August 31, 2008
The Bleeding Deacon
Saw Mike McLaughlin yesterday. The real-estate agent, Tower Grove resident and former Royale bartender was outside of the venerable, two-story bar on Gravois near Chippewa, which has been known by countless names over the last decade. (I still think of it as Moriarty's, which featured a boxing leprechaun in its on-building paint job. At any rate...)
McLaughlin, who was watching a new coat of paint go up on the building's exterior, says the space will be opened soon as the Bleeding Deacon. The bar will be operational by the middle/end of September, with food available by the first week of October.
August 29, 2008
Pop's @ 11
To this point in life, I've only gone to Pop's early (for a rock show) or very, very late (for an-oft-regretted wind-down). To go on a night when there's no music, at an ordinary hour and for no particular reason... well... that was last night's quickly-hatched plan.
Driving across the PSB around 10:20, the massive Pop's signage offered only this subtle clue: "Show Us Your Cans, 3:30." And the bartender at the club confirmed this early, also mentioning that Thursday nights are now $3 Nights, with everything in the club priced at $3. (Except for, we found out, those things not priced at $3.) He also casually stated, in mixed company, that there would be a "titty contest at 3:30." Now that may lack tact, but had a degree of honesty.
What was even more notable than his bluntness was the fact that for much of our 50-minute stay THERE WAS NO ONE AT POP'S! For a short stretch, a couple was found on the patio, but they opted for one-drink-and-out. Save for the classic rock on the PA (Poison, Lita Ford, AC/DC) and a handful of employees shuffling around the room, there was, literally, nothing happening at Pop's. The impression of this was already striking on the parking lot, when front-row spots were to be had. With no doorman or customers on the scene, it didn't appear that Pop's was even open.
But to actually walk into the 24/7 Pop's at any point in the day or night and literally be the only people in the place... it's a blog entry waiting to happen. That's what is is, exactly.
And, no, I don't know who won the contest, having left the club under rainy skies at 11:10, reducing the customer base by a cool 100%.
August 28, 2008
"Urban Explorers: Into the Darkness"
On Thursday, September 11, 52nd City is proud to co-present "Urban Explorers: Into the Darkness" at the Webster University Film Series. The film, by noted documentarian Melody Gilbert, follows urban explorers in a variety of settings, throughout America and Europe. A visual treat, the project does a wonderful job of introducting the UE "hobby" to the uniniated, while serving as a call-to-travel for those already taking part in the scene.
Gilbert responded to some questions about the film, which will screen at the Winifred Moore Auditorium at 7 p.m.
When picking out the date to show UE, I thought that September 11 would be an apt date. Can you discuss the impact that 9/11 had on the UE subculture?
As "Max Action" said in the movie, "It is inherently, even before 9/11, a pretty suspicious looking activity -- slinking around, getting into these supposedly secure places, dressed up with lights on your head." But in the past, explorers were never thought of as potential terrorists. Trespassers, maybe. But terrorists? No way. So it's worse now. But that doesn't stop most people from doing it. You just need to be more careful.
In reading notes about the project, you seem to suggest that UE was not a topic you were very versed in prior to investigating it for the film. Were you surprised at the depth and breadth of participants?
I had an inkling about the wide range of people who were involved in "UE" from checking out various UE websites. I was fascinated! I wondered what kind of hobby drew so many different kinds of people: young adventure-seekers, older historic preservationists, photographers, people into gear and other people who explore with just a flashligh t-- and they're all doing the same thing. At one point, when I was underneath Paris at dinner party in the Catacombs, I met a French explorer (a computer programmer) who said it best: " We say usually that people represent in the Catacombs what's on the surface. And I know an explorer who is the head of a big corporation and is very rich. And some others are really poor and some are into computers and some are scientists and some are teachers. There is a big variety of people."
With a project like this, I imagine that anyone into UE projects wants to tell you about their best/worst experiences. Do you field a lot of stories and anecdotes from people involved in the scene? I'll, of course, have to include a link to my own UE flickr photos when sending this!
Yes, I've heard lots of stories. I wish I could have found a way to include so many great stories in the movie (including yours!). But it certainly makes a more interesting movie to see the stories instead of just hearing about them. For example, I had a great time filming at the "UE" convention in Glasgow (which you'll see in the movie). You couldn't make this stuff up. Same with the Catacombs.
Did you ever come across a UE location that had a particular, sinister vibe to it? One that made you think, "hmm, bad things may've happened in this space?"
Yes, once at abandoned mental institution in Scotland. There was an empty suitcase there that made me pause and catch my breath. It was right next to an antique electroshock machine. I knew there were many awful things that had happened in there.
There are those amazing images in the film shot underground in Paris. Were you surprised that Parisians would enjoy food and wine while sitting amongst human bones?
Yes, I certainly was surprised. It's one of my favorite parts of the movie, both making it and watching it! Baguette and pate, anyone?
Were there any folks that you really enjoyed getting to know during the filming process? Any "characters" that have stayed in touch, in some context?
I've stayed in touch with most of the people in the movie. They all have a soft spot in my heart because we shared an experience that required trusting each other in ways not normally required of strangers. Some I see when I travel to screenings. Some via email. Some I still see here in Minneapolis/St Paul. I especially enjoyed meeting "Slim Jim" (you'll see why when you see the movie) and "Max Action" (the exploring icon who is an amazing writer). Also, "Katwoman" and "Mr. X." I was there filming when they met for the first time. I was there when he proposed to her. And I recently filmed their wedding! Yes, an explorer match made in heaven.
There's a split in the UE subculture, it appears, between those who post about their travels online (whether text, photos or video) and those who militantly want to keep their spaces and locations a secret. Did you run into this during filming? Maybe coming across some folks who didn't want to be "outed" for lack of a better term?
I solved this problem by promising not to show exactly where the locations were or how to get into them.
What's an aspect of documentary filmmaking that wouldn't be known, even to hardcore fans of docs? The time component? The money? The amount of patience needed to crack your story?
All of the above. Plus how physical the work is. It can sometimes be very difficult to lug video camera gear everywhere (along with microphones, batteries, tapes,etc), especially when trying to jump a ten-foot fence or squeezing through a tiny hole in the Catacombs. Be nice to independent filmmakers!
What projects are you working on presently?
I'm working on three feature-length documentaries right now. One I just finished called DISCONNECTED (www.disconnecteddocumentary.com) which I made along with my students at Carleton College. It's about three students who stopped using all computers for a month. The second is about the former Vice President Walter Mondale. The third one is about a guy who was on anti-depressants for ten years and decided to quit taking them (and filmed the experience).
And what's the last cool, abandoned space that you're run through recently?
Sorry to say that I haven't been exploring much lately because I'm so busy working on new films. But that last cool space I went to was an abandoned motel. Saw it and just couldn't resist. But I didn't have my video camera with me and I realized that was the first time I had gone exploring without my camera. It was was a very different experience. You can just be in the space without worrying if you're getting good video or if the audio is working. Loved it!
August 26, 2008
Beatle Bob vs. Bluebird, Redux
Zombies Invade Cranky Yellow
Can I just say: Cherokee's popping like I can't believe. We were down there this weekend to see Dana Smith's show at Fort Gondo, and it's hard for me to believe that Gondo was pretty much the stronghold on that stretch of Cherokee in 2002. One of the newer additions to the neighborhood is Cranky Yellow, an independent publishing/arts concern. The C.Y. folks sent an impeccably polite and flawlessly written email to me today regarding an upcoming art show, "Depleted Uranium" (and those who know me well know I have an ongoing tete-a-tete with uranium). It also includes zombies, another demographic I've had some truck with (just ask Chris King), so how could I not give it a plug? Nay, how can I keep myself away from the opening next week? So here's the details:
Saint Louis Attacked With Depleted Uranium!
An Art Opening Featuring Mutants and Zombies is Coming to Saint Louis.
On September 6th, Cranky Yellow will be hosting an art show featuring Jason Spencer. Spencer's work comprises of sculptures, latex masks, and fine art oil paintings. The inspiration for these pieces comes from the effects of depleted uranium on human beings, the deformations, and the horrors of these effects. Additionally, he takes from zombie culture and horror fandom.
Specifically, he will be displaying lipless latex masks of horrifying monsters, "Zombie Balls" (egg-like balls with chomping, bloody, disfigured mouths), and a small sculpture of an overweight monstrosity amongst other works.
His work has been described as "shocking and intriguing", "Incredible and disturbing", and "imaginative".
There will be snacks, wine, and beer provided. The evening will be complimented by music from artist Stylus Innuendos.
WHAT: Depleted Uranium-An Art Show Opening featuring mutants, zombies, and freaks
WHEN: Saturday, September 6th from 7PM till 11PM
WHERE: Cranky Yellow: 2122 Cherokee Street, Saint Louis, Missouri, 63118
Cranky Yellow Representative Angelo Stege has this to say about the show:
“This is a one-of-a-kind artist; an extraordinarily gifted local talent with a flair for the weird, the creepy, the scary, and the intriguing. If you’re a horror geek; if you’re favorite holiday is Halloween; if you’ve got posters of George Romero hanging above your bed this is one show you won’t want to miss out on.”
White Castle Iced Tea
Would advise against that order.
August 25, 2008
A Crispin Glover Weekend
On Friday afternoon, I sat in the KDHX control room, playing music on my new show, minding my own business Suddenly, it dawned on me that Crispin Glover was in town, and that I had good contacts at the Webster University Film Series, which had brought him in for a three-night stand at the Wini Moore. Two phone calls and six-minutes later, I was on the phone with Crispin Glover, broadcasting the man over 42,000 watts.
It was fantastic. Though I was a nervous, stammering wreck. It was just fantastic.
Though I wasn't able to make Friday or Saturday night showings of his mixed-media performances, I was able to get to campus last night, joining maybe 60 other people. Apparently, three nights and a $20 ticket price cost a few attendees. Instead of a sold-out, single-night stand like his last visit, this time he spread his audience out over three, equally-wacky evenings.
The engaging show began with his newest slideshow, featuring readings from six of his home-made art books, including the infamous "Oak Mot." The lead piece, though, "An Egg Farm," was the most humorous, with Glover's occasionally-yelled "NO!" worth the price of admission alone. Each sub-reading had moments, moments of pure weirdness and hilarity. In what he claimed was only his third performance of the rearranged show, Glover struggled just a touch with the material, maybe due to the crowd's low energy or the newness of the slideshow. But as a live performer he is unbelievably compelling, his pure, unadulterated, freaky charisma more than making up for a few missed words.
We'll skip ahead a moment to... the third portion of the evening, in which Glover answered only about six questions, with a full-hour's worth of answers given. They were intriguing and compelling answers, sure, almost all dealing with the second portion of the show, the screening of his newest film, "It is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE." By the time he finished his answers, I was ready to anoint the work as one of the great feats in modern cinema, with deceased actor/screenwriter Steven C. Stewart a latter-day Welles.
See, Crispin's a convincing speaker.
During the film, though, I was probably as surprised, perplexed and spaced-out as everyone else in the house, the greatest blend of weirdos and hipsters I'd come across in some time. (To think of all these mixed nuts in one sold-out house, instead; oh, Crispin! why did you overbook?!) From the opening moments of the film, a credit roll nodding to '30s-era "Frankenstein" films, the project was out to establish oddity.
It worked. And it would continue.
Stewart's revenge-fantasy script, which called for the cerebral palsy-affected actor to speak about a third of the film's lines in a voice nearly-impossible for most to decipher, found him wooing and killing an assortment of impossibly-beautiful women. With spoiler alert firmly noted, near the end of the work, he engages one actress in a full-on moment of sexual passion, an image intended to jar, which it did aplenty. (Glover indicated that even more of these amorous scenes were in Stewart's script, though they had to be nixed, due to a lack of actresses willing to take part in such a shoot. Understandable.)
The surreal eroticism was only one part of the film's visual pop, though. The sets were a smart combination of 1950's sitcom and graphic novel-style irony; think "I Love Lucy" meets "Sin City." The actors offered some of the most curious faces and looks you'll ever see onscreen, with veteran b-actors working alongside clear amateurs. And trying to make the connections to his first film in the "It Triology" (the truly nuts "What is it?") proved somewhat vexing throughout. Rather than a sequel, this was a completely different movie, with only some touches of continuity between the two, mostly involving the late Stewart's, er, manhood.
In fact, let's go ahead and just say it: Steven C. Stewart, even in his 60s, suffering from a collapsed lung and the lifelong case of cerebral palsy, was as endowed, willing and randy as a porn star. And Glover figured out and used those characteristics for maximum shock value in the waning minutes of the film, throwing in some cartoon-ish, over-the-top violence, to boot. He probably did stay true to Stewart's strange vision. Yeah, he probably did.
Where irony fits into any of it... we'll just have to wait for Part Three. I'll go ahead and book my ticket now.
August 22, 2008
The Nukes: Saturday, October 18, Duck Room
Details to come.
Video, for now?
August 21, 2008
Beatle Bob vs. Bluebird
What's the real story here? I am curiously, perhaps temporarily, fascinated by this digital brouhaha. The Dancing One, who put me on his e-mail list some months back, is advocating against the Bluebird. If members of the Bluebird family would like to respond, I'd invite a note.
I have a theory on what's playing out here, but... that'll wait for another day.
Attention, St. Louis bands, club-owners & booking agents, and local media:
Just wanted to tell you about the Bluebird Club restrictions on bands that have been hurting not only the local bands but you groovy club booking-owners as well. I found out from some local band members who appear at the Bluebird club, cannot play another St. Louis music venue three weeks after they perform at the Bluebird.
This is totally uncalled for and is strictly unfair to both the bands trying to make a living as well as to the club owners who try and book the best bands for their fans. Let's all hope the bands stand up to these restrictions by boycotting performances at the Bluebird.
Renner @ Lemp
From our main man, Tony Renner:
I currently have art on display at the lemp neighborhood arts center? An artists reception will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 7.
I'm selling some of my paintings on paper. For $25 you can get a nice 11 x 17 painting (on the back a promo poster for the latest Portishead cd). Examples are on the blog: http://tonyrenner.blogspot.com.
Cabin Inn: Redux
In a former life, this blogger was gainfully employed and working at a Downtown concern. One of the favorite post-work haunts for our crew was the then-new Cabin Inn at the City Museum. The place has gone through several iterations since then, with a few veteran hands taking on the project over time. A new management team's in place now, headed by Tatyana Telnikova, who sent along some notes on the latest version of the Cabin:
Cabin Inn is a very special place because it is located in Daniel Boone's cabin built in 1804, that is now part of the 1st floor of the museum. We are open Thursday through Saturday nights from 4pm-1am, have no cover charge, full bar, and live music from 9pm - 12am. We also offer $1 off Happy Hour specials on Thursdays and Fridays from 4pm-7pm.
As the museum is closed on Thursdays, while we are open, we would like to make Thursday nights a sort of Downtown mixer where downtown workers and residents can meet each other, and enjoy the evening in a unique but laid back atmosphere.
Hey, it's actually Thursday. Hmm.
August 20, 2008
Readin' Around Wednesday
Some days, the e-mail box is bit more interesting than the last day. Seems to have been that way for the entire week. So, to get some topics and events out there, a compendium on notable bits follows.
There's a show coming at Subterranean Books. Tim Lane, known by many for his fantastic bits in the RFT is featured. Some details:
Subterranean Books is so excited to be hosting a gallery viewing of original pen & ink drawings and book signing for Tim Lane’s fist book Abandoned Cars, published by the highly regarded graphic novel and comic publisher Fantagraphics. The free opening reception and book signing will take place at Subterranean Books on Friday, September 26, from 7 to 9pm. The show will be up through Sunday, November 9. Reception is co-sponsored by Schlafly Beer.
Tim Lane is known locally as the illustrator of the semi-regular column in the Riverfront Times entitled You are Here, as well as other RFT serials.
Jason Deem sends along word of some new web endeavors for the Cherokee Street set:
Now that we have the kinks worked out and some content up, we'd like to invite you to check out the new Cherokee community news and photo sites:
We hope these resources will be a useful and accessible way to stay informed, engage in public discussion, archive images that describe the life and history of our neighborhood, and celebrate the energy of so many who are working to rebuild and heal the neighborhood.
For those of you who remember the whole saga over the Miss Rockaway Armada and its STL riverfront demise, some of the creators have begun a new project, with a similar vibe. We won't be seeing them, since they're working the Hudson River Valley. But interesting, nonetheless. The story, compliments of the New York Times.
A Metropolis member sends along word of the MSTL flagship event, The Lot, happening this weekend:
Here's the schedule for the Lot this year. Starting at 4:30 - The Monads, Alivn Jett and Phay noiZ, LOGOS, Earthworms and Fresh Heir, The Funky Butt Brass Band, The Feed, Victoria, So Many Dynamos (midnight).
This year, in addition to Schlafly Beer, food will be available from vendors at the Lot. This will be a nice addition to the festival, as it will alleviate overcrowding in the Tap Room and allow people to stay for longer periods of time and enjoy all the music. Vitos, David Bailey (chocolate bar/Rooster), Beso Mexican Cantina, Cooks on Call and Emack & Bolio's will all have booths. Lots of other local business and non-profits will be showcasing, including STL-Style, LiveFeed, Animal House Fund, Hair of the Dog and more
Justin Visnesky, who has shot for a couple recent editions of 52nd City, writes us with news of a worthy project, at one of our favorite venues, Snowflake:
I've been busy curating a show for my friends Dave and Bevin at Snowflake/Citystock.The show is called "Here and There" and is a marriage of my life here in St. Louis and the life I still have in my native Pennsylvania. More info, including the list of artists can be found on the blog.
To help fund my endeavor, I'm offering up an 8"x10" print in an edition of 20 for the ridiculous price of $30 (including shipping to where ever you'd like it shipped). The photo is one of two 30"x40"s I'll have in the show. This is the mini version at a mini price. If you're interested, go to the blog for more info and to purchase. Thanks in advance for the support. And I hope you're all enjoying your summer.
August 18, 2008
Wilco Helps Out New Roots Urban Farm
As reported by PLENTY magazine:
"...recently in St. Louis, the band donated $3,000 from poster sales to benefit New Roots Urban Farm, an 'anti-profit collective' which sells its produce at farmers' markets and Community Sponsored Agriculture programs, and helps get local children involved in community agriculture."
Rock on, guys. Meaning both literally and metaphorically. Rock on!
It's not every day that I get a chance to trade e-mails with CRISPIN GLOVER, so I'm choosing to bold his NAME early on here. To show my EXCITEMENT. Seriously. How cool is life some days?
This weekend, CRISPIN GLOVER will be appearing at Webster University's Film Series for a three-night engagement, featuring a couple of different films and his slide show, along with Q-and-A sessions. Here's a link to the WUFS page. At that site, you can specific info about showtimes and the run of works this weekend.
Giving an overview of his weekend below, CRISPIN GLOVER discusses his provocative films, his upcoming projects and some misecellany. Enjoy.
For your last visit to Webster, you had an overflow crowd. I know you have a second program to screen, but I take it that the popularity of the last event spurred your three-night run this time out?
The last visit to Webster was something that was added in after I had already scheduled another event that I had right after it. They had contacted me and wanted to know if I would be willing to come in that day before so I thought I would. I usually do not play for less than at least two days in a row for precisely the reason of what happened last time which was a sell out and many people had to be turned away. We really needed a two night event last time. We knew that the next time I came back would do the show at least two nights. So now this time people will have the opportunity to see the two entirely different shows and films. My original one hour live dramatic narration of eight different books I will perform before part one of the IT trilogy "What is it?" on Friday August 22. On Saturday and Sunday I will perform four completely different books in a new performance and show part two of the IT trilogy titled "It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE."
Here is a more detailed description of the show and films:
I definitely have been aware of the element of utilizing the fact that I am known from work in the corporate media I have done in the last 25 years or so. This is something I rely on for when I go on tour with my films. It lets me go to various places and have the local media cover the fact that I will be performing a one hour live dramatic narration of eight different books which are profusely illustrated and projected as I go through them, then show the film either What is it? Being 72 minutes or "It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE." being 74 minutes. Then having a Q-and-A and then a book signing. As I funded the films I knew that this is how I would recoup my investment even if it a slow process.
The books are taken from old books from the 1800's that have been changed in to different books from what they originally were. They are heavily illustrated with original drawings and reworked images and photographs. When I first started publishing the books in 1987 people said I should have book readings. But the book are so heavily illustrated and they way the illustrations are used within the books they help to tell the story so the only way for the books to make sense was to have visually representations of the images. This is why I knew a slide show was necessary. It took a while but in 1992 I started performing what I used to call "Crispin Hellion Glover's Big Side Show." People get confused as to what that is so now I always let it be known that it is a one hour dramatic narration of eight different books that I have made over the years.
Also after I show the film I have a Q-and-A session with the audience. This has become an extremely important part of the show particularly after showing "What is it?" "What is it?" Deals with many taboo elements and audiences can have very strong questioning after the film and it is important to not explain the film to people in terms of symbols and meaning, but it is important to put the film in context of what it it reacting to and let people know that this is not just an exercise in something random, but there are specific reason why what is being reacted to with these films is important.
I make it quite clear that What is it? is not a film about Down's Syndrome but my psychological reaction to the corporate restraints that have happened in the last 20 to 30 years in film making. Specifically anything that can possibly make an audience uncomfortable is necessarily excised or the film will not be corporately funded or distributed. This is damaging to the culture because it is the very moment when an audience member sits back in their chair looks up at the screen and thinks to their self "Is this right what I am watching? Is this wrong what I am watching? Should I be here? Should the filmmaker have made this? What is it?" - and that is the title of the film. What is it that is taboo in the culture? What does it mean that taboo has been ubiquitously excised in this culture's media? What does it mean to the culture when it does not properly process taboo in it's media? It is a bad thing because when questions are not being asked because these kinds of questions are when people are having a truly educational experience. For the culture to not be able to ask questions leads towards a non educational experience and that is what is happening in this culture. This stupefies this culture and that is of course a bad thing. So "What is it?" Is a direct reaction to the contents this culture's media. I would like for people to think for themselves.
I will also show "It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE." It is important to show "What is it?" first because it sets up going in to taboo subject matter to the extent so that when people view "It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE." The taboo element is not what becomes important but the emotional content of the film. The two films have thematic similarities but are very different kinds of film. "It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE." very much deals with the emotional catharsis of the main character is played by the author of the screenplay Steven C. Stewart who was born with a severe case of cerebral palsy. I put Steven C. Stewart in to "What is it?" When I turned "What is it?" in to a feature from what was originally going to be a short film. Steve had written his screenplay in in the late 1970's. I read it in 1986 and as soon as I had read it I knew I had to produce the film. Steve had been locked in a nursing home for about ten years when his mother died. As previously stated he had been born with a severe case of cerebral palsy and was very difficult to understand. People that were caring for him in the nursing home would derisively call him an "M.R." short for "Mental Retard." This is not a nice thing to say to anyone, but Steve was of normal intelligence. When he did get out he wrote his screenplay. Although it is written in the genre of a murder detective thriller truths of his own existence come through much more clearly than if he had written it as a standard autobiography. We shot "It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE." while I was still completing "What is it?" And this is partly why What is it? took a long time to complete. I am very proud of the film as I am of "What is it?" "I feel It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE." will probably be the best film I will have anything to do with in my entire career. People who are interested in when I will be back should join up on the e mail list at CrispinGlover.com as it e mail them when I will be where with whatever film I tour with. It is by far the best way to know how to see the films.
Seeing your audience at that show, I was struck by the youth of it. It was much younger audience than I might have expected. What's the range of your fanbase? Do you see certain patterns emerge from city-to-city, in terms of who is at the gig?
I get a very wide range of people that come to the shows. I get young people older people families and individuals all kinds of backgrounds and physical types. There is not a specific type of person physically but I do notice that as I speak with the people during the Q-and-A and when I am doing the book signings that people are curious about a lot of things and seem to enjoy things that are more unusual and thought provoking. That is why it is a varied amount of people because people in general come to the show because true human curiosity and thoughtfulness has no physical boundary!
Are there other performers who've taken on this type of touring roadshow? It's hard to believe there's another artist showing movies, playing a slideshow and signing autographs until after midnight, but perhaps you know of some contemporaries to your style or approach?
Most live performance right now is music, so this is quite different from that kind of live performance. I would say the largest difference in what I do is the part that was not mentioned in the question. It is the live dramatic narration I perform before I show the film that is the most unusual portion of the show in terms of how films are usually presented. I would classify what I am doing as vaudeville. By mixing live performance and with a feature film and audience interaction it is harkening back to what was happening one hundred years ago in the entertainment field.
I also seem to recall that you were ill during that show. What's the challenge of working a live show when not feeling your best, and with knowing that your audience may've traveled some way to catch the gig?
You are right in that I was losing my voice when I performed last time at Webster. This is also a vaudeville sentiment - "The show must go on!"
One of my most-enduring images of you is in the Michael Almereyda film "Twister." Is that a reference point for many folks? What are the films and projects that people wish to discuss on a frequent basis?
Now after having acted in over 40 films it really is never about a single film when people come to the shows. People have usually seen a variety of the films I have acted in. I have had I believe two people who came up to me during the book signings that had not ever seen me in anything and their first experience was seeing me in my own film "What is it?" That was very interesting to me and I was quite satisfied that both of those people enjoyed the live show and the film. I liked that because it meant the works stood on their own without a preconceived notion. But in any case what combination people have seen me in what things is incalculable for me. I sign a lot of different DVD covers for films I have been and Twister is definitely one of them!
Are you working on any projects/possible projects of, let's say, a mainstream nature? Any cable, network or film roles, outside of your own works?
Upcoming in release are "The Wizard of Gore," "9," "Freezer Burn," and "The Forlorn." "The Forlorn" is about the Donner Party incident that happened when people got stuck on their journey to California in the 1840's and it resulted in cannibalism.
Also, are there any book projects that you're undertaking at present?
I made most of the books in the 1980's and very early 90's. The new slide show has some books that are more recently reworked and some older ones. I will continue publishing my books but right now my money is tied up in the film and I need to recoup me investments in the films before I publish more books. I will do this though and people can find out more about this and where and when I will be touring by signing up for the e mail list on CrispinGlover.com.
Did you have any impressions of St. Louis, based on your quick visit to town last time? And what are your feeling about the Winifred Moore Auditorium as a venue?
I liked St. Louis but I did not get out much. I know it sounds very touristy but this time I will definitely go to the big arch and probably to some museums. The Winifred Moore Auditorium is one of the finest I have been to in the country and the sounds and projection systems are to notch. The community has a great venue in its midst with excellent programming and definitely deserves to be visited. I look forward to coming back with the my two different films and shows and look forward to meeting people there!
Thank you for the excellent questions. I appreciate it!
August 14, 2008
GUS @ Mad Art
George Malich, our main man, was kind enough to call the other day, offering a few minutes of time in discussing an event this weekend at Mad Art. And with each passing day, I thought, "hmm, there's something I should do. Transcribe that interview properly." Alas.
He's been kind enough, has George, to send along the particulars. So we present them here, in his words:
Screening of GUS, a film by Daniel Bowers Friday, August 15 7:30 pm to 11 pm
Mad Art Gallery is proud to present Gus, the documentary film that peers into the life of St. Louis legend Gus Torregrossa. We are celebrating the release of the film on DVD with a screening and special event on Friday, August 15th at 7:30 p.m.
Gus Torregrossa is a beloved, mafia-esque figure in the world of hip-hop and in the Italian-American community of St. Louis. During the film's production, Gus and his store were facing the prospect of being pushed out of the Washington Avenue Garment District due to the redevelopment of the area into upscale lofts, restaurants, and shops.
For thirty years, Gus' Fashions was a stopping point for famous actors, musicians, politicians, professional sports figures, and journalists. Notable among his clientele are Jamie Fox, Flava-Flav, Easy E, Kid-n-Play, Tupac Shakur, and Nelly. Gus ran his store with his faithful assistant Jimmy Barton (Vitale), affectionately known as Jimmy the Midget.
Gus won the award for Best Biography in the 2004 New York International Independent Film and Video Festival and went on to play in Los Angeles as part of the same festival. It was an official selection in the Saint Louis International Film Festival and was invited to screen at the 2004 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival.
Doors open at 7:30 p.m. The evening will also feature live music by Earthworms and DJ Mahf, tag art by Graffiti Lounge's Chris Sabatino, and a question and answer session with Gus Torregrossa and director Daniel Bowers following the screening
Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. FREE copy of Gus DVD with the first 200 tickets sold. To purchase advance tickets, please contact George Malich at 314 647-4197. For more information about the film, please visit http://www.lacklusterpictures.com/.
August 13, 2008
Art Sandler: R.I.P.
A popular professor at Webster University and a frequent attendee and organizer of activist efforts around town, Art Sandler, has passed. Just received the news today, the same day as a memorial service at Central Reform Congregation.
Here's a link to a Webster University release, which outlines many, though not all, of his accomplishments.
He, himself, was a link to a different Webster University, namely the artistic, activist, eclectic, free-wheeling Webster College of the 1970s and '80s. He was always there for students and I truly wish that I would've taken his courses. As it was, I saw him speak several times, interviewed him frequently for the WU Journal, but literally only had one class with him, a single afternoon of Intro to Western Civ, before dropping the course. Knowing him later, I always wished that I'd shown some diligence and stuck it out.
My/our condolences to friends and family.
August 12, 2008
Stark: Wholesome, Family Fun
It's hard to believe that Paul Stark would ever leave the "Ska's the Limit" imprint, which he's been a part of the better part of two-decades. The longest-running ska show in THE WORLD will have new stewardship, while Paul's moved on to a new endeavor on KDHX. Always a solid promoter of his efforts, and those of friends, Paul sends along a note about his new radio gig:
The live debut is Saturday August 16th at 8-10 am on 88.1 FM.
Like all the other shows on KDHX, each episode will be available to listen to on the Internet for fourteen days at www.kdhx.org
The new show is called "KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round". The show's host "Grandfather Stark," has been the host of another KDHX show, "Ska's The Limit" for the past fifteen years and is ready to present a new format to KDHX listeners.
For decades, Grandfather Stark has been sharing fun "family-friendly" music from the past hundred years with his grandchildren. He's now ready to share with your family.
Intended by design to not strictly be a "kids show", Grandfather Stark will be playing music that can be appreciated be anyone of any age.
With our unique, valuable resource of KDHX many programmers and volunteers' personal music libraries to draw from, we're ready to present something unusual that we're sure you'll enjoy.
Please let us know what you think of the first show this Saturday,
KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round
Castro on Food
Here's the bio of Michael Castro:
Michael Castro is a poet, translator, and performance artist. He is the co-founder of the literary organization and magazine, River Styx, in operation in St. Louis since 1975. He has hosted three poetry radio programs, broadcasting poetry programming over twenty years and has published ten books of poetry. Castro teaches at Lindenwood University, where he founded the MFA in Writing Program.
Here's the lovely piece he wrote for our online edition:
August 11, 2008
Lyle on 52nd City
Rather than inviting you to check out the entire, new, online edition of 52nd City, we'll occasionally give you a reminder that there's some fine stuff in our FOOD edition.
One of the pieces that we'd definitely invite you to peruse is "Hermetic Rice: From a History of Foods from Downtown Atlantis." We've been lucky enough to have published a variety of works from K. Curtis Lyle over the past few years, one of our most-regular "regulars' in the print edition.
This time out, his work's available for all, free of charge, in the digital form. To say it's a worth a read is serious understatement. With a nod to photographer Andrea Day, whose work accompanies Lyle's piece, here's a link to "Hermetic Rice."
Chris on Gus
Chris King might be one of the most prolific bloggers I've come across in some time, impressive mostly for the fact that I don't believe he cared for the form prior to becoming completely hooked about a month back. In the past few days, he's punched up thoughts on pop legend Mitch Easter, African cooking, Joe Mokwa's resignation and race relations.
In yesterday's three-post weekend outburst, King fired up some thoughts about "Gus," which will be released on video this coming Friday night at the Mad Art Gallery. Here's that post.
We'll note, too, that a good reason to the attend the event at Mad Art - $10 at the door, with a DVD coming back to you - is that you'll have a chance to see the work of St. Louis expat Terrance Hughes, in the "Jar*Gon" show that co-curated at the Soulard venue. Well worth examining.
August 10, 2008
UE on Flickr
Prolific flickr-ographer and visual xplaner Dave Gray was apparently a recent visitor to both the old Pruitt-Igoe site and to the St. Mary's Infirmary, if I'm to believe some snaps at his photo-sharing page. With this photog, you'll always get some interesting textural shots.
Little birdy say: some CementLand shots might be next. Edit: up.
Edit: no sooner do I type than some do appear, albeit from a different camera and user. CementLand's here.
August 09, 2008
Mike D Launches Big Picture Site
My one-time colleague at the Riverfront Times, Mike DeFilippo, has begun a stand-alone site, featuring the photos he's been taking for MayorSlay.com. It's found at sainlouisbigpicture.com. Though it principally includes the shots for the Mayor's site, some outtakes and alternate shots can be found, as well.
Definitely worth a peek, peeps.
Reads his introductory page text, in part:
This website is a sample from my archive of work documenting life in the City of Saint Louis, Missouri.
Your can't spell archive without A-R-C-H, but there is more to the city than the stainless steel sculpture perched on the west bank of the Mississippi River.
Culture, joy, beauty and wonder abound in this old town. My goal is to create a life portrait of this great American city...
The "Big Picture" is a weekly photo feature I first produced in print from 1990-1994. It currently appears on line at www.mayorslay.com/bigpicture. Many of the photos posted in this archive are selections from that feature. Others are out takes and personal unpublished favorites.
August 05, 2008
Reading Around, Tuesday
Chuck Berry's house is (officially) historic, suggests Eco-Absence.org.
Some voters and smart, some are not. This we've gleaned from some interesting electoral coverage at the Beacon.
Dana Smith has a show coming up. Read about at his site.
Obviously, I haven't been visiting InsideSTL.com much recently, as the site's gone through a complete redesign and navigation turnover. Oh!
New KDHX Schedule Announced
There are some changes happening on the KDHX airwaves, with Monday, August 11 targeted as the first day of new programming. Over that next week, some shows will be moving, others will be added, a few will be condensed... suffice to say, there are more than a few interesting twists on the schedule.
And, in the interests of disclosure, this poster will move from the talk format, to the rock'n'roll, with a Friday afternoon lunchtime show.
Here's a primer on what to expect.
August 04, 2008
Brett Williams at Maps
Won't make this one, cause I'll be 1. filling in for Ann Haubrich and Jane Ibur on Literature for the Halibut, then 2. going home to pack for a weekend trip to (gulp) Utah (I always worry I'll get stuck there). Don't know why this always happens to me, but I seem to be out of town for the good stuff (I'm seriously bummed about missing the Lumberyard release party this weekend, for instance).
Anyhow, I'm a big fan of both Brett Williams and Maps. So I'd go to this show if I could. If you're not deejaying and then packing a suitcase, you should go. I'll let Mr. Vogt explain:
Maps' August exhibition features St. Louis based
artist Brett Williams
Please join us Thursday, August 7th, 2008 from
7-10 p.m. for the opening of:
Bag in Tree
Thursday, August 5th- Saturday, August 30th, 2008
Brett's work examines the conventions and techniques used in the film industry to make the viewer believe they are watching reality. In his installations Brett utilizes audio, visual, and projector equipment to simulate situations in which recorded elements slowly fall out of sync, disrupting their ability to convey a believable reality.
Gallery hours for Maps Contemporary Art Space are:
Saturdays and Sundays from 12-5, or to schedule an
appointment call (618) 334-4347 or e-mail us at
We can be found on the web at: http://www.myspace.com/maps_contemporaryartspace
Maps is located at 225 N. Illinois St. in Downtown
Belleville, Illinois, just a few blocks North of the
Belleville Town Square.
How to get to Maps Contemporary Art Space from St.
Louis: Take I-64 East to Hwy 159 South (exit 12)
towards Belleville. Maps is approx. 6 miles on the
right side of N. Illinois, just before the Belleville
From the Belleville Metro stop take the 16
Belleville/St. Clair Square bus line to 225 N.
Maps Contemporary Art Space
225 N. Illinois St.
Belleville, Il. 62220
Keaggy Eats Sandwiches
National Sandwich Month is upon us.
August 03, 2008
Get Born: Tomorrow (Monday) @ Duff's
Our main man, Brett Lars Underwood, is hooking us up with information on the next Get Born reading, which happens to be... right about now.
Tomorrow August 4th
Get Born @ Duffs 392 N. Euclid
Readers include: Lauren Keefer, Benjamin Mankus, Sreeja, Brock Walker, Tim Kenny, Mathieu Paul, Dwight Bitikofer, Phil Gounis,a nd many more TBA. Music by Guitar Mat of The Rumdrum Ramblers.
SBAC in NYT
The South Broadway Athletic Club's monthly wrestling promotion is featured in today's New York Times. A tipster sends along a link to the piece, written by former RFT reporter Malcolm Gay.
I've seen it all now. I'm speechless.
August 01, 2008
George Malich on the Boards
Our main man, George Malich, a lifetime subscriber to 52nd City, which shows his great taste, is taking part in the latest NPTCO show, under the guise of Gavin Tartowski. Apparently, we can only blog about Off Broadway's events this weekend, so here're the basics on the show.
WHO: The NonProphet Theater Company’s comedy show, The Militant Propaganda Bingo Machine!
WHAT: Critically acclaimed sketch comedy, right here in St. Louis!
WHEN: Sunday, August 3 at 8:00pm
WHERE: Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63118
HOW (MUCH): $10 admission at the door
WHY: Why not? AND we have special guest host, George Malich!
Bowie on Broadway
Tonight at Off Broadway, four bands will be playing the music of David Bowie. The second act features Bryan Hoskins - standing two-feet away as I type this - and other members of both the Incurables and Walkie Talkie U.S.A. Their set will include "Space Oddity," "Man who Sold the World," "Starman," "Oh, You Pretty Things" and "Life on Mars."
It's 18-up and $7.00 at the door. The above group plays at roughly 10 p.m., important to note since our tipster is in that project.