What is art to you? Does art have to be a likeness of an object or concept you already understand? Or is it a portal to a shadowy or white-hot part of your brain, a part infrequently tapped? If St. Louisans have learned anything from the exhibits at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660 or www.contemporarystl.org), it is that art is the unexpected -- from Technicolor flowers arranged on the floor to ottomans neatly affixed to the wall.
Now, dancer/choreographer/teacher Draza Jansky pushes those ideas of art even further with a dance installation piece at the museum. As Rebecca Ryan and Todd Mosby fill in the gaps of the concrete structure with music, 30 improvisational dancers stationed throughout the space add color and movement, completing the perfect multimedia art experience. Jansky, a St. Louis native and former student of the acclaimed Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, says she "sees the dancers as an extension of the architecture and art." Have the same vision at 7 p.m. at Dance at the Contemporary. Other highlights of the event include a solo hip-hop dance performance, a group dance piece entitled "One" and the short dance film A Change of Space -- all for only $5. With the proceeds benefiting Wash. U.'s Spinal Cord Injury Program, maybe that "A" should stand for altruistic. -- Alison Sieloff
Día de Los Beats Muertos
Beats have their day, man
Walt Whitman cast the seeds that, roughly a century later, germinated into the wild garden of the beats. Beat writers have had a loyal readership ever since -- enough so that a loving homage like St. Louis' Day of the Dead Beats is staged annually. Local writers and assorted fellow bohos (some from KDHX [88.1 FM]) read from Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Bukowski, Diane di Prima (undead) and Herbert Huncke, among others, at 7 p.m. in the gallery adjacent to Dressel's Pub Above (419 North Euclid Avenue; 314-361-1060). Sorry, but Ginsberg's Howl won't be performed this year -- you can do your own howling the next day if the election results go, ahem, south. The performance is free; not smoking is allowed. -- Alex Weir
Eugene B. Redmond
His name stands alone
While most folks have to wait until they've merged with the Infinite before they are dipped in sepia tones and preserved on celluloid for the ages, such is not the case with author, scholar and poet laureate of East St. Louis Eugene B. Redmond. Arkansippi Bard, the documentary film whose subject is the very alive and active Redmond, needs your help: Attend a fundraiser for the film and a tribute to its subject at the Regional Arts Commission (6128 Delmar Boulevard). The nonprofit Simone de Cyrene Productions, Inc. organized this event, which features Fannie Belle Lebby's one-woman show, Ladies of Blues (which partially highlights Jackie "Moms" Mabley, who'd be a darn fine subject for a film herself), and a performance by poetry troupe Soular System Ensemble. Both the 3 and 9 p.m. shows are preceded by receptions at 2 and 8 p.m. ($40); attending only the performance costs $25. Call 314-534-1111 for tickets. -- Jedidiah Ayres
An Arsenal of Food
South city excels at smelling of hops and barley, but its capable restaurants also shine as they cook up appetizing appetizers to go with that beer. Try some of these meal-starters at the Taste of the South Side at the Five Star Senior Center (2832 Arsenal Street; 314-776-5444). DeSales Community Housing Corporation sponsors this $15 taste and auction, held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Happy hour, here we come! -- Alison Sieloff
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