Gentlemen, if you're in the mood for a quiet (or not-so-quiet) night alone, just say those three magic words: "I. Hate. Grease." Nothing gets you tossed out of the house faster than telling the ladies you don't give a Turkish fig about the 1978 smash-hit musical. You can leave the seat up, you can ask them if they're storing fat in their thighs for winter, and you can even tell them that you've never read the articles in your entire life and you never will -- but badmouth Grease and you'll get the gate quicker than poop through a goose.
Ladies, we don't understand your fascination with the film -- no, please, don't try to explain it. We don't understand because we don't care. John Travolta sings and dances; Olivia Newton-John sings and dances; people sing and dance when they should be fighting, people sing and dance when they should be smoochin', and Frankie Avalon plays an angel. It does nothing for us.
And yet, despite this studied indifference to our generation's Titanic, most of us menfolk know all the lyrics. Is it osmosis? Is it because every girl we've ever liked has liked the movie, and so years of forced viewings have buried the songs deep in our brains? Don't know, don't care. Ladies, how about you go to the St. Louis County Library Headquarters (1640 South Lindbergh Boulevard, Ladue) and indulge yourself instead of arguing? At 7 p.m. the library hosts a "Sing-Along with Grease Party," and you not only know the lyrics, you know the choreography and the dialogue, too. So go have fun with your people. It's free, but you should call 314-994-3300 for reservations. Gentlemen, rent Force 10 from Navarone or something appropriately non-Grease and have a good time, as well. -- Paul Friswold
Make It Up
We would tell you what to expect at this year's St. Louis Fringe Festival -- besides belly-bruising laughter, that is. But if we could predict what hijinks will transpire when improv groups Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre Touring Company, Project Improv (pictured) and Suspicious of Whistlers convene to work their spontaneous magic on Friday and Saturday, September 9 and 10, at the Center of Creative Arts (524 Trinity Avenue, University City), we would be camped out at a Vegas sports book. So instead we urge you to call 314-647-8030 to reserve your tickets ($5 to $10); shows begin at 8 p.m. both nights. Love it or hate it, for once you can say we didn't warn you. Visit www.stlfringe.com for the full slate of performers and more information. -- Ian Froeb
Pas de Sandwich
We forbid you to spend another lunch hour at your desk, writing your resignation letter and planning that dream vacation in case you win the lottery. Besides, you'll just end up spilling diet soda all over the keyboard and your over-mayonnaised turkey sandwich, and then you'll be forced to scavenge from co-workers' candy jars for nourishment. Lucky for you, ANNONYArts' Dine on Dance series provides a free outdoor alternative to Friday lunches in September. Bring your turkey sandwich and catch inspiring dance, music and visual art at noon on Friday, September 9, at Kiener Plaza (Seventh and Market streets) -- and make lunch plans for next Friday (September 16) at the Market in the Loop (6655 Delmar Boulevard, University City). For more information call 314-727-4453 or 314-721-0052. -- Amy Helms
The Cat's Pajamas
Despite the title, Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof hardly features a scorch-pawed feline. Rather, the "cat" is harrowing heroine Maggie: With claws out, she prowls to secure an inheritance while pining to save her husband, Brick, from alcoholism, homosexuality and grief. Despite these modern elements, the play was written more than 60 years ago, and it is Williams' continued relevance that makes each of his plays a must-see. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis puts the Pulitzer-prize-winning Cat on its Mainstage at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves), Tuesday through Sunday (September 7 through October 7). Pounce on some tickets ($13 to $61) by calling 314-968-4925 or visiting www.repstl.org. -- Kristyn Pomranz