Movie fans may know Ronny Cox best as the villain they loved to hate in such films as "Robocop" and "Total Recall."
But music fans will remember Cox as the guitarist in the "Dueling Banjos" scene in "Deliverance" as well as his work in "Bound for Glory," Hal Ashby's film about folk singer Woody Guthrie.
In the past 10 years, Cox has evolved from an actor who sings to a singer "with a pretty fair acting career." This Sunday, you'll see both sides when he performs with Jack Williams during a 2 p.m. show at the Espenschied Chapel in Mascoutah.
Cox has appeared in more than 125 movies and TV shows during a nearly 40-year career, but he has been writing songs and telling stories for even longer. He charms crowds with self-deprecating humor, tart insight and a repertoire that mixes witty ditties and bluesy swing with heart-on-sleeve romance tunes and real-life anthems.
The South Carolina-born Williams is hailed as "one of the strongest guitarists in contemporary folk" by Sing Out! magazine. Touring both nationally and internationally for the past 50 years, Williams has seven CDs to his credit as well as work with such stars as Peter Yarrow, Tom Paxton and Harry Nilsson.
Tickets are $15 in advance at Bee Hollow Market, 217 E. Main St. in Mascoutah, or $20 at the door. A 10 percent group discount is available. The chapel is just north of Mascoutah High School on County Road. For information, call 566-7425 or go to www.espenschiedchapel.org.
You may have trouble placing the face and name, but you won't have any problem picking out the special guest of honor at the Archon Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention this weekend at the Gateway Center in Collinsville.
He's 7-foot-2 Peter Mayhew -- beloved by "Star Wars" devotees as the gentle giant behind ... er ... inside Chewbacca the Wookiee. Mayhew was working as a hospital attendant in London when producer Charles Schneer saw his picture and cast him in "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger." A year later, he was asked whether he wanted to play "a big, hairy beast" for George Lucas, and the rest is history.
And, he's just one of the big names coming to the 33rd annual affair. Also in the spotlight will be Eric Flint, author of the "Assiti Shards" novels; Tom Kidd, whose dramatic art has adorned countless book covers; Bradley Denton, author of the award-winning comic "Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede," which is being developed into a movie; and author and radio personality Victor Milan.
They'll headline three days of activities that will include autograph sessions, panel discussions, a sci-fi art show and auction, around-the-clock gaming, blood drive, writers' contest and more. Admission is $60 for the weekend, $20 for those 11-16 and $8 for children 6-10. For complete information, go to www.archonstl.org or call 636-230-9481.
Angelou to read
Hailed as one of the premier voices of contemporary poetry, Maya Angelou will read from her works here Sunday as part of the 25th Arts & Issues season at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Born in St. Louis 81 years ago, Angelou is best known for a series of six autobiographies that focus on her childhood and early adulthood. The first, best-known and most highly acclaimed, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," brought her international recognition and was nominated for a National Book Award in 1969.
Angelou, who also has gained fame as an educator, actress, director and civil rights leader, was only getting started. Since then she has earned a Pulitzer nomination for "Just Give Me a Coool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie," recited "On the Pulse of Morning" at President Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993 and, in 1995, set a record (two years) on The New York Times paperback nonfiction bestseller list.
Her talk, at 2 p.m. in the University Center's Meridian Ballroom, is part of SIUE's Arts & Issues Series. Tickets are $27, $25 for seniors and $13 for students. For information, call 650-5774 or go to www.siue.edu/artsandissues.
Taste of Germany
The Belleville Sister Cities volks are ready to serve up their another ausgezeichnet Taste of Germany Sunday at Fischer's Restaurant in Belleville.
Get ready for an evening of Old World delights, starting with rinder-rouladen (roulades of beef) and kasseler rippchen (smoked pork chops) and going right on through the spaetzle, red cabbage and apfel kompott (applesauce). Then, loosen your belt and feast on the strudels with coffee or tea.
There'll be oom-pah, too, with the Larry Haller German Duo during the cash bar at 5 and dinner at 6, followed by the Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring soloist Doris Roach and the Belleville School of Ballet.
The gemutlichkeit's all yours for $30 -- or $29 each for a table of eight or 10. For reservations, call Rich or Sally Berkel at 234-2331. Proceeds benefit the youth exchange program with Paderborn, Germany, Belleville's sister city.
Those falling leaves mean it's time to rake up the fun at Lebanon's 41st annual Fall Festival Saturday in the city's historic downtown.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., you'll find West St. Louis Street packed with more than 100 artisans from throughout southern Illinois and Missouri, showing off creations that are bound to get you into the holiday spirit.
Lebanon's own Shaky Dave will top an entertainment list that will also include Samantha's Old Time Music trio and scenes from the Looking Glass Playhouse production. Hungry? You'll find plenty of home-style treats as well was canned goods, bread and farm-fresh harvest items to take home.
Kids will enjoy the pony rides and inflatables, and tours of Mermaid Inn, where Charles Dickens once stayed, will be available.
See if there might be a budding Steven Spielberg or Spike Lee in your midst when Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville hosts its student film screening at 7 p.m. Friday.
A variety of flicks will be shown, including silent films; a documentary about the Fu Fops, a local hip hop group; and "Out," Randy Shinn's documentary about the challenges gays and lesbians face when revealing their sexuality publicly.
"SWIC students continue to make excellent films and have enjoyed success in local festivals and contests," said Dan Cross, an associate professor of English.
The event is free and open to the public in Room 1200, although some films contain mature language and subject matter.
KC Wine Fest
The Knights of Columbus Council 6625 is ready to pop its cork over its second annual Wine Fest from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday in Maryville's Buffalo Park.
The $10 admission will get you a souvenir etched wine glass plus five tasting tickets to some of the best wines state vintners have to offer. There also will be a variety of food, special beer tasting from AB InBev and continuous music by the Turk Tones, Ken Martin and Swing Shift.
The park is on Illinois 159, just south of its intersection with 162.
Benefit in Freeburg
Hit a home run for Mark McAteer Sr. by bidding on an autographed Albert Pujols jersey during a cancer benefit starting at 4 p.m. Saturday at Freeburg Recreation Park.
McAteer, of Freeburg, has been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of thyroid cancer that strikes only a few hundred people each year. He recently underwent weeks of intense radiation therapy at St. John's Mercy Cancer Center and is unable to work.
To help him feel better, his friends and family are staging a Just to See You Smile Benefit, which will include a car and bike show, music, raffles, food and an auction that will include autographed St. Louis Cardinals jerseys from Pujols and Yadier Molina and a signed leather jacket from Dale Earnhardt.
Can't make it? You can help by sending checks to the Mark McAteer Cancer Benefit to 1110 Lyonshall Blvd., Swansea, IL 62226.
Fun in Coulterville
Coulterville will help you rustle up a day of fun during its fall festival Sunday in the city's park.
The theme is the wild West, so be sure to mosey into town for the cutest little cowboy and cowgirl contests, money scramble and sack races as well as an antique tractor show, quilt display, talent show and crafts. A 5 p.m. parade will highlight the festivities.
Get ready to take a Highland fling this weekend when Westminster Presbyterian in Sparta stages a Scottish festival from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday on the church grounds.
Plaid will be the dress of choice for this bit of Old World fun that will feature authentic Scottish entertainment and food.
In the spotlight will be a performance by Sandra Brown and her Dance Caledonia. A Scottish native, Brown made a name for herself internationally as part of the McKinnon Sisters song and dance act before settling down to start a dance school at the urging of parents.
Joining her will be Joe Rednour, who will open the festival on his bagpipes, as well as The Peacocks, who also will perform at the 10:30 church service that will precede the festival. On the menu will be stout-battered fish and chips and Chicken Bonnie Prince Charlie along with Scottish shortbread and Welsh cookies.
The church is at 360 E. Broadway; admission is free.
Horses and more
Southwestern Illinois College will trot out a new feature at its annual Horse Experience and Fall Fest Saturday on its Red Bud campus grounds.
In addition to the usual array of horse-related programs and children's activities, this year's event will boast a Kids Only Flea Market, where children will sell gently used toys, games and books as they learn a lesson about entrepreneurship.
Among the four-legged highlights will be a Tony James' Outback Drill Team performance, a horse dentistry seminar and a parade of breeds. Anyone with horse-related products to sell can reserve a table at the swap meet for $5.
Other free activities will include pony cart rides, face-painting, balloon sculptures and a bounce house. Lunch offerings will be provided by Christ Our Savior Lutheran School. It all happens rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.