People & Places

  • Best St. Louisan of 2002

    Bob Jamerson

    The large man wearing fishnet tights, a pink tutu and a drum majorette's hat received a much warmer reception when he led the Pride Parade in Tower Grove Park this June than he did when he crashed the Hibernian parade in Dogtown on St. Paddy's Day. For some reason, the bagpipers in the Invera'an Pipe Band didn't appreciate Bob Jamerson's hijinks… More >>
  • Best Community Garden

    Soulard Community Garden

    There are so many pretty flowers planted in the Soulard Community Garden, located in the very depths of the Soulard jungle. The little rusty-cockle Spaniards are on the verge of emerging to shoot their fall fireworks; soon their berries will glow blue blue electric blue. Then they'll die -- they always die -- and turn this insane rust color, one… More >>
  • Best Local TV-Ad Personality

    Becky, Queen of Carpets

    The Schnucks guy? Terry Crouppen? Don Weber monotoning, "No money down!" In an audio-visual tar pit of car dealers, lighting specialists, clock-makers and personal-injury lawyers, one leader stands above this pack of personae, and she's Becky, Queen of Carpets. With a tiara that's quite obviously worth millions -- if not more -- Becky leads the pack in sincere outsider-advertising kitsch.… More >>
  • Best Proof of Our Brilliant Genetic Ancestry

    Bellefontaine and Calvary Cemeteries

    Grab the tracing paper, charcoal sticks and fixative spray and head out to the Bellefontaine and Calvary Cemeteries for some of the oldest and most ornate gravestones around. Founded in 1849, in the Walnut Park area of North St. Louis, Bellefontaine contains more than 300 acres of old tombstones, all waiting to be framed and hung on your wall. Its… More >>
  • Best Talk-Radio Personality

    Charles Jaco, KMOX (1120 AM)

    Whether he's addressing the war on terror or child abduction, Charles Jaco just sounds authoritative -- he must know what he's talking about. And he does, because Jaco's been there and knows a few people there. "The man can talk about any subject," says fellow KMOX broadcaster McGraw Milhaven, "and, nine times out of ten, he's probably met the newsmaker… More >>
  • Best Excuse for the Existence of John Ashcroft

    Missouri Heavy Metal

    The United States attorney general, the sword of the Lord leading the charge against al-Qaida and our Bill of Rights, is a genuine Missouri product, through and through. He's as much a part of our indigenous culture as mule-ass stubbornness, corncob-pipe-makin' and roll-throwin'. He was our auditor. Our state attorney general. Our governor. Our U.S. senator. Even when we finally… More >>
  • Best Newspaper Columnist

    Richard Callow

    Although Mayor Francis Slay's favorite poison-pen PR assassin never gets a byline, it's impossible to read a Jerry Berger column these days without stepping into item after item shoveled into the maw of Bergermeister's prime newsprint pit by none other than the Callow One. Truth is, spotting the items ghosted by Callow has become a bigger sport among the city's… More >>
  • Best Street-Corner Preacher

    The Reverend Cecil Rogers

    Another sweltering day at Delmar and Kingshighway. People wait on buses, cars stop at traffic signals, an ambulance screams by. Above this din, one voice rises, the voice of the Reverend Cecil Rogers, fervent and booming. There's no ignoring him -- this man is broadcasting. Moved by the spirit and bathed in sweat, he spouts into a microphone, his words… More >>
  • Best Local Politician

    Richard Gephardt, U.S. Representative, 3rd District

    If Dick Gephardt is good enough for everybody else, who are St. Louisans to argue? The House minority leader and presidential candidate is often the go-to guy for the Sunday-morning network chat shows as one of the talking heads who does most of the talking for the national Democratic Party. Yeah, he's also the guy who's the subject of those… More >>
  • Best Place to Seek Forgiveness

    From a Priest Who's Sinned

    The marble pedestal has crumbled, the pulpit's sunk below pew level, the flying buttresses can no longer support the weight of conscience. Truth tumbles down all over the Archdiocese of St. Louis: Our Roman Catholic priests are mere human beings -- a few of them outright criminals, others no more capable of disciplining their sexual urges than the most wanton… More >>
  • Best Place to Stay Cool

    Meramec Caverns

    It's the oldest tourist trap on Route 66, and if you miss one of its umpteen trillion billboards along highways north, south, east and west, then you shouldn't be behind the wheel of a car. Meramec Caverns is an in-ground labyrinth of mineral deposits and caves that trail off into unique formations and rooms. But the best part for us… More >>
  • Best Weathercaster

    Kent Ehrhardt, KMOV (Channel 4)

    We wake to weather, wade in its excesses, duck its surprises. We want it to be predictable so that we can organize our lives around it. We also want it to be unpredictable so that there's still something larger than we are, something majestic enough to overpower us, winds and rains torrential enough to blow away our petty plans. Kent… More >>
  • Best-Managed Government Office

    St. Louis Medical Examiner

    You'll never hear any complaints about this St. Louis government office, at least not from the people it was designed to serve. Yes, it is kinda hard to bitch when you're dead, but still, and that's not the only reason the St. Louis medical examiner's office gets our vote. It has a professional staff, low turnover -- among the employees,… More >>
  • Best Place to Drive Slowly

    Off I-44, near the Shrewsbury exit

    Ah, the beauty of quilt-patch urban sprawl. Among a plethora of cities that arm themselves with radar guns to catch speeders doing 38 in a 35-mph zone, some should really be avoided. For years, Marlborough and Rock Hill were ranked speeders' enemies Number 1 and Number 2, costing precious points on driving records everywhere. Although Rock Hill is still a… More >>
  • Best Reason to Live in St. Louis

    Ghosts

    There's no place like home, there's no place like home, but what makes us want to live here and not there? What makes us come back after an absence? What keeps us here after we've earned a diploma or completed a job? Why do some of us never leave? Try ticking off the reasons -- and it's impossible not to… More >>
  • Best Non-News Event That Received Saturation Coverage

    Hell's Angels party, Kountry Corner Tavern, Millstadt, Illinois, June 15, 2002

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran no fewer than five stories in the days before, after and during the big event, which featured sloppy joes, hotdogs, potato chips, a live band and all the beer you could drink for $10. Three Posties worked together to cover the party itself. The Belleville News-Democrat also dispatched a reporter, as did several television stations.… More >>
  • Best Place to Shop for a Wedding Dress

    Tower Grove Park

    If ever you are waltzing through Tower Grove Park on a Saturday afternoon, you may happen upon a curious vision. As you walk amid the flora, fauna and din of parties and picnics, soundtracked by the soulful bleating of car stereos -- hark!, what white through yonder limos breaks? It's a wedding-photo shoot ... no, two ... now four ...… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date

    Fairmount Park

    It's only appropriate to spend a first date at Fairmount Park, because both are definitely a gamble, with the odds against you. Pick a horse, plunk down some money and then enjoy two minutes of wild excitement while you wonder whether your pony will prevail or peter out. As for the awkward pauses associated with first dates, there's the diversion… More >>
  • Best Urban Myth

    How Dogtown Got Its Name

    It's a puzzler. Was it a pack of stray dogs that patrolled the streets in the 1800s and swept away small children? Did a sudden crime wave prompt resident coal miners of this working-class neighborhood to keep guard dogs in their back yards? Or the most widely held belief: Could it have been the group of Igorot people from the… More >>
  • Best Place for a White Guy to Work

    Rent-A-Center

    If Rent-A-Center could've gotten away with it, the company might have placed "help wanted" ads seeking young white men with college educations to help drive female employees from the company. Job requirements would've included a firm grasp of derogatory language; the ability to harass and belittle female managers; the patience to watch porn in front of female customers and co-workers;… More >>
  • Best Member of the Loyal Opposition

    Jeanette Mott Oxford

    In one corner stood the mayor, the Board of Aldermen, the governor, billionaire baseball owners, Dick Gephardt, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jack Buck, Ozzie Smith and the best lobbyists money can buy. In the other corner stood opponents of a publicly funded baseball stadium for the St. Louis Cardinals. They had only truth on their side, which, all too often,… More >>
  • Best Thoroughfare for Dodging Traffic at Any Hour

    Arsenal Street

    St. Louis traffic is mild compared with that in Chicago, New York or Los Angeles when it comes to transportation planning and managing urban sprawl. Still, there are a couple of totally annoying elements of the daily asphalt grind: way too many four-way stops and looooooong stoplights. Zip a strip such as Delmar, Lindell or Natural Bridge, and you're likely… More >>
  • Best Place for a Last Date

    Lobby, Ritz-Carlton

    Endings should not melt into sticky grudges and shapeless self-pity. Endings should be as airy as molasses puffs, their memories as sharp and pleasant as bittersweet chocolate. But to guarantee civilized behavior, one requires civilized circumstances: a place where no one dares slap or cuss or rail; a place where the tiniest gulped sob sends one to the restroom for… More >>
  • Best Place to Slip an Out-of-Towner Some Acid

    City Museum

    Holy Hunter S., man. Little goblins dressed up as children scream and run past you. A freaky nightmare snake coils around the balcony -- did you hear what he just said? The bathrooms have a coat of armor created from stainless steel, like, steam-table pans -- it's sooo smooooth, man -- and you can slide from the second floor if… More >>
  • Best Example of Wasted Taxpayer Money

    Angela Coffel

    Imagine someone so dangerous that she must be guarded by two people 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Someone so frightening that she has her very own wing because another prisoner or mental-health patient might be her next victim. Meet Angela Coffel, the 24-year-old HIV-positive woman whose only crime was to give two boys five-second blowjobs six years… More >>
  • Best Concept to Boost Civic Pride

    St. Louis Litteracy Project

    When we saw him in April during the opening of the Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts, Galen Gondolfi was hunched in a small cage, wearing a thrift-store suit and begging for biscuits. The performance artist was a bad dog that evening; he spilled his water. Now he's making up for his misbehavior, having morphed into "Galen Garbage," a roving… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch Virile Kilted Men

    St. Louis Scottish Games and Cultural Festival

    Anyone who's suffered a steamy St. Louis August day waiting in the interminable potato-pancake line at the St. Louis Strassenfest or melted into a pool of sweat trying to focus on any one of a dozen outdoor activities can appreciate the sensibility of these noble Scots. Not only did they time it right -- early October is St. Louis' finest… More >>
  • Best Hair on a Local TV Personality (Female)

    Jennifer Davis, KTVI (Channel 2)

    Sometimes we don't see Jennifer Davis for weeks at a time -- she's a general-assignment reporter, not an anchor-twit, so her schedule's not fixed -- and even though we know she's probably off on some girl-reporter-type adventure, we often find ourselves worrying that she's been whisked away by the Newscaster Hair Patrol to await trial on charges of excessive brunettism.… More >>
  • Best Way to Raise Funds for Eastward Delmar Loop Expansion

    Jack Up the Price of Parking Meters

    Go to most cities of comparable or larger size than the Lou, and you will find that a quarter in a parking meter will buy you fifteen minutes -- if you're lucky. Yet, pull your rig curbside on the action-packed Delmar Loop, on both sides of the University City border, and a quarter gets you anywhere from a half-hour (St.… More >>
  • Best Historic Attraction

    Daniel Boone Home and Boonesfield Village

    To get a different view of the heritage of this region, venture outside the city and see what Lindenwood University has undertaken. It's created a National Center for the Study of American Culture and Values at the university and has gathered and reconstructed a wilderness community behind the Boone home. Although Boone's 1803 home is dandy, filled with period furniture… More >>
  • Best View of Downtown

    Poplar Street Bridge, 4:30 a.m.

    The city in its splendor is meant to be viewed from the east looking west. And even with the spectrum reduced by half, there are still plenty of awesome outlooks. Coming in on I-64 just before the juncture of I-55, you go over a rise and, suddenly, there she is, shimmering in the sun like El Dorado. Seeing the towering… More >>
  • Best TV-Sports Anchor

    Martin Kilcoyne, KTVI (Channel 2)

    The "St. Louis stranglehold" that Martin Kilcoyne talks about has nothing to do with professional wrestling, though it has about the same depth. When it comes to sports, most viewers watch Mike Bush on KSDK (Channel 5) or Steve Savard on KMOX (Channel 4). But Kilcoyne isn't sweating it. "Having grown up here, I think I know the market. I understand… More >>
  • Best Exposé by a P-D Vet

    Theater Sneaks

    When Lou Rose -- dead ringer for TV's Columbo -- retired, the job of being the Post-Dispatch's intrepid ink-stained snoop fell on Michael Sorkin, one of the paper's toughest cookies. Sorkin did the down-and-dirty with the best. His only handicap? He was stuck at the P-D. With Rose, Sorkin helped put the lid on Circuit Attorney George Peach's political career.… More >>
  • Best Hair on a Local TV Personality (Male)

    Larry Conners, KMOV (Channel 4)

    With his few remaining silver-flecked chestnut strands pushed discreetly back and trimmed closely at the sides, Larry Conners isn't just bald, he's unrepentantly bald. No comb-overs, no deep side parts, no sad toupées, no drastic Hans Wiemann-style turf-plugs for him, no sirree. Clearly this is a man who's accepted the ravages of age and testosterone and isn't gonna fight 'em… More >>
  • Best Men's Room

    Ritz-Carlton Hotel

    For anyone who finds himself in the position that he has to make a pit stop and he can hold it in long enough to reach the Ritz-Carlton, we wholeheartedly recommend the hotel's crappers. As you enter the ground-floor green-marbled sanctum sanctorum, you'll be pleased to note the individually enclosed stalls (with no glory holes). That's right, each commode gets… More >>
  • Best Nondenominational Hitching Post

    Piper Palm House

    Rachel Topfer, events coordinator for Tower Grove Park, says a love of quaint surroundings is the most frequently cited reason for scheduling nuptials in the 134-year-old park. "Many times," she says, "I hear, 'It's the garden setting I've always wanted.'" The Piper Palm House, situated near the famed lily pond, certainly fits the bill. Nearly 100 nights a year, the… More >>
  • Best Media Power Couple

    David Clohessy and Laura Barrett

    If you didn't see David Clohessy's name in print or his face on the 10 o'clock news this year, you weren't paying attention. Clohessy was the point man for the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, and local and national media beat a path to the humble Maplewood abode he shares with his wife, Laura Barrett. Just in the… More >>
  • Best Porches

    Edwardsville, Illinois

    Edwardsville has its share of mansions with balconies and verandas, but mostly the town is dominated by modest, tree-shrouded bungalows and crackerbox houses. When the cicadas reach mid-July fever pitch, nearly loud enough to drown out the whir of fans and air conditioning, the homes seem like excuses for their porches rather than the other way around. Walk around the… More >>
  • Best TV-News Anchor

    Vickie Newton, KMOV (Channel 4)

    Snatching a newsreader with big-market chops to replace Myriam Wright, who quit, was a coup for our local CBS affiliate. Vickie Newton, who made her Lou debut in January, now shares boob-tube time with Larry "M*A*S*H" Conners and Julius "Jabba the Hutt" Hunter. And, according to early returns, this Princess Leia is good! Smooth, measured delivery. Appropriate decorum when ol'… More >>
  • Best Addition to the St. Louis Zoo

    Capybaras

    The capybara is a rodent Rorschach test. Hang around the enclosure they share with the giant anteater for a while, and you'll hear much speculation as to what manner of beast this be. Children tend to the cuddly end of the spectrum, whereas adults tend to know a brother rat when they see one. All this confusion results from the… More >>
  • Best Ladies' Room

    Plaza Frontenac

    On the bottom floor of Plaza Frontenac, tucked beneath a staircase, sits a marvel of modern invention: a proper ladies' room. Back in the days when department-store shopping was a white-glove event and floorwalkers attended shoppers, the ladies' room was a plush place for the weary shopper to rest, typically on lavishly upholstered furniture. That concept fell away with bra-burning… More >>
  • Best License Plate

    FOGHAT

    A mid-'90s black Pontiac, containing a forty- or fiftysomething white man and woman (surprise, surprise) was spotted, moving slooow and taking it really easy, no doubt because the occupants choose to live the Foghat Life. It's one thing to like Foghat, dig their classics -- "Slow Ride," "Fool for the City,"-- but to live the Foghat Life, you have to… More >>
  • Best Innovative Idea by a Politician to Be Killed by a Judge

    Making Public Records Accessible Over the Internet

    When St. Louis Circuit Clerk Mariano Favazza came up with the idea of making public court records accessible over the Internet, it was a stroke of genius. A public servant actually doing something to serve the public was enough to give the most coldly cynical taxpayer the warm fuzzies. But St. Louis Circuit Judge Maggie Neill apparently isn't into warm… More >>
  • Best View From Work

    Light-Bulb Changer Chuck Kalert

    While executives vie for cushy views from power lairs in the Metropolitan Building and judges gaze on lovely vistas from the new Eagleton Federal Courthouse, one man's job affords him a 360-degree panorama. For eleven years, Chuck Kalert has been the primary light-bulb changer at the Gateway Arch. Once a year, he swings open the Arch's ceiling hatch and, strapped… More >>
  • Best (and Only) Trailer Park

    Mid-Lin Trailer Park

    Mid-Lin has the distinction of being the only trailer park listed in the greater St. Louis phone book, but it wins our "best of" for all mobile home communities, ranches, villages, acres, estates, courts and manors. The trailer park that's not afraid to call itself such is located near the intersection of Midland and Lindbergh (hence the name) and is… More >>
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