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TUES 10/26

Consider the dragonfly. Notice the light glint off its sun-catcher wings. Personify this moment as life incarnate, and hot damn: Seventeen syllables later you've got yourself a haiku! While long-winded guys like Homer and John Milton spent most of their lives writing epic poems, live-in-the-moment Japanese poets framed beautiful nature scenes in a few words and then went on to more noble pursuits, like picking up chicks. Oh, the benefits of brevity! But haiku has evolved since its long-ago origins in Japan. If you find that the universe manifests itself more in toasted ravioli than in the plight of the mongoose, you're not alone. St. Louis-bred poets Julie Wiskirchen and Mary Elizabeth Ladd wrote St. Lou Haiku, a collection of musings on our city. But this isn't just a case of natives waxing poetic about the Arch. The book also contains some critical commentary, like chiding residents for preferring chain restaurants to the Hill and pooh-poohing the Bowling Hall of Fame. But we don't condemn them for their hometown critique (especially when they've given a shout-out to the RFT in their pages). The authors read from and sign copies of their book at 7 p.m. at the St. Louis Public Library branch at 225 North Euclid Avenue (314-367-4120). An evening of verse/Free, open to the public/Schlafly Library. -- Kristie McClanahan

Dance of the Cactus
MOMIX enters the desert

FRI 10/22

Dance is a tricky business, replete with ridiculous demands upon the dancer's body and imagination. But most dance masks this effort in grace and fluid motion, so that the performance appears effortless. Still, what sort of mental and physical preparation does one undertake in order to portray a tumbleweed? Is it one of those "clear your mind and think of the wind"-type things? Fortunately, you don't have to do it -- but the dancers of MOMIX Dance Company do, in their 7 p.m. performance of Opus Cactus at the Touhill Performing Arts Center (1 University Boulevard; 314-516-4949). They also portray Gila monsters and utilize skateboards and bungee cords in the show, so prepare to be amazed. Tickets are $19 to $41. -- Paul Friswold

Beat the Drum
For Amazones

SAT 10/23

Should St. Louisans develop a drum-circle jones during summertime, relief is only as far away as the Delmar Loop, a college campus, most parks or any other congregating spot for disheveled hippie kids who suffer from T.R.S. (Todd Rundgren Syndrome -- they don't want to work, they'd rather bang on the drum all day). But now that we're more than waist-deep in October, the venues for drum-circle therapy are limited. So thank goodness, then, for Amazones: Women Master Drummers of Guinea, who appear at the Edison Theatre (6445 Forsyth Boulevard) to throw down on their native instrument, the djembe. That's right, these Guinea honeys are ready to school anybody who's got a problem with their defiance of the all-male tradition. They, along with the all-male Les Percussions de Guinée, perform at 2 p.m. as part of the theater's Ovations! For Young People series ($7). And catch the drummers' second show at 8 p.m. for the Ovations! series kickoff ($18 to $28). Call the Edison Theatre (314-935-6543) or MetroTix (314-534-1111) for tickets. -- Jedidiah Ayres

Jules of the City

The name Julius K. Hunter means many things to many people. For some, he makes up their earliest childhood memories of television news. And now that the man, the legend, is no longer on TV, don't you want your kids to know him like you do? Take the tots to Borders (10990 Sunset Hills Plaza; 314-909-0300), where Hunter discusses and signs his Absurd Alphabedtime Stories at 7 p.m. Friday, October 22. He's also at the Brentwood Borders (1519 South Brentwood Boulevard; 314-918-8189) on Saturday, October 23, at 1 p.m. Both readings are free. -- Alison Sieloff

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