April 27, 2007
I'm a bit under the weather, but a number of things have hit my in-box that seem of interest to... well, someone other than my bored self. I'll just throw 'em out here and see if my theory holds true:
Tonight, 8-10 p.m., KDHX: I'll be pinch-hitting (and coughing) on Paul Stark's "Ska's the Limit" for pledge drive. Ring, ring!
Sunday, noon-3 p.m., Hartrford Coffee Co.: For three hours on the seventh day, Randy Grim and his stray rescue pals will take up residence in the backyard at HCC, with past efforts suggesting that every dog and cat brought by will be accounted for by the end of the day. If you do not wish to leave with a dog or cat, do not enter the yard.
Monday, 6:30, Magia Italiano: The occasional series of beer dinners happens again at Mangia, with a five-course meal set alongside a beer for each. This evening includes: tortilla soup with Sol Pilsner; mushroom goat cheese arancini with O'Fallon 5 Day Pilsner; blackened mahi with Blance de Chambly; braised lamb "en salmis" with Cooper Stout; and chocolate raspberry cake with Duchesse de Bourgogne. I'm puzzled by what some of this means (arancini? uh, how American am I?), but am delighted by the concept, esp. as vegetarian subs are available. Seatings begin at 6:30 and RSVPs are needed.
Through Tuesday: There's a canned food drive at the Shanti, 825 Allen in Soulard, for Katrina victims, with a couple cans per customer requested and a discount on drafts offered. This is live from tonight through open-mic night on Tuesday.
April 26, 2007
Friday night is the second SIUE MFA show at Mad Art Gallery—and should be another stellar night of art. Sculptor Sarah Frost, who also has a part-time gig as graphic designer for Schlafly, will present her thesis exhibition. Her current work examines our culture through the collection of its remains, such as consumer objects and discarded packaging. She presents or reconstructs these items in a context or material that alters their significance.
Last fall I saw a version of her “White Walls” at the SIUE student gallery. From far away it reminded me of a Louise Nevelson piece—a study of white objects piled high and wide. But Sarah’s piece had more nuances in color and culture—examining common modern day objects that have been cast off as junk. Maybe if Nevelson were a bag-lady…
She is re-creating the installation on the Mad Art stage and I’m eager to see this and her other works. What I appreciate about much of Sarah’s work is that it engages on so many levels. I think making good art about relevant social topics is very difficult and Sarah manages to present smart and thoughtful work that isn’t condescending. Art that tries to beat a message into my head is offensive in its non-subtly. She can pull off irony without being too cheeky. She really manages to balance message and method in a delightful way. (More of Sarah's work.)
Showing with Sarah will be printmaker Angela Malchionno. Her work incorporates printmaking and drawing into sculptural environments that often invite viewer participation. The prints I saw in the fall were gorgeous and I think they are going to look fantastic in the space.
When: Friday, April 27, 2007
Location: Mad Art Gallery, 2727 S. 12th Street, STL MO 63118
My Slow Food friends tell me that Riddle’s Penultimate Café will play host to a benefit dinner for New Roots Urban Farm on Thursday, May 3 at 6:00pm. New Roots Urban Farm is comprised of six city lots of garden space in the near north side of St. Louis city. The produce is sold by subscription or at the North City Farmer’s Market. Much of it is given away to local residents, to Karen House, a nearby shelter for homeless children and mothers, and to St. Liborius Food Bank, located next door to the farm in the basement of an otherwise vacant church.
The dinner will celebrate foods from local farms and proceeds will help fund New Roots Urban Farm community programs. A silent auction will begin at 6:30 with great items like rent-a-farmer for a day, private yoga sessions and personal chef for your favorite meal! Tickets $50 for single or $85 per couple and are on sale at Mokabe's Coffeehouse, Riddle's Penultimate Cafe and Left Bank Books or call Anna for more information at 664-8551 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For full menu and more information, please visit:
April 25, 2007
Davy Rothbart hasn't been in St. Louis all that recently, to "perform" with his Found Magazine project. But his brother Peter, a frequent guest on the Found tours, is coming through town on May 2, to play a Red Sea date under his band's name of The Poem Adept. Check the linked site for clips.
April 24, 2007
Much New @ Lofistl.com
Earlier today, Bill Streeter of lofistl.com dropped by a class of mine at Webster University, discussing both his website and the ideas and theory of video blogging/podcasting. Unbeknowst to me prior to today is that Bill's site is now a sponsored, pro entity, with lofistl now underwritten, in part, by podtech.net, an arrangement which allows him to vlog about two pieces a week.
If you've not checked the site in a bit, there are new features on Mad Art Gallery (and the Radio Hour at the same venue), Firecracker Press and Tower Grove Park, along with the usual allotment of garage-y rock'n'roll.
Do drop by.
April 23, 2007
Maps in Belleville
Was really pleased to get a MySpace invite from Maps Contemporary Art Space, over in Belleville. I have to admit I don't get over the river much, which is ridiculous, since it's closer than some of the Missouri places I venture to; and I forget, to my folly, that there's a lot going on on the other side of the Mississippi. Was double pleased to see that their first artist will be the awesome Mike Shuh, who I've admired for a long time. These cats have their schedule planned out through the summer, with lots of names I don't recognize, even though I recognize some of the folks on their friend roster. So that'll be an exciting venture to hop over the bridge and see what these guys are up to.
Details for Mike's show:
May Exhibition: Mike Schuh, I see what you're saying.
Maps' premier exhibition features St. Louis based installation and performance artist Mike Schuh. For I see what you're saying. Mike will be transforming Maps into a conversation piece...literally. Through the use of simple construction techniques and everyday materials, Mike will explore the connectivity (or more so the lack thereof) that is experienced through contemporary forms of information and news media.
I see what you're saying. will open Thursday, May 3rd from 7-10 pm, and will be on view from May 3rd-June 3rd, 2007. Gallery hours are by appointment only, please call (618) 334-4347 for an appointment.
Maps is located at 225 N. Illinois St. in Downtown Belleville, Illinois, just a few blocks West of the Belleville Square.
How to get to Maps Contemporary Art Space from St. Louis:Take I-64 East to Hwy 159 South (exit 12) towards Belleville. Maps is approx. 6 miles on the right side of N. Illinois, just before the Belleville Fountain/Town Square.
Via Metrolink: From the Belleville stop take the 16 Belleville/St. Clair Square bus line to 225 N. Illinois St.
April 22, 2007
Mayor Slay on The Wire
Sorry to cross-list this blog posting, but Mayor Francis Slay will be the guest of The Wire tomorrow night, 7:30-8:00 on 88.1 fm/kdhx.org. Instead of going with a half-hour pledge pitch, we'll be very modest with our pitches, instead focusing on a variety of City topics. Instead, we're noting, in advance, that we would be honored to be the show on which you pledge!
If you have questions for the Mayor, we won't be taking live calls, but will consider all requests. Please send 'em to: wire @ kdhx.org.
Thanks and please listen, or catch the stream after Monday evening at kdhx.org. Sweet.
April 20, 2007
CD Noted in the STL American
Some kind words on our latest project in the latest edition of the St. Louis American:
K. Curtis Lyle, a native of Los Angeles, once again makes St. Louis his home after sojourns in Brooklyn and Oakland. An intimate of many legendary black artists from the ‘60s, Curtis has worked through a wide variety of poetic styles. His mature approach is to write long narrative poems about strange, prodigious characters, such as the odd brothers profiled in his most recent art poetry chapbook, The Epileptic Camel Driver Speaks to a Refugee Death, which was edited by Chris King of the American and published by the local arts group Poetry Scores.
Curtis also has an astounding piece of performance poetry, “Nut Check,” on a remarkable new CD, Sounds, published by the local arts group 52nd City. “Nut Check” takes as its departure an obscene anecdote by Richard Pryor about white people having the impression that black men tend to clutch their groin. His performance of this hilarious and biting poem is accompanied by local saxophonist Dave Stone.
Sounds also features new, previously unpublished voice recordings of the great jazz creator Ornette Coleman talking about music in a way it has never been described before. This piece was recorded and edited by Josh Weinstein, producer of All Soul, No Borders on KDHX FM 88.1, which airs Thursdays from 10 p.m. to midnight.
April 16, 2007
Pavlov's Dog in Europe?
A little birdy says that a radically retooled lineup of the band is heading to Europe for touring this summer. Don't know details, but do know that legit live musicians are talking about taking the gig.
More to come. If you hear something on KSHE, please pass along word...
Get the SOUND
Our Saturday CD Release Party at The Royale was a fabulous way to whittle away a rainy Saturday afternoon. If you missed us, you can get your copy of the 52nd City SOUND issue ONLINE via Paypal at or one of these local fine establishments. We are very excited about this issue. The interview with Ornette Coleman is such a nugget and the rest of the tracks are well worth the $8 price. Eric Hall put a ton of work into the organizing local musicians for The Phil Sessions guerilla recordings. Check out the track listing and the online edition of SOUND at www.52ndcity.com.
April 12, 2007
There are at least two, high-quality events taking place on Saturday, in the early evening. We could suggest what you might want to do earlier in the evening, but that'd be risking harming that dead horse.
Truck, an exhibit of work by Kansas City artists, will open up at White Flag Projects, with a 7-10 p.m. opening at the provocative midtown gallery. From White Flag's site: "With the goal of opening an improved dialogue between the visual arts communities in Kansas City and St. Louis, White Flag Projects and Kansas City’s Urban Culture Project are cooperating to organize TRUCK: A Kansas City/St. Louis Exchange Exhibition, a pair of exhibitions to be mounted in Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri. The artists chosen to represent each city in the other were arrived at through gallery visits, studio visits, and an open call to artists. The artists from St. Louis to be exhibited in Kansas City were selected by new media artist and Urban Culture Project Curatorial Advisory Board member Barry Anderson. The artists from Kansas City to be exhibited in St. Louis were selected by White Flag Projects Director Matthew Strauss. The exhibition of Kansas City artists in St. Louis will open April 14 at White Flag Projects, and the exhibition of St. Louis artists in Kansas City will open the following Friday, April 20 at Urban Culture Project’s brand new 2500 square foot La Esquina exhibition space."
Meanwhile, at the Schlafly Bottleworks, a fundraiser for the Mullanphy Emigrant Home will happen from 5-7:30 p.m., with details available at: www.savemullanphy.org.
Listened to a conversation recently about the best pizza in town. I didn't chime in, though if I had I'd have offered this entry: Mangia Italiano. Specifically, the lunchtime's pizza, offered up for the buffet table by Bladimir Rodriguez, who makes the buffet's bread pudding, as well. Ooh, doctor. In a conversation about Mexican bread pudding, there's not even a conversation.
Thank you, Bladimir. My hero!
Lunch is only 15-hours away...
April 10, 2007
Three Cheers for Holtz
Since Dr. Ivy Cooper quit writing art reviews for The Riverfront Times, I really have no reason to pick up the paper—well, unless I want a discreet mid-afternoon massage.
This Friday, Dr. Cooper will make an appearance as the “personal cheerleader” for SIUE MFA candidate Christine A. Holtz. Holtz will perform Christine A. Holtz Productions as her thesis exhibition. The artist has had a mascot head created in her likeness (you’ve got to see this thing) and will be cheering her way into the hearts of art fans from 7-9:00 at Mad Art Gallery. Artwork will be given to the first 50 visitors to the gallery.
Holtz is an exciting emerging artist able to address relevant social topics through humorous and entertaining methods. She creates work that push her physical, emotional, and mental limits to illustrate truths of consumerism and its negative repercussions. Previous works include:
Not to be missed. See you there!
April 08, 2007
Party Town Report: River City Pub
Let's say it's a Saturday night and the usual haunts just don't hold that special appeal. For whatever reason, the places in the neighborhood aren't sounding right and the old favorites aren't calling your name. But you want a drink, maybe two. The only solution to this dilemma, if you're based in South City, is to head down Gravois, the tavern-ey-est street in this whole town.
After a relatively incident-free stop at Pepper's for a round, the sorta-south/sorta-west pull of Gravois came on strong, pulling my vehicle into the unfamiliar terrain of St. Louis County. In Affton, the River City Pub seemed to have a bit of action going on, with enough human traffic in the windows to suggest a stop. Good one!
For starters, it was karaoke night with DJ Ali, whose English was a delightful blend of New American meets Frat Boy. Loved it. Despite pushing his mid-40s, Ali was "rockin' the mic" with a panache and enthusiasm that could only fully be appreciated live, where you could appreciate his gym-sculpted body and leather, studded belt. His gusto was more than met by mid-set singer Steve-O, a ballcapped gent who's certainly known his 50th birthday, a fact that didn't stop him belting out "Superman" by Three Doors Down (maybe a predicatble cut), followed by a rousing version of "Gangster's Paradise" (um, undpredictable!), for which he also didn't need the lyric monitor. He was feeling it, whatever "it" might be, sharing it with the crowd. Dag.
Steve-O and Ali weren't the only characters in room, proven by a guy we'll call Frank, because that's how he introduced himself to us. Frank had previously engaged bartender Brian in a long conversation about both Billy Peek and David Surkamp, which was a real treat, though it didn't prepare us for the peppering set of questions to follow, highlighted by his "do you do heroin?" request that fell on disbelieving ears.
A self-appointed fan of beer, Frank noted that he'd spent the afternoon at the Tap Room, where he'd enjoyed beer from across the country. This seemed in line with Frank's emerging M.O. What sealed the deal, and cinched his role as Barfly of the Week, was a comment about Schlafly products. "They don't sell their beers in bars," he offered, dead seriously. "Well, not that many of them. You have to go there to drink them." Ooo-kay.
Sometimes, a short night is just right. And a short conversation is all you really need. In-out, wam-bam-see-you-in-another-six-months, River City Pub.
April 05, 2007
Simple vs. Simply Outstanding
I enjoyed that rare afternoon of complete and utter contentment yesterday, with a mix of live music, cool weather, record shopping and just the right amount of food consumption.
To recap: bookend performances by my favorite new band of the last five years, the Silversun Pickups, at Vintage Vinyl for a 5:30 acoustic set, then another 35-minute performance, full-on and electric at the Pageant at 8. With some time to kill between too-short-but-awesome sets, I headed to Meshuggah, to eat, get away from records I can't afford and, maybe, to get in some grading.
Perusing the menu, I noticed a sorta different option: a bagel topped with olive oil, pesto and gorgonzola cheese. It cost a buck, or two, extra than the usual toppings, but feeling rather buzzed by the Pickups, I threw down an extra bone on the special bagel. (Yeah, I roll like that.) The result was this: the single best food item I've ever had at a coffeehouse. And I'm, like, old and have been to many a coffeehouse over the past half-century.
Mind you, I already enjoy the kinda-European ambiance of Meshuggah, the weird ordering counter, the teas, etc. Even the self-possessed college kids on $2-K laptops. But that bagel: oh, perfection.
I'll stop now, as I'm having a moment, a flashback... how late is that place open tonight...?
April 04, 2007
Tommorow Night: Last Observable Reading!
I know that cribbing too much from press releases is bad form, but Chris King's press releases transcend the form. He sent a particularly ticklish one about tomorrow night's Observable Reading (the last this season kids! This is your last chance to go this season!) which I'll quote from liberally:
"In honor of the poet's appearance this Thursday, April 5 in the estimable Observable Readings series at The Schlafly Bottleworks, and the first week of a new baseball season, The Skuntry Museum, Library, Beer Cellar & Prop Shop has unveiled a baseball signed by the St. Louis poet David Clewell and also inked with his portrait of a space job in flight.
Clewell, a master narrative and comic poet, is a self-described "nut job" who makes extraterrestrial life and UFO's a major, minor theme of his work, among other inscrutable things, though he also writes beautifully about his wife, his son and other things that non-nut jobs write about.
"I suckered Clewell into signing the baseball and drawing it, like I have been suckering him into things for precisely twenty years," said Chris King, curator of the Skuntry Museum. "I was something of a child poetry impressario, and even as a lonely runt at Wash. U. in the '80s, I was talking Clewell out of his hermitage to read with Eugene B. Redmond at Cicero's as small groups from the Lincoln High Jazz Band (RIP) played hard bop. Then as now, Clewell was an adorable grouch and a confirmed hermit."
The curator said the poet signed the baseball for him over cheeseburgers at
Hugo's, a favorite burger haunt for Clewell near his long-standing gig at
"I remember the burger buns were stale," King said, "and I remember an
unforgettable phrase Clewell improvised when talking about how his teenaged
son plays both his parents against each other: 'He's an equal-opportunity
Clewell will read with a poet unknown to the museum, Joy Katz, this Thursday
at 8 p.m. The Schlafly Bottleworks are on Southwest Avenue in Maplewood. No
charge for admission.
"Thursdays are family nights for me, so I'll miss it like I miss everything
else," King said, "but at least I can write a sarcastic praise release in
honor of this important event."
April 01, 2007
Tots with That?: A South Grand Arby's?
For the past half-decade, the one-time Roosevelt Bank building at Grand and Juniata has served as a temporary home for the expanding Commerce Bank, located just next door, and the expanding Carpenter Branch Library, found down the block. It's also done a lot of sitting around, empty, rumored to be the home of everything from a bar-and-theater to a Krieger's, of all things.
Recently, the notion that the old bank would be paved over for the long-awaited, much-discussed, and (in some minds) all-important South Grand parking lot was catching steam, so much so that local listservs were abuzz over the possibility in recent weeks. But the idea of an Arby's wasn't really on any local radar; at least, this blogger hadn't heard of it until today, with the impression gauged that a drive-through Arby's would serve the So. Grand area sooner than a simple parking lot. (Let's fire up that old Joni Mitchell album, shall we?)
Understanding that the one-way Juniata would feed into the Arby's drive-through, one has to wonder if the inclusion of a fast-food facility at this site is the "best and highest" use of the land. But after seeing the well-heeled neighborhood further down So. Grand defeat a proposed McDonald's on the "the old Sears site," it's doubtful that the roast beef sales point will be granted an easy pass in establishing its cash registers along the busy commercial corridor.
Surely, the script's already written for the inevitable, NIMBY protestors: Trash will be an issue for nearby streets. The one-way Juniata will see an increase in traffic, esp. with the Arby's vehicles filtering into the nearby state streets. (My Connecticut, I must admit, included.) The simple notion of another corporate tenant on the block will sit ill with some. "Heck, there's a Lion's Choice, at Chippewa and Grand; isn't that enough?" a few will argue. And the overall block's redevelopment may not point towards an Arby's as the best fit, with nearby condos being proposed on the same, city-square-block footprint. Some conspiricists will surely contend that City Hall's Room 200 is in on the notion, as if someone on the Mayor's staff is hankering for a double Philly Beef Flatbread Melt.
Tonight, I'm not thinking Arby's.
I'm thinking that this scheme is half-baked.