Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oriental Beauty

Chinese Festival at MoBot 10

Photographers all know that you win some and you lose some. I'm putting this portrait in the W column. But it can happen that an imperfection defines the allure of an exquisite flower; here, the amblyopia. From the Chinese Cultural Festival at the Botanical Garden.

Oooohh Noooo says Mr. Bob on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Not Again

Monday, May 30, 2011

I Love A Parade

Chinese Festival at MoBot 9
The parade at the Chinese Cultural Festival. So much warmth and color. Our experience when we visited China is that not everyone is so cheerful. At least you can breathe here.

Chinese Festival at MoBot 8

Downtown St. Louis 365 makes eye contact.

Lou Brock's Eyes

Sunday, May 29, 2011

So, uh, can we top that?

Chinese Festival at MoBot 3

Some stiff competition in the cuteness department for the young ladies in yesterday's post. I believe the announcer said the costumes and dance were from western China. They look more like central Asian or Turkic than what I think of delicate traditional Chinese (like I'm an expert). All these kids had a lot of discipline and great ensemble work.

Chinese Festival at MoBot 6

Chinese Festival at MoBot 5

Downtown St. Louis 365 has your back covered.

Dorsa (Washington Avenue)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gratuitous Cuteness, Chinese Edition

Chinese Festival at MoBot 2

There was a Chinese cultural festival recently in the Missouri Botanical garden. The best part was a show by several groups of Chinese-American performers. These girls were scene-stealers, unless you think they were upstaged by the pair we will see here tomorrow.

It's all about the joy of being a St. Louis motorcycle cop on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Motorcycle Policeman

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sun Gates

Chinese Festival at MoBot 1

Dale Chihuly is easily the best known and most popular glass artist in the U.S. His sun gates flank the rose garden at our beloved Missouri Botanical Garden. Chihuly's work is often spectacular. On the other hand, I once had a conversation about Chihuly with an artist I know and respect; some of his work hangs in our office. His two word review of the glassmaker: too easy. He's got a point. De gustibus non est disputandum.

By the way, a bunch of new images have been added to the Tour de Grove bicycle races set on Flickr here.

Downtown St. Louis 365 has attitude and grace.

Pom Poms

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday Arch Series

2011-05-25 downtown storms 2

Another line of severe thunderstorms, this one hundreds of miles long, rolled across the Midwest yesterday. I assume that most of the world heard what happened a few days ago in Joplin, located in the southwest corner of our state. The death count - such a cold term - from their tornado is now 125. Hundreds more are still missing. So when tornado warnings were issued for our area around noon, people got nervous.

I sent my staff home about 3:15 PM. One other lawyer and I decided that, if a twister struck, we would be safer in the stairwell of our steel and concrete office building than our wood frame houses. The warning sirens started going off repeatedly about 4 o'clock. We followed the storms on the web. Reports of funnel clouds came from all around. Several areas had tennis ball sized hail. There were high winds and driving rain but no tornadoes seem to have touched down.

I had a hunch this morning that something dramatic might happen so I brought my good camera. This shot was taken from my office window at 4:40 PM.

There is an even more dramatic picture on Downtown St. Louis 365.

2011-05-25 downtown storms 1

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ready To March

Annie Malone Parade 3

Members of the Soldan High School marching band, ready to strut their stuff. Very sharp uniforms and I like the white tubas. But look at the difference in the facial expressions. It all blended once they started playing.

An old Shriner glides down Market Street on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Annie Malone Parade 13 (Old Shriner)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ronald Gives Out High Fives

Annie Malone Parade 8 (Ronald Gives A High Five)

This photo got a lot of views on Flickr so let's give it a shot here. There is something I find morbidly fascinating about Ronald McDonald, colorful and cheerful, purveyor of of Happy Meals that, if consumed regularly, will one day make children unhappy. He dresses in tones of catsup, mustard and (you pick) milk or sugar. And the appeal is pan-cultural: years ago I was sitting in a taxi in Cairo in huge traffic jam. It was the Muslim holy month and sunset was near. I looked to the side and saw a McDonald's with a sign in the window, written in Arabic and English, that said FREE RAMADAN LANTERN WITH EVERY HAPPY MEAL.

It's a great world we live in.

Maybe we should have Ronald busted as a public nuisance by these officers on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Annie Malone Parade 10 (SLPD)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Don't Drink And Bike

Tour de Grove 8 (Premium Lounge 1)

There was a place to find consolation for riders who finished at the back of the pack in the Tour de Grove . They could head to the Premium Lounge with their disappointed friends, ride right in the door and coast up to the bar. Green or black olive in your martini?

Tour de Grove 9

Downtown St. Louis 365 provides directions for those who can't find a 630 foot steel monument or the largest river in North America.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tour de Grove

Tour de Grove 5

Bicycle racing isn't as popular in the US as Europe but it's around. Particularly on weekends, it is common to see packs of cyclists zooming by on the streets clad in brightly colored spandex. (I wouldn't wear spandex unless it made me invisible.) The Tour de Grove took place in the eponymous neighborhood a week ago in cold rain. Tough guys.

Tour de Grove 1

The modern equivalent of a wandering tinker on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Annie Malone Parade 9 (Vendor)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Yes We Can

Cinco de Mayo Festival 4 (Si Se Puede)

From the Cinco de Mayo festival on Cherokee Street. I think we should make two copies, translated into Hebrew and Arabic.

Anyone can whistle on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Party In The Plaza 5

Friday, May 20, 2011

Parallel Universes

Annie Malone Parade 1
This picture, taken last Sunday, is the best I've made in a while (IMHO). It was taken at the Annie Malone parade. One of the black Shriners rides by on an big Harley. I do not know how the boy in the hoodie wandered into the parade route.

I couldn't think of a title for the post. As I was writing this there was a show on the National Geographic channel about the physics of parallel universes. And I had an idea.

We've got another quiet B&W portrait on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Party In The Plaza 17

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Does Ronald McDonald Have Buddha Nature?

Bodhisattva Ronald

McDonald's was the major corporate sponsor of last weekend's Annie Malone parade. They put up this huge inflatable Ronald in Kiener Plaza to make the point inescapable. I was wandering around it, taking random shots, when it hit me: he's sitting in the lotus position. And he's got his left hand on his thigh and is raising his right hand in benediction, not exactly in one of the Buddha's traditional hand gestures (mudras) but pretty close. Why?

Unbeknownst to most of the world, Ronald may be a bodhisattva, an enlightened being who remains on earth to help others reach the same goal. But then Ronald pushes Big Macs and super-size fries, which promote clogged arteries and diabetes. That doesn't help Buddha's intent of eliminating suffering. Umm. Better revise my theory.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gonna Wave My Freak Flag High

People's Joy Parade 32

And not just Jimi Hendrix. There is such a wonderful diversity of weirdos in the People's Joy Parade. It's reassuring that some of the young still rail against consumer society. Reminds me of a panel in an old R. Crumb Mr. Natural comic where some wild-eyed revolutionary is going around screaming come the revolution ain't gonna be no more Cadillacs.

I fear that St. Louis has a reputation around the country as a middle sized city of decreasing importance, a place where college graduates do not want to go for their first job. No point in criticizing regional civic and business leaders here (an impossibly big task) but the people of our area have wonderful energy and creativity. It's in action in these photos.

People's Joy Parade 31

Annie Malone Parade 6

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bikers Are Nice People, Too

Latin American Motorcycle Association 1

In the staging area for the People's Joy Parade. Now, I don't go out of my way to hang out with bikers, being sort of an opera and pinot noir kind of guy, but my job has taught me how to get along with every kind of person. I've never, ever had anything but friendliness and cooperation when I ask bikers if I can photograph then at a public event. I was chatting up this group when one of them asked if I wanted to get the colors. It took just a second to figure out that meant the back of the leather vest.

Not sure about the group name. Most of them didn't look Latino. The man in the bottom picture is Philippine. Didn't speak a word of Spanish but knew his Tagalog.

People's Joy Parade 19

The band plays on at Downtown St. Louis 365.

Party In The Plaza 19

Monday, May 16, 2011


Party In The Plaza 10 (It Is What It Is 1)

The woman in yesterday's post on Downtown St. Louis 365 really wanted me to take her picture. After I took some shots with her friends she exclaimed "Want to take a picture of my new tattoo?" Okay, you got my interest. Um, just where is it? She turned her hands over and laid them on her lap. There's something profound here, although that might not have been her intention.

Party In The Plaza 20 (It Is What It Is 2)

The Annie Malone Parade kicks off on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Annie Malone Parade 4

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Drum Major

People's Joy Parade 21

The head guy of the St. Louis Drumline, waiting for the People's Joy Parade to start. What dignity. What posture.

Thursday night party-goers on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Party In The Plaza 9

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Party On

Party In The Plaza 1

From the Party In The Plaza downtown on Thursday night. Entertainment was provided by Fat Pocket while a good crowd snacked, drank and enjoyed the pleasant evening. However, the only dancers were a few children. This young man was spectacular, almost stealing the show with his break dancing.

Gratuitous cuteness returns to Downtown St. Louis 365 today.

Party In The Plaza 3 (Puppia)

Friday, May 13, 2011



Okay, I know, everybody is annoyed. Someone once said that to err is human but to really screw up you need a computer.

I expect lots of good material in the coming days to make up for the loss. Still plenty of pix from the People's Joy Parade and Cinco de Mayo festival to sort through. Last night was the first of the evening Parties In The Plaza sponsored by the Partnership For Downtown St. Louis, where I got some great stuff. (Come back tomorrow for a super shot, if I do say so myself.) There is the Tour de Grove pro-am bicycle races this weekend in The Grove neighborhood. Sunday brings the annual Annie Malone Parade, a three-hour extravaganza celebrating the Annie Malone Children and Family Service Center, which has provided endless good work for the African-American community since 1888. I hope to be at all of them with right index finger twitching.

And locals, don't forget that Soulard Art Market's spring photography invitational opens tonight, featuring work by your humble blogger. The show runs until June 3.

The first photo from Thursday night's Party In The Plaza will go up on Downtown St. Louis 365 in a couple of minutes.

Party In The Plaza 2

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thursday Arch Series

2011-04-28 Arch And Rainbow

I've never seen it happen before. This has been my view at work for 18 years. I've worked downtown for almost 37. It's unprecedented.

One of our many recent showers blew through on a late afternoon. The clouds vanished from the west, covering downtown buildings with the glow of the 6 o'clock sun. Then this happened. I grabbed my little Canon G11 from my briefcase (never be without a camera) and took shot after shot. This is one I'll remember.

Blessings for all, as long as you speak English, on Downtown St. Louis 365.

God Bless

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Banana Man

People's Joy Parade 10 (Banana Man 1)

I have seen this man at each of the three years of the People's Joy Parade. I'm sure the bananas are plastic - they are much too perfect and uniform. What's he all about? Maybe he's a shill for Chiquita.

The last of the Alder Loft murals is on Downtown St. Louis 365.

Alder Lofts Murals 3