Action/Abstraction at St. Louis Art Museum

Catching up on an event that happened a while back…

On December 26th, Jen, Kate, Katie, Kim, Cousin Drew, Kenny, Krissy, Alex, his friend Mikey, and I all went down to see Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940-1976, an exhibition at the St. Louis Art Museum. I was really excited to see the Pollocks up close, and while I was a little disappointed to see that there were only two on display, the ones they had were really great. I’m not a big de Kooning fan, but there were also some other artworks that were really nice, especially a large Rothko.

Perhaps the painting that generated the most discussion was Peter Saul’s Icebox #3, which is filled entirely with penises, some obvious, some more deviously subliminal.

After the exhibition, the party moved to Schlafly Tap Room where they were celebrating their 17th birthday party by selling beer at 1991 prices: $2.95 / pint. Nice. We ate and drank there for a couple hours (there was a wait for a table of ten, plus somewhat leisurely service) but the atmosphere was great and everyone had a good time.

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, but there is no reason in the world why we shouldn’t go to the Art Museum more often. Plus, there are so many great artworks there to see:

5. These 10 signature artworks from our beloved Saint Louis Art Museum (not all of which are on view at all times): the Egyptian Mummy Mask, the Buddhist deity Guanyin, Liu Cai’s 8-foot-long hand-scroll Fish Swimming Amid Falling Flowers, George Caleb Bingham’s The Verdict of the People, Vincent van Gogh’s Stairway at Auvers, Henri Matisse’s Bathers With a Turtle, Max Beckmann’s Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, Jackson Pollock’s Number 3, 1950 and Gerhard Richter’s Betty.

We managed to see most of these before our allotted time at the exhibition, and in doing so, we checked off another on the STL 101 list. Good times!

Ice Skating at Steinberg

27. Ice skate at Steinberg Rink in Forest Park when it’s cold enough outside to see your breath. Bring a date. You ever see the movie Serendipity? It’s just like that.

Friday night, we got together to do something crazy and dangerous in our old age: ice-skating at Steinberg in Forest Park. Think about it, broken bones, scrapped palms, bruised hineys, possible concussions, yep, we chose to do this. It was a gorgeous night, it wasn’t too cold, the air was crisp, a perfect night for ice-skating . I guess everyone had the same idea as well because when we got there, it was crowded and only increased as the evening went on.

My skills on the ice were barely passable, at best. I like to utilize the windmill technique, you know, the flailing of the arms. It’s a bit ridiculous to watch but I didn’t fall so I’m okay with that, I am not afraid of humiliation, in fact, I embrace it. There were a couple of newbies in our group and so we eased them into the skating, making sure that we were there if they fell. But they did wonderfully and enjoyed the experience so I have a feeling that this may be a repeat event.

The only complaint that I had about the evening was the line to return the skates. We probably waited 45 minutes just to get our shoes back, it was absolutely ridiculous. I think it may have to do with the incompetence of the staff and the rude people that kept jumping the line, little shit bastards. Overall, it was fantastic, a great way to enjoy Forest Park and see some of the lights of the city.

Here are the rest of the pictures from that night.

An Adventure on the Hill

We’ve been doing a lot of cooking this past year and I’ve noticed that my cheap knives needed quite a bit of sharpening since they really can’t slice through a tomato anymore without squishing it. Katie had recommended Bertarelli Cutlery on the Hill, it’s apparently THE place that restaurants get their knives sharpened at and it’s only $3/knife. Well, heck, we might as well make it a morning adventure and hit the sights while we were there.

39. Hang out on the Hill: Drink the two-shot Italian-roast latte at Shaw’s Coffee, Ltd., watch old-timers play bocce ball at Milo’s Bocce Garden, buy the salame that made John Volpi famous at old-world Italian market J. Viviano & Sons, stop for chocolate drops at Missouri Baking Company, dine fancy at Dominic’s or, if it’s nice, on the patio at Charlie Gitto’s. Stop by Zia’s for at least one plate of toasted ravioli with marinara (their secret: more meat, less pasta). Genuflect at St. Ambrose to gain the patience to wait for a table at Cunetto’s House of Pasta. Or fall back on a gorgonzola bacon pizza and an icy fishbowl of beer at Rigazzi’s. You’d need reservations for the real pièce de résistance: the lobster risotto at Trattoria Marcella (southwest of the Hill proper, but no matter). Remember Hill baby Yogi Berra’s warning, “It’s so crowded nobody goes there anymore”? Everybody does go to Trattoria Marcella.

Well, we took their advice and off we went. After dropping off the knives, Katie, Bob and I stopped in Shaw’s Coffee for a little something to warm us up before walking the streets of the Hill.

We then headed up to Guido’s for lunch. I know that it wasn’t one of the restaurants mentioned, but I really enjoy Guido’s and they are Italian AND Spanish! I mean, come on, you have to eat there, it’s a great place. After gorging ourselves on pizza, we walked over to J. Viviano & Sons, an Italian market, just to check things out. I didn’t buy anything because I was full, but I will remember them if I ever need fancy Italian cheeses and salami. From there we went to the Missouri Baking Company.

Oh. My. Goodness. Everything in there looked AMAZING! I wanted to try every single pastry that was there but I limited myself to an Italian Boot (tee-hee) and a custard-filled puff. Delicious.

This was the first time that I had ever been down on the Hill in the daylight, usually we are there for dinner only. It was a lot of fun just seeing what is down there, I will make sure to make a trip down there again once the weather warms up. Thumbs up for the Hill!

Last Day For The Bowling Hall of Fame

On November 8th, the Snakes on a Lane Bowling Club took a field trip to the Bowling Hall of Fame, which just so happened to be the last day that it was open in St. Louis before moving to Arlington, Texas. We had been talking about going ever since we heard it was closing and we figured that the last possible day was as good as any. Plus, it is in the STL 101 list:

51. By bowling at the classics (Saratoga, Tropicana or Olivette Lanes) and the retro newbies (Pin-Up, Flamingo). Then visit the International Bowling Museum to see what you could have been.

The museum itself was equal parts awesome and insane. For example, the early history of bowling really is left to conjecture. A part of the conjecture, evidently, is Satan bowling with a human skull:

My favorite part was a big banner of achievement patches:

There were several vignettes of awesome moments in bowling history:

There was also a computer with all the perfect games in it. We were able to find Jen’s dad and his 3 perfect games, which was pretty awesome.

Then, we headed into the Hall of Fame wing, where we found Brandon’s cousin, Norm Duke:

Then, we went into the women’s wing, where instead of bronze castings, they have awesome oil paintings:

After that, we went down to the basement to see the pin car, in addition to the Cardinals Hall of Fame and the rest of the collection. All in all, a pretty awesome day, but a tad bittersweet to see this one of a kind attraction leaving town.

To see the entire set, click here.

Laumeier Sculpture Park

3. See Ernest Trova’s sculptures, tucked away in the wooded grounds of Laumeier Sculpture Park. It was his gift of 40 sculptures—the largest public collection of this internationally known St. Louisan’s work—that made it possible for the park to open, and coming upon one of his Cantos or Variations amid the trees is magical.

Where can you go to see giant sculptures scattered about the property in no apparent order? That’s right, Laumeier Sculpture Park! After our adventure at Grant’s Farm, we all headed over to a place where we knew the exhibits wouldn’t attack us. There was a John Waters exhibit inside which creeped me out, I won’t lie. Interesting, but creepy. Once we got outside, the first thing that greeted us was this:

Um, hmm, that was not what I was expecting. As we wondered further into the park, I noticed how serene the place was. Since it is a county park, I expected crowds of people lounging around on the ground, running around, children screaming. You found none of that here. As you walked around and under these magnificent sculptures, you felt like you were in your own little world.

Here is Bob’s favorite one:

And I thought this one was pretty cool, it reminds me of a very old treasure that you found stored in an attic somewhere:

We didn’t spend too much time there and I know there are so many more pieces of art that have not yet been seen so I will have to remember to go back again. Here are some more photos, if you’re interested.