Art v. Art

Two art fairs, no waiting

Most people who publicly consume artistic product do so with a glass of wine in hand, in sterile rooms with hardwood floors, in league with fellow aesthetes. But this week two different art fairs bust outta the galleries and take it to the streets. Asphalt! Beer! Cutoff jeans! Now that's some art!

As the more established of the two, the free Saint Louis Art Fair (centered around North Central Avenue and Forsyth Boulevard in Clayton; Friday, September 10, from 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, September 11, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, September 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) has the corporate backing and figures to draw the bigger crowds. Almost 200 artists exhibit their work in genres from glass to fiber to the ever-popular "three-dimensional mixed media." An all-star lineup of local restaurants offers everything from the veggie samosas of India's Rasoi to the pulled pork of Super Smokers. The two music stages aren't too shabby, either: Johnnie Johnson plays at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. If you're bringing kids, go on Saturday, when puppeteers and storytellers rove the fair and the tykes can get their art on at the "Creative Castle." For more info, see

Nobody will ever accuse the Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood) of failing to make use of its parking lot: The regular Wednesday farmer's market is joined this week by Art Outside, the young-and-hungry upstart of the two fairs (Friday, September 10, from 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, September 11, from noon to 10 p.m.). This one evidently has a more rugged, plebeian, City Museum/Venice Café-type vibe, with Bill Christman's pop-art mischief and the ghostly emulsion-transfer photography of Jane Linders. The fair also promises films, a fashion show, a poetry reading and live music -- all for the low admission charge of "free." Visit or call 314-241-2337 for more. -- Jason Toon

Horsin' Around

SAT 9/11

There are few sports that denote pomp, spectacle and splendor better than polo; maybe no other sport, in fact. The combination of power and subtlety polo requires, the patrician image the very word "polo" implies, the natural beauty of the horses: It all creates a rarefied air. "We're attending the 4 p.m. polo matches at Smith McGhee Field" is a phrase that reeks of chi-chi and diamonds. But in fact, admission is a mere $10 per carload, and the money goes to help the Junior League of St. Louis, which makes this the social event of the weekend. Smith McGhee Field is adjacent to the Landings at Spirit Golf Club (180 North Eatherton Road, Chesterfield); call 314-569-3117 for more info. -- Paul Friswold

Westward, Hua

Sometimes it's fantastic to have your expectations dashed. From an art show entitled Record of Westward Travel, you expect cowboys, horses and six-shooters. If, however, you're in Beijing, then your journey west takes you to Tibet, not Tombstone, and there aren't many cowboys or six-shooters in your sketchbook. Hua Qimin's artistic record seeks to show the "mysterious and wondrous" elements of his time in Tibet, as he explains in a slide talk about his work at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, September 10, at Fontbonne University's Lewis Library (6800 Wydown Boulevard; 314-889-1431). An artist's reception follows the slide show from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Gallery of Art, where Record of Westward Travel remains on display through October 8. -- Paul Friswold

One Nun of Fun

The last time Sister brought her Late-Nite Catechism to St. Louis, she had to keep the class going for months, resulting in night after sold-out night of lessons in the intricacies of Catholicism. Obviously, the lessons didn't take (we still can't distinguish Vatican I from Vatican II), and so Sister returns for a refresher course. Classes will be held every day except Monday at the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square; tickets are $36 to $42) from Wednesday, September 8, through January 8, and this time she expects audiences to mind her (or out comes the dreaded ruler). If history has taught us anything, it's that shame, sarcasm and acerbic wit make for excellent teachers -- and that Catholics and non-Catholics alike will find something to laugh about when Sister lays down the law. Call 314-534-1834 for tickets and times. -- Paul Friswold

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