Thursday, November 30, 2023


As visitors approach the end of the walk through Garden Glow, the path takes them by the reflecting pool with a view of the Climatron, a geodesic dome comprising four climate zones, controlled without partitions by a sophisticated air flow system.

That's it for this tour. Tomorrow is City Daily Photo theme day, local history. I'll be in Chicago for the weekend, looking for images. And be sure to stop by on Tuesday. It's a significant day in the history of this endeavor.                         

Wednesday, November 29, 2023


On what the botanical garden calls its central axis, a reflecting pool is covered with twinkling LEDs, pulsing through in changing, multicolored stripes. What can't you do with electronic lighting these days?              

Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Toward the end of the Garden Glow walk through the botanical garden, visitors come across a large, old tree wound tightly with bright blue lights. It looks the same every year and, frankly, seems a little dull after the first time or two. Of course I took a few shots but thought I should edit it into something different. This is suitably spooky.                     

Monday, November 27, 2023


Another light tunnel at Garden Glow. My granddaughter Ellie, in the foreground, may end up somewhere unexpected but she will be fine as long as Lambie stays on her shoulder.          

Sunday, November 26, 2023


Yesterday's post mentioned Henry Shaw, the wealthy 19th Century businessman and philanthropist who founded the botanical garden and adjacent large city park. He built a grand home on the grounds, which has been restored and is open to visitors. Amazing light displays are projected onto it during Garden Glow. They change and move to music, with new versions every year.          

Saturday, November 25, 2023


Not in the astronomical sense we usually think of. The Missouri Botanical Garden, founded in 1859, and adjacent Tower Grove Park are part of the legacy of businessman and philanthropist Henry Shaw. The story is that Shaw built this structure to survey his estate. Unfortunately, the Garden doesn't let visitors to climb to the top.                

Friday, November 24, 2023


One of the old-time displays at Garden Glow. Illuminated squares tilt from right to left, making for a disorienting, rocking feeling as you walk through. They do sell drinks at several points along the path but the lines can be long so no one gets too wobbly.           

Thursday, November 23, 2023


Or, more properly, dance to make the music. This is a new feature at Garden Glow this year. Stepping on a  disk produces a musical note. Kids bounce among them to make avant garde compositions (that's Ellie second from left). It reminds me of the scene in the movie Big when Tom Hanks dances on the floor keyboard at FAO Schwarz toy store in New York. (Which is still there - great place to take the kids.)           

Wednesday, November 22, 2023


Garden Glow has always had a light tunnel with tiny, pulsing LED lights flickering like distant stars. There is a second one this year with bigger, more intense lamps in patterns that suck you through. It reminds me of the Starship Enterprise entering warp drive.                                

Tuesday, November 21, 2023


Christmas decorations seem to go up earlier and earlier. Lots of houses in my neighborhood put them up a week or two ago, well before the American Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday. I understand that it's part of the show for Garden Glow but it's a bit much for us. 

This is not a sentimental household. Some of us are religious, some not, but all of us are appalled by the seasonal materialism and commercialism. We have a family discussion about what good cause to support. We recommend Nicholas Kristof's approach:               

Monday, November 20, 2023


Some light displays come back to Garden Glow year after year, like old friends. And each year there are new designs to catch the imagination of the crowd. A still photo doesn't completely describe this old favorite. The lights are constantly changing colors and moving, pulsing. Unfortunately, I don't do video.              

Sunday, November 19, 2023


It's that time of year in St. Louis, when our wonderful botanical garden puts on its Garden Glow event. The paths are full of holiday lights displayed with technical wizardry. This is what you see as you leave the entry building and visitor center. Much more beyond.                

Saturday, November 18, 2023


I'm hard up for new material and was looking back at some infrared pictures I took in Forest Park last summer. Green foliage looks light gray or white in IR. Still, it makes me think of the Robert Frost poem: Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village, though. He will not see me stopping here to watch his woods fill up with snow.               

Friday, November 17, 2023



There is a small arcade in a corner of Magic Mini Golf that got Ellie's attention. One of her main goals in life is to add to her enormous collection of stuffed toy animals, or stuffies to her. 

This gadget is called a claw machine. You maneuver the device over (in this case) a brightly colored octopus, then drop the claws. With luck, they close over one of the toys. The player raises the claws and moves them over a chute in the left front corner, releasing the object. The toy almost always drops loose, falling back into the pile. Ellie managed to get one but, at a dollar a pull, I'd rather not calculate its cost.                     

Thursday, November 16, 2023


Those who are as close to dotage as I am may remember Tommy, The Who's deaf, dumb and blind pinball wizard who plays by sense of smell. Well, maybe, given a big dose of poetic license. But mixing mini golf and pinball is a novel idea, except that you can't run up free games no matter how good your shot. It's always down the hole in the end.            

Wednesday, November 15, 2023


I'm sure there are several bars in the Delmar Loop that have a dart board, but none this big, or accompanied by an angel with a bow and arrow (Eros?) and a giraffe. It's a bit hallucinatory.             

Tuesday, November 14, 2023


A new game in town. Locals and regular visitors know the area known as the Delmar Loop, so-called because decades ago it's where the trolley cars turned around. Now it is full of restaurants, bars, entertainment and shops. 

The newest attraction, opened just a week ago, is Magic Mini Golf. It has a most imaginative indoor course, a couple of shuffleboard courts. a tiny five car Ferris wheel and a few arcade games. There is a full bar and a stage, so I assume it was meant to pull in a young crowd for an evening's entertainment. Ellie didn't care about that part. She just likes mini golf.            

Monday, November 13, 2023


There were a lot of interesting people at Matthew Kerns birthday party. I talked opera with a composer and librettist, and theories of mind with a psychologist. One of the most interesting people was Eron Mazza, pictured here. His business card describes his trade as cartomancy and spellwork. Take it as you will, but he is a great conversationalist.

These are not tarot cards, but rather a regular playing deck with a variety of symbols. Eron lays them out in a pattern and interprets them. As with so many things, you can see what you wish.

Sunday, November 12, 2023


I've never done event photography but I got a call to do one last night. It was a birthday party for my friend Matthew Kerns, executive director of the St. Lou Fringe. I serve on the board of directors and I'm the house photographer. Here he is posing with another friend, Amy Ziegler, a former colleague on the board, recovering lawyer and ace psychotherapist. There were so many interesting people and I got to be the wandering paparazzo. Everything you need to know about the genre is on YouTube.            

Saturday, November 11, 2023


This statue of Thomas Jefferson, first American Secretary of State and third president, sits in the north entry hall of the Missouri History Museum. I assume it is there because during his administration he arranged the Louisiana Purchase from France, acquiring a huge swath of North America for the young republic.

Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. In one of its famous opening lines, he wrote that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." Yet Jefferson was a slave owner. Cognitive dissonance was not an issue at the time.          

Friday, November 10, 2023


The Missouri History Museum in Forest Park contains a full size mock-up of the Spirit of St. Louis. It's the famous aircraft that Charles Lindbergh flew from Long Island, New York, to Paris in 1927. Lindbergh and the plane gained huge fame for the first solo trans-Atlantic flight. The pilot lived in St. Louis at the time and the project was largely funded by his friends at the St. Louis Raquette Club.

Thursday, November 9, 2023


Dia de los Muertos events were not only at the Contemporary Art Museum. There was an all-weekend function at the Missouri History Museum, a few miles west in Forest Park. There were many constructions known as altars, memorials for a deceased person. Music and celebrations are part of the tradition.                  

Wednesday, November 8, 2023


Back at the Dia de los Muertos party at the Contemporary Art Museum. The exhibits featured work by Latino artists, like this one of a Los Angeles Chicano-style low rider decorated with cultural themes. A perfect backdrop for the dancer.                  

Tuesday, November 7, 2023


A silhouette of Richard Serra's Joe with the Scottish Rite Masonic temple looming behind. I'm not sure what goes on in there these days. If you look carefully you can see a couple of lights on in the building but the Masons aren't such a big deal any more.                

Monday, November 6, 2023


There were family events here this weekend for the Mexican holiday that takes place on November 1 and 2, joyfully celebrating the lives of those who are no longer with us. The kid always goes for the face painting but she was a little unsure about the meaning and the language involved. Someone asked her yesterday what the design was about. She said it was from Dia de los Geckos.              

Sunday, November 5, 2023


Inside the spiral of Joe, the grand, deliberately rusting Richard Serra sculpture seen in my post yesterday. Near sunset in the plaza between the St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation.                           

Saturday, November 4, 2023


Seen in the courtyard connecting our Contemporary Art Museum with the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. This is Richard Serra's large sculpture, Joe, dedicated to Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., the one-time publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and great patron of the arts. Serra and Pulitzer were close friends. The work is a giant spiral of Cor 10 steel that feels like it is sucking you inside. 

The building in the background is the grandiose Scottish Rite Masonic Temple.       

Friday, November 3, 2023


Another stripped private jet in the Monstro City section of the City Museum. A complex kid's climbing tower, modern sculpture, or both?                

Thursday, November 2, 2023


And where it stops nobody knows.

Hard to top the response to yesterday's theme day picture of the Arch, but it's time to return to earth. This is another part of Monstro City at the City Museum. You can see why kids love it.              

Wednesday, November 1, 2023


This should be pretty obvious to my long-time friends: the Gateway Arch, 630 feet / 192 meters of stainless steel. (I always capitalize it because it is a deity.) The shape is a catenary arch, what you get if you let a chain droop down from its ends. exactly as wide as it is high. Sure I'm biased but I think it is the most beautiful monumental sculpture in the world. It has different moods at every time of day, season and weather. I never tire of it.