May 31, 2006
Greetings to Finn's Motel
As bemused, let's say, as I am to admit this, I ran across music from the band Finn's Motel on Myspace earlier today and I'm completing digging the four cuts loaded on there. Classic power-pop, written by Joe Thebeau, long the leader of area groups like the Finns, the Finn Brothers and A-OK. Find them here.
Also, we asked Joe for a shorthand version of the group's story and here're the words directly from the group's creator:
Finn's Motel. Where to start? It's been a long time in the making.
Long story short, I've got an album coming out on Scat records this Fall (Sept 19). We just sent off the master and artwork yesterday and I'm very excited.
The longer version of the story involves about three years, outlined as such:
- bummed out writer starts writing demos and tinkering with computers in the basement.
- friends of bummed out writer hear demos and think they're pretty good. they offer to play drums and bass.
- drums and bass start to make the songs actually sound like a real album and everyone gets optimistic.
- friend with record label says he wants to release the record.
- we are graced with the legendary Adam Schmitt to mix in between his other projects (this takes a year by itself).
- bummed out writer attempts to rediscover the rock stage while pushing 40.
How will it turn out? It's anybody's guess.
May 26, 2006
98, 25, 24
The new issue of Paste Magazine lists the "100 Best Living Songwriters" and our town's well-represented. Though I feel like I'm stealing from the Diatriber in evenlisting this... Jay Farrar checks in at #98, Chuck Berry's at #25 and #24 belongs to Jeff Tweedy. Write you own Tupelo reference or "how could Chuck lose to Jeff" comments below.
By the by, if you've not picked up Paste, it's a solid music mag, along the lines of classy UK journals like Q and Mojo. Each issue's got a CD of new music and every-other's got a DVD with music vids and previews of films. Well worth picking one up, even when they're not going with a themed issue like the current, June/July imprint.
Short-Wave Radios & Percussion
I can't go, but want to, because these are the guys who organized a concert in an abandoned railway station in Chicago. They sent anonymous invites through the mail, with train tickets inside. So you boarded the train without knowing what would happen. When all the passengers disembarked, the band started to play.
I think Hakim Bey would agree that the world needs more of this sort of thing...
I don't think the setup tonight will quite that elaborate, but I do know that Shoendecker sometimes plays a shortwave radio.
May 25, 2006
A few days back, the Ecology of Absence blog noted that a convergence of punks was organizing via the web, aiming for St. Louis this weekend. The various sites that the blog posting - and its comments - pointed to indicated that this wasn't necessarily an urban legend, but an actual possibility, with the punks arriving for no set reason.
Well, fwiw, there are punks in town, from this place and that, some of whom took up temporary respite at the Way Out Club and CBGB this evening.
Wee-hah! Gonna be interesting on the South Side 'til Monday!
May 24, 2006
Local Films Keep Screening... Elsewhere
From "(A) anonymous" director Daniel Bowers:
Your film has been selected to show at all 6 locations
of the 2006 Night Gallery Film Festival.
Anchorage, Alaska - September 2006
Casa Grande, Arizona - October 13-14, 2006
Eugene, Oregon - October 13-14, 2006
Juneau, Alaska - October 20-22, 2006
Auckland, New Zealand - November 10-11 2006
Gisborne, New Zealand - November 17-18 2006
From Oscar Madrid, co-star and co-screenwriter of "Hooch & Daddy-O":
"Hooch & Daddy-O" will be screening as the finale of the Planet Ant Film & Video Festival on Saturday, June 17th at 6:00 PM. We'll also make our way back up to Canada for the Calgary Fringe Film Festival in August (screening times TBA).
You can check the following links for more information:
Also, we plan to make the DVD available for sale in September. It will be loaded with extras including the animated short, "Hooch & Daddy-O: In Space!"
May 23, 2006
Rock N Roll
A few little notes.
The Rock N Roll Craft Show is returning. Detials at: http://www.bgb.org/RRCS/. I feel as if about 23 people have mentioned this to me recently and I'm wanting to keep the circle moving.
Mike Jost, formerly of the local act Seven and brother of Urge alum Jerry Jost, has been tabbed as the drummer of Helmet, who probably fall in that "semi-legendary" category. Unfortunately, the band's website doesn't have much information on his arrival, but several folks close to him have confirmed his joining the act, with recording and live dates already commencing.
Guitarist Jimmy Griffin - of Tiny Cows and formerly of Kingofthehill - is featured in a new ad from Jack Daniels, which captures him in full rock pose glory, overlaid with the company's logo. The ad's a two-page spread in the current, 1,000th issue of "Rolling Stone."
It's not exactly rockin', but there's one week left of the Ancora Il Piu Estinso showcase at Dunaway Books. Some pics are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51252573@N00/
May 22, 2006
Let Me Entertain You!
Lots of folks admit to dabbling in theatre at some point. Perhaps it was a little Bye Bye Birdie in high school or maybe Plaza Suite in college. It was fun, right? But as we get older careers and families become more important than creative expression.
Ladies and gents, brush off your character shoes because there's a new theatre company in town just looking for people like you! Marble Stage Theatre put on a very successful run of Fiddler on the Roof last summer and will be presenting Way Back on Broadway for its second show.
Lucky for you, auditions are just around the corner. You can show 'em your stuff June 2nd from 6pm-10pm and June 3rd from 11am-5pm. Rehearsals start June 19 with the show being performed August 3-6.
Here's an abbreviated synopsis from one of the audition flyers.
"Way Back on Broadway" is an original music review. The story follows the story of two girls who meet up with Grandma Sally, the oldest living broad on Broadway, as she takes them through the history of Broadway musicals. The show features songs from every decade of Broadway from Johnny One Note, Oklahoma, Girl Crazy and Anything Goes to more current hits like Pippin, Les Miserable, Rent and Wicked plus many other favorites.
To schedule an appointment to audition, please call Marble Stage Theatre at 314-732-4003.
Here's the great part-they do not accept professional actors. It's a quality company for regular ol' members of the St. Louis community who want to make some music, play a role and goof off a little bit during rehearsal breaks.
See you there.
May 19, 2006
Operation Tiny Storm
52nd City's boldest -and first - advertising campaign begins this weekend, with Operation Tiny Storm. Please keep an eye on the nearest wall, telephone pole, corkboard or other location where fliers are hung, taped, plastered or affixed. If so moved, take a flyer and reproduce/rehang, as you wish.
Thanks for your awareness of the upcoming Operation Tiny Storm.
Edens Lost & Found
Did anyone else catch Edens Lost & Found last night on Channel 9? It's a show about urban visionaries ... neighborhood folks transforming brownfields into wildlife habitat, how you can cool down a city building by 50 degrees just by adding green roofing, that sort of thing. The kick-off city was Chicago, I suppose because that's where host Scott Simon (former NPR guy, now novelist) is from. Other cities they'll cover: Philly, Seattle and L.A. Though they didn't come to St. Louis, it's an interesting little series, especially in light of the fact that it seems that the old guard and the young folks are beginning to clash over how to steer the city in a good direction. Personally, I think we could use some erring on the side of big vision vs. making do; I think that "well, at least it's something," mentality hasn't served St. Louis so well.
I happen to know there's an amazing, totally green rehab going on down in Benton Park, but I'm not sure if it's done yet - but the Benton park house tour is this weekend, so I expect I may go poking around down there to see if they're showcasing it in any way. With the Cherokee History Fair in full swing, will be a nice compliment to watching all those Chicago folks getting out there to LEED-ify their historic buildings and cultivating hummingbird habitats in their backyards.
May 18, 2006
Beer & Soccer
Oh, the combination! Glorious! Here's a little blip just sent to me, on an event of particular interest to, well, me!
GET READY FOR THE WORLD CUP
Tuesday, May 23 at The Tap Room
Andrei Markovits, who will be World Cup Professor at the University of Dortmund during the 2006 World Cup Tournament in Germany, speaks on "Sports Cultures in Europe and the United States." 6:00 p.m. Free admission.
May 16, 2006
Grove Bars: Incoming
Some changes in the Grove are upcoming.
R Bar, owned by a consortium of former Saint Louis University athletics types, is set to open in the old Grandma's space, near the northern/western end of Manchester, at 4054 Choteau. You can follow progress at this joint at www.rbarstl.com. Looks like it'll draw on a SLU clientele, which might be a smart move.
Also, there's word that The Feisty Bulldog - yes, The Feisty Bulldog! - will be taking over the space next to the Atomic Cowboy, formerly operated as the short-lived Spot. The website's minimal-to-non-existent, but the logo is too much!
Also, there'll be a Grove Fest this fall. We'll post details as we know them. Expect a variety of live music and such.
May 11, 2006
It's called a bandwagon
Eureka ... I have finally succeeded in setting up a bare-bones Myspace page for 52nd City. Please, please add us as a Myspace buddy. I feel creepy with only "Tom" as our friend, too many folks have altered his pic in Photoshop for postin' and I find it very hard to look him in the eye these days. Apparently, we are an Aquarius who hates kids and doesn't smoke or drink. I guess that's the default setting? I like to think we are all default Aquarians. I think the 5th Dimension would be pleased.
Cherokee: Friday Night
After the success of January's multi-venue opening along Cherokee Street, the spaces are opening new shows again this Friday, May 12. And though the times are plugged as beginning at 6 p.m., assume that the evening will stretch to a healthy hour.
Couple of particular items to note:
52nd City issue #1 artists Eric Woods and Dana Smith are both featuring new paintings, part in a group show at Typo, 3159 Cherokee. The opening time here is listed from 6-8 p.m.
Down the block, Radio Cherokee has some indoor and outdoor happenings. Here's what RC sent along: "at radio it's SO MANY DYNAMOS with guests. doors 9pm. www.radiocherokee.net for the full line up. earlier (6-9pm) gondo, typo,
and snowflake (all one block east of radio cherokee) will host local artists. this friday also marks the first installment of HI ART. the nasty billboard attached to the virgina side of RADIO CHEROKEE will be reworked by st. louis artist steven mcfarland. each month a diff. artist will have their chance to go public. hope to see you out."
In addition, Beverly, Fort Gondo and Snowflake will have openings, all located within a as stone's throw of the above locations.
May 10, 2006
New/experimental music events in May
Compliments of Eric Hall:
Wednesday, May 10th at 7:30 p.m.: St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Percussion Festival at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the UMSL campus. $15-30.
In addition to the Symphony's percussion ensemble and Conductor David Robertson there are several featured guests including percussion master Colin Currie, The Juilliard School Percussion Ensemble, and myself. For my piece I was asked to do a solo interpretation of John Cage's First Construction (In Metal), which exists note-for-note in my re-creation, but then I process it with several real-time samplers so that patterns happen at various speeds and directions simultaneously according to the same palindrome patterns and fractal mathematics Cage used to compose the piece... live Cubism applied to sound. And, since it was scored for a six-piece percussion ensemble playing only metal, all of the samples I use are of metal (the Arch, that huge ugly red sculpture at Laumeier, sheet metal, gongs, singing bowls, glockenspiel, tingshaws, etc.); all of which are made even more "metal" by my using several guitar distortion pedals on several outputs. I can't wait to hear it in that huge room.
Thursdays, May 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th from 8-10 p.m.: Ancora il Più Estinto III at Dunaway Books on S. Grand. Free.
Ancora il Più Estinto, which translates from Italian to “staying as soft as possible”, is an annual series of performance/installations. Over the course of the four evenings dozens of artists will perform from various parts of the space, thereby creating a unique sound-art event where what each listener hears depends on when, where, and how often they move about. This way the experiences are not about seeing specific collections of performers and, as much as possible, the audiences’ role as spectator and the performers’ sense of ego are diminished allowing for sound itself to be the focus. As the theme is quiet musics and the grids of bookshelves create several isolated performance spaces, these events aspire to encourage attentive explorations of the sonic environment.
Friday, May 19th at 8 p.m.: Jason Zeh with Raglani, Worm Hands, and myself at Dunaway Books on S. Grand. $5.
Jason Zeh (who has also performed as N-Tron) is a magnetic tape artist/composer/improvisor from Bowling Green, Ohio. He uses an arsenal of portable tape players, most of which are modified in unusual ways, to perform what I feel to be some of the most beautiful and interesting live music I've heard in a long time. You can also hear what Raglani and Worm Hands do with their assorted electronics and whatnot. This is a show I've been looking forward to for some time.
Friday, May 26th at 8 p.m.: Art Union Humanscape with Andrew Hefner, Mike Pitts, and myself at Dunaway Books on S. Grand $5.
Art Union Humanscape is a project led by Chicago bassist Jason Roebke (Tigersmilk, Valentine Trio, Terminal 4) and dancer Ayako Kato. For this show they will be joined by guest bassist Darin Gray (Grand Ulena, On Fillmore). Check out their website at artunionhumanscape.net. Also performing is bassist Andrew Hefner and electro-acoustic artist Mike Pitts (who also performs as Tango Dance Instruction Book). I love these shows in the bookstore and this will be a great finale to the Dunaway Music Series.
May 05, 2006
AMC Goes Art House
A story in a recent edition of the Washington Post notes that the AMC Theatres chain is devoting 72 screens in 39 American cities to the new "AMC Select" booking policy. The move clearly intends to position these screens with art house-caliber films, especially documentaries, which have been the staple of Landmark Theatres programming in recent years, along with lower-budget, small-focus narratives.
A quick glance at AMC programming at current STL locations, shows that films like "Killer Diller," "Akeelah and the Bee" and "Thank You for Smoking" are alredy in rotation on mutiple Select screens in St. Louis, including runs at the Creve Couer, Chesterfield, Crestwood Plaza, Esquire and West Olive.
Draw your own conclusions on the cinematic tastes of our burg, what with five local theatres going into this program.
May 04, 2006
Every so often, you get that feeling. That you've seen all the interesting buildings, lobbies and nooks in town. Then, occasionally, you run across a new one and it's quite an eye-popping sight.
Earlier this week, I got a last-minute invite to a political fundraiser at the Thaxton Building, 1009 Olive. Initially, I was drawn by the promise of catered food, free drinks and good company, but the space itself was quite an interesting add-on. An overtly art deco building that once served as a retail outlet for Eastman-Kodak, the space served a variety of purposes beyond its initial use, including a long stint as a furrier's showroom and cold-storage locale.
Located next to Bussone's, the last of the liquor store/diners in Downtown, the Thaxton's not particularly bursting from the streetscape. It's a modest height and the window decorations almost seem as if they're trying to bely an empty building, taking the popular "art in abandoned storefront approach." True enough, the highest floor of the Thaxton is still under construction, the entirety of the room filled with interesting pieces of of architectural detritus. (It's accessible by a door that... opens.)
Whilt the highest space are still in progress the lobby is done, a nice turn given to restoring the space to a new, art deco splendor, with lots of paintings and pin-up posters dominating the walls. The basement party room, meanwhile, is really a strange affair, with a mix of modern and traditional-nodding touches. It all adds up to a bit of an over-the-top feel, but that only adds to the sense of falling through the rabbit hole and into an odd, new room.
Maybe all 52nd readers have already been through, rendering these musings on this curious space redundant. If you've not been, though, wrangle a ticket to some high-rolling event and explore a bit. You'll be happy you did.
May 02, 2006
Yippee Yi Yay--Gay Rodeo!
I ventured to the SBAC for amateur wrestling last month, and it was well worth the $7 admission. But this month, I may pony up a few extra bucks and mosey out to the Gay Rodeo! The Gateway Gay Rodeo Association brings this event to the Equestrian Center in Lake St. Louis this weekend.
Traditional rodeo competition will take place, like roping and barrel racing, in addition to more non-traditional competition such as Goat Dressing and Steer Decor. (See The Vital Voice article for more details on this. I can’t possible do it justice.) Unlike mainstream rodeo, men and women will compete in the same events. Shuttle services are being offered from various bars. Visit the GWGRA site for shuttle and event schedule.
Bands will be performing and vendors on hand—it’s a real festival folks. And the rodeo will help raise funds for Food Outreach.
May 01, 2006
The Wire: Upcoming Lineup
Amanda Doyle of thecommonspace.org and I have been co-hosting a show on KDHX for a bit now, The Wire. Over the next weeks, we've got an eclectic mix of guests, including a fair bit of book talk. Here's the still-in-progress lineup for May and June:
May 1: Jim Shrewsbury, President of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen
May 8: Spring pledge drive (hint, hint)
May 15: Malcolm Gay, staff writer, Riverfront Times
May 22: Richard Rosenfeld and Andrew Scavatto, editor and writer of "Hidden Assets: Connecting the Past to the Future of St. Louis"
May 29: Bernie Hayes, author of "The Death of Black Radio"
June 5: discussion of urban farming, exact guests TBD
June 12: Doug Whyte, KDHX-TV & the 48 Hour Film Project
June 19: TBD
June 26: Wade Rouse, author, "America's Boy"
Happy May Day, fellow proletarians!