Soulard disappears this week in a rising tide of purple, green and gold (hey, bruises, money & beer! Now I get it), but there are more sober options for fun as well. You could always combine Mardi Gras with something else, if you don't go HAM on Saturday. No? Well, it was just a suggestion. See you under the desk on Monday, cowboy.
1. See a classic Arthur Miller play about the immigrant experience
Eddie Carbone is an Italian-American longshoreman who lives with his wife, Beatrice, and her niece Catherine. Catherine is almost eighteen, and is more interested in boys now — something that bothers Eddie more than it should. When Beatrice invites her cousins Marco and Rodolfo to live with them (they're Italians here illegally, looking for work), Catherine and Rodolfo feel an immediate attraction. This drives Eddie crazy; these feelings he has for her are more than those of a protective uncle. Eddie jeopardizes the brothers and his own marriage when he schemes to break up the young couple. Arthur Miller's drama A View from the Bridge is a bloody-knuckled examination of the differences in how the Old World and the new one settle scores. Clayton Community Theatre presents A View from the Bridge at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (February 23 to March 5) at the Washington University South Campus Theatre (6501 Clayton Road; www.placeseveryone.org). Tickets are $15 to $20. — Paul Friswold
2. Enjoy the artistic arrangement of flowers
With the first day of spring only a month away, we know it's not long until the flowers again bloom. And while we wait for the Midwest to get out of its winter funk, the Saint Louis Art Museum gives us a taste of floral beauty with the return of its Art in Bloom: A Celebration of Art and Flowers. This event combines beautiful floral creations from some of the best designers in the region, who offer interpretations of more than 35 works in the museum's collection. There will be a preview party, good food from Panorama executive chef Ivy Magruder, a lecture and demonstration from celebrity florist Jeff Leatham, and fun family activities. Art in Bloom will be held 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (February 24 to 26) at the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; www.slam.org). Admission to the festival is free. Auditorium programs require tickets, which are $15 to $45. — Bill Loellke
3. Check out the special effects of France's early film industry
The first films made following the invention of cinema in late-nineteenth century France were of highly kinetic events — circuses, street performers and magic shows, which the French called spectacles de curiousité. As directorial techniques advanced, primitive special effects began to transform these documentaries into fictionalized stories. Professor of Film and Media Studies Colin Burnett screens examples of the rapid transformation of early films tonight in the program Spectacles de Curiousité. From the Lumière Brothers' everyday sights, such as a train pulling into a station (Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat), to Georges Méliès' spectacular fantasia, A Trip to the Moon, film progressed dramatically in just seven years. Spectacles de Curiousité starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum on the Washington University campus (1 Brookings Drive; www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu). Admission is free. — Paul Friswold
4. Watch a Shakespearean play about power politics and bad leaders
Spurred on by the prophecy of an eerie trio of witches, Lord and Lady Macbeth (well, mostly the latter) hatch a scheme to kill King Duncan to make way for King and Queen Macbeth. Shakespeare's Macbeth continues to astound with its keen insights on certain people's lust for power and the toll it takes on their psyche and their groaning subjects. The Washington University Performing Arts Department presents a modern gloss on Macbeth at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (February 24 to March 5) at Washington University's Edison Theatre (6445 Forsyth Boulevard; www.edison.wustl.edu). Tickets are $10 to $20. — Paul Friswold
5. Throw yourself into Mardi Gras madness
Party hounds, can you hear that? Soulard is calling you for the Bud Light Grand Parade and Mardi Gras. The parade starts at 11 a.m. Saturday at Busch Stadium (601 Clark Avenue; www.stlouismardigras.org), with more than 10 million beads being flung from more than 100 floats. By the time the parade makes its way to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, the streets of Soulard will be bubbling over with happy people. Live bands, costumed revelers, food and drink vendors and a couple dozen surprises will all be part of the largest street party of the year. Dress for the weather, leave your coolers — and bottles and all outside drinks — at home and enjoy the celebration. Admission is free, but you'll need money for drinks and snacks. — Paul Friswold
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