Edward Crim of had organized a New Years Eve walk. The purpose of this walk was to commemorate the final day of his yearlong project, blogging about the Park, every day, for a year. I had planned to attend, but at 6:15 AM when the alarm woke me I just rolled over and went back to sleep. A few hours later I launched towards the Park for my last bike ride of the year. I caught up with Edward’s party just as they were about to ascend Owl Hill. I stopped to pay my respects and to congratulate him at the conclusion of his project. He recounted to the group a comment that Anne had made on his blog about me. It was on the occasion of my first sighting of Charles and Sarah, the Great Horned Owls. I was in full bicycling regalia, I had on a blue vest over a red jersey. Anne wrote that I looked like a red-winged blue-bellied bike-nerd. Afterwards, I circled the Park and then headed for home. I got fifteen miles. In 2009 I rode a total of 2940 miles and Anne rode 1360 miles. Now it is time to reset the odometer.

On New Year’s Eve Anne, Joanie and I went to First Night in Saint Louis.  First Night is a performing arts festival created  to welcome the New Year.  It first started in Saint Louis in 1992.  For the last few years it has been held in the theater district, Grand Center.  Thursday night the weather turned bitter cold, but most of the venues were indoors.  So we scurried from building to building.  We saw just a fraction of the acts and only made it to three of the venues.  We did mange to see five acts.

The first act that we saw was Paper Slip Improv.  This just happened to be the same first act that Anne and I saw last year.  Their shtick is to take words from the audience, write them on paper slips and then pick them up and use them throughout the course of their improvisation.  I got to give them the theme for their first improv when they asked for an occupation and I yelled out school teacher.

The second act was called Star Wars in a Box.  This act was just one man and a bunch of Star wars toys.  He proceed to act out the original three Star Wars movies, (“Not the prequels mind you, we don’t speak about the prequels.”) in just fifteen minutes.  As he was setting up, he had every little boy in the audience peering nose just barely over the stage, looking to see what would be the next toy that he pulled out of his box.

The next act was Lazer Vaudville.  This act of three and a half people was a combination of  old style juggling, rope twirling and comedy, with a high-tech laser display and black light’s effects.  Unfortunately, none of their lighting effects photographed well, so I’ve chosen a picture of them juggling with blurry clubs to simulate this.

The children’s fireworks display was up next.  So I got to use my camera’s special fireworks mode to nice effect, as seen in today’s header.  I should mention the street performers.  These hardy actors performed outside in the frigid temperatures all night.   There was the costumed woman dispensing hot chocolate from a specially built bicycle.  There was Alice and the Mad Hatter, Alice wore a table and the Mad Hatter was on stilts.  They had tea as a theme.  Best of all were the guys in head to toe bodysuits, that had little mirrors sewn all over them.  Anne thought that I should get such a suit for biking at night.

The final venue was the Sheldon where Anne and I got to dance to latin music by Cafe Danza.  There were lots of other couples and teams out on the dance floor when we went out there.  One of the most interesting was a team of one girl and three guys.

The final act of the night was performed by the Mound City Slickers.  This all male quartet covered Otis Redding , Al Green and the Beatles, in addition to performing their own songs.  The group’s musicianship was excellent, but the lead singer had a falsetto to die for.

We drove home racing the approaching midnight.  We dropped Joanie off at 11:59 and kissed in the car at the stroke of twelve.  The neighbor’s fireworks were popping when we got home.  Happy New Years to all and to all a good night!

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