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?

Matt Anderson's three-month run as artist-in-residence at the old Soho Coffeehouse/Hesselberg Drugs building has run its course. Meanwhile, down the block, The Future Antiques (a.k.a. T.F.A.) is bullish on the retro market. They're sliding into a neighboring space at 3201 S. Grand. More elbow room. Boffo!

Our CWE bureau checks in with these observations: "Carnahan for Senate staffer Emily Elbert was recently seen taking orders for a Ted Drewes run from local North Euclid business owner Martin Hollandsworth, of Martin's Galleries: "One blueberry concrete and one chocolate shake." Now the truth is told! Also: "Julie Lastarria and John Powell were agitated and argumentative with management at Karma when their cover charge had not been returned after waiting in an empty room until 11:40 p.m. No bands, including Season to Risk, had gone onstage. They left disgruntled and $10 short." Harrumph!

READING TIME, SEVEN SECONDS: Free the Golden Nugget.

Does Greg Tsevis, owner of the disintegrating (but recyclable) Avalon Cinema, return phone calls to any newspaper in town? Apparently not. Put this character on a milk carton!

Speaking of theaters, another ol' movie house of lore is up for grabs. The Melvin, used by the worshipful Goad International, is for sale, down Chippewa way. The asking number is said to be a steepish $95 G's.

A little birdie tells us that original Point staffer Maryellen Owens, since relocated to El-Lay, has nupts in her future.

Andy Magee has been tabbed as head of the Midtown Arts Center, known recently for its "pornographic" portraiture. Controversy — we need more of it!

Memo to Brian McKenna: Scale back the Ric Flair bumper. Too much of a good thing is still too much. And what was with that "Pit" performance on Sports Plus Sunday night? B-Mac wasn't drinking decaf.

By the by, has anyone turned on the AM dial in the last month and not heard Jay Spoonhour?

HIT PARADE TOP SEVEN: In a Nostradamus mood, we present the top seven things that will come true in St. Louis within the next week. As Dave Sinclair might say, "Guaranteed, or your money back."

7. After a 10-minute wait, someone will move to the head of the Ted Drewes line, only to ask, "What flavors of ice cream do you have?"

6. KFNS evening gabbers Rob Fischer and Mike Claiborne will utter the phrase "No question" 14 times in five minutes.

5. A child will flee in terror when con- fronted by the sight of mole rats at the Children's Zoo.

4. The Vipers will not have a home game, though few will notice the fact.

3. Skip Erwin will declare his weekly radio guest a "class act" before ram-

bling into an endless, nonlinear story about an entirely different topic.

2. An older man will buy a younger man a drink at Dapper Dan's before ram-

bling into an endless, nonlinear story about an entirely different topic.

1. Friedman Railroad Salvage will sell many dented cans of off-brand pork and beans.

E-mail tips, quips and rips to Thomas_Crone @rftstl.com.

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