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; then too, we have the quartet of the seasons, each as distinct as the leaves from four different species of oak. But the Midwest also has tornados -- 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 St. Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue; 314-289-4400 or www.slsc.org) through Thursday, April 12. Tickets are $8 to $9.
March 18-April 12, 2011