As you hunker down and the tornado roars ever closer, the voice of Kevin Bacon comes through the racket to soothe you. No, this isn't some deranged dream: This is Forces of Nature, now showing at the Omnimax theater at the St. Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue; 314-289-4400 or www.slsc.org). During this film you survive tornadoes, earthquakes and volcanoes -- fun stuff. But Forces has only two more days in its run, so if you want to get up close with Kevie and natural disasters, you have to act now. Tickets cost $6 to $7, and the film screens at noon today and Thursday, June 2.
Thursday, June 2
Don't let the name of the Impulse Student Showcase fool you; these dancers may be young, but they're not novices. These roughly college-age dancers have spent the last two weeks in an intensive dance seminar sponsored by aTrek Dance Company here in town; when they entered the course, these dancers were good -- now they're even better. The 7 p.m. performance at the Center for Creative Arts (524 Trinity Avenue, University City; 314-772-7778 or www.atrekdance.org) is their chance to show off what they've learned in the past fortnight, and it's your chance to see the next wave of dancers coming out of St. Louis. And all they're asking at the door is a $3 to $5 recommended donation.
Friday, June 3
Subterranean Books in the Loop (6275 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-862-6100) has a nice section of surrealist literature near the front door, usually pretty picked over by Mr. Night. This week, the bookstore adds a little surrealism to the décor as well, with "self-taught surrealist painter" Jeff Osser's show Terra Non Firma. Osser's paintings depict nude humans hanging out in almost featureless blue-and-green limbos while performing what seem to be precision formation movements: In one, all the people are sliding down fireman's poles into a different dimension; another shows a Hollywood Squares-type grid with bored or disinterested people crouching inside the boxes. There's something slightly humorous and ominous about these images, depending on your own mood. You can ask Osser about his motivations at his free opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight. Of course, him being a surrealist and all, he may just bark at you, or put an anchovy on your shoulder and dance away to the wine table.
Saturday, June 4
Hanging out at a resort is definitely the way to go this weekend. You struggled through your four-day week; why not live a little? Why not visit Castlewood State Park (1401 Kiefer Creek Road, Ballwin; 636-227-4433 or www.mostateparks.com/castlewood.htm)? So fine, Castlewood isn't a resort currently, but years ago, it used to be. Now the park is a kind of natural resort, featuring trails, the Meramec River, all kinds of wildlife and the World Bird Sanctuary (a resort for our feathered friends); plus, this weekend the park has some fun, free events planned. On Friday, June 3, go on a night bike ride; on Saturday, a.k.a. National Trails Day, stop by for the open house (from 1 to 4:30 p.m.) and/or go on a night hike; and on Sunday, June 5, participate in a triathlon ($60 per two-person team). Whew! That's not exactly the kind of resort relaxing you had in mind, but the fresh air will do you more good than a massage would anyway.
Sunday, June 5
You know what Clayton looks like (clean, new), you know what the suburban city smells like (variations of Chanel, mostly), but you just can't figure out what Clayton tastes like. Find out today at the annual Taste of Clayton, happening from 1 to 9 p.m. in Shaw Park (South Brentwood and Forsyth boulevards). This fundraiser for various charities features tastes from many of the municipality's restaurants and a kids' area, as well as performers like the Ralph Butler Band that embody Clayton's sound. Also, throughout the day under the "FOX 2 & Viking Culinary Arts Center" tent, FOX folks pair with Clayton chefs for cooking presentations -- personally, we like the 3:30 p.m. match-up of Mike Johnson from BARcelona with Dick Ford and Martin Kilcoyne. Yum! Admission and parking are free, but taste and drink tickets will cost you ($1 to $5); call 314-290-8474 for more information.
Monday, June 6
School's out, and summer's finally here. After two full semesters of learnin', what you need is a relaxing day at the beach. Yeah, all that coloring and learning to read can wear a kid out. The beach would be nice. Tell you what: Get Mom to drop you off at the Magic House (516 South Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood; 314-822-8900), because Sandcastle Beach is open again. The folks at the Magic House have transformed the backyard into beachfront property, and they've thought of everything. There's a nice misting system that imitates a refreshing sea breeze, a sandcastle-building expert, a boardwalk and real sea shells to dig for. Or better yet, just dig your toes into that sand for a while, then find a nice spot and lie down for a little nap. You're not getting any younger, so you may as well enjoy it while you can. Admission to Sandcastle Beach is free with regular admission ($6.50), and the beach is open daily through August 7 (visit www.magichouse.com for summer hours).
Tuesday, June 7
If you're looking for a quick day-trip, call in sick today and head for the Old Courthouse (11 North Fourth Street; 314-655-1700). The new exhibit F. Jay Haynes: Fifty Views is not only a trip in photos through the upper Midwest and Northwest, it's also a trip back in time. Haynes was the official photographer for the Northern Pacific Railroad and for Yellowstone National Park, and between 1876 and his retirement in 1919, he preserved forever the raw, natural beauty of the then-barely tamed frontier of America. Haynes' photographs have the rich, almost three-dimensional quality typical of long-exposure-time photos, and the best of them pulsate with the vitality of a much younger America. More than a hundred years after the fact, these photos still serve Haynes' original purpose in taking them: He wanted to encourage travel to the areas depicted and also provide a view of the country that many people had never seen. Spend a little time with Haynes' photos, and the urge to run to the hills is overwhelming. The Old Courthouse is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., admission is free, and F. Jay Haynes: Fifty Views remains on display through July 17.
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