October 31, 2005
Virginia is for Lovers, but St. Louis is for Poetry Lovers
So much poetry going on this week -- I don’t know how an honest poetry lover is going to get to everything. Wednesday has Day of the Dead Beats happening at Bill Christman’s studio. Thursday has Hoobellatoo’s ambitious Crossing America, an evening of music, poetry, and art at Mad Art Gallery. And Thursday is also a special "Chicago-Style Poetry/Pizza Night" version of Readings @ The Schlafly Tap Room. So a haiku in honor of all the poetry coming our way and then get the details.
ernest folks work hard
sharing their love of language
our city does smile
October 30, 2005
Jeff Lockheed on "Offbeat America"
Venice Cafe owner Jeff Lockheed is featured on the current episode of "Offbeat America," an HGTV cable show hosted by former Channel 11 reporter and anchor Patrick Clark. As you might expect, the amiable Clark spends a fair bit of the segment kicking around the Venice's fantastic garden, including some time spent gluing doodads and gizmos to the brick walls of the ever-expanding Venice patio.
The program airs on Sunday nights on HGTV at 5:00 p.m. and the exact episode in question is called "Windchime Wonderland and More." If you can catch a repeat, it's worth the view and it's nice to see the Benton Park hero and his co-creation (with the late Paul Cuba) get some national play.
October 28, 2005
It appears that the Mayor's page is adding some animation:
"This Sunday, MayorSlay.com will introduce a new feature. 'Field Trip,' drawn by cartoonist Steve Edwards, will offer a pint-sized perspective on the news of the week. Like all kids, the Field Trippers will have plenty of questions. Mr. Edwards, Mayor Francis Slay, and the staff of MayorSlay.com will have their hands full trying to answer them."
October 23, 2005
Having become obsessed with my new camera over the last week, I've been revisiting an old interest of mine, namely the dead, demolished and readapted movie houses around St. Louis City and near-County. Earlier this afternoon, a bright, breezy Sunday, I stopped by the Avalon, at Kingshighway and Chippewa. After snapping a couple pictures of the south exterior wall, I was amazed to see a head pop over the roofline.
After asking what I was doing, he confessed to being the owner of the building, though "it (won't) be here long now." According to a very informal and unofficial "interview," the fella, still peering out over a small jut in the roof, said that a Sam's Club was going to be built across the street, on the site of the old Kriegshauser Mortuary and the Mary Magdalen sports field, along with a couple of other plots, including a gas station. He said that "it turned out the land was worth a bit of money... it's a busy intersection."
Over the years, I'd heard various people daydream about turning the place into a readapted theatre, especially, a "brew-and-view," popular in other cities as a place to drink and watch campy films. Those idle musings seem to be out the window now, if this quick conversation's to be believed. Meanwhile, mid-City could be seeing more construction, though of the new, chain-style variety. Though not specific about how his aged building would fit in, one would assume that the building wouldn't be remodelled, but would be razed and the plot built anew.
Shame to see the old landmark go, but considering the current, crumbling shape and the continued suburbanization of Southwest City, I wouldn't bet on it being a part of landscape too much longer.
The funniest thing about the meeting, for me, was the fact that I'd tried to reach the owner of the Avalon multiple times, for stories over the years. Could this have been the infamous Greg Tsevis, up there checking the bricks, making sure they weren't going to fall on a passerby? Seems that instead of using the phone, I should've just pointed a camera at the building.
October 21, 2005
Quick Q/A with: Davy Rothbart, Found Magazine
Got a chance to talk to Davy Rothbart after his gig at Mad Art Gallery last night, about an hour after a large number of well-wishers and inscription-seekers had gotten a few minutes with him, as well. The Found Magazine, er, founder was pleasant and amiable, as always, despite a long day and the looming treak across town to crash on a patron's floor. (Hint: she happens to blog here.)Continue reading "Quick Q/A with: Davy Rothbart, Found Magazine"
October 20, 2005
Morsels & Sips, v. 1
Chef Landis Irvin has been spotted less frequently at Mangia Italiano recently, as he's taken on a management and ownership stake in The Delmar Lounge, orchestrating a menu changeover for the late-night hang. He'll still be overseeing the kitchen at Mangia, though running the day-to-day operations at his new perch in the Loop.
Eye-popping was a sight at MoKaBe's on Wednesday evening, as the coffeehouse had - gasp! - a television tuned into that night's Cardinals baseball game. The group in smoking section seemed predictably uninterested in the dreadfully dull proceedings. If there's only reason to be glad that the Cards are removed from playoff competition, it's that this kind of culturally-jarring scene won't be witnessed again soon.
Old friend Paul Stark, host of KDHX's "Ska's the Limit," has taken a management gig at the hot, new Maplewood club, Boogaloo. Don't be rude, say "hi" when you're by.
A little birdy suggests that the wonderful AMP, 4199 Manchester, will soon be looking at a 3 a.m. license. Meanwhile, down the block at the Atomic Cowboy, the carry-out window will soon open.
In a high-school-loving town like a St. Louis, an idea for an underground art show cheekily mocking prep traditions is just perfect. Perfect, we say! This Friday night, an 11-member team of artists are putting together a one-night show dedicated to celebrating the 10-year reunion of Kimmswick High School's art club.
Now, canny observers will note that Kimmswick High doesn't exist.
That's not stopping this group from getting together and royally messing with traditions. For example, the show's dedicated to the fictional "Randy Muggs," who passed before the group's graduation; after what high school didn't have one student perish during any four-year stretch? And the school's mascot is the Fighting Mile High Pie, a curious one even in a town with Gorloks, Statesmen and Billikens.
Artists include: Barbara Cliffe, H. Lindsy Donahue, Mark Early, Alice McCullen, David Miller, Amanda Mueller, Cassie Simon, Laura Stair, Ron Weaver, Clarie Williams and Anchovy. All will show works inspired by high school, as well as their own work from days gone past.
The event will take place on Friday, October 21, from 6:30-11:00 p.m., at Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts, 3151 Cherokee. Live music from the Macro Meltdowns and The Fires is featured from 9:00-10:30.
The guess here is that Galen Gondolfi is going to move into major flip-out mode by the time this one's over. St. Louis and high schools? A group show with 11 artists? A night with gallery openings all over town, earlier in the evening, where free wine will be consumed, sending artsy revelers out in search of a bigger party? Says here that you'd best stop in early for maximum elbow room. This is going to be one of the gigs that people will talking about for some months to come. Book it.
October 19, 2005
Bruno David to Open on Friday
Over at KDHX, Amanda Doyle and I have always been treated to one constant. Arriving at the station on Mondays, we'll often find a note in our mailbox from Bruno David, formerly with Elliot Smith Contemporary Art and now striking out on his own, with a self-named gallery in Grand Center. We appreciate the diligent approach to getting the word out, not always taken by those in the arts. Here's some info on the new gallery, which is opening this weekend. (And might we note, there's no small amount of possible activities happening around town this Friday and Saturday.)
"The group exhibition Inaugural Exhibition will highlight the gallery's future exhibition programs, which will focus on contemporary painting, sculpture, photography, and new media, presenting the work of emerging and mid-career artists. The exhibition includes important works by Jenna Bauer, Elaine Blatt, Jill Downen, Yvette Drury Dubinsky, Joan Hall, Takashi Horisaki, Kim Humphries, Kelley Johnson, Chris Kahler, Bill Kohn, Katharine Kuharic, Leslie Laskey, Peter Marcus, Moses, Daniel Raedeke, Christina Shmigel, Tom Sleet, Matt Strauss, Jason W. Triefenbach, Ernest Trova, and Ken Worley. The exhibition is in view through November 13, 2005.
"The gallery is located at 3721 Washington Boulevard in the heart of Grand Center, directly opposite The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and in close proximity to the Sheldon Memorial Art Galleries, The Fox Theatre, and Powell Symphony Hall. The gallery is open free to the public and the hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, Thursday 10 am to 7 pm, and Sunday 11 am to 4 pm and by appointment."
The artwork of Moses? Hmm.
October 17, 2005
City Shopping: Porn, Redd Foxx, Bongs
When you happen to find yourself in need of a certain combination of products, don't go anywhere else: shop Spectrum's, at 2701.5 (yes, there's a half-digit) Cherokee. For example, you're holiday shopping and you need a t-shirt with the likeness of Redd Foxx, for wacky Uncle Ted. They got it. Meanwhile, Brother Joe likes a bit of blue cinema. Spectrum's has pornographic DVDs available, in a (vaguely) covered shoebox, right there behind the counter. And your Kid Cousin Roger wants a bong that's attached to a gas mask. Clearly, you don't need to make a seperate trip, since Spectrum's has this product available and for-sale.
A combination headshop and urban fashion emporium, Spectrum's has a stranger selection of wares, in one place, than I ever thought possible.
OJ Simpson retro jerseys. Shoelaces. Guyana national soccer team warm-ups in size 5X. Incense. Baby-doll tees. Cardinal caps in red, blue, white, black and green. Bandanas in these colors and more. Crazy sneakers and boots, in all stripes and brands.
I'd not found Spectrum's until earlier this afternoon, happening into the store thanks to the wonderful window display, proudly featuring those Redd Foxx tees. (A bargain at $10 per.)
Can Cherokee Street be any wackier?
Something Old, Something New
In the heyday of Cicero's Basement Bar, very few bands matched the live excitement of the Something Brothers, a six-piece group from mid-Illinois who made the trip to St. Louis' darkest, narrowest and best music bar on a regular basis. Though critically-acclaimed in town - every music writer at the RFT seemed like a regular at their gigs - the band never achieved a real breakout in town, even as their shows were lavished with print praise on a regular basis.
Though the group's long-since called it a day, local music afficianado Dale Fisher - and colleague here, in his guise as the DiatribeR - has set up a Something Brothers page, with mp3s of their tracks beginning to emerge, album-by-album. For those who have this tracks on supttering, well-played cassette tapes, it's a pleasure to hear these songs in crisper forms, even if coming through small speakers.
No point getting into how they sound. The band never made a description easy. They're a rock band. Beyond that, you need to simply listen and make up your own mind.
Thanks, Dale, for: www.somethingbrothers.com.
October 15, 2005
Ode to the Potato
While I was on vacation, both Thomas and Stefene contributed odes to the potato. I cannot pass on the opportunity to share my love of the dusty orb. I believe in the power of the potato. The potato is what brought me to Mad Art. The potato is what took me to Vegas. The potato brought me back into making art after a very long desolate hiatus. In a strange way, the potato is what saved me.
Allow me to explain. In 2001 my friend Rebecca Stees, who was living in Oakland, California, approached me about doing a group art show with some fellow artist friends from college. We had all gone to work after college, some of us in artistic, some not. We had tossed around the idea of shows in the past, but it was ten years since we left art school—it was time to act. I was in a serious rut at my job. So we embarked on the unknown and came upon the idea of doing a potato-themed show, modeled after a famed Potato Party Rebecca had thrown years ago. So we threw it together. We didn’t have a lot of rules about it. I started making art again. We had a helluva show at Mad Art in January 2002. I fell in love with the gallery. I made friends with Ron and Tracy. Eventually, I left my corporate job to help at the gallery and make more art. I was out of the rut and very happy.
In February of this year, Rebecca, Nina Ganci, and I traveled to Las Vegas to put on another potato show--Cult of the Potato. Again, we didn’t know what to expect, but it was a fabulous success. There is something magical about the humble spud that makes people smile, makes people feel warm and friendly. I stood on a busy Vegas street in front of a crowded gallery, dressed in my Potato Eaters chef’s jacket, and handed out potatoes to unsuspecting passersby. I snuck them into baby strollers, purses, and the hoods of visitor’s coats. To me, it was quality entertainment.
I love good food, good parties, good art, and good people. The potato brings all these favorite things together somehow. Peeling potatoes for soup or mashed potatoes is cathartic—it forces me to slow down and enjoy the moment. Cradling a dusty orb in my left hand and gliding the peeler across the surface towards me, I feel instantly comforted. Making things for other people, whether I’m making food or art, brings me a tremendous amount of joy. I hope to share a potato with you someday soon.
October 14, 2005
Inside, Outside, All Sides Now
Soon, we'll be on the other side of Halloween. Once the rubber skeletons and fiberglass spiderwebs come down, the sparkle lights and pine sprigs go up. If you live in a Victorian mansion, chances are your Xmas decorating scheme is much more elaborate; which is why All Saint's Day marks the start of house and parlor tour season. I haven't actually gone on any house tours in St. Louis yet, though I almost made a valiant effort to make it to the Soulard Holiday Parlor Tour one year.
Part of the reason I haven't been more enthusiastic about going on house tours is that I'm afraid I'll end up with musculoskeletal injuries from the physical stress of being around so many expensive, breakable things. Being near-sighted and clumsy, I always imagine I'lll accidentally stick my elbow through someone's china cabinet window or trip on a rug and take down a whole dining-room table, with many pretty, breakable things on its surface. This is why I feel more comfortable around people who collect rocks, vs. rare china patterns.
Here's my kind of house tour, though, and it's tomorrow: Heartland Renewable Energy Society is throwing a "2005 Sustainable Homes Tour." It's just one house, but it's quite a house: it's solar, with cellulose insulation, landscaped with native wildflowers, trees and grasses. Inside, they've used nontoxic paints, carpets made from recycled soda bottles and bamboo floors. It also has a bat house in the yard, which is my favorite touch. The addy is 744 Ballwin Road, and the house is open from 10am-4pm tomorrow (it's free, too, even better).
Closer to home but no less important is the Market Street 2005 Charrette on October 21-23, sponsored by the St. Louis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. A Charrette is "a collaborative planning process that combines design professionals with interested citizens." You do have to register, but the form is online and it's only ten bucks. A small price to pay to have some input into one of downtown's major stretches of road, yes?
October 11, 2005
2005 St. Louis KICK ASS Awards
Second Annual St. Louis KICK ASS Awards
Gallery Urbis Orbis, 419 North 10th Street
Friday, November 11 @ 7 p.m.
Sponsored by 52ndCity.com and Gallery Urbis Orbis
Admission is all the change you can donate at the door – really!
The second annual Kick Ass Awards will be offered to 13 St. Louisans, collaborators and organizations, dedicated to quietly improving the civic life of this City and region. The event will celebrate the works of the 12 nominees profiled below – along with a special, mystery award going out to conclude the night.Continue reading "2005 St. Louis KICK ASS Awards"
October 10, 2005
Punks and Wavers Wanted
I'm so wound about this project, that I can't wait until it happens. That said, I'll have to wait, since it "will take a large amount of time to coordinate, assemble and complete." A selfish sigh.
At question here is a compilation CD, or CDs, produced by Jason Rerun (co-host of KDHX's "Scene of the Crime") and Matt Harnish (founder of Bert Dax Cavalcade of Stars Recors and bassist-about town).
According to a handsome pink flyer spotted at KDHX, and we paraphrase: "First and foremost, we are looking for band members from Punk, Hardcore, New Wave, Post Punk, Power Pop, etc. band from the late 70's through the mid 80's. We are interested n band from the St. Louis metro area, but will consider bands from slightly further away as long as they had some type of St. Louis connection/fan base. We also want to hear from show promoters, club/bar owners, photographers (pro, hobbyists and one time picture snappers alike are welcome), fan/magaine publishers and writers/contributors, scenesters, rabid showgoers, local pack rat historians and general folks who were around when Punk and 'New Wave' hit the streets of St. Louis. A booklet or fazine will accompany the compilation(s) with history, notes, picture, anecdotes, etc."
Interested parties should contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm heading into my basement right now to start digging through the archives. Well, maybe tomorrow. These things take timem after all.
October 09, 2005
Blake Brokaw: My Grillin' Hero
You can't plan two entries in two days by two writers, both dealing with the modest potato. Unlike my friend Stefene's run-in with stellar soup, I just had the best steamed potato I've ever had, on the parking lot of the City Museum. And these praises must be sung.
Literally hanging out a shingle, Blake Brokaw's invested in a small kitchen in MonstroCity, surrounded by metal sculptures and the crane that's long been a centerpiece of the City Museum's exterior. In this little nook of the eye-popping space, dubbed "Number Nine," Brokaw's got a modest set-up, with an industrial refrigerator, a counter and a couple of barrel grills. Featuring a lineup of barbecue items and a couple vegetarian items - the aforementioned potato of legend and a simple, delicious portabello sandwich - the space neatly complements the Cabin Inn, just a few feet away.
Even though the weather's chilled, Brokaw's new endeavor is worth visiting. Just bring a light wrap and an appetite. And maybe a few expectations, since it is Brokaw on the grill. My Potato Hero.
(The little birdy say: look for more on Blake in an upcoming P-D Everyday feature. And, just maybe, some run in Playback STL, too.)
October 08, 2005
A Taste of Pre-Mrs. T
I just had some of the best potato soup I've ever had, in the basement of St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church, on 1901 Ann Avenue (nearly at the intersection of Russell and Gravois). I've been sick for a few days, and it's the first thing that's tasted good all week.
The church is holding a "Russian Foodfest" today and tomorrow. The entrance is easy to miss, but you can smell the boiled cabbage for near on a block. The atmosphere feels a bit like the Polish Festival, or St. Mary's, though more grassroots. There's a little bake sale table set up, where you can buy kolachy or angel dolls; a drink table, where you can get a sip of Russian tea, or buy crocheted Christmas bears; and a small cafeteria-style setup in the back of the room, where they're serving up peirogis, potato-leek soup, Russian cabbage rolls and sausage. I highly recommend the Russian tea, which (as far as I can tell) is lemon Nestea crystals mixed with spices, but I can't identify which ones. It tastes like the woods in a fairy tale, is the only way I can explain it. Earthy and spicy and maybe even a little pine-needly. (I bought a glass jar of it from the bake sale lady for $2). The only typically Russian thing I didn't see for sale was Faberge eggs.
We were the only people in the room under 70 (the average age was more like 85), and I'm sure that most of them are life-long members of the congregation. The basement is well kept up, but hasn't been remodeled since the '60s at least. Better than the tea, better than the soup, was the feeling of being wrapped up in the shadow of an older St. Louis, a place where you couldn't find Mrs. T's products in your grocer's frozen food case, because they hadn't been invented yet.
October 04, 2005
Haunted by Hardy Mums
Although I received a very healthy pot of mums last year as a house-warming present (and planted them in the yard, where they are now aggresively trying squeeze the lavender out for plot space) it doesn't seem to me that St. Louis was quite as mum-crazy last year. I know they're in season, but...really, it's out of control!
Last Saturday, Soulard, I heard some vendor endlessly hollering "HARDY MUMS...HARDY MUMS...HARDY MUMS!" no matter what building I happened to be in. On Sunday, at the Best of Missouri Market, all the ladies with wheelie shopping carts weren't picking up exotic varieties of dwarf Japanese cherry trees; they were crazy for mums, mums and more mums. Overheard conversations, two or three times, enthusing about mums.
And today, at the Schnuck's in Clayton, I saw a veritable psychedelia garden planted near the front door; of course it was all hardy mums, as out of control as ever, deep purply red and bright white ones, planted in alternating stripes. They were so fluffy and brightly-colored, they didn't look like mums at all. Inside, near the shopping carts, there were dozens and dozens of hardy mums, exploding out of their pots like flowery mushroom clouds. There were some that were large enough I'd worry about fitting them into the back seat of my car.
I'm used to hardy mums that look, well, hardy. Like they have been scrapping it out in an alley somewhere. The yellow ones always look to me like they are coated in three days' worth of car exhaust. They're city flowers, like geraniums and petunias and marigolds. Not that pretty, but they survive the tailpipe fumes and peeing dogs. I'm like most people in that I avoid more delicate plants, at least in the front of the house, and go for the coarse, urban flora, like the humble and hardy Christanthemum. But I'm confused: is this mum love a bit of St. Louis city culture I have totally missed up until now - or is it something new?
SLAM: New Docs Series Announced
Upcoming Films at the Saint Louis Art Museum Auditorium. Each Film: $5 ($3 Members).
ARTISTS: CINEMATIC PORTRAITS
Join us for a series of documentary films that paint dramatic portraits of living artists.
Sunday, October 9, 5:00 pm
David Hockney - The Colors of Music
(2003, 85 minutes)
Directed by Maryte Kavaliauskas and Seth Schneidman
This film presents a rare and intimate portrait of Hockney’s private passion—designing for the stage. Through his use of lighting and color, Hockney’s
innovations transform opera into a magical experience, one to watch as well as hear.
October 03, 2005
The next installment of Readings @ The Schlafly Tap Room is this Thursday, October 6th. I attended this season's inaugural event and it was really fantastic. The poets were such a contrast. San Francisco’s Geraldine Kim, winner of Fence Books’ 2005 Modern Poets Series, read from Povel, her combination poem/novel that takes the concept of extemporaneous writing to a helium-like high. She seemed a bit inexperienced as a reader, but that is not a complaint. I found it totally refreshing. Stephanie Schlaifer is a poet based in St. Louis. Her work was more traditional—her imagery more polished, but accessible. When I heard the last line of Pictures of the House Under Construction, I had that little punch feeling that I get when I see a painting that hits me just right.
Thursday's line up features Marcus Cafagña and Suzanne Rhodenbaugh. You can get their bios on Aaron's site.
I encourage you to attend, even though I’ll be out of town. Aaron mixes a mean CD so the pre-reading entertainment is always an added bonus. All events are free and there is a full bar in the reading area.
What: Eight Events / Twenty Readers
When: First Thursdays of each month with next installment this Thursday, October 6th.
Location: The Schlafly Tap Room @ 2100 Locust Street (at 21st)
Info: http://belz.net/readings/ or email@example.com