Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Pix

Akita-san posted up pix from the Chicago trip. I posted them back in my original post below.

Royale DJ of the Month


We have many great DJs here at the Royale. But Sean Savoy has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

This Royale favorite DJ has been spinning here pretty much since we started here. Savoy consistently brings a wide array of music and endears the loyal crowds with soul, lounge and more.

Last week Sean busted his leg pretty nasty. He has a big ol' cast. On Thursday he had surgery to put bolts in his legs. I am not sure, but I think that he opted out on the peg, instead I think he chose the bionic legs that they are giving out these days.

Regardless of such physical injury/improvements, Sean exceeded the call of duty and showed up to spin on Friday night. Sean was involved in combat when he broke his leg last week. He was being coy by saying it was horseplay. And he is not taking any pain killers with the exception of the medicines dispensed at the Royale. I must say, if there is ever a defense force to protect Saint Louis, I am going to make sure I am on the same squadron as Sean. Not only will the soundtrack be far superior to other squads, I will have confidence my fellow soldiers know how to take an injury in stride.



Besides, Savoy is pretty handy with a paintball gun from what I hear. Hmm, maybe we should get a militia together for this brewing war with Chicago...

Show me a premier DJ in Chicago who would show up to spin records the day after surgery, AND could splatter a man sized target at 50 yards.

Now that I think about, I think Burt would be a good recruit as well. The man recently was able to survive a near arm severing incident and could still drop a man from a sniper's nest a mile away with his good arm while creating a perfect soundtrack from his laptop and having lost half the blood in his body. This army is looking seasoned.

We are ahead in the race.

Mad props to the warrior DJ Sean Savoy. He will be spinning again on Tuesday the 31st at 6pm.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

52nd City Release

52nd City "Sporty" Release Party
Where: Riley's, 3458 Arsenal, 314-664-7474
When: Saturday, July 28, 3-6 p.m.
No cover, free food and drinks, all ages
This afternoon will mark the release of our fifth print issue, along with our previous effort, the CD "Sound." The new mag features a variety of St. Louis writers, illustrators and photographers musing on the topic of "Sporty" and will be on sale for $8, with all previous issues available, as well. Expect a few sporting events to be held in-and-out of Riley's on Saturday. Owner Bill Kapes is generously offering some free food and drink... while supplies last. Our new web issue will also go live on this day.
Chippewa Chapel BBQ Benefit
Where: Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp, 314-773-3363
When: Thursday, August 2, 8-10 p.m.
No cover, BBQ for sale, 21-up after 10 p.m.
The hosts of the Chippewa Chapel and Off Broadway have generously offered to host a BBQ benefit for 52nd City. Bring a few dollars for BBQ and your guitar: enjoy a bite, then sign up for the Chippewa Chapel's open mic, the most-popular open mic and jam in South City. The open mic ordinarily kicks off at 9 p.m., but we'll have music on the gorgeous Off Broadway stage beginning at 8 p.m. this evening. Some 52nd City giveaways will be peppered through the evening.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Chicago adventures and cause for War

Here are some pix and a video clip from my trip to Chicago. I have been meaning to post up some video for a long time. I have a backlog of video that I need to edit.

Chicago was fun.

I had forgotten my scapular. I needed to pick up a scapular, get a haircut and get my shoes shined. That was all I really needed to do. I met up w/ some peoples while I was there. I had a crew in from the SF and my many Chicagoan friends as well. Shannon, Di, Caroline, Tracy, Pete and Gate. We had quite a good time running from taverns such as the Matchbox to the Green Mill and eating ice cream from Margie's Candy. I put many miles on the Caprice being a taxi. The city of Chicago is alive, very alive. It is a wonderful mass of humanity.

I went back to the ol' hood in the OP(Oak Park) and ran around the streets of my youth. Rather tame, but Austin is still the same, just as Delmar is in our city.

Coiffeur Andre's
Originally uploaded by AkitaSan

Be seated: Coiffeur Andre's
Originally uploaded by AkitaSan

I got my haircut by a fella named Andre who owns a shop on Belmont, a 77 year old Frenchman who moved to Chicago back in 1950. I used to get my haircut there when I lived in Chicago back in 99. He is a coiffeur. He is doing rather well. He has an interesting story. His parents strongly encouraged him to move to America after the war. He was only 20 years old. He is happy, but he said his French counterparts are now all retired while he is still working. He says he has no regrets. I asked him what it was like during the war. He said it was okay. Andre told me a German soldier taught him how his rifle worked and all about it. The soldier then pulled out pictures of his family and there he had kids his age. The soldier cried. He said the soldiers were okay where he was, but in other parts of France it was not the same. His wife was separated from her family for over a month, for they lost track of each other in the chaos of the evacuation. They were driven from their village during the bombing by the allies. He said that they always feared the Gestapo, even the German soldiers feared the Gestapo and warned the people. But he said he was young, he was only 11, and for a child it was different. He said the German soldiers used to give him bread. And he said the American soldiers were kind as well. He said he met Russian soldiers after the war who were recuperating in France. After Andre moved to the US he got drafted by the Army and served up in Alaska. And ever since he cut hair. He is happy. Interesting story. I never heard a story like that from that perspective.

After I got my haircut I needed to get my shoes shined. I walked two stores down per Andre's rec and went to the most surreal store. A Korean man, not unlike the genetic designer character in Blade Runner came to help us. He was very much a hustler. He was very eager to help, and was quick to get the shoes off my feet. The store was full of crap on the shelves, none of which made sense. He had fuses for fluorescent light bulbs, ancient elmer's glue that was white and brown. Dusty sunglasses from the 80s, chewing gum, rolling papers, random prophylactics, tp center rolls and novelty games. But this was a shoe repair store. So strange. The man pulled out two chairs for Akita and I and he slapped the chairs and said "For conversation!"

The music was so strange. It was gooey American pop music with Korean DJs. It was being played loudly over a transistor radio. He then went back to the backroom which sounded like a shoe repair machine running. I hope that is what it was.

About ten minutes later he came out with some mighty fine shiny shoes and as I put them back on, Akita made a purchase of some tic tacs.

The owner did not go to a register, he just said off the top of his head "Eighty nine cents!"

Akita drifted around some change in his hand.

"How much you have? That is enough."

He just took Akita's handful of change. We sort of looked at each other with a smile.

So I asked "How much for this?"

It was a novelty game that was called "Pin the Model." It looked it was about fifteen or twenty years old. It had a picture of a woman with a chest that was removed and just white paper. And then there were cutouts of things like two milk jugs, two melons and, well, you get the point. Needless to say this game caught attention on the shelf. There was also a male equivalent of this game with a man's groin area removed. The items to pin on were even more outrageous.

"Ah, very special game. Collector."

He goes over to the broken down dusty display and pulls out one of many copies of the game.

"$10.99!"

"I think I will pass."

Although I do have to go to two bachelor parties, I just couldn't do it. I am not sure I want to get caught with a game like this. Besides, 10.99? This stuff has been sitting on the shelf since I was in grade school.

I rolled my eyes and tipped him for the shine. He was still very happy even though I didn't buy.

On Saturday we went to the game with Tracy and met up with Pete. On our way down Addison I was able to get my scapular. Back in 99 I worked at Wrigley. After work one day I found a house that had free scapulars in a mailbox on the front gate of their house. So I decided to go back to get a scapular, for I had forgotten my scapular for the trip. And sure enough, there was the mailbox full of scapulars, holy water and rosaries. I love Catholics. We look out for each other.

The game was sold out so we watched the game from the new open gate in right field. We were able to sit on the sidewalk and watch the action on the field from the comforts of the free street seats. Perfect. The video has this wonderful scene.

****

However, during this last trip I have come to the conclusion that the city of Saint Louis should declare war on Chicago. Now I do not suggest we burn down the city of Chicago, but if that is the way it goes, so be it. I did light off some fireworks outside of the Green Mill during my recon mission, but that was not intended to be the lantern that O'Leary's cow kicked over. But if it did happen I would be guilty. They always blame the Irish. For good reason too. We usually do start fires, that is why so many of us are firefighters. We just need to make sure we got steady and fair work like the Molly McGuires.

This war should not about hate. Even though Chicagoans make signs such as this:
Regardless of how funny/wrong this is, it just begs to be cause for war with Saint Louis.

Now while I am in favor of war with Chicago, my intention is not to destroy. In fact I would love to preserve Chicago by all reasonable means. It is such a wonderful city. And I don't want to risk Chicago destroying Saint Louis either. They got us on numbers, even though we could probably sustain air strikes on the Chicagoland area much more effectively if we needed to. But that would be a waste. I think as Saint Louis we can be beating Chicago. I think a real healthy rivalry would bring out something very good in our city. And Chicago will still be a wonderful city when we beat them silly.

In order to win this war, we will need to think differently. I have heard even a Saint Louis Alderman refer to life in their ward as being in the trenches. That strategy and mindset is doomed for failure. The first step we need to take is to not live in a trench and to not think of the neighborhood as a trench. This war will not be won in the trenches, for if it gets to that point we will both lose. Trenches are in rotten cities where only despair and lawlessness rules. In order to win this war we must each live in a vibrant city that encourages growth, and we need to make sure that this city happen for all those who live in Saint Louis. This war should not be fought in trench state of mind if we expect to win, for if we do we will lose.

Now a declaration of war on my original hometown of Chicago will not be an easy decision to make. But I think it is necessary for Saint Louis to be back in that real rivalry state of mind. Chicago is so large, they probably won't even notice this war until we are well into the battle. So far we have done well to line up the stage to wage a war, but this does not mean we assuredly will win. Our city is prime to take great leaps forward if we are able to shake a few things.

How shall we do it?

Well, we need to work together and focus as a region on North Saint Louis and the East Side. We need to keep in mind how we can help the area emerge again with the residents of North Saint Louis along with new residents that we hope to fill in many of the barren neighborhoods. We need to finish the emergence of the Southside as well. This will require real unity. We have many opportunities to realize. This city needs to let business happen. Opportunity needs to be abound. Abandoned, neglected and underused property all over needs to be seen as an opportunity, and we need to make sure all people see property in our city as an opportunity.

The aim is to beat Chicago at a game they have mastered. Richard Florida has been beating the drums of the same tired gay/bohemian index for over five years now and people are still listening. While there is merit in this index, the formula is not that simple, nor is it so important to rely so heavily on these demographics.

We need to think different. The gay bohemian is very 90s. While the index will remain relevant, we need to think in the future and what else we will need to seek to come out ahead. I see the big push is dependent upon fundamental urban design, real progress in race relations, focus on immigrants, green policies, diverse and robust transportation options, encouraging real business opportunity with simple policy revisions that are true to what urban centers are. Economic and cultural centers. We need to not only be tolerant, but encourage the hectic, allow the noisy and bustling, accept the cut throat, allow the ripe opportunity, reject the staid, accept the rush and congestion, and have no time for moaning. We need think more about business and less about government. We need to think progressive ambitious government that is willing to take risks. This will put the STL in very kind eyes for the next fifteen years in the overall picture. It is very possible, for in many parts of the STL it has already happened/happening, but in order for a true widespread resurgence we need to have major reform in many communities, old and young, north and south, rich and poor, native and non-native, city and county.

There are ways to push this agenda through, but we need to realize we will need major revisions of the structure and culture of the city. Many might believe that these traits are not inherent in the character of our city, when in fact it is our roots of who we are and where we came.

I will continue my spy missions on our overgrown sibling to the north. This will help us to understand the opponent. I will also visit some other old cities this fall to gain more intel. Hopefully enough people from the STL will join in on this war to make it work. Lets really bring this STL/Chicago rivalry back, for it is our turn to hand out the beating.

*barbershop pix taken by Akita-san

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Outdoor movie- headed out of town


I am headed out of town this weekend and I am going to miss this. I will be in Chicago for a short two night trip. The movie sounds like fun. I am going to head out of town for the first time in over a year.

Considering that has been over a year since I have been out of town , I am badly in need of some new scenery. I am headed out of town again in September to Philly, NYC, Albany/Saugerties and maybe Boston and DC. I have a month and a half to get ready for the trip. I will be spending about two or so days in each locale, hooking up w/ friends hopefully in each city.

The only thing that is on my must do on this trip is a pilgrimage to the Legendary Blue Horizon in Philadelphia. It is the oldest continuously operated boxing arena in the US. It is amazing. I would love to do a project like this. I want to check it out myself.

I am still determining how to get from each city, whether by train, bus or car. If anyone has any suggestions on must do/must see activities, please post a comment or send me an email. I like to visit:

Neighborhood/out of the way taverns/pubs/lounges
Neighborhood Churches and City Cathedrals
Produce markets
Flea markets
Historic sites
Tea Rooms
Walking tours
Barber shops
Nieghborhood sporting events
Specialty antique stores-paper, maps, pictures
Architecturally interesting buildings/interiors
Museums and specialty museums
Shrines
Small mom and pop restaurants
Docks
Breweries, brewpubs and distilleries
Interesting fraternal halls
Boxing gyms
Diners
Ethnic neighborhoods

I may hit a baseball game in these towns as well, but I am going to be on a tight schedule. So please, if you have any suggestions I am all ears!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Grandma Cush, Boxing, Cherokee and Rail Scotch



Top picture: Grandmother Elaine, my Sister Jenny, my Grandmother Cush
Middle picture: Jenny with Grandma Cush
Bottom pic: Barroom Bob with David "Ebony" Gamble cornering for Pablo "the Jabbin' Jew" Weiss. Cush is in the back on her third drink.


A few years back my Grandmother Cush was in town. I went home to my parents to see if she had come in yet. As soon as I walked in the back door I knew she was there.

On the kitchen table was a small suitcase. This was an unusual case for many to see, for it only held a bottle of scotch and a few jiggers and a deck of cards. It is the first thing she brings into the house when she arrives. It stays there until she departs. She has a return address label, the kind you put on an envelope on the top of the case under the handle.

Grandma Cush is home.

Cush is interesting. She is my Father's Mother. My Grandfather Charlie passed about fifteen years ago. He was a character. And so is my Grandma Cush. She drove her PT Cruiser to Saint Louis while saying the rosary. She is often "shocked" by hearing even subtle events, especially when it is about "these days." She will then whisper something scandalous herself about something that happened back in the day. She likes to watch commercials on television and discuss them at anytime. She falls asleep in an almost narcoleptic manner. And she snores. O does she snore! She is very loving and emotional. She is very independent and is always on the go. "I'm sorry, I have to go to bridge." She often calls me Patricktomcjjasonmatttravisjennysteve.

Grandma was in town to check out some fights I was putting on. I had some fights over on Kentucky Ave in Roberto's backyard. It is always fun to have my Grandmothers come to my fights. They get ringside seats always.

Cush walks into the yard and gives me a big kiss. Then she asks me where she can get a drink. I didn't really have a bar set up for the backyard fights, but I knew a friend had a cooler.

"Um, I think my friend has some tall boys over at the cooler."

And then my Grandmother Cush makes a bee line to the cooler.

I then sat my Grandma Elaine sat ringside and she told me the first time she saw boxing was her Father, Tom Murray, at the county fair in Iowa City. She hadn't seen a match until she saw me box in Dogtown. Her father, Tom, was another character.

So my Grandma Cush sits down with her tall boy of Busch next to my other Grandma Elaine. Cush notices a big man standing next to her, Tim Mancinas, holding a blender full of margarita mix. Tim is a tough looking fella with sleeve tattoos. He is really a cool guy with a not really tough affront. But from the first look from a senior citizen, one might expect fear. But Cush swats him behind his locked knee making him dip down. He turns around and sees my grandmother sitting there.

"What do you have there?"

"Huh?"

"In the pitcher. What do you have there?"

"Oh, uh, um margaritas."

"Margaritas? That sounds wonderful."

She eyes my friend Tim.

"Yeah. Um, uh, would you like a margarita?"

"That sounds wonderful."

So there is my Grandmother Cush, going double fisted with a tall can of Busch and a ringside batch of margaritas. She is living her life to the fullest.

****


The next day I take my Grandmother Cush to lunch. I always like taking my Grandmothers to lunch. I also like it because I usually go to places that I like too. I took my Grandma to El Bronco on Cherokee.

She looked a bit confused, which is expected for the English proficiency of the place is somewhat lacking, but the food. Oh my, the food!

I sort of handle the ordering for Cush.

"So what do they have to drink here?"

"Oh, they have Jarrito's and horchata. I think they might have other soda."

"No drinks? Can you take me to a real restaurant next time?"

Grandma always speaks her mind.

****

The second night Grandma Cush was in town we went to dinner over at Jackson's in Dogtown. We all sat at the big table by the window.

The server goes around to get everyone's drink order and she gets to Cush.

"I'll have a scotch and water please."

"What type of scotch would you like? We have Glen Livet, Dewars..."

"Scotch? Don't worry about it, I want scotch honey."

"What kind of scotch?"

"Scotch."


****

I love my Grandmothers. They are the best. More tea rooms and more scotch!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Congrats to Butler and Megan and Martin

Butler Miller(yes the man who created the drink) and Megan Flaskamper gave birth to Martin McCarthy Miller this morning.

Here is the message I got from Daddy:

Like his father, Martin is a Friday the 13th baby.

Martin was born at 5:44 am, weighing in at 6lbs and 15 ounces.

Mother and baby doing well, resting when possible.

Pictures to come!!

The name comes from the maiden names of the two grandmothers, Martin, Megan's mother and McCarthy, Butler's mother.


They are going to be some great parents. Martin is going to be a cool kid. I know already.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Closings!!


I went over to Gino's Lounge and Package Liquor in Pine Lawn a few weeks ago to get a drink with some friends, but it was closed. It was a Tuesday and late, so I figured that it might be that it was just late at night early in the week.

Gino's is a particularly cool spot. Gino has been spinning records for decades. He started up in the 70s and spun records all over town including Red Bones Den. He also spun records for a number of radio stations in town. I was over at Club Elite last night and spoke with DJ Jules Carlos for a bit and he told me Gino closed down. This is a big loss for Saint Louis. Gino would have live blues every Saturday night, Carlos would spin and emcee and then Gino would spin. You could buy pints and sip your drink that way too. Gino had a big DJ booth with pleated cushion sides with plexi windows. Gino always greeted me or any other recognizable person when I came in over the mic. And this really ramped up after I opened the Royale.

"Club Royale! In the house, Club Royale, south of Arsenal on Kingshighway, Club Royale."

Gino would pipe in all the time throughout the stay.

Gino's Lounge will be missed. I hope Gino is doing okay.

***
I also hear that King Louies is closed as well. This is a loss as well. It was a very good place to eat and had some great staff. I hope the people who worked there are going to do okay.
***Update 7/12****
Redbone was down at the Royale tonight and I also saw Jules again. Red Bones didn't know anything about it. He is considering not reopening this August after his break. He has been in business since 1972. He says this every summer for the past ten years. Jules said he hadn't spun at Ginos in nearly 9 months and still has yet to hear from Gino.

Mad Art Radio Hour this week!!


This week starting Wednesday night, yes, is the Mad Art Radio Hour. Check it out!!

The last one was really really funny and very well done. Such attention to detail. And excellent core writing w/ great natural chemistry with some element of improv. There is nothing else like it in the STL. Great stuff.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Humvee in Iraq



A friend of mine sent this to me. It is a picture of a Humvee driving through Iraq. This is probably the reason I wouldn't buy a Humvee. I would want to drive like that. It is a good thing I drive big cars. Big cars are meant to be driven slow. So it is probably better a big car than a Humvee for me.

The the site that this came from is very interesting. It is actually very crazy and depressing.

On the other hand, this clip is a very interesting documentary- the latest from Frontline. Heavy stuff really. It really gets into the strategy we have used in this War in Iraq.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Crusts and Crush

When I was a kid I was picky. It was silly really.

One day when I was a kid my Grandmother Elaine told me to eat all of my crusts for "it will make your hair curly."

Huh? She told me that is what they used to tell her when she was a child.

I didn't want curly hair. I do eat crust now though. It is my favorite part of the bread. Yum.

***

I think my Grandmother Elaine has a crush on Tom Weber.

"Steve how is your friend from the radio doing?"

"Who?"

"Your friend from the radio."

"Tom Weber?"

"Yes, Tom Weber."

"Good. I think. He seems alright."

Then my Mother asks her Mother, "Tom Weber? How do you know Tom Weber?"

"He comes to lunch sometimes. I hope he comes next time. He has such beautiful hair."

And she motions her hand above her head "Such locks!"

Thursday, July 05, 2007

RIP Riley

Our family's dog, Riley, passed on this morning. My sister, Jenny and I went to get Riley back in 91 or 92 after our first Dog Fitz passed away. We brought Fitz up here from Chicago. We picked up Riley at the old Humane Society on Macklind the day after Fitz died. My sister wanted Riley because he up-ended a bowl of water on his head. It was a bit odd considering that neither of us lived at home at the time. We picked up a dog to keep at our parent's house. I did formally train Riley. I took him to dog classes. I would come home twice or more times a week to train him. Riley was a bit of a stubborn dog and also very energetic. He had to go through training classes twice. He was a spirited dog- he liked to bark at people and other dogs, even at his old age.

My folks still have Shannon. She is a tramp I found outside of KDHX back in I think it was New Years day 2000. The temperature was around ten degrees. I went to take her to the Humane Society but it was closed. I headed to my folks house and told them I needed to hold on to the dog until the next day. My sis was over at my folks house, and as soon as she saw this stray dog it was over. She wanted to keep the dog. Sort of. I don't think she was living in town at the time, so the dog stayed at my parents and is still there today.

I have a post about the two dogs that I have saved in my drafts. I haven't finished editing it, but I will get it out this week. It is a very funny story about the dogs and our family's interesting sense of humour.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

RIP Chuck Lindberg



Chuck Lindberg, the last man alive who raised the first flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.

Lindberg manned a flamethrower. My favorite army men were the flamethrowers as a kid. I used to make huge battle scenes on the gravel driveway with the hoses when I was a kid. They often included fireworks.

My Grandfather, Rex, was in the Pacific theater in WWII. He wasn't in Iwo, but he was on a couple of other islands. He didn't talk about it that much. The big thing he said is that he never wanted to be further than 100 yards away from a clean drink of water and a shower again. I was very young when he first told me that and I asked him about what he did when he drove here from California. I was too young to understand what he meant and took him too literally.