Can't win 'em all, kids: sure, we're on the national radar for some folks because of our sports teams (which is apparently the only imaginable entertainment for Z. Dwight Billingsly and his boring Republican pals)...but our lack of welcome for writers (scroll down to Report #3) on this year's First Fiction Tour leaves us high-and-dry in their estimation. (Thanks to Bookslut for the link.)
This story from the AP via CNN.com is a nice little summary of the importance of Henry Shaw to the area (and included is the nugget about how long-time St. Louisans still confusingly call the Missouri Botanical Garden "Shaw's Garden"); his home reopens on Saturday after a two-year, million-dollar restoration.
The culmination of a several-days-long symposium, getting underway tomorrow night at Wash U's Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, is an exhibit that sounds pretty intriguing: from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday a special, one-night-only exhibition, titled "Looking for St. Louis," will be open at the Sam Fox School's Des Lee Gallery, 1627 Washington Ave. The exhibition, which shares its name with the other symposium events, will include images, texts, artifacts and diagrams drawn from the workshops.
It's all about the intersection of contemporary architecture, art, ecology and urban design. Like, we're into those things, right? Check out the entire schedule.
Breaking for Broken Lives brought together an eclectic group of performers and spectators. We raised $542 for the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. Tom Evans from Detour Production put together a nice video of the event (WMV, 10:15, 19.4 MB).
So, I'm sojourning in Seattle (and nothing like sleepless, thanks to a marvelous, king-sized-wonder of a hotel bed), but some moments it's like I never left home. To wit, in the news here this week:
1) the first Seattle location of Panera Bread's (a.k.a. St. Louis Bread Company) four planned "bakery-cafés" opened here last week, in Redmond (a.k.a. Microsoftopia). And it's so cute how they're all excited about it: the arrival of such wonders as "made-to-order sandwiches" and "soups in bread bowls" was written up in the local alt-weekly. Hunh.
2) Tomorrow night, Saint Louis U history prof and author Donald Critchlow speaks at Town Hall on his new book, "Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman's Crusade." I think it goes without saying that I have a distinct preference for the other branches of the Schlafly family tree...
3) Legendary artist and designer Art Chantry (who just had a show up at Philip Slein Gallery) continues to keep tabs on his former town, firing off a letter to the editor (scroll down to "False Memory Syndrome?") of the Seattle Weekly, in response to a story in which he was described as a vindictive, "insane art director."
And the beat goes on....how can a girl get homesick with such great touchstones all around?
I'm a little slow in getting around to noting this, but local Coral Court Motel championer Shellee Graham received the 8th John Steinbeck Award for historic preservation, awarded on September 16th in San Bernadino, California. The award presentation cited Graham's "many years of bringing global recognition to Route 66 through her exception photo documentation, artwork, books, films and lectures; and for her personal efforts to preserve the memory of the famous Coral Court in St. Louis, Missouri."
You can read more about her cause (or buy a pair of "Built for Speed" panties) here.
You know you've made it when, not only does your hometown show some love by inducting you into the genius St. Louis Walk of Fame, but....they also hire a three-piece ragtime band to play at the ceremony!
This year's inductee's into the Delmar shrine are:
*George Sisler—the greatest player in St. Louis Browns history, who ended his career with a .340 average. His son and family members will accept the honor at 11 a.m. on Oct. 22
*Charles Guggenheim—a documentary and feature filmmaker, four-time Oscar winner and director of both "Monument to the Dream" (yeah, the film you can still see today at the Arch) and "The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery," Steve McQueen's first film. His widow and daughter will attend at 11 a.m. on Oct. 29
*You saw this one coming, right? The man himself, Nelly, will be inducted on a date TBA (money's on Nov. 2 at the moment), for his many accomplishments that put St. Louis hip-hop on the miznap. (Is that a word? Or even a fake word?) Even better, if he's filed under "N" for "Nelly," (and not "H" for Cornell Haynes) he'll be the only other N besides Howard Nemerov...Plus, Chingy ain't even on the radar. Sorry, playa.
You can peruse all the previous inductees here.
So there I am, flipping through the latest issue of National Geographic Traveler that was provided to me in my hotel room (on a biz trip to Seattle), and near the back, this month's "Itinerary" is none other than the STL! The page remarks upon a "downtown revival in full swing" and name-checks the Westin (and the Clark Street Grill), the Contemporary and the Pulitzer, Forest Park (and its Boathouse), the Gateway Arch (shocker, right?), City Museum (and the Cabin Inn), Chez Leon (which gets the photo nod), BB's, Broadway Oyster Bar and Venice Cafe.
There's always a handful of places you might add or subtract, but overall that's a reasonably solid list. I'm goin' to St. Louis! (Of course, the issue also includes "America's Next Great City": Philadelphia. Dang!)
The City Democrats website is down with an error message that says "unable to select database."
The City Republicans site is also down because their domain name has expired.
Meanwhile, the site for the Gateway Green Alliance continues to chug along.
In what's become a common plot line on Washington Avenue, the McGowan brothers asked Velvet to move out after tripling the rent on their space. The venerable dance hall is celebrating its tenth anniversary on Saturday, an unheard of feat of longevity in the quick-turnover world of nightclubs.
Here's what Velvet's Doug Hall had to say about it in Velvet's online forums:
Early last week we recieved a vauge phone message from one of the McGowans requesting we vacate the property by the end of October. This came as a shock to us as we were promised last year that we would alway be given at least 90 days warning. We deeply regret the short notice please understand if it were up to us we would at least stretch this through NYE. Our last official night will be the 29th of October.
We will not relocate Velvet however we are looking for a venue to do our AMP shows and to maybe do some of our sat night shows.
When Washington Avenue's developers have succeeded in recreating Plaza Frontenac, will anyone go there?
According to a text message from Ajay Zutshi's phone, the long-awaited Riley's opens today at 4 p.m. The pub is located in the Tower Grove East neighborhood at Arsenal and Arkansas.
Update: We have been to the Promised Land. We stopped by Riley's around midnight. The service was comically slow, which perfectly befits a place that took the better part of a decade to open. It's a nice looking bar lots of wood and a tin ceiling on one side of the space. The Irish theme is in full effect. Even though it was opening day, the air was already thick with CBGB-quality smoke. In addition to drinks, they serve St. Louis-style pizza. In the grand northside tradition, there was a woman selling roses and teddy bears.
A Post-Dispatch article by Charlene Prost about a new office building to be built in Grand Center included this praiseworthy quote from Vince Schoemehl:
"We've got to do something to get rid of all these surface parking lots out here," Schoemehl said. "They're non-urban (and) create a negative image," he said. "Grand Center is not in the business of continuing to operate parking lots. We are in the business of developing this neighborhood."
The UNSCENE "Urban Navigator" map of South Grand shows Mekong, Sekisui and the Upstairs Lounge in the wrong locations. That, my friends, is what you get when you rely on a Chicago-based company to tell you what's cool about St. Louis.
There was an article in the August 30th issue of The Wall Street Journal about the St. Louis-based Save-A-Lot grocery chain. Save-A-Lot has turned the amazing discovery that poor people in urban areas have to eat too into a winning business strategy. Who'da thunk?
Save-A-Lot also operates Deal$ dollar stores.
Start sending in those donations: the Center for Recording Arts, headed by Gabe Moskoff (AKA DJ Trackstar), officially received its 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit status today. Trackstar will be spinning at the Breaking for Broken Lives event at Destiny Church (1809 Des Peres Road) next Saturday where you can pick up a copy of his Hurricane Katrina relief CD for $5.
Courtesy of Bookslut, I ran across this "poetic map" of the U.S. today, and it's heartening (though perhaps a bit outdated? I see none of our fabu reading series mentioned) to see the poetry that's flowed from the shores of the, uh, fifth coast.
by Howard Nemerov
(after information received
in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4 v 86)
The population center of the USA
Has shifted to Potosi, in Missouri.
The calculation employed by authorities
In arriving at this dislocation assumes
That the country is a geometric plane,
Perfectly flat, and that every citizen,
Including those in Alaska and Hawaii
And the District of Columbia, weighs the same;
So that, given these simple presuppositions,
The entire bulk and spread of all the people
Should theoretically balance on the point
Of a needle under Potosi in Missouri
Where no one is residing nowadays
But the watchman over an abandoned mine
Whence the company got the lead out and left.
"It gets pretty lonely here," he says, "at night."
From War Stories by Howard Nemerov, published by the University of Chicago Press. Copyright © 1987 by Howard Nemerov. Reprinted with the permission of Margaret Nemerov. All rights reserved.
Both Alex (screen name CaptainCannabis) and Erin (screen name Mailbox!) have accounts on the STLPUNK website. In his profile, which crashes my browser, Alex says "my creed is pot is so much more than pot. Its a social activity, and a way to make really good friends." Erin listed "Baileys in pretty much anything" under her likes and "Pubic hair" under dislikes. Her brother, Greg Formhals, died three years ago in a car accident; he was also 16. Erin last logged into the STLPUNK site on 9/29 at 8:33 PM, less than 24 hours before she was killed.
The site is run by Jerome Gaynor, who had this to say in an article he wrote for The Commonspace in June 2002:
American Suburbia moves kids all over the country, drops them into enormous schools where they don't know anyone, prohibits all non-sanctioned contact, PRETENDS that conflict doesn't exist, and then wonders why kids go crazy.