Wednesday, August 12, 2020

WARNING

 

A red flag is usually a warning, a serious one. Something is dangerous and demands attention. It is also a symbol of revolution and communism. If someone threw up a sign like this on a building you might think that there were toxic chemicals inside.

Not so in this case unless you are a tea-totaler. This midtown building is being renovated into a taproom and restaurant for one of our smaller breweries, 4 Hands. (As most people know, we have one very, very big brewery here.) The graphic is a color-altered version of the St. Louis city flag, which, by virtue of a highly scientific Twitter poll, is the coolest city flag in America. Why the brewery is interpreting it as a warning is left up to the viewer.               

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

PLEASE BE SEATED

 

This is directly across Cherokee  Street from the Cinderella building. I don't know if the vacant space in the background was a restaurant or if there is is one adjacent. (I guess I could have looked more carefully). So what's with the seats? Brought in in wet weather (which it wasn't)? Stolen?

A lot of old shops in St. Louis had recessed doors with display windows on either side and the name of the place in tile in the pavement. They never change - a bit of local heritage.          

Monday, August 10, 2020

MORE TERRA COTTA

More terra cotta.  Why someone would call a building Cinderella is beyond me. The original owner wouldn't want businesses to start in rags before they achieved riches. (Too much of St. Louis has followed the opposite trajectory.) It apparently started as a skating rink (meet your Prince Charming on wheels) and then, two years later, was converted to a movie theater. One of our town's leading architectural and social historians, Chris Naffziger, wrote a wonderful article six years ago describing its decay and restoration. Maybe this Cinderella held closer to the original story. See https://www.riverfronttimes.com/newsblog/2014/03/12/cherokee-streets-cinderella-building-finds-its-prince-charming?showFullText=true 

It is located on funky and eclectic Cherokee Street on the South Side. The ground floor is occupied. Don't know what if anything is upstairs.         

Sunday, August 9, 2020

CLEAN CITY

When I was younger, perhaps high school age, there was a ubiquitous public service ad in my home town that said "a cleaner New York is up to you." There may have been a time when that was assumed in St. Louis, if perhaps less so now. The J. Arthur Anderson Laundry, in a much different neighborhood than Dinks Parrish, looks more like an expensive mortuary. What's with the slow laundry theme? Careful is good, but perhaps many decades ago Americans were much less impatient.

I was wrong about something. Dinks Parrish were not the names of two families. They are the first and last names of one person. There is an interesting piece about the history of the two companies at https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/columns/joe-holleman/spotlight-two-st-louis-buildings-harken-back-to-s-laundry/article_cbf13e2e-7fda-545f-bfc8-118b8e1641cd.html .

Saturday, August 8, 2020

TIME CONSUMING

Details of the facade of the Dinks Parrish Laundry. I realized as I edited these pictures that I don't know a thing about how terrra cotta is made. I looked up the Wikipedia article, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Architectural_terracotta, and don't understand all of it. Complicated! I can't imagine how much time and money it took to produce and install this, or how the economics worked on a humble commercial building.       
 
A friend told me about another unusual laundry. It is not as complex and harder to photograph due to its location but still interesting. We will see it tomorrow.

Friday, August 7, 2020

DINKS PARRISH LAUNDRY




A bit of fancy, a stone wedding cake on Olive Street in midtown. It was a major commercial laundry for many years, the two names referring to the families who owned it. The laundry went out of business some years ago. There may or may not still be some loft apartments upstairs. The ground floor left houses a new microbrewery. The rest of the ground floor is vacant.

This may be the most elaborate surviving terra cotta work in town. One online reference describes it as "either a heavenly flight of fancy or the product of a bricklayer on LSD: Moorish architecture on steroids, replete with spires wrapped in carved grape vines and snowflakes, flower blossoms and clamshells." 

Some detail of the facade tomorrow.   
 
            

Thursday, August 6, 2020

THURSDAY ARCH SERIES


Taken at the end of our ride with Ellie on one of the Mississippi River tour boats. The two that are usually around are called the Tom Sawyer and the Becky Thacher. We were pulling up to the dock. The helicopter the kid and I rode on last month made a perfectly timed appearance.      

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

JOHANNES AND HIS FRIEND SAY WEAR A MASK


And last in this series, Dan Ricketts' spin on Vermeer's Girl With A Pearl Earring. The earring is a bit hard to spot. The first version had white polka dots on the mask, perhaps a reference to the pearl. Rickets changed his mind, as painters do.

I once had the privilege of seeing this painting in person.  It is in a small museum in The Hague. It's surprisingly little but the beauty made my jaw drop. In a way, it is like the Grand Canyon or the Taj Mahal. No photograph can prepare you for the experience of standing before it.

Got a good and rather unusual Thursday Arch Series picture for tomorrow.            

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

GOD AND ADAM SAY WASH YOUR HANDS


But no shaking hands. No touching. And, um, remember not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge.               

Monday, August 3, 2020

VINCENT SAYS WEAR A MASK


More of Dan Ricketts' downtown mural along with the artist at work. It's a good thing that Van Gogh has something to anchor both earloops with. I didn't see it on the street but now, on the bright computer screen, I notice that this mask is translucent. Ricketts painted the mouth and lower half of the nose before overlaying the mask.

Still a bit more of this to come.          


Sunday, August 2, 2020

FRIEDA SAYS WEAR A MASK


St. Louisan Dan Ricketts has a business called St. Louis Sign and Mural (slogan: a business without a sign is a sign of no business). He is painting a triptych of Covid 19 messages on an older building downtown. There was an article about it in the local paper yesterday and I had to go look for myself. Frieda Kahlo's mask is the flag of the City of St. Louis (available here). The other two panels based on famous works of art are in progress. I'll stop back later today.

TODAY'S RANT: after I left Ricketts' installation I drove through Forest Park looking for something to shoot. Came up empty-handed but I did see four wedding parties at the usual photo spots, all clustered together, not a single person wearing a mask. But wait, we can't have masks in our wedding pictures! The virus is roaring out of control in this area. Idjits. Selfish, uncaring, stupid idjits. IDJITS.        

Saturday, August 1, 2020

CITY DAILY PHOTO MONTHLY THEME DAY - CITY PEOPLE


City Daily Photo theme days are planned months in advance by our administrators. Occasionally, one may turn out to be particularly ironic. That's the case today with so many fewer people on the street. I went into the archives and chose this picture of the Crowes with Ellie in production, taken at the St. Louis Style House where all things Louie can be obtained. Part of the city's great seal is behind us, emphasizing the urban connection.             

MOTIVATION


I've had these signs here before. This one, I 🖤 STL and just plain LOVE. They have been around for at least a couple of years. I looked it up once - some person or foundation sponsors them. It's just local. Does it accomplish anything?