Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Eclipse

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Fringe programming for the following special report:

The weather forecast was dicey: partly cloudy, a chance of showers. Some friends who have a country house between St. Clair and Sullivan hosted a big viewing party. It was an ideal location. Clouds started to pass by before the eclipse began, creating anxiety. Then it cleared, leaving nearly perfect conditions. The experience was mystical.

The pink-purple spots at about 1 and 4 o'clock in the first photo are Bailey beads, sunlight refracted around mountains and valleys at the moon's edge. The color shows the presence of helium when run through a spectrograph and proved the existence of that element in the sun.

We heard that you could use a kitchen colander like a multi-eyed pinhole camera. It works.

Monday, August 21, 2017

On The Exhale

Elizabeth Ann Townsend was the sensation of the 2016 Fringe in her one-woman play, Count Time. She is back this year in On The Exhale, playing the role of the mother of a second grader murdered in a Sandy Hook-type massacre. In her grief, she is drawn to the awful weapon that killed her son and actually buys one. The semi-automatic weapon, which has a fierce recoil, is best fired on the exhale. She comes to suspect that when it comes to gun violence, we're all part of the problem. Powerful stuff.              

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Snow White

I took pictures at four shows yesterday plus the outdoor family day activities and kinda went overboard. The big event was ERA Theatre's Snow White, which was quite a spin on the Disney and Brothers Grimm versions. Snow White herself dresses in passionate red. There is an evil stepsister who doesn't have a good bone in her body and a bubble-blowing prince charming. Oh, and seven very tall dwarves. And a gigantic fruit salad. And a plot twist at the end.

It was a visual candy store. So many more good shots I could edit. But it's back to work at the festival for me shortly.        

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Friday Night At The Fringe

First night of shows at the St. Lou Fringe Festival. I have so much to edit. I'm going to try to post one photo from each show ASAP and then go back for other good ones when  time permits.

Top: Matthew Marcum in a one man show that explores the artistic technique of Jackson Pollock through a collage of personal quotes, extended vocal techniques and pulsating music. Film clips of Pollock painting were shown on the wall behind him. It blew me away.

Center: a one act musical comedy called Liberals vs Zombies vs Conservatives. The stereotypes are easy to spot. In the end, both sides unite in the face of global apocalypse. Make you think of any other situation?

Bottom: Brittanie Gunn performs a very unusual monologue called Hot For TREX. She portrays a writer of what is called dino-erotica, with novels including Hung Like A Dinosaur, The Flirtatious Period and Getting Dino-Sore. (I'll leave the rest to your imagination.) She tracks down people who have written blistering online reviews of her work and tears into them without mercy.  

Five shows to shoot today plus an outdoor family day. Oy.          

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Fringe Is Back! The Fringe Is Back!

The St. Lou Fringe had its opening ceremony last night. Honors to those who should be honored, announcements and samples of some of the major acts. I hustled over to Grand Center after work to get some shots. Too many people, too many names I didn't write down, but it's obviously gonna be a fabulous season.

Locals: GO, or never darken my doorway again. Schedule, map and tickets here.       

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Vandeventer Place Gates

St. Louis has had many grand private streets where the homes of the rich were or are located. Some, in neighborhoods that became undesirable (mostly closer to the Mississippi) are gone. Many from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, mostly west of Kingshighway, survive. One of the most opulent was Vandeventer Place. (Some history here.) Now the area is, well, not so great. The mansions were razed and the development destroyed.

All of these private streets had elaborate entrance gates. For some odd reason, the entrance to Vandeventer Place was preserved and plopped down in an open area of Forest Park in 1950. It's near the Jewel Box and the Korean War Memorial seen a couple of days ago. Now it is an entrance to nowhere.                

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Wire Paladin, San Francisco?  You date yourself if you get the reference.

Seen while stopped at the traffic light at Market and Broadway. You could have a look at the web site. I particularly recommend Prayer War Room under the Care tab.

If the driver is looking at the blizzard of signs on the right, the van may not get anywhere. Information overload.       

Monday, August 14, 2017


Walking around downtown late yesterday afternoon after the baseball game let out. (The Cardinals are doing better lately.) Found this on the eastern side of Gio's Restaurant on 7th Street. I don't know if baseball is more a passion or an obsession in this town.       

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Today's Bit Of Irony

There is a seldom-visited and almost hidden Korean War memorial in a corner of Forest Park. I confess I'd never seen it until yesterday. (For locals, it's just east of the Jewel Box.) Given recent days' headlines, it was a bit of a jolt. 

The monument refers to a particular battle in the far north, using a horrific pun. I think it's disrespectful. Plus more grammar errors: "lifes" and "minus 40 below zero." And recall that, at first, communism's intentions were honorable. If you know anything about the conditions of industrial workers in the first half of the 19th century, you can see why it came about, or perhaps was necessary. However, its implementation was brutal and stupid. As Winston Churchill said, democracy is the worst form of government ever invented except for all the others.

I've been on a break. It's likely that readers have had enough of my grandchildren and I had no new material. Things will get very busy soon, with the St. Louis Fringe Festival starting next Saturday and Madeleine's fourth birthday on the following Sunday. Oh, and then there is the total solar eclipse. We'll be right under the center of totality.       

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Our hotel room in Clare had a hot tub. Read the first and third lines of the directions carefully.

I'm no expert on education but literacy in this country gets worse and worse. Mrs. C and I are deputies of the Language Police and this sort of thing make us crazy. The worst and most common problem is using an apostrophe to form a plural, like "two apple's for a dollar."  You see it everywhere and it's not just the US. It is as common in the UK and Canada.     

Monday, August 7, 2017

You Say It's Your Birthday

Ellie turns four on August 20. Audrey turns two on August 30. We had an early joint party for both of them. The cake was simple but the girls didn't care. Nothing better than kids and birthday cake.  

Home tonight. Our flight out of Lansing, Michigan, isn't until mid afternoon. We hear that there is a small but pleasant zoo in the state's capital city. More little person entertainment.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Water Sports

It was a bit of a surprise but Ellie turned out to be the more contemplative of the girls this weekend, while her younger cousin Audrey was the crazy-happy kid. After a dip in our hotel pool this morning and nap time, we went to Sanford Lake Park near Midland, MI. Son Andy, Audrey's father, brought along his paddle board. The stunt below was deliberate, not accidental.           

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Read This

Found in the Discovery Museum in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. (Find the mountain. Just go and try. Report back.) It's the big town in the region, 16 miles from Clare, 26,000 people plus a peak of 20,000 students at Central Michigan University. This is a book that should be in every home. 

The museum is an educational playground for younger children. We were impressed. Ellie and Audrey were delighted.  Son Andy's feet do stick out.    

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Grandkids

Greetings once again from Clare, Michigan, where my son and his family live. The sign on the highway coming into town says "Clare - Gateway To The North." Since this is Michigan, that's serious business.

We brought daughter Emily and granddaughter Madeleine (Ellie to us) on this trip. Our other granddaughter, Audrey, will be two this month, and Ellie will be four. Son Andy's house just has a walk-in shower so Audrey takes a bath in a washtub. There was just room for Ellie to squeeze in.

Below, Ellie gets a little bit bossy while trying to get Audrey to play hide and seek in the back yard.    

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Rat Race

Some filler until we get to central Michigan late this afternoon. We took Madeleine to the zoo last Saturday. The St. Louis Zoo might be the best in the country, although San Diego has its fans.

So what did we find? A dinky show in the children's area featuring a mouse walking along a meter of rope, through a little box with an inexplicable dollar sign. A depressed macaw (pardon the anthropomorphization). A loitering sea lion. And Ellie herself, emerging from a fake hollow log, clutching her old, tattered lambie. (Thanks again, Auntie Virginia!)        

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

If You Don't Like The Act, The Bar Is Open

I've got more pix from Act Your Pants Off but they are mostly of individual performers on stage. I'll edit them for the STL Fringe's use but they are probably of more interest to them than you. 

The venue was interesting, though, It's called Off-Broadway, on the city's far south side. Appropriate enough since it is just off that street that runs almost the entire length of the city proper from north to south. My office is on Broadway downtown. If any given act was not to your liking the bar was open, well-stocked and ready to serve you.

Need to scramble for material for the next couple of days. We leave on Thursday for a long weekend in central Michigan to see our son and his family. Once we get to Clare I can always post pictures of Cops & Doughnuts or my other granddaughter, Audrey.       

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

City Daily Photo August Theme Day: Young At Heart

I didn't have anything prepared for theme day so I had to hunt through the archives. Found this of my granddaughter, Madeleine, blowing through a kazoo as hard as she could. But backwards.  There are days I'd like to let down my adult guard and do something like this, let the child back out and make rude noises at the world. Most of us probably have those days.     

Monday, July 31, 2017

Zombies Stalk The Stage

More clowning around at AYPO. A show at the upcoming main festival Is called Please Remain Calm (featuring Joe Groebinghoff, above), one of two zombie shows at the festival. (The other is Democrats vs Zombies vs Republicans. How will we tell the difference between the second and third? I mean, just look at Mitch McConnell.)

Love Keaton Treece's shirt in the second picture and Lex Ronan's attitude in the third. And don't miss Alex Carnes' hunkiness at the end.