Some Wayne St. Wayne Vignettes

If you’ve come here after reading a remembrance of Wayne St. Wayne at the Riverfront Times site, I thank you. I hope it provided some information about his fascinating life and times. I also thank his son David Ermatinger, along with David’s wife Allison Lispki Ermatinger, for filling in some gaps.

What the piece could only hint at, within the constraints of space, was the unique personality of the man. For what felt like years, I saw Wayne on a regular basis, often at Mangia Italiano, but also at other spots around town. When going to clubs along the early Washington Avenue, for example, I can definitely remember visits to the back door of Creepy Crawl, just to say “hello” and to check-in on whatever news story he had to share. These may not be wild, but here’re a handful of quick stories…

Knew this person once. We’ll call her Chrissie, as that was her name. We dated, she moved to Chicago, we broke up. The usual people-in-their-early-20s story. At some point in about 2000, I reconnected for a short visit with her in Chicago, though nothing rekindled on that one level. I did promise her a piece of art, a Wayne St. Wayne original. Asked her what she wanted him paint and she said “corn cobs in space.” I asked Wayne for the piece and he promised to knock it out. Months passed. At least a full year passed. I lost all contact with the painting’s muse. And since 2002, I’ve owned a copy of “corn cobs in space,” which turned out very nice, the helmeted cobs shooting through the universe with fiery tails. So, yeah, a missed deadline on that one…

The flipside here is that you could always luck into a phonecall about a “fabulous deal.” Once, I picked up the phone and Wayne was offering a rent’s-due deal on a piece called “Monster Battle at the Shenandoah Theatre,” which had been hanging in a South Grand storefront for years. He offered to sell the $110 piece for $70. I declined, with hesitation. When he called back with a price of $40, I went up to the shop and paid my cash. It’s another record, a crazy awesome piece. Love it still…

Wrestling. Wayne was a wrestler. He’d tell you stories about his days touring the upper Midwest and central/western Canada. More often, he’d tell stories about Wrestling at the Chase, and all the superstars of the old NWA. He was generous in sharing those stories and, sometimes, pictures. Here’s a little something we collabroated on for

Speaking of wrestling, I can’t remember if I’ve hung up the wash, or taken down the wash, or even done the wash. You know, that today kinda stuff. But I can remember the first time I saw Wayne wrestle, under his alter-ego name of Doctor Blood. It was at Affton High School, on a weekend afternoon show that featured a former WWF/WCW star, or two, who’d play out their careers matched up against local talents. I can distinctly recall Wayne’s general act, with involved a lot of whining to the ref, feigning of injuries, complaints aimed at the crowd and lotsa cheap shots. A sweetheart in real life, Wayne was weirdly-cast as a heel, on one level. But on another, he was so committed to the sport that there’s no way he wouldn’t commit to whatever role kept him in the game. He was good at the job…

Last one. And the difficult one to write. In mid-/late-November of 2018, a friend of Wayne’s reached out to me, noted that his health had taken a bad turn and that he was open to telling some stories. Then he wasn’t well enough to chat, then communications ground down. In reality, I let a day become two, a day become a week. With mortality sort of on my periphery at an unusual amount in the last year, the thought of seeing him ill jarred me; my selfish desire to not be put in an uncomfortable moment outweighed his desire to tell some stories. He’s passed now; it’s too late to make the call. I’d love to say that this will make a great difference in my own communications with people, but I’ll likely fall back into bad habits. I do own Wayne a call, though, and always will. I hope some of these words and the words in the RFT are of use in letting some stories be known…

So that wasn’t the last note. This is. We shot a li’l Pixelvision film back in 1997, inside Mangia and his apartment’s kitchen. Feels like yesterday…




March’s 13

Cycling off the drug Coumadin (aka Warfarin) right now, so forgive any jumpies or jitteries in this post. Or just in life, generally, as the constitution’s in a bit of an agitated state. So, let’s see if writing clears the cobwebs. We’ll consider this the mass comm edition of the 13 series.

Facebook, St. Louis Hoosiers: Suppose it was a matter of time for a hoosiers page to crop up on Facebook. Suppose that I’m also slightly jealous in not having thought of it.

New crush on old band I, The Attack: Learn up on ’em.

New crush on old band II, Bubble Puppy: Learn up on ’em, too.

New crush on new band, Sleepy Kitty: Where you been hidin’ on me?

Crispin Glover, “Alice in Wonderland”: How is it possible that director Tim Burton worked with Glover and somehow removed the weirdness? And is that in any way a good thing?

When kids kill, “Kick Ass”: Hadn’t heard of the comic. Had only just heard of the film. But when free tickets are dangled, you gotta say “yes.” Now, the story was amusing, the visuals were awesome and the overall vibe was fun, but… seeing 11-year-old’s go on violent (if fictional) killing sprees? At least a bit uncomfortable with that. Gosh, I might be turning into a social conservative!

Meditation advice, Thomas Duckworth’s: Let’s say that you’ve just watched a film of wanton killing. Or you’re cycling off of a drug. Or you just need to calm your ass down a bit. Tune in, click on, space out.

Worst eight-minutes of the year, “Old Dog, New Trick” Q/A session: Last weekend, Jon Scorfina and I were treated to a sold-out show at the Savoy, an old movie theatre turned into a banquet, in the heart of NoCo. The audience chatted and laughed through the film, bursting into applause anytime a recognizable name or face was mentioned. Then came the Q/A with Jon and I, at which point… no one wanted to say anything. It’s been a bit of time since I stood on a stage, bathed in lights, staring out at a sea of people with nothing to say back. Luckily, John Nieman, of KSHE book fame, was able to chat things up a bit before we pulled the plug on the segment and allowed Steve Scorfina to get back to rockin’. To say those few minutes were a painfully awkward bit of time would be understatement. Thankfully, laughter heals all.

The World Cup, Der Mannschaft: It’s time to get serious about World Cup preparations. Test me in a week/two on German tendencies, lineups, formations and substitution patterns. And, after this summer’s event, I am officially renouncing and giving it on the game. Just to put that out there.

Membership drives, KDHX: April 1-11. Oh. My. featurettes, Julia Smillie: Golly, I know somebody who’s an all-world blogger!

Deaths, Angelo Poffo: Wayne St. Wayne just informed me that Angelo Poffo, pops to wrestlers “Leaping” Lanny Poffo and Randy “Macho Man” Savage has passed. A grappler, himself, he died at the ripe age of 84. This type of knowledge isn’t passed around every day, by just anyone.

Videos, Quail and Egg Show on natto: To come full circle, I’m looking for natural substitutes for anti-coagulants and the Japanese sticky paste natto is apparently The Good Stuff. Came across a video about natto today and I feel the need to share, not as much for the actual content (which I find quite delightful), but for the fact that there’s no topic not covered in a whimsical three-minutes on the web: