Along with the start of the school year and a Cubs collapse, late August also marks the return of the Moonlight Ramble. The Gateway Council of Hostelling International's annual midnight bike ride through St. Louis city and county is a great tradition, one that welcomes amateur and professional riders with equal enthusiasm. The ten- to twenty-mile course (kept secret until the night of the ride) is an easy-going good time; with more than 10,000 participants per year, it's not unusual to see entire families riding with the shaved-and-liveried pros, and the BMX kids cruising alongside romantic couples on tandem bikes. Simply put, everybody who's anybody will be on two wheels this Saturday night.
Check-in and last-minute registration take place at 9 p.m. at the upper Muny parking lot in Forest Park on Saturday, August 20; the first wave of riders departs at 12:01 a.m., and you must depart before 1:30 a.m. After check-in, take advantage of the vendor's village for snacks and souvenirs, or just mill around and get to know some of your neighbors. It's always nicer to ride along with friends, and the Ramble is a great place to meet people (consider yourself advised, single people who are having trouble finding dates with similar interests). Registration is $10 to $25 and includes a commemorative T-shirt (glow in the dark!), a rest-stop during the ride, and the traditional afterparty and snack. Register online at www.moonlightramble.com, or wait until the night of the ride to pay and sign up.-- Paul Friswold
We Want Candy!
Sweet Flower Candy!
Wouldn't it be better to present Sugardumpling with oodles of flowers instead of just a measly bouquet? And sweeter still if said flowers were housed in a building on practically the most lush and blossoming grounds ever? Thought so. Take Sugardumpling to the Ridgway Center at the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard; 314-577-9400) from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday or from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday or Sunday (August 19 through 21). There, courtesy of the Federated Garden Clubs of Missouri Inc., you'll find the show Flower Candy, which will surround you and yours with fruits, veggies, trees and many other forms of plant life (including flowers, natch), all artfully arranged to illustrate the exhibit's title. In other words, it's sure to be a honey of an eye-candy display -- and all for free with your garden admission ($1.50 to $7). -- Alison Sieloff
A grandmaster visits
Kung Fu Hustle was just another period-piece martial-arts slapstick comedy studded with special effects, eccentric characters and a jaw-dropping opening dance number. Yawn, right? But director Stephen Chow somehow took this cookie-cutter structure and made something original and fun, just as he did with Shaolin Soccer (how many of those have we seen by now?).
Part of Hustle's success can be explained by the comedic and athletic performances by cast members such as Grandmaster Chiu Chi Ling, who visits Little Saigon Café (10 North Euclid Avenue; 314-361-8881) during the dinner hour. He played the queeny-yet-kickass tailor in Hustle (gay kung fu masters....another cliché), and he plays a badass in real life: That "grandmaster" title comes from his proficiency in Hung Ga, a style of kung fu developed by Shaolin monks warring with the Ching Dynasty. The master is signing autographs at the restaurant, so bring your copy of the DVD -- but leave the fighting shoes at home.-- Jordan Harper
Carrie Lindsey-Shelton had a love for music and art and St. Louis that inspired her; she unified her passions in Noisy Paper. Even after Noisy Paper shut down, she continued to create art that drew from these sources until a tragic car accident ended her life. Her friends celebrate her life and her loves with Carrie Lindsey-Shelton: A Retrospective, an exhibit of her photographs, paintings and drawings. The exhibit opens with a public reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at Cummel's Café (1627 Washington Avenue; 314-231-9627) on Friday, August 19. -- Paul Friswold