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GREAT NEWS: BRUNCH IS BACK!

VIP & EARLY BIRD TICKETS ON SALE NOW

There’s no better way to chase away a hangover than brunch with friends. And Riverfront Times is once again bringing together the best restaurants in town with one mission: unite to cute St. Louis’ hangover. In its 5th year, United We Brunch will be more than just bottomless Bloody Marys and Mimosas — enjoy screwdrivers, bellinis, Irish coffee, beer and more! Plus, all the best brunch hot spots in the St. Louis area under one roof.

Saturday, Jan. 29 • 11 am-2:30 pm • Chase Park Plaza Info & Tickets: 2

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HONORS & AWARDS: • Charles Shaw Trial Advocacy Award • Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers • St. Louis Magazine, Best Lawyers in St. Louis DWI • Riverfront Times Best Lawyer • Best Lawyers in United States • 10 years of law enforcement training, including time as a narcotics agent • Invited to speak nationally on the topic of DWI defense • A proven record of successfully defending difficult DWI cases • A graduate of the National College of DUI Defense at Harvard

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THE LEDE

PHOTO BY THEO WELLING

“I have my face tattooed. I’m young, I’m black, but it’s like old white guys out here, old white ladies. I saw some Middle Eastern people. There’s all types out here. It just shows you we’re the same.” ALI MUHAMMED, PHOTOGRAPHED AT HCI ALTERNATIVES DISPENSARY IN COLLINSVILLE, ILLINOIS, ON JANUARY 12

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Publisher Chris Keating Editor in Chief Doyle Murphy

E D I T O R I A L Managing Editor Liz Miller Arts & Culture Editor Paul Friswold Music Editor Daniel Hill Digital Editor Jaime Lees Staff Writer Danny Wicentowski Restaurant Critic Cheryl Baehr Film Critic Robert Hunt Columnist Ray Hartmann Contributing Writers Mike Appelstein, Allison Babka, Thomas Crone, Jenn DeRose, Mike Fitzgerald, Sara Graham, Joseph Hess, MaryAnn Johanson, Roy Kasten, Kevin Korinek, Bob McMahon, Lauren Milford, Nicholas Phillips, Tef Poe, Christian Schaeffer Proofreader Evie Hemphill Editorial Interns Ella Faust, Caroline Groff, Ronald Wagner

COVER

First Person Shooter Searching for the real inside a police training simulator

A R T Art Director Evan Sult Contributing Photographers Virginia Harold, Stephen Kennedy, Monica Mileur, Zia Nizami, Andy Paulissen, Nick Schnelle, Mabel Suen, Micah Usher, Theo Welling, Jen West

Cover design by

EVAN SULT from a photo by

P R O D U C T I O N Production Manager Haimanti Germain

DAVE MARSHAK

M U L T I M E D I A A D V E R T I S I N G Advertising Director Colin Bell Senior Account Executive Cathleen Criswell Account Managers Emily Fear, Jennifer Samuel Multimedia Account Executive Jackie Mundy

INSIDE

C I R C U L A T I O N Circulation Manager Kevin G. Powers

The Lede Hartmann

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News Feature Calendar

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It’s high time to start thinking regionally

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Summer | Liz Johnson Artur: Dusha | Fluente, an Undersea Circus | Shimmy Showdown | The Thanksgiving Play

Film

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Stage

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Cafe

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Short Orders

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Culture

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Les Misérables Two Trains Running Crawling Crab

E U C L I D M E D I A G R O U P Chief Executive Officer Andrew Zelman Chief Operating Officers Chris Keating, Michael Wagner VP of Digital Services Stacy Volhein Creative Director Tom Carlson www.euclidmediagroup.com N A T I O N A L A D V E R T I S I N G VMG Advertising 1-888-278-9866, vmgadvertising.com S U B S C R I P T I O N S Send address changes to Riverfront Times, 308 N. 21st Street, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63103. Domestic subscriptions may be purchased for $78/6 months (Missouri residents add $4.74 sales tax) and $156/year (Missouri residents add $9.48 sales tax) for first class. Allow 6-10 days for standard delivery. www.riverfronttimes.com The Riverfront Times is published weekly by Euclid Media Group Verified Audit Member Riverfront Times 308 N. 21st Street, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63103 www.riverfronttimes.com General information: 314-754-5966 Fax administrative: 314-754-5955 Fax editorial: 314-754-6416 Founded by Ray Hartmann in 1977

Denise Mueller of SommDee Consults Wellbeing Brewing Co. | Colino’s Cafe & Bakery J’Demul | Holy Posers

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Riverfront Times is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader. Additional copies of the current issue may be purchased for $1.00 plus postage, payable in advance at the Riverfront Times office. Riverfront Times may be distributed only by Riverfront Times authorized distributors. No person may, without prior written permission of Riverfront Times, take more than one copy of each Riverfront Times weekly issue.

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The entire contents of Riverfront Times are copyright 2018 by Riverfront Times, LLC. No portion may be reproduced in whole or in part by any means, including electronic retrieval systems, without the expressed written permission of the Publisher, Riverfront Times, 308 N. 21st Street, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63103. Please call the Riverfront Times office for back-issue information, 314-754-5966.

Ruthie Foster | Lamar Harris & the L | Yes We Can: A Tribute to Allen Toussaint

Savage Love 6

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HARTMANN Sorry State Jefferson City should stay out of St. Louis’ debate over residency rules for city employees BY RAY HARTMANN

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or the longest time, I’ve held the politically incorrect view that the city of St. Louis needed to scrap all of its residency requirements related to jobs in its government, including police. It’s a matter of simple math. Where once St. Louis was a booming city of more than 850,000 and the overwhelmingly dominant population center of the region, it is now struggling to hover above 300,000, a number that reflects less than eleven percent of the people living in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The idea of limiting the public

hiring pool for any purpose — especially police in a crime-ridden community — is counterintuitive. Telling eight out of nine St. Louisans that they need not apply unless they’re willing to relocate their home isn’t a smart strategy for upgrading a city government that virtually everyone agrees needs upgrading. There’s also this: We need to start thinking as a region in St. Louis and not as feudal fiefdoms. The 2.5 million of us who live in St. Louis but not in “the city of St. Louis” really need to lose the habit of viewing everything that’s great about the city as “ours” and everything that’s bad about the city as “theirs.” The flip side is that city residents need to embrace non-residents as their friends and neighbors, not outsiders. Residency rules designed to shun non-residents are inhospitable. Residency rules designed to discourage city employees from moving out are insecure. But if I might dismount my haughty perch for just a moment,

all these noble principles of love and unity and regionalism and cooperation are truly eclipsed by a more urgent one: Whatever challenges face St. Louis — city or region — cannot be punted to Jefferson City for the purpose of imposing the state government’s higher wisdom upon us. We must not come down with Better Together Disease. I mention this because Mayor Lyda Krewson is foolishly embracing an effort spurred by Attorney General Eric Schmitt that would have the state of Missouri overturn the expressed will of the Board of Aldermen by eradicating the aforementioned city residency requirements. As they like to say in outstate Missouri, that dog won’t hunt. Allowing state politicians to invalidate the voted-upon position of duly elected city officials — in this case, the Board of Aldermen — isn’t just a bad idea, it’s a toxic one. I happen to disagree with the board’s refusal last fall to put the residency issue to

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voters, as they rightly wanted to do for airport privatization — but it is what it is. That’s democracy. The current effort to appeal to Jefferson City is much larger than the residency issue, which at the end of the day, isn’t all that apocalyptic. If state government (or statewide voters) can blow off the views of city officials on this issue, what makes you think it won’t happen regarding the airport or a thousand other matters? It’s not like they haven’t done it on gun control and the minimum wage. And of the mayor herself, with whom I agree on residency, I’d ask: How would you like it if you vetoed a bill from the Board of Aldermen, but after lacking the votes to override your veto, the aldermen just went to Jefferson City to “correct” the situation legislatively? I’m guessing not so much. And it’s not just a cautionary tale for St. Louisans within the city limits. What if the state legislature decides the St. Louis County

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HARTMANN

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Council needs correction with regard to its police policies or structures? Can you imagine how much the St. Charles County Council would appreciate having one of its actions overturned in Jefferson City? I don’t pretend to be unbiased, thanks to my unabashed cynicism about Missouri state government based upon, oh, about a half-century of following its adventures. Our state government is to sound public policy what Inspector Clouseau was to forensic science. And there’s the stunning hypocrisy of a government dominated by “state’s rights” Republicans — fierce advocates of overnment closer to home” when it’s their homes at stake — happily embracing the role of Big Brother when it comes to preventing “those people” in the city from dragging down our glorious state. But that’s not the ultimate point: Even if we had the smartest, most creative, most efficient state overnment in the world, it would be the antithesis of democracy to deny any local community the ri ht to fi its own problems. r not fi them. The counterargument, I’m uessin , is that state officials have some higher obligation to all Missourians to protect them from the havoc that would be wreaked if St. Louis — the state’s largest economic engine — were to fall off of a fiscal cliff. f that s your view, please send me a link to a state ouse or enate floor debate about what Jefferson City can do by way of helping its large urban areas. ood luc findin it. Furthering the irony, the worst of St. Louis’ crime problems are rooted in sociolo ical deficiencies for which Missouri state government has dirty hands: Racism, dramatic inequalities in education, health care, services for the disabled, food, housing, transportation — you name it — our state has failed the least fortunate among us for nearly two centuries. No, that doesn’t absolve people and communities of their own responsibilities. But, yes, nothing in St. Louis is ettin fi ed by efferson ity. It would certainly be nice if St. Louis could address its crime issues by focusing on causes, not symptoms. The crime problem cannot be laid at the doorstep of police, and it cannot be fi ed by police. That said, you can hardly blame city residents wanting to see more officers on the street.

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Someone, somehow, has got to step up as a leader. And you can’t blame them for wantin officers who are better paid and trained and more empathetic and so on. Do I think lifting the residency re uirements for police will fi that? Of course not. It’s just a hurdle to remove. Just like making the city’s hiring practices more responsive and efficient would be. Aldermen are right to cite constituent complaints that they haven’t received a response when applying for jobs. Or that the relative lack of internet services to poor people in general, and blacks in particular, skews the system against them. But in the same city, employees of the county offices — treasurer, circuit attorney, et cetera — aren’t required to live in the city e cept for the officeholder . irefi hters and employees of the city schools don’t have to reside in the city. Perhaps incentives can be offered for people to live in the city and work in city government. Maybe there could be bonuses or higher pay grades, just as points are awarded to city-resident applicants for government jobs. But there’s no “maybe” about this: The dysfunction of city government is getting old. At some point, there has to be some give and take between the mayor and Board of Aldermen to end all the gridlock. If it’s trading residency rules for repealin the 20 2 measure cutting the board’s size, so be it. If it’s about some other area of compromise, great. Someone, somehow, has got to step up as a leader. Meanwhile, back in Jefferson City, the most interesting news of the week was an inane initiative by Gov. Mike Parson to spend $50,000 on valet parking for legislators. Nice symbolic idea for the 40-something-ranked state in just about everything. What was that again about them fi in t. ouis Ray Hartmann founded the Riverfront Times in 1977. Contact him at rhartmann@sbcglobal.net or catch him on St. Louis In the Know With Ray Hartmann and Jay Kanzler from 9 to 11 p.m. Monday thru Friday on KTRS (550 AM).


NEWS Cara Spencer Challenging Krewson for Mayor Written by

DANNY WICENTOWSKI

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t. Louis city’s next mayoral election isn’t until April 2021, but — presuming we all survive 2020 — we now know the primary will include a showdown between Mayor Lyda Krewson and Alderwoman Cara Spencer. Spencer, who represents the 20th Ward in south city, announced her candidacy on January 8 during an appearance on St. Louis on the Air. In a subsequent tweet, she wrote that “Our government has been on autopilot for decades,” and that “It’s time to throw the typewriters out of City Hall.” First elected in 2015, Spencer has played the role of watchdog and activist, most recently in her

St. Louis Libraries Losing Late Fees Written by

LIZ MILLER

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f you’ve been avoiding your local library due to overdue fines — perhaps since 2009 when you forgot to return The Lovely Bones, which you only borrowed because you were on winter break from college and then you never read it anyway — you’re in luck. On January 6, St. Louis County Library (SLCL) and St. Louis Public Library (SLPL) announced that branches in both systems would eliminate overdue fines in 2020. The new “fine-free” policy starts this month and aims to “allow patrons greater access to all of the resources available at the library including books, DVDs, online classes, eMedia and more,” according to a news release. “Public libraries provide vital resources and life enrichment throughout our communities. Individuals, families,

Alderwoman Cara Spencer is rolling into the 2021 mayoral race. | DANNY WICENTOWSKI long campaign against the city’s now-ended exploration to privatize the airport. In that role, Spencer’s push for a public vote on the issue failed to pass as a bill in the Board of Aldermen, but her outspoken opposition lent momentum to the various elected and citizen groups that fought the businesses, adults, children — the world comes through our doors and networks,” SLPL Chief Executive Officer Waller McGuire said in a release. “Our boards voted to open more doors by eliminating fines. It is a wonderful gift for St. Louis and a great step forward for the region.” Although fines will no longer be charged for late returns, both library systems will require payment for any lost or damaged materials. Essentially, our libraries want to make their materials more accessible to folks across the St. Louis area, but you can’t destroy or steal their stuff, guys. That seems fair. Still, cardholders must be somewhat prompt with returning items, as after 42 days, unreturned rentals will be flagged as lost. Cardholders will continue to receive email notices about due dates, including auto renewals sent two days before items are due. After 45 days, cardholders will be billed for the materials, but if you just simply return them, the fee will be waived. “Reading has the unique ability to inform, illuminate and inspire,” St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said in the release. “It’s important that we make our great li-

privatization plan. Spencer was eventually vindicated in December, when Krewson announced, also on St. Louis on the Air, that the city would not consider private proposals for taking over airport operations. n another hi h profile fi ht, Spencer sued the owners of the St.

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Louis Blues in 2017 in an attempt to stop the city from putting a $107 million stadium renovation on the backs of taxpayers. That attempt failed, due in no small part of the Blues’ lawyers threatening to sue Spencer for legal fees, even though the massive giveaway wasn’t supported by the stadium lease. pencer may have lost that fi ht, but in her campaign announcement, the alderwoman says she wants to “live in a city that works.” Then again, Spencer may not be the only challenger waiting in the wings. The mayoral contest will almost certainly come down to the Democratic primary in March 2021. In the 2017 election, Krewson defeated a field of four candidates, winning by a razor-thin margin over Treasurer Tishaura Jones. To date, Jones has not clarified her plans for 202 — but she hasn’t been entirely silent. About an hour after Spencer declared her candidacy, Jones retweeted Ward 25 Democratic committeewoman Lori Lamprich. Along with a tea-sipping gif, Lamprich had tweeted, “I, for one, am excited to get to work electing @tishaura as Mayor of St. Louis next year.” n

St. Louis Public Library and St. Louis County Library won’t charge late fees anymore. | DOYLE MURPHY braries as accessible as possible to the community. I am grateful to our two incredible library systems for collaborating together to do just that and go fine-free.” The policy change was approved in December by the board of trustees for both library systems. Money generated by overdue fines was steadily decreasing year over year, the release states, and by mov-

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ing to a fine-free model, the board hopes to increase “equity for library users.” “We are always looking for ways to remove barriers and increase access to library materials and services,” SLCL director Kristen Sorth said. “Removing overdue fees helps make the library’s resources more accessible and supports literacy efforts for our entire community.” n

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n reality, police shootings are tragic but often avoidable human disasters that leave behind pain and little resolution. In a VirTra simulation, they are something else. ith a hum, three floor to ceilin screens flic er to life inside a dar ened, equipment-cluttered room in a law enforcement academy in Hillsboro. This is the VirTra, a “Judgmental Use of Force Training and Firearms Simulator.” Onscreen, the projected images of real actors plead, argue, curse, shoot, run, surrender and fi ht throu h hundreds of scenarios meant to mimic the real world. Or, at least, some version of it. Potentially, a dangerous one, filled with split second ambushes and weapons hidden in the folds of a bystander’s sweatshirt. It is a version of the world where the dead come bac to life. After the scenario ends, you see them frozen at the moment of trigger pull, digital ghosts mar ed by blue dots to show where your laser simulated shots struc them. This is the police training of today. The departments in St. Louis County, Jefferson County and O’Fallon rely on VirTra’s popular brand of simulation platform, which uses special effects, dozens of actors and a branching system of choices to produce what the company calls “better outcomes” in real use-of-force situations. For an outsider, however, that claim is difficult to fact chec . It is a Tuesday in December, and in a bac room normally used by police trainees, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department allows a Riverfront Times writer and other local reporters to try the VirTra. Normally, deputies train on the VirTra for two to three hours over the course of a year. My time in the simulator runs 40 minutes, and that’s after sitting through some five hours of classroom courses, which largely involve discussions about police incidents captured on video. Allowing reporters into the VirTra is a first of its ind offer from heriff ave arsha . n his invitation, addressed to “media members,” he explained that he wanted “to help you tell a more in-depth and well-rounded story” while learning “the nuances of use of force situations.” The VirTra simulator, the invitation continued, would “open your eyes” to why even shootin someone in the bac “may actually be the best choice for an officer. n theory, the irTra see s to use hi h production interactive media to simulate use-of-force scenarios that would be impossible, or prohibitively expensive, to do in real life. In practice, the VirTra’s “judgmental training” is about as sophisticated as a choose-your-adventure novel. There’s no artificial intelli ence behind the characters onscreen, no software that Continued on pg 13

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The VirTra FIRST PERSON SHOOTER Continued from pg 10 simulator, determines whether the belligthe invitation erent suspect in front of you, for instance, uses a bottle of coconut uor to hit you or mee ly surpromised, would lirenders and apologizes for over“open your eyes” reacting. Instead, it is a human “operaat the controls of your virtual to why even tor” reality. Today, that’s a Jefferson sheriff’s deputy named shooting someone County Matt, who sits at a computer monbehind me and uses VirTra’s in the back “may itor control platform to alter dialogue ratchet the danger. While I actually be the and try to role-play police tactics, Matt throu h possible fubest choice for an isturesclicandin decidin if they ll wor . With its three screens, this modofficer.” el of the VirTra provides a 180-de-

ree field of possible action. n a way, the simulator, which can cost up to $300,000, could be seen as the most extravagant and immersive video game ever produced. After entering the room, I relinquish my camera to the care of heriff arsha deputi in him as an RFT photographer in the process). In exchange, I’m equipped with a holster and a loc pistol whose barrel is modified with a laser to record accuracy. It’s loaded to fire with a 2 cartrid e, which delivers ust enou h ic to noc bac the slide on each shot. arsha provides some coaching and encourages me to get

into the role. Shooting tactics can be tested, of course, but also the trainee’s behavior. In this capacity, the VirTra becomes less of a tar et simulator than a ind of instructive monologue, performed for an audience of one. In this case, I’d be performing for Deputy Matt. “The operator here can change the scenarios based upon how you re tal in to an individual, arsha advises. e can set it for compliance, or we can ma e things go to the other end of the spectrum.” or officers, he e plains, the VirTra training is an opportunity to wor on deescalation tactics and shooting decisions.” For the sheriff, the crucial part of that decision training is the possibility for failure, and he believes that’s a role where the VirTra excels. et s et the mista es out of the way in this room, arsha says. “Let’s have the tough conversations about why you made the decisions you did.”

THE VIRTRA

DEPOSITS ME IN A

police car already on its way to City Hall. A dispatcher on the radio describes a blac male in his twenties, who is par ed in a truc and refusing to leave. A few seconds later, arrive at the par in lot outside “City Hall,” a glassfronted structure that loo s li e a ban buildin . et out of the patrol car, or, rather, m ta en out

A scene from one of the frightening scenarios that play out in the simulator. | DAVE MARSHAK

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of it. Here, the VirTra’s camera decides how you move. I can see the man from the 911 call. He’s sitting in the driver’s seat, thinly built with closecropped hair. I can only see the bac of his head. Then see the gun, which he has pressed to his temple. ith arsha s advice still in mind, tal to the man on the screen. “You don’t have to do this,” I say, and, without thin in about it, find myself tal in loudly, as if I’m trying to reach someone 30 feet away and not improvising inside a small room. as him if can help. He doesn’t seem react to me at all, and instead he shouts something incomprehensible and anguished without turning in my direction. eep my hands out to my sides, even when the man exits the truc and starts wal in toward the buildin entrance. find myself repeating the same lines, “Sir, please,” “Sir, it doesn’t have to be this way. e doesn t ac nowled e me. I can only watch him, gun still pressed to his own head. He nears the front door of City Hall, and now my hand is fumbling with the catch on the holster, but it is too late — the doors are closing behind him. What follows is the sound of gunshots. The scene ends. arsha steps forward into the neutral glow of the VirTra screens. My pulse is racing. It’s time for that tough conversation about decision ma in . o, what happened he as s. ou were tryin to tal to a person and it s not sin in in. That happens to us. The reality of what that was, that’s what happens when we didn t ma e the ri ht decisions. What happened inside? He went on a shooting spree.” now where this is oin . suggest that I could have moved closer when he got out of the car or fired a warnin shot. arsha patiently dismantles these options. Both could be dangerous, and in the case of “warning shots,” he notes, a violation of department policy. How will I justify my failure to intervene, or explain why I didn’t even have my un out hen reporters as why I didn’t prevent the tragedy, arsha challen es, what s your argument going to be?” The sheriff snaps his fin ers. very second that he s wal ing closer, you lose options,” he says. ased on what you now now, when he’s heading toward the building and not complying verbally, what should you have done?”

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The question hangs in the air. The moment passes, and Deputy Matt cues up the next scenario. now, of course, what arsha is drivin at, the answer he is pressing for: What I should have done, what I was supposed to do, was shoot the man in the bac .

IN THE NEXT SIMULATION, I FACE AN

going to happen. Even our police officers stru le with it. In the next scene, I decide to try role-playing the VirTra the way it’s meant to be played — as a cop. This time, the patrol car deposits me in front of what loo s li e a suburban house where two fi ures, an older man and a teenager, are fi htin on the front lawn. Three people, seemingly family members, are watching from just outside the front door. Everyone is shouting. The teenager runs off as soon as the cops show up, and my fellow officer who is part of the simulation) questions the older man, “Hector,” who insists he was “just playing” with his seventeen-yearold brother.

round sound system at a piercing intensity. Hector cradles his brother’s body in front of me, screaming and screaming. “You motherfuc er he cries. ou motherfuc er don t now how to role play this, and so I just stand there as everyone continues screaming. I put the loc bac in the holster. I don’t notice one of the people standing outside the house, a heavyset blac man in a hoodie, pull out a gun before he’s already shot at me five times. There’s no “game over” in this scene, and so I get the chance to return fire. finally et off several shots and land a headshot on the third. The shooter collapses against the door. Finally, the scene

expressionless white man standin alone in a field. n the span of about two seconds, he loo s at me, suddenly pulls a un, fires once and bolts away. Once again, I’m not uic enou h to even et my pistol out of the holster before the scene ends. If I were a real police trainee, I might be equipped with the VirTra’s Threat Fire device, which delivers “adjustable electrical shoc to simulate return fire. ere, ust et a tal in to from arsha . “Based on that,” he as s, would you be ustified in shooting the guy in the bac Hours earlier, ends. The entire during the classscenario lasts less room portion of than three minthe training course, utes. arsha had disarsha a ain cussed the Supreme debriefs me. DoCourt cases that mestic situations define a police offican be chaotic, cer s le al ustificaand he says oftion for force. The ficers are oblicourt had ruled that gated to identify althou h officers aggressors and can’t shoot somevictims, “which one just for commitcan be very, very ting a crime, if the difficult. n this officer reasonably case, an apparent believes that pervictim became the son poses a danger, even if that person Sheriff Dave Marshak. | COURTESY JEFFERSON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE aggressor. arsha turns is running away, to Matt behind the they can ta e the computer. “Let’s shot. About 40 seconds later, the teen run the scenario again with a difnd so, answer arsha s question with “Yes, legally,” but runs bac into the scene, armed ferent outcome.” i e roundho ay, m bac at internally now this is a dod e with a itchen nife. e char es to the sheriff’s real question. The toward Hector. A woman stand- the same suburban house. I’m on truth is, as a reporter role-playing ing by the doorway, perhaps his high alert. I tell the crowd of peomother, wraps him in a bear hug ple at the front door to bac away as a cop, ust don t now what should have done with a pistol in from behind. I pull my gun, and I from the scene they don t and my hand and a retreating man’s start tellin him to drop the nife. swivel my lance bac and forth eep sayin it until the teen between Hector and the man in bac in my si hts. the hooded sweatshirt who I now arsha seems to detect my dis- brea s free and runs headlon now is armed. y hand hovtoward Hector. I shoot him, and comfort. “That’s a tough one, right?” he then there’s an almost impercepti- ers above my holster, and so I’m says, and chuc les in what sounds ble pause, a flic er in the irTra s ready when the nife wieldin li e an understandin way. o ima e and ambient soundtrac , teen char es. fter he ets loc ed one wants to shoot someone in and the teen’s body crumples onto in the bear hu , as him to drop the nife once a ain. the bac . o one wants to ustify the lawn. But in this version, the teen The simulation continues. Evthat, even though legally after he shoots at you, you are ustified eryone screams, their amplified does drop the nife. The situabecause you don t now what s wailing coming through the sur- tion cools down. I don’t have to

shoot anybody. The man in the hoodie doesn’t shoot at me. My ears aren’t ringing with Hector’s anguished screaming. What changed here, however, wasn’t anything I did. There was nothin had learned in the first version that allowed me to deescalate in the second one. The only thing that really changed is that Matt punched the right buttons to ma e the teen drop the nife. I’m put through several more scenes. n the ne t one, a blac man in athletic apparel runs right at me with a nife, coverin the distance before I have time to draw from my holster. A few minutes later m confrontin a drun white woman wearing camoufla e print overalls and holdin a

“You have to figure that there’s a segment of them that needed to be shot by police,” the sheriff reasons, “whether you agree with that or not.”

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crossbow. She eventually puts the weapon down. In the last scene, I conduct a traffic stop on a truc that turns out to be filled with ispanic migrants, who pour of out the bac . The scenario spins into a shootout, then a hostage situation and ends with an attempted ambush. That was a shit sandwich ri ht there, arsha remar s. Between one of the scenes, I uestion arsha about his own thoughts on VirTra’s scenarios. as , oes this feel accurate “Yes and no,” he says, after a pause. “The difference is there’s no conse uences for mista es.

IN

REALITY , AN ATTEMPT TO analy e a police action can uic ly become a moral battleground over what is le ally ustified and actual ustice. nd unli e a irTra simulation, where all future options are nown in advance, the very concept of a mista e has an ambiguous role in a real police shooting. e ally, if an officer believes a suspect is reaching for a gun, or advancin with a nife — in that moment, they’re legally justified to shoot, even if the dan er turned out to be a cellphone. In practice, officers are rarely criminally charged in shootings, since it is often a cop’s perceptions, even more so than the result of their ac-

Continued on pg 15


Anyone could be a threat in the digital confrontations. | DAVE MARSHAK

FIRST PERSON SHOOTER Continued from pg 14

tions, that determines the legality. If something is legal, can it still be a mista e fter the simulation, as arsha how this sort of trainin fits into the bigger discussion around police shootin s. ore than five years after Ferguson, we’re still living with the impact of that outra e, and than s to the proliferation of cellphone video, the public and media are exposed to more examples of police use of force than ever before. arsha starts by ac nowled ing that shootings are “critical situations,” but he says, in contrast to the outrage, those situations are rare. n 20 , amid the tens of thousands of citizen contacts and more than 700 calls involving suicidal subjects, the Jefferson County sheriff s office recorded ust 35 use-of-force incidents. ationally, police ill about a thousand people per year,” he says, though it’s worth remembering that the fi ure is not trac ed by any overnment database. n 20 , the Washington Post trac ed 30 fatal police shootings in the U.S., cobbling together the data through news accounts, social media, law enforcement monitoring sites and the newspaper’s own reporting.) Some of those shootings might be uestionable, arsha says, but he believes that most are not. ou have to fi ure that there s a segment of them that needed to be shot by police,” he reasons,

“whether you agree with that or not.” Far easier, then, to present no opinion at all — that appears to be the solution arrived by the VirTra, which treads lightly around the core use of its services. Promotional materials tout a “judgmental use-of-force simulator” that produces “improved outcomes” and “better choices,” but it never exactly states what those outcomes are, or what consequences those better choices produce. I wanted to understand more about the VirTra. A few days later — with arsha s uestion, “What should you have done?” still echoing in my mind — I arrange a phone interview with VirTra’s director of training curriculum, a retired lon time officer named Lon Bartel. One of the simulator scenarios is still bothering me, the one about the suicidal/homicidal man who wal s into ity all with a gun pressed against his head. It seemed designed to teach me that I had no option other than to ill, and that to delay, or even attempt deescalation, would lead to more bloodshed and community outrage. It was an impossible scenario, one where only one action, a gunshot, affected the world around me. I tell Bartel about my own inaction and arsha s su estions that the right thing to do would have been to ta e the shot. had no rebuttal to the shoot first solution, but at the same time, the VirTra’s operator had placed me in a world that didn’t seem to respond

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The writer role-playing one of VirTra’s nightmare scenes. | DAVE MARSHAK to my attempts to avoid it. Bartel tells me he’s familiar with the scenario, which is based on a real case. “It’s actually one of my favorites,” he says. The scene didn’t have to end in tragedy, Bartel explains, but it was also intended to include evidence that should have raised my alert faster. Bartel says the operator could have chosen different dialogue for the subject with the gun, to “set the tone for his mindset” — statements like “They took everything from me,” that are designed to signal to a trainee that the suspect might intend more than suicide. “He can be amped up and less amped up,” Bartel continues. “He can give a plea for help, he can throw the gun out the window, he can assault you, he can get out of the car and start shooting — it has a lot to do with your capabilities and what the trainer is trying to obtain.” To put it another away: It’s the trainer who’s really setting the “judgmental” parameters in these scenarios, and that means the training goal as well. Bartel says while VirTra doesn’t independently collect data on how officers perform, 65 percent of the scenes are designed “not to need force.” The variety of options allows operators to test more complicated deescaltion techniques, with trainees being judged on the basis of asking the right questions, noticing the right things — and in doing so, if the operator allows it, avoiding a shootout. However, Bartel concedes there would be nothing to stop an operator from cueing up scene after scene of ambushes and active shooters. But he argues that such a training strategy wouldn’t be the

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result of VirTra’s simulator, but the police department or trainer. “What we don’t do is create a situation where everything is a ‘shoot’. There’s no reason to do that,” he says. “In theory, could someone force a use-of-force event? They can, that’s true. Ultimately, their policy and training protocol would have to be called into question.”

STARTING IN THE 1990S, THE MOST

extreme critics of violent video games mobilized around the argument that virtual carnage wasn’t just linked to aggression, but that players are actually learning urban warfare s ills from first person shooting games. While most research failed to support that argument, there’s still little we can say confidently about the relationship between simulated violence and real-life aggression. When it comes to police training simulators, which are trying to influence real life behavior, the question is even more pressing. “The gold standard for testing is, ‘Does their behavior in the real world change after the training?’ And that research is incredibly lacking,” says Stephen James, an assistant professor at Washington State University who runs its Simulated Hazardous Operational Tasks Laboratory. James, in partnership with researcher Lois James, his wife, uses their own sophisticated simulator, complete with filmed scenarios and branching choices, in order to study racial bias and officers performance under stress. The VirTra, James says, is “lagging behind what the profession needs out of this training tool.” Continued on pg 18


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FIRST PERSON SHOOTER Continued from pg 16

Even with VirTra’s branching options, he argues that the system fails to connect trainees’ actions to the changes on screen. “The scenario should be driven by the choices of the officer and not the operator,” he argues. “The biggest problem to me in how these simulators are utilized is that it all depends on the quality of the lessons learned. It’s really hit and miss, even within the same organization.” From the researcher’s perspective, the high-tech advancements behind modern simulators are being wasted without the ability to judge trainees in meaningful ways; and not judged by a human operator wearing a police uniform, but by a “dispassionate metric” that can be applied as a standard beyond just one department or agency. Instead, the simulators’ current use leaves open the possibility for what James calls “negative training,” which replaces the incentives for good judgment — i.e., avoiding a shooting — with an adrenaline-pumping crisis that only a vanishingly small number of officers will face in their career. ames ac nowled es that officers do confront real life situations they don’t control. He doesn’t discount the lived experiences of officers who confront sub ects li e the shooter in the ity all scenario, who didn’t respond to verbal attempts at deescalation, or those li e the ambush shooter who attac ed ust after d holstered my firearm after d already shot someone. He argues that those crises are incredibly rare and “just because they happened to an officer once doesn t ustify their inclusion as training scenarios. ou can have an officer doin absolutely everything right and the operator decides to ma e it a shooting scenario,” he says. “What does that teach you? It teaches you, ‘It doesn’t matter what I do.’” Perhaps that was what had bothered me so much about my time in the irTra. arsha had as ed me, hat should you have done?” The truth is that it did not actually matter. As a trainee playing the cop, all I’d learned was to e pect the worst and act the uic est. The VirTra contained a world whose moral compass was judged in virtual retrospect, based on perfect fore nowled e. was bein as ed to e tend that ud ment to what cops face in real life. While not every scenario I encountered in the VirTra was a

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“The gold standard for testing is, ‘Does their behavior in the real world change after the training?’ And that research is incredibly lacking.” brutal calamity that pushed me toward violence, it still felt li e a process designed to encourage projection into my future coverage. It seemed this was the “wellrounded story arsha had mentioned in the invitation: That the next time I reported on a police shootin , would thin about the worst-case scenario: that man at City Hall. For now, James and his fellow researchers are still studying the effects of police simulator training. But this isn’t an issue that’s waiting around for academic clarification irTra is a publicly traded company that claims its simulators are installed in 2 countries. t reported more than $18 million in revenue and nearly million in profit 20 . The company’s tailor-made training tech has also found its way to the military, with simulations of chec points and attempted terrorist attac s. The platform is used by Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service, U.S. Customs, Border Protection and more. n 20 , the company in ed a $4.6 million contract through the epartment of tate to outfit a istan with simulators. And soon, the list of VirTra customers will include the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, whose officers shot twelve people in 20 , seven of whom died. n an email, department spo eswoman Michelle Woodling writes that the department is replacing its outdated Laser Shot system with VirTra’s top-of-the-line model, the 300, which features five screens and a 300 de ree field of vision and whose promotional materials tout its “superior, lifeli e trainin . The VirTra, Woodling writes, is “the best training simulator on the mar et at this time. n


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CALENDAR

BY PAUL FRISWOLD

THURSDAY 01/16 Hot Stuff In the late 1970s, Donna Summer was the queen of the night with a solid string of disco smash-hits. It was an unexpected place to be for a young black woman who was raised in the church and had to go to Germany to make those same hits. Summer: The Donna Summer Musical tells the story of the Disco Diva through the hits that made her famous. The show uses three different performers to portray Summer and covers her youth, her early successes, her drug abuse and her born-again Christianity in the 1980s. (Her alleged homophobia during this last period is also briefly touched on.) Summer: The Donna Summer Musical is performed at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday (January 16 to 26) at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; www.fabulousfox. com). Tickets are $29 to $89.

Dan’yelle Williamson (Diva Donna) and the Company of Summer. | MATTHEW MURPHY FOR MURPHYMADE

Liz Johnson Artur, Untitled (PDA), Chromagenic Photograph, 2018. | COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

FRIDAY 01/17 It’s About Soul For Liz Johnson Artur, the African diaspora was an everyday reality. The Russian-Ghanaian artist grew

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up in Bulgaria, Germany and Russia, where she was far from people who looked like her. The experience of findin her own community when she came to America in the 1980s galvanized her work, and for the past 30 years she has photographed the survivors of the diaspora in the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. Johnson Artur has captured people celebrating in street scenes, nightclubs and private homes, and her keen eye for composition and style reveals a world of fashion and dramatic posture; more than that, her work places her subjects in art galleries and museums. Liz Johnson Artur: Dusha (the Russian word for soul is her first solo museum exhibition, and it comprises videos, sketchbooks and photographs. Dusha comes to the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Avenue; www.camstl.org) by way of the Brooklyn Museum, and opens with a free public reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, January 17. It remains on display through April 19.

JANUARY 15-21, 2020

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Burlesque Battle Burlesque’s brightest stars converge on the Ready Room (4195 Manchester Avenue; www.thereadyroom. com) this Friday, January 17, for the tenth annual Shimmy Showdown. Lola Van Ella is your hostess, there will be celebrity judges and special guest stars, but the main event is the real attention-grabber. Twelve burlesque performers compete in a head-to-head competition, death-match style, and only one can emerge victorious. Allura Fette, SinDee Hoo Hoo, Chi Chi Bumuom and Amber Adelaide represent St. Louis, while Montreal’s Gigi Marx and Denver’s Kerri N’Fuego try to wrest the crown from them. The Shimmy Showdown starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $20 to $30.

SATURDAY 01/18 Submerged Circus An underwater circus sounds like

a real struggle for all involved. Those poor acrobats, trying to tumble with all that water pressure weighing down on them. Fortunately, Circus Harmony’s new show is only inspired by water. Fluente, an Undersea Circus, showcases the hardworking young stars of tomorrow as they juggle, perform contortions and have fun on solid ground and in the air above it. Fluente is performed at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (January 18 to 26) at the City Museum (750 North Sixteenth Street; www.circusharmony.org). Tickets are $20, and for $7 more you can stay and enjoy the City Museum after the show.

Ice to See You The Loop Ice Carnival returns for another year of frosty fun as well as a few new surprises. All the best parts — the frozen turkey bowling (now with vegetarian turkeys), the ice slides, the zip line


WEEK OF JANUARY 16–22

The Thanksgiving Play. | PHILIP HAMER and the carnival rides — are back again. (The painted wooden photo stands have been up for most of January, so don’t worry, they’re also back again.) Most of the local restaurants and businesses will have specials throughout the carnival, which takes place from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (January 18 and 19) in the Delmar Loop (5900 to 6600 blocks of Delmar Boulevard, University City; www.visittheloop.com). Admission is free, but some events require a small fee.

No Turkey If no good deed really does go unpunished, then Logan’s new play is doomed from the start. Logan is a working director who wishes to stage a completely unproblematic new production inspired by Thanksgiving. Her cast is ready and eager to mindfully do the work, but how do they stay woke and avoid all of the standard landmines (Native Americans vs. Pilgrims, turkeys vs. industrialized factory farming) with a subject as fraught as first contact between coloni ers and colonized? Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play skewers the characters’ pretensions and the nature of some sort of “traditional

Thanksgiving.” The Repertory Theatre St. Louis Studio Series presents the satire Tuesday through Sunday (January 17 to February 9) at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road; www.repstl.org). Tickets are $46 to $71.

SUNDAY 01/19 Truckin’ The Dome at America’s Center is once a ain filled with fresh dirt, old tires and immobile cars, because the Monster Jam is back in town. The monster trucks are coming to town to race, jump, do bac flips and crush cars, and you can watch them wreak their havoc. Drivers and trucks scheduled to appear include the husbandand-wife team of Jimmy and Dawn Creten driving Bounty Hunter and Scarlet Hunter, respectively, along with Kristen Hope in Wolf’s Head, Neil Elliott in Max-D and Morgan Kane behind the wheel of Grave i er. The truc s fire up the engines at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (January 18 and 19) at the Dome at America’s Center (701 Convention Plaza; www. monsterjam.com). Tickets are $15 to $75. n

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THIS WEEK THE GROVE SELECTED HAPPENINGS

IN

Day or night, there’s always something going on in The Grove: live bands, great food, beer tastings, shopping events, and so much more. Visit thegrovestl.com for a whole lot more of what makes this neighborhood great.

2 4 R RI VI VE ER RF RF RO ON NT T T IT MI ME ES S MF EJAUBRNRCEUHA2R104Y- -22680,-, M220A0R118C8 H r5ri,ivve2er0rf1frr8oonnt trt ti ivmmeeersfs.r.coconomtmt i m e s . c o m 22 RIVERFRONT TIMES JANUARY 15-21, 2020 riverfronttimes.com

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15

VARIETY NIGHT FT. KYLE RAY 8:30 PM AT THE GRAMOPHONE

THURSDAY, JANUARY 16

WOOD & WIRE AT THE BOOTLEG $10, 7 PM AT ATOMIC COWBOY

10TH ANNUAL SHIMMY SHOWDOWN 8 PM AT THE READY ROOM

SATURDAY, JANUARY 18

SATURDAY BLUEGRASS SESSIONS 1 PM AT GEZELLIG TAPHOUSE

FRIDAY, JANUARY 17

SLAY2K: A NIGHT OF MILLENIUM POP HITS

BURLESQUE

$5, 7 PM AT ATTITUDES NIGHT CLUB


Thu Jan 16

WOOD & WIRE Fri Feb 7

chicago farmer

w/ special guests TBA

Sun Feb 9

PIP THE PANSY w/ KID SCIENTIST

Sat Feb 15 Missouri Muses:

A Celebration of MO Women in Rock Featuring: Aina Cook, The Burney Sisters, Molly Healey

sat mar 21

JAKE’S LEG 4130 MANCHESTER AVE. IN THE GROVE FIRECRACKERPIZZA.COM

HAVOC'S HABERDASHERY

FRIDAY, JANUARY 24

3 PM AT JUST JOHN

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29

8 PM AT HANDLEBAR

HOLY POSERS ALBUM RELEASE AT THE BOOTLEG

SUNDAY, JANUARY 26

SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL ST. LOUIS

WOLPERTINGER 2020

DRESS THE PART

1 PM AT URBAN CHESTNUT

8 PM AT THE READY ROOM

MONDAY, JANUARY 27

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1

SLUMFEST AWARDS 2020 AT THE BOOTLEG $10, 9 PM AT ATOMIC COWBOY

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 22

DRAG ME TO HANDLEBAR: A DRAG SHOW

$10, 8 PM AT ATOMIC COWBOY

ONE FOUR FIVES: AN IMPROVISED MUSICAL

8:30 PM AT HANDLEBAR

$10, 8 PM AT THE IMPROV SHOP

THE OFFICE TRIVIA

SATURDAY, JANUARY 25

IMPROV SHOP OPEN MICROPHONE

7 PM AT TROPICAL LIQUEURS

CALEB'S DAY IN THE GROVE

8 PM AT THE IMPROV SHOP

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FILM

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Buzz (Al-Hassan Ly) with his drone. | SRAB FILMS, COURTESY OF AMAZON STUDIOS

[REVIEW]

Neighborhood Uprising Ladj Ly’s French thriller Les Misérables wants you to get mad Written by

ROBERT HUNT Les Misérables Directed by Ladj Ly. Written by Ladj Ly, Giordano Gederlini and Alexis Manenti. Starring Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti and Djibril Zonga. Opens Friday, January 17, at the Landmark Tivoli Theatre.

I

f you’re familiar with Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel Les Misérables from any of its various iterations — film adaptations, roadway musicals, liff otes — you know that it’s the story of the peasant ean al ean, who is persecuted for years by the fanatical policeman avert, and that their final confrontation ta es place on the barricades of the 32 rebellion in aris. irector ad y s debut feature isn t based on u o s boo but draws on its name to underscore the timelessness of his sub ect and to place the film s inspiration, a three wee outburst of political protests in 2005, as part of a historical chain. The story may be different, but the theme of resistance against oppression is, for better or worse, timeless.

y s film, which won the alme d r at last year s annes festival, is set in aris racially mi ed ontfermeil district, where the ali born director rew up and where u o wrote his novel . t s inspired by his own e periences while recordin police abuses in the nei hborhood. The film offers an updated surro ate of the director, a uiet youn boy who uses a remote control drone to spy on events and irls in the nei hborhood and accidentally films a trio of tri er happy policemen. is video and the officers attempts to sei e it lead to a confrontation which may strike some viewers as implausible — but one in which Ly claims to have actually participated. ad y has admitted to criminal activity in his past, includin a two year sentence for attac in a relative. n the surface, Les Misérables be ins alon the familiar lines of an action film or a police procedural. t phane amien onnard , a policeman new to the area, spends his first day on duty with collea ues hris le is anenti and wada ibril on a , cynical officers who ma e no effort to dis uise their hatred of the locals and the pleasure they ta e in harassin them. s they e plore their beat, t phane ta es account of the nei hborhood s

residents and its social structure — community activists, children from dysfunctional families, a restaurant owner who serves as odfather. There s also an odd subplot involvin the theft of a lion cub from a circus. The tension escalates, yet y eeps the film carefully, almost unemotionally neutral. That apparent impartiality is somethin of a ruse. Thou h much of the film seems to be presented from the position of the police, their fra mented view — t phane is outra ed, wada conflicted and hris unrepentant in his racism and abuses of power — is clearly too unstable to last. hen a final series of events upends the officers authority, it comes with a olt, an abrupt shift of fate that e poses the precariousness of their situation. suspect that many viewers will sit through Les Misérables feelin that despite its loose structure and di yin visuals, they ve seen it all before racist cops, troubled nei hborhoods — what s new about that Thou h it may not brea throu h the walls of apathy for every viewer, the painful familiarity — if we haven’t seen these events before, we ve certainly seen the attitudes behind them — adds much to the film s power. y nows that we ve witnessed this before, but he s oin to use his 103 minutes to try to challen e our indifference. e s turned social issues we now all too well into an act of forceful cry of protest. n

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STAGE

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[REVIEW]

Collision Course Brilliant writing becomes a living work of art in a performance not to miss Written by

PAUL FRISWOLD Two Trains Running Written by August Wilson. Directed by Ed Smith. Presented by the Black Repertory Theatre through January 26, at Washington University’s Edison Theatre (6445 Forsyth Boulevard; www.theblackrep.org). Tickets are $45 to $50.

W

holesale change may be sweeping the nation in 1969, but in Pittsburgh’s Hill District most people are preoccupied with more pressing issues to spare a thought about the rest of the country. The Prophet Samuel has just died, and his funeral (and the potential dispersal of his immense personal wealth) has the neighborhood riled up and dreaming of quick cash. ven worse, entrification is poised to transform the next block, which means Memphis Lee’s Diner is doomed. The once bustling establishment is a little dingy, a little too quiet, but Memphis himself is as stubborn as ever. He’ll hand over his building but not until the city pays him what he’s worth – eminent domain may be the law, but Memphis won’t budge without getting $20,000. There’s a great deal of not budging at work in August Wilson’s Two Trains Running, which is currently being presented by the Black Rep at the Edison Theatre. t s a five alarm production, fueled by the cast’s enthusiastic embrace of their characters and Wilson’s theme, and Ed Smith’s tender direction. Everyone at Memphis’ diner wants something, but they all know the truth: You can’t get more than the white folks are willing to let you have. As for the white folks, they can have anything they want. Your diner, your labor, your livelihood: it’s theirs

J. Samuel Davis, James A. West and Ron Himes in Two Trains Running. | PHILLIP HAMER for the taking. Memphis’ diner has been reproduced with stunning accuracy by scenic designers Margery and Peter Spack, right down to the sour yellow walls and faded red banuettes. Throu h the flyspec ed front window you can see people coming before they enter. Memphis (James A. Williams) runs the place from a seat at the counter, barking orders at the waitress, Risa (Sharisa Whatley), who rarely bothers to answer. Wolf (Carl Overly, Jr.) is parked near the payphone, taking people’s bets on the numbers and frequently infuriating Memphis with the casual way he’s made the diner his de facto office. olloway on imes is usually at a table playing Solitaire and talking with anyone who cares to engage in conversation. This excludes Hambone (Travis Banks), a ghost in battered coveralls who’s stuck in a time warp, repeating “I want my ham!” to himself. Sterling (Jason J. Little) is fresh out of jail and does enough talking for two people; he loudly announces his plans to woo Risa, to help Hambone and his perpetual search for a job. They all return to their places in the diner every day and repeat the same tasks. The only one free to come and go at any time is West (J. Samuel Davis), the wealthy undertaker who

has made a standing offer to buy Memphis’ building for $15,000. West is something of a mystic, who believes his wife’s death has transformed his job into his calling. “When you breathe your last breath, then you done something. You become part of everything that ever came before,” he says, speaking of the reward he’ll happily claim one day to be with his wife. Wilson’s dialogue is razor sharp and full of boasts, warnings and portents. On paper, it’s a brilliant play. With this cast, Two Trains Running becomes a living work of art. There are no false moments, no missteps — it’s an evocative, unforgettable story performed with grace and beauty that holds you rapt until the final moments. Together they create the give-andta e between old and youn , fi ht about the Black Power movement’s methods, offer helpful advice and hatch half-baked plans that spill from one scene to the next. In these moments, Wilson preserved a slice of Pittsburgh as he knew it in his youth, because it was too precious to lose without a fi ht. hat ma es it entertaining beyond its historical value are the otherworldly qualities Wilson threaded through the story of emphis ee s fi ht against the system. One thread is Hambone, who once painted a fence for the white

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grocer, Lutz, in return for a ham. Lutz decided Hambone didn’t do a good job and refused to pay him anything more than a chicken. Every morning for ten years, Hambone has waited for Lutz to show up so he can demand his ham; now it’s the only sentence he can say. The unfulfilled promise of a white man has caused Hambone’s real name to be lost, and his mind has warped. He’s an omnipresent reminder to Memphis that the game is rigged and always has been. The other thread is Aunt Esther, the unseen shaman of the Hill District. Holloway says she’s 322 years old, and that if you go to see her, she’ll offer a penance if you’re willing to take it. Holloway made the journey himself and recommends it to anyone who will listen. Technically, all of them have made the same journey: Aunt Esther’s age would place her birth in the seventeenth century, when the slave trade first brou ht Africans to America. That’s where all their problems began, but now Hambone, Memphis, Sterling and Risa must carefully choose their path to the future, which arrives in the final act. It’s marked by broken glass, a death, an alarm, the fulfillment of a promise and a celebration. Bloody but unbowed, they press ever on. n

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314.449.6328 5257 SHAW AVE, ST. LOUIS, MO 63110 Carnivore fills a nearly 4,000-square-foot space on The Hill with a dining area, bar lounge, and adjoining outdoor patio gracefully guarded by a bronze steer at the main entrance. Always embracing change, Joe and Kerri Smugala, with business partners Chef Mike and Casie Lutker, launched Carnivore STL this summer. As the Hill’s only steakhouse, Carnivore offers a homestyle menu at budget-friendly prices appealing to the neighborhood’s many families. Steak, of course, takes center stage with juicy filet mignon, top sirloin, strip steak and ribeye leading the menu. Customize any of the succulent meats with sautéed mushrooms, grilled shrimp, or melted housemade butters, such as garlic-and-herb and red wine reduction, on top of the flame-seared steak. Other main dishes include a thick-cut pork steak (smoked at J. Smugs) and the grilled chicken with capers and a white wine-lemon-butter sauce. St. Louis Italian traditions get their due in the Baked Ravioli, smothered in provel cheese and house ragu, and in the Arancini, risotto balls stuffed with provel and swimming in a pool of meat sauce. With an exciting new brunch menu debuting for Saturday and Sunday, Carnivore should be everyone’s new taste of the Hill.

BLKMKTEATS.COM

314.328.3421 6730 PAGE AVE ST. LOUIS, MO 63138

314.391.5100 9 S. VANDEVENTER AVE. ST. LOUIS, MO 63108

Looking for the best seafood in St. Louis or the Midwest—don’t fret, Crawling Crab is now open! Here, we drizzle everything in garlic butter and then sprinkle on our magic dust! In a fun and casual atmosphere, you’ll enjoy fresh, hand-cleaned seafood ranging from lobster, shrimp, and of course crab legs. All platters come with corn sausage potatoes and Cajun boiled eggs and shrimp that won’t disappoint. For those pasta and veggie lovers out there, there is a spot for you here too! Enjoy our double dipped garlic butter rolls along side with your meal. And if you are still not stuffed, we have homemade dessert on the menu too! Have a big family coming in or an event coming up? Enjoy our family meal options and our beautiful seafood tables. As we continue to grow, we are excited to add new items to the menu, get creative with new recipes, and give back within the community. Join us on the first Tuesday of the month for $20 platter specials, and $5 appetizers on every Wild Wednesday! Open Tuesday thru Saturday 4pm-10pm, currently located in the 24:1 Coffee House Cafe.

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Poke Doke offers St. Louis their energized recipes intertwined in a fast-casual model. Best part is every bowl is customizable to the patron -- whether you know what you want and can come up with your own flavor pairings — but it’s certain your heart will be content with the rich, high-quality seafood. Customers choose a size, a base, (such as rice, greens, or soba noodles) and choose from proteins (such as salmon ahi tuna, spicy tuna, shrimp or tofu), then add as many toppings and drizzles as they wish. If you’re less interested in the simple pleasures of fish and more in playing around with accoutrements, both the shrimp and tofu are neutral enough that they benefit from the enhancements. The menu also offers appetizers such as pork-filled pot stickers, miso soup, and crab rangoon, along with an assortment of bubble milk teas and soft serve ice cream. With locations in both the Central West End and the Delmar Loop, Poke Doke is the perfect spot to grab a quick bite!

BLK MKT EATS

CRAWLING CRAB

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314.833.5900 8 S EUCLID AVE ST. LOUIS, MO 63108 314.553.9440 6316 DELMAR BLVD UNIVERSITY CITY, MO 63130

JANUARY 15-21, 2020

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The fast-fresh, made-to-order concept has been applied to everything from pizza to pasta in St. Louis, but the sushi burrito surprisingly had no Gateway City home until BLK MKT Eats opened near Saint Louis University last fall. It was worth the wait, though, because BLK MKT Eats combines bold flavors and convenience into a perfectly wrapped package that’s ideal for those in a rush. Cousins and co-owners Kati Fahrney and Ron Turigliatto offer a casual menu full of high-quality, all-natural ingredients that fit everything you love about sushi and burritos right in your hand. The Swedish Fish layers Scandinavian cured salmon, yuzu dill slaw, NOT YOURAnother AVERAGE Persian cucumbers and avocado for a fresh flavor explosion. favorite, the OGSUSHI Fire, featuresSPOT your choice 9 SOUTH VANDEVENTER DINE-IN, jalapeño TAKEOUT and OR DELIVERY MON-SAT 11AM-9PM of spicy tuna or salmon alongside tempura crunch, masago, shallots, piquant namesake sauce; Persian cucumbers and avocado soothe your tongue from the sauce’s kick. All burrito rolls come with sticky rice wrapped in nori or can be made into poké bowls, and all items can be modified for vegetarians.


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[REVIEW]

Luck of the Claw Some of the best seafood in town is being served at a coffeehouse in Pagedale Written By

CHERYL BAEHR Crawling Crab 6730 Page Avenue, Pagedale; 314-3283421. Tues.-Sat. 4-10 p.m. (Closed Sunday and Monday.)

F

lavia Moore might still be working her soul-crushing, 80-hour-a-week job with Spectrum were it not for her daughter’s love of Disney. The Moore family has been going to the Magic Kingdom ever since she was a baby, but the three-year-old was insistent that she wanted to change things up and go on a Disney cruise. Moore wanted nothing more than to indulge her daughter, but she needed a way to make money for the pricey trip. Inspired by her longtime love of cooking, she fi ured she could earn some e tra cash cooking for people out of her home. She did not want to do just any catering, however, so she thought long and hard not just about the type of food she could serve, but also about the sort of brand she could create that would arner si nificant bu to et her the funds she needed to book that cruise. Seafood seemed like an obvious choice. Not only is it a style of food Moore loves to cook, she also saw buttery, a un inflected shellfish dishes as something that was missing from the St. Louis food scene — at least three years ago when she launched her business. She did some research, came up with recipes and enlisted her daughter (who, at just three, scooped out potatoes and cleaned crabs) as well as her fianc and mother to help prep. She then posted a quick note on her personal Facebook wall saying that she was open for business, and her home-based ca-

The garlic crab platter with jumbo garlic-butter shrimp, sausage, sweet corn, a Cajun boiled egg and potatoes drizzled with garlic butter. | MABEL SUEN tering company was born. Moore felt that her idea was a good one. However, nothing could have prepared her for the immediate, overwhelming response she received. During her opening weekend, she completely sold out, making more money in two days than she did in two weeks at her day job. When Monday morning rolled around, she didn’t hesitate: She quit her job with Spectrum and threw herself full time into the business that would become Crawling Crab. In the three years since launching Crawling Crab, Moore has e perienced a shoc in level of success that could no longer be sustained out of her home kitchen. ri inally, she and her fianc , Robert Patterson, thought they would turn the concept into a food truck (hence the “Crawling” in rawlin rab and then e plore options for a brick-and-mortar. However, they got the chance to open their storefront first when they were contacted by the community group behind Pagedale’s 2 offeehouse af . oore ot on the group’s radar after catering a community film festival, and the members were so impressed that they offered to let her set up shop in their facility for dinner service.

Moore jumped at the offer and opened Crawling Crab in the 24:1 offeehouse af space last ugust. With minimal signage and no restaurant infrastructure of its own, Crawling Crab feels like a pop up inside of an e istin concept. The large, open room has the vibe of an office buildin cafeteria; the walls are painted in a muted orange and sage green, and the cafe’s breakfast and coffee menu prominently hangs above the order counter. Considering its minimal decoration and corporate aesthetic, at first lance, the space seems to lack character. However, as you peer at the artwork that decorates every table — each piece by Normandy schoolchildren — you feel the personality and warmth. If you miss the tables, though, you’re immediately warmed by the scent of garlicky, spiced butter that hits you the second you walk into the restaurant. Though Crawling Crab may not have much of an aesthetic footprint inside the cafe, the way its sweet shellfish aroma perfumes the air makes its presence known. The smell is so mouthwatering it’s almost torturous if you arrive hungry. The lines can be so long that they stretch to the front door — even though

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you can see cooks in the kitchen working as hard and fast as they can — so it can take a long time to get your food, especially on Friday or Saturday nights. ne bite of oore s flawlessly cooked, butter-drenched seafood, however, and you reco ni e that it’s well worth the wait. Like the Cajun-inspired crab boils that have opened up around town in the years since it launched, Crawlin rab s main flavor profile is garlicky, mildly spiced butter. Its intensely rich and over-the-top decadence coats everything from the shellfish and potatoes to the nachos. Here, though, this is not simply a mask. Moore knows how to cook seafood, as evidenced by her shell-on shrimp, which are plump and tender. You can peel away the shell and dip the shellfish into the accompanyin pool of seasoned butter, but the shrimp — having been subtly scented by the warm spices — are equally enjoyable without a dunk in the sauce. Her crab clusters are similarly delightful. Served in a pool of Crawling Crab’s signature butter, the sweet meat is like a wonderful sponge for soaking it all up. My only issue with this dish is how to

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LUCK OF THE CLAW Continued from pg 29

eat it: Because the restaurant relies on plastic utensils, I found it virtually impossible to crack into the shells. If you’re not taking this dish home, bring a metal fork with you or e pect to wor e ceptionally hard to e tract that e cellent meat. This is one reason I preferred the lobster tail. The other is because it is the most wonderfully cooked lobster I’ve had in recent memory. The meat is so succulent and tender I’d have thought it was prepared in the itchen of a five star restaurant. Granted the butter is a wonderful touch, but Moore’s e pertise is the real star. ll of rawlin rab s shellfish — the lobster, crab and shrimp — are served as part of a platter that includes pieces of mild, Polish-style sausage, hard-boiled eggs, corn and potatoes. The effect is that of a seafood boil in a tyrofoam bo , with oore s rich, cream fortified arlic butter serving as a velvety gravy that soaks into every component. Even the accompanying roll gets the garlic sauce treatment and is so saturated it’s the consistency of bread pudding. Moore sold these decadent bread pillows — deemed Double-Dipped Garlic Butter Rolls, by the piece, but she eventually decided to offer them by the do en because people could not get enough. It’s easy to see why. s rich as rawlin rab s seafood platters are, its other offerings make them look like absolute health food. The Seafood Mac, for e ample, is laden with real crab

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Flavia Moore is chef-owner of Crawling Crab. | MABEL SUEN meat, shrimp and si types of cheese and is so creamy it’s like a savory custard. Moore’s Magic Dust seasoning, the warm spice blend she puts on everything, breaks up the decadence a touch, but this is still as intense as eating an entire cheesecake. Three people could — perhaps even should — share a small order to avoid injury. Her seafood pasta is still really, really creamy, but less so than the mac ‘n’ cheese. Moore allows guests to order it Cajun style, a welcome spiciness to counter the richness. The stuffed lobster tail is like the twice-baked-potato equivalent of shellfish, smothered in broccoli and an aptly named Gooey Sauce

JANUARY 15-21, 2020

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that is li e a mi between alfredo and molten queso. It works, though with how well Moore cooks her lobster, I prefer to see it shine without the trimmings. If Moore opens a second location of Crawling Crab, she should consider puttin it in llinois ne t to a dispensary. Her Monster Potato is so insanely large and overindulgent, you’d need to be utterly ripped to eat even half an order. Smothered in cheese and butter sauce, the gargantuan spud can be dressed with a variety of toppin s includin shellfish, bacon, sausage and, if you have a death wish, e tra cheese. er nachos are no less intense; I opted to have mine topped with tender, well-

seasoned cheesesteak and hot peppers, one of the restaurants’ few non-seafood offerings. It’s entirely possible that a second location could happen sooner rather than later. Based on the restaurant’s runaway success, Moore is already thinking about how to e pand the concept. he is actively pursuing a food truck, is gearing up to launch a line of her bottled sauces and Magic Dust seasoning, and has done a significant amount of research on whether or not she should consider establishing the Crawling Crab as a franchise. One of her devoted customers has been begging her to open a restaurant in her hometown. She lives in the Bahamas. lready underway is a ma or transition at 24:1 Coffeehouse af that will see oore ta e on a much bi er role. n the ne t few months, she will take over the restaurant and convert it into a Crawling Crab; as part of that plan, she will handle the caf s already established breakfast and lunch service, putting her unique spin on the menu. Moore’s success has been impressive by any metric e cept for one. With how busy she has been running Crawling Crab, growing her business and e pandin into entrepreneurship, she hasn’t been able to take that Disney cruise with her daughter that inspired the endeavor in the first place. or now, it’s on the back burner, but she knows she’ll get there one day. In the meantime, she’s brought a magical seafood kingdom to us all.

Crawling Crab Garlic lobster tail platter .......................... $25 Seafood Mac ............................................ $12 Monster Potato ........................................... $7


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[SIDE DISH]

Somm Denise Mueller Shares How to Curate a Wine List Written by

CHERYL BAEHR

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rowing up in a self-described “farm family,” Denise Mueller was never around fine wine. n fact, the closest she came to it was the bo of wine her family ept in the refri erator. owever, the moment she wal ed into a servin i at orter s tea house in ollinsville, llinois, somethin clic ed. There was this somm there, a serious, old school uy named eff allahan, ueller recalls. e would conduct these wine classes, and would sit in on them even thou h new nothin — was ust a well trained server. ne day he called on me as the new irl on the team, and ot all the answers ri ht. e said, ow, you re ood became his plus student, and he really spar ed my interest in wine. ometimes, all it ta es is one person doin one thin on a particular day to completely chan e your life. For Mueller, now owner of SommDee Consults and founder of Mid-American School of Wine, her path in the service industry became clear at that very moment, even as she still pursued other options. t first, those opportunities were still related to the restaurant industry followin orter s, she was hired by the system, loha, as a pro rammer and traveled around helpin new properties et their systems up and runnin . fter three years in that ob, ueller decided that she was ready to o in a different direc-

Denise Mueller is owner of SommDee Consults and founder of the Mid-American School of Wine. | ANDY PAULISSEN tion and enrolled in outhern llinois niversity dwardsville to study mass communications with a focus in advertisin . The intention was to leave behind the restaurant industry, but, when wine a ain came callin , she new she couldn t say no. ot a ob as a wine bar mana er, even thou h really didn t now a lot about wine — people ept reinforcin that was really ood at wine service, ueller e plains. inally, said, crew it, this is what am oin to do. ot my evel ne sommelier certification , then my ertified. That made me so much more confident in what was doin . fter the wine bar, ueller ot the ob she describes as her bi brea in the industry or in for tanley rowne and rlene aminta rowne at obust ine ar. nder rowne s mentorship, ueller felt herself row as a wine professional and eventually was put in char e of the restaurant s three locations at the time, in ebster roves, downtown t. ouis and dwardsville . owever, it was ueller s e perience with rowne, who used to run a sommelier trainin pro ram called the t. ouis ine linic, that truly put her on her current path. fter wor in for obust for about a year, ueller decided to

be in a pro ram of her own and founded the id merican chool of ine as a resource for up and coming sommeliers and wine enthusiasts ali e. ith rowne s support, ueller wor ed for obust while buildin her business, rowin the pro ram into a must attend course for those loo in to e pand their wine nowled e. ventually, ueller left obust to wor for the ar oom in rand enter. owever, a horrible car accident followed not lon after by the tra ic passin of a dear friend crippled her both physically and mentally. s she wor ed to et bac on her feet, she too some odd obs around town and reassessed what was most important to her. urin that time, she published her re omm course boo s and dove headfirst into her business. he would not be out of the dinin room for lon , however. nce she felt stron enou h to wor the ruelin hours re uired in the restaurant business, she ot a ob wor in for rand Tavern as its opening beverage manager, followed by an impactful i at the beloved but short lived a ed in oulard. t a ed, ueller had the erculean challen e of runnin a wine pro ram that allowed uests to en oy any wine from its e tensive list by the lass. t was

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a thrillin , ambitious daily challen e that unfortunately ended a lot sooner than anyone saw comin . hen a ed closed in ctober 20 , we were all shell shoc ed, ueller recalls. really thou ht it was my forever home. n this industry people don t want to hop around they want to find a home with employers and mana ers who understand how to create a culture you want to wor in. That was a ed. ince a ed s closure, ueller has been wor in what basically amounts to two full time obs day ob in finance and her wine ob, which includes both consultin and her id merican chool of ine. Thou h she admits it s a lot to balance, she s not only happy to do it — she feels li e it s her callin . have a tattoo on my forearm that says ionysus, and about three years a o, found out that Denise is derived from Dionysus, the od of wine and viticulture, ueller says. t really means a lot that the surprise turns in my life feel li e they were meant to be. ueller recently too a brea from her re omm teachin duties to share her thou hts on the t. ouis food and bevera e scene, the wine she s drin in ri ht now and

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DENISE MUELLER Continued from pg 31

why chic en nachos can be the perfect pairin for spar lin wine. What is one thing people don’t know about you that you wish they did? ne thin wish could spread the ood word on is meditation. t is a hu e thin in my life swear by the alm app. t helps me sleep at ni ht when so many of us hospitality pros have feelin s of restlessness and an iety. ur industry is fairly difficult to say the least, and late ni ht music alon with beer and shot combos can only help us so much. n my most difficult personal times while openin restaurants and runnin multiple pro rams, meditation has been my o to for balance and stability. What daily ritual is non-negotiable for you? The start to my day involves an e sandwich, an mericano and scrolling CNN and The New York Times apps and listenin to upbeat music, most li ely from the 0s and 2000s. f et up early enou h, a little li ht yo a also helps to wa e me up and ener i e my day. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? To travel anywhere in an instant. n our industry, it can be hard to et to some place far away for more than three or four days, and if you do et a wee off, to truly vacate is almost impossible. y trip wish list is ettin too lon — and this last year have decided that life balance and travel will be a priority in 2020. What is the most positive trend in food, beer, wine or cocktails that you’ve noticed in St. Louis over the past year? hile can t focus on somethin new from the last year, one thin would li e to credit here is the enormous amount of love that our industry ives to each other, whether online or in store. t is terribly important to support your industry brethren, as well as anyone ta in the ris s to eep elevatin both t. ouis and idwest food and bevera e culture. econdly, love seein all the variations of classes available, whether cheese and wine pairin s, wine service trainin , coc tail techni ues, beer ma in , ve an coo in courses, the list oes on. t is a wonderful opportunity for both the hospitality industry as well as enthusiasts. What is one thing missing or that you’d like to see in the local food and beverage scene?

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ate ni ht food that is not fried at more places. now it is hard to mana e and handle needs, but wish it were the case Who is your St. Louis food or drink crush? hile love so many somms, bar mana ers, coc tail creators, chefs, restaurateurs, etc., two of my favorite people in this city are harlie and hristine uthrie of e at tuff. met them about five years a o when they were already branded as e at tuff but still relatively new. They are so ind and in uisitive, yet at the same time professional, efficient and respect their demand. They are really responsive when reach out for a new openin or an event and turn around or eous photos in under two days. y connection with the team rew when they were my re omm wine course s media sponsor. hat a reat time, and harlie did really well on his e ams Who’s the one person to watch right now in the St. Louis food and beverage scene?

am very impressed with both ob ra ell and Tai avis. ob made waves in the city this fall when the casual concept in bro e the news that he was oin to be one of the new owner operators for the refreshed Tenderloin oom, and the team did a wonderful ob in record time Tyler Tai avis is really wowin me ri ht now as a pastry chef, a ba er, a consultant, a pop up chef, a painter beautiful wor and now a published author. The list oes on Which wine is most representative of your personality? This is as hard as someone as in , hat is your favorite wine to a sommelier. will say my favorite wines of the moment ri ht now are chenin blancs from oire. hile there is a classic flavor profile throu h most of these truly balanced white wines, each ey sub re ion has its own flair — delicious If someone asked you to describe the current state of St. Louis’ food and beverage climate, what would you say?

To be honest, while thin we are still elevatin our styles and education every year, thin we are in a state of renewal as well. 20 and 20 were years where we saw many, many iconic restaurants and bars closin in nei hborhoods we never thou ht would o throu h so much chan e so uic ly. thin the current state of our food and bevera e climate is smartly movin toward pro ressive, smaller concepts that are willin to ena e the delivery and late ni ht sectors when possible. If you were not in the wine business, what would you be doing? hile do have a communications advertisin de ree and would have been pleased to fall into that industry as well, somethin would li e to do in retirement is run some ind of shop with all level cheeses, oils, wines, etc., but maybe in a different city or even country . really want to retire in northern taly or a charmin part of Continued on pg 33

[FOOD NEWS]

WellBeing Brewing Co. Debuts IPA, Tests CBD Seltzers Written by

LIZ MILLER

N

ew Year’s resolutions have been made and Dry January is upon us. With that in mind, if you resolved to reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption in 2020, the folks at WellBeing Brewing Co. have you covered. Since 2016, the St. Louis-based brewery has produced a line of non-alcoholic beers brewed to taste like the real thing. Founder Jeff Stevens worked in marketing for breweries for years before striking out on his own and opening WellBeing with the mission to offer an N/A craft beer. “I founded WellBeing for the simple reason that I was a person who didn’t drink alcohol and I was constantly out and in social situations where there was never really a good choice for people who don’t drink alcohol anywhere — bars, restaurants, wherever,” Stevens says. “It just became obvious that this was such an underserved market.” Stevens has been sober for the past 27 years and therefore missed the craft beer revolution in the brewing industry — but that all changed with WellBeing. “The reason I love beer is all of the social aspects of it — some of the most

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WellBeing Brewing Co. founder Jeff Stevens developed N/A beer that tastes like the real thing. | JEN WEST fun times of my life have been with this product sober or when I was drinking,” Stevens says. “Just the human connection — the fun, the partying and those things that you have a beer with someone about — that’s what, to me, was always exciting about it. And the fact that we can make really great craft, non-alcoholic beer now is a real game-changer.”

In the past three years, WellBeing has released four products: Heavenly Body Golden Wheat, Hellraiser Dark Amber, Intrepid Traveler Coffee Cream Stout and Victory Wheat, brewed with electrolytes. The brews have been a huge hit with consumers, now being served in more than 200 bars and restaurants in the metro area as well as in stores,


DENISE MUELLER Continued from pg 32

rance. woon. thin once you are in the hospitality business for lon enou h, it is hard to ever relin uish your need to ta e care of people. our customer service s ills will always be hei htened, no matter the industry. nd you will always yell corner even when no one is there. Name an ingredient never allowed behind your bar or a wine never allowed on your list. To be honest, my never answer is a wine list or coc tail list that is only my taste, and one that will not best serve the clients or the concept. t is a entle balance between showin your style as a bevera e director without ma in it all about your taste or about followin the trend that year. The list needs to reflect some of the demands as well as your flair, and the sales will reflect that you created somethin special and your clients a ree. What is your after-work hangout? hile my schedule has chan ed sli htly, my o to happy hour evenin haunts will always be lio, asha s on haw, 33 ine ar and Taste. y late ni ht spots

are and an ia on outh rand, the ramophone in the rove, Thurman s in haw or s a , lues and oups for live music. ive music post shift is a hu e win learly there is uite the dichotomy in my social life and palate — and that is somethin cherish. What’s your edible or quaffable guilty pleasure? hic en nachos or fries with spar lin wine. can unfortunately eat those two thin s every day. am also nown to have the shift drin — a concoction created with my somm friend herie. fter a lon shift it was sauvi non blanc and a neat rye whis ey. eople would as isn t that whis ey ruinin your palate for the wine ure is drin s whis ey , but it is ust what we need, and refreshin drin s wine . What would be your last meal on Earth (including drinks, of course)? s a celiac, d say my last meal would be full of luten. ive me croissants flown in from rance with the most fattenin spreadable triple cream cheese, some olo nese from taly for lunch and a cheese and charcuterie spread with an epic ba uette served with a arolo for dinner. ast person standin style. n

WELLBEING BREWING Continued from pg 32

restaurants and bars across the U.S. “People are drinking less and want healthier options, and they’re really looking for functional beverages,” Stevens says. “I think all of those things have really helped us grow over the past couple of years.” On January 2, WellBeing launched a new beer style, just in time for Dry January, “the Super Bowl of not drinking,” Stevens says with a laugh. Dubbed Intentional IPA, it’s the company’s first IPA. Sold in four-packs in sixteen-ounce cans, Intentional IPA was brewed using Mosaic and Citra hops for a crisp beer with notes of pineapple and peach. “IPAs are the No. 1 craft style, I guess — there’s a huge variety of them and they sort of dominate the market for the craft connoisseur,” Stevens says. “It was always a style we looked at, but we really wanted to make a great one. It’s probably taken us about eight months to really get to this beer, and we’re incredibly excited to launch it.” Shortly after Intentional IPA hits store shelves, WellBeing will be celebrating another milestone with the release of its first two CBD-infused seltzers. To start, the sparkling waters, which are infused with hemp-derived CBD, will be available in two flavors: Yuzu Bloom and

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Melongrass. “Melongrass is flavored with watermelon and lemongrass, and it’s really distinctive; lemongrass has that slight bite to it and the watermelon is sweet,” Stevens says. “These are a cloudy CBD drink so they look really cool. The second one is called Yuzu Bloom, and yuzu is an Asian citrus fruit with sort of an orange flavor and a floral note to it.” The CBD-infused seltzers are currently being tested at limited spots around town, including Pop’s Blue Moon (5249 Pattison Avenue, 314-776-4200) on the Hill. The drinks are made in partnership with Mighty Kind, a CBD shop and dispensary selling cannabis and cannabis products to those with medical marijuana cards in Missouri. Mighty Kind is owned by Joshua Loyal (legal name Joshua Grigaitis), who runs Pop’s Blue Moon with his family.Stevens says the packaged seltzers should hit local grocery store shelves during the first quarter of 2020; to get an early taste, head to Pop’s Blue Moon. Otherwise, you can find a full list of WellBeing retailers on its website. “Restaurants are tasting [WellBeing beers] and saying, ‘This is good,’” Stevens says. “‘Our customers are happy — they get a great choice. They come in and have a great experience. They weren’t drinking, and yet they wanted to come into our restaurant and enjoy a beer and everyone wins.’” n

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Wednesday Jan. 15 9PM

Sean Canan’s Voodoo Players Tribute To Acoustic Jerry Garcia Thursday Jan. 16 10PM

Aaron Kamm and the One Drops Friday Jan. 17 10PM

One Way Traffic

with Special Guests Mama’s Marmalade Saturday Jan. 18 10PM

Mom’s Kitchen

Colino’s has closed, but signs in the windows tease that “something amazing” is “happening.” | LIZ MILLER

Sunday Jan 19 8PM

Blues, Soul and Pop Diva Kim Massie Wednesday Jan. 22 9PM

Sean Canan’s Voodoo Players Tribute To Phish

BOB’s Annual Oyster and Crab Leg Festival Jan. 17 and 18

[FOOD NEWS]

Colino’s Cafe & Bakery Closes Amid Legal Battle with Amighetti’s Owner Written by

LIZ MILLER

S

ad news, St. Louis: The start of 2020 saw the end of Colino’s Cafe & Bakery on the Hill. The sandwich shop at 5141 Wilson Avenue was most recently run by Cathy Consolino; the cafe was renamed after she took over operations this summer. The space had long been home to Amighetti’s, which operated in two locations in the neighborhood for more than 100 years. In 2016, Anthony Favazza purchased the recipes, brand and naming rights to Amighetti’s. Favazza runs the Amighetti’s location at 9631 Manchester Road in Rock Hill. Dominic Consolino had been operating the Hill location since 2014 when Favazza took over. Years earlier, John Stackle and a business partner operated several locations of Amighetti’s beginning in 1995; Stackle purchased the Hill location from Marge Amighetti. In August of that year, John and his wife, Susie, had taken over the locations in Rock Hill and on the Hill. When the Stackles decided to retire in 2016, they offered Dominic Consolino the chance to buy Amighetti’s trademark (including its name and recipes). Reached by phone on January 5, Susie Stackle says that Consolino declined the purchase and so the trademark was sold to Favazza, who maintained the same licensing deal with Consolino. This past summer, Consolino says that

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JANUARY 15-21, 2020

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Favazza informed him that he would be taking back control of the Hill business due to a series of operational and qualitycontrol disagreements — including a heated dispute concerning pepperoncini — but Consolino had other plans. On August 1, Favazza posted the following news via Amighetti’s Facebook page: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the temporary closing of Amighetti’s on the Hill. The owner/operator of that location hasn’t lived up to the Amighetti standards for more than two years. People often refer to that location as ‘the original’ Amighetti’s location. It’s not. From 1916-1921, Amighetti’s was located a few blocks away. We will reopen on the Hill as soon as possible. We remain open in Rock Hill on Manchester Road. We discussed the developments with Mrs. Amighetti this morning. She said that we ‘have her full support.’” Due to a non-compete agreement, Dominic Consolino couldn’t open another sandwich shop or deli in the space for two years, so he sold the cafe to his wife, Cathy, as first reported by St. Louis Magazine last summer. The menu at Colino’s Cafe & Bakery was similar to Amighetti’s yet not identical. For the Consolinos, staying put on the Hill was personally meaningful. The cafe was named after Charlie “Colino” Consolino, Dominic’s paternal grandfather, who owned D. Consolino’s Market on the Hill in the 1940s with his wife. “Colino’s is owned and operated by Cathy Consolino who continues the legacy of Consolino family involvement in The Hill, now for 100 years and counting,” the business shared on Facebook in August. On January 1, Cathy Consolino announced that Colino’s had shuttered for good in a Facebook post “due to legal fees that have been spent defending myself against a lawsuit.” “The funds that had been set aside for operations at the cafe have been spent

(and then some),” she said in the post. “I want to thank family and friends who have been so very supportive in my attempt to keep a family tradition alive.” In August, Favazza filed a suit against the Consolinos “alleging the owner of the new sandwich shop has violated their licensing agreement,” as reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s a complete scam,” Favazza told the PostDispatch at the time. “It’s obvious it’s the same people in the same space doing the same thing.” The Consolinos’ attorney, David Weiss, told the Post-Dispatch that Dominic’s non-compete agreement with Amighetti’s does not apply to Cathy and that Colino’s was not using the exact same recipes as Amighetti’s, as Favazza claimed. “She’s not a shareholder to that agreement,” Weiss told the Post-Dispatch in August. “She never was. She was an employee at Amighetti’s just like anybody else there. She happens to be married to Dominic.” Additional court documents filed in August show that a temporary restraining order was granted against Catherine Consolino and Dominic Consolino by Genitori LLC at 9631 Manchester Road — the address of Amighetti’s Rock Hill location, owned by Favazza. As of December 10, the temporary restraining order has been upheld and extended by Judge Joseph L. Walsh III until “such date that the preliminary injunction shall be heard.” In a call with the Riverfront Times in early January, Dominic Consolino declined to comment about the closure further, directing customers to the restaurant’s Facebook post. Outside of the now-closed Colino’s, though, in front of butcher paperlined windows, signs declaring “something amazing happening!” have been posted. Dominic also declined to comment about the signs. A call to Favazza was not immediately returned. n


MUSIC + CULTURE

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[HOMESPUN]

Sound the Trumpets Holy Posers bring an indie-groove vibe and a love of R&B to debut record Written By

CHRISTIAN SCHAEFFER

A

s a student at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, Trent Dickerson would engage in the time-honored tradition of all sensitive, musically inclined young men and make bedroom recordings. He went through a Bright Eyes phase, and we can only guess at the content of the songs. But when it came time to share them through Soundcloud, he chose the name Holy Posers as his handle. A few years later he was living in St. Louis, playing bass in a few bands and running sound at venues around town. A rotating collection of friends — some from Truman, some fellow transplants from around his hometown of Perryville — coalesced into a live version of the Holy Posers. Its current incarnation made its debut at the Livery about two years ago, and the band is to release its debut, Are You Sure You’re Having Fun?, on January 24 at the Bootleg at Atomic Cowboy. No longer a solo singer-songwriter project, the band now comprises six people, including a horn section. There’s an indie-groove vibe to many of the album’s eight tracks and a heavy love of R&B, which ic erson intensifies with a strong falsetto delivery. “For me, it’s a fucking dream,” Dickerson says of playing with a horn section. “I grew up listening to the Bee Gees and Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire. “I think I just like really ornate composition,” Dickerson continues. “You can get really bored playing guitar, so having horns just makes it different out of the gate. They’re sounds that aren’t usually in south-city D.I.Y. music.” For these bandmates, that’s no

The songs on Are You Sure You’re Having Fun? were initially conceived as solo bedroom recordings before being fleshed out by the full band. | CHRIS BAUER

“For me it’s a fucking dream. I grew up listening to the Bee Gees and Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire. I think I just like really ornate composition.” knock on their contemporaries; in fact, most of the sextet does time in other bands. Trumpeter Philip Zahnd plays drums in Golden Curls, Dickerson and drummer Aaron Essner play in Jailbox, and keyboardist/harmony vocalist Ashley Byrne performs as a solo artist, often with a few Posers backing her up. “Trent has always been someone I admire, and I was excited to learn and soak up some of his ability,” Byrne says of her decision

to join the group. Dickerson notes that the band has a lot of fle ibility alon with some hardcore musical training; both Peter Graham (saxophone) and Brian Thompson (bass) studied music in college, and most everyone else plays multiple instruments. “I’m really into arrangement,” Dickerson says, “and even if the song starts on guitar, I’ll tear it all away and color it.” He thinks of the horn section as offering “an element of emotion,” and Tom Pini, who helped produce the record, says he was drawn to the band’s “dynamic and expressive” sound. t first listen to the new album, though, those multifaceted arrangements are set aside for a more low-key, guitar-and-strings introduction to the band. That first trac , orn, is one of ic erson’s most recent compositions, and one that he feels sets an auspicious tone for what follows. “I knew when I wrote it that it was onna be first, ic erson says. “Even the name of it, it’s the beginning of the cycle. Maybe it fits in the least, but thin maybe ‘Born’ requires a little more listening to really enjoy it more than the other tracks.”

riverfronttimes.com

Dickerson notes that in concert, the band leans harder on the “upbeat, groovy ones,” and indeed the rest of the record gives a nice push-and-pull to the band’s rhythmic and compositional leanings as well as Dickerson’s more nakedly personal lyrics. “The second song is ‘Little Every Day,’ which I think is the best song that summarizes the fact that we have six people,” notes bassist Thompson. “It highlights the horn section, it highlights the composition. We found that ‘Born’ worked better for Trent to play it like a singer-songwriter by himself and then join him at the end.” Dickerson and company know that Holy Posers doesn’t quite fit in with the sound of their t. Louis contemporaries, and that a love of ’90s R&B is going to have its own flavor when played by a gaggle of indie kids and musictheory scholars. “I really like the idea of an R&B project but with some of the narrative elements of other music that I like,” he says.

Holy Posers Record Release Show 8 p.m. Friday, January 24. The Bootleg, 4140 Manchester Avenue. $10. 314-775-0775.

JANUARY 15-21, 2020

RIVERFRONT TIMES

35


[PROFILE]

The Chosen One St. Louis Rapper J’Demul reflects on mental health in hip-hop ahead of his debut LP Written By

YMANI WINCE

M

ost people who grew up in the St. Louis area have been to the Missouri History Museum at least once, either for a school field trip or as something to do on a summer day, seeking relief from the heat in Forest Park. Not J’Demul. “I’ve never been here before,” the 24-year-old rapper born Trevon McCray says while looking around the free museum on a Saturday afternoon. That’s because he didn’t grow up with the kind of experiences other kids had. For one, he says he never lived in one place. Moving around frequently in his adolescent years led him to Nebraska, which was nothing short of a culture shock. He remembers being the only black kid in class and excelling in writing. Third grade in Nebraska was the period in which he discovered his talent for crafting stories and nurturing his imagination on paper. That sort of background is common for many rap artists — that is, a knack for sentence structure, poetry and wordsmith creativity. Beginning with an encounter when he was eight years old, McCray began recording music out of pure chance. An early opportunity to put his thoughts about candy onto a track started his love affair with making music. But as J’Demul, his music has not always been about such pure and innocent imagery. At the age of twelve, McCray witnessed the killing of his cousin Terry, an event that marked the beginning of a struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s not uncommon for hip-hop performers to create art that revolves around the storytelling of street life, poverty and rags-toriches tales occupied by steak and champagne. But in recent years, rappers such as Kid Cudi, Meek Mill and Kanye West — among

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J’Demul calls the upcoming DwnTwn Certified a “living diary” of his struggles. | LOUIS QUATORZE others — have been vocal about their struggles with mental health. Meek Mill stands out. The rapper has mentioned in several interviews since his release from prison in 2018 that he’d been diagnosed with PTSD. He’s acknowledged that he knows many black men in that particular struggle as well, while even more remain undiagnosed. Meek Mill attributes the traumas witnessed and experienced while living in poverty-stricken neighborhoods to the PTSD plaguing so many black people. For McCray’s part, he says watchin his cousin s final moments is what traumatized him. It’s an experience that comes across in a haunting yet beautiful way in his music. On the track “TRUMAN,” off his upcoming album DwnTwn Certified, the rapper channels his pain with lyrics like, “Heartbroken but I’m coping doin dru s, now m floatin was trying to escape, don’t know where I’m runnin’ / see Terry with my eyes open / see dead folks with my eyes open.” It’s a track that is as much of an emotional release as it is a glimpse into the experience of PTSD. “I guess it’s like the normal thing to talk about now, but for me, it’s how I’ve really been living,” McCray says. “It’s what I know.” In the aftermath of his cousin’s murder, McCray says death was always on his mind. He remembers experiencing the trauma and its fallout in a time when other children weren’t dealing with such hardship. “It wasn’t just that situation

JANUARY 15-21, 2020

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with my cousin that gave me a mind change,” he says. “It was after that, and what people said.” He recounted a conversation with his aunt after Terry’s passing, thinking about the meal he’d eaten, not knowing it would be his last. “I’m twelve years old, but that stuck with me — that he’d said the food was so good, and he didn’t even know it was his last meal,” McCray says. “Like, I could eat a bowl of cereal right now, and then step out the door and be gone forever.” From that point on, McCray says his thoughts about death were constant. In his music, McCray’s approach takes on a storytelling quality without gimmicks or machinewritten hooks. It’s a glimpse into his diary, with beats pulsing in the background. With a unique cadence and a gentle speaking voice to match, much of the rapper’s output feels like a conversation. He’s in tune with his emotions across the spectrum — from pain and trauma to love and arrogance, it’s all there. DwnTwn Certified is the rapper’s debut LP, with previous releases such as 17th, along with a discography of music from his earlier days — although that’s mostly been wiped from the internet, aside from a few music videos dating back to his teen years. He’s worked with artists such as Smoke DZA, and is featured on a recent single, “Stop Talkin’ to Me,” alongside MBZ Live and EJ Carter. Over the past several years, J’Demul has received mentions and nods

from popular music publications and digital sites, creating a buzz with what OkayPlayer called a bluesy drun en flow. nd it s an accurate description. His stage presence, likewise, is captivating. In 2019, the rapper performed unreleased tracks such as “TRUMAN” at Parlor in the Grove as part of the Stag Sessions music series. He gave the audience snippets of old and new songs, making teasing remarks of, “Oh this isn’t out yet” to a crowd wanting more. But that’s what hooks his listeners. It’s the feeling of wanting to know more of J’Demul’s story, along with how he chooses to rearrange traditional cadences with his interpretation of rhyme and meter. It’s been a bit of a journey, but McCray is pushing ahead. He’s looking forward to allowing listeners deeper into his psyche while enjoying fatherhood and standing in his purpose. He says he’s “chosen,” not for cocky reasons like feeling he’s the best, but feeling destined for a life with meaning. “It sounds weird, but I think my whole life is what my music is about,” he says. “As long as I keep living and talking about it, I’m always going to have living diaries as projects.” As he makes his way through the history museum’s Pulitzer Prize Photographs exhibit, the rapper is visibly captivated by the images. He says that he’ll bring his son someday to experience what the museum has to offer — a chance he never had. n


37

OUT EVERY NIGHT THURSDAY 16

ST. LOUIS SOCIAL CLUB: 8 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. YACHT: 8 p.m., $13. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989.

[CRITIC’S PICK]

BROTHER JEFFERSON DUO: 7 p.m., $5. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. BRUISER QUEEN: 8 p.m., $10. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314-588-0505. HILLARY FITZ: 8 p.m., $15. Joe’s Cafe, 6014 Kingsbury Ave, St. Louis. LUH KEL: 9 p.m., $15. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. NEIGHBOR LADY: 8 p.m., $10. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. SCOTTIE “BONES” MILLER & GUESTS: 10 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. WOOD AND WIRE: w/ the Warbuckles 7 p.m., $10/$13. The Bootleg, 4140 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314-775-0775.

WEDNESDAY 22

BIG RICH MCDONOUGH & RHYTHM RENEGADES: 7 p.m., $5. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. DIVERSE CULTURE: 10 p.m., $5. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. SONGBIRD CAFE: 7:30 p.m., $18-$23. The Focal Point, 2720 Sutton Blvd, St. Louis, 314-560-2778.

THIS JUST IN

FRIDAY 17

10TH ANNUAL SHIMMY SHOWDOWN: 9 p.m., $20$30. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929. THE BLAM BLAMS: w/ Matt F Basler, Lightrider 9 p.m., $7. The Heavy Anchor, 5226 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314-352-5226. BRANDON SANTINI BAND: 7 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. CORY WONG: w/ Scott Mulvahill 8 p.m., $22.50$25. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. DAT NEW SHIT POETRY OPEN MIC: w/ 16 Bars 9 p.m., $5. Legacy Books and Cafe, 5249 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-361-2182. ELISE: w/ Mister Malone, the Left Hooks, the K.G. Roberts Band, Vague Topic 6:30 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. GOSSIP FEST: w/ Gossip Machine, Mike Frush, Jay Edd, Memp Tenn, Jamie Dunn, XEM, Weird Jesus, Kill Em All, Paul Mic, Out Cast, The Peace Lords, Lord Freak 5:30 p.m., $8. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. JEREMIAH JOHNSON BAND: 10 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. MARK SAUNDERS EVERYTHING’S FINE: 8 p.m., $20$25. Blue Strawberry Showroom & Lounge, 364 N Boyle Ave, St. Louis, 314-256-1745. MISSOURI BREAKS: 8 p.m., $10-$15. The Focal Point, 2720 Sutton Blvd, St. Louis, 314-560-2778. MITCHELL TENPENNY: w/ Seaforth 8 p.m., $20. Ballpark Village, 601 Clark Ave, St. Louis, 314-345-9481. PINEAPPLE RNR: 8 p.m., $5. Tim’s Chrome Bar, 4736 Gravois, St. Louis, 314-353-8138. RUTHIE FOSTER: 8 p.m., $30-$40. The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, 314-533-9900. SHITSTORM: w/ Echo Shampoo, Labours 8:30 p.m., $5. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. STANK THUNDER: 9 p.m., $5. Pop’s Blue Moon, 5249 Pattison Ave., St. Louis, 314-776-4200. TROPHY MULES: 7:30 p.m., free. The Abbey, 6500 W. Main St., Belleville, 618-398-3176. YOLA: w/ Amythyst Kiah 8 p.m., $20-$25. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989.

SATURDAY 18

BLAC YOUNGSTA: 8 p.m., $15-$40. Pop’s Nightclub, 401 Monsanto Ave., East St. Louis, 618-274-6720. BOB BOVEE: 8 p.m., $15-$20. The Focal Point, 2720 Sutton Blvd, St. Louis, 314-560-2778. THE ERADICATOR: w/ the Cuban Missiles, the addonfields, uy or an p.m., 0. ubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. KENDRA AMALIE: w/ Temporal Marauder, Alex Cunningham/Damon Smith Duo, Zak M./Eric all uo p.m., free. chlafly Tap oom, 2 00 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. KIM MASSIE BAND: 4 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues &

Ruthie Foster. | JEFF FASANO

Ruthie Foster 8 p.m. Friday, January 17. The Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Boulevard. $30 to $40. 314-533-9900. On her most recent album, Joy Comes Back, veteran gospel-blues singer Ruthie Foster takes her listeners back to church — literally and metaphorically. Foster grew up in Caldwell, Texas, and was raised on the gospel music and preachments of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. No one who has followed her career would miss her gospel roots, but reuniting with her earliest community expands Foster’s own community of sounds and stories. She rocks the working class on “Working Women,” Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. LOW WATER MARK FOR GHOSTS ALBUM RELEASE: w/ the Potomac Accord 9 p.m., $7. The Heavy Anchor, 5226 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314-352-5226. MARQUISE KNOX BLUES BAND: 10 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. PARTYROCK DUO: p.m., free. Tru es, 202 Clayton Road, Ladue, 314-567-9100. STEF CHURA: 8 p.m., $12. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314-588-0505. STL POLE SHOW: 8 p.m., $15. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. TOM HALL: 7 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. WINTER FORMAL: w/ Cara Louise, John Henry, a ard to a ooty, atty oonfield 30 p.m., $10. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. YES WE CAN: A TRIBUTE TO ALLEN TOUSSAINT: 8 p.m., $15-$17. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161.

SUNDAY 19

96 BITTER BEINGS: w/ the Native Howl, Locust Grove 7 p.m., $15. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. DOGLEG: w/ Choir Vandals, Thirty Six Red 8 p.m., $10. Blueberry Hill - The Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314-727-4444.

croons and sways on the soul standard “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever,” stomps the hell out of Sabbath’s “War Pigs” and even out-country-souls Chris Stapleton on his own “What Are You Listening To?” Across the diverse material, Foster’s supple phrasing and dauntless faith in the power of a great song are irresistible. Commercial Break: Clayton Jones is a St. Louis native who makes his home in Nashville, where he’s developing his country and pop career. He’s also the most recent winner of the St. Louis Sound Competition for his song “Ringleader,” which you’ll no doubt hear on the Sheldon stage during his opening set. —Roy Kasten

KALVIN DOBBINS PROJECT: 5 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. LOVE JONES “THE BAND”: 8 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. RIVER CITY OPRY: w/ Andrew & The Dolls, Taylor Steele, Andrew Ryan, Eric Barnes, School of Rock Kirkwood, The Fighting Side 1 p.m., $5. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989.

MONDAY 20

GRIVO: w/ Hover, Oxherding 8:30 p.m., $7. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314328-2309. MAK GRGIC: 7:30 p.m., $38. The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, 314-533-9900. OF VIRTUE: w/ In Search of Solace 6:30 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. THE PC BAND: 7 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-4365222.

TUESDAY 21

MAK GRGIC: 7:30 p.m., $38. The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, 314-533-9900. ROYAL HOUNDS: w/ Chubby and the Gang, the Uppers, Jag-Wires 8 p.m., $5. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309.

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24-7 SPYZ: Fri., May 1, 7 p.m., $18. Red Flag, 3040 Locust Street, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. ADAM MANESS TRIO: W/ Malena Smith, Thu., Feb. 13, 8 p.m., $15. Joe’s Cafe, 6014 Kingsbury Ave, St. Louis. ANDERSON EAST & FOY VANCE: Wed., March 4, 8 p.m., $27-$45. The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, 314-533-9900. BEAR HANDS: W/ Itontom, Fri., March 13, 8 p.m., $18. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME: Sun., May 17, 8:30 p.m., TBA. Red Flag, 3040 Locust Street, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. BIG RICH MCDONOUGH & RHYTHM RENEGADES: Wed., Jan. 22, 7 p.m., $5. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. BLACK JOE LEWIS & THE HONEYBEARS: Fri., March 20, 8 p.m., $17-$20. Blueberry Hill - The Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314-727-4444. BLITZKID: Wed., May 6, 8 p.m., TBA. Red Flag, 3040 Locust Street, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB: W/ Sports Team, Wed., April 22, 8 p.m., $35-$37.50. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. BRANDY CLARK: Sat., March 28, 8 p.m., $28.75. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. BROOKS AND DUNN: Fri., May 15, 7 p.m., TBA. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, I-70 & Earth City Expwy., Maryland Heights, 314-298-9944. BROTHER LEE & THE LEATHER JACKALS: W/ Jr. Clooney, Bleach, Sat., Jan. 25, 8 p.m., $10. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. BROTHERS LAZAROFF: Thu., Feb. 6, 8 p.m., $15. Joe’s Cafe, 6014 Kingsbury Ave, St. Louis. THE CHARLIE DANIELS BAND: W/ the Marshall Tucker Band, Sat., Sept. 19, 7 p.m., $43-$88. Family Arena, 2002 Arena Parkway, St Charles, 636-896-4200. COMBICHRIST: W/ King 810, A Killer’s Confession, Heartsick, Wed., April 22, 5:30 p.m., $20. Red Flag, 3040 Locust Street, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. CYCLE SHOWCASE ST. LOUIS 2020: Sat., Feb. 1, 11 a.m., $10. Sun., Feb. 2, 11 a.m., $10. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. DILLON FRANCIS AND YUNG GRAVY: Mon., March 30, 8 p.m., $40-$45. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. THE DISCO BISCUITS: Wed., April 8, 8 p.m., $35$50. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. DIVERSE CULTURE: Wed., Jan. 22, 10 p.m., $5. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. EDEN: W/ Keshi, Rence, Wed., April 29, 8 p.m., $27-$30. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. EINAV YARDEN: Wed., May 6, 8 p.m., $25. The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, 314-533-9900. EMO NITE: Sat., Feb. 22, 10 p.m., $15. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis,

JANUARY 15-21, 2020

Continued on pg 38

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37


[CRITIC’S PICK]

Andre 3000. | ALBUM ART

Lamar Harris & the L: The Love Below Theory 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday, January 17, and Saturday, January 18. Jazz St. Louis, 3536 Washington Avenue. $10 to $21. 314-571-6000. The Love Below just may have broken Andre 3000. The 2003 release, one half of Outkast’s massively successful double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, was shocking in its ambition and stylistic range, largely abandoning rap in favor of elements of pop, funk, electro and jazz styles while earning Andre comparisons to Prince. Its lead single “Hey Ya!” was one of the most inescapable of its time, pumping out of what seemed like every set of speakers in the nation on radio stations ranging in format from hip-hop to adult contemporary. But that massive

THIS JUST IN Continued from pg 37 314-833-3929. FALLING FENCES: Thu., Feb. 20, 8 p.m., $15. Joe’s Cafe, 6014 Kingsbury Ave, St. Louis. FOREIGNER: W/ Kansas, Europe, Sun., July 26, 7 p.m., $25-$350. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, I-70 & Earth City Expwy., Maryland Heights, 314-298-9944. GRIVO: W/ Hover, Oxherding, Mon., Jan. 20, 8:30 p.m., $7. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. GUSTER: Wed., March 11, 8 p.m., $31-$51. The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, 314-533-9900. HAKEN: Wed., March 18, 8 p.m., $20. Red Flag, 3040 Locust Street, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. HALSEY: W/ Blackbear, PVRIS, Sat., July 25, 7 p.m., TBA. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, I-70 & Earth City Expwy., Maryland Heights, 314-298-9944. HOLLYN: Fri., Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m., $20. Red Flag, 3040 Locust Street, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. HOUNDS: W/ Night Hike, Sat., Feb. 1, 8 p.m., $10. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. HUDSON AND THE HOODOO CATS: Thu., Jan. 30, 8 p.m., $15. Joe’s Cafe, 6014 Kingsbury Ave, St. Louis. JAMESON RODGERS: Fri., Feb. 14, 8 p.m., $15. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161.

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success came with a price. Collaborators have said that the rapper seemed depleted by the end of the recording process, for which he worked at four studios simultaneously to generate his portion of the 120 tracks that were recorded in total for the double album. Save for the tracks on the group’s follow-up Idlewild, which served more as a soundtrack for the movie of the same name than as an Outkast album proper, Andre has largely stepped away from music, much to fans’ lament. That unintended consequence aside, The Love Below is inarguably a classic, and this tribute show by St. Louis stalwart Lamar Harris will surely be one for the ages. Four Times and It Don’t Stop: With two shows Friday and two on Saturday, you have four chances to catch this one. Would it be crazy to attend all of them? —Daniel Hill

JOSLYN & THE SWEET COMPRESSION: Thu., Feb. 27, 8 p.m., $10-$12. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314-588-0505. KALVIN DOBBINS PROJECT: Sun., Jan. 19, 5 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. THE KAY BROTHERS: Sat., April 4, 8 p.m., $12. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. L.T.H.: W/ Cetaurettes, Bradtholomew, the Open Books, On All Sides, Fri., Feb. 7, 6:30 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. LARRY GREENE: W/ Ricky Royal, Libbie Higgins, Charlie Winfrey, Nick Nichols, Fri., Feb. 21, 8 p.m., $25-$30. Sun Theatre, 3625 Grandel Square, St. Louis. LEGENDS OF HIP-HOP: W/ Juvenile, Mystikal, Scarface, 8Ball & MJG, Bun B, DJ Quik, Fri., April 17, 8 p.m., $54-$130. Chaifetz Arena, 1 S. Compton Ave., St. Louis, 314-977-5000. LOVE JONES “THE BAND”: Sun., Jan. 19, 8 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. MAK GRGIC: Mon., Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m., $38. Tue., Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m., $38. The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, 314-533-9900. THE MANESS BROTHERS ALBUM RELEASE: Fri., May 1, 8 p.m., $12. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. MARLEYFEST 13: Fri., Feb. 7, 9 p.m., $20. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. MO LOWDA & THE HUMBLE: W/ Desert Noises,

Continued on pg 39


[CRITIC’S PICK]

Allen Toussaint. | GLADE BILBY II

Yes We Can: A Tribute to Allen Toussaint 8 p.m. Saturday, January 18. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Boulevard. $15. 314-726-6161. While he’s rightly revered in his hometown of New Orleans, the pianist, songwriter, arranger and producer Allen Toussaint is not exactly a household name outside of the Crescent City. That’s a shame — his work with everyone from Lee Dorsey to the Meters to Elvis Costello brought an erudite grace and unmistakable groove to funk and soul music. Toussaint passed away in 2015, but his influence is felt all

OUT EVERY NIGHT Continued from pg 38

Mon., April 20, 8 p.m., $10. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. O.A.R.: Fri., Jan. 24, 3:30 p.m., free. Enterprise Center, 1401 Clark Ave., St. Louis, 314-241-1888. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS: W/ Slingshot Dakota, Fri., April 3, 7 p.m., $16. Red Flag, 3040 Locust Street, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. THE PC BAND: Mon., Jan. 20, 7 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. PEARL JAM: Sat., April 4, 7 p.m., $106. Enterprise Center, 1401 Clark Ave., St. Louis, 314-241-1888. RASCAL FLATTS: Thu., July 23, 7 p.m., TBA. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, I-70 & Earth City Expwy., Maryland Heights, 314-298-9944. RED FLAG GRAND OPENING: W/ Hell Night, Ashes & Iron, Bastard, End World, Sat., Feb. 29, 7 p.m., $10. Red Flag, 3040 Locust Street, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. RIVER CITY OPRY: W/ Andrew & The Dolls, Taylor Steele, Andrew Ryan, Eric Barnes, School of Rock Kirkwood, The Fighting Side, Sun., Jan. 19, 1 p.m., $5. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. ROD STEWART: W/ Cheap Trick, Wed., Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m., $29.50-$500. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, I-70 & Earth City Expwy., Maryland Heights, 314-298-9944. ROYAL HOUNDS: W/ Chubby and the Gang, the Uppers, Jag-Wires, Tue., Jan. 21, 8 p.m., $5. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. SEAN CANAN’S VOODOO GRATEFUL DEAD: Sat., March 28, 8 p.m., $15-$20. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161.

over the city, and many of the bands that borrow from his songbook are gathering to pay tribute this weekend. Yes We Can: A Tribute to Allen Toussaint will feature a rotating cast of performers, including members of the Funky Butt Brass Band, Al Holliday’s East Side Rhythm Band, the Provels, Kevin Bowers’ Nova, Dave Grelle’s Playadors, Gumbohead and many more. You Will Not Lose: Portions of the ticket sales will benefit two fitting charities: the St. Louis-based Pianos for People and Toussaint’s own New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness. —Christian Schaeffer SECKOND CHAYNCE: Sat., March 7, 7 p.m., $20. Red Flag, 3040 Locust Street, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. SHEER MAG: W/ Young Guv, Wed., May 6, 8 p.m., $12. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. SLUMFEST AWARDS 2020: W/ T-Dubb-O, NoWhere, Kill Em All, KVtheWriter, Ricki G, Louis Conphliction, Katarra Parson, Loutribe Jigg, NandoSTL, Jaee the Artist, $10. The Bootleg, 4140 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314-775-0775. SMELLS LIKE NIRVANA: Fri., May 8, 8 p.m., $18. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. ST. LOUIS SOCIAL CLUB: Tue., Jan. 21, 8 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. STEVE DAVIS SUPER BAND: W/ Feyza Eren, Thu., Jan. 23, 8 p.m., $15. Joe’s Cafe, 6014 Kingsbury Ave, St. Louis. STL LOCAL ROCK MUSIC SHOWCASE: Sat., Jan. 25, 6:30 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. SWEETIE & THE TOOTHACHES: Sat., Feb. 1, 8:30 p.m., free. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314-588-0505. THE BROOK & THE BLUFF: Thu., March 26, 8 p.m., $15-$18. Blueberry Hill - The Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314-727-4444. TOM HALL: Sat., Jan. 18, 7 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. WAYNE HANCOCK: Sat., Feb. 22, 8 p.m., $14. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. YO GOTTI: W/ Lil Baby, Boosie Badazz, Lil Durk, Sat., Feb. 22, 7 p.m., $59-$175. Chaifetz Arena, 1 S. Compton Ave., St. Louis, 314-977-5000. YOUNG M.A: Thu., April 16, 8 p.m., $25-$99. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929. n

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SAVAGE LOVE SUB SPACE BY DAN SAVAGE Hey, Dan: I’m a 26-year-old bisexual woman with a history of self-harm. It hasn’t been much of an issue for the past few years, but my sex life has improved a lot in that time. I realized that I am quite submissive and masochistic, and I have found a wonderful Dominant partner who I’ve gotten to explore that kink with in a positive and healthy way. Last night, I watched the movie Secretary, and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character is someone who self-harms but stops when she begins a Dom/sub relationship with her boss. Obviously this film is flawed and not exactly a great guideline for healthy BDSM relationships. (The power dynamic! The lack of consent! That weird come scene!) However, I did find myself relating to her character and am now questioning my motives for pursuing this kind of sexual relationship. I worry that I may be unintentionally using the pain that I lovingly experience from my partner as a replacement for the pain I used to experience from my bad habits. Or am I using BDSM as a form of harm reduction? Is it rational to even compare these two things? Seeking Careful Advice Regarding Recent Emotional Discovery “I completely get where SCARRED is coming from,” said Lina Dune, the creator of Ask a Sub (askasub. com). “You’re discovering your kinks, and then the culture comes in with a not-entirely-accurate film or hot ta e, and it can taint your self-discovery.” Dune is known as a “fairy submother” to her thousands of followers on Instagram, where she regularly posts about the D/s lifestyle and frequently highlights red fla s that newbies to the in scene may miss. (A Dom who insists he “doesn’t negotiate” with subs? Run away.) While still relatively young herself, Dune has been active in the kink scene for many years and identifies as a 24/7 lifestyle sub. “There’s a difference between self-harm and what SCARRED is doing with her Dom in a consen-

sual, rational, measured environment with safe words in place,” said Dune. “And it’s telling that she didn’t write in to say, ‘Oh my god, I’m using D/s to self-harm!’ Rather, she’s worried she might be unintentionally or unknowingly engaging in some form of self-harm.” While the fictional character played by Maggie Gyllenhaal stops engaging in acts of self-harm after entering into a D/s relationship with the fictional character played by James Spader, SCARRED, you don’t want to overinterpret that fictional narrative. Meaning, while the film su ested there was causal relationship between Gyllenhaal’s character entering into a D/s relationship and no longer engaging in acts of self-harm, that doesn’t mean the same is true for you. “The culture infantilizes us all when it comes to owning our sexual desires — and that’s especially the case for women,” said Dune. “The message is: ‘You don’t know what you’re getting into’ or ‘You don’t realize the effect this is having.’ But if there’s one thing SCARRED is an expert on, it’s herself. It’s not like she’s in a trance when she’s with her Dom — no matter what the movies want us to believe about D/s relationships — which means she’s consciously choosing this for herself, and it feels healthy and good. Our bodies don’t usually lie, and I’d be willing to bet that self-harm did not feel that way.” But even if it turns out you’re right — even if, worst-case scenario, joyful consensual kink in the context of an intimate connection with another person is somehow a replacement for solo acts of selfharm that isolated you — it could still be a good thing. Dune suggests that you explore your feelings with a kink-positive therapist, and I want to second that. “From my perspective, it looks like SCARRED may have been manufacturing her own version of exposure therapy, which some somatic-based psychologists have suggested is exactly what negotiated, consent-based kink play can provide,” said Dune. “For example, a person with a fear of bein powerless may find it helpful to experiment with powerlessness in small, controlled doses in the context of a structured, negotiat-

“The culture infantilizes us all when it comes to owning our sexual desires.” ed BDSM situation. Looking a fear in the eye and then being able to back away from it at will and end with a cuddle and a check-in with your play partner can make you feel more powerful, not less. So if SCARRED can consciously work through this with a therapist and her Dom, this BDSM relationship has the potential to be very healing, just as long as she maintains her autonomy within it.” Follow Lina Dune on Twitter and Instagram @AskASub. Hey, Dan: I’m a 26-year-old straight man, and I haven’t gotten laid in a while. I never actually got much to begin with. I lost my virginity late (age 23, also my first kiss) and had bottled up quite a bit of frustration until then (still got a lot of that left over). I also suffer from crippling social anxiety — so crippling, in fact, that I can’t even get to know people online, which rules out online dating. I have recently come to the realization that the only way for me to ever get better is to stop wanting to get laid so much. Which. Is. Hard. The first step is learning to be OK with things as they are, which I am making progress with. But sex is everywhere: TV, movies, magazines. On the few occasions I do get to spend time with people, sex comes up a lot. People seriously complain to me about not having “gotten any” for two months, and that’s not enough for them. I’ve heard people describe themselves as “late bloomers” because they had their first time at seventeen or nineteen. I feel like such a freak. I have a male roommate who frequently has women over. I hear them going at it through the wall and get panic attacks because of it. I need some advice on how to be OK with not getting any, not really having gotten much to begin with, and just generally being nervous and inexperienced and selfconscious and lonely. I know that’s

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a lot, but perhaps you have some valuable thoughts for me. After-School Special Since there’s no way to strip the sex scenes and sexual references from every TV show you watch, magazine you read, or conversation you have, ASS, working on yourself is going to be a far better use of your time than demanding a remade/desexed world. And by “working on yourself,” of course I mean “getting your ass into therapy.” Whether or not you ever get laid again, getting professional help to address your frustrations and social anxiety is going to improve your life. (It will also up the chances that you’ll get laid again, ASS, but no promises.) And take heart: For every letter likes yours I get from a straight guy, ASS, I get an identical letter from a straight woman. Which means there are a lot of women out there who are just as inexperienced, self-conscious and lonely. Once you’re in good working order — not perfect, just functional — you might be able to connect with one of those women or some other woman. (But no one wants to connect with a guy who gives off a ragey vibe, so please stay away from incel forums.) And your inexperience makes you less freakish these days than you seem to realize. While 54 percent of high-school students had had sex by age eighteen in 1991, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, today only 41 percent of high-school students have had sex by age eighteen. Which means there are a lot of “late bloomers” out there, ASS. And while you’ve doubtless heard that confidence is attractive, you most likely haven’t been told that a person doesn’t have to be experienced to be confident. uy just has to be comfortable enough in his own skin to be open about who he is, where he’s at and what he’s looking for. ut first thin s first et yourself a good therapist… and maybe a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Check out Dan’s podcast at savagelovecast.com. mail@savagelove.net @fakedansavage on Twitter ITMFA.org

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GET YOUR MEDICAL MARIJUANA CERTIFICATION FROM ONE OF OUR QUALIFIED DOCTORS Cannabis Doctors US started in Maryland in 2017 we have 6 locations in Maryland. We opened our first office in Missouri in 2019, and have since opened these additional St. Louis area offices. 111 Church St. in Ferguson 3006 S. Jefferson Ave. Suite 104 in St. Louis 9378 Olive Blvd. #312 in Olivette 222 S 2nd St. Suite LL in St Charles 8135 Manchester Rd. in Brentwood All of our Doctors are board certified to give patients a medical evaluation for medical cannabis Recommendation and Certification, it’s the only thing we do.

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