TCB > April 2005

Grand Shorts

The Excise Division hearing for Mangia Italiano's proposed sidewalk café is on May 3 at 3:30 p.m. in City Hall room 416.

The Medicine Shoppe is closed on Saturday and Sunday. During the week, it's only open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday - Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday. If they're wondering why they can't compete with the evil empire of Walgreens (whose door I will not darken), there's their answer.

Spiegelglass Construction has started work on the future home of Lemongrass on the southwest corner of Juniata and Grand (formerly St. Louis Wok).

MetroLink stops between Grand and Wellston will be closed today and tomorrow due to construction of the cross-county extension. Extra buses are being run in place of the trains. Word to the wise: they're towing cars parked at the Grand MetroLink station, and you won't be able to get your car back until the tow lot opens on Monday.

Posted by Brian Marston on Sat., Apr 30, 2005 at 7:17 PM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | Business District

Bikers Rule

2004 BikeFed/Commonspace MS 150 team members Bob Foster and Ralph Zuke are pictured in the MS 150 brochure that went out to thousands of people this week.

In honor of Bike Month, Bob Foster and Jason McClelland will be on The Wire on KDHX 88.1 FM on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

Bike St. Louis is offering a free map of the city's new 20-mile bicycle route system. Props to Alderman Lewis Reed for making it happen.

Posted by Brian Marston on Fri., Apr 29, 2005 at 9:30 PM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | People

Let It Loose

Nelly's Pimp Juice has its own website where you can buy the "premium energy drink" by the 24-pack ($48). There's also a Dutch version of the site for all the glowing green beverage playas in the Netherlands. Worldwide, baby, worldwide.

Posted by Brian Marston on Fri., Apr 29, 2005 at 8:18 PM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | Fun Links

Antonio French has Left the Building

A phone call to the St. Louis Argus confirmed what I suspected: Antonio French doesn't work there anymore. I was calling because the Argus owes me money for some work I did on back in February. Their website and "Daily Blog" haven't been updated since then.

Antonio's name hasn't been on the paper's masthead for a while, but he's still listed as the news editor on the Argus' website. The footer on the site says "Copyright 2005 Antonio D. French." Messages sent to don't bounce, but they're not answered either.

Prior to working for the Argus, Antonio was the publisher of the ill-fated Public Defender, which crashed and burned after a few issues and a lot of over-the-top boasting and circulation-number puffery, taking his investors' and subscribers' money with it without much of an apology or explanation. South Side psychologist (and jilted Pub Def subscriber) Joe Daus is right: past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

Update: Antonio paid me the money the Argus owed me out of his own pocket on May 28. It was a classy thing to do, since it wasn't really his responsibility. Somehow, the Argus continues to limp along, although you wouldn't know it by looking at their website, which still hasn't been updated since Antonio left. If you want to get in touch with Antonio, you can reach him at

Posted by Brian Marston on Fri., Apr 29, 2005 at 4:20 PM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | People

Watch Whose Money You Pick Up

According to an article in the New York Times, Science Applications International Corporation (S.A.I.C.) has agreed to pay Uncle Sam $2.5 million to settle a fraud suit. They were accused of illegally overcharging the Air Force for environmental cleanup work in Texas. S.A.I.C. should get along well with the developer of their new digs in the Anderson Building (2337 South Grand), Tim Boyle. (Thanks to Jason McClelland for sending this news our way.)

Posted by Brian Marston on Fri., Apr 29, 2005 at 1:56 PM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | Business District

Rock On, Suit A

Congratulations to Caroline Hackmeyer for winning Best of Show in the photography division of the 2005 Forest Park Art Department Juried Student Show. Her photo is a self-portrait shot in a mirror through a window. Caroline is Suit A for Maplehood Rekkids, which incidentally, is lined up to be the candy sponsor for the May episode of Free Candy.

Posted by Brian Marston on Fri., Apr 29, 2005 at 12:44 PM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | People

Supporting the Local (Kansas City) Economy

Mayor Francis Slay hired Kansas City-based Swing State Media to do his website. Apparently, he didn't think any local web developers were up to the task. Kansas City is back, back Kansas City.

Posted by Brian Marston on Fri., Apr 29, 2005 at 12:04 PM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | Other

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I'm hoping I'll be called upon to write an amicus brief for Marcia or Roger: the dirty politics behind this whole thing are just too much to be believed.

Chilling effect, anyone? They hope for it, right there in writing: "The developers and agencies are seeking damages of more than $25,000 on both claims of malicious prosecution, as well as punitive damages 'in an amount sufficient to deter said defendants and others from like conduct.'" Wishful thinking, kids. Once the NY Times and other national media got a whiff of the stench of this debacle, some heads were raised that will not easily be put off the scent next time around.

Bitter much? Yeah, me too.

Posted by Amanda Doyle on Tue., Apr 26, 2005 at 5:32 PM
Link & Discuss (2 comments) | People

Rank Rankings

According to Men's Health, St. Louis is the fourth most depressed city in the U.S. and the third smokiest. We have the fattest men and the most fatal strokes. We also received Fs for both stress and divorce.

As someone who subscribed to Men's Health in college, I'd like to say that every issue of the magazine is exactly the same. All the articles are variations on the following themes: "More Sex than You Deserve," "How to Get Massive Pecs / Great Abs," and "Eat This, Don't Eat That." So there.

Posted by Brian Marston on Tue., Apr 26, 2005 at 12:59 PM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | STL in the News

Grand Plantings

At long last, it appears that the "Grand Vision" project is taking root (pun totally intended), as the planters in the medians from Arsenal to Highway 44 are outfitted with fancy sprinkler hoses and, as of this morning (Earth Day, appropriately), some of them were being planted with trees and smaller green stuff. Let's hope there's a plan for maintenance, too!

Posted by Amanda Doyle on Sat., Apr 23, 2005 at 5:27 PM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | Other

What's Crackin' in St. Louis?

If you're looking for something fun to do, check out these events calendars:

Venue Online

Posted by Brian Marston on Fri., Apr 22, 2005 at 4:02 PM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | Fun Links

2005 Midwest Spring Bling

Props to everyone who performed at the Midwest Rec Center roller rink last Saturday, including Ruka Puff, Six Point Oh, the Lovett Boyz, Ace, Military Bass, Most Wanted, TOP, TYT, SoGhetto, Mr. Kill and eight-year-old Lil' Money and her pint-sized hype men. The event was hosted by Young Dip. There's a lot of young MC talent coming up in the Lou. Get out there and support them.

Posted by Brian Marston on Fri., Apr 22, 2005 at 1:36 PM
Link & Discuss (1 comment) | People

New Jack City

Jack's in, as in the "anything-goes" adult radio format, sweeping aside the treacly unobtrusiveness of the Smooth Jazz that formerly reigned on the 106.5 FM frequency. Kinda like the Alice trend of dials past, this one (called The Arch here) is all about mashing-up songs that wouldn't be seen together on the tightly niched programming of a metal or a soft-rock station. (But there's a hilarious truth to one blog's comment that it "sounds like some lame-ass stranger's iPod.")

One neat feature for techies: if your ride's RDS-equipped, The Arch is one of the few stations in town that pushes out song names and artists for your driving (and probable wrecking) enlightenment. T'ain't cheap to do, evidently.

Posted by Amanda Doyle on Thu., Apr 21, 2005 at 3:23 PM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | The Media

Grove Furnishings

Continuing the renaissance in Tower Grove South, Bill Waggoner, Ana Casey and John Pipkins are set to open Grove Furnishings at 3169 Morganford Road on Wednesday. When it's up, their web site will be at

Posted by Brian Marston on Thu., Apr 14, 2005 at 4:45 PM
Link & Discuss (6 comments) | Business District

Hypocrisy in Jeff City

Yesterday, 70 Missouri state representatives who previously voted to eliminate Medicaid coverage for more than 100,000 low-income people voted against a proposal to accept a 20% cut in their own taxpayer-funded health benefits. The following legislators think we all need to dig deep to deal with the budget crunch (well, all of us except them):

Allen Icet, Wildwood
Barney Fisher, Richards
Bill Deeken, Jefferson City
Billy Wright, Dexter
Bob Behnen, Kirksville
Bob Dixon, Springfield
Bob May, Rolla
Brad Lager, Maryville
Brad Roark, Springfield
Brian Munzlinger, Williamstown
Brian Nieves, Washington
Brian Yates, Lee's Summit
Bryan Pratt, Blue Springs
Carl Bearden, St. Charles
Charles Denison, Springfield
Charles Portwood, Ballwin
Charles Schlottach, Owensville
Cynthia Davis, O'Fallon
Danie Moore, Fulton
Darrell Pollock, Lebanon
David Day, Dixon
David Pearce, Warrensburg
David Sater, Cassville
Dennis Wood, Kimberling City
Don Wells, Cabool
Ed Robb, Columbia
Gary Dusenberg, Blue Springs
Gayle Kingery, Poplar Bluff
Jack Goodman, Mount Vernon
Jane Cunningham, Chesterfield
Jay Wasson, Nixa
Jim Avery, Crestwood
Jim Guest, King City
Jim Lembke, St. Louis
Jim Viebrock, Republic
Jodi Stefanick, Ballwin
Joe Smith, St. Peters
John Quinn, Chillicothe
Ken Jones, Clarksburg
Marilyn Ruestmann, Joplin
Mark Bruns, Jefferson City
Mark Wright, Springfield
Maynard Wallace, Thornfield
Michael McGhee, Odessa
Michael Parson, Bolivar
Mike Cunningham, Marshfield
Mike Sutherland, Warrenton
Nathan Cooper, Cape Girardeau
Peter Myers, Sikeston
Ray Weter, Nixa
Rob Schaaf, St. Joseph
Robert Johnson, Lee's Summit
Rod Jetton, Marble Hill
Rodney Schad, Versailles
Ronald Richard, Joplin
Scott Lipke, Jackson
Scott Muschany, Frontenac
Scott Rupp, Wentzville
Shannon Cooper, Clinton
Steve Hobbs, Mexico
Steve Hunter, Joplin
Steven Tilley, Perryville
Susan Phillips, Kansas City
Therese Sander, Moberly
Todd Smith, Sedalia
Tom Dempsey, St. Charles
Tom Loehner, Koeltztown
Van Kelly, Norwood
Ward Franz, West Plains
Wayne Cooper, Osage Beach

Posted by Brian Marston on Thu., Apr 14, 2005 at 1:09 PM
Link & Discuss (4 comments) | Other

Metablogging, STL Style

Okay, so now we're writing about people who write about people who write about us (still with us?), but we feel compelled to remind you about the existence of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra blog, penned by former RFTer Eddie Silva. It's a good, quick, daily read and provides just enough food for thought for the casual symphony-goer (or aspirational symphony-goer), along with some fun backstage scuttlebutt. It's worth a bookmark.

The most recent entry is about St. Louisans' fascination with reporting what other people say about us...

Posted by Amanda Doyle on Thu., Apr 14, 2005 at 12:16 PM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | The Media

Pretty War STL

Shouts out to the newest member of the STL Syndicate, the irrepressible Tom Lampe, whose writing and photography about St. Louis are available on the Internets (all of them, even the one in Iraq) at You'll have to ask him what the subtitle of his blog ("My pop-quiz kid") means.

Posted by Brian Marston on Wed., Apr 13, 2005 at 11:03 PM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | People

An Heiress for the ACC Empire

Mary Lisa, Dave and Baby Girl

We're delighted to report the birth, at 9:43 this a.m., of Baby Girl Drebilla (okay, it's really Drebes, as in Dave; but we think mama Mary Lisa Penilla deserves some props, too), who weighed in at a healthy 7 lbs., 6 oz., and either 20 or 60 inches...Dave seemed a little confused.

Congratulations and welcome to the world, baby girl! With your mom's calm spirit and your dad's sense of style, you're destined to go far. All this could be yours someday!

Posted by Amanda Doyle on Mon., Apr 11, 2005 at 6:40 PM
Link & Discuss (3 comments) | People

Architecture and Sexual Diversity: That's the Basket

Where we're putting our civic eggs, according to this article in today's NY Times -- interesting take on what our urban revival hinges on, including bleak forecasts for the north side. And what are our prospects if we keep tearing our built heritage down?

Still, we like the idea of St. Louis "regaining some of its old swagger." You lookin' at us, punk?

Update: This article is currently #9 on the NYT's list of most emailed articles. It's funny how the best articles about St. Louis are in the New York Times instead of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. (BHM)

Posted by Amanda Doyle on Fri., Apr 8, 2005 at 10:07 AM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | STL in the News

Being a Monopoly Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

The first floor of our two-family house has been vacant since August. The gas furnace and water heater for the first floor have been off all winter. I've been dutifully sending in meter reading cards for several months, and Laclede Gas has just as dutifully been ignoring them and continuing to charge us $200+ each month based on the estimated usage of the previous tenant.

I repeatedly tried to call their billing number today (314-621-6960) to get the issue resolved. It rang busy for ten minutes. That's the same number you're supposed to call to report a gas odor or other emergency. When I finally got through, I went through their phone system maze and waited on hold for 12 minutes to talk to a customer service representative. Then their phone system unexpectedly hung up on me. After waiting for 22 minutes, I never even got to talk to anybody.

Anybody else have any utility "service" stories they'd like to share?

Update: I called Laclede Gas again today (4/8) at 1:38 p.m. After navigating through their menu of options and entering my account number, the pleasant female robo-voice said that the waiting time was 20 minutes and asked if I'd like to have them call me back when a customer service representative was available. Since they said I wouldn't lose my place in the queue, I hit "1" for "yes" and hung up. At 2:32 p.m. (almost an hour later), I got an automated callback. When instructed, I hit the button to talk to a customer service representative. I heard a series of beeps, and then their phone system hung up on me. Again. The saga continues ...

Posted by Brian Marston on Thu., Apr 7, 2005 at 5:06 PM
Link & Discuss (5 comments) | Other

New Discount for Members

In case you haven't noticed, The Commonspace has a chummy relationship with Hartford Coffee Company (3974 Hartford St., 314-771-JAVA), your community café and coffee roasters. To help spread the love, James and Shannon at Hartford have agreed to give card-carrying Commonspace members a 10% discount on food, beverages and whole-bean coffee. How's that for a reason to join or renew your membership? Just think, if you sign up as a Friend of The Commonspace now, you can use your discount before the next episode of Free Candy. And if you haven't been to Hartford Coffee yet, be sure to stop by soon.

Posted by Brian Marston on Thu., Apr 7, 2005 at 4:05 PM
Link & Discuss (1 comment) | The Commonspace

The Emperor's Clothes Could at Least Use a Shot of Febreeze

Okay, let's be clear: we heart Downtown. Love the burgeoning street life, Gallery Urbis Orbis, Kitchen K, City Grocers, the Century Building (RIP), Cardinals game days and so on and so on, shobee doobee doo.

But we've got to put the brakes on our enthusiasm a little bit for the latest project, the Roberts Orpheum Theater (nee Orpheum Theater, then American Theater, before reverting to maiden name.) At Wednesday's grand opening and ribbon cutting -- featuring all the usual suspects, including freshly re-elected mayor Francis Slay, the ebullient brothers Roberts, PR handler and clock-watcher Gentry Trotter, prince of parking Steve Stogel, the Rep's Steve Woolf (checking out the competition?), SLDC's Rodney Crim, planning dreamboat Rollin Stanley, alderwoman-for-life Dorothy Kirner, Entertainment St. Louis' Mike Kociela and about 100 others -- we were primed to gush. But except for some areas of new carpet, we weren't sure where the millions on renovation had been spent.

Crumbly plaster, peeling paint, missing lightbulbs, tarnished brass, broken step nosing, dusty curtains...all in a place that hosts its first show Sunday (the Backstreet Boys). Even the basics, things that don't cost a dime, weren't done: the carpets hadn't been vaccummed, the wooden stage floor looked to have not been swept, the windows were dingy. Granted, the place itself is pretty amazing, with architectural details worth noting all around. But we want to be blown away, proud to take out-of-town friends there, and it still looks like faded glory.

In a Post-Dispatch article a mere one month ago, Kevin Johnson wrote, "As for the renovations, the managers promise that the 1,400-seat venue will be upscale and beautiful..."

Sounds like they've got a long weekend ahead of them.

Posted by Amanda Doyle on Wed., Apr 6, 2005 at 11:16 PM
Link & Discuss (4 comments) | Business District

Jeff Smith Endorses Joe Keaveny

Progressive wunderkind Jeff Smith was in town today from New Hampshire going door-to-door in the Tower Grove Heights neighborhood on behalf of school board candidate Joe Keaveny. Jeff tipped that he may be moving back to St. Louis and is interested in buying a house in the neighborhood. Just think of all the positions he could run for if he lived in the city!

Posted by Brian Marston on Sun., Apr 3, 2005 at 4:18 PM
Link & Discuss (4 comments) | People

Hip Hop Makes Politics Interesting

Check out "Battleground Minnesota," an entry in the $15,000 INdTV video contest submitted by a group based in Minneapolis. It's about the 2004 election and features hilarious scenes in which young hip-hop artists present Sen. Mark Dayton and Sen. Norm Coleman with bling-bling chains and try to teach Walter Mondale how to DJ.

Posted by Brian Marston on Sat., Apr 2, 2005 at 4:37 PM
Link & Discuss (0 comments) | Fun Links

There's No "There" There

This is priceless: in the Business Journal's special "Chesterfield" pull-out section (April 1 issue, so I'm holding out slim hope the whole thing's an April Fool's gag), an ad for "Three Choice Communities for The Up-and-Coming Professionals" includes a joint called "CityPlace Condominiums," in Creve Coeur.

The "come again?" pause is the description of these sparkling new units as providing "the excitement of semi-urban living." What in the name of Jane Jacobs is "semi-urban living"? It's like they know "suburb" is a bad word, but they also know "urban" is a lie. They seem to think "semi-urban" means "walk to shopping and fine dining."

Now, I don't know if you've been out Olive way lately, but ain't nowhere I'd be caught dead (har har) walking to. For starters, you'd be a smudge in zero-60. And where are you hoofing it to? Applebee's??

Posted by Amanda Doyle on Fri., Apr 1, 2005 at 5:40 PM
Link & Discuss (6 comments) | Business District

Do You Do 'the Lou?'

"I'm from the Lou and what I do is a Lou thang"
— Murphy Lee on "Midwest Swing"

Our very own A-Do lobbies for embracing our city's hip-hop nickname in a front-page story in today's Post-Dispatch by Todd C. Frankel.

What cracks me up is the vehemence of the opposition, the self-appointed defenders of all that is Right and Proper. I'm guessing there's a high degree of overlap between people who hate the term "the Lou" and people who call Town Talk.

In the poll on, 50% of the 2,913 respondents hate "the Lou," 26% like it and 24% don't care.

"I used to be with it, but then they changed what 'it' was. Now, what I'm with isn't it, and what's 'it' seems weird and scary to me."

— Grandpa Simpson

Posted by Brian Marston on Fri., Apr 1, 2005 at 4:09 PM
Link & Discuss (2 comments) | The Media

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