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 knew this was coming and don't pretend you didn't. You know where you live and should have known this was going to happen sooner or later. Did you hear it? That loud sound of the door slamming on our third spring this year. 2013 has had ultra lovely weather wise all year long for the most part. Methinks that ends now, along with my ability to wander about in shorts and a t-shirt. I may even have to keep my shoes on in the office and wear socks once in a while. My spider senses, and apparently the Farmer's Almanac, point towards a cold winter ahead. And many months until I go outside at 5 am with the dogs and pee in the grass with them. Hell, I'm up anyway.
I am way out in front of a huge event we are producing (the St. Louis International Film Festival) and decided to take care of a few pressing life duties this morning that included a trip to the Deer Creek Department of Motor Vehicles office in Maplewood. I know people freak out about this and scream bloody murder about going, but it's mostly pretty simple. I received my renewal notification about a month ago and let it sit on my desk for a while with some other pressing bills. This morning I was determined to be a big boy and take care of my responsibilities. So far, so good. Then best laid plans and reality stepped in to slow down my morning down to a crawl.
I guarantee that this will be my crappiest blog to date. I know there are a LOT of people who think their stuff doesn't stink - we all know some. Well, for the rest of us mere mortals, now is your time to stand tall and not be a smelly. I guess it really is an issue for some folks to let others know that they are human and, god forbid, produce human odors. No more, Delores! We have a product for you! It's called, get this, Poopouri. Your spritz this heavenly scented floral spray onto the water in the toliet before you drop that deuce and whatever toxic chemicals they have in this stuff keeps that shit down. Or at least the offensive odor from said shit. I think it's hilarious and I know that there are any number of competitors in the marketplace for this amazing product. Everyone poops as we know like that wonderful children's book taught us. Some more than others. Now your horrific fecal matter can smell like roses and just like the roses. I wonder if this will have lasting impact on the homeless and the poor. They too can now smell like a lady who lunches from Ladue. Your own waste, brought to you by a florist near you.
Being a frugal soul, I don't like to throw things away if they still have purpose. For example I have reused a huge stack of file folders in the office for over fifteen years. Thick layers of 5160 labels adorn the tabs with years of film titles for submissions of various film events we have produced. Every once in a while I peel back a few of them and marvel at the story the various levels tell. I am also not a hoarder and seriously dislike clutter. Unlike my beloved and brilliant co-workers, my desk rarely has more than a few action figures in one corner and a Magic 8 Ball for important decisions. Mise en place or everything in its place is the rule. At home I keep clothes and towels and kitchen items forever until they literally fall apart, or the boyfriend secretly throws them away. Because I am so firm about not trashing things that have some degree of useful value, I am a proponent of streetside and alley "recylcing." I don't know what it's like in other cities or deeepr in the county, but my experience here in St. Louis is that things disappear with a quickness.
I have always liked Halloween. The boyfriend LOVES it. This has now become the top, major holiday on the House On Haunted Hill that we share in Maplewood. We are never home to give out candy though because we are out on the streets with various nieces, nephews or other assorted children in our lives. So far, none of them has wound up cooked in a stew although it has crossed our minds a time or two with a few of them. Now that I am older and also diabetic, the lifelong craving for sugary treats on this sacred night has waned. I always enjoy the pageantry and fun of it. For a few hours on this night each year, people for the most part let go of a few inhibitions and dress up in costumes like they were kids. Everybody gets to be somebody else for a night, plus the spirits of the dead get to come and hang out for the night.
I am not really sure what I am. Although I was born and raised Catholic, the mascots of my high school and college are both mythical creatures. The St. Louis University High School's mighty Junior Billiken is the baby brother I suppose of SLU's Billiken. While I was attending Webster University in the 80's, they came up with the unusual Gorlok that was literally named after the streets of Gore and Lockwood near the campus. We all thought it was pretty lame at the time, but it stuck. His public appearance has changed over the years (originally covered in blue fur) and grown over the years to become a fierce warrior. I always loved the fact that these two mascots look so much alike - a matched set so to speak. Sometimes it makes me wonder though if I am actually human or not. The truth is that in reality I am not. I am also a fairy.
My high school years consisted of lots of team practices, some studying, wondering about boys, drinking beer and doing stupid things. I wanted other kids to like so sometimes I would do dumb things to hopefully impress them. Like the time I walked out of the men's room of the former White Castle on South Kingshighway by the old Venture store in nothing but wet hair and black bikini underwear. I think I was 16. My hair was wet because we had been pool hopping that night all over South St. Louis and near South County. For the uninitiated, pool-hopping is when a group of bratty kids climb over a fence and jump in the pools of unsuspecting people who had pools. We had a whole list and preferred route of such outings. The ULTIMATE dare however was how close you could get to the front door of Chinaman's Castle before getting shot with rock salt from a gun by an old lady.
It's going on 7:30 pm and I am still at my desk. Been here since 8:30 today. A lot going on this week preparing our St. Louis International Film Festival website and program book for the printer. SO much to do. It's cool though because I so very much love my job. Almost as cool is the neighborhood where I work each day - Grand Center. Our vibrant arts district truly is a glowing gem in mid-town. There seems to be new neon and glowing things added almost daily. The area is home to several big box institutions like the Fox and Powell Hall, plus several museums and art galleries, a few smaller performing spaces, and literally dozens of non-profit arts organizations such as Cinema St. Louis, Dance St. Louis, Jazz St. Louis, and on and on and on. Right now, for example, in our basement bunker I can hear some jazz students practicing music. When I go above ground there will people parking and streaming towards the Fox and any number of restaurants and destinations for blocks around. St. Louis University students are all about as well. There is always an excitement in the air and promise of entertainment, wonder and discovery. I always enjoy emceeing a stage at the annual Dancing in the Streets festival and always look forward to bringing some younger family members to First Night on New Year's Eve. Once a month or so I find something interesting and sometimes useful in the alley by our building. As much as I love it, I am leaving now because I am hungry, my boyfriend is wondering where I am, and American Horror Story comes on at 9.
When we were growing up we always thought my mom was pretty goofy. Her jokes were terrible. I guess that's where I inherited that gene. We did all right by her though, my siblings and I, plus the 8 nieces and nephews spread amongst said siblings. Of the many things she taught us and shared with us, perhaps the most golden was the love of books. She was always a voracious reader and we were too starting at an early age. I believe she taught several of the grandchildren how to read by perching them on her lap and reading to them. I wonder how many times she has said aloud "One Fish, Two Fish."
St. Louis is a foodie town. No question about it. It's been a blast to see the rise of the young chefs at various upstart restaurants and the move towards local sourcing of ingredients. The food truck craze is way more than just that, it is an expectation and the norm all over town. Food Truck Fridays in Tower Grove Park has been wildly successful in the summer time. I must admit though that I was quite excited recently about the newest, hippest trend - the reimagined old school commodity of donuts. Or doughnuts. Spell it however you want as long as they are good.