Raja, if you were a human, this would be a tough birthday for you. Twelve years old, not a boy and not yet a man, with one kid definitely on the way (Sri, an experienced 24, is carrying your first baby) and the very real possibility that Ellie, who is 21 years your senior, is also totally knocked up (she won't get her test results back for another three weeks). Not even old enough for a bar mitzvah and already on your way to double daddyness. What kind of gifts are we supposed to get you? Viagra doesn't seem to be necessary, but maybe a cold shower and a set of free weights are.
Ah, we're just kiddin', Raja! You're doing a great job as an elephant. You've been groomed to be the No. 1 stud since the day you were born, and you're already proving your mettle. (By comparison, at twelve we were just discovering Motörhead and, um, "ourselves," wink wink.) This should be your best birthday yet! Your species is in dire straits right now, and the world needs more virile young bulls like you who are willing to step up and procreate. Still, no gift for you; our presence will be your present, OK? We'll be at your free, 11 a.m. birthday party at the River's Edge in the Saint Louis Zoo (Forest Park; 314-781-0900) with who-knows-how-many other well-wishers, and we'll sing the song and then watch you smash the cake, just like you always do. But in two years, when you're fourteen and have two little calves nearby, don't expect a cake anymore. They'll get the cake, and you'll get a tie. -- Paul Friswold
Just Bags in the Wind
Remember the plastic bag's thought-provoking cameo in American Beauty? Now the bag is causing head-turning and head-scratching in the work of Danny Yahav-Brown, a visiting artist and assistant professor at Webster University. Yahav-Brown's current show at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660 or www.contemporarystl.org) is part of the museum's Project Series, an annual exhibition program awarded to local artists. This time, rather than traipsing and twisting in the wind, the bag finds itself affixed to a full-blast oscillating fan. But kinda like in the movie, Yahav-Brown's installation, entitled And Then They Danced, imparts greater meaning to everyday objects, common human gestures and simple language. The exhibit remains on view through February 27, and museum admission costs $3 to $5. -- Rose Martelli
Imagine a world in which Jim Henson never lived. Were it not for the master puppeteer, who toiled endlessly beginning in the 1950s to capture the hearts and imaginations of the entire world, there would be no Fraggle Rock, no Dark Crystal, no Sesame Street...and there would be no Muppets. It's a bleak vision, isn't it?
Beginning at 7 p.m. your friends at Frederick's Music Lounge (4454 Chippewa Street; 314-351-5711 or www.fredericksmusiclounge.com) celebrate the life and work of Henson with screenings of his 1979 magnum opus, The Muppet Movie, plus the 1994 biographical The World of Jim Henson. And as always with Fred's Monday Movies, admission is free. -- John Goddard
The Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis has decked its tiny little halls and hung its tiny little stockings by tiny little chimneys, because tiny little Santa Claus is comin' to town. From now through January 15, the museum displays some merry Christmas, Hanukkah and winter scenes as well as the usual scale dolls and dollhouses. If you like your holiday fun in really small doses, 4746 Gravois Avenue is the place for you. Museum admission is $2 to $5, so bring the kids along and revel in the itty-bitty helpings of good cheer Wednesday through Sunday (except holidays). Call 314-832-7790 or visit www.miniaturemuseum.org for times. -- Mia York