In 1979, a young Mr. Night attempted to leap his bike over two yellow Tonka dump trucks parked in front of a makeshift casino. The ensuing accident, hailed by neighborhood kids as "boss," resulted in chipped teeth and Mr. Night's sterility. Would he have attempted such a foolhardy stunt had there been a Toddler Traffic Town extant at the time? (Probably.) The world will never know. Fortunately, Toddler Traffic Town at the Magic House (516 South Kirkwood Avenue; 314-822-8900; $6.50) exists now, and kids can learn about safe driving by tooling around a tyke-scale town in the comfort (and class) of a pedal car. There are road signs to follow, traffic signals to obey and no drop-down DVD players to distract. Remember: Drag racing in a pedal car is just as illegal as it is in a grownup car, so leave your nitrous feet at home.
Thursday, August 26
In 2002, a documentary about a cable news channel wouldn't seem like such a big draw; but in 2004, Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism is a publicity juggernaut. Robert Greenwald's in-depth look at the behind-the-scenes skullduggery that goes on at FOX News has angered conservatives and liberals alike, for different reasons. But don't take our word for it: See the movie and then decide yourself. Outfoxed screens (for free!) at 8 p.m. at the Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487) and is followed by a panel discussion. Ah, thinking and talking about what you see -- that's an idea that should catch on. Think about this, too: Rupert Murdoch brings you The Simpsons every week, so how bad a guy can he be?
Friday, August 27
St. Louis' favorite Creative Black Artist Battling Ignorance Blessed African Youth of Creativity is having an art opening in Soulard at the Framery (2027 South 11th Street; 314-436-8889). What?! You don't know who that is? Oh, well, you may know him by his acronym, Cbabi Bayoc. And if you don't, check out www.bayocstudio.com to see some of his work (and pics of his cute baby and wife, Reine). Now does the name ring a bell? It should: Bayoc's chunky, funky style has adorned the walls of many St. Louis buildings and even one St. Louis bus, not to mention a Hot House Sessions record and a Prince album. That's right. Prince. See Bayoc's musically fluid vibe meet the paper in person from 7 to 10 p.m. And after making your eyes and brain happy, stroll across the street to make your belly happy with some of Joanie's pizza. You'll be glad you did.
Saturday, August 28
There might not be a worse "first date" play in the world than David Mamet's Oleanna. A brusque take on the battle of the sexes, Oleanna charts the deteriorating relationship between a college professor and the student accusing him of sexual harassment. Ah, a topic the men and the women always see eye-to-eye on. But if this ain't your first date, the Limelight Players' production of Oleanna could be an entertaining night out for the discriminating theater buff. Full of the controversial ideas and salty dialogue that Mamet thrives on, Oleanna will no doubt give you lots to discuss with your significant other during post-theater drinks. The curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. at Southwestern Illinois College's Belleville Campus Theatre (2500 Carlyle Avenue, Belleville, Illinois; 618-628-9998). Tickets are $8 to $10.
Sunday, August 29
Maybe when you were little, you wanted to grow up and be an archaeologist. Those were the days when you loved school and all that book-learnin'. Ahhh, the silliness of youth. But maybe every now and then that inquisitive child still pipes up. Why don't you indulge the younger you by visiting the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (30 Ramey Street and Collinsville Road, Collinsville, Illinois) for its Archaeology Days on Saturday and Sunday, August 28 and 29? Children (and your inner child) get to see how the pros made all those pointy spear tips during the flint-knapping demonstrations. You can also actually help search for and wash artifacts with the real, live archaeologists at the site! What if you find something really cool that unlocks the mysteries of the universe? Now that would make for a good weekend! The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days; visit www.cahokiamounds.com or call 618-346-5160 for more info. Oh yeah -- the event is free, but donating a couple bones (we mean dollars, not actual bones) won't hurt you.
Monday, August 30
The start of the school year also means the start of the performing-arts season at area universities. Webster University jumps into the fray first with a New Music Concert by the Webster University Faculty Jazz Ensemble at 7 p.m. in the Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7128). And because it's a new year, each member of the ensemble has written a new composition for the occasion. Obviously, without hearing any of them, we can't recommend any composition over another. But we're stumping for Willem von Hombracht's piece, Night, solely because he's the bassist. Bassists never get any love, and it's about time that changed. Mr. von Hombracht, fire it up for the bassists of the world. Tickets are $3, which is very affordable, especially since you haven't had time yet to squander your student grants.
Tuesday, August 31
It's Tuesday. It's midnight. It's time to tune in to elimiDATE, only the best dating show on television. But you grow weary of living vicariously through the small screen. Well, it's finally time for your own semi-private elimiDATE. Make St. Louis proud at the nationally syndicated show's seven casting calls: Thursday, August 26, at the Kastle (3207 Washington Avenue; 314-534-1571) from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday, August 28, at Rum Jungle (618 North Second Street; 314-231-5825) from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.; and Tuesday, August 31, at The Dam (4131 Union Road; 314-416-8669) from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. (log onto www.elimidate.com for the others). We're pretty sure you know the drill. Look good, drink up and be willing to fight. And a few more pieces of wisdom for your show appearance: Don't get so drunk at the first place (be it Broadway Oyster Bar or somewhere else) that you fall out of your chair flat on your back, and, more important, don't take anyone back to your parents' hot tub in Illinois (or wherever). That's just sad.