While dogs seem to enjoy riding in cars, it is important to remember that no dog wants to be seen in a dirty car. So head over to either Gas House Car Wash location (9849 Manchester Road in Rock Hill, 314-961-4589; or 3853 Forest Park Boulevard, 314-533-1234) before you take your pooch for the next spin and get your car cleaned at the Dog Days of Summer. Bring your dog (or even a picture of your dog), and you receive a discounted car wash; if you actually bring your dog, he or she can hang out in the doggie party area, enjoying free treats and access to two fire hydrants. And you, with your freshly washed car, can donate a little extra cash, secure in the knowledge that the money benefits the Humane Society of Missouri, and that your dog is proud to be seen cruising in your Pacer once again.
Thursday, August 4
So there's, like, 100 outdoor concert series going on right now, but your legs cannot handle one more night on an itchy blanket and your back is still screaming from that last rendezvous with the lawn chair. For some relief head over to the free concerts at Station Plaza (100 South Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood; 314-775-2921 or www.station-plaza.com), which happen every Thursday night in August from 6 to 9 p.m. There, you'll find the obligatory skilled band (Bad Andie this week), but you'll also be overjoyed to see that Madison Ave. Boutique & Salon offers free massages on massage chairs. Now that's the kind of concert-series perk there should be more of! Send the kids off with the balloon artist, and enjoy your much-deserved Calgon moment.
Friday, August 5
When you hear the words "stiff drink," "witty banter" and "murder mystery," you no doubt think "Frederick's Music Lounge" (4454 Chippewa Street; 314-351-5711). But those clues also apply to the William Powell/ Myrna Loy Thin Man film series, which coincidentally screens (in order, no less) at Fred's every Friday night through September 9, with the inaugural flick showing this evening. The films are famous for the snappy patter and ubiquitous beverages of husband and wife sleuths Nick and Nora Charles. Based on Dashiell Hammett's novel The Thin Man, the series nevertheless starts to flag a little toward the end. But the Aliens films really lost their way at the end, and the dialogue was never as good as Nick and Nora's exchanges, so it's really a matter of perspective. Do you prefer smart, sassy, upper-crust detectives to exploding torsos? Then The Thin Man is for you. Films screen at 5 p.m., there's no admission charge, and the bar is open.
Saturday, August 6
Although it's completely shameless, it's still so much fun to be superior at an activity -- even when you're playing with children. And the monthly Visiting Artist Series at the Magic House (516 South Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood; 314-822-8900 or www.magichouse.org) should offer you some perfect moments of childhood-skills dominance. This month, Beth Anderson visits Saturday and Sunday (August 6 and 7) and brings along her "String Fling" program. Just think about it: You'll be able to school all the kids around you when you whip out your awesome "Cat's Whiskers" and take it into the complicated-but-oh-so-cool "Jacob's Ladder." Man, you miss those old string games, and you're totally sure to be better than everyone else there -- except Beth. Listen to her, and you'll definitely learn something. The workshops run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; the series events are included in your regular Magic House admission ($6.50). And if string is not your thing, stop by the Magic House anyway -- this is the last weekend for Sandcastle Beach (also free with your admission), and there are sure to be ample opportunities for you to build a better castle than the under-twelve set.
Sunday, August 7
Guess what? Time to go to another birthday party! But before you groan and rush out to buy a present, take note: This free party requires no presents, except for your presence. Yay! But whose birthday is it? Why, the state of Missouri's, of course! Celebrate the 184th anniversary of the founding of our grand state like it's 1821 at the First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site (200-216 South Main Street, St. Charles) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some of the somewhat non-birthday-party-ish festivities include fence whitewashing and period craft demonstrations, but no worries: Birthday cake will be served! Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to me! For more information on the nineteenth-century fun, call the historic site at 636-940-3322.
Monday, August 8
You're a dainty sort -- always using that teeny-tiny hors d'oeuvre fork for your meals and drinking with your pinky up because you think it makes you look fancy. With this small-plates craze that's hit St. Louis, you think you've died and gone to tiny-fork heaven. Well, you know who's been doing the small-plates thing so long that they're experts at this tiny stuff with big flavor? The folks at Blue Water Grill (343 South Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood; www.greatrestaurantsinc.com). They've hosted Flying Saucers Mondays for fifteen years now, and these little tapas just keep getting better. Maybe you and your fancypants should try the tuna tartare, or the smoked pear salad, or the grilled monkfish medallions -- or try it all! Just because you like to look precious when you eat does not mean you have a dainty appetite! Reservations are strongly recommended, so call 314-821-5757 to secure your spot.
Tuesday, August 9
Mr. Night doesn't really care for Harry Potter. It's nothing personal; it's just that Potter seems like such a chump. Harry and the Potters, however, stone cold rock. Brothers Paul and Joe DeGeorge have taken key elements of the Potter world and set them to music, creating songs such as "Stick It to Dolores" and "The Human Hosepipe." Straddling the line between proto-surf and indie rock, the brothers craft catchy songs that have no deeper meaning (at least to Mr. Night, who remains wholly ignorant of the Potter Mythos) other than their own catchiness. "Save Ginny Weasley," for instance, is a definite "lighter in the air"-type pop song that could have been written by Jonathan Richman circa the Modern Lovers. Good stuff, indeed, even if it is inspired by that twitty wizard. Harry and the Potters rock the Carpenter Branch of the St. Louis Public Library (3309 South Grand Boulevard) at 3 p.m., and then they roll through the Schlafly Branch (225 North Euclid Avenue) at 7 p.m. Both shows are free, and more information can be had by calling 314-839-0380.