Sunday, April 13, 2014


Summer is almost here.  That three months of promise you work for the rest of the year.

“After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”--- L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

If you are an urban or inner-ring suburban kid, especially if you are African-American, there is almost nothing for you to do constructively with your peers.

Instead of listing the tens and possibly hundreds of links about the Delmar Loop's summer youth "problem", check your search engines for "delmar loop curfew"  or "problems with kids in delmar loop", etc.  (Lupe's previous post on this:  Also, this post about the "Delmar Divide", on the economic inequalities between north and south St. Louis. )

The one thing the city and counties have never seriously considered is opening an under-age club.  It gets lip service during the summer and then evaporates when school starts again.

The smart, powerful businessmen and civic leaders and politicians can't work something out?

Go ask the kids what they want! What do they want to do? What would they pay for and how much can they pay?  What is a good location?

Check out this great opinion piece by the awesome students of University City High School:

Maybe a weekend teen club at the riverfront?  Maybe some rich developer could donate the space or some sort of grant could be worked out?  How much is the city spending to deal with the situation?  Take that money and build something constructive!

Make it very cheap to enter. As cheap as possible, and definitely less than $5.

The police are already sending a big chunk of District 7 to patrol the Delmar Metrolink, maybe they could staff security at the club?  To enter could be like entering a government building, with a metal search.  That should take care of any seriously violent confrontations that everyone seems so scared about.

Sell kid food (burgers, hot dogs, churros, canned drinks).  Every Friday and Saturday night is contest night.  Anyone can enter, and the audience votes by ballot.  Rap and Rhyme Contest, Beauty Contest, Dance Contest, Singers and Musicians, Hair and Fashion Shows, etc.  Ask the kids!  Ask them for ideas!  What categories?  What themes?

Prizes could be free entrance, or free food and drink.  Or even cash, once the club started making money.  There could be a community cable channel coverage, and teens could submit video's and photos to a youtube channel.

Decorations could be done by mural painters and youth artists.

The St. Louis Central Library has the great new "Creative Pods", perhaps during the week they could devote some time to training kids on how to record their songs and edit their youtube films, etc?

People like Nelly and Murphy Lee and Tef-Poe could host or perhaps co-judge with the audience ballots on performances.

Kids could work the clean-up and either be paid, or perhaps some sort of free entry, free food and drink tickets for cleaning up.

The local media could promote and cover the winners regularly.

Our youth deserve better.  They are our future.  Let's give them a chance to shine.

Friday, February 21, 2014


“All I ever really wanted to be was a nice person,” he [John Thompson] said. “I believe in the old adage that what you aspire to be is what you are. I'm going to have them carry me out of here on my shield, just like an old warrior."

The heart and soul of the Loop neighbourhood has passed away.  John Thompson, who worked at the Tivoli for 35 years, died on February 12, 2014.

If you were lucky enough to know John than you know that the outpouring of love and praise for him is not exaggerated or undeserved.  He was a genuinely warm and kind person, very intelligent, interesting AND interested-- in everything!-- and a true Loopie.

We were lucky to have him with us for 74 years.  Even as unique as the many stores and businesses that have had Loop addresses over the years, a person like John is what really makes a community a neighbourhood. 

“He was the kindest person I’ve ever known,” said Tivoli Theatre manager, Tom Anson. It was a widely echoed sentiment.

He managed to spread joy without a computer or answering machine. “We bought him one (of the latter) – twice,” his brother laughed, “but if your birthday or anniversary was coming up, you got a card from John. He had a manual calendar and every year he’d sit down and fill it in for the New Year. There’s a card shop somewhere in St. Louis that may go out of business.”

Both the quote from John and from Tom Anson are from this article:

The memorial is at St. Roch's on Waterman, February 22 at 10 AM.  

You can read more about John in these links:

Please comment or email if you have any other links on John to share. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Dave Wakeling's English Beat is TONIGHT at Blueberry Hill!!!

Here are a few links to get you warmed up!

English Beat Discography

(Current) "Toaster" Antonee First Class' first solo single: WHO YOU ARE 

And here is a nice interview with Mr. Wakeling himself on St. Louis own KDHX:


Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Lupe has had mixed feelings about the Loop Trolley.   But now she is against it.

She liked the idea of it because it was quaint and cute and it would have been nice to have a ride from the Deballivere Metrolink stop all the way to the Library and City Hall, instead of walking or waiting for the bus at the Loop or Skinker/Wash. U. train stations.

Because, seriously, Saint Louis and Saint Louis County are so RIDICULOUS when it comes to public transportation.  Thirty years ago it took twenty minutes, sometimes less, to go from Manchester and Big Bend in Maplewood to the University City library by bus.  And that was ONE bus.

Now it takes an hour, at least, and that is IF you make all the connections in a timely fashion and don't mind a hustle.  Or if you don't mind riding the slowest, most circuitious bus ride ever (the number 2), which only runs once an hour. Unless you are willing to walk down to the Maplewood metrolink.* (Lupe feels so sorry for old people and disabled in this city that do not have cars.)

The Trolleys won't be under the governance of the Metrolink and Bi-State.  But even if they were, we have already seen who really runs public transit.   Most especially from the decision to turn the train toward Shrewsbury, to court the "red and blue" riders-- those people that already have cars and only ride the subway to go to Cardinals baseball games (red) or Blues hockey games (blue), instead of turning it the places that need it the most- like the poor, urban South and North sides? Not helpful and kind of racist.**

Trust Lupe, the buses are actually worse now than ever, especially in the counties, now that the Metrolink has been installed. The tracks it runs on were for the most part established in the early 1900's to deliver goods like coal and food to train depots.  The tracks do not reflect current city centers and hubs.

So back to the Trolleys: Saint Louis County has relinquished responsibility for the stretch of Delmar between Limit and Big Bend.  Why? Those Trolley cars don't have engines.  They can only run on 1900's style overhead electric lines.  (Joe Edwards bought the cars with his own money from Italy somewhere.)

The entire street will have to be ripped up and tracks put in, and the overheard line.  And then maintained. How much is that going to cost? Who is going to pay for it? Joe Edwards? Wash U?  Well, one thing is for sure, it won't be Saint Louis County!

And if Joe Edwards and Wash. U. pay for the Trolley, who is going to be allowed to ride it?  There is already an (unsubstantiated) rumor that Wash. U. "Bear" meal cards are being accepted at restaurants in the Loop.  More and more, the Loop is less and less a place for everyone.

"Regular" citizens and businesses that don't fit the University scheme, or the Joe Edwards Blueberry Hill/Moon Hotel/Pageant businesses, are being edged out with all this "development."

When Lupe went to the Wonder Women screening the other night she really saw the trolley parked in front of the Museum for the first time.  (Of course, she walks by the one parked in the Commerce Bank parking lot everyday.)  But for some reason, that night, she really saw it.

It is tiny. Inefficient. And archaic.

Who are these streetcars for?  These two trolley cars might fit 25 people each.  (And these trolley car seats were made for 20th Century Italian butts, not 21st Century butts, if you know what Lupe is saying. )

And if the Trolley operators have to choose non-students or non-beer drinking and cheeseburger eating patrons-- it seems likely that some sort of "selection" process might be installed.  (It seems unlikely that the Trolleys will be open to underage black teenagers. At least after sundown.)

Will one be required to have a student I.D? Or a receipt from Blueberry Hill? And what if one of these archaic cars breaks down? Or there is a power outage? How is this going to affect Loop traffic? How is this going to affect the already tiresomely slow buses in the Loop?

These Trolleys are not about improving public transit in the Loop.

It really bothers Lupe that ALL of the bus benches and covered bus stops have been removed in the Loop.  Metro and Bi-State don't get to decide where the bus stops go. The cities and counties and neighborhoods decide. (It is not about where the bus stop would best serve the people riding it, but about where the bus stop is least troublesome to business owners.)

So when the Loop Special Business District (pretty much owned and run by Joe Edwards) decides that the bus benches allow too many panhandlers to sit down, they must go! To heck with all the bus riders going to and from work and shopping, etc!  The Loop is not about getting public transit IN, it is about keeping panhandlers OUT!

And in the Loop, the Chuck Berry statue got his own crosswalk. A statue. And right between the crosswalks for Leland and Westgate. But down at Limit and Eastgate, where a crosswalk is actually needed for pedestrians, there is not chance.  Only Wash. U. and Joe Edwards have enough pull to get the City of Saint Louis or U. City to give up the parking spaces.

(Wash. U.'s new development might get a crosswalk in there, now. Hopefully with a sign or even a light.  From Westgate to Skinker there is only crosswalk- and it is at the Tivoli. Truly shameful.)

That $25 Million grant from the government for the Loop Trolley seems wrong.  The grant was meant to promote "livability".  It was meant for downtown, urban areas.  (Obama might need to rethink this plan, too.)

The Loop is only becoming more "livable" to Wash. U. students and Blueberry Hill beer drinkers. Wash. U. has been able to subsidize (read: "Buy") several of the Loop area bus lines.  The ridiculous Green Line, for instance.  A line very rarely ridden and helpful to almost no one-even the students it attempts to serve! (Please, audit it yourself and see. It goes nowhere and almost no one rides it after the first time they try it. It is faster to walk the route to wherever you are going.)

The Number 2 bus line was also RIDICULOUSLY re-routed to serve Wash. U. students and make sure they could get from campus to the Clayton Schnucks, Galleria and Brentwood Promenade.  It is the most exhausting bus ride on the Southern Delmar Divide. ***

(After almost 3 years of riding public transportation in Saint Louis city and county, Lupe has really come to the conclusion that not one single person that plans the routes actually ever rides the bus or trains.  She thinks they type in routes on Google maps and make up the timetables and routes from that.  The buses all have the same time between stops whether it is rush hour on Wednesday or Sunday morning.  It is just something they do in an office all day. She wishes the Metro executives were forced to commute on their silly routes and schedules!)

Lupe is sorry, because they are cute trolley's, but really, when one thinks about it, it is ridiculous! All of that construction for two little trolley cars, to be paid for with the extra tax in University City (that is why we pay almost ten cents on the dollar for sales tax here in University City.  We are paying for the Trolley when we shop anywhere in U. City-- the highest rate in Saint Louis city or county! Lupe sure is tired of that!) but it does not seem that everyone is going to benefit equally!

Lupe is against the Trolley Folly! Unless there are some changes to the plan! 

C U in the Loop! Hopefully a "Trolley Free" Loop!

*Truly one of the most badly designed, and least safe train stops in the world.  The Maplewood Metrolink station.  It should get a Worst Design Ever award! 

Go look yourself-- no crosswalk, a blind spot to oncoming traffic, and not convenient or safe! Who on earth designed this thing? Human hating Reagan-era aliens from the movie They Live?  Haha let's kill them while they try to catch their bus! No, really. Not kidding. Go look at it. It was designed by those metal headed aliens. There is no other feasible explanation!

Lupe has a whole other post in her drafts folder about the Folly of the Saint Louis transportation system.  That is, the re-routing of all the buses to take you to the train-- a train that is running on a track system meant for coal and food deliveries and routed before planes and trucks became the transporters of food.  Those tracks go nowhere convenient, as anyone that has had to walk the dark, unpaved back alleys of the Brentwood Promenade stop to Trader Joe's.  Or walked through the deserted, "waiting to rape and mug you" parking lots between the train in Maplewood and Wal-mart, Olive Garden, Lowe's etc. 

**Not too mention the all out fight the white residents of Saint Peters and Saint Charles engaged in to keep the train from coming to their neighborhoods! "Keep them out so they don't ruin it like Hazelwood" one man Lupe used to work for actually said to her.  No, he didn't know who Lupe really was.  Lupe is totally ninja undercover in her Clark Kent. OMG the things she hears when people think they are talking to "average white suburban girl".

*** Remember, Wash. U. has been allowed to buy a lot of real estate in the Loop area, but they don't pay the same as homeowner's and business owners in taxes. They do attempt to supplement this with donations to the U.C. Fire and Police departments, and by having their own Blue Light patrol cars drive around the neighborhoods where they own property.  But it is not the same. They have a lot of power, and perhaps they have made the neighborhood better in some ways-- but neither they nor any Loop businesses or the University City or Saint Louis governments are doing anything to close the disparity between the $32,000 a year income gap between the North side of Delmar and the South side of Delmar. 

Also they have been capricious in the past.  Lupe has a friend that was evicted three times in a one year period where Wash. U. would buy the building he was living in, everyone was evicted and given thirty days to move out.  Three times he went through this until he moved out of the neighborhood.  And only one of those building is still owned by Wash. U.  Really, not fair.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


If the week of Spring wasn't already exciting enough there is a Noir at the Bar on March 23 at Meshuggah!

Clayton Lindemuth, Frank Wheeler Jr., Josh Woods and the Loop's own Jedidiah Ayers reading from his new book Fierce Bitches!

Subby will be on hand, of course, with copies of all the books, and the Noir At The Bar anthologies, one and two.

If you like noir and crime fiction, you will love Noir at the Bar!!!

C U in the Loop! At Noir At The Bar!!!

Search results for all of Lupe's Noir At The Bar posts.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Lupe's favourite band, the English Beat, is returning for their yearly gig at Blueberry Hill!

Dave Wakeling and his band just get better and better! You will be Rankin' Full Stop!

C U in the Loop!  Dancing to the Beat!!!

(If you are a Ska fan, check out KDHX local show Ska's The Limit with J.J. Loy.  It's on Saturday night's but you can catch the last two shows on the archive any day or night!  You will hear The Beat and much much more!)

Thursday, March 7, 2013



Wait, that wasn't enough:


Okay, technically, she has only been there once, tonight, for a quick to-go of three of their tacos, but ALREADY they have completely seduced her.  She is pretty much making a list of peeps to take there for food and drinks and fabulous people watching, plus more live music, hopefully!

GREAT staff! Friendly, nice, and fast!!!  (And diverse!! And plenty of eye candy for all genders and orientations, although Lupe knows she is very naughty to mention it.)

GREAT decor!!! Nice mural in the back room, very warm and "beach" feel! Almost made Lupe forget she wasn't on the West Coast!

GREAT food!!!! Lupe had three tacos: duck, tofu and carne asada!!! Now she just wants to eat every single thing on the menu!

Now, this is not straight up Angeleno Taqueria.  You still gotta head over to Cherokee for that.  But no Mexicano would be unhappy here. 

In fact, no person from anywhere could be unhappy in this place. (Unless they had some sort of unhappy disorder that prevented them from enjoying great food in a great atmosphere.)

The tofu was excellent, with an avocado slice and Lupe added a salsa that was dark and tasted like roasted tomatoes were in it.  NO VEGANS WILL SUFFER AT MISSION TACO.  In fact, the tofu is so good carnivores will be tempted... and sated!!!!

The carne asada was delicious!!  Lupe wishes she had ordered more than one.  There was some sort of cheese and a deep green lettuce.  She will be going back tomorrow to get another one and maybe some crab taquitos.  She tried a hot red salsa with the carne.  It was very good, but Lupe preferred the other one she got.  (She promises to investigate the salsas as thoroughly as a sommelier would a wine list on her next visit.)

The duck was very good, however she felt it would have been better with some frijoles y arroz.  Duck fat likes to soak into starch, in Lupe's opinion.  But Lupe only "likes" duck.  She thinks if you love duck you will love these.  For one thing, who can resist the crunchy, melt in your mouth bits of grilled duck fat?

They have a full bar, and it was PACKED.  Diverse crowd, but mostly 20's-30's and mostly white, and a lot of students.  But it is only their fifth night.  This place is so attractive that Lupe is certain it will soon be a hot spot for everyone in the Loop.  Lupe doesn't think anyone of any culture or age would feel uncomfortable at Mission Taco Joint.

Live music tonight was One Take  (with a rocking hot chica singer and fiddler).

OH- and seriously, they need could charge A LOT more for the tacos! Each taco was about $3.  Wonderful!

And the to-go containers are not just eco-friendly, they are compost-able! 

Lupe's only complaint is that they are only open til 1 AM.  She hopes they will get that later liquore licence soon and be open til 3 AM. Lupe is on a Mission: to eat at this place again as often as possible!

C U in the Loop!!! AT MISSION TACO JOINT!!!!


Mission Taco Joint on Urbanspoon

EDIT: Mission offers a dish called "Street corn".  Kind of funny if you have ever bought "Elotes" (ee-LOW-tahs, from "ears" Lupe thinks) from a street vendor.  It's corn on the cob with butter, mayo, lemon juice, salt and hot sauce.  You can get queso too, usually a ground up kind of Mexican parmesan.  No Mexican restaurant in St Louis run by Mexicans would ever take her suggestion to sell it, since that would be like offering hot dogs at a steak house.

So Lupe is hoping that they will also begin offering her other favourite street food (no, not bacon and jalepeno wrapped hot dogs and sausages) Las Frutas.  Usually a blend of oranges, cucumbers, mango, jicama, cantelope, watermelon, and sometimes pineapple and sometimes coconut, with a squeeze of lemon or lime and salt and chili pepper sprinkled on it.  (Most of the Latino neighbourhoods have this, not just Mexican.)

Again, no restaurants here will sell it because it is just so common.  You can get a 2 lb bag of it on almost every corner in L.A. for about $5 and watch the vendor chop it up to your specifications (Lupe doesn't usually like the coconut, and always needs more chili pepper than they want to give her.)  You can also buy Mangos on a stick with the lemon juice, salt and chili pepper. 

Lupe is still waiting to see if a common herb "espoto" (? not sure about the spelling) shows up in any Mission dishes.  And more cilantro.  But this restaurant continues to be a delight!

(If you are in "Hell A" best Mexican street food is in Boyle Heights-- and best Mexican Taqueria too, Carnitas Michoacan.  Also you can go down Soto and look at some of the famous murals.  Soto and Caeser Chavez is a kind of Chicano/Mexicano Delmar Loop and full of heritage and culture.)