NPR's Sleeper Awakens

Michael Feldman does the Blanche

SAT 10/11

Arguably National Public Radio's fifth biggest celebrity (Garrison "I'm a folking genius!" Keillor, Car Talkers Tom and Ray Magliozzi, Terry "That's Interesting" Gross and Diane "Bear With Me" Rehm are all arguably bigger vegetables in the American zeitgeist salad), Michael Feldman is likely suppressing a lot of jealousy issues. Fortunately, they come out in fairly hilarious ways. The host of Whad'Ya Know? and a Wisconsinite, he takes the majority of his anger out on Keillor's home state, Minnesota ("Minnesotans are uppity," he says. "They have a superiority complex. I don't know exactly why. The average Minnesotan probably thinks they're a notch above the average Badger") and Keillor himself ("He won't come on my show. Every time he puts a book out or a column I invite him to come on my show, and he says he's busy that day. I think he's missing a good opportunity.")

When he doesn't take himself too seriously, Feldman can be a hoot, waxing unflinchingly on issues like appearance improvement ("I've had a lot of work done on myself. The implants, the transplants, botox. Inspiration was Joan Rivers. Hard to believe she used to be ugly years ago, and look at her now") and travel ("We fly in the Whad'Ya Know? jet, Elvis' old plane, the one he named after his daughter. We got it cheap in Memphis.") He's even writing a book, Something I Said, which will be full of his most choice ironic bits.

But he's at his best when he's doing Whad'Ya Know? on the road ("People actually seem to be excited about the show, which is an unusual feeling," he says. "People in Wisconsin may be excited, but they conceal it well.") His live show is a benefit for local NPR affiliate KWMU (90.7 FM) and will be held at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center (8001 Natural Bridge Road) from 10 a.m.-noon. Ticket prices range from $40 to $60 (314-516-4949, -- Ben Westhoff

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi
Always wear underwear

Undies. Tighty-whiteys, pink polka-dotted ones, dirty undies with skid marks, thongs, boxers, big granny panties, lingerie with lace -- you're messing in somebody's business if you're messing with their underpants -- so mind your own, unless they want you in theirs. America loves to get in other people's underwear. And that's what Steve Martin's (yes, that Steve Martin) adaptation of Carl Sternheim's 1911 play The Underpants is all about -- social mores and the need to break them, triggered by a loose pair of bloomers. Sternheim's satire of the lascivious pull of celebrity is presented by City Theatre of St. Louis at the Theatre at St. John's (5000 Washington Place, 314-719-2855, from October 10-26. Tickets are $15-$18. -- Guy Gray

Eclectic Co.

SUN 10/12

St. Louis' punk-rock old guard are wetting themselves about this show: Blake Fleming, polyrhythmic-whirlwind drummer for Laddio Bollocko (and prior to that, for a li'l combo called Dazzling Killmen) returns with his new group, Electric Turn to Me. Fleming, joined by fellow ex-Laddio Marcus DeGrazia (keyboards) and James Wilk (guitar), whips up some No Wave meets avant '60s pop behind the tender and taut vocals of the enigmatic Silke. St. Louis' new guard will be well represented by super freakouts Yowie and the ever-challenging Conformists. Early candidate for Show of the Year? How 'bout Show of the Decade? Tickets are $7-$9, and it gets going at 7:30 p.m. at the Creepy Crawl (412 North Tucker Boulevard, 314-851-0919). -- Paul Friswold

Powell Howl

WED 10/8

Those who've attended the On Stage at Powell events know how cool it is to be able to sit on the stage, right next to some of the world's greatest classical musicians, as they wring beautiful sounds from their instruments. This time, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra first violinist and Englishwoman Angie Smart leads a group of her fellows through the music of Elgar and other Brits. The musicians will also discuss the contemporary-classical English music scene and host a reception after the concert. You can ask the SLSO performers questions and drink punch with them. This is one night you won't need opera glasses at the symphony (718 North Grand Boulevard, 7 p.m., free, 314-286-4108). -- Byron Kerman

Ben Westhoff

Ben Westhoff is the author of the books Original Gangstas, Fentanyl, Inc., and Little Brother: Love, Tragedy, and My Search For the Truth.
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