chesterfield | We in the 314, the StL, the Lou, crave tribute artists just about as much as we love the real deal. Many bohemians who followed the Grateful Dead for years probably couldn’t tell the difference between the Dead and Jake’s Leg, a local band that’s been recreating the hippie collective’s folk-country-rock live jams for nearly 40 years. And, El Monstero typically plays five or so of its sold-out Pink Floyd tribute shows at the Pageant around the holidays. They’re coming to the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in June. But those two institutions are stories for another day. In this issue, we’re spotlighting two other U.S. outfits that have spawned successful bands that painstakingly reproduce the recordings of classic-rock outfits from Great Britain. First, it’s Get The Led Out (GTLO)—a renowned tribute to the legendary British blues-rock behemoths Led Zeppelin—to thunder into Chesterfield Valley. The band hits the stage at The Factory at The District on July 18 at 7:30 p.m. The Philadelphia-based group consists of six veteran musicians, intent on delivering Led Zeppelin live and faithful to what you may have listened to for many years. GTLO delivers an honest reproduction of everybody’s favorite … OK, Boomer! … rock gods performing their classic full-length LP tracks with honest, heart-thumping intensity. Then, if your taste runs more from classic rock to classically tinged prog music, Mr. Blue Sky (MBS) recreates the majesty and splendor of Electric Light Orchestra on Sept. 13 in Chesterfield Amphitheater. With a focus on the band’s hits from the 1970s and ’80s and folding in select deep cuts, MBS reproduces the “Strange Magic” that was ELO. Featuring a stellar light and multimedia stage show, MBS reproduces the classical string orchestration and layered vocal harmonies essential to creating an accurate ELO experience. This 10-piece StL band of seasoned musicians comes complete with a three-piece string section.

Beth Drewett and Christine Intagliata, co-founders of Gratitude House in Ferguson, take a few moments to relax and reflect in the Meditation Room on the third floor of the very first sober-living home for women in the county. “We got our ‘first lady’ on April 21,” says Drewett with a smile. At this writing, the house has three occupants. It has a capacity of eight. The safe place for women had been but a dream since 2019. With the support of many donors, plus three benefit concerts, funds have been raised to purchase the stately old home, a warm, inviting place beyond their expectations. At the outset, Drewett, Intagliata, the board members and volunteers did not know whether they would be able to build anew or convert a building to their specifications. Suffice it to say, it’s bigger and better than anyone could have imagined. On an acre of land, the 119-year-old home has a wraparound porch. The furnishings, mostly donated and some assembled onsite, are second to none. The gently used computer and all the trimmings were donated by the Smiths, a man and wife who’ve each been active in a 12-step recovery program for more than 20 years. And the recovery model here is nothing like the harsh, boot camp environments sometimes portrayed on TV. That method doesn’t stimulate recovery as much as build resentment, the co-founders say. “We love them all up,” says Drewett. Visit Gratitude House on Facebook: GratitudeHouseSTL. As stated on the black-and-white banner photo atop the page, “We are a connected community bonded together with trust, love and compassion.”

town and country
Want to bookend your summer with bodacious slabs of scrumptious baklava? Why, then, go Greek, of course, and you’ll just be shish-kebab-bab-babbing along over Memorial Day weekend in the county, and over Labor Day weekend in the city. Opa! The St. Louis County Greek Festival returns to Town and Country with live music, traditional folk dancing, church tours, a vendor market and delicious, authentic Greek cuisine at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church. Admission is free along with free shuttles to and from the event. Note: This year’s fest is once again credit/debit card only—cash will not be accepted. The annual festival takes place May 24 to 27. Hours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Monday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. A charity 5K/10K walk/run will also take place on May 25 benefiting FOCUS Gateway City—to register, visit Guests can choose from traditional Greek treats such as dolmades, gyro plates, pastitsio, souvlaki sandwiches, spanakopita—and, of course, beaucoup baklava. Pets are permitted but must be leashed. For more information, the menu or to download the ultimate Greek Fest playlist on Spotify, visit Then, come Labor Day weekend, maybe those billions of extra cicadas will have ceased their obnoxious buzz enough for us not to need earplugs when we head east to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in the CWE. Details on that festival to come at a later date; it’s still spring everywhere around here!

notable neighbors
saint louis zoo
In the mid-1970s, comedic crooner Jim Stafford had a Top 40 hit with “Spiders & Snakes,” a silly and cringey little ditty that firmly emphasizes the girl’s point of view regarding romance: “I don’t like spiders and snakes / And that ain’t what it takes to love me / Like I wanna be loved by you.” You see, our young fool is walking her home from school when they stop by the swimming hole and sit down together on a hollow log. Perhaps she’s expecting a kiss—instead, her numbskull suitor opts to freak her out when he finds a frog and shakes it at her. Rachel Boehm, a keeper in the Herpetarium at the Saint Louis Zoo, has had a lifelong love of reptiles, especially snakes, but probably wouldn’t be too thrilled, either, if her date slipped a serpent down her neck. For one thing, one of her main responsibilities in ‘The Reptile House’ is the care and feeding of vipers and other venomous species, which she treats with a great deal of respect and caution, handling the scaly critters by using a hook or tongs, her hands protected by gloves. The 2013 Parkway South graduate had known the direction she wanted her life to go as a little girl watching the late Steve Irwin, “The Crocodile Hunter,” and other shows on the Animal Planet channel. A big fan of dinosaurs, she watched Jurassic Park perhaps as often as kids her age watched The Lion King and other Disney fare. She has great admiration for former zoo directors and icons Marlin Perkins and Charlie Hoessle. As for reptiles? “I’m really partial to the Komodo dragon,” from Indonesia—which, incidentally, is not a venomous lizard. There isn’t one at the zoo, presently. But there is Norm, an American alligator, whom Boehm estimates to be in his early 70s, although a record of his first appearance is not available. Norm was basking in the sun and admiration from visitors. And from Boehm. “He’s so fun!” she exclaims. “He’s a smart, stubborn boy.” Norm doesn’t eat three square meals a day. Rather, Norm eats three times and then he’s done for a while: three different species, one time each. He’s had six feeder rats so far, will have tilapia for his next meal and most of a pig to wrap up this season’s culinary adventure. (Our photo shows Boehm holding another crocodilian, a dwarf caiman.) Boehm is in her dream job. She has a degree in biological sciences from Arkansas State, with a specialty in zoology. “This was the end goal, for me,” she acknowledges. She’ll stay put at the Herpetarium. That is, the zoo won’t move her around as a keeper in other zones: “This is where my experience and expertise lie,” she says. What does she hope to impart to visitors? “How do we protect the environment?” she says—as many species at the zoo are endangered, its breeding programs here and across the globe are essential to their conservation. And besides, snakes have always gotten a bad rap. “Stop killing every snake you see! If you just take two steps away, they’ll leave you alone.” But does Boehm leave snakes alone after her shift? That’s a hard no. Along with a dog and two cats, she has a ball python and a red-tailed boa constrictor at home. Visit