Facilitating the fan-delighting collision of comic-book universes and intergalactic heroes, Wizard World organizes Comic Cons and pop-culture conventions across the continent. At each event, stars from the silver screen set down roots in booths across the convention floor, wielding markers for autographs and their photo-op-ready smiles. Past guests have run the gamut from William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and the cast of AMC?s The Walking Dead. Away from the crowds, stars also participate in talks and Q&A panels as part of the event?s programming. Along with beloved actors, Wizard World?s conventions grant guests a chance to interact with writers and artists as well as partake in activities such as gaming tournaments and costume contests.
Like the CGI monster-filled remake of How Green Was My Valley, STL Cinemas combine state-of-the-art technology with classic Hollywood aesthetics. Mainstream blockbusters and independent films happily rub silver-screen shoulders on each theater's marquee, while the retro lounges and concession stands serve enough beer, wine, and classy sweets to keep movie-goers sugar-buzzing—or just plain buzzing—through any double-feature. Voted Readers' Pick Movie Theatre by St. Louis Magazine readers, the Moolah Theatre's single screen is one of the biggest in town, and cinephiles can take their pick of 400 stadium seats, plush leather couches, or balcony seating. Chase Park Plaza Cinemas—nestled inside the Chase Park Plaza Hotel building—boasts five auditoriums with luxury seating. Granite City Cinemas is brand-new with all digital projection. And exposed beams and stage lighting add a vintage touch to Galleria 6's lobby, while its bar provides a lovely backdrop for post-film discussions, screenplay pitches, or outbursts of hard-boiled dialogue and artfully lit cigarette smoke.
Sweating is a great way to meet new people, and Sports Monster has proved that since it started its first adult league in 1994. With year-round offerings that include volleyball, kickball, soccer, bowling, and other sports, interested kickers, hitters, and dribblers can sign up solo or with a fully formed team of friends or coworkers. Games take place all around the St. Louis area. With many nights available, participants can choose a time and location that best suits them. Annual members of Sports Monster leagues get an additional perk: free online dating opportunities with other league members, the only facet of the experience that doesn’t offer any season-end trophies.
In 2009, while refereeing women’s flat-track derby bouts, the founding fathers of the St. Louis GateKeepers realized they wanted a taste of the speed, adrenaline, and action found in competitive roller derby. The pair gathered a crew of like-minded skaters and, in November of that year, the GateKeepers held its first league practice. By the end of their 2012 season, the league had expanded to feature three teams, plus a travel team that defends St. Louis from out-of-town opponents hoping to claim the Arch as a trophy. Despite its expansion, the GateKeepers stands by its original mission to provide a league for the players, by the players, and welcomes men from all walks of life to try on the sport's sweat-soaked jerseys and multicolored bruises.
It’s hard to be everything to everyone, but Bentley SportsPlex gets close: it’s at once a facility for fine arts, tutoring, and an arcade. The family-fun center has bounce houses, a gym, batting cages, and a gymnasium for basketball and dodgeball. Just recently added: a 1200-square foot laser tag arena.
In addition to its family-fun facilities, Bentley SportsPlex aims to be a haven for kids to express themselves. There’s a staff of talented professionals on hand that can provide guitar and bass guitar lessons, painting and craft classes, and tutoring services. There's even a theater branch so youngsters can learn how to accurately convey the pathos of what it’s like to be grounded.
Internationally known burlesque star Lola van Ella captains VanElla Studios, home of burlesque-infused dance and cardio classes that are “pure fun,” according to St. Louis Magazine. Clients can build confidence and performance repertoires in a panoply of body-positive classes, such as Burlesque Basics 1, which covers moves such as the shimmy, the bump-and-grind, and boa-wielding, which teaches guests how to seductively fashion a lasso out of a boa constrictor to reach coconuts for survival. For a higher-octane workout, rug-cutters with some dance experience can enroll in the hip-hop sequence, whose fast-paced choreography matches a soundtrack of rap and R & B tracks. In each class, an average of 10 students follow in the footsteps of instructors with professional dance experience.