By Ray Downs
By Lindsay Toler
By Lindsay Toler
By Chad Garrison
By Brett Koshkin
By RFT Staff
By Lindsay Toler
By Riverfront Times
Last week's Mensa adventure left Unreal restless. The test somehow lacked drama. Nobody can tell you're a Mensan just by looking at you. But if we could become famous for our intelligence...
Here we meet Cheryl and Jimmy, two minions on Alex Trebek's Clue Crew, who instruct us to help ourself to the free food — God, we love this show! — and get in line for the pre-test. Judging from the turnout, St. Louis is full of Jeopardy! geeks. The guy ahead of us shouts out all his practice answers (well, questions) with gusto. His fanaticism rattles us, but we get our revenge: he fails to make the cut...but Unreal does!
While the losers file out, we stay behind with fourteen fellow aces to practice the two essential Jeopardy! skills: buzzer-pressing and gusto. And now we wait. Sometime in the next eighteen months we might get a call to fly to LA.
"How exciting!" we thought. "St. Louis' largest gay-rights organization is having a fight night! Talk about your hot man-on-man action!" While we've never heard of gay boxing, or even an openly gay boxer for that matter, Unreal's not one to discriminate. In fact, a little flamboyant flair might go a long way in the troubled sport A.J. Liebling prophetically dubbed the Sweet Science. Perhaps most impressive was the fact that the folks at Pride hired the legendary Don King to promote the fight.
To our great joy, the iconically coiffed King took the podium clad in a sequined denim jacket that would make Liberace blush. The coat was designed with an "Only in America" motif, the front featuring airbrushed pictures of Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty, the back a map of the U.S. with a dollar-bill logo. While fussier types might invoke the word "tacky," Unreal thought the sparkling red and silver sequins on the sleeve coupled with a matching assortment of America-themed bling really tied the outfit together.
"Get ready, March 27 here at the Savvis Center," 76-year-old King said, then changed course after being interrupted with a reminder that the venue is now known as the Scottrade Center. "Well, Shakespeare was right, a rose by any other name smells just as sweet. This will be our virgin voyage here at the Scottrade Center."
King introduced the fighters. The hometown heroes, Spinks and Alexander, were dressed to impress Unreal, Spinks in a very GQ black sweater, Alexander going with a brown leather sport coat. Both rocked designer shades. In the challengers' corner, Miguel "Miguelito" (it means "Little Miguel" — how cute!) Callist wore a gray flannel suit with a dashing purple tie, while Spinks' opponent Verno Phillips looked the odd man out, having rolled out of bed in a black beanie and jeans. Unreal anxiously awaited the requisite (and sexy!) stare-downs to come.
Spinks took the microphone.
"I'd like to have a brief moment of silence," the boxer said, then paused. "That was for Verno's career, 'cause come March 27, it's over."
"Talk to him!" King enthused. "We don't be pussyfootin' around. It's a Lou thing! In Missouri they say, 'Show Me!'
"It's boxing — there's no other sport where you beat a guy into submission, you beat him into oblivion and then grab him in the middle of the ring and say, 'I love you, man,'" King continued. "You can't do that in football. It's pure sport. It's mano a mano. That means man to man!"
Now we're talking!
[Insert Uranus Joke Here]
Unreal was hustling through the Delmar Loop one clear, cold night a couple of weeks ago, intent upon reaching the warmth and safety of our car, when we stumbled (almost literally) across Randy Gibbs.
Gibbs, 54, had set up two telescopes in front of the trolley outside Commerce Bank, one trained on the lunar eclipse, the other on Saturn, and invited us to take a look. Through the telescope, Saturn was very tiny, but we could see its rings. "This is so cool!" we cried, while Gibbs smiled happily. He comes here often, he told us, and in the summertime, he has people lined up for hours to look through the telescopes. We were too frozen to chat much, so we got in touch with Gibbs by phone a few days later.
Unreal: Why on earth do you stand outside in the freezing cold in order to show people Saturn?
Randy Gibbs: I'm a member of the St. Louis Astronomical Society, and sidewalk astronomy is one of the things we do. I come out here four or five times a year. I picked the Loop because it's close to where I live and a lot of people go by. Most of my enjoyment comes from observing and sharing with other people.