Talk of the Towns: 9.7.16
central west end
In 2011, 3,000 American flags were planted on Art Hill in Forest Park to represent each victim of the terrorist attacks on the tragedy’s 10th anniversary. This weekend, twice that many flags and 1,000 more will be a grim representation of the American service members who have died fighting the war on terror. On this, the 15th anniversary of 9/11, the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight will gather some 20 veterans of World War II, Korea and other conflicts with these 7,000 ‘Flags Of Valor’ as a somber backdrop. At the Sept. 9 dinner in their honor, these aging heroes will share their experiences with Honor Flight benefactors and volunteers, taking the opportunity to tip their hats to those who took them to Washington, D.C., to see their memorials and those honoring vets of other wars. They are the service members for whom the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight was created in 2008. Every March through November, the nonprofit makes 10 flights from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to D.C. with a group of about 25 veterans who fly, free of charge, accompanied by volunteers who pay their own way. On each flight, top priority is given to World War II and Korea veterans and any who are terminally ill and wish to visit their memorials. More than 1,500 veterans have made the trip over the last eight years. But time is growing ever short: there are fewer and fewer able to make the trip. Nationally, we are losing more than 500 members of ‘The Greatest Generation’ every day. The local nonprofit is hard at work trying to find World War II and Korea veterans throughout the metro so they can experience an honor flight; the organization is asking the public’s help in making the connections.
What’s in a name? Well, if it’s Schlafly, a lawsuit. Über-conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly and her son have lost their case against nephew-by-marriage Tom Schlafly, who wants to trademark the name of his brand of beer. Schlafly, the beer brand, has grown exponentially since its founding 25 years ago. In 2012, as the brand grew beyond Missouri borders, Phyllis legally opposed her nephew’s intentions, partly for religious reasons, contending that it would confuse or offend millions of Americans, including Baptists, Mormons and other sects that abstain from alcohol and adhere to conservative values. Her son Bruce, an orthopedic surgeon, argued that the connotation could sully his reputation. But for Tom, it’s just been all about the brand; he wanted to make sure that no one could concoct a beer and name it Schlafly, coat-tailing off the established brew’s success as it continues to expand beyond its Maplewood Bottleworks, downtown microbrewery and retail outlets in more than a dozen states. The decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office doesn’t guarantee the trademark is a slam-dunk, but it makes the road much smoother. And in any event, it gives us the opportunity to put Phyllis Schlafly in print and challenge readers to say her name five times fast. Ready? Go! (That was pretty good. Now, try it with a mouthful of … 2 percent milk.)
If the omnipresent television commercials are any indication of the public’s quest to find out just who they came from and what strain of human mutts they are, DNA research is all that, and save the bag of chips for later. Just a few strands of hair, perhaps a swab of saliva and voilà, you may be able to confirm that you are, indeed, quite cranky because Genghis Khan is an ancestor. Or, perhaps more to your liking, you’re so saintly because you’re a twig way up on Joan of Arc’s family tree. But let’s forget about TV for the time being, and set aside the boob tube for the Central Branch of the St. Louis Public Library. Two programs … both full, unfortunately, although there probably will be some slots available due to no-shows … are scheduled on Saturday (Sept. 10) from 1 to 3:30 p.m. to help participants get a grip on the double helix for themselves. (The event is free, although testing kits cost around $79 and up.) Last year an expert from Family Tree DNA spoke about how DNA testing can help trace family history. The expert is back; this year’s programs:
1-2 p.m.: How to Interpret DNA Test Results
2:30-3:30 p.m.: Using DNA Testing to Reveal Ancestral Background (such as Native American, African American, Asian, European and others)
Family Tree DNA has been the testing partner for National Geographic’s DNA samples collected worldwide as part of The Genographic Project. Founded in April 2000, it was the first company to develop the commercial application of DNA testing for genealogical purposes, until then only available for academic and scientific research. We hope the company comes back soon, so that it won’t be our descendants who have to wait for the next presentation at the library!
You don’t have to venture as far from the Inner Belt as Powell Hall to hear some serious music. University City has its very own symphony orchestra, and it plays right off The Delmar Loop. UCSO has been dubbed the ‘World’s Most Adventurous Orchestra,’ since its 50 members are known for playing: A.) lesser-known pieces by well-known composers and B.) great music by lesser-known composers. First chairs are professional musicians, and the remainder are amateur lovers of music, directed by maestro Leon Burke III. Visiting violinists have included Mexican virtuoso Manuel Ramos and Silvian Iticovici of the SLSO. Could the next one be you … or someone you know? The orchestra is always seeking string musicians, and if you’ve been known to shred some horsehair on cat-gut, check out whether there’s a chair for you to fill. Or maybe a place to stand. (Hint: bass players are needed.) UCSO’s 56th season opens at 3 p.m. Oct. 16 with ‘A Taste of Italy.’ A prelude to the music will be a talk by Dr. Burke at 2 p.m. Concerts are held at Washington U.’s 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave., and are always free.