Sponsored by Auto Source St. Louis, the fourth annual Saint Louis Auto Show Charity Gala grants guests an evening of drinks, merriment, and perusal of modern chariots, with proceeds benefiting several local charities. Gala-goers can sip libations and graze on hors d'oeuvres while viewing the event's silent auction or head to the dance floor to engage in competitive toe tapping. Anytime during the event, guests can slip into the Saint Louis Auto Show to thrill oculars with views of more than 500 cars, trucks, SUVs, and concept vehicles, including luxury rides from manufacturers such as Lotus, Bentley, and Maserati. Famed performer Gerry McCambridge, whose blend of comedy and psychic intuition inspired the television show The Mentalist, reads guests' minds and misplaced grocery lists, and an after party at The Pepper Lounge keeps good times rolling until 3 a.m., all benefiting several local charities.
Every Thursday through Saturday night, two pro piano players sit down at Jive and Wail's two baby grand pianos and proceed to bang out Top 40 hits from a plethora of eras, including time that has not yet come to pass, though these future-songs cannot be heard by present-day ears. Audience participation is not only encouraged but demanded by the dueling pianists—who are not above threatening their audience with atonal jazz if no song requests are forthcoming. Once you've made your request, the bar's high-tech sound system makes sure you won't miss it while refreshing your tipple at the full-service bar.
Unique home-decor items can be an extension of one’s personality. At Rambles, a mix of new and used housewares and gifts allows decorators to find the final touches for any room. While upholstered couches and area rugs can contribute to a home’s overall look, it is Rambles’ more unusual accessories—bottle-cap magnets, framed comic-book memorabilia, and vintage LIFE magazines—that spark up conversations and cover up your pet squid’s ink splatters.
Awarded the 2010 Best Used Book Store award by the Riverfront Times, Dunaway Books ensconces bibliophiles in a labyrinthine assortment of used and rare books and music. Bargain-book hunters traverse the store’s aisles of sorted and sub-sorted volumes for tucked-away treasures, stumbling upon a beloved classic from their childhood such as Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales ($3.53) and E.B. White's Stuart Little ($8), or Shakespeare's slam poetry. The store is painstakingly arranged, placing small press and local authors up front to boost exposure and tucking children’s books beneath the mezzanine to provide a private hideaway for page turning. Shelves of CDs, such as a recording of a Beethoven violin concerto, battle the onslaught of digital music, reawakening shoppers to the pleasures of holding a prized album in hand and using it to crush the nearest MP3 player. The store’s décor is in keeping with its passionate, torch-bearing philosophy: the restroom is plastered floor to ceiling with bookmarks ranging from ticket stubs to photographs, and the basement’s expansive collection of tomes rests against time-worn, stately walls of exposed brick. A view from the mezzanine allows shoppers to drink in the sight of the written word bathing in natural light and fellow bookworms bathing in the spray of fountain pens.
It’s hard to miss Artmart: Pollock-esque splatters of paint cover its bright-red exterior. Inside, its just as striking. Artists of all disciplines draw from the art superstore’s wealth of supplies and skills to further their next projects. Thousands of colors of paints, pencils, and sculpting materials are in stock here, as well as brushes, easels, canvas and a vast paper selection.
As a locally owned creative marketplace, Artmart has a number of divisions in its store depending on your artistic needs: you can immortalize your pieces and prints at the Framing Center, or stock up on colorful cards, stationery, and decorative paper at the paper boutique. Children as young as three can sign up for the store’s small-group classes, which cover various media including painting, sketching, and sculpting skills. You can be inspired at their Studio which boasts a host of events from fine art adult classes to craft workshops to creative birthday parties.