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Don’t miss the Central West End Association’s Gala

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Forest Park  West End Word The McPherson St. Louis Shriner's Hospital for Children Russo's Ralph Butler Band Pickleball courts Paul and Amy Mittelstadt MO Mittelstadt Max Montgomery KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos Dwight Davis Tennis Center Central West End Association Gala Central West End Alexis Zotos

Lest you think I’m confusing topics here—the upcoming Central West End Association’s Gala—with news about recently-installed Pickleball courts at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park, let me explain.

Among the many silent auction items offered at the 2nd annual gala, Friday, December 1 at The McPherson, is a 2-hour Pickleball party for 16 at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center. The package includes sandwiches & chips, beverages (beer, etc.), and a Pickleball membership for one.Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Forest Park  West End Word The McPherson St. Louis Shriner's Hospital for Children Russo's Ralph Butler Band Pickleball courts Paul and Amy Mittelstadt MO Mittelstadt Max Montgomery KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos Dwight Davis Tennis Center Central West End Association Gala Central West End Alexis Zotos

 

For many months, the gala committee has been working tirelessly to make this event one you won’t want to miss.  The 2017 committee includes Chair Kate Walter, Kelly Waters, president of the CWEA, board members Sandy Lehrer and KMOV’s Alexis Zotos. Waters and Lehrer are in charge of sponsorships,  Zotos has recruited donors for the silent auction. In addition to the Pickleball package, there are offerings from the St Louis Cardinals, the Chase Park Plaza, and the Cheshire Inn. A boat cruise on Kentucky Lake is also on the auction block.

The gala committee, along with Executive Director Jess Batchelor, and Philip Boschert, manager of recently-opened event venue The McPherson, 4715 McPherson, have been hammering out details to make this the party of the year. Catered by Russo’s under the direction of Kathy Costello,  there will be plentiful food and drink options set up at stations including a martini bar, appetizer table, salads, carving selection and desserts. Music will be provided by a St. Louis-favorite, the Ralph Butler Band.

The CWEA is extremely grateful to Shriner’s Hospital for Children, the primary sponsor of the December 1st event. One of the highlights of the evening will be the presentation of the CWEA’s Renaissance* and Polk** Awards.  Shriner’s Max Montgomery will present the  Renaissance Award* to The Royal Vagabonds. Information about the contributions this fraternal organization, located at 4315 Westminster (Fullerton Place), has made to the St. Louis community can be found here.

The Gamlin brothers, Derek and Lucas of Gamlin Restaurant Group, will be presented with the Polk Award** by Dr. Eliza Dunn, a great niece of the late Julius Polk, for whom the award is named.

Other generous sponsors include Amy & Paul Mittelstadt and the West End Word, Scape American Bistro, and Innovative Construction & Roofing.

If you are new to the neighborhood, this party would be a great opportunity to meet other CWEnders.  And if you’ve been around for a while, visiting with friends and neighbors out of the normal setting—the gym, the sidewalk, or the grocery store—is much more festive, and proceeds assist the Central West End Association in continuing its work on behalf of the neighborhood.

Tickets, $100 for CWEA members, $120 for non-members, can be purchased online, or by phone (314) 884-1440. Members may purchase an unlimited number of tickets at the member price. Non-member tickets, $127, can also be purchased at Left Bank Books or Straub’s. $75 of the ticket price is tax-deductible.

*The Renaissance Award recognizes groups/corporations/associations that have made a huge positive economic impact or social impact on the survival or comeback of the CWE. The Renaissance Award was named initially to honor Leon Strauss, who was well known for his revitalization efforts throughout the City of St. Louis. He was largely chosen for the Award because of the miraculous transformation he orchestrated on Pershing Avenue and its adjoining streets between Union and DeBaliviere.

**The Polk Award recognizes the contributions of an individual who has consistently contributed leadership by example and contributions to the neighborhood. The Polk award was named in honor of Julius Polk who, over the course of his lifetime, was devoted to the betterment of the Central West End. In 1991, the board established this annual award to be given to an individual who over the course of many many years has emulated the values of Julius Polk in working to make the Central West End the preeminent neighborhood of the City of St. Louis.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Forest Park  West End Word The McPherson St. Louis Shriner's Hospital for Children Russo's Ralph Butler Band Pickleball courts Paul and Amy Mittelstadt MO Mittelstadt Max Montgomery KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos Dwight Davis Tennis Center Central West End Association Gala Central West End Alexis Zotos

Back to Pickleball: The game, which 2 or 4 people can play at a cost of $3 per person, is a cross between badminton, tennis, and ping pong, and has become the rage all across the country. Recently, 4 Pickleball courts were installed on the site of the exhibition courts at the tennis center in Forest Park.

Pickleball has become so popular in St. Louis that there is a Facebook page and a Google Calendar listing the location of Pickleball courts in the area, and times available. Here, for example, is the 11/27 listing for the Dwight Davis courts.

Hope to see you at the gala on December 1.

Snapshots from BookFest St. Louis

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

Last weekend’s inaugural BookFest St. Louis was such a success that talk of 2018’s event began before the last line of poetry was uttered at the closing event—the 100th anniversary celebration of T. S. Eliot’s Prufrock & Other Observations held at Dressel’s.  Throughout the day book lovers brushed aside the unusually hot late-September weather and dashed from venue-to-venue enjoying as many events as they could manage from the jam-packed schedule.

There were approximately 40 prominent authors in town for BookFest, each participating in a reading or a panel discussion on topics as varied as poetry, weird, literary and science fiction. Miss Kopp’s High Tea with Amy Stewart (author of the best-selling Kopp Sisters mystery series) was held at Mary Ann’s Tearoom, and at 6 p.m. Saturday at least 100 people gathered on the sidewalk at Left Bank Books for the dedication of a bronze sculpture of William S. Burroughs, the installation of which completed the Central West End Association’s Writer’s Corner project (see photo above).

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

Friday night’s keynote event, “An Evening with Sherman Alexie,” was held at The Sheldon, the only BookFest venue not in the immediate neighborhood. I asked Cory Lovell, Left Bank Books’ event coordinator to describe the hundreds of Alexie fans in the audience:

“Very diverse. In age, race, socio-economic class, and ideology. There were radical activist artists who I know have been active in St. Louis since the 60’s, and junior high students who have taken a shine to their required reading project (Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian). There were so many kinds of folks and I think they all were there because they appreciate Sherman’s honesty. He explains tragic elements of humanity in a way that’ll make you crack a smile. Its rare. So people take notice.”

And notice they did—except for moments of raucous laughter that interrupted Alexie’s 1 hour & 45 minute performance, the audience was so engaged, you could have heard a pin drop.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

BookFest St. Louis was a collaboration between Left Bank Books and the Central West End North Community Improvement District. LBB’s Kris Kleindienst, right, and CID Executive Director Kate Haher, left, are shown just before the William Burroughs dedication.

Others who threw their hearts and souls into the months-long planning were LBB’s Cory Lovell (mentioned above), Lauren Wiser, and a long list of other LBB staffers, CWENorthCID‘s Elisa Essner and Maggie McCarthy, and Enchanting Embellishment’s Ken Fowler.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

Literary Fiction Panel II was held at the newly opened event venue The McPherson, 4715 McPherson. Panelists Whitney Terrell, left, author of The Good Lieutenant (named best novel of the Bush war years by The Guardian), Shanthi Sekaran, author of the acclaimed Lucky Boy, and right, debut novelist Gabriel Tallent, whose My Absolute Darling became an instant hit, discussed “crafting searing and relevant fiction that helps us empathize with parts of the American experience otherwise foreign to many of us…”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

Charlie Jane Anders, left, author of  Nebula-Award winning All the Birds in the Sky, and MIT Fellow and io9 founder Annalee Newitz , author of Autonomous shown leaving the William Burroughs event. The authors participated in the Science Fiction Panel which also took place at The McPherson.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

Sculptor Vlad Zhitomirsky, creator of the William Burroughs statue, is photographed with Central West End Association board members, from left, Anna Cardot and Kate Walter, and CWEA Director Jess Batchelor.

The video shows sculptor Zhitomirsky unveiling the Burroughs statue. Burroughs joins T. S. Eliot, Kate Chopin, and Tennessee Williams on Writer’s Corner, each of whom resided in the CWE. Local author Carol Shepley, who spoke about Burroughs’ connection to the neighborhood and to Left Bank Books can be spotted in the video, as well as Erin Quick of the St. Louis Poetry Center.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

Special thanks to the CWE North Community Improvement District and the Central West End Association for their generous contributions to make this project possible, to sculptor Vlad Zhitomirsky for his provocative representation of William Burroughs, and to the St. Louis Poetry Center for their sponsorship of this BookFest event.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

At the dedication ceremony the Chanco Cruz Duo played jazz, while Brett Underwood, right, performed a reading of rare and out-of-print Burroughs poetry.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

The BookFest Festival Zone (on McPherson east of Euclid) was open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday with live music, demonstrations, book sellers (The Novel Neighbor, Eagle Heights Press, St. Louis Small Press), local artisans, and not-for-profits (Missouri Humanities Council, St. Louis Public Library, We Stories, St. Louis Poetry Center).

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

A proud participant at the poetry challenge board in the Festival Zone is photographed above.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Education For Children Services Shop News  Zac Brewer William Burroughs Whitney Terrell Vlad Zhitomirsky The McPherson St. Louis Poetry Center St. Louis Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Nina LaCour Mary Ann's Tearoom Left Bank Books Kris Kleindienst Kate Haher Gabriel Tallent Erin Quick Elisa Essner Charlie Jane Anders Central West End North Community Improvement District Central West End Association Carol Shepley AnnaLee Newitz Amy Stewart

It was wonderful to see families participating in BookFest events or just out enjoying the neighborhood scene.  On Saturday morning there was a Children’s StoryTime event, as well as a Middle Readers Meet & Greet at Schlafly Library. A Young Adult Panel at The McPherson brought together Sherman Alexie (An Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian), Nina LaCour (We Are Okay), and St. Louisan Zac Brewer (The Blood Between Us and Madness).

BookFest St. Louis was supported by a long list of generous sponsors including Left Bank Books Foundation, St. Louis Public Radio, St. Louis Public Library, The Chase Park Plaza, St. Louis Poetry Center, The Green Goose, Central Print and Lofts@Euclid.

Thanks to everyone who made BookFest St. Louis happen, including 100 generous volunteers. It was a stellar debut and garnered the positive attention the neighborhood—and all St. Louis—needed.

More artists lend a hand

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  Thomas Park Thai 202 Lemon Salon La Petite Salon Kaitlin Page Golden Grocer Fauxgerty Culpepper's Cindy Capps Chris Clark artist Zhanna Alison Capps

Over the past weekend, it was evident that the neighborhood is rapidly returning to its normal vibrant self following recent protests. Customers returned to sidewalk cafes and many, many book lovers participated in the 1st BookFest St. Louis event Thursday through Saturday.  (More on this to follow.)

After seeing news reports of damage by malicious agitators, generous artists from all over the St. Louis area claimed boarded-up windows along Euclid Avenue and painted messages of hope and love.

Thomas Park, an artist who works as a PTA (personal technical assistant) at Schlafly Library and other branches of the public library system, answered the call to beautify one of several broken windows at the CWE branch. When asked what he hoped to accomplish with his art, see above, Park said:

“In terms of the painting itself, it was a very organic process. I wanted to use peace signs for a basically positive message. I started out with nice simple signs, but it was too pristine and did not capture the vibe of current events…In the end, I was aiming for something that different sides of the recent conflict could recognize as capturing the energy of the past weeks, without being didactic or picking sides. I finished with a large peace symbol over all, since that was the essence of the intended message.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  Thomas Park Thai 202 Lemon Salon La Petite Salon Kaitlin Page Golden Grocer Fauxgerty Culpepper's Cindy Capps Chris Clark artist Zhanna Alison Capps

An anonymous artist painted the Euclid side of Culpepper’s, 300 N. Euclid Avenue. In a previous post I recounted a conversation with Madeline Crowe and Haley Dieckgraefe who were the first artists to arrive on the scene and chose to decorate the Maryland Avenue side of Culpepper’s.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  Thomas Park Thai 202 Lemon Salon La Petite Salon Kaitlin Page Golden Grocer Fauxgerty Culpepper's Cindy Capps Chris Clark artist Zhanna Alison Capps

The window at La Petite Salon was another painted by an unknown artist. I hope to dig up more information about these good Samaritans and add names to this post soon.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  Thomas Park Thai 202 Lemon Salon La Petite Salon Kaitlin Page Golden Grocer Fauxgerty Culpepper's Cindy Capps Chris Clark artist Zhanna Alison Capps

Kaitlin Page and Chris Clark painted the words of Dr. Martin Luther King alongside one of the neighborhood’s Winged Griffin light standards on Thai 202. The pair wanted to be sure to acknowledge Ira and Charles, two homeless people who stopped by to help.

Since I took this photograph the owners of Thai 202 and neighboring BBC Asian Bar & Cafe, have removed the boards, which were in place as a precaution.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  Thomas Park Thai 202 Lemon Salon La Petite Salon Kaitlin Page Golden Grocer Fauxgerty Culpepper's Cindy Capps Chris Clark artist Zhanna Alison Capps

An artist named Zhanna painted both Fauxgerty and Lemon Salon’s windows. Lemon Salon, whose windows were also covered as a precaution, had just recently moved to 238 N. Euclid, above left, from a space above Mike’s Bikes.

Curious about what the Huffington Post loves about Fauxgerty (see sign above), Julia Navarro sent this link.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  Thomas Park Thai 202 Lemon Salon La Petite Salon Kaitlin Page Golden Grocer Fauxgerty Culpepper's Cindy Capps Chris Clark artist Zhanna Alison Capps

Last Thursday, Sister or Queen Princess—she goes by either 1st name—grabbed a paintbrush and added a message of peace to The Golden Grocer’s window. Queen supplies raw & vegan wraps and her own line of skin care products to the neighborhood health food store.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  Thomas Park Thai 202 Lemon Salon La Petite Salon Kaitlin Page Golden Grocer Fauxgerty Culpepper's Cindy Capps Chris Clark artist Zhanna Alison Capps

When I asked Cindy Capps, left, a graffiti artist, how she and her daughter wound up at The Golden Grocer, she said they saw the news and didn’t want to miss an opportunity to help out.

Here’s how she expressed it on her Instagram page: “My super talented kid and I wanted to paint boarded up windows, so we loaded up the paints and started driving around the Central West End. The first place that we saw was this incredibly amazing, all natural grocery store that has boarded up windows that needed some TLC. We met some awesome people who helped, it was a pretty cool day.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  Thomas Park Thai 202 Lemon Salon La Petite Salon Kaitlin Page Golden Grocer Fauxgerty Culpepper's Cindy Capps Chris Clark artist Zhanna Alison Capps

Alison Capps is described by her mother as the real artist in the family. Here is a link to Alison’s Instagram page, where you will see more of her art.

With deep gratitude to all of the talented artists who pitched in to help the neighborhood look more welcoming during this challenging time.  Your efforts are very much appreciated.