Adult Swim, Cartoon Network's block of surreal cartoons created for the immature human of drinking age, has started seeping into the cultural consciousness of late, which is probably a good thing. You're never too old to laugh at non-sequitur fart jokes, you know. But despite its confirmed hilarity, Adult Swim is not really a new idea. Cartoons made for the enjoyment of the puerile, the juvenile and the just-plain-warped mind have been the stock-in-trade of Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation since last century. OK, so it's only been fourteen years, but still, that's, like, a lifetime.
This year's festival, which opens Friday, April 30, at the Tivoli (6350 Delmar Boulevard) and continues through Saturday, May 8 (call 314-995-6270 for showtimes and prices), seems especially well-suited to the fourteen-year-old mind. There's a little something called My First Boner, Mighty Fudge Studio's sensitive look at the sexual awakening of a young man (it's like an Ingmar Bergman meditation, if Bergman had listened to a lot of Tenacious D as a young Swede); another short entitled Ninjews, Josh Bass' adventure story that posits the Chosen People as stealthy martial artists; and, of course, Ignacio Ferrara's How to Cope with Death. Because when you're fourteen, you've matured just enough to start contemplating your own mortality, even though your life seems evergreen. Oh, and then there's Hut Sluts, which is about a pair of girls workin' their camel toes to maximum effect. How much introspection can you expect from a fourteen-year-old? And while Spike and Mike don't traffic in the sort of gross-out humor that will make you puke, no one younger than eighteen will be allowed in the theater. Kids, it's for your own good. You need life experience to understand this stuff. -- Paul Friswold
It isn't just for breakfast anymore
National Homebrew Day is Saturday. What makes this obscure holiday better than other not-so-common holidays (such as National Yo-Yo Day or National Mustard Day)? Well, it involves beer, and it's actually not that obscure: Thousands of brewers around the world partake in the festivities, and did we mention the beer? The first Saturday in May (May 1 this year, conveniently) is dedicated to uniting homebrewing enthusiasts who all brew the same recipes and join in a simultaneous toast at noon Central time. Celebrate with a whole bunch of homebrewers in the Worm's Way parking lot (1225 North Warson Road, 314-994-3900) starting at 9 a.m. -- bring your brewing equipment or, if you just want to watch, a lawn chair and lunch. This year's Big Brew styles are Baltic Porter, Imperial IPA and Irish Red Ale; the official recipes are available at www.beertown.org/events/bigbrew/recipes.html. We promise it'll be more fun than National Singing Telegram Day! -- Amy Helms
The Spelunking of Art
Circles in Stone caves in
There's a place in Guatemala, we're told, where people living under the crushing boot of poverty have plastic huts constructed from Coke bottles and other trash because these materials are free and plentiful -- they're the new natural resource, consumerism's fallout. Is this why Joseph P. Burns, a senior at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, created Circles in Stone, a giant cave constructed of man-made objects? Burns' cave isn't just trash but a mass of waste and forgotten objects that should, he states, remind us of "the vile side of technology." You can see the quasi-cave Friday, April 30, through June 30, but you should check out the reception on Friday -- bluegrass favorites the Cumberland Gap Band will play, poet Thomas Rangdale will read, and the cave -- the cave is waiting. Gallery Visio is in the Millennium Center at UMSL (1 University Drive, 314-609-3915). The reception is free and runs from 6 to 11 p.m. -- Mark Dischinger
Theater of the Absurd
Ah, the cinema. Home to big-budget entertainment and a gaggle of young 'uns fidgeting incessantly while their parents try to pretend they don't have offspring. St. Louis Mills Stadium 18 (the movie theater at St. Louis Mills, 5555 St. Louis Mills Boulevard; 314-227-5321) has the answer to your movie blues: Regal Baby Flix. At 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday in May, the theater will screen a film for parents with young kids; the idea is that the people next to you will nod with resigned understanding as your kid whips Jujubes at the screen, because their kids are kicking the seats in front of them with joyous abandon. Commiserate, make new friends and see a film -- all at matinee rates (kids younger than three are free). -- Paul Friswold
Eat Your Words
"Books are a load of crap," Philip Larkin barked in one of his poems, but he couldn't have meant it. Books were his vida. He probably needed less word-work, more play -- in the form of a lit bash replete with readings, music, good food and strong drink.
River Styx magazine, 29 years young this spring, throws its annual Art and Literary Feast at Duff's restaurant (392 North Euclid Avenue, 314-361-0522) at 6:30 p.m. $45 buys you an excellent dinner and readings by poet Virgil Suarez and short-story writer Mary Troy, a University of Missouri-St. Louis faculty member. Bluegrass band Chicks with Guns will play, and photographer Shellee Graham's work will be up for bids in a silent auction. -- Alex Weir