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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.

Two artists lend a hand

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Services Shop News  Madeline Crowe Haley Dieckgraefe

After seeing news reports of damage to shop windows in the CWE during Friday night’s protests, 2 friends grabbed paintbrushes and acrylic paints and came into the neighborhood today to lend a hand.

Haley Dieckgraefe, left, who at one time lived at Maryland and Taylor, said she is not an artist but is able to follow the instructions of her artistic friend Madeline Crowe, right. Both were volunteering their time to paint Madeline’s design on Culpepper’s window.

There are many plywood panels in place at Maryland and Euclid, some because shop windows were broken, and others installed by shop/restaurant owners as a precaution, see below.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Services Shop News  Madeline Crowe Haley Dieckgraefe   Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Services Shop News  Madeline Crowe Haley Dieckgraefe

It’s such a shame that this is what a prominent area of the  neighborhood looks like right now, and while I understand both the necessity and the shop owner’s concerns, it adds to the ghost-town feeling that I’ve experienced around the CWE today. In my opinion, if we can get other artists on board—as they have in the Loop—it will definitely help the neighborhood look much better and at the same time much more welcoming during this unsettling time.

Thanks Haley and Madeline for taking the initiative to beautify a corner of the neighborhood. We really appreciate your help.

Protests in CWE: from a peaceful beginning to mayhem

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

The CWE returned to a semblance of normalcy yesterday following a night in which peaceful protests following the Jason Stockley verdict took a menacing turn ending in senseless destruction to some neighborhood businesses, Schlafly Library, and Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home.  Often overlooked in the aftermath of events of this sort are the many neighborhood employees, especially cooks, dishwashers, and waiters, who lost wages because restaurants either shut down early, or lost business because cancellations followed news of the protests on social media.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

That being said, you can’t keep a great neighborhood down, and by 11 a.m. Saturday morning the sidewalk cafes at Gamlin Whiskey House and Starbucks, first photo, were crowded with neighbors and visitors alike enjoying a sunny Saturday morning. And last evening, there were scenes like the one above outside froYo. Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

Saturday morning, proprietors of small locally-owned businesses like Fauxgerty, 228 N. Euclid, above, were busy covering storefront windows that had been smashed by protestors, and like all the businesses affected, calculating the loss in sales and the cost of repairs. Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

Local tv reporters, above right, were interviewing residents and filming the damage left behind. Culpepper’s, at Euclid & Maryland, above, sustained damage to two large windows.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro is shown being interviewed by a KTVI reporter alongside the Schlafly Library. Later I saw CWEnder Waller Maguire, Executive Director at the St. Louis Public Library,  being interviewed by a KSDK reporter.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

In my opinion, the most heartbreaking facility targeted by vandals was the Schlafly Library at the corner of Euclid and Lindell. Windows and doors were shattered, and books were pulled off shelves and scattered on the floor. Schlafly Library, as all of the libraries in the St. Louis Public Library system, are welcoming to anyone, all day, every day, and serve as a safe place for many people who have no where else to go. The destruction makes absolutely no sense.

Yesterday morning however, good Samaritans from the Soulard neighborhood, above, who had seen news reports of the damage, came to the CWE to remove graffiti from the windows and sweep up glass around the building. Wow! We really are better together.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

How do you explain to a toddler, above, why the doors on the library are broken and the library is not open (it did open later).Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

The Golden Grocer, 335 N. Euclid, which has been in the neighborhood for over 40 years, did not escape the wrath of agitators.  Two windows were shattered as was a third in a space above the shop, top. Apologies for not framing the photo better so you can see Cliff Helm, right, who stopped by to sweep up on his way to work at Left Bank Books where he leads StoryTime on Saturday mornings.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

La Petite Spa, a nail salon at 318 N. Euclid, was another target, and I noticed a boarded up window this afternoon at Subway, 115 N. Euclid. A reader just alerted me that someone shot through the window and a bullet lodged in the cash register.  See reader’s comment regarding damage to Walgreen’s, 4218 Lindell Blvd.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

A window on the alley at east+west, 387 N. Euclid, was also broken. Shop owners can be seen through the front window, below, as they install plywood.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro   Evangeline’s, 512 N. Euclid, also got hit, see above. Yesterday morning I spoke to a gentleman who works in the kitchen at Evangeline’s who said, “I lost wages because of these young punks. It makes absolutely no sense to destroy busineses.” Again, it’s the lower wage workers, such as cooks, dishwashers and waitstaff who suffer the most when reservations are cancelled and people stay away in fear.

In addition, graffiti was sprayed on entry gates at Hortense and Lenox Place, sidewalks throughout the neighborhood, and a CWEnder’s truck, below.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Schlafly Library Left Bank Books La Petite Spa KSDK Golden Grocer Gamlin Whiskey House Fauxgerty Evangeline's east+weststl Culpepper's Casey Nolan 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

The Central West End, like UCity which was subjected to the same senseless scenario last night, have long been known as neighborhoods that are tolerant of people’s rights and choices, including the right to protest. However, it’s extremely unfortunate and counter-productive when violence overshadows the cause, as was the case in UCity where approximately 23 businesses were vandalized and policemen were injured, when destruction and violence become the story.

I found this video on the KSDK website of an impassioned, articulate reaction in an interview with reporter Casey Nolan last night that I think captures how many of us feel about the road going forward.

http://www.ksdk.com/news/local/jason-stockley/woman-cleaning-up-on-loop-makes-call-for-unity/475622210

In the meantime, support local businesses whenever you can. They are all feeling the brunt of Friday night’s events and need your support.