If you grew up in suburban America during the '70s, you either love the movie Over the Edge, or you will love the movie Over the Edge. Jonathan Kaplan's film portrays the boredom, the vandalism and the drug use with a knowing eye, and he spares neither the system nor the kids in this searing look at what happens when teenagers have nothing to do. The Ramones, appropriately, make a soundtrack appearance, as do Cheap Trick and the real Van Halen. Young Matt Dillon made his screen debut in the film as a (what else?) ne'er-do-well tough guy with dreamy eyes and a lost soul. Sigh. Over the Edge screens at 8 p.m. at the Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue; 314-241-2337), and admission is $4.
Thursday, July 1
Working with clay has got to be one of the most soothing artistic expressions, with the rhythm of the spinning wheel just adding to that serenity. Gabriela Inderwies understands. Not only does she spin (and alter) stunning stoneware, but she also makes much of it functional (nothing's more soothing than art with a purpose). Check out her work at the Compônere Gallery of Art and Fashion at 6505-6509 Delmar Boulevard (314-721-1181 or www.componere.com). Her Vessels of Distinction will be showing all month alongside John Lautermilch's oil paintings. Enjoy The Play of Light in Realism, his show of brilliantly colored nature scenes (the water lilies are especially striking). The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 1, and the opening reception for Inderwies is Friday, July 2, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Friday, July 2
What do the words "melting pot" mean to you? Hint: "Fondue pot" is not the right answer. And just what does "independence" signify to you in your little world? Probably just a way of life that you take for granted (or not getting any more money from your parents). Make these words suggest something patriotic instead. Visit the rotunda of the Old Courthouse (11 North Fourth Street; 314-655-1700 or www.nps.gov/jeff/index.html) at 1 p.m. to witness a free Official Naturalization Ceremony. Watch as approximately 75 people become your brethren; they've studied and tested and their big day is here. Listen as they take the oath of citizenship, and see how they appreciate freedom. And afterward, as you're sweating around Fair Saint Louis, making meals of corn dogs and funnel cakes, remember their pride (and try to regain some).
Saturday, July 3
Frozen custard is delightful: You don't have to tell us twice. But getting fat sucks. So how do we reconcile these seemingly polarized facts? We head to the St. Louis Frozen Custard Factory (9420 Manchester Road; 314-961-9191 or www.stlouiscustard.com), where they have 98 percent fat-free custard. So what if the peanut-butter cups we add aren't low-fat? The custard is, so that's better than nothing. And if you actually want to be healthy, you can get a "Custoozie," a fruit-and-light-custard smoothie (of course).
This summer the factory is adding fun to the Custoozie (as if it needs it) and all of its other frozen treats by hosting a "Concrete and a Concert" series. Hear the Boney Goat Band from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on the patio, and maybe buy some extra treats for that goat. Being in a band is hard work, and it sounds like it's probably missed a meal or two.
Sunday, July 4
It's Independence Day, and if you really want to feel your Americanness, what could be better than going to a ball game, eating hot dogs and cheering every time Albert Pujols jacks one into the stands? The Cardinals play the Seattle Mariners at 1:15 p.m. at the soon-to-be-demolished Busch Stadium (Broadway and Walnut Street; 314-421-2400), so you should make every effort to get to this one. That way, in 50 years you can tell your kids you were at the second-to-last Fourth of July game ever played at Busch. The Mariners kinda stink this year, so the Cards have a good chance at winning this one (always a plus on the Fourth), and if they get an early lead you won't have to feel bad about cheering for Ichiro. That dude sprays hits like nobody's business, and he makes the game fun. Tickets are $12 to $59.
Monday, July 5
Thai cuisine is a delicious, bewildering puzzle. So spicy, so sweet and often flavored with the down-home crunch of peanuts, Thai food is enchanting and filling, but no matter how many times we eat it, we always have to order by number, not by name. Still, if you yearn to learn more than just proper pronunciation of the dishes, Viking Culinary Arts Center (1811 South Brentwood Boulevard; 314-961-1999) offers Thai Classics, a cooking course that will teach you the basic techniques of the art. Beef satay with peanut sauce and cool cucumber salad is on the menu, which sounds so good we might ignore our "no red meat" policy for an evening. The class runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and costs $35. Please call ahead for a reservation.
Tuesday, July 6
There was a time when no vertical surface was safe from our climbing prowess. Trees, hillsides, the ladder on the back of Dad's conversion van (what were those things for, anyway?): These summits were all scaled with a devil-may-care recklessness that complemented the bowl haircut and Toughskin jeans we wore on a monthly basis. Then we entered the vast waist-land of middle age (a strange land, bounded by the River of Stag, and the Forest of Black Forest Cake), and merely climbing out of bed became a strenuous endeavor. It's time to reclaim our climbing skills and our health. But how? Well, the Upper Limits Rock Gym (326 South 21st Street; 314-241-7625) offers a class called Climbing 101 that will teach the basics of top-rope climbing as well as knot tying and safe belaying. The two-hour course begins at 6 p.m., and the $30 fee includes equipment rental and free climbing for the rest of the evening. Within weeks, we shall forgo all staircases and scale the outside of the building to attain the Night & Day offices! The bowl haircut we can probably live without.
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