Give Peter and the starcather a miss at the Rep

We have season tickets to the Rep which is supposed to be one of the better theaters in St. Louis, though I prefer St Louis Actor’s Studio at the Gaslight. Last night we saw Peter and the starcatcher. The play was a bit ridiculous, the premise entertaining – a prequel to the wonderful Peter Pan. But what bothered me the most was except for two women, one with a leading role, this was a boy’s show, mostly a white boy’s show. There were two cross-dressed characters, so there could have been more females. There were a few hispanics if you go by the names in the program, but no African American actors that I could tell. It is no wonder we have and need and enjoy The Black Rep.

If you could get past the idea that this was yet another boys club, the acting was good, sometimes funny, always energetic. I liked the sheets as water best. I’ll simply be watching for the rest of the season. If it stays theater for white boys, I’ll take my season tickets somewhere else next year. After all, this is St. Louis. We have lots of talented actors that will make everyone feel a bond. Just look at the great work down on Boyle St. by St. Louis Actor’s Studio, or the Black Rep.

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The gentle touch of yoga

DDSC09074o you start your day agitated by what you have heard on the radio, or calmed by the measured sound of your own breath? That breath will be with you all day long, waiting for you to return to its mindfulness. It is a ready snack of reason that is always available.

There is a balance between aloneness and togetherness, between solitude and sociality. We need both in different proportions. We need to be mindful of the power of each. There is a kind of yoga that lets us come together yet practice to our own breath, Mysore Ashtanga. Find it in the morning, here in St. Louis with Kim Spearmon, expertly guiding just south of Forest Park at1015 McCausland, Pilates plus Yoga.

DSC09077We may breathe alone under Kim’s eye, but feel her gentle touch guiding us towards physical unity with our breath. We remember her hands as we flow into position, ever more accurate and strong. And we wait for the breath.

Fridays are led classes, reminding us for our individual practice, in a group, yet solitary. If you are unsure, Friday would be a good day to start, but Kim will help any day at all!

So come on St. Louis! Get on down to yoga class! It is 6:30 AM, but you can do it!

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Did you miss the Riverfront Times Iron Fork event?

Food, great food, from all of the best restaurants in St. Louis and across the river, organized by the Riverfront Times. In all, 38 restaurants if the page is to be believed. We took the Metro to the Union Station stop, lamented the glorious station that is no more. For a great train station we would have to go to Kansas City or Chicago. But we did not. We admired the great metal girders still remaining, and followed the streaming crowds from Metro into the belly of the remaining building, moving smoothly among the hordes into the hotel ballrooms.

The food, tiny plates, was unlimited. Drinks were limited to three, but water cost extra, three dollars extra! I wasn’t in a drinking mood, so shelled out for the water. Maybe I should have chosen otherwise. For without the edge of consciousness removed, it seemed like huge crowds clustered with little order but much good humor. Some food stalls had lines that snaked half way across the ballroom. The food, removed from its ambience might as well have been squeezed out of those toothpaste tubes astronauts once used.

One could not hope for balance as each restaurant showed off a single item. Meat, salt, and fat were the most common tastes. Perhaps most honest was a booth giving out unadorned squares of bacon, maybe an inch across. Others had ribs, sausages, pulled pork, raw fish, cooked scallops, or the occasional cake on a stick or bread pudding, toasted ravioli.

I only tried maybe ten places, so I could not honestly say what was the best. I missed all the tacos because of the lines. But one booth stood out for delicate flavoring, crawfish detectable as crustaceans, and  a surprising fire to the broth. The rice this etouffe was over was also great. So Kitchen Sink got my vote and I’ll have to hunt it down and try it with space to talk to my friends, free water, and a bit of ambience.

We left a bit early, all meated out. Three of the four possible trains went by before ours came, but even so the wait wasn’t too long. St. Louis, I know you have great food. This is not the way to discover it. Or maybe I just wasn’t inebriated enough.

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St. Louis, finally we have great 6:30 AM Mysore Ashtanga Yoga!

Centered breathing, focused gaze, tightened core, and ordered movements are one of the best ways to start the day. This is what Mysore Ashtanga yoga is all about. For me it was one of the last pieces to fall into place for a balanced life in St. Louis after I left wonderful Houston. When the legendary Kim Spearmon moved to the studio on McCausland and Clayton and moved her class to 6:30 AM, I was more than ready to join.


Kim Spearmon, always smiling, legendary teacher

I could tell you what is special about independent practice with Mysore yoga, nicely balanced with a led class on Fridays. I could tell you how great Kim is, with her gentle, kind leadership and attentive adjustments. This is a yoga you can embrace at all levels, including my own stiff, inflexible, unbalanced one.

Here’s the schedule for this place, with Kim in the early morning spot. I hope to see you there! Come in with mind all a jumble, breathing disordered. Leave in peace, abs naturally tightened, ready to make the most of your day.

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The Ride down Mount Morgan, worth seeing at the Gaslight Theater after dinner at WEGAP

My vote for the coziest place in St. Louis is the West End Grill and Pub, followed by theater next door if the St. Louis Actor’s Studio is playing, as it was tonight in the show that just opened, The ride down Mt. Morgan, by Arthur Miller.

What if two women, their children and their husbands live happy and affluent lives? OK, they may be shallow now and then. There may be doubts, but contented, even happy are their lives. If this goes on for nearly a decade with no problem, why should it matter that they find out they are actually married to the same guy, someone who just can’t make up his mind except to realize he wants both. Do we agree with the protagonist that nothing should change with the knowledge? Are the women shrill to care that they share? How about their kids? Where does the shiver of death come from? Who needs a lawyer?

These are the issues Arthur Miller addresses in this 1991 play, expertly performed by the St. Louis Actor’s Studio at the Gaslight. It fits perfectly with this season’s theme, Sins of the Father. The acting was excellent, the set sublimely minimal, the audience packed. It could not have been better. If there were flaws, I would lay them on Arthur Miller. It felt a tad repetitive. The women could have had more nuanced and even cynical reactions. But it was a play that made you think a bit, perhaps about honesty, indecision, what is right and what is not. My favorite character was the elderly Canadian nurse who said she took delight ice fishing with her husband and her son while they discussed their new shoes, or so she told her patient.

Oh, and the chick pea soup and trout were delicious. Dave got the famous steak sandwich, also wonderful.


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Table, a restaurant serving food, heavily salted

Did you ever go to a restaurant in the evening and find that the next morning you had gained three pounds? Guess what? You didn’t. You simply are salt overloaded and carrying around the water it retains. Your weight will be back to normal after a day or so.

Sometimes I feel like the only honest restaurant in St. Louis was Salt, now closed. At least it was up front about the problem with the fancy restaurants I have visited here, a real contrast to those in Houston. These problems are too much salt and too much fat, no matter what you order.

Last night we dined at Table. I guess St. Louis goes in for the simple names. We are in job candidate interviewing season at Wash U, so will be dining out a fair amount in the next few weeks. Table originally had the concept of everyone eating together. I like that idea, though couldn’t imagine how it would work with a job candidate. Not to worry, we had our own table.

I ordered the onion soup, the vegetarian hash, and the chocolate pudding, and tried the biscuit, the mac and cheese, and the cake. It all tasted fine, though the soup was tepid and the vegetarian hash needed help. I chose hot sauce. But there was that salt factor, easy to taste, and easy to see the effects the next day on the scales.

Also, this chef has some attitude. One person in our party did not want a soft sunny side up egg in the hash, but wanted the egg cooked hard. It is what any microbiologist should want. The chef refused, saying the soft egg was what bound the hash together. The chef did agree a substitution of a deviled egg, but insisted it be served earlier. Whatever. By the way, the single soft egg was insufficient to sauce up the hash. Yelp also had a review that said the chef refused to cook two eggs over hard for someone’s kids at breakfast. What gives?

A couple hours after we got home my husband had severe digestive upset. I had a gurgly queasy feeling that never quite got to the eruption stage. Was it the tepid soup? Was it the runny egg? Unlikely for the latter since my husband only had a small taste of my hash. Of course with everything that is going around right now it could have been something entirely different.

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Should female ginkgos be illegal?

IMG_1843A golden carpet greeted me by the library as I walked to my office in Wilson. The ginkgo leaves had fallen all at once in Monday night’s hard freeze. We have an entire plaza of ginkgos there, glistening like yellow snow. But not one of these trees is female.

Did you know some trees have different sexes? The are called dioecious. IMG_1835I suppose you could say humans are dioecious, but I won’t trouble you with any more botanical sex.

To see a female ginkgo, you have to walk down the Wash U steps towards Forest Park. Stay on the home side of Lindell and a few houses down are a couple of female trees. The odoriferous fruits crush under our feet. I wondered if they are edible. Apparently the nuts are, but getting into them is laborious.

IMG_1839I learned of ginkgos as a child. I learned that the species we have now is the only one left of an ancient plant group. I thought they were incredibly rare and saved ginkgo leaves in my childhood diary. But soon enough I learned that this species, Ginkgo biloba is not so rare. I still feel it is special. Its medicinal qualities may be important, or so the Mayo Clinic implies.

Female ginkgos are not popular in cities. Their fruit ferments. Their round nuts trip people. They leave a mauve slime on the pavement. But should they be illegal?IMG_1848

Before the day was out, my illustrious university had sucked up the shimmering carpet of rich leaves. I’ll try not to take any message about the complete lack of female trees.

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