Guess what? I'm the kind of gal who gets "Parents" magazine in the mail now...even if it does still get shoved to the bottom of the pile (under "Entertainment Weekly"). And in the latest issue, in the rankings of the Ten Best Science Centers, our own
St. Louis Science Center pulls out a #5 spot...not least for something called "Science Goes Splat," described thusly: "a show where balls, water balloons and even pumpkins are tossed out a third-floor window—and the audience gets to guess which one will fall the fastest."
Old rivalries heat up. Yep, it's from The Onion. Can't we all use a laugh on Friday afternoon?
As of 7 a.m., two (2!) stories about St. Louis find a place on the front of the New York Times site: one, of course, breaking news about the Kirkwood shootings, and another titled "Side Trips in St. Louis: A Holiday for Eccentrics." Eccentrics, please leave your guns and hostilities at home, but by all means, come check out City Museum, the International Bowling Museum and Cardinals Hall of Fame, and the A-B Brewery...(the second story providing further evidence of just how hard people find it to describe City Museum in print.)
T'other day on "Marketplace," (yeah, 'cause that's how I roll), guest host Scott Jagow was chatting with John Talmadge, CEO of a firm that tries to attract business to inner city areas, and the subject of challenging your city's census numbers gave a big shout-out to the Lou, for many years of successful restated numbers. Hey, they laughed (listen to the audio), but mo heads means mo money, baby....keep on challenging, we say.
Sigh. Some folks are just willfully ignorant: the NY Times carries a piece about the vast development that's poured in (as the '93 floodwaters receded) to the various floodplains surrounding St. Louis. But guess what? Nobody thinks it'll happen to them.
"Yet as the rush of water that caused the Missouri River to overflow its banks and submerge dozens of towns last week rolled toward St. Louis on Monday, attention was turned to a metropolitan region that since 1993 has seen runaway residential and commercial development in the rivers’ flood paths."
The SLPS takeover, among other recent developments, seems to have been the news hook for another New York Times look at the flight-vs.-rebirth story of the Lou.
But in this case, it's a good thing: a recent USA Today story about the 2006 National Schools of Character includes the St. Louis-area's own Rockwood School District, along with Arnold's Ridgewood Middle School, on the short list of those schools around the country which create and implement a comprehensive plan for character education. At Ridgewood, for example, that means daily ethics discussions and a project in seventh grade that has students write and illustrate fairy tales with a positive moral lesson, which the authors take to elementary schools to read aloud before donating the books to a children's hospital.
Now, our town's reputation for bridge may not be so great at the moment, but that didn't stop the American Contract Bridge League from bringing its national tournament here, right at this very moment, and in so doing, celebrating a return to the spot that hosted the tournament last 10 years ago, in the fall of 1997. (Those up on bridge lore will remember those Nationals as being highlighted by the Reisinger Board-a-March Teams...)
Okay, really, I have no idea what I'm saying. I know less than nothing about bridge, but it tickles me that there are people who are totally into it — and that they're spending those conventioneer hours and dollars in the Lou! Also, that this blurb on the event's web site lays waste to all those "most dangerous" claims: "TravelSmart, the nation’s oldest consumer travel newsletter, named St. Louis one of its 10 Safest, Culturally Most Fascinating Cities in the U.S. for its diverse cultural and tourism activities."
So pffffffflllllllhhhhhh to you, Morgan Quitno.
You can catch the action — including speakers on topics such as "Jerry-isms" and "How to Execute a Simple Squeeze" — at America's Center until March 18th.
If you're coupled, do you ever feel like you'd like your own room to sleep in? (This hits especially close to home for me, relegated for the last two nights to the couch with my barking cough.) Well, you're not alone: Shakespeare Festival co-founder Lana Pepper and her husband maintain separate bedrooms...and apparently so does a whole lot of the Lou, according to this NY Times story.
In a P-D article describing the tentative pre-prep for a big to-do marking the 250th anniversary of the city's founding (that'll be in 2014, so don't cancel your weekend plans yet), the cheeky Mr. John Hoover, of the Mercantile Library, is quoted near the end as dreaming of city-county reunification as the ultimate way to celebrate our fair city's birth.
Is there a greeting card for that occasion?
The PR-seeking heat missiles at City Museum have done it again, by gum: they're front-and-center (with a lovely photo by Mike DeFilippo) in a New York Times story about cities that offer something beyond bars and clubs for nighttime entertainment. (Thanks to Ajay for the link.)
Local jazz-pimping outlet DeBlaze & Associates just released the results of their nationwide poll -- asking jazz broadcasters and writers from across the country which spots they considered the "Top 10 Jazz Cities" -- and here's the list:
"1. New York
2. New Orleans
3. Los Angeles
6. San Francisco
10. (Tie) St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit"
Um, so did we really tie for 10th? Was that just because they felt sorry for us, or felt some pressure when the St. Louis firm came a-callin'? I guess I'm okay with it, though when I spent time in Seattle earlier this year, I didn't notice an immense jazz outpouring, whereas we've got a lot going on, both now and historically.
Salon today carries a story called "The Shameful Six," citing six states where vote suppression in the November elections could "cost voters their voice -- and Democrats the election -- in 2006." Guess which state rounds out the list?
Now, some questions and observations: the article says, "Even before Missouri passed its new law, it had tougher ID requirements than many states. Voters were required, with limited exceptions, to bring ID with them to the polls, but university ID cards, bank statements mailed to a voter’s address, and similar documents were acceptable."
I have never been asked to produce a single thing, except my signature on a line affirming my address/info, when I've voted in the city, going back to 1997. Even then, my signature line is right next to a reproduction of my signature from the last time I signed, making it pretty easy to fake it if I wanted to. On Tuesday, when signs all around my polling station screamed "ID REQUIRED," I was not asked to show any identification. I sometimes take the mailer reminding me of my polling place with me, but just as often I forget it.
Anyone else have similar experiences?
Also, I have to say I break from expected liberal orthodoxy on this: though I don't think individual fraud at the polling place is the most pressing electoral change needed, I also don't think requiring an ID is too much to ask. You have to have some form of ID to do lots of things, like getting a Hollywood Video card, a library card, a check cashed, etc. It doesn't seem like the most onerous task imaginable, especially if do-gooders could ensure the availability of low-cost access to documentation (birth certificates and the like) or funds to help those who truly cannot afford to acquire them.
It ends, as all things do now, at MySpace.
Remember the Spirits of St. Louis basketball team? Yeah, neither do I. Yet, according to an article in the LA Times, the long-folded franchise nets more money each season for its former owners than most NBA teams make.
Brothers Ozzie and Dan Silna bought the ABA team in 1974. When the ABA merged with the NBA in 1976, they negotiated a television revenue sharing deal that has paid them about $168 million to date. Currently, they're due to get over $24 million a year for not having a team.
Like the Silnas, I also don't own a basketball team. Where's my $168 million? I've got to get a better lawyer ...
According to East-West Gateway's latest "Where We Stand" report, St. Louis ranks third out of the 34 regions studied in deaths from fatal motor vehicle crashes per capita, with 14.7 deaths per 100,000 people in 2003. Over a seven-year period, an average of 333 St. Louisans died each year in car crashes.
Meanwhile, according to a recent AutoVantage survey, St. Louis drivers are among the most courteous in the country.
You go ahead. No, you go ahead. Crash! And ... scene.
Working my way through the ever-growing stack of magazines piled next to my bed, I came across national mentions of a couple of local boys. In the June/July issue of Brooklyn-based Wax Poetics, there's an F5 Records ad on page 97 for DJ Crucial's new disc, "Test Presses and Dub Plates." Bill Streeter's Lo-Fi Saint Louis is listed in "A Guide to the Online Video Explosion" in the May issue of Wired.
Alert reader Larry H. tips this, from the June 2006 issue of "Chicago" magazine: the Lou makes the list of "14 Great Getaways."
What they liked: the Central West End, the Ritz, Monarch, the Pulitzer, the Shakespeare Festival, new Busch, the Arch and the A-B tour. A respectable (if predictable) list...but mine would probably be a bit different.
It could look like this (and could change on a dime!): the Loop, the Arch, Niche (restaurant, not store, no offense to the store), the Royale, Cherokee Street, Tower Grove Park/Farmers' Market, MOCRA, Riverfront Trail.
How about yours? Pick a list of 8 St. Louis things you'd make an itinerary of.
USA Today, that fount of colorful infographics, ran an article today about urban renewal in St. Louis that focuses on big downtown development projects.
Metro High School is 40th on Newsweek magazine's new list of the top public high schools in the country. The next school in the region that's on the list is Ladue at #235. The ranking is based on the ratio of the number of Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate tests taken by all students at a school in 2005 to the number of graduating seniors.
In your face, Ladue (and Parkway, Rockwood, etc.)! Remember this the next time someone is dissing the St. Louis Public Schools as being uniformly awful.
Ah, we love to be in the limelight, whether it's for allegedly public-pissing officials or the latest Missouri fracas to hit the national spotlight, the case of Black Jack, MO, and a family in its borders headed by an unwed couple. The situation got big play locally, of course, but now it's had a wide opening, including the March 27 edition of People magazine, referenced and commented upon in Salon. The People article cites at least three other couples who've been forced out by Black Jack's housing rules.
But c'mon! The dad's name is Fondray Loving! What could be more wholesome for a family than that?
UPDATE, 4/27/06: The Black Jack City Council will now consider a recommendation from its planning and zoning commission to allow "two unrelated individuals having a child or children related by blood, adoption or foster care relationship to both such individuals," to live in a single-family home, along with others related to either resident. Read more here.
Wanna see the home of anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly? Yeah, you know you do: she has a spinning wheel! There's more scoop from the NY Times visit...
That's "new day" to you, or more to the point, the new year as celebrated by thousands in the diaspora who yearn for Kurdish independence.
So, the tangential hook here is that on today's public radio program "The World," a story about Kurdish musical phenom Sivan Perwer was undertaken at the suggestion of a listener, Ghodar Soufi, a Kurd from northern Iraq now living right here in the Lou.
That's the spunky name of the travel section of Bust magazine ("for women with something to get off their chests"), and this month (the Dec/Jan issue), the Bust-light shines on St. Louis!
Among the recommended haunts:
*U-City Loop, including Vintage Vinyl, Star Clipper, the Tivoli, Rag-O-Rama, Sunshine Daydream (heh heh), Phoenix Rising, Blueberry Hill & Fitz's
*Left Bank Books, The Grind and all the attractions of Forest Park in the CWE
*Shout outs to West County restaurants Ichiban and Gokul's
*Curiously, RT Weiler's in St. Charles
*Cheap TRX and Ted Drewes (what would Ted say about that?)
*The Hi-Pointe (bar, not theater) and Magnolia's
*Missouri Botanical Garden
*and of course, City Museum, the high temple of Where Visitors Should Go
They just can't let us have anything, can they? We had staked our entire civic image (well, half of it: the other half being the whole "most crime-ridden" thing) on being the country's fattest city...and now they've taken *that*, too!
Yep, kids, that's right: Men's Fitness magazine has come out with its rankings of the Fittest and the Fattest, and guess who's tipping the scales at the top of the list? Maybe they'll rename it "Lincoln Pork." Ha! I kill me.
Anyway, we all know these things are made-up malarkey, blah blah blah. Except when we win a good one, of course. But funniest of all is the reaction in Baltimore, the new "fittest city" in the poll: "Wha? Shut up, lardass, and pass the fries."
According to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, St. Louis City had the fourth largest percentage decline in employment between March 2004 and March 2005 of 322 U.S. counties with 75,000 or more employees. The city lost 3,100 jobs in a year, 1.4% of its employment base. In contrast, St. Charles ranked 23rd in employment growth, with its workforce shooting up 4.8%. The national job growth rate during the period covered by the survey was 1.7%.
On the flip side, the average weekly wage in the city is $910, compared to only $652 in St. Charles. In St. Louis County, it's $819.
The L.A. Times ran a story yesterday by its music critic, Mark Swed, that has a whole lot of good things to say about SLSO conductor David Roberton (you remember? It's different?) and a lot of good things to say about St. Louis. (Oh, and then a lot of bad things about the city, too, thanks to a glass-half-empty-kinda taxi driver....)
Swed's eager assessment, in part:
"In St. Louis, Robertson has attempted to transform the symphony practically overnight with the most adventurous programming in the country, more daring than that in Los Angeles or San Francisco. And by opening night, he had already motivated the most miserable musicians in any major American orchestra (at least to hear them publicly complain); turned on teenagers as well as dowagers; and begun reaching deep into a racially divided community."
Some folks living on the bubble's edge and beyond are waking up to "boring" quality-of-life issues—like housing cost—that lead them to reconsider how cool it actually is to live in mind-numbing, slavish devotion to their expensively maintained California lifestyles...and finding the Midwest! Today's NY Times has the story.
Still, we've got a long way to go, baby: "A year ago, Melanie Fischer, a lifelong Californian, was not entirely sure where Missouri was. So when her husband proposed that they consider moving there, she raced to locate the state on a map printed on her children's placemats."
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.
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?
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!)
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.
Further confirming my belief that nothing good happens at the Des Peres "Ciné," we now have the distinction of being home to the first person convicted in the U.S.—one Curtis Salisbury of St. Charles—for illegally camcording a theatrical release.
You can read the gory details here, but it's at least some comfort to note the dude was trying to do it high-class: "Salisbury admitted connecting the camcorder equipment directly to the projector sound board while recording films in the theater. He also used a mini-disc recorder to capture the film sound he would later synchronize with the video, using his computer to enhance its quality."
Why anyone would waste that kind of effort on "Bewitched," though, is beyond me...
At the other end of the spectrum, Keiner Plaza has earned a spot in the PPS Hall of Shame. It was submitted by local gadfly Teresita Cochran.
Buzz Bissinger, who penned "3 Nights in August" about being inside the head (but not in a being-John-Malkovich kinda way) of Cards manager Tony LaRussa, discusses the book right now on the Diane Rehm show on KWMU.
As promised a while ago, the CBS Sunday Morning program (with the most soothing host on television, Charles Osgood) aired a segment this morning about the demolition of historic buildings and whose priorities prevail in situations pitting preservationists against developers (though we all know those divisions are artificially black-and-white). Downtown leaders Margie Newman and Alan Brunettin spoke out about the loss of the historic building, with many of Alan's still and moving images providing backdrop for the story. On the other side, Steve Stogel and Mark Schnuck talked about the "ripple effect" that will be achieved by the renovation of the Old Post Office. We shall see.
Interestingly, the reason given for the demolition -- the demand of anchor tenants Missouri Court of Appeals and Webster University for adjacent parking -- was not explored, though I suppose that's another show entirely: "How Long Will We Allow 'Development' Centered Around Americans Who Won't Walk Their Lazy Asses Two Blocks?
And this tidbit (though only the first part of the quote was aired) from the National Trust's Richard Moe: "Regrettably, we lost the Century. We fought hard for it, with the city, with the developer, with the tenants of the building, and we lost the argument."
Now, refresh my memory: which part was the fighting hard part? Was it when the National Trust endorsed the demolition of the Century, or when it acquiesced to historic tax credits to do so?
Lesson of the story, from all the examples aired = people, get ready. These fights are just getting started.
From the bottom of Big Muddy, the Montana (sunk 120 years ago) rises again.
Interesting tidbit about the safety level: "By 1860, more than 700 steamboats regularly traveled the Mississippi...The life expectancy of the boats was not long — about 18 months, Dasovich said. Downed trees and other river debris, ice, fire and explosions tended to do in the wooden boats."
We all know the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra's putting its eggs in the "different with David Robinson" basket—will it be enough to pull us into the Grand Orchestral Tier? (At least according to this LA Times piece, here's an area where Chicago's not leaving us whimpering in the dust...)
Revisiting the conviction and execution of Larry Griffin makes the Times, and has national implications.
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.
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)
There's an article in tomorrow's New York Times about the role the National Trust for Historic
Preservation Demolition played in razing the Century building. It features a photo by our favorite artistic activist, Alan Brunettin. Richard Moe, Royce A. Yeater and the rest of the cowardly accomplices at the national trust should be ashamed. They demolished not only the Century, but also the national trust's credibility. I'm proud to have been the first of 3,560 people who signed the petition indicting the national trust in the Crime of the Century.
In other New York Times news, Linda Tucci's cheery story that ran today about redevelopment projects in downtown St. Louis (including the Old Post Office, which, repeat after me, did not have to come at the expense of the Century) is currently #9 on the list of the Times' most emailed articles.
CNN aired a story in February about hip hop in St. Louis, calling it "probably the most vibrant hip-hop scene in the country." You can watch it here.
There's an article in the March 10th issue of The Economist about the non-event of St. Louis' mayoral election.
St. Louis-based Beige Records got Slashdotted on Monday for an album they released several years ago. Mmmmm ... geeky.
Some fascinating brain research, that is!
A team of researchers at Washington University, led by Joshua Brown, have uncovered what happens in the "oops center" of the brain (layman's terms, kids; it's really the anterior cingulate cortex, natch), and how learning might help keep us from making mistakes. NPR has the whole story.
Update: More information about this research via Science Blog
St. Louis is 35th in Popular Science's ranking of the top tech cities based on 36 weighted variables. Our score was 71 out of 100; the mean was 66.
Rumors swirl around the man like low-hanging cumulus clouds: He doesn't get paid, but just loves to do the weather! Students line up to study under his tutelage! He has a hook instead of a left hand! (Okay, we made that one up...)
But now, our very own public radio weatherman, Ben Abell, has exposed himself to the nation at large, admitting, among other things, that tracking all this bad weather is exciting to meteorologists, in an interview Wednesday on NPR's "All Things Considered".
Our orchestra strike/lock-out makes the NY Times, sadly. Now, has anyone told David Robertson not to pack everything yet?
St. Louis shares something in common with great American cities:
(Numbers from CNN.com)
From Wired News:
Most museums are hushed, mannered places. Not in St. Louis, where visitors to the City Museum are invited to get physical in a convoluted maze of monkey bars, shadowy burrows and gushing waterfalls. By Michelle Delio.
The story includes lots of photos. Best quote:
Incidents like that made us mournful that a museum like this will never be built in our home town of New York City. As much as the city likes to pride itself on being the cultural capital of the world, lawyers and insurance agents would descend on any museum that dared to scare, scrape and bruise its visitors in the name of art.
It all comes home to roost today at 3, but for those who need a little somethin' somethin' to tide them over 'til game time...the NY Times profiles La Russa today. I must admit, I didn't know he homeschooled his kids.
God love Bob Cassilly; have we given him a key to the city yet? His lofts at City Museum make the NYT.
"And although Mr. Cassilly knows that there are people who would rather not live amid recycled machine parts next to a gigantic jungle gym, he has some trouble relating. Last year, after living in downtown St. Louis most of his life, he moved to Clayton, a suburb, so his children could attend the town's well-regarded schools.
But he did not last long. "I couldn't stand it out there," he said."
Well, finally. Sure, we're fat and crime-ridden (leading to DJ Wilson's suggested CVB slogan, "St. Louis: Fat, Sassy and Lethal"), but we got up some learnin', too! In the U of Wisconsin's Most Literate Cities rankings, the Lou comes in a respectable No. 13 (out of 79).
Of course, the place we found this tidbit, the St. Louis Public Library's "Check It Out!" newsletter, had the URL of the study wrong...but we figure that's just a typo, not indicative of something greater.
More national attention for our sad, sad elections process...now, international observers are coming here to check up on the fairness and so forth of American elections, and NPR selected St. Louis as a place to highlight the need. Listen here.
U.S. News ranked Barnes-Jewish Hospital as the 8th best hospital in the country in its annual roundup.
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.
Zagat Survey's new "U.S. Family Travel Guide" ranked the Magic House in Kirkwood as the national attraction with the most child appeal, beating out both Disneyland (L.A.) and Disney's Magic Kingdom (Orlando).
It's a cliché, but it's true: St. Louis is a great place to raise a family.
How many of you who grew up here have a button featuring a picture of you touching that electrostatic ball thing with your hair standing on end? Can I get a show of hands in the comments?
Good read in today's NYTimes about the crossover between the hip hop and fashion worlds, including a mention of Russell Simmons' Phat Farm deal with St. Louis' global apparel giant Kellwood...but alas, no nod to the Apple Bottom-ed among us.
In the May/June 04 issue of Art Papers magazine, St. Louis scores the cover story, with a feature written by Ivy Cooper called "Surviving St. Louis: Is there a good side to being an artist outside a first-tier city?" The conclusion, unsurprisingly, is yes!
Along with lots of good press for some of our favorite artists, galleries (hi, Urbis Orbis and Fort Gondo!), and St. Louis amenities, check this:
"Artists in St. Louis have their share of struggles, but no one I talked to wanted to leave. On the contrary, they feel that recent developments in the St. Louis art scene point to better days on the horizon. A number of community-based art organizations have opened up in the past few years, including Art Dimensions, The Commonspace in Midtown, the Art Coop downtown and Fort Gondo. Each of these organizations has one foot in the arts and one foot in urban revitalization, which appears to be the best recipe for success for any artistic undertaking in the city."
That's it, we can't talk to the little people anymore: we'll be too busy swilling Chardonnay with the art set.
Tune into "All Things Considered" on 90.7 KWMU tomorrow (Wednesday, April 14) between 4 and 6 p.m. National NPR reporter John Ydstie was in town to hear about the issues that are on people's minds in the Heartland. The interview took place at The Commonspace. On the distinguished panel convened by Arch City Chronicle publisher Dave Drebes were Kraig Schnitzmeier, Butler Miller, Mary Lisa Penilla, Dave, Amanda and me. We talked about a whole lot of things, from local issues to the Bush administration's foreign policy. As a follow-up, we'll meet at Dave and Mary Lisa's house tonight to give our reactions to President Bush's press conference while munching on Black Thorn Pizza.
I don't know how they're going to edit down 4+ hours of conversation to a 7-minute package by tomorrow. Hooray for producers! I'm still amazed that this came together. When Dave told me about it a couple of days ago, I thought there must be some misunderstanding. On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.
Update: NPR ran the story about the local reaction to Bush's press conference as a separate piece on "Morning Edition." On hand for that interview were David Stokes, Dave Drebes, Kate, Tom Reitenbach, and Amanda. The important thing is that they captured our pizza order on tape.
NPR's Jeff Brady, NPR's John Ydstie and Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio get reactions from around the country to President Bush's press conference Tuesday night.
And here's the story that ran on "All Things Considered":
In the first of three stories about the national mood, NPR's John Ydstie meets with a group of 30-somethings from St. Louis. The most important issues for them are local revitalization -- and Iraq. While most of the group did not vote for President Bush, there is division about the war in Iraq. There is also concern that the Sept. 11 commission hearings are becoming more about finger pointing than finding answers about what happened and how to prevent attacks.
This just in from hip-hop head and New Yorker reader Butler Miller:
There's an article by Jake Halpern in the new issue of The New Yorker entitled "Selling the Beat: St. Louis’s Trackboyz break a new act." The article isn't online, but the press release includes this quote:
"The atmosphere in St. Louis is now a little like that of Nashville in the nineteen-thirties, with the Grand Ole Opry, or of Detroit in the sixties, with Motown Records."
The Trackboyz, in case you didn't know, are the producers behind J-Kwon's "Tipsy," which is No. 3 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.
The American Podiatric Medical Association ranked St. Louis the 12th best walking city in the US. Hunh?
Prevention Magazine reported the results of the study.
"Some cities that were bustling centers of commerce just a generation ago have become modern-day Pompeiis. Cities that have lost more than a third of their population include St. Louis, Phnom Penh and Johannesburg."
Ah, such lovely company we keep.
There's an article about the St. Louis Public Schools in the Jan. 19 issue of U.S. News & World Report. Quote: "This is the face of 'reform' in the St. Louis city schools, and it isn't pretty."
According to a study commissioned by Gateway to Giving, St. Louis is a generous community. "Private Dollars for Public Good: A Report on Giving in the St. Louis Region" found that St. Louis' largest corporations donate $2,717 per employee per year to nonprofits, more than seven times the national average. Individuals in the St. Louis area also give more than the national average. 83.5% of St. Louis households gave to charity in 2002, compared to a national average of 70%. For those households that gave, the average gift was $2,336 (15% higher than the national average). However, St. Louisans older than 65 and those with a college education gave less than their peers nationally.
From an interview in Metropolis Magazine (Jan. 2004):
"You start by looking at a city's history and thinking about ways to help nurture its intrinsic strengths. For example, I'd say to people in St. Louis, Forget about being Soho. You're never gonna be Soho. You never were Soho. But you could be an affordable place where people can live in a great urban neighborhood near a beautiful Olmsted-designed park with an excellent art museum."
For those keeping score at home, it seems that our own Washington University has managed to crack that nut known as the U.S. News & World Report top ten college/university rankings...evidently, at least in part, by giving non-needy students cash to call St. Louis their academic home. Interesting read-all-about-it in the NY Times.
"Racial Integration in Urban America: A Block Level Analysis of African American and White Housing Patterns," a study by Lois M. Quinn and John Pawasarat at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, ranked St. Louis fifth best out of the 50 largest U.S. cities. The rankings are based on the percentage of residents living on black-white integrated blocks, i.e. blocks that are at least 20% white and 20% black. In St. Louis, 27.2% of residents live on integrated blocks. The study also included some interesting maps of the data for St. Louis.
This has not been a good year for St. Louis. According to various rankings, it is the most dangerous city in America, the least healthy place for women to live and the one with the worst "environmental toxicity." Oh, and it's one of the fattest places around and one of the "sneeziest" (that is, a bad place for allergy sufferers). As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted in a recent article (headline: "Are We Really That Bad? How Our Area Ranks in Various Surveys"), "St. Louis has weathered a remarkable run of first-place finishes this year, outpacing every city in the country for titles no one wants to win." Well, is St. Louis really that bad? Probably not. Some of these rankings are dubious (the toxic environment award was from a magazine called Organic Style, the fattest city designation from Men's Health magazine). Still, all these booby prizes arriving in a single year can't help. "I hope this isn't scaring people into thinking we're a big, fat, dangerous city," said one civic leader. The head of the chamber of commerce worried that it might make St. Louis residents more cynical. "Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy in how much we believe the rankings," he said. Still, any place declared the "most dangerous city" ought to be worried, shouldn't it? You decide: It came from a research company in Kansas whose president volunteered that he recently celebrated his 20th wedding anniversary in, of all places, fat, sneezy, dangerous St. Louis. His impression: "It's a great city." Footnote: Not all this year's city rankings have been panned St. Louis. A sports magazine declared it the best sports town in the America, the Chronicle of Philanthropy said it was one of the most generous places in the country, and a University of Wisconsin study found it was one of the most racially integrated.
The unnamed civic leader was our very own Amanda Doyle, being quoted by the Post-Dispatch.
From an article in the Business Journal:
St. Louis ranks No. 68 out of 75 major metropolitan areas in the country for the percentage of adults with at-home broadband connections, according to a recent study by Scarborough Research.
This is kind of surprising to me given the concentration of bandwidth and telecom companies in St. Louis.
And here's a tip for you fellow SWB DSL subscribers: When your introductory rate runs out and they jack up the price to $50/month, you can call them and agree to a one-year service agreement again to get the $30/month rate.