So where's the sweet spot? No, not there. This paper's rated PG (at least in the Night & Day section). The Sweet Spot is not someplace you can touch; it's someplace you can go -- every Wednesday night, in fact. Roll on down to the Pepper Lounge (2005 Locust Avenue, 314-241-2005) between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. to groove to local resident DJs Don Tinsley, Josh Harrell and Trevor Matthews. The cover is just $5 and imports are only $2, but the real treat is the martinis: The Pepper's glasses are just ever-so-slightly bigger than the average bar martini glass, so you get more lip-licking bang for your buck. But because it's kinda hard to dance with such a big drink, we recommend taking those first few sips at the bar (you'll want to dance before you even get to a table). And if you can't make it tonight, definitely go on Wednesday, April 28 -- Robbie Hardkiss is in town.
Thursday, April 15
More than Ignatz's favorite projectile, more than the preferred building material for clever pigs, bricks are the almost-forgotten backbone of modern St. Louis. In fact the story of St. Louis is in large part the story of bricks. Our fair city was once the brick-making capital of the United States, and our economic and social status rested firmly on a foundation of humble brick. Brick by Brick: Building St. Louis and the Nation, the new exhibit at the Saint Louis University Art Museum (3663 Lindell Boulevard, 314-977-3575; open now through August 15), explores the history of brick-making in St. Louis from the 1904 World's Fair (the peak of the industry) to the closing of the Hydraulic Press Brick Company in the 1980s. With maps, photographs and 250 sturdy examples of the many bricks of St. Louis origin, Brick by Brick offers a glimpse into the past, and a chance to more fully appreciate the unique brick structures that still stand throughout the metro area.
Friday, April 16
Even though Elliot Smith splits his time between St. Louis and New York, he still seems to find a few spare moments to put together great, big shows for the smaller of the two cities. So while Elliot Smith Contemporary Art in New York gets Jasper Johns, the STL gets Jenna Bauer, Dawn Guernsey and Joan Hall along with 21 other local women artists. This new exhibit, Women Only: Artists Working in St. Louis, is the first in a series of shows at the gallery highlighting contemporary local art. Come by 4729 McPherson Avenue (314-361-4800, www.elliotsmith.com) from 6 to 8 p.m. for the opening reception or stop in anytime through May 22 to see the works by women furthering art in the St. Louis area. This show proves that "smaller city" doesn't mean "less artistic."
Saturday, April 17
St. Louis is not really known as a hotbed of hedonism. We're too Midwestern, and when a Budweiser is considered the ultimate reward for a hard day's work, well, you know you're living the button-down life. But there are those among us who wear latex clothes under their stain-resistant Dockers, and for them there is Hedonism @ Velvet (1301 Washington Avenue, 314-241-8178). Promising "an adult playground for your inner child," Hedonism @ Velvet is your chance to surrender to your swelling spring fever and party like a heathen. Velvet will transform into a "lush garden of pure pleasure," a place where you can indulge your damper fantasies. Dress in island gear for discount admission (check www.velvetvibes. com for admission charge), and you can show off your Mystic Tan as well. Hedonism @ Velvet begins at 9 p.m. and is a 21-and-older event.
Sunday, April 18
Brainiacs with laptops and those hands-free phones are always gravely intoning "print is dead" in between mass e-mailings to all their Friendsters, but so what? If they're too hoity-toity to troll the tables at a free book fair, that just leaves more for those who remain loyal to the printed word. The Friends of the Webster Groves Library's Second Hand Prose Book Fair wraps up between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Webster Groves Masonic Lodge (12 East Lockwood Avenue, 314-961-3784), and there will be plenty of used (some would call them "pre-experienced") books to scoop up for pennies on the dollar. Sure, the veteran book hounds attended the Friday, April 16, $5 preview (6 to 9 p.m.) and the Saturday, April 17, session (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.), but there are always treasures to be found among the stacks, even on a Sunday. The battery in that laptop can't last forever, but a dog-eared copy of Borges' Ficciones never runs low on power.
Monday, April 19
We have all been on the run from the Library Police. You check out Oliver Stone's H.O.P.: Who Really Hopped on Pop? to uncover the truth about Dr. Seuss and the Grassy Knolltoobular, and you become so engrossed in the machinations of Bartholomew Cubbins' hydra-headed terror machine that you forget to return the book. Then come the phone calls, the envelopes containing shredded bookmarks and that matte-black Bookmobile always parked outside your window. But for one week a year, during the Food for Fines program, all library scofflaws gain a reprieve: Return your books, and for each can of food you donate to the St. Louis County Library, a dollar of your fine is forgiven. You can't run forever, and you're never going to enjoy that can of ravioli knowing a buff librarian could break down your door and turn out your pockets at any time, so return that book now -- while you can. Check out www.slcl.org for locations, hours and fine print.
Tuesday, April 20
Life is full of simple yet character-defining choices: Ford or Chevy; Designated Hitter or Pitchers Bat; Daphne or Velma. The muscular, virile, hirsute man of prodigious intellect always chooses the latter in each instance, and the recent Scooby-Doo movies are obviously helmed by like-minded geniuses, because they've cast Linda Cardellini as the fetching Velma Dinkley both times. When you want pretty and brainy, you go for Velma, and Linda Cardellini fits the bill. For proof, look no further than her underappreciated turn as Lindsay Weir in Freaks and Geeks, the underappreciated TV show about high school in the early '80s. Hyper-smart, sexy and willing to hang out with a burnout in a Black Flag T-shirt, Cardellini may have been playing the perfect woman in F&G. Too bad nobody noticed the painfully sardonic show when it was on; make up for past mistakes at Frederick's Music Lounge (4454 Chippewa Street, 314-351-5711), where they screen the newly DVD'd series for free during happy hour. Oh, Miss Dinkley...