Like Sands Through the Hourglass

So are the days of our lives

So for years there was this guy in South Beach who built an absolutely amazing sandcastle. The thing was practically life-size, and it included an almost uncountable number of turrets, doorways and windows -- plus fire! Of course an outdoor work like this needed constant maintenance and reworking, especially after rainy, ocean-breezy days, and this proud guy seemed to continuously toil away on his beach masterpiece -- all day, every day.

How different his life would've been if he was a monk, especially if he was one of the Lamas of Drepung Loseling Monastery. Sure, to join the monastery, Miami's Sandcastle Guy may have had to move away from tony South Beach and undergo a religious transformation, but his relationship with sand would also have had to change. See, these monks realize that nothing is static, nor is it everlasting, and they demonstrate this through the 20,000-year-old beautiful-yet-tedious tradition of mandala sand painting.

When the monks visit the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0072 or www.slam.org), they'll create a mandala at the Mystical Arts of Tibet's Mandala Sand Painting: The Architecture of Enlightenment. Beginning after a noon opening ceremony on Tuesday, April 26, and finishing before the closing ceremony at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 1, the monks will spend hours each day placing colored grains of sand in an intricate design (like the one you see pictured). Watch them for free at either ceremony or any day while they are here (from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, April 27 through 30).

But you must make it to the museum before the closing ceremony: During that final event, the monks simply sweep up the sand that they've spent so many hours laying in place -- and that's the end of the mandala. Imagine what Sandcastle Guy would think. -- Alison Sieloff

Yesterday Once More

Much ado was made about Washington University's "we will/we will not" stance on the decision to screen Todd Haynes' controversial short film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story early this year (see Randall Roberts' "They'd Only Just Begun," January 26). The all-Barbie-doll version of the '70s singer's battle with eating disorders gets its St. Louis screening on Friday and Saturday (April 22 and 23), thanks to Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts (3156 Cherokee Street; 314-605-0585). Show organizers have also lined up a number of other short films to round out both evenings, such as Talmage Cooley's Pol Pot's Birthday. Admission is free, and the shows start at 8 p.m. -- Paul Friswold

The Kingdom of Flowers

If a pretty ideal like "flower power" hasn't exactly altered human nature, perhaps it's helped discourage us from yet blowing everything and ourselves to kingdom come. Missouri Botanical Garden founder Henry Shaw certainly believed in flowers -- and in Christ Church Cathedral (1210 Locust Street; 314-231-3454), of which he was a member. In his will Shaw requested that the garden decorate the church with flowers and that a sermon be given extolling the beauties of flora annually on "Flower Sunday." Shaw's legacy continues on Saturday and Sunday (April 23 and 24) at the free Flower Festival, which includes sermons (at 11 a.m. Saturday and at 8, 9 and 11:15 a.m. Sunday) and a street fair -- with music, food and, of course, flowers -- from 12:30 to 4 p.m. on Saturday. -- Alex Weir

No Worm Left Behind

Hi! Want a worm? Wait, come back! Don't be so quick to judge. Sure, worms are a little weird-looking, and they won't chase a ball or learn their names (though we think the Night & Day worm, Sir Squigglesworth, is an exception) -- but they're essential to our planet's well-being. This Friday through Sunday (April 22 through 24), the City Museum (701 North 15th Street; 314-231-2489 or www.citymuseum.org) hosts a worm-tastic Earth Day celebration guaranteed to up your invertebrate appreciation. In Art City at the museum, learn about vermicomposting (an earth-friendly technique that lets worms chow down on organic waste that would otherwise sit in a landfill), and make worm-related art (from recycled garbage!). And every child goes home with a pet worm and a vermicomposting kit. Sweet! The event is free with museum admission ($5 to $7.50); visit www.stlouisearthday.org for times. -- Brooke Foster

 
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