As many an awkward teenager can attest, being "cool" is not something that can be taught, bought or sold. Our modern definition of cool dates back to the 1950s, when adventurous jazz music, slick fashion trends and challenging literature combined into something palpable. You can do some master's work on the history of cool Tuesday through Thursday (December 9 through 11), when the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum presents Some Like It Cool, a trio of films from the '50s that screens at the Tivoli Theatre (6350 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-995-6270). The mini film festival begins with 1955's Rebel Without a Cause, the movie that became the shining star in James Dean's too-brief career (a still from which is pictured). Wednesday's film is Anatomy of a Murder (featuring Duke Ellington's classic jazz score), and the series concludes on Thursday with Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest. The screenings begin each night at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public. No matter the decade, free movies are always cool.
Dec. 9-11, 2008