Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Band

The entertainment after the Marysville High reunion was the Blue River Ramblers, named for the stream that runs by the town. Not a thing about them online so my guess is that they are just a pick-up group. There seemed to be chronic technical problems and Elvira needed to go home so we didn't get to hear them play.

They were diverse by Kansas standards. The guitar player had a face like the proverbial five miles of bad road and eyes that hadn't smiled in years. The singer-keyboard player looked and sounded like George Beverly Shea, Billy Graham's gospel music singer. The drummer was doing the Duck Dynasty look. Wish we could have stayed to hear their style.             

Monday, May 30, 2016

At The Legion Hall

In many towns across America events like reunions and wedding receptions are sometimes held at the facilities of the Veterans of Foreign Wars or the American Legion, another military veteran's group. There is always a large, open meeting area, a kitchen and a bar. The prices are modest. Sort of an everyman's alternative to a hotel ballroom.

The Marysville High School reunion was held at the American Legion hall. It's convivial and informal. As you can see, the high school mascot is the Bulldog. I thought the bottom picture was better in black and white. Those are the red and white stripes of a big American flag on the wall and they are pretty hard on the eyes in color. These circles with a variety of military activity covered the wall. A bit off from the culture I live in.              

Sunday, May 29, 2016

80th High School Class Reunion

Marysville, Kansas, High School, has an annual reunion for the classes with major graduation anniversaries, about 40 years and up. Mrs. C (Class of 1962) and I attended last night in honor of her mother, Elvira Kruse, the sole representative of the class of 1936. 80 years out of high school, 97 years of age and doing well, thank you. What a remarkable person.                 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

816 - The Metro

816 is the telephone area code for Kansas City, Missouri, where we find ourselves at the moment. It is also the name of the hotel where we stay in KC on our way to see Mrs. C's family in Kansas. It is full of photos and artifacts of the city from decades ago. We usually get one of the less expensive rooms but they are a bit cramped. This time we spent a little more and got a bigger one.

We had no idea that the room's decoration theme was Kansas City's public transit of years gone by. The second picture is of wallpaper behind the desk. The fourth is a fare box from not too many years ago. The bedside lamp on the right of the top of photo is the cylinder where riders dropped their coins decades ago.

Over to Marysville, Kansas, this morning. The weather is unsettled. Maybe we'll see a tornado.         

Friday, May 27, 2016

Iron & Steel

I am so out of material. The colors in this one are okay, though. It is the back end of a metal scrap yard with the new-ish Stan Musial Bridge over the Mississippi behind it. The yellow concrete blocks across the bottom remind me of Kansas hay bales. We will be among the real bales on Saturday. Over to Kansas City today. I could use some time away.                 

Thursday, May 26, 2016


A mariachi singer at the Cinco de Mayo festival. (Cinco de Junio is not far away, is it?) This brings back a memory. We visited Mexico City once, many years ago, so long ago that we regularly used a travel agent. We told her we wanted to go there. She refused, saying that we would be kidnapped, held for ransom and then killed. So we used another travel agent.

We had no idea when we booked it but we were there over Independence Day in September. The luxury hotels were empty and dirt cheap, so we stayed at the Four Seasons. The hotel booked us for dinner on Independence Day night at La Hacienda de los Morales, perhaps the most elegant restaurant in town. There were many connected rooms. Mariachi bands moved from one to another, each group with a different look and sound. I will always remember the band dressed in white with silver and black silk trim, with a tenor barely more than five feet tall belting out La Bamba like Ritchie Valens never did. Unforgettable.                  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Born To Be WIld

Or as wild as you can be on a scooter. From the PJP.                

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Pleasure Of A Gift Is In The Giving

At the People's Joy Parade.

Don't forget, the June 1 CDP theme is shadow and highlight. Since I suggested it I have to publicize it. Already working on mine.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Madeleine Monday: La Diva

Madeleine Queen of the Night

We still wonder what it is we have on our hands. Not only does she want to see a video of the Queen of the Night's aria from The Magic Flute over and over, but now she wants to perform along with it. Her attempts to hit those staccato high notes are funny. And at the end, sure, she deserves to give herself a hand.

I had her out in my car for a while yesterday. From back in her car seat she calls out "opa!", meaning she wants the opera channel on satellite radio. The Metropolitan Opera was just beginning to play Götterdämmerung. She was cool with it. I'm sure she will pick up pop music when she gets to school ('cause she ain't gonna get it here).                

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Dancing to their own internal music. California and Cherokee Streets.

Yesterday was opening night of our opera season so out late. I may have a Madeleine Monday about opera tomorrow. It needs some thought.

Late Saturday night note: Opera Theatre of St. Louis' opening production was the old chestnut La Boheme. Everybody who likes this stuff has heard it so many times before. This production was a triumph, one of the best we've heard in our 37 years as subscribers. Fresh young singers, perfect for the roles of impoverished wanna-be artists of 19th Century Paris. Lots of people, including us, had dinner on the lawn outside the theater (American spelling in this instance) before the show on a perfect spring evening. Oh, and then there was the traditional opening night champagne reception after the performance. Last night was an example of why it's good to be a St. Louisan.         

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Dress code: you have to be blond, dress in red or black, wear big dark sunglasses and have a drink in your hand. As often noted, St. Louis loves an excuse to imbibe in the street.        

Friday, May 20, 2016

Pretty In Pink

Faces on Cherokee Street during the Cinco de Mayo Festival. Too little time to write comments on my friends work - we're back in the new dimensions in overwork trap.

It occurs to me that since the next CDP theme day was my suggestion, I better go shoot something with contrast in it. We're going to Kansas over Memorial Day weekend. Maybe I can compose something that compares its state government and sanity.              

Thursday, May 19, 2016


There are a lot more pix from the Cinco de Mayo festival but this one, taken at the end of my shooting day, is one of my favorites. I was tired and hungry, and wanted to get some lunch to bring to my daughter's house, less than a block away from the festival. There was a neighborhood pizzeria on the corner. While I was waiting for my order this lady stopped in. Didn't buy anything, just wanted to say hi to the owners, and was interested in posing in front of a serious lens. Looks like she had some experience at this.

Like the Mondrian wallpaper in this place.   

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

El Toro

The mechanical bull is a fixture at the Cinco de Mayo festival and a near certain path to humiliation for the riders. You find these in bars all over the country, too. My Flickr pictures that have received the greatest number of views and likes by far were taken of one of these machines in a bar in New Orleans. A rather tipsy young lady was riding and, due to the violent motion, some of her garments were, um, falling off. You can find them easily enough if you like.                 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bread And Circuses

Moving down the street from the cheerful if wacky People's Joy Parade to the Cinco de Mayo festival, held on whichever Saturday is closest to the date. Fake American wrestling and horrible if typical excuses for food. Kind of fun, though, if you can loosen your laces.                  

Monday, May 16, 2016

Madeleine Monday

First visit to the zoo this season on a glorious spring day. The St. Louis Zoo is usually rated somewhere in the top three in the country.

How stylish in the big sunglasses. And V, notice anything in the second picture?                

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Flame Out

One of the regular features of the People's Joy Parade is this old Cadillac fitted out with - I'm guessing here - propane tanks, valves, an ignition system and blow pipes. Wasteful, sure, but what better way to drive down the street? The lawyer in me always wonders if they have the proper insurance, take care under trees (they seemed to) and pay much attention to the wind.                    

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Back to some more pictures from the People's Joy Parade. A unicycle rider dressed like a traditional jester rode well ahead of the parade, announcing its arrival. I can't imagine doing this. Just not that coordinated.                 

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Neighborhood Sitar Virtuoso

Yeah, we got 'em on every other street corner around here.

Last night Opera Theatre of St. Louis and the Missouri History Museum co-hosted a panel discussion about OTSL's upcoming production of Shalimar the Clown, based on Salman Rushdie's novel of the same name. We had a post about it a couple of months ago when Rushdie was in town.  The panel included Opera Theatre's general director, the composer, librettist, stage director and a scholar of South Asian history and culture.

The featured guest was the sitar virtuoso Arjun Verna, who was a consultant on the score and will play with members of the St. Louis Symphony during the performance. The sitar is a very complex, difficult and subtle instrument. Verna explained the concept or ragas and played excerpts from the opera score. We'll be at opening night on June 11.

I still have some material from the People's Joy Parade and haven't even started the Cinco de Mayo festival yet.           

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Street Portraits

Making these is one of my favorite pastimes. Faces in the crowd at the People's Joy Parade.           

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Some clowns are funny and innocuous. Think Bozo. Some are tawdry, even sleazy. Think Krusty. And some are just scary, occasionally on purpose.

These are a few from the People's Joy Parade. The last picture gives the context.               

Monday, May 9, 2016

Madeleine Monday

The People's Joy Parade, featured here many times before, takes place literally around the Cinco de Mayo festival. I've never seen anything like it. Just goofy, fun-loving local people marching down the street doing whatever amuses them. There are some regular features, though, like the more than slightly scary clowns, the beat up old Cadillac that's rigged to shoot jets of fire high into the air and face painting for little kids. Madeleine wanted a piece of that action.