How do musicians do it? With little equipment (or at least that stuff is small compared to the size of the room they're performing in), they can more than fill every inch of the space with sound and make the place come alive -- even when a particular musician's sound is an ambient one. Experience this kind of all-encompassing-yet-minimal techno music when Alka (né Sasha Kaline) performs at 609 Restaurant's U Lounge (609 Eastgate Avenue, University City; 314-721-9168 or www.609u.com) from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. This New York producer, who did the "sound design" for the documentary Radioman, will be accompanied at the free show by local DJ Dysphonix; you can hear his sound at www.dysphonix.com. But why are you listening to music on your computer? Go out tonight, sit back (on U Lounge's tiny cushioned cubes), and hear sound truly encompass the room -- and you.
Thursday, April 7
The 7 p.m. performance by Yasuko Arai of the Heike biwa at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-655-5299 or www.slam.org) is a treat of exceptionally rare provenance. This traditional Japanese storytelling art is a ritual recitation of the Tale of the Heike with accompaniment on the biwa lute. The story charts the Genji War of 1180-1185, which ushered in the samurai era and forever ended the Japanese classical period. Retelling the tale in this manner serves both to remind the Japanese of their history and what was lost in the war, and also to allay the spirits of the dead. Ms. Arai is an acknowledged master of the art, and honestly: Who among your friends can claim that they've ever witnessed a live performance of medieval Japanese musical narrative? You'll be the envy of your carpool. Tickets are $3 to $5.
Friday, April 8
What's up with this Whitney Biennial? It seems that all kinds of people's works are included in it except ours -- and we draw great unicorns here at Night & Day. We try really hard, and we practice, and sometimes we even include a rainbow in our horned-horsey artworks -- and still, no love from Whitney. And as if we aren't already bummed out enough about this whole Biennial business, another one of "them" is coming to town (or at least his work is). Join us as we go to the William Shearburn Gallery (4735 McPherson Avenue; 314-367-8020) to see what's up with James "Whitney Biennial" Siena's intricate, geometric prints in the exhibit Ten Years of Printmaking; it opens tonight with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. and remains on view through May 14.
Saturday, April 9
Musicals are great -- except for all that talking between songs. The Theatre Guild of Webster Groves understands that we want to hear singing, not speaking, so it's doing right by some musicals with its original musical revue, Defying Gravity. Hear your favorite tunes from Grease, Chicago, The Wiz and more sung by nineteen performers at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (April 8 and 9) or at 2 p.m. on Sunday (April 10) at 517 Theatre Lane in Webster Groves. And as if that's not enough, local celebs host the performances. Fancy! Tickets for all shows are $15, and proceeds benefit the Special Education Foundation of St. Louis. Visit www.theaterguildwg.org or call 314-962-0876 for more information.
Sunday, April 10
Color Me Dark, the last production of the 2005 COCA Family Theatre Series, is best suited for the older kids, as the play deals with racism, prejudice and injustice. Young sisters Erma Jean and Nellie Lee Love leave rural 1920s Tennessee for Chicago and discover that societal ills can be found everywhere, even in your own community. The girls also discover that these trials can be overcome by those willing to struggle for what's right. The play, adapted from local author Patricia McKissack's story of the same name, is presented by the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration Tour at 7 p.m. on Friday and at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (April 8 through 10) at the Center for Creative Arts (524 Trinity Avenue, University City; 314-725-6555 or www.cocastl.org). Tickets are $15 and available through MetroTix (314-534-1111).
Monday, April 11
How many musicians can claim to have performed with both Francis Albert Sinatra and Brain (of Pinky and the Brain fame)? No, not at the same time, although that would be a show worth TiVo-ing. Woodwind musician Gary Foster has played with both figures, along with about a zillion other storied performers (Barbra Streisand, Jane Monheit and Johnny Mathis are also on his c.v.), and now he adds the Webster University Big Band to his list. Foster performs classic jazz numbers such as "Perdido" (made famous by Duke Ellington) and "Vine Street Rumble" (part of the "Kansas City Suite" made famous by the Count Basie Orchestra) with the WUBB at 7 p.m. in the Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue on Webster University's campus; 314-968-7128). Tickets are $5, but if you're a Webster student, you get in free. Lucky Webster students.
Tuesday, April 12
Here's a little something you may not know: Mr. Night swore off television a few months ago. He had to, because how many reruns of Full House can the human system take? He doesn't miss TV, but he's not one of those anti-television nuts, either. If he was, he couldn't enjoy the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660 or www.contemporarystl.org) for the next three months. During regular hours, CAMSTL continuously airs seasons one and two of the PBS series art:21 -- Art in the Twenty-First Century in the New Media Center (on the second floor). This series presents modern artists discussing their work and philosophies; and the episodes Mr. Night saw in his TV days were pretty entertaining. Season one, screening Tuesday through Sunday this week, features Sally Mann and William Wegman, among others. Admission is $3 to $5, and the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.