Tuesday, January 31, 2006

RIP Coretta Scott King


Ever since the review came out in the Post it is like the AARP put out a bulletin to their membership. The people are loving it. I have some great stories of some of the people that have rediscovered the place. There was a guy who came in the other day that hadn't been in the place for 71 years. He was six years old and used to grap buckets of beer for his father and grandfather. He lived behind the place. Another guy was the Golden Glove Champion in 1948 when the STL had four champions at the national Golden Gloves. I love this living history. I really need to buy that video camera.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bobby Rush is coming to town

My boy Jim Utz just sent me this email. He has put to words more accurately what I would like to convey. I went to go see Bobby Rush a few years back at the Ambassador. It was amazing. He puts on a show. A real show. I noticed a flyer up at Gino's in "downtown" Pine Lawn the other day and I just got this email from Jim. Here is the message from the most influential unseen hand in Saint Louis music:

Bored with the same old weekend options and want to see something I am pretty sure most of you have never seen before?

Next Friday at Blueberry Hill blues master Bobby Rush is going to be doing two shows at The Duck Room. Before you stop reading, this isn't white-boy Stevie Ray Vaughn imitation blues or the weekend in Soulard "Mustang Sally" blues either, Bobby Rush is the real deal, down and dirty live show that even features back up dancers that get their own part of the show (once you see them you will know why). Bobby is over 70 years old now and actually survived a tour bus crash about 4 years ago that saw a couple members of his band get killed.
This is his first performance at a non "urban" club in St. Louis in ages (his last 10 years of club performances have either been at Club 54 (on North Grand) or The Ambassador (Jennings Station Rd at Lucas & Hunt). My favorite radio station Soul Classics 1490AM WESL is sponsoring the show and expect the crowd to be older and dressed to impress (men with hats, ladies with fur) and there to most likely be lots and lots of dancing. Bobby is (in)famous for his outrageous stage performances and was a major figure in Martin Scorsese's series on blues shown in 2004, The Road To Memphis.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 Day of The Show and are available at Vintage Vinyl.
This is really going to be a super fun show and I will definitely be at the 8:00PM show, bringing my two visiting from Japan friends Naoko and Eri to their first ever blues show.
Need more, check out www.bobbyrush.net

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

State of the Union and other notes

We are going to be viewing the Presidential State of the Union Address next Tuesday at 8pm at the Royale. It is open to all in our great country.

Also be sure to Check out the Jenna Bauer's new project Trio Grande on Monday at 9pm at the Royale. No cover.

If you get a chance, check out the latest Frontline World. See just how much of a bastard Saddam Hussein is as they show you how they uncover the evidence of the atrocities he directed. It is revealing how screwed up Iraq operates even after the US invasion. The teams that were digging up the evidence were under constant threat from everyone, Iraqi Sunnis, Shia, bandits and US military.

Dork TV

I have been watching the operating officers of Ford Motor Company on C-Span 2. They are showing the public questioning from earlier today. It is odd. They don't sound like they are doing much. The reporters are different than news reporters. They still ask harsh questions, but the language is different. It is not very passionate. They talk a lot about concepts and sales. A lot of vague generalizations. Somewhat elusive but a very straight delivery. They don't sound like they have anything innovative. That itself sounds nearly unamerican and troubling. They said they just had a "tough day" at the company right after a guy asked him why it took so long (4 years) for them to follow up on a plan to cut down on the number of corporate officers.

But what really caught my attention is that they are "idling" the Saint Louis plant. Well crap. That sucks. I guess I will read about that in the paper tomorrow.

On an unrelated note, I just wrote about a hot situation I was involved in. I wrote down exactly what happened. I may post about it later, but I am unsure.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Father Greg Boyle SJ

Father Greg Boyle S.J. was amazing. I just got back from hearing him speak at SLU. Funny guy. He works with some pretty hardcore characters. He works with former gangsters, criminals. Guys that usually can be very difficult to work with. I have had run ins with a few genuine thugs, and I don't care for it at all. Then again, these thugs have no interest in going straight. Then there are the ones who play they have gone straight but don't behave that way. That can be worse. No fun at all.

Father Boyle really has made a lot of progress working with people that our popular society has found very difficult to integrate. He really has a straight forward approach, but he really sees the humanity in people. He sees the equal value among people. How to get rid of the demonized by standing by them until it goes away. It is really amazing and simple. He calls it kinship. He works with kids who have been in gangs and tries to get them jobs. He has a tattoo removal project.

I have dealt with guys who are reformed or are trying. That can be a mixed bag. I have had some incredibly positive dealings with these guys. You would never know some of these guys have records. And then there are others that you have to be especially careful around. Really careful. I have had a few guys do some labor jobs for me. I did okay for I was cautious, but it is not without risk. A couple of the guys are no longer reformed. I try to limit the exposure by not dealing with the guys that have not clearly dealt with their dangerous side. Dealing with questionably reformed con men is not too bad as long as you don't expose yourself too much. You just have to be conscious and careful. It is pretty straight forward.

A very good friend of mine has gone straight and wonderfully so. He is a key partner on one of my projects. He owns his own house, has been working steady now for about seven or so years since geting out. He has done it all on his own and gives back quite a bit.

Some of the people I spoke to at this event were curious about the gym. I deal with knucklehead kids. Some are on the border by getting in trouble or tempted gangs, but most are not in real trouble. They are mostly at risk. Although there are a few that have treaded over the edge and I just try to tug them back into a halfway decent fold. That is usually really hard.

Father Boyle has not succeeded all the time. He has buried hundreds of young Americans in East
LA. It is tough. You can hear it in his voice. I don't know how he does it. But he does it. Regularly. Props to Father Boyle.

I didn't talk to Father Boyle afterwards for he was surrounded by fans. I didn't know what to say to him anyway other than to voice my support of his efforts. I wonder if he would want me to remove the large crucifix I have tattooed on my right arm. I doubt it. I got to be claimed by some gang.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Hooray, Vance Thompson is working door tonight at the Royale! He is a sharp dresser. It is nice to have a guy class up the joint a bit.

It has been bumpin' today. This is the third week of the Hair of the Dog Hangover Brunch. The Build your own bloody mary and the breakfast food is a hit. Almost like a Friday night down there.

This looks good

This movie looks like it will be a good one. Here is the official word on it lifted from the IMDB:

In President Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell address in 1961 he said: "In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." Director Eugene Jarecki's documentary, Why We Fight, examines America's relationship with the privatized military corporations of today and how they influence American foreign and domestic policy. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at last year's Sundance Film Festival Why We Fight includes interviews with John McCain, Richard Perle, Bill Kristol, and Gore Vidal. Why We Fight is in theaters January 20th.


I love maps. My mother put maps up in my room as a kid. I keep a map of the city up in the Royale. I know the city like the back of my hand, so maps are just an extension of this love.

This map is very interesting. Click on the picture to get a better view(I really need to get my scanner working). This is a flyer tacked up on our public bulletin board. I am not sure who did this, but I have a good idea who created this gem.

This is a great sign for the southside, and this neighborhood in particular. This neighborhood is the most critical for the city right now. This neighborhood is on edge. There is still a plethora of problems that plague that particular area- Cherokee, Benton Park West whatever you want to call it. But there is a groundswell of positive signs, more than are even listed on this map. Notice that South Grand is not mapped on this and only has a mention on it. This is the new area.

But there are problems to make this area grow. The business I want to put in the area is at best unwelcome and quite possibly criminal. The business climate is still hostile. This can change, but there are still many hurdles. I very seriously would like to open up a branch of the Panda AC in the neighborhood. I would also like to open up a bar in the neighborhood. I hope that there would be several new diverse businesses to round out the area. There needs to be the climate to make that happen. It is happening anyway. Many of the places that are listed on here were given a very hard time about opening. The growth is organic. It is like a plant that is growing in the crack of the sidewalk. It is surprising that happens, but it is going to try no matter what. I just don't want it to die. I hope it is encouraged and becomes a lush area full of welcome opportunity.

Maps like this should be dropped on South County and the burbs from airplanes. Spontaneous projects like this and sites like Kopper's Lowlife Guide and Jerome's STLPunk do far more for the growth of vital areas of town than any project by the RCGA or other large top down organizations. Let us push to make this the place to be, for immigrant businesses and all new businesses.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Free Drinks for Jesuits

I hereby declare the all Jesuits get one free drink upon visiting the Royale. I had two Jebbies in here tonight. Young guys. Brian Christopher, and SJ from Saint Matthews on North Grand and another, I think his name is James, he is studying Philosophy at SLU. Christopher works on a leadership program out of Saint Matt. He works with the kids that have nowhere else to go. Kids about the same age as the ones I work with. We talked a while about our programs.

Anyway, they told me of Father Greg Boyle. He is going to be speaking this Sunday the 22nd at College Church at 7:30. He sounds like an interesting cat. Sort of a Hoodlum Priest of LA. He works with kids who are in gangs or at risk.

So in honor of the fine work the Jesuits do, I hereby decree one free drink to any Jesuit that shows his collar in my joint. I may regret this, for I know how much they can drink. I used to work in the Jes Res. I wouldn't doubt that I may have to bounce one out a time or two either.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

RIP Wilson Pickett

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Pictures from the Shit'n the Face Haircut

I took Pete to American Classic Barbershop. He got his haircut by Mike. He hadn't cut his hair in a year and a half. He hasn't been to a barbershop in several years. His hair was beginning to knot up. He is starting to look sharp. Now he needs to get a decent pair of boots. By the way- I did not let him drive my car. I figure we would go around the Ventures parking lot a few times first.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Shit'n the face haircut

So Pete Stein AKA, Shit'n the Face, asked me about American Classic Barbershop. Pete has become my number one. He takes care of things for me. While he is a slacker, he is also has the ability to be on top of it.

I was shocked when he asked about a barber. He has a slacker cut, just sort of long somewhat unkempt hair. It is not all that bad, but I certainly would not call it sharp.

"American Classic? That is where I go! I was just there today."

"I was thinking of getting a haircut. What do you think of the place?"

"I'll tell you what. I will take you down there tomorrow and get you a haircut."

"Can I drive your car?"

"Ask me tomorrow about that."

I wonder what kind of haircut I should get him. Perhaps I will instruct Warren to give him the cut that the guy at the Maple Leaf gave me years ago. I went into the Maple Leaf about six or eight years ago. The barber gave me this look and instructed me: "Flat top." This was back when I had more hair and I was able to do a proper top. And I just accepted that I was going to get a flat top whether I wanted one or not.

Brushing his teeth, haircuts? What has become of the boy? I am still thinking what kind of cut he should get...

Links n' such

One site/blog and one blog/blog to check out.

52nd City
has become quite the nice update on the pulse. The attention to detail is nearly excruciating, yet I want more. It is a consortium of writers and roustabouts with a collection of monthly written and visual pieces. And the blog, the blog with the whimsical and pertinent detail.

And the other highly amusing blog by an old friend/roommate Patrick Landewe. He is now running a lighthouse/bed n' breakfast in upstate NY. He has started a blog he calls the Keeper's Handbook. I figure we can monitor the blog to see if there will be a Shining this winter if he starts blogging All work and no play makes Jack a dullboy.

Sharon's appetite

This is too much. There are reports that they are using greasy lamb meat to revive Ariel Sharon from his comatose state. Apparently they believe that the odor of the delicious shwarma greasy lamb will excite Sharon's senses.

The reports are sketchy even though there have been some mainstream news reports, but I bet it would be as a good as any attempt to revive the man. It is good enough to be true and would be hard to dispute either way. The man likes food. He likes greasy meat. The smell should wake him up if anything can.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Keep The Dream Alive

The dream is very much is alive if we all continue to strive to make our society better.

I netflicked some MLK Documentaries for this week. I guess I will get them when they deliver mail on Tuesday.

Robert McNamara's Lessons from Vietnam

* We misjudged then - and we have since - the geopolitical intentions of our adversaries ... and we exaggerated the dangers to the United States of their actions.

* We viewed the people and leaders of South Vietnam in terms of our own experience ... We totally misjudged the political forces within the country.

* We underestimated the power of nationalism to motivate a people to fight and die for their beliefs and values.

* Our judgments of friend and foe alike reflected our profound ignorance of the history, culture, and politics of the people in the area, and the personalities and habits of their leaders.

* We failed then - and have since - to recognize the limitations of modern, high-technology military equipment, forces and doctrine...

* We failed as well to adapt our military tactics to the task of winning the hearts and minds of people from a totally different culture.

* We failed to draw Congress and the American people into a full and frank discussion and debate of the pros and cons of a large-scale military involvement ... before we initiated the action.

* After the action got under way and unanticipated events forced us off our planned course ... we did not fully explain what was happening and why we were doing what we did.

* We did not recognize that neither our people nor our leaders are omniscient. Our judgment of what is in another people's or country's best interest should be put to the test of open discussion in international forums. We do not have the God-given right to shape every nation in our image or as we choose.

* We did not hold to the principle that U.S. military action ... should be carried out only in conjunction with multinational forces supported fully (and not merely cosmetically) by the international community.

* We failed to recognize that in international affairs, as in other aspects of life, there may be problems for which there are no immediate solutions ... At times, we may have to live with an imperfect, untidy world.

* Underlying many of these errors lay our failure to organize the top echelons of the executive branch to deal effectively with the extraordinarily complex range of political and military issues.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


I love talking to bar and restaurant guys who have been in the business for over 15 years. I just went up to Gino's Lounge and hung out with the owner who also spins records up there. They always love seeing new people in the business. His place is very much a distinct place. It is great to see the owner and their direct impact upon the joint. Gino has been up there for over thirty years, in "Downtown Pine Lawn" as he says over the mic in the encassed DJ booth that looks more like a couner at a pawn shop or post office, but with a lot of stickers and pictures on it. It is great stuff. He used to spin records for a couple of different radio stations in town. In fact he gave me a great mixed cd. Gino spins old soul, old dance music from motown to disco and even new hip hop. He mixes it with such beautiful flow. Bob Reuter is the same way. He spun at the Royale last night.

Gino announced my presence to just about everyone who walked into the place, so to about a half dozen people.

Funny, I saw Lee Whitfield's father at Gino's. Lee, a friend from way way back, had put in two successive nightly shifts at the Royale. Lee's father, Al, had heard a lot about the Royale and myself. I took care of Lee the other night. His dad is really cool. Very cool. So is Lee. Funny how you can be across town and see people you know.

I have learned quite a bit from these guys. I also talk to owners of Red Bones Den, the Iowa Buffet, 34 Club and even J's Hideout. I am particularly drawn to the guys who have been in business for often longer than I have been alive. I also very much talk to owners of more contemporary places too, ones that are successful and doing good things-the usual suspects-Cowboy, Kitchen K, Way Out, Famous, Bastante, Frederick's, CBs, Tanner Bs, Hammerstones, Upstairs, Mang etc. It is good to experience it all.

Gino told me he plans on coming down with his crew on Tuesday night. I am honored. Should be fun. I am glad that Mark Early is spinning. He is the best.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Good stuff x 2

I have been listening to a new show on KDHX Reality Now hosted by the publisher of the SJR, Ed Bishop. He has had some very interesting topics and guests. He interviewed Ellen Soeteber a couple of months ago before she left. Very interesting. Very different interview than the one on KWMU's Saint Louis on the Air. Bishop also had a great interview of Joe Strupp, the publisher of Editor and Publisher. The sale of the Pulitzer/Post was big news nationally last year. He deconstructs just what it means to the STL, and as it seemed this new media strategy with a lot of absentee ownership is not all that great. He puts it in straight academic terms. Great pickup for KDHX.

Also- Bill McClellan wrote a great piece yesterday. Pretty funny. He manages to put one out every once in a while.

Monday, January 09, 2006

CS Monitor

A reporter Jill Carroll was just abducted in Baghdad on Saturday.

I had been considering picking up a subscription to the Monitor for some time. I am signing up for it. Good stuff. I haven't read it regularly in a long time. We should start getting it in the next five days.

Much happening, but been busy. Trying to reorganize after the holiday. Good holiday, now it is time to put everything through another round of improvements. Keep pushing, keep making it a bit better.

Friday, January 06, 2006

RIP Lou Rawls