When checking out some of the items that British archaeologist Sir Charles Leonard Woolley's team unearthed between 1922 and 1934 at Ur -- an ancient, 200,000-population city-state in Sumer (which is now Iraq) -- you may think you have nothing in common with the people who were buried with all this stuff. Shoot, they lived 5,000 years ago, even before the pyramids were built! Plus, according to some of the found works like Ram Caught in a Thicket(pictured), the people of Ur may have lived among animals who walked on their hind legs -- as Brian Fellow would say, "That's crazy!" Yet upon inspection of items like Puabi's Headdress' elaborate gold-carnelian-and-lapis-lazuli wreaths, gold hair rings and earrings, you'll see that these royal Mesopotamians wanted to rock the bling even in death. Now that's something modern-type humans can understand!
So go see these old-school gems at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park's new exhibit, Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur, which opens Friday, October 21, and runs through January 15; exhibit admission costs $4 to $6 and is free for children younger than six -- and free to everyone on Fridays. Your admission nets you an audio tour to accompany the works, and many special events follow the show's opening. For more information about these activities or the exhibition, visit www.slam.org or call 314-721-0072. -- Alison Sieloff
Elaine Viets has that Midwestern work ethic down pat. Not content with penning the Dead End Job series of murder mysteries (and it's doing quite well, thanks for asking: The next volume is scheduled for May of 2006), Viets has recently finished volume one of the Mystery Shopper series. In Dying in Style, mystery shopper Josie Marcus uncovers a corpse in a high-end boutique -- and that boutique happens to be situated in our own St. Louis. Marcus lives in Maplewood and drinks beer at the Schlafly Bottleworks when not stumbling over carcasses (finally, a protagonist we can relate to). Viets returns to St. Louis for a bunch of book signings, including a 7 p.m. session at the Buder branch of the St. Louis Public Library (4401 Hampton Avenue; 314-352-2900) Thursday, October 20, and a 4-to-8-p.m. signing party at the aforementioned Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood; 314-241-2337 or www.schlafly.com) Monday, October 24. Both events are free, but the cash bar at the Bottleworks benefits the St. Vincent Home for Children. -- Paul Friswold
Sing Us A Song
Movin' Out moves back in
Billy Joel's never going to be considered hip in a standard-fit rock & roll sense, but that's all right; the man's a supremely talented songwriter, cool or not. Movin' Out is the Twyla Tharp-conceived and -choreographed, Tony-winning musical set to Joel's ace tunes (24 of 'em, in fact), and it's the song-and-dance that rules this show, with no dialogue whatsoever. Catch Movin' at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; 314-531-4833) Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. (October 25 through 30). Tickets are $25 to $69 and are available at the Fox box office or through MetroTix (314-534-1111 or www.metrotix.com). -- Alex Weir