23 November 2014

Of Voodoos, SLIFF, Scale Models, and Old Newsboys Day

I'm running a few days late with this post, but it's been busy of late. Anyway, here goes: A week ago yesterday (15 Nov.), I was at the James J. Eagan Civic Center in Florissant for a special meeting of the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (MAHS). This meeting celebrated the 60th anniversary of the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo, a long-range fighter-bomber, photo reconnaissance, and interceptor aircraft. There was a panel discussion with pilots and engineers involved with the Voodoo, exhibits on the F-101 from the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum, and a movie about two record setting flights flown by Voodoos in the late 1950s. It was a most interesting program, and afterward I took photos of a restored F-101F interceptor-trainer displayed outside the Civic Center. More info on this event on the MAHS website: http://moavhist.org/

That night, I pulled my first volunteer shift at this year's St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) at Winifred Moore Auditorium in Webster Hall on the Webster University campus. As a volunteer, I helped answer questions from attendees, offer festival programs and give fan ballots to attendees, collect and tally ballots after the films, and even got to see some movies once my pre-show duties were done. Two environmental themed documentaries were shown that night: "Wrenched," about author and environmental activist Edward Abbey and his influence on environmental activists today; and "Above All Else," about activists in east Texas using passive resistance to stop the Keystone XL pipeline from passing through their land. Both were compelling in their own ways. More on SLIFF later in this post; for more on SLIFF and its organizer, here's the website: http://cinemastlouis.org/

After work last Monday (17 Nov.), I was in the police building of St. Louis Community College-Meramec, in Kirkwood. No, I wasn't in trouble with the law; it happened to be the venue for the annual futsal referee recertification clinic. My colleagues and I learned of the law changes, points of emphasis for the coming season, and (after presenting proof of registration payment and passing the online test) I received my referee badge for the new year.

It was cold early this past week, with temperatures below freezing. Fortunately, it wasn't really a problem at work (and work has been going well for me this past week). That was not the case this past Tuesday night, when IPMS/Gateway met at Calvary Presbyterian Church. The heater was not working, so it was rather cold inside the fellowship hall and many of us kept our coats on. Nevertheless, we did get in our final Modeler of the Year contest with the Humor special category, plus beginning to accept nominations for the 2014 Bob Stroup Award for Outstanding Achievement and 2015 club officers.

Last Thursday (20 Nov.) was my off day from work, but not from volunteering. I was up early to be a newsboy on Old Newsboys Day, an annual fundraiser for St. Louis area children's charities. I joined two other volunteers in Mehlville--the corner of Victory Drive and Lemay Ferry Road--to hawk the special edition newspaper, for whatever people care to donate. In just over three hours, I sold at least 20 papers and raised about $40. I was a bit cold from the weather, but warm in my heart for my efforts.

Later that morning, after a stop at home to change clothes and warm up, I drove to Plaza Frontenac Cinema for another SLIFF volunteer shift. Here's I helped staff the information table, although I did go see one movie: "Traitors" (Exit Maroc), a thriller from Morocco about a female punk singer who helps smuggle drugs in order to raise money for her parents and her band. Very interesting film. By the way, the SLIFF venue captain I worked with, Barbie Snitzer, reviews movies on her website: http://lemoviesnob.com/ Check it out.

That night, I was at Robert R. Hermann Stadium to support Saint Louis University's men's soccer team against Tulsa in the first round of the NCAA Championship. Two second half goals gave the Billikens a 2-0 win that sent me and most people at the stadium home happy. SLU plays at Louisville today (23 Nov.) in the second round. More at http://www.slubillikens.com/

After work on Friday, I was at Brown Hall on the Washington University campus for my third and final SLIFF volunteer shift. They screened a German film, "Windstorm" (Ostwind-Grenzelos frei), about a girl sent by her mother to the girl's grandmother in the country for a few weeks. Although she had never been near a horse in her life, the girl immediately took to a highly spirited horse, which she learns to ride in equestrian competition. (Think "The Horse Whisperer" meets "Rocky.") I really liked this movie.

I worked yesterday morning, then drove to the Delmar Loop neighborhood in University City to watch a SLIFF movie at the Tivoli Theatre. I saw "A Master Builder," a drama about a controlling architect who sees his control challenged late in his life. It was riveting; I could not take my eyes off the screen. After that, I drove to Webster University for a SLIFF special event, "Tribute to the Nicholas Brothers." Repertory film programmer and Nicholas Brothers friend Bruce Goldstein presented a talk about Fayard and Harold Nicholas, two African-American dancers who starred on stage and in movies from the 1920s through the 1990s. I really enjoyed this program, and I had a greater appreciation of and respect for the Nicholas Brothers after watching this.

I hope to catch one more SLIFF film today, plus taking care of some personal business. I have plans for Thanksgiving this Thursday. More on that in my next post.


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