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Breakin' it down old-school

SAT 6/14

Break-dancing is easily one of the coolest and craziest forms of dancing, for it has the most outlandish moves: headspins, poppin'-and-lockin', flares (and miniflares), windmills/helicopters, backwalks, six-steps, the Centipede. Although not so common now, in the early '80s break-dancing was a fundamental part of hip-hop culture; it provided an outlet for self-expression just as viable as MCing or DJing. Why breakin' lost its prominence is unclear. Perhaps it was the unfortunate emphasis on materialism (bling-bling), or maybe the rise of gangsta rap brought about its demise -- it is, admittedly, awfully hard to rap convincingly about busting caps while rockin' the Electric Boogaloo. Fortunately, a few souls are keeping breakin' alive. If you happen to be one of those diehard b-boys or b-girls, or if you simply lament the loss of the ultimate spazzed-out dance form, head on down this afternoon to the Commonspace (615 North Grand Boulevard at Washington Avenue, 314-531-1707), where DJs Espi and Mike 2600 will be spinning old funk, jazz and rock records with break-dancing from 2-4 p.m. The event is free, and all ages are welcome to watch or bust a move. Tripe such as the Macarena comes and goes, but breakin' will always survive. -- Guy Gray

Waltzing Through Strauss Park
MetroMarket shines in Grand Center

SAT 6/14

This Saturday (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) is the grand opening of Metropolis St. Louis' MetroMarket, a community festival that transforms tiny Strauss Park (3526 Washington Avenue in Grand Center) into the epicenter of St. Louis' urban-mercantilism universe.

This artistic celebration features live poetry and musical performances (folk trio the Honeyshakers, pictured above, entertains this month), art sales and other tantalizing bohemian offerings from area funmakers.

The monthly fête (a reincarnation of what was called the Grand Market) focuses on St. Louis' culture providers and nonprofits. MetroMarket is held on the second Saturday of each month through October. For general information (and vendor reservations), e-mail or call 314-497-3190. -- Rob Levy

Free Your Mind
And Juneteenth will follow

The Missouri House of Representatives recently greenlighted a bill to make Juneteenth a statewide legal holiday, but even though Governor Bob Holden has already said the motion will earn his signature, the St. Louis Juneteenth Coalition isn't waiting around. About fifteen events scheduled throughout the month of June aim to celebrate and educate the public about June 19, 1865, the officially earmarked day when African-Americans in far-off reaches of U.S. territories finally heard tell of the Emancipation Proclamation, two years after it was made law.

Events on June 19 proper include an performance at the Grace Hill Settlement House (2600 Hadley Street) that features speeches once given by Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. Folks will also be heading to a free Juneteenth concert featuring blues guitarist Lemuel Sheppard, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 15, at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard at DeBaliviere Avenue). For a full schedule of events, call 314-838-1573. -- Rose Martelli

Corporate Nooses Loosen

SAT 6/14

Neckties apparently make terrible Father's Day gifts but fabulous art objects. Tied2Art and Art2Tied (both free) held jointly at the City Museum (701 North 15th Street) and the ArtLoft (1531 Washington Avenue) from 7 p.m.-midnight, feature art made from ties, about ties and inspired by ties, including a straitjacket made of neckties (pictured). And you can drink mai-tais while you take it all in. Call 314-231-CITY or go to -- Paul Friswold

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