By Lynn Venhaus

Local Spotlight: The Wall

Truck Centers is sponsoring the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Vietnam Memorial Wall in Troy, Ill.

It will be open to the public from Thursday, Oct. 20, at 5 p.m. (opening ceremony 5:45 p.m.) until Sunday, Oct. 23, at 1 p.m., on the grounds of the TCI Training Center.  It will be accessible 24 hours a day with online name locator resources, and a locator booth will be available daily between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The traveling wall is an 80% scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC. It is 8′ tall, spans 360 ft. in length, and is the largest traveling tribute in the nation.

My friends in the Flagman’s Mission are placing American flags on the ground before the exhibit opens and will take them down Sunday. For more information or to volunteer, visit their Facebook page.

Joan Lipkin, 1989

On Stage: Reunion of first LGBTQ+ Theatre Performed in Missouri

One Night Only! Tonight from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum. It’s free.

Before there was Ellen or Will & Grace, there was “Some of My Best Friends Are,” the 1989 landmark production by Joan Lipkin and Tom Clear that was the first LGBTQ+ theatre done in Missouri.

It was also before marriage equality, the Missouri Sexual Misconduct Law was repealed or LGBTQ+ people could serve openly in the military. And in the midst of all this, the AIDS epidemic was raging.

Yet in the basement theatre of a United Church of Christ congregation, the St. Marcus on Russell, they put on a musical theatre revue that sold out every performance, attracted very diverse audiences and was voted Best Play of the Year by the Riverfront Times. By turns scathingly funny and poignant, it changed the cultural landscape in St Louis.

They will perform some of the original numbers and scenes. Members of the original cast expected to be on hand include Kate Durbin, Bill Ebbesmeyer, Terry Meddows, Steve Milloy, Mary Schnitzler, and Christy Simmons. Larry Pressgrove is music director, and Joan will emcee.

Happy Hour starts at 5:30 p.m. and the stage comes alive at 6:30 p.m., with songs, skits, and some reminiscing by both cast and audience.

Here’s a piece with Joan in St Louis Magazine:

https://www.stlmag.com/culture/theater/joan-lipkin-some-of-my-best-friends-are-missouri-history-museum/

Amy Schumer

TV: Inside Amy Schumer

Tonight is the Season 5 premiere of the comedian’s award-winning show (9 p.m. Comedy Central and Paramount +). There haven’t been new episodes since 2016. Tonight, Ellie Kemper, Olivia Munn and Jesse Williams are among the guest stars in this blend of sketch comedy,vignettes, stand-up and man-on-the-street interviews. Here’s the trailer:

https://youtu.be/9czJbkBKnoU

Playlist: Day-O!

In 1955, Harry Belafonte recorded “Day-O” (Banana Boat Song). This Jamaican folk song became his signature song, and is an example of popular calypso music at the time. It hwas been covered many times, and is featured in a very funny sequence in Tim Burton’s movie “Beetlejuice.”


On This Day in St. Louis

Eighteen years ago today, Jimmy Edmonds hit that 12th inning home run to put the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series for the first time since 1987!

What a shot! What a game!

Of course, we were then swept by the Boston Red Sox. Getting that postseason monkey off their back. But after ’04 we had some very good years, including World Series championships in 2006 and 2011.

#cardinalnation

Word: HUAC

On this date in 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee began nine days of hearings into alleged Communist propaganda and influence in the Hollywood motion picture industry.

“In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me – and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

Pastor Martin Niemoller, Dachau, 1944

And Some Weekend Happenings, Too

By Lynn Venhaus

Video: “Night of the Living Dead”

Criterion Collection

It’s that time of year for spooky movies, and “Night of the Living Dead,” shot outside Pittsburgh on a shoestring budget and released in 1968, has now been released through the Criterion Collection. There’s a 4K USD disc of the film and two Blu-rays with the film and special features.

The film’s zombie plot and the guerilla filmmaking are part of film lore. Now a horror master, George A. Romero directed and co-wrote with John A. Russo this landmark indie, at first relegated to midnight movie bookings but became a box office hit and is considered one of the most influential films of all-time.

The story is a simple one about a group of strangers trapped in a farmhouse find themselves battling recently dead flesh-eaters. Romero’s claustrophobic vision of a late 1960s America, along with his social commentary, changed the horror genre. He also broke ground casting black actor Duane Jones in the leading role.

For more info on all the extras, read: https://onvideo.org/criterion-collection-october-releases-3/

To read insights from Film School Rejects, visit this site: https://filmschoolrejects.com/26-things-we-learned-from-the-night-of-the-living-dead-commentary-1f0ef17cda1e/

Wilco


Music: Wilco “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Wilco has reissued its masterpiece “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”

Here’s the versions: https://wilco-reissue-store.com/

Now considered a “Chicago group,” we all know they started here in St. Louis, and Jeff Tweedy grew up in Belleville.

For more on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, check this out: https://www.thisisdig.com/jeff-tweedy-on-wilcos-yankee-hotel-foxtrot-reissue/

Food: Four Fall Inspired Flavors at Clementine’s Creamery

Mexican Hot Chocolate has rich dark chocolate, cinnamon, smoky heat from chipotle, and a touch of Tuaca. In the Naughty section.

Orange Ghoulius is a creamsicle-like ice cream made with orange juice and cream and laden with house-made colorful Halloween pretzel crisps.

Pumpkin Toffee Cake consists of natural pumpkin ice cream with warm notes of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and sprinkled with bits of toffee for added crunch and sweetness.

Vegan Boo-Berries is bursting with blueberries! It is a creation with bubbling baked blueberries and sprinkled with a crispy gluten-free crumble of rolled oats.

As participants in the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month giveback organized by STL Wine Girl, 15% of all pint sales of Vegan Boo-Berries will be donated to @thewomenssafehousestl through the month of October.

For more information, visit www.clementinescreamery.com

Theatre: Something’s Rotten

Must-see at New Line Theatre, Thursdays through Saturdays now through Oct. 15 at The Marcelle. Really fun show! Regional professional premiere. Here is my review:

https://www.poplifestl.com/new-line-theatres-crisp-something-rotten-is-fresh-fun-and-frisky/

New Line’s “Something Rotten!” Photo by Jill Ritter Lindberg.

Today’s Trailer: Action-Romantic Comedy “Shotgun Wedding”

Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel star as an engaged couple at a destination wedding, and the guests are taken hostage by criminals. This rom-com comes out on Prime Video on Jan. 27, 2023. Amazon dropped the trailer yesterday.


Playlist: “Faith” George Michael

On this date in 1987, George Michael released the single, “Faith,” which went on to become the Billboard Song of the Year in 1988. It was from his debut solo album of the same name, released on Oct. 30, 1987, which is one of the best-selling albums of all time having sold over 25 million copies worldwide. The album won several awards, including Album of the Year, at the 31st Grammy Awards.

Cardinal Nation: Wild Card Games this weekend

Tickets are on sale for the Wild Card games, which are set for Friday afternoon and Saturday night at Busch Stadium, and if needed, Sunday night.

Friday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies will be on ABC at 1:07 p.m. and Saturday’s game is set for 7:37 on ESPN2.

Weekend Happenings:

Belleville Chili Cook-off Friday and Saturday
Main Street, downtown square

For more than 39 years, the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce has hosted the Annual Chili Cook-off and has grown to over 50 vendors – individuals, local organizations, and area businesses.

Haunted Garage Horror Festival Oct. 7-9, Westport Playhouse

Last year’s Best of Fest, “Fresh Hell,” will screen on Friday evening. Who will take home this year’s Golden Piston Awards?

For a complete line-up of the fun and fright that awaits this weekend on the 40-foot screen at the renovated Westport Playhouse, read on:

https://www.hauntedgaragehorrorfest.com/

To hear more from fest founder Franki Cambeletta, listen to the PopLifeSTL.com Presents Podcast with co-hosts Lynn Venhaus and Carl “The Intern” Middleman:

Word: She’s got Bette Davis Eyes

“Without wonder and insight, acting is just a trade. With it, it becomes creation.” – Bette Davis

One of the legendary Hollywood stars of the golden era, Bette Davis died on Oct. 6, 1989, at age 81. She made over 100 movies during her 60-year career, won two Academy Awards and the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award in 1977. Ruth Elizabeth Davis was born in Lowell, Mass., on April 5, 1908

Looking for a way to celebrate Albert Pujols’ 700th career home run in high style?

Bring your baseball-loving friends to The St. Louis Wheel at Union Station, which will offer a special deal that hits all the right numbers.  

The first 700 guests the day after Albert’s record-setting 700 career home runs  will ride The Wheel for just $5. (Tickets are normally $15.)

The 200-foot-tall observation wheel’s 42 gondolas are kept at a comfortable 72 degrees all year. Riders will get a 20-mile view of the St. Louis skyline from the top of the popular attraction.

The Wheel is open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily.

The St. Louis Wheel is located at St. Louis Union Station, 201 S. 18th St., St. Louis, MO 63103. www.thestlouiswheel.com; @stlouiswheelpark and  @unionstationstl on social media.

Photo provided by Union Station. MLB Pujols Graphic

By Lynn Venhaus

1964 was a memorable year for Americans. Still reeling from President Kennedy’s assassination, an escalating war in Vietnam and civil rights struggles, the U.S. was on the cusp of enormous change.

For teenage St. Louisans like Joe Hanrahan, it was an eventful time, especially that summer. The four lads from Liverpool rocked their world and they were ecstatic about the big bang of the British Invasion. The hometown Cards would make a mad dash for the pennant and face the Yankees in the World Series. And the coolest of the cool, Sean Connery as super-spy 007, was back on the big screen.

Hanrahan, a gifted storyteller, weaves his boyhood obsessions about baseball, The Beatles and James Bond into an entertaining and heartfelt amalgamation he wrote, titled “Now Playing Third Base for the St. Louis Cardinals…Bond, James Bond.”

His memory play, presented by The Midnight Company, will evoke a sense of being there. Vividly capturing a moment in time, you can visualize a dusty ballfield, neighborhood buddies and their equal passions for rooting for the hometown team and going to the movies.

These are the quintessential boys of summer. Joe, who played baseball in four different leagues, recalls his carefree days playing pick-up ball with his pals and nights selling soda and popcorn at Sportsman’s Park..

Hanrahan, who has performed his share of quirky one-man shows over the past decade, walks down a memory lane that other generations can relate to – not just Baby Boomers. He originally wrote the show for the 2018 St. Louis Fringe Festival, and then expanded it beyond that festival’s one-hour time limit for this new presentation.

It is one of his most accessible works, and he’s completely at home on the intimate stage at The Chapel.

He draws us in by creating a specific sense of place, and how what was happening socially, politically and athletically affected these kids growing up in the city, as the ‘Lou was dynamically changing too.

And being teenage boys, enamored with a friend’s spirited recounting the entire experience of seeing the second Ian Fleming adaptation, “From Russia with Love,” the night before at the air-cooled Maplewood Theatre, is a major focus of this play. Rich in details, it’s riveting, as Hanrahan acts out the reminiscence, using Connery’s suave and debonaire demeanor, the beauty of Daniella Bianchi, and the exciting triumph over Spectre.

While Hanrahan showcases his raconteur skills, he offers copious amounts of interesting details – of the segregation issues across America, how Gussie Busch, who took over ownership of the Cardinals in 1953, led the way in integrating the team. Our Hall of Famers Bob Gibson and Lou Brock joined Ken Boyer, Dick Groat, Curt Flood, Julian Javier, Bill White and a young Mike Shannon in defeating the all-white Yankees dynasty in seven games.

Looking back, it was a seminal moment in American history, and Hanrahan credits David Halberstam’s book, “October 1964,” for the insight into race issues in Major League Baseball.

Hanrahan doesn’t shy away from mentioning the developing racial tensions and progress here either.

The reflections are palpable. He expresses the joys of a halcyon youth 57 years ago with panache, taking us back to the days of hi-fis playing 45s of “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Please Please Me” – the Beatles scored the top five positions on the Billboard Top 40 singles in America, an unprecedented achievement. Or the LP “Meet the Beatles,” which Joe hijacked from his sister.

The production is deftly directed by Shane Signorino, who has worked with Hanrahan before.

Video designer Michael B. Perkins has enhanced the one-man show with a cultural panoply of the sights and sounds of the day – the Fab Four, MLB players and the front office brass, and snippets of the Bond movie.

It’s a clever multi-media presentation. Kevin Bowman also provides crisp production and lighting design.

While he threads a boy’s look back, Hanrahan delivers dollops of theatrical wisdom. It is, after all, a work of theater – with drama and comedy.

A bonus is a magazine cover display in the lobby, courtesy of Redbirds fan George Venegoni.

Hanrahan has linked the time it was in an engaging way, guaranteed to produce smiles on a warm St. Louis summer night.

The show runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., July 8 through July 24, and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on July 25, at The Chapel, 6238 Alexander. For more information: midnightcompany.com. Tickets available at metrotix.com.