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Books, Dance, Music, Theater

Bookfest St. Louis opens in CWE Thursday

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  The McPherson Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart   How you fill your dance card for this week’s inaugural BookFest St. Louis is your call, but a word to the wise, start plotting now for which authors you want to see, what panels you want to attend, and absolutely schedule time for kids’ events and the dedication of the new William Burroughs statue at Writer’s Corner (McPherson & Euclid) this Saturday, September 23, at 6 p.m.

Bookfest St. Louis is a collaboration between Left Bank Books and CWE Business Community Improvement District. The staffs of both the bookstore and the NCID have spent months putting the weekend’s events together. There are spreadsheets galore and organizers’ brains stuffed with information about arrival and departure schedules for dozens of participating authors, neighborhood venues where the events will occur, and lists of volunteers who have offered to lend a hand.

All events (here is schedule), other than the appearances of authors Sherman Alexie and Amy Stewart, are non-ticketed events, so it’s first-come, first served. Check out Page 4 on the schedule for a concise chart of events and locations.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  The McPherson Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart

Mary Engelbreit photographed for St. Louis Magazine

Expect a crush of Mary Engelbreit admirers to attend the BookFest’s kick-off event Thursday, September 21, starting at 6 p.m. The artist will be at the Schlafly Library, 225 N. Euclid, for a reception and conversation with Left Bank Books’ proprietor Kris Kleindienst to discuss Mary Engelbreit From the Archives, a monthlong exhibit of Engelbreit’s rarely seen early work and ephemera from Left Bank Books’ collection. A book signing for the Engelbreit’s latest, The Bedtime Book, will follow. The exhibition remains on view until September 29.

Here is a recent video showing KSDK’s Dana Dean interview with Mary Engelbreit and Kris Kleindienst on Show Me St. Louis.Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  The McPherson Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart   Photo courtesy of Lee Towndrow, Little, Brown

The weekend’s opening event is a special one, “An Evening with Sherman Alexie,” which takes place Friday, September 22, at The Sheldon in Grand Center, the only BookFest event that occurs outside the immediate neighborhood.

The appearance by National Book Award recipient Sherman Alexie is a coup for BookFest St. Louis. After the recent publication of  his memoir, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” the acclaimed poet, short story writer, novelist and performer cancelled most appearances on his book tour due to exhaustion. But he has kept BookFest on his schedule (the author is also participating in a Young Adult Panel at The McPherson Saturday at noon). Here is an interview with Alexie conducted by reporter Stefene Russell in the 9/13/17 issue of St. Louis Magazine.

A $40 general admission ticket admits one person to Friday’s keynote event and includes a hardcover copy of “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.” A $75 VIP ticket admits one person to the keynote event, includes a signed copy of “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” and a 10th Anniversary edition of National Book Award-classic “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” plus a Meet & Greet book signing with Sherman Alexie. (Please note: VIP tickets are now SOLD OUT.) Purchase general admission tickets at TheSheldon.org.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  The McPherson Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart

On Saturday fans of Amy Stewart’s Miss Kopp’s series will have a chance to have tea with the author at Mary Ann’s Tearoom, 4732 McPherson, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Tickets for Miss Kopp’s High Tea are $70 per person and include an exclusive presentation and book signing by Stewart, a hardcover copy of “Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions,” a speciality cocktail inspired by the book and full-service high tea, with tea, scones with jam, sandwiches and dessert. To view the menu and to make a reservation, look here.

In addition, The Central West End will complete the Writers’ Corner project at Euclid and McPherson with the installation of a William Burroughs sculpture with a dedication ceremony at Left Bank Books on Saturday at 6 p.m. The completion is being funded by The Central West End Association and the Community Improvement District North.

From the press release:

“The Burroughs bust, by local artist Vlad Zhitomirsky, stylistically celebrates the Beat Generation author’s flair for the disjointed and bizarre, which can be found in his well-known works including ‘Naked Lunch,’ ‘Queer’ and ‘Junky.'”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  The McPherson Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart

You may have noticed that the sidewalk next to Pi is being repaved today in preparation for Saturday’s dedication. What’s happening is that T. S. Eliott, above right, is being moved from Left Bank Books to Pi, above left, and William Burroughs, who had a longtime connection to Left Bank Books will “reside” next to the neighborhood bookstore.

There are so many fabulous events on the schedule that I encourage you to visit the website and check them out for yourself. Here is a very small sampling:

Children’s Storytime at 10:30 followed by Middle Readers Meet & Greet at 11 (authors Treton Lee Stewart and Kat Zhang) at Schlafly Library Saturday.

Memoir Panel at 3:30 Saturday at 510 N. Euclid featuring George Hodgman (Bettyville), WU’s Kathleen Finneran (The Tender Land), and Ann Edelstein (Lifesaving for Beginners).

“A Special Trust” – Remembering Patricia & Fred McKissack honoring beloved St. Louis children’s authors takes place at Left Bank Books at 7 p.m.

Literary Fiction Panel II at 3 p.m. at The McPherson, featuring debut novelist Gabriel Tallent (My Absolute Darling), Shanthi Sekaran (Lucky Boy), Whitney Terrell (The Good Lieutenant).

Prufrock & Other Observations at Dressel’s Pub at 8 p.m. Saturday Celebrate 100th anniversary of St. Louis poet T. S. Eliot’s Prufrock, etc. with an intimate performance by a diverse coalition of St. Louis’s best poets.

Wait there’s more! Approximately 26 vendors and literary organizations will participate in The Festival Zone along McPherson east of Euclid (which will be blocked off to traffic as far east as The Vino Gallery) from 11 to 5 on Saturday. There will be live music, demonstrations, rare book sellers, local artisans and more. Some neighboring restaurants will be selling food and beverages at outside tables.

I also want to acknowledge the CWE venues who have agreed to host events: The McPherson (the recently-opened event venue), Mary Ann’s Tearoom, Schlafly Library, The Vino Gallery, 510 N. Euclid (formerly The Improv Shop), Llywelyn’s, Brennan’s, Gamlin Whiskey House, Dressel’s Pub, and Left Bank Books. Here once again is the schedule of events for Bookfest St. Louis.

Parking is free on The McPherson lot which will be accessible from Taylor west on McPherson. Paid parking is available on the Euclid lot which many of us still call the Herbie’s lot, just north of McPherson. Other streets will remain open during BookFest St. Louis, so metered parking is available too. McPherson will be closed from Euclid to The Vino Gallery at Walton Row.

Summer news wrap-up

Farmer’s Market on BJC Campus:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Services Web/Tech  W. U. Medical School's farmer's market Shane Mullen Renaissance A History of the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative Movies on the Plaza Left Bank Books Koplar Properties KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos David Strom's Web Informant Cortex Innovation Community co-living Candace O'Connor   It had been a while since I last stopped by the W. U. Medical School’s farmer’s market on the BJC campus. I paid a visit recently and was inspired to remind readers that it is open on Thursdays from 10 t0 2, with as many as 10 or 11 vendors participating each week.

The market, which has been in operation since 2009, is open year ’round. From April through October it is located on the plaza just south of CAM at Euclid and Forest Park Ave. The market moves indoors to the atrium in the McDonnell Pediatric Research building from November through March.

Market organizer Betsy Snyder sent me a list of participating farmers, including Double Star Farms from Mount Vernon, IL, Baetje Farms Goat Cheese, Windcrest Dairy from Trenton, IL, and Brautigam Orchards from Belleville. Ivan’s Figs and Great Harvest Bread also have tables at the market.

More information can be found here.

Neighborhood Security Initiative’s August Forum:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Services Web/Tech  W. U. Medical School's farmer's market Shane Mullen Renaissance A History of the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative Movies on the Plaza Left Bank Books Koplar Properties KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos David Strom's Web Informant Cortex Innovation Community co-living Candace O'Connor

There was a large turnout for the Neighborhood Security Initiative’s August forum which was held at the NSI office so residents could learn more about the NSI’s operation and also meet Capt. Mike Mueller (2nd photo top right, behind post) the newly assigned 5th District Captain, bid farewell to his predecessor Capt. Eric Larson, and hear from  North Patrol Commander (and CWE resident) Major John Hayden, top left. NSI staffer Lyndon Cornell, bottom left in red shirt, demonstrated the command center for the CWE neighborhood security system which he manages.

NSI Executive Director Jim Whyte, bottom right photo in plaid shirt, fielded questions from attendees including a lengthy discussion regarding the dangers caused by reckless drivers who ignore stop signs and red lights. One interesting suggestion was to make driver’s ed training mandatory and a prerequisite to obtaining a driver’s license.

Author Candace O’Connor at Left Bank Books:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Services Web/Tech  W. U. Medical School's farmer's market Shane Mullen Renaissance A History of the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative Movies on the Plaza Left Bank Books Koplar Properties KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos David Strom's Web Informant Cortex Innovation Community co-living Candace O'Connor

It was standing room only when author Candace O’Connor appeared at Left Bank Books last month to discuss and sign copies of her book Renaissance, A History of the Central West End, $45.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Services Web/Tech  W. U. Medical School's farmer's market Shane Mullen Renaissance A History of the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative Movies on the Plaza Left Bank Books Koplar Properties KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos David Strom's Web Informant Cortex Innovation Community co-living Candace O'Connor

O’Connor is shown in photo above left with Left Bank Book’s Shane Mullen, and far right signing copies of her book. Lower left, KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos was there with a cameraman covering the event.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Services Web/Tech  W. U. Medical School's farmer's market Shane Mullen Renaissance A History of the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative Movies on the Plaza Left Bank Books Koplar Properties KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos David Strom's Web Informant Cortex Innovation Community co-living Candace O'Connor

There is much to appreciate about Renaissance, including historical images such as the 1876 Compton & Dry map showing the then bucolic setting in the vicinity of Lindell, Maryland and McPherson.

David Strom on Hacked! at Cortex:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Services Web/Tech  W. U. Medical School's farmer's market Shane Mullen Renaissance A History of the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative Movies on the Plaza Left Bank Books Koplar Properties KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos David Strom's Web Informant Cortex Innovation Community co-living Candace O'Connor

On August 3, CWEnder David Strom (red shirt at podium) presented “Hacked! How to make your phone safe from hackers” at Cortex Innovation Community. Strom, who has lived in the CWE for more than a decade, writes and speaks on various tech topics for national business trade publications. He has written for this blog in the past too.

“What you carry in your pocket [meaning your phone] is very dangerous,” said Strom in his opening remarks. Some of the things Strom suggested to protect your info were “don’t do your banking from your phone, turn off wi-fi and bluetooth when you don’t need them, never put your real birthday on Facebook, and sign up for a program such as LastPass to manage your password collection.”

Though I understood about a third of Strom’s suggestions for protecting my information, he did say to do just one or two of these things at a time, so as to not get overwhelmed. I completed two of them, which took me a while to accomplish with a bit of frustration, so I would heed his advice on going slowly.

For more information, you can view his presentation slides online here or contact Strom directly via email, if you are interested in having him give this talk to your organization.

2017’s Movies on the Plaza successful finale:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Services Web/Tech  W. U. Medical School's farmer's market Shane Mullen Renaissance A History of the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative Movies on the Plaza Left Bank Books Koplar Properties KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos David Strom's Web Informant Cortex Innovation Community co-living Candace O'Connor

The curtain came down on the 9th season of Movies on the Plaza with a blockbuster turnout of over 125 people for La La Land. Thanks to Maryland Plaza’s Frances Thompson, (above left) who’s the prime mover behind this popular neighborhood event, and to Bob Koplar and the Koplar family for their ongoing support.

‘scape was La La Land’s main sponsor, and Stella Artois, which has been a loyal sponsor since the beginning of Movies on the Plaza, once again offered a free beer and popcorn, plus prizes to winners of the trivia contest.

We’re looking forward to hearing what the selections will be for 2018’s summer season.

Getting around the neighborhood:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Services Web/Tech  W. U. Medical School's farmer's market Shane Mullen Renaissance A History of the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative Movies on the Plaza Left Bank Books Koplar Properties KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos David Strom's Web Informant Cortex Innovation Community co-living Candace O'Connor

Spotted on Euclid, above.

What’s for dinner?

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Services Web/Tech  W. U. Medical School's farmer's market Shane Mullen Renaissance A History of the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative Movies on the Plaza Left Bank Books Koplar Properties KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos David Strom's Web Informant Cortex Innovation Community co-living Candace O'Connor

This hardly qualifies as news, but here’s a suggestion for a simple summer (or anytime) dinner. Pasta, in this case a striped ravioli, is topped with roasted cherry tomatoes and breadcrumbs, fresh arugula, grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil.

Here is a recipe for the tomatoes. I’ve been using di Olivas’ Blood Orange Olive Oil for this dish for an even more fabulous flavor.

Odds and ends:

The co-living phenomenon is a current topic featured in the New Yorker, in the NY Times (“In the 90s, we had friends, now they call it co-living”), and in conversation with Eric Hamblett, co-founder of TechArtista, who has visited Zoku Amsterdam on a couple of occasions. Perhaps we’ll see one or two of these spring up in the St. Louis area in the future.

With the subject of flooding very much on everyone’s mind, here is a recent NY Times article on lessons learned from the flood-prone Netherlands.

Remembering the solar eclipse:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink Services Web/Tech  W. U. Medical School's farmer's market Shane Mullen Renaissance A History of the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative Movies on the Plaza Left Bank Books Koplar Properties KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos David Strom's Web Informant Cortex Innovation Community co-living Candace O'Connor   As tumultuous as this year has been, pausing to remember the August 21 eclipse may offer a few moments of calm. As beautiful as that event was, the view of the eclipse as filtered through trees was an unexpected gift, above.

An early summer workshop with Mary Engelbreit and Charlotte Lyons

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Handmade  Vintage by Crystal Sheldon Johnson Mary Engelbreit Marlene Lewis Lyn Magee Jone Hallmark Jenn McGlon Crystal Sloane Charlotte Lyons Central West End Cathe Holden Carla Dawson Bowood Farms Barbara Holtz #maryandcharlottesstudioworkshop

Earlier this summer Mary Engelbreit celebrated the 40th Anniversary of her 1st licensing agreement by hosting a crafting workshop with dear friend and former CWEnder Charlotte Lyons. Mary and Charlotte’s Studio Workshop sold out as soon as the event was posted on social media 9 months earlier, and on June 15 twenty-two women from around the country—Chicago, Santa Fe, New York, Seattle, Texas, California, and Indiana—arrived at Mary’s Studio in the Central West End.

There were 5 instructors, in addition to Mary and Charlotte— “super stars” in the crafting field—who taught a variety of classes over 3 1/2 jam-packed days. An important side-benefit to attending crafting weekends, which have become extremely popular over the past few years, is the friendships that are made. Many women were able to connect with friends made at other workshops, or became fast friends with people they’d never met. Mary added, “lots of instant friendships were formed.” Most of the attendees, who stayed at either the Chase or the Parkway Hotel, were new to St. Louis and in their spare time set out to explore Forest Park, the St. Louis Art Museum, and local restaurants and shops.

After classes in the studio there was a cocktail party at Mary’s home one evening (one of the perks for Mary’s fans), where I understand every nook and cranny was Instagrammed, a visit to the Mary Engelbreit warehouse on The Hill (where Mary’s products were available and vintage goods dealers set up tables showcasing their wares), and a luncheon and “fairy garden” terrarium workshop, using ME fairies as ornaments, at Bowood Farms, followed by a tour of CWE artists’ studios.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Handmade  Vintage by Crystal Sheldon Johnson Mary Engelbreit Marlene Lewis Lyn Magee Jone Hallmark Jenn McGlon Crystal Sloane Charlotte Lyons Central West End Cathe Holden Carla Dawson Bowood Farms Barbara Holtz #maryandcharlottesstudioworkshop

Another highlight was Sunday morning’s demonstration on coloring and drawing by Mary Engelbreit, above.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Handmade  Vintage by Crystal Sheldon Johnson Mary Engelbreit Marlene Lewis Lyn Magee Jone Hallmark Jenn McGlon Crystal Sloane Charlotte Lyons Central West End Cathe Holden Carla Dawson Bowood Farms Barbara Holtz #maryandcharlottesstudioworkshop

Charlotte Lyons, a pioneer in the crafting-weekend phoenomenon, is Mary Engelbreit’s co-author for the Home Companion book series and has authored several craft books of her own. At the June workshop, she showed the group how to make an appliqué felt wallet (above), just one of many projects she’s demonstrated at crafting events in Los Angeles, New Hampshire, France, and currently around her new hometown of Bennington, Vermont. Here is a link to a recent workshop she co-hosted there.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Handmade  Vintage by Crystal Sheldon Johnson Mary Engelbreit Marlene Lewis Lyn Magee Jone Hallmark Jenn McGlon Crystal Sloane Charlotte Lyons Central West End Cathe Holden Carla Dawson Bowood Farms Barbara Holtz #maryandcharlottesstudioworkshop

Other instructors included Jone Hallmark, above, who led a class on rubber stamp carving and printing, and Crystal Sloane of Vintage by Crystal (not photographed), who demonstrated how to make a handspun vintage ornament figure (she also designs and makes her figures for Bergdorf’s).  Jenn McGlon showed the group how to make a painted clay birdie, and Cathe Holden taught the crafters how to create a handmade luminaria house in a mason jar.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Handmade  Vintage by Crystal Sheldon Johnson Mary Engelbreit Marlene Lewis Lyn Magee Jone Hallmark Jenn McGlon Crystal Sloane Charlotte Lyons Central West End Cathe Holden Carla Dawson Bowood Farms Barbara Holtz #maryandcharlottesstudioworkshop

A view of a section of Mary Engelbreit’s large studio, including the crafting tables, during the June 15th to 18th workshop.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Handmade  Vintage by Crystal Sheldon Johnson Mary Engelbreit Marlene Lewis Lyn Magee Jone Hallmark Jenn McGlon Crystal Sloane Charlotte Lyons Central West End Cathe Holden Carla Dawson Bowood Farms Barbara Holtz #maryandcharlottesstudioworkshop

“One of the favorite parts of the weekend was the artists’ studio tour,” Mary Engelbreit said. Those who held open houses included artists Barbara Holtz (in white coat above), Marlene Lewis, Lyn Magee, Sheldon Johnson, and Carla Dawson.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Handmade  Vintage by Crystal Sheldon Johnson Mary Engelbreit Marlene Lewis Lyn Magee Jone Hallmark Jenn McGlon Crystal Sloane Charlotte Lyons Central West End Cathe Holden Carla Dawson Bowood Farms Barbara Holtz #maryandcharlottesstudioworkshop

Mary is amazed that two months after the ladies packed up their creations and headed home, “People are still posting photos on Instagram.”

Because of the success of Mary and Charlotte’s Studio Workshop, and that they had so much fun themselves, Mary and Charlotte are talking about hosting another event at Mary’s studio in Spring of 2018.  For news of this event, check Mary’s website and/or Charlotte’s blog. They will probably post an announcement right after the 1st of the year, but that could change, so check the websites periodically.

In the meantime, in conjunction with BookfestSTL to be held in the Central West End September 21 -23, there is an upcoming exhibition, Mary Engelbreit From the Archives which opens September 5 through the 29th at Schlafly Library, 225 N. Euclid. A Reception and Conversation with Mary Engelbreit (with Left Bank Books’ Kris Kliendienst) is scheduled for Thursday, September 21 at 6 p.m. at the library (parking is available in the garage). Mary will be signing copies of her new book, The Bedtime Book, starting at 7:45 p.m. that evening. Visit BookfestSTL for more information.