December 29, 2005
Hooch & Daddy-O: Ain't No Stoppin'
We'd be remiss in not noting yet another film festival appearance by "Hooch & Daddy-O." This time, it's booked for the Janaury 13-14 Southern Fried Flicks Film Festival, of Augusta, GA.
The fact that the SFFFF is open to filmmakers of Southern heritage proves, definitivly, that Missouri is, in fact, a Southern state. So next time that barroom argument breaks out, you have some backing.
It'd be great to see "H&D-O" back in St. Louis. Wonder if the producers have some news on that front?
December 27, 2005
Meet Bill Chott
A character actor of the comedic bent, St. Louis expat and Second City alum Bill Chott is among the leads in the new Johnny Knoxville film, "The Ringer." (Surely you've seen the ads; they're on every few minutes.) With a host of credits to his name, in both TV and film, Chott's profile in the industry is starting to grow.
Amanda Doyle and I will talk to him on "The Wire" this coming Monday, January 2, at 7:30 p.m. And if you happen to see "The Ringer" in the next week, drop a line in the comments section.
By the way, this is the 100th post at 52nd City and we're throwing a party for this fact on Friday, December 30 @ 7 p.m. Well, for that and some other things. Scroll down the page for more.
December 23, 2005
Live Event: Friday, Dec. 30
Contrary to anything you may've read, the LAST public event at Gallery Urbis Orbis will be the 52nd City "release" party at the soon-to-be-shuttering Downtown space, on Friday, Dec. 30, from 7-9 p.m., with a $5 cover. Catering by Hartford Coffee Company, with light refreshments served. Funds will help several publishing projects in 2006.
We've got a few things on tap for the evening, including:
Live improvisational music by Eric Hall and Jason Hutto.
Experimental video in Van McElwee's "Heliogos."
Accompanied poetry and jazz by Stefene Russell and Dave Stone.
A first look at 52nd City's e-magazine.
Hope to see you there.
December 22, 2005
Anti-Mation at the Hi-Pointe
For music fans, the best part of this time of year is the run of reunion shows, back-to-town shows and annual shows. There've been a few already and a couple more are coming, including Anti-Mation at the Hi-Pointe on Friday, the 23rd. I missed the band the first time around - too young, too dumb - but definitely plan on catching the veteran version.
The inimitable Mort Hill passed along a note, assumedly penned by member Tony Cornejo. Tried to contact Tony for the thumbs-up on a reprint of his show reminder, but even without that, the time's growing short and what band doesn't want to get the word out?
25 years ago I was in a band called Anti-mation. We existed in a world where gigs were played at V.F.W. Halls that underground bands rented because the "Man" was not ready for our new groovy sounds. The band started out with me and grade school chum Bob Morrison. In need of a drummer we put an ad that was answered by one of St. Louis' truly crazy musical characters Mike Doskocil.
I had just left the Camaros finding the prima Donna antics of the singer Mark Condelliare who can be still be seen today performing and preening with the Murder City Players ;) clashing with my own delusions of grandeur. Bob was a true South Side rock fan who was just as happy listening to Boston as he was the Sex Pistols. Mike was the wild suburban youth component, who hailed from Crestwood, that we needed to put us in touch with cul-de-sac angst.
The sound was an amalgamation of old school rock (Who, Rolling Stones, Beatles), early punk (Sex Pistols, Ramones, Clash) a dash of glam (Bowie, T.Rex, NY Dolls), the best we thought that rock had to offer. .
Early reviews from Globe-Democrat reporter, Kevin Martin, described us as sweaty and excitable. That my friends was an understatement. The shows were spirited and chaotic. Occasionally band members would need to stab each other to let out the bad mojo. Shows would often provoke riots with the hapless KSHE heads who would stumble upon our shows and be enraged at our air of self importance and our cultural superiority.
Bob eventually left to pursue his real passion of softball and we recruited the services of Mike Yaffee, from the famous Max Load, out of Bellville Illinois. At this time we also added the lush keyboard sounds by Jeff (Boy-Crazy) LeBeau. By now it was 1981 and the grit of punk was giving away to the indulgence of New Wave.
Knowing a thing or two about indulgence we followed suit.
When not getting our hair done in some new outrageous fashion ( by the late great Jeff Cournoyer). We'd be stealing milk crates for make shift furniture for Anti-mation central, my apartment in Soulard, that was the scene of the "Great Raid" where my girlfriend and I were arrested for peace disturbance because Joan Jet's Blackheart band kept turning up the stereo after repeated police warnings.
All bad things must come to and end. Doskocil was moving more towards the west coast hardcore punk that would be displayed in his next bands, White Pride, Drunks with Guns and Ultraman. Some of these bands bootlegs now go for top dollar on E-Bay. Mike Yaffee moved to LA working with a number of bands. Jeff moved to Houston to pursue hot men. I played in Reggae, Roots Rock (Riot Act, Soundtown) and on and on.
Times have changed. Mousse no longer does it's magic on my hair (he he), Hip Hop now rules the youth culture, and the religious right has forced decadence underground were it belongs. Because sin is a dish best served in the dark.
With that in mind.
Anti-mation 25th Anniversary Arrested Development Reunion. See how time and space leave three fools untouched by human maturity.
And Laura's Band Mothra's Mutha http://mothrasmutha.com/
If you see one show this Year this should be the one. Heck the years almost over anyway.
December 23rd, @ the Hi-Pointe Clayton and Skinker. 9PM.
Anti-mation records and other merch will be available for purchase. Bring Cash!!!!
December 21, 2005
Photo Fun @ St. Louis Centre!
Our colleague in the STL Syndicate, Tom Lampe of STL Pretty War, recently ran into some unpleasant issues regarding his photography of St. Louis Centre. The flap drew a huge response in the discussion rooms of the archcitychronicle.com and even made Deb Peterson's column this morning.
Since it appears that the Centre is set on no internal photography, we at 52nd City wish to join Tom on Friday, December 23, with a noontime "photo walk" near the Centre. Let's say we meet at Washington and 6th Streets at 12 sharp and see what... er, develops. Perhaps we can post some of the best pics of this urban landmark.
And remember: word has it that some parts of St. Louis Centre are still commercially functioning, so get some holiday shopping done, while engaging in a bit of civic friskiness!
Your in urban impishness,
December 20, 2005
I used to think I had itchy feet until I moved to St. Louis. When I lived in Salt Lake City, I found myself on an airplane out of town at least three or four times a year. Denver, New York, Connecticut, San Francisco ... it didn't really matter. At least I was out of Utah. I once had a friend who continually tried to move out of Salt Lake, but something always foiled his plans at the last minute. He compared Utah to God's toilet bowl: As soon as you got to the rim, God flushed. And you were swept down again, never to escape.Continue reading "Westward Expansion"
Da Mayor's Hip-Hop Podcast
Quite curious. Mayor Slay's website features a quartet of St. Louis-based acts in Potzee, Alisha Rene, Focus and P. Dub (the one-time Pretty Willie Suella of Rap Snacks fame), each putting their spin on a holiday tune.
Our favorite feature on the site, meanwhile, "The Big Picture" finds photographer Mike Defilippo in a seasonal mood, himself.
December 19, 2005
DDP @ HCC
Like the annual visit of that Pennsylvanian groundhog, the Dave Drebes Players are hosting their annual show, with the publisher of the Arch City Chronicle publicly debuting his most recent set of Christmas-related material. This year's group should include the group's namesake on keys, Kurt Groetsch (Sugarstickygirl, Drift, Jenny Kavanaugh) on guitar and political candidate-educator Jeff Smith on drums.
Wholesome, family fun, Wednesday the 21st, 7:30 p.m., Hartford Coffee Company, Roger and Hartford, South Side.
St. Louis is lucky to have Chef Eric Brenner. Moxy is one of my favorite restaurants; consistent, casual, but always special. The servers know our tastes in wines and make recommendations always right on target. The scallops are truly divine, with fennel undertones that have given me an entirely new appreciation and respect for the odd little root. The short ribs are memorable enough that I crave them after a month or so of doing without. This weekend I had the pleasure of dining for the first time at Brenner’s French restaurant, Chez Leon. I went with friends to celebrate the holiday and in a word-WOW! A three-course price fixe dinner is $35 with just a few items on the menu increasing the price by $2-5. While not exorbitant, I will save Chez Leon for special occasions; more so for the ambience than the prices. We were all knocked out by our experience.
Potato and leek soup arrived with a wonderful balance of flavors and richness. The Lyonnaise salad was a hit with those brave enough to try salad with a poached egg delicately nestled on top. And Brenner sure knows his way around a scallop. Those at Chez Leon were just heavenly—larger and richer than their sisters at Moxy, but still with perfectly blended light sauce. It is hard to say who won the entrée contest. A friend who only orders steak when we dine out claimed the Chez Leon filet made the steak from her usual haunt taste like it came from Denny’s. The free-range chicken with truffle butter was spectacular. Hangar steak with béarnaise was completely decadent, but thoroughly enjoyed. And while one would assume a pork chop with sauerkraut to be sort of common peasant grub, it was anything but, with kraut that had caramelized, without becoming soggy.
I continued my St. Louis Crème Brulèe tour, not surprised that this was one of the best. I’m sort of a puritan about this dessert, and am disappointed when it comes with any hint of citrus or is too full of vanilla beans. It was just right. A chocolate cake with gooey center elicited oohs, ahhs and eye rolling. It was not at all like those giant concoctions that one finds at chain restaurants. It was amazingly sophisticated with a scoop of homemade pistachio ice cream. The sorbet arrived with three generous scoops—two blood orange and one pineapple. With so many rich dishes consumed throughout the evening, one spoonful of sorbet was the ideal finish.
The house red wine, at $32 a bottle, I think was a Côtes du Rhône. (I admit I’m horrible at remembering wines.) It was tasty too. The service was pleasant and not overbearing. The only bad thing was the frigid waddle back to our car.
Even better than the food, was of course, spending the evening with best friends. Dinner out in lieu of gifts is the only way to go during the holidays.
December 16, 2005
Free Ticket to U2
So, Jim Utz is my hero. I was the first person he called when he got a last-minute Heisman from someone else on a free U2 ticket, which is to say, I got a free ticket to U2. That someone else passed on such a bounty is awesome and alternate status on free stuff is awesome. Hey, the tickets were awesome. Woo-hoo! There's no one in St. Louis I'd rather talk music with than Vintage Vinyl's ace promotions man and that was an option at the U2 show this happened this week; if not mistaken, on Wednesday, though it feels like it was yesterday. For example, we talked about Metallica's "Some Kind of Monster," the best documentary, possibly, ever.
The band - U2, not Metallica - played a number of songs from their catalogue, many of which I knew, though I stopped purchasing their records after "The Unforgettable Fire." Which I like a lot. They didn't play the title track of that record, or "New Year's Day," two moments of mild disappointment. The songs from the radio and the iPod commercials are alright and the band's execution of them is solid. These U2 fellows are pros. And their lighting staff is also fantastic. What a beautiful stage and so well-lit. Did I mention that I know the man who tuned the U2 keyboards? I do.
After the show, the highlight was definitely going to Rue 13, where Jim spins on Monday nights, from 11 p.m.-3 a.m. There are 2-for-1 specials on both drinks and sushi. Some would call this a great deal. However, we didn't attend on Monday, but Wednesday. DJ Kenny Kingston was playing music from the '80s, a spin he calls the "Dollar Bin," and a night that used to be featured with Lo. Jim had a sake for $1, as it was $1 sake night. Woo-hoo!
Now, back to U2, so I can finish.
The show was full of people, at least 18,000. How likely is it, then, to be sitting behind a mid-level local celebrity? Well, when you a $162 seat, it's certainly possible. And, mind you, I didn't look at the ticket price under "Bullet the Blue Sky," half-way through the main set. YIKES! Jim Utz is my hero, as is his friend Doug, who secured the ticket in the first place. In front of both of us - me and Jim, not me and Doug - is Martin Kilcoyne, co-host of "The Morning Grind" on KFNS 590 am and sports anchor on Fox 2. Throghout the show, I watched the band, but also couldnt help but glance at Martin Kilcoyne, who has the rhythm of a turnip.
That's my story about my free ticket to U2.
December 14, 2005
All of my holiday shopping is complete. Yes, every last gift has been wrapped and shipped or stuffed in the appropriate stocking. All my cards are in the mail. While I’d like to sit back and coast through the remainder of the year…I can’t. We’re launching a major new application at work and I’m the project manager. My mind is like marshmallow fluff and peanut butter, clogged with all kinds of unrelated thing, good and bad. Here are some.
j.marie purses, crafted by J. Marie Bannerot-McInerney, are precious little beauties—I’m telling you. They were at the Independent Art Market last weekend. There were so many I wanted that I couldn’t decide, which was a good thing since this is not the time of year I like to spend money on myself—but I hope you did. If not, I think you can find her items at The Time on the corner of Manchester and Marshall in Maplewood.
Tiny Showcase offers high quality limited edition teeny tiny prints at teeny tiny prices. A new artist is showcased each week, but they always sell out before I can get one. So I really shouldn’t be letting you all in on my secret, but the idea is too great not to share. I think they are out of Rhode Island.
Rob Stewart, a Rod Stewart tribute act, will be performing at the Casino Queen on New Year’s Eve. I can’t decide if this is hilarious or depressing, but I’m leaning towards depressing. I almost want to go for the people watching. I mean, who rings in the New Year this way? Who?
And finally, rejection letters. I have to write them for Mad Art Gallery. We get submissions from university professors who have shown all over the world along with untrained watercolorists specializing in unicorns high jumping over planets—no lie. I take the time to write something personal to everyone and it is very difficult. I once received a very nasty letter from an acquaintance after spending an inordinate amount of time on a letter that I thought was encouraging, even though we couldn’t show his work in the near term. After that, I found this great article about rejection letters on Picklebird.
Like I said…all sort of unrelated, but things that I’ve been wanting to spill.
December 13, 2005
"Come See: Art"
Occasionally you run across a flyer that you simply have to swipe - with the intention, of course, of passing along the info elsewhere. A simple black-and-whit one-sheet, with just the barest of information, in a style that borders on 1980s band posters. And that come hither phrase, "Come See: Art." All that on one flyer... well, you gotta grab it.
This weekend, there'll be an art sale - or is it just an exhibition? - at 2215 Macklind, in "the yellow brick building between Anthonino's Taverna & Mama Toscano's Ravs in the Hill neighborhood." The hours are Friday, Dec. 16, 5-11 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17, 1-4 p.m. The artists are Kate Duncan (paintings and drawings), Christian Meesey (comics) and Emmie Tuller (photographs).
By the by, did anyone attend the Independent Art Market at Shaw's Gallery this past weekend? Somebody forgot to tug on my sleeve and remind me. Whoops. An update/review, anyone?
December 12, 2005
X-mas Tidings, pt. 2
Free-spirited local bandleader and singer/songwriter Celia Shocklet has apparently put together an actual Christmas chorus, made up of friendly, eclectic artist-types. The group will be peroforming a variety of shows around town, starting next week, at the strangest foursome of clubs imaginable: Dec. 17 @ Lotus; Dec. 20 at Novak's; Dec. 21 @ the Great Grizzly Bear; and Dec. 22 @ Lafayette Pub & Grill. Safe to say a local act, of any type, has never done that sequence of venues, in that order. But that's Celia, for ya.
For info: www.celiaisrock.com or www.myspace.com/celiashocklet.
December 09, 2005
Mothersbaugh at Atomic Cowboy
For those of you who came out to the Upstairs Lounge this past Tuesday night to hear Mr. Belz's '80s Meltdown: the real deal is comin' to town, and will be making a stop-off at Atomic Cowboy on December 22. That's right, Mister Mark Mothersbaugh, formerly of Akron, OH (and DEVO), presently of Los Angeles (and MutatoMuzika) will be in town to show some art and play some music. And this is Reason No. 7,235 why Peter Venezia rocks.
Becoming an annual tradition now, the Bert Dax Cavalcade of Stars record label has released "A Very Bert Dax Christmas," now in its fourth year. As discussed at length by Steve Pick in yesterday's "Get Out," this isn't a by-the-books yuletide album, by any means. Instead, it allows a a variety of STL rock bands a chance to work out their inner-elves, crafting songs that, at times, have only a tenuous connection to the season.
In "Christ, It's Cold," for example, Tim Rakel and Bad Folk get a chance to curse like sailors. A truism: obscenity is funny, especially when combined with rollicking, Americana-tinged rock. "Saturnella," the contribution by Helium Tapes is an instrumental, so it's not seasonally-specific, either. And Johnny O & the Jerks would certainly test the patience of traditionalists with their "Hey Santa Claus (You Son of a Bitch)." Now that goes too far!
The full list: 1. Corbeta Corbata, "The Spirit of Giving (Santa's Lament)"; 2. Josef Steinman, "Hurly Burly Christmas"; 3. The Vultures, "Don't Believe in Christmas"; 4. That's My Daughter, "We're Too Much"; 5. Helium Tapes, "Saturnella"; 6. Bug, "Cold Night in St. Louis"; 7. Bad Folk, "Christ, It's Cold"; 8. Johnny O & the Jerks, "Hey Santa Claus (You Son of a Bitch)"; 9. Tight Pants Syndrome, "How Did You Get to be Mine (This Christmas)"; 10. Two Faced Liars, "Hey, the House is Burning Down"; 11. The Frankenhookers, "No Presents for Christmas."
The disc's avialable at the usual indie record outlets. For more info: email@example.com.
December 07, 2005
This weekend, the St. Louis Chapter of the Cacophony Society (I believe that's who's doing this, if not in name then in spirit) will invade lots o' pubs near you, in the name of Santarchy. There will be Fishnet Santas, Pink-bearded Santas, Mz. Santas, Little Grey Santas, Velvet Santas, Chintzy Felt Santas, Capri-pant Santas and Classic Santas. All of them, at least near the end of the night, will be tipsy Santas.
The tradition of rounding up your rowdy pals for a night of drinking while dressed as Santa began more than ten years ago. Some weisenheimers in the Bay Area decided it would be fun to dress as Cheap Suit Santas and spend a night on the town getting stinking drunk, which meant both posing for pictures with kids and being chased by policemen. (Naturally, the practice spread to other cities). I first learned of the Cheap Suit Santas in '96, after accidentally stumbling on this police report, which is still one of my favorite prose documents of all time. And I quote:
I WAS ON POWELL STREET AT THE ENTRANCE OF THE ST FRANCIS HOTEL (WHICH WAS ADJACENT TO THE NAUGHTY SANTAS) WHEN I SPOTTED A FEW SANTAS IN THE HOTEL LOBBY THAT WERE ACTING VERY SUSPICIOUS. THESE SANTAS APPEARED TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE AND CONCERNED, THEIR EYES WERE DARTING AROUND THE LOBBY. THESE SANTAS MOVED TO THE SIDE OF THE LOBBY, SOMEWHAT OUT OF VIEW FROM THE MAIN LOBBY. THESE ACTIONS APPEARED TO BE THE ACTIONS OF SUSPECT SANTAS THAT WERE HIDING FROM THE POLICE. I MONITORED THESE SANTAS.
The St. Louis Cheap Suit Santas seem to be a much gentler breed than their red-eyed, west coast cousins. The flyer I picked up last weekend states that "This event is NOT intended to be a protest of Christmas, a celebration of Christmas, or a political statement (unless you choose it to be). This event IS intended to be whatever you choose it to be." They hand out presents to by-standers (admittedly, sometimes that's a lump of coal, but that's better than a scented candle, right? At least it's an old-fashioned novelty?) and are planning on getting around via Bi-State. They are also kind enough to alert newbies to wear comfortable shoes. Which, depending on what kind of feet you have, may or may not include big black boots with shiny gold buckles. That's because this is an all-day affair - midi to minuit. So keep clicking to see where the Naughty Santas will touch down, because I didn't want to hog up the blog page with their voluminous list of stop-offs...Continue reading "Santarchy!"
December 06, 2005
"Ghost Town: While St. Louis Sleeps"
Originally envisioned as a collaborative book, featuring several St. Louis photographers of diverse styles, "Ghost Town: While St. Louis Sleeps" is a marvelous addition to any St. Louis bookshelf. Containing the work of photographer Eric Post, the title doesn't lose any punch by having one contributor. In fact, this page-turner shows off a truly accomplished artist, able to capture the remarkable subtleties of our city in the evening hours.
Very few people are ever seen in the book, but it's alive with the small touches of architecture - and demise of the same - that make this area so unique, with a heavy emphasis on the City of St. Louis. Post's targets include some immediately recognizable imagery; cynically, one might look at the cover photo of an illuminated Arch as a must for sales, but it's also a beautiful shot, the icon almost lost in the busy, criss-crossing train trestles that dominate the image. This isn't the "classic," staid image of the Arch we've become used to.
Also found are quickly-IDed spots like the Planetarium, the Lemp Brewery, the still-in-renovation Continental Building and Steinberg skating rink. Others are a bit more subtle, capturing places that you know by sight, but you've never seen in this, partciular, lowlit perspective: the Forest Park Fieldhouse, Southwest High School's main entryway, the Social Security office on Chippewa. The latter, a mundane view during the day, somehow comes to life before Post's camera.
Post shows some steely nerve, too. Anyone who's been past the Ebony Motel at night knows that you don't snap a picture there without looking behind you. (And to both sides. And then behind you, again.) Several of the grittier images clearly suggest: 1) a photographer who's out with an associate, they keeping a keen eye on his back, or 2) photographer who's able to steady himself in the most quiet, dark, dangerous spots that we've all hustled past during the nocturnal hours. I tend to think he's in this second group, which makes the collection of these shots even more impressive.
"Ghost Town" is a really beautiful book, one that you'll want to savor with repeated glances.
Eric Post will be heard on the KDHX talk show "The Wire, on Monday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m. The book party for "Ghost Town" will be held at the Atomic Cowboy, 4140 Manchester, on Friday, December 16, from 7-10 p.m.
December 05, 2005
It's true. Inside every esoteric poet lies the tick-tick-ticking heart of a club disc jockey. Let's take for example, this Tuesday night, when Aaron Belz - organizer of the "Readings @" series, founder of Observable Books and author of the recently-released tract "Plausible Worlds" - will spin records at the Upstairs Lounge, a South City speakeasy. Well, if he's not spinning records, he's juggling MP3s, or some such, causing music to be played through the house sound system. Whatever the medium, the specific music played will the hits of the 1980s, America's favorite decade.
He'd like to see you there. If not you, to paraphrase the Scorpions, someone like you.