Saturday, June 22, 2024

FAKE

 

An odd feature in Tower Grove Park: there is an area of fake ruins beside a pond, sort of a Romantic fantasy dropped down in the Midwest. It’s not like the park is set on a foggy moor. This was built in the 19th Century and seems pretty strange today. Still, people like it. You often see wedding parties being photographed here.               

Friday, June 21, 2024

SUMMER SOLSTICE

 

It’s not like anyone here needs a news bulletin that summer has arrived. No need to rehash the common complaints about the heat. I’ll just say that I didn’t spend a lot of time out of my car when I visited Tower Grove Park. I gave this picture a bit of an old color postcard look, thinking about what used to be normal.             

Thursday, June 20, 2024

RING OF FIRE


The band wasn’t playing a Johnny Cash cover as Caleb Carinci-Asch prepared to hurl himself through a flaming hoop and, if all went according to plan, land on the horse’s back on the other side. (Spoiler: he nailed it.). Again, how do you prepare for this? I could probably find my own ring of fire by walking around the streets of St. Louis today, but it’s going to be even worse over the weekend.                  


Wednesday, June 19, 2024

JUMP ROPE

 

The equestrians are back. Run the horse around the ring, stretch a rope across a radius and, well, let it fly. This is hard for me to understand. How do you train for it? How do you accommodate mistakes?

I really need to get back out on the street and find some new material. However, as you may have heard, the northeastern quarter of the U.S. is in the oven this week. Maybe there is something interesting indoors.             

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

TRUST

 

There is another circus organization in St. Louis. Circus Harmony has trained children and teens to perform gymnastics and circus acts, with performances around the world. One of the things they learn is reliance on their teammates. This may be what they call a leap of faith.                               

Monday, June 17, 2024

EQUUS

 

I’m at least mildly afraid of horses. After all, they are a lot bigger than I am and, if things went the wrong, way they could do you some real harm. The only horses around when I was young were under New York policemen. I certainly don’t know how to ride them. So I have great admiration for artists like Caleb Carinci-Asch and Leah Innocenti, who do things that could do them some real harm, and carry it off with aplomb.                   

Sunday, June 16, 2024

WHEEL OF DEATH



Peru native Carlos Morales began performing circuses at age 12. After mastering more and more complex feats, he began touring with the so-called Wheel of Death. These two photos can only hint at its complexity and daring. Walking in or outside the bigger wheel causes the whole thing to rotate. We are staggered to think the source of the idea, its design, testing, maintenance and transportation.              

Saturday, June 15, 2024

INVERTED JUGGLING

 

I don’t have a lot going for me in the eye-hand coordination department. Can’t juggle two objects, let alone three or more. We usually think of these artists throwing things in the air. However, Tersit Asefa Dersu, a native of Ethiopia, turns it upside down. She calls herself a bounce juggler. When you throw a ball in the air, you have some leeway to work the parabola on the way down. When you bounce one off a hard surface, geometry is unforgiving. I got this image at a high shutter speed but it can’t give the feeling of the frantic, precise pace at which she was working.             

Friday, June 14, 2024

DOES OSHA KNOW ABOUT THIS?

 

For our international friends. OSHA is the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the agency responsible for worker safety standards. 

A staple of Circus Flora is the performance by the renowned acrobatic family, the Flying Wallendas, three generations of high wire artists. Tino is the patriarch, possibly as old as me. Son Alex, in this shot, has grandson Matteo strapped tightly to his shoulders. But they are probably 10 meters off the ground with no net. The family does this day after day, but should the authorities be concerned?            

Thursday, June 13, 2024

CIRCUS FLORA: THE LEADS

 

Circus Flora productions always have a thread of a story, a thin frame from which to hang comedy and spectacular circus acts. The current show is called Marooned, some fluff about pirates stuck on a tropical island and looking for treasure. There is always a ring mistress/narrator, Cecil MacKinnon, and a principal character, here pirate chief Brett Alters.                  

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

AT THE CIRCUS


One of the nice things about this town is that it it has its own resident circus company, Circus Flora, and the company has its own permanent big top tent. Their main production is in June. We take Ellie and I post pictures every year. They can be full of action but nothing unexpected. I think this one is different. What muscles.            

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

CULTURAL RELIC

 

Ah, American cuisine. This is one of the odds and ends in the City Museum’s collection. Big Boy (originally Bob’s Big Boy in Southern California - no relation) is a fast food burger chain whose fortunes have waxed and waned. I’ve seen a few in Los Angeles. There is apparently one left around here, open limited  hours. The sandwich and the waistline says it all.              

Monday, June 10, 2024

AMUSEMENTS


Still at the City Museum. The sign may be from an old amusement park or carnival. The sign and passage don’t lead to anything in particular, which may be the point.              

Sunday, June 9, 2024

WIZARD


Ever since I was a young boy, I've played the silver ball…  Pinball was quite my fancy when I was young. I was almost late for my last final exam in law school because my friend and I had so many free games rung up on our favorite machine. But that was long ago. On Friday, Ellie and I went to our nothing-else-like-it-in-the-world City Museum. For a few dollars, you can play a large suite of antique machines for as long as you like. The kid, a child of 21st Century tech, isn’t interested.              

Saturday, June 8, 2024

TEMPORARY TATTOO


Change of scene. As the sometime kid entertainment director, I took Ellie to the ever-popular City Museum yesterday. El made a beeline for an air brush temporary tattoo station. She took a long time deciding among the many designs. She will show it proudly until time makes it fade.                 


Friday, June 7, 2024

INFINITE ELLIE HEADS


The subject of this picture came up with the caption. I think it looks like a beehive. This was a big kaleidoscope at the Museum of Illusions. One of Ellie is usually enough. My friend and I are going to the City Museum today so we will have something new to show tomorrow.              

Thursday, June 6, 2024

OFF THE WALL



More Spiderman stuff? More mirrors. Ellie and her precious cloth lambies are not leaping through the air. They are lying on the floor off the bottom of the frame. The camera is facing the back mirror wall.                              

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

ANTI-GRAVITY



Granddaughter Ellie doing her Spiderman act. Another feature at the Museum of Illusions, of course. Easy to figure out how it’s done but you need Photoshop or something similar to flip vertically and horizontally.                

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

THE VANISHING KID

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, or in front of the wall, or on the side wall, all precisely positioned. The right side of this image is a mirror set closer to the viewer than the wall on the left. There is a small ladder behind the front-facing mirror for Ellie to hang from, dangling just a bit of her body in direct view.                  

Monday, June 3, 2024

MADELEINE MONDAY

Another from the Museum of Illusions. One of my sometimes rambunctious granddaughter is quite enough.                  

Sunday, June 2, 2024

COUNT THE PENTAGONS

A new amusement in town, something called the Museum of Illusions. It's not a new idea, however. The place is a franchise, with 40-plus locations around the world. Ours opened a couple of weeks ago. It is well done and Ellie had a good time. On the other hand, it takes about an hour to go through and is overpriced. More to come.        

Saturday, June 1, 2024

CITY DAILY PHOTO JUNE THEME - OUTDOOR CAFES

I have a problem with this month's theme. We don't dine al fresco much, generally preferring the comfort and, in the city, quiet of an indoor dining room. A search of my archives turned up nothing appropriate from the local scene. We regularly dine outdoors, however, during our frequent trips to Costa Rica. In fact, there are few opportunities to eat indoors in the beach town of Tamarindo that we usually visit. This will have to do. BTW, I wouldn't be caught dead in that  shirt.  

See other CDP members' favorite open air spots at https://citydailyphoto.org/category/theme-days/

                

Friday, May 31, 2024

GOOD POLICY



Midtown St. Louis is having a rebound. The anchors are St. Louis University’s main campus and medical center (about a mile apart), the Washington University medical center, the Grand Centre arts district and the Cortex research and innovation area, where the human genome was finally sequenced. Another feature is City Foundry, centered around an old ironworks that now holds a very diverse food hall, a brewery-cinema, retail and many new apartments. One popular space is City Winery, both a wine bar and entertainment venue. I agree with its mission statement.

The reason I went is a new kid entertainment space that Ellie loved. We will return to that after City Daily Photo theme day.                

Thursday, May 30, 2024

MOONRISE?



That’s the name (not including the question mark) of one of the new sculptures in Citygarden. It was made by the Swiss sculptor Ugo Rondinone. It strikes me as strange and disconcerting, a happy child’s face emerging from a monster’s mouth. You may see something different.            

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

WHAT'S NEW AT CITYGARDEN

Downtown St. Louis' Citygarden, https://citygardenstl.org/, has been seen often in these pages. It is two square blocks of sculpture and plantings that reflect the ecosystems of the region. Although it opened in 2009, the city street between the two blocks remained, although it was blocked to traffic. With additional funding, the park space is now continuous and new artwork has been added.

This is one of the new additions, White Ghost,  by Yoshitomo Nara. It has an anime feeling in the style of Spirited Away, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0245429/.            

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

SPLISH SPLASH

There were lots of other children playing in Citygarden's splash fountains while Ellie was there. The water jets go some distance back from the focal distance of this photo. They dance, they are choreographed, their rise and fall follow unpredictable patterns. Mrs. C and I wondered how someone gets the job of water choreographer or fluid engineer. If you have ever been to Las Vegas and seen the fountains in front of The Bellagio, you know what I mean.                 

Monday, May 27, 2024

MADELEINE MONDAY

 

Travel over for a while, we're back to local themes. Citygarden, our two-block downtown sculpture park, had a "reopening" on Saturday, featuring new sculptures and street arrangements. There are fountains and splash pools for kids, and Ellie couldn't get enough. With our Memorial Day weekend, summer season is officially here.            

Sunday, May 26, 2024

STL DPB BACK HOME - OPENING NIGHT

It's not to everyone's taste, but last night was a big deal to me and Mrs. C, and one of the jewels of this town - opening night of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. It runs in May and June with four productions in repertory, always getting national attention. We started with an old chestnut, Rossini's The Barber of Seville. I've been going to operas for a long time, seen a lot of Figaros, but I've never been to a production as good as this. Just sparkling, surrealistic, brilliantly sung and staged. It was like Rossini set sail on the Yellow Submarine.               

Saturday, May 25, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - SIGNING OFF

Okay, last post from New York. I have an interesting event in STL to shoot today. This picture was taken by another member of the group (thanks, Martin) before we descended into a basement restaurant in Chinatown. I look pretty cheerful for someone whose spine felt like it was going to crumble, but I don't give up easily.

Time  to look around the home town. But I'll be back in New York in just over a month with Ellie and Mrs. C.            

Friday, May 24, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - FROM ABOVE


A few more pictures from New York before I come back home. This is another shot from the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine. A member of my group gives a sense of scale while photographing Anne Patterson's installation, Divine Pathways. It's only there through June if you are interested in seeing it.

I need to find some new material back here in The Lou. My mobility is somewhat limited by my back issues (new medical consultation soon) but I should be able to find something.                

Thursday, May 23, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - SHAVE AND A HAIRCUT

 

Some people don't want to have their picture taken. Some just love it. When a group of photographers peeked into this Washington Heights barber shop, the crew just loved to show off. Look at the scissor action! You gotta look good in this city.           

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - IN THE CATACOMBS

 

New York's catacombs are, of course, the subway system. The public knows little about its secrets. This station is 181st Street and Broadway in Washington Heights. You might want to enlarge the image, noting the three semi-hidden men with their backs to the camera and the one lounging on the bench.               

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - IN MEMORIAM

At least for me, one of the most gut-wrenching features of the current World Trade Center is the pair of memorial pools in the precise shape and location of the Twin Towers. They fall down from sidewalk level with waterfalls on all sides into a shallow basin, which then empties into a smaller and seemingly bottomless central pit. Around the edges, black marble is engraved with the names of those who died on 9/11, the recesses colored gold. Here and there, the living tucked paper flowers bound with twist ties into the spaces.            

Monday, May 20, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - INSIDE THE OCULUS


First off, I found that I have been misspelling the name of this building for the last couple of posts. One C, not two.

The view is from a balcony, symmetrical to the one in the background. It feels like you are inside of a space ship-cathedral, or possibly within Moby Dick's rib cage. It was a cloudy day and the upper reaches were a cool gray. There are two levels of shops beneath, whose interior lights send a warm glow. The far background leads to a transit hub with several subway lines and the PATH trains (Port Authority Trans Hudson) trains to New Jersey.          

Sunday, May 19, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - 1 WTC AND THE OCCULUS

After returning from Ellis Island, the group went a short way north to the World Trade Center complex. After the tragedies of 9/11. the tower of 1 World Trade Center now dominates downtown. Below it is an amazing piece of architecture called the Occulus, containing a shopping center and major transit hub. I think we'll come back to more of that.            

Saturday, May 18, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - ELLIS ISLAND

From 1855 to 1890, immigration to the United states was controlled by the individual states. About 8 million people passed through a station at the lower tip of Manhattan, likely including my grandparents, coming from Ireland and Poland.  Ellis Island in New York harbor was the point of arrival for most immigrants to the United States from 1892 until 1954. 12 million people would enter the U.S. through it. https://www.statueofliberty.org/ellis-island/overview-history/

Our photography group went to Ellis Island but did not visit the main museum. You can go on a tour with a guide of the old, abandoned hospital. It is in various states of decay and restoration, mostly the former. A French artist who goes by simply JR has created haunting photo-montages on the walls and windows, drawn from images of the arriving, hopeful people. https://www.jr-art.net/projects/unframed-ellis-island-usa-2014 Back then, this country wanted immigrants to populate our vast spaces. Clearly, that is no longer the case.             

Friday, May 17, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - VIEW FROM A BRIDGE


One of the photo group's activities was to walk across the Manhattan Bridge from Chinatown, at least part of the way. I got separated from the group and went all the way to Brooklyn, my back on the verge of crumbling. One of my colleagues, much fitter than I, made the same mistake and got me back across safely. We considered getting an AirTag to put in my pocket so the leaders could find me if I got lost again.

This is the view to the south from the start of the path on the Manhattan side. The lettering was on the top of an old building beside the bridge. No idea what it means.                

Thursday, May 16, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - HIGH ROLLER

There is a park in Manhattan's Chinatown that is a social center for older people. Most of what's going on is games involving gambling. The tables are strictly segregated by sex. The women were mostly playing cards. The men were playing a game in which counters with Chinese characters were placed on a grid. None of our group understood what was going on but money was clearly changing hands.

The man in the shiny pink hat, chain smoking and gesturing with his right hand, was the center of attention. Like a good poker player, his face never showed expression. I don't know if he was winning or losing but he was the center of attention.             

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - INDIAN CLOTHING IN JACKSON HEIGHTS

As mentioned earlier, Jackson Heights, Queens, has more ethnic diversity than any zip code in the United States. This is a traditional Indian clothing store, displaying very creepy mannequins of children. Note the girl's right forearm.          

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - FUNNEL CAKES

After leaving Brighton Beach, the group walked a mile down the oceanfront boardwalk to Coney Island. My back and I took the subway. The area is lined with amusement rides and arcades and, of course, Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs. (Ever watch the Fourth of July hot dog eating contest?) None of the attractions were open, probably waiting for our Memorial Day weekend later this month. I used to love to go there when I was a kid. This refreshment stand didn't have a lot of business yet but the attendant was a great subject.                

Monday, May 13, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - THE SUBWAY

Everybody has heard of the New York subway. Not everyone knows that 40% of the system is at or above ground level, although locals call all of it the subway. It has 472 stations, 36 lines and 248 miles / 399 km of routes. I commuted to high school on the subway from 1963 to 1967. Still ride it every time I'm in town. This is a station in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, but I've never set foot in the vast majority of them.    

Sunday, May 12, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - NEWS OF THE WORLD

Much of the signage in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, is written, all or in part, in Cyrillic. The population is Russian and Ukrainian, both Christian Orthodox and Jewish. You don't have to deal with English to get through day-to-day life.                    

Saturday, May 11, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - ST. JOHN THE DIVINE

Rain threatened off and on all of Friday and our street photography group modified its schedule. We visited the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the seat of the Episcopal Church in New York. It is massive and yet unfinished. Doesn't get a lot of visitors as it's a bit out of the way, located on the far Upper West Side, between the northwest corner of Central Park and Columbia University.

Much of the nave is taken up by the stunning artwork Divine Pathways by Anne Patterson. No matter your religious preference, it creates a strong connection with something beyond us.              

Friday, May 10, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - ELLIS ISLAND

Our street photography group went to Ellis Island yesterday. It is the place where, in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, a growing nation hungry for population processed immigrants in New York harbor. We took a hard hat tour of the hospital facilities, where the physically sick and mentally ill were confined until they recovered, died, or were deported back to from whence they came. 

This room is part of the tuberculosis ward, where patients were held in isolation. The image in the mirror could make them cling to hope or fall into despair.            

Thursday, May 9, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - CHINATOWN


The Chinese neighborhood in the Lower East Side of Manhattan remains vibrant. Some of the population has moved to the outer boroughs and the suburbs but immigration of people fleeing China replenishes it. There is a small city park off Mulberry Street where the community gathers. There are card games and tile games going on that we don't understand. Strictly segregated by sex and, with complicated chips, obviously heavy gambling going on. Wednesday was warm and humid, and this gamer needed ventilation while he studied his next move.                       

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - JACKSON HEIGHTS

Jackson Heights, Queens, has more different ethnic groups than any other zip code in the United States. (The borough and county of Queens has more than any other county in the U.S.) Our group stepped off the train and could immediately smell the curry cooking. It's Indian, Pakistani, Nepali, Tibetan, Mexican, Ecuadorian, Colombian, Peruvian and many others. You don't have to travel out of the country to sample so many cultures in a small space.

This was taken in a pedestrianized block in the south Asian area. I'll be putting many others on Flickr.                   

Monday, May 6, 2024

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - BRIGHTON BEACH

Day 1 of the New York street photography workshop. We started in Brighton Beach, an Intense neighborhood I never had a reason to visit when I lived here. It's Russian-Ukrainian-Jewish-miscellaneous Middle Eastern. As many signs are written in Cyrillic as Latin characters. When I paid for something in a local shop, the cashier said spasibo - thank you in Russian (one of about four Russian words I know). We had lunch in a Uighur restaurant.

Not sure what these two women are about. Maybe mother and daughter, standing under the Q Line el. 

STL DPB IN NEW YORK - AFTER THE RAIN

Am I ever home? Well, in a sense, this is home, my place of origin. Starting a five day street photography workshop today and there couldn't be a better place. This is on West 79th Street, just down the block from the hotel where the group is staying. Today we're going to deepest  Brooklyn. First stop Brighton Beach, largely Ukrainian and Russian, and then down to Coney Island. I haven't been there since I was a kid.                

Sunday, May 5, 2024

STL DPB IN TOLEDO - THAT CATHOLIC THING

Spain, as westerners know, was intensely Catholic. After all, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, who drove the last Muslim kingdom from Iberia and dispatched Columbus to the New World to, in the end, plunder and spread communicable disease, were known as Los Reyes Catolicos. It gave us the Spanish Inquisition. Like most of Europe, churchgoing isn't so much of a thing these days, but the monuments remain. The Toledo Cathedral is enormous and made me think about the portion of the region's resources devoted to creating it. I come from a Catholic family and education so, you know, I'm just saying.

This hasn't been much of a St. Louis photo blog lately. It's going to get worse. I arrive in New York today for a five day street photography workshop. Home sweet home.