Africa in America

And in St. Louis, no less!

The crocodile doesn't die underwater so that we can call the monkey to celebrate its death. In other words, the Akan (ancestors of Africa's Asante tribe) proverb means that everybody belongs to a group with its own customs, which -- because attitudes or oceans get in the way -- rarely intersect with other groups and their customs.

Conference chairman John A. Wright explains that "Bridging the Waters," the theme of this year's U.S.-African Sister Cities conference, "represents how all of us can grow and strengthen relationships among sister cities in Africa, the United States and worldwide."

Much of the conference takes place at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0072) from Wednesday through Sunday, May 25 through May 29. There are a host of academic seminars available, but the fun (and free) events include the African Arts Festival at the World's Fair Pavilion with children's activities, musicians and vendors' booths (Saturday through Monday; www.stlafricanartsfest.org); special tours of the African collections at the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Captive Passage exhibit at the Missouri History Museum; a U.S.-vs.-Africa soccer match at Washington University (2 p.m. on Sunday); and an African film festival at the Schlafly branch of the St. Louis Public Library all day Monday. For a complete schedule of activities, visit www.usafricasistercities.org or call 314-863-6777. -- R.L. Nave

The Parkmoor
A legend revisited

SUN 5/29

Per official decree: Even if you are a born-and-raised local, you aren't a true St. Louisan unless you once ate at the now-destroyed original Parkmoor. Oh no! Ms. Day's lifelong residency has been nullified by Walgreens. Woe is her! Maybe she (and, perhaps, you) can make up for past missteps by hanging out with Lou Ellen McGinley -- the daughter of the Parkmoor owner, Louie -- at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org). There, the younger McGinley will reminisce about her dad, tell us about the local landmark restaurant, and discuss and sign her book, Honk for Service: A Man, a Tray and the Glory Days of the Drive-In, beginning at 2 p.m. The event is free. -- Alison Sieloff

Just Beat It
Beat Fest returns

SUN 5/29

You may be thinking to yourself: another Memorial Day, another Beat Fest, ho hum. Drop that terrible attitude and get excited! For one thing, this Washington Avenue Beat Festival is the eleventh of the electronic music extravaganzas. That's pretty amazing! And for another thing, this fest is a first for Lotus, the club that is where Lo was (501 North 15th Street). Will Lotus be as cool as Lo? Will Julius "the Mad Thinker," Luan and Dino usher the new lounge into grandeur? The suspense is killing us!

Other notables at this WABF: Europe Nite Club (1521 Washington Avenue) resident DJ Zamir is joined by headliners the Brilliant Vibe Cats. Rue 13 (1313 Washington Avenue) headlines DJ James Curd, and next-door neighbor Velvet has locals Charlie Chan and Rob Lemon joining Andre Solaris -- who will be broadcasting his set live on XM Satellite Radio -- and the sexy/world-renowned DJ Rap, who just released Bulletproof (an in-the-mix drum 'n' bass album). And last but not least, Café Louis (1309 Washington Avenue) brings the hip-hop beats with DJs Oshae, Solo and Smitty. For more information on these and the other performers, visit www.wabf.net; to purchase a wristband allowing admission into all five clubs from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., call 314-534-1111 ($10 to $15). -- Alison Sieloff

Use the Kok, Luke

THUR 5/26

If you've been jonesing for fresh improv comedy, jones no more: The Zim Zam Kok Show unleashes its long-form act "Revenge of the Kok" at 10 p.m. at Laughs on the Landing (801 North Second Street; 314-241-5233). Yes, the title is a nod to a certain blockbuster sci-fi movie, but the ZZKs promise to skewer everything from "movies to religion to social absurdity" (wait, how is that different from Star Wars?). It'll cost you $7 to $10 to find out where the Force ends and the Kok begins. -- Paul Friswold

 
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