Young Prince Hal, star of Henry IV and maybe Henry V (sequels are tricky business, and we were well and truly lubed during the reading process) plaintively uttered the phrase "small beer" with the sort of dreamy, carnal yearning that only a man who has seen the bottom of many a mug can summon. He was referring to a low-alcohol beer common to his time, but the idiom also refers to matters of little importance, the trivial matters that a king must leave behind.
Microfest, the annual fundraising celebration of all things beery and brewed and good, fits the "small beer" criteria on both counts. A range of beverages -- from microbrews, craft beers and ciders to soda (there's that low-alcohol stuff) -- made by non-world-dominating companies will vie for the attentions of the Thirsty; great food from Carnegie Café and Frazer's Traveling Brown Bag (among others) will be available; and live music from the 7 Shot Screamers, the Murder City Players, Farshid Etniko, Kim Massie, the Baysayboos and Dozemarypool will fill the air. When drinks, vittles and music come together, laughter, camaraderie, whiter teeth and more attractive people always follow close behind, and these are indeed the simple joys of life.
However, Microfest is not just about the little things -- or even drinking (gasp!). Your $17 ticket fee ($20 day of fest) goes to fund the Lift for Life Gym, an organization that teaches discipline and self-worth to inner-city kids through the sport of weight training. So while you're doing many reps with the frosty twelve-ounce weights, children will later be able to hoist barbells thanks to your generous and kind spirit.
Microfest, sponsored in part by the Riverfront Times, takes place in the Upper Muny parking lot in Forest Park from noon to 6 p.m. Check out www.liftforlife.org or call 314-436-2337 for more information. -- Paul Friswold
Down from the Mountain
You know, Corpsey, you can rock out to Nordic Black Metal and feel grim and evil as often as you like, but the truth is, nothing Count Grishnackh ever recorded is half as creepy as Ralph Stanley's a cappella plea to a hovering Grim Reaper, "O, Death." That little slice of mortal terror -- and many other fine examples of the "high lonesome" sound -- made up the sonic backdrop of O, Brother, Where Art Thou? and Cold Mountain, and now the artists who performed those songs descend on the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1111) for the Great High Mountain Tour. At 7:30 p.m. Mr. Stanley, Alison Krauss & Union Station and other notables will bring the desolation to you live; tickets are $40 to $55; and you can leave the cape at home. -- Paul Friswold
Desperation and fear are two great motivating factors in the creative process. Careful planning and note-taking are useful skills, but who do you want on your side when time is running short and the deadline looms nigh: the note-taker or the guy who can pull magic out of his ass? Right. The teams participating in the 48 Hour Film Fest must possess the ass-magic. On Friday, May 14, team members draw a genre from a hat; they draw again for a character, prop and line of dialogue, and then they have two days to make an eight-minute film incorporating these elements. At 7 and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18, and Wednesday, May 19, you can see the final projects in the Moore Auditorium on the Webster University campus (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487). Admission is $4 to $6. -- Paul Friswold
Food Court's in Session
The Saint Louis Galleria (Brentwood Boulevard and Clayton Road) will be open late and many people will be there, but there's no big sale or messy holiday approaching to drain bank accounts. Instead, the mall's hosting an event that promotes a different kind of gift-giving: the gift of food. From 7 to 9 p.m. snackers can nibble on offerings from Hacienda, Dierdorf & Hart's and Broadway Oyster Bar -- and those are just a few of the restaurants participating in Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation. After the Taste, charitable tummies can be full and happy knowing that 100 percent of the ticket price ($35 to $40; call 314-534-1111 or stop by the Galleria's Concierge Service Center) goes toward anti-hunger and anti-poverty efforts, and 70 percent stays local. -- Alison Sieloff