Around the holidays most of us eat more -- you know, to keep warm (or to keep happy, one of the two). Maybe during this time of year your belly swells so much that you have to give it a name, like the Christmas Belly or, perhaps, Jean. When things get that, uh, pronounced, it's time to head to the gym. But before you do that, maybe you should visit a place like Saleem's or Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar -- where bellies reign supreme (although at Saleem's, bellies have to share their power with King Garlic). Every Thursday at Remy's (222 South Bemiston Avenue, Clayton; 314-726-5757 or www.greatrestaurantsinc.com) and every Friday and Saturday at Saleem's (except Christmas; 6501 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-721-7947), Aalim Dance Academy belly dancers perform and showcase their bellies. Have a glass of wine or eat some garlic, and, of course, enjoy a meal as you watch the performances -- that will make Jean extra-happy. -- Alison Sieloff
The ladies of Aalim shimmy inside this time of the
year, because no belly dancer looks sexy in a parka.
The Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street, which hails from the classic period of holiday films (before Tim Allen), gets a send-up and a revisit of sorts in Miracle on 13th Street, the new-ish mystery dinner-theater production at the Lemp Mansion Restaurant & Inn (3322 DeMenil Place). In this story, which continues on Friday and Saturday nights through January 15, ol' Mr. Kris Kringle doesn't find the headless body of his top elf or anything like that. The dinner-theater mystery actually sticks to the question of the existence of Santa Claus and the validity of Mr. Kringle's claim to be said fat man, just like in the movie. So it is a mystery, and it is hosted in a haunted mansion. What other recommendation do you require? Let off a little holiday steam with this humorous take on the season, and enjoy some dinner to boot. Call 314-664-8024 for reservations -- the shows start at 7 p.m., and tickets cost $43.95 per person. -- Jedidiah Ayres
Wot's All This, Then? Edwin Drood Responds
Part of The Mystery of Edwin Drood's charm is that the Dickensian murder-mystery has multiple endings; you can see it several times and be surprised every time. If, after multiple shows, your curiosity about Rupert Holmes' musical comedy is still not satisfied, you can stick around after the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' 1:30 p.m. matinee (at the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves; 314-968-4925 or www.repstl.org) and ask questions of the cast and crew. Perhaps if you come back for the 8 p.m. show, you can put your newfound knowledge into play and get a more desirable ending. Tickets are $29 to $49. -- Paul Friswold