Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The First Celestial Adventure of Mr. Antipyrine, Fire Extinguisher

In a comment on yesterday's post, my friend Virginia suggested that I am a weirdo magnet. I shall wear the title proudly. Cieldequimper wondered if this performance was, in fact, bizarre. Therefore, here's some more of the performance of Tristan Tzarda's lengthy Dada poem. Someone in this community has to serve the weirdos. Might as well be me. And speaking of weirdos, who calls their kid Tristan, even a century of more ago? Did he have a sister named Isolde?

It was disappointing that I couldn't find the text of the work online. There are reference to a number of performances of the work and a video of the whole thing on YouTube - see the link in yesterday's post to Part 1 of 4. There will be one more post about this tomorrow, then the Thursday Arch Series, then New Year's Day and the CDPB theme if I get around to it, then 2010 lying open before us.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

'Twas The Night After Christmas

What? You weren't good all year? It's not just that Santa won't leave goodies. After a brief rest from his delivery duties, there's a story that Santa makes a second round, wielding a purple pick axe in retribution to the bad.

Well, nah, I just made that up. This is something from Artica. Santa here and a companion in a florescent-colored mask were reciting and acting out a long 1916 Dadaist poem, The First Celestial Adventure of Mr. Antipyrine, Fire Extinguisher by Tristan Tzara. It was pretty bleeping bizarre. I think I'll work in a bit more of this.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Blood and Rain

It rained all day and all evening in New York on Saturday. Street parking is hard to find in the city, particularly in Manhattan, but this "emergency blood transport vehicle" found a place to rest in the downpour just outside the restaurant where the family dined that night. The choice of the retro-looking Chevy is interesting.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dining Out In New York City

If you have to ask, you can't afford it. Eating out in Manhattan can be a financial challenge. A very large gaggle of Crowes, Wilsons, Marks and assorted hangers-on went out to dinner last night at Piccolo Angolo, an Italian restaurant in the West Village. You can spend much more money on a meal in NYC but this place gets fabulous reviews from diners and it can be hard to get a table, especially a really long one. My brother-in-law's secretary's second cousin's nephew's godfather is the owner, or something like that. That opened doors but the transaction was to be in cash. We were happy. Just don't tell the IRS.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

STL DPB In The Air: Home

Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays, Perry Como sang years ago when the family gathered around the black and white television. I got some of it on Christmas Day, flying from St. Louis to New York's La Guardia Airport to join my family for the weekend. My youngest sister, the only one left in the area, still lives in the New Jersey suburb we emigrated to when the family left Queens in 1966. The plane descended right over Sunnyside, my old neighborhood. Click the link for a picture of PS 150, where I went to school through third grade, when Queen of Angels parish opened a Catholic school. Times change: the church is still there but the school closed two years ago.

The picture above looks toward Manhattan over Newtown Creek, which forms the western part of the border between Brooklyn and Queens.

- Midtown Manhattan, from the Empire State Building on the left to the United Nations on the right.

- Sunnyside. Note the location of Queen of Angels and my family's apartment building. CDBP veteran Ming the Merciless lived in the same block until he relocated to Bangor, Maine.

- Sunnyside, looking at the graceful concrete arches of the Number 7 line that runs down Queens Boulevard. The station at the lower right is where this picture was taken a year ago.

It feels good to be home.

BY THE WAY: Gateway is back - finally!

Friday, December 25, 2009

I'm Dreaming Of A Wet Christmas

Merry Christmas from St. Louis and peace to men of good will. And to the other ones, too. To all of us.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday Arch Series

The crowd turns out on a mild early winter day. Their awe of the Arch reminds me of how the apes reacted to the Monolith at the beginning of Kubrick's 2001, only this monument will not send us to the stars. It's good enough for me, though.

Off to New Jersey in the morning for a blitz two-day visit with my side of the family. There will be something appropriate to the season here. Maybe something from NYC on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Artica - Flat-Out Frog

Not all the art at Artica was standing up on the ground. This clever stencil was on a nearby sidewalk. I like it: moving, slithery, squashed and semi-abstract all at the same time. Really rather ingenious, IMHO.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

St. Louis' Version Of Burning Man, Maybe

One of the central features of Artica was this wooden whatever-it-it is, perhaps six or eight meters tall tall. I watched some people assemble it and set it upright early in the afternoon. Just a few minutes later a gust of wind came through and blew it down, causing substantial damage to the top. The idea was to set this afire sometime late in the festivities, which went from noon to midnight. I had to leave at about 3:30 because of a family obligation. Looks like they got it reassembled and gave it the torch from what I see on the Artica group photo pool on Flickr. Sorry I missed that part.

Was this meant to be St. Louis' rinky-dink version of Burning Man? U "R" Us wants me to go to Burning Man with him in the Nevada desert in early September. As the family plans are shaping up, it's more likely I'll be cooling it in Ireland around that time.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Matthew And His Fuzzy Blue Arch

I think he told me his name was Matthew - hope I got it right. He had a blue fuzzy arch, a pink fuzzy coat, white fuzzy boots, a box that was part leopard-skin print and part fuzzy lime chiffon and an elfin gleam in his eye. Just some of the art at Artica.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


The web site for Artica 2009 describes it as "A Time Travelers’ Homecoming, A Winter Solstice Celebration." It is an annual celebration of the shortest day by outsider artists, located in the post-industrial wastelands a kilometer or two north of the Arch. This year's edition had oddball art (or artish) installations, a half hour performance of an historic Dada poem and music all around. The temperature was barely above freezing. What a bad day to play guitar outdoors! This group is called Fire Dog. My fire had gone cold by the time I took these.

I got a lot of good shots at Artica, enough to feed the monster for days. There's a set on Flickr I'll add to over the coming days here.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

When You Got Nothing, You Got Nothing To Lose

So sang Bob Dylan in Like a Rolling Stone. I had nothing to put up for today. Zip, nada, zilch, rien, nichts. What's a blogger to do? Take a chance, maybe, see if it works. So I stopped by Citygarden on my way home with my point-n-shoot and no tripod, wondering if I could get anything usable. Nothing to lose. Umm, 1/4 second exposure, holding my breath when I clicked the shutter. Something worked.

Friday, December 18, 2009

That Apotheosis Thing Again

When I was looking for an image to use for my 1,000th post I considered this one. It would have been okay but I'm glad I cooked up that bit of silliness that made it online. We've seen this guy before, Louis IX, King of France, Saint Louis. it's the statue in front of the art museum. You can see its position in Wednesday's post, behind the tree farthest to the right.

The official name of the statue is The Apotheosis of St. Louis. This town could use an apotheosis, that's for sure.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday Arch Series

I took this picture right after U "R" Us and I finished shooting the new blog header. (By the way, he's put up some hilarious posts about Santa Kong in Chicago, which he describes as "Chicago's oldest and most heralded Whiskey Santa Rampage.") I gotta tell ya, this is one cool monument to live around. With our terrible suburban sprawl, I bet a great part of the populace hasn't seen it in person for ages. Mostly just on TV or the logo of about every third local business (including our firm's web site, but at least that's my photo).

Weekend Project: I'm going to try to resurrect Gateway, my all-Arch photo blog that has been dormant for almost four months. I was trying to shoot new material for it and this weekly feature and I just don't have time. But, since that blog is only there to glorify the big wicket, there is no reason I can't post Arch pix shown here in the past or anything else in my archives. I'll make a note if I get it done.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


SLAM is a bit of a hard acronym for the St. Louis Art Museum, more suited to professional wrestling than aesthetics. Still, it's a really good regional museum and it had some happy news this week. A major expansion of the museum was put on hold 13 months ago because of the financial crisis. The Board just decided to go forward with the project, all financing in place. At a time when almost no American art museums can afford to grow, SLAM is adding 30% to its exhibition space and a 300 car underground garage. Yay for us.

THE PICTURE THAT GOT AWAY: I was sitting in the lobby of a suburban office building, talking to a client, waiting to start his Social Security disability hearing (that's what I do). There was an odd metalic sound coming from outside. As it got closer it hit me - jingle bells! A man came in wearing full Santa Claus regalia. As someone else engaged him in a brief conversation I whipped out my point-n-shoot and took a couple of quick shots. They were awful - the ISO was set to 3200. The Santa impersonator said he was there for an appointment with his psychiatrist in the same building. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during the appointment.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


A playing field in Forest Park, possibly multi-purpose for soccer, American football and rugby. Completely empty on the beautiful late fall day when I took the picture.

What's the music I can't get out of my head: Edith Piaf singing La Vie En Rose, which for no obvious reason segued into The Ballad of Davy Crocket. I must have a screw loose somewhere, as they say. In fact, when I started the blog I considered using the nickname Loose Associations. Instead, I opted for my common label.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Night Interchange

We had the firm holiday party on Friday in the revolving restaurant atop a 30 story hotel near the Arch and the river. Of course, I insisted on a window seat and kept taking handheld blurry pictures out the window. Most of them are junk but I like this one. It is the tangle of highways on the Missouri side of the main bridge over the Mississippi. The bright spots, particularly in the lower left, are reflections from the restaurant.

Many thanks to all of you who left comments on my 1,000th post yesterday. Sunday was pretty hectic with errands and family stuff so I was not able to respond individually. I'll try to get back to everyone.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

One Thousandth Post

One thousand of these. I heard about CDPB in early 2007 from my good friend Peter, a lawyer in Seattle in the same specialty as me and a damn good photographer. He thought I might find this interesting. I will blame him for this addiction for the rest of my life.

What a lot of work and fun. Doing a daily photoblog has caused great improvement in the quality of my photography. It has also gotten in the way of work, dramatically reduced the number of books I read and generally resulted in having no free time. It has taken me to dinner in Shanghai with Jing and lunch outside of Paris with Olivier. I've made friends who I have never met face to face but feel I've gotten to know very well, most of all my pal Virginia, but also Cieldequimper, Bibi, Brattcat, Sharon, Chuck, Jilly, Victor, PJ, Nathalie, Kim, Ming the Merciless and lots of others.

Thanks to all of you who have made comments and supported this effort. A tip of the hat to U "R" Us, who took the new header photo. Thanks particularly to my saintly wife, who has put up with this obsession for nearly three years with grace and encouragement.

How much longer can this go on? Well...

TOMORROW: the second millennium begins. With exactly what I don't know yet.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Representatives of organized labor at the I 64 reopening. I was a Teamster once, Local 125, Irvington NJ. I had to join for a summer job I had during law school, driving a Coca Cola delivery truck. In general, I support unions. They stand in the way of workers being crushed by evil corporate overlords. Well, they aren't all evil. Some are, though.

One weird aspect of my law practice is that the relationship between the judges I practice before and the federal agency they work for is so acrimonious that the judges are unionized. Chew on that.

REMEMBER, TOMORROW IS STL DPB'S 1,000TH POST. There's bound to be some sort of silly image.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Law Enforcement: Open and Obvious

The podium at the I 64 reopening was full of dignitaries, including the governor, two members of congress and local officials. Naturally, they had to be protected from any wild, violent mobs that might show up, protesting the completion of a major public works project ahead of schedule and under budget. Actually, the highway patrol sergeant with the rifle was part of the color guard for the national anthem and that stuff. However, the plain clothes spook in the right foreground is something else. I mean, the thing in his ear, the dark sunglasses on a very cloudy day, that hair and the camera - for what? Recording the faces of possibly anarchist freelance photojournalists like me? I don't know what his intention was but he sure stood out.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13, WILL BE STL DPB'S 1,000TH POST. There will be an exciting new header (about time) and possibly a decent picture to mark the occasion.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday Arch Series

Another picture of the Arch pumped with digital steroids - an HDR. It got a couple of nice comments on Flickr. The cloud pattern sort of reminds me of what you get from a Van de Graaf generator.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Pedestrians and cyclists accessed Interstate 64 for the stroll and ride at the reopening ceremonies via the entrance and exit ramps. They had to walk by one of these, making a not-too-subtle point. For those of you outside the US, your local terminology may vary but here the initials mean driving while intoxicated. And they don't mean on the joy of life.

Thursday Arch Series.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What's All This Then?

What's all this then? is what Graham Chapman used to say in Monty Python episodes when, dressed as a British constable, he would barge into a home or business and demand an explanation of, well, usually nothing much. I could have used his assistance Sunday at the I 64 reopening ceremony when I saw this gentleman. I first ran into him during my long walk from parking my car to the ceremony (BIG turnout). He was riding toward me on a skateboard in the traffic lanes but my camera was not ready. He stood near me during the lengthy political dispersal of hot air, videotaping the whole damn thing, dressed in a frock coat, sporting "look at me" hair, eyeliner and eyebrow makeup. He made me think of the White Rabbit in Alice In Wonderland, dressed for a cold day and wielding consumer electronics. What was all that, then?

Monday, December 7, 2009

At Last

Eye on St. Louis. Yesterday afternoon the Missouri Department of Transportation held a ceremony to reopen the second and last segment of I 65 - US 40, which had been closed for complete rebuilding. The highway is the main east - west corridor through St. Louis City and County. The highway was the oldest in the area and in great need of improvement. For two years, the state closed first the western and then the eastern half. It caused great increases in travel times and hurt business along the route. Now it's done, and three weeks ahead of schedule. I have to drive between downtown and the western suburbs frequently for work. I am sooo glad this is over.

Of course, many local dignitaries attended the event. Those pictured below, starting from the upper left, are Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, U.S. Representatives Lacey Clay and Russ Carnahan, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.

There were lots of interesting people in the crowd, enough to feel the blog for days. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bonfires 8, 9 and 10

I keep learning things about my city because I must wander around with my camera to feed the monster. In a corner of Forest Park, the Parks Department puts out big steel drums in a picnic area at this time of year. News to me. They also provide cardboard boxes of firewood wrapped in plastic sheeting. I'm sure you need a permit. It would be great to come back and shoot this when several fires are going at the same time.

One week from today, December 13, will be STL DPB's 1,000th post. Come back to see the new header (about time) and, if the Force is with me, an appropriate image.

the opening reception of the SEEN 2009 photography competition and show was held last night at Studio Altius. There were 84 images in 15 categories. To my amazement and delight, I won second place in architecture with a picture of San Francisco's Transamerica Building in fog, first place in children with my photo of five stairstep siblings at the Mitrata Children's Home in Kathmandu and first place in portraits with a shot of my mother-in-law's next door neighbor, Ray, with his 1929 Model A. Woo hoo! Somebody get me an agent, stat. The show is on view until January 16.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Soy Amada

No, not a new Japanese sauce. Soy amada is Spanish for "I am loved." The speaker is feminine. What a great feeling, so why not proclaim it? Shot on Cherokee Street.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I met Willis when I was wandering around the bleak area north of the Arch as sunset approached. He struck up a conversation, asking me about my heavy photo equipment and what I was doing. He told me that he sleeps in a cardboard lean-to between garages in the nearby entertainment area, Laclede's Landing. I asked him if the cops hassled him and he said, no, they know he doesn't cause any trouble. Not surprisingly, he asked if I could help him out to get something to eat. I did, knowing that such donations do not always turn into solid nourishment.

My intent was to shoot this entrance to the riverfront bike and walking trail in front of an old power plant. Willis asked if I would like to take his picture and of course I said sure, if I could use it on the web. He seemed flattered by this but a little confused about what he should do. A short time later I drove home. He walked.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday Arch Series

Taken last weekend while U "R" Us was in town and we were shooting along the riverfront. Contrails make for such interesting skies. The dark area in the foreground is the Mississippi River floodwall.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Big Cheezy

As introduced on Monday, this is Big Cheezy, head man of Mo Chedda Records and the hip hop group Big Throwed Muzic. I caught them taping a video at the graffiti-ok part of the floodwall along the Mississippi.

Big Cheezy is an imposing man. I'd guess he is 6 feet, 7 or 8 inches tall (200-203 cm) and at least 300 pounds / 135 kg., maybe more He's got some gold-capped teeth with star-pattern cut-outs. The other people in the group obviously treated him with respect. Despite his size, the guy sure can move, like here when he came out from the group to do a solo.

Thursday Arch Series.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Theme Day: Waiting

Well, just an interpretation. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants. Your results may vary.

BONUS PHOTO (BELOW): downtown St. Louis under the full moon last night.

TOMORROW: back to Big Cheezy.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Big Throwed Muzic

Some times the photography gods are cruel and sometimes they shower us with gifts. I spent some time at the office yesterday and then decided to see what there was to shoot on a dreary late afternoon. I had no ideas. When that happens I sometimes just drive around the riverfront around the Arch. What luck yesterday.

There were a bunch of people hanging out in front of the graffiti-permitted part of the floodwall with video equipment and lights. Skreeech over to the curb, grab camera from trunk and walk over to say howdy. Turns out it's the local hip hop group Big Throwed Muzic, led by Big Cheezy of Mo Chedda Records. They were out shooting a video with producer Da Fly Lady. These guys had it down. Big Cheezy, in the white tee shirt, is an imposing presence. More about him soon.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Contra Los Nazis En San Luis

Seen on Cherokee Street, in our modest Hispanic district.

The new banner for the blog was shot and edited yesterday. It's about time for a new one: the incumbent has been there for hundreds posts. The new one will debut on STL DPB's 1,000th post in two weeks.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Got Nothing New So How About A Stuffed Toy Flamingo?

. Mmmm, the hungry mouth of the blog still hangs open. Haven't been out on the street in some time and I have nothing fresh to post. I'm hoping that a toy flamingo in Citygarden from the archives will fill the gap. They have three or four of these around the park. You can pose them however you want.

Actually, I'm hoping U "R" Us and I will be out shooting later today. I need his help for my goofy idea for a new blog banner in honor of my 1,000th post, which comes around in two weeks.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Aftermath

It was a good holiday. Mrs. C. and I had Thanksgiving dinner at our daughter and son-in-law's house. He's a high-end professional chef but we gave him a day off. U "R" Us was down from Chicago. He donned the chef's jacket while doing prep work.

I'm still in the online class about off-camera lighting technique. This week's assignment is to use a snoot on the main light. (What's a snoot? This is the model I used. I have no experience in this whatever.) The image has a 40's film noir look. Sam Spade might be coming to eat at his restaurant.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday Arch Series

Chew on this for Thanksgiving Day in the US, an occasion on which most of us eat too much and some of us spend much of the day watching football in a turkey-induced torpor. Not me. I'll probably edit pictures in a turkey-induced torpor. Who knows, I might even take some.

The sign is in front of the McDonald's on South Broadway in Soulard. I wonder what D B S stands for. Damn burger slop? Don't buy spinach? Leave a comment if you have other creative suggestions.

The trip to Kansas got canceled. A local family member needed urgent medical attention. So far, so good, and I may be able to say more about it later. However, as a big fan of St. Louis native William S. Burroughs, I was blown away when I found out that the surgeon was named Dr. Benway! boggleboggleboggle... Burroughs wrote: Dr. Benway is operating in an auditorium filled with students: "Now, boys, you won't see this operation performed very often and there's a reason for that.... You see it has absolutely no medical value. No one knows what the purpose of it originally was or if it had a purpose at all. Personally I think it was a pure artistic creation from the beginning.

I hope the art was working yesterday.
I really, really do.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An Afternoon Shower

Taken from my office window yesterday afternoon. The building is the federal court house. I keep clear of it.

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch Series, with something to chew on.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bad Taste in America (Protect Our Children)

Do you have Hooters in your country? No? Count yourself lucky. Really, really bad taste, and it tastes bad, too. If you're American, you know. The only time I ever ate there was when this downtown branch was about to open. A lawyer friend and I, both working on Saturday (again) were going to lunch when a lackey out on the street offered us free eats on their "shakedown" day. Free lunch? Why not? Well - grease deep fried in grease, burgers-fries-shrimp dripping a form of Penzoil licensed for human consumption. It was disgusting, We couldn't finish it. All served up by buxom young ladies in spray-on tee shirts (hence the name) and shorts, just too sad for words. BUT the company is concerned about what happens to our children in the dead of night. The kiddies can't go in at the witching hour to have their minds and arteries poisoned without adult supervision.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Outta Here

Had enough? Vote with your feet. Julian Opie's This Is Bruce and Sarah Walking in Citygarden might suggest a way to either leave our frayed urban core or explore its details.