You've seen their silent, graceful movements in city parks. They appear to grab at invisible floating objects, then manipulate them in elaborately choreographed steps. The transcendence of their effortless motion leaves you energized and nearly breathless, as if you've just witnessed the birth of a galaxy.
"That's not what I get from watching mimes," you say. Tai chi, however, promises the aforementioned benefits to its spectators and a host of others to its practitioners. This ancient Chinese art of continuous, slow, flowing movements is designed to bring balance to the chi (life energy) of its devotees, resulting in improved health and well-being. Whether you're a student of tai chi or an avid voyeur, steer your life force to the Cohen Amphitheater at the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard, 314-577-9400; $5 to $7). It is World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, which means that practitioners all over the world have synchronized their watches and will perform energy-harnessing antics simultaneously from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. What can happen with all of this chi whizzing around? Will the planet do an about-face on its axis? Will trees walk the earth? Some concern is understandable, but local coordinator Tim Bruewer's calm is reassuring.
"You never know what the day will bring when all of our chi is united. You may see all kinds of weird phenomena," speculates Bruewer. "The event simply promotes wellness throughout the world and brings everyone together to celebrate the ancient Chinese health maintenance system of tai chi. It heightens everyone's awareness."
Bring it on. -- John Goddard
Blueberry Hill gets its dart on
Did you know that playing darts is no longer a friendly, relaxing, pass-the-time-over-a-pint kind of game? It is a highly competitive, world-renowned, cutthroat sport, and it is coming to the Loop! This Thursday through Sunday (April 22 through 25), celebrate the 32nd annual Blueberry Hill Open Dart Tourney (6504 Delmar Boulevard), where darters compete for $21,000 in prizes. Shocking, isn't it? But don't be frightened if you can't explain the difference between steel-tip and soft-tip or a game of 501 vs. Cricket. We know you have lots of other redeeming qualities, such as burping the theme song to M*A*S*H or holding the third-highest score on Galaga. So get yourself to Blueberry Hill, because spectators can cheer on the dart professionals for free, and you never know when someone will request your ever-popular Chewbacca impression. For more information about dart events and entrance fees, call 314-727-0880 or visit www.blueberryhill.com. -- Amy Helms
I Want to Ride My Bicycle
Nitpick all you like about how calling it the annual Road to Emmaus Bike Tour is somewhat misleading -- seeing as how you pedal along the Katy Trail, which not a road at all, and Emmaus isn't a town but a home for developmentally disabled adults. It's still a lovely day of cycling and sightseeing along the Missouri River.
Suitable for kids and adults, this year's ride kicks off at the St. Charles campus of Emmaus Homes, 93 acres of bucolic splendor located at 2200 Randolph Street. Novice riders will be chaperoned along 44 miles of the Katy Trail to Defiance, then back to the campus for lunch, which will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Experienced cyclists may prefer the 100-mile round-trip road ride to Portage des Sioux and back.
The tour costs $20 per person, with group rates for parties of three or more at $15 per person. For more information, visit www.emmaushomes.org or call 636-946-9505. -- Rose Martelli
Floor It, Baby
Any soccer or basketball fan faces little difficulty in emulating his heroes: Find an open field or a backboard and you can cavort like an ersatz Beckham or Jordan. But what about the motorsports Walter Mitty, denied the chance to play out his Grand Prix fantasies on public roads? Mazda Rev It Up allows wannabe Andrettis to learn racing skills from pro instructors and then show off those skills behind the wheel of a new Mazda 3. The manufacturer calls the Mazda 3 "the compact with impact." Car & Driver calls it "composed, quiet and unflappable." Car geeks and adrenaline junkies, start your engines. (7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 24, and Sunday, April 25, at UMB Bank Pavilion, 14141 Riverport Drive; $40 for racers, free admission for everyone else; register at www.mazdarevitup.com.) -- Jason Toon
We Want More(l)
Strange, isn't it, that you would never consider eating the gray mass growing on your shower curtain, but if you find a hunk of furry moistness growing in the dirt, you think about putting it on your pizza? Mushrooms and, more specifically, the solitary art of locating them, make a person contemplative like that, and this Saturday and Sunday (April 23 and 24) dozens of the state's best fungus-finders will be dropped in the woods around the town of Louisiana, Missouri, to find as many of the tasty morsels as possible (call 573-754-5921 for times, directions and entry fees). Even if you're not competing, you'll still want to be there as the triumphant foragers make their way to the weighing table, chanting their ancient "There's a Humungous Fungus Among Us" victory song. -- Paul Friswold