The St. Louis Shag

March 11, 2008 at 8:01 pm | Posted in Matthew Hurst | 1 Comment
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We’ve stepped up to reporting on dance parties before, but you’ll forgive us if we ask our friends at Gateway Lindy Hop to lead this story.  Although our shag is one of Saint Louis’ more enduring legacies in the world of dance, St. Louis has a long history of record hops.  When we heard that a new record hop was about to begin in the Casa Loma Ballroom, the first of which has already taken place on Sunday the 2nd  of March.

So far the feedback makes the possibly recurring record party sound more alluring.  Guest DJ’s like Bob Reuter were on hand to do what radio DJ’s do best, and live music was provided by some of St. Louis’ finer rockabilly ensembles.  Even for those of us afraid to step up, dance lessons were available on the floor for free, although admission would have set you back $5 already.  We’ll keep the Highway 61 events Calendar updated for future dates of what looks to be a recurring dance party.

Extra Credit – Like what you see?  Check out the rest of Lori White’s photos from the record hop in her FlickR photostream.

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It’s easy being green

March 7, 2008 at 12:15 am | Posted in Environment, Events, Matthew Hurst, shopping | 2 Comments
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Full Disclosure: I drove a hydrocarbon-powered combustion engine automobile without carpooling to the StLouisGreen.com website launch party this last Thursday night.  But considering the long line of cars parked along West Park Avenue, and the relative absence of bikes chained in front of the Tarlton Corp building the party was being hosted in, I don’t think I was alone.  Clearly everyone was eager to embrace public transportation and maybe hug a couple trees.

StLouisGreen.com is a website that knows its limits, so instead of trying to correct our degenerative transportation infrastructure, StLouisGreen used it’s launch party to promote local bicycle businesses as a means of individual transportation.  A quick visit to their website, which 52nd City correctly observes had been up and running already, reveals a blog with some transportation tips and other ways to conserve energy and resources; now I know I should unplug my laptop and other devices with rechargeable batteries since they consume energy unnecessarily after they’re fully juiced. 

And when I say that StLouisGreen.com knows it’s limits, I mean that StLouisGreen doesn’t try to replace the Sierra Club, but instead promotes the local businesses that promote environmental sustainability and conservation.  Their website is a detailed resource that is simple to navigate, and they do all the hard research work so you don’t have to.  Best of all it connects us with some of those “green collar” jobs we keep hearing about on the election trail.  If you’re interested in going green but don’t have a green thumb like me, I would like to give the website a tentative (green) Thumbs Up.

As for that launch party – Because it was a social event in Saint Louis, green drinks of all kinds had to be involved; even AB was there serving recycling friendly aluminium bottle samples.  But instead of acting as a launch party to introduce the site, the night evolved into a well-catered networking event those entrepreneurs trying to make some green keeping the earth green, trading their business cards printed on recycled paper using biodegradable ink.  Also there was bluegrass music, which is it least partly green.  The website itself was projected in a side room, which made it easy to forget you were attending a party to launch the site and made for a surreal merging of the plugged-in and the homegrown.

Extra Credit: Check out the green features of the Tarlton building and see more of the website launch party in our FlickR photoset.

Asking Archy

February 28, 2008 at 1:48 am | Posted in Editorial, Matthew Hurst, Video | 2 Comments
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We’re getting really excited for the Lo-Fi Saint Louis Reset Party on March 8th; excited enough to write another post about the night.  But since it would be impolite to repeat ourselves, maybe it’d be more fun to share one of our favorite clips from LoFiSTL.com.  You might call it the official promo for Lo-Fi’s original launch party:

And then we remembered that Lo-Fi has had trouble in the past with off-site coping of their original work.  So we wondered if it was something in the name of the site that might make it hard remember to link back and give them credit, but it has never the less been a successful website.  So we asked the best source for answers on the Internet, Archy, if “does adding STL in your website name make you more successful?”  For some reason Archy didn’t have any answers.

Almost all of the more successful sites that focus on Saint Louis, or at least those without a major media outlet to launch them with, use the prefix “STL” in their title: LoFiSTL.com, InsideSTL.com, STLPunk.com, and even STLToday.com.  Television station KTVI even went so far as to rebrand their website under the moniker myFoxSTL.com.  That isn’t to say that “STL” is synonymous with great (or poor) content, and we can think of a few notable exceptions to this rule, only that websites with a local focus tend to gravitate towards using that prefix in their names to attract their civic minded readers.

This three letter prefix, which is nearly indecipherable to those from outside the metro area, has sufficed where other local references are rarely attempted.  That is to say why not use an area code or that giant monument in the middle of a park instead?  Saint Louis city alone has 78 neighborhoods, which in any other urban area would probably factor into a few website names.  You don’t see an ORDToday.com or UrbanReviewLAX.com from their respective communities, although to be fair the density of those metros might contribute to a greater neighborhood orientation.  Gabe Bullard says that Louisville in Kentucky treats their neighborhoods like we treat our high schools, with the same fierce rivalries; growing up in and around Saint Louis can be a bit disorienting.  I’m not even going to bother with the etymology of making an abbreviation out of an abbreviation.

Highway 61 (revised) is in the process of obtaining one of those .com names, but not without some name change.  Hwy61.com is even a site that sells domain names. 
We were kind of hoping to unveil our own new name and new look around the same time as the Reset Party, and a couple other notable blogs (without STL in their names no less) have made similar transitions lately.  As our site transitions from a blog back into an online magazine again, something as simple as remembering the address and what is going to be important.  So far our name is a big part of forming the identity of what our site has been about, but we wanted to ask our readers first, especially since Archy doesn’t seem to have any answers for us – Just what’s in a name anyway?

Press Reset

February 25, 2008 at 7:03 pm | Posted in Concert, Events, Matthew Hurst, Video | 2 Comments
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When you’re performing music in front of a crowd and you’re not sure which chord to play next you can’t press the reset button and start again from the beginning. But that’s exactly what local favorites The Helium Tapes and The 75s will assist in the process of during the Lo-Fi Saint Louis Reset Party. 

Considering the relative mystery surrounding last moth’s announcement of LoFi’s indefinite hiatus, which neatly coincided with their being a featured podcast on iTunes, everyone was asking what Saint Louis’ favorite son (albeit in terms of video podcasting) was going to do next.  All questions will be answered on Saturday March 8th at 8pm when Bill Streeter and friends show off their new look in the Mad Art Gallery.

Here’s how Bill Streeter put it in an e-mail he sent:

…As you may or may not know I took a little time off at the beginning of this year to revamp and rethink some of the things I’ve been doing with LO-FI. I also wanted to make some time to do some other projects, and generally just recharge my creative batteries. So I’m getting anxious to get things rolling again. And to promote the fact that I’m back with LO-FI (on March 1st) I wanted to throw a party. So you are invited to attend the RESET PARTY on March 8th (Saturday) at 8pm at the Mad Art Gallery. I’ve booked some great bands to play and there will also be some video and other entertainment. All the details can be found here. So I really hope to see you there!

Highway 61 (revised) also has some good news to celebrate, so we hope to celebrate with our friends as well at that party.  And don’t forget to RSVP with your favorite source, be it Myspace, Upcoming, or the Facebook, because there are no do-overs for reservations in spite of the party’s name.

There will be Oscars, Juno

February 24, 2008 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Film Student Fridays, Matthew Hurst, Movies, the loop | Comments Off on There will be Oscars, Juno
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Film is magic.  I’m not just saying this as a film student either.  Rather there is something special about this medium that attracts storytellers and magicians to try their hands at daft illusions.  The stories that can be told through this form affects us differently psychologically than any other method.  That being said, there is a big difference in storytelling that’s easy to over look; film goers sit in a dark room silently and begin to suspend their sense of disbelief as to what is happening on screen in a subjective environment.

Unlike any other medium, this magical form forces us to have a solitary experience.  So why then should millions of people celebrate this art form alone in their living rooms?  Cinema St. Louis is offering an alternative this Sunday February 24th with an Oscar party of their own.  Starting at 6pm you can join the festivities (for a cost), or at 7:30pm you can join other film fans on a budget (for FREE) downstairs for free in the Pageant.  More information is available on that event’s webpage.

Record, release, and Party!

February 22, 2008 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Concert, Matthew Hurst, music | 1 Comment
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75s cd release flyerWith one foot firmly in the past and the other foot stepping forward, local phenomenom The 75’s are already releasing their first record, “Extra Fancy”, in style with a party this Saturday night (February 23rd).  And I say in the past very deliberately, because it remains a good possibility that as this flyer alludes to (conciously or not) you may someday get the same blank looks when you mention a Compact Disc in the future (but they might instictively know what a vinyl record is).

Formats aside it’s sure that this genre-bending Rock’N’Roll group has something to celebrate even without the CD release.  Since their first show a half year ago, lovingly documented by LoFiSTL, the band has arisen quick as one of Saint Louis’ most unique and catchiest bands.  You can start to understand their appeal by reading Mike Appelstein’s interview with the band in the Riverfront Times, or you could come out Saturday night and keep yourself entertained from 9pm until it’s closing time (around 1am). 

That priveledge will only set you back a $5 cover charge, for which you’ll recieve aural enjoyment from the likes of The Blind Eyes, Kentucky Knife Fight, and of course The 75s themselves.  But you’ll probably want to bring a little extra change for a cold beverage. Or at least bring $7 to buy a copy of your host’s recorded likenesses, for which the night’s coronation is being held at Lemmon’s in south Saint Louis.

Of course you already knew about this show, because you’re subscribed to the Highway 61 (revised) calendar.  I promise I keep plugging it for a reason (because you can use it, and we did the work for you).

SuperFat Tuesday (and the Hangover)

February 6, 2008 at 2:21 am | Posted in Illinois, KWMU, Matthew Hurst, Media, politics, stl | 1 Comment
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bush-barcardi-gras

With apologies to Antonio French*: 

Super Tuesday– Barack Obama and John McCain win Missouri and Illinois primaries.  Wayne Root wins Missouri Libertarain primary, and Cynthia McKinney wins Illinois Green Party primary.

Fat Tuesday– Mardi Gras parade canceled due to inclement weather.  Ash Wednesday imminent.

Watch Party– Missouri, Webster Groves, and The Royale featured on NPR’s All Things Considered.  George W Bush still President.

Keep down with politics (or at least parties) on Highway 61 (Revised)*

Watching Parties

February 5, 2008 at 12:25 am | Posted in Matthew Hurst, politics | 2 Comments
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As if there weren’t enough poltical blogs writing about the same contest today, Highway 61 also implores you to participate in Tuesday’s Super-Flabergasting primaries for the Presidential contest in Illinois and Missouri.  And if only because we suspect you’ve read enough commentary on the contest today, we’re extending an invitation to all of our readers who are poltical junkies (like me) to vote with their cocktails for a watch party.

Besides our endorsement of this otherwise non-partisan poltical party, you can cheer on you favorite cannidate along with other polsters, pundits, hacks, and lobbyists in public.  So if you’re not predisposed like many of our friends at the Obama watch party in the Moolah Theater, who I’m sure would gladly invite their Republican friends as well, you can always be Drinking Liberally with the Young Democrats at the Royale this Tuesday night at the Royale. But if you take our credibility as high in reguard (and who could blame you), you can always take Steve Smith’s endorsement, which went a little like this:

Citizen voters of any party and those non-citizens with political interest are welcome to watch the results. We will be running specials $2 Miller High Life (ha ha) and complimentary appetizers for voters between 7-9. Miss Emily Walker will be providing the soundtrack for the evening with Roboto Cobra to round out the evening.

And is is thusly, with free appetizers and PBR-substitutions, that Highway 61 has little choice but to endorse The Royale for Super Tuesday party for the Missouri and Illinois primary.  And if you’d rather be seen than watch, Bill Streeter has also endorsed the festivites will be broadcasting at the party live for The Uptake as the results roll in.  I like to watch (lol), and if you do too we hope you recount your options tonight.

A first poll, at last…

January 3, 2008 at 1:54 am | Posted in Matthew Hurst, Media | 4 Comments
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Primary season can seem a little lonely for those of us who are political junkies, in part because outside of DC, Iowa, and New Hampshire few other folks share our passion or needless understanding of the 15% rule in a caucus.  Indeed most years our breed are glued to our respective internet and television screens awaiting election returns, basking in the solitary glow of the monitor.  But you need not spend another election night alone, since The Royale will be host to the Young Democrats caucus party in which they’ll have their own drunken mock vote.

Not that you need to know much about the caucus process or be a card carrying Democrat (did any party ever hand out cards?).  I’d imagine even some Republicans are welcome to organize their own caucus mock-up tomorrow night starting around 8pm in this Tower Grove South hang-out frequented by the liberal elite of St. Louis.  As for us political junkies, unless you carry a certain fondness for C-SPAN (who usually put camera crews in the middle of sample caucus returns), you’re going to want to check out this shindig on Wednesday, January 3rd.  Quite frankly the whole idea of a caucus isn’t all that different from an actual party, especially in the case of the Democrats system. 

Just like a party people arrive at the event and quickly organize themselves into socially aligned clusters, and should some groups seem insufficiently popular (say less than 15% of the *ahem* party), they get a chance to make the rounds at the event and try out a second choice of groups.  You can come for the party, and stick around for the perks Iowans can’t enjoy – like non-judgmental stares and booze onsite.  But mostly because it’s a party, and we’re all invited; that’s democracy if I ever heard of it.

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