Ten Things to Do Under $10 This Weekend in St. Louis

Labor Day weekend is upon us. Here are ten things to do this weekend that won't break the bank. (And if you're looking for local concerts, there's even more  to do in our weekend concert calendar.)

Creatures and Narratives at Mad Art Gallery (Opens Friday)
Illustrator Matthew Hamby uses the adjective "gnarled" to describe his style. Eyes are mismatched, finger joints are exaggerated, limbs are outsized and awkwardly bent -- Hamby's figures are wrecked. But those aggravated contortions reveal the personality of his subjects, and gives them a sense of story. Free. Paul Friswold mas more details here.

Max Scharf: Radiant Harmonies at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art (Opens Friday)
This St. Louisan's works should provide ample -- and colorful -- stimulation. Take Happy Times at Giverny as an example. This painting's shaky thin lines manifest in hues that cover the spectrum and nearly vibrate and pulse straight off of the canvas, evoking a sense of electricity and fluidity that you thought only the boob tube could provide. Free. Alison Sieloff has more details here.

Tight Pants Syndrome at Off Broadway (Friday)
The cult of power-pop geeks is small but fanatical. Picture a cadre of harmony aficionados who might name-drop obscure bands, or devoted vinyl crate-diggers who speak with hushed reverence about finding impossibly rare 45s at a flea market. It's fitting, then, that very few local bands specialize in preserving power-pop's legacy. Enter Tight Pants Syndrome. $8. More details here.

Big Muddy Blues Festival on Laclede's Landing (Saturday & Sunday)
This year's headliners on Saturday include boogie-woogie piano man Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne and the gritty singer/guitarist Joe Louis Walker, while Sunday's mainstage performers include New Orleans guitarist/singer Walter "Wolfman" Washington and guitarist Lurrie Bell, teamed with fellow Chicagoans Nick Moss & The Flip Tops. The two dozen St. Louis bands playing run the musical (and generational) gamut, from elders Big George Brock and Arthur Williams to the upstart Rum Drum Ramblers. Free. Dean C. Minderman has more details here.

Back to the Future at the Tivoli Theatre (Friday & Saturday)
Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox, as if there's any way you didn't know) is your typical 1985 dude. Trust me, high school was full of guys with that hair cut and that innocuous social stature. His dreams -- rock-band success, a hot girl, a hot ride -- were shared by millions of mid-80s guys, and, thanks to Doc Brown's bitchin' time machine, we discover that these were the popular dreams of American boys 30 years prior to that. $7. Paul Friswold has more details here.

Japanese Festival at Missouri Botanical Garden (Saturday-Monday)
There are a ridiculous number of events crammed into the three days of the Missouri Botanical Garden's Japanese Festival. Judo demonstrations, flower-arranging demonstrations, sumo, kendo, musical performances, cooking demos, Okinawan music and dance, ice carvers, street performers -- the list keeps going. $5-$15. Paul Friswold has more details here.

Postcard Show at the Collinsville VFW Hall (Saturday)
To have a look at some 1 million miniature pieces of (often) very affordable art and to read the amazingly short notes on their flipsides, head to the Postcard Show at the VFW Hall in Collinsville, Illinois (at 1234 Vandalia Street; 618-531-4189). Free. Alison Sieloff has more details here.

Jersey County Victorian Festival at Jersey County Fairgrounds (All Weekend)
As you know, Ms. Day loves all manner of things that are old-fashioned and fancy. At this weekend-long fair (it runs from Saturday through Monday, September 5 through 7), she'll browse the antiques, she'll tour the historic Fulkerson Mansion & Farm Museum (open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), and she'll gracefully board a stagecoach for a bit of a jaunt -- hopefully, hers won't be the coach held up by the James Gang, but you just never know. If Lady Day survives the ride, and if she's feeling saucy, she might even tap her toes to the sounds of the Chris Talley Bluegrass Band, playing the festival from 1:30 to 5 p.m. daily. $2-$8. The fancy Ms. Day has more details here.

Gateway Cup & Tour of Missouri (Monday)
For several years now, the fourth and final stage of the Gateway Cup has been held on the streets of University City; this year the fourth stage moves downtown. In its entire existence (two years plus this one), the Tour of Missouri has never held its final stage anywhere except downtown St. Louis; this year, the ToM kicks off downtown. As if a double switcheroo isn't noteworthy enough, those who are paying attention realize that the city now hosts two different cycling races on the same day. Free for spectators. Paul Friswold has more details here.

Great Godfrey Maze opens in Godfrey (Monday)

Great Godfrey Maze, you've outdone yourself this year! Last year's safari theme was cool and the cowboy maze of '07 was certainly tricky, but how you've grown your corn stalks into the shape of a knight on a horse with a castle in the distance for this year's fall fun is completely beyond us! Alison Sieloff has more details here.
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