Let It Flow

Unreal uncovers the sordid side of pee lobbyists, learns Chingy's workout habits and gets some golf tips. Plus: Elephants-as-artists!

Mardi Gras drunkards peed a drop of relief Monday when the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Soulard alderman and Cat's Meow owner Ken Ortmann, with the support of police chief Joe Mokwa, has proposed that discreet acts of public urination be downgraded to the wrist-slapping realm of parking tickets and open containers (as opposed to the felonious company they currently keep with indecent exposures and the like).

"There's a difference between going in the middle of the street, in front of God and country, and somebody who is behind a dumpster," Ortmann told P-D reporter Jake Wagman.

At face value, this strikes Unreal as legislation grounded in common sense. Curious timing with the year's biggest piss-drenched bender roughly a month away — but still levelheaded.

Levelheaded, that is, until Unreal discovered who's really behind the measure: the world's largest piss advocacy organization, STREAM. Evidently operatives from STREAM (the acronym translates to Sidewalk Tinkling Rewards Every Adult Male) have been supplying the Cat's Meow and other Soulard watering holes with free urinal cakes and cash for months in exchange for their support. The clandestine international lobby, which includes on its board of directors former Pogues vocalist Shane McGowan and Howard Hesseman of WKRP fame, has also patented the Passed Out Pisser, a subterranean porcelain basin that allows unconscious inebriates to avoid soiling their chinos while facedown on a men's room floor. ("Happens to me at least once per morning," confides one Soulard habitué, who says he starts each day at 6 a.m. with a wake-up kamikaze.)

Despite the behind-the-scenes string-pulling, Unreal's still in favor of the new ordinance, which will help hoist our city's image as a cosmopolitan melting pot.

You can be dang sure that when you roam from bar to bar in the alleys of Barcelona you won't only find densely packed urban revelry, but also cobblestone rivers that run with urine. St. Louis will not become a destination city in its own right until visitors and residents feel confident they can take an al fresco whiz with impunity.

Trunk Show

Elephants were once the workhorses of the Southeast Asian teak trade, but deforestation ended all that. Luckily, a pair of Russian artists named Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid found a way to keep the animals and their mahouts(owners) employed: Komar and Melamid opened the "world's first" Elephant Art Academies in Thailand in 1998 and began teaching elephants how to paint.

Gallery Visio, at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, showcases more than a dozen of the academies' works through February 2. Unreal found some of the pieces rather stunning. But they're pricey: $350 to $1,500. The very real artist bios, on the other hand?

Consider:

"Bird was born into domesticity in 1990. Like many Thai elephant artists, Bird was born into a family of timber workers and her working class roots seem to impart a brute physicality to her painting style. She was taught how to paint by Komar and Melamid in 1998 when she was eight years old and is featured in the book,When Elephants Paint.

"Bird approaches the canvas with a potent combination of exhilaration and aggression, swinging her trunk forward and back in broad, sweeping strokes. These tectonic brush strokes have drawn frequent comparisons to the work of Abstract Expressionist Franz Klein [sic]."

And:

"Taught how to paint by Komar and Melamid in 1998 when he was only two years old, Nom Chok since has been working for the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and is one of their most famous elephants. Featured in the book,When Elephants Paint, when he was a baby, Nom Chok has since blossomed into a very professional painter. At the tender age of two, he was lauded as the 'enfant terrible' of the elephant art world and as one can see in his works, he has definitely lived up to the title.

"Nom Chok was the youngest elephant that Komar and Melamid trained back in 1998. He is extremely bright and by the age of two, he wielded the brush with confident but childlike exuberance. Now [eight] years later, he has the control of a master artist...."

Priceless, wethinks.

Tee He

Each week hundreds of press releases cross the desk of a busy Unreal. But few are ever as perfectly wed as two golf-themed press releases that recently appeared almost simultaneously.

The first pimped the laugh-out-loud genius of Mark Morfey, a Glen Carbon golf pro who moonlights as a stand-up comic; the second announced the grand opening of "20 Minutes to Par," a new fitness center devoted entirely to golfers, with local branches in Clayton and Chesterfield.

Unreal asked Morfey if he could think of any "chip shots" concerning golf and fitness. Here's what he teed up:

"Training will increase your strength and distance. I can now throw all my clubs an average of ten yards farther."

"I recently tried acupuncture treatments for back pain. I felt more little pricks than Michael Jackson at the Neverland Ranch!"

"After working out all winter, my stamina increased significantly. I now drink ten beers per round as opposed to six."

"A healthy sex life also promotes stamina. Experts say frequent sex can extend your life expectancy seven years. Doing it doggy-style increases it by 49 years!"

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