Talk of the Towns

Talk of the Towns: 6.22.22

chesterfield | Kevin Gagnepain doesn’t look anything like Roger Waters, bass guitarist for Pink Floyd. Maybe that’s for the best. Waters has a face only a mother could love. But close your eyes, and Gagnepain sure sounds like Waters. That’s by design. Gagnepain’s pet musical project since 1999 has been El Monstero, the wildly popular metro Pink Floyd tribute act slated to appear July 9 at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre. Grammy-winners Living Colour open the show. Anyway, inquiring minds want to know: Why didn’t Gagnepain and his compatriots settle on a name like Fink Ployd? It was out of their hands, and in a roadie’s. He’d ink “El Monstero was here” in marker on a wall at the venue. “He never explained it,” Gagnepain says. After a while, the band assumed the moniker ‘El Monstero Y Los Masked Avengers,’ soon deemed too cumbersome. One of my favorite rock fanatics—let’s call him Jason—has enjoyed El Monstero’s stylings no fewer than four times. And he’s seen Pink Floyd twice, but both post-Waters. The ‘real thing’ is what many fans want: Dark Side of the Moon and other ‘KSHE Classics’ from the period. Plus, their offspring want to know what all the fuss is about.Even without illicit substances, there’ll be plenty to hear, and see, on and offstage: flashpots, lasers, a helicopter flyover. A backup singer will duplicate the compelling, keening soprano voice heard on Dark Side. Come December, El Monstero will have played Pink Floyd classics for 23 years: That’s the ‘70s times two plus three. They have the act down to a science. They’ve got ‘the chops,’ according to Jason. “We’re here to entertain,” Gagnepain says. “At the end of the day, as long as we can make people happy, we’re happy.” For a glimpse of the upcoming spectacle, visit elmonstero.com.

fenton
Seems everybody is shedding office space, what with companies allowing more employees to work from home thanks to the pandemic. Even before COVID-19, travel-marketing behemoth Maritz reportedly had decided to consolidate space at its enormous 73-acre campus in Fenton. Then virus protocols really threw the travel industry for a loop. Meanwhile, Panera Bread Co. was considering downsizing its headquarters space in Sunset Hills, approximately 163,000 square feet, at Watson and South Geyer roads. Both companies, as they say, saw an opportunity. “Terms were not disclosed.” That’s just business, which means brokers and other folks also stand to make some money on this deal when the ink has dried on the paperwork for Panera to take over some of the space Maritz opened up. Maritz had idled some of its workforce because of a previous downturn in travel bookings and has been leasing space on its south campus. Plenty is available for St. Louis Bread Co.’s parent to move into a smaller, 72,000-square-foot space, about half its previous footprint, which is expected to happen next year. Meanwhile, Panera is trying out Panera To Go, restaurants designed for the hungry and harried to get right in, then get the heck out. The first of three such locations has opened, a digital-only store in Chicago. No seating. Well, there’s pretty much no seating at lunch in many Panera locations, anyhow, or during the morning rush for their truly stupendous coffee. Along with Starbucks, it’s a wildly popular office away from the office for innumerable workers in our Information Age.

the metro
For any of you filmmakers who may have a problem with procrastination, here’s a deadline you might be able to meet: April 7, 2023. No, you haven’t already missed it. Yes, it’s next year. The eighth edition of Cinema at Citygarden—a biennial co-presentation of Cinema St. Louis (CSL) and the Gateway Foundation—presents a unique opportunity for would-be and accomplished metro movie makers to let their imaginations blossom by creating short works that incorporate nature as a key element. So, think less about ray guns and more about flowers, squirrels and birds. This juried competition will award cash prizes—$1,500 for first, $1,000 for second and $500 for third—to the top three entries. The winning shorts will then be featured in a program that will screen on Citygarden’s video wall starting May 26, 2023. In addition to the three cash-prize winners, other submitted works will be featured in the program, which will play on a loop from 5 to 10 p.m. daily and continue at Citygarden through June 30, 2023. Impressive in its own right, the video wall is set within a limestone face that arcs across two blocks. As a screening site, Citygarden is a natural choice. Open since 2009, the two-block oasis of plants and trees, flowing water and fountains—and internationally renowned sculpture—in the heart of downtown’s Gateway Mall, the garden is free and open to the public 365 days a year. Citygarden attracts visitors from everywhere with its blend of beauty and serenity. And it’s fun, too. Don’t pass up this chance both for a wad of cash and exposure to a diverse audience, which is priceless. Competition rules and a link to the FilmFreeway online submission platform are on the CSL website.

notable neighbors
clayton
Pick the next nice day to drive north on DeMun from Clayton Road far enough and you’ll come to a dead end. We took you too far. On purpose. Turn around, and the grounds of Concordia Seminary will be on your right. Drive back past the intersection, and you’ll probably find a parking space across from the commercial building where there’s a Kaldi’s coffeehouse and a restaurant or two. (There’s usually not much parking on that side. We like to help our readers.) You might find a seat outside on the generously shaded sidewalk. But don’t sit down just now. First, walk a little further south to the restored playground and look back to inspect the blank, nicely tuckpointed, brick wall. Your stroll and this view are preparing you for things to come in this typically sedate neighborhood. Colorful, vibrant, astonishing things will appear on the wall, thanks to painter Robert Fishbone of On the Wall Productions and his daughter Liza Fishbone, who are slated to begin in the next week or so to paint a really big bee on the wall. Robert is grateful to have borrowed Liza from her home base in Austin, Texas, for a few weeks. The Big Bee, as illustrated by the photoshopped image of its prospective appearance once complete—will be on a playground swing. On or about July 1, drop by to watch Team Fishbone at work. We will. As shown, Fishbone often wears paint-enhanced clothes. He’s come by that honestly since the 1970s, when he and his late wife Sarah Linquist started their quest to paint beautiful and thought-provoking images throughout the StL. You may remember the immense pixelated image of hometown aviator Charles Lindbergh on a since-razed building downtown, black-and-white squares close up, a famous 1930s-era photo from a block or so away. (No clue? Google “Lindy Squared.”) Missouri Historical Society has retained many heavy chunks of painted brick and plans to create something innovative. Meanwhile, Team Fishbone has been restoring murals, e.g. the butterfly scene on the Willert Home Products building at 39th and Park, right behind the new SLU Hospital complex on Grand. A huge fan, Willert has another mural on a building you can peep through the chain-link, beyond his Asia-themed courtyard. DeMun resident Jeff Vines is also committed to Fishbone’s visions. He and his twin brother own STL-Stylehouse at the corner of Cherokee and South Compton, where you’ll see Nothing Impossible, which Team Fishbone completed in 2018. Vines was sporting bright yellow-orange St. Louis socks at DeMun. “Jeff privately paid for us to do the design, and is the main cheerleader for the project,” Fishbone points out. It’s all in the spirit of beautifying his home turf. “Jeff handles social media, promotes and has secured donations.” That’s right. The mural is publicly funded through Clayton Community Foundation, and at this writing was ‘tickling’ the halfway mark at $18,362. “Jeff helps keep me sane through this challenging process. He’s a real mensch.” Visit claytoncommunityfoundation.org/projects/art to donate online. Select ‘restricted gift;’ note Big Bee. Then, get going—you have some sights/sites to see.

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