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.
We make and do some pretty cool things here in St. Louis, plus a few items whose inherent darkness make me question how entrenched we are in said workshop. Here is a short list of some of the great and infamous things made with busy hands here in the 52nd city.
Oh St. Louis, you sly dog. People always think how Catholic and conservative it is here, but once you peel back the covers we are some surprisingly sexy bitches. A few years after the infamous Alfred Kinsey began his research in Indiana, William Masters teamed up with Virginia Johnson to conduct some groundbreaking studies of their own at Washington University. They are so cool and their findings so important they are also prominently featured on the Walk of Fame in the Loop. Just think, a mile or two from the New Cathedral they were researching vaginal lubrication and the physiology of orgasmic response.
Don Draper may be despicable and morally vacant, but you know what may god bless Jon Hamm. One of St. Louis' favorite sons is a decidedly handsome man and dearly loves the STL. I think he is pretty awesome and am okay with the fact that he went to John Burroughs High School. Recently he stuck up for the honor and glory of St. Louis by defending not only Imo's Pizza, but also our revered toasted ravioli. Apparently Kimmel has some disdain for both of these delicious St. Louis foods. Piss off Mr. Kimmel, for you have been schooled by Jon Hamm.
One of the true treasures of the STL is the incomparable Saint LouisArt Museum, a place so special they refuse to abbreviate Saint with an St. People who live here may or may not realize that SLAM is one of the only museums of its kind that does not require admission. It is part of our city charter that admission can never be charged there or at the Saint Louis Zoo. This is remarkable, wonderful and a gift to the masses for multiple generations to enjoy. I tip my hat, or would if I wore one, to the folks who hammered this one home. Now only if Cardinal baseball tickets were also free, then we would be in the tall grass. Alas, for many hundreds of millions of reasons will never be. Oh well. Two out of three ain't bad as the saying goes.
Today is my birthday. 52. Like a deck of cards, my life contains 4 suits, a couple of Queens, some one-eyed Jacks, and a man with an ax, and a few jokers. I enjoy this annual celebration of my life as a day to reflect on the recent past and to challenge myself for the coming year. This morning I went to the Y and swam for 52 consecutive minutes, which was somewhere between a mile and a mile and a half. I rarely count number of laps because I usually lose track.
So it comes to this. The cancer didn't kill me. Didn't even come close. A few surgery scars and a lot of medical debt, but barely a scratch. The diabetes came closer to ding me in when doctors informed me that I was an inch away from a coma. Determination, exercise and a proper diet have brought me back once again from the brink. All this salvation may have been for naught because of the extreme danger I face each and every day, twice a day. Trust me when I say that I keep both hands on the wheel and three eyes on the road when I face the gauntlet of fear that is Highway 64/40 between Kingshighway and Vandeventer during rush our traffic each morning and evening.
So, I almost died. AGAIN. After a grueling and horrifying and expensive and emotional 26-month battle with the Big C ( final score: Chris 1, cancer 0), I was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic. The beeties, the sugar piss, the beetus. Diabetes. Thank you genetics, and to you dad and grandma for this special gift. Actually I had been warned for years and totally my fault as much as it was avoidable. But now I have to live with it and without an endless list of St. Louis specialty foods and drinks I can no longer have. F*******CK!!!
Becky may be our queen of carpet, but like Cleopatra, St. Louis is the king of denial. An ancient and tired joke as old as the pyramids (denial/da' Nile), but if the asp fits. Yet another ranking came out this week that lists good old middle American St. Louis the most dangerous city in America. It's hard to even fathom what that means other than exactly what it says - the most dangerous city in America.
Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not.
St. Louisans always have and always will love outdoor events. Whether it is ridiculously hot or freezing cold, we love to celebrate who we are and support those we care about in the streets and parks of our fair city. String up some lights, fire up the grease for funnel cakes, tap those kegs and voila – instant party. The list is impressive – Fair St. Louis, Mardi Gras, the International Festival, anything with “Whitaker” (Foundation) in the title, school picnics, Strassenfest, Hill Days, Taste of “insert location here,” and on and on and on. This past weekend on June 29th and 30th Pride St. Louis held their annual event for the first time in downtown St. Louis with an estimated attendance of over 125,000 souls. It was a huge milestone for the local LGBT community that shined a massive multi-colored spotlight on the city I love. It was moving and empowering and just plain fun.