Record Store Day Celebrates Everything Vinyl

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If you think the only way to really enjoy listening to an Ambrosia or Lynyrd Skynyrd album is on vinyl . . . if you think CDs sound too digital and an mp3 is just a badly-sampled CD . . . then the day you live to celebrate is coming up this weekend.

There’s something about the interaction between man and machine that makes a turntable special. Even the hiss and occasional scratch or skip is a small price to pay for what arguably is a warmer sound.

Record Store Day will be here on Saturday, April 22. Michael Kurtz created Record Store Day 10 years ago, with Metallica appearing at Rasputin Music in Mountain View, California. Another 80 stores joined in that first year.

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Now, Record Store Day counts some 3,000 independent record stores among those celebrating all things vinyl. The event is credited with helping create awareness of records and more importantly, sales. After years of decline, vinyl sales are now climbing.

In St. Louis County, a great place to shop for records and enjoy Record Store Day is Euclid Records at 19 N. Gore in Webster Groves. There’s an impressive line-up of live music at Euclid on April 22, including School of Rock Kirkwood at 1:30 p.m., Sleepy Kitty at 4 p.m. and the Bottle Rockets at 7 p.m.

Over at Planet Score Records on 7421 Manchester in Maplewood, you can get vinyl and fried fish, chips, hush puppies and free beer. The good times begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 9 p.m.

And in University City at Vintage Vinyl (6610 Delmar Blvd.), if you don’t mind standing in line for a few hours, you’ll have a chance to see a free concert by Pokey LaFarge at noon.

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Hello Spring!

Spring plays hard to get in the Midwest. She flirts and bats her eyes with early crocus blossoms that pop up through snow and prematurely excite us. But she is not to be so easily had. Collectively, we are so “over” the monotonous solitude of winter, tucked into mattresses of garments, head down, aching for color, for scent and touch. But, despite early flashes, spring will make us wait for her glory.

PerwinkleSometime in February we begin to think about Easter, that fickle date backwardly calculated from the moon phase and solstice, and a romantic yearning begins. For what is spring but a glorious romance? Everywhere are flowers, birds and bees, displaying splendor for all to see. Petals open, stamen reach out and the air is filled with the pheromones of both flora and fauna. Spring’s colors beguile us too: blushes of pink, eruptions of orange and yellow, lipsticks of red, boudoirs of purple and blue. Trees and grass go green: “Veni, vidi, viride!”

PnkDogwoodBut, ah, how Mother Nature delivers, as can be seen in these glorious photos. She delivers in a way that makes us forget everything but the sensuous explosion around us.
St. Louis County, your annual romance has arrived.

So we’ll wait if we must on spring’s romances,
We’ll pine for the days when Missouri is ablaze.
And our hearts will not darken over interrupted dances,
We will hold ourselves ready for those spectacular days.

Community Gospel Choir To Celebrate 10-Year Anniversary With All-Star Concert

Community Gospel Choir 10th Anniversary Concert-14Three years ago, the greater St. Louis area became synonymous with racial unrest. The aftermath of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri showed that this metropolitan area had some long-simmering problems.

It also served as a reminder to the leaders of the Community Gospel Choir of St. Louis that they had the right message and mission.

Continue reading “Community Gospel Choir To Celebrate 10-Year Anniversary With All-Star Concert”

Wednesday Night Jazz Jam @Nesby’s – Sunset Hills

 

You’ve made it intact through hump day at work. Looking for a little jazz to mellow out the week? Sounds like a plan. Even better, a legit jam session, expertly smoked meat, and all within the confines of St. Louis County.

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Welcome to @Nesby’s Bar & Grill. This family-owned restaurant in the heart of Sunset Hills is where you’ll find many of the region’s finest jazz musicians taking turns entertaining the crowd, themselves and each other.

Continue reading “Wednesday Night Jazz Jam @Nesby’s – Sunset Hills”

Honky-Tonkin’ at Stovall’s Grove – Wildwood

One HangingGuitarof the great musical treasures of far West County is a honky-tonk named Stovall’s Grove Rockhorse SaloonWhen you walk in the front door, you immediately feel like you have walked onto a movie set. The decor is mid-century country, complete with wagon wheel chandeliers, tables covered in blue gingham, a pool table and an adequately sized dance floor speckled with sawdust. Patrons wearing cowboy hats line the bar to watch the dancers kick up their heels. 

Continue reading “Honky-Tonkin’ at Stovall’s Grove – Wildwood”

Chuck Berry Lives On In The U. City Loop

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Rock ‘n roll pioneer and icon Chuck Berry may be gone, but his memory lives on in the University City Loop.

The statue of Berry at the entrance to Ackert Walkway on Delmar Blvd. continues to generate stuffed animals, beads, leis and other odds and ends left by the singer’s fans.

Across the street at Vintage Vinyl, the marqee notes “HAIL, HAIL ROCK & ROLL/CHUCK BERRY RIP.” On the Vintage Vinyl west exterior wall, a Berry-themed mural is going up.

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You can also find a number of Berry’s classic albums inside the store, including the “After School Session” and “Best of the Chess Years.”

If you’re on a budget and want to get a lot of Berry in one small package, a good option is “The Great 28,” which is just that: 28 of his most popular hits. That includes “Mabellene,” “Johnny B. Goode,” and “No Particular Place To Go.”

There’s one more big send-off planned April 9, just a couple of blocks north of University City’s eastern border at The Pageant, 6161 Delmar, where the public can pay final respects to Berry from 8 a.m. until 12 noon.

Community Theatre Veterans George And Bea Lamb Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award

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George Lamb getting into character as a cab driver in the play Sister Act.

One of St. Louis County’s most beloved community theatre performers was recognized for his work on April 1. George Lamb and his wife Bea were honored with the Theatre Mask Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.

Art For Life, the community theatre support organization, presented the Lambs with the honor during their annual awards luncheon.

George Lamb arrived at the event fresh from a late performance of Sister Act the previous night at the Olivette Community Center. The Overdue Theatre Company production runs through April 9.

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George Lamb as the Pope, taking a curtain call at the conclusion of Sister Act.

In Sister Act, Lamb is cast as two separate characters in Sister Act: A cab driver and Pope Paul IV. While there’s nothing unusual about an actor playing a dual role, George Lamb has a unique claim to fame. At 96, he may be one of St. Louis County’s oldest working actors.

Lamb will turn 97 in June, but he’s already thinking ahead to his next role, playing FDR in the Over Due Theatre production of Annie.

The grind of open casting calls, auditions, learning lines, wardrobe fittings—Lamb loves it. In Sister Act, Lamb’s taxi driver is bound, gagged and threatened with a gun early in act II.

He got into acting and community theatre as a fluke, when the director of a local production of Fiddler On The Roof looked at Lamb and had an idea: why not cast the novice as the fiddler. Lamb enjoyed the experience and found he could easily morph into nearly any role. He’s played Groucho Marx, a judge, a drunk, and many other characters.

Lamb a chemist during before he switched gears and became a character actor, but he’s always loved entertaining others. He played trumpet in a local band for years. Lamb also did a bit of tap-dancing.

Besides acting, Lamb bowls in a weekly league, he plays an occasional round of golf and he works out problems on his computer. He told me the secret to aging gracefully is keeping your mind active.

I asked Lamb if he ever plans to slow down from his busy acting and activity schedule.

“Maybe,” he said, “when I get old.”

 

 

 

 

Want To Improve Your Photo Skills? Try A Meetup

L1030326_DxOTwice a year, Mother Nature puts on a colorful show in eastern Missouri: fall and early spring. The month of April offers a perfect opportunity to get out and see blooming flowers and trees. In fact, the Missouri Department of Conservation suggests this month is prime time for the state’s colorful woodland trees, beginning with dogwoods.

While you’re out looking at the flora, why not take a camera along? The colors of spring flowers offer a perfect subject for photos. You don’t need a fancy DSLR either. A smartphone will do nicely—the photo below of irises was taken with an iPhone 6.

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Photographed at dusk with an iPhone 6-plus.

If you want to improve your photo skills and meet people with similar interests, the St. Louis area has a half-dozen photography meetup groups. There are meetups that specialize in portraits, nature and fashion.

The big kahuna of these groups, with 1,500 members, is the Saint Louis Photography Club. The annual dues of $25 gets you access to many interesting photo walks and meetups. One popular photo experience from the club is held at the Endangered Wolf Center. Upcoming events include a photo walk in the University City Loop.

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Ed Crim, leader of the Saint Louis Photo Club.

In addition, the Saint Louis Photo Club offers free monthly photo critiques led by local noted photographer Edward Crim at the host location, the St. Louis Photo Authority. That’s where members attend classes, workshops and the annual photo contest. It’s open to all members and the work on display shows the talents and versatility of local photo enthusiasts.

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Denise McKay and her award-winning macro photos.

One of those people is Denise McKay, who captures memorable images with her Sony digital camera and macro lens. Denise took first place in the 2017 contest with her close-up shots of plant life. Although she isn’t ordinarily a joiner, Denise told me she enjoys the Saint Louis Photo Club.

“It does make me go places where I might not think about going,” she said, “especially at night, because I’ll be with a larger group.”

Links:
Saint Louis Photography Club
Saint Louis Photo Authority

CSAs Offer Fresh Produce From Local Farmers

Nothing quite compares with farm fresh vegetables. When you eat produce picked a day or two earlier, it just tastes better than the generic grocery store goods. Of course, it is also is a one small way of reducing your carbon footprint and benefiting the environment. And, according to the University of Vermont, the shorter the time between the farm and your table, you’ll actually get more nutrients.[i]

Hence the popularity of farmer’s markets, and the growth of specialty food stores like the new Kirkwood and Ballwin Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets. Often, during the summer months, Schnuck Markets and Dierberg’s offer produce from local growers, too.

But, if you are serious about getting the freshest possible produce and supporting local farmers, an excellent option is a Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. A CSA offers convenience through a subscription service. You can sign up for a season, Spring, Summer, Fall, or all three, and receive a selection of locally-sourced produce.

Local Farmer Crop Boxes is one of the larger CSA operations serving St. Louis County and eastern Missouri. It’s based in Pacific, and serves as a bridge between farmers and consumers. Farm boxes start at $29.99 per week and include vegetables and local artisanal cheese. You can pick up the box each week or arrange home delivery.

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The Libertine’s Audra and Nick Luedde.

Another excellent CSA choice is available from The Libertine restaurant in Clayton. This is a great choice if you want to bring a restaurant-grade experience to your home. The Libertine “Neighborhood Bag” is a CSA program that offers a weekly assortment of local produce and house made food from The Libertine kitchen.

The Libertine CSA offers a meat and vegetable or vegetarian weekly bag. Each eight-week season costs $495. It’s one of the few CSA options that come from a farm-to-table restaurant. Libertine owners Nick and Audra Luedde came up with the idea after a similar experience they had in Chicago when Nick worked for a restaurant that had a big urban garden.

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“They started doing a CSA pickup at the restaurant which was a little different than the typical CSAs we were familiar with,” Audra Luedde said. “Most of the CSAs are farmer boxes, that came from one particular farm, all fruits and vegetables, that was what we were used to.”

“And we decided to combine it. We also started adding house made goods made at the restaurant like pickles, and extras like the newsletter or recipes that will enhance the experience.”

“We love doing it and it was actually kind of a fluke, because the restaurant we worked at in Chicago was a pick-up place and it just started going from there.”

For more information about The Libertine Neighborhood Bag, contact Audra Luedde at 773-793-0058.

[i] Source: https://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/buylocal.html

Links:
Local Farmer Crop Boxes
The Libertine