December is perhaps the most wish-filled month of the year. Children wish for piles of loot, parents wish for patience, the good-hearted wish for peace on Earth, and pretty much everybody is wishing for that sweet week of vacation between Christmas and New Year's.
I Wish Your Wish, the new interactive exhibit created by Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander, deals with the power of wishing but transforms it from a solitary act into a communal act. In São Salvador, Brazil, there is a long-standing custom in the Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim where visitors take a colored ribbon and tie it around their wrist in three knots, making a wish with each knot; when the ribbon falls off, the wish becomes reality. Neuenschwander extrapolates this tradition by asking people around the world what their wishes are and then printing these wishes on ribbons. Masses of these multicolored, pre-wished ribbons make up I Wish Your Wish; visitors are invited to select a stranger's wish and make it their own. In the process two people are joined in the realm of imagination, as they share a semi-secret hope for the future, and December will become that much more wish-enhanced.
Folks, you don't have to be one of the Chosen to get into the Hanukkah spirit. You don't even have to go to temple! Brandt's Café (6525 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-3663) gets the Festival of Lights going at 6:30 p.m. with an evening of klezmer and latkes. The former is the raucous, rollicking folk music of the Jews, and it is provided by the Yidn Klezmer Band; the latter is a delicious little potato pancake that will make you re-appreciate the humble tuber as the perfect food. The latkes should also whet your appetite for a full meal, which Brandt's just happens to be in the business of providing. And if you bring a canned good to donate to the Jewish Food Pantry, you receive a 10 percent discount on your meal. Everybody wins! L'Chaim!-- Paul Friswold
Ghost of Dinners Past
Just what does wassail taste like? Find out for yourself at 6 p.m. at the Jefferson Barracks Candlelight Dinner (Jefferson Barracks Visitors' Center, Kingston Drive and South Broadway), where you, the patron, are served an 1860s-style feast by grown men and women in Civil War period costume. You're encouraged to fraternize with the help and discuss things of mutual interest, such as holidays in a war zone and what it's like to live in an unhappy, deeply polarized society. Speaking of unhappy, this is the swan-song event for the Jefferson Barracks military museums, which close after December 31. Make reservations (at $45 per person) by calling 314-544-5714. --Jedidiah Ayres
It's Just Brunch
If you think Puck's Sunday brunch inside the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park is delicious, just wait until you've had the brunch outside -- in a decorated, heated holiday tent no less! As you watch over the sunny side of the Grand Basin, serve yourself plate after plate of eggs, apple-smoked bacon, grilled veggies and other brunch-y treats (sunshine for your belly) at this 125th Anniversary Brunch, complete with family activities and festive music. The brunch runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but the fun goes all day. Call 314-655-5438 for your required reservation; tickets cost $15 to $25. And reserve your spot soon -- one of the three seatings has already sold out! -- Alison Sieloff