The Friends of Kirkwood Public Library Book Fair ain't just a warm-up for the mother of all local book fairs (i.e., the Nursery Foundation benefit fair at West County Center, coming in May). The Kirkwood version has several rooms choked with groovy short-story collections, art books, travel guides, biographies, kids' lit and, of course, romance novels that can be had for a song (about twelve cents each). The selection is great, the price is right and the ladies at the cash register are sassy seniors who thrive on upbraiding the customers. Today's 1-8 p.m. preview for book dealers and other serious bookworms carries a $5 admission, but the fair is free from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday at the Kirkwood Public Library (140 East Jefferson Avenue). Call 314-821-5770 for more info.
Thursday, April 24
There are old-school tattoos of buxom mermaids emerging from the spray with six-packs, and then there are modern masterpieces, such as tattooist Trevis Stallard's skin portrait of Ace Frehley or Laura Rider's skeletal iguana, climbing up the arm of a customer. Maybe it's these artists' skills that brought the National Tattoo Association Convention to St. Louis this year. The Alton, Illinois, studio Body Treasures, which Rider co-owns and where Stallard works, welcomes the prestigious annual gathering to the Adam's Mark Hotel (Fouth and Chestnut streets) for four days of tattooing, contests, demos, lectures, parties and roasts, beginning today. The Discovery Channel will be on hand to record the proceedings for a progam, explains piercer and convention volunteer J.D. Rider, along with more than 100 artists from around the world determined to best their peers in permanent pointillism. The convention is open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for tattooing and ogling ($10 admission); call 618-462-0006 for more.
And the University City Loop's Iron Age Studio (6309 Delmar Boulevard, 314-725-1499) opens its doors today for an exhibit of tattoo-influenced paintings by Josh Chapman, Pinpricks and Petals, with a 7:30 p.m.-midnight reception. Check out the free show through May 18.
Friday, April 25
Eating an oyster is an act of bravery for the squeamish, but for fans of the squishy mollusk, it's as easy as inhaling a Twinkie -- there ain't no hesitation. Schlafly brew sponsors the Spring in St. Louis Oysterfest, a party at the Radisson Hotel (200 North Fourth Street) for oyster lovers with live music, appetizer and drink specials, plus oyster and shrimp dishes paired with particular beers. The action takes place indoors and on the covered patio from 5-8 p.m.; admission is free. Call 314-621-8200 for more. Oysters Rockefeller and oyster po-boys are nice, but for purists, the raw slurp is the way to go, with just a little lemon or hot sauce involved, if anything.
Saturday, April 26
"Fastest Drive-Thru in the Midwest" is a bold statement, but the Annunciation Parish Men's Club Spring Barbecue is making it. From 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday, the men of the club will be doing it up right, and you don't even have to leave the car to enjoy their handiwork. Drive over to 12 West Glendale Road in Webster Groves, place your order for a pork steak, half-chicken or brat dinner, and they'll bring it to you. Gluttony and sloth combined, and it only sets you back $4 to $7 per order! Two sins for next to nothing! Walk-ups are welcome, sides are included and don't worry about cleaning up, because the Art Coop is throwing a Paint Your Body Fundraiser from 7 p.m.-1 a.m. at Rue 13 (1311 Washington Avenue). Does KC Masterpiece count as paint? Wear it anyway. Prizes will be awarded for the top three costumes or painted bodies, and how can you lose if you're slathered in sweet, smoky goodness? Entrance is gained for $7, and the money will help get the Art Coop space up to code. Call 314-644-7676, ext. 711, for Art Coop info and 314-962-5955 for barbecue info.
Sunday, April 27
We've recommended oysters for Friday and barbecue for Saturday. For the Maalox crowd, why not keep going with some pad thai today? Delicious Thai food for sale is just one of the pleasures of the Songkran Thai New Year Festival, an annual party at the Thai Buddhist Temple of Greater St. Louis (890 Lindsay Lane). You'll also enjoy music, costume and dance, plus the Miss Songkran beauty pageant, from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Call 314-839-3115 for more on the free celebration.
Monday, April 28
Hot on the heels of Passover comes Boychik, Richard Krevolin's one-man play about a son dealing with the death of his father, which means all the attendant guilt, bittersweet memories and lost chances that form the backbone of Jewish theater. What makes Boychik noteworthy is that the "one-man" in this case is Richard Kline, also known as "Larry the horndog" from TV's Three's Company. It turns out Kline is an accomplished stage actor who has performed at the Folger Shakespeare Theater in Henry V, as Henry, no less. Staggering. If you can't wrap your mind around good-time Larry in a serious role, you'll just have to see it to believe it. Boychik plays for one night only at Ameristar's Bottleneck Blues Bar (St. Charles Landing), at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $125, but it's a benefit for Mosaics Missouri Festival of the Arts, and besides, when will a performance such as this ever be seen again? Call 636-940-5178 for more info, or just go knock on their door; they've been waitin' for you ...
Tuesday, April 29
Riverfront Times photographer Jennifer Silverberg's exhibit A Harvest of Hope: Midstream on the Migrant Trail documents her eighteen-month exploration of migrant-farm-worker culture in the Missouri Bootheel. The camera is a transparent observer, capturing life without commenting on it, and yet Silverberg's photographs convey something more visceral than casual observation or social journalism could describe. In "The Mariachi," four men stand against the blank horizon in their crisp black suits; one, older and thicker in the middle, curls his lip with a cheerful bravado that is inviting rather than intimidating; another, thinner and more compact than his friend, stands with his trumpet at chest level, gazing off to the side with saturnine detachment. "Mariachi" portrays the daily truth of immigrants: eager optimism tempered with lingering thoughts of something left behind. A Harvest of Hope is at the Bonsack Gallery, on the campus of John Burroughs School (755 South Price Road), through May 12. Call 314-993-4040 for hours.
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