The Wedge

Admitted: I’m obsessed. With The Wedge. Long story. Some other time. So…

It’s open again. Went by last night. Got stood up by a pal. (Thanks, pal!) Watched hi-definition football with: three patrons (including the pensive owner of the Iron Barley, who I’m convinced wants to ring my neck, though I’m not sure of any plausible reason); the cook; and the sexily-clad bartender, who introduced herself before studiously avoiding me for the remainder of my 15-minute stay, thus denying me the opportunity of finding out who owns this spot. For this, I gave a $2 tip. Go figure.

The decor’s the largely the same, save for the addition of: a Golden Tee; a pair of electronic dart boards; a crookedly-slapped sticker above the bar proclaiming that “you can’t fix stupid”; and a touch jukebox that was cranking out top-40 hip-pop. Strangely, that modern musical vibe was set against the classic punk-rock photos that still line the place, so that, for example, you might be drinking your $2 Busch beer, while staring a framed photo of the Sex Pistols, as blaring Li’l Wayne washes over you. Can’t recall if the boar’s head is still there, or came out. Details, details.

I dropped by, so others don’t have to. It’s my gift to you.

Gyros?

Visited Hartford Coffee Company yesterday afternoon for some mega-reading, on what was a very typical Sunday shift. A folksinger playing to light applause. Barista Nelson greeting everyone with a quip. Almost everyone in the place sitting alone, save for a pair of ladies, mid-room, who were carrying on a conversation driven by the newspapers on their table.

As they prepared to leave, I was surprised to see one of them approaching me.

“I don’t why I’m picking on you, but read this,” she said, with an RFT opened to Ian Froeb’s restaurant review. “You really need need to eat here.”

Discussing the article, the accompanying photo, the menu, the prices and a few other items of note, my Redbird-clad coffeehouse neighbor gave the ultimate word-of-mouth plug to South Grand Gyro Express.

It’s located just south of Bates on South Grand, of course, next to the dead-ender bar the Palomino Lounge. (As luck would have it, I drove past last night and noticed the orange glow of the space while zipping past.) It’s always nice to see new, internationally-owned businesses anywhere in South City, especially on Grand as they’re moving ever-southward, passing Chippewa, Meramec and, now, Bates.

Hummus, anyone? I’ve just heard about this great, little place…

City Art Supply

Returned, an hour-or-so back, from a show at the City Art Supply. What a wonderful evening for an open-door gig, with three local artists teaming with two Portland-based performers to create quite a magical night of music (and video) on Cherokee. For a time, I sat on the stoop of a neighboring house, sipping at a donated can of PBR and listening to a gorgeous drone-scape from guitarist/sound manipulator .e and I was as deliriously spaced-out as you can be.

In the past couple years, I’ve run into a few nights like this at City Art, evenings when I didn’t necessarily know the musicians, but wound up a serious fan of one, or more. Already, I’m on the second listen of a CD that I picked up tonight, Shelley Short‘s “Captain Wildhorse (Rides the Heart of Tomorrow).” Great voice, interesting sonics… maybe a slightly-less-oddball version of St. Vincent? That’s what striking me as an apt comparison at a late hour. At any rate, t’s an awesome disc and it wouldn’t be in collection tonight if I hadn’t taken the three-minute bike ride to C.A.S.

While tonight had certain, lovely qualities, more often I would up at City Art Supply on Saturday afternoons, maybe after running to Soulard Market or before striking some errands off the to-do list. I’d stop anytime that I’d see Dana Smith in the shop, usually finding him painting in the front window, with natural light streaming in on him and on his latest work. It was fun to sit around and kibitz about the local art scene, music scene, freak scene. Once in a while, I’d even buy something, figuring, hell, it was a place of commerce, not just a conversation salon.

City Art’s been a valued piece of the “new” Cherokee Street. And a great resource for tips on new artists, of all stripes. If tonight was my last chance to sample the particular energy of this space, I’ll miss it, for sure. But anytime Shelley Short’s on my stereo, I’ll look back on fondly, with thanks and hosannas going out to Dana.

Damn you for being so cool, you funky little shop.

Troubles

Oh, I got ’em. Don’t we all.

But bad cameras, unworkable cameras, underutilized cameras… those I got more than anything. Alas.

Still taking pix-es, though. Was recently crowing about a five-stop UE trip and the evidence is in. Probably the set most interesting to people will one dedicated to Hobo University, located on the north Riverfront and run by the Amish Hobo, Jeremiah. Enjoy them in all their blue-tinted glory.

They run an open potluck on Thursday nights, so if anyone’s game one o’ these weeks, hit me up.

Ghost Peppers

My ghost peppers are making the news. Kinda.

And I might say that “limited” is a relative term. There are 25 red hots on the vine right now, so let me know and I’ll undercut my price at Local Harvest, ‘k?

Five for Friday: September 11 (er…)

Lovely late addition, ’cause:

1. Yours truly is spinning tonight at The Halo, 10 p.m.-to-close. Can only dent the generous DJ tab there, so have one on me.

2. Just completed the greatest day of UE in recent memory. Details to follow, but the rounds included: a random run-in with Peat Stensoul; the discovery of a dipped ship; imparted wisdom from the Amish Hobo; and a shirtless (male) dance revue at Perigen’s in Madison, IL. Some days are sprinkled with extra magic, y’know?

3. Next up on the reading list: “Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal” by David Konow. Yes.

4. Bringing by some ghost peppers to The Royale. They’re going to be pickling in some spirit within the next day, so ask about ’em, if you got the need for heat.

5. The Kick-Ass Awards’ details are coming soon to the 52nd City Twitter site. Look for date, venue and winners this week over thurr.

September's 13

We forego this past week’s Five for Friday and punch up the monthly notes a quarter-month late. Ah, yes, school must be back in session.

Show, Dandy Warhols: What’s up when one of your favorite bands plays a full, two-hour set, frontloading the show with three of your favorite cuts in the first five tracks played? And even do so at a volume that allows for occasional conversation? Joy! So fun to see the Dandys about a decade after their last show here, especially when they pass through town and also offer up the gift of a sweet sessionwith the local radio station. Thanks, Dandys!

Additional live performances, KDHX: After two weeks, sets by L.O.V.E. and Devon Allman are in the books. Upcoming on Silver Tray are shows by: Person X  (9/11), Danny Liston (9/18) and Old Lights (9/25). Have not heard so much as a note of music by the last band, so they immediately move to the top of my curiosity list.

Site, Berger’s Beat: This must be a sign of… something. Jerry Berger’s online. Cah-ray-zee.

RFT covers, Bill Chott: Yo, I know this guy.

Local business that cares, The Firebird: Just today, Mike Cracciolo of the club came in on a Sunday, just hours after the leaving the business, to observe the venue during a six-hour film shoot. He didn’t have to do that and the venue didn’t have to allow the space for no charge. But the space was offered and accepted and that, folks, is so often the rule around town: people giving their time, money or access at the drop of a hat. When you spend money and time at the Firebird, you’re dealing with good folks. That’s right.

Beverage money waster, Vitamin Water: Delicious. And the product’s site is wacky.

Sports teams, SLU Billikens soccer: Yikes, 1-2-0 in the first three games. I’m jumping off this bandwagon. Tell me when the nightmare’s over.

Strange gigs, wedding DJ: Have just completed my second wedding DJ gig this year and it was a lovely affair. Enjoyed the company, the ceremony, the evening. But there’s that eternal feeling that no matter what crate you pack, no matter how loaded the iPod, no matter how liberal the happy couple might be with song choice, there’s always going to be missing music. And, man, how that always winds up true. Need some ’50s/’60s pop hits is this round’s lesson. As in, even a few cuts of that stuff. Yikes.

Intersections, Damen & Milwaukee, Chicago: Fifteen years ago, I would’ve spent mad money on clothes, books, records and accoutrements in this corner of Chicago and, damn, if it didn’t just happen again. Somebody hook me up with some freelance so I can blow more money in Chicago, please.  

Challenges, ghost peppers: Watched, with a mixture of fascination, respect and horror as local man Brant Sextro ate an entire ghost pepper at lunch recently, mixing the fiery bad boy with a Mangia lunch sandwich and gallons of soda. Amazing, stupendous and worthy of inclusion in “Our Own Oddities.” Hat’s off to the champ.

Money grabs, Missouri unclaimed property: Looks like Mr. Clint Zweifel has some presents for me, but I’m inherently suspicious of this state service. Who’s cashed in, or cashed out, as the case may be? Or is this a trap to catch me for some long-forgotten crime?

Fish, trout: Three cheers for the trout being sold at Local Harvest. Absurdly good.

Book, Millenials Go to College: William Strauss and Neil Howe have made a pretty good living by predicting generational trends and shifts, themselves now well into their second decade of combined work on this social science.  Found a copy of this work sitting on a random hallway table at Webster U., devouring it in couple of reading sessions. Though the book’s pretty chipper about the best characteristics of the millenial generation, there’s a tremendous amount of valuable digging down by the pair, who pretty well peg the curiosities and quirks of today’s collegiate attendees. Well worth reading by anyone spending time on a college campus.

Hey, Coach

Yours truly has undertaken the generally-joyous task of coaching two soccer teams at Cabrini Academy this fall. After the season’s opening week, we’re sitting with a 1-1 record, and a 3-3 goal aggregate. Ultimately, things are looking up, but…

The two things I didn’t want to hear at this early juncture have already been realized.

1. My goalie suffered a brutal schoolyard arm break today. While I feel for the kid – who lives just around the corner from me – I won’t lie in saying that my first thought wasn’t selfish. As in: I JUST LOST MY KEEPER! Oy!

2. After a tournament win the other day (a brisk, effective 2-0 dispatch of our stunned opponents), a tourney director came across the field to deliver the grim news. Our next game was set: Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Ordinarily, those would be painful enough words. On the morning after the double-bill of the Dandy Warhols at Pop’s and the Unconscious at the Duck Room, they are almost too much to process.

For this Wednesday evening, though, we focus only on what’s right in front of us (hey, there’s no game tomorrow morning, let’s grab a drink!) while praying to the gods of broken bones, begging them to take no more victims until basketball season.