Tuesday, December 31, 2019

MUSIC, SWEET MUSIC


We are going to the St. Louis Symphony's  New Year's Eve gala tonight and I wouldn't be surprised if we heard a bit of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

This was taken at what is sometimes called composers' circle in Tower Grove Park. It's been on the blog a few times but sometimes I run out of ideas. A gazebo-bandstand is surrounded by marble columns with busts of Beethoven, Wagner, our friend above, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Verdi and I'm probably forgetting somebody. The busts are all well-aged and a little ghastly. Who would we put on twelve such columns today? I have my opinion.      

Monday, December 30, 2019

Sunday, December 29, 2019

YOUR DREAM WEDDING


Mrs. C and I were pretty broke when we got married and we didn't want to impose on our parents. Some friends of ours lived in a housing development next to St. Louis University and got us the community center for free. Other friends made a mountain of turkey dollar roll sandwiches, salads and assorted munchies. There was a keg of beer. A wedding cake was out of the question but there is a wonderful photograph of us feeding one another a McDonald's cheeseburger with the plastic bride and groom figures stuck in it. Forty five years later it is still a lovely memory..

Yet the wedding industrial complex rolls on. We shake our heads.           

Saturday, December 28, 2019

DO BEARS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS?


Bears are a prominent part of the Missouri state seal. Two of them stand, facing each other with grumpy expressions, around a circular device with the words "united we stand, divided we fall." In which case we are plummeting fast. But in any event, we have a large theater downtown named for whatever corporation puts up enough money. Flanking the entrance are a pair of stone bears with more benign expressions. Nothing like a pair of huge bears to make you feel welcome.     

Friday, December 27, 2019

MAY I SEE YOUR PAPERS, PLEASE?



Another "this reminds me of something" moment. Santa was working his way down the train car at the Polar Express. I shot what I could in a very cramped space. At one moment he seemed to be looking right at me with a suspicious expression. It made me think of old WW II or Cold War movies in which someone demanded identity documents or safe conduct passes from the hero, or the time many years ago when we crossed the German - Czech border by train. Gonna find out who's naughty and nice.              

Thursday, December 26, 2019

THURSDAY ARCH SERIES


We haven't seen Archie in a while. This is not a new approach to the subject; rather, an old reliable one, taken at sunset on Christmas day. There was nothing going on at home yesterday. It got up to 70 F / 21 C, just shy of the all time record high. I had to get out of the house, get some air and sunshine in my face, and take a picture of something. Views like these make me wonder whether Stanley Kubrick wasn't a secret financier of the project.       

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

MERRY CHRISTMAS


Merry Christmas from the Crowe household in St. Louis to all our friends and colleagues around the world. May all your images in the new year be brilliant.

                 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

TOY FACTORY


My paralegal told me not to bother going to work today because there is nothing particular needing my attention. Since she runs my professional life I decided to follow her sage advice    

A better shot of the light projections on the barrel vault over Union Station's main hall, showing Santa's legendary toy factory. I wonder if the elves are organized. I tried  to add a short phone video but *&%&* Blogger keeps crashing during the upload, The work around was to copy it from Flickr.


Christmas light show at union station.

  

Monday, December 23, 2019

HOW ABOUT A DING DONG?


What we call the headhouse of the old Union Station is now a spectacular hotel lobby with luxury rooms to the left and right, and more out under the train shed. A little hard to tell since I was using a very wide angle lens but the view is straight up into a beautiful barrel vault ceiling. In the last couple of years the management has added light shows.

I tend to have loose associations, which is not a bad thing unless you are psychotic. Watching this part of the display, I couldn't get a certain old Monty Python bit out of my head. Sorry for any offense.

            

Sunday, December 22, 2019

SO WHAT'S THIS STORY, ANYWAY?


I have neither read the book or seen the movie so I really don't know. You can make a guess from context. Characters (from the book, I assume) brought around  large print editions for the children to follow.Ellie was spellbound. I think the illustration, at least on the right side of these pages, is a little strange. Santa is standing bolt upright, chin a little raised. He is staring forward, looking like he was watching the approach of H. G. Wells' martians. But I'm sure everything turned out well in the end.  

Very late post today. I've got some kind of bug that leaves me feeling sleepy all the time.   

Saturday, December 21, 2019

THE POLAR EXPRESS


So this Polar Express thing we took is actually a franchise. The themes are based on the book and movie. Everybody piles on to some creaky old coaches whose seating compared unfavorably with the last row on Spirit Airlines. The train pulls out of the station and slowly finds its way to the post-industrial wastelands north of the Arch.

Elves, chefs, conductors and Santa whipped the children into a constant frenzy. They loved it. Some of us geezers thought it was like an unpleasant visit to the dentist, but it wasn't about us.

That's daughter Emily and the irrepressible Ellie above.

Friday, December 20, 2019

SOMEONE I MET LAST NIGHT


First, let me note that I think I'm finished posting Santarchy pictures here. There are lots of other good ones, though, that you can see at https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobcrowe/albums/72157712223293963

The family went to Union Station last night for the Polar Express train ride for kids and a buffet dinner inside the grand hall of the hotel that occupies the headhouse. I don't walk too fast these days and, while lagging behind the family, this young man and I struck up a conversation. He noticed, as everyone does, the two camera bodies and lens bag hanging off me. His name was Jesse and he asked me to take his picture. No problem, of course, and I just emailed it to him. A little strange and dramatic with a very wide angle lens and the Station's lighting,          

Thursday, December 19, 2019

WHEN YOU'RE SMILING


The whole world smiles with you.  Alcohol can promote good cheer, depression or raging anger. It was pretty much all the first one at Santarchy.

Big family event tonight although there might not be pictures until Saturday.



Wednesday, December 18, 2019

STAY THIRSTY, MY FRIENDS


More from Santarchy. The trio in the first picture have a marked WTF? expression to me, fake Santas boggling at fake Santas. Despite the Russian-ish outfit, the man in the second reminds me a lot of those Dos Equis beer ads about "the most interesting man in the world." His closing words were always "stay thirsty, my friends." You had to in order to keep drinking beer for the number of hours these people did.        


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

ECUMENICAL COUNCIL


You don't have to be Christian to go to a Christmas party (or all day bar crawl). Turn your colors to blue and white, wear menorah sunglasses and Happy Hanukkah! And I daresay that some of the revelers were, um, unchurched. That's Lohr Barclay, our organizer and leader, on the right.        

Monday, December 16, 2019

MISTLETOE


There is a tradition at this time of year of hanging a sprig of mistletoe from the ceiling or a doorway (although I haven't a clue about where to go to find some). If a couple passes under it they are supposed to kiss. It's not likely that the bars visited by the Santarchy crew went to the trouble to put some up but a little encouragement from the photographer worked just as well.            



Sunday, December 15, 2019

SANTARCHY!


Lohr Barclay and my friends at Artica put on a wacky annual event called Santarchy. This merry group, wearing Santa suits or something suggesting it, met at 9:30 yesterday for breakfast and then went from bar to bar chanting ho, ho, ho until, theoretically, midnight. I take pictures all day, culminating with the group shot at the City Museum around 6 PM. That's enough for me although the group heads off to other downtown venues. I had already put in an eight and a half hour shift and they would have to pay me overtime after that. Since I was a volunteer, it might be problematic.

Lots more pictures from this to come. And we are getting our first real snow of the season today, which should be worth a snap.                  

Saturday, December 14, 2019

ALL YOU NEED IS


Someone is paying for a few billboards around the area that sell nothing. One says "I 🖤 STL" and another "😃 SMILE."  I'd like to get pictures of all of them but someone would have to drive me so I can shoot through the windshield. I took this one at the wheel on my way home from work last night. Maybe someone will be moved by it.

Running very low on material but there is an all-day event today that should get me a car load.        

Friday, December 13, 2019

SHE'S NO BETTER


Late post today. Just too much to do. This is the next statue over from the ones we saw yesterday. Why are they all so bleak? I think of theaters as places of entertainment although the works they perform can be very serious. So, unless the stage specializes in Euripides, Chekhov, Ibsen and Miller, how about a smile?          

Thursday, December 12, 2019

BAD MOOD


Redevelopment in downtown St. Louis is very hit and miss. Lots of old commercial buildings have been rehabbed into apartments, even a couple into new hotels. There are plenty of restaurants and much new construction around the baseball stadium aimed at people with money to burn. On the other hand, there are lots of vacant storefronts. This is the facade of a theater that has been out of business a long time. There are lots of other venues along the central corridor of the city so no reason or money to do something with this one.

And so it sits there and erodes. No wonder the faces in this frieze are unhappy.         

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

HOLIDAYS AT THE SYMPHONY HALL


We are fortunate to have one of America's finest symphony orchestras. It is the second oldest in the country, behind only the New York Philharmonic (which once had Gustav Mahler as its conductor so how you gonna beat that). Our new music director,  Stéphane Denève, has brought the St. Louis Symphony to even greater artistic achievement. Mrs. C and I have been subscribers for 43 years.

Powell Symphony Hall is gorgeous at this time of year. This is how we were greeted last weekend when we attended a program of the music of Handel and Bach.     



Tuesday, December 10, 2019

TABLE SETTING


I can't say enough good about the Tuxedo Park Inn, where out little law firm had its holiday party last weekend. The owners, Bill and Maureen, did a spectacular job of restoring a dilapidated old church and turning it into a small inn and event space. Would that there were more pictures I could show but my other photos (except yesterday's) are all of my staff and their companions. We will leave them out of this so that their cocktail preferences remain private.      

Monday, December 9, 2019

MADELEINE MONDAY


Ellie came to the office's holiday party because her mother works with us and what else are we going to do with her. She's going through that dental phase common to six year olds. Doesn't stop her from stating her opinion, though.    

Sunday, December 8, 2019

CAJUN AND CREOLE GONE UPRIVER


The patio of the Broadway Oyster Bar downtown. It serves food in the style of southern Louisiana with its Cajun and Creole traditions, brought up the Mississippi to St. Louis. The difference between the two can be subtle. Cajuns are the descendants of Catholic French Canadians from Acadia who relocated to warmer climes after the British took over. Creole means native born to the area and could refer to people of African, French and Spanish descent. The food traditions are interwoven.

Preparing this post reminded me of the now partly demolished building a half block to camera right. Way back 12 years ago, it was the subject of what I think is my best post of all time.          

Saturday, December 7, 2019

THE OFFICE HOLIDAY PARTY WAS LAST NIGHT


Actually, the group isn't very rowdy. The firm is small and we're getting a little...old. We had it at a gorgeous converted church that became a meeting facility and B & B. Some of us, including the boss and spouse (he said, looking in the mirror) got to spend the night.

The picture is of a relatively new store on Manchester Avenue in The Grove. They deal in unusual premium spirits, exotic bitters and herbal infusions, barware of all sorts and, of all things, super pure ice. We're more wine drinkers but I should visit here some time.        

Thursday, December 5, 2019

FLYOVER COUNTRY


We are a mid-size Midwestern city. People from the big cities of the coasts pass over us, sometimes leaving mysterious patterns in the sky. This was taken from my office window on a recent late afternoon, facing roughly east-northeast. The plains of Illinois are in the foreground.         

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

THE LOOK


So, okay, here's a guy as old as I am, or close, out for some exercise. Good for him. But is the whole ensemble a bit much? Trail bike (expensive, no doubt), special shoes, bicycle tights (probably Gortex), high visibility jacket (ditto), super sunglasses, bike helmet to match the outfit, looking at his smart phone, probably a workout app. Now where are my comfy torn jeans?            

Monday, December 2, 2019

HONKY TONK


I'm not a big fan of country music since I came from an alien culture. I grew up listening to Cousin Brucie on WABC AM in New York and my father's boss was on the board of the NY Philharmonic. When I came to St. Louis U. in the fall of 1967 there was different air to breathe. Didn't have enough money to fly home to (by then) New Jersey that first Thanksgiving so I got a ride with my roommate to his home in Nashville. His brother-in-law was the PR director for the Grand Ole Opry and got us in backstage to the Saturday night show at the Ryman Auditorium. There were so many sequins under the stage lights that I was blinded for days.

This bar gets its name because it is one block from the baseball stadium and there are seven possible games in the World Series. The device in the center is the flag of the City of St. Louis, which I think is pretty cool. It celebrates the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers here and our French heritage.          

SISYPHUS


The Greek myth was the first thing I thought of when I saw this stone turtle. It never makes any progress pushing its heavy ball across the patio of the World's Fair Pavilion in Forest Park and never gets to rest. There has to be a metaphor in there somewhere.      

Sunday, December 1, 2019

CITY DAILY PHOTO DECEMBER THEME DAY - RAINBOW


I had to go way back in the archives to find this one. It was taken from a previous office where I had a good view of the Arch, probably with an early phone cam.

See rainbows and possibly unicorns from CDP members' cities around the world here.