This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Week of February 4, 2004

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Wednesday, February 4

There's no stopping the rap train. You can try and slow it down with R&B. You can attach the burdensome caboose of rap-metal to its back end. It just doesn't matter, because this week in St. Louis, rap barrels down our collective track, right through to our most sacred crack. It starts with KRS-One's free talk at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (7 p.m., Meridian Ballroom, Morris Center, I-270 at Illinois Route 257, 618-650-2686); the much-admired old-school rapper is known for angrily railing against sacred cows at these college lectures. Also today, the man who surely must be the best rapper of all the deans at Washington University shows off his rhymes at the Thomas Jefferson School (4100 South Lindbergh Boulevard, 6:30 p.m., free, call 314-843-4151 for reservations, Wash. U. assistant dean Henry Biggs adopts his rap alter-ego, Headmess, to perform "social commentaries and word puzzles" to a beat, so get some "Biggs Smalls" while it's hot. Finally, the Webster University Film Series pulls out all the stops with the screening of two documentaries on rap: 1982's Wild Style includes footage of Grandmaster Flash and Fab 5 Freddie; 2003's Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme is all about MC battles and features the Roots, Mos Def, Tupac and the Last Poets. Showings of the latter film include a live DJ performance, and director Kevin Fitzgerald makes an appearance Saturday (7 and 9 p.m. Friday, February 6, through Sunday, February 8; Moore Auditorium, Webster Hall, 470 East Lockwood Avenue; $4 to $6; 314-968-7487).

Thursday, February 5

Valentine's Day fast approaches, and kids everywhere are bummed. Love is for teenagers and old people, not the junior set. What does a nine-year-old know of love? Everything, if there's a dog in the family. In a brilliant plot to harness the power of this greatest of loves (child and dog), the Humane Society and Three Dog Bakery have teamed up for a Valentine's Day Bake-a-thon at the society's 1201 Macklind Avenue location. Kids ages six through twelve are invited to make special dog-friendly cookies for all of the pups currently residing at the Humane Society. Participants also get to take some of the treats home to their own furry compadres. The baking session runs from 10 a.m. to noon, $10 is the price of participation, and you must register by phone at 314-951-1572.

Friday, February 6

Does anyone else notice the strangely 1950s-ish vibe in the country lately? Political stand-offs between the United States and the rest of the world, rampant paranoia in the leadership, talk of moon bases and missions to Mars? Now's a good time for a stiff, after-work belt. How 'bout a martini? How 'bout a Tang-tini? How 'bout going to Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis' Martini Madness and fully indulging your 1950s flashback? From 6 to 9 p.m. you can enjoy comfort-food hors d'oeuvres created by Wolfgang Puck Catering (tuna casserole à la orange, anyone?), drink crazy retro-martinis, listen to a kickin' jazz ensemble of Saint Louis Symphony members, and view the new exhibits of work by Polly Apfelbaum and Yun-Fei Ji. The Contempo is located at 3750 Washington Boulevard and tickets are $35 to $75. Call 314-535-0770, ext. 216, for more information.

Saturday, February 7

We're officially getting behind the title of Chef de Fer for next year's Mardi Gras Cajun Cookoff. That's how you would say Iron Chef in French, and it's a perfect description for the action at the cookoff/party. Ten professional and ten amateur chefs have two hours to prepare a Cajun/Creole dish for judging. The public gets to watch the frenzy, eat a platter of spicy foods (prepared by a caterer, not the contestants) and drink their cares away at an open bar featuring Schlafly brew. Bob Case & His Wild Accusations provide the live music from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Boilermakers Hall (1547 South Broadway, $10 to $25, or 314-534-1111). Andouille like the idea? And how.

Sunday, February 8

One of the coolest things about the Words of Love IX fundraiser is the opportunity to hear local celebs stand up and serenade their lovers or, as the case may be, to present their arguments for social justice in the form of a love poem. The big annual fundraiser for PROMO (For the Personal Rights of Missourians), a group that advocates lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality through legislative action, features readings and performances by the likes of Celia, female impersonator Dieta Pepsi and "LGBT jazz ensemble" Fruit Jam. Emcee Joan Lipkin of That Uppity Theatre Company writes that "the most interesting thing about Words of Love to me, besides being able to purchase a live 'Val-O-Gram' and rhapsodize or scandalize someone on the spot, is that most of the presenters write their own stuff and we get to see a personal side of a lot of community leaders. Last year, 'Baton Bob' Jamerson brought his wedding album and told us about his wedding." The benefit also includes a brunch and silent auction (12:30 p.m., Kitchen K, 1000 Washington Avenue, $25 to $45, 314-862-4900 or

Monday, February 9

For the film carnivores (those who watch movies with the intent of ripping into them, Mystery Science Theater 3000-style), the works of Ed Wood are prime rib. His continuity errors, his visible microphones, his stilted dialogue, the seemingly insane plot twists -- these weaknesses in Wood's filmmaking become his greatest strengths in the opinion of the carnivore. No one packs more outright strangeness into a film, and this strangeness becomes grist for the armchair comedian. No girlfriend in the land is known to appreciate the film carnivore, so if you want to fully enjoy your cinematic meal, get to Frederick's Music Lounge (4454 Chippewa Street, 314-351-5711), your home-theater-away-from-home. Ed Wood films are on tap tonight, and there's no charge. Showtime is 7 p.m., and be sure to clam up if someone else's girlfriend tells you to stow it; no one likes a loudmouth, loudmouth.

Tuesday, February 10

A full schedule of Black History Month activities at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville continues with today's African-American Cultural Bazaar. Scoop up books, clothing, crafts, jewelry, prizes and entertainment with black themes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and tomorrow in the school's Goshen Lounge. Two things that never go out of style: hair picks with a black-fist handle and "Black is Beautiful" buttons (I-270 at Illinois Route 257, 618-650-2686).

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