central library | An exhibit of stark, evocative Richard Sprengeler photos showcases the unfinished last project of the late sculptor and visionary Bob Cassilly, who wanted to turn an abandoned cement factory in north St. Louis into a castle-themed amusement park. After having worked on the project for more than a decade, envisioning turrets, mounds, a sculpture garden and other ideas as eccentric as those at his beloved City Museum, Cassilly died at the controls of a bulldozer that flipped over in September 2011. He was 61. Cassilly was trying to outdo himself at Cementland—if it ever were to be finished, who could know whether it would have been remotely similar to his grand plan. The property was stuck in probate for years before finally being awarded to Melissa Giovanna ‘Gigi’ Zompa Cassilly, who’d at first expressed a desire to complete her late husband’s vision for the 54-plus-acre site near the river. It was sold in June 2022 at auction for $785,000. A portion along the riverfront sold to Beelman Trucking Co. for $1.4 million two years before that. The remainder has languished and is now overgrown and covered in graffiti. Sprengeler’s photos will be arrayed on the third floor of St. Louis Public Library’s Central Branch through Sept. 22. If you haven’t visited our awe-inspiring Carnegie Library downtown, you’ve yet to admire a prime example of grand architecture at the turn of the (previous) century. It boasts some of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts and Neo-Classical Architecture in the United States. Designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert and completed in 1912, the structure, which occupies a full city block, is a historic treasure. In 1901, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie had made a substantial gift that allowed for construction of the Central Library and six neighborhood branches, four of which still exist throughout the city today.

the metro
We got some lime-coconut flavored seltzer water by mistake in our last Instacart grocery delivery. Instantly it made me think of the Harry Nilsson novelty song from 1972: “Put de lime in the coconut, drink ‘em bot’ up / Put de lime in the coconut and call me in the morning…” It’s been an earworm ever since. Sorry if just mentioning it did the same thing to you. I honestly hope the incessant calypso beat doesn’t drive you coco-nutty enough to call the doctor in the middle of the night, pleading for a tummy-ache remedy. The sparkling water ‘beverage’ didn’t cause indigestion, but left me feeling kinda “meh.” OMG: There’s a whole grocery aisle stocked with this bland stuff. When did that happen? Randy and Jane had a cooler full of black-raspberry flavored water at their 50th-anniversary party. That was the first time I’d tried any variation of this stuff, which tastes like nothing more than a fruit soda left on the kitchen counter overnight for all the ice in the glass to melt. Someone must like it, or think they’re dieting by replacing real lemon-lime soda with “guilt-free,” zero-calorie lime-coconut water that smells only faintly like you “put de lime in the coconut.” Or maybe it’s some other exotic-yet-flavorless ‘flavor,’ like fuji apple, strawberry-kiwi or mango. I’d say none of it even has 1% more flavor than bottled water, which I’m not going to address here except to remind readers that most everywhere in the StL, fresh cool water comes right out of the tap. Still too warm? Fill a pitcher and refrigerate overnight. And, anyhow, when did coconut become such a thing? I like it in cake or a candy bar, but in perfume, shampoo and deodorant? Please, people, keep your tropical fantasies to yourselves—some of us have to share elevators with you!

grand center
Of the 120 children shot in unintentional shootings in 2022 in St. Louis, 26 died. That means a child is caught in the crossfire nearly every three days—more than two kids a week wounded by gunfire. The St. Louis Story Stitchers artists collective, based at The Center in the Grand Center Arts District, works to reduce that number. The collective’s youth leaders have written, produced, recorded and released another hip-hop single designed to raise awareness of gun violence in St. Louis. Story Stitchers’ collaborative studio created “3 Steps Back,” with music by BlueBeatz and vocals by KP Dennis and Bobby Norfolk. Its beats are definitely dope, its purpose purely positive: To teach children how to react safely if they come across a firearm—take three steps back and tell an adult. The song also hopes to encourage adults to safely store a firearm by unloading, locking and securing the gun. What’s more, it’s a fun jam.

notable neighbors
chesterfield valley
Michael ‘Supe’ Granda must really want to make it past St. Peter and through the Pearly Gates one day, because he’s been raising a little hell with his band for more than 50 years. Actually, somewhat longer if you consider Family Tree, the Springfield, Missouri, band that would become The Ozark Mountain Daredevils. And bassist Granda, a 1969 grad of Lindbergh High, had been gigging around the Lou in various bands since 1964. You may be familiar with the Daredevils’ “If You Wanna Get to Heaven,” from 1973, and the following year’s “Jackie Blue,” which means you’ve listened to KSHE-95 at least once. Real Rock Radio had Daredevils in the studio last week—Granda and his eight other country-bluegrass rockers return to the Lou for a 7 p.m. show on Sunday, Sept. 10, at The Factory in Chesterfield Valley. They still raise a little hell, and plenty of hysteria, with their new single, “More Cowbell,” released June 30. And it’s everything you could possibly hope for. Yes, it evokes the classic SNL sketch where producer Christopher Walken tells a band that he has a fever for the cowbell, which is played, more and more furiously, by Will Ferrell. Recently, Granda and his wife, Julie, trekked to Barcelona, which is referenced in Granda’s lyrics. He recalls, “I played guitar, and Julie played cowbell,” with both prone to fits of laughter throughout. “We took it to the band and worked it out.” The Daredevils’ sense of humor, a key to their popularity since the early 1970s, remains intact. The single’s cover art is a cowbell with a volume meter turned up to 11, which references the ‘mockumentary’ This Is Spinal Tap. Such levity started about 50 years ago, which is obvious from our vintage black and white band photo. (Granda, with the dark, bushy beard, is in the middle.) A popular cut from their debut LP, “Chicken Train Stomp,” features ‘fowl clucking.’ The Daredevils you’ll experience next month is a band larger than the one that recorded its major-label albums on A&M Records. “We’ll play the old songs—people would be perturbed if we didn’t,” Granda says. “But some of the ‘new’ songs are 20 years old.” Harmonica is essential to the vibe, although when ace Steve Cash passed away three years ago, Granda wasn’t sure they could continue. “But this is what Steve would’ve wanted,” he says. Nick Sibley has picked up where Cash left off, and Molly Healey plays fiddle and cello. And she sings, as do Granda, fellow original member John Dillon and most everyone else. “We reproduce the lush vocal harmonies you hear on record. Songs are the driving force, instead of how big our amps are!” Sorry you’ve been in suspense this long, but why ‘Supe?’ Granda would wear a Superman costume back in the day. It doesn’t fit anymore, but a Santa suit does. Not only does he play the Jolly Old Elf every year, he’s written a book about it, not to mention another about the Daredevils, It Shined. For more info about the 3,000-seat venue or for tickets, visit thefactorystl.com.