Our historic buildings are the city's most important competitive asset and key to economic revitalization.
Both buildings are architecturally and historically significant to the city of St. Louis. The Century Building is coming down for a parking lot and the Virginia Mansion for a new residential facility.
The St. Louis Rehabbers Club will host a Preservation March and Rally on Monday, June 27 at 3 p.m. to protest the planned demolition.
Protesters will meet at 8th and Locust downtown across from the beautiful, but very soon to be demolished, Century Building. We will rally before marching to 1015 Locust, where the city of St. Louis will hold a hearing for the demolition of the Virginia Mansion.
D-Day for the Century Building is slated for June 30. We are hoping that a last-minute well-signed petition could make a difference with one of the key supporters for demolishing the Century, the National Trust for Historic Preservation. (It's hard to believe, but the National Trust for Historic Preservation is chipping in $4.3 million to demolish a building that's on the National Register of Historic Places.) Please read the petition and sign it. Please also foward it to your friends, and consider emailing a note to Richard Moe (President, Richard_Moe@nthp.org) and Peter Brink (Senior VP-Programs, Peter_Brink@nthp.org) at the National Trust.
Preservation Board hearing may decide fate of Virginia Mansion (Post-Dispatch, Patricia Rice)
Saving Old St. Louis (Post-Dispatch, Deb Peterson)
In a 3-2 decision, the Preservation Board voted to deny the application for demolition of the Virginia Mansion.
National Trust backs plan to raze building (Post-Dispatch, Robert Duffy)
Protest Over Planned Century Bldg. Demolition (KWMU, Tom Weber)
Wes Ballew dug up a hypocritical ad that the National Trust for Historic Preservation ran in Parade magazine about a year ago. The tag line is "No one looks back fondly on the time they spent in a parking garage." True dat.
Vote in the STLtoday.com poll: Should the Century Building downtown be razed to make space for a parking garage?
Battle of the Century (Post-Dispatch, Robert Duffy)
Raze a building and get tax credits (Post-Dispatch, Charlene Prost)
Yet another reason to visit the excellent Subterranean Books in the Loop: Javier has realized the vision and completed the little loft gallery that has been in the planning stages for some time. At the moment, you can see a few pieces from this year's "Bread and Roses" exhibit, including a decorative mirror by Sheila Suderwalla entitled "Democracy Looks Like You," and a moving painting by Tim Varner, "Supporting Our Troops." Stop by and climb the stairs if you're in the neighborhood.
STLtoday has been redesigned. Among the changes is a headline ticker on the front page that rotates at warp speed, at least on my machine.
At a kickoff event this morning for the much-vaunted Eats Bridge project (part of the overall Celebrate 2004 hootenanny/shindig/throwdown), Mayor Slay and Peter Sortino spoke of the importance of events like Eats Bridge and RiverSplash in attracting that elusive demographic, young people, to our town.
Probably because I'm fast slipping out of the target demographic, it just amuses me to no end to watch middle-aged white guys chase hipsters. Sortino summed up the approach by saying: "Some of the things young people like more than anything else are parties and special events."
Marjobo Harrell died in a motorcycle accident Saturday night. He lived a few doors up from Amanda and me in Tower Grove Heights. A little after 10:00 that night, we stopped and talked to him for a while on our way home from walking our dogs. Bo was seated on his motorcycle in front of his house, on his way to 609 in the Loop.
Around 11:00, he sideswiped a car on northbound Skinker near Lindell and slid under a moving Metro bus that was also traveling north. He was 34 years old. Funeral arrangements are still pending.
Bo was a great guy. When he asked how you were doing, you got the sense that he really cared. He was a firefighter assigned to Engine Co. 32 on Grand at Potomac. In the notes section of the block buzz book I put together, he listed the following: "Hobbies: motorcycling, traveling; Talents: singing, fashion merchandising; Interest: having a close knit neighborhood; Super powers: top secret." His brother ended up at our house late one night a couple of years ago, looking for a phone he could use while he waited for Bo to come home. He repeated over and over how proud he was of his brother, the firefighter.
CNET News.com ran an article about St. Louis-based (well, sort of St. Louis-based they have a 636 area code) 321 Studios, which makes software that lets you copy DVDs and games. Unfortunately, it's not cheery news for the local economy. The beleaguered company is facing a swarm of lawsuits from entertainment companies with deep pockets. At stake is the important issue of where to draw the line between fair use and piracy when it comes to digital media. 321 Studios has had to lay off 95% of its 400 employees. Slashdot also picked up the story.
Tim Woodcock wrote a well-balanced article about surveillance for the front page of the June 16-22 issue of the West End Word. It's entitled "Big Brother or Neighborhood Watch?" and features coverage of the community forum about the plan to install cameras in Soulard that was held at The Commonspace, including quotes from some of the participants.
Bonus points if you can name the one-hit wonder responsible for the lyrics in the title of this post. Hint: Backing vocals on the track were provided by two of the Jackson 5.
Recently alerted to the existence of this blog, a sometimes-funny/sometimes-painful chronicle of a life that was, on the city's south side.
Deb Peterson picked up the story about Christina Reid leaving town in her column in the Post today, including a quote from this blog. Deb's newsy bits also mentioned a couple of other names that have popped up here recently: Tom Weber and Blake Brokaw.
KWMU's Tom Weber won yet another journalism award, this one from the Missouri Broadcasters Association for his feature story about ďArts Funding in a Bad Economy.Ē Tom also got to hold the Olympic torch yesterday after wrestling it away from Janice Herold. In case you're wondering, the torch runners got to keep the torches they carried.
Blake Brokaw has landed at Anthony's Bar (10 South Broadway), ending speculation that he might be leaving town.
According to the Arch City Chronicle blog, Scott Goessling, formerly the membership chair of Metropolis, has been installed as the new president. Funny, I don't recall seeing a call for nominations for the empty position.
In her first "weekly" update since the one that was quoted in the RFT nine months ago, Metropolis St. Louis president Christina Reid announced that she is resigning immediately to move to California. Apparently, the organization that was formed to attract young people to the city of St. Louis can't even retain its own leaders.
During Christina's year-and-a-half snooze at the wheel, Metropolis has continued to go downhill, as detailed in the article by Dave Drebes entitled "Metropolis Flounders: Needs to Revitalize Self" in the June 9th issue of the Arch City Chronicle. Money, members (especially young ones) and communication are all in short supply. Metropolis' calendar reads like it's for a health-conscious walking club.
Four steering committee members besides Christina recently resigned: Keri Ross (secretary), Dennis Gorg (marketing), the perennially MIA Matt Stevens (policy) and Julie Rivinus (social). Three of them have been mysteriously replaced by new board members on Metropolis' website. The change took place without a public call for self-nominations and without a public meeting to interview the candidates the way the organization traditionally handled changes to the steering committee. In fact, the resignations were never even announced.
Look for upcoming articles about Metropolis' fall from glory in the Business Journal and by Sylvester Brown in the Post-Dispatch. Stick a fork in it; it's done.
Update: Sylvester Brown's column ran in the Post today under the headline "Youth is fleeting - and maybe so is Metropolis St. Louis."
As an explanation for Metropolis' inactivity, Christina Reid offered the standard copout that it's a member-driven organization in a lame attempt to absolve herself and the other steering committee members of their utter failure to do their jobs and provide the organizational framework necessary to keep things running. They've stopped sending out weekly email updates, monthly newsletters, meeting agendas, minutes and membership renewals. They don't create treasurer's reports, respond to questions from project leaders, hold project group meetings or announce meetings more than a day in advance. A majority of them don't even show up to steering committee meetings. Back in the day, in addition to doing all of the above, steering committee members also proposed or helped organize most of the group's projects. Some total nut cases even quit their jobs to focus on volunteering for Metropolis. It hurts to see an organization that so many people put so much effort into being driven into the ground by laziness.
Sightem: Dave Drebes was spotted today wearing a Metropolis Lot t-shirt.
Cynthia Billhartz's article about Gen Obata, the artist whose work currently graces the walls at The Commonspace, topped the list of yesterday's most e-mailed stories on STLtoday.com. The story ran on the front page of the Everyday section of the Post-Dispatch. It helped spike the page views on our website to 3,147 on June 15. (We've averaged 1,757 page views per day this month, according to AWStats.)
This just in: Donnybrooker Ray Hartmann spotted this afternoon, leaving Target Greatland with a youngish hottie (his wife?) and presumably their bambino in a tricked-out stroller, with a basket full o'clothes hampers and other domestic items. He loaded it up into their SUV, and in so doing became (my dad would snort derisively) the literal Lexus liberal.
I dunno, it just made me smile.
Fresh on the heels of their participation in the June 4 panel discussion at The Commonspace, Bob Kraiberg and Matt LeMieux were in KWMU's studio yesterday to talk with Mike Sampson on St. Louis on the Air. You can listen to the discussion online.
I heard a rumor that The Chocolate Bar has closed. Can anyone out there in blogland confirm that?
Update: It's worse than I thought. According to an email from a certain AP-award-winning journalist mentioned below, The Chocolate Bar is closed and so is LO. He says Tangerine is also gone or on its way out.
Update #2: The Commonspace scooped the Post. From Deb Peterson's column:
WISH AVE.: Blake Brokaw has closed his club Lo, and is set to close Tangerine on Saturday. Tangerine, a bar and restaurant, was set to mark its eight-year anniversary on Wash Ave. (aka Washington Avenue). Both places were considered linchpins of the hip area's redevelopment. Word is that the same fate is in store for Brokaw's "The Chocolate Bar" on Park Avenue in Lafayette Square.
Remember kids, you heard it here first.
KWMU news producer Tom Weber received awards for Best News Writing and Best Investigative Series in the Chicago-St. Louis radio division of the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association's 2003 Journalism Excellence Contest.
I wonder how they fit all of that on the plaque. Now if Tom would just do another story about St. Louis' innovative public living room on North Grand ... that's got "award" written all over it.
An eye-opening article scheduled to appear in the next issue of the Arch City Chronicle lays bare the many and varied woes of Metropolis St. Louis, once touted as the city's greatest hope (and, in the interest of full disclosure, once led by both of the authors of this blog). Run, don't Walk, to get your hands on a copy this week.
A taste of the issues raised:
"Within the past month, the steering committee has suffered four resignations. But there hasnít been any communication about this to the membership. Itís as if the organization is on auto-pilot as it nosedives. Meanwhile many big questions go unanswered: Does Metropolis have the financial wherewithal to continue? As its average age continues to creep toward forty, how does Metropolis keep from becoming a parody of itself? Has Metropolis become like those self-perpetuating organizations it used to despise?"
Last night around midnight I became fixated on the idea that I should learn how to use iMovie. The result is a little movie of the 5/15/04 Breakin' @ The Commonspace session (QuickTime, 240 x 180, 2:21, 5.5 MB). It's my first-ever attempt at video editing no fair laughing.
I shot the video with a Canon PowerShot A60 digital camera. iMovie 3 is very intuitive, which is a nice way to say "limited." For folks that know anything about digital video editing, that's about as low-end as you can get no fancy camera, no fancy software. The (fitting) audio track is from DJ Kram's mix CD, "Breakin' to the Oldies II."
Tower Grove Heights has arrived! Next thing you know, we'll have a wine bar in the neighborhood. (Erato Wine Bar is slated to open at 3117 S. Grand in the former Futon Express space.)
We have some new membership levels and cool new premiums for Friends of The Commonspace. Join or renew today!
Word on the street is that Marty's Baking at the Left Bank (395 North Euclid in the Central West End) has closed. It's been a while since I've been there, but I was partial to their grilled sharp cheddar and tomato sandwich, even though it cost $5.75.
Just one damn sad departure after another these days: now, our favorite advice maven, Julia Smillie, hits the road, too...having solved all of the metro area's problems. Godspeed and all that.