Monk Business

Creating beauty, raising consciousness

Apr 21, 2004 at 4:00 am
And you thought it took patience to sit through the rush-hour traffic on Highway 40.

On Friday, April 23, a group of monks from Tibet's 588-year-old Drepung Gomang Monastery will begin constructing a sand mandala at the City Museum (701 North Fifteenth Street) by painting and then inlaying millions of grains of sand along a platform to create a visual interpretation of the enlightened mind. Yowza.

In an opening ceremony at 9 a.m. Friday, the monks will consecrate the site in a musical ceremony featuring flutes, drums and cymbals. Museumgoers who purchase a regular-admission ticket ($7.50, $5 after 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays) may then observe the work-in-progress anytime during regular museum hours (Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Visitors may also check out the work for free on Monday and Tuesday, when the museum will keep its doors open exclusively for mandala-viewing. Donations will be welcomed and Tibetan handicrafts will be for sale, with all proceeds benefiting the Drepung Gomang Food Foundation.

A second consecration ceremony, marking the mandala's completion, will take place Tuesday, April 27, at 5 p.m. In this ceremony the monks will sweep up the sand (OK, they are officially the most selfless people on earth), symbolizing the impermanence of all things, give some of the grains to those in attendance as blessings, then make their way alongside the crowd to the Arch so they can pour the rest into the Mississippi River. Why can't Catholicism be this cool?

For more info, call the City Museum at 314-231-2489 or visit -- Rose Martelli

He Did Start the Fire

Here's a little known fact about Billy Joel: Once he was cool. The organ-playing member of a two-man, quasi-heavy metal band named "Attila," Joel stole his drum-playing partner's wife and broke up the act. Then came fame and fortune as the Piano Man, and now comes a more successful partnership with choreographer Twyla Tharp. Their dance/musical, Movin' Out, has taken Broadway by storm, and it graces the stage of the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard, 314-534-1111) Tuesday, April 27, through May 9. The story of lifelong friends (all characters from Billy Joel's songbook) is told through Tharp's innovative choreography and, of course, more than two dozen of Billy's most popular songs, which means nothing from the Attila album. Tickets are $26 to $64. -- Paul Friswold

Tie One On

WED 4/21

When you think of ties and celebrities, you probably think of Avril Lavigne and shudder. Get that image out of your head with a night at the Ciné Tie exhibition, a showing by local artists of celebrity- and film-themed, hand-painted neckwear that will shame your paisley number. Gawk at items such as Marilyn Monroe filmstrip ties and then cap off the night with a midnight movie, chosen by your votes from a list of cult classics at that, sadly, doesn't include Pedro Almodvar's Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!. Practice your double Windsor and check out the ties from 10 p.m. to midnight at the Chase Park Plaza (212 North Kingshighway, 314-467-0101). Admission is free. -- Niles Baranowski


SAT 4/24

With the new dew of a blossoming spring, changes are everywhere. One of the most startling and appreciated changes is the scheduling shift at Pop's (1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois; 618-274-6720; $20). Yes, the happy home of all tribute bands is turning over a new leaf and bringing us more original and electronic fare (this weekend at least) with the Crystal Method and opener DJ Hyper (pictured). TCM is promoting its dazzling January release, Legion of Boom, and Hyper is out drumming up support for March's breakbeat, in-the-mix double disc, Wired. If you like what you hear (you should!), Hyper's playing the show's official afterparty just across the parking lot at Oz's VIP room (free with a ticket stub from the Pop's show). -- Alison Sieloff