As a lifelong St. Louisan, Chris is very proud of his place in the St. Louis arts scene. He graduated from St. Louis University High School in 1979 and with honors from Webster University in 1985. Drawing upon his background in film studies, mass media, and public-event coordination, he has been an intergral part of many important changes to the growth and artistic directions of the St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) and the growing number of annual film-related events produced by CSL, including the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase and an LGBT film festival called QFest. This is a dream job for Chris and he plans to keep it indefinitely by living forever. So far, so good. In June of 2011 however he was diagnosed with Stage 1E Mantle Cell Lymphoma in his throat and has been fighting the good fight against cancer ever since. While not completely done with chemotherapy treatments until July of 2013, his current good health is attributed to fierce determination, a relatively healthy lifestyle, swimming almost every day, and flinging himself headlong into the local stand up comedy scene, which had been a dream since childhood. Comedy is the best medicine after all. Chris regularly performs his scathing comedy routines several nights a week at a number of venues around the St. Louis area. He and his partner of eight years, Adrain, plus two spoiled and feisty dogs, Saki and Dahlia, live happily in Maplewood, MO. They will be married in October, 2013.
You have been warned. I have been on high alert while driving for weeks now and it ain't pretty out there. Spring may have sprung, but this is not free license for bungholery while behind the wheel of a car. A whole new crop of deliberately oblivious drivers are out there amongst us talking on their &%*^)(@ phones, texting on their &%*^)(@ phones, and generally doing whatever the hell they want. I officially declare war on the lot of them, to be followed by an informative and cathartic safety dance.
Okay Winter, go home. Clearly you are drunk. I think I speak for all of St. Louis when I get up in your cold face and tell you that we are so very over your shenanigans this year. From the ice and snow that never went away, to the weekly Sunday Funday Snowpocalypse warnings, to the Wheel of Fortune that has been the temperature, we offer up our proudest and biggest middle finger salute.
The overall hilarity of the profound and dire warnings of impending weather disaster from all media (including that special fellow from Canada) has been spectacular. By all accounts we were supposed to be living in the ice planet of Hoth at this point. I do not have a Tonton and neither of the dogs are big enough to carve up and sleep in. I was starting to become worried that I would never make it to Dierberg's or 7-11 again.
By the will of Landru we survived another snowpocalypse, or at least the icy whisper of what had been promised to us. Well done, St. Louis! The extreme degree of dire weather warnings had been reaching a Challenger disaster level of seriousness though, and I do hope you were properly prepared. We sure were. Did you remember milk and eggs? I am unsure if this is a quaint St. Louis thing or something more global, but major cold weather events seem to have us all running for the stores to hoard staple breakfast items and plan for the new ice age.
Whooop. Whooop Whooooooooop. First I heard it, then I saw the lights flashing behind me. Yep, this one was for me. I was pulled over this morning just as I got onto the lengthy eastbound Highway 40 onramp at Big Bend near Richmond Heights city hall. I was fairly sure what my alleged violation was, but less sure if I could drive away citation free. When I spotted the kindly officer looking at my rear and then front license plate I knew I was right. My license plate tags were expired. Not to worry though as they were safely tucked under my change pile.
I live in Maplewood and work in Grand Center near the Fox. My daily 6.5 mile commute is generally in the 10 -15 minute range each way, sometimes as much as twenty-something if during evening rush hour. This is not bad at all, plus the drive is reasonably pleasant and always a trip down memory lane. Once I was released by the Richmond Heights 5-0 and continued on my path, I was able to reflect on why I so very much enjoy driving to work each day.
I love to celebrate birthdays. As a child it was always a festive and special day. As an adult it is a Clark family tradition to gather for cake and take turns wearing the hallowed birthday hat for photo opportunities. The hat is getting a bit dingy in its old age, much like the ancient sorting hat in the Harry Potter stories, but we still dutifully put it on once a year and try not to set it on fire. My Outlook calendar is filled with notations about various birthdays and anniversaries. Facebook fills in the rest of the blanks. Over the past two days I have wished a personal happy birthday to five humans (three of them relatives) and one dog. The dog belongs to my brother and nieces, which in our family makes Simba human enough to be considered a doggy nephew.
People do like it like it when you remember and let them know that you know "today is their special day." The day you were born is actually somewhat arbitrary and therefore not really all that special in the greater context of the universe. Something about human nature prods us into recognizing and commemorating these dates sometimes with a sacred and mystical reverence. Birthday hats and candles and cake and presents are nice. So is the attention. But what do you do for the birth of a city?
It's about perspective.
Yesterday was not my best day. In fact it was at times so bad that I had a series of large and small meltdowns all day long. With no warning whatsoever I burst into tears when I got out of the shower and was sobbing just hard enough that I woke up my partner and greatly concerned my loyal pooch Dahlia. She always know when daddy is sad. I probably should have taken a Xanax sooner, but I just didn't want to resort to that because this wasn't a big deal. Or shouldn't have been. It was only a doctor's appointment for Pete's sake and merely a routine follow-up at that.
I like the whole staff at my oncologist's office. They are all very nice, professional people. The doctor himself, Peter Weiss, is kind and gentle in his approach. He likes my goofy jokes and we make each other laugh. The heavy lifting is over. Treatments ended last summer a few months ahead of schedule because I was in great shape and responding like a champ to chemo. Two plus years of it and a whole bunch of radiation beams in my head later, I was over the whole thing. It was scary and horrible but now cleanly in the past. So why did I get so worked up? I used a lifeline and called in an expert. A survivor.
The times, and hopefully the amount of ice in my alley, are a' changin. Gay marriage and news about intolerable international gay rights atrocities are posted several times daily to my Facebook page. It is both humbling and astonishing how quickly the world, at least in the U.S. and Western Europe, has opened its mind to a topic that has been somewhat verboten for centuries. And now in the seemingly most unlikely of places, new brave voices have come to the fore and stood their ground. I am talking about the University of Missouri Columbia in Boone County. I am talking about Michael Sam. I am talking about how nearly two thousand students stood up for what they belived was right against those headline whores and supreme gay haters that are the kooky folks from the Westboro Baptist Church.
I dedicate this blog-fessional to all of the proud athletes from around the world who meet every four years in a variety of winter and summer sports competitions. Welcome to "confessions of a teenage hooligan, episode 2 - Olympics edition."
Part and parcel with these hallowed international events are of course the sponsors and merchandisers. I fully acknowledge that the system has become crass and bloated, often at odds with principals at the very core of the Olympics themselves. For example, at the 1924 at the Paris Games the International Olympic Committee introduced the motto "Citius, Altius, Fortius," which is Latin for "Faster, Higher, Stronger." Most nutirtionists will agree that the path to glory does not include two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, all on a sesame bun, plus fries and a Coke. The golden arches of McDonald's have enjoyed a long history of partnership with the games, and are the star of my little tale today. Live from Olympic Village West in Grand Center, more after the break!
Dear winter, you may officially piss off at your earliest possible convenience. If you do not comply with this request in a reasonable time period, I will be forced to take drastic further action. Despite the fact that I am an avid animal lover and animal rights supporter, if I fall down one more time I can and will kill that f#cking groundhog.
Stereotypes by nature are nurtured out of hate, mistrust, or willful misunderstanding. Real men are taught that nancy boys (and girls) are out of their element in the wide world of sports and other man-sculine parts of life. So not true, nor does it ultimately matter. Most of the dudes who so frantically worry that another man will look at their junk in the locker room actually fall into that "not on a bet" category of the potential dating pool. Growing up I was a bit clumsy and lacked some self-confidence, so wasn't very good at most of the traditional team sports that involved balls like baseball, basketball, soccer and football. You can insert your own version of a joke that the gay boy couldn't handle balls, but I earned 6 Varsity letters in high school for swimming and water polo, so 'chinga tu madre' hater.
This past Sunday I attended a gay Super Bowl party. By definition this was a party that was hosted by and primarily attended by a group of gay men and women to watch American football's annual best of the best grand spectacle. It was also a chili party with a dozen or more steaming crock pots of different types, plus LOTS of beer and liquor. Sports, chili and alcohol - how very American, how very traditional, how very male.
I can already hear the howls of protest by the mucho, macho heterosexuals out there who might loudly disdain the very thought of these "people" watching this most hallowed and manly of annual events. I know a lot of gay men and women who are avid and knowledgable sports fans. They bleed Cardinal red and Blues blue along with the most loyal of fans. As much as I would love for this blog to be more about tearing down a wall of stereotype, I just can't with a straight face do it. This party was so frigging gay!