Hands Across Skinker

The Loop expands its border

No, you still can't climb aboard that trolley we've all been waiting for. But otherwise, the Loop's much-predicted expansion eastward into the city of St. Louis is fully underway. The Pageant started it; the Pin-Up Bowl, MacroSun International and Big Shark Bicycle Company fleshed it out; and now the East Meets West Street Festival celebrates it. From Friday, May 7, until May 16, both ends of the Loop (from 6000 Delmar Boulevard to 6600 Delmar Boulevard) will unite in revelry as if the psychic barricade at Skinker Boulevard doesn't exist.

The import experts at MacroSun (6172 Delmar) have taken the lead in organizing this particular to-do, and they playfully interpret "East Meets West" in both global and Delmar-specific terms. At 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 8, Tibetan Lama Lobsang will conduct a Buddhist Fire Puja ceremony at the store, followed by North African belly dancers an hour later. On Sunday, May 9, MacroSun will observe Mother's Day with free Indian henna body art for mothers and daughters who spend $10 or more. And on Friday, May 14, the store will host a drum-and-tabla circle from 7 to 9 p.m.

If MacroSun's earthy brand of globalism isn't your thing, don't despair. Take in the international offerings at the Tivoli Theatre, including the Icelandic flick Nói the Albino. Marvel as painter Henryk Ptasiewicz throws down his skills on the pavement in front of Componere Gallery -- with a name like Henryk Ptasiewicz, he must be good. Catch the St. Louis Walk of Fame induction ceremony at Blueberry Hill (Sunday, May 16, 1:30 p.m.). Browse sidewalk sales everywhere from Baton Music to Subterranean Books to Bittersweet Botanicals. Tons more is going on besides all this, but we're only allowed one more ugly parenthetical aside, so you'll have to track down the full schedule yourself. (Complete information is available at www.ucityloop.com/eastwest, or call 314-727-8000.) -- Jason Toon

Stoned in St. Louis

Look around downtown St. Louis: Do you notice the lack of gargoyles? Sure, we have a few here and there, but St. Louis is sorely lacking in these protective stone demons, and that could explain quite a bit about our shrinking population and dismal showing in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Fear not: A congregation of gargoyles in both sculpture and photographs has been assembled at the City Museum (701 North Fifteenth Street, 314-231-2489), and they will surely remedy our situation. Visit them at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 7 (nighttime admission is $5), and whisper your secret desires into their ancient ears; they certainly won't tell anyone else, and they might manipulate their powers for your benefit. -- Paul Friswold

Bock for More

SAT 5/8

It takes a certain amalgam of bravery and hunger and inspiration for someone to look at the flailing antennae and insect-like carapace of the crawdad and think, "If somebody boiled that sumbitch and tore it apart, it'd probably taste real good." Whoever that gustatorial pioneer was, he or she would no doubt be thrilled by the Schlafly Tap Room's Crawfish and Bock Party (2100 Locust Street; 314-231-2337 or www.schlafly.com). The celebration of tasty river bugs and even tastier bock beer is a noon to 7 p.m. affair, with live music provided by Gumbohead and no charge for admission. And honestly, if crackin' shells is a little more than you can handle, settle your nerves with a drink or three; some people just don't have that pioneering spirit. -- Paul Friswold

Visions of a Good Time

SAT 5/8

When you and your chosen hunk of loveliness are ready for a night on the town, do you immediately think of throwing on your party duds and hopping over to Maplewood? Well, maybe you should. The Atomic Cowboy (7336 Manchester Avenue; 314-645-0608) offers a snazzy environment, chic peeps and a rotating cast of eclectic DJs ("rotating" cast, get it?) as well as art shows. Chic, DJ, art? Sounds like a night on the town to us. Visions Untitled, a fine-art photography show featuring the works of Biljana Erdeg, Mark B. Lockwood, Aline Duarte and Leonardo Oliviera, opens with an 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. reception, and DJ Fritz the Cat spins all night. Quick! Get thee and thine hybrid electric car to Maplewood! -- Paul Friswold

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