Ye Goddesses!

Annual girl-whirl unfurls

SAT 4/10

We're all fortunate to live in these times. In the olde days, when an outspoken woman of poise and confidence outgrew her britches and expressed her mind, she was accused of witchcraft and barbecued at the stake. Thankfully, America has progressed a few millimeters beyond such barbarism. Now we encourage the girls (don't we, boys?) to stand tall, holler from every creek bed and mountaintop and manifest their spirits in whatever way they see fit. All those in agreement, head to the Southside National Bank (3606 Gravois Avenue) for Venus Envy (7 p.m. to midnight, $5 to $10 suggested donation), St. Louis' largest and longest-running grassroots art event, period. For one night, 46 female artists and 21 female-led performing acts will throw down in a grand celebration of the female spirit, complete with munchies and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

"Venus Envy is an inspiring and amazing celebration of womanhood," says Cheri Hutchings, one of the event's directors. "It is not anti-man; it's pro-woman. We love our male counterparts and appreciate their support as we continue to create this unique event. Venus Envy opens its doors to the community and allows everyone to experience female expression through celebration. I believe women are empowered by this event because it's a way to be heard."

But what if the girls get a bellyful of empowerment and start killing off the men, you ask? Hold the phone, Cletus. As is often the case with grassroots art events, the community as a whole stands to benefit from Venus Envy's work.

"There are a lot of women in our arts community who are wonderful role models, whose creativity and humanitarian contributions are quite admirable," says Hutchings. "[Venus Envy's] long-range plan includes some art scholarships and other ways to give back to the community."

Make it so, girls. We trust you'll meet with little resistance. -- John Goddard

Promenade, Anyone?
Bring a Bonnet

SUN 4/11

Perhaps you're a fan of the Fred Astaire/Judy Garland film Easter Parade (the greatest musical about Easter parades ever), and you don't understand why Americans no longer put on their finest duds and parade around the city on Easter Sunday. It is puzzling; maybe it has something to do with hats going out of style? If you've long yearned for the opportunity to amble through town while wearing your finest raiment, the Lafayette Park neighborhood sponsors an Easter Promenade from 2 to 4 p.m. Meet at the Boathouse (Lafayette and Mississippi avenues, 314-421-6272) and prepare to be dazzled by the display. Prizes will be given to people and dogs for the best costumes in the categories of Traditional, Victorian and Funny, and there's no charge to participate. -- Paul Friswold

Hail to the King

WED 4/7

It's been more than 40 years since Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, and sadly, his vision has not been realized. The struggle and the dialogue still continue, but apparently not enough people are involved. Your chance to get involved is today, at the Genesis House Coffeehouse (6018 Delmar Boulevard, 314-726-4063), where a free panel discussion examines King's contribution to the social-justice movement and the political and economic aspects of his vision. The panel includes Jamala Rogers, co-chair of the Organization for Black Struggle; Green Party committeeman Willie Marshall; Walle Amusa, president of RDE Consulting Services; and Zaki Baruti, head of the Universal African Peoples organization. -- Guy Gray

Easter Basquiat

FRI 4/9

In the early '80s, Jean-Michel Basquiat was the enfant terrible of the downtown New York art scene. Young, hip, homeless and African-American, Basquiat represented a world far removed from tony galleries, and his tough, graffiti-influenced paintings knocked the critics on their ears. Basquiat shot from the gutter to the stratosphere in record time, and then as suddenly as he appeared, he was gone, dead of a heroin overdose at age 27. Basquiat's friend and fellow artist Julian Schnabel wrote and directed Basquiat to pay tribute to a life that was overshadowed by fame and notoriety. Schnabel's film screens at the Washington University Gallery of Art (Forsyth and Skinker boulevards, 314-935-4523) at 7 p.m., and admission is free. -- Paul Friswold

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