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.

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  William Burroughs The McPherson T. S. Eliot Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Patricia & Fred McKissack Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Ken Botnick 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  William Burroughs The McPherson T. S. Eliot Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Patricia & Fred McKissack Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Ken Botnick 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  William Burroughs The McPherson T. S. Eliot Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Patricia & Fred McKissack Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Ken Botnick 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  William Burroughs The McPherson T. S. Eliot Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Patricia & Fred McKissack Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Ken Botnick 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 specialty 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 during 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  William Burroughs The McPherson T. S. Eliot Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Patricia & Fred McKissack Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Ken Botnick 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 the T. S. Eliot sculpture, 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 Saturday followed by Middle Readers Meet & Greet at 11 (authors Treton Lee Stewart and Kat Zhang) at Schlafly Library.

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 Saturday at 7 p.m.

Literary Fiction Panel II at 3 p.m. Saturday 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’ best poets.

The Festival Zone: Approximately 26 vendors and literary organizations will participate in The Festival Zone situated 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 also be selling food and beverages at outside tables.

Peek inside local bookmaker Ken Botnick’s studio! Tour the studio, watch press demonstrations and view limited edition copies of books by Mary Jo Bang, William Gass and William S. Burroughs. The studio will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Located at 4814 Washington Blvd. #240.

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 Avenue east on McPherson. Paid parking is available on the Euclid lot (what many of us still call the Herbie’s lot), just north of McPherson. Other than McPherson east of Euclid to Walton Row, CWE streets will remain open during BookFest St. Louis.

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.