By Lindsay Toler
By Chad Garrison
By Brett Koshkin
By RFT Staff
By Lindsay Toler
By Riverfront Times
By Danny Wicentowski
By Pete Kotz
For all its revelry, there was a somber element to this past Saturday's Party Gras parade in historic Soulard. Sure, Fat Tuesday still beckons after the last Hurricane is swallowed, but it's inevitably anticlimactic. For that matter, so is the rest of the year in the minds of many a Soulardian, for whom Meaty Gras Saturday serves as Christmas, New Year's, Easter and the Fourth of July all wrapped into one tight twelve-hour package of no-holds-barred, full-frontal meatheadedness.
A palpable grumpiness is cast over the fiercely provincial, brewery-abutting neighborhood now that the Friday night fish-fry season is upon us. There were, however, several encouraging signs of progressiveness evident at this year's mega-bender to reflect upon. For one, the crowd was relatively tame, seeing as no one got maimed or killed. And, at least on South 11th Street, in the vicinity of the Meat Street Foundry, there were signs of wry, counterintuitive heckling, as just as many guys were politely asked to drop drawers and break out the lumber as gals were asked to flash flesh.
This migration toward lewd conduct equality is only natural, seeing as the 'Lard's gay population remains ever increasing and less discreet. Clementine's, which again played host to Saturday's Drag (as in guys gussied up in girl gear) Race, now has front windows instead of the traditional gay bar look of either blurry windows or no peepholes at all.
Still, it will likely be a cold day in Hell when Gaylord von Gayenstein and his swishy charges seize control of Soulard's sweetest Saturday from the cavalcade of Blues fans who lord over Russell and Geyer. Henceforth, these goatee-sporting, bleary-eyed, jersey-wearing meatballs are to be officially referred to as Bloosiers -- ha! -- and St. Louis' snappier segments should work steadfastly to mute their influence over this fair city.
Looking for Love
Long a fan of the online hookup, early adopter extraordinaire Unreal figured that in an age when everyone and his grandma is on Friendster, Christian Luddites might have trouble finding like-minded life partners.
In fact, the reverse would appear to be true. Missouri Christian Singles, a dating service that operates -- get this! -- via the U.S. mail, guarantees you'll have plenty of God-fearing technophobes to choose from.
Mark S. Gietzen, director of the nonprofit nationwide Christian Singles Information Exchange (of which the ten-year-old Missouri Christian Singles is a chapter), strongly cautions against using the Internet to find love. "As many as one-third of people in online systems are married people looking for action outside marriage," Gietzen warns. "I know of one guy who was on an Internet group twice as a lady and once as a gentleman."
Missouri, Gietzen reveals, is one of the most active chapters in the Wichita, Kansas-based network, which includes chapters in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. About 400 eligibles are on the prowl here, divided into four subcategories: adults with no previous marriage, divorced adults, seniors and teens.
When Unreal balked at the minimum age (ahem, sixteen), Gietzen was quick to counter. "Believe it or not," he says, "among the eighteen-year-olds you already have some who are divorced."
You can fork over as little as $25 to make your address accessible to other members, but if you opt for the $200 full membership, then you're good to go until wedding bells toll.
Applicants must be marriage-minded and pro-life, and are strictly admonished not to seek premarital sex. The service's literature also suggests that you not "base your selection decisions entirely on the photo(s). Read the profiles!" Oh, and "[d]on't lead another person on when it is clear to you that this relationship will not lead to an eventual marriage."
One other helpful hint: "Being overly serious, especially at the beginning of a relationship, is a real turn-off."
In a sexless courtship, though, Unreal has to wonder whether that might actually be a good idea.
Speaking of Christians, recent news reports have noted that Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ seems to be opening disproportionately in god-fearing states. As the smugly unscientific Unreal charticle reveals below, Missouri stacks up very well in this category. They may have more coastline than us, but Missourians will be much closer to Christthan cinephile sinners in more heavily populated states like New Jersey, Washington and Massachusetts.
The chart plots populations (according to the 2000 U.S. Census) of select states against the number of theaters in each state where Christopens today, Ash Wednesday.
STATE POPULATION # OF THEATERS
Ohio 11,353,140 110
Illinois 12,419,293 98
North Carolina 8,049,313 84
Missouri 5,595,211 69
New Jersey 8,414,350 63
Minnesota 4,919,479 63
Washington 5,894,121 52
Maryland 5,296,486 41
Massachusetts 6,349,097 40
Alabama 4,447,100 37
Bowling's coming to Bellevegas! No, not the cute little game you've been downloading to your cell phone; the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Baby Ruth Real Deal Classic touches down on the east side this week, with preliminary rounds beginning today, February 25 at the St. Clair Bowl in Fairview Heights, and the finals on Saturday at the Bel-Air Bowl in Belleville.