This weekend, don't just sit around waiting for spring — get out there and have some fun. The events on the agenda include live music, theater, an art party, a film and even a duct tape derby. Now's the perfect time to make plans.
Here are our picks for the six best things to do in St. Louis this weekend.
1. See a film about artistic visionaries
In the late 1960s, a handful of artists rejected the world of art galleries by creating works on a scale so massive no building could contain them. To do so, they used the earth itself as their canvas, often working in the expansive American Southwest. James Crump chronicles the rise of the movement in his documentary Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art. Crump positions Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria and Robert Smithson as the big three of the style, using new aerial footage and remastered vintage images to show how their earthworks have been altered by time and the environment. Smithson's iconic piece Spiral Jetty, a 1,500-foot-long spiral of basalt, mud and salt constructed in the bed of the Great Salt Lake in 1970, was submerged for almost three decades and is now mostly white rather than its original black. De Maria's sprawling The Lightning Field — a one-mile by one-kilometer grid of 400 steel poles on a plateau in New Mexico — required an overhaul after 40 years standing against the winds of the high desert. Troublemakers provides the opportunity to see art that is hidden in plain sight in some of the country's most remote regions. The film screens at 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday (February 26 to 28) at Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue: 314-967-7487 or www.webster.edu/film-series). Tickets are $4 to $6.
2. Catch a cabaret act at the Stage at KDHX
Top cabaret singers have strong voices and the ability to connect emotionally with an audience — that's why Tim Schall is one of the very best in the business. Schall sings beautifully, but it's the way he channels his feelings through the music that inexorably pulls you into the song with him. He's the sort of performer who makes you feel that he's singing to you, and for you. Friday at 8 p.m. at the Stage at KDHX (3524 Washington Avenue; www.thestagestl.com), Schall presents Songs of 1961: The Men Were Mad and the Music Was A-Changin'. The show takes you back to Gaslight Square's heyday, when music was transforming from safe and steady pop to something new, modern and hip. Schall is backed by Carol Schmidt (piano), Michael Isam (percussion and sax) and Ben Wheeler (bass), and tickets are $25.
3. Buy art for a good cause
If you like your art fresh off the brush, Wall Ball is for you. The annual fundraiser for ArtScope features artists such as Tony Renner, Lea Koesterer and Jeffrey Sass creating new works in all media during the course of the evening. Your job is to mingle, have a few drinks and bid on the pieces you like. The money raised helps ArtScope continue its mission of providing year-round arts education to kids. Wall Ball takes place from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Majorette (7150 Manchester Road, Maplewood; www.artscopestl.com). Tickets are $35 to $60.
4. Thrill to the sounds of the St. Louis Symphony
The works of William Shakespeare have inspired audiences for more than 400 years. Among those who fell under the bard's spell was Felix Mendelssohn, who wrote a concert overture for A Midsummer Night's Dream when he was seventeen. Sixteen years later he returned to the play, composing a sonata of incidental music that incorporated his overture, complete with parts for voice. The Saint Louis Symphony performs the full piece as part of its Shakespeare Festival concert series. Conductor Hans Graf is joined by members of the Saint Louis Symphony Chorus and actress Maureen Thomas, who performs vignettes from the play. A Midsummer Night's Dream is presented at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (February 27 and 28) at Powell Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1700 or www.slso.org). Tickets are $25 to $111.
5. See a play about memory and bloodsport
George Brant's drama Elephant's Graveyard is based on a true story. In 1916 a traveling circus visited Kingsport, Tennessee, with its big draw — Mary, an Asian elephant billed as bigger than Jumbo. Unfortunately, Mary killed her handler in a very public place, and the people of Kingsport demanded justice. In order to get it, Mary was transported to nearby Erwin, which had the necessary heavy equipment to execute an elephant. Brant tells this story through the shared memories of the circus folk and the citizens of both towns, who all remember the incident slightly differently. It's an object lesson in the uncertainty of eyewitnesses and America's love for spectacle — especially when it's grisly. The Washington University Performing Arts Department presents Elephant's Graveyard at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (February 26 to March 6) at Washington University's Edison Theatre (6465 Forsyth Boulevard; 314-935-6543 or www.edison.wustl.edu). Tickets are $10 to $15.
6. Catch the annual Duct Tape Derby in Wildwood
Cardboard sledding is not in the Olympics — not yet, anyway. That means the highest level of competition for this sport is still to be found at WIL's Duct Tape Derby. Competitors must use cardboard, duct tape and glue to build their sleds, but the actual design is left up to personal preference. Last year's derby saw a Star Wars landspeeder, a Mario cart and an actual johnny-on-the-spot dubbed "Johnny on the Pot"; who knows what you'll see this year. The competition starts at 10 a.m. Sunday at Hidden Valley Ski Resort (17409 Hidden Valley Drive, Wildwood; 636-938-5373 or www.hiddenvalleyski.com). It's free to participate, and cash prizes are awarded for the two best-designed sleds, as well as for the single fastest run of the day.