Political progressives had a tough time in 2004. All the big-name benefit concerts to oust Bush, all those tickets sold for Fahrenheit 9/11...and still, the bad guys won. It's enough to make any liberal search the help-wanted ads in the Toronto papers. Is all lost? Is there any hope? Will America just keep getting worse?
Now might be a good time to take a step back, to recognize that America has progressed even during some of this country's darkest days. When Yale Law School grad William L. Taylor (pictured) joined Thurgood Marshall on the legal team of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People just over 50 years ago, segregation still plagued the nation, with black Americans restricted to inferior schools, neighborhoods and jobs. The NAACP's historic Brown v. Board of Education victory, which served to end segregation in public schools, was just one step in a marathon struggle. As described in his memoir, The Passion of My Times: An Advocate's 50-Year Journey in the Civil Rights Movement, Taylor and his contemporaries kept up the fight in the face of racist Southern governors and rock-throwing anti-busing yahoos -- a valuable lesson for disheartened progressives today. Learn more as Taylor discusses and signs his book at 7 p.m. at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731 or www.left-bank.com). -- Jason Toon
The Kerry Patch
Hits the big time
Hollywood meets rural Ireland in Stones in His Pockets, the comedy that's already proven itself a big hit on Broadway and in London's West End and is now staged at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves) by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. When a big-budget film crew takes over a sleepy, sheep-tastic town, the local townspeople whip up plenty of drama themselves. Watch it unfold as actors Joe Hickey and Timothy McCracken take on all fifteen of the play's characters.
Stones in His Pockets debuts Wednesday, January 5, and runs through February 4. Show times vary by day; call the Rep's box office at 314-968-4925 or visit www.repstl.org for details or to purchase tickets, which cost $12 to $58. -- Rose Martelli
Even though The Carol Burnett Show has been off the air for a long time now (1978 was the variety show's last year), Burnett second bananas Harvey Korman and Tim Conway are still chugging along years later, with nine Emmy Awards between them and a stage show re-creating some of their best-known skits. Yes, Korman's finest work was alongside Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles, and Conway really hit his stride as the voice of Barnacle Boy on SpongeBob SquarePants. But millions of Americans will always remember Korman and Conway as the two guys in cheap costumes cracking up at each other's jokes. See the comedians at 8 p.m. at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; www.fabulousfox.com) in their show Together Again, which costars Louise DuArt; this performance replaces the cancelled October 30 show. Tickets cost $42.50 to $57.50 and are available at the Fox box office or from MetroTix (314-534-1111 or www.metrotix.com). -- Jason Toon
Fear No Tears
The St. Louis Black Repertory Company launches into its 2005 season with Javon Johnson's Cryin' Shame. Set in a South Carolina corner store that hides an illicit second business, Cryin' Shame deals with unspoken and hidden emotions and the strain these secrets put on their bearers, and the show stars playwright Johnson in the role of Sherman. Cryin' Shame plays at the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square; 314-534-3810) at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, with 3 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday (January 5 through 30). Tickets are $10 to $37.50. -- Paul Friswold