This just in: photos from the July 15 Bagheera and Red Eyed Driver concert at The Commonspace (you remember that place, right?). Those familiar with MU 330 will recognize Ted Moll, the man behind the kit for Bagheera. And check out out rehabber John "Obie" O'Brien rockin' the bass. Any of you who have been to Mangia Italiano will recognize half of Red Eyed Driver.
Dateline: S. Grand near Arsenal
As of 11:16 p.m. Thursday (headed home after Cine 16), we can report that Erato Wine Bar seems to be open. And packed with happy people, if fleeting glances can be believed.
Erstwhile Director of Development and Communication at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis Susan Werremeyer is stepping down to be full-time mommy to newish arrival, Jack. (And, okay, she can't walk all the way away: Susan will be a home-based, part-time freelance development consultant).
Atomic Cowboy has all sorts of fun things planned for their new location at 4140 Manchester, which is scheduled to open next year. Maplewood's loss is the city's gain.
WeFunk is a weekly radio show out of Montreal that features "deep funk, underground hip-hop, and rare grooves" laid down and mixed up by Professor Groove and DJ Static. They continuously broadcast past shows on WeFunkRadio.com, where you can also download free MP3s of past shows or buy 13 shows on a CD for $11. If you're using iTunes, you can tune into the stream under the "Urban" category.
What does all of this have to do with grassroots civics and culture in St. Louis? If the November and December issues of The Commonspace had a soundtrack, it'd be WeFunk. I listened to it almost the whole time I was working on the site. WeFunk: 64 kbps of sonic bliss. Hot tub!
Illuminating interview from the New York Times with outgoing Congressman Dick Gephardt, in which he praises hometown boy Nelly, his new iPod, and his union jacket collection, among other things.
If it's Tuesday, it must be re-branding time for Grand Center (the arts and entertainment district? The cultural and creative district?). Now we're on to "The Intersection of Art and Life," and to prove it, in place of the sad little gated trees that lined Grand until they were chopped down earlier this year, there are fancy topiary shrubs in stone planters that are inscribed "Grand Center" on one side and "The Intersection of Art and Life" on the other.
Please refer to it thusly until futher notice. New shrubbery will direct you if and when a change comes.
Everybody's favorite save, the South Side National Bank Building, is now under the control of West End Realty, which reportedly will renovate the landmark tower into $200K condos and retain commercial space on the lower floors.
There's a delightful bit of zinger-flinging going on amongst the Post-Dispatch, Downtown's paid advocates and the (paid) pages of the Business Journal: in an article a couple of weeks ago, writer Diane Toroian Keaggy blasted Washington Avenue (among many other targets) as one of our town's underachievers, since clubs (now the "ugly stepsisters," as she terms them) have lagged while restaurants and lofts have boomed.
In an ad in next week's Business Journal, Downtown St. Louis Partnership honcho Jim Cloar fires back, saying that clubs have a "notoriously high turnover rate," and the area's other successes should be praised. No doubt he'd like Keaggy to join Charlie Brennan and others he calls "a better informed local citizenry" in finding the glass half-fuller, as our president might say.
As a snide aside, no one's yet asked publicly whether the Post-Dispatch should've included itself as an institution that could do better...
I wouldn't normally use this sacred space in the blogosphere to plug various commercial enterprises, but since (a) it's that time of year when people seek arrangements for their beloved four-legged companions and (b) this just cracks me up, I just remembered today (when I picked up his business card at Hartford Coffee Company) that Byron Kerman, a.k.a. the Delirious Nomad of Playback magazine, has launched a pet-sitting service, called (what else could it be called?) "Release The Hounds". That, alone, deserves your business.
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. And his card promises "warm and loving," so don't take any guff.
The Urban Blight Players are having a CD release party for their debut album, "Big Small Town," on Sunday, December 5 at the Focal Point (2720 Sutton Blvd.) in Maplewood. The all-ages show starts at 8 PM (doors 7:30). The cover is a mere $2.
Here's how they explain the title of their album (and by extension, St. Louis): "YOU CAN TRY TO STAY INCONSPICUOUS IN THIS TOWN, but sooner or later you're bound to run into someone you know... a high school classmate... the halfback from your sixth grade soccer team... the old guy down the block listening the Cards game in his lawnchair... your ex from the summer after college... Maybe that's what they call it a BIG SMALL TOWN."
The last track on the CD is "Urban Blight." You can listen to a snippet of it at CD Baby. Here are the lyrics:
Everybody's moving out to St. Charles
I guess it's just the St. Louis way
We move farther and farther out each day
Nothing at all
We just want another shopping mall
Hey son don't you curse
We need another Bath and Body Works
Mr. Yuppie and me in his S.U.V.
Four wheeling down 270
From his way you'd better get the hell out
He was the first in his Catholic grade school class
To sell out to...
You don't have to dial 1 before 636
Crossing the Missouri River Styx
Do you know where I can find a Walgreens store?
There's one on every block
But we could sure use more
Prescription ready for Mr. Michael-ski
So I just got back from North County
Where they have 'bout 57 municipalities (really, I counted)
Have you been to Bellfontaine Neighbors...
Bel-Nor, Bel-Ridge, or Bel-Acres?
Macaroni Grill or the P.F. Chang's
Chain restaurants are where the Yuppies hang
For about twenty bucks a platter
But when you're a neurosurgeon from Ladue
Hell it doesn't matter
CUSTOMER: I'll have the Tuscan Tortilla Salad
WAITER: Is that all?
CUSTOMER: Yes, thank you
St. Louis Centre was great
When Vince Coleman was great
Yes, a seven-story Famous-Barr right up the street
It's still there if you want to go shopping
You can spend all day
But it won't be hopping
Now, St. Louis Mills
There's the mall to beat
Out where 270 and 370 meet
Shop til' you drop at stores galore
'Cause St. Louis Centre ain't the shit no more
So let me take ya'll now
There's no urban blight
It's urban renewal around!
Just check out the Washington Avenue sights:
Brand new sidewalks and runway lights
Think of the brand new things to come
Luxury lofts and a new Busch Stadium
But remember folks though it might look pretty
It takes more than bricks and mortar to build a city
That's why I'm talking about the...
WALLY: St. Louey!