This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Week of April 27, 2005

Wednesday, April 27

When something goes wrong, people always tell us something dumb, like "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade." This suggestion doesn't really help us since we don't even like lemonade. Instead, people should be telling us to "turn that frown upside down," because that's advice we can follow -- especially when Josh Blue is coming to town. This comedian is anything but ordinary; he has cerebral palsy and incorporates his disability into his one-man show, Woe Isn't Me. Josh has learned to laugh at life, and from him we can all learn a lot -- through laughter. He performs today at 2 p.m. at the St. Louis Community College-Meramec theater (11333 Big Bend Boulevard; 314-984-7673); admission is free.

Thursday, April 28

Every night after work, you rush home to let that puppy dog of yours out, and while your pet does need to, um, evacuate, he also needs to go out -- like on the town. Bring him to the Arf-ritis Doggie Happy Hour, happening from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Old Playground Pavilion at Tower Grove Park (4256 Magnolia Avenue; 314-771-2679 or There, your dog can meet our dog, Dr. Barkapotomus, and you can enjoy some food and socialization yourself -- it's about time you two got out of the house! The Arthritis Foundation, the group hosting this free après-work function, will let you enter contests and play games for donations, and all the money raised benefits the group's arthritis walks. Call 314-991-9333 for more information.

Friday, April 29

Mr. Night's no expert in the field of ceramics -- let's make that clear now. His only venture into the art resulted in a wumpy-jawed alligator whose hind legs quickly fell off. But Mr. Night has a keen aesthetic eye (he purchased it for cheap at the Sammy Davis Jr. estate auction), and he knows that Joy Lapin's ceramic vessels are easy on said secondhand eye. Lapin has an exemplary sense of structure, creating forms that are modern but still retain a classical appeal; her glazes and patinas add to that sense of classical beauty, as her work often looks like it was plucked from a recently unearthed archaeological dig. You can admire her new (but ancient-looking) work at the Craft Alliance (6640 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-725-1177 or at a free opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m.; the show remains up through May 30.

Saturday, April 30

Spring has sprung, and Mr. Night's better half has had him furiously digging up patches of the backyard in preparation for this year's planting season. Mr. Night has no idea what's going in the little garden; his is not to wonder why, his is but to dig or die. Rest assured, Mr. Night and his life partner shall hunt for garden bargains at U. City in Bloom's Perennial Plant Sale. The civic beautification group sells plants well-suited to the peculiarities of St. Louis' soil and climate, so even Mr. Night's dreaded "black thumb" shall be hard pressed to kill them, despite his worst efforts. Day one of the sale is Saturday, April 30, at the Heman Park Community Center (975 Pennsylvania Avenue, University City) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and day two is Sunday, May 1, on the corner of Vernon and Pennsylvania avenues, from noon to 3 p.m. Admission is free, and proceeds benefit U. City in Bloom's mission of creating green spaces in University City. Call 314-721-1619 for information.

Sunday, May 1

Ah, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in Walt Disney World, you are almost seven years gone. We loved the herky-jerky (and kind of scary) ride; we loved being passengers in its stolen cars -- though as little children, we had no idea what the ride was even about. Now we know it came from Kenneth Grahame's book The Wind in the Willows. Alas, the ride is dead (killed by Pooh and, of course, Disney) -- much like its riders (when your car crashed, you were sent to Hell) -- but Toad's story lives on! The Y-Rep Kids present Mr. Toad's Mad Adventures, Vera Morris' adaptation of the children's book, this weekend at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (April 29 and 30) and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 1, at the West County Family YMCA (16464 Burkhardt Place, Chesterfield). Tickets cost $3 to $8; call 636-532-6515, extension 227, for more information. And for more information about the ride that is no more, at least in Florida, Google its name for an eyeful.

Monday, May 2

If you can't find something good to read at the Greater St. Louis Book Fair, you're just not trying. The annual event, which opens at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 28, at Westfield Shoppingtown West County (Manchester Road and I-270, Des Peres) and closes at 6 p.m. Monday, May 2 (call 314-533-0671 or visit for daily hours), has something for everyone, even people who claim they don't like to read (what's with you people, anyway?). From hardcover classics to world literature to self-help books to trashy romance novels to old vinyl LPs to, um, just about anything printed, it can all be found in the lower level of the parking garage on the Famous-Barr side of the mall. Admission is free, and proceeds from book sales go to the Nursery Foundation of St. Louis. Happy hunting, bibliophiles.

Tuesday, May 3

This should come as a surprise to no one, but Mr. Night is a big ol' Dungeons & Dragons kinda nerd. He's super-stoked about Major Tony Clunn's visit to the Borders Books & Music Brentwood location (1519 South Brentwood Boulevard; 314-918-8189), because Clunn's nonfiction book The Quest for the Lost Roman Legions has everything Mr. Night loves. Clunn spent years trying to discover the location of an important battle that took place in 9 A.D. between the invading Roman legions and the native defenders of what was then Germania. Through sheer determination, an understanding of tactics and good fortune, Clunn found the site in the late '80s; now a museum sits on the site, and the German people have an important moment in their national history preserved forever. Roman legions, Germania, a history mystery and ancient artifacts are Mr. Night's meat and potatoes. Clunn discusses and signs copies of his book at 7 p.m., and there's no admission fee. Germania rules!

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