Rock and Load

Chris Rock takes no prisoners

WED 11/19

There's Bill Murray and there's Chris Rock. That's it. Sure, you can probably think of other Saturday Night Live alumni who made money after leaving the show (e.g., Eddie "Beverly Hills Cop" Murphy), but how many of them haven't seen their talent rot like a green pork chop (e.g., Eddie "Daddy Day Care" Murphy)? Murray and Rock are the only two left with their creativity, dignity and popularity intact (sorry, Janeane Garofalo).

For a while, it didn't even look like Rock would hit this level. He floated through three seasons of SNL, where he played whatever black roles were too earthy for Tim Meadows and did a "Weekend Update" bit where -- get this! -- he riffed on racial differences. After leaving SNL, he popped up in bad and/or little-seen films every now and then, but he also quietly retooled his slash-and-burn style of stand-up comedy.

By the time his HBO special Bring the Pain hit airwaves, he had solidified his reputation as one of the best stand-up acts out there. Rock has a streak of righteous anger but doesn't come off as holier-than-thou, and he prowls the stage as if he's stalking his targets (hypocrites, American privilege and morons of all stripes), ready to tear into them with his belligerent, toothy grin. He's also amazingly perceptive, which may be why he covered the 2000 election for Politically Incorrect and became a sound bite of choice for both Michael Moore and a "very special episode" of Boston Public. For his new "Black Ambition" tour, there's no shortage of targets. God help them all. Rock performs at 8 p.m. at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Avenue, 314-534-1111). Tickets are $37.50-$55.00. -- Niles Baranowski

When It Comes to Godfathers
Two is enough

TUES 11/25

In this era of information overload, with Glitter director's-commentary DVDs and Transylvania 6-5000 rereleases, it's nice to see the Tivoli (6350 Delmar Boulevard, 314-862-1100) showing a little restraint by screening The Godfather (at 4:30 p.m.) and the The Godfather: Part II (at 8:15 p.m.) back to back for eight bucks, without feeling the need to tack on the weak-sister sequel Part III.

If, through remarkably bad parenting, you've never seen either of these films, then get thee to the Tivoli. Everything you've heard about these twin masterpieces is true: From the chiaroscuro lighting to the virtuoso performances by Al Pacino, Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro, the movies paint a dark and riveting portrait of the American Dream. It must be seen. Even if you have seen them (probably many times), don't miss the chance to catch them both on the big screen. If that's not enough, there's a Cicero's pizza intermission between the films ($4 extra). And that's an overload we can live with. -- Jordan Harper

The Burrito of Mercy
Feeds the beasts

WED 11/19

Falling somewhere on the formality continuum between Taco Bell and the Saint Louis Galleria's Casa Gallardo Grill, Qdoba is a new Mexican restaurant sprouting in west county (14169 Manchester Road in Manchester Commons, 636-527-7544, Qdoba, one of a chain of eateries owned by Jack in the Box, is making a splash by donating all the proceeds from its grand opening to the dog-watchers of the Humane Society of Missouri.

Swing by from 5 to 9 p.m. this Wednesday and try a poblano pesto-, fajita ranchera- or chicken mole-flavored burrito, among other delights. Five bucks gets you the entrée and drink of your choice, and all the money goes to the Humane Society.

You can order those burritos in Qdoba's signature "naked" style, too -- with ingredients arranged on a plate, free from the constraints of a tortilla. -- Byron Kerman

Mad & Dizzy

FRI 11/21

It used to be you could walk into Ron Buechele's Mad Art Gallery and a self-portrait of the owner would stare down from above, imperiously questioning passers-by. "So what's your deal?" the five-o'-clock-shadowed, cigar-smoking man in the painting seemed to ask. LOOK, the next show at the gallery, features more of Buechele's goodies, including abstracts and sculpture, such as Sacred Heart. LOOK also shows off stone, wood and steel sculpture by Venice Café co-founder Jeffrey Lockheed, and motor-mounted, very slow-rotating (about one revolution per hour) paintings by Phil Jarvis. "No matter which way you view them [Jarvis's paintings], they're always right-side up," reports Buechele (7-11 p.m. reception, free, through January 3, 2727 South 12th Street, 314-771-8230, -- Byron Kerman

Give a Hoot

SAT 11/22

What secrets lie behind the forbidding stare of the owl? How does it turn its head all the way around like that? And what is it up to out there in the forest all night, anyway? What is it trying to hide? The experts at the World Bird Sanctuary in Lone Elk Park (North Outer I-44 near Highway 141) will let you in on the whole deal at a 7 p.m. Owl Prowl. Friends of the Strigidae family will hang with the sanctuary's resident owls, learn to hoot with fluency and try out their new language skills on a moonlight hike through owl country. (Adults, $7; kids younger than twelve, $5; reservations required. Series continues several times a month through winter. See or call 636-225-4390.) -- Jason Toon

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