Friday, February 1, 2019

The Best Things to Do in St. Louis This Week, February 1 to February 6

Posted By on Fri, Feb 1, 2019 at 6:06 AM

click to enlarge She's blonde, she's going to Harvard and she's not going to take anymore crap from anybody. - COURTESY OF STIFEL THEATRE
  • COURTESY OF STIFEL THEATRE
  • She's blonde, she's going to Harvard and she's not going to take anymore crap from anybody.

You may have heard the Inglewood Rams are playing in the Superbowl this weekend, but there's no reason to actually watch the game. If recent history is any indication the Rams will up and leave before the fourth quarter for greener pastures, allowing the Patriots to win by forfeit. Consider instead any one of the following events, all of which take place in St. Louis.

1. Life on the Margin
Before Benj Pasek and Justin Paul were writing songs for cult musical Dogfight and the Hollywood smash La La Land, they were college undergraduates unhappy with the musicals they were working on at the University of Michigan. They channeled that dissatisfaction into the song cycle Edges, which speaks to the general feelings of uncertainty and worry that come with being twentysomethings in America. Using the language of youth, the songs in Edges deal with everything from Facebook-induced anxiety to a desire for real love. The show is a favorite of college theater departments for its honesty and its scaled-down staging (a sparse stage with four stools and four vocalists). The Fontbonne University Theatre department presents Edges at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (January 31 to February 3) at Fontbonne University's Fine Arts Theatre (6800 Wydown Boulevard; www.mustardseedtheatre.com). Tickets are $10.

2. Finnish Your Beer
In the centuries before commercial breweries were established, beer was made from whatever surplus crop or wild plant was plentiful in a particular area. These ancient beers had unique characteristics that varied from region to region. In Finland juniper is plentiful, and so that was used to flavor the local brew, sahti. Sahti is traditionally top fermented and cloudy — and tastes like bananas, which is cut by the juniper's bitterness. Earthbound Beer (2724 Cherokee Street; www.earthboundbeer.com) presents a selection of three locally brewed sahtis for International Gruit Day from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, February 1. What is a "gruit"? Glad you asked; it's a hopless beer, and in addition to the Finnish delight, Earthbound will have one or two other versions on tap so you can experience the beers of the medieval era. If you buy an official Earthbound traditional wooden drinking cup, or kuksas, your first fill is free.



click to enlarge Roswell Field represented Dred Scott in his fight for freedom. - COURTESY OF THE FIELD HOUSE MUSEUM
  • COURTESY OF THE FIELD HOUSE MUSEUM
  • Roswell Field represented Dred Scott in his fight for freedom.

3. Freedom Rings
Dred Scott was a slave who'd been taken from Missouri, a slave state, to Illinois, a free one. Yet he remained in bondage. In 1846 Scott sued for freedom from enslavement for himself and his wife Harriet, arguing that his two years of residing in a free state should make him a citizen under the doctrine of "once free, always free." The case was fought in various courts from 1846 to 1857, with victories and setbacks along the way. After the Scotts' patron could no longer pay their legal fees, St. Louis attorney Roswell Field took the case pro bono and continued the fight to win the Scotts' freedom. It was an unpopular cause in Missouri, but the Scotts' eventual defeat helped further stiffen the spine of the abolitionist cause. Roswell Field's home is now the Field House Museum, which opens its new exhibition, Foundations of Freedom, in honor of Black History Month. The exhibit tells the story of the Scotts' long legal struggle, other freedom suits and the national conversation about the legality of slavery in the nineteenth century. Foundations of Freedom opens Saturday, February 2, at the Field House Museum (634 South Broadway; www.eugenefieldhouse.org). It remains on display through January 31, 2020, and the museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 to $10.

4. Making Great Neighborhoods
Local nonprofit Love the Lou is interested in fostering healthy restoration for the northside of the city. To that end the group has purchased a house at 4141 Enright Avenue and will spend the next six months restoring it to its former glory with volunteer labor. To start the process, the group is hosting an Abandoned Open House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, February 2. Roughly ten artists will be creating work on site inspired by the theme of "Northside restoration," while volunteers discuss the reality of creating a grassroots, residential-friendly means of repairing neighborhoods one house at a time. The goal is to have a second open house when the work is finished, and the home will be given to a resident on a ten-year lease-to-own agreement. The resident in question hasn't been identified yet, but he or she is already working to restore the neighborhood. Stop by Saturday to see what the group, and its artist friends, are up to.

5. Blonde Ambition
Delta Nu sorority sister Elle Woods has it all — the dreamy boyfriend, the impending marriage and the implied happy ending — until she suddenly doesn't. When the dreamy boyfriend, Warner, tells Elle he needs someone "more serious" now that he's off to Harvard Law School, she eventually follows him to prove she can be serious. What she ends up gaining from law school is a belief in herself and the realization that she's more than just another pretty blonde. The musical juggernaut Legally Blonde returns to St. Louis for one night only at 7:30 p.m. Monday, February 4, at the Stifel Theatre (1400 Market Street; www.stifeltheatre.com). Tickets are $27.96 to $85.

6. Reel Good Time
The Strange Brew film series may be no more, but "beer and a movie" is too good an idea to ever die. The Dwell & Sell realty team has partnered with 4 Hands Brewing to screen films every other Monday at the brewery in La Salle Park. This week's film is Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel, a story-within-a-story-within-a-story about a magnificent hotel nestled away in a fictitious European country and its glory days between the world wars. Lobby boy Zero Moustafa and hotel owner M. Gustave (Tony Revolori and Ralph Fiennes) get caught up in a criminal enterprise and risk everything to save their beloved hotel. Many of Anderson's favorite actors (Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Jason Schwartzman) appear, and lots of yellow subtitles identify characters and era in true Andersonian fashion. Select 4 Hands beers are a dollar off during the screening, and popcorn is provided. Oh, and admission is free. The movie starts at 7 p.m. Monday, February 4, at 4 Hands Brewing (1220 South Eighth Street; www.dwellandsell.com/realtorreels).

click to enlarge Carmen collects men, but she never keeps any of them for too long. - MARTY SOHL
  • MARTY SOHL
  • Carmen collects men, but she never keeps any of them for too long.

7. The Fires of Love
Don Jose is a soldier in Seville who has a problem — a problem named Carmen. The gypsy woman lives freely and loves even more freely, refusing to be tied down to anyone or anything. Unable to resist Carmen's wiles despite the affection of peasant girl Micaëla, Jose ends up in prison for dereliction of duty. Even this is not enough to cool his desire for Carmen, who convinces him to run away with her to the mountains to live and love. Theirs is a relationship based on passion, and that fades soon enough — what will Jose do when Carmen's eye wanders? Georges Bizet's opera Carmen is full of wild emotions and fiery flamenco rhythms that engage the audience as surely as the tragic story. The Met Opera production of the story is simulcast to theaters nationwide at 11:55 a.m. Saturday, February 1, and then rebroadcast at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 6, at the AMC Esquire 7 (6706 Clayton Road, Richmond Heights; www.fathomevents.com). Tickets are $19.64 to $26.19.
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