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Bill Christman

Welcome Horsley Gallery to the CWE art scene

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  projects+gallery Philip Slein Gallery Nancy Rice Linda Horsley Left Bank Books Houska Gallery Horsley Gallery Duane Reed Gallery Central West End Association Central West End Candle Fusion Studio Bill Christman
Artist Linda Horsley

Plan to head out early this Friday evening, April 7, as there’s lots going on in the neighborhood and you won’t want to miss the action.  All the galleries in the Euclid-McPherson arts district are hosting openings. The list includes CWEnder Nancy Rice’s intricate paintings which will be featured at Duane Reed Gallery, Philip Slein exhibits artists Valerie Jauden and Chuck Webster, projects+gallery is launching Transparency Shade: Seeing Thru The Shadow, and Houska Gallery has someone on the books (the “who” has not yet been announced).

Look for a long line at Left Bank Books Friday where Chelsea Clinton will be signing copies of her book, It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired, Get Going, about how anyone can make a difference. The ticketed event starts at 5:30 ($11 admits family of 4 & includes paperback copy, $21 for hard cover).  In addition, The Candle Fusion Studio, 4742 McPherson Ave., is hosting the Central West End Association’s 1st Friday Happy Hour from 5 to 7 p.m.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  projects+gallery Philip Slein Gallery Nancy Rice Linda Horsley Left Bank Books Houska Gallery Horsley Gallery Duane Reed Gallery Central West End Association Central West End Candle Fusion Studio Bill Christman

April 7 also brings the opening of a brand-new gallery, Horsley Arts, located at 4374 Olive (between Taylor & Newstead Aves.), above, to the neighborhood art scene. Stop by between 5 and 8 p.m. to meet proprietor/exhibiting artist Linda Horsley, shown in photograph at top, whose beautiful paintings of arresting, dream-like subjects will be on view along with Bill Christman’s fabulous robot sculptures and art signage.

Horsley lived in Seattle for 12 years where she taught at the Art Institute of Seattle and Cornish College. Before moving to the northwest she worked at the City Museum and taught art in various locations around St. Louis. She returned to St. Louis last August and was thrilled to find a location to open her own gallery in the CWE.

When asked why she decided to move back to St. Louis, she explained:

“There wasn’t the connection of a community in Seattle.  Oh yes, it has a beautiful environment, but it is becoming over-populated. St. Louis has both passionate people and artists, and the physical landscape and buildings are part of the everyday charm that I absolutely love.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  projects+gallery Philip Slein Gallery Nancy Rice Linda Horsley Left Bank Books Houska Gallery Horsley Gallery Duane Reed Gallery Central West End Association Central West End Candle Fusion Studio Bill Christman

Horsley’s corner painting, above, “There aren’t many artists who create art for this application,” she said.

I attended an informal gathering at Horsley Arts several weeks ago where an established CWE artist said that she admires Horsley’s way with color. Though she works in oils, her soft colors look like watercolors.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  projects+gallery Philip Slein Gallery Nancy Rice Linda Horsley Left Bank Books Houska Gallery Horsley Gallery Duane Reed Gallery Central West End Association Central West End Candle Fusion Studio Bill Christman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horsley has quite an impressive list of accomplishments including 6 public art works commissioned by the Downtown Seattle Association and Pike Place Market Foundation. She also created “Wild Rose Run,” a sculpture that is part of Bi-State’s Arts in Transit, St. Louis.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings  projects+gallery Philip Slein Gallery Nancy Rice Linda Horsley Left Bank Books Houska Gallery Horsley Gallery Duane Reed Gallery Central West End Association Central West End Candle Fusion Studio Bill Christman

Also exhibiting at Horsley Arts is St. Louis artist Bill Christman, who is both a fine artist specializing in sculpture, and a commercial artist specializing in design and sign making (he created the sign that hangs over Left Bank Books, for instance). Christman has his own gallery, Joe’s Cafe Gallery or “ars populi” in Skinker/DeBaliviere, which I wrote about several years ago (read it here).

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First day of spring: 10denza, lululemon & Joe’s Cafe Gallery

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  lululemon London Vodka Joe's Cafe Gallery Jack Parker Gaslight Square Bill Christman 10denza

Last Thursday, the first day of spring, was warm enough that lululemon on Maryland Plaza flung its doors wide open to celebrate the day by offering a hip-hop yoga class. Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  lululemon London Vodka Joe's Cafe Gallery Jack Parker Gaslight Square Bill Christman 10denza

At 10denza, 44 Maryland Plaza, Proprietor Chris Lanter, above, hosted a "#mad4spring" celebration encouraging guests to "leave winter behind and bring spring 2014 in with you."  Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  lululemon London Vodka Joe's Cafe Gallery Jack Parker Gaslight Square Bill Christman 10denza

While friends and curious shoppers perused the latest spring merchandise, St. Louis Magazine A-List Best DJ Raven Foxx (barely visible in following photograph) entertained. An unusual mix of cds is available for purchase at 10denza, as music is an integral part of the environment Chris, who was a dj during his college years, has created in his very hip shop.

Have you heard the term "Gnoshies"? They were provided by the neighborhood's Gamlin Whiskey House, SubZero, and Taha'a Twisted Tiki, a new Gamlin operation located in The Grove.Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  lululemon London Vodka Joe's Cafe Gallery Jack Parker Gaslight Square Bill Christman 10denza

The eclectic shop carries clothing and accessories for men and women, shoes, books, children's toys, and more. 10denza's charming shop manager, Kerrie Knoll, is pictured above, and DJ Raven Foxx, wearing a hat, can be seen in the background.Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  lululemon London Vodka Joe's Cafe Gallery Jack Parker Gaslight Square Bill Christman 10denza

Bartenders served a signature drink from London Vodka, above.  Aren't the graphics wonderful, so is the website…"God Save the Queen" and all that.

10denza, 44 Maryland Plaza.Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  lululemon London Vodka Joe's Cafe Gallery Jack Parker Gaslight Square Bill Christman 10denza

There was a book signing the same evening at Joe's Cafe Gallery, above, in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood. Author Jack Parker of O'Connells Pub, and artist and proprietor of Joe's Cafe & Gallery Bill Christman, collaborated on the creation of A Gaslight Square Portfolio: Photographs by Thelma Blumberg with Commentary by Jack Parker, $20. Bill is also a co-founder of the City Museum.

The decision to publish Blumberg's Gaslight Square photographs in book form followed a successful exhibition of the late photographer's work in October 2012. Here is a link to my post about that opening.Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  lululemon London Vodka Joe's Cafe Gallery Jack Parker Gaslight Square Bill Christman 10denza
Jack Parker, who wrote the commentary for the book, is shown signing a copy for local author William Stage, who brought along one of his daughters.Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  lululemon London Vodka Joe's Cafe Gallery Jack Parker Gaslight Square Bill Christman 10denza

Bill Christman, above, used a rubber signature stamp to add Thelma Blumberg's name to the books. Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  lululemon London Vodka Joe's Cafe Gallery Jack Parker Gaslight Square Bill Christman 10denza

The book chronicles Gaslight Square during its heyday from the late 1950s through the '60s. Blumberg (whose photograph is shown above) was the entertainment district's official photographer and antiques dealer Richard Draper, whose photograph hangs on the wall above, was considered the unofficial mayor of Gaslight Square. (Click here to view a video of St. Louis and a glimpse of Gaslight during that era.)Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  lululemon London Vodka Joe's Cafe Gallery Jack Parker Gaslight Square Bill Christman 10denza

The paperback book, with its letterpress cover, was designed by The Firecracker Press. Suzy Rust, Bill Christman's publicist, said that last Thursday's event was very much a "sneak peek" and the book isn't even officially printed yet. Some copies are available at a pop-up at Joe's Cafe Gallery when the Cafe is open (see below).  They are working on consignment strategies to place them at Subterranean Books, Left Bank Books, etc.

Joe's Cafe Gallery, 6010 Kingsbury, 7-10 p.m. e/other Thursday (4/3, 4/17, 5/1, etc.).

Uncle Ugly, “Unc” for short

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Virgil Elliott Thelma Blumberg Joe's Cafe Gallery Bill Christman

After my recent post on Bill Christman's Joe's Cafe Gallery, Virgil Elliott, a former CWEnder who works as an artist and writer in California, sent the following comment: "I'd be very interested in reading what Jack Parker wrote in his captions
for Thelma Blumberg's photographs of the Gaslight Square days. However, I
am nowhere near Missouri, and thus cannot visit the gallery before the
exhibit ends. Might someone be willing to copy those captions and send
them to me for a small fee? I lived on the Square and around the West
End from 1966-1969 or so, and knew many of the people in those
photographs."

I forwarded the inquiry to Bill Christman and want to share Virgil's reply after receiving the requested information about the photographs—especially the one of the Boneshakers, above. I hope you will enjoy learning a little more about life in Gaslight Square and the characters who called it home.

"Thank
you very much for sending Jack's (Parker) captions. I have many colorful
memories of Gaslight Square from the 1960s, and reading these brings
them back. The bikers in the "Bone Shakers" photo (above) are Paul Stearns
(standing) and Dennis Brannaker (sitting on the steps). The location of
the shot is the porch/steps of The Exit, the coffeehouse at the corner
of Boyle and Westminster. This was the summer of 1968.

I came to the Square as a young
beatnik artist in 1965, and somehow became a member of the Boneshakers
motorcycle club a couple of years later. The term, "Boneshakers" was in
reference to the kind of motorcycles we rode, which had no rear
suspension and thus shook the rider's bones. It was not intended as a
synonym for "bone crushers" or any other violence-connected term, though
it was often misconstrued as such by others. We certainly weren't
afraid to fight if the situation called for it, but that was not the
focus of our association. We were a club, not a gang, and a merry bunch
of wild, fun-loving young people we were.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  Virgil Elliott Thelma Blumberg Joe's Cafe Gallery Bill Christman

Dennis
Brannaker (above) drove a cab for a living, and at some point acquired the
nickname of "Uncle Ugly," after being known previously by some people as
"Dirty Denny."  But since there was another guy named Dirty Denny
around (a junkie, hustler and thief, not associated with the
Boneshakers), Dennis Brannaker preferred to be called Uncle Ugly, or
"Unc" for short.  He's still around, and works the door at BB's blues
club on Broadway, near the baseball stadium. I painted his portrait two
years ago on a brief visit to St. Louis.

The
raised index finger is a characteristic gesture for Unc whenever he's
about to offer one of Uncle Ugly's Helpful Hints, which all his friends
know well. He has a keen sense of humor, which I tried to indicate in
this quickly-executed portrait. I see him as the kind of character that
Frans Hals
loved to paint.

Today I'm primarily an
artist and author living in California, having covered a lot of miles
and years since the Gaslight Square days. It always saddens me to visit
St. Louis and drive through where the Square used to be, and see that
there isn't a trace of it left. Thank you again for bringing back some
fond memories. I'll try to visit your gallery next time I'm in town.

Sincerely,

Virgil Elliott

The current exhibition featuring Thelma Blumberg's photographs of Gaslight Square and Frank Moskus's paintings will be on view until Thanksgiving. Joe's Cafe Gallery, 7 to 10 p.m. Thursdays only,  6010 Kingsbury Avenue, joescafegallery@gmail.com, (314) 862-2541.