Sunday, July 31, 2016

In The End

Found on a boarded-up building on Cherokee Street. The possible references are many, particularly for Americans.       

Saturday, July 30, 2016


I had to learn Roman numerals as a child, but then I went to a Roman Catholic school. The system isn't taught anywhere now, is it? (Unless maybe you take Latin, which is a bit hard to find these days. I was in the first class in my high school that only had to take three years of it, not four. Did you know that you can sing all 28,000 lines of Vergil's Aeneid to the tune of The Stars and Stripes Forever and the whole thing scans correctly? But I digress.)

So if the numeral system stuck in my brain correctly, the tattoo on this young woman's spine says 1966. I can guarantee you that she is not 50 years old. The meaning is a mystery.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Scene

This year's Act Your Pants Off was held at a venue known simply as 2720 Cherokee. It has a stage (with lousy lighting), performance space and large bar on the ground floor. Two upper levels contain art gallery and meeting space. Seems to me I've been to some art event there sometime. No idea what the text in the bottom photo is about but I got a peak at the area beside the stage where the cast hung out.

I am so out of material. Work is a pain. Hope I can get out on the street this weekend. At least it won't be so hot.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Master of Ceremonies

Actor Paul Cereghino presided over the Act Your Pants Off silliness. He can reach for the stars or kneel in supplication. All-in-all, he did a great job of pulling the chaos together. Below, he holds the stage with Desiré Declyne, Peter Mayer and Linda Kennedy. A lot of cats to herd.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I'm Mad As Hell...

I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore.  Some of you may remember the famous movie line. Act Your Pants off performers Bob Harvey and Jane Paradise (what a great name - and she lives in St. Louis!) seem to feel that way. Maybe it's because of the embarrassing things the so-called judges made them do as part of their acts. I feel that way at work sometimes, too, but my judges are the genuine article.

STL people, the Fringe schedule is online and it starts in just over three weeks. You better go.                

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Blyre Cpanx

Blyre Cpanx is the stage name of Blaire Hamilton, a local artist and burlesque performer. She was one of the celebrity guests at Act Your Pants Off. In the course of the evening she gave striptease instructions to the other actors, which were not very well followed. Toward the end she did one of her own routines. The last photo was carefully chosen.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Look

The fine folks at the St. Louis Fringe gave me a list of the performers names linked to one of my pictures of him. This is Kevin Minor. I'm having some trouble finding information online but I think he has performed in our Shakespeare In The Park Festival. 

Like all of the cast, he was amazingly versatile. The judges (well, they called themselves that) kept throwing absurd demands at the actors. Everyone picked them up and easily took the whole package to someplace new.  


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hi, Everybody!

One of these days I'll get some information about the performers' names and accomplishments, but for now it's enough to concentrate on personality and style.This woman has a smile that outshines Donald Trump's hair. Whatever she did was gleeful.                    

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Act Your Pants Off

The conceit of the STL Fringe's Act Your Pants Off Event was to collect a number of comedians and actors, divide them into teams of three, and have them do some kind of related serious/silly performances. For example, one of the actors was to recite a speech of Julius Caesar to the Senate, while assuming that he was auditioning for the Moscow State Ballet and had Tourette's Syndrome. Or something like that. 
At the end of each round the audience would throw tips into a bucket for their preferred performer. The winner had to come back and do some other stunt while removing an article of clothing. The whole thing was mixed in with appearances by a giant-sized drag queen, burlesque lessons and performance, special appearances by the judges who awarded meaningless prizes on a completely arbitrary basis, and so on.
I was too busy taking pictures to get the performers' names. The fringe staff will try to get that for me and I'll add something about them to subsequent posts. It's too hot to shoot on the street here this weekend so I'll stay with this for a bit.            

Friday, July 22, 2016

Getting Ready For The Fringe

It's almost time for the fifth annual production of the St. Louis Fringe Festival, which starts on August 19. There have been some warm-up events, including the Artist's Salon held a few weeks ago, and Act Your Pants off on Tuesday of this week. It's an inexplicable mix of improv comedy, campy drag show, burlesque and serious acting under ridiculous conditions. Everybody, or at least everybody on stage, has to take off something. Optional in the audience.

We will feature the event over the next several days. I got to meet the outgoing executive director, Em Piro, above, and the new boss, Matthew Kerns, below. Looks like I may be able to shoot a lot of the festival itself for them. Watch this space.                

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Kat's Kloset

You see lots of food trucks around the US these days and I suppose many other countries as well. Now there is something new, mobile clothing stores in a truck. There were a couple of them at the Swap Meet on the riverfront. Nothing catering to men, though. Wonder why.

I'm not getting anything written on my friends blogs this week and I apologize. Bad week at work for a few reasons. I will spare you the details.   

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Urban Chestnut

Representatives of a popular local microbrewery at the riverfront flea market. I was out late last night shooting an event that may give me some great opportunities. Maybe I can write a bit more in the morning our time.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mirror, Mirror

The St. Louis Swap Meet is a summer flea market that used to run in the courtyard of the old, long-closed Lemp Brewery on the South Side. This year the scale is smaller, not a bad idea. There is a monthly event on the street under the Arch and just above the Mississippi. 

Six dollar hats may not be too durable but the view of the sky is more attractive than my head.         

Monday, July 18, 2016

Giant Puppets

The reason we were on Cherokee Street on Saturday was a children's art event and, if you were interested, pot luck supper run by the People's Joy Parade folks. It was held in a local community center and we thought Madeleine might like it. She did.

These were stacked along a wall. I wondered if they had been used in the parade but I didn't recognize them. Might be helpful on Halloween.            

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Tacos On Cherokee (The Joy of Guacamole)

The family went out for dinner last night at Tower Taco on Cherokee Street, in what passes for our Hispanic district. I can't think of a medium or large American city that has as small a Latino population as we do. But it is there and it is enthusiastic.

Madeleine loves guacamole. (An early example here.) She could pack herself as full as a dog with a bottomless food bowl, and the style served here was terrific. Locals, we highly recommend the restaurant. Very good quality, modest prices, nice people.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


Another late post. Same thing happened last night as Wednesday night. Two weeks off in September. I can't wait.

This is a bar and music venue. The posters tell us what kind of bands perform at the place with the fractured St. Louis city flag in the window.

If you are not familiar with it, FUBAR is an acronym coined by the U.S. Army in World War II. The last three letters stand for "beyond any recognition."            

Friday, July 15, 2016


Very late post today. Work this week has been so overloaded that I fell asleep in a chair last night with my laptop - well, you know where.

This is the western side of our contemporary art museum in  late afternoon sun.          

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Nice Light

It's Thursday and the Arch is in there somewhere. Looking east down Market Street from about 22nd Street.

Taking a quick visit online through my phone to post this. Violent thunderstorms again yesterday. Our power at home has been down since mid-afternoon.  

Et heureux fête nationale à nos amis français! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

All That Glitters

From time to time I think about what moves people to react to this sign on the edge of downtown. Some form of desperation, probably. You won't get top dollar for that once-precious jewelry. This dismal business makes a living from the wheel of fortune, and no Pat Sajack in sight.               

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Still Low On Material So How About Some Bikers?

Maybe I can find some time to shoot this weekend (the Lou's version of the World Naked Bike Ride is Saturday night) but for today I gotta scrape up something from Michigan again.
I get motorcycles in a way, and then again I don't. Big adrenaline rush, wind all over your body, the immediate, physical sense of speed and motion. And then there's the old bad joke. Question: what's another term for motorcycle rider? Answer: organ donor. As some of you know, I represent people on disability cases and I've had a lot of clients who got seriously messed up on these things. And I only see the ones who survive. No airbags, just pavement, walls, poles and other vehicles.
Younger riders are on the small screaming machines, sometimes weaving recklessly through traffic. The old, big (you know what I mean) guys ride Harleys. Part of the uniform is often leather vests or jackets sewn over with patches. What can I say? This is a multi-cultural society.                

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ninty Degrees To The Right

And a few minutes earlier than the shot in yesterday's post. The drama of the storm front over the Mississippi, Eads Bridge and East St. Louis. Here in the Midwest that yellow sky sometimes signals a tornado.                 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Touch of France

I am so low on material that I have to resort to phone cam shots from my office window. This one got some interest on Flickr. It looks north on Broadway and I 70 during a thunderstorm. The domed stadium without a football team is on the left and the Four Seasons Hotel on the right.

The hotel has a strange LED system on that brick fin that sticks out of it. It's usually illuminated at night but this was midday. This was taken on July 7 so why is it, so to speak, flying the French flag a week before le quatorze Juillet? I dunno. Maybe it's a test.

The next two weeks at work are awful. I'll post as often as I can.     

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Audrey Anyday

One of the main reasons for our trip to Michigan was to see our younger grandchild, Audrey, 10 months old. The family is now far away enough from us that visits will be less frequent. (Jack has a bigger problem.) The hotel where we stayed had a big indoor pool, mostly empty during the day. Son Andy, his wife, Claire and the kid came over to use it. 

The child, of course, is impossibly cute. We hope to see them again at Thanksgiving. We'll meet up in Kansas City and then drive west to see Mrs. C's mom, who will be 98 that week.             

Friday, July 8, 2016

Cops & Doughnuts - 2

Another look at Cops & Doughnuts in Clare. A large room next to the bakery contains a shop with a dizzying variety of C&D merchandise. (And it's open 24/7! Who needs a hat with a police badge and a doughnut on it at 3 in the morning?) That's where we met Ryno (third photo), one of the nine founding policemen. His name is actually Greg Rynearson and he is retired from the force, giving all his time to promoting dental business in central Michigan. When we went back for breakfast a couple of days later, we ran into another co-founder, Jeremy McGraw. He's still on duty. On the street, not at the fryer.

The room on the other size of the bakery holds the Traffic Stop Diner, seen in the last pic. Mrs. C is talking to two of the locals, Fern and Bill, who go there every single day. When no one came to the counter to take our orders, Bill went in the back and pulled out the cook to do it. The couple call themselves ambassadors but I'm not sure if it is for the shop or the town. Maybe both. Like everyone in Clare, they are amazingly friendly.

By the way, I found a web page that purports to explain the American meme of police and doughnuts. Not sure whether to believe it but you can read it here.                

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Cops & Doughnuts - 1

Clare, Michigan's most famous institution is Cops & Doughnuts. The location had housed the city's bakery since 1896. Several years ago it was on the verge of going out of business. All nine members of the town's police department bought it and turned it into what you see here. The baked goods are fabulous (lots of things besides doughnuts), the theme is cute and it has become immensely popular. Other locations have opened in Michigan and Indiana.

There is an adjacent diner and a shop selling all sorts of cutsie-poo themed merchandise. More about that and the cop-owners tomorrow.