February 28, 2008
Brett won't be there this week, but...
Hey everyone—hope you can come out—we'll have the current issue of 52nd City and ALL BACK ISSUES for sale. An added bonus: the poets will be great. They are young and have a young sensibility (read: pop, street-smart). -A
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Observable Readings presents
Andrew Zawacki, Kristy Odelius, and Simone Muench
Thursday, March 6, 2008 – 8PM
Schlafly Bottleworks, Maplewood MO
Andrew Zawacki is the author of two books of poetry—Anabranch and By Reason of Breakings (winner of the Contemporary Poetry Series)—as well as editor of the anthology Afterwards: Slovenian Writing 1945-1995. His long poem 'Georgia' won the 1913 Prize and is due from Katalanché Press. He is coeditor of Verse and of The Verse Book of Interviews.
Kristy Odelius lives in Chicago, where she teaches creative writing and literature at North Park University. She is a co-editor and co-founder of Near South, a Chicago-based journal of innovative writing. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming in a variety of journals, including Chicago Review, Another Chicago Magazine, and Diagram and her first book, Strange Trades, will be published in 2008 by Shearsman Books (UK).
Simone Muench's second book Lampblack & Ash received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize (Sarabande, 2005). Her latest chapbooks are Orange Girl (dancing girl press) and Sonoluminescence (with Bill Allegrezza, Dusie Press). She has poems appearing in Iowa Review, Denver Quarterly, LUNA and others. She directs the Writing Program at Lewis University, serves on the board for Switchback Books, and is an editor for Sharkforum.
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For more information, directions, etc., visit http://observable.org
Arts Update #3: Lumberyard
Firecracker Press founder Eric Woods and his Louisville-based sister, Jen Woods, have created a new, twice-annual lit mag, Lumberyard. Bunch of STL names in the first edition and we look forward to the second. In the meantime, here's a clip from the Louisville press, giving a sense of the project.
Arts Note 2: Phots at Gondo
Photographer Brett Beckemeyer sends along word of a photo show at everyone's favorite Cherokee gallery - uh, oh! I've said too much! - Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts. It's a sorta/kinda resurfacing of Beckemeyer's photo gang, who recently/collectively showed at the neighboring Beverly space. And part of my personal blogging goal for 2008, is to note any show/event/etc. that would be of interest to Ecology of Absence. I think this show would qualify:
Obscurcir Carte Postale Press Release
Obscure Postcards presents local photographers Brett Beckemeyer and Alan Palmer with photographs from around the world. Themes focusing on urban formation, urban decay, and the built environment unite a variety of photographic vantage points ranging from the photojournalistic to the abstract. Bangkok, Chicago, Montreal, Tokyo, and Quebec are among the cities represented in the respective works.
Opening reception will be held Friday, March 14th from 7-10 p.m. at the Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts @ 3151 Cherokee Street.
Arts Note 1: McElwee
Van McElwee's back at SLAM with some work, detailed in a note from the famed video artist himself:
Van McElwee and friends
Friday, Feb. 29, 2008 – 7:30 p.m.
St. Louis Art Museum
One Fine Arts Dr.
Tickets: $5, free for NMC members
"The term synaesthesia…refers to patterns that underlie all time-based ideas… the artists and composers in this program approach their work in ways…that go beyond image and sound. They think in terms of form in time; they create gestalts" (Van McElwee).
Multimedia artist Van McElwee's career in experimental video projects span more than 30 years and three continents. Currently professor of Electronic and Photographic Media at Webster University, McElwee's body of work encompasses more than forty video installations and single channel works. McElwee has received The American Film Institute Independent Filmmaker Award; Seven Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts Independent Production Fund; a travel grant from the Government of India and two production grants from Media Arts in Missouri.
Commissioned through New Music Circle's CAMA initiative (which seeks to provide more exposure to local artists), Synaesthesia is a four-part concert of original compositions created by some of St. Louis' most innovative musicians and set to experimental video works by artists Van McElwee, Peter Rose, and Roy Zurick. The Semi-Acoustic Noise Ensemble (S.A.N.E.) will create exotic musical expression during the relentless kinetic energy of The Geosophist’s Tears (Rose) and Zurick’s Stop. Local digital synthesis expert and frequent New Music Circle performer James Hegarty will provide musical accompaniment to
McElwee's hypnotic video work, Vat. New York composer and former St. Louisan Tom Hamilton will showcase a score for McElwee's new film, Aperspectival House. The evening will also feature McElwee's new work, Diagonal Drift, a melting American landscape complete with a toy jazz sound track. The show will climax with the world premier of Wavicle, a video work of pure color created by McElwee specifically for Rich O’Donnell’s percussion genius. For more information, please visit www.newmusiccircle.org.
February 27, 2008
Your move, creep.
Robocop is being screened at Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood on Wednesday, March 5, at 8 p.m. as a part of the Webster Film Series: Strange Brews. "Really!?" I say more excited than I should be. I regret being only two years of age when the movie came out in theaters. Watching it on television doesn't do the film any justice, in my humble opinion. Oh, also important... $4 to get in and parking is lovingly provided.
Youtube humors me with the original trailer, complete with a few of my favorite lines:
RIP (sorta): West Pine Gym
Somehow, it snuck up on me that the historic Baumen-Eberhardt Center was going to stop hosting basketball games, despite the fact that the Chaifetz Arena has been a growing concern in Midtown for well over a year. Tonight, the SLU women's basketball team will pull the curtain on the venue as a public play facility, with the SLU athletic department leaving the cramped confines of the West Pine Gym in coming weeks and months.
STLtoday's got a nice little video feature on the old structure here. And we are fully hoping for game report tonight from Ecology of Absence.
Update: made a quick inquiry to SLU and the upshot is that the building will remain standing. The gym will be used for rec purposes and as a spill facility for the nearby Simon Rec Center. The offices that fan along both hallways will be used for non-athletic office use. And, as an incidental bit of trivia, the venue was occasionally used as spill space in the old days, as the NBA St. Louis Hawks played some matches there when the Kiel Center, Arena and Washington University's Fieldhouse were not available. So, there!
February 25, 2008
I suppose it was a matter of time for a local rock band to attach themselves somehow, someway to this name:
Devilins Kids (sic)
Would link to a Myspace page for Devilins Kids (sic), but they don't appear to have one.
The band's playing at Lemmons on Friday, March 7 with Celebrity Autopsy and The Hot Atomics. Should we take bets on either: a) protesters outside the classic South City bar'n'pub; or b) Channel 4's Mike O'Connell reporting from outside the club.
Devilins Kids (sic). Man.
At the Bluebird
Cold weather is cold, internet suffers. No blogs, no excuse. I apologize for lack of inactivity. (AT&T of STL, thanks for taking a week to fix my internet.)
The music scene in St. Louis is great if you like jazz, I've discovered. Not so great if you like local bands, it seems. Blueberry Hill seems to bring in a variety of musical acts, but I don't like the color blue and hills make it are hard to get my bicycle up...
There used to be a lot of hole-in-the-ground places to see local bands (consisting of those dern punks!!!) that practice in garages and annoy the neighbors. There’s a few here and there. (Don't get me wrong, ya'know, I guess I'm just too picky about my venues.) My taste in music is varied; my iTunes library will suffice as enough evidence. I have a lot (too much) of punk, indie and metal music, the type of music I will always love. The type of music that was the staple of those now-extinct music venues.
Recently, I was notified of the existence of an indie/pop/r&b band which has a Webster graduate in it. That graduate is in charge of booking for a fairly new music venue called The Bluebird. (I still don't like the color blue, but birds are a-okay.) The bands that play are sometimes famous, sometimes local. I can't wait to see a show there. I want to see Gentleman Auction House, the band consisting of a few former Webster students and an alumni, but I have a birthday party to attend that day. I’ll catch a live show later.
I've listened to all that I can on the Internet, and I can say that I will be supporting them in any way I can. My first contribution is to provide a sample mp3:
My next contribution is to probably buy their CD, wherever I can find it, whenever I can find it.
And here's the tl;dr version. (Translation: Too long; Didn't read.)
Check out Gentleman Auction House if you want to support a band of local kids (young adults?).
February 24, 2008
On Feb 17 the Contemporary Art Museum was the site for an event where questions (Provincial Gallery Stimulator) were put forward by White Flag Projects founder Matthew Strauss to a panel of respected professionals in the local artistic community. These questions are also extended to the local art community at large to think about, discuss and answer. I've attempted to give my answers, what are yours?
The Repair of the Provincial Art Environment
THE REALITIES OF THE SMALLER CITY:
CAN a smaller city ever be a viable center for progressive visual art? yes
MUST all smaller cities necessarily be provincial? no
IS provinciality defined by geography or philosophy? philosophy
ARE all art galleries in smaller cities necessarily provincial? no
WHAT are the systemic problems that hinder every small city art environment? time and money
THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF COMMERCIAL ART GALLERIES:
IS an art gallery merely a business like any other? yes
WHAT are the functions of a commercial art gallery? to sell art
DO commercial art galleries have any cultural responsibilities? no
HOW do economic factors dictate gallery policy and practice? a gallery/dealer must have a vested (monetary) interest in the art they have available for sale.
SHOULD commercial galleries, which determine a significant percentage of the art exhibited in their city, be held accountable for the quality and relevance of those exhibitions? yes
THE PLIGHT OF LOCAL ARTISTS:
WHY are local artists eager to be represented by galleries that do the absolute minimum to earn their commissions? not sure
WHAT functions does a more effective commercial gallery perform that the provincial gallery does not? steady income for an artist.
DOES the provincial gallery advertise, publish catalogues, travel to important art fairs, cooperate with other galleries, or do anything else to expand awareness of their artists beyond the province itself? they should
IS being represented by a provincial gallery more harmful than helpful to the career of a local artist? in some cases
HOW are local artists of otherwise good judgment cowed by their limited alternatives? necessity is the mother of invention
THE ROLE OF LOCAL COLLECTORS:
WHAT are the qualities of a selective buyer of contemporary art? independent thinker, good taste, money
WHAT is the difference between purchasing art from a provincial gallery or a cosmopolitan gallery? price
SHOULD the payment of significant commissions to galleries assure buyers that all due measures are being taken to adequately promote and protect the art and artists in which they have invested? yes
THE EFFECT OF INSTITUTIONS:
HOW do indiscriminant donors and misguided not-for-profits squander their city’s limited resources? no plan
CAN the education efforts of local museums produce a genuinely astute and sophisticated audience for contemporary art? no
HOW do the hiring and retention practices of universities affect the quality of the local art environment? depends on the individual and whether or not they want to get involved with the local community.
THE DETERMINATION OF REAL-WORLD LEGITIMACY:
WHO determines art world legitimacy? no answer
WHAT factors determine a gallery’s legitimacy within the larger art world? no answer
DO provincial galleries strive for actual legitimacy or merely the appearance of legitimacy? no answer
DOES the provincial gallerist demonstrate any particular taste, discernment, foresight, intelligence or energy that would lead a credible authority to place any value in their endorsement? no answer
THE CASE FOR URGENT CHANGE:
ARE there any objective standards of relevance in contemporary art? objectivity is very difficult to express in art, so for the most part, no.
WHO are the individuals & institutions responsible for the provincial philosophy’s persistence? everyone in the community is responsible.
IS anyone in a position to improve the provincial art environment? yes,there are many people in a position to improve the art environment.
WHAT can an individual do to earn a better art environment for their city? make great art
CAN the provincial gallerist be persuaded to amend his or her practices? yes
CAN the mercenary endeavors of a few individuals overshadow the intellectual, aesthetic, and artistic well-being of an entire community? absolutely
MUST we risk that higher standards resulting in less art and fewer galleries in the short term will beckon better art and more galleries in the long term? yes
Matthew Strauss of White Flag Projects
illustration by Dana Smith
February 23, 2008
Treeweasels, You Say?
A note for local music fans of a certain vintage only: the Treeweasels may be back in June, for a reunion show. Even if no one else digs this news the same way, I am excited to NO END. Details to follow, as they become public.
In the meantime, here's a video, from that YouTube site I keep hearing about.
February 22, 2008
Christian Saller Talks Tax Credits in The Business Journal Today
Tower Grove East resident Christian Saller may be known to folks in any or all of the following capacities - neighbor, Board member of DeSales Community Housing Corporation, President-elect of the Tower Grove East Board of Directors, recent candidate for Alderman of the 6th Ward. Additionally, he serves as Communications Director for the Missouri Coalition for Historic Preservation and Economic Development. In the latter capacity he has written an opinion that appears in today's St. Louis Business Journal with regard to pending legislation the Coalition believes poses a serious threat to Historic Tax Credits, as well as Missouri's general economic health.
Christian is extremely knowledgeable about architecture, real estate, housing issues, and economic development, and he is an excellent advocate for the Coalition. Please check out his thoughts below.
To The Editor:
Legislative Threat to State Tax Credit Programs Spells Disaster for Our Region and State
Missouri State Representative Bryan Stevenson’s (R-128th) House Bill 1551 seeks to eliminate the state corporate income tax by January 1, 2013. Phasing out the corporate income tax will not increase Missouri’s position in the economic development arena compared to the competition. On the other hand, for ten years, Missouri has been a national model for its progressive tax credit programs, especially that for historic preservation, and elimination of the corporate income tax now or in the near future will gut this legislation. According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, a large percentage of tax credits are redeemed by corporations. Renovation of historic structures all over the St. Louis region during the past decade, from virtually every single loft conversion project downtown to individual historic homes to entire neighborhoods all over the city, would not have occurred without the Historic Tax Credit. When federal tax credit laws changed in 1986, numerous renovations became unfeasible and buildings that would have been saved and used productively remained vacant and boarded and in some cases were lost forever to the wrecking ball. House Bill 1551 will have a similar effect not only on St. Louis and Kansas City but on smaller communities throughout the state that utilize the Historic Tax Credit in concert with the Main Street Program to revitalize their commercial districts and create jobs. Loss of the Historic Tax Credit has economic implications that go far beyond the “cause”, however worthy, of saving historic architecture.
The distortion of Historic Tax Credits as a bottom-line “giveaway” is demonstrably false. According to studies by Rutgers University, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Missouri Preservation, and accountants Rubin, Brown, Gornstein & Co., the Historic Tax Credit is a revenue-generating tool that returns to the state far more in direct benefits than is spent in credits. For every $1 granted in State Historic Tax Credits, $1.25 is returned directly to state coffers through taxes with an additional $1.78 in state personal income taxes, sales taxes, and corporate income taxes, for a total of $3.03. Only qualifying structures are eligible and they must be renovated to exacting standards and put into service before any credits are issued. Those who pursue the credits must also invest four times the amount of the resulting credits in order to receive them when the renovation is complete. Contrary to contentions of its uninformed detractors, there is already ample oversight, regulation and restriction in the administration of the Historic Tax Credit. In addition, the Rebuilding Communities Tax Credit program has caused over 90 small fast-growth businesses such as biomedical, internet and technical companies to start up in or expand in the City of St. Louis.
The purported goal of House Bill 1551 is to make Missouri more competitive. In its eradication of vital tax credit programs, it will have the opposite effect. If additional states eliminate their corporate income tax, Missouri will end up with no advantage and a huge disadvantage. Key planned economic development projects and historic renovations in our region and throughout the state will not happen. New businesses anticipating use of the Rebuilding Communities Credit will not be able to start or expand. Under the current law, businesses investing in these economic development projects manage their tax liability by using the market for credits and creating a win-win situation: taxes are reduced and development occurs.
Other states seek to emulate our tax credit legislation because its economic benefits have been repeatedly studied and proven. Its stunning impact can be plainly seen on streets and neighborhoods from Carthage to Hannibal and from downtown St. Louis to Kansas City. These other states see what we have and wish they had it themselves. Our own legislators must see that rashly discarding these vital programs would be a giant economic leap backwards for Missouri. Our tax credit programs bring investment and revenue to our economy and positively distinguish us from other states. Sacrificing them by eliminating the corporate income tax would be a short-sighted and tragic trade.
Christian S. Saller
Missouri Coalition for Historic Preservation & Economic Development
Well, the clerks are.
February 21, 2008
No matter how "new" certain forms of new media may be, we still quickly get used to the look-and-feel of our favorite sites and blogs. If you've not been to it in a while, like, say, this morning, take a peek at the newly spiffed-up Ecology of Absence.
February 20, 2008
Former 52nd City contributor T.R. Raber is a man who consistently confounds. Just this morning, another one-time coworker of the pair of us sent along a video from Harrah's, part of the "Lucky Break" show that airs on Saturday nights on Channel 4. And, lo!, there's T.R. Raber with a somewhat unlikely song choice.
February 18, 2008
For the odd basketball fan that checks into this site - hey! it can happen! - here's a piece from the L.A. Times on Saint Louis University's endlessly odd and interesting head basketball coach.
Fair Shares: Print and Radio
In a bit of interesting timing, the Post-Dispatch reports today on the efforts of Fair Shares, a movement to bring more affordable, locally-grown food onto our tables. And tonight, the Topic A radio program will feature the very same topic, from 7:30 - 8:00 on KDHX, 88.1 fm.
February 17, 2008
Seats to Fill: 763
Last year, something amazing happened for Webster University's Campus Activities: an event attracted such a huge crowd that a few hundred people had to be turned away. Perhaps it can be said that members of the student body at WU are a little apathetic when it comes to events... (but!) there is evidence that particular trend is changing. When Chris Gardner, author of The Pursuit of Happiness, spoke at Webster, he drew students, staff, faculty and outside attention. Hundreds of people, not enough seats. You can read about it at The Journal.
And now, trying to follow their Gardner success, Campus Activities is proud to bring British comedian John Oliver to the Loretto-Hilton Center on Monday, Feb. 18. The event is open to anyone, admission is $10.
Oliver is a correspondent on The Daily Show and is doing a slew of stand-up gigs across the country. WU's campus activities members are hoping to fill the main stage at the Loretto-Hilton Center, which has 763 seats. This guy, he's a funny guy. You should go see this guy.
Here is a nicely informative website with everything you'll need to know.
Dana Smith: So, this thing at Contemporary, when does it start?
Snowflake/City Stock: The first day is Tuesday, February 19 is the first day and it runs each day from 10am – 5pm thru Friday. Thursday the 21st we’re having an opening and that’s our fitness competition. We got a cardio, you know, a cardio-buster in the garage, this thing you row on. And we’re going to see how many rows you can do in 3 min.
DS: What time is the opening?
SCS: It starts at 6pm, the doors open at 5pm and the competition is at 6pm. Then after that it flows into an event Matthew Strauss is hosting the open laptop event, that starts at 6:30pm.
DS: What is this fitness idea?
SCS: It kind of comes out a couple of things, like, here’s the evolution of the whole idea. We’re hanging out one day and we see all these bicyclist coming by, so we go out there and start handing out water and they were taking them. And I was like, it’s cool that they are into athletics and we’re a gallery, we have
no relationship but we were just interacting. So I was like maybe it would be fun to host a 10k run down here. It would be cool to cross pollinate these different crowds and have the event as a performance piece. I’d like to see 50 artists barreling down Cherokee street. So then we starting thinking about, “ok let’s host this event”, and not only do you cross pollinate different crowds but as a gallery we’re interested in good work and in order to have good work you gotta have healthy artist, so we need to get a fitness program going for any artist that shows here. So then we decided “let’s start a gym”, so Snowflake Cares was born out of that idea.
DS: On the night of the opening, you’d like artists to come down and exercises?
SCS: Oh yeah, well you can come in all week and exercises. You just pop in, you get an appointment and if you do a 20 min workout you’ll get a set of wristbands that have a custom Snowflake/City Stock design on them. We have a treadmill, cardio fitness machine, stationary bike, yoga videos and free weights. You can come in and use whatever you want for 20 min. Thursday night you can either come and workout or take part in the competition. The 3 min row, how many rows can you do in 3 min or how many times around can you jump rope in 2 min and then after that we have a couple prizes for the top winner in each category. We encourage people to come down in your fitness gear, don’t come dressed up for an opening, come on down in your sweats and sneakers and get ready to get fit and leave with some limit edition Snowflake City Stock wristbands.
Bevin and David Early
illustration by Dana Smith
February 15, 2008
Frederick's Music Lounge Anniversary Show
Not too long ago there was a place called Frederick’s Music Lounge down on Chippewa in South St. Louis. On a Tuesday night you’d have to be buzzed in by the owner/bar tender Fred Friction who controlled a lock on the door from behind the bar. He’d say through the intercom “who is it?” and you’d tell him your name. Then he’d say “why should I let you in?” and you’d have to come up with something really quick. My usual answers were “I’m not allowed to keep alcohol at home” or “I NEED some STAG!” After pondering your answer he’d unlock the door and allow you to walk down the steps, pass by the indoor planted tree and belly up to the bar for a “liquid shot to the brain”. I certainly miss those days, fortunately Off Broadway hasn’t forgotten about Fredericks.
Frederick's Music Lounge Anniversary Show
Saturday, February 16th
at Off Broadway in St. Louis
Saturday, February 16th
Show time: 9:00 PM
Doors open: 8:30 PM
At the door: $10.00
Buy in Advance!
3509 Lemp Ave
Historic Cherokee Lemp District
St. Louis MO, 63118.
Fred Friction watching the Dirty 30’s at Frederick’s Music Lounge
Illustration by Dana Smith
Head to YouTube for Head East
Face it, you need some Head East in your life:
February 14, 2008
We're going to welcome a few new writers to the ranks of the blog in the next couple weeks.
Artist, photographer and man-about-town Dana Smith will be debuting early next week and focusing on local arts. His first piece is written and will be uploaded in a few days' time. We're amped about welcoming Dana, a total mensch and one of STL's real artistic gems.
We're also pleased to welcome our first intern, Rachel Lebo, who's currently a staff member of the award-winning Webster University Journal. She'll be writing on a variety of cultural topics and will single-handedly drop our average blogger age by, oh, a bunch of years. We look forward to reading about what's on the minds of the kids!
A couple other folks may be in the ranks shortly. Check back, yeah?
Last Word on Tanner B's
Got word of a last-time-around event at Tanner B's this weekend. One of my favorite spots, but I'll be outta town, so if you go, please jot a line on what's up. Not sure how successful that Dan Brown will be in keeping people from asking questions, though:
Due to overwhelming requests, Tanner B's will open this Friday and Saturday at 5:30pm for "Last Call". Food will not be served, but beer and booze will be.
No sniveling, crying, bitterness or questions will be permitted, just good times.
February 13, 2008
We're all walking around with our own sets of accumulated knowledge, yes? That's why trivia nights are such fun, when the right combination sits together. Someone might know Rod Carew's career batting average. Another might be able to recite the entire Star-Spangled Banner. A third may have uncanny abilities to memorize the national capitols of South America. Bravo to all three!
My own gaps in knowledge are great. Occasionally, they're filled, through any variety of means. For instance, today, Office K. Hudson of the St. Louis City Metropolitan Police Department taught me that parking within 10-feet of a US mailbox will draw a city fine of $25. I did not know that.
The spot was just outside of Hartford Coffee Company. Over the past four or five years, I've seen dozens, if not hundreds, of cars parked there, never noticing a ticket hitting a windshield. My creeping sense is that I'm not the only person that doesn't know about the 10-foot rule and that enforcement's a selective, day-to-day endeavor. The lack of signage or striping reinforces that theory.
Honestly, I'm okay with most indignities that befall me as a City resident. Every so often, someone will mess with myself or my property. I'll hear car horns blaring and I'll see trash deposited in the street. I'll scratch my head over civic decisions, brought on by either knucklehead voters or elected officials. I'm willing to deal with all that. I love the City, warts and all.
But these tickets! Ayie! I'd just as soon pay the City, say, $40 a month for a ticket tax, which would eliminate the ticket-to-ticket stress that's brought to my life, thanks to forgetting the street-sweeping day or parking too far away from the curb or getting dangerously close to a mailbox.
Today's transgression, that one. Today's ticket. Today's $25.
City folks, esp. those of you working in the 15th Ward, please allow me this request: I have a lot on my mind and I forget things. Some things I simply don't know. Painting a thick f'ing yellow line along the f'ing curb next to the f'ing mailbox at Roger and Hartford would go a LONG, LONG way in making sure that I remember to be at least 11-feet from said mailbox.
Unless, of course, the idea all along was to bleed one more sucker another $25, while they're spending time and money inside a nearby, independent City business.
Thanks. I feel better, already.
February 12, 2008
Observable @ Royale
It was only a week ago, no, less! The last Observable Reading at the Bottleworks had all the usual sights-and-sounds. Aaron Belz's witty intros. Brett Underwood's equally amusing crack from behind the bar. A trio of poets and a full house of attendees. And poetry. Lots of poetry.
This week's Observable joint is a different affair. Different bar (Royale), different format (dramatic readings of bad song lyrics), though same night (Thursday).
Hey everyone -
Last year this thing was completely hilarious -
http://stl.typepad. com/gatewaygroup ies/2008/ 01/valentines- mass.html
Ask Kim Humphries.
This year it will be emceed by Byron Kerman and Julie Dill.
I hope you'll come out.
Hat Design Contest for a Cause
Friends of the late Marti Frumhoff are organizing another fundraiser for Marti's memorial garden (which will be located on Utah and Morgan Ford Road in Tower Grove South). The fundraiser will take place at The Royale on Sunday, March 30 at 3 PM.
It's a hat design contest with three categories:
Most Outrageous Hat
Movie theme Hat
First prize is 100.00
Second prize is 75.00
Third place is 50.00
Donation entry fee is 30.00. Please email Christian Herman if you would like to enter.
The judges are from area theater costume shops. One is Betsy Krausnick
from the St. Louis Rep and two more will be announced on the Contest
Here are the plans for the site that the city is working on. Money raised from this event will fund planting and maintenance of the site.
Marti received a posthumous Kick Ass Award in 2007 from 52nd City.
February 10, 2008
Q/A, re: Bill Chott Presents Comedy on Parade
Tomorrow, Monday, Mad Art, 8 p.m.
Those are the details, here's the backstory.
I'm assuming the writer's strike has affected you. How much and how much of that has brought this show into being?
Firstly, I was very happy to see the silver lining to the cloud of the Writer's Strike. I have a lot of projects that I'm looking to getting back to once the strike is over. For example, Bob Odenkirk and Eric Hoffman from Mr. Show are developing a funny throwback to the Red Skelton show and I have a pretty big part in that. We put on a live version of the show over Christmas, which was the only time I had been in LA since the strike.
Also on hold is a project I'm hoping to develop with NationalBanana.com a new website from Jerry Zucker who produced Naked Gun and Airplane!
In the meantime, my comedy school The Improv Trick has really grown. Because I've been in St. Louis full time for the strike, I've been here for some great comedy events. Improv for the Christmas Jam, and Burlesque shows at Atomic Cowboy! My improv students are getting a lot of work doing shows and corporate events, and I've been teaching communication skills to area businesses and groups of speakers.
This project is a direct result of all the great comedy I see when I'm in town. I wanted to bring that comedy to one place where people who are going to "get it" can enjoy it together. Hopefully soon there will be a way to let people know about the great independent acts in town. 'Til then you can come out to Mad Art for the first ever series of Comedy on Parade.
How do you balance out the talent from week-to-week, in terms of having a variety pack of performers?
This show is going to be a different show each week. One week we'll have stand up and improv. Other nights we'll have sketch and solo performers, comedy poets, physical comedians. The talent is all there. Thanks to alternative publications like yours, and Sauce and KDHX, people are getting to know about the great scene that's there. I'm just hoping I can see all the great acts in town so I can put them up on my stage and know that they're the very Best of St. Louis. So, to balance it I just put the best together in the best order I know how. That's just something you learn putting up shows in Chicago, NY, and LA.
Who are some of your favorite stand-up performers in St. Louis?
I've known Josh Arnold for a while and he just steps up there with this cool that puts an audience at ease and ready to laugh. I'm so glad he could be a part of the first night. You know that's a loaded question to ask anyone hosting a night of comedy right? Now if I forget one name, I'm screwed! We comics have a very brittle ego. Have you seen Searching for Comedy in the Muslim World?
To what degree with your Improv Trick students be involved in the shows?
To a really big degree. They'll be the only constant in the show. Everything else will be changing... every show will feature IT. I'm really proud that students who have been studying with me for under two years will have a wide showcase for their talent. Some of my students were responsible for an award winning film, "A (Anonymous)" and we'll be selling those DVD's there all three nights.
Each week will feature the talents of Improv Trick improvisers like George Malich, John Stumpf, Michael Fitzgerald, Steven Vance, Adrienne Lamping and more guests. Feb. 25th will feature an opening act made up of some of my students, some guests and then even more longform improv from The Improv Trick.
Can you tell us about the notion of "alternative" comedy, in a world in which that phrase is often bastardized?
If comedy were permitted to be punk, that's what "alternative"comedy would be. It's surprising; it's not jokes about airline food and New York versus LA. If you're often watching comedy and you think to yourself.... "wait, didn't I hear this before?" Then you're awake enough to really appreciate this show.
This show isn't just for people who "like to laugh," it's for real comedy nerds.
New Poster Collection at Euclid
Taking a student group over to Euclid Records the other day, I found out about the new rock poster business that Joe Schwab is developing, featuring works by St. Louis artists, STL expats and talented folks from beyond our fair region. These are some snappy pieces, yo!
February 08, 2008
Tom Vize Alert
I remember Tom Vize as the bass player of the Nukes, the Barking Aardvarks, Jonny Quest and other groups of STL's rock past. I did not realize that the man had become the tour manager of Kathy Griffin.
In honor of her upcoming performance at the Fox, we offer this YouTube clip, compliments of a regular reader:
February 06, 2008
Aviation Club: Monday
I was fired up about an Aviation Club reunion a few weeks back at Off Broadway, and must say that's it's good news that the group's returning for another show, this coming Monday at the Bluebird. Danny Hommes sends along the word, and I'll note there's a reference to yours truly here, as I sorta/kinda suggested the opening groups for A.K.A.C.O.D., the Club and Bill Boll.
If you like clean, honest pop/rock, this is a show for you - and pack a few extra bones, since Jet Lag's will probably be for sale. That's just a guess.
Hello to all,
Well the last gig (which was supposed to be "the last gig") was loads of fun. We actually pulled it off to the degree that we can pull it off. Our apparent friend, music scribe Thomas Crone referred us to what some say is the new hot spot for live music in town "The Bluebird" and so it goes, we're booked for another show. Its funny how that works out. The rest of the band is really busy preparing for a huge Lettuceheads show in March and we promised to not let Aviation Club interfere with that effort, but alas, it looks like we've got to go have another evening of great fun playing music almost everyone has forgotten or never knew in the first place.
I've been New Year purging the crap laying around my house and came across this collection of actual press quotes about Aviation Club. (full disclosure; I wasn't in the band when these were written, just coattail ridin' as it were)
"They're from the Midwest? Too bad they're stuck here where probably no one will notice them" referring to an opening slot for Violent Femmes
"Aviation Club may be top original band in town" circa 1983
"It's no secret they're great"
"Aviation Club bears watching like no other band in St. Louis"
But enough about "them", if you missed the last show, you should make it to this one, it might just be our second to last.....
Monday, February 11
9:00 p.m. (two other bands on the bill, we're probably first)
Rob Levy, KDHX and Royale DJ and writer-about-town, sent along a link to a recent column, found a site that I didn't know existed. I'm happy, then, to know about both the column and the site. Yes.
Tanner B's: I Am Bummed
Got this note from the Tower Grove e-mail list, confirming some scuttlebutt from STL Ala Mode:
Tanner B's has closed for the winter, when it will re-open is currently
not available. For those of you, thank you for your support. You can gather information from the website at www.tannerbs.com. Any inquiries can be made to email@example.com.
February 04, 2008
LucaBrasi on Saturday
Any day now - any day! - we'll going to roll some delightful new flyers for 52nd City and the designer of those is going to be rocking this weekend. So we give Matt McInerney a nod of thanks for his design skills, while plugging the rock:
Date: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9th
Venue: CICERO’S in the U City Loop
Time: Doors @ 8:30/Show @ 9
Cover: $7 over/$10 under
LucaBrasi’s self-titled debut is available at Vintage Vinyl, CD Warehouse, Euclid Records, Slackers, www.cdbaby.com and at all live shows!!
Gay on Chop Suey
Earlier today, we were sent a long list of events taking place at Saint Louis University in relation to Black History Month. Maybe the quirkiest - and most interesting of the lot - is one featuring Malcolm Gay, a freelancer writer and former staffer at the Riverfront Times:
Diversity Noon Series: "St. Louie Chop Suey"
(Mr. Malcolm Gay, a former writer at the Riverfront Times, will present a video presentation and speak about Chinese immigration to St. Louis and the unique relationship in St. Louis with the African-American community. He will discuss how the relationship began and has evolved.)
Wednesday, Feb. 13
Cross Cultural Center
February 03, 2008
The Comedy Stylings of Patrick Clark
In the mood for bit of political humor? Our man in LA, Patrick Clark's in just that mood and he passes along a couple bits of poly-tomfoolery:
Look for the Arch, yeah?
February 01, 2008
New Belz Book
As an avid reader of blogs great and small, I caught this little notice on Aaron Belz's just yesterday:
my second book! yay!
Saturday, January 12, 2008
News just came through the wire that my second book, Direction, will be published by Persea Books! Hooray! Big sigh of relief!