February's 13

Thoughts, first thought, then compiled and typed, for the amusement of any…

Flickr user: You can go several pages into Metroblossom‘s photo pages without seeing a person, and that’s quite okay, as his shots of Chicago are some of the more striking you’ll find. Now that the winter’s in full effect, the gloomy, snowy, hazy, post-sunset atmospherics are only increasing, in frequency and interest. And there’re few flickr sets that I find as intriguing as the Isolated Building series on his flickr account, a great idea executed with time, patience and an artist’s eye. Anyone interested in Chicago and/or UE would be advised a visit here.

Retro photo site: Meanwhile, back in the early 20th century… the Thomas Kempland Collection of glass plate photography is a really sharp way to look back at the day-to-day life of St. Louis about eight or nine decades back. Can’t recall who originally pointed me towards these pics (thanks!), but they’re fun to visit every so often. While I love the motordrome racers and other curiosities of the period, the sense of viewing the everyday is really captivating. Check: “circus elephants on parade!”

RFT cover story: A few weeks back, I rifled through a few hundred old issues of the Riverfront Times, salvaging clips from the yellowing pages. I’m not going to get into that whole political conversation here, but it was a different paper then. Just. Different. This week’s cover story on River Styx, though, was the most literal throwback I’d read in the weekly’s pages in years. I don’t know the author, I’m not sure I completely understand the cover graphic, but, wow, how exciting to find a piece like this! An interesting, provocative and needed read.

Competition: I keep sending things. Yet, I keep not making the books, not making the magazines, not making the website. Found will eventually recognize. I dare to dream.

Pub: Soccer or beer? Beer or soccer? Were King Solomon himself forcing me to decide, I don’t know that I could face the choice of one over the other. Which make the Newstead Tower Public House such as joyous addition to the western edge of The Grove. To enjoy a Schlafly draft on a brisk weekday afternoon, while highlights of the Japanese J-League are playing on multiple screens… I grow misty at the mere notion of this. And to have actually lived such a moment? I may just burst into tears. Once I figure out what to call it (The Tower? The Newstead? The House?), all will be well.

Household item: Let’s say you live in St. Louis, a town given over to extremes in temperature and varying degrees of humidity. Let’s say that you’ve moved a half-dozen times in the last full-dozen years and you’ve got many of your belongings in cardboard boxes. And let’s say that one day while examining your many-and-varied treasures, you pick up a box, only to have the base stick to the floor when you lift. Don’t even ponder the repercussions of losing, say, little books that you wrote as a kid, or your actual, physical college degrees. Don’t think about it. Go out, right now, and buy your ass some plastic boxes. Someday, you’ll thank me.

Town: Paducah, KY, yo! Did you know that Paducah, KY, is just two-point-five hours from St. Louis. It is!

YouTube video: For class purposes, I have played a “Charlie Rose” interview of Malcolm Gladwell with guest interviewer Brian Grazer a half-dozen times. To this point, I still can’t figure out the exact moment at which Gladwell realized that he had to save the entire affair by taking over the interviewing mantle. But he did. Brilliantly. And it’s only one of many oddly fascinating moments during this half-hour of wonderfully disconnected chatter, featuring two characters with astounding heads of hair. (Zip 28-minutes into the clip for the beginnings this, or enjoy that much time with Salman Rushdie.) “Love and respect to Charlie Rose,” indeed.

Old-school show o’ the month: Monday, February 11 @ the Bluebird, with A.K.A.C.O.D. (featuring Larry Dersch, once of Common Ailments of Maturity) along with Bill Boll and the recently-reunited-for-special-gigs Aviation Club. Through the miracles of the interwebs, I played a small role in midwifing this gig, featuring STL players of the past and present, in both new and old guises. The combination of sounds is intriguing and the musicianship of this trio of acts is beyond reproach. The only problem is our generation has given on attending all that many shows, so perhaps some of you young folks can attend this, make a racket and appreciate the experience sans earplugs. Me, I think I might wear some.

Presidential candidate: With apologies to our own Blake Asbhy, has anyone seen anything remotely like Mike Gravel’s campaign? Damn! Weirdest. Marketing. Ever.

Water: Why drink it for free when you can have Snapple’s Antioxidant Agave Melon?

Celebreality show: Really, I’ve got to do something about the cable problem. Perhaps some therapy? Oh, no, I can’t, that’s part of my problem, already, in the form of “Celebrity Rehab.” Damn, these folks is jacked up. But I’m learning something, so time spent with Dr. Drew is both educational and so much more (morbidly) entertaining than “Make Me an Orange County Cop.”

Magazine: Dis chains all you want. In fact, let me join you: chains suck! That said, the magazine “A Public Space” only came to my attention because I popped into a chain, one with a mighty and strong magazine section. “APS” is a beauty. It’s well-written, attractively presented. Great cover and cool, eclectic content. Damn. I feel lucky that I came across this product at issue four, with the chance to buy back issues before they’re sold out. Worth the $12 cover price, okay? By the way, did you know about this magazine? Did you know about his magazine and not tell me? Why?

Gaslight Square Chatter

The Gaslight Square neighborhood assocation’s been kind enough to invite me to a winter chat at the Grind on Saturday, February 23 at 10 a.m. As a fan of coffeehouses, I’m looking forward to checking out the new Grind, where the conversation will take place. The neighborhood’s newsletter gives the following info:

Saturday, February 23rd at 10 am: Bring your dogs, strollers and sneakers for a walk to our neighborhood coffee shop (The Grind, 4239 Lindell). Take time out to meet your neighbors, get some exercise and pick up some hot chocolate or coffee to stay warm for the walk back home. Meet outside on the Motorworks parking lot at 9:45 am.

Also, get a double treat and hear St. Louis writer and Post-Dispatch contributor Thomas Crone speak about his latest book entitled Gaslight Square: An Oral History. The book tells the full 50 year story of St. Louis’ Gaslight Square – from inception to decline to redevelopment – in the voices by people who were there. The interviews pass through the conservative innocence of the ’50s to the fringe of Beat philosophy to the counterculture of the ’60s an the political turmoil that saw us through the Vietnam War. It also leaves us with more than an enjoyable read or feeling of nostalgia; it leaves us with a deeper historical understanding – of where we have come from as a City, as a nation, and as a people, as well as where we might be headed. 200 pages, hardback with dust jacket. RSVP by Sat, Feb. 16th to Sonja @ underwsr81@yahoo.com.

Trivia, February 2

So. I just played the St. Pius V trivia night at, yes, St. Pius V. While there, I was reminded of an upcoming trivia night at St. Fraces Cabrini Academy – you know, that school behind that Imo’s and the funeral home, at Gravois and Arsenal.

Many of the players I coach are students (and athletes) at Cabrini. This trivia night supports the school’s Sponsor’s Club, which is is the funding arm of the school’s athletics program. I planned on joining a new team this year, as former team captains Tom Weber and Fred Hessel are in Minnesota and the Middle East, respectively. But with sales a tad slow, I’m going to go ahead an organize a table. No, wait: I am going to organize the winning table.

These are the types of people I need:

People who know a lot about a little.

People who know a little about a lot.

People who have time on February 2 and, ideally, aren’t going to be wickedly buzzed from Mardi Gras.

Most importantly, people who have $12.

Foreign Exchange and Free Candy

The eighth edition of 52nd City will be offered to the masses this Sunday, as we co-host an event at Hartford Coffee Company.

Our release of “Foreign Exchange” will be from 5-6 p.m., after which the local, live, non-broadcast talk show “Free Candy” will take over for the next segment of entertainment, featuring co-hosts Amanda Doyle and Julia Smillie, along with guests and live music.

Mags will find their way to stores over the weekend, as well.

January's 13

Magazine, Wax Poetics: Hip-hop’s only a small part of my usual musical intake, but I can’t get enough of Wax Poetics. It’s not just a hip-hop zine, but a fine source for reading up on photography, crate-digging, mixing, decades-old soul music and graphics culture. How’d I come so late to this party?

YouTube video, “Gerald McBoing Boing“: Originally, I found “Gerald” through Cine 16 at Mad Art, one of dozens of great finds during that series’ run. Was happy, then, to come across this animated short on YouTube. Choice, family-friendly animation, worth taking in for the soundtrack alone.

Flickr user, Skeleton Krewe: Love the notion of getting to know a town through the lens of various photographers. And New Orleans is rich with solid flickr contributors right now, though none seem to capture the tiny elements of that recovering city as well as this one. Awesome stuff. I’d tour that town with Skeleton Krewe any time.

Radio show, The Fox Hole: My secret shame is a fanship of sports talk radio. To me, there’s no funnier man on local airwaves than Martin Kilcoyne and his alternating Fox 2 cohorts, Chris Pelikan and Maurice “The Mayor” Drummond are perfect foils. This isn’t a sports-heavy show, so the trio’s likely to riff on any topic on a given day. Hilarious. Really.

Veggie burger battle: The best in town? Tanner B’s? Or The Atomic Cowboy‘s? I’m dedicating my 2008 to this decision.

Myspace song, “Rainy Monday“: Caught this track by Shiny Toy Guns on an interstitial on MTV. Ran through the whole run of: love it, hate it, bored by it, love it, played it too much. Okay, I’ll play it right now, but just once.

Paul Raven, RIP: A bunch of records in my collection feature this cat on bass. He’s dead now, gone at 46 from a heart attack. Wake-up calls suck.

Ad, Whopper Freakout: For class purposes, every semester I find a few ads that point to the demise of The American Empire and Burger King’s latest cycle of advertising does the job well. We are a stupid, stupid people, indeed.

Celebreality series, “The Pickup Artist”: Speaking of American brain loss, my recent cable problem has manifest itself in devoting time to VH-1, where I’ve come to know the peculiar idiocy of “The Pickup Artist,” as bad a reality series I’ve come across; and this is coming from someone who watched multiple episodes of “Filthy Rich Cattle Drive.” Try one episode of TPA online. You’ll thank me, maybe, or you’ll curse me.

Magazine stand, World News: With STL United FC moving soccer viewings from OB Clark’s to Barrister’s in Clayton, I’ve shifted by pre-view magazine shopping from Brentwood’s Border’s to Clayton’s World News. Gotta love buying independently. (Please tell me that World News is independent. It is, right? I mean, it’s gotta be.) Check the clearance rack.

Theatre group, St. Louis Actor’s Studio: Every year, an unmet resolution is to go to at least one theatrical production a month. It’s becoming closer to doable, this “challenge,” thanks to companies like STLAS. I’ve enjoyed both of their debut-season offerings so far and their next show, “The Waiting Room,” is coming on January 18. That the shows are offered up in a venue called The Gaslight Theatre…? Pinch me!

CD, Peanuts, A_BIM_CS_B_P_BTR_FS_C: Yo, I got the cover shot, yo!

Tea, Prince of Peace organic green tea: Add lemon and clover honey. Makes winter bearable.