The St. Louis one experiences by automobile is not the St. Louis one experiences by bicycle. The city of the bicyclist is a much more interesting city. Buildings that are chopped off at the second story by the roof of a car climb taller into the sky; storefronts and shops that smear together in a 35-mile-per-hour blur become actual places, reflecting the character of their neighborhoods; and the vast greenness of Forest Park in the early evening is transformed into a kaleidoscopic whirlwind of chittering insects and hissing trees when you careen down an empty bike path. From the saddle of a humble bicycle, St. Louis is a living, heaving city, not the moribund burg it often appears to be.
The Bike-In Film Festival at Community Arts and Media Project (3026 Cherokee Street; 314-849-4182) features a quartet of films that celebrate the differences made by bicycles in a handful of cities. Bike Like You Mean It follows Austin's commuter cyclists, who refuse on principle to drive cars. The cult and culture of bicycles worldwide are examined in Return of the Scorcher; Red Light Go enters the dangerous world of New York City bike messengers and their annual Halloween race, the Alleycat, which is more a war of attrition between the messengers and NYC rush-hour traffic. Finally, Pedalphiles follows the S.C.A.B.s (Skids Creating Apocalyptic Bicycles), a group of Madison, Wisconsin, recyclers who combine thrift, anarchy and bicycles to wreak havoc on the automobile-centric consumer culture of the mainstream.
The Bike-In Film Fest begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 if you ride your bike or $8 if you refuse to abandon your car for even an evening. Concessions are provided by the Black Bear Bakery, so bring a wad of cash; Black Bear's cookies are worth more than the Blue Book value of your car. -- Paul Friswold
The Ice Cream Cone Cometh
Dramatizing history is generally a risky proposition. Do you play to the myth or deconstruct? Either way you're bound to ruffle feathers. Activated Storytellers' new production, Under Your Nose (Exploring the Obvious), brings to life the invention of the ice cream cone, an appropriate choice for a St. Louis appearance. Or is it? As every native St. Louisan knows, our city is the birthplace of the ice cream cone. It's a story near and dear to our hearts. Are St. Louisans in for a "revisionist" piece with the so-called facts rearranged to present an unfamiliar story, or will our cultural heritage be preserved? Find out at 10 a.m. at the St. Louis Public Library (1301 Olive Street; 314-539-0348). Visit www.activated-storytellers.com for other showtimes at public library branches. -- Jedidiah Ayres
Soup and Sandwich and Poems
Hungry Young Poets. Young Poets Hungry. Poets Hungry Young. However you phrase it, it's fine with them, as long as you come to Duff's restaurant (392 North Euclid Avenue; 314-361-0522 or www.dineatduffs.com) at 7:30 p.m. for the first event of the River Styx summer reading series. The poets, all 33 and younger, will tempt, tantalize and perhaps even titillate you with their saucy verses. Pay $3 to hear Maud Kelly, Nathaniel Want and others read some of the juiciest poetry of the summer; they'll have you chompin' at the bit for more. But don't worry: Duff's has enough great food and music (Pierce Crask will sing) to satisfy the rest of your appetites. -- Amy Helms
Change Is Good
Dasha Balashova is a Muscovite by birth and an artist by genetics (her mother, father and grandmother worked in the arts in the old Soviet Union). "I am enchanted by themes that are concerned [with] some spiritual reality -- where real and unreal are mixed together," she writes in the artist's statement for her new exhibit, Metamorphoses: From Moscow to Saint Louis and Back. Her works, depicting human forms in a shadowy world rife with overt symbols (immense walls, oversize chess boards and playing cards, have the quality of a lucid dream in which the dreamer is always on the cusp of waking. Metamorphoses opens with a 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. reception on Friday, June 25, at Gallery 210 on the UM-St. Louis campus (TeleCommunity Center, 1 University Boulevard; 314-516-5952), and remains through July 31. -- Paul Friswold