Monday, June 30, 2014

Open Studios STL 2014 - Aunia Kahn

Aunia Kahn

Painter Aunia Kahn in her business, Alexi Era Gallery on Washington Avenue. I struggle for words to describe her style of art, sort of gothic-comic book-horror-romance. It's hard to make a go of it as a small art dealer in a medium size city but she has a lot of determination.

You can find out more at her personal and business Facebook pages.

The Pridefest parade was yesterday. I got there late and had only a few minutes in the staging area. Lots of shots from the sidelines, of course, but it wasn't quite as outrageous as in some past years. I'll have some posts about it soon.                                      

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Open Studios STL 2014 - Jennifer Hayes

Jennifer Hayes 1

This is the weekend when a large number of local artists open their workspaces to the public, half on Saturday, half on Sunday. Some years I wander around, see the art and ask the artists if I can photograph them with their work. My first visit was an old friend, Jennifer Hayes. She has had great success selling her work to restaurants and hotels. We see her here in Prime 1000 steakhouse downtown, which has a collection of her energetic paintings.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Beyond The Fringe

Locust Street

Night in midtown St. Louis, the area where the Fringe was held: Locust Street looking east from Theresa; Triumph Grill, where Olive Street and Lindell Boulevard split apart; and bands booked at Fubar, one of the Fringe's performance venues. A bit post-apocalyptic. Hey, it ain't Paris but it's home.

Take That! Department: last night Mrs. C and I attended a performance of a new work at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, 27. It is set at 27 rue de Fleurus, (speaking of) Paris, where Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas lived and held their salons for decades. In one scene, Ernest Hemmingway (who came onstage dragging a fake dead rhino) and F. Scott Fitzgerald (who came onstage pulling an elaborate drinks cart) are demanding that Stein declare which one of them is a genius. Man Ray is hanging around taking pictures. Eventually he tries to get some attention, too. Stein stares him down and declares You are not a genius. You are a photographer. Ouch!                                     


Coming Attractions

Friday, June 27, 2014

Not Quite Right

Not Quite Right


Another improv company, Not Quite Right, this one lead by storyteller, comedian and improv artist Howie Hirshfield. Howie appeared at the Fringe two years ago doing a solo act that was loosely based on the old TV show Gilligan's Island. I think he had me playing Gilligan at some point.

This ensemble consisted of his daughter, just to his right, and two other young comedians. I regret that I didn't make a note of their names. But why are the three younger ones all wet?

The last extended bit was priceless. Each of the players was associated with a word suggested by the audience. Someone else came up with a starting premise. One of the young ones literally stuck his or her head fully into a bucket of water. When they just had to breathe they raised their arm. The others had to find a way to fit the one of the code words into the sketch. The person associated with it had to relieve the current dunkee and, in turn, submerge his or her head in the water bucket. And on and on. Howie generally supervised from the side. Greatest show on earth, or at least at Locust and Compton in St. Louis last Saturday night. 

Overwhelming photo ops in The Lou this weekend. We have Open Studios STL, where 160 artists open their workspaces (and maybe themselves) to the public. I sometimes go around asking if I can take portraits of them with their work. And it's also Pridefest, with the big parade on Sunday, often the best local shoot of the year.                                   

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Didgeridoo And Oboe, Too


We attended a strange musical performance at the Fringe, a trio that called itself Terra Camera. It consisted of a classically trained oboe player and violist plus a didgeridoo virtuoso. He played a couple of solos and explained the many techniques. The ensemble did some classical, a new composition and a bit of jazz. Heaven knows I like edgy, contemporary music but this, to my ears, didn't work all that well, sort of a buzzard with nightingales. The part I liked best was a baroque chamber piece in which the Aussie pipe played the basso continuo. That made a good fit. 

Photo tip of the day: do not use fill flash on iridescent wigs and hats. It leads to disaster.                               

Oboe Player

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Christopher Bange "More Bange For Your Buck"

More from The Fringe: Seattle's Christopher Bange, magician, in his show "More Bange For Your Buck." And part of his act had something to do with money. At one point he borrowed a $20 bill from me had me write my name on it with red marker. It mysteriously disappeared, of course. 

When it looked like he was nearly finished I gave him a questioning gesture. He pulled a perfect lemon out of nowhere and handed it to me. Of course, I was puzzled. He pulled out a sharp knife and quickly split it. As he handed it back to me I saw rolled currency in the center. I pulled it out - one dollar. Did I get my twenty back? Of course, but I can't tell you how. That would spoil the trick.                          

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Here Comes . . . The Judge?

Judge From "Trial By Jury"

Next up, Act Two Theatre from suburban St. Peters, with a bizarre remake of Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial By Jury

It's a gentle satire based upon a suit for breach of promise to marry, an old English cause of action, as us legal types say. Except here the judge is Elvis, and he's not a real judge, he's a TV judge-show judge. The innocent young plaintiff wears a simple, pure white dress and a shocking pink sash with PLAINTIFF written across it. Arthur Sullivan witty melodies are present, but so is a quote from Also Sprach Zarathustra and, I think, a bit of Leonard Bernstein's Glitter and Be Gay, and probably some things I didn't catch. The bailiff looked like a Southern bubba but with a bit of a New York accent. The jury (remember the kind of suit) is all female. And between numbers some guy ran in front of the stage holding a big sign that said applause. Wacky.                               

The Cast From Trial By Jury

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Fringe, The Spotty Truth And A Twisted Story

The Spotty Truth

The St. Louis Fringe was on this weekend in Grand Center. Thirty-five shows of an hour's length repeated over four days, ranging from bizarre to hilarious to thoughtful. We, naturally, went for the first two categories, catching seven acts on Friday and Saturday.

One of Friday's favorites was a Chicago improv troupe called The Spotty Truth. After a half-hour of typical (and good) improv gags, the feature presentation began. They got someone out of the audience, did a cursory interview and then strung together a series of mock-biographical skits, re-enacting the life of someone about whom they knew little and cared less. On Friday, they got some old guy with squinty eyes, a black iPhone belt holster (the twenty-first century equivalent of a pocket protector) who played stickball on the streets of New York as a child, had an interest in math and physics, and ended up in St. Louis. Needless to say, plenty of false propositions were proven to be true. 
The Spotty Truth With Biographical Subject

Ride Station

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 31

You don't have to be on your feet to do the happy happy joy joy dance. It can be done in any posture you please.

A few shots from the wedding reception at Blue Star in Wicker Park. Highly recommended. Anyway, there wasn't a sour puss in the place. The feelings were infectious. By the way, the hand gestures in the fourth picture below count out 2733, the couple's street address. And that's Madeleine, my daughter Emily and son-in-law Brian in the following shot.

That's all for the wedding. I've got a lot of family pictures still to edit, not really of general interest. They will gradually turn up on the wedding Flickr album if you're desperate. Next we will turn to the St. Louis Fringe Festival, which Carolyn and I attended this weekend. Wacky.                           

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 32

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 34

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 35

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 37

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 36

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 29

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 27

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Public Transit Party

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 25

One of the best things about Andy And Claire's wedding is that everybody took the CTA Blue Line from the ceremony in Logan Square to the reception in Wicker Park. No bourgeois limousines for this couple. The other riders were dumbfounded. I love the juxtaposition in the top pic of the two ad signs, the sign the woman is holding and the very puzzled boy in the lower right.

All of this was going out live on a web video stream from Andy's iPhone mounted on a tripod. The young man does have a masters in computer science.

I think A and C get to Paris today, staying somewhere in the 10eme near the Gare De L'Est. Ah, to be young, in love and in Paris.                     

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 24

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 23

Friday, June 20, 2014

I Now Pronounce You

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 22

Some shots of the wedding ceremony itself, out on the lawn in Logan Square. The second picture is Emily's.

Andy and Claire called me yesterday from Amsterdam via Skype. Hanging out in Vondelpark, cycling along canals outside of town. It sounds idyllic.

I'll spare you the family shots after the wedding, then perhaps end with pictures from the reception.             

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 21

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 19

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 20

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Getting Ready - The Bride, Part 2

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 16

The bride has to look good, right? It's fortunate that there are no digital pictures of Carolyn and my wedding and the snapshots (we couldn't come close to affording a photographer) are buried in a box in the basement. Carolyn looked great but I looked like a complete dork - overweight, long scraggly hair and wearing an absurd yellow tuxedo jacket. Sort of a hippie bumblebee. 

My son and daughter-in-law both looked gorgeous. In the last picture they are all put together, standing on their front porch about to walk a couple of blocks to the ceremony in Logan Square.

The first and last pictures are Emily's. The middle two are mine.                 

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 14

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 15

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 18

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Getting Ready - The Bride, Part 1

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 10

These photos were all taken by my daughter, Emily, who was the other photographer at the wedding. Excellent work. This is Part 1 of the bride's preparation because it's all I had time to edit yesterday. Emily and Madeleine came over to dinner last night so you can imagine where my attention was.

Claire has the most beautiful eyes. She can levitate the entire world. And she takes makeup direction well.

By the time this post goes up they will be about to land in Amsterdam.                         

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 12

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 13

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Getting Ready - The Groom

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 4

Emily and I took the traditional bride and groom getting dressed shots. They didn't have attendants so it was uncomplicated. They considered recruiting a Worst Man and Maid of Dishonor at the Friday night party but no one followed through.

Andy and I drove down to the swanky W Hotel in The Loop where the couple spent Saturday night. He assiduously pressed his tie (I have never ironed a tie in my life). Tie straightened. Hair in place. He put a small plastic bag on the pillow with two Rice Krispie bars and a tiny flower, then wrote a little note to place on it.

The last picture says something about the transition from batchelor to married man.

I am sorry I have not left any comments on my friends' blogs lately. It was a busy weekend, of course, and now I am both back to work and deep into editing the more than thousand pictures Emily and I took. Back ASAP. 

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 5

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 6

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 7

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 8

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 9

Monday, June 16, 2014

Party On

Andy and Claire's Wedding Friday 18

Saturday weddings are most common in the US. There is usually a rehearsal for the ceremony on Friday with the wedding party, followed by a rehearsal dinner sponsored by the groom's parents. Andy and Claire weren't having any of this. There wasn't much to rehearse. The party was Popeye's Fried Chicken, salads and beer in the couple's back yard.

Above, Carolyn's brother Mel, one of the all-around nicest people I know. Down the page:

- Claire and her brother Lou, who I think bears an uncanny resemblance to the young David Byrne. Claire's father, Mike, is behind.

- my brother, John, his daughter Stephanie and my brother-in-law Mel Mark.

- Claire with her cousin Carrie on the left and her mother Ramona on the right. I do not know the woman on the far right. I'm just the photographer.

- second cousins Olivia Kruse and Madeleine face off in baby wrestling. Madeleine, having the weight advantage, goes for the rip-yer-bib-off hold.

This could go on for a while.                          

Andy and Claire's Wedding Friday 22

Andy and Claire's Wedding Friday 21

Andy and Claire's Wedding Friday 14

Andy and Claire's Wedding Friday 19

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew and Claire Crowe

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 2

They did it. We did it. An absolutely perfect day in Chicago in every sense of the word.

It was a Blue Line wedding. After the ceremony and pictures we all took the CTA a few stops down to the reception, to the amazement of other passengers. Streaming video here. Scroll down a bit. 

Much more to come.                   

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 1

Andy and Claire's Wedding Saturday 3