Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Market Street, Rain, Red Over Green

One of those through-your-wet-windshield shots. I've got some more AYPO pix I could post but that may be getting old.  Unlike much of the northern hemisphere, it's been cool and wet here for a few days, very unusual for this time of year. It won't last, though.

Looking forward to getting some fresh material. I've been pretty slowed down by some significant low back arthritis. Got a steroid shot a few days ago and what a change. Looking forward to Kansas City and deep Kansas this weekend. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Madeleine Monday - Fishing Derby

A couple we know have a house in the countryside outside of St. Louis. It's where we went to see the solar eclipse last year. There is a big pond, access to the Meramec River, big fields and ATVs. They host an annual summer party with lots of activities for children.

Mrs. C, Emily and Ellie attended. (I was stuck in the office writing the materials for a talk I'm giving at an upcoming legal conference.) There was a fishing derby for the little ones and guess who won the prize for the biggest fish? It was all of 7 inches / 18 cm long but my was she proud. It's an activity I could not have helped her with. You wouldn't want to eat anything you caught in the waters where I grew up.

At some point several of the children were in the pond playing shark. You can see who took on the role of Jaws.      

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Brave Audiences Of The St. Louis Fringe

The title of this post is one of slogans or marketing phrases of the Fringe. You need a taste for artistic adventure to soak up all the festival has to offer (see last year's photos). The audience at Act Your Pants Off was a little out there. You could even braid glow sticks into your hair.

We have not seen much of the impresario of all these events, Matthew Kerns. In the last picture, he explains the AYPO concept and reminds everyone that tickets for the main festival are now on sale.      

Saturday, July 28, 2018

We Didn't Get The Eclipse In North America

But we did get this. Rise of the mid-summer full moon, Webster Groves, Missouri, 27 July 2018, about 8:50 PM.

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Cast: Keeton Treece

Moving through the show. Keeton Treece is another long time figure on the STL theater scene (see https://www.linkedin.com/in/keatonmtreece1979/ or https://www.facebook.com/keaton.treece) . Sometimes he can be a bit over the top. Now, I'm at a bit of a disadvantage when shooting a performance because my attention is on images, not the whole show. Still, Treece's bit at AYPO seemed incoherent. That was quite possibly intentional.       

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Just A Singer: Alicia Like

For a few golden minutes, AYPO set aside preening actors and timid gestures toward striptease. giving us only gorgeous music. Alicia Like is a brilliant local talent. I just don't understand why she's not all over TV and the web. You can see the emotive power in her face and almost feel the power of her voice. As best I can figure out, she will be performing in The Gringo, a musical at this year's Fringe festival. I'm going.

Remember, Fringe tickets are now on sale at https://ev6.evenue.net/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/SEGetGroupList?groupCode=FRINGE&linkID=metro&shopperContext=&caller=&appCode= .                   

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Champ

FIRST THINGS FIRST -  tickets for the 2018 St. Lou Fringe are now on sale. Go to https://www.stlouisfringe.com/ and buy, buy, buy!       

So anyway, the winner of Act Your Pants Off by audience acclaim was Melissa Allen. Steamy, bursting with energy and, well, not at all shy. It was AYPO, after all, and she was one of the few performers who removed more than shoes and socks. She is also an aerial artist and will be performing at the festival next month.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Cast: Paul Cereghino

One of the major actors on the STL scene, Paul Cereghino provided the demo for how the AYPO concept works: recitation, memory lapse, ask for help, get help, take off clothing. I think he borrowed one of Lola van Ella's accessories..            

Monday, July 23, 2018

Declyne of Civilization

The other MC, judge and general disruptor at Act Your Pants Off was Desire' Declyne.  I once heard her give a full-blown performance of the finale of Hello Dolly at one of these shows and it was a mind blower.  Here, she takes an audience member into her ample busom in what seems to be some kind of blessing. (Wait, now - are she and her the right pronouns?) She strikes a pose and has a good laugh with Lola van Ella. It is impossible to say which of the two has the greater stage presence.            

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Let Me Entertain You

A bit more Lola van Ella from Act Your Pants Off. At one moment she looks like the goddess of spring, the next the provocative mistress of ceremonies with the whole cast. How does she just turn on a smile like that?              

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The One, The Only . . .

Lola van Ella, St. Louis' favorite ecdysiast, She sings. she dances, she's funny and she has a perfect sense of timing. And she can curl your toes. There's not a lot of fabric left when she finishes her act, but, you know, that's how she makes her living so if you want the full view you will have to attend one of her shows. And if you would like to learn how to do it, sign up for one of her classes.You'll never regret it.

A bit more of this tomorrow, I think.          

Friday, July 20, 2018

Act Your Pants Off

The St. Louis Fringe's annual warm up and fund raiser, Act Your Pants Off, took place last night. The premise is that local actors/comedians are given a dramatic speech to memorize in a half hour. They also performed a monologue of their own choosing. Whenever they forgot a line they called out "line!" and the judges would fill them in. But each time they had to remove an article of clothing. The judges would also give the actors a style to imitate. If I remember correctly, someone had to recite a Shakespeare speech as Fozzy Bear. The audience rewarded each performer with "Fringe bucks." The winner was the performer who brought in the most loot.

Nobody took all their clothes. Well, almost nobody, but that's not a subject for this blog. Presiding was Fringe impresario Matthew Kerns. The judges were St. Louis' incomparable Desiree Declyne and Lola van Ella. Lots more to come.  

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Thursday Arch Series

One of the stranger and more amusing things to see at last weekend's Grand Centre block party was a nine hole mini golf course in the art galleries at The Sheldon. Each hole was designed by a different group, all whimsical, all unique. 

The eighth hole was based on the renovated Gateway Arch grounds.  You had to putt your ball through or around the Old Courthouse and then plunk it into a cup modeled on the new entrance to the Arch museum. The ball then ran through a tunnel to a lower level, resembling the street and promenade in front of the Mississippi. The player had to drop the ball into one more hole in the street. If you did that the red warning light on the top of the Arch lit up. Ellie got it done with what I think soccer would call a hand ball.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Your Moment Of Zen

As Jon Stewart used to say. An unusual piece of sculpture at the Pulitzer, a disk filled with sand, maybe 3 or 4 meters wide, with a rotating blade stretching across the diameter. One side cuts precise grooves, the other makes everything smooth. It seems like an obvious reference to Japanese zen gardens but here the Buddhist concept of impermanence is twisted. Everything changes and everything remains the same. Deep.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


The Pulitzer Arts Foundation is one of the gems of St. Louis. It's not very big and a bit out of the way. It was founded by Joseph Pulitzer III, grandson of Joseph Pulitzer, the New York newspaper baron, and his wife, Emily.  He was for many years the publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Joe and Emily amassed one of the greatest collections of contemporary art in the U.S. The foundation is a center of research and a small, exquisite museum, designed in a very spare style by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.

The Pulitzers were good friends of the sculptor Richard Serra. The courtyard of the Foundation contains his massive work Joe, dedicated to the patron's memory. It is a spiral of rust-red steel plate, concerned with space, scale and sky, holding delights around every bend. The last picture gives an overview.     

Monday, July 16, 2018

Madeleine Monday

At the Contemporary Art Museum during the Grand Centre block party.  There was a table covered with silly hats and a sign reading "Selfie Station." The background was, um, busy. Not going to be any selfies while grandpa and his camera are around. She doesn't know how to take selfies yet, thank heavens.

You may have heard the saying that the Queen of England reigns but does not rule. The first picture makes it clear that in Ellie's case it's just the opposite.