Monday, May 31, 2010

Rebirth...Of What?

We went to the
St. Louis Renaissance Faire yesterday afternoon, a wonderful excuse for people to dress in silly costumes and speak in outrageous accents. This arboreal cat-woman, however, spoke only in hisses and screeches. Got some great stuff but it's late and more will have to wait. And today's my volunteer job at the Gypsy Caravan. My hard drive runneth over.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Catch breath. Rest index finger.

Yesterday, of course, was Saturday.
I did not take one single photograph. Maybe I'm not such a junkie after all. I did some household chores in the morning, including moving the family financial data from Quicken on our old coal-powered Windows computer to the iMac we got last Christmas. (About time, but Quicken for Mac is terrible so I had to put Windows on the new Mac first. That makes sense, doesn't it?) Then I went to the office and got some overdue paperwork done. So it's back to the archives. Actually, this was from just last weekend. The shadow of the Arch makes a spotlight effect on the overlook and stage that's usually just across the street.

No photos, but last night's production at Opera Theatre of St. Louis was Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. It's a work I scarcely know. Lush melody as you would expect from the composer but O.M.G., the plot makes La Bohème seem like an episode of the Three Stooges. It could be subtitled People Keep Doing Mean, Stupid Things To One Another, This Time In Russia. But if it weren't for such behavior. how could we have opera?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

La Rivière la Nuit

This statue has been featured on STL DPB before. Aristide Maillol's La Rivière is one of my favorite works in Citygarden. I just liked the light and color as darkness approached. If the image looks a little disorienting, imagine rotating it 90 degrees clockwise. That's how it was shot and you can understand how the lamp sits in the water.

Lots to shoot in The Lou over our Memorial Day long weekend. Once again, the faeries (I kid you not) invited me to come shoot at the St Louis Renaissance Faire and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is having me back to document their annual blockbuster flea market, the Gypsy Caravan. Got some great shots last year at each, which you can view here and here. Monday afternoon the family is going to see the St. Louis Cardinals duel for first place in their division against the Cincinnati Reds. Whew!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Landscape With Dinosaurs

A bug's eye view of a fiberglass
triceratops and tyrannosaurus rex outside the St. Louis Science Center in Forest Park. Just fooling around. At least they existed in the same geologic era so I suppose they could have bumped into one another. (I didn't bother to look up the land range in which each of them lived). I'd prefer to be small enough to hide in the grass if they were passing by.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday Arch Series

Sometimes it's fun to slip yourself into someone else's wedding shoot. You can find brides, grooms and attendants almost any Saturday during nice weather under the Arch. For some reason I was standing by Memorial Drive last weekend, the first street on the city side of the monument, shooting up the slope. This photographer asked me if he could play through and of course I agreed. He was entertaining. The image is a little different.

BONUS ARCH PHOTO below. Well, not the big wicket itself but rather its shadow falling across the grand staircase below it and out over the swollen Mississippi.

CITY DAILY PHOTOBLOGGERS PLEASE NOTE: Kim of Seattle Daily Photo notified some of us that a for-profit aggregator site, Photos World News, is stealing posts from many of us by the carload. They have stolen dozens of mine. Glancing at it just now. I see copyright violations of work by Virginia and Nathalie on the first page. Leave a comment with a cease and desist demand, then click on the Google AdSense logo at the top their page and file a copyright violation notice. I did a Whois on the domain and it's located in Brazil, outside of US and EU jurisdiction. However, if enough of us file complaints Google may kick them off AdSense and thus cut their source of revenue.

There is a new Arch photo today on Gateway.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lazarus, Arise

Who would call a realty company Lazarus, and why? It has to be deliberate. Maybe this company buys up properties in moribund neighborhoods and, well, brings them back to life. That would be nice. Maybe the owner thinks that St. Louis is a dead city and that any deal s/he makes is an act of resuscitation. I don't know. Can't find a thing about this outfit on the web.

But there is more to it. The white graffiti on the rolling door on the right says "the karma effect." That mixes religions and cultures, making interpretation more difficult. So is this proposing that if you lead a virtuous life, build good karma and Lazarus is your realtor, when you die you can come back as, uh, yourself? Can the cycle of rebirth work that way? I think I need to go pour a glass of wine and ponder this.

TOMORROW: the Thursday Arch Series is back, plus a new post on Gateway.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

For Submarines, Maybe

Big Muddy roils at the edge of the city. Your automobile insurance company would discourage you from doing this but it's okay with the car wash (if you can get the vehicle that far). The river is only about 3.5 feet or barely over a meter above flood stage and should start to drop now. Still, this is not exactly a vibrant metropolis and we get our thrills where we can.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Going Up

The Mississippi is rising again. On Saturday it covered Lenore Sullivan Boulevard and the first couple of steps to up to the Arch. The dark area on the water is the shadow of the Arch itself.

This is small change, though, by historical standards. The sign high up the post in the second picture is hard to read here but the red stripe is the high water mark of the great flood of 1993. Long way to go.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mamma, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Lawyers

.Spectators at Friday evening's Bridge Bash. I don't know for a fact that these gentlemen are lawyers, but given what's left downtown (professional sports teams, homeless people, the Arch and lawyers) it's a pretty good bet. Perfectly tailored, a Budweiser in one hand and a Crackberry in the other. And out to watch stuff get smashed to bits.

Happy happy joy joy. Yesterday was opening night for Opera Theatre of St Louis. We've been subscribers for more than 30 years. STL doesn't have a grand opera company like New York, Chicago or San Francisco. What we do have is the most pleasant experience possible. A thousand seat theater with a thrust stage, so everyone is near the performers. It is on a leafy college campus and patrons have a picnic supper on the lawn before the show. Four works done in repertory in May and June, all sung in English. The opener was one of the crowning achievements of Western art, Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, in a flawless, sparkling performance. I came home humming Piu Non Andrai.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


As, promised, pix of the first blow of the demolition of the unsightly pedestrian bridge between the defunct downtown enclosed mall and a dead former department store. The mall is being redeveloped into a parking garage. No shortage of spaces in downtown STL! The department store is about to become an Embassy Suites hotel with apartments on the upper floors. Sic transit gloria.

Below, the scene moments before the headache ball struck.

By the way, today is the 30th birthday of Chicago photoblogger and heir to the St. Louis Daily Photo fortune, U "R" Us. Stop by and say hello.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Well, It Sure Wasn't Shot On Film

Another one from last weekend in Tower Grove Park, pending the hope of getting new material this weekend. This has layer after layer of digital tricks: Lensbaby, HDR, computer desaturation and image manipulation. Purists may disapprove but I think it turned out okay.

But, two really good photographic events today:

- there's a wrecking ball party in downtown STL late this afternoon. Twenty years or so ago, someone built a big enclosed shopping mall in the middle of downtown. It was the biggest such development in a US city center at the time. And it was a complete failure, dead vacant for some years now. (How about that for St. Louis' renaissance?) Well, now someone is turning it into a futuristic-looking parking garage. I think downtown will soon have more parking spaces than workers but the conversion is better than following the path of the ruins of Detroit. Anyway, the mall had a multi-level pedestrian bridge to an adjacent department store, also long defunct. The hulk blocks the view along a major downtown street that's actually undergoing some revitalization. So late today there's a street party for the first blows of the wrecking ball on the sad bridge. Your faithful reporter plans to attend.

- Amazon says my copy of Photoshop CS 5 will arrive today. Yippie!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday Arch Series

No new Arch material again (not much of any new material) so I dug this up from the archives. Something a little different, a little odd looking. I'm fighting the time bandits. When I went to law school back in the day they filled our heads with old English legal maxims; their common law is still our foundation. One of them says that "the law is a jealous mistress." Sometimes it demands all your attention and devotion. Sad how it gets in the way of fun.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tower Grove Pastorale

Same location as yesterday's shot, looking back in the opposite direction.Thanks to the duck for a well-timed cameo appearance. I like the Lensbaby effect in these shots (well, obviously, or I wouldn't have used one). Your opinion may vary.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tower Grove

St. Louis is fortunate to have a a great deal of park space. Forest Park, the largest urban park in the US, is the famous one. My personal favorite, though, may be
Tower Grove Park. Its 289 acres / 117 hectares has a formal Victorian plan and includes gazebos, open areas and grand, carefully planned woods. It could be the grounds surrounding an English stately home.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Here We Go Again

And on a couple of levels. Back home now, trying to return to the routine. But the Mississippi is rising again, just covering the riverside street below the Arch and heading higher. You might want to do your biking in a waterproof suit.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Good Night, New Orleans

Home late Saturday night and just time for a quick post. In many ways, New Orleans' nature is best expressed in the dark.

Out to shoot new local material today.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A French Quarter Pirate

My friend Micki Beth is a lawyer in the same specialty as me, practicing in Montgomery, Alabama. She has the good fortune to own a house in the French Quarter of New Orleans. On Thursday night, she hosted a pre-dinner reception in the courtyard of the historic building. That's where I met her neighbor, who calls himself Captain Twist. He makes his living as a street pirate and entertainer in the quarter. True to his profession, he eventually held Micki Beth and her dog hostage until another glass of wine was delivered.

Afterward, a group us us went to dinner at RioMar, where chef Adolfo Garcia, pictured below, cooks up wonderful Spanish-style seafood, some prpared in olive oil but not the other stuff.

All good things must come to an end. Home tonight.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Who Dat?

High life and low life on Bourbon Street, New Orleans. Above, Joan and Cindy, our senior paralegals, were posing when this man from a restaurant walked by with perfect timing, carrying a big tray of fruit, Glad he did! Non-Americans may not understand the title and context of this post. Let me know if you're confused.

Below, well, I suppose it's just a friendly conversation.

Fourteen New Orleans pictures have been added to Flickr here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Well, It Is The Joy Parade

It's nice to see joy prevail. This was typical of the spirit during the parade last weekend.

The Thursday Arch Series on break. There's no recent material anyway. Instead, we'll have some debauchery from New Orleans. Here's an example - shots to go from a bar on Bourbon Street.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Serve Yourself

Loitering after the People's Joy Parade on Saturday. I served myself one image after another.

BONUS PHOTO: I had a couple of hours to walk around the French Quarter in New Orleans this morning before my meeting. That's when I met Justin, a vendor in the marketplace and native New Orleanian. Kind of non-stop work the rest of the day but I plan to shoot the rabble on Bourbon Street tonight after dinner.

More People's Joy Parade photos are on Flickr here. I also started a set of N.O. pix there - just a few up so far.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Freedom of Religion In America

This man told me that he came to the People's Joy Parade to do street ministry. I will leave comments to my viewers.

I arrived in New Orleans last night, ostensibly for a professional conference. Please tell me: should I look at the speakers or through my viewfinder?

Monday, May 10, 2010


Boys from the hood, during the Cinco de Mayo festival along Cherokee Street after the parade. All you have to do is ask.

Today is a travel day. I hope to get some comments caught up in airports (but I'm so sick of changing planes in Dallas).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

People's Joy Parade

Yesterday brought our
Cinco de Mayo festival along Cherokee Street in our small Hispanic neighborhood. Certainly no lack of enthusiasm, though. The highlight is the People's Joy Parade, organized by local artist Sarah Paulsen. It's free-form creative craziness. These are just a few snaps - more to come.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Free Fight

I was really, really going to spend some time last night checking my friends blogs and leaving some comments. Please believe me. But then Peat Wollaeger, the artist in yesterday's post, emailed me and invited me to his pre-Cinco de Mayo parade party in a print shop and gallery on Cherokee Street. So, as Robert Burns said, the best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley. Right you are, Robbie. Big time.

Well, besides his signature eyeball, Peat is the de facto artistic director of lucha libre in metropolitan St. Louis. That's the Mexican style of masked professional wrestling. Lucha libre literally means free fight and the luchadores create outrageous personalities behind their masks. Peat's got his three sons into the program. They will all be in the People's Joy Parade today. (That's my picture from last year on the top of the linked page.) More picture to follow.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Peat Loves STL

This is from the part of the Mississippi floodwall where graffiti is permitted. The eyeball is the signature of local artist
Peat Wollaeger, seen here at last year's Cinco de Mayo festival in the wacky People's Joy Parade. Peat and his crew create wild, out-sized lucha libre masks for the event. I'm the semi-official volunteer photographer for this year's parade so lots of pix from Sunday forward.

Once again, I apologize for no comments yesterday. I pulled a 15 hour shift between the day job and acting as the definitely official volunteer photographer for the annual awards dinner of the Deaconess Foundation, which funds my wife's job as a parish nurse. What happened to the concept of eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep and eight hours for what we will?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday Arch Series

As I mentioned yesterday, I don't have any new material so it's time to go dumpster diving. There are some good things down there that didn't catch my eye the first time around. Here's an example taken about a year ago. Fun with Photoshop.

There is a new Arch post today on Gateway.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Featured Exhibitions

A final photo from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. No hint as to what those exhibitions may be. All will be explained around the corner. This is an example of the haunting beauty of the Bloch Wing's architecture. Note that this is a color image and has not been desaturated.

There may be an Arch photograph tomorrow if I can find a suitable one in the archives. No new material. Too many things competing for my attention.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What It's All About

For all my fellow addicts, from the new Bloch Wing of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. See, I can make pictures that aren't all full of stuff like yesterday's.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Everything's Up To Date In Kansas City

So said the
song from the old Broadway musical Oklahoma! so forgive me while I post a couple more KC pix, pending some new local material. The city has a a very good gallery, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. A new section, the Bloch Wing, opened three years ago and I got to see it for the first time Saturday. The architecture is brilliant, a series of glowing boxes dropping down the hillside perpendicular to the old museum building. The museum is known for its set of four badminton shuttlecocks by Claes Oldenburg on the lawns. This one's space is undergoing some repairs, which makes it all the more bizarre.

TOMORROW: photography gallery.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Silver Anniversary

So here's the reason we're in Kansas City.

In 1984 and 1985, I was in a small law firm. It had five principals (I was the most junior) and a miserable, underpaid utility associate. My social security disability practice had become too big for me alone and I was starting to give my overflow to the others. I had also signed a contract to start a business for mediation of civil litigation cases (which has done pretty well). A couple of the other lawyers thought that I had outgrown our facilities and I should split off.

I'd never been completely on my own in law practice. Panic! I had too much of a caseload for me alone and I was about to start a new business. What am I gonna do? I went out running in a cold rain in March 1985, trying to clear my head. By chance, the miserable associate drove by, saw me and pulled up to the curb.

"Hey, idiot" she called out the window. "What are you doing out here getting soaked?"

"I just left the firm, Julie," I gasped. Her eyes went wide with surprise. And then, without any conscious thought, I said "and I'd like you to come with me."

She told me to go home, dry off and call her. Six weeks later, on May 1, 1985, our little firm opened its doors. I was 35. Julie Shanahan was 27. I wanted people to respect her so it was Crowe & Shanahan from day one.

Twenty five years later there are four lawyers, about 18 support staff and an outstanding reputation in our specialty. Julie and I are like brother and sister. Several of the staff have been with us twenty years or more. We're a family.

Julie had the idea to do something for all of them in the form of a road trip and dinner. They voted for Kansas City and we had a terrific party last night. Some of the guests below are Stessie Bill, our law clerk, Cindy Derse, who has been my paralegal for twenty seven years, and paralegal Kaari Smith. What a great bunch of people. Here's to many more years.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

STL DPB On The Road To Kansas City

We're in Kansas City for a special event tonight. If the photography gods smile (meaning someone else has to take some of the key shots 'cause I'll be in them, and no one but me at the event knows squat about photography) there will be pix tomorrow.

KC is about four hours drive west of St. Louis. It is a smaller metro area than out town but it ha a lot going for it. The locals say that Kansas City has more fountains than Rome. Based on personal observation, I'd say it's true. What you see above is a detail from the J. C. Nichols Memorial Fountain at the edge of KC's famous Country Club Plaza, the first shopping center in the US and still very upscale.

We hit bands of heavy thunderstorms on the drive across Missouri yesterday, illustrated below. When it let up, we could enjoy our states's bucolic countryside, as in the last picture. By the way, CDL stands for commercial driver's license, i.e., truck drivers get special discounts.

I completely forgot it was theme day until I looked at the portal. This post qualifies. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants