Best Bets: Jesse McCartney, Sandcastle Beach, Art on the Square, Taylor Swift Night, NKOTB and more | Hot List


Dan Belcher builds a candy-themed sand sculpture in 2012 at the Magic House.

Sandcastle Beach

When Through July 4; hours are 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday (closed Monday; summer hours begin May 27) • Where The Magic House, 516 South Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood • How much Free with $12 admission • More info 314-822-8900;

Ten truckloads of sand transform the Magic House backyard into a beachfront park, complete with boardwalk, beach umbrella and buried shells. Visitors can also build a castle alongside Dan Belcher, a world champion sand sculptor, who will make a 75-ton sandcastle. He’s the artist-in-residence at the children’s museum through May 28. This will be his 18th giant castle at the Magic House. By Valerie Schremp Hahn


Jesse McCartney, Jamie Miller

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When 8 p.m. May 13 • Where The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard • How much $30-$32 • More info

Former teen heartthrob Jesse McCartney’s delayed tour arrives at the Pageant this weekend. He’s promoting his latest album, “New Stage.” McCartney, a newlywed, told Billboard magazine that the album title represents where he is in life: “I’ve really been a part of so many people’s lives. And I think what’s special for me is that I’m going to be a part of this one person’s life in a much more meaningful way.” By Kevin C. Johnson

Will Jawando

When 7 p.m. May 13 • Where St. Louis County Library, 1640 South Lindbergh Boulevard • How much Free • More info 314-994-3300;

In conversation with St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, author Will Jawando talks about the men who helped him and are described in the subtitle to his book: “My Seven Black Fathers: A Young Activist’s Memoir of Race, Family, and the Mentors Who Made Him Whole.” One of those “fathers” is former President Barack Obama, who appointed Jawando associate director of public engagement at the White House. He writes that Black mentors not only help young boys — they make the country “a better place for all Americans.” By Jane Henderson

‘Star Wars — Return of the Jedi’

When 7 p.m. May 13-14, 2 p.m. May 15 • Where Powell Hall, 718 North Grand Boulevard • How much $19.50-$105 • More info 314-534-1700;

Remember when there was only one “Star Wars” trilogy? No? Well, it was a long time ago in a — eh, nevermind. For this event, “Return of the Jedi,” the third, er, sixth episode in the epic saga will play out on a big screen at Powell Hall while the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performs John Williams’ famous score. SLSO assistant conductor Stephanie Childress conducts. Note to Admiral Ackbar: This is not a trap. By Daniel Durchholz

Art on the Square returns to Belleville

Santa Fe-based photographer Kristin Schillaci (left) talks about her prints with Nancy Lebbing (center) of St. Louis and Jessica Lebbing of Austin, Texas, at Art on the Square in 2021. 

Art on the Square

When 4-9 p.m. May 13, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. May 14, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. May 15 • Where Downtown Belleville • How much Free • More info

More than 100 artists from around the world will gather in downtown Belleville to show off and sell their works at Art on the Square. The juried fair is consistently ranked first and second in the world by the Art Fair Source Book and includes live music, local food and drinks, and a Children’s Art Garden. By Valerie Schremp Hahn


The Taylor Party: Taylor Swift Night

When 9:30 p.m. May 14 • Where The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard • How much $16-$30 • More info

Calling all Swifties: It’s all Taylor Swift, all night long, at Taylor Swift Night, a dance party inspired by the pop music queen. Good vibes only — no “bad blood.” By Kevin C. Johnson

The Wailers

When 8 p.m. May 14 • Where Old Rock House, 1200 South Seventh Street • How much $25-$30 • More info

The legendary status will likely not be the only thing lingering in the air when the Wailers perform at the Old Rock House. The reggae band will perform from its Grammy-nominated album, “One World,” as well as hits from Bob Marley and the Wailers. Aston Barrett Jr. carries the flame for the Wailers. By Kevin C. Johnson

A honeymoon safari goes off course in new Chris Bohjalian mystery, 'The Lioness'

Chris Bohjalian

When 7 p.m. May 14 • Where St. Louis County Library, 1640 South Lindbergh Boulevard • How much Free • More info

Chris Bohjalian, the author of “The Flight Attendant,” sets his latest bestseller in Africa’s Serengeti in 1964. A safari organized by an American actress takes a grim turn when Russian mercenaries kidnap a member of the group in “The Lioness.” By Jane Henderson

New Kids on the Block, Salt N Pepa, En Vogue, Rick Astley

When 8 p.m. May 14 • Where Enterprise Center, 1401 Clark Avenue • How much $19-$195 • More info

New Kids on the Block are back, bringing their “MixTape Tour 2022” to Enterprise Center. “We had a blast out on the first ‘MixTape Tour’ in 2019 and can’t wait to take it to another level with our fans,” singer Donnie Wahlberg said in a statement. “Just like a mixtape, these shows are going to take audiences through all the emotions.” By Kevin C. Johnson

Eckert’s Strawberry Festival

When 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 14-15; continues Saturdays and Sundays in May, plus Memorial Day • Where Eckert’s Farm, 951 South Green Mount Road, Belleville • How much $2.75-$6.50 for field access; free for children under 2; fees for some activities • More info

Strawberry season is underway at Eckert’s Farm in Belleville, which celebrates on weekends through May. Its Strawberry Festival includes tractor rides to the strawberry fields, carnival rides, wagon rides, a petting zoo, festival foods and more. There are fees for some activities, and pick-your-own strawberries are $3.99 per pound. Prepicked strawberries are $4.99 per pound. By Valerie Schremp Hahn

‘Molly of Denali’

When May 14 through January; hours are 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday (closed Monday; summer hours begin May 27) • Where The Magic House, 516 South Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood • HOW MUCH Free with $12 admission • More info 314-822-8900;

A new exhibition based on a PBS Kids series opens at the Magic House. “Molly of Denali: An Alaskan Adventure” takes visitors to a fictitious village near Denali and shows off Molly Mabray and her family’s life during the summer and winter seasons. Kids can pretend to fly a replica bush plane and drive a snowmobile, care for sled dogs and try ice fishing. The exhibition was developed with input from an advisory committee that included Alaska native educators and professionals. By Valerie Schremp Hahn


109th Annie Malone May Day Parade

Lanaja Wilson dances with the University City High School Marching Band in the Annie Malone May Day Parade in downtown St. Louis in 2019. 

Annie Malone May Day Parade

When 1 p.m. May 15 • Where Downtown St. Louis • How much Free • More info

The Annie Malone May Day Parade is the largest fundraiser for Anne Malone Children and Family Services. It also claims the titles of the oldest and second-largest African American parade in the country. This year is its 112th; the event was virtual the last two years. Wide receiver Luther Burden III, a native St. Louisan, and BJ the DJ of iHeartRadio will serve as honorary marshals. By Valerie Schremp Hahn

Mass in B Minor

When 3 p.m. May 15 • Where First Presbyterian Church, 100 East Adams Avenue, Kirkwood • How much $10-$50 • More info 314-652-2224;

The finale of this year’s Bach Festival also marks the conclusion of the Bach Society of St. Louis’ 2021-22 season: the Mass in B Minor. Composed and added to over the course of several decades and completed not long before his death, it is unquestionably one of the composer’s masterworks. Aside from the key, there’s nothing minor about it. Music director and conductor A. Dennis Sparger leads the Bach Society Orchestra and Chorus, featuring soprano Mary Wilson, countertenor Jay Carter, tenor Gene Stenger and baritone Elijah Blaisdell. By Daniel Durchholz

LoFi Cherokee — 'like a bunch of Tiny Desk Concerts' — returns to 13 St. Louis venues

Lo-Fi Cherokee 2022 Premiere Party

When 8 p.m. May 15 • Where Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue • How much $10 • More info

Lo-Fi Cherokee, on hiatus since 2019, returned triumphantly in April when 13 St. Louis bands performed and filmed music videos at various venues on Cherokee Street. The videos will debut at a party this weekend at Off Broadway. Participating acts were G.L., Jesus Christ Supercar, Rum Drum Ramblers, Jon Bonham and Friends, the Hamilton Band, Katarra Trio, Karen Choi, Starwolf, YOUPEOPL, DDare Bionic, Sinister Dane, Hacienda Nortega, and Bass Amp and Dano. By Kevin C. Johnson


Keith Boykin

When 7 p.m. May 17 • Where Left Bank Books, 399 North Euclid Avenue • How much Free; registration required • More info

Political commentator Keith Boykin returns to his hometown to discuss his latest book, which traces increasing political divisions to some white Americans’ fear of a future in which they are the minority. “Race Against Time,” which was published in September, “is a persuasive diagnosis of America’s social and political ills,” said Publishers Weekly. By Jane Henderson


‘Silver Linings’

When 6:30 p.m. May 18 • Where Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 3750 Washington Boulevard • How much Free • More info 314-401-0450;

Composer and performer Syrhea Conaway partnered with Chamber Project St. Louis in 2021 for a virtual presentation of her work “Silver Linings.” Now comes a chance to experience that work once again, this time live and in person at CAM. The program also includes new music composed by Conaway, plus a performance of Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet. Admittance is free, but reservations are required. By Daniel Durchholz

Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, Karen White

When 7 p.m. May 18 • Where St. Louis County Library, 1640 South Lindbergh Boulevard • How much Free • More info

A writing team — Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, Karen White, authors of “All the Ways We Said Goodbye” — discuss their new historical novel, “The Lost Summers of Newport.” Beginning in the Gilded Age and continuing to the present, the story involves the famous lavish “cottages” and three women connected to one Sprague Hall. By Jane Henderson

Annika Socolofsky

When 7:30 p.m. May 18 • Where Pulitzer Arts Foundation, 3716 Washington Boulevard • How much Sold out • More info 314-534-1700;

“Hush now, baby. Don’t say a word. Now it’s time for the women’s turn.” Avant-folk vocalist Annika Socolofsky presents the program “Don’t say a word,” her song cycle of “feminist rager-lullabies” at the Pulitzer, joined by a virtuoso ensemble of St. Louis Symphony Orchestra musicians. If you’ve got tickets, good for you. If not, alas, the program is sold out. By Daniel Durchholz


Dave Grelle's Playadors at City Foundry STL

Joanna Serenko performs May 28, 2021, with Dave Grelle’s Playadors at City Foundry STL.

Joanna Serenko

When 7:30 p.m. May 19 • Where Blue Strawberry, 364 North Boyle Avenue • How much $25-$30 • More info

Joanna Serenko, a Kirkwood native and “The Voice” finalist, celebrates her new album, “Best of Me,” with a concert at Blue Strawberry. “I’m happy it’s out for everybody to hear,” Serenko told the Post-Dispatch in March. “I’ve been listening to these songs every day, and there’s a lot of different emotions. These songs are the best versions of themselves.” By Kevin C. Johnson

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