Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Prozac and Zoloft are all well and good if you're feeling perpetually down in the dumps. But if you want a little serotonin boost without a prescription (or dry mouth, sexual dysfunction and insomnia), we recommend a little dose of Pee-wee Herman, the skinny, gray-suited, red-bowtied manchild whose work in the '80s lit up television (Pee-wee's Playhouse stands as one of the most brilliantly surreal programs children's television has ever seen) and movie theaters. A hero to children and adults alike, Pee-wee (actor Paul Reubens) was a big boost of joy, a dose of unfettered pleasure.

Pee-wee was already semifamous when he signed on to star in a movie, but the director he chose, Tim Burton, wasn't, and for that we owe actor Reubens; Burton's feature-length debut delivered not just a story to support Pee-wee's persona; in the process, the director created a singular, vivid world which opened the doors for those other classic Burton worlds -- Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and Batman.

And boy does Pee-wee revel, especially atop his love, a glorious red-and-white bike -- one that shoots smoke, is jet-powered and automatically regenerates missing handlebars. Then -- horror of horrors! -- the bike is stolen, and the Big Adventure begins, taking our hero on a cross-country trip during which he meets ghost truckers, francophile waitresses and Harley gangs (the last of whom lead to one of cinema's funniest achievements -- Pee-wee dancing on a bar in white platform shoes to the tune of "Tequila"). Pee-wee's Big Adventure is big fun and totally worth $6 and a late-night trek to the Tivoli Theatre (6350 Delmar Boulevard, 314-862-1100), where it shows at midnight Fridays and Saturdays, June 13-21. -- Randall Roberts

Cinema Fresco

MON 6/16

"Dinner and a movie" doesn't have to mean burgers and the horrors of the multiplex; it can also be a three-course meal and a classic film. Bar Italia (13 Maryland Plaza), with help from the Webster University Film Series, is screening three Italian-themed movies on the restaurant's outside patio, with a three-course dinner included in the evening. Tonight, $35 buys you dinner (drinks cost extra) and a ticket for the Gregory Peck/Audrey Hepburn romantic drama Roman Holiday instead of the usual soda and large popcorn. Seating begins at 6 p.m., and the movie starts at sundown. In the event of rain, come back Monday, June 23, for a do-over. Call 314-361-7010 for reservations. -- Paul Friswold

Where's Clark?

They've scheduled a bank robbery for this weekend in the town of Metropolis, Illinois, near the southern tip of the state, but don't worry -- Superman plans to get there in time to save the day. The 25th annual Superman Celebration, held in the town with the same name as the comic-book hero's hometown, features the "Superman Drama," a passion play in which the leotarded Kryptonian comes to the rescue. Visitors will also enjoy live music, a costume contest, carnival, film festival, collectibles market, celebrity appearances and the fifteen-foot statue of the Ubermensch Thursday-Sunday, June 12-15, in Metropolis (from St. Louis, head east on I-64, south on I-57 and south on I-24; 800-949-5740, -- Byron Kerman

Spy in the House of Commerce

TUES 6/17

Suppose you could actually get paid to eat out, or -- miracle of miracles -- get reimbursed and even paid for repairing your car. Great news: Dr. Ilisha Newhouse has written a textbook, Mystery Shopping Made Simple, to introduce shopaholics to the world of paid undercover retail shoppers who gather info for businesses. Barnes & Noble-Des Peres (11952 Manchester Road, 314-984-8644, 7 p.m.) is the rendezvous point for Newhouse's free training seminar. To quote Dr. Shopper, "Mystery shopping will not make you rich, however, it will improve your quality of life and provide a newfound freedom and alternative to working at the corporate machine." In other words, no more cubicles for you! -- Alison Sieloff

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Latest in Night & Day

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 9, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation