True story: A few months back, a dear friend spilled a mugful of coffee all over his laptop. Our friend is a novelist, and the computer contained thousands of hard-won words; it housed dozens of painstakingly rendered scenes. He collapsed in a frustrated ball on the couch. Just then, his two cats -- a teeny girl-kitty and a panther-like tomcat -- came and nuzzled his cheek, then curled up next to him and just stayed there, purring their support, until he could get his wits about him.
Animals are some of the best companions we could hope to have. Unfortunately, animals are also at people's mercy, and we don't always do right by them. Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue of Saint Louis (www.strayrescue.org), shows compassion for the sickest, most needy cats and dogs by taking them into his no-kill shelter, getting them medical treatment and finding loving humans to adopt them. Over the past several months, dozens of St. Louis-area artists -- including Jaime Gartelos, Nita Turnage and Alan Brunettin -- have spent time with the dogs of Stray Rescue and have created works inspired by them. These works have been donated to the Mad Art Gallery (2727 South 12th Street; 314-771-8230 or www.madart.com) for its Mad Arf benefit (from 7 to 11 p.m.). All of the donated artworks will be for sale via a silent auction, and all proceeds go to Stray Rescue. The event is free (a cash bar is open all evening), and the Butler's Pantry provides light hors d'oeuvres. Give generously, and receive an amazing work of art, the satisfaction of supporting a worthy cause and probably a few cheek-nuzzles in return. -- Brooke Foster
All the Trailer's a Stage
And they are trashy players
How in the world did we not notice the film Sordid Lives when it was originally released five years ago? Beau Bridges, Delta Burke and Olivia Newton-John leading an ensemble cast of trailer-trash characters through the aftermath of the family matriarch's death (which came about through a postcoital tumble over carelessly placed wooden legs) is not the sort of movie that normally goes unnoticed. Fortunately, Olympus Theatre returns Del Shores' earthy comedy to its theatrical roots at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (February 18 through 26, with a bonus Thursday show on February 24) at SPOT (4146 Manchester Avenue). The Hollywood stars aren't in this production, but Shores' original characters are larger than life on their own. Brother Boy still dresses as Tammy Wynette (the early years only), La Vonda and Noleta still have a Thelma and Louise fantasy, and Sissy's still trying to quit smoking. Tickets for this very adult comedy are $15 and are available by calling 314-371-1330. -- Paul Friswold
Before and After
The large windowpanes and multicolored light display behind its marquee make the Regional Arts Commission stand out at 6128 Delmar Boulevard (314-863-5811), in the newly dubbed East Loop. This Saturday, February 19, the windows of the Gallery at the Regional Arts Commission frame a show featuring emerging, stand-out artists. Pre and Post includes work by Juan Wm. Chávez, Alison Barton, Justin Farkas, Maria Grasso, Jan Keller and Joshua Meyer (that's his Dismantle, pictured). Haven't heard of them? Well, you have now. The six artists lend works in various media to the exhibition, which seeks not only to showcase up-and-coming talent but also to delineate connections between the artists' past works and the forward-thinking art of the present. The free opening reception on Saturday runs from 4 to 6 p.m., and the show is up until March 26. -- Jess Minnen
The Ballets de Monte-Carlo offers an adult version of Cinderella at 8 p.m. at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1111 or www.dancestlouis.org) on Friday and Saturday (February 18 and 19). No, not adult like "dirty"; this is adult as in "sophisticated and passionate." Choreographer-director Jean-Christophe Maillot drops the cartoony, kid-friendly elements that Disney injected into the familiar story and instead enters the fairytale world through glorious costumes, surrealistic set design and Sergei Prokofiev's classic score; once there, Maillot emphasizes the story's theme of loss and longing to create a bittersweet adventure. But that's grown-up love for you. It'll make you cry, and it'll make you dance, sometimes simultaneously. Tickets for this glittery version of Cinderella are $32 to $68. -- Paul Friswold
Dear Loyal Night & Day Readers,
Hi! How are things going with you? Things are good here, except that we're a bit sad. Why, you may be asking yourself? Because letter-writing seems to have become a lost art in these IM-ing alphabet-soup times. Kids nowadays probably don't even learn cursive, let alone the proper formats for all the different kinds of letters (especially since the computer wizard "helps" with these sorts of things, or tries to, rather). Please join us (and the Dogtown Historical Society) as we relive the olden letter-writing days of yore at 7 p.m. at the St. James the Greater School's cafeteria (1360 Tamm Avenue; call 314-631-0946 for more information). Hear Father P.J. O'Connor's essays written during the Depression and excerpts from the book Letters from Dogtown written by Helen Scherzinger. Guess what? Her book contains just that: letters! And just like in the old days, this event is free.
Hope to see you there,