21 November 2021

Once More at SLIFF 2021

Midday yesterday (20 November), I drove to the Tivoli Theatre in the Delmar Loop neighborhood for my final volunteer shift at this year's St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF). I was in the lobby scanning tickets (printed and on mobile devices) of patrons attending films early that afternoon. I used an iPad equipped with a QR code scanner to scan the tickets.

During my shift, I scanned tickets for three films showing at the Tivoli's three auditoriums: Any Day Now (a Finnish feature about an Iranian boy and his family seeking asylum in Finland); Try Harder! (a documentary about San Francisco high school seniors seeking admission to their favorite colleges); and, Delicate State (a drama about a couple expecting a child in a near future US torn apart by civil war).

Late in my shift, I traded places and stood outside one of the auditoriums handing out fan ballots and festival surveys to the patrons.  I then rested at a lobby table for a few minutes until the venue captain released me from my duties with SLIFF's thanks. I thanked them for working with me and hoped to talk and work with them again soon.

After that, I walked east on Delmar to Subterranean Books, an independent bookseller. I browsed there for awhile before leaving. Then, I walked west to Blueberry Hill, where I stopped at the bar to enjoy an Incarnation beer from 4 Hands Brewing.

Then, I headed home to mow the front lawn and collect the leaves that fell onto the lawn. Made a great deal of progress on that, but much needs to be done with the back yard.


Websites of Entities Mentioned in this Post:

St. Louis International Film Festival: St. Louis International Film Festival | Cinema St Louis

Delmar Loop: Visit The Loop

Subterranean Books: Subterranean Books | Subterranean Books, One of The Great St. Louis Independent Bookstores (subbooks.com)

Blueberry Hill: Homepage - Blueberry Hill

4 Hands Brewing Co.: Home | 4 Hands Brewing Co. | St. Louis, Missouri (4handsbrewery.com)

14 November 2021

Hanging with St. Louligans and Pulling a Tallboy

Yesterday afternoon (13 November), I drove out to World Wide Technology Soccer Park for a tailgate with the St. Louligans. They were meeting up before the MLS Next U-16 and U-17 boys matches between St. Louis Scott Gallagher and St. Louis City SC.

I brought in a 24 ounce (709.8 ml) can of Milwaukee's Best Ice (aka Beast) to contribute to Tallboy Roulette. Before that event, they had Uncle Claude's Yard Sale, named for the St. Louligans' Claude Karraker. Surplus soccer shirts and scarves were put up for sale for $5 each. I bought two shirts--one each of KS Cracova and SK Rapid Wien--plus a Charleston Battery scarf.

Then, it was time for Tallboy Roulette. Those of us who agreed to participate donated a can and $2 for the right to take part, and we had to drink all of what we selected. One by one, we reached into one of two buckets filled with cans and ice. I pulled out a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, which I was able to drink up in about 30 minutes.

Just before kickoff, we walked into West Community Stadium for the U16 match. The St. Louligans gathered in Section 8, located in the southeast corner of the stadium, to watch the action. I was able to watch the first half and early in the second half before I had to leave for a volunteer shift with the St. Louis International Film Festival. (St. Louis Scott Gallagher won the U16 match 5-4; St. Louis City SC won the U17 match 6-1.)

It was fun getting back together with the St. Louligans, who plan to gather at these matches in the coming months. Plus, I added to my soccer shirt and scarf collection with some unique items. Best of all, the tailgate raised funds for the St. Louis Area Foodbank, a most worthy cause. Wins all around.


Websites of Entities Mentioned in This Post:

Volunteering at the 2021 SLIFF

This past week, I worked three volunteer shifts in the 30th annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF), which began on 6 November and runs until next Sunday (21 November).

My first shift was last Wednesday night (10 November), in the Winifred Moore Auditorium of Webster Hall at Webster University. The documentary "Chuck Connelly: Into the Light" ran that night, but there were only two paying customers. I watched the movie after making sure my volunteer work (handing out fan ballots and festival surveys to attendees). Too bad there were so few viewers, as I though this was a very interesting film about Connelly, a neo-expressionist painter who battled alcoholism and continued to work.

I was back at Webster University the following Saturday night (13 November) for my second shift. This time, there was a much larger crowd for a trio of French surrealist movies from the 1920s and early 1930s. This started with two short silent films, "An Andalusian Dog" and "The Seashell and the Clergyman." These films were accompanied by live music composed for these films and performed by The Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra, a local group.  The night concluded with the 1930 feature "L'age d'or" (The Golden Age), a surrealistic classic directed by Luis Bunuel. These were some most interesting movies to watch, to put it mildly, but they and the orchestra did get my attention.

This afternoon, I was the Brown Hall of Washington University for a third shift. There were a handful of patrons for the documentary "And So I Stayed," which dealt with three New York State domestic violence survivors who served prison time for killing their abusers. It was difficult to watch at times, seeing these women failed by the criminal justice system, but not impossible to watch. The directors, Natalie Pattillo and Daniel A. Nelson, were on hand for the screening, and they fielded questions posted after the movie by Cinema St. Louis Executive Director Cliff Froehlich and audience members. I congratulated Pattillo and Nelson on their superb film, and thanked Froehlich for his and Cinema St. Louis' work. (Barry E. Albrecht, a member of Cinema St. Louis' Executive Committee, was the venue captain during my shift.)

My fourth and final scheduled volunteer shift is this Saturday afternoon (20 November) at the Tivoli in the Delmar Loop. SLIFF concludes one week from tonight.


Websites of Entities Mentioned in this Post:
St. Louis International Film Festival: St. Louis International Film Festival | Cinema St Louis
Webster University: Webster University | Homepage
Cinema St. Louis: Cinema St Louis

20 October 2021

Lunch and Shopping in Historic St. Charles

Off work today, I got my hair cut at Great Clips and my flu shot at CVS, both near South County Center. My fun part of the day would take place to the northwest of St. Louis.

Late this morning, I drove to Historic Main Street in St. Charles, which has many historic buildings, shops, and restaurants. I walked from the parking lot near the Missouri River to Magpie's Cafe for lunch. After waiting for some time, a table was free for me on the patio.

Magpie's Cafe opened in 1984. In 2019, after its original owner Rhonda Crane died, my friend and Mehlville High School classmate Donna Schaffrin purchased the cafe and runs it to this day. A few weeks ago, I ran into Donna at World Wide Technology Soccer Park, where I was refereeing and her sons were playing. I wished her well on Magpie's and Donna invited me to come have lunch there sometime. Today was that sometime.

I ordered a Half & Half combination of soup and sandwich. The server recommended the Baked Potato Soup, which I selected to go with the Philly Beef sandwich. They were delicious. The Baked Potato Soup--a baked potato, cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onions--is a long-time staple of Magpie's.

After that, I had room for dessert. Again, I went with the server's suggestion and had the Blackberry Cobbler, served ala mode. It was decadent, but most satisfying.

Before I left my table to pay the bill, I told the server (whose name I didn't get) about how I knew about this restaurant. She thought it was a small world that I knew Schaffrin, and she would tell Donna hello for me.

After paying my bill at Magpie's, I walked up Main Street to Main Street Books. Earlier this week, I ordered a book for sale there, Unleashing the Soul. It's a collection of poems written by my friend, T.M. (Tara) Pedroley. We knew each other from a singles Meetup group we were in a few years ago. (Tara was the group's organizer.) I am looking forward to reading these poems, and Tara said she would sign my copy when we meet next month for an event in town.


Walking along Main Street to return to the parking lot, I saw some straw figures in a small park. The city was holding a straw poll of these figures, asking visitors to vote for their favorites. I didn't vote, but noted two witches on display.

Back home now, I will be out volunteering at Circus Flora tonight.


Websites of entities mentioned in this post:

10 October 2021

Circus Flora Returns--And So Do I

Last night (9 October), I was back at Circus Flora as a volunteer for the circus's 35th season--my 8th as a volunteer. Their new show is "The Trial of the Century," which began two nights before and runs through 31 October.

I checked in an hour before the show opened at the Big Top in the Grand Center Arts District. We volunteers had to show proof of being vaccinated and wear masks, but otherwise it was just like the previous seasons. After the house manager briefed us volunteers, I took up my station at the center of the seating area. When the audience came in a few minutes later, I was able to help them find their seats.

The Trial of the Century is a spoof of courtroom dramas, with the audience as the jury. A thief has swiped cats, juggling clubs, and costumes from a circus and trapeze performer Sylvia is accused of the crime. Jonathan Burns is the attorney defending her in Yo-Yo's court, when not clowning around. Is Sylvia guilty or innocent? You'll have to come to the show to find out.

Acts include Circus Harmony's St. Louis Archers acrobats, juggler/acrobat/clown Kellin Quinn, hand balancer Danielle Saulnier, the wall trampoline act Swing Up, trapeze act Duo Rose, the Savitsky Cats trained cat act, Laura Lippert, and flying trapeze act the Flying Cortes. Fun for the whole family

I will be back volunteering at Circus Flora for three more performances: this Wednesday morning (13 October) at 10 am, Wednesday 20 October at 7 pm, and Wednesday 27 October at 7 pm. Hope to see you there!


Links of Entities Mentioned in This Post:

Duo Rose: Duo Rose Trapeze
Circus Harmony: Circus Harmony