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Best Window Display 

The Birds, Arrangements in the Loop

On the right side of the front door of Arrangements in the Loop stands a traditionally designed dried-flower bouquet of regal reds and blues that cascades down onto a pristine-white wrought-iron garden table surrounded by handpainted clay pots.

Then there's the other side. The left side. The alter-ego side of Joie Dimercurio's imagination -- a blond-wigged mannequin with flailing arms and legs whose moss-green suit is being torn and bloodied by 30 vicious little white birds. Doves, maybe. Deranged wedding-cake love fowl with scraps of Tippi Hedren's skin hanging from their beaks.

Even Loop regulars, used to Dimercurio's infamous window displays, stop and stare at this one.

"Would you look at that?"

Inside the florist shop, Dimercurio sits and watches the pedestrian response. When the initial shock of what they're seeing wears off, some laugh, some snap photos, some cringe. Dimercurio just smiles and shrugs.

"It was a Halloween costume of mine one year."

Other floral window displays by the 38-year-old native St. Louisan include the marriage of Marie Antoinette, the Bride of Frankenstein and a Thanksgiving scene of turkeys feasting on a human head.

"The ideas just come," Dimercurio explains. "Sometimes I'll see something, maybe a movie, and then I work it all out in my head."

For the Birds display, Dimercurio -- who has an M.F.A. in costuming from Southwest Missouri State University -- simply bought a suit from Goodwill and a little red nail polish for the blood. He decided to create the window for the Tivoli Theatre's American Movie Classics screening of The Birds earlier in the summer, for which Tippi Hendren herself showed up to talk about her not-for-profit animal preserve.

"She loved it," Dimercurio says.

-- Melinda Roth

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