April 30, 2008
Yellow Pills: Online Love
Our friend Jordan Oakes, a contributor to the current SEXY issue of the magazine, is given a nod online, in the form of a blog review of his old Yellow Pills fanzine. If not mistaken, the issue photo-highlighted on the Power Pop Criminals, Issue #8, has a piece by moi, on Dramarama.
Anyway, enjoy powerpopcriminals.
Thanks to a reader for the pass-along.
Schwag on Schwiatus?
Rambling around last night, I popped into Off Broadway. After seeing the Schwag 13 times for an article on the Deadhead group for St. Louis Magazine, I'd opted out of the act's Tuesday night tradition for a couple months. Last night was apparently the band's last set there for a while, too, ending a nearly two-decade run of Tuesday night shows around town, at Off Broadway and a handful of clubs prior to it. The group's website has no Off B shows listed after last nights. They do have multiple shows at Camp Zoe scheduled, so it appears the group's shifting further away from a St. Louis residency, opting for their self-produced festivals in '08.
In completely unrelated news, the creator of LSD has died. At 102.
April 29, 2008
Have Some Class: Hear Some Poetry
Aaron Belz (and family, of course) depart our great city in coming months, leaving the long-running Observable Readings in a period of transition. This week, though, you get quality poetry and inimitable introductions of the founder. You really should go. Details below.
Hey Observaballers -
Thursday is my last night acting as host for this fine series. I hope you'll
come out and say hello.
Ken Rumble is the author of Key Bridge (Carolina Wren Press, 2007) and a contributing editor for the magazine Fascicle. His poems have appeared in Talisman, Parakeet, Typo, Cutbank, Octopus, Cranky, One Less Magazine, and
others. He lives in Greensboro, NC, and works for the Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art.
Matt Freeman's most recent book, The Dogtown Poet, was published by Ginninderra Press. Matt studied writing at NYU and has performed his poems and songs all over the United States. His work has been published in journals both small and big. He lives in St. Louis, where he is a full-time poet.
More info at http://observable. org/
April 28, 2008
Free Candy: now with details
Via co-founder Amanda Doyle:
Remember last week, when I said to clear your calendar? Well, if you've been waiting to exhale, here are all the pertinent details to make you wish away the days until Sunday arrives...
Sunday, May 4
Free Candy Baby Shower and Last Show Before Maternity Leave!
Hartford Coffee Company, 3974 Hartford (@ Roger) in Tower Grove South
First, the baby shower part: well, I'm pregnant to bustin', so you're going to have to endure a little pregnancy talk. I'll try to avoid the gorier parts of the childbirth class, but I can't make any promises on behalf of my guest co-host, Maddie Earnest.
No gifts for me, please, BUT: we'd love you to bring a little something to donate to Nurses for Newborns, a fabulous nonprofit here in town (and known nationwide) that sends trained nurses on home visits to the most vulnerable babies (like those born to teens and the mentally and physically challenged.) We will have a collection bin and hope you'll consider donating things like: diapers (ONLY size Newborns, 4, 5 & 6); baby wipes; baby sunscreen; receiving blankets; baby towels; etc. See the list here for their needs: http://www.nfnf.org/mo_wishlist.php
Once you've helped out, your rewards will overflow: guests on Sunday's show include Cupcake Stef (she of cupcakeproject.blogspot.com fame, natch...and yeah, she's packin' cakes) and Post-Dispatch columnist Sylvester Brown. Bring your questions! Bring your appetite! Bring some diapers, for Pete's sake!
And don't worry. We won't let you get outta there without a healthy dose of Town Talk.
April 27, 2008
New web content online
So. We released our SEXY edition of 52nd City yesterday, with an afternoon get-together at Snowflake, our favorite mid-century modern furniture store /slash/ minimalist gallery.
In talking to some folks there, it was determined that some knew the magazine, but not the blog, or they knew the blog and thus discovered the mag. We'd also like to note that with each issue, we've got new, exclusive-to-the-web articles, poetry and the like. You can find those pieces at ww52ndcity.com.'s frontpage now, or just follow the links below.
To Remember a Madam | Thomas Crone
Romeo Void | Chris King
Weathering Storms | Judith Kelvin Miller
April Kodiak | by Stefene Russell
O, God Let Heaven Be A Burlesque Show | Melissa Singleton
Gossip | Orhan Veli
April 25, 2008
Little birdy say...
... that STLtoday.com will be rolling out a major redesign in the next couple days. If this has been well- and widely-reported in recent days, please allow me this opportunity to bask in the potential glow of having gotten some secret, inside information. Please DO NOT link stories in our comments section, from weeks back, suggesting the same. Okay?
Anyway, I've been on the site a couple times today and ran into major tech glitches, which says to me: change is imminent, change is nigh. I'm curious to see how the end result will look and function.
Ye Olde Backyard Cardinal Video
A video of someone pantomiming Cardinal batting stances, eh? And it somehow works you say? Mmm-hmm. Amusing in a totally odd, three-minutes committed and see-ya-later kinda way. Hee-yaw.
April 24, 2008
How About Some Soul Yoga
Toby Hicks is the DJ. Beyond that, I'll just go to the tale of the tape, as there's nothing else I can add to this event posting:
Soul Yoga: A DJ Yoga Experience. Come and let your soul dance!
We'll move through a flow of lively sun salutations and fun yoga postures and have the chance to creatively explore movement.
All with the background of a live DJ playing a mix of funky and spirited beats!
After this high-energy event, you'll feel invigorated, liberated, and maybe a little more in touch with your soul!
Join us for this unique experience!
Saturday, May 10th from: 7-9pm cost: $20
With Laurie Brockhaus & DJ Toby Hicks
Urban Breath: Dogtown Location
1220 Tamm Ave.
An Unreasonable Woman
Author, Activist and Shrimp Boat Captain, Diane Wilson, to Speak at Webster University
A shrimp boat captain by trade, Diane Wilson turned to activism to fight devastating pollution from plastics and chemical manufacturers that she witnessed firsthand on the Texas Gulf Coast. Wilson's talk is based on her 2005 book, "An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas."
Friday, April 25,2008, 6 p.m.
Sverdrup Business and Technology Complex, Webster University
8300 Big Bend
Free and open to the public- Seating available first come/first serve basis
College of Arts & Sciences, the Human Rights Education Project and the Environmental Studies Program
Maybe I am stereotyping shrimp boat captains. I think of Bubba, Lt. Dan or Forrest Gump when I think Boats + Shrimp.
I'm going because after googling her name and reading a few interviews, she sounds like an interesting person. I'd like to say that I think every speaker that Webster hosts is interesting, however...
I'll expand the little knowledge of environmental activists I know and maybe pick up her book if she has it with her. This interview from 2006 is the one that confirmed my seat at the talk. http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/58/18695
April 23, 2008
Rybarczyk = Farked
The story aggregating Fark website linked to a column by STLtoday.com's Bob Rybarczyk today, as noted by a fine reader of our site. (And co-worker of all parties involved.) The piece in question was a jihad against Bluetooth-wearers, with the STLtoday.com humor columnist getting tagged with the "Obvious" button for his efforts. Perhaps "Obvious," but certainly well-read. As of this evening, Fark readers had commented 595 times to the piece. Yikes.
April 22, 2008
One SEXY Party
What's classier than Playboy and Maxim and much easier to hide under your mattress or in your sock drawer? SEXY--52nd City Magazine's ninth issue. Join us at the Snowflake on Saturday, April 26 from 4 to 7 p.m. for some delightfully cheeky food, drink, music, and entertainment. This issue includes a free CD from the SOUND issue--and a party at Snowflake never disappoints.
Sexy brings to mind love and 52nd City is is a labor of love for us; each issue, we cover our print costs by the skin of our teeth. Hence we currently have a little PayPal button on our homepage so that those who would like to support the cause with $1, $5 or, with glitter and blessings upon your soul, $25, you can donate to our general print fund. Our only costs are for the printing of the magazine. We don't pay ourselves, and unfortunately, can't pay our contributors at this point either (someday, oh someday). We will gladly accept your donation to our print fund. Any amount is appreciated and we will acknowledge you on our friends page (unless you ask us not to).
ALSO - this will be our last issue with a cover price. As of our summer issue (FOOD), 52nd City will be distributed free of charge - look for us in venues across the city, including ones thatcarry us now. We are looking forward to widening the exposure of the St. Louis artists and writers who contribute their work to our pages.
Again, everyone is welcome this Saturday, no donations required, and we hope you'll make it out. For more info on the party, the SEXY issue or all things 52nd City related, pop over to our site.
Where: Snowflake, 3156 Cherokee Street
When: Saturday, April 26, 2008
April 21, 2008
Smokin' and Eatin'
Ran across a couple of, er, fun reads about smoking in restaurants.
At Joe's on STLtoday.com, a huge rumble has broken out over (but not limited to) the carryout policy at O'Connell's, which digresses into passionate arguments about smoking, server rudeness and authenticity in pubs. Hilarious.
Thanks to a link over at the ACC, I found a link to Bill Hannegan's Keep St. Louis Free, which seems principally dedicated to the notion that smoking and eating should be allowed at all costs. If this cat ain't getting some cigarette company money, then he don't know the value of viral marketing.
Calvin Cox on RFT blog
I've had a student in class this semester, two classes actually, who is just starting a freelance gig with the Riverfront Times. Calvin Cox's first piece has appeared on the RFT's blog pages and here's a link to his review of the Roots.
Oh, it's nice when they work hard and care!
April 20, 2008
Bernie Hayes Understands: April 4, 1968
Reprinted with the permission of author:
April 4, 1968 - A Peaceful Night in St. Louis!
By Bernie Hayes
April 4, 2008, marked the fortieth anniversary of the assignation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There were thousands of ceremonies around the nation memorializing the event. On 4 April 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down in Memphis, Tennessee. He was undoubtedly the most famous and influential leader of the Peace and Civil Rights Movement in the United States.
In the wake of the assassination of Dr. King, riots raged in 85 cities and continued into the next week, ending with more than 40 people killed, mostly African Americans, as well as 2,500 injured and 21,000 arrested.
While elsewhere in the nation, the violent reaction to King's killing was spreading, St. Louis was relatively peaceful and calm during the four nights of sporadic arson, looting and vandalism in the largely African-American communities. Why? When the defender and supporter of peace had fallen, where were the militants and other who were torn apart by bitterness and a desire for revenge?
St. Louis today is considered by many a racially polarized and sometimes violent city, by way of its many protests and demonstrations, but why was it so quiet when Dr. King was killed? How and why did we somehow remain peaceful and nonviolent? There were many public gatherings and solemn observances, and although crowds gathered, they remained and dispersed peacefully. Why?
Civil rights activists Norman Seay said "the threat of violence led to an increase in tension, and as the riots in Newark, Chicago and the other cities burned, some how we remained solemn but vigilant, for we knew what could have happened in St. Louis throughout that riotous and turbulent night. While the attention of the state and region and possibly the nation were on us, the tolerance of smaller-scale violence and illegality by those who wanted to start trouble were convinced by the greater majority that such acts would not be tolerated. Therefore the evening passed without many serious incidents."
Percy Green in 1968 was considered one of the major Black nationalists and civil rights activist of the area, and he contends the only reason is that St. Louis was lucky because "we had every for rioting but the area did not have the proper chemistry." Green said "although St. Louis had more than its fair share of police brutality incidents," not one of those incidents occurred at a time to provide a 'perfect storm' to ignite a riot.
"High unemployment, under employment, employment racial discrimination against African American men was the stagnant agent that made the city ready to explode."
Johnny Scott, president of the E. St. Louis chapter of the NAACP believed his city in 1968 had never been a disruptive place because of racial divisions. He asserted their problems were with St. Clair and Madison County officials. He said "our city didn’t have much to burn, because most of the businesses were owned by African Americans and the rebel rousers were not ready to burn down their own." Scott stressed the towns’ faith and understanding of the Martin Luther King 'I Have a Dream' speech was their guide and the reason the city remained peaceful.
Former KATZ radio personality Doug Eason was on the air when the King murder was announced and he claims he was not allowed to play the recording "Burn Baby Burn." Eason said "management was afraid the recording would cause an escalation of vandalism and violence, and episodes of civil disobedience. They feared acts of wrongdoing would lead to more serious crime, and acts of lawlessness would cause more serious problems."
As violent as the city is today it should make us wonder why some of our children are killing themselves are. In 1965, only a few weeks before he was killed, Malcolm X said about self hatred "We didn't want anybody to tell us anything about Africa, and much less call us an African. And in hating Africa and hating the Africans, we end up hating ourselves, without even realizing it because you can't hate the roots of a tree and not hate the tree. You can't hate Africa and not hate yourself."
Our children, the elderly, along with poor and homeless people, must join with the clergy and the community-at-large to show that we are appalled at the killing that is taking place in our village and the depth of depravity of which some are capable. It must stop and we must stop it.
Dr. King left an immense void in our community so we must remain vigilant and we must be inclusive by affirming but respecting our cultural differences, especially with appreciation to color, class, sexual orientation, faith, age and ethnicity.
Free Candy Returneth
A note from Free Candy HQ. Whoa. My thougth is that this will be a baby-themed edition:
Make no plans, cancel any you already have. Free Candy returns....
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Hartford Coffee Company, 3974 Hartford (@ Roger)
So much more detail to come, but for now, clear your calendar.
That is all.
Free Candy HQ
April 18, 2008
Scavatto on Rock o' Love II
Wow, Andrew Scavatto put some time and energy into parsing out the reasons why so many folks were drawn into the wonderful and wacky web of "Rock of Love II." The insidestl.com columnist dishes it out here. He includes a bit of fishing, as well, attempting to hook the STL roots of winner Ambre Lake. (And who associated with this show was/is not a winner?) He promises to send results when someone eventually offers up a story about the youthful antics of Ms. Lake. And we look forward to reading them.
Chris King: The Eyes of the South Side
Bob Reuter's photographs at Jenna Bauer's studio
Friday, April 18
By Chris King
It had been a testy night at the Tap Room. A small group of artists drinking, grousing about opportunities in this frustrating town, and arguing over self-respect. Not the best night in St. Louis.
Jenna Bauer got up to go and said if I wanted to "waste a little time" before driving home, I should come by her loft and see Bob Reuter's photographs.
What did I do? I launched into a self-righteous diatribe to the effect that I would never "waste time" willfully, it's too precious. Not the best night at the Tap Room. Best to go home.
But then I remembered the six years I spent in New York. How I heard from afar about all of these interesting developments among the people I had known and loved (and groused and argued with). I was homesick for years. Had I been in New York still, I would have longed to go to Jenna's studio and look at Bob's photographs.
So I went to Jenna's studio and looked at Bob's photographs. You should do this, too. Jenna is hosting a show of his photos Friday night, April 18 at her loft studio on Washington Avenue, just above Cummel's Cafe. Email Jenna at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you go, the show you will see is one I helped to hang, or tape up, that night. Bob’s photographs are not framed, as they deserve to be. They are just taped up, naked. There is much else naked about them: the emotion in the faces, the power of the compositions, sometimes even the degree of undress of the bodies. Bob has an eye for scary, naked ladies.
Bob has an eye for many things. He has an eye for eyes, for alleys, for guitars, for surprise, for tattoos, for rage, for satisfaction, for children, for spontaneous outbursts of the inexplicable. If you wanted to narrow his work down geographically, and reduce it a bit for the sake of simplification, you could call him the eyes of the South Side. His core subject is the South City grotesque. Calling it "grotesque," of course, is not to suggest it is not often beautiful, at least in and through Bob’s eyes.
I am attaching shitty scans of two photographs I bought from Bob, via Jenna. They are the smallest prints in the show and retail for only $10. If I were more flush with freelance writing funds, I would have bought 10 of these smaller prints (or a few of the bigger and biggest prints, also priced to sell). But, as it was, I settled for two examples of Bob's pet subjects: performing musicians and a ringside scene.
The musician looks to be Sunyatta Marshall, a major muse in Bob's work. Whoever she is, she is feeling some urgent groove, in tight shorts and boots that go the better part of the way up to her ass, which is lost in shadow, like much else in the frame. To me, this is a portrait of the privacy at the heart of performance. It speaks to the mystical fact that you can’t reach anyone else with a song, really reach them, unless you disappear into yourself as you deliver it.
This boxing image, one of dozens, shows a nice sleight of hand on the part of the artist. If you know anything about boxing, you can see, in the foreground, a ringside judge handing up his score card to a blurry hand that must belong to the ring announcer. This clues you into the fact that the burly bald man hurtling down from the ring is simply making a stage exit after having performed some chore in the ring after the previous bout came to a close. But he seems to be barreling down toward another burly dude with his hands on his hips and a sour look on his face. This sourpuss is in center frame, so the eye is likely to see him first, and understand the man coming down from the ring as someone with some unpleasant business to settle with him. Somehow, in this quiet moment between boxing frames, Bob has captured the aggression at the heart of the blood sport.
I have known Bob forever, it seems, and seen him through so many changes. He was one of the first people who ever encouraged me as a musician, and I was among the first people ever to encourage him as a photographer (quite possibly, I was the first to do so in print – in The Riverfront Times, a long time ago, when that newspaper meant something that it no longer means).
I hear this sale of his work is motivated to pay for a surgery, but Bob and I end up arguing when I bring his health up in the context of his work, right, Bob? So, I say just go see his photographs and buy some because they are grotesquely beautiful, not because Bob needs the money. You'll have hundreds and hundreds to choose from. Unless Jenna rearranges her place, you’ll also see works in progress for her show with Wes Fordyce that opens May 9 at Fort Gondo.
Don't forget: Jenna’s studio, Friday night, April 18, on Washington Avenue, just above Cummel's Cafe. Email Jenna at email@example.com for more information.
April 17, 2008
We have an Arch? Really?!
Sometimes I submit my photography to the internet. I have an interest in photography, but I don't fancy myself any good. Specifically, I use this website: DeviantArt.
I decided to do a keyword search for St. Louis (also Saint Louis). What did I discover? We have an Arch. And an art musuem with a statue. And the occasional zoo animal. Oh, and portraits of what I thought was a man, but it was actually a very masculine woman with a horrible breast augmentation surgery. There were over 9,000 results, some of which were really good and interesting... others were okay in my book. (It's over 9,000! Wait. Does anyone actually get that DBZ reference?)
The occasional downtown St. Louis skyline came up in the results, as did a few of the more cultural areas, like Grand Center and Soulard. The interior of the Cathedral Basilica was a result, I think. The lighting in there makes it hard to pull out a decent photo, or so that's what I experienced.
Now slightly inspired, I pulled out 16 rolls of b/w film, my slr and the lenses I have lying around. And here's my post-graduate project: photograph St. Louis... but avoid the Arch, and possibly Forest Park. Though, the zoo is one of my favorite places because the animals love me and my camera. I guess I'm trying to prove to myself that I can dedicate myself to a photographic project and finish it. And to explore the city that I do live in, but rarely venture out to explore.
If you're interested. I hope this works, since sometimes the site gets kind of cranky. DA: St. Louis Search
Interview with STLAS
"The Late Henry Moss" will have its last weekend of at the Gaslight Theatre this Friday-Sunday, so we caught up with two of the three principals in the St. Louis Actors Studio, William Roth and David Wassilak. (Apologies to "Henry Moss" director Milton Zoth.) Both Roth and Wassilak are part of the cast for "Henry Moss" and they responded separately to an e-mailed list of questions about the show, STLAS and the arrival of the West End Grill and Pub, which is now firmly attached to the theatre. We blend the Q's-and-A's below.
52nd City: How has this particular performance gone for you? Seems that there's been more buzz around this show than some previous works. Or is that just me listening a bit more closely?
WR: Like a dream come true. I saw premiere with Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Woody Harrelson, Cheech Marin, James Gammon, Shelia Tousey and directed by Sam in San Fran in 2000 and have been talking about this show and dying to do it ever since... I think the combination of doing Shepard with the fact that this is the first show that all three of us are in together has raised expectations some... (not to mention burning holes in our stomachs).
DW: This one's been good. But more difficult than I first thought. I really like Shepard's writing, because it is not only naturalistic but, has a rhythm to it also. That can make it more difficult to learn, but rewarding in the end. Not sure if there is more buzz for this show. Seems our whole season has gotten a lot of attention. Probably because we're new and folks want to see what we're up to.
52nd City: The restaurant seemed to land in your lobby in no time at all, though I know that's not the case. Are other people having the same response, along the lines of "wow, when did the Grill and Pub arrive"?
WR: It has all been in the plans from Day one, we worked on the theatre first because we had a production date for "A Delicate Balance"... the restaurant owners have been patiently tapping their fingers ever since... construction delays, you know how it is...
DW: Actually people have been asking all along when it was going to open. (Edit: Ouch!)
52nd City: You had a very unusual opening night. Have either of you been involved in a situation in which a show was stopped, before beginning again? How do you as a performer shift back into the mood of the show?
WR: I have seen a show stopped but not been in one and lucky for me I was in the green room at the time of this incident.
DW: Well... I've sort of stopped a show, or at least stalled it a bit when a cell phone rang during a production of "Waiting for Godot" that I was in. The phone rang and not only did the person take a long time picking it up, but she went to the back of the house to answer it. So I stopped what I was saying and using a line from another character in the show said loudly "That's enough." Since this didn't stop the cell conversation, another actor interjected another line from the show "Enough is enough." The audience laughed and applauded and then we continued. Hopefully it was a lesson to all about public rudeness. As for the interruption during "Henry Moss," it was a bit surreal, as the person obviously was in pain of some sort. I was stunned, but John Pierson who plays Taxi in the show, whispered me a show business joke, I had a quick laugh and we started back up. The audience was right with us a couple of lines in.
52nd City: Can you tell a bit about the Party Politics Gala on May 10? How is the last show shaping up? And what kind of feedback have you been getting from your regulars, in terms of what they're expecting from that program?
WR: You mean our first attempt at writing a script that will engage and excite a world wide audience? Like everything we are doing, creating new material is important to us and I suspect it will be well received.
DW: It' still in the writing process, so we're all looking forward to seeing how it will turn out. Our regulars are looking forward to it as much as we are. (I hope!)
Hipsterati Debate Smoking
I know everyone in this video. Or, at the least, they ring me up for tea.
The hipsterati debate smoking here, compliments of Carson Minow and MayorSlay.com.
As for me... thanks for not smoking!
Holy colorful fliers, Batman!
Scheduled events at Euclid Records, 601 E. Lockwood, close to a fruit stand (an apple a day means one less apple in existence that day).
April 19, 2008
Noon: The Bottle Rockets
1 p.m.: Farshid Etniko
2 p.m.: Finn's Motel
3 p.m.: Rough Shop
4 p.m.: Dave Stone Trio
5 p.m.: Tight Pants Syndrome
And in psychadelic blue, pink and purple (with respective white and black text):
DJ sets throughout the day by Rob Wagoner (Ultraman/Bent), Darren Snow (KDHX), Jackie Boy, Superconductor (Euclid Records/Halo Bar) and (ohgodfood) a cookout with the fellas from HWY 61 Roadhouse.
And... there's more.
Vintage Vinyl, home of the pepto pink bumper stickers.
6610 Delmar, in the Loop. There's a Bread Company by it, right? (Food stations are my landmarks.)
Record Store Day, April 19
1:30 p.m.: Positive Nature
2:30 p.m.:The Monads
3:30 p.m.: Atlanta's Gringo Star
4:30 p.m.: F5 Records & Soulition Crew
5:30 p.m.: Theodore
Plus in-store DJ sets by:
(A whole bunch of people.)
Sorry, man, but they got a lot of people there. Check out the link, the schedule is at the bottom of the page.
April 16, 2008
The St. Louis Rep: Change, change and more change.
The first time I saw a woman "strip" was on a large stage with hot lights and hundreds of other people around me, including a few of my best friends (at the time). She went by "Gypsy" and had fun playfully beleaguering the men in the audience.
Seeing the musical "Gypsy" was probably the first time I had stepped into the Loretto-Hilton Center, home of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. It was 2002 and a rare field trip during a normal school day. It was exciting because I didn't have school. The main stage didn't have that much of an impact on me. I was told to appreciate the acoustics and the voms and that there would be a quiz on the show interior of the theatre.
There was never a quiz.
Let's fast forward a bit. It's late 2003 and I'm touring Webster University with a bum ankle and the Loretto-Hilton Center has chairs. Thank you! My mom had parked nearby, so we opted to end the tour early... But not without a good rest for my ankle in the lobby. I looked around, appreciated the spacious entry way and wondered what they did with all the food from that very morning, since the campus tour was just one part of an all day campus event for potential students. That day I decided Webster felt like a homey campus. That day I filled out an application.
I had the priviledge of moving into the dorms a week early. For anyone who has helped with a move-in day on campus, you will know how relieved I was. This was August of 2004. Because I had time, I wandered around the Loretto-Hilton Center. The doors were unlocked to the main stage. I looked around, but I didn't step foot on stage. I sat in the theatre for a few minutes before leaving, trying to get a sense of the building.
That needs explaining.
During high school, the auditorium we used for our drama productions was a piece of junk. But it was an awesome piece of junk, if not a little smelly. The third floor of the three story building was condemned and the second floor wasn't looking too good. The fire escapes looked like Death would look if Death were a fire escape. The actual stage wasn't too bad if you missed the nail heads from a past production that didn't get hammered into the floor all the way. Backstage was a mess, as were the dressing rooms.... well, they were more like dungeons. The building would sigh. He was an old man, just waiting for his time to get condemned, much like his sister elementary school.
And here I am in the Loretto-Hilton Center. She (felt like a she) is aging gracefully and still full of life. I like her. The professional productions on her main stage attract a diverse group of patrons, sometimes as interesting as the shows itself. For the past four years I've appreciated the diversity and memories that the theatre has given me.
It was upsetting to learn that the Rep wanted to move locations. Since 1966, she has been home to many Rep productions. I'll admit that I wasn't devastated by the news. My exact reaction was, "Really? I wonder why they would want to go to the trouble of having to move all over again..." I get discount tickets to all the Rep shows for being a student. I enjoy that perk. But I'm also graduating in May, which means I graduate to full price tickets. Let 'em move. It's not going to affect me much. Right? I'd like to think.
One of the attractions of WU's Conservatory is the fact that the Rep makes their home in the Loretto-Hilton Center. Because of this, they have a dead period in their season. The main stage is not used strictly for the Rep, but also for a couple student productions and a few other things. There's a lower stage, the Emerson Theatre, that both the Rep and the conservatory uses. Compared to the 763-seat main stage, the Emerson holds 125 people and is the very definition of intimate theatre. There isn't a horrible seat in the main stage theatre, but the left and right wing seats do make it where you are staring at the back ends of the actors for some of the time.
The officials at the Rep, they want to move for good reason. For four and a half months a year they can't hold shows in the theatre because of other organizations using the building. As a business move, I see their desire to change perfectly acceptable... almost. From the stories I've read, I gather they want to construct a new building, which would be around the same size as the Loretto-Hilton Center. Their new facility could potentially go in the Grand Center arts and entertainment district.
New York has Broadway, St. Louis has Grand Avenue.
What is it about Webster that warrents such a change? There's plenty of parking (because they block off lots specifically for the Rep) and a few restaurants in the area to have a decent dinner. It's all intimate-like, akin to the normal theatre experience (unless you're at the Fox and then it's just an"I'm sitting next to a sweaty man who looks uncomfortable in his sweater vest, I should have brought opera glasses..." experience). The convenience of not having to deal with school politics would be attractive, yes, that I do believe.
Whatever their choice, I can't be angry. Whenever the Rep does get its own facility, the rules can change. The schedule they maintain is strict. The freedom gained from moving is certainly attractive, from a business point of view. More shows, more money. More advertising, more money.
WU officials said that they support the Rep with whatever decision is made. That’s to be expected, for the bridge between the two would be a large one to burn. The students who are aware of the potential move are confused and wanting to know what’s going on, but the news has died down about it. Not many seem to voice an opinion aobut it these days. I’ve become apathetic over it. Maybe it’s the looming graduation ceremony talking...
This all makes me wonder, though, about the annex. A small building on the campus was demolished last year, the music annex, and in its place is nothing but a green lawn. It housed pianos, drums and practice rooms for music students. It was an ugly building, which one could see from the lobby of the Loretto-Hilton Center. Officially, it was said that it was old and cost too much maintain. The rumor on campus was much different. The building, an eye sore, was supposedly torn down because people of the Rep didn’t like it and we had this big new Community Music school with rooms to spare. So why not get rid of it? That’s strictly my speculation, though. I tend to think it was because yes, it wasn’t very pretty and maybe it did cost money that could go elsewhere.
To be honest, this whole business with Rep, it sort of confuses me.
From the Platform: Repertory Theatre considers moving to Grand Center
Hi-Pointe: Dark the Day After Tomorrow
We just can't stop posting today!
Hearing from solid sources that the Hi-Pointe Theatre will be showing its last film tomorrow night. Has this been written about, anywhere? If so, the info's gone past me.
Efforts are apparently underway to find new operators, but, for now, the Hi-Pointe's screen could be dark after tomorrow.
Knowledge of this? Links? He'p me!
Oh, there are you are. Hi, Surfacing, you popped up kind of suddenly didn't you? Maybe it's my fault for not noticing you hanging around. But I'm not going to blame myself this time. I scour the bulletin boards, and you did not appear.
But that's okay. I found you, despite your crafty attempts to hide.
Facebook, inform the lovely people of my discovery:
Surfacing: Emerging Playwrights Festival
Surfacing is an annual production of student works. The shows are, from start to finish, entirely done by students of Webster University.
Surfacing is free to all. The shows will be held in Nerinx's EAC Auditorium. The EAC is easily accessible through the school's back entrance, which is labeled by a wooden sign that says "ENTRANCE". The space is then to your left and on your left.
The show times are:
Friday, April 18 at 7:30p
Saturday, April 19 at 7:30p
Sunday, April 20 at 2:00p
Last year "Surfacing" included a lot of comedy and a few serious things. I'm still saying the words "soul balloon" and "sweatpouch." Both words from a particularly funny short with a genie. Even my normally stoic other half laughed out loud at some of the productions, so that in itself is testimony to me that, hey, production quality is pretty damn good for a student run event. And it's free.
In most cases, the students involved in the show are not in WU's conservatory program. It's neat to see the theatre enthusiasts of WU acting, writing and directing. (Okay, maybe I have some friends that are involved.) I don't know if I'll like this year more than last year, considering the superhero sketch, the Brauny man and Scorpion-Hands were present... but, eh, I'll give it a try.
Truth be told, I had not heard of ToastedRav.com before this morning. Not a word. Not a single, passing reference. But lo-and-behold, there's a whole, deeply-populated site at just that place, seemingly underwritten by a trio of local radio stations, along with advertisers.
The clip is here.
Marwan Kanafani, a St. Louis expat now living in Brooklyn, sends along word that his new group, City Breathing, has an album coming out.
Marwan was in a variety of STL acts in the early-mid '90s, before moving to San Francisco, where he teamed up with another STL import, Dave Simon. Their Solarcane project produced one of my favorite albums with STL ties. The new material's equally appealing.
Check some out at their Myspace page.
April 15, 2008
Platform = Beacon
A couple weeks back, we noted the beta version of the St. Louis Platform, the new website created by a team of former P-D writers and editors. Within a day, or two, of that, word began circulating that the online publication would be changing names, due to a conflict with a newly-registered blog via the Post-Dispatch. Interesting, to say the least. The full details are here, but this li'l bit is the nut of the matter:
The St. Louis Platform is about to become the St. Louis Beacon. Within a few days, you will find us at stlbeacon.org. If you come here to our original address, we'll send you automatically to our new home.
We're taking this step to avoid any confusion that might result from the recent appearance of a new blog created for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial page. We were surprised to discover that the blog's name is The Platform and that the name appears in print announcements with a trademark symbol next to it.
April 14, 2008
Recorduroy : Saturday : Fun!
Long one of our favorites (and, now, one of our co-bloggers), Dana Smith is about to launch a one-night art-and-music-project-party. If you're at loose ends as to your Saturday night plans this weekend, do read the following. Good music, solid art, perhaps a new venue to you, as it is to me. Okay, the details:
1310 S 18th St
St. Louis, MO 63104
Sat Apr 19 6 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Macro Meltdown (8 p.m.)
Peanuts (Jeremy Brantlinger, Eric Hall, Nazeer Sadeeq Holmes) (9 p.m.)
The Museum Mutters (10 p.m.)
Gringo Star (Atlanta, GA) (11 p.m.)
For more information about the Open Lot please contact firstname.lastname@example.org (available for events).
April 13, 2008
Where Did Ambre Lake Go To High School?
I am class prepping.
And watching the finale of "Rock of Love 2."
Both are going well, thanks.
I did not know this, but want to hear some stories.
Politics sure can be a dangerous business
On this date in 1893 John Buttermore, 26th Ward Committeeman, died of complications from a bite on the ear. The biter was a former Committeeman named Gus Vogel. Here is how the whole thing went down according to The New York Times...
April 12, 2008
I have been to the Dan Flavin show at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts three times since the show opened, and plan to go as often as I can until the show closes. The first time I went was during an afternoon rainstorm. Natural light is a major feature/element of the building so a tempestuous weather pattern has dramatic effect on the experience.
Flavin uses light as his medium (combinations of fluorescent tubes in various shades and sizes) and those tubes pop like crazy, casting light so that everywhere you look, colored glow combines with the lines and corners of the building to create modern, Mondrian-like images in three dimensions. I find it to be an incredibly beautiful experience.
The Pulitzer Foundation is just as spectacular with no art on the walls as with. As a docent there for several years, I spent many hours drinking that place in. Some incredible artwork has been shown in there. Nothing has ever hit me as hard visually/viscerally as this Flavin show. If you feel so inclined, check it out.
Some people think this sort of work is a boondoggle.
I dig it.
The Pulitzer is open: Wednesdays: Noon - 5pm. Saturdays: 10am - 5pm.
During Dan Flavin: Constructed Light, the Pulitzer is open the first Thursday of every month from 6-9pm. Admission is Free.
3716 Washington Boulevard
(between Grand Boulevard and Spring Avenue)
St. Louis, MO 63108
A Bar Trilogy
Recently, I read a piece from the New York Times, detailing the emotional and physical stresses that are being visited on bloggers. Two have died! Others have found themselves battling wrist and arm pain and/or nervous anxiety.
Point being: I recently meant to punch up some thoughts on the West End Grill and Pub (354 N. Boyle, www.westendgandp.com), which is directly appended to the Gaslight Theatre. I didn't punch up those thoughts, though, then saw the Post run a blip on the space, founded and run by a handful of industry vets, including the Gaslight's prime mover, William Roth. The appearance of this note gave me, if not wrist pain, a brief shot of anxiety.
After all, the Gaslight's become one of my favorite destinations, thanks to the initial season of the St. Louis Actors Studio; seeing an anonymous lobby suddenly turned into a very nice bar-and-grill is rather a sight to see. If you happen to find yourself in that corner of the West End, you may wish to stop in yourself, with a seriously veteran staff sure to take care of you.
Sandrina's was long known as a port-of-call for those seeking one last round before the homestead. It's still that, though under new ownership. What remains is just a touch of the original, rather intense wallpaper, along with the 3 a.m. license, which was tried out for the first time last night. Seems that people knew about the additional 90-minutes, since the late-rush crowd was in full-effect, with the room dotted by the workers of every 1:30-closing bar in a three-mile radius.
Twice in a week I've found myself at Sauget's ever-open destination, Pop's, the direct result of working late nights and the equally direct recognition that it's hard to downshift from activity to sleep at some point after midnight. Or 3, or 4, as the case may be.
Last night, I gave an offering of $70 to the Karma Gods, the monies somehow escaping my pocket between: the door and the bar, or the door and the stage, or the door and the restroom. When you're tired, bookkeeping gets sloppy and the environment of Pop's just breeds a certain world-weariness. Even if the drink don't getcha, the nerves somehow jangle in that Eastside spot.
The music's part of the sensory overload. Last night's cover band was grinding out a mix of Alice in Chains, Guns n' Roses and Tool. The dancefloor was roiling. The bouncers were busy. The pool tables were full. The place had life. And, as it turned out, it also had $70 scattered on the well-trod floorboards.
I hope whomever picked it up - or boosted me, youneverknow - had fun with the dough. Me, I was ready to go as soon as the car turned into the lot.
One of the most inspirational art experiences I’ve had was a visit to Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California, which serves physically, mentally and developmentally disabled adult artists. My friend Rebecca was an instructor and I got to meet the artists, see their work, and hear them talk about it. I’ve been around plenty of working artists, but the passion, sincerity, and lack of bullshit from these artists was refreshing, to say the least. It was a remarkable day. My “when I win the lottery” dream includes opening a similar art center in the area.
In a somewhat similar vein, on Friday, April 18th, The Sheldon Art Galleries hosts a free opening reception from 5-7 p.m. for the exhibition Things That Matter: Art by Children with Autism. The exhibit features art created by children with autism from St. Louis and the surrounding region. Coordinated by Bevin Early and Nancy Pierson, artists and educators who work with children with autism, the mission of this exhibition project is to offer children with ASD an opportunity to show their work publicly, develop identities as artists and educate the general community about autism.
I am really excited about this show, which runs through September 13, 2008. I encourage you to attend the opening reception, and support a real friend of 52nd City, Bevin Early. Visit the Sheldon’s website for more information.
April 10, 2008
Last night, I was lucky enough to spin records at The Halo Bar, doing a split shift with the inimitable Jim Utz. After tossing on some Hoodoo Gurus after midnight, Mr. Utz tagged in and took the night home, first informing me that (what was now) Thursday was, in fact, his birthday.
To the Vintage Vinyl promotions man, DJ and 2006 Kick-Ass Award winner... happy 31st birthday from 52nd City!
April 08, 2008
Jim Breuer: Partying at Mizzou
Or so says The Onion.
That is some funny stuff.
So many of them, sported by South City residents of all sexes and snapped by one "Dave Bug."
Who do you know in these pics, I ask?
Thanks for the link, Barbara Cliffe.
April 07, 2008
How are you going to celebrate Ronald Reagan Day?
Maybe I am just feeling grumpy, but during the session today the Missouri House of Representatives approved (98-44) the establishment of February 6th as Ronald Reagan Day in the State of Missouri and I am completely bugged by it.
Setting aside that I come from a long line of Reagan dislikers, it frustrates me when a legislative body wastes time on something so unnecessary, and so subjective. I would imagine a number of the legislators who had to sit through the debate feel the same way. There is no general consensus that Ronald Reagan was a hero so why push such a thing? Why even bring it up at all? In 1980 Reagan garnered 50.7% of the popular vote, and in 1984, 58.8%. Healthy percentages to be sure, but those numbers still mean that half to almost half of the voters voted AGAINST him. We already have a President's Day on the calendar. Doesn't that cover it? He already has an airport named after him – something else that bugs me. Isn't that enough?
Ok, end of rant. Thank you for indulging me.
When listening to the House floor debate (Yes, I often listen to the floor debate live via the computer -- and yes, everyone makes fun of me.) I usually focus on things of greater significance, but sometimes the little things really irritate - and Ronald Reagan Day sure got under my skin today. Here is the Resolution language:
SECOND REGULAR SESSION
House Concurrent Resolution No. 23
94TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Relating to the observance of Ronald Reagan Day in Missouri.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:
Whereas, President Ronald Wilson Reagan, a man of humble background, worked throughout his life serving freedom and advancing the public good, having been employed as an entertainer, Union leader, corporate spokesman, Governor of California, and President of the United States; and
Whereas, Ronald Reagan served with honor and distinction for two terms as the 40th President of the United States of America, the second of which he earned the confidence of 60% of the electorate and was victorious in 49 of the 50 states in the general election - a record unsurpassed in the history of American presidential elections; and
Whereas, in 1981, when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated President, he inherited a disillusioned nation shackled by rampant inflation and high unemployment; and
Whereas, during Mr. Reagan's presidency, he worked in a bipartisan manner to enact his bold agenda of restoring accountability and common sense to government which led to an unprecedented economic expansion and opportunity for millions of Americans; and
Whereas, Mr Reagan's commitment to an active social policy agenda for the nation's children helped lower crime and drug use in our neighborhoods; and
Whereas, President Reagan's commitment to our armed forces contributed to the restoration of pride in America, her values and those cherished by the free world, and prepared America's Armed Forces to meet 21st Century challenges; and
Whereas, President Reagan's vision of "peace through strength" led to the end of the Cold War and the ultimate demise of the Soviet Union, guaranteeing basic human rights for millions of people; and
Whereas, February 6, 2008, will be the 97th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birth, and the third since his passing:
Now, therefore, be it resolved that the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-fourth General Assembly, Second Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, hereby declare February 6th of each year to be "Ronald Reagan Day" in Missouri and urge all citizens of Missouri to recognize this event and participate fittingly in its observance; and
Be it further resolved that this resolution be sent to the Governor for his approval or rejection pursuant to the Missouri Constitution.
April 06, 2008
Beatle Bob, Actor
Okay, I've never gotten e-mail from Beatle Bob before today, but, lo!, two e-mails from the Dancing One arrived in my in-box this very afternoon. In one case, he was sending around word of his most recent project, an in-production film. I'll include the video clip below, along with this short description:
Following is a short video filmclip of the St. Louis movie 'Quoudeki' which is currently in production. This film clip includes my role as the Spymaster working in conjunction with a C.I.A. Director. The plot revolves around the secrets of scientific inventor, Nikola Telsa. Telsa was a real life maverick inventor whose pioneering efforts of creating free energy - powerful, usable energy, virtually out of nothing -to power man made flying saucers that many conspiracy theorists believe the Nazis operated before during and after World War II.
April 05, 2008
Remember that big storm? The really big one? Me, too!
Say goodbye to 19-seconds of your life. Ohhhh. Hooooooooo-hooooooooo.
April 04, 2008
It's 2019 in Tokyo. The city was destroyed in 1988 by a nuclear explosion, sectioning off old Tokyo and Neo-Tokyo, which stands on an artificial island in Tokyo Bay. The military is in on a few things, the government is in on a few things and there's a Resistance, which all futuristic post-apocalyptic cities need. Also, people have mind powers. And some of those people are small and wrinkly.
Akira was first published as a manga, very successful and running from 1982 to 1990. In 1988 creator Katsuhiro Otomo decided to make a film. For me, it's hard to categorize the film. It's violent, dark, disturbing and weird (completely deserving of its "R" rating and then some). It's one of the most amazing animated films in existence, and considering the quality of animation that came out at the same time it was created (1988-1989), it was evidence that anime, and animation in general, could do better.
So if you haven't seen it, you should. You can purchase it fairly easily, or if you're in the St. Louis area on April 6th at 8 p.m., you can head over to the Winifred Moore Auditorium (home of the Webster Film Series) and see it for free.
It's worth seeing on a big screen -- not for the weak of stomach, I'm afraid. Not to spoil anything, but the ending is... juicy.
Time, Date, Place:
April 6, 8 p.m., Winifred Moore Auditorium (which may or may not be haunted, depends on who you ask).
Miss Rockaway Update
A few months back, I became vaguely obsessed with following the travails of the Miss Rockaway crew. If you recall, they were grounded by waterlogged crafts in a rough Mississippi River incident, just north of Downtown. Though I never actually saw the boats, I do remember sliding down a hill of coal residue in the attempt, a memorable recollection, indeed.
The update of the Miss Rockaway, comes via another interested observer, who noted some news on the crew's blog. Clickey here.
Books for kids - always a good cause
There are many reasons to appreciate Left Bank Books. On April 5th they give us another one when they kick off a partnership with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) that will both raise money for the organization, and give customers opportunities to purchase books for children in the foster care system. Below are details about the initiative which begins on Saturday with a visit from author Ashley Rhodes-Courter, a former foster care kid, who recounts her experiences in her memoir Three Little Words.
From the West End Word ...“Beginning with Rhodes-Courter’s visit at 4 p.m. April 5, Left Bank Books is partnering with the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children in St. Louis County — volunteers who act in the best interest of foster kids in court and elsewhere — to create a list of books that Left Bank customers can purchase for local foster kids. The permanent program will help kids own their own books, another rarity for kids in foster care.
Left Bank will also donate 10 percent of its sales of Rhodes-Courter’s book through the end of April to CASA, and on April 5, following Rhodes-Courter’s visit to the bookstore, Duff’s, Sapphire Pan Asian and Dressel’s Pub will donate 10 percent of their sales to CASA of St. Louis County.
“It’s not just Left Bank Books doing an event, it’s the whole neighborhood coming together for this cause,” said Lisa Greening, co-owner of Left Bank.”
So if you are looking for a place to go to dinner on Saturday night, perhaps consider one of the spots above. If you are looking for a gift for someone, consider buying a book for a foster child in the name of the gift recipient. Seems like a nice idea for Mother's Day...
April 03, 2008
Thanks to Meramec Writing Festival
The Meramec Writing Festival concluded a three-day run at the suburban STLCC campus today. Thanks to Richard Long and the other organizers for having us out this afternoon, with a workshop on lit mag publishing. We look forward to a spate of Meramec-affiliated contributions in coming weeks and months.
AES Summit #2
The audio department of the School of Communications is sort of low on my list of priorities. I am sorry! This is late notice, but it deserves notice nonetheless.
The Audio Engineering Society at Webster is throwing their second annual Student Summit. There will be panels, displays, exhibitors with audio equipment (complete with fancy buttons and knobs, I hope) and a few guest speakers, featuring two Bobs of the Katz and Heil type.
The events are held all around campus, but thankfully the majority of them are in the University Center and Sverdrup (a very long building), which are very close to each other, separated only by a short sidewalk or a very soggy field we call the Quad.
The WU AES website has everything.
Here's what I got in my inbox today:
The Second Annual Central Region AES Student Summit is coming up soon, from Friday April 4th - Sunday, April 6th at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. We are expecting Bob Katz, Bob Heil, John Storyk and more as guest speakers. There will be panels and tutorials on loads of events -
Go to the schedule to see all the proposed tutorials, panels and demos, along with our guest speakers and presenters!
We will be holding a Recording Competition with great prizes. We are modeling it on the AES conventions, on a small scale.
Students have been approaching audio businesses and organizations of all types as exhibitors and sponsors, and many have already confirmed, including:
Shure, Ozark Pro Audio, AVA Audio, Solid State Logic, Sweetwater, Meyer Sound, Silent pc review, Roland, Genelec, Gotham Audio, Neutrik, Bag End, Grammy U, AEA, Audio-Technica, Martin Audio, AES, Stanco, Ironman Sound, Webster University
Did we mention that award-winning band Illphonics will be playing on Saturday night? http://www.myspace.com/illphonics
And did we mention that event, along with the Friday night Welcome Mixer is included in your $20 early registration fee? Did we mention that we’ll even throw in lunch on Saturday?
This will be a great opportunity for students from the Central Region, some of whom cannot attend the conventions in New York or California, to mingle with their peers from other educational institutions as well as professionals. It will give you the same opportunity to put your hands on gear and network with the pros, just like on the exhibition floor at the Javits or the Moscone Center.
We hope you will attend. We also hope you will spread the word to everyone you know in the audio community: students, educators, pros, AES members and non-members alike.
April 02, 2008
St. Louis Platform: Beta is Live
Just tipped to this.
The effort, lead by former P-D staffers, is online.
Additional details on the launch here.
St. Stanislaus Kostka School
On Sunday, I came across a story on STLtoday.com, indicating that the St. Stanislaus Kostka School, neighboring the sometimes-controversial North City parish, was hosting an open house later in the day. The event was held with the school's fate essentially sealed: the building, principally empty since the mid-'80s would be slated for demolition during the next week. Namely, this week. The idea presented by the parishioners was that the old school was beyond repair, with rehab costs too high to consider.
Having been creepin' through some rather shaky structures in recent months, the idea of simply walking into the place was interesting to say the least, so I packed cameras and came upon some interesting scenes.
A quartet of Polish nationals, all smoking cigarettes and animatedly jabbering, attempting to bring an oversized blackboard down an undersized stairwell. An elderly fellow talking about going to school there in the pre-WWII days. Folks buying items that seemed more nostalgic than practical.
How this building was deemed expendable... well, maybe the economics of its' neighborhood wouldn't allow a rebuild within the next five or 10 years. But was the building "in bad shape," as I've read in the P-D piece and on some blog commentary?
Nope. No way. 'Twas solid as a rock.
April 01, 2008
Patterson as Ombudsman
In a move that's caused eyebrows to raise among our town's civic-minded set, local blogger and urban activist Steve Patterson will reportedly join Room 200 as a Mayoral staffer in coming months, in a role tentatively being titled as Civic Ombudsman.
Currently recovering from a stroke at the Missouri Rehabilitation Center in Mount Vernon, MO, Patterson has bounced back to his prolific blogging rate in the past week, with a recent post – "A Changed Man" – signaling his continued resolve to affect positive change in local development practices. Perhaps hinting at the new role, Patterson wrote on March 28th that his recent brush with mortality only hardened his resolve.
"Simply breathing everyday just isn't enough. I am going to be far more demanding of a quality environment than before," he keystroked into his trusted Apple, before asking, "Every year in our region we spend hundreds of millions if not billions on new infrastructure and buildings — are we getting our money's worth?"
Apparently, that brand of questioning will now be taking place on City Hall's second floor, where Mayor Slay's Chief of Staff, Jeff Rainford, admits in a bit of characteristic understatement that, "It's a… unique fit. Steve's been an ardent critic of regional leaders in the past few years and he's shot a few arrows in the general direction of Tucker and Clark."
But alluding to those past disagreements, while continuing the analogy, Rainford says that "we're going to leave those arrows where they are, scaling them, if you will, scaling them to new heights."
While the Post's Jake Wagman was initially disbelieving of the move (opting to not blog on the then-rumor, while calling the presumed hire "a little too fanciful of a scenario for my tastes") the paper's newest editorial writer, Eddie Roth, has already prepped an early essay on the topic. Writing his initial piece as a staffer with a bylined "Commentary" article in this coming Friday's P-D, Roth elegantly indicates that the unexpected move is "symbolic of a wider trend of civic connectiveness in our region, borne through synergies both mysterious and evocative of a new faith in divergent decision-making.
"I felt the pull of home, all the way in western Ohio, which is not inconsiderably far," Roth continues. "I sensed the deep current of our wedded waterways and that of hearts which beat with the rhythm of the Three to the One to the Four. I heard the voices of change ringing from the region's varied haunts, echoing from down-at-the-heel alleyway to tony suburban curb cut. I heeded the call of a bi-state area that prides itself on a block-by-block sense of bootstrap municipal independence. And I felt that any City that would hire its own most active dissenters would be a City bold enough to accept all types of change, both mercurial and lasting. That all adds up to: a new City, if you will; a City of considerable power, yet surprising suppleness; a City, in short, for the rest of us."
Patterson's first day on the job will depend upon his continued, steady progress in Mount Vernon, though it's expected that he could see his name on the City's payroll around July 1, roughly a month after fellow civic activist Doug Duckworth's supervisory debut with the Land Reutilization Authority. (See Pubdef.net for video on that story.)