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The Coming Out Play Festival

Sat., Oct. 20, 4:30 & 8 p.m.
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There is no road map for coming out to your friends and parents, because every person and situation is different. Telling people who you really are can be traumatic, joyous or a bit of a letdown — anything can happen. The Q Collective, a new local theater company, makes its debut with a showcase of short plays about the experience. The Coming Out Play Festival features six fifteen-minute plays, with subjects including two friends, soon to be separated by college, who wonder if their friendship will survive ("Where the Fireworks Come From"); a young woman who has to explain to her mother why she's called off her wedding ("Something Old"); and the fallout from one man's failed attempt to come out during his mother's Christmas Eve party ("Baby Black Jesus: Part Four"). All six plays are performed at 7 p.m. Friday and 4:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday (October 19 and 20) at the Monocle (4510 Manchester Avenue; www.theqcollective.theater). Tickets are $15 to $20. $15-$20

The Monocle (map)
4510 Manchester Ave
St. Louis - The Grove
phone 314-935-7003
The Coming Out Play Festival

Zombie Apocalypse

Sat., Oct. 20, 8 p.m.

The expansion of the Halloween season is the far more enjoyable analogue of Christmas creep, and it's in full swing with two weeks to go. At 8 p.m. Saturday, October 20, the Budweiser Brew House in Ballpark Village (601 Clark Avenue; www.stlballparkvillage.com) gets into the creepy act with its Zombie Apocalypse party. The bar will serve up themed cocktails and shot specials all night, and guests are invited to dress for the horrible occasion, meaning costumes from beyond the grave. There are prizes for the best dressed, and DJ Jesse Plan will provide the soundtrack for the evening. The party is for the 21-and-older crowd, and admission is free. no cover

Buy Tickets
Ballpark Village (map)
601 Clark Ave
St. Louis - Downtown
phone 314-345-9481
Zombie Apocalypse

Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis

Fridays and Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through Feb. 10, 2019

Artist Kehinde Wiley leaped into the public consciousness when his presidential portrait of Barack Obama was unveiled in February, but he's been making vital work that explores the nexus of race and representation for years. In 2017 the New York City-based Wiley visited the Saint Louis Art Museum to review the collection with an eye toward a future exhibit inspired by the historic style of portraiture. While he was in St. Louis, Wiley went to north St. Louis and Ferguson to meet with people and find subjects for his own paintings. Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis is an exhibition of eleven large-scale paintings of everyday black St. Louisans dressed in modern clothing, posed in the manner of kings, statesmen and other powerful figures. Wiley's new work will be on display in galleries 249 and 250 from October 19 to February 10 at the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; www.slam.org). Admission is free. free admission

Panoramas of the City

Through March 24, 2019

In a year in which the Missouri History Museum exhibition team has given us the stories of St. Louis' greatest civil rights freedom fighters and returned us to the glory days of Route 66, it would take something truly spectacular for the museum to outdo itself — and yet somehow it's done just that. The museum's new exhibition, Panoramas of the City, is as close to time travel as you can get without involving Morlocks. The show comprises seven floor-to-ceiling size images of scenes such as Charles Lindbergh speaking to a crowd of 100,000 people on Art Hill at his "welcome home" party and a 1920 march on Olive Street by the League of Women Voters. These massive photographs are joined by props and interactive media displays that give viewers a better understanding of the historical context of each scene. More than 60 panoramas of various sizes round out the exhibit, which will be on display from September 2 to August 12, 2018, at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; www.mohistory.org). free admission

Missouri History Museum (map)
Lindell Blvd. & DeBaliviere Ave.
St. Louis - Forest Park
phone 314-746-4599
Panoramas of the City

Muny Memories: 100 Years on Stage

Through June 2, 2019

The Muny is just about to open its landmark 100th season, and its neighbor, the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBalivere Avenue; www.mohistory.org), celebrates the occasion with an exhibit dedicated to the history of America's largest outdoor theater. Muny Memories: 100 Years on Stage features exhibits that explain the founding of the theater, display favorite memories from stars and staff, and give a look back stage to see how the dedicated technical crew creates and rigs all those sets and lights. You can also take a look at programs from the Muny's long, storied past. Muny Memories opens on Saturday, June 9, and remains on display daily through June 2, 2019. Admission is free. free admission

Missouri History Museum (map)
Lindell Blvd. & DeBaliviere Ave.
St. Louis - Forest Park
phone 314-746-4599
Muny Memories: 100 Years on Stage

The Immigrants: Works by Master Photographers

Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Wednesdays-Fridays, 12-5 p.m. and Tuesdays, 12-8 p.m. Continues through Jan. 12, 2019

America's long history of welcoming new arrivals to Team USA is celebrated in the exhibition The Immigrants: Works by Master Photographers. From the earliest days of photography in the 1890s, when Ellis Island clerk Augustus Frederick Sherman began documenting immigrants with his camera, to today, when Italian photographer Alex Majoli captures the crisis of refugees trying to survive the ocean crossing from Africa to Greece, the exhibit shows the people who fled their homes in search of safety. The Immigrants doesn't shy away from the worst moments; Dorothea Lange's suppressed photograph of Japanese Americans in a U.S. internment camp during World War II is part of the show, as are more ennobling images made by Lewis Hine and Bob Gruen. The Immigrants opens with a free reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, October 5, at the Sheldon (3648 Washington Boulevard; www.thesheldon.org). The show remains up through January 12. free admission

Buy Tickets
The Sheldon (map)
3648 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-9900
The Immigrants: Works by Master Photographers

Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Fridays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 16, 2019

Lola Álvarez Bravo was a Mexican artist, educator and curator whose life spanned nearly the entire twentieth century. From the 1930s to the 1970s, Álvarez Bravo crisscrossed her way across the country with camera in hand, creating portraits of other working artists. Always shooting, she also made images of regular people and the architecture — both old and new — at a time when Mexico was rapidly growing and transforming. Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico, the new exhibition at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation (3716 Washington Boulevard; www.pulitzerarts.org), features more than 40 of her black-and-white photographs in all their glory. Picturing Mexico opens with a free reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 14. Also debuting the same night are more than 60 sculptures by Ruth Asawa, who often worked with wire. Both shows remain on display through February 16. The Pulitzer is open Wednesday through Saturday. free admission

Pulitzer Arts Foundation (map)
3716 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-754-1850
Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico

Flora Borealis

Thursdays-Saturdays, 6 p.m. Continues through Oct. 20
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Summers in St. Louis are no picnic, what with the brutal heat and oppressive humidity. At night conditions improve a bit, and that's the time to get outside and experience the city. The Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard; www.mobot.org) takes full advantage of the nocturnal respite with Flora Borealis, a nighttime-only special exhibition. Thanks to the artistic and technical brilliance of AVI Systems Inc., a section of the garden is temporarily transformed into a new experience with active lights, moving images and sounds that alter and enhance the familiar landscape. Tickets for Flora Borealis are $10 to $25 and are sold for specific time slots each night (Thursday through Tuesday through August 26). While you're waiting for your scheduled time you can take advantage of MoBOT’s new tented biergarten, which features live entertainment on select nights. $10-$25

Sanford Biggers and Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980

Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 30

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis opens some of the most ambitious and vital shows in its history this month, with a series of exhibitions by, and about, black artists and the black experience. Sanford Biggers works directly with the materials of his forebearers — quilts and African sculptures — only he reshapes and repurposes them as contemporary statements about black identity, history and trauma. Biggers gives found quilts new life with new handwork, encoding personal messages into their original pattern. The fact that the work of an anonymous black craftsman or woman now appears in galleries and museums around the world, even in Biggers' modified form, is both subversive and celebratory. With wooden sculptures, some of which are copies, he dips them in wax and then works them over with firearms. What begins as a statue of a human or human-shaped supernatural being becomes obscured, disfigured and unrecognizable through the violence wrought upon it.

In addition to Biggers' work, CAM presents a show of the private photos of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat emerged from the New York City hip-hop/punk/graffiti scenes in the 1970s as one-half of the graffiti duo SAMO, along with Al Diaz. The pair together tagged buildings with cryptic phrases denouncing the establishment, politics and religion, always signed "SAMO" (an acronym for "Same Old Shit"). When the duo broke up, Basquiat performed in the noise rock band Test Pattern (later named "Gray") with Vincent Gallo and Michael Holman. He lived on the streets, sold drugs and experimented with Xerox art, painting and drawing. Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980 will showcase everything the artist made while living in a small East Village apartment with his friend Alexis Adler before he hit the big time. It's a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures and works on paper, as well as Adler's photographs of his friend.

Both exhibitions open with a free reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, September 7, at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; www.camstl.org). The shows continue through December 30.

free admission

The Raging Skillet

Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Oct. 21

The chef and food writer known only as Rossi has come a long way to get to the launch of her first book, The Raging Skillet: The True Life Story of Chef Rossi. Her "memoir with recipes" will debut at a combination book talk/cooking demonstration that will put the cherry on top of her arduous climb through the kitchens of NYC and also serve as a stick in the eye to all the chauvinist restaurateurs who told her she'd never make it. The only trouble comes when her mother crashes the party, which is quite a feat for a dead woman. Mom — who never approved of Rossi's lesbianism, her rejection of her Orthodox Jewish heritage for punk rock or her foul mouth — becomes the counterpoint to her big day in Jacques Lemarre's play about food and family, Raging Skillet. Inspired by the true story of caterer Chef Rossi, the play opens the new season for the New Jewish Theatre, the first with new artistic director Edward Coffield. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (October 4 to 21) at the Wool Studio Theatre at the Jewish Community Center (2 Millstone Campus Drive, Creve Coeur; www.newjewishtheatre.org). Tickets are $42 to $45. $42-$45

The Rocky Horror Show

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Oct. 28
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Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show is eternal because there's always another generation that's ready for its message of choosing personal joy over blind conformity. The Washington University Performing Arts Department ushers a new version into the world with its season-opening production of the Halloween favorite. See straight-laced Brad and Janet set off on a drive to visit their old science teacher (romantic, Brad), only to break down outside a very odd castle. Inside, pansexual freakazoid Dr. Frank-N-Furter is about to breathe life into the perfect man, but he'll make time for (and with) Brad and Janet. But something is rotten in Frank-N-Furter Castle. Will Brad and Janet survive their wild night? Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (October 19 to 28) at Washington University's Edison Theatre (6445 Forsyth Boulevard; www.edison.wustl.edu). Tickets are $15 to $20. $15-$20

Buy Tickets
Edison Theatre (map)
6445 Forsyth Blvd.
Clayton
phone 314-935-6543
The Rocky Horror Show

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot

Sundays, 2 p.m. and Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 28

Judas Iscariot's crime is well known, and his fate of eternal damnation was decreed long ago. An enterprising defense attorney believes he's being unjustly punished, however; if the essential tenets of the Christian faith are love and forgiveness, isn't the former apostle entitled to them? This legal argument brings about a trial that sees Pontius Pilate, Sigmund Freud, Mary Magdalene and Satan himself called to the stand to testify either for or against Judas' plight. Mustard Seed Theatre opens its twelfth season with Stephen Adly Guirgis' courtroom black comedy The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Performances are at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday (October 10 to 28) at the Fontbonne Fine Arts Theatre (6800 Wydown Boulevard; www.mustardseedthreatre.com). Tickets are $15 to $30. $15-$30

Fontbonne University Fine Arts Theatre (map)
6800 Wydown Blvd.
Clayton
phone 314-862-3456
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot

Silent Sky

Sundays, 2 p.m. and Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 4

Henrietta Leavitt has questions about deep space and Earth's place and role in the universe, so she gets a job at the Harvard Observatory in hopes of finding satisfying answers. Instead, she's confronted by the unsatisfactory reality that women aren't allowed to use the telescope. Her dream job turns out to be grunt work, as she's expected to catalog all the stars revealed on the telescope's photographic plates while men pursue the business of discovery. Yet women are capable of seeing what men cannot, and in those plates Leavitt finds something no one else has noticed, breaking new ground in astronomy. Lauren Gunderson's play Silent Sky charts the lives and work of early-twentieth-century female astronomers and how they defied the odds to do great work in an age when society mostly demanded they stay out of the way and procreate. Insight Theatre Company closes its current season with Silent Sky. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (October 19 to November 4) at the Kranzberg Arts Center (501 North Grand Boulevard; www.insighttheatrecompany.com). Tickets are $15 to $35. $15-$35

Buy Tickets
Kranzberg Arts Center (map)
501 N Grand Blvd
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-0367
Silent Sky

Evil Dead the Musical

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 27
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What happens if you take the comedic-horror stylings of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead 2 and smash it into the modern musical? You get Evil Dead the Musical, which grafts an emotional arc and frequent song breaks onto the gory, nightmarish story of a group of stock-character teenagers who find an unholy book and with it awaken demonic forces. Over the course of one night they're possessed, tormented and ultimately destroyed. And when one of them is slain, the rest sing about their fear while making crass comments. Stray Dog Theatre has mounted the horribly funny show twice before to great acclaim, and now the company brings it back by popular demand. If you're really into it you can buy tickets for the splatter zone. It comes with a souvenir white T-shirt, which will be mostly red by the end of the show. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (October 11 to 27) at the Tower Grove Abbey (2336 Tennessee Avenue; www.straydogtheatre.org). Tickets are $25 to $45. $25-$45

Tower Grove Abbey (map)
2336 Tennessee Ave.
St. Louis - South Grand
phone 314-865-1995
Evil Dead the Musical

The Zombies of Penzance

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 20
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Gilbert and Sullivan's The Zombies of Penzance, or At Night Come the Flesh Eaters, never made it to stage during the duo's lifetimes. The musical was rejected by their publisher, so they reluctantly rewrote it as The Pirates of Penzance. The original was lost to history — until, that is, St. Louis-based theater impresario Scott Miller found a few sections of the original score and libretto. With composer John Gerdes, he has reconstructed a version of The Zombies of Penzance. Major-General Stanley is a retired zombie hunter, and when a coterie of zombies arrive in the neighborhood he forbids any of his many daughters from marrying even a single one. Is the old man going to be forced out of retirement and back into the head-crushing game? Find out when New Line Theatre presents The Zombies of Penzance. Shows are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (September 27 to October 20) at the Marcelle Theater (3310 Samuel Shepard Drive; www.newlinetheatre.org). Tickets are $20 to $30. $20-$30

Marcelle Theater (map)
3310 Samuel Shepard Dr
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-0367
The Zombies of Penzance
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