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.
....., makes us stronger. Blah blah blah. Sometimes these helpful, encouraging phrases do just that - help and encourage. Sometimes, depending which side of the conversation you are on, can be annoying at best. Like most well-meaning humans, I too am much better about dishing out sage advice than having it spoon fed to me by others. Like an infant, if I don't like it I spit it out. As I sit here typing this blog on a break from working on a major overhaul of our website, I thought about a few diseases and serious medical issues that appear in the rear view mirror as some of the "best things that ever happened to me." Put that in your pipe and smoke it Dr. Phil.
Leaf me alone, won't you leaf me alone
Please leaf me alone now, leaf me alone
Leaf me alone, please leaf me alone, yes leaf me
Leaf me alone won't you leaf me alone
Please leaf me alone, no leaf me alone
Leaf me along, just leaf me alone, oh leaf me
It is now fall and time for one of my annual quests - raking up as many leaves as possible for free leaf collection day in November
I put myself through college serving food and tending bar in a variety of restaurants and bars in midtown and the Central West End. The crown jewel of them all was the infamous Cafe Balaban, now known as Herbie's Vintage 72. Back in the early 80's this was THE place to be seen in St. Louis and I made a small fortune working there, as did my co-workers. Much of this loot was spent on living and partying by the vast majority, but some of mine at least went towards my education. It was wild. The people who worked there and hung out there were nuts. It was pretty amazing really. I made some really great friendships that have lasted for decades. Many others were lost over the years, quite a few due to AIDS. It was a special time though, and I remember so many good times. Perhaps the most fun of all though was Halloween
While my father is a huge fan as well, the Cardinal gene comes mostly from my mother. My sisters, my brother, and my nieces and nephews are all huge Cardinals baseball fans. All of them have been going to games since they were babies. Every single one of them has been to at least one playoff game in their lifetime thus far. Family gatherings in the summer revolve around baseball games, whether downtown or at Busch Stadium. They all seem to like the Blues well enough. Hockey is awesome. The sad Rams never get mentioned all that much. Lots of official red St. Louis Cardinal merchandise spread across many households in my extended family to be sure.
Today already seems like a glorious day. I say that wistfully from my underground bunker office in Grand Center with no windows. When the STL gives good weather, it is generous and gorgeous like one of the working girls in the cat house in "Masters of Sex." It is absolutely amazing outside right now and looks to be a perfect fall day. This, and many other days this past summer and fall so far, have been just stunning. Enjoy it folks!
My day job, which I have had for the last thirteen years, is awesome. I may never get rich, but I will always be happy with my work. Plus I walked right into it without even knowing it existed. A friend of mine was the personal trainer of a board member of the organization at the time and hooked me up with some lame-o volunteer thing stuffing envelopes. I guess I was a good stuffer and definitely a good talker, so I was solicited to be a volunteer, then a board member and ruler of all the volunteers. I kinda quietly took over the place. A rare job opening occurred without much warning and there it was laid at my feet. First I submitted a resume, then decided against it and asked for it back. The board president at the time refuised to return my application, which of course was a pretty good sign. I took the position with zero clue as to how to accomplish anything. My predecessor left under duress and was no help whatsoever. In my own special way I dug in and made it happen. I have served under two different executive directors, three if you incldue me what I was the big cheese for two years, and at least six board presidents. Once I was even the only employee for a few months in a big office over the former Duff's Restaurant. Every year, including this one, as an organization we have to outdo whatever we have done the year before. In the ancient past there was only one annual event, plus a fundraiser. Now there are five permanent annual events and several fundraisers. I hardly ever wear shoes in the office. I am the artistic director of Cinema St. Louis, presenter of the St. Louis International Film Festival. This is the best job I will ever and you will never have.
The 6th Spice girl was the evil Pumpkin Spice. Her dark and insidious mission is to overwhelm the wallets and waistlines of Americans one Pumpkin Spice Latte at at time. Oh Great Pumpkin, if you can hear me, please make it stop!
Yesterday I blogged about my crazy, high-strung, dangerous, fifty-pound lap dog Dahlia. It was her birthday. I do in fact speak to her like she is human. I get this from my mother. When we were little, my siblings and I, we had a few dogs over time who mysteriously went to go live on that farm with seven children. Wow that must be one really big farm. On Christmas Eve of 1976 when I was 15 years old, this changed forever. My father fave my mother a furry bundle of puppy that night and she loved that dog with all of her heart for sixteen LONG years. That's when that foul, mean, nasty creature tooks its last breath and set us free from her reign of terror. This is how I learned to love a canine pet so deeply, even if they cause a problem or two. Now the tale of the funeral of our family poodle, Farrah Noelle de Cocoa Clark, who was forever known as the fifth Clark child.
Today is my dog's birthday. Dahlia Danger Dog is 6 years old. Yes, danger IS her middle name. I completely spoil and baby this needy, nervous, unusual, sweet, and sometimes terrible fifty pound lap dog. She adores me in return above all other things and people. However, she sheds an incredible amount, likes to snap at people's faces with her enormous teeth before licking them, climbs on and jumps all over both of us and all of the furniture, is a total bed hog, and must be next to or on top of me almost all the time. I love that nutty, rambunctious thing. She gives me pleasure, keeps my feet warm when its cold, and stares at me like I am her whole world. Likely the closest I will come to having a daughter of my own, so I'm going with it.
This is a blog about high school sports. If you feel squeamish about reading the thoughts of a fifty-two year old gay man on the topic, this truly is your problem but I do not disagree that at first thought it seems a bit unusual. However, I was myself once the ages of 14-17 and a high school student. I played two sports - water polo and swim team. I had 6 varsity letters. The first one was on my letterman's jacket in the Spring of my freshman year at SLUH. Yep, I always thought I was pretty cool too.