Come summertime, the St. Louis area is amok with open-air concerts, outdoor film screenings and street fairs -- so it makes a kind of perverse sense that one of the most anticipated art exhibits of the season will be installed at the indoor galleries of Laumeier Sculpture Park, where you have to pass by compelling outdoor art to get to the goodies on the inside.
Beginning June 20 (a 5:30 p.m. reception is followed by a free outdoor St. Louis Symphony Orchestra concert) and running through September 7, local artist Soo Sunny Park's latest exhibition will invade 12580 Rott Road (314-821-1209, free). Bio-Structure: Metra Geo requires that observers walk in, through and around a series of fabricated, transparent, plastic lenses to take in a boggling array of planet-like spheres and other curious shapes. Like many of the artist's prior works, this one plays with and challenges notions of space and time; it's only fitting from someone who seriously considered majoring in math or physics during her college years before settling on art. "Within time and space, there's an indestructible force that brings renewal," says Park, "which is the consistent cycle of nature." Or, as the Bible and the Byrds once put it, "to everything there is a season" -- and this season, the art show to catch is Park's in the Park. -- Rose Martelli
Strip, dip and run at a rapid clip
You're young, you're wild and you're free; you're also barred from beer parlors, bored and facing a midnight curfew. It's a tight spot, but for the creative young daredevil, not inescapable. When you want maximum fun with minimal effort, there's only one thing to do: strip down. The suburbs are full of backyard pools just waiting for swimmers, and you're in the best shape of your life. Flaunt it by skinny-dipping. A swimsuit slows you down when you're going over fences, and nobody ever looks good in 'em anyway. Travel in a group (for safety's sake, and also for the nice scenery), leave the towels in the car and remember: even if the pool owner catches you, it's hard for anyone to stay mad at a naked person. There are just too many distractions. -- Paul Friswold
New Wave Old School
Re-Living in the '80s
It was inevitable that the "style" of the '80s would make a comeback. The crispy-meringue hairdos, the synthetic music and the fluorescent socks that defined the era are assaulting senses in commercials and movies once again. But can you really knock a decade that gave us John Hughes and Poison? (Yes. Yes you can). It was an ugly time, but still entertaining in its crassness and artificiality.
One Crazy Summer: Back to 1986, a benefit party for Grand Center, embraces the tacky splendor of the '80s with all the gusto of a Duran Duran video directed by John Waters. Sponsored in part by the RFT, One Crazy Summer promises a premium open bar, DJ John Millard and glam-rock cover band Hott Lixx. Tempting, yes, but the main draw for this party is sure to be the '80s look-alike contest. Imagine a dance floor packed with Molly Ringwalds, Emo Phillipses and Andrew Dice Clays all gyrating to Winger. Yikes, that's good fun. It all goes down at The Bistro (3536 Washington Avenue), tickets cost $50-$70, and the party goes from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Call 314-534-3663. -- Paul Friswold
Kiss My Frog
Waterfalls! Ponds! Frogs! Fairies and water nymphs! The St. Louis Water Gardening Society's annual Pond-O-Rama Water Gardens Tour is enchanting. See more than 50 man-made ponds, streams and such at private homes in every corner of the metro area on the self-guided tour, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, June 21, and Sunday, June 22. Each day features a different set of water gardens, so book your weekend with $10 tickets, available at such stores as Best of Nature (7950 Watson Road, 314-962-5833) or at www.slwgs.org. --Byron Kerman
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