Purl of Wisdom

Knitting's not just for Granny anymore

Is crafting the new thrift-store shopping? As high prices and tacky reproductions water down the appeal of vintage clothes, the only way to guarantee being the first to have something unique is to make it yourself -- hence the rise of Web sites such as www.craftster.org and hipster bazaars in major cities.

The most visible part of this new cottage industry is knitting, with celebrities such as Julia Roberts and Russell Crowe practicing the craft, as well as Bust magazine co-founder Debbie Stoller. With her punny, urbane book, Stitch and Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook, Stoller teaches you not just how to knit a Wonder Woman bikini top or cell-phone caddy but also how to found your own group of like-minded "chicks with sticks," as she refers to them (men, though underrepresented in stitching, are by no means absent). The first "Stitch and Bitch" group started almost a decade ago in Brooklyn so hipsters could chat, listen to music and sometimes knit, and the groups spread across the country, reaching St. Louis about six months ago. The groups aren't limited to twentysomethings and include grandmothers and businesspeople among those looking to be initiated into the craft. It remains to be seen if knitting is "the new rock & roll," as Stoller said, but a hand-knit scarf is definitely a cooler gift than a mixtape.

The St. Louis Stitch and Bitch group meets from 7:30-9:30 p.m. every Tuesday at the Commonspace (615 North Grand Boulevard, 314-531-1707). Admission and membership are free, and new members are welcome to join. -- Niles Baranowski

Two knit-wits race to complete scarves for the dreamy 
punk in study hall.
Mike Gorman
Two knit-wits race to complete scarves for the dreamy punk in study hall.

Who's Playing Who?
Shame Club, that's who

FRI 3/12

The Beatles or the Stones? For years people have asked each other if they identify more with mop-top romanticism or pseudo-Luciferian lecherousness, as if that's the only rock that matters. However, real fans of maximum R&B know the truth: the Who blew both bands away.

The amp vandals in local rock gang Shame Club certainly know what's what and, more precisely, who's Who. In fact, the members of Shame Club love the '60s-mods-turned-'70s-giants. Skins basher Brain 13 definitely Moons over his drums, and the band has recently worked "A Quick One While He's Away" into its live set. The band fully consummates this love in a full-blown tribute, playing nothing but the songs of the Who at the Hi-Pointe (1001 McCausland Avenue, 314-781-4716). The $5 show starts at 10 p.m., so run, run, run there or you won't be forgiven. -- Erik Carlson

Mad About the Ladies
Ultimate Ladies Night beckons

FRI 3/12

The Ultimate Ladies Night at Mad Art Gallery (2727 South 12th Street, 314-771-8230) is, as the name implies, more than just your average "Girls drink free!" promotion. For starters, nobody drinks free; you pay your $10 to get in, and then it's a cash bar after that. But all that money goes right to the ladies of the St. Louis Area Women's Crisis Shelters and the operating costs of Venus Envy, the all-women art show that's right around the corner. Guests are encouraged to bring toiletries, sheets, etc., to donate to women's shelters; there will also be a group clothing swap and musical entertainment by DJ Sarah Brennan and Alexis Tucci-Hampton. Additionally, everyone is urged to dress as her favorite superheroine or "admirable woman of note" for the Best Dressed Contest. Ultimate Ladies Night starts at 7:30 p.m. and ends at midnight. -- Paul Friswold

This Spud's for You

TUES 3/16

St. Patrick's day commemorates the death of St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland, but in St. Louis it's mainly about the beer. While you're guzzling down your Guinness (or Bud Light with green food coloring) or waiting for your turn on the beer bong, are you really appreciating St. Patrick or Ireland? Whole Foods (1601 South Brentwood Boulevard) wants to help you get a taste of the real Eire (Ireland), and yes, there will be beer. The store's Irish Pub Food and Beer Tasting runs from 7-8:30 p.m., costs $20 and offers samples of traditional Irish pub fare, lots of Blarney brews and live music by Milligan Stew. For an unforgettable craic (good time), register at the customer service desk or call 314-968-7744. -- Amy Helms

Sound Theories

SAT 3/13

Depending on how adventurous you are, the "electro-acoustic music performance" at Three Sinks Gallery (8715 Big Bend Boulevard) will either thrill you or scare the bejeezus out of you. Noted electronic composer James Hegarty admits that the performance is a "kind of lab experiment" to determine how his new sound processing theories work in the real world. Said theories involve computer technology, "retro sound" sources and amplified records. Intrigued? Well, computer-assisted guitarist Steven Thomas and instrument-manipulator Joseph Potthoff will be joining Hegarty for the free two-hour performance, which begins at 8 p.m. You can either contact www.noisereductionsociety.com for more info, or just show up and be surprised. -- Paul Friswold

 
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