1. Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Dogtown
St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday this year, and it's right in the middle of Lent. But good Irish Catholics (and all other Catholics) needn't worry about enjoying corned beef on the big green day. Archbishop Carlson has granted a dispensation for those attending the Dogtown St. Patrick's Day Parade, with encouragement to abstain from meat on an additional day next week instead. So eat up, have a beer and honor St. Patrick with a clear conscience. This year's parade kicks off at 12:30 p.m. at the corner of Tamm and Oakland avenues (www.stlhibernians.com), with most of Dogtown coming out to join the festivities. The bars will be open, the grills will be fired and everyone will be wearing green, so don't be the stick-in-the-mud who wears black (what's with those jerks who always wear black?). Admission is free, you can't bring coolers or backpacks with you and if you're underage, you have no dispensation to drink alcohol — and the police will be checking IDs. Stick to the corned beef.
2. Pay tribute to a legend
Most people know Nat Hentoff as a reviewer and admirer of jazz (you write a jazz column for 50 years, you get a reputation). But he was also a staunch advocate for free speech, civil rights and education. Hentoff, who passed away in January, was a complex human being who couldn't be contained by any political box or ideological niche; to him, abortion was as evil as capital punishment and the kind of grinding poverty that kills you in your teen years, not just at thirteen weeks. His daughter Jessica Hentoff is the director of St. Louis' Circus Harmony, and a firm believer in her father's ideal that "words that lead to action matter." To honor her dad and continue the family business of using the arts to motivate social change, Circus Harmony presents a special benefit show this Friday, Defying Gravity and Social Injustice: A Tribute to Nat Hentoff. The evening starts at 7 p.m. at .Zack (3224 Locust Street; www.circusharmony.org) with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails and jazz, followed by a Circus Harmony performance. Special guests include alumni Sidney "Iking" Bateman and Melvin Diggs, plus Nat's granddaughters Elliana Grace and Kellin Quinn, who are both now circus professionals. Tickets are $75.
4. See a classic film at Webster U
After more than 50 years, people still obsess over Alain Resnais' 1961 film Last Year at Marienbad (L'année denière à Marienbad), which can't be said about many films. In what's either a menacingly empty hotel or an eccentric and abandoned château, a man accosts a woman and claims they met a year ago at Marienbad and that he knows she's been waiting there for him intentionally. The woman claims to have no memory of this. A second man is there as well; the idea that the woman is his wife comes across through implication more than any concrete statement. There are flashbacks, repetitions of dialogue in multiple locations and the strange, mirrored passages of the château. Last Year at Marienbad screens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; www.webster.edu/film-series), as part of Cinema St. Louis and the Webster Film Series' Classic French Film Festival. Tickets are $10 to $13.
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