiff, it serves as the kick-off for another weekend of woo-hoo, and for the lucky few who are through with work until next year, it's the midpoint of the season's festivities. Well played, Mr. Schlafly.
In yet another canny move, Schlafly has reversed the gift-giving trend of birthdays by bequeathing a present on his partygoers; for today only, the prices on all of Schlafly's hoppy goods are rolled back to the 1991 rates. If that isn't enticement enough, the Schlafly Beer Schedule (viewable at www.schlafly.com) shows that the new batch of Barleywine will be available as well. (And hold on to your liver, because word on the bottling line is that their delicious Scotch Ale will be out before the posted January 23 due date). The good times start flowing at 11 a.m., and last call isn't until 1 a.m. -- Paul Friswold
Lords of the Ring
The finest (and only) underground amateur-boxing spectacular in the metro area returns when Hoosierweight Championship Boxing hits the luxurious South Broadway Athletic Club (8 p.m., Seventh Street at Shenandoah Avenue). There'll be fourteen bouts (including a female fight or two), non-traditional ring girls, the occasional spray of blood and other unspecified fun.
Advance tickets are $7 and available at the SBAC, Famous Bar Cocktail Lounge, the Way Out Club, Pop's Blue Moon, Lemmons, Frederick's Music Lounge, the Cabin Inn at the City Museum, the Schlafly Tap Room, Kitchen K, Inferno, the Delmar Lounge, the Hi-Pointe Café and Atomic Cowboy.
Despair Is Underrated
This week the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center Film Series offers up its weirdest movie to date. Despair, an adaptation of a Nabokov novel, is the story of a chocolate-factory owner slowly going mad during the Nazi rise to power. The weirdness is courtesy of director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the iconoclastic creator of meandering works who leaves audiences bowled over by his ultra-realism and/or thoroughly confused. In Despair, dark-eyed, intense lead actor Dirk Bogarde, who made the controversial film of Nazi-era obsessed lust The Night Porter so compelling, steals every scene once again (2 p.m., free, 12 Millstone Campus Drive, 314-432-0020, www.hmlc.org). -- Byron Kerman
Many Happy Returns
What's true of life is true of the holidays -- at the end, you realize you didn't get what you wanted. With all the useless crap for sale, it's a guarantee that some of it will be thrown your way; either that, or your family doesn't really "get" you, so you end up with nice stuff you don't like, don't believe in or won't eat. Either way, it's going back, and these nice people have, in effect, given you some awkwardly shaped gift certificates. How you use these is up to you -- but remember, the days when you could get cash in place of store credit are long gone. -- Mark Dischinger