Anne and I braved the heat, humidity and the humanity of it all, when we biked over to Tower Grove Park for the International Festival today. There we enjoyed plenty of music and dance and food, don’t forget about the food, from all around the world. This year, MODOT tried its darndest to obstruct flow to this annual event by closing a stretch of I-44 and also closing Kingshighway and Grand at either end of this freeway closure. It was like they filled the moat and then drew up the drawbridges. None of the ensuing traffic mess affected us on our bikes, but there sure were a lot of frustrated drivers around. It was a hot one today, but we stopped at the Gardens twice and also the visitor’s center in Forest Park for a cool down, but then don’t you wish that your girlfriend was hot like mine?
“Windmills not Weapons”, unless you are Don Quixote, for whom windmills were armed. Today, the Saint Louis Earth Day Festival was held for the 26th time. It purports to be the second largest Earth Day festival in the country. Anne was still under the weather, so I soloed to the park by bicycle. Hence, the picture of the four young ladies. I think that their costumes were an art project. Quite a few other people were in costume too. With 250+ booths, the venue selection was quite eclectic. Whenever I go to the Earth Day Festival, I always feel that I’ve returned to my happy old hippy Ann Arbor days of yore. There are always plenty on freaks and geeks, artists, naturalists, environmentalist, charities of all stripes, politicos and aluminum siding salesmen at the festival and they are all nicely grouped by category. It makes it so much easier to do your ideological comparison shopping or to find that nice new set of green gutters. Venues that I feel comprise appropriate Earth Day activities include nature and wildlife, wellness, the peace garden, a public forum, energy conservation, eco art, reduce, reuse and recycle. The one person that I saw that I knew was Pat from work. She always volunteers for the Earth Day Festival.
Because Anne was not feeling well last night, I did the dance concert in her stead. Joanie and I dined in Ferguson at a nice little Mexican restaurant called El Palenque, which means the cockpit, as in a cockfighting pit. It is located just south of the Ferguson police station and as such has seen plenty of fighting this last year. Maria, the owner, waited on us. At first business was slow, especially for a Saturday night, but by the time that we were leaving things had picked up. They sell sweets to go and after we had both put down our cash for the meal, we shopped for chocolates. Checking out at the register, there was some confusion and I saw a moment of panic on Maria’s face, when we explained that we had left our cash on the table. She rushed to retrieve the money and then rang us out. The food was good, as was the service and all for a very reasonable price. What more could you ask for?
We got to the Touhill early enough to hear the preshow lecture. One of the directors was interviewed and then entertained questions. I learned that Compagnie Käfig, last night’s performing French hip-hop theater company, is populated by Brazilian dancers and not Algerian as I had earlier reported. The choreographer, Mourad Merzouki, is of Algerian descent and the company might have been all Algerian at one point, but not any longer. The show was performed in two short acts. Each act comprised just one dance. The inspiration for each dance came from the director’s personal observations of the company’s eleven men dancers, all from Rio. The first dance was called Correria, which means foray or raid and is all about the frantic, hectic race of the dancer’s everyday lives. The second dance was called Agwa or water. The director had observed his dancers always drinking lots of water to stay hydrated. The sole prop for this dance were water filled Solo plastic cups, hundreds of them. After the concert, we attended a rave in the Touhill’s atrium. Members of company did b-boying (breakdancing) along with some rather adept audience members.
Fluorite is normally a colorless, clear mineral, but impurities can give it rather dazzling color. This Spar Mountain mine specimen from Cave-in-Rock, Illinois is a great example. I especially love how all of the cubic crystals are melted together in some sort of hyper-dimensional mess that looks like it just fell out of a Star Trek transporter. Cave-in-Rock is located in that corner of Illinois, where the Indiana state line meets the Ohio River. It is now on my list of places to visit this year.
On this rainy Saturday, where Anne is feeling under the weather, I busied myself doing chores. We hung most of the artwork, but we still have more than a few items left to go. All of it is now framed though. Anne has not been thinking all that clearly today. I think that all of her neural pathways are clogged with snot. We both blame those runny nosed gutter snipes from kindergarten, this last week. I hope that when her cold passes and her head clears that she still likes the way that the paintings we hung look.
For the second time this week, I am usurping some poor sick women’s show ticket. Earlier this week, I got to hear Michio Kaku speak, because one of Joanie’s friends had come down with a cold. Tonight, I am taking Anne’s dance concert ticket and going out on the town with Joanie again and people are starting to talk. We plan on doing Mexican in Ferguson, followed by a concert at the Touhill on UMSL’s campus. Tonight’s performance is by Compagnie Käfig, a French hip-hop theater company of mostly Algerian descent. Anne was accusing me of plotting world domination and that this usurping of theater tickets was only the first step, then she sort of lost her train of thought. All I can say is it’s snot true.
Let’s hear it for the red, white and blue and a girl with a sensible pair of shoes. It takes a good pair of shoes to be able to prance across an undulating terra-cotta façade, twenty stories up. Microsoft’s Windows 8 has as its screen saver the ability to use your photographs as a slide show. Both Anne and I really enjoy this feature and frequently find ourselves hypnotized by it. Often I see a photo that I would like to use for the blog, but with over a 100,000 pictures in the library, it is sometimes difficult to actually find the photo. Not so much with this one, because I had posted about the troupe here, at the time and knew when it had occurred. We got there early enough that I could consult with the professional photographers. They advised that I obliquely shoot the show, capturing the space between the building and the dancers. One of the building’s signature busts of a continental soldier is in the background of this shot. Bandaloop was the headliner that year for the Saint Louis festival, Dancing in the Streets. I wish that they would bring back both the festival and Bandaloop.
Saint Louis Ballet performed Love is in the Air last night at the Touhill. This dance concert featured a mix of classic and contemporary work by a range of different choreographers. Dancers swayed and plunged together in tuxedos and evening dresses to music that captured the spirit of Valentine’s Day, such as George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and music by other jazz greats. Before I got sick this week, I had the forethought to buy tickets to this performance. Anything at the Touhill is a joy and this one was no exception. The sight of a dozen young, svelte and limber dancers prancing across the stage all night was beautiful to behold. It also served to stir the ardor of many in this mostly couples’ audience. Leaning-in on my left was a woman, not my wife. Her unwarranted advances it soon became clearer, were actually a retreat from the advances of her date. It was all too subtle to make a fuss over, besides love or at least lust was in the air. It was a fine show that I did not fall asleep during, thank you very much. Dinner before the show was at Spiro’s, a Greek restaurant near UMSL. We got there early, both because of our early show time and it also being the biggest date night of the year. Fortunately, it wasn’t very crowded. The road construction on Natural Bridge probably had a lot to do with that, at least that is what the proprietor couple was complaining to us about, all the while we were trying to get out the door to go see the show.