Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Fringe Is Here!

The St. Lou Fringe's opening party took place last night. (See schedule and buy tickets here.) Impresario Matthew Kerns introduced the season and interviewed the principals of some of the major shows. Local star Desire' Declyne will lead the late night show, As We Stumble Along. The evening's main entertainment was the hip hop duo Same Difference. The crowd had a good time.

The main performances start tonight. There are five venues around the Grand Centre Arts District. Each is named for a person or sponsor that made a significant contribution to the festival. They named the Kranzberg Studio Theater for - sniff - me. I was knocked out, humbled and elated. I guess they like my work.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Henry Shaw Would Boggle, Or, Not The Rouen Cathedral

Locals sometimes refer to the Missouri Botanical Garden as Shaw's Garden, after its founder, Henry Shaw. He also donated the land that became Tower Grove Park. The building in these pictures is his home in the middle of what is now the garden.

Shaw could never have conceived of what we saw at his home Saturday night. The Flora Borealis show included spectacular video and laser projections on his house, ever changing and quite unreal. I have no idea how it was done. It made me think of a a 21st Century version of Claude Monet's series of paintings of the Rouen (a word that is very hard for English speakers to pronounce correctly) Cathedral. The same building over and over, with each image at a different time of day or weather. Monet used his eyes and a brush. Today we use algorithms.  

The St. Louis Fringe Festival starts tonight. Be there or be square.    

Flora Borealis

There has been a sound/light/laser show going on at the botanical garden all summer. We finally got around to visiting. The name, Flora Borealis, is a bit of a bad pun. There was voiceover throughout, mostly on the theme of be nice to plants, but hardly anyone was paying attention. Everyone was ooh-ing and ah-ing over the spectacular laser effects. It was going on even inside the Climatron. I have no idea how it's done, more about which tomorrow.       

Monday, August 13, 2018

Street Racing

The bicycle races moved to the streets on Sunday in The Grove neighborhood. Much easier to shoot - wide open spaces, no in-and-out shadows and I could get closer to the riders. I got tons of pictures. This is just a sample. I also have material from a sound and light laser show at the botanical garden over the weekend and the St. Louis Fringe Festival starts Wednesday night. And I still have to work. No risk of boredom.        

Sunday, August 12, 2018


There are some big time (by our standards) bicycle races in Tower Grove this weekend. I've shot this event before when it was run on city streets. Much harder to do in the park with limited areas of open sun and lots of mottling by tree shade. No good for auto exposure and focus.

I took too many photos yesterday, cleanly into four figures. A lot of that was shooting in burst mode as the pack went by. But there was another event yesterday evening that ran up the score. We'll get to all of it.      

Saturday, August 11, 2018


Ellie started kindergarten this week, with a tweak of the rules. She is very ready. Unfortunately, the local school districts strictly require that a child be five by August 1 to enter. Her birthday is August 20. However, some of the charter schools in the city proper  (Americans know what I mean) can do what they want with the age rules. So, the kid has started at one of them and will be eligible for first grade anywhere next year. Not too heavy on experimental technique yet but it's a good start.       

Friday, August 10, 2018


Just some color and texture at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City. Those aren't plants flanking the entrance. They are Dale Chihuly glass sculptures. Note part of the same sign as in yesterday's post.

I'm pretty hard up for material. Had another camera failure in Kansas. But there are others sitting around the house and two big events to shoot on Saturday. Then the Fringe Festival starts a few days later. Bear with me. 

And happy birthday, M. B. Remember, you'll never catch up to me.  

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Along Came A Spider

One of the many iterations of Louise Bourgeois's Spider, this one in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City. Louise made a buck or two off this idea. I've seen them at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and London's Tate Modern. No idea how many there are but it is always arresting for the first time viewer. After too many encounters maybe you're ready to reach for a can of Raid.

Note the sign on the wall of the building in the background.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Trucks of Missouri

Sometimes people like us feel a little out of place in this state. The top and bottom images were found in a parking area of Kansas City's City Market. The middle one was on Interstate 70 in the central part of the state (phone cam shot through the windshield). But, for the most part, St. Louis and Kansas City are beacons of blue.     

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Farm

The farm where Mrs. C grew up has been in the family for a long time. It's now owned by her youngest brother and his wife, although you can't make a living on it without another full time job. This is the view from the house to the west, something my wife saw every day.

The corn here looks great. However, there were pockets around the area where it seemed to be on death's door. I asked about it - all anyone could tell me was micro-climate, irregular and narrow bands of rain, and drainage. The plot below might not even be good for silage. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Wizard of Oz, Or, Everybody's Gotta Make a Living

I don't think the book or the movie of The Wizard of Oz sets the starting and ending location, other than it's in the State of Kansas, which is larger and a lot emptier than your average east-of-the-Mississippi state. But Oz has to be somewhere in the Sunflower State, so the little town of Wamego, on one of our possible routes from Kansas City to the farm, has adopted it as a way to keep its claws into the map. Actually, it's kind of cute. We had lunch at Toto's Tacoz, which had some pretty good Kan-Mex food. And you can't say "I don't think we're in Kansas any more," 'cause you sure as hell are.

Us city folks can set up all kinds of cognitive dissonance here, like driving through the void back to town from the farm Saturday night, moonless, cloudless, across gravel county roads,  listening to the Liszt B Minor Piano Sonata. It could have been an out of body experience except that I was driving a Honda.    

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Sun Always Shines In Kansas City

City Market in Kansas City is a vibrant area of shops, restaurants and a farmers market, packed on a sunny Saturday morning. Why don't we have something like this in STL? Our Soulard Market is just not in this league. Geez, Eastern Market in Detroit, which we visited last spring, is something like KC's, leaving The Lou in the dust. I gotta call someone when I get back.       

At the KC Central Market

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Boo Hoo

Tom Otterness' Crying Giant  in front of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City. I love this for its absurdity and genuine sorrow. A viewer doesn't know whether to laugh or mourn. 

Off to the farm shortly.    

Friday, August 3, 2018


Kauffman Center, Kansas City, 2012-11-21 2
Over to Kansas City today, Missouri's second largest metro area. This is an archive photo of the stunning Kaufman Center for the Performing Arts.

We like KC and regularly stop there on our way to see Mrs. C's family farther out in Kansas. The regional population is smaller than STL's but the city proper holds a much larger share of the metro population, leading to better regional government. The City of St. Louis itself has a population of about 350,000 in a metro area of 2.6 million. The suburbs are terribly Balkanized and regional cooperation is weak.

KC has a part-time symphony. We have one of the best in the country. Both have decent regional art museums but I think KC's Contemporary Art Museum beats the hell out of ours. IMHO, our restaurant scene is richer. KC has the Country Club Plaza, a Spanish fantasy that was the first real shopping center in America. We have the Arch, which nobody else has. It is said that the only city that has more fountains than KC is Rome. We have a lot of water fountains. Both areas have vast, soulless suburbs.

We will meet some of Mrs. C's family for dinner there tonight, then out to the farmland where she grew up on Saturday. The forecast is for moderate temperatures and rain, which could lead to some beautiful prairie vistas.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Thursday Arch Series

I am so hard up for new material and once again resorting to the through-the-wet-car-window trick. But we're going to Kansas City tomorrow, where there's bound to be something new.       

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

City Daily Photo Theme Day - Music

Had to do a bit of dumpster diving to find something for this theme day. This is my ticket stub from The Beatles second concert at the old Shea Stadium in New York, August 23, 1966. My sister and I went. The stadium was just a few stops down the Number 7 train line in Queens, where we lived. It would have been just before the start of my senior year of high school.

I remember some things about it. Mary Beth and I arrived early. The stands were already full of mostly 12 and 13 year old girls, screaming non-stop at the top of their lungs. Nothing was happening yet. And then there were the Beatles themselves on a stage behind second base. Couldn't see them very well but I remember the singing: yeah, yeah, yeah.