Wednesday, July 31, 2019


Act Your Pants Off was held at The Monocle, an upscale bar with a small performance space in back. It has some plain white stage lights but also LED lamps (they all are now) that rotated between red, yellow, blue and green. It's hell to photograph with them. They mush up contrast and do terrible, unnatural things to facial features.

This is Panagiotis Papavlaspoulos, generally known to those (well, all) of us with little knowledge of Greek as Pete. He's a master at improv. This image has been really beaten up in Photoshop. The original looked like it was lit by the flames of hell. It has more pop this way.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019


Getting all Frenchified in anticipation of our upcoming visit. The show is, after all, called Act Your Pants Off but this is about as far as it gets. I've mentioned that I'm terrible with names and should be taking notes but don't. The woman on the right has appeared in a number of other Fringe events that I photographed. She is a breathtaking acrobat in addition to her comic skills. Gotta send someone at the Fringe a group picture to help me identify everyone.          

Monday, July 29, 2019


Our delicate flower. Haven't had the kid on for a while. It's time. It is interesting to see how her personality is developing. The family was at the botanical garden Saturday evening for one of their periodic light shows among the plants and buildings. This one was called Garden Party Lights - lots of pix to come but I'm so far behind in my editing!

The picture was taken before dark while we were getting something to eat. Girls just wanna have fun.

Sunday, July 28, 2019


I have no control over my subjects or the lighting when I shoot in a theater. Sometimes I am surprised with the result. This top picture has a strong operatic feel to it, or I think so. Maybe the Countess standing behind Susanna in Marriage of Figaro. But that wasn't the point at all.

Act Your Pants off continues. I'm terrible with names. Although I've seen the woman in white perform several times I can't place her identity. (I'll ask the Fringe people.) She is a comedian and an acrobat, a combination that can lead to hillarious results.

Below, Fringe boss man Matthew Kerns tries to whip up the crowd. As you can see in the last one, they weren't very whipped up yet.         

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Magic Flute

Very late post today. Too much on my plate. Anyway, I don't think this is Tamino. You couldn't tell the difference if it were Papageno or Papagena and the following pictures make clear that Masonry isn't involved. It's just The Lou's favorite drag queen, Desire' Declyne, who always steals the show at Act Your Pants Off. (She has an, um, outgoing personality.)   

Friday, July 26, 2019


Time to move on. The next topic is the St. Lou Fringe's annual comedy fundraiser, Act Your Pants Off. 

In the first half, professional actors and comedians are given a piece of dramatic text and 20-30 minutes to memorize it. As they begin to recite, the judges will throw out a direction like "okay, I want you do this like Liza Minnelli." The speech starts to come unglued. Each time a performer makes a mistake they have to remove an article of clothing. The audience throws Fringe contributions into plastic buckets, voting for their favorite actor. 

In the second round the players pick their own speech, which could be anything from Sophocles to the Marx Brothers. The judges continue to interfere. By the end of the show the performers have removed a lot of fabric, but not to the point of interesting the authorities. Whoever pulls in the most contributions for the Fringe is the winner.

Above, the show kicks off with Fringe executive director Matthew Kerns and STL's own queen of the night, Desire' Declyne.      

Thursday, July 25, 2019


I get way too zoned into making images when I shoot an event. Names? Can the lens see a name? I'm lucky if I have some recollection of the topic. Tom and Sarah WInkler (thanks for the ID help, Sarah Rennie) are building some kind of pyramid with a pop top. People are to throw some kind of requests in (for what?). I think they said the height and angle will make this awkward. 

BTW, his tee shirt says "Jesus saves, everyone else takes 2 D12 damages." Beats me.

I need to move on to Act Your Pants Off tomorrow.           

Wednesday, July 24, 2019



Paul the puppeteer, whose last name will come to me, puts on some great shows for kids, sometimes with the assistance of his kids. He has a different idea, though, for this year's Artica festival. He has been collecting the large cartons appliances are shipped in and plans to build something between a ramshackle home and a maze. I think my granddaughter, Ellie, will like it.            

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Lynn Berg and Audrey Crabtree of the group Ten Directions, Their piece is called the Artica Land Grab, sort of a Wild West rush to claim territory when the government opens it up. This time it will take place in one of the large fields where Artica is held. These two had a strong attitude toward their project: this is it, this how it's gonna go, this is how it ends up. Like it or lump it. Grab it or lose it.       

Monday, July 22, 2019


No, not in this case the sparkling Oscar WIlde play. People who presented at Artica's Show and Tell had serious and earnest artistic ambitions. The concepts may have been off the wall but the purpose was telling. Above, a puppeteer holds a farm girl and an earth worm, part of a show about soil conservation. Below, the audience was tuned in, too. These two were were also presenters. Since I was busy with images I lost track of who was doing what.          

Sunday, July 21, 2019


Back to color and life in The Lou. Yesterday was a lot of work, with two events to shoot. The first was for Artica. The main festival is in early October but there is a summer program where the participants are asked to show a short demo of their piece or, if that's not practical, give a brief talk about it, maybe with diagrams.

The event took place in the back yard of a small restaurant, Milque Toast, on South Jefferson. It's a breakfast and lunch place serving all kinds of yummies on wonderful toasted bread. There is a small stage and a sort of tent to shield the audience but it was bloody hot. These women performed something very Dada-esque. The meaning was left to the viewer. 


Saturday, July 20, 2019


Being the last day of this business I just uploaded everything in the "possibles" folder. Favorites?         

Sunday, July 14, 2019


One of my local colleagues, Mike Matney, an excellent photographer, got involved in a challenge set by other shooter friends: a one-week image diary, black and white, no caption, no explanation. His first image is a light, exquisite flower. I wasn't sure I have the self-discipline for this but I'm going to give it a try. However, I decided to do it more as a day in the life, a single image from the day I lived. And so it begins.


Saturday, July 13, 2019


These photos are from a week ago, before the air show started. It's not dramatic by our standards but the Mississippi is still in flood, although dropping. The triangle in the lower right of the first picture is the bottom of the Arch's grand staircase. Just beyond, a street and walkway are still under water. Same street in the second picture below the fence. No helicopter flights in the show.               

Friday, July 12, 2019


Sorry no post yesterday. You would think this work stuff would start to leave an older guy like me alone, but no.

Anyway, back at the air show. This was a remarkable aircraft. As you can see, it appears to have two fuselages connected by a single wing.  Another local photographer thought that there is a small jet engine in the center, maybe for the steepest climbs. It seemed go go straight  up, cut power, start to plummet down and then kick in the engines and roar off. No idea how it manages to maintain lift while flying upside down (or how the pilot maintains consciousness). This was very entertaining.          

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


That stands for vertical take off and landing, a military plane that can be used as a fixed-wing aircraft or a helicopter. This sequence of pictures from the air show illustrates how the engines themselves can be rotated from vertical to horizontal. It's amazing that the pilot can maintain control during the transition.              

Tuesday, July 9, 2019


Another annual Fair St. Louis event is the air show. It was smaller than usual this year (no biplanes, which I really love) but there was still some cool stuff.

This is the Army's Golden Knights parasailing stunt team. Kind of a weird name since, to my knowledge, there were no parasails during the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, they were tremendously entertaining, swooping around the legs of the Arch..         

Monday, July 8, 2019


More variety from Saturday's fireworks at the Arch. These turned out okay but next year I should find a different point of view.