Midwesterners (most of us anyway) tend to harbor a stubborn pride in our section of the country. We look on our homeplace as singularly beautiful, with all its lakes and rivers and the quiet majesty of the prairies. We have the quartet of the seasons, each as distinct as the leaves from four different species of oak. But the Midwest also has tornadoes — which is exactly where the heartland song of praise screeches to a discordant abrupt end. We're smack in the middle here of the southwest-to-northeast-tracking meteorological killing floor known as Tornado Alley, a decidedly un-fun facet of Midwestern life, unless you're one of the special caste known as storm chasers, i.e., scientists/daredevils who follow tornadic paths, thereby deliberately placing themselves in the thick of some seriously heavy weather. In the documentary Tornado Alley you can join high-wind hotshots like Sean Casey and the tornado researchers of VORTEX 2 as they take along a 70mm camera and attempt to document the birth and destructive career of one of nature's most violent brawlers, a tornado. Tornado Alley screens daily at the OMNIMAX Theater in the Saint Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue; 314-289-4400 or www.slsc.org) through Thursday, June 2. Tickets are $8 to $9.
March 18-Dec. 2, 2011