This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Week of March 10, 2004

Wednesday, March 10

Gentlemen, meet the Untamed Shrews, Susan Smith and Marge Tackes. Susan is the former wrestler and "southern belle gone bad," often seen sitting on male audience members while punching them. Marge is the "Yankee bitch," willing to talk smack about anyone in the room. Even if you don't find the ladies funny, their wonder-twin powers of muscle and mouth may force you to say otherwise. The Untamed Shrews perform at 8 p.m. at the Fairview Heights Funny Bone (6900 North Illinois Road, Fairview Heights, Illinois, 618-628-4242; $10). Be warned: The show has been granted a XXX rating by the Funny Bone's online ticketing service; what else would you expect from ladies who named themselves after creatures that can mate for thirteen hours and devour three times their own body weight every day?

Thursday, March 11

British novelist Richard Newman has garnered favorable comparisons to Noam Chomsky, Tom Wolfe and Graham Greene for The Fountain at the Center of the World. The story of two brothers, Chano Salgado (an ecological monkey-wrencher on the lam) and Evan Hatch (a British PR flack who needs a bone-marrow transplant to survive), plays out across Mexico, Britain and the United States and culminates in the chaos of the Seattle World Trade Organization riots. The Independent heralded the book as the "resuscitation of the English 'literary political novel,'" and its illumination of how global political and economic forces affect everyday people should appeal to those whose politics lean toward the left as well as toward the human. Newman reads from The Fountain at the Center of the World at 8 p.m. at Fort Gondo (3151 Cherokee Street; visit www.softskull.com for info). The free reading is sponsored by Subterranean Books, and refreshments will be available for purchase.

Friday, March 12In case you didn't know, it's your duty as an American to want to be on TV. If you can't swing that, try to visit places that have been on TV, so the next time you see them, you can nudge your friend and say casually, "I've been there." Do your duty and storm the Kastle (3207 Washington Avenue, 314-534-1571) for the Freaky and Funky Dance Contest. The club holds this contest every Friday night, but last week's DJ set by Maurice Joshua was filmed by MTV for future broadcast. You still have time to become a regular before all the MTV-watching trendsters hop on the bandwagon and crowd the floor with their totally wack moves. DJ En-Ka spins this week, and dance and hip-hop is on the agenda. Admission is free for the ladies and $5 for the gentlemen, and the down-and-dirty dancing gets started at 9 p.m. Commence to jigglin'.

Saturday, March 13Oh, these two-person bands just keep a-coming. Bagheera, the union of Heather Dallape (late of Climber) and Theodore Moll (ex-Climber and current MU330 member) may have the girl-boy part down, but these two are doing the music all wrong if they're trying to hop on the bandwagon. Bagheera doesn't go in for the bluesy caterwauling, the garage-rock snarl or even the synchronized outfits and creepy backstory; instead, the band tills the fertile ground of indie-pop/space-folk (for lack of a better description) for its buzzing rock joy. Bagheera's debut album, twelves, skips along merrily, flashing hints of Dianogah, early-'90s Flaming Lips and some unrecognizable stuff that must come from Moll and Dallape's fondness for dressing like elves (check the photos on their Web site, www.bagheeramusic.com). Bagheera plays at 10 p.m. at Three-1-Three (313 East Main Street, Belleville, Illinois; 618-239-6885), and there is no cover charge.

Sunday, March 14Spring is lurking somewhere off in the not-too-distant future, which means the season of weddings and garden parties is upon us. How many times have you watched other people dancing at these events and wished that you, too, could join in? You should avail yourself of the $10 Argentine Tango/ Salsa/Swing Dance lessons at the Soulard Coffee Garden (910 Geyer Street, 314-610-2426) so you can know at least one hot dance. From 6 to 9 p.m., dance instructors give mini-lessons (just enough to get you started), and then you can watch members of Tango El Compas tear the roof off the sucka by dancing the dance of seduction. Even if you have two left feet, you can at least enjoy the music of !Tango Tango! ¡Muy caliente!

Monday, March 15 Rushmore: Greatest American movie of the past ten years, or greatest movie ever? A strong, strong case could be made for the latter. Bill Murray infuses Herman Blume with subdued desperation; Mason Gamble, the kid who plays Dirk, is absolutely hysterical in his reading of the word "hand jobs"; and Jason Schwartzman's knockout power as the incomparable Max Fischer is one of the all-time great film debuts. When Max leaves the hotel elevator in slow motion, sticking his gum to the wall with reckless care, he replaces James Dean as the paragon of angry-teen cool. The Mark Mothersbaugh-compiled soundtrack pushes all this greatness to new heights, reclaiming the Who from the Tommy doldrums and returning them to their snarling, mod majesty. Thoroughly enjoy a free screening of Rushmore at Frederick's Music Lounge (4454 Chippewa Street, 314-351-5711), and always remember to take dead aim at the rich boys.

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