The trailer is a punch line, a joke used to signal "low class." Tell people you spent many a happy summer traveling the country in the family's trailer, and they'll shoot you the raised-eyebrow, you-have-got-to-be-kidding look. The wise traveler knows that if the scorn becomes too great to bear, social status can be quickly regained by claiming, "It was in an Airstream."
The silver-bullet-shape trailer is instantly recognizable: Aerodynamic, gleaming and beautiful, the Airstream is a head-turning objet d'art that fuses classic design with practical American utility. Wallace "Wally" Byam, the Airstream's designer, was inspired by the Art Deco movement and the precise machining of the Jet Age; his prototype was perfected in the 1930s, but the trailers still look futuristic and sleek today. Airstream! The Architectural History of the Land Yacht is an all-encompassing look at the long, successful history of Byam's design, featuring archival photographs, sales brochures, plans, models and material samples. The work of contemporary designers Nic Bailey and Christopher Dean, who create modern interiors for modern Airstreams, is also part of the show. Airstream! opens with a free public reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 22, at the Bernoudy Gallery of Architecture in the Sheldon Concert Hall (3648 Washington Boulevard; 314-533-9900 or www.sheldonconcerthall.org) and remains on display through August 20. -- Paul Friswold
Dzine discusses Punk Funk
In the future, traveling painters will be flanked by DJs, and art openings will be complemented by enough music to make your Adam's apple throb. Lucky for us, the future is now. At 7 p.m. Chicago-based painter Dzine stops by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660 or www.contemporarystl.org) to discuss his work (pictured), which has been on display for the past month in the show Punk Funk. Dzine's abstract, high-energy paintings have a vibrant, three-dimensional quality thanks to Envirotex, a thin coat of plastic that allows Dzine to incorporate other media into his work, such as a layer of tiny glass beads made in collaboration with artist Maya Romanoff. Jesse de la Peña provides the evening's beats, and admission is free.-- Jess Minnen
The Dude Abides
But that creep can roll, man
Lebowski -- the Dude, not the rich guy -- perfected the Zen-like, meditative, wantless cool that helped him crack the Lebowski kidnapping (and get his rug back) by bowling. It's great training, and it paid off -- that rug really tied the room together. If you haven't seen the Coen brothers' masterwork The Big Lebowski, you should, but you can still enjoy the Big Lebowski Bowling Party at 3 p.m. at Pin-Up Bowl (6191 Delmar Boulevard). The geniuses of that fine establishment realized it was time to celebrate the cinema's greatest bowler, and here's how they're doing it: There's no cover, white Russians are on special, and anybody in a Lebowski-themed costume gets free shoe rental and a discount. When you're dealing with a movie where every line is memorable (for some), it's hard to get a handle on how to approach this bowling thing. It's a tough case to crack. But what else are you going to do? Sit at home with pee stains on your rug? For more information call 314-727-5555. Phone's ringin', Dude. -- Mark Dischinger
Why party in a park when you can party at a plaza? Parks can be unpredictable, but West Port Plaza (I-270 and Page Avenue, Maryland Heights) sounds nice, yes? Well, then, you're in luck: Thursday, April 21, kicks off the "Parties at the Plaza" season with a performance by the ubiquitous Ralph Butler Band. Other third-Thursday concerts include Paint the Earth in July and Boom in October (the last plaza shindig). All parties run from 5 to 8 p.m. and are free (but booze and food will cost you); visit www.mhcc.com or call 314-576-6603 for more information. -- Alison Sieloff