It's awkward to meet your childhood heroes as an adult; how do you tell them what they meant to you without feeling like a pathetic loser? It helps if your hero is super-friendly and can put you at ease; Clifford the Big Red Dog is that kind of hero. The Magic House (516 South Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood) hosts the lovable pup from Tuesday, January 11, through Sunday, January 16, so go meet him while you can. His big backyard, complete with extra-large dog house and waterbowl, is open for daily exploration, and he roams the yard for meet-and-greets from noon to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 12. Magic House admission is $6.50; call 314-822-8900 for more information.
Thursday, January 13
It's probably safe to say that you won't go out for burgers after hearing Kenneth Midkiff read from his book The Meat You Eat: How Corporate Farming Has Endangered America's Food Supply. Midkiff, the Clean Water Campaign Director for the Sierra Club, is a supporter of the small farmer and sustainable agriculture, and in The Meat You Eat he argues for these causes by citing the dangers inherent in the corporate-owned and -operated farm system. That may be more politics than you care to deal with at dinnertime, but Midkiff also argues that everyone should take an "active interest" in what they eat -- and around the Night & Day offices, there is no other topic that garners as much attention as what we eat. Join us at the Schlafly branch of the St. Louis Public Library (225 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731) at 7 p.m. for Midkiff's free reading and discussion, and then go out for pancakes afterward. There's no steak in pancakes, right?
Friday, January 14
Procrastination is a paralyzing force that prevents well-meaning people (like us) from accomplishing even the simplest of tasks. Never mind filing our taxes by the deadline; we're having a rough go of turning on the television in time to see the beginning of Law & Order reruns -- and we love Law & Order. We've also struggled with the gargantuan task of pointing our car in the direction of St. Charles and actually driving out to the Foundry Art Centre (520 North Main Center, St. Charles; 636-255-0270 or www.foundryartcentre.org), but it's not because we don't want to go. We want to see the exhibits there, we want to peer in on the artists in their studios, but we haven't been able to make the time. Until tonight. Beginning at 7 p.m. the Nostalgia Big Band plays, the cash bar flows, and people have fun. And that's a fun we don't wanna miss. Pay the $10 to join us at the Foundry's first Friday Bistro -- there's no time like the present.
Saturday, January 15
So what if Dodgeball wasn't Ben Stiller's best work? As you watched the film, you still probably felt nostalgic love for the game (and you know you liked the awesome Hank Azaria cameo). Catch that same feeling today from 6 to 10 p.m. at Dodge This!, a dodgeball tournament at the South City YMCA (3150 Sublette Avenue). Instead of benefiting a gym, the proceeds from this coed tourney will go toward the youth of Tower Grove Baptist Church, who are giving up a week of their summer to help those in need -- a deed ever-so-slightly more noble. Get an eight-person team together if you want ($80 per team), or just go and watch (free): You're bound to have more fun than you would dodging a wrench. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the tournament. Ready? Dodgeball!
Sunday, January 16
After a lot of talk and even more torn-up asphalt, it seems that Washington Avenue is once again becoming an entertainment center. Clubs have come and gone, but Velvet remains the same -- and that's a good thing. Now the Wash. Ave. mainstay is joined by a handful of new restaurants on the Ave. and its environs, and a few clubs have stuck around for a while too, like Isis and Europe. See the street's rebirth for yourself tonight (from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.) at the annual Sunday Night on Washington Festival, or S.N.O.W. Fest 2005 (sponsored in part by the RFT). Have some sushi at Rue 13 or Wasabi (perhaps the Washington Avenue roll -- yum!), try the potstickers at Mosaic, and enjoy a cocktail at Kitchen K or a cup of joe at Farrago. After that you will, of course, want to have a look at the furniture at Baseline, check out what's going on at Cummel's and the Studio Café and gaze at all the pretty people at Lucas Park Grille and Red Moon. And the perfect way to end your busy Sunday? Sitting by the fire and relaxing at the City Museum's Cabin Inn the City. Doesn't that sound nice? S.N.O.W. wristbands are free and available at 314-534-1111 and participating venues; visit www.snowfeststl.com for more information and venue addresses.
Monday, January 17
Happy birthday, Martin Luther King Jr.! Thanks for the day off. Rather than spend this one behind the Dungeon Master's screen leading another intrepid party to their doom under Castle Greyskull (that's what Saturday night is for), why not get up early and actually do stuff that honors Dr. King's legacy? You could get your car washed at either Gas House Car Wash location (3853 Forest Park Boulevard or 9849 Manchester Road, Rock Hill); the Gas House team donates 50 cents to $1 of each wash to the United Negro College Fund in Dr. King's memory, so you clean your car and shine your conscience simultaneously. Then drive your sparkling car to the Savvis Center (14th Street and Clark Avenue; 314-241-1888) for the St. Louis Gateway Classic Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Shootout. Eight high school basketball teams (six boys' teams, two girls') play beginning at 2 p.m. Match-ups include the ladies of Gateway Tech against the ladies of Hazelwood Central at 3:30 p.m., and the men of Vashon take on the men of East St. Louis at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $25. Call in sick tomorrow and storm the castle then, warlord.
Tuesday, January 18
William Faulkner once wrote that "memory forgets before knowing remembers," but David Friedman devoted his life and his art to insuring that memory never forgot the horrors of the Holocaust. Friedman survived the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, determined to create a body of work that would both document the brutality innocent people endured and remember those who did not survive it. The exhibit of Friedman's work, Because They Were Jews!, on display at the St. Louis Artists' Guild (2 Oak Knoll Park, Clayton; 314-727-6266), is a sober record of humanity's darkest hour. It's also a testament to the human spirit, which strives to create even when destruction surrounds us. Friedman's work will humble and inspire you at the same time. Because They Were Jews! opens Sunday, January 16, at 1 p.m., but if you wish to avoid the hoopla and spend some quiet time with the work and your thoughts, the gallery is open from noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, January 18.