This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Week of August 17, 2005

Wednesday, August 17NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick goes by the nickname "Happy," and it ain't one of those sarcastic nicknames. He seems to genuinely love meeting and greeting his fans, as he'll do at the NASCAR SpeedPark at St. Louis Mills mall (5555 Mills Boulevard, Hazelwood; 314-227-5600). Show up at 10 a.m. for a free wristband, which gets you a place in line for Harvick's autograph session (6 to 8 p.m.). What's the secret of Harvick's upbeat demeanor? Check out his online cookbook at www.harvickonline.com -- he trades recipes with his fans, and apparently Harvick's supporters like to eat as much as he does. Harvick's own "Italian Chicken Wraps" look to be pretty tasty, but Karen N29's "Smirnoff Pancakes" will more than likely put a smile on your face, too.

Thursday, August 18Here's a tidbit you didn't want to know: Mr. Night wears no skivvies! (Ms. Day just scooted even farther across the cubicle.) It's true; he believes underwear to be a form of societal control created by our Puritan forefathers. He prefers to live with an unfurnished basement, and his life is a laugh a minute because of it (unless he's wearing corduroy pants with a pronounced zipper). But even Mr. Night shall don the dainties now that Faces (132 Collinsville Avenue, East St. Louis, Illinois; 618-271-7410) has revived its Lights Out/Underwear Parties. Every Thursday in August, you just show up at 11 p.m., pay your $5 cover, then check your clothes and commence to struttin' in your unmentionables. Whether you prefer the stark elegance of tighty-whities, the bold sensuality of the banana hammock or the smoldering "hello, sailor" of the cheetah-print thong, Faces is the place to be on Thursday nights. Just be sure to keep your garbage in the bag; Faces is a classy joint.

Friday, August 19Ladies nights are usually just OK, with a free cover and free drinks sometimes. Ho-hum. Sure, ladies like free stuff, but sometimes quality over quantity matters. Like at the Royale (3132 South Kingshighway Boulevard; 314-772-3600). On Fridays ladies pay $15...and, wait for it...they get a martini and a manicure! Just show up from 6 to 9 p.m., and sip, sip, sip away on a Boy Toy (featuring Hpnotiq), a Southside Slut (key ingredient: Jägermeister) or, what Ms. Day will enjoy, the Southside American Princess (a cosmo plus Grand Marnier). Could anything be sweeter? Oh, yeah: getting a manicure while drinking.

Saturday, August 20Barely recovered from the grief caused by Lo's closing, St. Louisans had to start boo-hooing the demise of the Rocket Bar. But while we've all been nursing our wounds, a transformation has happened at the Rocket's former space at 2001 Locust Street. There, you'll find that the bar's in the same place, but nearly everything else has changed: From the warm orange hues to the fresh-squeezed juice mixers, the Rocket has matured and been fancied up into a grownups' lounge called Nectar(314-588-0055 or www.nectarlounge.net). See the caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation for yourself tonight at the official grand opening. Ladies get in free, and the icing on the cake is that desserts will be offered! Cool, huh? Just like the broad mix of music: hip-hop, dance, pop and, of course, rock.

Sunday, August 20Mr. Night's incessant spinning of The Locust's album Safety First, Body Last has caused him to become obsessed with finding a nice vintage copy of Nathanael West's Hollywood-cum-Grand Guignol novel Day of the Locust. And so, Mr. Night shall gladly fork over $7 to enter the annual JCC "Almost Free Used Book Sale" at the Jewish Community Center (2 Millstone Campus Drive, Creve Coeur; 314-432-5700) and search for this desired tome. The book sale opens at 10 a.m. today (Sunday, August 21) and runs every day through August 28 (except for August 27, when it's closed; admission is free every day after opening day). If it takes Mr. Night all week to search every book on the premises (and there'll be quite a few books to comb through, and perhaps purchase as well), he shall do it! And if any of his nephews wish to help him search, give your old uncle a call; he usually needs a sherpa or two to carry his purchases at these things.

Monday, August 22History buffs know that piano dueling was outlawed in the Americas after the absolutely brutal Grand Piano Gundown of Great Neck, New York (1822), when an entire family of pianists was wiped out in a particularly nasty blood feud one autumn morn. But time heals all wounds, music soothes the savage breast, and piano dueling is once again the chosen sport for reckless young daredevils coast to coast -- and why not? Many a young lass has fallen prey to a severe case of pianist envy once she's witnessed the flashing fingers of these dashing young men. Harrah's Casino (777 Casino Center Drive, Maryland Heights; 314-770-8100) serves as the latest proving ground for would-be 88-key assassins, as Dueling Pianos blaze in the VooDoo Lounge every Monday from 7 to 11 p.m. Admission is free, the pianos are tuned, and the action is at a fever (and concert) pitch. One can only hope that the bloodlust of the crowd doesn't drive these men to a "Flight of the Bumblebee" massacre.

Tuesday, August 23Let's face it: You're a trendsetter. When this poker craze first hit, you were already all over it. Challenging your friends, playing on the computer at work, watching it on TV: Your life was a nonstop poker fiesta. You're really good at the game, yet now you're so over it -- but you love charity. So break out those cards one last time, and start practicing seven-card stud for the 24th annual Budweiser Poker Classic. This thing's been benefiting the local chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association far longer than you've been playing, so the cause is good and the time is right. Your last opportunity to enter is at 7 p.m. today at the Holiday Inn St. Louis Southwest-Viking Conference Center (10709 Watson Road, Sunset Hills). Bring $30 for your suggested donation, and either register at the door beginning at 5 p.m. or call 314-962-0023 to pre-register.

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