"Women Change America"

It's more than a theme, it's the truth

In this American Idol nation, you probably know about Fantasia Barrino (the show's third winner) and her song, which goes out to all the baby-mamas. Which is fine. There're already all kinds of songs for hoochie-mamas and hot mamas, and there's no shortage of talk about yo' mama and even Mama's Family (believe it or not, people are still discussing that show). But where's all the love for regular, everyday women? Now, no disrespect is intended for the mama-types -- they deserve admiration for their own special contributions to society -- but the regular gals should be getting recognition at the same time. And that's what March is for.

For those who don't know, March is Women's History Month, the perfect time to celebrate women who made textbook history and those who just made a little history in their own corner of the world. St. Louis Community College-Meramec (11333 Big Bend Boulevard) has a whole slew of things planned for the month, such as the Women Making History: Creating Outside the Box exhibit in the school's art gallery (Humanities East Building, Room 133; 314-984-7632). This show, which features works by female staff and students who aren't officially in the fine arts, opens with a free reception from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Monday, March 7. Visit www.stlcc.edu/mc/womenshistory or call 314-984-7695 for more information about the school's other planned events, like the Janet Reno (!) keynote appearance on March 30.

Not to be outdone, the University of Missouri-St. Louis (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road) also hosts several Women's History Month events, including a free discussion with Amaya Brecher from The Real World: Hawaii (March 10; 314-516-5291) and a concert performance by Grammy winner Sharon Isbin (pictured) and the Arianna String Quartet this Saturday, March 5, at 8 p.m. at the Touhill Performing Arts Center (314-516-4949; tickets cost $12 to $32). Check www.umsl.edu/~wia for more information about these and other events. And during the month of March, don't forget to give all women throughout all time -- including yourself, be you a nacho mama, a sophisticated mama or whatever -- their and your proper recognition. -- Alison Sieloff

He's a Magic Man
Abraqdoba!

As his co-workers can attest, Mr. Night is something of an amateur magician. After a hearty lunch at Qdoba, he can make an entire office disappear (although to be honest, his powers are more gaseous than mysterious). Terry Richison, however, has Mr. Night beat: Sometime soon, Richison will make the Gateway Arch vanish! But don't worry -- it's part of a television special he's planning, not some nefarious act. Richison brings his show, It's Magic! Where Dreams Become Reality, to the Lincoln Theatre (103 East Main Street, Belleville, Illinois; 618-233-0123) for a pre-Arch preview at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 6. Richison promises a Vegas-style show with amazing feats of legerdemain, performed with generous amounts of humor and showmanship. Tickets are $10 to $15. -- Paul Friswold

Mound City Masterpieces

Our hometown culture (baseball, T-ravs and pilsner) is a pretty swank legacy -- but it's a little thin, don't you think? Some nice buildings, the Arch and two stadiums side-by-side ain't bad, but they aren't much to show for a couple hundred years of continuous habitation. Now consider the Native American mound-building culture that preceded us: Between 700 and 1400 A.D., this society built an economic and cultural network that spread as far south as Louisiana. And these people didn't have even one stadium. They did have a wealth of beautiful and evocative art, which makes up the new Hero, Hawk and Open Hand exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0072 or www.slam.org). This touring show opens on Friday, March 4, and remains up through May 30. Admission is $4 to $6 (free on Fridays). -- Paul Friswold

Will Betsy Wetsy Be There?

SUN 3/6

Gunsmith Jacob Hawken moved to St. Louis in 1807 and made his fortune from the famed Hawken rifle, purportedly toted by Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. Fifty years later, Jacob's son Christopher built the Hawken House. Today this house is located at 1155 South Rock Hill Road in Webster Groves (314-968-1857 or www.historicwebster.org) and is home to an extensive collection of dolls (an addition to the house since Christopher's time -- we can't imagine the gun-slinging Hawken clan being doll collectors). View these dolls and the dolls of the Greater St. Louis Doll Club's members from 1 to 4 p.m. at "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls: An Afternoon with the Experts." Admission costs $1 to $2.50 for people but is free for dolls (who are invited). -- Jess Minnen

 
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