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Friday, February 5, 2016

7 Cultural Things to Do This Weekend

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 6:15 AM

click to enlarge Orchids are at MoBot beginning this weekend. - PHOTO BY BENJAMIN STAVER
  • Photo by Benjamin Staver
  • Orchids are at MoBot beginning this weekend.

Not into the Super Bowl or Mardi Gras? Your weekend doesn't have to be a dud. Here are our picks for seven other things to do this weekend — no beads or bowls among them. More interested in art? Check out our list of this week's most intriguing openings.

1. See a thriller on stage at Stray Dog

Jan and her husband Greg want to have a restful stay at an old farmhouse, but the owner has a fondness for dark and scary ghost stories. This is bad for Jan, who is trying to recover after her recent mental breakdown. The stories are bad enough, but now she's hearing unsettling sounds at night and seeing things she's not sure are real. Is she slipping back into madness, or is someone working very hard to push her back over the edge? Peter Colley's play I'll Be Back Before Midnight is an eerie descent into the shadowy world of mind games and insanity. Stray Dog Theatre presents the thriller at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (February 4 through 20) at the Tower Grove Abbey (2336 Tennessee Avenue; 3314-865-1995 or Tickets are $20 to $25.

2. Ogle some orchids at MoBot
Henry Shaw acquired his first orchids from Mrs. Henry T. Blow, whose husband was Minister of Brazil. The Missouri Botanical Garden orchid collection has grown steadily since that 1876 gift, and now numbers around 7,000 plants representing 3,202 species. The garden's annual orchid show allows the public to experience these exotic beauties without the need for a friend in Brazil. The specimens in the show are regularly rotated out, so the more times you visit, the more orchids you'll see. The orchid show is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (February 6 to March 27) at the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard; 314-577-9400 or Tickets are $5, in addition to regular garden admission ($4 to $8).

3. Thrill to a Brandenburg Concerto at the Symphony

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote his Brandenburg concertos in the hopes of attracting a patron (the Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg), but instead just burnished his own reputation as a master of color and tone. The Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in particular stands out for the manner in which the instruments (three violins, three violas, three cellos and a bass) work together in unique ways depending on where the listener is positioned. Solos transfer from player to player, or disappear entirely into the gem-like world of sound that is constructed in the piece's twelve-minute duration. When played by a skilled group, the effect for audience members is like sitting inside a kaleidoscope and hearing, rather than seeing, the shifting patterns of color and shape. Renowned violinist Anthony Marwood leads the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra through the Brandenburg No. 3 at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (February 5 and 6) at Powell Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1700 or Also on the program are Dvořák's Serenade for Strings in E major and Pēteris Vasks' violin concerto Distant Lights. Tickets are $25 to $116.

4. Get ready for opera season on U. City

If you believe opera is a staid and stuffy art from a bygone age, come get educated at the Gateway Opera Showcase. This prequel to the company's third season comprises scenes from several made-up operas, and none of them could be called "staid." You'll see a key scene from Star Trek the Opera, in which Kirk and Spock are in love; Lolcats teh Oper (sic), which blends classic YouTube cat videos with random snippets of well-known operas; and Opera the Opera, which is a sketch-style opera that stars Cinderella and references numerous well-known shows. The Gateway Opera Showcase is performed at 8 p.m. tonight at the 560 Center (560 Trinity Avenue, University City; Tickets are $20, and include two drinks.

Turn the page for more weekend cultural events.

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