With the release of the exciting Playboy compilation CD (as seen on TV), it seems the sexophone is finally becoming more mainstream, even though WSSM (106.5 FM) Smooth Jazz is already hosting its Third Annual Amateur Jazz Contest. They're ahead of the curve, but where have you been the last two years? Jump out of your silky pajamas, put out your scented candles and catch up on your easy listening every Wednesday at Westfield Shoppingtown West County (I-270 and Manchester Road; 314-288-2020 or www.westfield.com). All of the contest matches are held at 7 p.m. at the mall except the showdown on September 29: That's at the Foundry Art Centre. Which of the twelve jazzy contestants will emerge victorious at the final on October 13? You'll just have to hold your slow dances until then, and just know that on that day, smooth jazz (and one lucky contestant) will get the sweet, sweet love it deserves.
Thursday, September 16
Time is running out for you to see the Jane Birdsall Lander, Jennifer Locke and Leslie Reuther exhibit at the St. Louis Community College-Meramec Art Gallery (Humanities East Building 133, on the SLCC-Meramec campus at 11333 Big Bend Boulevard; 314-984-7632). This three-woman show explores communication through the use of image, text and structure in three different media, and it is scheduled to come down on September 24. Perhaps it's a writer thing, or perhaps just Mr. Night's love of anachronism, but Reuther's work evokes warm feelings. Her self-portraits constructed of clashing layers of words hammered out of an antique typewriter are art he can understand. Truly, these are pictures of a thousand words. The Art Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and admission is free.
Friday, September 17
On occasion, it's nice to dress up fancy and go out for an evening on the town, just like the big people do, and An Intimate Evening of Traditional Chinese Music sounds like the perfect opportunity to do so. At 8 p.m. at the Touhill Performing Arts Center (1 University Boulevard; 314-516-4949), Guishen Zhang, Guixian Li and Tong Zhang perform traditional music of the various regions of China. And if you think you know Chinese music thanks to your assiduous viewing of Kung Fu, well, there's more to it than bamboo flutes and temple bells. This particular trio is a two zithers and a pipa set up, and if you don't know what a pipa is, that just shows how much you need to learn. A pipa is a Chinese stringed instrument analogous to a lute, and you know there hasn't been enough lute in your life. Tickets for the performance are $7 to $15, which is a bargain.
Saturday, September 18
Free outdoor theatre? We're all about that business. Hydeware Theatre's fourth annual installment of Hydeware in the Park comes to a close this weekend with their gender-flipped adaptation of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew in the beautiful Old Playground Pavilion of Tower Grove Park (Magnolia and Tower Grove avenues, in the northeast corner of the park). In Hydeware's version Petruchio is the shrew, and Katherine is the one who will "tame" his bitchy ways through harassment and domination. Somehow, that sounds less amusing when the gender-discrimination shoe is on the other foot. Well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Taming of the Shrew begins at 5:30 p.m., admission is free and Hydeware invites everyone to bring picnic baskets and blankets to make a night of it. Check out www.hydewaretheatre.com or call 314-368-7306 for more information.
Sunday, September 19
It pains Mr. Night to admit that his spiritual guru, Homer Simpson, could be wrong about anything, but Homer's advice to think of greyhounds as "little horses" is both wrong and harmful. Greyhounds are dogs, which means they are loyal, lovable and as desirous of love as any human being. This is the message Greyhound Planet Day seeks to spread to the world at large, Homer be damned! Countries as far-flung as Canada, Ireland and Australia participate in Greyhound Planet Day activities, holding rallies to raise awareness of the need for more greyhound adoptions. St. Louis' free festivities are held at Kiener Plaza (Seventh and Market streets; www.gpd-stl.org) between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Following a big walk (dogs love their walkies!) are children's activities, microchipping (for dogs only, not kids), pet portraits, music, a group picture and a blessing of the hounds. And if you're greyhound-less, come on down -- foster greys ready for adoption are looking for love.
Monday, September 20
This really is the week of sexy music for St. Louisans. Smooth jazz (see Wednesday) is sexy-cool, but flamenco is sexy-hot. What a great pairing for Modesto's tapas calientes! (That's hot tapas for the non-Spanish speaking; the restaurant's cold tapas are good, too.) Stop by 5257 Shaw Avenue this and every Monday to try out croquetas de pollo y jamón, queso de cabra y championes al horno, and pechuga de pollo; these little plates have big flavor. And make sure your dinner's between 8 and 10 p.m. because that's when Los Flamencos perform. Your meal will taste that much more authentic with authentic Spanish music and dancing -- and with a few pitchers of sangria. Call 314-772-8272 for reservations.