Cajun Haus

In the middle of the state

Hermann, Missouri, is a good little field trip for St. Louisans. It's a fun place to get drunk -- get drunk, that is, on the intoxicating aroma of Cajun food and the raucous sounds of bayou music. Since when? While Hermann-rhymes-with-German is home to many Deutschland fests (Oktober-, Mai-, Wurst-), a winery in this little town is hosting its fifteenth annual Cajun Concert on the Hill. So you've missed the other fourteen -- who cares? Now's your chance to get Cajun close to home!

Drive west to Stone Hill Winery (1110 Stone Hill Highway; 800-909-9463 or www.stonehillwinery.com), where Ed Gary (pictured) and the Louisiana Cajun Aces are heating up the already-hot July weekend with their danceable Cajun sound. Don't worry, it's not all sweatin' and rug-cuttin': The band sends the tempo south with an occasional soothing waltz (nature's AC). Hear Ed and the Aces, rain or shine (cool or sweltering), from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, July 9, and from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 10 and 11. And don't worry about paying $4 to $10 for some poseurs: Ed and the Aces are the real deal, straight out of LA (that's Louisiana) with a few 2003 Cajun French Music Association award nominations to boot.

So: authentic music, check; but what's this about inhaling some food? Wine's traditional friend, cheese, just won't cut it. Good thing the winery's offering dishes like jambalaya, red beans and rice, and andouille sausage. Eat up, and remember, spice is second only to wine to help you withstand the heat and keep on dancing. After all, it's hotter down south, and Louisianans still manage to party. -- Alison Sieloff

The Golden Age of Protest

WED 7/7

Will there ever be another decade with such a tenacious grip on the American consciousness as the '60s? People today still hearken back to that decade, which boggles the mind. Did kids in the '60s look back on the '20s with the same sense of wonder and longing? Neil Gordon's new novel, The Company You Keep, returns to, yes, the '60s to explore the world that made young Jim Grant a political radical --- a far cry from his current life as a single father living in the 'burbs. Gordon reads from his novel at 7 p.m. at the Schlafly branch of the St. Louis Public Library (225 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731) as the guest of Left Bank Books. -- Paul Friswold

Dateline: Sing Sing

TUES 7/13

The newspaper business can be cutthroat, no doubt. One-time St. Louis Post-Dispatch editor Charles E. Chapin knew it inside the office, and he knew it outside, too. In 1918, at the peak of his career, Chapin murdered his wife because he was distraught over his impending financial ruin. His trial and conviction was a nine-day wonder at the time, and there wasn't even a CNN to give it 24-hour coverage. In New York's Sing Sing prison, Chapin penned an autobiography, edited the inmate newspaper (of course) and cultivated the famous Sing Sing rose gardens. James McGrath Morris reads from his new biography of Chapin, The Rose Man of Sing Sing, at 7 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599). -- Paul Friswold

Singer in the Library

How embarrassing: It's Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer's 100th birthday, and you didn't even get him a card. Don't fret, dear reader. The master storyteller passed away in 1991, so the Schlafly branch of the St. Louis Public Library (225 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-4120) is hosting three free Singer-centric events to celebrate his memory. On Tuesday, July 13, at 7 p.m., Washington University's Dr. Nancy Berg will lecture on Singer's life and works. At 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 15, the Schlafly Book Discussion Group invites you to watch and discuss Enemies, A Love Story. And at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 17, SLU grad student Louise Hung will lead dramatic readings of Singer's short stories. Happy birthday, I.B.S.! -- Brooke Foster

 
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