Head Over Heels

For the New Shanghai Circus

Sep 29, 2004 at 4:00 am
SUN 10/3

You've got to hand it to St. Louis: We're exploring every possible angle when it comes to reliving the 1904 World's Fair. This week's case in point is Echoes of Celebration at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Boulevard). Two teams of acrobats -- the New Shanghai Circus and Kaifen Acrobatic Troupe -- perform to celebrate the role of the Chinese-American community in the St. Louis of this century and the last.

The New Shanghai Circus is the overseas arm of the Shanghai Magic Troupe, itself a conglomeration formed in 1959 of the best Chinese acrobats and magicians. Like all Chinese acrobats, these performers do things that aren't humanly possible, but unlike the others, they do it better and all over the world. These are extraordinary feats of flexibility and strength -- legs wrapped around heads, one-hand handstands on top of a pole -- that have boggled the Western mind for years. Certainly the flips and kung-fu stylings of both troupes will startle and amaze the audiences at the TouPAC. Oh, and there's a replica of the Chinese World's Fair Pavilion on display in the lobby. Catch all the action at 3 p.m.; tickets are $18 to $35 and are available by calling 314-516-4949. -- Mark Dischinger

Blow Out!
Fred Garbo's Inflatable Theater

You may think you're not familiar with Fred Garbo, but you already love his work. He performed the role of Barkley the Dog on Sesame Street, bringing the big lug to life with his galumphing bounds and playful attitude. Garbo brings this same exuberance to the Center of Creative Arts (524 Trinity Avenue; 314-725-6555) for five performances of his unique stage show, Fred Garbo's Inflatable Theater. Aided by dancer Daielma Santos, Garbo creates riots of color and movement with his oversize inflatable props and his imagination (visit www.fredgarbo.com for a sneak peek). You may think it's strictly kids' stuff, but if you love the Flaming Lips' stage show, consider attending. Shows are at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 1; 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 2; and 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 3. Tickets are $20. -- Paul Friswold

Are You Down with Brown?
Working for Peanuts

Under most circumstances laughing at large-headed bald children is considered extremely poor form. There are instances in which it's appropriate, however, and Clark Gesner gave us one when he wrote You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown for the Broadway stage. The day-in-the-life musical comedy (based on Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts comic strip) gives us a cross-section of the lives, hopes and dreams of a certain large-headed bald child and his friends. See it live at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays (October 1 through 9) and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 3, in the Fischer Theatre on the campus of St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley (3400 Pershall Road). The performances are free, and children ages four and older are welcome to attend. Listening devices and seating for people using wheelchairs are available. To reserve tickets or request special accommodations, call the Fischer Theatre's box office at 314-513-4488 or visit www.stlcc.edu/fv/theatre/. -- John Goddard

Straight from the Late

When ghouls dig themselves to freedom from the Alton Cemetery soil (Monument Avenue and Fifth Street) just to spin a yarn, you know those stories must be good. The YWCA and Alton Little Theatre present a tour of these Vintage Voices (really historical-character plays) every ten minutes from 1 to 3 p.m. every Saturday from October 2 through 23. The tour costs $6 to $12 -- and don't worry, the actors don't actually crawl out of the ground. For more info call 618-465-7774, or visit www.altonywca.com. -- Alison Sieloff