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1 APRIL 17–23, 2019 I VOLUME 43 I NUMBER 15

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Undocumented immigrants protected by DACA hope for a bright future in the U.S. — but under Trump, that may be wishful thinking

DREAM ON BY MIKE FITZGERALD

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“I love St. Louis, but it’s a love-hate relationship. I love it because I’m from here. But it’s my hometown and maybe it’s time to go away — and it’s like, no, I love it too much to leave.” WASH U STUDENT RASHONDA DANIELS, PHOTOGRAPHED AT MOONEY PARK ON APRIL 10

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Publisher Chris Keating Editor in Chief Sarah Fenske

COVER Dream On Undocumented immigrants protected by DACA hope for a bright future in the U.S. — but under Trump, that may be wishful thinking

M U L T I M E D I A A D V E R T I S I N G Sales Director Colin Bell Senior Account Executive Cathleen Criswell, Erica Kenney Account Managers Emily Fear, Jennifer Samuel Multimedia Account Executive Michael Gaines, Drew Halliday, Jackie Mundy

Photo of Areli Reyes by

ZIA NIZAMI

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

INSIDE The Lede Hartmann

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News Feature Calendar Film

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The Missouri House fights for the right to discriminate

12 22 25

Stage

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Cafe

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Short Orders

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Music & Culture

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True West

A R T Art Director Evan Sult Contributing Photographers Tim Lane, Monica Mileur, Zia Nizami, Andy Paulissen, Nick Schnelle, Mabel Suen, Micah Usher, Theo Welling, Jen West, Corey Woodruff P R O D U C T I O N Production Manager Haimanti Germain

Written by MIKE FITZGERALD

The Brink, High Life

E D I T O R I A L Arts & Culture Editor Paul Friswold Music Editor Daniel Hill Digital Editor Jaime Lees Staff Writers Doyle Murphy, 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, MaryAnn Johanson, Roy Kasten, Jaime Lees, Joseph Hess, Kevin Korinek, Bob McMahon, Lauren Milford, Nicholas Phillips, Tef Poe, Christian Schaeffer Proofreader Evie Hemphill Editorial Interns Ryan Gines, Chelsea Neuling, Benjamin Simon

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

Asian Kitchen Fran Caradonna of Schlafly | Form Skybar | Scape | La Fonda Poblanita Brian Andrew Marek | Dave Stone | Shady Bug

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Jeezy |The Lennon Claypool Delirium | Steve Gunn

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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. 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.


HARTMANN Private Lives The House fights for the right to discriminate — and woe to anyone trying to exercise their legal rights to separate church and state BY RAY HARTMANN

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epresentative Greg Razer (DKansas City) is not your everyday Missouri legislator. Neither is Representative Hardy Billington (R-Poplar Bluff). Place them together and they provide quite the interesting — and telling — odd couple. Razer, an openly gay man, grew up in the Bootheel in one of the state’s poorest counties and now

represents one of its wealthiest. He’s even more distinctive as a politician not the least bit shy about standing up for his principles, and in particular for LGBTQ rights. Billington, an openly straight man, is a freshman legislator, but one whose anti-LGBTQ credentials were legendary in southeast Missouri long before he ran for office. As a private citizen, Billington purchased TV ads in 2012 proclaiming that homosexuality kills more people than tobacco. Before that, he was so enraged when Massachusetts legalized gay marriage that he was moved to write a book railing against the sin of it all. Vice President Mike Pence looks like a drag queen next to this guy. Razer confronted Billington on the floor of the House April 5 over the latter’s legislative pride and joy: House Bill 728, a measure to prohibit citizens or groups from filing “John Doe” lawsuits daring to challenge the display of religious symbols in public spaces.

The encounter “sparked intense debate,” reported the Missouri Times. The sharp exchange is online at a theatre near you: http:// bit.ly/2KzcU8E. The ability to file a public-interest lawsuit anonymously is a longestablished practice in Missouri that, as Razer observed, has protected non-mainstream individuals such as members of the LGBTQ community — especially in places like rural Missouri — as they seek judicial redress to right a wrong. Or, as Billington sees it, as they hide “behind a cloak of secrecy to attack the rights of Missouri citizens.” In practice, HB 728 would carve out special protections for folks like Billington to impose their particular version of Christianity as the law of the land. After all, anyone challenging them would lose rights enjoyed by all other plaintiffs. Whether that’s unconstitutional or merely unhinged is not clear, but there’s no doubt it’s unjustified. Razer was not alone in at-

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tacking the idiocy. “What bothers me about your bill, is that you are saying never, ever, no matter what the circumstances are in the case, could a compelling interest be shown so that a judge could say, ‘Yeah, that makes sense, you can file anonymously,’” says Representative Gina Mitten (D-St. Louis), an attorney. “Should I have to file a lawsuit in my name if my life has been threatened?” That’s the substantive question. But the fun part was when Razer cut through all the “religious liberty” hogwash to out the bill as particularly threatening to people like himself. After initial pleasantries, Razer provided context — over loud objections and “points of order” — that after coming out as gay, he was told by his mother that he wouldn’t be safe to return to his native Pemiscot County (not far from Billington’s Butler County). He went on to point out the ob-

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vious: That people outside the mainstream should have access to the judicial system to protect their religious liberty without fear of intimidation. And then he started quoting Billington’s published words from his book, Election By Faith ’04: “During the marriage debate, we were subject to this vile and disgusting display of absolute defiance of God’s commandments for weeks on end,” Billington wrote. “These alleged ‘couples’ sought ‘marriage’ across the nation. Sadly, there was no shortage of clergy willing to defy God’s scripture to gain favor with this perverted crowd.” Razer also referenced Billington’s reference to gays as “Sodomites” whose “sins are much worse than other sins” because they cannot reproduce and thus must recruit, and that “homosexuality takes 30 years off of a person’s life.” Razer closed by noting that he didn’t think Billington would intentionally try to intimidate anyone, but added that the noxious Westboro Baptist Church had twice tweeted its support of him. That drew a rejoinder from Representative David Gregory (R-St. Louis County). According to the Missouri Times, Gregory accused Razer of “mudslinging,” which he added was itself “an actual brutal attempt at intimidation.” If I may, let the record show that the only way one can be the victim of “mudslinging” by quoting one’s own words — from one’s own book — is if one has published mud. Naturally, Billington’s bill passed the House by a comfortable 102-43 margin (just three Republicans joined all Democrats in voting “no”). Whether it gets to the Senate floor remains to be seen. As Razer tells me, “You can’t believe how many hours we spend on stuff like this, knowing it’s going nowhere, just so the majority members can tell their constituents they got it passed, only to have the damn Senate kill it.” In this case, one would hope the courts would kill this ridiculous thing if the Senate does not. As a footnote, Representative Ian Mackey (D-St. Louis County) echoes Razer’s sentiment, adding another fascinating angle, which he didn’t get to share on the House floor since he wasn’t called upon to speak: The hypocrisy of the Republicans who defied the Clean

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Election amendment’s sunshinelaw provisions by insisting that they have to protect the anonymity of constituents who communicate with them. So people who write their representatives must be allowed their privacy, even if it sabotages the public’s right to know about any legislative business — even as those suing over church and state cannot possibly be allowed to make a case for their privacy within the legal system. Anonymity seems to be a selective right when it comes to the Right. Mackey and Razer are bookends of sorts — two of the four openly LGBTQ members of the legislature. Where Razer grew up in the tiny town of Cooter (population 400) and crossed west from southeast Missouri to Kansas City, Mackey grew up in even tinier Urbana (population 350) in southwest Missouri and moved east to St. Louis County from the Ozarks. Both blend rural and urban sensibilities. And both told me this: They have encountered no open hostility, slurs or even unpleasantness from their fellow legislators, including Republican conservatives. Still, as Razer puts it: “People are nice to my face, we get along and they like working with me. But then they go back to their offices and write anti-LGBTQ legislation.” Some of that legislative nonsense is obviously homophobic, such as HB 837, sponsored by Representative Hannah Kelly (RMountain Grove), which would prevent colleges and universities from enforcing anti-discrimination policies on religious groups on campuses. That bill is headed for the House floor, destined for passage there, although like HB 728, it’s more certain to send a political message than ultimately become law. In both cases, the message is clear: “Religious liberty” and “discrimination against the LGBTQ community” are interchangeable concepts. And by implication, good state legislators like Greg Razer and Ian Mackey are not quite right. I don’t think God would agree with that. But the good news, for Hardy Billington and his ilk, is that She’s probably more forgiving than they think. n Ray Hartmann founded the Riverfront Times in 1977 and recently returned to these pages as a columnist. Contact him at rhartmann@sbcglobal.net or follow him on Twitter at @rayhartmann.


NEWS As a Teen, He Killed His Family. Now He Readies for Release Written by

DANNY WICENTOWSKI

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convicted murderer who spent his entire adult life in Missouri prisons has been granted parole and a release date next year. For Jason Carr, 52, that means leaving prison 36 years after a Wright County jury found him guilty of killing his brother, stepmother and stepsister in 1983. The parole board’s decision comes after more than six years of work by Carr’s team of public defenders, who based their arguments on a U.S. Supreme Court case that forbade courts from giving juveniles mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole. “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster,” Carr says by phone from the Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston, Missouri. “It’s hard to explain. You go from, pretty much you’re gonna be in prison for the rest of your life, to there being hope.” That hope first sprung in 2012, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that even juveniles convicted of the worst crimes had constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment. It was an historic moment for the country’s highest court, which finally acknowledged that a juvenile’s still-developing brain functions differently than an adult’s. Youthful criminals, the court stated, deserve to have their age and childhood circumstances evaluated as part of their sentence — not simply left to die in prison without ever getting the opportunity to face a parole board. Citing Miller, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that

Jason Carr has been locked up since 1983. | MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

Carr’s rights had indeed been violated. Writing for the 5-1 majority, Justice Patricia Breckenridge noted that Carr “was sentenced without the jury or the judge considering the mitigating factors of his youth, the attendant characteristics of youth, the circumstances of the offense, or his potential for rehabilitation.” Instead, Carr’s fate was determined by the mandatory sentencing laws on the books in 1983. His jury took just 50 minutes to find the teenager guilty of three counts of capital murder, a charge that carried only two possible sentences: the death penalty, or life without the possibility of parole for at least 50 years. Carr’s crimes horrified the tiny Missouri town of Hartville, which is about 60 miles east of Springfield. However, prosecutors in Wright County declined to seek the death penalty against the teen. At trial, the defense’s case turned on Carr’s relationship to his father, a devout Jehovah’s Witness who reportedly prohibited his son from playing basketball or dating outside the family’s faith. According to a summary of the case contained in the Missouri Supreme Court decision, Carr and his father had attended a worship service on March 14, 1983, during which the father “rebuked and ridiculed” his son for “failing to recite a Biblical passage.” Carr skipped school the next day

and instead waited at his father’s house. When his brother and stepsister returned home from school that afternoon, Carr shot them both in the head at close range with a .22 caliber rifle. When his stepmother returned home a few minutes later, Carr shot her in the head, too. The teen had also intended to kill his father, but the rifle misfired. After Carr’s father wrestled the weapon away from his son, the boy reportedly admitted, “I killed them all.” At trial, Carr’s public defender did not attempt to argue his client’s innocence. After a judge rejected an insanity defense, Carr’s attorney asked the jury to spare his client from execution. However, the only alternative sentence was little better. It meant Carr would have to serve 50 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole. Asked about his crimes now, Carr says he feels intense regret. “I wish this had never happened. I wish that I would have died before it happened,” he responds. Death would have also saved him from life in prison; Carr recalls being shipped immediately to the “supermax” facility in Jefferson City, “the worst part of the prison right from the get-go.” “It was really violent when I first went to prison,” he adds. “For young guys, it was really bad.”

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Even after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in Miller, it still took years for Carr to get a definitive ruling. In 2016, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office argued that Miller did not apply, since Carr’s original sentence came with the possibility for parole, albeit a very distant one, in 2033. By that later date, however, Carr would be 67 years old, “the functional equivalent of life without parole,” his lawyers argued. When the Missouri Supreme Court sided with Carr in 2017, it ordered Wright County to convene a new jury for a sentencing hearing, which would provide Carr the constitutional protection that he’d been denied as a teenager. However, that sentencing hearing never happened. “We were able to work out a disposition with the prosecutor’s office in advance,” explains public defender David Kenyon. Still, given a hearing, Carr would have had plenty of mitigating information to present, Kenyon adds. “The info that we would have presented would have been really, really persuasive to a jury,” Kenyon says. “We had stacks of people, prison workers who were going to come in and talk about, basically, that the Jason they know isn’t a killer. We had a warden who was willing to testify that [Carr] is the first inmate where he could honestly say that if he was released from prison and moved next door to him, he wouldn’t have a concern in the world.” Instead, under the deal arranged with prosecutors, Carr pleaded guilty all over again last September — this time, however, instead of three concurrent life sentences for capital murder, he pleaded guilty to three counts of murder in the second degree. The new charges meant new parole math: Under the 1983 criminal statutes, second-degree murder carried a 50-year sentence with the possibility of parole. Carr’s 30-plus years in prison suddenly made him eligible for a parole hearing. In January, Carr got that hearing, and a few weeks later the board returned its decision: release. In

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Could MO Harvest Too Much Pot? Written by

DANNY WICENTOWSKI

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rospective medical marijuana patients in Missouri are still at least eight months away from filling their first prescriptions, but a new report from the University of Missouri paints a problematic picture of the state’s future cannabis market: Missouri cultivators are expected to produce way too much weed. This isn’t a matter of a few extra grams in your baggie, but tens of thousands of pounds of product. The independent report, authored by economists with the university’s Economic and Policy Analysis Research Center, cautions that a future glut will create “a competitive tension” that could crater prices and even push the excess supply to the black market. “The Department of Health and Senior Services faces a Herculean task,” the report notes. That department, DHSS, is mandated with operating the state’s medical marijuana system. The system’s particulars weren’t set by public officials, but rather by a constitutional amendment approved by Missouri voters in 2018. As amended, the state constitution imposes a “floor” for the number of cultivation licenses issued by the state: No fewer than one cultivation center per 100,000 people. With the state’s population at around six million, the floor becomes 60 cultivators. That’s enough to satisfy a lot of patients; backers had touted Amendment 2 as a win for “200,000 patients.” The economists, however, predict that Missouri will see only 26,000 patients by 2022. That demand could be served by only about two dozen cultivators, the authors say. But again, Missouri’s medical marijuana program requires DHSS to approve a minimum of 60 cultivators. And if it wants to, the department could approve much more than that. To date, DHSS has received 142 pre-filed applications for cultivation licenses. It’s been a virtual gold rush of cannabis businesses and consultants competing for a market that some

Experts say Missouri could see a massive oversupply of marijuana. That’s a bad thing because? | FLICKR/OREGON DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

estimate will top $100 million by 2025. But what if the market isn’t nearly that big? What’s going to happen to all that weed? The report’s authors suggest one possibility — the obvious one, really — is that the bumper crop will “leak” from the legal market to the one operated illegally by your friendly neighborhood pot dealer. This isn’t just Reefer Madness paranoia. Take the oversupply situation in Oregon, where marijuana is legal for both recreational and medical use. A 2018 report by an Oregon/Idaho drug task force noted that only 31 percent of Oregon’s cannabis inventory was distributed within the state in 2018. The other 69 percent? The region’s U.S. attorney blamed the oversupply for backing a vast and illegal interstate drug trade. But oversupply doesn’t have to lead to the black market. The Mizzou economists suggest that “seed-to-sale” tracking systems and real-time record-keeping could provide strong incentive for weed growers to keep their supply on the market’s legal side. However, the report’s authors still contend that even their strongest projections show that there are simply not enough Missouri patients to support a market with 60-plus companies growing weed. Perhaps, the authors suggest,

Missouri patients might consume way more pot than the data predicts, but making the numbers work would require “an unusually large quantity of medical marijuana consumed per qualified patient per year,” and the authors caution that such a projection “is essentially unsupported” by the available data from other states. The report has been critiqued by the former spokesman for the New Approach Missouri campaign, which backed the amendment. Jack Cardetti, who now works for the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, told the Springfield News-Leader that he still expects between 2 and 2.5 percent of Missouri residents —

around 120,000 people — to eventually join the state’s roll of cannabis patients. “The notion that it would take Missouri three full years to have 26,000 patients in the program is just not reality,” Cardetti told the newspaper, adding that Oklahoma, a state with two-thirds of Missouri’s population, has already approved more than 83,000 patients since it began issuing medical licences in August. So, which path will Missouri go down? An overgrown supply like Oregon? A pot paradise for patients like in Oklahoma? Only time will tell. Missouri expects to start selling its first medical marijuana by January 2020. n

JASON CARR

He’s currently enrolled in a reentry program, and he’s meeting with both an occupational therapist and a reentry caseworker affiliated with Saint Louis University. But that preparation only goes so far. He worries about what kind of world will greet him after 36 years away. He’s never used the internet or a cellphone. He already has some plans, though. “It might sound corny, but I’d like to grow a garden, a real garden,” he says. “I’d like to sleep in a bed big enough for me and to eat real food.” n

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an email, Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Gary Brix confirmed that Carr is scheduled to leave prison on March 10, 2020. “I was just kind of numb,” Carr says, recalling the moment after getting news of the board’s decision. “Everybody was congratulating me. It just felt really weird, to be honest. It’s like, it’s not real. You don’t expect to get out.” There are still hurdles remaining before Carr can rejoin society.

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ometimes it all gets to be too much for Areli Reyes, 23. Reyes, a student at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, worries about her future. She wonders about her career path — human resources — but also about other things her classmates do not. Namely, how long will she and her younger brother be allowed to live in America? Reyes and her brother are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides temporary residency for young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally. While President Donald Trump tried to kill the program in September 2017, it clings to life thanks to a series of federal court injunctions. And so Reyes worries. Another question that haunts her: How long will her parents, who migrated to America from rural Mexico in 2004, and who lack any legal protections, be allowed to remain under a White House pursuing a hardline campaign against brown-skinned immigrants? Finally, Reyes wonders, will her activism on behalf of herself and other DACA recipients make her a target for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers inclined to muzzle an inconveniently loud voice? One night last October the escalating weight of it all — the stockpiled worries, the depressing what-if scenarios — collapsed inward. That was when Reyes was admitted to a local hospital because of intense anxiety. She stayed there overnight. “They told me I was stressing out too much,” she says. “I think I was just thinking about my family and then myself. And then other people I know. And just being an activist takes a toll on you.” Continued on pg 15

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Undocumented immigrants protected by DACA hope for a bright future in the U.S. — but under Trump, that may be wishful thinking BY MIKE FITZGERALD 12

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Areli Reyes, a student at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, is hoping for a miracle. | ZIA NIZAMI

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Areli Reyes’ mother, Maria, grasps her rosary. | ZIA NIZAMI

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eyes is one of about 3,500 Missouri residents who work and go to school under the DACA program. DACA recipients are nicknamed “Dreamers” after the DREAM Act, a proposed law that would have created a pathway to legal status for undocumented minors. Congress failed to pass it. Around 11 million undocumented immigrants live in America. DACA was devised to help a small slice of them — about 800,000. The program applies to undocumented residents who were no older than age 31 on June 15, 2012, arrived in the U.S. before their sixteenth birthdays and continuously lived in America since at least June 15, 2007. The Obama administration crafted it in 2012 as a temporary fix to allow young undocumented residents to work jobs, pay taxes and go to school legally. Nearly 40 percent of Dreamers are high school or college students. Until Congress devises a permanent solution, their future remains in limbo. Dreamers usually try to fly under the radar. They work, go to school, take care of their families and plan their futures as best they can. All the while, they wonder in the back of their minds how long they and their loved ones will be allowed to remain in the land they call home. More than a few Dreamers have reached the conclusion that, given

the white nationalist winds blowing through Congress and the White House, the current political climate could prevent them from ever receiving permanent legal status to reside in America, much less full citizenship. Dreamers try to make their peace with that. But it is hard, damn hard. A few years ago Reyes decided to speak out, to try to change the minds of both the public and of lawmakers regarding the Dreamers’ status. “I think it’s looking at who your allies are and looking at the people saying that they do support you,” Reyes says. “Looking at all those people, the best way is advocacy. That’s what I learned with my activism, that’s how we can get things passed.” She has become a fixture at vigils protesting government treatment of undocumented St. Louis families. She is active in the St. Louis sanctuary church movement, which now includes three houses of worship, including Maplewood’s Christ Church, where Honduras native Alex Garcia has taken refuge for the past eighteen months. This past December, Reyes also joined a group of activists that traveled to the U.S.’s southern border. In California and Texas, she checked on the status of asylum seekers who had fled Central America because of violence and poverty. She helped one group look for migrants who went missing, and are feared dead, while attempting to cross the desert from Mexico into Texas. In San Diego,

she helped another group to collect toys for migrant kids staying in two shelters in Tijuana — one for families and the other for gay and lesbian migrants. “There’s a lot of chaos down there,” she says. Reyes says she chose to speak up for St. Louis Dreamers after her senior year at University City High School, as she prepared for college. Because of her undocumented status, financial aid from state and federal sources wasn’t available. “And it just shocked me that I couldn’t really, didn’t have anyone to rely on to tell me I could attend college,” she says. “I had a plan, right? I was going to go two years to Forest Park, then graduate, then transfer to a four-year university.” The Scholarship Foundation, in St. Louis, “really helped me because they were the first few people who welcomed undocumented or DACA recipients to their scholarship program,” she says. “And I was able to learn more about other issues that didn’t affect me. But we’re kind of in a similar situation; our main goal was to get a higher education. So that’s what made me come out and really say, ‘I’m one person and there’s other people out here.’” One of those people sits next to Reyes on a couch in the living room of their house outside University City — her mother, Maria, 45. Maria, who asked that her last name not be used, cleans houses for a living. Fifteen years ago she

“We’re in a similar situation; our main goal was to get a higher education. So that’s what made me come out and really say, ‘I’m one person and there’s other people out here.’”

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Tuesdays, MAY

7–28

6–8pm • Forest Park • Museum’s North Lawn mohistory.org/twilight-tuesdays

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crossed into the U.S. from Mexico, after a perilous journey traveling north through the desert. Mendoza paid the man who led her across the border $3,000. Once in Arizona, masked men robbed members of her group at gunpoint, she said. Maria grew up in a rural area about two hours south of Mexico City. She was one of 23 children in a family that lived in a house made from cardboard. Maria remains upbeat about her future, though Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric frightens her, she says. With her daughter acting as translator, Maria says, “I’m just hopeful another president will come and help us.”

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o live as a Dreamer means to live in a state of fallbacks, contingency plans, workarounds. Originally, Reyes had gone to Forest Park to study nursing. But then she learned that, because she lacks permanent legal status, she could not get a nursing license in Missouri. That’s when she moved on to human resources. Juan Carlos Valladares-Hernandez, 25, graduated from Ritenour High School in 2012. He started pre-med studies in the fall of 2017 at the nearby University of Missouri-St. Louis. But UMSL became unaffordable because the school charged him the same rate as non-resident students — $930 per credit hour instead of $345, the rate for residents. Valladares-Hernandez transferred to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, which is more affordable since it charges in-state tuition rates through a reciprocity agreement between Missouri and Illinois. Now planning to graduate with a degree in biology in December, Valladares-Hernandez has the grades and the test scores for medical school but is not sure how he’s going to pay for it. Because he is not a fully legal resident of the U.S., he cannot access federal or state loan and grant programs. “Getting into medical school is already hard enough,” he says. “And then putting that additional burden of not having state or the government aid makes it even harder.” And even if he figures out how to pay for it, there’s the matter of finding a job. He hopes one day to become an emergency room physician, but that could prove tricky if DACA — which is only

guaranteed to exist for one more year after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a review of it in January — ends by the time he graduates medical school. “Where would I practice residency?” he says. “Because to get into residency you need to legally work. If that protection is no longer valid, then all this hard work I’m doing now is potentially down the drain until they do something.” For DACA recipient Eric Reyes (no relation to Areli Reyes), 23, getting loans for a car or a house is more complicated because of his lack of permanent legal status. He also feels intense pressure not to screw up on the job or even get a speeding ticket. Job loss or a minor criminal charge could mean being dropped from the DACA program, thereby risking deportation. “Every single day I wake up and try to do the best I can that day,” says Reyes, who works as a cloud computing specialist for a Chesterfield tech company. “Because I have to ... you have to put an effort into doing things that won’t put you in danger, won’t put you at risk of them saying you are not fit to be here in the U.S.” When DACA began in 2012, it was greeted with relief, says Reyes. For the first time, young people brought to America could work legally, get driver’s licenses and pay taxes. “But it was also a very risky thing,” he says. “Because before you were in the shadows and no one really knew where you were, no one knew where you lived. And now with DACA, every time you renew your permit you have to update your household, update your work, update every single detail. You run the risk because they have all your info. Every time you’re up for renewal, you’re left guessing, ‘What if they don’t renew it for some reason?’” Valladares-Hernandez, like the other Dreamers interviewed for this story, considers self-deportation to Mexico an unrealistic option. He arrived in the U.S. with his parents at five. This is the only home he has ever really known. Returning to Mexico “would pretty much put my whole life on hold,” he says. “My relationships formed here would pretty much be gone. I would pretty much have to start a new life.” Nicole Cortes, co-director and attorney for the Migrant and Community Action Project in St. Louis, says that many DACA recipients she works with deal with the uncertainty surrounding their lives Continued on pg 19

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through a form of denial. “[Dreamers think], ‘I don’t want to dwell every day that my future is uncertain,’” Cortes says. “‘I’m going to continue to study, to go to work.’ I don’t think it’s a comfortable psychological place to be. It’s tough and it wears on people, especially in the last year.” Under the policies of the Trump administration, Dreamers are weighing the risks and benefits of remaining in the program, Cortes says. “It was a bait and switch, right?” she says. “We induced people to give this information, now we pulled it from them, and in doing so, it seems really unjust. Yeah, I think people are really scared.” Still, even if DACA were suddenly shut down and immigration officials began targeting Dreamers, the agency “does not have the resources to deport anywhere near the number of DACA recipients,” Cortes says. “It would be impossible even if they decided to focus on DACA recipients to remove them in any sort of efficient way.” Still, for Dreamers, the program’s ending is a constant source of anxiety, Cortes says. “Realistically what they’re thinking about is, ‘What if I have to go back into the shadows?’” she says. “‘What if all of a sudden I can’t work to pay my tuition bill? When my DACA expires, what is it going to look like going back into the shadows?’ It’s draining. Can you imagine how psychologically draining that is?”

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reamers stand on the center of a basic question at this moment in the United States: Do immigrants add to the nation’s strength, or do they subtract from it? That question, in turn, folds into an even bigger, more fundamental one posed recently by conservative columnist Gerald Seib. In writing about President Donald Trump’s demand for a border wall, Seib observed that the debate over it “has crystallized a deep cultural divide, between those happy with the evolving face of America, and those alarmed by it.” Trump surfed into the White House in 2016 on a wave of racial resentment and anti-immigrant animus. It was no coincidence that when he announced his candidacy for president, in June 2015, he took aim at Mexico, which he claimed was “sending people that have lots of problems ... they’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime.

Juan Carlos Valladares-Hernandez is a pre-med student at SIUE. | ZIA NIZAMI They’re rapists.” He added, “And some, I assume, are good people.” In promoting the lie that Mexico was sending violent criminals to the United States, Trump was merely repeating falsehoods propagated earlier by Ann Coulter, the right-wing author and pundit who has emerged as one of the most strident foes of immigration across America’s southern border. In her book Adios, America: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country Into a Third World Hellhole, published just a few weeks before Trump’s announcement that he was running for president, Coulter refers repeatedly to how America’s main immigrant groups express a “gusto for gang rape, incest and child rape.” Elsewhere in her book, Coulter writes, “A sixteen-year-old girl at her homecoming dance was gangraped and left for dead because the Democrats need more voters. We could save a lot of soulsearching about our violent culture if journalists didn’t hide the fact that gang rapes are generally committed by people who are not from our culture.” Such attacks on immigrants, whether DACA recipients or refu-

gees, stem from long-entrenched ideas about white identity, says Sara John, executive director and program coordinator for the St. Louis Interfaith Committee on Latin America. “These are all part of a larger agenda that is seeking to preserve a white supremacist identity for our country,” says John, a leader of the St. Louis church sanctuary movement. “And I think that is appalling and contrary to majority values of people of faith and good will in our country.” It is no coincidence that critics of immigration focus on people from Mexico and Central America, John says. “They’re brown people,” John says. “Brown people that also bring brown families and brown parents. If you’re afraid of white somehow becoming less important, less supreme, then your action would be to stop any possibility that could lead to other cultures, right?” America’s anti-immigration lobby is funded by billionaires like Robert Mercer, a major Trump backer, and well-funded foundations with links to the Trump White House.

“It was a bait and switch, right? We induced people to give this information, now we pulled it from them, and in doing so, it seems really unjust.”

Continued on pg 20

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One of the most powerful groups is the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR. After Trump announced he was ending DACA, FAIR issued a statement called “The DACA Myth.” The article slammed DACA as “unconstitutional” and falsely claimed many DACA recipients had lost their status because of violent assaults, were not really children when they came to the U.S. and did not hail from nations suffering from poverty or violence. “The DACA program was illegal,” FAIR argued. “But it was also bad from a long-term policy perspective. Rewarding people who violate our laws only encourages more people to become lawbreakers. Accordingly, President Trump’s decision to cancel the program is a welcome one.” Yet statistics show that American voters support legislation to allow Dreamers to stay in America. An April 2017 survey of registered voters found that 78 percent support giving Dreamers the chance to stay permanently in America, including 73 percent of Trump voters. Only 14 percent of all voters, including 23 percent of Trump supporters, believe Dreamers should be deported, according to the Washington Center for American Progress. Even Trump and his advisers have indirectly acknowledged that Dreamers and other protected immigrant groups pose little threat to public safety. In late January, in a bid to end what turned out to be a 35-day partial federal government shutdown, Trump offered three years’ protection for Dreamers and others covered under the “temporary protected status” program. Democrat leaders in Congress rejected the offer because it failed to provide a permanent solution.

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reamers contribute a lot financially to both Missouri and the nation, studies show. A 2017 survey by the Center for American Progress found that ending DACA would cost Missouri nearly $210 million in annual gross domestic product, while nationwide its termination would cost more than $460 billion over ten years. And the 1.3 million young undocumented immigrants who are enrolled or eligible for DACA contribute about $2 billion a year in state and local taxes, according to the Institute of Taxa-

tion and Economic Policy. Nearly 80 percent of DACA permit holders are employed. Yet despite their tax contributions, Dreamers are not necessarily eligible for the benefits their money pays into, such as the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid. “By rescinding DACA, the Trump administration will deprive our nation of their talent, energy and skills,” wrote Donald Kerwin, executive director of the Center for Migration Studies. “It seeks to remove many future U.S. leaders and some of the nation’s brightest current leaders as well.” DACA recipients add value in many ways, says Eric Reyes. He points out that he is the only fluent Spanish speaker at the IT company where he works. “In my current position, I speak two languages,” he says. “So my company actually benefits from me.” Valladares-Hernandez believes that Dreamers can contribute a lot to America just through their grit and intense work ethic. “I like to believe that I’m just as American as my fellow co-workers or my fellow peers,” he says. “We have the same potential if not even more because we come from the same community that’s very hardworking. ... It’s just a community-wide Latino thing. We’re hard workers because we know where we come from, and that’s what drives their hard work ... I believe that’s how it is in a lot of families I know.” For Dreamers, the operative word is hope. They have no rational reason to believe Congress will provide a permanent fix for their predicament. Yet perhaps because hope is all they have, they cling to it. Valladares-Hernandez says he hopes that a year from now he will be applying to medical school and “hopefully at that time Congress will come up with a more permanent solution to this DACA issue, and maybe have a more definitive answer, rather than BandAiding it with minor fixes, and we have more certainty of a future.” In the meantime, he tries not to stress. There’s only so much he can control, he says. “I just go with the flow,” he says. “I have a plan. Follow it. I might get derailed from it, but you know I have a feeling that things will eventually fall into place. I might have to jump through more hoops but eventually [I’ll] steer back into the right direction.” Mike Fitzgerald, a St. Louis writer, can be reached at msfitzgerald2006@gmail.com n


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CALENDAR

BY PAUL FRISWOLD

The RiffTrax guys do it live for Octaman. | RIFFTRAX.COM

THURSDAY 04/18 Octolus Riff After 31 years of mocking terrible films for the amusement of audiences, you’d think the RiffTrax/ Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew would be out of bad movies. Instead, the RiffTrax guys keep turning up stinkers. RiffTrax Live: Octaman will see Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy dogging the 1971 octopoid tragedy Octaman for a national audience at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at the Marcus Wehrenberg Ronnies Cine (5320 South Lindbergh Boulevard; www.fathomevents.com). Writer/director Harry Essex’s film is about an irradiated octopus man (created by special effects genius Rick Baker, then very young) who seeks revenge on the scientists who stole its offspring. Never before has a guy in a rubber suit with flimsy tentacles terrorized such a large audience. Tickets for the live broadcast are $15.67.

Mmm, Brainy Dan O’Bannon’s Return of the Living Dead is not really a sequel to Night of the Living Dead, although the original script for it was written by Night’s John Russo. O’Bannon punched up the story with comedy and a slightly lighter touch with the horror. A pair of medical supply company employees in Louisville, Kentucky, accidentally release the remains of a botched military experiment, infecting a nearby graveyard. A group of vintage 1980s punks

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Love finds two lonely people in a war zone in Miss Saigon. | MATTHEW MURPHY are hanging out in the cemetery when the dead start crawling out of their graves, which sets off the requisite fight for survival. Return of the Living Dead’s zombies pioneered the whole “eating brains” thing, which adds that extra frisson of excitement to the proceedings, as does the soundtrack of classic punk, which includes the Cramps, 45 Grave and T.S.O.L. The film screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at Webster University’s Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; www.webster. edu/film-series). Tickets are $5 to $7.

FRIDAY 04/19 WWEeee! Just nine days after the marathon that was Wrestlemania 35 (seven

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hours of wrasslin’, y’all), WWE Live pulls into St. Louis with a host of RAW stars. Finn Balor is scheduled to fight Elias, women’s tag team champs Bayley & Sasha Banks take on the Riott Squad and RAW tag team champs The Revival will mix it up with someone. The card is subject to change, but whoever shows up will surely keep things interesting. WWE Live starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 19, at the Enterprise Center (1401 Clark Avenue; www.enterprisecenter.com). Tickets are $20 to $115.

Her Heart Goes On James Cameron’s blockbuster Titanic blended reality and fiction to create one of the greatest romances of cinema history. In the

movie we see the elderly Rose Dawson remember the events leading up to that fateful night in the north Atlantic, and her tragic love for Jack Dawson. Will Bonfiglio and Lucy Cashion’s new play Never Let Go picks up Rose’s story 24 years after the sinking of the Titanic. Still grieving Jack, she’s nevertheless pushing forward with her plan to become an Academy Award-winning actress. That’s why Rose is here tonight, pitching her story to a team of possible investors and producers. As she recounts her tale, the lines between the past and present grow fuzzy. Rachel Tibbetts stars in the one-woman show Never Let Go. The play is performed at 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday (April 18 to 20) at the Monocle (4510 Manchester Avenue; www.eratheatre.org) and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday (April 26 and 27) at the


WEEK OF APRIL 18–24

Pilobolus takes you into the shadows on Saturday. | BEOWULF SHEEHAN Improv Shop (3960 Chouteau Avenue). Tickets are $15 to $20.

SATURDAY 04/20 Out of the Shadows Contemporary dance company Pilobolus created its multimedia project Shadowland — The New Adventure in conjunction with Steven Banks, the head writer for SpongeBob SquarePants. The story takes place in the land of shadows, where two people go on a quest to save an imaginary bird. The dancers create shadow figures — cityscapes, strange animals — by joining together in unexpected ways behind a backlit screen, while other cast members perform in front of the screen. It’s

a mind-bending show that combines acrobatics, humor, animation and a love story. Dance St. Louis presents Shadowland — The New Adventure at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Touhill Performing Arts Center (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; www.touhill.org). Tickets are $35 to $69.

The Art of Modesty The third annual Creativity & Identity: An American Muslim Art Exhibition returns this week to celebrate the artistic achievements of the local Muslim community. More than two dozen artists will exhibit their work, and they’ll be joined by several performers, including poets, spoken-word artists and practitioners of Nasheed, or traditional Islamic sing-

ing. New this year is the Modest Muslim Women’s Fashion Show, which showcases clothing by fashion designer Mojda Sidiqi. The garments in the show are feminine and beautiful without being overly revealing. Traditional garb worn by Muslim women will also be featured in the show. Creativity & Identity takes place from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at the Sheldon (3648 Washington Boulevard; www.cair-mo.org/art). Tickets are $5 to $15 and include food and access to the interactive children’s section (children five and younger get in free).

TUESDAY 04/23 Saigon Love Song In the midst of the Vietnam War, G.I. Chris meets Kim, a war or-

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phan. Kim works in a bar run by the opportunistic man known as the Engineer, and she’s essentially his property. Chris’ tour is almost over, and even if it wasn’t he’ll be leaving in a matter of days when Saigon falls to the communists. Here at the end of the world, Kim and Chris find love — at least for one night. But their union has unintended consequences when the communists take over, and Kim is left behind to deal with them. The revival of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil’s bombastic musical Miss Saigon returns to the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; www.fabulousfox. com) for a two-week run. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday (April 23 to May 4). There’s a final matinee at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 5, and tickets are $30 to $99.

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FILM [REVIEW]

The Bleak Hole Claire Denis’ High Life is grim and provocative sci fi Written by

ROBERT HUNT High Life Steve Bannon makes love to the camera in The Brink. | COURTESY OF MAGNOLIA PICTURES

[REVIEW]

The Alt-Right Stuff The Brink gives Steve Bannon his close-up (ewww) Written by

ROBERT HUNT The Brink Directed by Alison Klayman. Starring Stephen K. Bannon, Louis Aliot and Patrick Caddell. Opens Friday, April 19, at the Landmark Plaza Frontenac Cinema.

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f you’re looking for a kinder, gentler Steve Bannon, let’s just say that The Brink begins with an anecdote in which he expresses a kind of cautious reverence for concentration camps. Crass? Sure, but Bannon has a knowing look in his eye that almost suggests that he’s aware he’s being extreme, that he’s playing up the bad-boy side of his reputation. He’s testing his audience, measuring how far he has to go to seem appropriately Bannon-like. In autumn 2017 Bannon left his position at the White House, in part because of his association with the alt-right movement, whose followers had just paraded through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, shouting racist and anti-Semitic slogans. Suddenly a

pariah within his own political circle, Bannon lost his financial backing and in early 2018 was fired by Breitbart News, the organization he had largely controlled since 2012. Other professional windbags might have chosen to lay low or invested in some image polishing, but not Bannon. He threw his weight back into the political arena, first by supporting Roy Moore’s U.S. Senate race in Alabama (Moore lost), followed by a world tour promoting his brand of “economic nationalism” (it’s supposed to sound more serious when you put a word like “economic” in the front) to Europe’s rising far-right parties. Positioning himself as a global strategist — can you be a global nationalist? — he returned to the U.S. in time to lend his name to several campaigns in the 2018 mid-terms (more losses). For most of this period, Bannon granted filmmaker Alison Klayman almost unlimited access. She recorded his meetings and public appearances, also getting a private audience as he pontificated on the state on America. She not only filmed his encounters with Republican candidates and donors, but what he said about them behind their backs. The Brink offers about as close a look at Bannon as you’ll ever want. But is that necessarily a good thing? The mystery of The Brink is whether Bannon believes the alt-right rhetoric he’s selling, or smart enough to know that treating his public image with ironic

distance is just another way of demanding attention, letting everyone know that he’s the one pulling the strings. Surrounded by junk food and cans of Red Bull, his intimacy with the camera is almost a form of self-parody. There’s a veneer of phoniness to it, a kind of contempt, as if pretending to let down the guard of his “Steve Bannon” act is his way of thumbing his nose at the presumably liberal filmmakers. His associates are cautious around the camera and sometimes ask Klayman to leave, but Bannon knows his act — it is just an act, isn’t it? — and plays to the lens outrageously. He even draws semi-ironic attention to his own flaws, as when he consults with the filmmaker on the correct pronunciation of the name of a Chinese mogul. Klayman tries to stem the free flow of Bannon’s windiness by stepping outside his inner circle, showing protests against the various nationalist movements and acknowledging the new progressive voices who won elections in November. But it’s hard to be sure if their victories are meant to be a sign of triumph or simply a footnote, a distraction from the hateful rhetoric of Bannon and his new European friends. No matter how much Klayman tries to balance the politics of the film, Bannon knows that for a professional bad boy, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. While The Brink gives us a close look at his tactics and ambitions, it’s also a potential recruiting tool for the P.T. Barnum of the alt-right. n

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Directed by Claire Denis. Written by Claire Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau and Geoff Cox. Starring Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche and André Benjamin. Opens Thursday, April 18, at the Landmark Tivoli Theatre.

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or more than 40 years, any filmmaker trying to make a science-fiction film with intellectual depth and without laser guns and bug-eyed-monsters has done so in the shadow of two atypical masterworks: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, which showed that life in space can be grubby and depressing, leading to soul-searching and despair, and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which challenged audiences with an abstract conclusion that suggested that pushing the boundaries of space also meant testing the limits of comprehension. Science-fiction films from the first Star Trek feature to Gravity have nodded to those models but ultimately pulled back, opting for more conventional conclusions. Claire Denis deserves credit for pushing the narrative envelope in High Life, a grim and provocative piece of science fiction that digs deeply into both physical and moral decadence while simultaneously sticking to its abstract ideas. We first see Monte (Robert Pattinson) living alone with his infant daughter on a boxshaped space station, making repairs and clearing away a small collection of corpses. Denis’ film moves back and forth through time, leaving it to the viewer to connect the dots and

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figure out how he got there and what happened to his crew mates. For those who like exposition, Denis tosses in a friendly scientific expert completely unrelated to the rest of the narrative who conveniently provides all the back story you need. It is the near future, and death-row inmates have been given the chance to volunteer for a mission to the edge of a black hole. Once they’re at the station, Dr. Dibs (Juliette Binoche) uses them as volunteers/experiments as she tries to create testtube space babies. High Life is an oddity, with elements of horror and a great deal of conventional hardware-driven science fiction, but it often seems that Denis merely wants to provoke her characters, pushing them to absurd limits of violence and sexuality. It evokes Douglas Trumbull’s Silent Running, a 1972 film about ecological panic in which Bruce Dean runs a deep-space greenhouse and is more concerned about his robot companions and plants than his human co-travelers. In its sexual tension and psychological game-playing, it also

Robert Pattison is an astronaut heading for a black hole. | © 2013 ALCATRAZ FILMS /WILD BUNCH/ARTE FRANCE CINEMA/PANDORA PRODUKTION recalls Denis’ own Beau Travail, which transplanted Melville’s Billy Bud to a Foreign Legion post in Djibouti, where the chief officer used his power to feed his sexual obsessions. The same could be said of

Binoche here, but the scope of her project pushes her erotomania into mad-scientist territory. She’s playing God but doing it badly, and her commitment to her vague but clearly misguided project

makes the film something of a parable about power and delusion. Although it mirrors vast space epics of the past, High Life is really a simple tale about grand ambition masking an even greater folly. n

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STAGE

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Austin (William Humphrey) and Lee (Isaiah Di Lorenzo, right) have some ‘splainin’ to do when Mom (Susan Kopp) comes home early. | PATRICK HUBER

[REVIEW]

How the West Was Done St. Louis Actors’ Studio’s exhilarating new production portrays a pair of squabbling brothers in a vanished frontier Written by

PAUL FRISWOLD True West Written by Sam Shepard. Directed by William Whitaker. Presented by St. Louis Actors’ Studio through April 28 at the Gaslight Theater (358 North Boyle Avenue; www.stlas.org). Tickets are $30 to $35.

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omewhere out in the wilds of Southern California Austin works by candlelight late into the night, accompanied only by the music of the crickets and the haunting song of the coyotes. Oh, and also a steady stream of questions from his brother, Lee. They’re both in their

mother’s suburban kitchen, and Austin is working diligently on his screenplay for producer Saul Kimmer, while Lee fires off impatient questions about nothing in particular. The Old West of legend and silver screen is long gone; it’s been paved over and they’ve put up suburbia in its place. Sam Shepard’s drama True West is about the restlessness that drives some men to the western edge of America, and what is lost when there are no more frontiers. It’s about misfits, brothers with little in common and the violence that erupts when people are jammed together in a tight space with no exit. In St. Louis Actors’ Studio’s current production of the play, directed by William Whitaker, True West is as dangerously alive — and unpredictable — as wildfire, an all-consuming wave of destruction that harrows the stage, the audience and perhaps the actors. You lose yourself watching Lee and Austin dance around one another in the flames, wondering if either can leap to safety before it’s too late. William Humphrey plays Austin, the responsible Ivy League graduate who’s house-sitting for his mother while she vacations in Alaska. Seated at the kitchen table

in front of his typewriter, he adds notes to his script. It’s a romantic period piece, he says, and it’s as good as sold even though it’s not finished. With Lee in the house, it may never get finished. Isaiah Di Lorenzo springs around the exceptionally retro kitchen set (designed with great detail by Patrick Huber) like a trapped animal, turning over objects in his hands and complaining about the crickets, the boredom of the neighborhood and the excessively warm night. Lee’s a petty thief who’s been holed up in the desert, surviving on his own. He changes conversational gears whenever Austin expresses any real interest in what he’s saying, which suggests he’s making it up as he goes along. Maybe he is. Maybe Lee is as much a storyteller as his more polished brother. When producer Saul Kimmer (William Roth) shows up to check on Austin, Lee talks his way into a golf date with Saul, and then sells his own (unwritten) script to him, or so he tells an incredulous Austin. Lee’s story is about the “real West,” the West Lee has lived in and knows, not that crap Austin is working on. This sale (or is it claim jumping?)

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precipitates a range war between the two brothers, with the kitchen as their battlefield. In war the brothers begin to resemble one another. Di Lorenzo grows more wild-eyed as Lee tries to force Austin to do his bidding and takes out his fury on Austin’s disobedient typewriter. Humphrey’s Austin slips the chains of civilization and retreats to the bottle and a rambling string of questions about burglary, the desert and whether Lee would teach him how to live out there. In their brief moments of truce, they talk about their absent father, and how nothing in the neighborhood looks like they remember it. Southern California may have been transformed, and Mom’s kitchen definitely has been, but neither Lee nor Austin can become anything other than what they are. In the calamitous moments at the end of the play, they’re still brothers and still at war over something they can’t name. Is it sibling rivalry, jealousy, hatred? An outsider can’t really pin down the furious dislike that festers between brothers who are both too different and too much alike. Cain gave it his best shot, but neither Lee nor Austin know that kind of success. n

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CAFE

[REVIEW]

This Magic Moment Asian Kitchen’s Korean food is as good as ever. But its Taiwanese specialties are transcendent Written by

CHERYL BAEHR Asian Kitchen 8423 Olive Boulevard, University City; 314989-9377. Tues.-Sun 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Closed Mondays.

L

iling Wemhoener has a funny catchphrase when talking about her turn from reflexology to the restaurant business. “I went from foot to food,” Wemhoener laughs. She’ll share the story of her career change multiple times a night while working the dining room at Asian Kitchen, taking the time to talk with each and every patron no matter how busy she gets. It’s how she gets her energy, she explains, a character trait that has led her to a career in two vastly different parts of the service industry. Sometimes, Wemhoener only has time to give diners the short version: She owns a reflexology spa called U-City Foot Massage and Relaxation Center, but when she was presented with the opportunity to buy the Korean mainstay Asian Kitchen, located just a few doors down, she simply could not pass it up. Now, four months since taking over, she’s turned the place into an industry destination, with food lovers descending from across the St. Louis area to the humble strip mall that houses it. But Wemhoener’s turn to the restaurant business was not as abrupt as it first appears. A lifelong home cook, the Taiwanese native had found herself in the role of family caretaker because of her natural inclination to help people. Part of that involved cooking. Early on, she discovered a knack for preparing food, developing a reputation as an outstanding home cook.

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Taiwanese hot pots are served with your choice of meat, noodles and dipping sauce. Add the “hot pot base” for an umami bomb. | MABEL SUEN After moving to the United States in 1994, Wemhoener gravitated to the hospitality industry, working as a server at a Japanese restaurant for six years. Though she enjoyed the work, her friends encouraged her to open a place of her own. That opportunity came in 2001, when Wemhoener bought Shu Feng, an established Chinese-Korean restaurant in University City. She reveled in running her own restaurant — and might still be at Shu Feng today were it not for a personal setback that pulled her away from the business. While visiting from Taiwan, her sister developed a serious mobility condition that rendered her virtually paralyzed from the waist down. Wemhoener became her caretaker, a full-time job that prevented her from working outside the home. She sold Shu Feng to her longtime chef. Her sister eventually returned to Taiwan, leaving Wemhoener in a position to begin working again. That’s when she opened her wellness center specializing in reflexology and massage. Business boomed, but she wanted more. Last November, she got just that when she was given the chance

APRIL 17-23, 2019

riverfronttimes.com

to buy Asian Kitchen at a bargain price. She gave the ten-year-old Korean restaurant a deep clean and began buying higher quality ingredients, but she otherwise planned to keep the restaurant mostly the same as under its former owner. Still, she could not shake the feeling that she wanted to put a little bit of herself into the place. In no time, she was adding a handful of Taiwanese specialties to the menu — and dazzling the restaurant’s regulars in the process. On first impression, a casual visitor might not realize that anything has changed at Asian Kitchen, outside a menu board at the front entrance listing a few Taiwanese dishes. Everything else remains virtually unchanged, with a menu prepared by the restaurant’s talented Korean chef including such staples as dukbokki, the cylinder-shaped rice cake dish accented with thin pieces of fish cake. Thick red pepper sauce blankets the components in slightly sweet, mild heat. It’s like a mouthwatering Korean version of gnocchi and red sauce. Kimchi jeon is a wonderful rendition of the classic Korean kimchi pancake, its crisp flour bat-

ter liberally flecked with fiery, fermented vegetables. Mandu, or Korean dumplings, are also wellprepared, flawlessly pan-fried so the exterior crisps up to a golden brown and filled with succulent ginger-kissed pork and scallions. The stuffing is so flavorful, you barely need the vinegary soy dipping sauce. Wemhoener is adamant that she only buys the highest quality ingredients, which becomes evident in the grilled mackerel, its oily flesh a pure distillation of the sea. Even easy comfort food dishes shine, like chicken prepared bulgogi style. White onions and the meat’s sweet soy garlic marinade caramelize on the searing-hot cast-iron serving dish and form a sauce for the already flavorful chicken. The best part is the fond, or the little bits of browned meat, onion and sauce that forms at the bottom of the dish. I found myself scraping it off and using it as a condiment for the chicken. Even a simple bulgolgi beef fried rice omelet dazzles down to its ketchup drizzle, a surprisingly welcome condiment that adds brightness. In fact, the only dish that proved less than impressive is the bulgolgi kimchi cheese


Asian Kitchen is in University City. | MABEL SUEN dolsot. Unlike regular bibimbap, cooking it in a dolsot, or hot stone bowl, allows the rice to crisp at the bottom of the dish. It’s a wonderful play on texture; what threw

me off was the addition of what seemed like American cheese and iceberg lettuce, which enveloped all the other components in wilted goo. Asian Kitchen offers several other versions of bibimbap dolsot; order those instead. Wemhoener is determined to not alienate Asian Kitchen’s regulars; the still-flowing soju and excellent versions of Korean food the kitchen is preparing on her watch suggest there’s no fear of that. However, it’s her two Taiwanese additions to the menu that have made the once-sleepy restaurant a must-visit destination for other restaurateurs and scenesters. The first are her Taiwanese dumplings. The wrappers are so delicate, they are like rippled ribbons of silk. The filling is no less extraordinary: Rather than using a ground version, Wemhoener minces her pork to give it a heartier texture, then cooks it in broth before mixing it with garlic and ginger. The result is a filling that is not quite as liquidy as a soup

dumpling, but significantly juicier than most pork dumplings. Wemhoener’s Taiwanese-style hot pots are positively exquisite. An individual-sized pot of vegetable broth, teeming with enoki mushrooms, cabbage, tomatoes and squid balls, is placed on the table over a small burner; once it begins to simmer, you place whatever protein you’ve ordered — lamb, beef, pork or seafood — into the liquid to let it cook. The broth’s flavor is delicate, but it intensifies as it reduces, giving off a different flavor with each serving. It’s lovely without any added condiments, but that would mean missing Wemhoener’s extraordinary “hot pot base,” an umami bomb so deeply flavorful it’s haunting. She says her secret is a shocking amount of garlic and fermented tofu, but its power is such, I’m convinced she’s conjured some sort of magic. You’re supposed to add it to your bowl after doling out your portion of hot pot, but I found myself dipping her dumplings into it,

spooning it over my noodles and eventually foregoing any shame and just dipping my chopsticks into it and eating it straight. Wemhoener relies on an executive chef and sous chef to prepare the Korean side of the menu, but the Taiwanese dishes are all her handiwork. It’s a surprising amount of work considering she’s not only running the busy restaurant but operating her reflexology and wellness center at the same time. For now, she hasn’t packaged the two experiences, though she insists that the best way to enjoy her hot pot is to head down to her spa first, then sit down for a meal feeling rejuvenated. I’m sure the treatments are wonderful, but they seem unnecessary — Wemhoener’s food is all you need to energize mind, body and spirit.

Asian Kitchen Kimchi jeon .........................................$15.95 Chicken bulgolgi .................................$16.95 Taiwanese seafood hot pot ................$16.95

AWARD WINNING BRUNCH

APRIL 25

Broken Arrow

A Tribute to Neil Young

APRIL 26 Mitch Ryder

APRIL 28

SATURDAY & SUNDAY

Rich Guzzi

10AM – 1PM

hypnosis/comedy show

MAY 31

thunderstruck

America’s Tribute to AC/DC

MAY 25

Jeremiah Johnson

With special guest amanda fish

JUNE 6

An Evening with Roger McGuinn

JUNE 8

Al Stewart

A Night of His Greatest Hits

riverfronttimes.com

APRIL 17-23, 2019

RIVERFRONT TIMES

31


DON’T MISS THE BEST LOCAL MUSIC WEEKEND OF THE YEAR!

INTHEGROVE Atomic Cowboy Bootleg Firecracker Gezellig Gramophone Handle Bar Parlor Ready Room Taha’a Twisted Tiki

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AN EVENING WITH THE MATCHING SHOE AT THE BOOTLEG

ROY BLAIR’S CAT HEAVEN USA TOUR

$10, 7 PM AT ATOMIC COWBOY

$15 ADVANCE, 7 PM AT THE READY ROOM


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FEATURED DINING THE CHOCOLATE PIG

SPONSORED CONTENT

6 RESTAURANTS YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT...

THECHOCOLATEPIG.COM

SPENCER’S GRILL

314.272.3230 4220 DUNCAN AVE, ST. LOUIS, MO 63110

314.821.2601 223 S KIRKWOOD RD KIRKWOOD, MO 63122

Located inside the Cortex Innovation Hall in midtown St. Louis, The Chocolate Pig’s fun, unique location perfectly complements the interesting fare offered up by this well-regarded new entrant to the local dining scene. Open every day, The Chocolate Pig’s primary restaurant space offers salads, sandwiches, burgers, elevated comfort foods such as shrimp and grits and intriguing daily specials inside the attractive dining room and bar. The Market component, meanwhile is a “quick grab kitchen,” allowing those with limited time a chance to order a coffee and sandwich quickly, while offering an elevated set of expectations than the normal “grab & go” concept; it’s open from 7 am-5 pm daily and provides a great option for Cortex workers. Destination diners, though, are going to want to sit and savor the fare from The Chocolate Pig during lunch and dinner service, the restaurant serving moderately-priced entrees that are heavy on locally-sourced ingredients. Though the menu items featuring proteins (especially pork) are among the most-popular, a variety of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free items complement them. All items are offered up in one of the most-unique, thoughtfully-stimulating restaurant environments in town.

Spencer’s Grill is a historic diner in the heart of downtown Kirkwood. Bill Spencer opened the Grill on Route 66 back in 1947. Over 70 years later a lot has changed but the diner is still a timeless staple cherished by locals. These days Alex Campbell is the owner and the road goes by S. Kirkwood, but the old grill lives on. Known for its breakfast, Spencer’s cooks up crispy pancakes, from scratch biscuits and gravy, omelets, hash browns, and other traditional breakfast favorites. For the after breakfast crowds, Spencer’s offers a variety of lunch options including sandwiches as well as some of the best burgers in town. Jake Sciales (previously head chef at Farmhaus) runs the kitchen at Spencer’s and creates delicious off-menu specials daily. His culinary excellence makes even the most familiar dishes divine.The charming breakfast bar is welcoming and the service is friendly and fast. Mornings can be busy but the lines move quickly and breakfast comes out fast. Looking for a new breakfast spot? If you haven’t tried Spencer’s yet, you need to check it out. Spencer’s Grill is open 6AM until 2PM seven days a week.

BLK MKT EATS

MORRISON’S IRISH PUB

BLKMKTEATS.COM

MORRISONIRISHPUB.COM

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

618-433-8900 200 STATE STREET ALTON, IL 62002

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 NOT AVERAGE SPOT ingredients that fit everything you love about YOUR sushi and burritos right in your SUSHI hand. The Swedish Fish layers Scandinavian cured salmon, yuzu dill slaw, Persian cucumbers and avocado for a fresh flavor ex9 SOUTH VANDEVENTER DINE-IN, TAKEOUT OR DELIVERY MON-SAT 11AM-9PM plosion. Another favorite, the OG Fire, features your choice of spicy tuna or salmon alongside tempura crunch, masago, shallots, jalapeño and 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.

Several, long-beloved Irish pubs have staked a claim to being the most-authentic in town, though a strong case be made for one of the newer entrants. Located in the historic and scenic Alton, IL, Morrison’s Irish Pub brings all the elements of a great Irish pub under one roof - which, in this particular case, dates way back to 1865. Live music’s on-hand, with a strong selection of the area’s finest Irish and Irish-tinged groups and solo performers, heard from Thursday-Saturday nights. The selections of whiskey and beer reflect just the right touches of domestic and imported options, with plenty of favorites on-hand, including a wide-and-deep selection of Irish whiskeys that’d rival any other spirits menu in town. But it’s the menu that really solidifies the deal, with corned beef and cabbage, leek soup, Irish stew and Irish soda bread all available on a daily basis, along with rotating specials. Fare such as burgers, salads and wraps add to the traditional Irish fare, giving families a host of options. Open every day but Monday, Morrison’s offers a legit Irish pub feel without any artificial ingredients.

J. SMUGS GASTROPIT

OAKED

JSMUGSGASTROPIT.COM

OAKEDSTL.COM

314.499.7488 2130 MACKLIND AVE, ST. LOUIS, MO 63110

314.305.8647 1031 LYNCH ST, ST. LOUIS, MO 63118 Treat yourself to an elevated culinary experience. With spring’s arrival, OAKED introduces its Pink Moon menu. Diners can order the entire menu inside the speakeasy-feeling lounge, upstairs in the spacious dining room, and now on the beautiful New Orleans-style patio dubbed “the Veranda”. Chef Stephan Ledbetter and crew create new dishes each menu using the finest available ingredients while keeping past winners. This time around includes Duck Breast with charred Cabbage; Ratatouille with Spaghetti Squash and Vegan Burrata; and the housegem - Wild Mushrooms served with Duxellé, Truffle and Mushroom Tea. OAKED ensures their menu includes several vegan and gluten-free options so everyone can savor their evening. OAKED also has one of the better curated wine list in town alongside a selection of whiskeys and craft cocktails. It even has a small cigar bar outside on “the Gallery”. Offering Happy Hour specials from 4-6 daily. Music in the lounge Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Ample parking. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are recommended.

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APRIL 17-23, 2019

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Housed in a retro service station, J. Smugs GastroPit serves up barbecue that can fuel anyone’s fire. Married teams of Joe and Kerri Smugala and John and Linda Smugala have brought charred goodness to the Hill neighborhood, nestled among the traditional Italian restaurants, sandwich shops and bakeries. Part of St. Louis’ ongoing barbecue boom, the J. Smugs’ pit menu is compact but done right. Ribs are the main attraction, made with a spicy dry rub and smoked to perfection. Pulled pork, brisket, turkey and chicken are also in the pit holding up well on their own, but squeeze bottles of six tasty sauces of varying style are nearby for extra punch. Delicious standard sides and salads are available, but plan on ordering an appetizer or two J. Smugs gives this course a twist with street corn and pulled-pork poutine. Several desserts are available, including cannoli – a tasty nod to the neighborhood. Happy hour from 4 to 7pm on weekdays showcases half-dollar BBQ tastes, discount drinks, and $6 craft beer flights to soothe any beer aficionado.


SHORT ORDERS [SIDE DISH]

Beer Pioneer Has New Home at Schlafly Written by

CHERYL BAEHR

F

ran Caradonna gets a bit embarrassed when she talks about her beer-drinking past. “Don’t tell anyone, but I was a Natty Light girl back in college at the University of South Carolina,” Caradonna laughs. “It was the ’70s. I was a frustrated hippie. I drank it because it was ‘natural.’” As one of the most influential pioneers of the St. Louis craft beer scene, Caradonna drinking cheap domestic lagers seems downright comical. The co-founder of the groundbreaking distributorship Signature Beer Company, as well as the respected O’Fallon Brewery, Caradonna has made craft beer her life’s work. And in her new role as the CFO and CAO of the Saint Louis Brewery, which brews under the Schlafly label, she’s continuing that mission. These days, she’s focused on the continued success of Schlafly beers, which make the cheap stuff of her youth look like swill. As she explains it, she didn’t begin drinking American-style lagers because she was enthused about them; she simply had little choice. In her college drinking days, that’s what dominated the industry, leaving U.S. drinkers with virtually no options beyond brews produced by large, corporate breweries. However, Caradonna sought out different options any chance she could, drinking imports like Beck’s Dark, St. Pauli Girl or draught Heineken because she enjoyed their fuller flavor. As soon as West Coast “micro-brews” began to hit the market in the 1980s, Caradonna embraced them with gusto.

Fran Caradonna helped bring craft beer to St. Louis. | COURTESY OF SCHLAFLY “It was a challenge to drink good beer back then,” Caradonna explains. “But then I discovered beers like Full Sail Ale, and it was so good because it had so much flavor. It’s not that we didn’t like to drink domestic lager, but the micro-breweries made beer that was so much more fresh and flavorful.” Caradonna and her then-husband, Tony, decided to do something to make these beers more readily available in St. Louis. In 1990, they launched the Signature Brands distributorship, with the express purpose of bringing craft beer to town. It was a tough sell getting people to change their perceptions about what beer should be — and St. Louis provided special challenges. “This town was so loyal to [Anheuser-Busch] because it had employed their grandparents and parents and had stayed open during Prohibition so people wouldn’t lose their jobs,” Caradonna explains. “There was a deep civic

loyalty — and they earned that and deserved it. We had to explain to people when they asked if the craft beer tasted like Budweiser, ‘No, not really.’” Signature Brands started out right around the time Schlafly came on the scene. Naturally, when Schlafly decided to sell in grocery and liquor stores, Signature Brands became its distributor. And Signature’s success only grew, bolstered by bringing such brands to St Louis as Pete’s Wicked Ale. In fact, the Caradonnas became so successful that their company became attractive to larger distributorships. They eventually sold to Major Brands after getting an offer they couldn’t refuse. The buyout was exactly the push the Caradonnas needed to pursue their dream of owning their own brewery. In 2000, they opened O’Fallon Brewery, learning as they went and relying on their peers at the city’s other local breweries to guide them

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along the way. After selling O’Fallon to former Anheuser-Busch executive Jim Gorczyca in 2011, Fran Cardaonna continued to work for the brewery as its general manager. However, when she was approached earlier this year by the Saint Louis Brewery, she jumped at the chance to again work with the company that had played such a crucial role in her ascent in the city’s beer scene. “I’m just really happy to be here,” Caradonna says. “It’s so different than it was back in the day — now there are two production facilities and two restaurants. Still, it feels like coming home.” And it’s not just Schlafly that has changed over the past two decades; the city’s craft beer scene has exploded in ways Caradonna could never have imagined back when she was talking people into giving craft beer a try — and she couldn’t be more thrilled. “Life’s too short to drink bad beer,” Caradonna says. “There’s nothing wrong with domestic lager, just like there is nothing wrong with Wonder Bread. But wouldn’t you rather go and get a good loaf of sourdough or sevengrain instead?” Caradonna took a break from her new Schlafly duties to share her thoughts on the St. Louis food and beverage community, her passion for the Gulf of Mexico, and why she will forever be bullish on the city’s craft beer scene. What is one thing people don’t know about you that you wish they did? When it’s not in St. Louis, my heart lives on the Forgotten Coast ... a narrow strip of north Florida coastline stretching from the St. Marks River to Mexico Beach. What daily ritual is non-negotiable for you? My morning yoga stretch, followed by a walk in my U. City neighborhood with my three-year old Carolina dog, Benji. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? To drink all the great beer that I desire and never gain an inch or a pound (like my St. Louis Printer baseball-playing son Lew Caradonna). What is the most positive trend in food, beer, wine or cocktails that you’ve noticed in St. Louis over the

APRIL 17-23, 2019

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For three of its four walls, Form Skybar offers huge windows overlooking the city. On nice days, those windows open to let in fresh air. | CHELSEA NEULING

[FIRST LOOK]

New Bar Has Soaring Views Written by

CHELSEA NEULING

L

ast month, Form Skybar (705 Olive Street) opened on top of the new Hotel Saint Louis — and diners have been raving ever since about the rooftop restaurant and bar, which sits sixteen floors above the Louis Sullivan-designed building. With windows for three of its walls, Form Skybar lets you gaze out on downtown. On warmer days, one side of the windows retract. According to chef Mathew Birkenmeier, the windows were open even on the first day. The bar takes its name from Sullivan’s idea that “form follows function,” Birkenmeier notes, while explaining that he wants this to be an everyday kind of place and wants everyone to have

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a fun and enjoyable experience. So that’s the function. The form that follows is a menu that pays homage to the city’s roots. Birkenmeier says the menu is “uniquely St. Louis centric,” with items that are quick and affordable. The biggest hit so far has been the “Mississippi Crawfish Nachos in a Can.” The appetizer comes out from the kitchen with the toppings in a can in the middle of the plate, with the can taken off at the table because, says Birkenmeier, “Nobody likes soggy nachos.” Other favorites include the smash burger, which is topped with shredded iceberg lettuce, pickles and the house “Form” sauce, and the “Sullivan’s Smokehouse Flat Bread,” with smoked bacon, burnt ends, Provel and house marinara. Or try the “Country-Fried Steak Sliders,” with three buttery Southern buttermilk biscuits topped with chicken-fried steak and country pepper gravy. Form also features vegetarian options, including the Impossible sloppy joe (which uses meat from the Impossible burger as its base), a pickled seasonal fruit salad, sweet potato fries and the “Soulard Market Flatbread,” topped with Provel and seasonal vegetables, along with marinara sauce. The food isn’t the only thing

APRIL 17-23, 2019

riverfronttimes.com

representing St. Louis. The cocktail menu features fun St. Louisthemed drinks such as the Mis-

sissippi Mojito, the Gravois Gin Martini, the Soulard Sangria, the Olive Street Old Fashioned and

Above, “Country-Fried Steak Sliders.” Below, cocktails include the Mississippi Mojito and the Gravois Gin Martini. | CHELSEA NEULING


Chefs Josh Schindler, left, and Matt Birkenmeier. | CHELSEA NEULING the Missouri Mule. Birkenmeier says Form Skybar should be a fun place to get a quick bite before Cardinals games. Sitting with his “right-hand man,” Josh Schindler, Birkenmeier says he’s been thrilled with the reception so far. “It is amazing to see all of the progress we have made here,” he says. “There is no ‘I’ in ‘journey.’” Schindler and Birkenmeier previously worked together at the late, much-lamented Quincy Street Bistro, where Birkenmeier

was the executive chef. After that, Schindler worked at Three Sixty and Union 30, the restaurant on the first floor of Hotel Saint Louis. “He literally worked his way to the top,” jokes Birkenmeier. The $68 million Hotel Saint Louis renovation was led by Amy and Amrit Gill of Restoration St. Louis and now operates as an Autograph collection Hotels by Marriott. Form Skybar is now open 4 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. n

[FOOD NEWS]

Scape Will Close This Month Written by

SARAH FENSKE

O

ne of the loveliest patios in the city won’t be around for this summer’s patio season. Scape (48 Maryland Plaza, 314361-7227) announced last week that it will be closing for good after brunch service on Sunday, April 21. The restaurant has operated out of a gorgeous space in the Central West End, which includes a terrific ivy-lined courtyard, for the past twelve years. “We had a great run, and we’d like to thank our loyal customers, neighbors and staff for joining us over the past dozen years,” owner Ted Koplar said in a prepared statement. “We’ll still be open for two weeks, and we’d love to see some familiar faces and regulars one more time.” Koplar said in the statement that the company is in “advanced discussions” with parties interested in the space. And yes, that could well mean

Wednesday April 17 9:45PM

Farewell, Scape. | JENNIFER SILVERBERG

Urban Chestnut Presents

Sean Canan’s Voodoo Players Tribute To The Stones

another restaurant. “It’s a marquee location in the City of St. Louis and we are currently exploring other restaurant options and concepts that would be a good fit for the neighborhood,” said Koplar. The restaurant is located in the heart of the neighborhood, but Maryland Plaza’s central location (and foot traffic) hasn’t always made for easy restaurant success in an area increasingly crowded with options. Last year, Coffee Cartel closed its doors after 22 years, and more recently, Bissinger’s announced its closure. And Scape’s sister space, which had a long run as Crepes Etc., closed one year after rebranding as the more casual Scapegoat. It’s now an outlet of the clothing store Bonobos. n

Thursday April 18 9PM

String Cheese Pre Party with Grassfed from Kansas City

Friday April 19 10PM

String Cheese After Party with Jakes Leg

Saturday April 20 10PM

String Cheese After Party with Sean Canan’s Voodoo 4/20

Sunday April 21 8PM

Soul and R&B Legend Kim Massie Wednesday April 24 9:45PM Urban Chestnut Presents

Sean Canan’s Voodoo Players Tribute To Stevie Ray Vaughn

riverfronttimes.com

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SIDE DISH

Continued from pg 35

past year? It’s a 25-plus-year trend, but we continue to have the widest selection of the best local beers brewed by the most creative brewers in the Midwest, and arguably the country. What is one thing missing or that you’d like to see in the St. Louis food and beverage scene? More fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. Sigh. Not very realistic given our location. Who is your St. Louis food or drink crush? Schlafly founding brewer Stephen Hale, of course. I’ve known him long enough to remember when he wore pants! (For those who don’t know Stephen Hale, he’s frequently recognized for his utilikilt.) Who’s the one person to watch right now in the St. Louis food and beverage scene? Joe Caradonna, an ambitious young server at Kingside Diner in the Central West End with hopes to move up in the biz. (Yes, his mom is proud.) Which ingredient is most representative of your personality? Raspberry — sweet and tart and just a little seedy — featured in our Raspberry Hefeweizen. If someone asked you to describe the current state of St. Louis’ food and beverage climate, what would you say? Interesting, dynamic and fun ... much more so than when I arrived 35 years ago. Name an ingredient never allowed in your brewery. We’re open to working with anything when it comes to ingredients. With that said, we have to be comfortable admitting when something just doesn’t work out in a beer. It has to be delicious and something that our brewers are proud of to put in front of our guests. What is your after-work hangout? If I count happy hour beers at the Tap Room and Bottleworks as “at work” (and I do), then my favorite after-work hangout is my backyard deck. What’s your edible or quaffable guilty pleasure? Jilly’s Cupcakes. What would be your last meal on earth? Roasted shrimp served with fresh summer squash, tomatoes and basil. n

[FIRST LOOK]

A Taste of Mexico City in Bevo Mill Written by

CHELSEA NEULING

T

he newest Mexican restaurant in Bevo Mill’s growing roster offers authentic dishes that can’t be found in many of its counterparts. Fonda La Poblanita (3830 Morganford Road, 314-282-0651) serves food from Puebla and Mexico City, where owner Hernando Rojas and his family are from. The family had long dreamt of opening a restaurant. As they explain on their Yelp page, eight months ago, they decided to pursue the dream and found the right location, a space that’s experienced a fair amount of turnover at Morganford and Chippewa. They quietly opened their doors in November. Dishes that are relatively new to the St. Louis area include cemitas, a type of sandwich served on a sesame-seed bun. Like Sol Azteca, which opened in December in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood, Fonda La Poblanita is also serving huaraches, which are open-faced sandwiches named for their resemblance to a sandal,

Cemitas Poblanos: Talk about a huge sandwich. | CHELSEA NEULING and machetes, which are basically two-foot-long treats akin to a quesadilla, only with a thicker corn base. Fonda La Poblanita also offers weekend specials, including posole, the Mexican beef stew caldo de res and barbacoa. The prices are cheap, but the portions are big enough for even the biggest St. Louis appetites. At $11, the machetes are nothing short of a mouthful (and even so, you can add extra meat for another $2). And good luck to anyone trying to make their way through the cemitas. For $10, the “Cemitas Poblanos” is stuffed with breaded chicken, cow feet, lamb, pork and a slice of ham dipped in red gua-

jillo sauce, as well as avocado and mild white cheese. Chipotle chiles provide a kick of heat. But not everything involves unusual ingredients like cow feet. Tacos are $2 each, and less adventurous eaters can enjoy asada or al pastor versions in addition to tongue or tripe. There’s also a good old-fashioned steak burrito. With staff speaking both English and Spanish, and menus in both languages, this family business is friendly. Full service is provided after you seat yourself. Vibrant colors and natural light fill the dining area, which seats 38. It is a low-key atmosphere; no alcohol is served. Fonda La Poblanita is open daily from 11 a.m to 9 p.m. n

The restaurant is at the corner of Morganford and Chippewa. | CHELSEA NEULING

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MUSIC & CULTURE [HOMESPUN]

Something to Hold Onto Prolific performer Brian Andrew Marek returns to physical media with latest, Modern Variety Written by

CHRISTIAN SCHAEFFER

F

or local musician Brian Andrew Marek, his Bandcamp page is something like an aural scrapbook. Scroll down far enough into his catalog and you’ll find a 1989 live recording from some long-ago club made when he was playing drums in Angus Tweed, his first real band. A few years later Marek stepped to the forefront in the power-pop quintet Not Actual Size, and by the turn of the century he was leading Rocket Park through sets of varied, bizarro rock songs. As he enters his third decade as a public performer, Marek is happy to curate his back pages, but doesn’t dwell too much on the past. That’s mainly because he’s never really stopped making music, releasing it digitally both under his own name and with projects such as Polyphilo and the Vertigo Swirl. His latest collection, however, marks Marek’s return to physical media: Modern Variety is available online and on CD, though he says he initially had other ideas for the album’s format. “I kind of set my sights further and came back a little bit because I was thinking of putting this one out on vinyl,” Marek says. “And I was starting to save up the money but I lost my job and was out of work. I thought, ‘I can still do this, but it will have to be a CD.’ Maybe the vinyl will be a future dream to see out.” After so many years of doing small-scale or digital-only releases — throwing his work into the vast, gaping maw of the internet’s streaming services, as it were — it was the encouragement of those around him that gave Marek the

Brian Andrew Marek has been writing and performing music in the St. Louis area for 30 years. | CARLYE LEHNEN push to commit the songs to something tangible. “I think there was a certain amount of confidence that has grown through the years, and I feel like I’m at a place now where I have a lot of supportive voices around me — people who would tell me, ‘You don’t promote yourself enough,’” Marek says. “The message was there that I should take this to the next level, do something that has a chance of giving me a little more of a face on the scene.” Whatever the medium, Marek’s music is perennially infused with the knack for harmony and hooks that come from having ingested 60 years’ worth of pop music, from AM pop mainstays like the Zombies and the Association to

outre-rock icons like XTC and Todd Rundgren. On Modern Variety, Marek handles all the instrumentation and, on most tracks, a few strands of vocal harmony to boot — his lead vocals tend to land with a wry, winking grin atop his compositions’ zippy frenetic energy. The pep of “Big City Dreams” kicks the record off with a start — Marek says he wrote it in tribute to his girlfriend’s globe-trotting spirit — and closing track “Sky Ranch” ends the disc with a ruminative piano ballad that wouldn’t feel out of place on the Kinks’ Muswell Hillbillies. The just-released CD may help reintroduce Marek to a music scene that he’s skirted the fringes of for a few decades, but at the mo-

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ment he doesn’t have plans to recreate the album live on stage. Part of that has to do with his lack of an actual band (though he maintains a working relationship with longtime foil “Manic Myk” Thompson on drums). But these days, he’s less interested in leading a rock band from behind his guitar; he’d rather float in the background at some local dive from the piano bench. A few years back, at the nowshuttered Cherokee Street tavern the Blue Pearl, Marek would do just that, playing a free-form set of originals and covers. “From a logical standpoint, you can fill in the blanks easier on a piano; guitar has limitations in terms of doing it solo,” he says. “With piano you have the possibility of chords and melody happening simultaneously.” During a conversation over beers at the Tick Tock Tavern on a recent Sunday afternoon, pianist Ellen Cook is doing much of what Marek describes: playing idiosyncratic covers from the pub’s spinet. Asked what he might conjure, given the chance, Marek says he would reach for an old standby. “The first thing that comes to mind, because it’s kind of a go-to for me, is ‘I Can’t Get It Out of My Head’ by Electric Light Orchestra, because that’s a song I have ingrained,” he says. “But you just never know what I’m gonna do; sometimes I would get some crazy wavelength in my head that made me say, ‘I’m gonna do “I Got You” by Split Enz as a piano song.’” Having a catalog of 30 years’ worth of songs at his disposal is comforting to Marek, and it serves as a reminder that there are always more songs to be sung, even during those rare moments when he’s not working on a new collection. “There will always be another thirteen good songs, I hope!” he says with a laugh. “In private, I do doubt myself, but I know logically there will always be something that’s interesting.” That thought keeps Marek looking ahead rather than behind. It’s doubtful that another collection, no matter the format, will take long. “I could have put together a compendium,” Marek says, “but I like moving forward and being able to show, ‘Here’s my progress over the years.’” n

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Dave Stone has performed with innumerable musicians in his three decades in St. Louis. Now he’s moving on. | MABEL SUEN

[ FA R E W E L L ]

Gather No Moss Local jazz-sax legend Dave Stone is leaving St. Louis for the Pacific Northwest Written by

G.M.H. THOMPSON

D

ave Stone, longtime cornerstone of music in St. Louis, is leaving the city for good. For almost 30 years, the local jazz-saxophone legend has been nearly ubiquitous throughout the city wherever music is heard, collaborating with several symphonies’ worth of prominent local musicians and earning numerous accolades along the way. But now Stone is moving to Oregon, about an hour from Portland, after his girlfriend landed her dream job there. He looks forward to playing gigs in LA and San Francisco, as well as any number of other West Coast cities. But St. Louis’ scene won’t quite be the same without him. Though Stone is perhaps bestknown for enlivening Mangia Italiano every Friday night for more than twenty years, he has played gigs at almost every venue in

town during his tenure — including some of the biggest stages in St. Louis. “I have played the Pageant,” Stone says. “We opened up for Yellowjackets, but that was such a weird gig. Bill Lenihan, an amazing guitar player who’s at Wash U, called us like that day, or the day before, being like, ‘You and Eric [Markowitz] and Maurice Karnes come and play like a half hour before Yellowjackets go on at the Pageant.’ And there were all these people there and we were on the big stage, you know?” It took a while to get to that point. Moving to St. Louis to study jazz performance at Webster University in 1989 (he earned his bachelor’s in 1993), Stone played his first gig at Brandt’s Café on Delmar Boulevard in 1990, as part of a trio with Liam Christie on guitar and Markowitz on bass. “We were all like, you know, young and silly — none of us had been playing a really long time,” Stone says. “I think it was cool, but we were definitely students.” Studying saxophone at Webster, Stone was introduced by teacher Paul DeMarinis to drummer Joe Charles Thompson and fellow saxophonist Jimmie Sherrod. Both would have a foundational impact on his musical development, he says. He also played a lot with pianist and composer David Parker in those early days, as well as a slew of additional luminaries in St. Louis’ music scene. Darin Gray of Dazzling Killmen, Kyle Honeycut, Ben Wheeler, Bob De-

boo and Willem Hombracht are all on the long list of illustrious bassists Stone has played with. During the ’90s, Stone moved fast and performed a lot. “I played at this place, Deep Cool, in the mid-’90s — that was a really fun gig,” Stone explains. “It was two nights a week at this huge, three-story club on Washington.” In those early days, he also made frequent trips to Chicago with Ben Vida, Weasel Walter (of the Flying Luttenbachers), Matt Weston and others to take in shows, congregate with other players and play free jazz at venues such as the Hot House and Myopic Bookstore. While there, he even sat in on some impromptu cutting sessions put together by celebrated jazz player and composer Ken Vandermark. Stone visited other cities during this period, including Minneapolis, where he jammed with Milo Fine (clarinetist of Teenage Boatpeople, whom Stone met through Vida), even performing in Fine’s ensemble at a live concert. Those trips weren’t always as carefree as the music itself, however. “So Weasel was pissed that he wasn’t the drummer for this gig [in Chicago],” Stone recalls. “We were playing in this pretty big room and there was kind of a bunch of people there, which was unusual and cool because it’s not always like that. So we were playing, and it was going really well, and someone started heckling us in the audience really

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badly and like, insistently, trying to kill the vibe. I got so upset that I kept playing, but I started walking around the audience to try and find this person. “It was like this crazy thing; if my back was to them, they would still be saying stuff,” he continues. “I think I just wanted to talk to him, to be like, ‘What’s up, dude, we’re just trying to play!’ Somebody told me later on that it was Weasel. He was like, ‘You guys didn’t ask me to do this, so forget you.’ I think that’s a pretty funny story. That was like ’95 or maybe ’94.” But jazz isn’t the only aural spice Stone has traded in over the years — since the start of his career, he has also trafficked in the noise and rock scenes. During his time at Webster, he played saxophone in the noise improv collective Pound of Flesh with Andy Ortmann (of Nihilist Records), Vida, Parker and Jeremy Brantlinger. From 1992 to 1996, he played bass in the progressive rock outfit Man Igno with Nathan Warren, Aaron Smith and Scott Tallent. In the mid-to-late ’90s, he played guitar in the dissident rock band Shiva with Ray Johnson and Mark Lafauce and sax in the noise group Brain Transplant with Ajay Khanna, Chris Smentkowski and Jeremy Melsha. More recently, he has been involved in projects with various prominent local noise and rock artists such as Drew Gowran (Thumpy Sticky) and Brit Lockhart (ISH Ensemble). It’s a staggering résumé for an accomplished artist, one who has consistently refused to compromise in regard to his work. “I think music is the most enjoyable when you’re being the truest to yourself as an individual,” he says. “Like, if you’re going through the trouble of playing music, you should revel in your individuality.” Stone will play a few shows before he leaves for Oregon, including a final Mangia performance on Friday, April 19. He says he’ll miss the St. Louis music scene and his many friends and fans here. “I think St. Louis is a really, really amazing music place, historically, in terms of diversity and then the depth of that diversity — it’s like, there’s so many genres that have so many amazing proponents in town,” he says. “People really love music here, and they put a lot into it. It’s really beautiful. I love it.”

Dave Stone Jazz Trio 11 p.m. Friday, April 19. Mangia Italiano, 3145 South Grand Boulevard. Free. 314-664-8585.

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Shady Bug started as a side project, but the band has since made a huge splash in the indie rock world. | MABEL SUEN

[PREVIEW]

Set to Explode Shady Bug is headed to the top of the ’90s alt-rock revival pack with Lemon Lime Written by

THOMAS CRONE

A

t the time of its formation, Shady Bug was the ultimate side project, a group of friends from different active and on-hiatus bands coming together to create some music just for the heck of it. In time, though, something began to happen, through that mysterious alchemy that launches some groups out of the world of basement shows and into a touring lifestyle. The songs, the intraband chemistry, some unexpected connections to fans within the industry: All of it came together in the most natural possible way for Shady Bug, which now exists as one of St. Louis’ busiest musical exports.

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Taking time to sit down at the Mud House recently, vocalist/lyricist/guitarist Hannah Rainey and guitarist Tom Krenning are between touring experiences. Just behind them is a stint at South by Southwest, where the group’s official showcase was augmented by no less than five non-official shows. And ahead of them is a three-week, eighteen-date tour through the East Coast and mid-South. “I’m excited to be on the road with a scheduled routine,” Rainey says. “The longest we’d been out before was ten days. At South by Southwest, everything was blurred; we were in a rush to get everywhere. It’ll be nice to be in a different city every day and playing a set every night. It’ll be like a job.” The road work will also allow the group some additional bonding time with Chris Chartrand; he’s taken over bass duties from Todd Anderson, who played on the band’s new album Lemon Lime. The talented multi-instrumentalist Aaron O’Neil, recently featured in the RFT for his songwriting project Ronnie Rogers, rounds out the quartet on drums. This touring cycle has been made possible by the release of Lemon Lime, a noisy platter of guitar pop heavy on loud-quietloud dynamics and rich melodies, which follows up on the early

APRIL 17-23, 2019

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2017 release of the band’s demo tbh idk (available for streaming/ sale on bandcamp). The latest album, recorded and mixed by Seth Engel at Pallet Sound in Chicago, was released by New York’s Exploding in Sound Records, best known for putting out releases by likeminded artists Speedy Ortiz, LVL UP, Pile and Porches. A music blog had picked up on the band’s work, piquing the interest of the label. Since the album was already recorded, there wasn’t much left in the way of process. The members of Shady Bug enthusiastically signed on, offering up their finished album as their first official release, and plans to tour commenced. “It makes me feel so comfortable to work with something that’s got such a great reputation,” Krenning says of the tastemaking label. Once the match was made, “we never thought twice about shopping the record around.” Oddly enough, the Exploding in Sound team signed the band sight unseen. “It’s crazy to think they put our album out without seeing us live or meeting us,” Rainey says. In fact, she says, it wasn’t until the band’s marathon streak of SXSW shows that they even met anyone from the label in person. The nine-song album was “recorded pretty simply and straight-

forward to how we sound live,” Rainey says. She adds that the band’s basic aesthetics have stayed consistent from its earliest work. “The first record was done pretty much for fun,” she recalls. “We were doing it for ourselves and we thought we could make something really cool with this loud-quietloud idea. While we worked really hard on Lemon Lime, the other one was more simple; we didn’t spend a lot of time workshopping it.” Krenning believes that going to Chicago to work with Engel was a big part of the success of the process, too. “He was a pleasure to work with,” Krenning explains. “The way he facilitates bringing the music out of you makes you feel comfortable in expressing yourself and getting down what you need to get down. That’s an important aspect.” Never ones to sit on their hands, the bandmates have already begun crafting a new album, which is coming together as time allows. In between tour dates, the band’s members have day jobs to attend to, and all still take part in their share of other projects. They are at the point, though, where they realize that they’ve made their presence known on the American indie rock scene’s radar, and they’re putting at least a majority share of their eggs in the Shady Bug basket. Rainey says that some of the new songs are already being played out live. “And there’s room for change within them, which is exciting,” she says. “Playing them live will help solidify them before we record again. Interestingly, writing this one has us in a different place than we were before. There’s a little more pressure than before. We’ve had to change bassists and there’s a whole new person that we’re writing songs with. Mostly we collaborate, and this is giving the songwriting a little different dynamic because of that.” Mid-conversation, an employee of the Mud House slips a Shady Bug song onto the afternoon’s playlist. Both Krenning and Rainey wince and express mild horror at having to unexpectedly hear themselves in a public context. As the song passes, they visibly relax. They might just have to 41get used to this experience. That sophomore album’s charms are likely going to keep the spins coming in 2019.

Shady Bug 9:30 p.m. Monday, April 22. Foam, 3359 South Jefferson Avenue. $7. 314-772-2100.


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[CRITIC’S PICK]

Jeezy. | VIA FLICKR/THE COME UP SHOW

Jeezy 9 p.m. Saturday, April 20. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard. $55. 314-726-6161. It’d be understandable if you chose not to believe the retirement rumors. After all, claiming to throw in the towel in order to garner more attention to an upcoming project is a time-honored tradition for rappers. (Jay-Z’s Black Album was a particularly salient example — seriously, how long did that so-called retirement last?

WEDNESDAY 17

BIG RICH MCDONOUGH & RHYTHM RENEGADES: 7 p.m., $5. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. BRIAN CURRAN: 4 p.m., free. Hammerstone’s, 2028 S. 9th St., St. Louis, 314-773-5565. CASTLE: 7 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. JOHN MCVEY BAND: 8 p.m., free. Hammerstone’s, 2028 S. 9th St., St. Louis, 314-773-5565. MARGARET & ERIC: 4 p.m., free. Hammerstone’s, 2028 S. 9th St., St. Louis, 314-773-5565. THE NTH POWER: 8 p.m., $12-$15. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314-588-0505. PINK NEIGHBOR: w/ Nap Time, Ashley Byrne 9 p.m., $7. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-772-2100. REGGAE RHYTHM & GROOVES: 10 p.m., $10. BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. TANK AND THE BANGAS: w/ Maggie Koerner, DJ RQ Away 8 p.m., $20-$25. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. TULIP: w/ Closet Witch, Mystic Will, Man the Manipulator 8 p.m., $10. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE WE?: 8 p.m., $5-$10. Webster University-Moore Auditorium, 470 E. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, 314-968-7128. YAWPERS: w/ the Whale 8 p.m., $10. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989.

THURSDAY 18

THE DHORUBA COLLECTIVE: 7:30 p.m., free. The Dark Room, 3610 Grandel Square inside Grandel Theatre, St. Louis, 314-776-9550. GUITAR GALA: 8 p.m., free. The 560 Music

Less than a year?) Still, fans are gonna fan, so when Jeezy announced last year that his upcoming album Thug Motivation 104: Trust Ya Process would be his last, it effectively drew plenty of buzz for the Atlanta-based performer. Whether this one will stick is yet to be seen, but you might want to err on the safe side. Fuck Bad Bitches, Smoke Big Blunts: This show takes place on April 20, stoner holiday of all stoner holidays. You know what to do.

—Daniel Hill

Center, 560 Trinity Ave., University City, 314421-3600. HUDSON HARKINS & ELLIOT SOWELL: 7 p.m., $15. Joe’s Cafe, 6014 Kingsbury Ave, St. Louis. MARTIN SEXTON: 8 p.m., $30-$35. Blueberry Hill - The Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314-727-4444. OVERSLEPT: w/ The Reckless Moment, I Am Dancer, Self Similarity 7 p.m., $8-$10. The Firebird, 2706 Olive St., St. Louis, 314-535-0353. PAUL BONN & THE BLUESMEN: 8 p.m., $3. Hammerstone’s, 2028 S. 9th St., St. Louis, 314-7735565. PSYCROPTIC: w/ Cannabis Corpse, Gorod, Micawber 7 p.m., $20. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. WHO’S BAD: THE ULTIMATE MICHAEL JACKSON TRIBUTE BAND: 8 p.m., $20-$25. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161.

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FRIDAY 19

BOXCAR: 7 p.m., free. Stonewolf Golf Club, 1195 Stonewolf Trail, Fairview Heights, 618-6244653. DAVID DEE & THE HOT TRACKS: 8 p.m., $3. Hammerstone’s, 2028 S. 9th St., St. Louis, 314-7735565. HARD LOSS: w/ Isabella, City Of Parks, Broken Youth, Skylines 7:30 p.m., $6-$8. Pop’s Nightclub, 401 Monsanto Ave., East St. Louis, 618-274-6720. KELTIC REIGN: 7:30 p.m., $10. Ozark Theatre, 103 E. Lockwood Ave., St. Louis, 314-962-7000. MANIC FOCUS: w/ Russ Liquid 11 p.m., $17-$20. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314588-0505.

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THE BEST LOCAL MUSIC WEEKEND OF THE YEAR!

THEGROVE

JUNE 2019

FRI 21 & SAT 22

Tonina • T-Dubb-O • The Lion’s Daughter • DJ Alexis Tucci • The Knuckles • Shady Bug • Le’Ponds • Janet Evra • Ryan Koenig Paige Alyssa • Rec Riddles • Sorry, Scout • Dracla • Starwolf • Devon Cahill • Jon Bonham and Friends National Blues Museum Jam Band • St. Villagers • PLUS a two hour opening set on Saturday by School of Rock St. Louis Shana B • Najii Person • Golden Curls • Brother Lee & the Leather Jackals • Agile One • SAYLOR • We Are Root Mod Jr. Clooney • Glued • The Vincent Scandal • Mammoth Piano • Yuppy • Drangus • Huht • Frankie DoWop • Stephanie Stewart Ryan Wasoba’s 19 Minute Songs • P. Brown The Aeon • Suzie Cue • Ellen Hilton Cook • The Opera Bell Band Crystal Lady • KDHX’s Crim Dolla Cray • Plus official ShowcaseSTL 2019 Host: Maxi Glamour

Atomic Cowboy • Bootleg • Firecracker • Gezellig • Gramophone • Handle Bar • Layla • Parlor • Ready Room • Taha’a Twisted Tiki

EARLYBIRDWRISTBANDSAVAILABLENOW:RFTSHOWCASE.COM 46

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[CRITIC’S PICK]

Steve Gunn. | CLAY BENSKIN

Steve Gunn 8 p.m. Sunday, April 21. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue. $15 to $17. 314-773-3363. You could be forgiven for mistaking Steve Gunn for a UK electric and eclectic folk rocker. His languid and ruminative delivery, his burnished yet precise guitar style, his lyrical sensibility shrouded in mist all seem to trace a bloodline to early Pink Floyd and Nick Drake. But the Philadelphia-born, Brooklyn-based songwriter and guitarist has his own way with moods on his latest album The Unseen In Between. He paints abstractions with feel-

OUT EVERY NIGHT Continued from pg 45

MATHIAS & THE PIRATES: w/ Sharon Hazel Township, Luscious Filling 9 p.m., $7. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-772-2100. MATT MORGAN: 4 p.m., free. Hammerstone’s, 2028 S. 9th St., St. Louis, 314-773-5565. OWEN RAGLAND TRIO: 9:30 p.m., free. The Dark Room, 3610 Grandel Square inside Grandel Theatre, St. Louis, 314-776-9550. RESURRECTION: A JOURNEY TRIBUTE: 8 p.m., $25. River City Casino & Hotel, 777 River City Casino Blvd., St. Louis, 314-388-7777. THE RETURN OF CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS: w/ The Weekend Routine, Decedy, Flower Candy 7 p.m., $10-$12. The Firebird, 2706 Olive St., St. Louis, 314-535-0353. THE RIVER KITTENS: 9 p.m., free. The Frisco Barroom, 8110 Big Bend Blvd., Webster Groves, 314-455-1090. SCRAMBLED: 8 p.m., free. Rhone Rum Bar, 2107 Chouteau Ave, St. Louis, 314-241-7867. STRING CHEESE INCIDENT: 8 p.m., $59.50-$99. The Fox Theatre, 527 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314-534-1111. THE FUTURE IS FEMALE: A STAND-UP COMEDY SHOW: 8 p.m., $10. The Heavy Anchor, 5226 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314-352-5226. THE WLDLFE: w/ Valley, the Cinema Story 7 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-2899050.

SATURDAY 20

3 RING CIRCUS: 9 p.m., free. Nightshift Bar & Grill, 3979 Mexico Road, St. Peters, 636-441-

ing — “Trees are strong, faces are gone/ My background is the same” — and sets emotional insights in eerie discoveries: “Always a different world/From where it all began.” Heralded as one of the most interesting guitarists on the planet, Gunn has a emerged as a songwriter with a singular gift for uncanny wonder. Digging up Roots: Whether it’s folk or experimental music, Gunn is no dilettante. He recently brought one of his idols, legendary Japanese musician Sachiko Kanenobu, back to the states for a few shows, and has helped shine a light on her and others’ forgotten music.

—Roy Kasten

8300. BROTHER JEFFERSON BAND: 3 p.m., free. Hammerstone’s, 2028 S. 9th St., St. Louis, 314-7735565. CRITICAL HIT FEST 2: w/ Summoning the Lich, Hallow Point, Life Sucks, Polterguts, Cavil, A Dark Orbit, Devourist, Time & Pressure, Signals From Saturn 4 p.m., $15. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. EOTO: w/ Filibusta, Quasar Camp 11 p.m., $20$25. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314-588-0505. JEEZY: 9 p.m., $55. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. JIMMY & THE CHETS: 9 p.m., free. 1860 Saloon, Game Room & Hardshell Cafe, 1860 S. Ninth St., St. Louis, 314-231-1860. MISSOURI BREAKS: 9 p.m., free. The Frisco Barroom, 8110 Big Bend Blvd., Webster Groves, 314-455-1090. ROOTS OF A REBELLION: w/ Rota, The Driftaways 8 p.m., $12-$15. The Bootleg, 4140 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314-775-0775. ROY BLAIR’S CAT HEAVEN USA TOUR: 8 p.m., $15$18. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929. SHAMBA BOM: 8 p.m., $5. Rhone Rum Bar, 2107 Chouteau Ave, St. Louis, 314-241-7867. SOMO: 8 p.m., $20-$25. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. STRING CHEESE INCIDENT: 8 p.m., $59.50-$99. The Fox Theatre, 527 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314-534-1111. THE PROVING GROUND #5: 7 p.m., $8-$10. The Firebird, 2706 Olive St., St. Louis, 314-535-0353. UNCLE ALBERT: 9 p.m., $3. Hammerstone’s,

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[CRITIC’S PICK]

The Claypool Lennon Delirium. | JAY BLAKESBERG

The Claypool Lennon Delirium 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 23. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Boulevard. $35. 314-726-6161. The musical marriage of Les Claypool and Sean Lennon isn’t as bizarre as it appears on paper. Lennon has long deployed a Day-Glo musical pantheism and a steady thirst for collaboration across several genres, while Claypool’s explorations of the outer limits of the electric bass saved Primus from being a 120

OUT EVERY NIGHT Continued from pg 47

2028 S. 9th St., St. Louis, 314-773-5565.

SUNDAY 21

DRACLA: w/ Blind Oath, Shitstorm 8 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. LULA WILES: w/ Ryan Koenig and the Goldenrods 3 p.m., $12-$15. The Focal Point, 2720 Sutton Blvd, St. Louis, 314-560-2778. STEVE GUNN: w/ Gun Outfit 8 p.m., $15-$17. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-4986989. TOMMY HALLORAN BAND: 11:30 a.m., free. The Dark Room, 3610 Grandel Square inside Grandel Theatre, St. Louis, 314-776-9550.

MONDAY 22

BUCKCHERRY: w/ Joyous Wolf, After Alberta, Sixes High 7 p.m., $20-$40. Pop’s Nightclub, 401 Monsanto Ave., East St. Louis, 618-274-6720. MISSIO: 8 p.m., $20. The Firebird, 2706 Olive St., St. Louis, 314-535-0353. MONDAY NIGHT REVIEW: w/ Tim, Danny, Randy 7 p.m., free. Hammerstone’s, 2028 S. 9th St., St. Louis, 314-773-5565. WEBSTER UNIVERSITY JAZZ SINGERS: 7 p.m., $5-$10. Webster University-Moore Auditorium, 470 E. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, 314968-7128.

TUESDAY 23

THE CLAYPOOL LENNON DELIRIUM: 8 p.m., $25$37.50. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. HUMAN MONSTER: 8 p.m., $7. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-772-2100. LARA HOPE & THE ARK-TONES: w/ the Fighting Side 8 p.m., $10. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989.

Minutes curiosity and turned it into a jam- and prog-rock favorite. Both men have the chops and the mindset to do psych-rock with justice and respect, but a healthy sense of counter-culture irreverence makes their second LP, this year’s South of Reality, plenty of fun, though the live stage has long been a better vessel for this type of mayhem. E Plurbus Uni: Glizty glam-rock stompers Uni open the show, which features Charlotte Kemp Muhl, Lennon’s collaborator in Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.

—Christian Schaeffer

NAKED MIKE: 7 p.m., free. Hammerstone’s, 2028 S. 9th St., St. Louis, 314-773-5565. SWMRS: w/ The Regrettes, Beach Goons 8 p.m., $16-$18. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929. TODD SNIDER: 8 p.m., $30-$35. The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, 314-5339900.

THIS JUST IN THE ABDUCTED: Sat., May 18, 6:30 p.m., $10$12. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-2899050. THE AUGHT NAUGHTS: W/ River Despair, Cherokee Moon, Fri., May 10, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. BANANA CLIPS: W/ Ronnie Rogers, Brainpal, Thu., May 16, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. BARONESS: Sun., July 28, 8 p.m., $27-$30. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929. BOOPITY BOOP: W/ Toxik Cultr, Imza, Snakebyte, Random Dan, Fri., April 26, 10 p.m., $5. The Crack Fox, 1114 Olive St., St. Louis, 314-621-6900. BORN A NEW: W/ Sledge, Wed., May 1, 7 p.m., $10. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. BOUNCE HOUSE: W/ The Vincent Scandal, Safety Beach, Thu., May 30, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. BRANTLEY GILBERT: W/ Michael Ray, Lindsay Ell, Fri., Sept. 20, 7 p.m., $89. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, I-70 & Earth City Expwy., Maryland Heights, 314-298-9944. BRET MICHAELS: Sat., Oct. 12, 6 p.m., $25-$93. Family Arena, 2002 Arena Parkway, St Charles, 636-896-4200.

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OUT EVERY NIGHT Continued from pg 49

CADE FOEHNER: Fri., June 21, 6:30 p.m., $20$25. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-2899050. THE CHASM: W/ Cruciamentum, Infernal Conjuration, Unspeakable, Tue., June 25, 7 p.m., $14. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. CRAZY TOWN 20 YEAR ANNIVERSARY TOUR: Mon., May 27, 6 p.m., $20-$22. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. DECOMPOSER: W/ Maniacal Force, Gorbza, Lightning Wolf, Sat., May 25, 7:30 p.m., $8. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. DESIRE LINES: W/ Cole Bridges Trio, The Bobby Stevens Band, Thu., June 13, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. DISPARAGER: W/ Astral Moth, Wed., May 15, 9 p.m., $7. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. DRUIDS: W/ Railhazer, Fri., June 14, 8 p.m., $10. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. ELDRACO PRICE + FREE NATION: W/ Bebe and the NeoSouls, Annalyse, Thu., May 23, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. GNASH: Wed., June 26, 7:30 p.m., $20-$25. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929. HELL OF A NIGHT: W/ Joaquin Musick, Princeton Dew, Comedian Willie C and special musical guests, Sun., June 23, 7 p.m., $20-$25. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929. HOLY HAND GRENADES: W/ The Haddonfields, the Stars Go Out, Sat., May 18, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. THE HUSSY: W/ Shitstorm, Mon., May 20, 9 p.m., $7. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314772-2100. JC & THE NUNS: Sat., June 8, 9 p.m., $7. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314328-2309. JON WORTHY & THE BENDS: W/ Jeske Park, Casey Bazzell, Jackie Presley, Sat., June 8, 8 p.m., $5. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-7722100. KARATE BIKINI: W/ Mother Stutter, Sat., May 4, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. KATE LAINE: W/ Jordan Collins, Sister Wizzard, display-only, Wed., June 12, 8:30 p.m., $5-$7. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-7722100. KHARMA: W/ Kill Their Past, Brute Force, Soul Craft, Tue., May 28, 7:30 p.m., $7. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-772-2100. KIEFER SUTHERLAND: Tue., June 4, 8 p.m., $25. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314588-0505. LENGTH: W/ Eric Hall, The Tory Z Starbuck Project, Sat., June 8, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. LITTLE COWBOY: W/ Quality Cable, Cherokee Moon, Space Dingus, Fri., May 31, 8 p.m., $7. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. LOCAL MUSIC SHOWCASE: W/ Current Year, Anchorside, Point Elm, The Shaved Cat Project, My Remedy, Sat., May 11, 6 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. LOCAL UNDERGROUND: W/ Bacon Beatz, Quasar Camp, Sat., April 27, 10 p.m., $5-$15. Europe Nightclub, 710 N 15th St, St. Louis, 314-221-8427. LOSER’S CLUB: Fri., July 19, 6 p.m., $10-$12. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. LOWER SPECIES: W/ Devil’s Den, Final Order, Brute Force, Placeholder, Sat., May 11, 7 p.m., $7. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. MARY J. BLIGE: W/ Nas, Wed., July 31, 6 p.m., $89. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, I-70 & Earth City Expwy., Maryland Heights, 314-298-

9944. MERCURY TREE: W/ Ish, The Human Monster, Tue., May 21, 8 p.m., $7. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-772-2100. THE MONOLITHIC: W/ The Hell Yeah Babies, Bruiser Queen, Fri., May 24, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. MUTTS: Fri., May 10, 8 p.m., $10. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. NICK GUSMAN AND THE COYOTES: W/ Andy Hibbard, Donald Woodyard Inc, Mon., May 6, 8 p.m., $5. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. ONE STEP CLOSER: W/ Crafter, Time and Pressure, Soul Craft, Tell Lies, Sun., May 19, 7 p.m., $7. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. OTHER PEOPLE: W/ Subtropolis, The Bitter Ends, Sat., May 25, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. THE R6 IMPLANT: W/ Buttercup, Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship, Sat., July 20, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. ROGER FROM THE DARK: W/ No Thunder, The Sparrows, Sat., June 15, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-2412337. SEEYOUSPACECOWBOY: W/ Wristmeetrazor, Transgression, Blight Future, Tensions Rising, Fri., May 17, 5 p.m., $10. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. SHITSTORM: W/ Pineapple RnR, The Health & Wellness Plan, Sat., May 11, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. SISSER: W/ Let’s Not, Vulture Culture, Fri., June 7, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. SKOLD: Sat., Aug. 3, 6 p.m., $15-$17. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. SNIPER 66: W/ The Uppers, Bastard Squad, Lysergik Acid, Tue., May 7, 7 p.m., $5. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314328-2309. SUBURBAN LIVING: Wed., May 8, 8:30 p.m., $8. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-7722100. SUN VOYAGER: W/ Spacetrucker, Tue., June 18, 8:30 p.m., $7. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. TERMINATOR 2: W/ Chalked Up, Who Goes There, Mon., June 3, 9 p.m., $7. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-772-2100. THREE CROOKED MEN: W/ The Wayward Mountaineers, Mound City Slickers, Fri., June 21, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. TIM BUCHANAN: W/ Jack Grelle, Jenny Roques, Sun., July 14, 9 p.m., $7. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-772-2100. THE TREEWEASELS: W/ Keokuk, The American Professionals, Fri., May 31, 9 p.m., free. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis, 314-241-2337. UNION SPECIFIC: W/ Le’Ponds, Sister Wizzard, Sun., May 19, 8 p.m., $8. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-772-2100. VALLEYHEART: Sun., May 12, 7 p.m., $10. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314328-2309. WAYBACK POINTFEST: W/ Collective Soul, the Urge, Everclear, Living Colour, Sat., Aug. 31, 4 p.m., $10.57. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, I-70 & Earth City Expwy., Maryland Heights, 314-298-9944. WEREWOLF JONES: W/ Shux, Prism #1, Wed., May 8, 9 p.m., $7. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. THE WIDOW’S SON: W/ Brianna Harness, The Stixxx, Big Buzz, Fri., May 24, 7 p.m., $15-$75. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. WOOLLY BUSHMEN: W/ Pono AM, Beach Bodies, Sunset Over Houma, Thu., May 30, 9 p.m., $7. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. ZZ TOP: Fri., Sept. 6, 7 p.m., $18. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, I-70 & Earth City Expwy., Maryland Heights, 314-298-9944.

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SAVAGE LOVE Workmates BY DAN SAVAGE Hey, Dan: When I first started dating my girlfriend, I asked her about past boyfriends and she said she hadn’t met the right guy yet. After dating for nine years, I found out about a past boyfriend and looked through her emails. I found out she dated her married boss for three years. She broke up with me for looking and for judging her. I feel like she lied, and she thinks it was none of my business. We’ve been broken up for five months. She’s reached out, but I can’t get over my anger or disgust that she was someone’s mistress. Am I a bad person? Still Angry And Disgusted Yup. “Haven’t met the right guy yet” ≠ “Haven’t met any guys ever.” Almost everyone has done something and/or someone they regret doing — although it’s possible your ex-girlfriend doesn’t regret fucking her married boss for three years, SAAD, and it’s possible there’s no need for regret. Sometimes people have affairs for all the right reasons. Sometimes abandoning a spouse and/or breaking up a home with kids in it, aka “doing the right thing” and divorcing, is the worse choice. Life is long and complicated, and it’s possible for a person to demonstrate loyalty and commitment with something other than their genitals. Sometimes people do what they must to stay married and stay sane, and their affair partners are doing good by being “bad.” It’s also possible — and perhaps likelier — that your ex-girlfriend made an impulsive, shitty, selfish choice to fuck someone else’s husband. It’s possible he’s a serial philanderer, a cheating piece of shit, and then, after fucking him that one time, your girlfriend felt pressured to keep fucking him and wound up having a yearslong affair with her married boss. And then, when it was all over, she stuffed it down the memory hole because she wasn’t proud of it and wanted to forget it. It’s also possible she didn’t tell

you about this relationship when you asked because she intuited — correctly, as it turned out — that you are, in your own words, a bad person, i.e., the kind of guy who would punish his girlfriend for having a sexual history, for making her fair share of mistakes and for deciding to keep some things private. (Not secret, SAAD. Private.) In other words, she correctly intuited that you would punish her for being human. Finding out about a past boyfriend doesn’t give you the right to invade your partner’s privacy and dig through their ancient emails. Your girlfriend was right to break up with you for snooping through her emails and judging her so harshly. And she didn’t even lie to you, dude! Her boss clearly wasn’t “the right guy,” seeing as he was married and her boss, and the relationship ended before you two even first laid thighs on each other nine years ago. And from where I’m sitting, SAAD, it looks like she still hasn’t met the right guy. To be perfectly frank, I don’t want to help you get over your anger and disgust — not that you asked me to help you get past those feelings. It kind of sounds like you want your anger and disgust affirmed ... and I’m going to go with that and affirm the shit out of those feelings: Stay angry! Stay disgusted! Not because those feeling are valid — they’re not — but because those feelings prevented you from taking your ex back when she reached out. She may not know it yet, but she’s better off without you, SAAD, and here’s hoping you stay angry and disgusted long enough for her to realize it. Hey, Dan: I’m a few months into OkCupid dating, and it’s going well! I’ve stuck to two “automatic pass” rules: anyone who mentions my looks and nothing else in the first message and anyone with no face pic. It’s worked out great so far. But I’ve noticed that most kinksters on OKC don’t post face pics. I can understand this. I once came across a co-worker on the site — didn’t look, passed immediately — and I can imagine nobody wants their boss or co-workers to know they’re looking for puppy play and CBT. Not everyone has the luxury of taking a risk like that. So I’m tempted to drop my “no face

Finding out about a past boyfriend doesn’t give you the right to invade your partner’s privacy and dig through their ancient emails. pic = pass” rule for kinksters. But then I imagine how that would go: “Chat, chat, chat. ‘Hey, can I see a face pic?’ Oh no, I’m not physically attracted to this person!” Then I have to awkwardly un-match and feel terribly shallow and guilty for a while. So do I keep my rule and pass on some very promising profiles without face pics to avoid hurting someone’s feelings? Or do I bend the rules? I’m just not looking to hurt anyone in a bad way. Not That Kind Of Sadist Lead with your truth, NTKOS: “Hey, we share a lot of common interests — BDSM, CBT, TT — but I usually require face pics before I chat. I understand why you may not be able to post your pics and why you would want to chat for a bit and establish trust before sharing pics with me privately. So I’m happy to chat so long as you’re okay with the risk that I might pass after seeing your face pic. Still, even if we’re not ultimately a sexual or romantic match, every kinkster needs some kinky friends!” Hey, Dan: So I’ve fallen in love with one of my good friends. I am in grad school, and we met because we are in the same intensive program and we spend a lot of time together. When we first met, I had no interest in this person. And for the majority of the first year we worked together, that feeling maintained. However, over the past few months, I’ve found myself falling in love with this person. Their intelligence and beauty is simply intoxicating. I love our friendship, but at times it is a bit overwhelming being in their company because I’ve developed strong feelings for them. I don’t

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think they share these feelings. Or at least I haven’t been given any indication that they share the same feelings. How do I go about telling them? I’d like them to know this is how I feel, but I also don’t want to lay the weight of my feelings on them or ruin our friendship. Growing Romantic Attachment Disrupts Studies You have two options: You can be honest with this person or you can be that unsettling “friend” with an ulterior motive. Personally, GRADS, I think fessing up is better than shutting up — sublimated/unexpressed desire has a way of souring a friendship — but if your grad program is ending soon, I’d encourage you to wait. Most graduate programs are two years (some are less!), and you’ve been working together for more than a year. So there should already be a light at the end of that intensive tunnel. In the meantime, savor the agony and “pray on it,” as Mike Pence would say. (Only you should swap out prayer for masturbation.) And, hey, you didn’t have feelings for them until recently. So who knows? They may develop feelings for you by the time your intensive grad program ends. And, yes, telling a friend you have a crush on them is always a risk — it could ruin the friendship or make things awkward for a while. Just be honest, direct, and unambiguous (“I would like to date you,” not “I hope we can hang out sometime”), and explicitly invite your crush to say no if the answer is no. Listen to Dan’s podcast at savagelovecast.com. mail@savagelove.net Follow Dan on Twitter @fakedansavage ITMFA.org Want to reach someone at the RFT? If you’re looking to provide info about an event, please contact calendar@riverfronttimes. com. If you’re passing on a news tip or information related to food, please email sarah. fenske@riverfronttimes.com. If you’ve got the scoop on nightlife, comedy or music, please email daniel.hill@riverfronttimes. com. Love us? Hate us? You can email sarah. fenske@riverfronttimes.com about that too. Due to the volume of email received, we may not respond, but rest assured we are reading every one.

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