Among those of the ornithological persuasion, the St. Louis region is of prime interest because of our natural flyways. The Mississippi River underwrites that status; it's a superhighway for migrating birds. We have another feathered fact to boast about: While the renowned birdman John James Audubon was still alive, the St. Louis Mercantile Library acquired a rare reserved copy of his masterwork, Birds of America, from his family. This is tantamount to owning a Gutenberg Bible. Celebrate it with the exhibit Audubon and Beyond: Collecting Five Centuries of Natural History at the St. Louis Mercantile Library on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; 314-516-7240 or www.umsl.edu/mercantile). The extensive exhibit incorporates sections relating to not only birds but also reptiles, mammals, fish, insects, humans, astronomy, geology, meteorology and more. Audubon and Beyond is open 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday (November 9 through June 2017). Admission is free. free admission
French avant-garde artist Marcel Duchamp was an avowed chess fanatic. While the analytical portion of Duchamp's brain was playing the game, his artistic side was enchanted with the patterns created by the movement of his pieces. Inspired by Duchamp's unique view of chess, British artist Tom Hackney created geometric paintings of individual games, particularly those played by Duchamp himself. Chess Painting No. 54 (Michel vs. Duchamp, Strasbourg, 1924) features criss-crossing yellow slashes left by both bishops’ progress, the red charge of the king’s knight ending prematurely in an apparent capture, and a white defensive wall of pawns dominating the central foreground. free admission
War is often commemorated in statues and portraiture with a political slant. Our generals are heroic and our troops are manly, while the other guys are all slobs and monsters. But some artists document war without an official commission. Francisco de Goya made his print series The Disasters of War during Napoleon's occupation of Spain, and de Goya pulled no punches in depicting the inhumanity, cruelty and depredations wrought in the name of conquest. These 80 prints are part of Impressions of War, the new exhibition in galleries 234 and 235 at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (www.slam.org). Impressions of War also includes Max Beckmann's portfolio Hell, which he created in Berlin in the immediate aftermath of World War I. Jacque Callot's series on the religious wars that rent apart Europe in the mid-1800s and Daniel Heyman's Amman Portfolio — the story of what occurred in Abu Ghraib prison, as told by Iraqi inmates — are also part of the exhibit. Impressions of War is on display from August 5 to February 12, 2017. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, and admission is free. free admission
Despite its recent expansion, the Saint Louis Art Museum (www.slam.org) does not have enough space to display all the art in its various collections. This is why exhibitions are rotated periodically, and it's also why the new show Japanese Painting & Calligraphy: Highlights from the Collection is noteworthy. A pair of folding screens painted by Kaihō Yūshō in the sixteenth century are the main draw, having not been on display for seven years. Yūshō painted an ethereal landscape using ink and gold that represents the illusory nature of the material world. Japanese Painting and Calligraphy is on display Tuesday through Sunday (August 19 to February 12) in gallery 225. Admission is free. free admission
There was a time in America when wearing black was reserved only for those mourning the death of a loved one. When did black make the jump to evening wear, and then to everyday use? Little Black Dress: From Mourning to Night, the new exhibition at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org), charts the hue's long journey to daylight through the most versatile of garments. The exhibit showcases more than 60 dresses from the museum's collection, offering a broad view of how women's fashions have changed. The tapered-waist, puff-sleeved "second-day dress" from 1895 (worn by a bride the day after her wedding) looks more uncomfortable and rigid than a mourning dress from the same decade, while the 1933 halter evening gown looks elegant and chic. What a difference 40 years, a world war and the flapper movement makes. Little Black Dress is open daily (April 2 through September 5). Admission is free. free admission
Before the interstate highway system was developed, Route 66 was the safest, fastest way to cross the western half of the country. Starting in Chicago and ending Santa Monica, the "Main Street of America" came right though St. Louis, but not in the mostly straight lines we're accustomed to now. At various points in time, Route 66 traversed Watson Road, Manchester Road, the Martin Luther King Bridge and the Poplar Street Bridge. That shifting route helped spur the growth of cities and businesses along the way, as travelers stopped overnight at the Coral Court Motel or grabbed a bit to eat at the Parkmoor Restaurant. Route 66: Main Street Through St. Louis, the new exhibition at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org), tells the story of the byway through roadside signs and gas pumps, historic vehicles, bus tours and photographs. Route 66 opens Saturday, June 25, and remains open through July 16, 2017. Admission is free. free admission
The art world is a vast organism that eventually absorbs and repurposes all ideas, even those of non-artists. While outsider artists — those who are not classically trained but still make visual art — were by definition outside the world of galleries and museums during their lifetimes, the establishment has embraced their work as a valid and even important development. Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum, the new exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0072 or www.slam.org), showcases the breadth and depth of non-traditional work throughout American history. The exhibit's organizers at the American Folk Art Museum break down practitioners into seven categories, from Reformers (those who sought to change the world with their output) to Encoders (artists whose work defies understanding by choice). Self-Taught Genius showcases more than 100 objects that span the length of American history, from colonial times to the present. The exhibit is open Tuesday through Sunday (June 19 to September 11). Tickets are $6 to $12 but free on Friday. $6-$12, free on Friday
On Saturday, October 8, 2016, Jazzy Events Production will host “Laughs in the Lou Comedy Explosion.” This Comedy Benefit Show takes place at the Ambassador Theatre located at 9800 Halls Ferry Road. Headlining the show will be TK Kirkland, who has opened for Keisha Cole, NWA, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and Drake. Also appearing will be comedian Michael Colyar whose performed with Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy and Steve Harvey; Jeremiah JJ Williamson, best known for his role in Johnson Family Vacation, HotSauce, hosted by Darius Bradford, and music will be provided by none other than DJ Kut. $25 - $40http://www.ajazzyevent.com/
@ Howards in Soulard, 2732 S. 13th St.
Open Mic Night every Tuesday 6pm-9pm! All ages and acts are welcome! Free
Pop artist Claes Oldenburg set himself counter to the staid abstract expressionists who ruled the modern art world in the '50s with his sense of humor and his flair for the dramatic. His oversized, brightly-colored sculptures of familiar objects such as lipstick and three-way plugs were ridiculed in the early days, but are now recognized as important works by a major artist. The Pulitzer Arts Foundation's (3716 Washington Boulevard; www.pulitzerarts.org) new exhibit, The Ordinary Must Not Be Dull: Claes Oldenburg's Soft Sculptures, showcases a selection of some of the artist's most playful works. Soft Switches (1964) is a ductile pair of light switches in glistening red, gravity tugging them into bonk-eyed uselessness, but Oldenburg's Green Beans (1964) are a Jolly Green Giant-sized pile of viridian pods with plump, glistening beans peeking out of either end. The Ordinary Must Not Be Dull opens with a free reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 29. Oldenbug's sculptures remain on display through Saturday, October 15, at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation (3716 Washington Boulevard; www.pulitzerarts.org). Admission is free, and the museum is open Wednesday through Saturday. free admission
Songwriters-Auset Sarno, Chris Grabau, Danny Kathriner and Paige Brubeck In The Round a listening exeprience $15-$18http://www.songbird-stl.com
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