Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Let's Ease Into This

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I spent hours on Sunday shooting the Pride Parade, the most colorful photo op of the year in The Lou. The mood was exceptionally exuberant in light of last week's Supreme Court decision. There were some people who were really out there.

Easier to get into this gradually. Someone was standing on the sidelines holding the world's calmest raptor on one of those big leather gloves. Of course, it is an American symbol of freedom.

By the way, note the bird's eye in the second photo. Does anyone know if they have some kind of odd ocular membrane?                        

Proud Eagle 2

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Creepy Or Enigmatic

Creepy Basement Players

A few more shots from The Fringe. The Creepy Basement Players, above, are a brilliant local improv group. They were kind enough to let me photograph them after last year's Fringe performance.

Below, a scene from The Mind Shaft, one of three short plays called Existentially Speaking  written by local author Patricia Duffin (who, I just found out when I looked at her Facebook page, works for an old friend of mine). Two workers descend on an elevator deep into the earth, not quite sure what they are looking for or why they are looking for it.

Bottom, one of the several sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle you can find around STL.

I spent hours shooting at the Pride Parade yesterday. If all goes according to plan, I'll spend most of Friday on the island where I was born. Overwhelming amounts of material.

Violent storms around the area as I write this Sunday night. Tornado warnings come and go. There are reports of hail with 1 inch/25 mm or more diameter just to the north of my home. So hi from summer in the Midwest.
My Best Enemy Productions

Fringe Central Station

Sunday, June 28, 2015

St. Louis Fringe: Didgeridoo In The Dark

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The St. Louis Fringe was on last weekend and this. What with my whirlwind life and pseudo blogging break, I was only able to go yesterday. Caught five performances.

This is Michael Hagmeier, a virtuoso of the didgeridoo. His performance was called Didgeridoo In The Dark and that's just what it was, a forty-five minute improvisation in a black box theater with the lights out. I imagined my self sitting at the foot of Uluru on a moonless night, absorbed in dreamtime.                      

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Back In The Nest

Local Icons

The Cardinals, who have by far the best record in baseball this season, were back in town last night after a long road trip. Another full house. No doubt they sold a lot of the beverage advertised on this bus shelter.

The opponent was the despised Chicago Cubs. The poor Cubbies, one of the oldest teams in Major League Baseball, have not won the championship in 106 years. You may see people walking around downtown wearing tee shirts that read "CUBS - Completely Useless By September."                         

Friday, June 26, 2015

Shall We Gather At The River?

Riverfront Detour

Well, not a good idea today. Note the sign for 1st Street in the background. That means the Mississippi is not far beyond and it's in flood again.                                 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Old Tech, Old Culture

VHS Tape

Found lying on the sidewalk beside the old Lemp brewery on Cherokee Street near Broadway.                         

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Oh Say Can You See (Through)

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Back in the Old Court House. It was shadowy under the dome with shafts of light breaking through the windows and portals. The huge flag looked solid until you viewed it straight on. Then some interesting tableaux appeared.                              

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

On Father's Day

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Sunday was Father's Day in the U.S. Mrs. C and I met daughter Emily, her husband Brian and my favorite little kid in the world, Madeleine, for dinner at Broadway Oyster Bar. A good venue since it has an informal patio where junior could squirm and squeak.

One moment she was serious and searching, the next howling with laughter. But in the end she was sitting on her father's lap, where she should be.                        

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Okay, I Made It Two Days

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Some break. But I really, really need to slow down for a bit, um, maybe just post occasionally. There was finally time to edit a set of pix I took a month ago inside the Old Court House. The exterior has been on this blog many times but in all my decades in STL I had never gone inside. Pretty cool. There ought to be patriotic marches playing in the background.                       

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Friday, June 19, 2015

3,000th Post

This is St. Louis Daily Photo's three thousandth post. Almost every day for eight and a quarter years.  The times I have missed were usually during long travels or when we were in remote locations without Internet service. It's been a joy, a grind, a burden and a wonderful education.

And it's time for my first break. Since I shoot only in RAW and obsessively edit everything in Photoshop, the blog takes up most of my evenings. There is shooting every weekend. I have neglected a lot of household maintenance and personal needs. It's time to re-balance. This is not the end. There are great photo opportunities coming up like the Pridefest Parade, my favorite local annual event, plus trips to New York and Chicago in July. 

So I'll be back pretty soon when I catch my breath.                         

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Special Relativity

I wish I could say this. One of many interesting tee shirts at the Ren Faire. (I recently got a tee shirt that says I have a retirement plan. I plan on taking pictures.) But to wear the shirt in this photo you have to be a veritable Einstein or an expert slacker.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

So The Light Is No Good?

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Almost any photography teacher will tell you to avoid sunny mid-day light. Too harsh, too contrasty. Well, when life gives you lemons . . .

Love the look and especially the hair of the young man on top. James Dean wannabe.                                 

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

All's Faire

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Time to get to some pix from this year's Renaissance Faire. People, sometimes called cast members, wander around in all sorts of strange costumes, not necessarily having to do with the 15th and 16th Centuries. This one is eerie, but if you are old enough you may recognize it as one of the Spy Vs. Spy characters from Mad Magazine.                          

Monday, June 15, 2015

Wet Railroad

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Yesterday afternoon I wanted to take pictures from the Illinois side of the Mississippi, looking back at downtown and the Arch. It rained on and off all day. I got good and wet; the camera got damp back in the bag. Nothing left to do but shoot from the car window, looking down the railroad tracks of East. St. Louis.                     

Sunday, June 14, 2015

States Of Conciousness

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I don't see how someone could go into a trance with the size and volume of the speakers surrounding this young musician. Maybe when I was her age I did. After my first sequence of shots of the band I wandered off. Soon after they started playing something I could sing along to and pulled me back in. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear.

Out late again last night, no comments written. It's opera season in The Lou.                         

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Band

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Sorry for the late post. We were out last night for a family celebration. My son-in-law is a professional chef. He is gifted and loves it but it's a tough industry to work in. The hours are often terrible, jobs can be unstable and the pay isn't always so great. He just got hired as executive banquet chef at the Chase Park Plaza, the grande dame of St. Louis hotels. It's a great coup and we're delighted.

Anyway, the band at the Pagan Picnic was terrific. They call themselves Tuatha Dea and describe their style as celtic tribal gypsy rock. Whatever that  means, their music was infectious. I've got some more of these.                                             

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Another St. Louis Character (And An Enigma)

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This is Susan Stone, or perhaps David Stone, (I'm just going to use the female pronoun.) She has been around for years. You see her at public events where there is live music like the Pagan Picnic. She is a fixture at Earth Day. Stone performs a lumbering, uninhibited improvisation she calls The Dance of Life.

I've photographed her many times before but never did a post about her. My guess was that she had some serious disability and I didn't want to seem to make fun of her. However, I had a chat with the Pagan Picnic house photographer about her. It turns out her story is complicated.

There are thousands of videos on YouTube by and about her. She has a website. It is unclear whether she is a transvestite or transgendered. Someone wanted to make a documentary about her but it looks like the project never got going. She told the videographer a story about a life of great suffering. No way to tell if any of it is true. She has had some serious run-ins with the law, and not about her lifestyle.

So I present this simply as reportage, one of the many quirks of life in our very mid-American city. One thing is for sure: we have experiences like this almost exclusively in the city proper. If you are in the nether suburbs, going from big house to shopping mall to salon to soccer field, you will not encounter these parts of St. Louis life.
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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fancy A New Frock?

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Dresses for sale at the Pagan Picnic. You still sometimes see people wearing tie dye clothing around here. Retro hip, maybe, but not my style.                      

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015


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You never count your money . . .  Most of us know that tune.

There is an annual event in Tower Grove Park (home of many of our stranger events) called the Pagan Picnic. It attracts all the dream weavers, witches, soul travelers, mystics, tarot readers, Wiccans, goddess worshipers and pentangle janglers - and lots of their friends - from miles around. All in service to the greater goals of spiritualism until it's time to count out a wad of twenties into a bank envelope.

I had quite the conversation with the man in the second photo. We agreed on a number of things.

Looking back over the kind of people I like to photograph, it seems unlikely you will ever find me shooting at the debutantes' cotillion (although I'd love to).                      

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What's All This, Then?

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Besides an oft-repeated Monty Python line, that is.

So we go back through some recent STL events. The St. Louis Fringe was recently named one of the 50 essential summer festivals in the U.S. by The New York Times. There was a fundraiser for the Fringe last week called Laugh Your Pants Off. Goofy improv involving just a bit of lost clothing. Lots of fun if you're not easily offended. 

This series of pictures is in reverse chronological order. The cast divested the master of ceremonies of his shirt with some struggle. And the show never stops.                   

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Local Events - Headshots

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I never thought I'd say this, but I have more material than I know what to do with at the moment. So, some quickie portraits and head shots from recent events. Only the last is from an occasion already seen, the circus. Let's mix and match for a while to keep things interesting. All will be explained.                   

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Sunday, June 7, 2015


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Really, kids, you should absolutely never even think about tyrying this at home. Well, maybe if you are dressed in a football lineman's uniform but ask your parents anyway.

Of course there are skilled jugglers off camera to the left and right and of course the clubs are passing in front of and behind his head. But of course the crowd was desperately hoping that one of them would smack him in the bean.                                       

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Saturday, June 6, 2015


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I can't imagine doing anything like this, even when I was young. The genetic card shuffler left me with, um, rather limited coordination and balance. The only kind of coordination I can rely on is brain-to-tongue. (Must be me Irish chromosomes.)

These two didn't look exceptionally muscular. How do they do it? Reminds me of a bad old joke from my music student days. A young, stary-eyed man carrying a violin case gets out of the subway in mid-town Manhattan, staring in wonder. He stops an older gentleman walking down the street and asks, "Excuse me, sir. How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"

The old man simply replies, "Practice, practice, practice." And so here. 
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