This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Week of June 15, 2005

Wednesday, June 15Sad fact: All kids are brats. OK, fine, not all of them, just all the kids in non-fast-food restaurants, malls, museums, grocery stores...you get the idea. But you know why the little suckers are so bratty, don't you? It's because they don't come with instruction manuals -- that is, until now. To help all you frustrated and, let's face it, somewhat child-uneducated parents, Nannies Deb and Stella, two of the miracle workers from FOX's Nanny 911 and authors of a new book of the same name, are coming to the Sunset Hills Borders (10990 Sunset Hills Plaza; 314-909-0300) at 7 p.m. Too much SpongeBob, not enough teeth-brushing? The nannies can make some recommendations. Has the "no" phase gone on for ten years or better? Let the experts show you the way. And don't even worry about the thousands of dollars that this help is worth -- because the nannies are offering it for under $20 (for the book; the event is free). Yay!

Thursday, June 16After a wonderful meal at, let's say, Harvest (1059 South Big Bend Boulevard, Richmond Heights; 314-645-3522), often you and your favorite dining companion just can't agree on a dessert to share. See, he's something of a chocolate freak, and you definitely like the cocoa, but you also enjoy mixing it up. Well, now Harvest is making these heavy -- and sometimes argument-inducing -- post-meal decisions easier with its free brioche bread pudding on Sweet-Tooth Thursdays. All you have to do is order any entrée, and the pudding is on the house! Even the likes of Mr. Chocolate will have a difficult time arguing with free -- and that means dessert victory is yours (at least until the end of August, when the promotion is over).

Friday, June 17Art openings are the perfect place to wear your most chi-chi of outfits. One is almost expected to dress stylishly, which in Mr. Night's vocabulary basically means "no coffee stains on T-shirt." But even that dirty bastard is digging into the wardrobe for something nice to wear to Jason Wednesday Miller and Mike Schuh's new show at Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts (3151 Cherokee Street; 314-772-3628), Fashioning. After all, the show is about the messages contained in fashion media, so it might be a good idea to be fashion conscious. Miller and Schuh both address concepts of identity, values and fear by appropriating images from fashion magazines and incorporating them into their respective works. Miller physically appropriates the images, cutting out models and installing them in his drawings, while Schuh goes into the fashion world more directly, altering the models by adding paint, packing tape and Styrofoam peanuts to the images of the beautiful people. Hmm, perhaps Mr. Night should wear his bubble wrap chaps and matching hat. Look for him hovering around the refreshment table at the opening reception, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Saturday, June 18It seems that every time we turn around, someone has penned a new book about another fantastic building in St. Louis. From the Chase Park Plaza to Crown Candy Kitchen, all of our special places are getting some much-deserved special treatment. Maybe this movement has been spawned by all the remembering and looking back of 2004, or maybe it's just about time. Now the Casa Loma Ballroom is getting a little love by way of ink, and you can learn more about south city's treasured ballroom and its "floating" dance floor when David Lossos, author of The Casa Loma Ballroom, signs copies of his new book from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Florissant Barnes & Noble Booksellers (13995 New Halls Ferry Road; 314-830-3550). If you haven't been to the ballroom, maybe the book will prompt you to make a point of it. You know, Tennessee Williams wrote about it in The Glass Menagerie. Romantic, huh?

Sunday, June 19If you think cartoons nowadays are weak, for the most part, you're right: They can be absolutely painful. One of the few animated bright spots is Arthur Read, of Arthur, and his sweet moral lessons about sharing and understanding and stuff like that. Hang out in the same spaces as the lovable aardvark at the Arthur's World exhibit, which opens Saturday, June 18, at the Magic House (516 South Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood; 314-822-8900 or www.magichouse.org). Visit the town library, pretend to eat breakfast in the Read family kitchen, and make-believe you're the infamous Buster Baxter hanging out with Arthur. Admission to the exhibit is free with regular Magic House admission ($6.50 -- but free for dads on Father's Day), and the house is open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Monday, June 20Frederick's Music Lounge (4454 Chippewa Street; 314-351-5711) is, as the name implies, a place where one goes to enjoy music. While lounging. But on Mondays, Fred's forgoes music for the luminous art of cinema, usually in the form of pop-culture movies such as Star Wars or South Park. This evening, Fred's adds musical peanut butter to the cinematic chocolate to create a new confection for your delectation: the Ice Capades Film and Video Tour. A program of narrative shorts, documentaries and experimental films (what were once called "art movies") screens in the friendly confines, with musical interludes provided by Chicago's Velvetron and our homegrown Highway Matrons. As always, the program is free, and as ever, you're pretty much guaranteed to have a good time. The crowd at Fred's is one of the nicest in town, and the bar is in arm's reach from any corner of the room. What more can you want on a Monday night?

Tuesday, June 21Who says the personal lives of celebrities don't make for interesting art? Benjamin Britten's opera Gloriana: The Private Life of Elizabeth and Essex tackles the British royal family's romantic peccadilloes head on, and there isn't a Charles or Camilla in sight. An aging Queen Elizabeth attempts to balance a public face and a private heart while being wooed by the younger Earl of Essex, who may just be after the queen because she's the queen. Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, after all, and this is an opera, where a happy ending is not a certainty. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis performs Gloriana at 8 p.m. at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves; 314-961-0644). Tickets are $38.25 to $101.

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