To-do lists are the ultimate unifier: Everyone has made at least one. Most times these lists are cryptic, and often the items scribbled down are just weird to everyone but the author. Case in point, this anonymous list from Davy Rothbart's new Found book (which has mostly new stuff with some old faves from past issues thrown in): "Turn in Library Books, Find out about college, Mail Dads shit, Pay bills in advance, Write Crystal, Hide Guns, Pack, Get medication, Do Taxes, Sew Pc up, Change addresses, Pay Columbia bill." Why are the guns on such a benign list? Maybe hiding them should be accomplished before the laborious task of finding out about college. And if the books aren't overdue, perhaps the guns should be taken care of first.
This odd little note is one of the beautiful things about Found and its mundane, funny and sad items, all found by Rothbart (pictured) and his readers: It's just a list, but it makes you curious about the writer. And about what will happen to those guns now that the list is lost.
Meeting the genius behind Found should be on everyone's to-do list. Rothbart hosts a free reading, improv performance and mini-concert at 8 p.m. at Mad Art Gallery (2727 South 12th Street; 314-771-8230). Bring some money for the cash bar and share some of the treasures you've happened across -- St. Louis-based Skif's own Nina Ganci did, and her find is on the cover of the collection! -- Alison Sieloff
Peter Pranschke looks back
The appeal of Peter Pranschke's new art show, Drawings I Did in Eighth Grade, is the goofy sensibility that could only come from the mind of a creative and enthusiastic pre-teen. His cartoony, comic-book inspired drawings on lined notebook paper display a drawing talent far beyond that of the average adolescent, yet they still retain the mindset of the young man. Who, other than an eighth-grader, would choose to depict Eli Whitney as a superheroic figure battling zombie-like enemies, and then use the illustration as the cover sheet to a report entitled "My Research Paper on Eli Whitney"? That the adult Peter Pranschke would choose to display work from his youth (Saturday, May 15, at Fort Gondo; 3151 Cherokee Street; 314-772-3628; 6 to 10 p.m.) strongly implies that his sense of humor has only sharpened in the intervening ten years. -- Paul Friswold
¡Catorce de Mayo!
Fiesta on the 14th
Fiesta! Party! Have you been longing to participate in a real, honest-to-goodness Hispanic fiesta? (FYI: Downing shots at the local Mexican restaurant chain until 2 a.m. in celebration of Cinco de Mayo doesn't count toward real fiesta participation). Do you want a thorough explanation of the uses of chiles? Look no further than Kiener Plaza (Seventh and Market streets), which will be alive with Hispanic culture from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Hispanic Festival, Inc. is hosting the May Fiesta celebration to honor the heritage of all Spanish-speaking nations, and admission is free. You can learn something (Mayor Francis Slay speaks at the opening ceremony at noon, or you can browse through the informational booths); eat something (gorge yourself on traditional Latino foods and beverages); and move something (dance the day away with the Mexican Band, Fantasia and folkloric dancers). For more information contact Hispanic Festival, Inc. at 314-837-6100 or www.hispanicfestivalstl.com. -- Amy Helms
Comedy's been as prone to "dumb-assification" (Chuck D's apt term) as the rest of American culture, but don't expect Dick Gregory to travel lite any time soon. Catch the great man himself at 7 p.m. at the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square) in a benefit for the scholarship fund of the St. Louis Black Repertory Company. Tickets are $35 and $60; call 314-534-3810. -- Alex Weir