19 November 2015

Doing Good, and Work and Film Festival Time

Last Thursday night (12 November) found me at the Moore Auditorium of Webster Hall at Webster University (http://www.webster.edu/). This was my second volunteer shift at this year's Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) (http://cinemastlouis.org/about-festival). I helped provide customers with programs, survey forms, and fan ballots. I also got to go see the documentary feature "Orion: The Man Who Would Be King." It told the story of singer Jimmy Ellis, who masqueraded as Elvis Presley back from the grave during the late 1970s and early 1980s. A fascinating tale that I never knew about, but was glad to have seen.

After work Friday night, I got dressed in suit and tie and headed to the Grand Hall of St. Louis Union Station (http://www.stlouisunionstation.com/grand-hall/). There, I was a guest of my Saint Louis University (SLU) friend Lisa Baudendistel-Suntrup at "Salute: An Evening to Benefit Greater St. Louis Honor Flight." After drinks and a buffet dinner in the Grand Hall, the attendees (about 400, I estimate) went to the midway for the night's program. Greater St. Louis Honor Flight (GSLHF) (https://www.gslhonorflight.org/) recognizes World War II veterans by giving them all-expense paid flights to Washington, DC to visit the World War II Memorial and other sites of interest. GSLHF board members speak of their efforts, and a video showed a typical day in one of these Honor Flights. It was a very nice program that I was most happy to attend. Lisa introduced me to a US Coast Guard veteran of World War II, and it was most interesting. Also, Lisa's SLU friend Lynne Wilhite (nee Landholt) was there.

I was at work the next morning (14 November) at the rental branch, then headed to the Saint Louis Area Sippers (Coffee Meetup) (http://www.meetup.com/Saint-Louis-Coffee-Meetup/), held at Park Avenue Coffee (http://parkavenuecoffee.com/) on North 10th Street in downtown St. Louis. We had six of us there enjoying coffee and each others company. A good time at a good place, which I had never been to before.

That night, I was on the SLU campus (http://www.slu.edu/) for my third SLIFF volunteer shift. This brought me to the university's Center for Global Citizenship, which is in the former West Pine Gym on the western part of the Frost (main) Campus. The documentary "Takin' Place," about life on Chicago's South Side, was screened and I liked it. We had a small crowd, but one that generally appreciated the film.

I was a fan on SLIFF's last day Sunday, going to two films. First, I was back at Webster University's Moore Auditorium for the narrative feature "Four Way Stop," a locally filmed and produced movie. It was about a 17 year old high school dropout on St. Louis' North Side trying to make a better life for himself despite obstacles at home and in society. It was very well done. After the movie, the film's director, other crew, and some cast members spoke with and took some questions from the audience. That night, I went to Brown Hall at Washington University (http://www.wustl.edu/) for the festival's final film screening, the documentary feature "Dateline-Saigon." It told of five Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists who covered the Vietnam War in the early 1960s, often butting heads with the US and US-backed South Vietnamese governments. It was a terrific movie. The film's executive producer, Richard Chapman, was interviewed on stage by Art Holiday of KSDK Channel 5 after the film and they took some questions from the audience.

Work has been going well, with branch management changes coming soon. Last night, some of us were at a happy hour at Double D Irish Pub & Karaoke (http://doubledstl.com/). After enjoying beer and food, I took up the karaoke challenge, singing the Moody Blues classic "Nights in White Satin." It wasn't half bad.

Tuesday night (17 November) was the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) at Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/) in Mehlville. We had our final Modeler of the Year contest of 2015, with my USA-USSR Missile Set entered in the Foot Long special category (at least part of the model had to be 12 inches/30.5 cm long). I didn't win, but we ha d some very nice models entered. We also started taking nominations for the Bob Stroup Award for outstanding service and the 2016 club officers.

This morning, I was at the corner of Lemay Ferry Road and Victory Drive in Mehlville as one of two volunteers there for Old Newsboys Day (http://www.stltoday.com/suburban-journals/old-newsboys-day/). This is an annual fundraiser for St. Louis area children's charities. Randy Johnston and I of the Saint Louis Singles Group: 40+ (http://www.meetup.com/Saint-Louis-Singles-Group-Ages-40/) spent over two hours hawking the Old Newsboys newspaper, collecting donations from motorists who stopped by. This was my third time doing Old Newsboys Day, and I was very happy to be a part of it.