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7.15.03 Discoveries in St. Louis

Jim and I took a quick hop to St. Louis on the weekend of July 11-14. It's been a long time since we visited in the summer.

Although the trip was short, we packed a lot in -- wedding shower, restaurants, catching up with nieces and nephews, and a quick survey of all the collectible-buying hotspots.

A few discoveries:

:: My nephew Patrick has reached one of those golden moments when he can have an adult conversation but doesn't yet think all adults are boring and stupid.

:: My brother T. is achieving his goal of becoming an eccentric artist. Always a culinary artist and in recent years a penniless designer of interesting walls in people's homes. Now he has discovered how to turn gel pen doodles into polished mindscapes.

:: Artists -- and their supporters -- are starving. J. and I visited a shop called Componere on Delmar in University City. The shop specializes in regional artists and would be a perfect place for T. to display. But the owner was herself discouraged, hanging on by the skin of her teeth. "The kids are pouring out of art school and no one is buying anything."

:: City Museum is one of my favorite places for inspiration. It is a children's museum, full of crafts and things to climb on, but very unlike the children's museum here in Rochester. Ours is slick and sterile -- a Cultural Institution. The City Museum has a dark, edgy feel -- an old factory that artists have taken possession of. Blues and honky-tonk.

:: I have never seen "Show Boat." I thought I must have seen the 1927 musical sometime in my youth, but apparently not. My sister Kathleen is the Manager of Development Programs at The Muny and got us second row seats. In my cynical middle age, I resist musical extravaganzas so it was fun to be enveloped and swept away by the old classic.

:: Note to the big shots I work with who feel the world is too complicated to do anything the same way twice: with 13 year-round employees The Muny originates 7 musicals every summer -- 49 consecutive shows where they seat over 10,000 people a night in the country's largest outdoor theater. Nice to see a group with their act together.

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