Artist Mary Engelbreit, whose studio is in the neighborhood, has created a fabulous poster for next Sunday's (October 9) "Just For The Health Of It!" 5k Run/Walk. I am pretty familiar with my dear friend Mary's attitude toward exercise, so her description of how to get across the finish line---run, walk, stroll, skip---fits her to a T.
The race starts at 9 a.m. at Euclid and Maryland---and ends there too. The cost is $25 per person until September 30, $30 thereafter. See the map for the Run here. Sponsored by the Central West End Association, you can register online at www.active.com keyword: CWE 5k, on the CWE website, at Sante Chase Health Club in the Chase Park-Plaza, or the morning of the Race starting at 8 a.m. T-shirts go to the first 300 participants.
Whatever I might say in remembrance of Bob Cassilly would never be enough. His contribution to the City of St. Louis is beyond measure. This morning in tribute to his creative genius, I want to share some photos of his work taken late yesterday afternoon at Turtle Park (on Oakland at Tamm), New City School, and in our neighbor's backyard.
So often it isn't until I get my photos downloaded that I realize what I have. Perhaps it's the emotion of the day but Cassilly's concrete turtle appears to be giving this child an extra hug.
As I left Turtle Park on Monday I told the father of the four children in the photographs why I was taking the pictures and that I would be posting them on a CWE blog. He looked at me quizzically and said they were from out-of-town. On Tuesday I got an email from Ryan Schultz of Aurora, IL saying he had found the blog and loved the pictures of Andrew, above, and his twin Anika, 8, Sarah, 5, and JonJon, 3. "How ironic," Ryan said, "we went to the City Museum on Sunday - the most awesome museum I've ever been to. The kids loved it and my wife and I had a lot of fun too...Yes we enjoyed his (Bob Cassilly's) creations for our short time in St. Louis."
New City School has several examples of Cassilly's work, above and below.
And closer to home there is a pair of Bob Cassilly benches on Maryland Plaza.
In the 1970's, when the townhouses on Maryland Plaza were being converted to commercial use, an advertising agency commissioned Cassilly to create a wall and fountain for the backyard, above and below. The butterfly wall became the backdrop for an urban garden that was created for our neighbors when the houses were converted to condominiums in 2006.
When a restaurant has been around for a while, it's often necessary to shake things up a bit with fresh new ideas. This is one reason why Jimmy Fiala, owner of a string of successful restaurants including The Crossing in Clayton, Acero in Maplewood, The Terrace View at City Garden (just read on St. Louis Beacon this is closing the end of the year), and Liluma at Euclid and Maryland, decided to open the "Side Door" in Liluma's back room. As noted in the lead-in to the new menu (below), customers frequently asked Jimmy what he was going to do with the back room. The area was formerly used for overflow seating when the restaurant was crowded, but because of Liluma's configuration it somehow felt as though you were being shuffled off to the back room, and it didn't have the same vibe as the front of the house.
Now the back room has a new identity and its own entry (just south of the corner on Euclid), with Italian food and wine references stenciled on the windows, and a casual atmosphere with red-checked tablecloths. An imaginative small-plate menu created by Fiala and chef Brad Watts features dishes that range in price from $4 to $10, and wines for as little as $12 to $15 a bottle. The Side Door is open from 5 until closing Monday through Saturday. The hope is that this will become a favorite neighborhood destination. When asked if children were welcome, Jimmy replied that he would always be happy to cook up some "fries for the kiddies." Reservations not necessary.
Meanwhile a few doors south, Nicolas Guzman, a 2011 graduate of Amherst, and his partner Sarah Haselkorn, a Systems Engineering student at Washington University, are opening Green Bean at 232 N. Euclid. The space is currently undergoing major renovation, and the young entrepreneurs hope to have it all wrapped up and ready by mid-October. Green Bean, riding the wave of the local sustainable food movement, will feature pre-fixed salads, or you can create your own healthy combination. If all goes according to plan, the restaurant will also offer wine and beer.
I was quite surprised to see that Pick Florist has left the CWE and moved to Crestwood. Banners on the window announce that another froYo yogurt operation (the froYo on Maryland being the first) called "Swirling" is opening on Laclede just west of Euclid in the Spring. More is more, as they say....
Better late than never as the saying goes. The good news is that my delay in posting last weekend's photos may help determine how you spend part of this last (gulp!) weekend in September.
Guerra de la Paz: Follow the Leader opened last Friday night at Craft Alliance's Grand Center Gallery. The Cuban-born artists Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz filled the gallery with a wave of brightly colored clothing--cast-offs from thrift stores in their Miami neighborhood--topping pant legs wearing shoes purchased from discount stores. The artists describe their installations as abstract paintings in 3-dimensional form. Check out the artists' blog for an informative video showing the creative process for Follow the Leader, and by all means take time to see the exhibition up close. There are some fabrics in the piece that certainly caught my eye. It's on view until January 29.
An opening night guest (who must know the artist well) brought Alain Guerra, left, a Britney Spears t-shirt which he quickly changed into on the spot!
Craft Alliance, 501 N. Grand.
Meanwhile, back in the CWE, "New Studio Works" opened at the Atrium Gallery on McPherson featuring beautiful prints by Michael Marshall and sculpture by John Schwartzkopf. Michael, who grew up in St. Louis, is a graduate of John Burroughs, and taught for a couple of years at Washington University and Fontbonne. He is currently Chair of the Art Department at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. He also has three pieces in the collection of the St. Louis Art Museum.
Michael Marshall, in the center of the photo wearing a white shirt and tie, attracted a hometown crew to Atrium on Friday Night. "New Studio Works" is on view until October 22.
Atrium Gallery, 4728 McPherson.
In the front room of the Duane Reed Gallery on McPherson, fiber artist Lia Cook combines a jacquard weaving technique with digital photography in her exhibition, "Doll Sense."
Also at the Duane Reed Gallery, Lanny Berger (who's back is to the camera), a mixed-media, sculpture, fiber, and installation artist, created intriguing wire mesh sculptures. Both of the artists at the Duane Reed Gallery are exhibited as part of Innovations 2011, the biennial textile event currently taking place in St. Louis.
Duane Reed Gallery, 4729 McPherson.
The Vino Gallery is always open for business on Friday nights, so you can sample one of their many wines and look at their latest art exhibition too. Carol Carter's beautiful paintings on wood, called The Italian Suite, are on view until October 11. The artist's work is also featured in a book that's available in the shop, shown above.
Carol is another St. Louis artist who earned her MFA at Washington University. However she rarely exhibits her work in our fair city.
The Vino Gallery, 4701 McPherson.
Balloons tied to street trees and inside Libby's, celebrating its 2nd Anniversary, added an air of festivity on McPherson Avenue last Friday night. Shop owner Debbie Gibbens is based in Oklahoma and operates several Libby's shops in other cities. Shown in the photo above are store manager Rose Sullivan (in black), CWE resident and part-time employee Jan Kasalko (in red), and Jan's husband Bill who volunteered as bartender for the evening. It appears that most customers become friends and eventually use the shop as a meeting place---another reason why it has drawn such a loyal clientele.
A photo on display shows employees and customers toasting the 2nd Anniversary, right.
Libby's, 4742 McPherson, (314) 454-3003.
On Saturday afternoon Helen Simpson, one of the proprietors of Big Sleep Books, arranged for three important mystery writers: Colin Cotterill, left, Daniel Woodrell, right, and Eric Stone, below, to break away from Bouchercon 2011, (the mystery writers convention taking place at the Renaissance St. Louis Hotel downtown) to make an appearance at the bookstore on Euclid. Trouble was, only three other people and I showed up. I was able to have a quick conversation with Ozark native Daniel Woodrell, a favorite author of mine whose hugely successful book, Winter's Bone, was introduced to me by Helen last year. The book, made into an equally successful movie, was filmed in the Ozarks near Woodrell's home. I learned from Woodrell that the low-budget movie was shot in 28 days, and that the clothing the actors was purchased right off his neighbor's backs.
Eric Stone, a mystery writer from Los Angeles, worked as a journalist in Asia for 16 years and his popular books (Shanghaied, Wrong Side of the Wall) take place there.
After a brief visit the three authors took off in a cloud of dust and headed back downtown to greet their fans who were waiting at Bouchercon 2011.
Big Sleep Books, 239 N. Euclid.
It's life's encounters that are the most fun to share with readers, and a great example occurred last Saturday as I was walking north on Euclid. I bumped into a woman, who recognized me from my blog, in the small parking lot at 449 N. Euclid. She explained that she had arranged to rendezvous with her daughter who was getting married later that day, and she opened her car door to show me the wedding bouquets (see last picture) lined up in the back seat. The limousine containing the wedding party was on its way to meet her so she could hand-off the flowers to the bride and her bridesmaids.
The family chose to meet at this particular location because the wedding photographer operates from her studio adjacent to the lot. In the brief time before the limo arrived I learned almost everything about the young couple, i.e. that they live in D.C., that the bridegroom is Russian, and that his parents had made the trip to St. Louis for the ceremony. In the rush of activity that followed however, and feeling like an intruder at this point, I never learned their names.
The limousine pulled up in front of Fellenz Antiques on Euclid and the bride, trailed by the driver, was handed her bridal bouquet, above and below, created by the cleverly-named "Flowers to the People" located on Cherokee St.
The groom, carrying some precious cargo in a red bag, greeted his future mother-in-law, above and below.
Not only did the bride's mother plan the wedding, she was also assuming dog-sitting duties while the couple went on their wedding trip. In the photo above, it looks as if the puppy is getting a final "pup-talk" before being handed over.
The photographer went over logistics with the bride, above, and the wedding party, below. I understood they were headed to either Forest Park or Tower Grove Park for photos before the ceremony.
What struck me most about the whole encounter was that this lovely scene took place in about ten minutes flat, and most of it occurred in an alley, which none of the elegantly-dressed participants seemed to even notice. Life in the city...and being at the right place at the right time!
Watching the 39th Great Forest Park Balloon Race from Art Hill as the balloons flew above the flags from "America's Heartland Remembers," made Saturday afternoon's experience very special and extremely poignant.
There was a steady breeze at first causing the balloons to drift northward. Due to warnings of possible severe weather, several participants elected to abandon the race shortly after lift off, with several setting down nearby in Forest Park, and others, I learned later, in the 5700 block of Page.
The Curves balloon hovered above the tree line near the handball courts and then landed alongside several others, to the thrill of the spectators who were able to give the balloonists a hand, below.
John Marlow, the president of the event, has been a friend forever and lives in the CWE. After last year's post recording the 38th year, John (always brutally honest) emailed that the pictures I took were just so-so---and he was right (this year better camera...and vantage point). I hope he thinks this year's account is an improvement. Nonetheless, hats off to John, his teammates, and all the participants, many of whom travel long distances to take part in the Great Forest Park Balloon Race.
This week it feels as if the day after Sunday is Thursday....the week's almost over and I am just getting to a post about last weekend's activities in the neighborhood. Yesterday morning I ran into Peter Franzen, the dapper Director of Development for the Children's Educational Alliance located at 4742A McPherson. When I mentioned I hadn't posted for a few days he surmised that there wasn't much to say. Would that I could use that as an excuse. Before this coming weekend becomes a distant memory too, here is a rundown on last's.
On what turned out to be a very busy Saturday I was invited by my friend Mary Morgan to have lunch with the latest, and likely the youngest, gardening, cooking, and entertaining author to hit the scene, James Farmer, above, who was in the CWE to sign copies of his book "A Time to Plant" at Left Bank Books. The author's charming sister Maggie Yelton, who was the photographer for his gorgeous book, was also in town to accompany him on a couple of St. Louis appearances. The luncheon at Pi was arranged by St. Louis philanthropist Susan Sherman, who is serving as James's P.R. person for his 20-city book tour.
Over President Obama's favorite pizzas (Southside & Western), James talked about growing up in Elizabeth, Georgia, and learning to cook from his grandmother, Mimi, and the family maid, Mary. It was from Mary that James learned to make delicious cornbread, biscuits, and quick breads using unwritten recipes handed down generation to generation. Only seasonal ingredients were used in the Farmer household, which is much easier to do in Middle Georgia.
Farmer is a landscape and interior designer by trade. His first book, "A Time to Plant," published by Gibb Smith Publishing, launched on September 1. A prolific author, his next books--- "A Time to Cook," "A Time to Celebrate," "Sip & Savor" and the "Front Porch"---will follow in quick succession starting next Spring. Autographed copies of "A Time to Plant," $40, are available at Left Bank Books.
James is also a contributor to Southern Living and somehow finds time to keep up with his blog featuring stunning photos, recipes, and entertaining tips. After lunch and before the book signing James and Maggie, aka "Magnolia," had only a half-hour to explore Euclid and McPherson. They loved what they saw and said they hope to be back soon.
While they toured I hustled over to Bowood Farms for a demonstration on cold frame construction. On the way I passed by The Vino Gallery and was pleased to see that owners Rachael and Alex are planning a couple of very interesting events during the month of September, see chalkboard above. Check them out on The Vino Gallery website or on facebook.
It was surprising to see these charming little gourds growing haphazardly alongside Bowood Farms' garden fence on Walton Row at Olive.
Jenny Murphy, above, a creative reuse specialist who graduated from the Sam Fox School of Design at WU, was the guest speaker at Bowood Farms Saturday afternoon demonstrating how to make a cold frame. For her frames Jenny uses recycled materials she "sources" in alleys and dumpsters around town. She had pre-cut the wood pieces used for the demonstration, so with the plans provided in hand the project looked somewhat easy to copy. Her organization is called Perennial and on her blog I found instructions for building cold frames (see here). A list of suitable vegetables to plant in the cold frames is available at Bowood Farms, 4605 Olive.
To extend the length of the gardening season even if your outdoor space is limited to a balcony, Jenny suggested turning an old suitcase into a coldframe, right. On Monday this "diy" expert will teach a workshop at Bowood Farms from 3 to 5 p.m. on "Upcycled Planters", using glass lighting fixtures as hanging planters, $35. Call Bowood Farms (314) 454-6868 to register.
Late in the day, as I walked down Euclid for the umpteenth time, I began to wonder how in the world one could possibly be bored living here. Proprietors Dawna Sturdivant of Borough Vintage, and Kelly Reding of Dauphine, hosted a festive "Fall Faire" that evening at 447 N. Euclid, above. There are a lot of stylish women in St. Louis and many of them found their way to this party. See Dawna's blog for more photos.
Sunday evening we returned to Art Hill (see earlier post here) to experience the 9/11 Memorial, "America's Heartland Remembers," at night. We parked near the Grand Basin and were intrigued to find a group of young musicians, flame throwers, and jugglers entertaining onlookers on the broad steps of the Basin, above and below.
The schedule for this weekend is just as busy with art openings and the Balloon Glow on Friday night, and the Balloon Race on Saturday afternoon. "America's Heartland Remembers" closes on Sunday. Have a great weekend!