Release the Hounds!

Dogs are born free, but parks are extra

Gaining entrée to a St. Louis dog park can prove trickier than finagling membership to the St. Louis Country Club or snagging box seats at Busch Stadium. But such exclusivity is a must when only two off-leash dog areas exist in the greater St. Louis area: at the intersection of Taylor and Maryland avenues in the Central West End and the University City Dog Play Area at Vernon and Pennsylvania avenues. (Dog parks in St. Louis' Shaw neighborhood and in the cities of St. Charles and Wentzville should be opening soon, we're told.)

Only dues-payers are allowed through the gates at both parks. The CWE association charges $35 per year ($25 for students) and restricts enrollment to neighborhood residents and employees (and the pooches they love); U. City's takes locals for $15 a year and out-of-towners for $100. But membership does have its privileges. "A dog park is not just for dogs," says Susan Rainey, who's pushing for a Tower Grove dog park through People for Dogparks of Greater St. Louis (that's People for DOGS, for short; check out for info on getting involved). "It's how people meet their neighbors, help one another solve doggie-behavior issues and unwind after work." So, who's up for yappy hour? -- Rose Martelli

Kamin at Ya
His byline: new skyline

MON 4/28

Why would you want to go hear what Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin has to say at Washington University's Monday-Night Architecture Lecture Series?

Because, Kamin says, "architecture is an escapable art. In other words, you can turn off your TV set, you don't have to go to the movies, you don't have to go to the art museum, but architecture is everywhere and therefore inescapable."

Kamin is the champion of what he calls "activist criticism." By that, he means generating public debate about buildings before they come into existence.

"The whole idea of activist criticism, for me, is that people shouldn't just passively consume buildings; they should become actively involved in how the built environment gets shaped," he adds. "A really good example of that happened in New York with the Ground Zero plans -- in other words, the first six were just terrible, everyone hated them, and people really raised a stink about it. The debate that followed, I think, really had an influence on both the shape of the proposals and the outcome."

Kamin comes to Steinberg Hall (on the Wash. U. campus, Forsyth and Skinker boulevards) at 6 p.m. Call 314-935-6200 or visit for more on the free slide talk. -- Byron Kerman

Crazy Eights
Trivia gets loopy

SAT 4/26

Sure, you're artsy, but are you artsy-smartsy? Test your knowledge of the arts at Crazy Eights Trivia Night at Grand Oak Hill Community Center (4168 Juniata Street) on Saturday, April 26. Eight rounds of eight questions begin at 8 p.m., and admission is $88 for a table of eight. All the questions are arts-related, and Jeff Miller and Ed Reggi will perform vignettes to stump even the hardiest of the artsy-smartsiest. To the winners go gift certificates from local restaurants, to the losers the warm feeling of pride that goes with helping the Community Center fund their collaborative mural between the neighborhood youth and senior citizens. Oh, and don't forget the free snacks and bottomless beer when you buy the $3 mug. Call 314-865-0060 to register.-- Paul Friswold


THURS 4/24

Here's the pitch: Local filmmakers Bradley Bowers and Megan Noonan made this film, The Bunglers, but they need some cash to finish it. Give 'em $10 minimum and you get an evening of snacks, an art auction and live performances by Swing Set and Palookaville in return. It's a Hollywood screening done StL-style, and we can call it "The Kid Pays for the Picture." Snort your heart out, Robert Evans. Head to Mad Art Gallery (2727 South 12th Street) from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. (314-664-8154). -- Paul Friswold