Monday, February 28, 2011


Pan-Arab Democracy Rally 3
I had the best shooting weekend in ages, with carloads of good stuff from the Idiotarod and Naughti Gras. However, this goes to the front of the line.

Yesterday afternoon I went downtown to get some files for hearings today. Passing 4th and Market, I saw a crowd of people with the flags of many Arab nations in front of the Old Courthouse. Always have your camera, and it doesn't hurt to know where to find parking. There was a rally for freedom and democracy throughout the Arab world. Wonderful images and inspiration. More pictures to come. I
started a set on Flickr here, with many more photos to add.

Pan-Arab Democracy Rally 4

Too much to choose from. Coverage of the St. Louis Itiodarod continues on Downtown St. Louis 365.

2011 Idiotarod 5

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"I'll Keep My Guns..." (Guns Weekend, Part 2)

Keep The Change

Seen on the back window of a huge SUV in downtown traffic. Another example of why you should always have a camera handy. In this case, mine was resting by me in the car on what Americans call the shotgun seat.

is a specifically anti-Obama sticker. One of his campaign slogans was "change you can believe in." These people scare the bejeebers out of me. It involves the far-right (and pretty common) paranoid delusion that liberals, or progressives as we call ourselves now, actually, really want to create a socialist dictatorship to deprive drivers of GMC Yukons of their freedom (to waste energy?), money (via taxes) and, of course, their guns. Sheesh. We just want everyone to be happy, healthy, safe and maybe have some fun.

I got a bunch of good pictures yesterday at the second annual St. Louis Idiotarod, a benefit for Operation Food Search. Coverage is starting today on Downtown St. Louis 365. Worth a look.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

781-GUNS (Gun Weekend, Part 1)


Much of the world knows that a lot of America is gun happy. I won't try to assess the psychology and sociology of it - frontier spirit, traditions of hunting for food, fierce individualism, the thrill of packing big heat, all that stuff. In my state, Missouri, you can carry a concealed weapon into most places (like, um, church or a baseball game) as long as you pass a simple background check. As you walk down the street, you have no way to know who is armed.

I've shot a gun a couple of times. Once in college, plonking beer cans with a 22 on a Vermont farm. In recent years, taking a shotgun from my in-laws in Kansas, trying (unsuccessfully) to hit clay pigeons. I did get a tree straight on, though. I don't want a gun. I don't like guns. Guns are for shooting people and animals. Peace to all our brothers and sisters, I say.

The place above is on Manchester between Hampton and Kingshighway. There will be another STL gun photo tomorrow.

Cafe Cioccolato Today's post on Downtown St. Louis 365 is about mystery and chocolate.

The Bull's Eye

Friday, February 25, 2011

Music In The Air


When I met Chris Burchett last weekend (see last Tuesday's post) he was jamming with his friend William, a flute player. He's more of a jazz guy. The sweet metal tones of his instrument were carried on the wind through the nearby areas of Forest Park. It was delightful to hear the two of them out in a public park on a mild winter day.

Be sure to come back Saturday and Sunday for gun weekend on STL DPB.

Now Hiring There's a job opportunity today on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Arch Series

Arch 2011-02-13 4

Back under the Arch with Brad again on a Sunday afternoon. We first met him and talked about his mission in the post of December 6, 2010. True to his promise, he's there week after week, in every kind of weather. Sometimes he stands alone for a long time. People do come up to talk to him, though, asking what he is doing. He offers to pray with them. Sometimes they accept, sometimes not. Whatever you think about him, you have to respect his determination.

St. Mary of Victories We venerate the BVM today on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Artist's Hands

Chris Burchett's hands 2

I am amazed at people who can play a musical instrument really well. It takes a degree of physical coordination and accuracy I can't comprehend. Way back when, I studied both violin and piano. Good ear, bad hands. On the piano, I could not make my fingers on the left and right sides do different things at the same time. Then, thank heaven, CDs were invented.

Chris Burchett's hands danced over his guitar strings. It was fascinating to watch them while listening to his music.

Looking East From Citygarden 2011-02-12 It's a nice afternoon on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Chris Burchett's hands 1

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chris Burchett


Chris Burchett 1
I suppose many City Daily photobloggers are always desperate for new material to post. I often go out wandering around the city on weekends, searching for something that catches my eye. That often involves certain favorite spots, like Forest Park. On Sunday afternoon, I was walking around the Grand Basin and heard the sound of music on the wind. I followed the sound and met Chris Burchett.

He was a young man with a guitar, a smile, a cowboy hat and rattlesnake skin boots. And what a musician. I listened to him play for a while, coaxing rhythm and melody from his instrument with lightning-fast fingers (more about which tomorrow). He's played jazz and rock but his thing now is country. Burchett is the first black country rock singer and recording artist to emerge from St. Louis. Go to his web site and listen to some of his stuff.

He said I could call him Cowboy.

Lumiere Place Today's post on Downtown St. Louis 365 argues that bad architecture knows no boundaries.

Chris Burchett 3

Monday, February 21, 2011

E 'strano

Winter Opera Accordionist
There are three times in Giuseppe Verdi's masterpiece, La Traviata, when Violetta, the title character, sings out e 'strano! - it is strange. Strange that she experiences feelings of genuine love in a life that has been dedicated to pleasure and independence; strange that the object of her love has left their home on a mysterious errand; and, strangest of all, that she is about to die of consumption. It was also quite strange - but very pleasant - to hear this in the halls of upper crust St. Louis society.

This city is a terrific place to experience affordable, intimate opera. There is our renowned company, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, that plays a four production season in repertory during May and June. Through the rest of the summer, Union Avenue Opera performs in a beautiful church whose congregation makes the auditorium/sanctuary available for music and art. There wasn't anything in the cold months until a few years ago, when little Winter Opera was formed.

They play where someone with adaptable space will take them in. Last weekend's performances of La Traviata took place in the ballroom of the St. Louis Woman's Club. (Woman's, not Women's. There are men's clubs but are there man's clubs?) I'd never heard of it. Well, it's located in a sumptuous mansion on Lindell Boulevard in the Central West End. No signage out front. Within, the grandiloquence of old money, style and power. It was a brilliant setting for this work. I took some iPhone snaps: above, an accordionist plays Di Provenza during intermission. Below, curtain calls, and a young usher checking his messages in a stairwell under a painting of a peasant woman, a demographic underrepresented in the club membership rolls.

Mart Building, Wrapped Rumor has it that Christo has attacked St. Louis. Details on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Winter Opera Curtain Call

Stairwell, St. Louis Woman's Club

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Larry Fink

Larry Fink 1

I had the privilege of meeting one of America's great photographers, Larry Fink, yesterday. A retrospective of his work opened Friday night at the art gallery attached to The Sheldon Concert Hall, STL's gem of a performance venue. Fink gave a talk in the theater with a slide show of his photos, mixed with insights on craft, style and inspiration. He's funny, down-to-earth, a great story teller and, to the audience's delight, a vehement opponent of the Tea Party (yaaay!). Above all, he is an artist of breathtaking vision.

The program included an open discussion with the audience. It ran so long that the house manager kicked us out of the auditorium for the next event. (I think it was a meeting of the Red Hat Ladies.) We all went into the gallery, where Fink talked photography for as long as we wanted. He was kind enough to let me take these pictures.

I was blown away. Seek out his photos if you have a chance. He also has a blog. It was an afternoon of inspiration.

Death Of A Casino 1 There is a little memorial to the death of a casino today on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Larry Fink 4

Larry Fink 3

Larry Fink 6

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Portrait of Ivan

Labor of Love 8

This from a week ago, at the opening of the Labor of Love Show at Soulard Art Market. You see Ivan at a lot of arts events. His wife, Jane, is one of the resident artists at SAM and has been featured here in our artists' portraits series. Ivan also works on veterans' issues. If you are interested, stop by the fundraiser he helped organize for Guitars For Vets on Sunday, March 20 at 4 PM at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups, 700 S. Broadway. It's worth looking at that link to see the good these people do.

Wabbits Wascally wabbits today on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Music of the Spheres

Spheres In Citygarden

Whoever is in charge of Citygarden put up these globes in November. My guess is that they were a Christmas decoration. As plain as a cue ball during the day, but at night they pulse with clanging colors. (This is a color picture of them from a post in December.) Well, it's February 18 and here they are still. No idea how long they will be around. They make me think of a model of a molecule or the eggs of alien invaders from space.

AT&T Telecom on the skyline today on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday Arch Series

Old Court House 2011-02-12 1

The Arch isn't exactly the main topic of this picture but it plays an important role. Besides, I think it's cool and I wanted to use it. The neoclassical building in front is what we call The Old Courthouse, built in stages in the mid-19th Century. It was used for state courts until 1940, when it was given to the federal government. This photo is part of the series of black and white HDRs of downtown courthouses I'm shooting for the office walls.

Haring On Market Street Kieth Haring boogies down Market today on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

High And Mighty

Federal Courts 1 BW

This is the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse, opened in 2000. Eagleton was a senator from Missouri. The building we saw yesterday was the former home of the federal courts, given to the state when this place opened.

It was state of the art when it was build. Indeed, it is the tallest courthouse in the country. Problem is, it completely blocks the view of the Arch when driving downtown from the west on the main highway. Doh! as Homer Simpson might say.

I swear I did not Photoshop those clouds in. I may have enhanced them a wee bit but that's just how they were. Maybe federal judges simply radiate power.

Downtown View From 10th And Clark 1 So, uh, what's across the street? This, if you care to look at Downtown St. Louis 365 today.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Old Fashioned Justice

State Circuit Court 1

Yesterday's posts on this blog and Downtown St. Louis 365 featured the two statues you can just see here, flanking the entrance to the Mel Carnahan Courthouse. The words engraved over the 14 Egyptian-style, lotus-capped columns say United States Courthouse but, as mentioned, the state took it over for the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis. All American attorneys take a course in law school on federal jurisdiction. My professor once gave a 50 minute lecture of the deep metaphor he saw between this subject and the Comet Kohoutek. No wonder I still don't understand it.

Notice the sheriff's van parked in front of the courthouse? Check out the details on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Sheriff's Van

Monday, February 14, 2011

2-Fer 2

State Circuit Court 2

There's another 2-fer today with Downtown St. Louis 365, a pair of statues flanking the entrance of the Mel Carnahan Courthouse at Market and Tucker. It was for decades the U.S. Court and Customs House in St. Louis, a Depression era federal project. When the feds built the ultra-modern Thomas F. Eagleton Federal Courthouse, the penurious state took this building over for its circuit court. It is named after our late governor. We'll get to full views of both buildings this week.

I couldn't find anything about the statues online after fifteen minutes of searching, which is about my attention span. This one holds a book inscribed CONSTITVTION (how Roman) in one hand and a torch to light the way in the other. It's in serious need of a bath.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Serra's Twain and Civil Courts 2011-02-12 2

Downtown St. Louis 365 and St. Louis Daily Photo have a two for the price of one special today. These are a pair of view of views of the Civil Courts Building, seen here yesterday, through the portals of Ricard Serra's massive steel sculpture, Twain. While the Civil Courts is a jumble of ancient styles, Twain is at once much more simple and difficult. Certain people howled for its removal after it was installed in 1982. It stayed, thank heavens. The opposite result happened in New York when Serra's 1981 work, Tilted Arc, was removed from Foley Square in Lower Manhattan and carted off for scrap. So we get a one-up on the grand center of art.

Another advantage of a 2-fer is that I can use the same text on both blogs, more or less. Here's the image you can see on Downtown St. Louis 365:

Serra's Twain and Civil Courts 2011-02-12 1

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Labor Of Love

Labor of Love 3

The opening night reception for the Labor of Love art show took place last night at Soulard Art Market. As I mentioned yesterday, I have one photograph in the show. It was never explained whether the labor of love referred to the process of creating art or the subject of the work or art. I went with the second approach in a photo of chanting Tibetan Buddhist monks.

There was a big crowd and a lot to see. It may have been too intense for some people.

Civil Courts Building 2008-10-26 How mixed up can architecture be? See today's post on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Labor of Love 2

Friday, February 11, 2011


Geese In Forest Park
Yes, we have a lot of geese around here in the winter. This bunch took off from a pond in Forest Park looking like an Air Force fighter squadron.

By the way, I have a photograph in a group show called Labor of Love opening tonight at Soulard Art Market. The reception, open to everyone, is from 7 to 10 PM. All the locals are invited - free beer! It's at 12th and Russell, catty corner from Mc Gurk's.

Depressed LanesThis blog advertises the occasional rant. Actually, there's one today on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday Arch Series

Arch And Traffic Signal
An image taken from the west side of Memorial Drive in late afternoon. I love how the north leg of the Arch is warmed by the setting sun. But we must not cross the street, not just yet.

Dresses For Sale We are thinking about warmer days and liquid colors today on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

At The Orchid Show 2

2011-02-06 Orchid Show 11

Another sort-of experimental shot from the orchid show at the Missouri Botanical Garden. I've got a dozen of these edited and up on Flickr now. Each feels a little different. I can't tell what my readers will like so I'm posting my favorites. This is a little bud, an orchid just about to pop, with an open blossom behind it. The original is pretty monochromatic, greens, gray and black. I like it better in B&W.

If you care to look at the set of these on Flickr, tell me which ones you would like to see here on the blog. Or, tell me to change the subject.

The Supreme Plumber Meet the greatest plumber of them all today on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

At The Orchid Show

2011-02-06 Orchid Show 1

I rarely shoot flowers. The subject has been overworked. Too often they are good for a "gee, that's pretty" reaction and little more (with some big exceptions, of course, like Robert Mapplethorpe's floral work).

However, the big annual orchid show is in progress at the Missouri Botanical Garden and I had to check it out. What different approach could I use? A Lensbaby with extension tubes to get in close and make the pictures semi-abstract. It worked out pretty well. I hope you agree. We will see a few more of these in days to come.

By the way, a tip of the hat to Mike Hillis at St. Louis Honda for putting me in some new wheels yesterday. Good people to do business with.

Meriwether Lewis Waives At Traffic Signs Meet our new traffic reporter, Meriwether Lewis, on Downtown St. Louis 365 today.