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Left Bank Books

“Compassion is a verb” at Left Bank Books

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Left Bank Books   Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Left Bank Books

Turns out this idea began when Spike the Left Bank Books cat was ill. According to co-proprietor Jarek Steele: “We’ve only had the coats outside for a couple of weeks on and off. It started when I was on my way back from getting medicine for Spike just before he died. I was feeling pretty low & sort of staring into middle distance at a stoplight when I saw a rack outside a clothing store on Delmar (I think). It seemed like such a simple kindness, such a profound singular thing. Then I remembered we have an old tshirt display in our basement.
The next morning I stopped by St. Vincent De Paul on my way to work and bought 7 or 8 coats to give away.
The clerk was frazzled. It was just before Christmas. I waited in line and when I finally reached her we looked at each other, then the coats.
She started to tell me about her dad dying and how that foiled her plan to give away coats to the homeless this year. It seemed like this was a sign from the universe to slow down and listen so I did. We talked for about 15 minutes and when I left I knew this was a way we as a store could mourn Spike, honor the cashier’s loss and do something very quiet and simple that made things just a little easier for someone.
Within a day all the coats were gone. We’ve bought more and had some donated. I hope it helps.
Thanks and take care. Jarek”

A holiday gift guide for procrastinators, Part 1

With just 6 shopping days left until Christmas, these holiday gift suggestions may make your life a little less stressful, especially for those prone to procrastination. Shopping local has many advantages. Walking from shop to shop is the most obvious, but as I put this 2018 list together I realized the added value of meeting and talking to the friendly shop owners in the CWE. They make the experience of finding gifts for everyone on your holiday list a whole lot merrier.

At St. Louis Art Supply, 4532 Olive St., co-proprietor Carson Monetti helped me gather suggestions for kids and adults, though several gifts would be appreciated by any age. Free gift wrapping is available.Nicki's Central West End Guide Uncategorized  The Silver Lady St. Louis Art Supply Provisions St. Louis Left Bank Books east+weststl AG Jeans

The shop has a wonderful children’s section for the budding artist. From left: Faber-Castell 64-piece Young Artist’s Essentials comes in a handsome red wooden case, $50; 20 water-based pens by Stabilo, $19; Learn to Paint Set in a zippered plastic bag, $18, sits on Claytoon clay packs, $4 each; and far right, a bucket of 50 Faber-Castell Connector Pens which, when hooked together with enclosed connectors can double as a building set, $19.99. Lower right, assorted stickers, $3 each.Nicki's Central West End Guide Uncategorized  The Silver Lady St. Louis Art Supply Provisions St. Louis Left Bank Books east+weststl AG Jeans

Clockwise from top: 50 point 88 fineliner pens by Stabilo, $37.50; Kalita coffee decanter, $24.99; dripper, $17.99 (filters, $4.99 not shown); Ethiopia Coffee from Coma Coffee in The Grove, 12 oz. $17.50. (The shop stocks a hand-crank “ceramic-burr” coffee grinder too, $49.99.) A trio of assorted pencil sharpeners, $4.99 each; ever-popular, non-stick Washi Tape, $3.50; Midori polar bear stationery $6.50; 8 matching polar bear envelopes, $5.50.

Far left, an assortment of Ro-biki waxed-covered notebooks to slip inside a jacket pocket, $8. St. Louis Art Supply is the only shop in the U.S. that carries some of these hard-to-find Japanese products.

Check St. Louis Art Supply’s website for hours…. they will be open on Christmas Eve.

Brian Simpson, proprietor of east+west, 387 N. Euclid, was quick to pick out his favorite gifts ideas to share with you, see his selections below.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Uncategorized  The Silver Lady St. Louis Art Supply Provisions St. Louis Left Bank Books east+weststl AG Jeans

From left: 2018’s edition of hugely-popular Chup socks from Japan feature Fair Isle patterns, $36; a solid-cast brass key ring from a LA jewelry designer hooks onto jacket or belt loop, $99; two-tone leather card case/wallet from a Portland OR company, $40; a Nashville-based company makes 6 varieties of candles poured in whiskey glasses  in scents such as balsam fir, tobacco & musk, and oak & moss, $44. Top right: In case of an emergency, or for the camping enthusiast, a military grade 10-ounce flask that contains compass, flashlight, 2 shot glasses & a bottle opener, $74; straight out of Copenhagen’s Kinfolk magazine, an assortment of 12 beautiful cards, $22.

By the way, east+west carries Sump Coffee, 12 oz/$16, delivered fresh to the shop weekly.

For more information, head to east+west’s website.

At Provisions STL Ross and Debra Hunter are still flying high about St. Louis and the rousing reception they’ve gotten from the neighborhood. The shop stocks a wide variety of gift items, so the following is just a small sampling of what you will find there.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Uncategorized  The Silver Lady St. Louis Art Supply Provisions St. Louis Left Bank Books east+weststl AG Jeans

Top photo: Hook & Albert dopp kit, $115. Canada’s Rockwell Razor’s shaving supplies include Beard & Body Bar, $10; razor, $29, razor stand, $30; AfterShave Balm, $15; Shaving Soap, $15, and Shave Brush, also $15.

Bottom photo left: a selection of hand-blended OLO perfume oils from a self-taught Portland-based perfumer, $45. Right: a cozy hypoallergenic alpaca blanket from Equador, $165; doggie coats, $35 to $45, have been reordered twice since the shop opened 2 months ago.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Uncategorized  The Silver Lady St. Louis Art Supply Provisions St. Louis Left Bank Books east+weststl AG Jeans

Left: Provisions STL carries an assortment of wood & inlay board games including backgammon sets in small, $125, and large, $210; domino set, $68; “Shaken” Cocktail Kit, $70; and fleur de lis bottle openers, $12.  Right photo: “Stirred” Cocktail Kit, $70; Everyday flask, $24; Picnic knife, $35; lower left, Bike Snob, $16.95.

For more information visit Provisions STL website.

Left Bank Books 399 N. Euclid, has been publishing “best of” book selections almost daily on Instagram and Facebook, so you might check those sites out for staff suggestions. What’s shown below are gift ideas that caught my eye, augmented by advice from LLB staffer Lauren Wiser.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Uncategorized  The Silver Lady St. Louis Art Supply Provisions St. Louis Left Bank Books east+weststl AG Jeans

From top left: Super Diva RBG Workout Calendar, $14.99; Bibliophile ceramic vase, $24.95, with quote from Louisa May Alcott brings literary charm to any room; acid green readers, $19.95; Ideal Bookshelf canvas shopping bag, $21.00; Yotam Ottolenghi’s Ottolenghi Simple, $35; Clifford socks, size 0 to 12 & 12 to 24, 4 pr. $12. My First Books include Coco (Chanel) & Marie (Curie), $8.99;  Spike the Left Bank Book cat mug, $12.99.

Visit Left Bank Books website for hours and information.

AG Jeans, 36 Maryland Plaza, has great-looking gift ideas, and the staff is immensely helpful with their suggestions on what to wear out on the town.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Uncategorized  The Silver Lady St. Louis Art Supply Provisions St. Louis Left Bank Books east+weststl AG Jeans

Since I visited last Thursday, the shop has started its semi-annual 30% off sale, so what’s listed here are pre-sale prices. A viscose slip dress in “duck canvas” (the color),”$228, is paired with a black lyocell & spandex turtleneck, $98. The slipdress is also available in navy and burgundy. Right: black razor back knit top, $74; “the Jodi crop” in super stretch sateen, $188, and right, “Farrah skinny ankle pant,” $188.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Uncategorized  The Silver Lady St. Louis Art Supply Provisions St. Louis Left Bank Books east+weststl AG Jeans

For men: Left, black “Kane Shearling Coat,” $1348; “The Sin’s Crew” in true black, $168; “Tallis” pant in multi-plaid Merlot, $198. Right: “Jaren Hoodie” in deep lolden, $268, and “Everett Pant” in cognac, $178.

Refer to  AG Jeans website for hours and more information about current sale.

Not only will you find a great selection of jewelry at The Silver Lady, 4736 McPherson Ave., you’ll also get a healthy dose of humor from proprietor Lori Shifter who’s been in the jewelry business for over 30 years.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Uncategorized  The Silver Lady St. Louis Art Supply Provisions St. Louis Left Bank Books east+weststl AG Jeans

Above, a long dramatic silver necklace, $472, with matching earrings, $82.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Uncategorized  The Silver Lady St. Louis Art Supply Provisions St. Louis Left Bank Books east+weststl AG Jeans

Top left: A stunning Meterioite necklace, $312, and matching bracelet, $300. (Meterioite is a natural object originating in outer space that survives impact with the earth’s surface.) Top right: Show-stopping Stichtite, Prehnite & Peridot necklace, $1269, with matching bracelet, $259.

Bottom photograph: This charming bracelet contains real miniature flowers, $60; matching drop earrings, $28.

Visit The Silver Lady website for hours and more information.

Next up: Part II of this year’s Holiday shopping guide.

Favorite moments from 2018’s BookFest STL

Two weeks ago organizers of BookFest STL— Left Bank Books, Left Bank Books Foundation and the CWE North Community Improvement District —brought a stellar roster of authors to town for this year’s event, the second in what is sure to become a CWE tradition. Some were familiar names from best seller lists or recent reviews in national publications, and one, actress and now author Sally Field, has such name recognition that all 200 VIP tickets to her Friday night talk sold out quickly.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  The Kabine Sarah Smarsh Sarah Kendzior Sally Field Michael Isikoff Left Bank Books Farshed CWE Scene BookfestSTL 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

Sally Field chose BookFest STL as the 2nd stop on her tour for her just published memoir In Pieces. The event drew approximately 800 people to The Chase Hotel’s Khorassan Room Friday evening.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  The Kabine Sarah Smarsh Sarah Kendzior Sally Field Michael Isikoff Left Bank Books Farshed CWE Scene BookfestSTL 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

The energy was palpable as people found their seats  (VIP ticket holders were front and center) for “A conversation with Sally Field” led by local author Kathleen Finneran. When the actress read from her memoir she connected with the audience so intimately, it was as if she was speaking to each one of us individually. Finneran also relayed questions submitted in advance from the audience.

Left Bank Books proprietors Kris Kleindienst welcomed the crowd and her husband Jarek Steele, right, introduced Field and Finneran.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  The Kabine Sarah Smarsh Sarah Kendzior Sally Field Michael Isikoff Left Bank Books Farshed CWE Scene BookfestSTL 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

Several CWE venues were used for author events, including Schlafly Library for children’s, middle-grade and YA authors. Bar Italia hosted a sold-out Wit & Wine with Gary Shteyngart event. And 510 N. Euclid was the site for Memorists with Mettle and Suspense in the City panels. A large tent on McPherson, above, and Dressel’s Pub were also sites for author appearances.

Top photo: Fresh Fierce Fiction authors who appeared under the McPherson Tent were from left: Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Rebecca Makkai, Anne Valente, and Deborah Eisenberg.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  The Kabine Sarah Smarsh Sarah Kendzior Sally Field Michael Isikoff Left Bank Books Farshed CWE Scene BookfestSTL 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

View from the Heartland, a conversation between best-selling authors Sarah Kendzior and Sarah Smarsh, top photo, drew a large crowd to the McPherson Tent.

Kendzior’s book, The View From Flyover Country, and Smarsh’s Heartland are displayed lower right.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  The Kabine Sarah Smarsh Sarah Kendzior Sally Field Michael Isikoff Left Bank Books Farshed CWE Scene BookfestSTL 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

Top photo: Alternate Realities: Re-Imagining the Past and the Future featured author Wayétu Moore, left, whose novel She Would be King was favorably reviewed in the New York Times just after Bookfest ended. She’s photographed with authors Bethany Moore and Marcia Douglas.

Bottom photo: Author Sarah Kendzior made a second appearance in a conversation with W. U. grad and best-selling author Michael Isikoff, who co-authored Russian Roulette with journalist David Corn.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  The Kabine Sarah Smarsh Sarah Kendzior Sally Field Michael Isikoff Left Bank Books Farshed CWE Scene BookfestSTL 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

When we ran into 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro at the corner of Euclid and McPherson Saturday afternoon she jokingly asked: “What city is this?”  That’s how energetic, engaged, and enthused those who were gathered around author venues or congregated in Left Bank Books appeared to be.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  The Kabine Sarah Smarsh Sarah Kendzior Sally Field Michael Isikoff Left Bank Books Farshed CWE Scene BookfestSTL 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

Top Photo: The Festival Zone included artists such as CWEnder Mike Murphy shown with his wife Marianne.

Bottom photo: Kim Hayes (not photographed) brought her 1965 Air Stream Little Shiny Shop, The Kabine, and her gentle pit bull Meri, above (see earlier post here).

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  The Kabine Sarah Smarsh Sarah Kendzior Sally Field Michael Isikoff Left Bank Books Farshed CWE Scene BookfestSTL 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

The Festival Zone also included a musical stage where Farshid Soltanshahi and his band, above, were among the performers.

Bottom photo: World Chess Hall of Fame staffers entertained with an ongoing chess game and other activities for children.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  The Kabine Sarah Smarsh Sarah Kendzior Sally Field Michael Isikoff Left Bank Books Farshed CWE Scene BookfestSTL 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro

Photos above: A complete list of artists, shops, and organizations that had booths in the Festival Zone can be found here.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  The Kabine Sarah Smarsh Sarah Kendzior Sally Field Michael Isikoff Left Bank Books Farshed CWE Scene BookfestSTL 28th Ward Alderman Heather Navarro    Many thanks to Left Bank Books, Left Bank Books Foundation and the CWE North Community Improvement District, for the months of planning and hard work, and to the many sponsors shown on the banner above whose support helped make the event possible.

The 2nd BookFest STL was so successful that organizers started planning 2019’s event just as They Said: Cross-Genre Collaborations, the final event of the day, concluded at Dressel’s Pub. The word is out now among authors and their agents that St. Louis is not flyover country and BookFest STL should definitely be on their schedules.