Hit Parade

BY THOMAS CRONE

"To say that rich people aren't socialists is absurd." — Couch Potato, WGNU-AM

HUZZAH! We focus our efforts in a new way this week — the plain and simple imitation of other, more popular columns! We hope that their heavy readerships will momentarily pause to consider our humble weekly endeavor.

With dreams of the Beffa Bros. steam table, off and away we go!

WILSONIAN DEMOCRACY:Assembled around the microphone at the North Side's venerable Clifford Wilson Sr. Community Center on Sunday afternoon was a virtual who's-who of African-American radio talking heads, including Richard "Onion" Horton, Z. Dwight Billingsley and Melvin Walker, along with the Rev. Oscar Silas and facilitator Al Lumpkins. The subject was the departure of U.S. Rep. Bill Clay from Washington life, though the oft-strident conversation came and went from that central topic; scheduled for two hours, the weekly Wilson "Sunday Forum" went nearly three. To sum up the general feel: Clay is the worst thing ever to happen to North St. Louis. Next week: Kosovo, 2 o'clock!

WINE, WOMEN AND SONG: Who's been seen "consulting" at the Galaxy in recent weeks? They say it's none other than Casey Sutton, mixing business with pleasure at the downtown hotspot.

Last week, spies eyed Portlander LaVon Boothby, once the toast of Our Town as a scribe for St. Louis Magazine, who moonlighted as a well-regarded mixologist at the loopy Venice Cafe. The bubbling Boothby was back in the old hometown, giving healthful massages and picking up a jalopy that's making the long trek to the Pacific Northwest with its new owner. The former St. Louisan sends hosannas to her pals in Gatewayville.

St. Louis' "Ska Papa," Paul Stark, has announced another big musical blowout to benefit the St. Louis Effort for Aids Campus Outreach Program. "Ska-o-Rama 5" will skappen during the Skabor Day weekend, Skatember 5, to be precise. The do-gooders will call the Skasa-Loma Ballroom the site of choice, with the Murder City Players an early inductee to the lineup, which will highlight ska music — which is a sort of hyperactive reggae, by some accounts. (See, the joke — or "conceit" — above is that most ska bands include the "ska" in their names and ... oh, never mind.)

Whiz Bam! Inc. topper Geoff Kessell is inching toward completing his first compact-disc project. He's previously released two recordings on the audiocassette format, both available at his shoppe. Power-pop is the stock-in-trade.

John Kavanaugh (yes, he of the Southampton Kavanaughs) left not a dry eye in the house with his falsetto renditions of Journey covers at the Side Door "Pablo's blowout bash." A most re-spectable Steve Perry, indeed. We suggest that he take up the canon of '80s supergroup Asia for his next humdinger. Incidentally, the warbler recently secured his M.A. from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

THE JET SET: Hometowner Jennifer Smith is winging her way back from Columbus, Ohio, to take a position at downtown spinatorium Zipatoni.

Way Out Club heir Rob Putnam will be summering in Wyoming.

Noted South Side piano tuner Robert Wall is taking an extended holiday in the noted travel destination of Riga, Latvia, with a lengthy side trip to Daugavpils. The eagle-eyed craftsman has recently tweaked the ivories for such luminaries as Ben Folds and Neil Young.

Ladue's ever-social Tracy Stamper just returned from the warm climes of Miami. That's in Florida, for the unwashed among you.

Photographer and prof Tom Barkman's back from the Big Easy, where he shepherded a group of snap-happy young shutterbugs from St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, one of several schools that take advantage of his not inconsiderable skills.

HITHER AND YON: Our guess is that organizers of the Lemp Opera were happy to have Dianne White a speaker at their recent outdoor music-cum-social theory fest. Our other guess is that they didn't expect her to speak for half-an-hour, during the middle of the performance. Yikers!

Say what you will about Metropolis, but that "Lot Committee" has its act together! The group has set Saturday, July 17, aside as the day for fun in the summer sun. Five local giggers will appear at the downtown corner of 16th & Locust for live musical performances. Inked to appear so far are rock & rollers Drift and Tinhorn, as well as the Dead-centric Schwag.

A mild correctum: Last week's South Grand re-education program was sponsored by the St. Louis Development Corp., with subtle Metropolis involvement — this is slightly different from the info transmitted on a left-of-the-dial radio station and repeated here. (As the über-charming Hugh Grant says in Notting Hill: "Oopsy-daisy.") At any rate, the crew in attendance included Metropolites Lynn Josse, Dave Drebes, Chad Cooper, prez Matt O'Leary, Renée Duenow, Megan Schicker, the Zoo's Ann Wedemeyer, the RFT's very own James Duffy and localites Christian Saller (who headed up the evening's soiree), Rene Spencer Saller, Tim Hayes and KDHX-FM helms-woman Bev Hacker.

Spotted recently at Seki's was Chris Pronger, whose 6-foot-5 frame is hard not to spot. Two questions: What's a Blues player doing in town during the summer months, when there's good fishing to be had in Manitoba? And was a contract extension on the menu?

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