In early 2004 President Bush boldly claimed that America would take to outer space with a vengeance, re-conquering the moon by nightfall and then plucking the sovereignty of Mars from the little green men like it was the greasiest pork rind in the galaxy.
No one really believed these claims -- except for W., and possibly the Moscows.
The last, best, rockingest musicians from the Soviet era of cosmonauts, the Moscows have melded their penchant for exploring the cosmos in Siberian-grade spacecraft with their love of classic glam rock. The result is their American debut, Onward Broken Spaceman, a concept album that is equal parts Ziggy Stardust and Yuri Gregarin. Songs about space girlfriends ("Spacegirlfriend"), outer space ("Outerspace") and rayguns ("Raygun") bristle with high-gain British fuzz, deep echo and monotone pronouncements about the glory of space, such as: "Attention members of Outer Space, this song goes out to you." They also have a soft spot for the sort of torch song that epitomized the swinging '60s, as in the delicate bossa (super)nova ballad "Jupiter." "Take to the sky, love's bittersweet melody/Would you believe she's up there listening for me?" Yakov Thunder asks the universe. The universe doesn't answer, but in a nebula of gently strummed guitars and pinging chimes, it's not nearly as lonely as it sounds. The Moscows bring their vision of a gloriously retro-rocket future to Mad Art (2727 South 12th Street; 314-771-8230) for a Space Rock Opera Halloween Party from 7 p.m. to midnight.
Mad Art strongly encourages everyone to attend in their finest space-age costumes, to make the Moscows feel a little more at home -- and also because it's Halloween, and because Mad Art's large-scale parties (such as last year's Art Prom) are a rockin' good time, with outrageous costumes and stunning visuals. So be a part of it, and welcome our Cold War travelers. Tickets are $10 in advance (recommended, because Mad Art's parties get crowded quickly) and are available through MetroTix (314-534-1111). And of course, there will be a cash bar. -- Paul Friswold
After sitting on death row for 50 years, or whatever it is these days, condemned prisoners certainly have a long time to contemplate their last meals. We suspect cholesterol and partially hydrogenated oils aren't a concern and that taste is the big deciding factor when choosing. See if you feel like eating after viewing Mel Dean Westmeyer: Last Meals, the somber and stirring new exhibit at the St. Louis Community College-Meramec Art Gallery (Humanities East Building, Room 133, on the SLCC-Meramec campus at 11333 Big Bend Boulevard; 314-984-7632). This Chicago artist's paintings of prisoners' final meals (one such dinner is pictured above) are on display from Friday, October 29 (with an opening reception from 6:30 to 9 p.m.), until November 19. -- Alison Sieloff
For many of us, the cold months mean little more than ripening indoors. But rather than dreading the sunless days and long nights in a sour funk, try contemplating your own unperceived potential. It may help to adorn your hibernaculum with reminders of all that comes to fruition in light -- like fine art. Conveniently enough, artisans from the nonprofit group The Best of Missouri Hands are on hand at the free ARTstravaganza! at the St. Louis Artists' Guild (2 Oak Knoll Park). This showcase includes several local artists' work, such as Sandra Schulz's pottery, Lori Purk's photography and Mike Ochonicky's scrimshaw, all on display from 4 p.m. Friday, October 29, until 3 p.m. Sunday, October 31. Call 314-727-6266 for more info. -- John Goddard
Every city in the world nurtures a coterie of youths in tight pants and imported sweaters who obsess over the details of mid-'60s Swinging London. They're called mods, and in St. Louis they congregate at Lemmons.
Unlike the ironclad cliques in bigger cities, St. Louis mods don't have the luxury of snobhood -- there just aren't enough of them to split hairs, so a shapeless Rams T-shirt won't necessarily bar your entry to the Carnaby Street, the monthly mod night at Lemmons (5800 Gravois Road; 314-481-4812; 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.). The musical approach is similarly nondogmatic: Mod DJs spin anything with staccato crispness and amphetamine energy. Ride your scooter for free admission or else pay $3. -- Jason Toon