Starbucks may be returning to the very space from which it departed almost three years ago. But first, just where is the most popular Starbucks location in the Lou? Depends on who and where you ask, and how fast they have to drive to get wherever they’re going. The drive-thru model may work for some. For us, the closest store to get a pricey mocha venti (my typical order, with whole milk—half and half when I’m feeling especially naughty vis-à-vis my diet) is on the corner of North & South and Delmar in U. City. Here’s some very good news for any and all Wydown walkers with a caffeine, um, affinity: The former company-owned Starbucks on the prominent corner of Hanley and Wydown, closed since 2021—was it COVID-related, or just another annoying, invariably unannounced and sudden corporate downsizing?—could reopen as a franchise location as soon as this summer! Yippee! It was one of the coolest locations in Clayton to see and be seen, especially outside, with a cup of artisanal brew. Cost? Around $5. Anyhow, here’s one last opportunity to name-drop U. City in this Clayton item: Many lament the demise of the unique coffee shop (and bicycle store!) on the mysteriously haunted corner of Jackson and Pershing—where restaurants go to die—Cursed Bikes & Coffee. Alas, that establishment was also a great place to just hang out. It’s a pity that it apparently has succumbed to the curse of that forsaken corner.

the metro
A bit of a procrastinator, I didn’t hunt for the special glasses we used for the total eclipse in August 2017 until two days before the April 8 solar disappearance. I just knew they were in a certain drawer, but of course, they weren’t. Who’s to say, however, that their protective coating would have held up over seven years? I was terrified of frying my eyeballs last time, and it was 100% totality way back when. So, when the morning of eclipse day arrived, I found myself glasses-less. Cate had put the kibosh on my leaving her alone with our elderly pooch for several hours while I drove to Red Bud, Illinois, and into the glorious path of totality. Around 1:30 p.m., I ventured outside to see neighbors on both sides of the street in lawn chairs, peering upward. Carolyn, our neighbor across the sidewalk, was cross-legged on a blanket with both a pair of glasses and a colander to create dozens of tiny eclipse shadows. Cute. She said she’d lend me her glasses for a peep, but I went back inside, cursing myself for having put off preparation ‘until tomorrow.’ Fast forward to 1:55 p.m. Light and shadows had gotten, well, weird. Meanwhile, mysteriously, a fresh pair of eclipse glasses was sitting on our patio chair. ‘MO Eclipse’ was printed on the front, St. Louis Science Center and James S. McDonnell Planetarium printed on either side, along with the correct date—no fried eyeballs! Ben across the street, who’d bought a whole bunch extra, distributed them among the neighborhood procrastinators. Major dude, I’ll tell you. So’s my friend Brent, who drove back country roads to Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. He knew better than to risk the L.A.-style traffic tie-up he expected to and from southern Missouri along I-55. Indeed, an untold number of frustrated drivers pulled onto the shoulder to watch. In any event, I promise not to write any more such celestial yarns until just before the next total eclipse darkens the earth on Aug. 23, 2044—but nowhere near here. Only some of Saskatchewan, Montana and the Dakotas will experience totality.

Burton Cummings. That’s a name that even the most musically savvy Boomer might have right on the tip of their tongue, but just can’t pull up its relevance from their squishy grey database. Cummings was vocalist for a band that had plenty of hits in Billboard magazine’s Top 40 in the 1960s and ’70s and is a few years younger than Mick Jagger—even your grandkids probably know who Jagger is. Give up? It’s a Canadian band whose biggest hit, ironically, was “American Woman.” The song spent three weeks at No. 1 in the spring of 1970. Guess who? Indeed. The Guess Who recorded many songs that might even be KSHE Klassics today. Plus, IMHO, Cummings is better-looking and has a better singing voice than Jagger. Enough trivia for you? OK, Boomer: Cummings is a-coming to The Factory in Chesterfield on Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. If you haven’t had the chance to fully appreciate his voice, give his 1976 solo hit “Stand Tall” a spin, a stream or whatever you typically do to hear music. You can find a lip-synced version of the original recording if you Google his name and the song title, so you don’t even have to visit the ad-infested world of YouTube. Its chorus is anthemic. Then, if you’re curious about The Guess Who and want to hear some more great vocals from Cummings, other hits include “Undun,” “These Eyes,” “Share the Land” and “Star Baby.” I’m giving away my vintage again, but here goes anyway: “No Time” was one of the first three 45 RPM vinyl singles I ever bought, in 1970. If any of this wets your whistle, visit for more info about the venue (it’s a great space) and event. You’re welcome.

notable neighbors
webster groves
A ‘serious’ musician herself, pianist Nina Ferrigno comes from a musical family, and if musical excellence runs in the genes, her father gifted her a heavy dose of aptitude, and she has since passed plenty on to both of her children. Ferrigno started piano lessons at the ripe old age of 9, coming by it honestly: Her dad is a jazz pianist and classical composer. Her daughter, Ava, 21, is a violinist; her son, Zach, 18, plays the bass trombone in a jazz setting. Ferrigno teaches at Webster and Washington universities; she’s head of keyboard study at Webster. This June, as executive director of Missouri Chamber Music Festival, which is to mark its 14th anniversary, Ferrigno and her compatriots will perform at three StL locations. “Game Changers and the Music of Our Surroundings,” the theme for the rich program, is bookended by a free opening reception June 6 at Mildred Kemper Lane Art Museum at Wash. U., and the fourth and final concert at the museum June 21 is also free. The first three concerts are in Webster Groves and U. City; First Congregational Church of Webster Groves hosts the June 10 and June 13 performances, both at 7 p.m. The third concert is in the Des Lee Concert Hall at 560 Music Center in U. City at 10:30 a.m. “Game changers may have accidentally started something new, by pushing the envelope,” Ferrigno says. That concept will be illuminated during the opening reception at the Kemper, where Florent Ghys, composer of a piece to have its world premiere there two weeks later, will be in conversation with Ferrigno and museum curator Sabine Eckmann. First Congregational Church is one of the finest places in the metro to showcase chamber music, Ferrigno notes. “It’s a lovely space, acoustically,” she says. “It’s round, so the players are right up close with the people. You can feel the music, the vibrations through your body.” Ferrigno, a transplant from ‘back east,’ has been feeling the vibes and spreading the gospel of chamber music here since 2007. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston (also home to another little music school named Berklee). Before making the move to our favorite flyover state, she lived and worked in Beantown as a freelance musician, sometimes playing orchestral piano with the Boston Symphony and Pops orchestras. She belonged to Auros Group for New Music, was on the chamber-music faculty of the Walnut Hill School for the Arts and served on adjunct piano faculty of Brandeis University. Her ensemble, the Calyx Piano Trio, is on the bill for the June 21 world premiere of a multimedia piece by Ghys, an innovative French composer and videographer. Witness how a space full of fine visual art can be transformed by beautiful music. And have no fear of this repertoire being too ‘out there: Along with compositions by Ghys, Gabriela Lena Frank and Missy Mazzoli, you will hear pieces by long-gone longhairs with last names that include Haydn, Brahms, Schumann and Stravinsky. For more about programming, festival passes and individual tickets, visit And if you’re a performer, consider the Adult Chamber Music Intensive, a ‘summer camp,’ if you will, July 29 through Aug. 3 at Community Music School of Webster Groves. Application deadline is May 3.