Wednesday night, a.k.a. "the Dead Zone," is often a tough night for the nightlife lover, what with the dearth of events that happen in the middle of the week. Into the breach steps Metropolis, with its Smoke-Free Dinner Roulette. This may sound like one of those gambling junkets for seniors with respiratory problems, but it is in fact an actual nightlife event on hump day. Members of Metropolis have teamed up with Tobacco Free Missouri to provide no-smoking dining experiences at metro-area restaurants. At press time, Atlas (5513 Pershing Avenue) and Tandoori Hut (3739 Hampton Avenue) had tentatively agreed to host stops on the tour, but event organizer Gordon Dymowski was pretty sure he could line up a few more in the next week. You can call him at 314-363-6946 to find out the latest updates or RSVP through www.mstl.org.
Thursday, January 29
Do customers often waltz into Cheap TRX and announce that they're queer? It seems to be happening quite a bit these days. Of course, the annual "Tell Us You're Queer" sale could be to blame. If you're in the market for racy T-shirts, bellybutton rings, tattoos or various throbbing vibrators or double-headed jelly dongs, just drop by the venerable south-side shop (3211 South Grand Boulevard, 314-664-4011) and say "I'm queer" for a 20 percent discount off everything in the store. No, you don't have to be gay -- just a little adventurous -- to say the magic words and receive the discount. Really, it was much more embarrassing when we had to say "Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity" at the International House of Pancakes (and ordering that "Moons Over My Hammy" sandwich at Denny's still makes us cringe). The sale continues through Valentine's Day.
Friday, January 30
You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running is a reference to a married couple: He is brushing his teeth in the bathroom; she's still in bed. She calls out to him; he walks out of the bathroom nude and informs her that he can't understand her over the sound of the running water. That's part of the play-within-a-play being performed tonight by Belleville's Downtown Players at the Midtown Revue (119 West Main Street in Belleville, Illinois, $12.50 to $15, 618-234-5998). Don't expect any full-frontal nudity, though -- this short comedy is more of a meditation on the nature of onstage nudity than a showcase for same. It's one of four one-act plays by Robert Anderson, each one with a different tone, all staged this evening. In The Footsteps of Doves, a couple argues over whether they should switch from a shared bed to two twin beds (back in the days when couples often slept in separate beds, Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter-style). Tonight's 7:30 p.m. performance of YKICHYWTWR is your last chance to catch the show.
Saturday, January 31
Chicago's Douglass Kings are a two-man concern. They deliver the rock & roll in a stripped-down, punked-out style, as only a guitar-and-drums band can. Yes, yes, there have been an awful lot of these two-person bands lately (Jucifer, the White Stripes and Bush & Cheney come to mind), but the Douglass Kings are different -- or so they claim. They note that their sound carries hints of Hüsker Dü and Elvis Costello, as well as the strains of the beloved D.C. hard-core punk mutation. So not so much the boogie rock, Delta blues or political grandstanding of the more famous rock duos (but some of those D.C. bands could get just as politically wonky as W. and Dick, you know). Find out for yourself if the Douglass Kings are right for you. They play a 10 p.m. show at Three-1-Three in Belleville, Illinois (313 East Main Street; call 618-239-6885 for cover charge), but you can sneak a listen at www.douglasskings.com if you're not sure you want to drive to Belle Vegas.
Sunday, February 1
Today being the first day of February means time is quickly running out on your opportunity to partake of any Lewis and Clark-themed events; we're in the final eleven months of the blowout, so get on it already. One of the more interesting partnerships in the L-and-C onslaught is the Delta Dental of Missouri/Saint Louis Zoo entry. For three consecutive Sundays, kids ages two to ten are invited to join "Lewis & Clark & You" events from noon to 3 p.m. at the Living World. Each event has the joint theme of animals of the Corps of Discovery and proper dental care. This week, mammals are featured. There will be animal-tracking lessons, a "beavers build a dam" game and a "Tooth Safari" play starring the Tooth Wizard and his pal, Panda. Beavers, dental hygiene -- it all makes sense, no? Delta Dental Winter Zoo is free; call 314-781-0900 or check www.stlzoo.org for more info.
Monday, February 2
If we told you about a new film at the Tivoli Theatre that's a documentary about a one-room schoolhouse in rural France, you might say, "Fascinating! Well, gotta go polish my collection of vintage staplers. Ta-ta!" But hey -- hold on. To Be and To Have, opening Friday, January 30, and playing through this Thursday, isn't just some Frenchified Little House on the Prairie. The film (in French with subtitles), centering on a très patient teacher and his dozen students, ranks as that country's highest-grossing documentary ever. The children's day-to-day, season-to-season dramas of learning to read, write and count (and those damnably cute kids themselves) have a way of engrossing viewers (6350 Delmar Boulevard, $6 to $8, 314-995-6270, www.landmarktheatres.com). It's the simple things, ya know?