Being second, third or fourth is no fun; you want to be first for a change! You want to look back at all those behind you and know that they know that you were there before them. You want to win! Well, win you can from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight at Blue Water Grill (343 South Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood; 314-821-5757 or www.greatrestaurantsinc.com). There, Ste. Genevieve's Chaumette Vineyards & Winery (www.chaumette.com) premieres its "Rock Glade" Chardonel at French Flight Night -- and for the first time in a long time, you can be nombre un. Just be the early bird in line to pay $27.95 for the three courses of French-ish seafood and dessert paired with Chaumette's wines, and you are guaranteed to be the pioneer proclaimer of the new white wine's deliciousness! Victory will be yours at last!
Thursday, June 23
When we last checked in with Al Oxenhandler, the local entertainer was mounting his one-man show "You Can't Do That in St. Louis!," which drew heavily from both the Rat Pack milieu (verve, style, panache) and the Neil Diamond oeuvre (emphatic song delivery and chutzpah). Oxenhandler returns now with his debut CD, Something's Gotta Give, which means you can enjoy the Al Oxenhandler experience in the comfort of your own home anytime the mood takes you. From 8 to 11 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton (100 Carondolet Plaza, Clayton; www.aloxlive.com), mingle with Al, enjoy a few cocktails and pick up a copy of the new album (proceeds from drinks and CDs benefit cystic fibrosis research; admission is free). And yes, the Ritz has a piano, so you can rest assured that Al may just favor you with a song or six. Bottoms up, Al.
Friday, June 24
Sometimes you're in the mood for a little theater, but you're just not sure what type. Comedy? Drama? Something decidedly "other"? If you can't make up your mind what to see, don't worry: The Tin Ceiling couldn't decide either. So instead of settling for one script by one playwright, the Tin Ceiling commissioned one script from ten writers. Each writer drafted a scene, then passed the script on to the next scribe, who added a scene and then passed it forward, etc. Much like the classic party game of Telephone, the final script is a little garbled, but in an interesting way: Time travel, Twinkies and a gorilla all play a part in The Telephone Project. Don't try to figure out how, exactly. Just go witness the passed-along script take its final transformation onstage at 8 p.m. at the Soulard Theatre (1921 South Ninth Street; www.tinceiling.org). Showtime is 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday (June 23 through July 2). Tickets are $8, which is less than a dollar per author.
Saturday, June 25
June is a month full of "special" days. Beginning with Doughnut Day (June 1) right through to Superman's Birthday (June 30), everyone and everything from Bald Eagles (June 20) to Applesauce Cakes (June 6) has a day of honor. So how did the mouthwatering salsiccia not have a day until this year? By gubernatorial proclamation, Saturday, June 25, is the first Italian Sausage Day in Missouri history. And to celebrate, everyone who has stuffed themselves to the point of oblivious delight on the meaty wonder is urged to party at Manzo's Importing Company (5346 Devonshire Avenue; 314-353-5332) between noon and 4 p.m. Manzo's celebrates 50 years of hand-making salsiccia with free samples, complimentary beverages and the dulcet tones of Italian-style accordionists. And while Mr. Night has never supped on Manzo's Famous Italian Sausage, he figures that with a half-century of expertise in each one, they're probably going to blow the elastic out of his jodhpurs. Yay for him, and yay for salsiccia.
Sunday, June 26
So if you didn't get enough wine on Wednesday, head over to the free Grand Opening Festival at Ravissant Winery (yes, this can be another "first" for you). The new grape-stomping spot -- located in Belleville, Illinois, at 5950 Town Hall Road -- celebrates its beginnings on Saturday and Sunday (June 25 and 26) with live music, good eats and, of course, wine (or "new world fusion wines," specifically). The festivities run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, so go and have a look around the place, which boasts a house built in the 1860s, a 1920s barn-turned-tasting-area/gift shop, a lake and a guest cottage. For more information about the winery or its grand opening, call 866-837-9463 or visit www.ravissantwinery.com.
Monday, June 27
Mr. Night has whiled away many a summer's day in the University City Public Library (6701 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-3150), because it's a great library and the air conditioning is exceptionally cold. But he made a special trip to the second-floor gallery to see the June art show, Don't Quit Your Day Job II, because it sounded so interesting. The exhibit, which documents the creative endeavors of the library staff outside of the Dewey decimal system, features photographs by Linda Ballard, knit items created by Asia Gross and examples of Cynthia Davenport's graphic design -- and was well worth the trip. Most intriguing were the works of Michael Ludwig, who scores music. Several feet of sheet music stretch across the wall, and even a Suzuki violin drop-out like Mr. Night can see the beauty in Ludwig's compositions. His notation for Three Swedish Songs features passages for reinforced harmonics, cross-register ululation and vocal fry -- no idea what any of that means, but on the page the notes appear epic, graceful and beautiful. Ludwig's day job may not be long for this world if the music sounds as pretty as it looks. The show is free to view and remains up through the end of the month.