Friday, October 21, 2016


Late post today. These 11-12 hour workdays gotta stop.

Anyway, the title means hello or good day in Japanese. The St. Louis Art Museum has a special exhibition going on called Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan. I think the beginning of the title is a pun. It's about art, propaganda and illustration during Japan's military conflicts from the 19th Century to World War II.

The museum held an event recently with Japanese-themed activities. These women are preparing for a folk dancing demonstration. I thought it was a bit staid but those gorgeous kimonos and the crimson obis with a dash of yellow at the back were stunning.             

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Two true river stories:

1.  When I was a senior in high school in The Bronx in the spring of 1967, I had made the decision to go to St. Louis University (heaven knows why). Hanging around the school library, I pick up a then-popular folk music magazine called Sing Out. My eye was caught by a column by the blues harmonica player Tony "Little Sun" Glover. The title was Ten Best Things To Do When You Got The Blues. At the end of the list, Number 1 said piss in the Mississippi. It'll give you a feeling of immortality. So as soon as I got here... 

2.  Many years ago Mrs. C and I visited Varanasi, India, what the Brits used to call Benares. It's the holiest city in Hinduism. A guide took us to the banks of the Ganges before dawn. He hired a little rowboat and gave us each a waxed paper cup with a tiny candle. As we floated out into the stream the sun rose over the opposite bank. The idea was to send your candle down the Ganges and say a prayer. I thought of my children.

Each year Artica has a parade down to the edge of the Mississippi. People do their own version of the same thing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Truer Words Were Never Spoken

There was a group at Artica making an artistic statement about how all of us - and perhaps all things - are interwoven. The sign says "We are all connected in some way." You know the question that has been put in many different forms: if a butterfly in Africa beats its wings, does it affect the weather in Topeka? Yes, but perhaps invisibly.

They marched in the festival's parade carrying a great length of many fabrics tied together. There were long balls of yarn unfolded among its segments. Point well taken.   

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I Could See This At The Whitney

Need some filler. This was inside the ruins of the Cotton Belt Building. I noticed what seemed to be a burst of railroad ties through a busted out doorway. It looks like something you might see at The Whitney in New York.                  

Monday, October 17, 2016


As the fire at the end of Artica slowly died, the spectators formed a circle and walked or danced around it. In the end there were just embers and the eerie illuminated fin atop the Four Seasons Hotel floating above them.          

Sunday, October 16, 2016


Artica ends with a bonfire on Sunday night. It is usually some kind of human figure, like at Burning Man. It's been an angel recently. This year the artists and carpenters who make the structure collapsed the form into a circle and lattice, incorporating the angel's wings into the structure and spray painted onto the front.

It's interesting to observe the stages of the pyre: wings of fire growing into a disk, engulfing the whole structure until it collapses among the viewers.  

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Let's Do This

First, an aside. It seems that three-year-old Madeleine can't figure out the difference between Donald Duck and Donald Trump. When she sees the bewigged politician on TV she points at him and squeals "Donald Duck! Donald Duck!" And, you know, I think she's on to something. Close your eyes and listen to both of them...  

Anyway, back inside the ruins of the Cotton Belt Railway Terminal. Our industrial ruins can't hold a candle to Detroit's (anyone ever seen Naqoyqatsi?) but this is a pretty good example of the genre. Maybe someone is trying to do something with it. That's a utility bucket sold by a national hardware and home remodeling store.