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THE LEDE

“We’ve gone to powwows our whole life. At school, people would be like, ‘Did you see this game or movie ...’ and I’m like, ‘No I was in Nebraska. No, I was in Montana. No, I was in Wisconsin.’ And you think you’re missing things, but then when I look back, I think they missed everything.”

PHOTO BY THEO WELLING

BARBARA WHITEHEAD O’ROURKE OF THE WINNEBAGO/SIOUX TRIBE, PHOTOGRAPHED AT THE FALL NATIVE AMERICAN HOLIDAY MARKET AT CAHOKIA MOUNDS ON NOVEMBER 30 riverfronttimes.com

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Publisher Chris Keating Interim Editor in Chief Doyle Murphy

COVER

Lonely Hunters Citizen groups tracking sexual predators find plenty of targets — but few prosecutors willing to take their cases Cover photo by

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

INSIDE

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

The Lede Hartmann

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Is it time for Dems to go big with abortion?

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Fully Committed | Pride and Prejudice | Disenchanted | Downtown 81 | etc.

Film

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Cafe

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Knives Out Alta Calle

Short Orders

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Culture

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Out Every Night

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Savage Love

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Sierra Eaves of Guerrilla Street Food | Retreat Gastropub | Holidays bars The Hollow Ends | Anacrusis Nerf Herder | Smino | Alicia Olatuja

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

DANNY WICENTOWSKI

News Feature Calendar

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

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

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.

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HARTMANN Anti-Abortion Overreach Have Missouri Republicans made it smart for Democrats to campaign on abortion access?

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s it possible that Missouri Republicans might have jumped the shark, even a little bit, on the issue of abortion? That unlikely prospect was raised in polling numbers reported last week by the Missouri Times, which scored a nice scoop by publishing an internal memo it obtained from the Democratic Governors Association (DGA). The memo, addressed to “Interested Parties,” cited some eyepopping numbers from a November 14-15 survey of 921 likely voters in Missouri.

If the DGA numbers are to be believed, “a shocking 89 percent of voters say they’ve heard at least a little about the news” that Missouri enacted a law last session banning abortion even in cases of rape and incest. The DGA polling found that 50 percent of voters said it would make them less likely to vote for Governor Mike Parson — who pushed for and signed the law — including 60 percent of independents and 20 percent of Republican and Trump voters. The memo stated that “Parson’s actions have put him at odds with voters and plaster him with the extremist label. This could dramatically alter the environment next year in the race for governor.” The last line provided the headline for the conservative-leaning Times’ coverage, with good reason. The very idea that Democrats are even contemplating running on the abortion issue in Missouri is a news item in itself. That doesn’t mean the poll numbers will prove prescient: They

fall squarely in the “I’ll believe it when I see it” compartment of state politics. Polling, especially that commissioned for a political party, must always be taken with a grain of salt. But on the spectrum of spin, this memo fell somewhere between a press release and secrets stolen from the DGA server by the Russians and leaked to the media as disinformation. These don’t appear to be Democratic talking points as much as an internal discovery that the party might want to scrap its customary avoidance of reproductive freedom as a proactive statewide issue. The top-line takeaway of the polling was that Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway trailed Parson by only a nine-point deficit (45 to 36 percent), a shaky starting point for an incumbent governor if true. But the memo concludes by circling back to the abortion issue numbers, claiming “we start the race in a competitive position and are well-positioned to go on

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offense in 2020.” You really have to return to the last century and the late Gov. Mel Carnahan to find a Missouri Democratic gubernatorial candidate who wanted to talk much about abortion outside of private fundraisers. And while there’s no telling whether Galloway will decide to make abortion rights a frontand-center issue against Parson — a strategy implied by the memo — here’s one pro-choice voter who thinks she should. There is no denying that Republicans have hammered Democrats in Missouri over abortion for the past two decades. They’ve had great success here, as in other red states, with warped messaging promoting an obscenely false choice: “Are you pro-life or are you OK with killing unborn babies?” The real question is this: Do you want Big Brother government — at the state, federal level or both — to mandate childbirth for all pregnant women in America, regard-

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HARTMANN

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less of their age or circumstance, regardless of whether they were raped, regardless of whether their religious or spiritual beliefs align with those of certain churches as to the origin of life and regardless of the fact that the law of the land is that a woman’s privacy — including control over her own body — is her constitutional right? Conservatives praise themselves as guardians of limited government, but they make a convenient exception when it comes to women’s most private and sensitive health care decisions. They also talk a good game about religious liberty while advocating that it not be available — with regard to abortion rights — for the 90 percent of Unitarians, 83 percent of Jews, 82 percent of Buddhists, 79 percent of Episcopalians, 72 percent of UCC members, 68 percent of Hindus, 65 percent of Presbyterians and, yes, 48 percent of Catholics who say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Not to mention the 87 percent of unmentionables identifying with no organized faith. (Source: 2018 polling by the Pew Research Center). None of that is new, of course, so why should it matter now? Well, there are two problems for the anti-choice side in Missouri that it didn’t face until this moment: One, the symbolism of Missouri becomin the first state without a single abortion provider; and two, the ban on abortion even in cases of rape and incest which, while tied up in court, brought home the issue to people who identify as pro-life but could not begin to stomach the notion that if their daughter or granddaughter or sister or wife or niece were raped, the state of Missouri would demand that she be further victimized by enduring an unwanted pregnancy to birth the rapist’s spawn. That doesn’t play so well, anywhere. Missouri will remain a solidly red state for the foreseeable future, and one that broadly regards itself as “pro-life.” But the same could be said for Kentucky and Louisiana, which recently elected Democratic governors, in no small part because that guy whose lawyer is in jail for laundering hushmoney payments to a porn star on his behalf isn’t playing so well in the suburbs these days. Politically, though, the Missouri Republicans should be most wor-

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“Parson’s actions have put him at odds with voters and plaster him with the extremist label.” ried about having violated an unstated commandment of President Ronald Reagan, whose political genius was this: One runs on the politics of outlawing abortion, but one does not govern upon it. In both the 1980 and 1984 presidential campaigns, Reagan firmly ad ocated a constitutional amendment banning abortion in the United States. He used the issue effectively in a bitter primary against a fellow named George H.W. Bush, who would then become his vice president. He slammed pro-choice Senator Walter Mondale with it in 1984, winning a historic 525-13 electoral vote, 18 percentage point, 17 million vote victory. But despite his mandate, Reagan not only declined to use his legendary skill as the Great Communicator to advance a constitutional amendment, his administration didn’t advance a single word of legislation to outlaw abortion at the federal level. You run on abortion. You don’t govern on it. Missouri Republicans have decided to test that proposition in 2020. It remains to be seen whether that will help the vulnerable Parson — who isn’t shy about owning the no-rape-and-incest-exception law — in his race against Galloway, a far more charismatic opponent who is proudly pro-choice. Maybe it won’t matter. But if the Democratic Party can show enough spine to back up the excited rhetoric of the DGA memo — if they can actually force Republican opponents to answer the question “What would you do?” with regard to the fate of a daughter or granddaughter or sister or wife or niece who was a rape victim, there’s no telling what might happen. To borrow a favorite phrase from the Predator-In-Chief: We’ll see. n Ray Hartmann founded the Riverfront Times in 1977. Contact him at rhartmann@sbcglobal.net or catch him on St. Louis In the Know With Ray Hartmann and Jay Kanzler from 9 to 11 p.m. Monday thru Friday on KTRS (550 AM).


NEWS Refab Nonprofit ReBurglarized Written by

DANNY WICENTOWSKI

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ince its start in 2012, the construction sal a e nonprofit Refab has deconstructed dozens of buildings in St. Louis, reclaiming valuable materials and vintage objects that would other ise o to a landfill and selling the repurposed goods at its Benton Park West store. But during the same time period, executive director Eric Schwarz says, the store and the organization’s worksites have been burglarized seven times. The most recent break-in happened early Monday morning. The timing was particularly galling, coming little more than a day after Small Business Saturday, an occasion for communities to support local businesses amid the corporate craze of the holiday retail season. “At this point, we’re feeling pretty fed up with the burglaries,” Schwarz tells the Riverfront Times, noting that while the burglars took a little less than $1,000 from the cash register, they caused thousands of dollars in damage to two glass doors at the entrance to the shop at 3130 Gravois Avenue. “It was weird,” he adds. “They left a $1,500 MacBook and some other electronics here at the front desk. They were just interested in cash.” It’s a much smaller loss than previous break-ins. This past June, Schwarz says burglars hit a worksite in the Vandeventer neighborhood, where his crew is working on a city contract to deconstruct a 135-year-old brick warehouse. At the time, Schwarz says he’d decided to use an old FedEx truck to store his workers’ tools and the specialty gear required to take apart a house. “We thought the truck was secure, and it turned out not to be,” he says. The burglars made off with pneumatic denailing guns, ladders, compressors and scrap metal. They even took the hard hats.

Workers clean up broken glass at Refab after a break-in on December 2. | COURTESY OF ERIC SCHWARZ Schwarz says he’s never been able to recover the items taken in previous burglaries, including a 2014 theft of more than $10,000 worth of tools from a supposedly secure mobile o ce con erted from an old shipping container. It’s not just the store and its worksites being targeted: Last year

someone stole an entire tiny house that had been hitched to a trailer and parked outside Refab’s warehouse and store. The tiny home was recovered two days later. Schwarz doesn’t blame police for the repeated break-ins — he points out, “They have their hands full,” — but suggests that

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the lack of living wage jobs is partly responsible for the persistence of burglaries. Schwarz says he employs about sixteen people, including veterans, the formerly homeless and those recently released from prison. “We think that if people were paid a living wage and the job situation was better, we probably wouldn’t have so much burglary,” he says. Crime statistics show that Benton Park West has been hit especially hard by burglaries this year. According to crime data compiled by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, there were 30 reported burglaries from May to October, up from sixteen reported during the same six-month span in 2018. Schwarz, though, is adamant that the break-ins won’t change Refab’s overall mission to “promote the collective and creative reuse of our built environment.” In act the nonprofit is aimin to e pand its deconstruction efforts to a 30-home pilot program next year. What remains to be seen, however, is whether Refab can make through a year without a burglary. n

City Expands Shelter Access for Winter Written by

DOYLE MURPHY

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fter a chaotic winter in 2018, the city has expanded the availability of beds in a network of homeless shelters. In years past, the city has opened up extra beds during the coldest nights and worst conditions. The threshold was twenty degrees or colder on dry nights and 25 degrees if there was snow or freezing rain. That left plenty of dangerously cold winter nights when people were scrambling to find a warm place to sleep. Churches filled the gap by opening their halls and meeting spaces to crowds of people who couldn’t get into a city shelter bed. But it was a haphazard system that left volunteers overstretched and people on the constant hunt for services. This year, the city and its nonprofit partners are offering a larger number of beds for the worst three months of winter, regardless of the temperature or oth-

People who couldn’t get into shelters last winter slept in churches and tents. | DOYLE MURPHY

er conditions. Sunday was the first night of the shift to “continuous shelter,” which will run through the end of February. Outside of those three months, the city raised the threshold to 32 degrees for part of October and all of November and March. “Caring for the most vulnerable populations in the city takes enormous time and effort, but we can always use the community’s help,” Mayor Lyda Krew-

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son said in a news release in October when the changes were first announced. “If you see someone or know someone who needs to be in a shelter this winter, please call 211 or 911 to be connected with the City’s Continuum of Care.” Krewson spokesman Jacob Long said in an email on Sunday that the city expects to have more than 1,000 beds open each night through winter. n

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Citizen groups tracking sexual predators find plenty of targets — but few prosecutors willing to take their cases

BY DANNY WICENTOWSKI

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nthony Greene knows when he isn’t wanted. Seated behind the wheel of a hulking tractortrailer on a recent Sunday afternoon, the 45-yearold trucker looms above an expanse of parking lot behind a Love’s Travel Stop near downtown St. Louis. Back in the summer of 2018, it was in gas stations like just like this where he started showing up to livestream “exposures” of sexual predators. Greene and his group, Truckers Against Predators, or TAP, are among a new generation of predator hunters in the United States. And starting last year, it was his mission of justice — not just a large Facebook following — that won him sustained media attention. It also attracted no small infamy from local police departments. “In St. Louis, unfortunately, we won’t even call the police now. They treat us like we’re criminals,” Greene complains. “In Yuma (Arizona), they treated us like we were frigging rock stars.” In November 2018, the gleaming white cab of Greene’s truck hurtled across the country on its way to the West Coast, passing through Texas, New Mexico and, most notably, near Yuma. It was there that Greene sprung a sting operation on Matthew Sanchez. Sanchez thought he was meeting a thirteen-year-old girl at a Love’s gas station. Instead, as captured on Greene’s livestream, the 30-year-old with a patchy beard and pink T-shirt walked out of the con enience store to find the

six-foot-four, 300-pound goateed truc er filmin him on a smartphone. Even on the grainy Facebook livestream, Sanchez’s eyes are ide hite and terrified reene keeps the camera running. “Hey, Matt,” the trucker says. “You want to have a conversation with me? Who are you trying to meet up here?” “A friend,” Sanchez says. “A friend?” repeats Greene. Sanchez looks sick. Greene’s voice is entirely calm. “Listen to me, man,” he says. “Everything is going to a whole lot smoother for you —” “If I just leave?” Sanchez says hopefully. “If you’re just honest,” Greene rumbles. “The police are going to be involved either way.” It’s the sort of scene that played out dozens of times on NBC’s To Catch a Predator. Here, of course, there s no film cre no house no

Chris Hansen. There are also, in fact, no cops on the way. Sanchez tries to talk his way out, reaching for the oldest defense in the book. “Hey, she told me she was 21.” Greene isn’t having it. He tells the de ated anche that he s seen every text, every photo he’s ever sent TAP’s decoy. After a few more rounds of interrogation, Sanchez clams up. He gets in a cab and leaves the gas station. But then something else happens, and for Greene, something entirely unplanned for. That night, Sanchez went home, dialed 911 and turned himself in.

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anchez’s arrest marked the high point of Greene’s career as a predator hunter. Today, recounting that story during an interview conducted inside the cab of his truck, Greene heaps praise on the Yuma Police Department, which announced the arrest on Facebook one day later, even crediting Truckers Against Predators by name. Sanchez may never have communicated with an actual child, but he’d committed an actual crime. “I just don’t have any remorse for these people,” Greene says. “I kind of want them to feel how a child feels — scared. It’s maybe a little twisted, but I want them to Continued on pg 12

Anthony Greene runs Truckers Against Predators. | DANNY WICENTOWSKI

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From left: Matthew Sanchez, Kyle Upchurch and Christopher Cox were all identified by the actions of predator hunter organizations.

LONELY HUNTERS Continued from pg 10

feel that fear.” In July 2019, Sanchez pleaded guilty to a felony charge of “Luring a minor for sexual exploitation.” A judge sentenced him to fi e years in prison e ill ha e to register as a sex offender. For Greene and TAP, it was a huge moment. It was the group’s first con iction “We’re really pumped about that, rejuvenated, and we’re still getting a lot of press,” Greene says. Indeed, in the past two years, coverage of TAP has appeared in virtually every local TV station and newspaper (including Riverfront Times) in both Missouri and Arizona. In October, Greene was interviewed for an episode of Inside Edition. He says he was recently o n out to shoot a soon-to-beaired episode of Dr. Phil. Greene is in the midst of rebuilding TAP. He paused his livestreaming ambushes earlier this year, which he blames on a bacterial infection in his leg that kept him bedridden and off the road for months. In late 2018, he had the largest Facebook following of any U.S. predator hunter group. Now he’s hoping to leverage his page’s popularity for a comeback. Despite the Sanchez case and dozens of busts under his belt, Greene’s work has never led to a second conviction. In Missouri, that’s no accident. In the past year, police departments in St. Louis city and county have repeatedly disavowed any relationship to TAP — rebukes that followed videos in which Greene told targets that he was working alongside police partners. Greene admits now that he’s

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been told at out that any P case in St. Louis City is, prosecutorially speaking, dead on arrival. Greene argues that it doesn’t have to be that way, and he claims the impasse is costing the police workable cases. “If we’re getting arrests and convictions in other states, then the problem is obviously not us; it’s how the laws are written here,” he says. As evidence, he claims he recently called a detective in Greene County, Missouri, with evidence he’d collected from a decoy. “I told him I had three guys in his area,” Greene says. “He told me, ‘We don’t work with vigilante groups.’ They didn’t even want the information.” Police, though, aren’t shy about their views on Greene. Law enorcement o cials in t ouis t Charles and Jefferson County say they want nothing to do with his citizen’s crusade, no matter how well-intentioned. St. Louis County’s prosecutor refused to bring charges even after Bridgeton police arrested two of Greene’s sting targets in December 2018. A man facing solicitation charges in Franklin County had his case dropped after a new prosecutor too o ce in anuary nd it wasn’t just prosecutors. In July 2019, a lieutenant with the Jefferson County heri s ce submitted a report describing his refusal to respond to one of Greene’s sting operations. The lieutenant concluded his report, “We did not get exposed on Facebook Live for Greene’s pleasure.” However, across the country, the citizen-led predator hunter movement continues to gain traction. More than a decade after To Catch a Predator introduced America to

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the dramatic world of internet predators and staged ambushes, the genre has exploded across Facebook, generating viral stories and fresh media coverage with each uploaded video and arrest. There are dozens of active groups in the United States alone, and similar predator hunters in the United Kingdom have operated aggressively, and productively — evidence provided by hunter groups was used to prosecute more than 250 suspected abusers in 2018, the BBC reported. While charges and convictions are slowly accumulating across America, police in Missouri remain overwhelmingly uninterested. But if you cross the Mississippi, about an hour’s drive into Illinois, the hunt has never been more active.

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yle Swanson, the founder of KTS Predator Hunters, watched from inside a parked car as his target entered a Walmart in Fayette County, Illinois. It was after 11 p.m. on August 1, 2019. Swanson is a broad-shouldered former Army veteran with a cherubic smile and a beard that he tends with a small comb during the livestreams. On that particular night, he wielded two phones, one for livestreaming to Facebook, the other for keeping contact with his decoy, who in real life is a 36-yearold mom from a small town in Missouri. That night, however, she was texting with Christopher Cox, a 23-year-old from Vandalia who thought she was a fourteen-yearold girl. In reality, the decoy was watching the livestream and updating Swanson on their target’s movements. Cox was walking into a trap.

After he entered the store, Swanson and a second predator hunter made their first mo e They confronted the driver of the truck, which had dropped Cox off at the entrance, prompting the driver to peel out of the parking lot in a hurry. There’s no formality in Swanson s anson filmed Co a sli ht fi ure earin a blac shirt and jeans, emerged from the Walmart. Swanson got straight to the point, all while keeping the camera trained on his target. “You here to meet a fourteenyear-old?” Swanson asks. Like Sanchez, the shock of that question seems to root Cox to the ground. Cox also seemed to share a similar impulse for self-incrimination and his ery first response is to blurt out, ‘I didn’t know she was fourteen.’” “Yeah?” Swanson huffed. “You’ve been talking to me the whole time, so nice try. Your ride’s already gone. You’re not going anywhere right now.” Swanson was incorrect. Cox launched himself into a dead sprint ashin across the oodlight-illuminated parking lot toward a block of retails stores. In seconds, he’d vanished into the night. Swanson and his partner returned to their truck and drove around for several fruitless minutes as they tried to pick up the trail of their quarry, even peering inside a dumpster behind a Cricket Wireless. Cox wasn’t in the dumpster. He was gone.

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ox’s escape lasted a just few days. Within hours KTS’ video had been shared hundreds of times, and it quickly racked up thousands of views. KTS’ fans shared screen-


shots of Cox — whom Swanson had dubbed “The Runner” — and created their own posts and community alerts. In a rural Illinois county, that sort of info tends to make waves. And that’s how the incident came to the attention of Fayette County State’s Attorney Joshua Morrison. Morrison, in an interview, says he “immediately recognized” Cox’s name and photos. Which made sense. Court records show that Cox had spent the previous fi e years in and out o trouble n 2016, he’d pleaded guilty in a Fayette County court to felony aggravated domestic battery and was sentenced to four years in prison. After recognizing Cox from previous cases, Morrison says he reached out to KTS, which provided Cox’s chatlogs as evidence. The prosecutor was impressed. A detective subpoenaed Cox’s phone and checked its messages, findin them ust as damnin as those gathered by KTS’ decoys. Morrison says Cox hadn’t just arranged to meet in the Walmart: He had tried to send an Uber to pick up the person he thought was a fourteen-year-old. He had used his own sister’s credit card to order the ride. “Everything KTS told me seemed to be correct,” Morrison says seated in his o ce on the second oor o the ayette County courthouse. He notes the skill of the KTS decoys, who “make it very clear that they are fourteen” during the chats. That’s the key to bringing charges. “As long as the person acknowledges that at some point in there, ‘I understand you’re fourteen,’ and they don’t have a problem and they continue — the law allows Illinois to prosecute for just exactly that.” For Morrison, the August bust of Cox began a productive partnership between KTS and Fayette County. Two weeks later, Swanson filmed as ayette o cers handcuffed Kyle Upchurch in the electronics section inside the same Walmart where they’d met Cox. On August 30, Fayette police arrested a third KTS target, Joshua Corbin, who had sent hundreds of messages to KTS’ decoy, believing he was talking to two underage teen girls. By November, all three targets had pleaded guilty to indecent solicitation of a child, which by Illinois law mandates registration as a sex offender. Cox was sentenced to four years in prison. Upchurch — who was already a registered sex offender for aggravated sexual abuse o a fi teen-year-old in ot fi e years Corbin ho

Fayette County State’s Attorney Joshua Morrison is one of the few prosecutors willing to work with predator hunter groups. | DANNY WICENTOWSKI

“As long as the person acknowledges that at some point in there, ‘I understand you’re fourteen,’ and they don’t have a problem and they continue — the law allows Illinois to prosecute for just exactly that.” had no criminal history, was sentenced to two years’ probation. he three cases ere first con ictions but also the first known cases undertaken by a St. Louis-area predator hunting group in Illinois. Morrison wasn’t shy about linkin his o ce s or ith the predator hunters. In a Facebook post announcing the sentencing, his o ce described the in esti ations as “a joint effort between multiple law enforcement agencies and the KTS Predator Hunters.” Still, Morrison acknowledges that predator hunter groups aren’t widely embraced on his side of the thin blue line. He doesn’t see them as vigilantes, but is careful to separate their work for his own. “They don’t work for me, I don’t tell them what to do,” he says. “If they tell me ‘Hey, we’re going to do this thing in your town,’ I can’t tell them not to. My attitude is to prosecute people for breaking the law. If you bring me a good

enough case, I’m going to do that.” For Morrison, part of the problem is the scale of cybercrime. Even in a rural Illinois county, he says the presence of online predators “is so pervasive that the police couldn’t possibly catch everybody that’s doing it.” Morrison has heard the critiques of the groups before, but he compares the predator hunters’ role to that of a citizen’s arrest or evidence gathered by traditional eyewitness testimony. And his office didn t simply submit ideo as evidence. That’s what detectives and subpoenas are for. Still, he admits that groups like KTS raise “a tough question” for law enforcement. On one other hand, predator hunting groups are taking enormous risks to ambush desperate men late at night. Then again, there are now fewer adults in Fayette County willing to do the sorts of things Cox, Upchurch and Corbin wanted to do when they thought they were talking to children.

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“Who catches them is not as important as preventing them doing bad things to a child,” Morrison says. “If it has the effect of chilling this kind of behavior in my county, I’m all for that.”

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yle Swanson didn’t set out to be a predator hunter. A Metro East native, Swanson returned home in 2015 after serving in the Army, which included a deployment in Iraq. To pass the time back home, he started making low-stakes internet prank videos, often targeting Craigslist sellers — “stupid stuff,” he says, like trying to hire a housepainter as a face paint artist for a child’s birthday — and, of course, uploading the results to YouTube. For Swanson, the pranks and video production served as a practice run for KTS, which has seen its profile rise in ometimes he says, followers of his page will stop him in grocery stores to say thank you. His fans call him a hero. “I don’t mind it, but that’s not what I’m in it for,” Swanson says during an interview last month. “If someone wants to call me a vigilante, so be it. Batman was a vigilante, and we all love Batman, right?” He laughs, because it’s a joke, but there’s still a truth there, especially when it comes to internet predator hunters. Back in 2004, a group known as Perverted-Justice was already deploying decoys to AOL chatrooms

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Kyle Swanson of KTS turned from video pranks to tracking sexual predators. | DANNY WICENTOWSKI

LONELY HUNTERS Continued from pg 13

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to expose the predators and refer cases to police. It was this work that became the basis for NBC’s hit show To Catch a Predator — that is, until it was cancelled in 2007 after NBC was sued by the family of an assistant district attorney who had committed suicide after messaging with a Perverted-Justice decoy posing as a thirteenyear-old boy. Swanson says he’s not worried about a similar fate for KTS. In fact, when he and two other partners founded the group, the name was supposed to be an abbreviation o their first initials but one partner dropped out after an ambushed target threatened to sue. After that, Swanson just changed the meaning of the name, which now stands for “Keep Them Safe.” And Swanson certainly doesn’t need NBC to produce video. Between YouTube and Facebook, KTS can produce and publish new stings quicker than it took To Catch a Predator host Chris Hansen to say his famous opening line, “Why don’t you take a seat over here?” Still, running a 30,000-member Facebook group has its own challenges. During Swanson’s interview with RFT, he pauses to tend to a ood o notifications on his phone. “You see how it is?” he says, scrolling through the messages from the KTS Facebook pages and updates from his decoys. “I’ll log on to MeetMe, and I’d get like 300 messa es ithin the first minute even if it says I’m fourteen. We

have guys messaging us ‘Is your mom home?’ and then they start getting into it.” For Swanson, the journey to predator hunting started in December hen a riend confided in him that a guy had been harassing her online and sending dick pics. She asked Swanson to use his internet prank abilities for good, to perhaps persuade or troll the harasser into leaving her alone. Swanson said sure, and, on a lark, he decided to claim to be fourteen, “just to see what he says.” According to Swanson, the guy didn’t mind at all. The sexual messages and pictures kept arriving, and Swanson decided it was beyond the scope of any sort of prank. He went to the cops. “They ended up arresting the guy, and he didn’t end up getting any charges,” he says. “It made me wonder, how many more people are out there like this?” But there’s no formal guide to predator hunting, and Swanson concedes that his early busts weren’t always well-planned. He had been inspired by another internet prankster-turned-predator hunter named Shane Coyle, who gained popularity through his use of an unsettlingly realistic impersonation to mimic the voice of a young girl over the phone. Swanson didn’t go that far. And he didn’t need to, thanks to a network of unseen decoys who, it could be argued, are more literally predator hunters than Swanson or Greene or Hansen. Indeed, one could say that Swanson and Greene aren’t actually playing Batman in this scenario. Compared to the decoys, they’re the sidekicks.


W

hether conducted by police or a citizen group, the role of the decoy requires a special kind of resilience. Whitney, a KTS decoy who asked RFT not to print her last name recalls that her first target for Truckers Against Predators was a man from California. He’d kept talking to her even after she told him that she was “going to be thirteen.” He had even offered to buy her a bus ticket. “He was straight to the point, ‘I’m going to ... ’” Whitney trails off, because, after all, what these men often say they’re going to do is monstrous. Their messages run the gamut, at times su esti e and irty others se ually raphic and specific to the setting and scenario. And the messa es don t stop hat first man who messaged Whitney about the bus ticket? More than a year later, he’s still checking in, seeing if she’d be around if he came through St. Louis on a business trip. “He’s planning on building a life with this child who essentially hasn’t even turned thirteen yet,” she says. “How do you respond to that? It’s not normal small-talk conversation.” And even though she’s spent more than a year volunteering as a decoy first or ruc ers ainst Predators, and now at KTS Predator Hunters, she still doesn’t like the term “hunters.” “I don’t feel like we are hunting these men,” she says. “I feel like we are conducting investigations of potential predators and eventually we expose them. I feel like that has a negative connotation. We’re not bounty hunters. We don t find you you come to us That argument is key, and Whitney insists she’s never made the first mo e to messa e someone or introduced sex in a conversation with a target. In any case, according to a sampling of chatlogs KTS and other groups have shared to Facebook, it’s the targets that do most of the talking — and they are surprisingly self-aware. A screenshot of one text exchange, posted by a different Missouri predator group, featured a 42-year-old man texting “You’re going to get me in trouble” and “I don’t want to go jail” — but it didn’t stop him from trying to arrange a meeting with a decoy posing as a fourteen-year-old. “A few will give you a lecture, and then come back and continue talking to you. Those are the scariest ones,” Whitney says. “It’s like they think they won’t get in trouble because they told you not to do this, but they continue to prog-

ress the conversation to get to that level.” It was the TAP bust of Matthew Sanchez in Whitney’s home state of Arizona that motivated her to reply to one of Anthony Greene’s Facebook posts seeking decoys. Now at KTS, she often works cases alongside a second decoy, Angel (who also asked to be referred to only by her first name Like Whitney, Angel joined the cause after seeing a video of a TAP bust. She had recognized the man in the footage as someone she’d gone to high school with, someone with whom she once been “pretty close.” “It made me realize that it could be anyone,” she says. “Around where I live, I’ve talked to a guy online that thinks I’m a twelve-yearold, and I’ll see him around, just an average Joe. It’s a surreal thing.” Generally, though, the work of a decoy is done at a distance. But for the stings to become convictions, the evidence has to stand up in court to the counter-claim of entrapment. To ensure there’s no confusion, Angel says, decoys aim to disclose their “age” within the first fi e messa es Where it’s been tested, the evidence has indeed stood up. Angel’s evidence is noted in the indictments for the three convictions in Fayette County. She and Whitney tell RFT that they worked in close contact with the detectives in the weeks leading up to the busts. And so far, the stings engineered by Swanson and KTS have borne out the group’s central argument: That these men are not innocently indul in in catfishin or role play, but attempting to develop a relationship that’s predicated on sexual interest. There’s nothing pretend, after all, about trying to send an Uber to pick up a thirteen-year-old. Often, decoys work in pairs, which provides a break from the emotionally draining work. Both Angel and Whitney are moms, their kids not much younger than those they pretend to be on OkCupid or KIK. Tisha, who works as decoy for Truckers Against Predators, says she can’t help but think about her own kids, or who might be messaging her sixteen-year-old daughter. “I don’t think it’s a fantasy,” Tisha says. “I don’t think it’s a sickness. I think that it’s opportunity, for a lot of them.”

F

or twenty years, Adam Kavanaugh’s hunt for sexual predators has resulted in numerous arrests and convictions. That tends to happen when Continued on pg 17

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LONELY HUNTERS Continued from pg 15

you’re a detective for the St. Louis County Police Department. And while Kavanaugh is not unsympathetic to their motivations, he makes it clear in an interview with RFT that he sees predator hunter groups, especially that of Anthony Greene and TAP, as worse than ineffective. They just get in the way. “These guys are doing it for shock value,” Kavanaugh charges. “You won’t ever see an undercover video where police are confronting people on open parking lots and calling them pedophiles.” Kavanaugh says he’s run out of patience with the predator hunting movement. He’s repulsed by the on-camera shaming, which he argues undermines the hunters’ claims to professionalism. He doesn’t like their decoys and distrusts the evidence produced in chatlogs. He notes that anything submitted by the predator hunters, whether chatlogs or video, is just begging for a competent defense attorney to pick apart. He doesn’t like the chaos produced by the collision of police and citizen investigations, such as the incident where, he claims, a police hotline call about a thirteen-yearold girl “prostituting online” turned out to be an adult TAP decoy. “We were getting emergency subpoenas tryin to find this person,” Kavanaugh says. “The last thing on Earth we need is a bunch of people running around saying they’re twelve years old.” Then again, that’s exactly what’s happening in Illinois. When asked about the cooperation between KTS and Fayette County, Kavanaugh is unsparing. “I disagree with what Illinois is doing, that’s my personal opinion,” he says, though he later clarifies that he s not amiliar ith or Kyle Swanson and can’t speak to the particular cases. Still, he adds, Illinois is working against the impressions of St. Louis law enforcement. “We’ve tried this with TAP,” he points out, “and that fell apart.” Kavanaugh isn’t the only member of law enforcement soured on the presence of predator hunters. In a statement to RFT, the Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force said that its member departments — which include St. Louis city, St. Louis County and St. Charles — are “prohibited from utilizing private citizens to proactively seek out investigative persons of interest.” But for all the complaints, the

facts remain. Missouri’s predator hunting community is growing. While Greene plans his comebac in prin field a relati ely new group known as 417 Predator Hunters has notched more than a dozen sting operations in November alone. And KTS continues to stage ambushes in Illinois and Missouri. That included a June 22, 2019, sting of a married X-ray technician named Kyle Green, who, in a remarkable turn of events, had already been busted that previous December in a sting conducted by the FBI and investigated by St. Louis County Police — with none other than detective Kavanaugh playing decoy. “Every once in a while, they’ll run into a bad guy, like real bad guys,” Kavanaugh admits, though he can’t help but note that while KTS’ video exposed a predator, it didn’t result in any additional charges. Pending trial, Green is facing years in federal prison not because of an embarrassing Facebook video, but because of policework and federal prosecutors. Kavanaugh insists his objections aren’t just sore feelings over who gets to bust the bad guys. He suggests that predator hunters are missing the big picture and that their dramatic sting videos and Facebook groups are actually reaching two audiences: Those who cheer the punishment and spectacle of justice, and predators themselves. “These guys are paranoid to begin with,” Kavanaugh says. “When one of these To Catch a Predator idiots goes out and puts it out over Facebook, of course then our other people disappear.” Kavanaugh says he can already tell something has changed in the landscape. He talks about cybercrime in terms o ebb and o the way that months go by without a bust, and then a burst of activity, like a stretch in November where police made three arrests in a single week. He’s certain the predators are watching the hunters, and it feels similar, he claims, to the changes that followed the airing of To Catch a Predator in 2004. Online, these men have become more wary, more skeptical, more demanding — and more afraid of what’s lurking behind the message app. These days, when a potential target snaps that Kavanaugh isn’t what he says he is, they don’t always accuse him of being a cop before exiting the chat. “I’ve had plenty of bad guys tell me ‘Nice try, TAP,’” Kavanaugh says, “and then they get away.” n

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CALENDAR

BY PAUL FRISWOLD tional an Par Manchester Road; www.midcountychamber.org). Admission is free, but if you want to take a spin in one of the carriages that will be working the street, rides are $5 to $10.

THURSDAY 12/05 Some Reservations Sam is an actor, or he would be an actor if he could ever book a job. For now he manages reservations for one of the highest-end restaurants in the city ec y Mode s oneman comedy Fully Committed follows a particularly rough day on the job, as Sam has to handle the restaurant’s three phone lines by himself. The high and mighty try to wheedle a choice table out o him throu h attery bribery and threats while he also has to massage the head chef’s feelings. It’s a dirty job but somebody’s got to do it — does it have to be Sam, though? New Jewish Theatre presents Fully Committed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 4 and 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday (December 5 to 22) in the Wool Studio Theatre at the Jewish Community Center Millstone Campus Dri e newjewishtheatre.org). Tickets are $49 to $54.

FRIDAY 12/06 Stone Cold Jane Austen As the mother of four daughters, Mrs ennet is preoccupied ith their individual marriage prospects. In the nineteenth century, property ownership isn’t a privilege afforded to women, and so Mrs ennet is ri ht to orry i her husband should pass away before all four girls are betrothed, they’ll be penniless. Three-fourths of her children seem to understand the risks, but for secondoldest dau hter li abeth men and marriage are a distant second to books and sharp conversation. hen the eli ible bachelor Mr Darcy moves to town, the Bennet household is a-twitter with thoughts of weddings. Too bad li abeth ta es an immediate dislike to the man, and vice versa. Jane Austen’s much loved romantic novel Pride and Prejudice is streamlined and somewhat moderni ed in Christopher a er s stage adaptation, but the charm and the sparks remain. The Rep-

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SATURDAY 12/07 The Good Kind of Bazaar

Cinderella (Sarah Gene Dowling) and Snow White (Kelly Slawson) in Disenchanted. | COURTESY OF STRAY DOG THEATRE ertory Theatre St. Louis presents Pride and Prejudice as an early gift this holiday season. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday (December 6 to 29; no shows on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day) at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road; www.repstl.org). Tickets are $20 to $99.50.

a pair of binary stars locked in each other’s orbit, John devours Robert’s career, or perhaps Robert eats himself up with envy and anger. St. Louis Actors’ Studio presents A Life in the Theatre at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday (December 6 to 22) at the Gaslight Theater (358 North Boyle Avenue; www.stlas. org). Tickets are $30 to $35.

The Wheel of Fortune

Seasonal Strut

In 2016, St. Louis Actors’ Studio staged a beautiful production of Da id Mamet s American Buffalo. At the tail end of 2019, the company per orms another Mamet drama, A Life in the Theater. STLAS founder and artistic director William Roth, who was so good in American Buffalo, will play Robert, an aging actor paired with Spencer Sickmann’s John, a rising star. In a series of brief glances into their advancing careers, we see Robert’s star dim while John’s continues to burn brighter. Like

When does Christmas season really begin? Is it November 1, November 26 or at midnight on December n Maple ood Christmas starts at 6 p.m. Friday, December 6, when Santa arrives for the Maplewood Christmas Tree Walk. The lights go on, the roaming carolers sing and the hot chocolate o s all hile you enjoy the decorated shop windows and take advantage of the specials on offer in many of those same shops he Maple ood Christmas ree al ic s o at Citi ens a-

DECEMBER 4-10, 2019

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If you want to knock out your Christmas anu ah an a shopping early, you should probably head to the International Institute Holiday Bazaar. This sale of handmade goods features more than 20 vendors representing countries such as Ecuador, Peru, D Con o Morocco aiti and the o erin home d cor statues art and more. Several of the participants have been aided by the International Institute’s Economic Development program, which offers guidance and business training for new arrivals to America. he ba aar ta es place rom a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (December 7 and 8) in the International Institute of St. Louis’ gymnasium (3401 Arsenal Street; www.iistl.org).

Royally Screwed Over Snow White has had enough, and she’s not gonna take it anymore. No more whistling, no more happily ever afters for her; she wants to rage against so-called “women’s work,” the whole concept of waiting for a perfect man to save her and the commodification o women’s bodies by the beauty/ glamour industry. She and the rest of the fairy-tale princesses leepin eauty ua Mulan apun el elle riel Pocahontas Badroulbadour, Cinderella and the Princess Who Kissed a Frog) fi ht bac in Dennis iacino s musical Disenchanted. No more fairy-tale lies and unrealistic standards here — they’re going to tell the truth, rage against the machine and reclaim their lives to live as they please. Stray Dog Theatre presents Disenchanted at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday


WEEK OF DECEMBER 5-11

Young Jean-Michel Basquiat stars in Downtown 81. | METROGRAPH PICTURES (December 5 to 21) at the Tower Grove Abbey (2336 Tennessee Avenue; www.straydogtheatre.org). There are two additional performances at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 15, and 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 18. Tickets are $25 to $30.

and 2 p.m. Sunday (November 6 to 15) at the Union Avenue Christmas Church (733 North Union Boulevard; www.westendplayers.org). Tickets are $20 to $25.

Life isn’t easy for John and Dot Peerybingle, but it’s happy. He’s a middle-aged delivery man in nineteenth-century London, where poverty is only a misstep away, but the love of his young wife and their new son are more than enough. Their good friend, Caleb, and his blind daughter, Bertha, aren’t so happy; Caleb works for a mean-spirited miser named Tackleton, and his only son Edward has disappeared on a voyage to South America and is presumed dead. Tackleton has decided to marry d ard s fianc e May hich really knocks the wind out of Caleb. When an odd boarder shows up at John and Dot’s, things really start to o do nhill Mysterious stran ers, Christmas, names like Peerybingle? This must be the work of Charles Dickens, and it is. Dickens’ Christmas novella Cricket on the Hearth has been adapted for the stage by Vladimir Zelevinsky. This new version of the story is presented by West End Players Guild at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday

Return to the bombed-out wasteland o Manhattan s o er ast Side in 1981 with the long-lost film Downtown 81. A young JeanMichel as uiat stars as a barely fictionali ed ersion o himsel recently evicted and attempting to sell a painting so he can get back into his apartment. As he wanders lo er Manhattan he encounters friends (John Lurie, Vincent Gallo, Fab 5 Freddy), and takes in a couple shows by James White and the Blacks and Kid Creole and the Coconuts. Arto Lindsay and the rest of the band DNA cross his path, as does Debbie Harry. Downtown 81 recaptures a moment in time hen the ra ti orld the art world and the new music scene came together in the ruins o Manhattan he ebster ilm Series presents a newly restored print of Downtown 81 at 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 11, at the Arcade Building on Webster University’s Gateway Campus (812 Oli e treet ebster edu filmseries). Tickets are $5 to $7. n

WEDNESDAY 12/11 SUNDAY 12/08 Manhattan Home and Hearth Reverie

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DECEMBER 18-23

BLUES & JAZZ

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FILM

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[REVIEW]

Murderers’ Row Knives Out celebrates great actors being bad for laughs Written by

MARYANN JOHANSON Knives Out Written and Directed by Rian Johnson. Starring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jaime Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson and Michael Shannon. Now playing at multiple theaters.

I

t feels like I cannot remember the last time I had such pure fun at The Movies as I did with Knives Out. I was expecting as much, because writer-director Rian Johnson is a goddamn treasure, but this surpassed even my very high expectations. Johnson has outdone himself and found a sort of cinematic zen balance between his early ultra-quirky films s hi h-school noir Brick, his kooky and wonderfully unclassifiable con-artist dramedy The Brothers Bloom rom and his little Star Wars movie from a couple years ago with this. Knives Out is the sort of movie e used to see in the s adultskewing but with a blockbuster vibe, oddball but with undeniable mainstream appeal t s an atha Christie–esque murder mystery, at once deliciously retro and decidedly modern, with an all-star cast of thousands in which any of your favorite faces could be the iller t s e ortlessly suspense ul keeping you guessing right until the end t s bi -name actors being funny, actors whom you may not have realized before could be funny (or have forgotten, because it s been so lon ut it s a dry unny so dry Deadpan e en So much dead. I was dead by the end, wrung out by pleasure. Not as killed as Christopher Plummer. He is Harlan Thrombey ahem a murder-mystery novelist, and he turns up dead the mornin a ter his th birthday party s the film opens his bi extended family has gathered at

The expansive and very entertaining cast of Knives Out. | CLAIRE FOLGER © 2018 MRC II DISTRIBUTION COMPANY L.P. his loriously othic ddams amily-style mansion for the funeral and soon for the reading of his will; Harlan was hugely successul and ery ealthy and there s a lot of money to go around. Or so his delightfully horrible adult children and their horrible spouses and their mostly adult, mostly horrible children hope. nd also there is Daniel Crai s enoit lanc a detecti e amous in a way that detectives have not been since the s or the s and yet he is any ay lanc is there to investigate the death, which had been ruled suicide, except someone the anonymous person ho hired lanc thin s maybe it as murder. He will interview the suspects that is the amily members in the bon ers sittin room dominated by a wall of knives, so that it loo s li e they re all tryin out the Iron Throne to see how it fits their nasty asses Much o the tale is told ia ashbac s as the suspects er the rie in relate the events of the evening in question. Who can we trust? Probably no one. One of the absolute joys of this entirely entertaining jape is how it eels bi er than it is lanc comes complete with a whole his-

Every character here is a tapestry of gleeful awfulness, the quantity and quality of which is only just barely scratched. tory that is only hinted at yet feels as rich as his silky Southern accent; you walk out of Knives Out wanting to instantly take a deep dive into all the other juicy mysteries you know he has solved. Every character here is a tapestry of gleeful awfulness, the quantity and quality of which is only just barely scratched. Particularly amusing is Chris Evans, as Harlan s asshole randson ansom you can taste the exuberance with which the actor is running fast in the opposite direction from the holesome Captain merica persona that has defined him or the

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past decade. ut e eryone is ha in un here and it is in ectious oni Collette and Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael hannon as horrific people with strong motives for murder; a eith tanfield and na de rmas are, respectively, the cop accompanyin lanc and arlan s nurse and since they re not amily they re nice or are they When I saw that anyone could be the iller here i indeed there was even a murder at all mean it his is not a mo ie the twists and turns of which you will guess in advance, and whene er you thin you ha e it all fi ured out, the movie will trip you up again, and you will love it for tricking you. My face hurt from grinning the whole time, and can t ait to see it a ain and again. Knives Out is going to be one of those movies that, when I come across it while channel surfing in a couple of years, will suck me in every time. If you could desi n a mo ie to be eryone s avorite Movie, this is what it would loo li e cept there s nothin so crass or calculated about Knives Out. This is honest popcorn nonsense, rendered with care to be endlessly diverting. n

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In May of 2019, Sedara Sweets joined the community of Affton. Sedara serves a variety of baked goods including fifteen types of baklava—both Iraqi and Turkish. Just like the name says, Sedara sells ice cream, using products from Wisconsin-based Cedar Crest, and milkshakes. The cafe offers a small savory menu featuring breakfast bread, falafel and shawarma sandwiches, with rotisserie versions of beef or chicken both on offer. Whether you are looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, or a new option for lunch and dinner, Sedara has you covered. “We want to have something for everybody” Sedara Sweets is both family owned and operated. They offer dine in and take out food services, as well as an amazing Baklava gift box that can be ordered online, or even delivered! Owners George and Esraa Simon look forward to meeting their new neighbors and sharing some of their favorite dishes with the community!

Located on both Page Avenue, as well as the upcoming location in the Saint Louis Galleria, Cluster Busters hopes to provide Saint Louis with high quality seafood at affordable prices. Cluster Busters offers both dine in and carry out seafood, with recipes from Chef Deion Woodard. You will find all your favorites dishes such as seafood, pasta, gumbo, and fried fish. Whether you want to try their flagship “Cluster Buster” or the Lobster Mac and Cheese, Cluster Busters offers something for everyone. Since 2017, Cluster Busters continues to grow as part of a staple of the North Saint Louis community, and is very excited to bring their offerings to the Galleria. Keep an eye out for menu additions as well as daily specials. Cluster Busters is also available for catering and private events, so consider them for your next event. At Cluster Busters, you’re invited to come catch this drip!

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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.

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

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BLK MKT EATS

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

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


CAFE

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[CAFE]

Going Back to Calle Regional Mexican fare shines at Alta Calle — but can it grow without its star chef? Written by

CHERYL BAEHR Alta Calle 3131 South Grand Boulevard, 314-2820840. Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-11 p.m. (Closed Sunday and Monday.)

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lta Calle is the story of Dulce and Veronica Morales, two sisters who, after years of living across the country from one another ha e finally realized their dream of owning a place to ether t s fittin then that this would be a personal endeavor: The name Alta Calle translates to “high street,” a reference to the hilly town in Michoacán where their family hails from. Naming the restaurant after their amily s illa e is si nificant especially for Veronica. In 1997, she opened the original Las Palmas Mexican restaurant in Overland, then expanded to several other locations, growing the popular spot into a bona fide brand entually she sold off every location except the one in Maplewood, which continues to be a beloved destination for the sort of approachable, TexMex comfort food that is geared toward American diners. For her next venture, she wanted to do something different, something that felt both elevated and truer to the cuisine of Michoacán than what she’d done in the past. She’d get the opportunity to do that after a chance meeting roughly a year ago. Veronica and Dulce were walking around the South Grand business district in St. Louis, scouting the area for a potential restaurant space. When they came across the vacant corner storefront that formerly housed the Mekong restaurant and Upstairs Lounge, they were dazzled by its prime location, but

The huarache de maiz azul, with black garlic, charred zucchini, pinto beans, queso fresco, pepitas and charred avocado, is masterful. | MABEL SUEN disappointed that there was no “For Lease” sign in the window. As they peeked around the building, its owner, Tai Tien Tran, noticed them and decided to come out and introduce himself. As he explained to them, he and his family had been looking for the right person to take over their building after the passing of his son, Tu Tien Tran, but they were particular about who that would be. As the three got to talking, it became clear to Tran that the Morales sisters were the right ones to carry on the space’s legacy. Within a short time, Dulce and Veronica had signed a lease for the building and were hard at work converting it from a decades-old Vietnamese restaurant and DM club into lta Calle That transformation is nothing short of stunning. What was once a dark, stuffy interior is now strikingly vibrant. Yellow and turquoise painted walls offer a bright respite from the city’s dreary, lateautumn weather. Those walls provide a colorful backdrop for even more colorful artwork — photographs, paintings and a beautiful

mural depicting two traditionally dressed Mexican women surrounded by o ers ruits and e etables en the chairs are works of art; each one is intricately carved and colorfully painted with suns, birds and fruits. The food at Alta Calle is no less colorful. After announcing the restaurant and doing some initial research and development, the sisters brought on chef Tello Carreón to help them hone the concept. Carreón, who, most notably, was executive chef at Nixta the year it was named the “No. 9 Best New Restaurant in the Country” by Bon Appetit, had worked with Veronica many years ago. After reconnecting, he agreed to come on as a chef consultant, an arrangement that has resulted in his distinct in uence on the menu even though he left the restaurant a few months ago. Carreón’s style, coupled with the Moraleses’ point of view, results in a menu that hit a sweet spot between familiar Mexican comfort fare and more elevated cuisine — often on the same plate. nchiladas or instance are com-

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prised of tender chicken, rolled into a corn tortilla and baked. However, instead of being smothered in cheese and red sauce, the dish is blanketed in a thin layer of salsa verde crema. At once verdant and rich, the crema enhances the dish but does not take over. A sprinkle of cotija cheese, fresh herbs and edible o ers i es the dish a finish that loo s li e sno covered blooms. It’s as gorgeous as it is delicious. lta Calle s autas are e ually sophisticated. Instead of the deepried round bee -filled ersions o ten associated with the genre, Alta Calle’s are packed with herb-kissed mushrooms and potatoes. An order consists of four of the cigar-shaped autas hich are stac ed atop one another in a square shape like Lincoln Logs. Fresh mint, pickled shallots and chiles cut through the richness of the fried corn shell while adding a stunning visual element to the dish. en the uacamole and ueso eel refined he ormer enli ened with pickled shallots and mint, is so light it’s almost frothy.

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PING PONG TABLE • POOL TABLE • BOARD GAMES WEDNESDAY TRIVIA • LIVE MUSIC / DJS 5 DAYS A WEEK

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A garnish of pepitas gives the dish crunch. The latter is positively silken. Drizzles of green and red chile oil are like piquant ribbons that brighten this cheesy wonder. I was impressed with both the freshness and sheer amount of crabmeat that came with the grejo tostada — two small discs of blue corn were completely covered in the shellfish only ish they ere dressed with just a little more citrus to make them less bland. The shrimp tacos, however, were ull o bri ht tropical a or pineapple-chile glaze covered the shrimp, which were tucked into a warm tortilla with a rich poblano crema. The most striking element, however, was how perfect the shrimp’s texture was. The shellfish as so resh and coo ed so perfectly, they were snappy. The huarache de maiz azul is a breathtaking, multidimensional dish. Black garlic, charred zucchini, pinto beans, fresh cheese, pepitas and charred avocado are layered on top of one another, yet their indi idual te tures and avors remain distinct rather than melding into some indiscriminate

Dulce and Veronica Morales opened Alta Calle together after years living apart. | MABEL SUEN mélange. It’s masterful. Alta Calle’s biggest surprise, however, is the Pollo Alto, a half chicken cooked sous vide and then fried so that the succulent meat is contained in its golden, crisp skin. The chicken is garnished with rich mole pipian, a mild green mole made from pumpkin seeds, then served on a bed of perfectly seasoned roasted potatoes, beans and

rice. It’s a platter of pure comfort. I could have ended the night with the chicken in mole and been perfectly happy, but after opting for the an de ueso finished my meal in pure bliss. The rich, custardy dessert is like a cross between crème brûlée and cheesecake — a caramelly, vanilla confection the texture of tempered butter. Such a soulful dessert conjures

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up images of Dulce and Veronica hanging out in the kitchen together, reminiscing as they cook up old family recipes. If I have one concern for Alta Calle, however, it’s that the Moraleses’ story has gotten obscured by Carreón’s talent and visibility in the industry. This might seem like an odd assessment — that a popular chef’s involvement, which has resulted in great food, could be to anything but a positive. However, there’s no question that Carreón’s star power has resulted in a perception that Alta Calle is Nixta 2.0; looking at the dishes, that’s not an unfair assessment. It’s also untrue. I question if, now that Carreón is no longer in the restaurant, Alta Calle runs the risk of trying to replicate the distinctive work of a particular chef rather than standing on its own. If Alta Calle is to succeed — and, from what I have seen, it stands a good chance — it will do so by being what it set out to be all along, which is the story of Dulce and Veronica Morales. There’s no question it’s one worth being told.

Alta Calle Shrimp tacos ............................................... $9 Enchiladas ................................................ $10 Pollo Alto................................................... $25

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[SIDE DISH]

Guerrilla Street Food’s Sierra Eaves Is the Oprah of Houseplants Written by

CHERYL BAEHR

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lthough she’d never cooked professionally, Sierra Eaves was good at giving the customers at her central Illinois produce stand ideas for how to use her fruits and vegetables. In fact, she was so good at it that it led to a career in the restaurant business. “I farmed for a while and had a produce stand, and while I was doing that, I met a woman who was the personal chef for an executive with ADM in Decatur,” Eaves recalls. “She always bought stuff from us and would ask me questions about how to cook things. Eventually, she pulled me in for catering jobs when it was my offseason. She told me I was really good at it, but I’d never stepped foot in a kitchen before that. It just clicked.” Tasting Eaves’ food at the South Grand location of Guerrilla Street Food (3559 Arsenal Street, 314-4481313) where she is chef de cuisine, you’d assume she was born to cook. In many ways, she was. Raised by her grandparents who’d moved to Illinois from rural Tennessee, Eaves was brought up on home-cooked meals and has fond memories of her grandmother’s garden. It was natural, then, that Eaves would get into growing her own food, and she enjoyed modest success with her small farm and stand. However, once she had the opportunity to cook professionally, she realized it was an untapped passion that was worth pursuing. Eaves would get her chance to

Sierra Eaves is the chef de cuisine of Guerrilla Street Food on Arsenal Street. | ANDY PAULISSEN do that after moving to St. Louis in 2013. She had just had a child and needed to fi ure out ho to restart her career at first she landed in the retail industry, but she quickly realized it was the ron fit he le t retail or a ser ing job at Russell’s on Macklind and immediately loved the energy o the restaurant t confirmed her feeling that she was meant for the food business, even as she longed to be in the kitchen. Determined to make her way to the back-of-the-house, Eaves enrolled in culinary school at L’Ecole Culinaire hich led to her first “real” cooking job at Edibles & Essentials t first she as hired to work the front-of-the-house, but eventually, owner Matt Borchardt gave her the big break she’d been waiting for. “I’m good in kitchens, so I just took to it quickly and naturally,” Eaves says. “I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I am competent, so it just wasn’t a struggle for me. I’m very bookish, so I will Google something to death if I want to know about it.” Eaves relished her time at Edibles & Essentials and would have stayed longer (she left after roughly six months), but she resigned because she thought she was going to be moving out of town. When that fell through, she needed a job and was hired at Barrio, just as it was get-

ting ready to open. Though it provided the opportunity to expand her knowledge in the kitchen, the Barrio gig gave her an even bigger opening than she was expecting. “It’s where I met Brian [Hardesty],” Eaves explains.” He messaged me to tell me he was at the bar. He said he was doing laundry at the laundromat next door, and it didn’t even occur to me that he has kids and a restaurant empire but no washer and dryer — it was suspicious.” Hardesty had learned of Eaves’ cooking prowess through friends and social media, and he had an in lin she ould be a ood fit or the company he owns with business partner Joel Crespo, Guerrilla Street Food. After meeting at Barrio, the two clicked, and he told Eaves that he would have some upcoming opportunities with his restaurant group. Not long after that meeting, Eaves left Barrio; she had an offer from Crespo and Hardesty within two days. Eaves came on with Guerrilla Street Food as a sous chef for its Delmar location and quickly established herself as an essential part of the company. She admits the learning curve was steep, but she relied on her research skills to help her acclimate to a cuisine that was, up to that point, wholly unfamiliar to her. t as my first time coo in

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this type of food, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” Eaves laughs. “I’d only eaten at the truck one time and knew of Joel and Brian, but I didn’t know much about the menu. I started Googling Filipino food like crazy and realized how amazing it is. It seemed like a complicated menu, but once I got into it, I realized how much it reminded me of my grandma’s cooking because of the vinegar. In her food, and in Filipino food, vinegar is everywhere. I love it so much!” Eaves quickly earned Crespo and Hardesty’s respect, so it was natural that when they needed someone to move to their Arsenal store, they would look to her. As Eaves explains it, the South Grand location needed some help with re-establishing standards and reconnecting with the neighborhood, and Crespo and Hardesty knew that she was the one who could best spearhead those efforts. “This location is so neighborhood-driven,” Eaves explains. “We’re getting everything built back up and are really taking the opportunity to reintroduce ourselves to the neighborhood. I’m very active on social media, so if anyone has any feedback about the location — even if the rug is crooked, I ask them to let me

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SIERRA EAVES Continued from pg 29

know. Nothing is too small. I want it to be perfect every time — I know that maybe that’s not possible, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try.” Eaves recently took a break from the kitchen to share her thoughts on the St. Louis food and drink scene, the dessert that has brought her to tears and why she is the Oprah of houseplants. What is one thing people don’t know about you that you wish they did? I have a huge green thumb and pride myself on growing a big selection of herbs and vegetables in my community garden plot and apartment. I also have a monster collection of houseplants. No one is safe. You’ll end up with a plant, too. I’m like the Oprah of plants. What daily ritual is non-negotiable for you? The kiddo and I always take a walk to play Pokémon GO together. It’s been a really great hobby to take up with him, and it’s really fun to see him get so excited with something that I grew up with too. We can both just space out and catch stu t definitely a ects my day if we don’t get that time. Before all the naysayers chime in, it’s so much more than walking around and staring at your phone. Try it sometime! If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Invisibility on command. I jokingly say that I see and hear everything in our restaurant — but I really could if I were invisible. “Always watching!” What is the most positive thing in food, wine or cocktails that you’ve noticed in St. Louis over the past year? Young cooks are going out and doing their own thing. The market is so saturated with all these new little start-ups but it’s all so differently styled and presented. There are so many options. The dining scene was stagnant for the longest time and it’s fresh and young now, so no onder t ouis is finally getting recognized as being a food destination. I’m also really enjoying watching the NA beverage scene evolve. What is something missing in the local food, wine or cocktail scene that you’d like to see? I am really eager to see a Michelin star awarded in St. Louis. We have restaurants that are every bit as authentic and inspiring as any other location snatching

up stars. It’s only a matter of time. We’re attracting and encouraging some really talented people. Who is your St. Louis food crush? Michael Gallina. Vicia is my absolute favorite restaurant in St. Louis, and I’m so proud of everything he and Tara have accomplished. Every experience I’ve had there is amazing, and the menu is basically everything I love in life — sustainable meat, local produce and inventive preparation. Every time I go, I leave inspired to try something on my own, usually after a, “Oh, wow! Why haven’t I thought of this?” moment. It’s not often you can be consistently delighted while never being bored by a restaurant. Their staff is unbelievably educated about their menu items too. I can ask really specific uestions and et ust as specific ans ers he first time I went, I had a buffalograss tart with blackberry sorbet and I cried eating it. The last time, I had a fermented carrot hot sauce with the vegetable platter that we ended up requesting a whole side of just to eat with bread (which the kitchen laughed about, but it was worth it). It’s just amazing. I’m fangirling as I write this, that’s how much I love them. Who’s the one person to watch

right now in the St. Louis dining scene? I’m watching the entire crew at BEAST Butcher & Block. I’ve been saying for a hot minute that Ben Welch [at the Midwestern Meat & Drink] is dominating barbecue (I mean duh, have you experienced his food?), but I really think that David Sandusky and his staff are going to do some cool stuff with elevated barbecue. I’m really excited to see how it develops and refines especially ith the shi t bac to fine dinin and a ay rom small plates. Which ingredient is most representative of your personality? Black pepper. You know it’s there, you might not always like it, but it’s often just what a dish needs to bring balance and clarity. If you weren’t working in the restaurant business, what would you be doing? I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I bounced around in retail for a while before settling in a restaurant. If income wasn’t an issue, I’d be a stay-at-home mom. My kiddo is my life. Name an ingredient never allowed in your restaurant. I’m not sure I have that kind of power (yet), but I’m not sold on the faux-meat products that are

trendy right now. There are so many other sustainable, responsible options that chefs can turn to. I’d much rather use responsiblyraised meats or other alternative proteins. I don’t need my nonmeats to act like meats. Maybe I’m a traditionalist in that sense? What is your after-work hangout? Bed! I’m an adult. I don’t have time for after-work shenanigans. My pre-work hangout is Lola Jean’s [Giveback Coffee] on Macklind [Avenue], since Russell’s is no longer open in the day. What’s your food or beverage guilty pleasure? I have long been known to indulge in the Golden Arches. Number six, large, with sweet and sour sauce and a Dr. Pepper. I’m consistently, predictably terrible like that. The Sourdough King from the other big burger chain is also amazing, but odoriferous. Warn your loved ones, seriously. It could be a relationship killer. What would be your last meal on Earth? Chicken and dumplings; dumplings rolled, not dropped. It’s my favorite dish to make (and what I’d make if I was put on the spot). My grandma, who really is my inspiration behind cooking, made a mean chicken and dumplings. n

[FOOD NEWS]

One Drink, Two Drink, Red Drink, Blue Drink Written by

ELLA FAUST

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raft cocktails definitely aren’t the first thing that come to mind when we think about Dr. Seuss — but maybe they should be? After all, who among us hasn’t slipped into a few nonsensical rhymes after having a few too many? At least that’s what Travis Howard and Tim Wiggins, the founders of On Point Hospitality, are hoping. The pair were inspired by the whimsical characters and plots of Theodor Geisel’s children’s books to create nine decidedly adultsonly cocktails at Retreat Gastropub (2 North Sarah Street, 314-261-4497). Wiggins and his young family are avid Dr. Seuss readers, and so he saw a unique opportunity to translate the themes and styles of the books into a fun new bar program. One of the family’s favorite storybooks, I Wish I Had Duck Feet, first seeded the idea in Wiggins’ head. “This nostalgic menu encourages guests to fall back in love with a child-

The Dr. Seuss-inspired Duck Feet Wishes is made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, cherry, falernum, allspice, curaçao and lemon. | COURTESY OF RETREAT GASTROPUB hood favorite book,” Wiggins said in a release. “My wife and I read Dr. Seuss books to my son every night, and this menu reflects the hope that I have for him to carry these uplifting messages with him throughout life.” The menu includes Dr. Seuss-inspired drinks such as the Starbelly Sneetch, with Ford’s Officer’s Reserve, Bonanto Aperitif, blanc vermouth and salty peach bitters, and the Butter Side Down, with butter-

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washed pisco, Plantation Xaymaca Rum, white wine, cinnamon and lemon. When you order one of the new drinks, your bartender will recite an original rhyme riffing off of the book that inspired it. To wit: Opt for the Duck Feet Wishes and you’ll get this little gem in return: “It’s a fruity whisky crusher that’s truly a treat, even if you ‘wish for duck feet.’” For the full list of cocktails, visit www. riverfronttimes.com. n

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Reservations for both Miracle STL and Sippin’ Santa are sold out, but limited seating is available for walk-ins (Our advice: Arrive early and with a small party).

[FOOD NEWS]

Holiday Bars Pop Up in STL Written by

LIZ MILLER

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ith Thanksgiving now in the rearview mirror, the winter holiday season is now unavoidably omnipresent. Malls have hung oversized ornaments from the ceiling with care and the Hallmark Channel is airing its cheesy Christmas films around the cloc Fortunately, a few bright lights are here to guide us away from the tinsel-covered consumerism and back to one of our favorite coping mechanisms: alcohol. Last week, two holiday-themed pop-up bars opened in St. Louis: Miracle STL (2800 Indiana Avenue) and Sippin’ Santa (3146 Locust Street). Miracle STL is located inside Small Change, the Benton Park dive bar run by Ted and Jamie Kilgore, owners of Planter’s House in Lafayette Square. Sippin’ Santa, however, is popping up in Midtown. As in years past, Miracle STL is serving signature and new cocktails such as the Snowball Old-Fashioned and the Run Run Rudolph. For our money, though, we want to try the Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel cocktail, which is made with chocolate gelt-infused mezcal, campari, sweet vermouth and Pedro Ximenez. At Sippin’ Santa, holiday cocktails are Tikithemed, including the Christmas Eve of Destruction and Papa Noel. Like other Miracle locations across the country, the St. Louis pop-up bar is selling holiday mugs with 10 percent of sales donated to Action Against Hunger and St. Louis-based Santa’s Helpers Inc. Reservations for both Miracle STL and Sippin’ Santa are sold out but limited seating is available for walk-ins (Our advice: Arrive early and with a small party). Miracle STL and Sippin’ Santa are scheduled to run until December 28. The former is open from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Monday through Sunday and the latter is open from 4 to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Several other spots in town will be getting in on the festive fun this season too. From Friday, November 29 through mid-De-

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Holiday spirit never tasted so good. | COURTESY MIRACLE STL cember, holiday pop-up bar LIT will be serving Christmas-themed tipples to sip by the glow of Christmas lights at Molly’s in Soulard (816 Geyer Avenue, 314-241-6200). Open from 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and 6 to 10 p.m on Sunday. The bar is serving a cocktail list dubbed The 12 Drinks of LITmas, which includes an alcoholic build-your-own hot chocolate bar. Molly’s has been inundated with reservation requests since sharing news about the pop-up bar, so calling the bar at 314-241-6200 to ask about dates and times is advised. In early December, yet another holiday pop-up bar will debut. From December 5 through Janu-

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ary 5, Paddy O’s (618 South Seventh Street, 314-588-7313) will host Mistletoe, a new Christmasthemed pop-up concept. For one month, the bar will be wrapped in glittering holiday decor — including St. Louis Blues- and St. Louis Cardinals-themed Christmas trees — and a festive photo booth to match its menu of limited-time tipples. In addition to the winter wonderland inside, you can also rab a seat by the fire pits outside and purchase a s’mores kit to ma e o er the ames uests can also park at Paddy O’s, grab a drink and then take a trolley ride to the Anheuser-Busch brewery lights display Friday through Sunday. Catch the fun ThursdayO-

through Sunday from 4 p.m. to midnight. Walk-in customers are welcome, but to guarantee yourself a table, the bar requests you make a reservation online. Next up, on Sunday, December 15, from 1 to 3 p.m., The Hideout (210 North Euclid Avenue) will host a holiday cookie decorating class with Yellowbelly pastry chef MJ Stewart and holiday cocktails from co-owner Tim Wiggins. Although not a holiday pop-up bar per se, we’re including this in our roundup because Stewart and Wiggins are both incredibly talented and their work is deserving of your time, plus, did we mention holiday cocktails? Guests will be able to throw back two drinks and take home six decorated cookies. Tickets can be purchased online. nd finally as e creep closer and closer to Christmas Day, there’s one more holiday drinking event to pencil into your schedules: the eighth-annual 12 Bars of Charity. Happening on Saturday, December 21, this holiday-themed bar crawl benefits a be y o local charities: Stray Rescue of St. Louis, The Dudes-St. Jude Children’s Hospital, World Pediatric Project, Friends of Kids With Cancer, Autism Speaks St. Louis, Gene Slay’s Girls & Boys Club of Saint Louis, WISH STLMake-A-Wish Missouri & Kansas and St. Louis Hero Network. The pub crawl rules are simple: Assemble a team of friends and family, choose a charity to support and then visit one or more of 26 bars, which will donate a portion of their daily proceeds to the charity of your choice. Tickets are available for purchase through Eventbrite. With so many boozy ways to avoid Hallmark Channel Christmas films this year perhaps the holiday season won’t be so bad after all. n


HAPPY HOUR

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Chao Baan’s My Thai is made with Plantation rum, lime and housemade peanut orgeat. | LAUREN SHELLEY

[FOOD NEWS]

Chao Baan Mixes Up Thai-Inspired Cocktails Written by

CAROLINE GROFF

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lassic cocktails are getting a Thai twist at Chao Baan (4087 Chouteau Avenue, 314-9258250). Located in the Grove, the lauded restaurant is now slinging signature cocktails that riff on the re ional hai a ors that have made it an instant hit. Chao Baan beverage director Lindsey MacTaggart developed eight cocktails for the all-new list, drawing inspiration from the northeastern and southern Thai dishes that inform the food offerings. The bar program began service on Friday, November 22 and also features a full selection of beer, wine and spirits, plus Thai coffee and tea. The restaurant is the second offering from the Prapaisilp family; husband-and-wife Suchin and Sue founded the King & I (31553157 South Grand Avenue, 314771-1777) in 1981. When the fam-

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ily had the opportunity to open a second restaurant, this time in the mixed-use Chroma building, their adult son, Shayn, wanted to share the food his parents grew up eating across Thailand. “Thai cuisine is comprised of many ingredients that work together,” Shayn said in a recent release. “As a restaurant that’s committed to introducing the authentic re ional a ors o hai cuisine to St. Louisans, we developed these cocktails to be an extension o the a ors rom our menu. Many of our house cocktails are a nod to some bar favorites but with a signature Chao Baan spin to make them exciting for our guests.” MacTaggart and team had fun with the cocktail names, too. Take, for example, the Smoky Hot Thai Boy, which was named by the staff as a tribute to Shayn “and his hotness.” Made with Banhez mezcal, Thai chile-infused Cimarron tequila, lime juice and a Thai chilesugar rim, the cocktail strikes the “perfect balance of smoke, heat and citrus that pairs well with Chao Baan’s spicy dishes.” Other fun standouts include a Thai version of a classic Old Fashioned a ored ith as ashi ume and a Mai Tai — dubbed the My Thai — with housemade peanut orgeat. The new menu offers one nonalcoholic cocktail, a traditional Painkiller, made with pineapple, sweetened coconut milk, lime and grated nutmeg. For the full list of cocktails, visit www.riverfronttimes.com. n


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RIVERFRONT TIMES

DECEMBER 4-10, 2019

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MUSIC + CULTURE

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“I listen to a lot of podcasts with comedians. They are open with the process in a way that musicians are not.�

[HOMESPUN]

Well Enough Alone Zachary Schwartz’s folk-leaning solo project the Hollow Ends releases five-song EP II Written by

CHRISTIAN SCHAEFFER

W

hen Zachary Schwartz released his first ull-len th P under the name the ollo nds in midthe ol -leanin stridently oiced sin er-son riter had plans to ta e his one-man sho on the road nd hile he s ta en the ollo nds to i s in ansas City and prin field llinois ch art s pro essional duties superseded his musical callin or much o this year m a teacher and ettin my PhD so a lot o time has been deoted to my classes so didn t et as much o a chance to et out on the road ch art says ch art is finishin up his de ree in political science at the ni ersity o Missouri- t ouis and the rind o course or thesis ritin and ad unct teachin doesn t e actly comport ith the roc roll li estyle en still ch art mana ed to snea out the fi e-son EP II be ore the end o he seeds o the P ere planted in the sessions or last year s Bears in Mind ull-len th and initially ch art hoped to reclaim some o those casta ays pon urther re ie thou h more or as needed o son s rom those initial sessions were scrapped entirely one as rebuilt rom the round up and the other t o trac s ere ritten or this pro ect o ho does ch art no the ood rom the bad the sal a eable rom the misbe otten thin about that all the time he says h my od are any o these ood ha e no idea ls rom EP II is one o those son s that ot recast or this ne release ch art calls it more

Zachary Schwartz handled vocals, guitar, harmonica and percussion on his new EP and tapped a host of local musicians to flesh out the rest. | VIA THE ARTIST stripped-do n and this ersion relies on a li htly o erdri en but ildly tremulous electric uitar and occasional blasts o harmonica to tell an in ard-loo in story o sel doubt and paranoia re-recorded e erythin in a couple days ch art says o the son hich he says as pretty campy in its initial incarnation he ori inal ersion as more o a ol -roc son much louder bi er uitars and bass and this one is more a reima ination o it decided to o bac to the dra in board and see hat ould happen i did it this ay ou ould be hard-pressed to find a lot o humor in ollo nds son s ch art notes that se eral son s on the debut P dealt ith his o n stru les ith an iety but the son riter dre inspiration or his son ritin process rom the seemin ly bottomless reser e o comedians tal in to comedians about comedy atch a lot o inter ie s and listen to a lot o podcasts ith co-

medians ch art says hey are more open ith the process in a ay that musicians are not Comedians ill tal about the nuts and bolts o ho you ma e somethin unny n son ritin m so close to this and ha e heard these son s times and ha e been re-recordin it you ind o o cra y a ter a hile ope ully you can trust yoursel enou h to put it out Schwartz has had to learn to trust himsel more and more o er the past e years o or in as a solo artist a in played as part o the ol -roc uintet men ucy men in the earlier part o the decade he has e perience ith the democratic process o bein in a band ltimately he is happy to be in the center o this particular circle but it is not ithout some mis i in s t s ind o a i e and ta e there are definitely positi es to doin thin s by mysel ch art says can play sho s or o on tour ithout chec in ith anyone else a in made a e solo

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recordin s as the ollo nds ch art is a are o hat he has sacrificed by bein at the helm o this pro ect ith men ucy men ha in fi e people in ested in the record and ta e o nership o it is that had more confidence in the process o ma in that record because the fi e o us li ed it he says t the end o the process here it s my record and ha e riends playin on it you don t ully no in the ay as you do ith a band process here s somethin here m not ettin the same honest critical eedbac the t o ne son s ritten or EP II ch art says that the son ritin process ent much more uic ly than in years past he strummy chummy nnie Pardami starts o the record ith a bri ht thumpin tune that sho cases ch art s treetop-clearin tenor he other ne composition ittle De il is more raucous and sinister ch art says he used some o his academic e periences or this trac ocusin on moral ambi uity ethical ambi alence and ho that a ects our decisionma in ittle De il benefits rom a broad cast o sin ers and musicians a houlish choir and some al ation rmy horns i e the son a dar cast ll told around a do en riends helped ch art i e the ollo nds a uller eel he first record as dramatic already it as this silly circus and pushed it urther he says m tryin to fill out the idea there don t necessarily adhere to any particular sound can do hate er ant since it s ust me

The Hollow Ends EP Release 8 p.m. Saturday, December 7. Foam, 3359 South Jefferson Avenue. $5. 314-772-2100.

DECEMBER 4-10, 2019

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[PREVIEW]

Heavier Than Time Revered St. Louis metal band Anacrusis draws fans the world over for upcoming Delmar Hall reunion show Written by

THOMAS CRONE

D

urin the band s heyday o to nacrusis climbed rom the ran s o north t ouis county basement bands to a roup tourin the country ith nationally released albums rin in a melan e o in uences to their ersion o hea y metal the band as based around the core trio o uitarist ocalist enn ardi uitarist e in eidbreder and bassist ohn mery ith the roup rounded out by a trio o drummers in Mi e en Chad mith and Paul Miles n the early s there as a small rush o rene ed acti ity includin a erman esti al sho another in el ium a Caribbean cruise and a e scattered dates in t ouis some ith Mi e enric s fillin in on uitar in lieu o eidbreder couple o compilation albums and li e D Ds ere released in that time period as ell en that second phase o nacrusis pieced to ether on a sho -by-sho basis ran its course by nd it ouldn t be until this year ith Metal lade s rerelease o the roup s our albums on both inyl and as CD-di ipa s that the band s members decided that a true le acy sho as needed to cap their time s to ether or its aturday December sho at Delmar all nacrusis is brin in the ma imum roc ith all three drummers ta in part and each playin their o n it no less in a chronolo ical careerspannin ni ht a in the classic n enin ith approach to this e ent means there on t be an openin band but the sta e ill eature a D set rom ob Meiho er ho as one o t o D s to host Metal Mania on C M in the s a sho that as crucial to the band s under round metal leanin s e had already otten to eth-

38

RIVERFRONT TIMES

Anacrusis was one of the first bands to combine prog-metal and thrash, especially with its Manic Impressions and Screams and Whispers albums. | VIA THE BAND er a ain ith the ori inal lineup bac in or a e sho s ardi says hen e ere approached about maybe doin somethin to promote or celebrate the Metal lade reissues e didn t see much point in oin throu h all o that rehearsin and re-learnin the old son s a ain ust or another reunion sho he idea o e eryone playin seemed really cool but e ne er seriously considered it beyond maybe the other drummers ettin onsta e or a son or t o nce he started as in his ormer bandmates about the sho thou h the idea uic ly too o ltimately e decided it ould be an nacrusis an s dream sho to see all three incarnations o the band in one sho he says hen as e started or in out the details it turned into more o a bi celebration or us and or our music and an opportunity to han out ith riends ans and amily e re really loo in orard to it s or rehearsals it has been tou h or sure ac hen e ere still to ether nacrusis as e eryone s main priority t as a ull-time thin o most o the uys or re ular obs or play in se eral bands and ettin e eryone to ether is a real challen e but e ll et it done he band s history as ell-co ered in a RFT piece by D erris introducin the first o the roup s return i s i in a reat synopsis o the band s sound erris rote that ardi could hit hellion hi hs and ielded a ood

DECEMBER 4-10, 2019

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ro l althou h he ne er trusted his ocal ran e hich is hy he tal ed the band into do ntunin to nearly a decade be ore it as common practice nacrusis had thrash roots but it added midtempo brea s u taposin clean melodies and rou her rhythmic outbursts ate in the band s career inspired by Celtic rost it started addin pseudo-symphonic ourishes that ardi played on eyboards he roup al ays had a technical ed e that bordered on pro and e ortlessly made the transition when thrash started to ane and death metal and protoblac metal rose in popularity t should also be noted here that the band s history is deeply documented by ardi in a chapter-by-chapter approach to the roup s initial ei ht-year run on the band s site anacrusis us o prepare or the upcomin sho nacrusis has been rehearsin almost e ery aturday at ardi s home here the band s ound its son s comin to ether Ditto the eneral sense o camaraderie eidbreder re erences the act that e eryone has ro n as people hat helps ith time and perspecti e e en i you all into those same old habits and reactions you ha e some ro n-up sa ety built into it ou re not se enteen or ei hteen anymore ou can ha e di erent ta es on thin s e en thin s that bother you but the ay it s dealt ith processed and handled sho s our maturity le el here s still bitchin and bic erin o er petty thin s

course there is it s still a band eidbreder notes that somethin eepin the roup ocused on puttin to ether the best sho possible is the act that ans ill be comin rom around the country and in a e cases rom around the orld to catch hat may be in the last sho they do and almost certainly the last they do with the inspired notion o all three drummers ta in acti e part don t no that e e er a e it a proper oodbye he says nd hile you ne er say ne er it ll be nice to pay respect to hat e did in the past e re doin this or all the ri ht reasons hile e eryone s healthy and able or e eryone to be a ailable as an opportunity e couldn t pass up o ardi an interestin piece o this pu le is also rooted in the act that nacrusis ended some hat suddenly ithout any sin le bi ban moment o dissolution e had continued to push oursel es or ard ith each album and by the time e recorded Screams and Whispers e had definitely de eloped our o n style he says o e er as ne er bi on repeatin mysel musically spea in so as al ays thin in o hat e could do to e pand e en more had dri ted a ay rom metal music and had ra itated more and more to ard bands li e the Cure and oy Di ision e ere al ays able to dra rom our non-metal in uences ithout bein too ob ious about it but really as not eelin particularly inspired to continue doin hat e had been doin y it as clear that somethin had to brea he adds e ere fi htin o er e erythin rom the label to mana ement to ust about e erythin else you can thin o y the time e had done the uropean tour ith Death remember thin in it as odd because didn t ha e a sin le ri or son or e en thou ht o ne music or another nacrusis album e al ays had a e thin s in the or s that ould ultimately uide us in hate er direction e d end up oin or another album but not then here as nothin o a lar e de ree thou h all o that history’s an aside to a oneo i that they intend to be an nacrusis an s dream sho course ardi says loo in bac am proud o hat e created to ether nd it s nice to see our music o cially made a ailable to the orld a ain

Anacrusis Reunion Show 8 p.m. Saturday, December 7. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Boulevard. $10. 314-726-6161.


OUT EVERY NIGHT

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[CRITIC’S PICK]

Nerf Herder. | VIA ATOMIC MUSIC GROUP

Nerf Herder 8 p.m. Friday, December 6. Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City. $18. 314-727-4444. Santa Barbara’s Nerf Herder is widely credited with introducing the term “geek rock” into the American lexicon, which is no small feat, considering that pretty much every rock band in modern history has been populated by geeks and nerds (no follow-up questions will be answered, thank you). Still, it’s as apt a descriptor as you’re going to find to describe Nerf Herder’s sound, which incorporates elements of pop-punk and alternative rock into a determinedly juvenile, pop-culture-referencing whole that is just as comfortable

THURSDAY 5

DEBBY LENNON: 8 p.m., $30-$35. Blue Strawberry Showroom & Lounge, 364 N Boyle Ave, St. Louis, 314-256-1745. THE FUNKY BUTT HOLIDAY WARMUP: 8 p.m., $15. Joe’s Cafe, 6014 Kingsbury Ave, St. Louis. JON MCLAUGHLIN: 8 p.m., $20-$25. Blueberry Hill - The Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314-727-4444. PERT NEAR SANDSTONE: w/ Arkansauce 8 p.m., $10-$15. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314-588-0505.

FRIDAY 6

DAILEY & VINCENT: 8 p.m., $15-$45. The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, 314-533-9900. DAVE STONE FREE JAZZ UNIT: 8 p.m., free. Flood Plain, 3151 Cherokee St., St. Louis. DEAN CHRISTOPHER: 8 p.m., $25-$30. Blue Strawberry Showroom & Lounge, 364 N Boyle Ave, St. Louis, 314-256-1745. END WORLD: w/ Goaltender, Interpersonal, Lightrider, Reeling 7:30 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. GUITAR MADNESS 2019: w/ Jeremiah Johnson, Rich McDonough, Craig Straubinger 8 p.m., $15. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989.

alongside the likes of Lagwagon or NOFX as it would be sharing a stage with fellow dedicated dorks They Might Be Giants. Though the band largely packed it in back in 2003, it re-emerged with a new album, Nerf Herder IV, in 2008, following that up with 2016’s Rockingham. The band is said to be working out material for an asyet-unnamed new album on this tour. Might As Well Jump: Nerf Herder’s lone charting single, 1996’s “Van Halen,” remains a classic, and includes a line about a certain Red Rocker that St. Louis’ bafflingly loyal fans should really take to heart: “Dave lost his hairline, but you lost your cool, buddy / can’t drive 55; I’ll never buy your lousy records again.” —Daniel Hill

JIM BRICKMAN: 8 p.m., $35-$75. Blanche M Touhill Performing Arts Center, 1 University Dr at Natural Bridge Road, Normandy, 314-516-4949. MISS JUBILEE: 9:30 p.m., free. The Frisco Barroom, 8110 Big Bend Blvd., Webster Groves, 314-455-1090. NERF HERDER: he addonfields he Copyrights 8 p.m., $18. Blueberry Hill - The Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314-727-4444. O.A.R.: 8 p.m., $40.50-$55.50. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. PARTYROCK LIVE: 8 p.m., free. Satchmo’s Bar & rill li e l d Chesterfield 314-878-3886. RAK THE CASBAH: 8 p.m., $10. The Monocle, 4510 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-932-7003. SEX, DRUGS, AND STAND-UP COMEDY: w/ Fight Back Mountain, Jess Campbell, Robert Alan Hall, Mollie Amburgey, Ronaldo Mercado, Max Pryce 8 p.m., $10. The Heavy Anchor, 5226 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314-352-5226. STATIC-X: w/ DevilDriver, Dope, Wednesday 13, Raven Black 6:25 p.m., $25-$28. Pop’s Nightclub, 401 Monsanto Ave., East St. Louis, 618-274-6720. THAMES: Parrotfish the i ardtones p m $7. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis,

Continued on pg 41

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DECEMBER 4-10, 2019

RIVERFRONT TIMES

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Wednesday Dec. 4 9PM

Sean Canan’s Voodoo Players Tribute To The Rolling Stones

Thursday Dec. 5 9PM

Funkify Your Life A Tribute To The Meters

Friday Dec. 6 10PM

Pre Philapalooza Fundraiser to Combat ALS Featuring The Scandaleros, Funky Butt Brass Band and The Provels

Saturday Dec. 7 10PM

Marquise Knox Band Just back from opening for ZZTop!

Sunday Dec. 8 8PM

Blues, Soul and Pop Diva Kim Massie Wednesday Dec. 11 9PM

Sean Canan’s Voodoo Players Tribute To The Highwaymen

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RIVERFRONT TIMES

DECEMBER 4-10, 2019

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THIS JUST IN Continued from pg 39 314-772-2100. THIRTY SIX RED: w/ Name it Now, the Wild and Free, Amethyst 7 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. WATCH WHAT CRAPPENS: w/ Ben Mandelker, Ronnie Karam 8 p.m., $28-$78. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161.

SATURDAY 7

THE ABDUCTED: w/ the Green Leaves, Nolia, Electric Bear Trap, Despised Mourning 7:30 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. ANACRUSIS: 8 p.m., $10. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. BEGIN AT ZERO ALBUM RELEASE SHOW: w/ Bradtholomew, Biologist 6:30 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. BILLY PEEK: 8 p.m., $5. Hwy 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen, 34 S Old Orchard Ave, Webster Groves, 314-968-0061. DIMEFEST MEETS THE METAL GODS SHOW 2019: w/ Domination: Pantera Tribute, Conquest: A Tribute To Metal Gods, Symptom Of The Universe: Black Sabbath Tribute 7 p.m., $10-$15. Pop’s Nightclub, 401 Monsanto Ave., East St. Louis, 618-274-6720. THE DRINKWATER BROTHERS: 8 p.m., $25-$30. Blue Strawberry Showroom & Lounge, 364 N Boyle Ave, St. Louis, 314-256-1745. JINGLEFEST 2019: w/ Jon Pardi, Russell Dickerson, Morgan Wallen, Blanco Brown 7 p.m., $49-$79. Family Arena, 2002 Arena Parkway, St Charles, 636-896-4200. LOUIS THE CHILD: w/ DUCKWRTH, John The Blind 8 p.m., $29.99-$36. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. MIKE MATTHEWS PROJECT: 9 p.m., free. Nightshift Bar & Grill, 3979 Mexico Road, St. Peters, 636-441-8300. ROB THOMAS: 8 p.m., $35-$60. Ballpark Village, 601 Clark Ave, St. Louis, 314-345-9481. RYNE WATTS & FRIENDS: 9:30 p.m., free. The Frisco Barroom, 8110 Big Bend Blvd., Webster Groves, 314-455-1090. SGL AND HOLLOW ENDS DUAL EP RELEASE PARTY: w/ the Bronx Cheers 7 p.m., $5. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-772-2100. ST. LOUIS WOMEN OF ROCK SHOWCASE: w/ Ahna Schoenhoff, Mammoth Piano, Tiger Rider, Crystal Lady 7:30 p.m., $10. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929. STEVE FORBERT: 7:30 p.m., $25. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. ZACH DEPUTY: 8 p.m., $12. The Bootleg, 4140 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314-775-0775.

SUNDAY 8

CONDUCTOR: Ma imum ort oPoint i ard Breath 8 p.m., $7. The Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. GOO GOO DOLLS: 8 p.m., $35-$60. Ballpark Village, 601 Clark Ave, St. Louis, 314-345-9481. ORCHESTRATING DIVERSITY HOLIDAYS CONCERT: 3 p.m., $5. Pilgrim Congregational Church, 826 Union Blvd., St. Louis, 314-652-6800. RIVER CITY OPRY: w/ The Dammit Janets, Billy Croghan, Josh Miller, Matthew Decker, School of Rock Ballwin, Amber Skies, The Riverside Wanderers 1 p.m., $5. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. SAMANTHA FISH: 8 p.m., $25. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314-588-0505. THE SKIVVIES: 7 p.m., $30-$40. Blue Strawberry Showroom & Lounge, 364 N Boyle Ave, St. Louis, 314-256-1745. SMINO: 8 p.m., $25-$27.50. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. VULTURE CULTURE: w/ The Shae and Jay Experience, John Hawkwood 7:30 p.m., $5. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-772-2100.

MONDAY 9

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

MUSIC UNLIMITED: p m s a lues Soups, 700 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. SCOTT BRADLEE’S POSTMODERN JUKEBOX: 8 p.m., $45-$65. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161.

TUESDAY 10

CHRISTMAS CANDLELIGHT CONCERT: 7:30 p.m., $30-$75. Powell Hall, 718 N. Grand Blvd, St. Louis, 314-534-1700. THE GET UP KIDS: w/ Hembree, SONTALK 8 p.m., $22-$27. Blueberry Hill - The Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314-727-4444. HIGHLY SUSPECT: w/ Slothrust 8 p.m., $37.50$50. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. VICTOR WAINWRIGHT & THE TRAIN: 7 p.m., $20. s a lues oups road ay St. Louis, 314-436-5222.

WEDNESDAY 11

ABIGAIL WILLIAMS: w/ Aenimus 6:30 p.m., $13. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. BLACK BOX: w/ Freon, the Yeasties 9 p.m., $5-$7. CBGB, 3163 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis. STEEL PANTHER: 8 p.m., $25-$28. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. THE NIXONS & SPONGE: w/ Bleach 8 p.m., $22$25. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161.

THIS JUST IN ALANIS MORISSETTE: arba e i Phair Sat., July 18, 7 p.m., $26-$126. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, I-70 & Earth City Expwy., Maryland Heights, 314-298-9944. ANDREW & THE DOLLS ALBUM RELEASE PARTY: W/ Boxcar, Sat., March 7, 8 p.m., $10. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929. BEAU DIAMOND: W/ the Phones, the Matching Shoe, Sat., Jan. 4, 9 p.m., $7. The Heavy Anchor, 5226 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314-352-5226. BLACK BOX: W/ Freon, the Yeasties, Wed., Dec. 11, 9 p.m., $5-$7. CBGB, 3163 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis. BOB MOULD: Sat., March 21, 8 p.m., $30-$40. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. BRIGHT LIGHTS FOR A LONG NIGHT: W/ Mommi, Dae Smooth, Miss Melanin, Dfrynce Dfrynce Dfrynce, Zaire Imani, Bates, Sat., Dec. 21, 9 p.m., $7. St. Louis Skatium, 120 E Catalan St, St. Louis, 314-631-3922. BRUISER QUEEN: Thu., Jan. 16, 8 p.m., $10. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314-588-0505. CHICAGO: Tue., June 23, 6:30 p.m., $30.50$130.50. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, I-70 & Earth City Expwy., Maryland Heights, 314-298-9944. CHRIS NATHAN: Sun., Dec. 6, 11 p.m., free. Halo Bar, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-1414. CONDUCTOR: W/ Maximum Effort, NoPoint, i ard reath un Dec pm he Sinkhole, 7423 South Broadway, St. Louis, 314-328-2309. DAVE STONE FREE JAZZ UNIT: Fri., Dec. 6, 8 p.m., free. Flood Plain, 3151 Cherokee St., St. Louis. DAVID ARCHULETA: Wed., April 15, 8 p.m., $30$170. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314-588-0505. DR. SLAPPINSTEIN: W/ Brother Francis and the Soultones, Fri., Jan. 3, 9 p.m., $7. The Heavy Anchor, 5226 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314-352-5226. ELISE: W/ Mister Malone, the Left Hooks, the K.G. Roberts Band, Vague Topic, Fri., Jan. 17, 6:30 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. HOLIDAZED: W/ Elise, Ground Control, Friends in Secret, the Left Hooks, Wise disguise, Mr. Malone, Through Burning Eyes, Sat., Dec. 21, 6:30 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. JAMESON RODGERS: W/ Sarah Allison Turner,

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DECEMBER 4-10, 2019

RIVERFRONT TIMES

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[CRITIC’S PICK]

Smino. | VIA CAA

Smino 8 p.m. Sunday, December 8. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard. $25. 314-726-6161. Maybe it’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. How else to explain Smino’s boundless love for his hometown of St. Louis despite his current home base of Chicago? The hip-hop phenom followed his 2017 name-making blkswn and last year’s NØIR by releas-

OUT EVERY NIGHT Continued from pg 41

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RIVERFRONT TIMES

DECEMBER 4-10, 2019

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Fri., Feb. 14, 8 p.m., $15. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. JEREMY ESSIG: W/ Shannon Lucas, Erik Woods, Thu., Jan. 23, 8 p.m., $7. The Heavy Anchor, 5226 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314-352-5226. JILL SCOTT: Sun., Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m., $46-$196. The Fox Theatre, 527 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314-534-1111. JOSEPH BELSHER: W/ Eric Moeller, Bobby Stevens, Rodney Joe, Sat., Jan. 25, 8 p.m., $7. The Heavy Anchor, 5226 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314-352-5226. KAYO DOT: W/ Psalm Zero, Fri., March 6, 8 p.m., $12. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. MILLENNIUM TOUR 2020: W/ Omarion, Bow Wow, Ying Yang Twins, Pretty Ricky, Soulja Boy, Lloyd, Sammie, Fri., April 24, 8 p.m., $48Chai et rena Compton e St. Louis, 314-977-5000. MINDY SMITH: Fri., March 13, 8 p.m., $30-$35. Blueberry Hill - The Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314-727-4444. PORTRAIT: THE MUSIC OF KANSAS: Sat., Feb. 22, 8 p.m., $20. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. REVEREND JACK: Fri., Jan. 10, 6:30 p.m., $10. Fubar, 3108 Locust St, St. Louis, 314-289-9050. RIVER CITY OPRY: W/ The Dammit Janets, Billy Croghan, Josh Miller, Matthew Decker, School of Rock Ballwin, Amber Skies, The Riverside Wanderers, Sun., Dec. 8, 1 p.m., $5. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. ROBYN HITCHCOCK: Wed., April 15, 8 p.m., $25. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. SGL AND HOLLOW ENDS DUAL EP RELEASE PARTY: W/ the Bronx Cheers, Sat., Dec. 7, 7 p.m., $5. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-772-2100. SPACE JESUS: W/ Tsuruda, Tiedye Ky, Onhell,

ing music with Chicago artists Saba and Noname under the name Ghetto Sage. But for Smino’s annual Kribmas show, it’s all about St. Louis. Expect some surprises and guest spots from his Zero Fatigue crew. From the Lou to the Louvre: Smino just announced the perfectly named “Euro Fatigue” tour for this spring, making stops in Dublin, Amsterdam and Paris. —Christian Schaeffer

Fri., Feb. 21, 7 p.m., $5. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314-588-0505. THAMES: Parrotfish the i ardtones ri Dec. 6, 8 p.m., $7. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-772-2100. TREE ONE FOUR: Thu., Dec. 12, 11 p.m., free. Halo Bar, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-1414. UMPHREY’S MCGEE: Fri., April 3, 7 p.m., $29.50-$50. Sat., April 4, 7 p.m., $29.50-$50. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. VICTOR WAINWRIGHT & THE TRAIN: Tue., Dec. pm s a lues oups Broadway, St. Louis, 314-436-5222. VULTURE CULTURE: W/ The Shae and Jay Experience, John Hawkwood, Sun., Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., $5. Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314-772-2100.

UPCOMING THE ADICTS: Sat., Feb. 1, 8 p.m., $25-$30. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. THE AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT: Wed., June 3, 8 p.m., $25-$30. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. AJJ: W/ Xiu Xiu, Emperor X, Fri., June 5, 8 p.m., $20. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929. ALANIS MORISSETTE: arba e i Phair Sat., July 18, 7 p.m., $26-$126. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, I-70 & Earth City Expwy., Maryland Heights, 314-298-9944. AMANDA SHIRES: W/ L.A. Edwards, Wed., April 29, 8 p.m., $25-$35. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. AMETHYST EP RELEASE: W/ Friends In Secret, QStreet, Postal Modern, Relynness, Fri., Jan. 3, 7 p.m., $5-$8. Pop’s Nightclub, 401 Monsanto Ave., East St. Louis, 618-274-6720. ANDREW & THE DOLLS ALBUM RELEASE PARTY: W/ Boxcar, Sat., March 7, 8 p.m., $10. The

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[CRITIC’S PICK]

Alicia Olatuja. | HARRISON WEINSTEIN PHOTOGRAPHY

Alicia Olatuja Various times. Wednesday, December 4 through Sunday, December 8. The Harold and Dorothy Steward Center For Jazz, 3536 Washington Avenue. $10 to $41. 314-571-6000. From the first phrase, the first murmur even of Alicia Olatuja’s voice, listeners know they’re in church. Though nominally a jazz-pop singer, Olatuja’s artistry is sustained by the foundational force of her gospel training and the legacy of her grandmother and mother, both singers in the sacred tradition. Olatuja’s style is rarely ecstatic, yet her alto has a restless,

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Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929. ANGÉLIQUE KIDJO: Fri., Feb. 14, 8 p.m., $45-$60. The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, 314-533-9900. BASTARD SQUAD RECORD RELEASE: W/ Bassamp & Dano, Kristeen Young, Redbait, Brute Force, Sat., Dec. 28, 8 p.m., $10. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929. BEN NORDSTROM: Sun., Dec. 15, 7 p.m., $30-$35. Blue Strawberry Showroom & Lounge, 364 N Boyle Ave, St. Louis, 314-256-1745. BLACK LIPS: Tue., March 10, 8 p.m., $18-$20. Blueberry Hill - The Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314-727-4444. BUTTERCUP ALBUM RELEASE PARTY: W/ The R6 Implant, Blight Future, Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship, Sat., Dec. 14, 8 p.m., $7. The Heavy Anchor, 5226 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314-352-5226. COLD WAR KIDS: W/ Tidal Volume, Thu., Dec. 19, 8 p.m., $30. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. DESTROYER: W/ Nap Eyes, Sat., March 14, 8 p.m., $20-$23. Blueberry Hill - The Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314-727-4444. FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS: W/ Twin XL, Tue., March 3, 8 p.m., $32.50-$37.50. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. FOXING: W/ Tonina, Jr Clooney, Sat., Dec. 14, 8 p.m., $18-$20. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. THE FUNKY BUTT BRASS BAND: Fri., Dec. 20, 8 p.m., $20-$25. Sat., Dec. 21, 4 p.m., $10. Sat., Dec. 21, 8 p.m., $20-$25. Delmar Hall, 6133

yearning power that belies its velvety texture. On this year’s exquisite full-length Intuition: Songs From the Minds of Women, Olatuja radically rethinks a host of familiar and obscure songs, largely written or recorded by women, including Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Sade, Violeta Parra and the Stylistics, whose “People Make the World Go Round” receives a strikingly free-funk arrangement. Olatuja’s mercurial talent knows no bounds. Right Place, Right Times: With a five-day stand of eight shows (including a Thursday matinee) at the premier jazz venue in town, you really have no excuse for missing one of the finest singers working today. —Roy Kasten Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. THE HOOTEN HALLERS: W/ Tortuga, Ryne Watts, Fri., Dec. 20, 8 p.m., $10. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. IAN WALSH AND KEVIN BUCKLEY: Tue., March 17, 10 a.m., $15-$18. The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, 314-533-9900. JOSEPH: Wed., Feb. 12, 8 p.m., $22-$25. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. KAREN CHOI CD RELEASE: Fri., Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m., $10. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. MIDDLE CLASS FASHION: Sat., Dec. 21, 8 p.m., $10. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. NIKKI GLASER: Sat., Feb. 22, 7 p.m., $35. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. OF MONTREAL: W/ Locate S,1, Fri., March 27, 8 p.m., $20-$23. The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, 314-833-3929. POKEY LAFARGE: W/ Nick Africano, Fri., Dec. 27, 8 p.m., $25. W/ Nick Africano, Sat., Dec. 28, 8 p.m., $25. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. POLICA: W/ Wilsen, Wed., April 1, 8 p.m., $15. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. ROBYN HITCHCOCK: Wed., April 15, 8 p.m., $25. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, 314-498-6989. SHOVELS AND ROPE: Wed., April 15, 8 p.m., $25$30. Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-726-6161. SLOAN: Sat., Feb. 15, 8 p.m., $22-$25. Blueberry Hill - The Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314-727-4444. STEF CHURA: Sat., Jan. 18, 8 p.m., $12. Old Rock House, 1200 S. 7th St., St. Louis, 314-588-0505. n

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SAVAGE LOVE QUICKIES BY DAN SAVAGE Hey, Dan: My ex-girlfriend, who I dated for nine months, called me two months after we broke up and accused me of giving her HPV. She was going on, telling me how I needed to tell any future person I had sex with that I have HPV. I’m a 38-year-old man, and I’ve never had any signs or symptoms of any sexually transmitted infections. I know HPV is very common, often clears up on its own, and cannot be tested for in men. What are your thoughts? Do I need to tell sexual partners that I have HPV? Help Person Vacillating Most people are infected with HPV — the human papillomavirus — at some point in their lifetime, most never develop symptoms, and in most cases the infection goes away on its own. There’s an effective and safe vaccine that protects people from HPV strains that can cause cervical, anal, dick or throat cancer — and everyone, regardless of age, should get vaccinated. And since people can develop symptoms years after their initial exposure, there’s no way for your ex-girlfriend to know that you infected her. Or that she didn’t infect you. Every sexually active adult should assume they’ve been exposed to HPV, that they have it or have had it, and conduct themselves accordingly. Hey, Dan: I’m a gay man, and there’s a guy I see on the bus who I find attractive in the extreme. I can’t keep myself from looking at him. Now here comes the but: He smokes. I’ve been toying with an idea to convince him to quit. I want to slip a note into his pocket or backpack with the following proposal: “Let’s make a deal. You give up cigarettes, and in return I’ll give you a blowjob once a week for a year. I’m concerned about your health. Please consider.” Other people who ride the bus also smoke, but I’m not inclined to make them the same offer. But it makes me sad knowing this guy smokes, and I want to get him to stop. If this idea is crazy, please say so — it will help me move on.

Before Undertaking Sincere Tobacco Eradication Deal While your motives are no doubt pure — there’s nothing in this plan for you, BUSTED, just the quiet satisfaction of putting a beautiful stranger on the path to better health — you don’t know if this guy is attracted to you. But he’s likely to react badly to your proposal even if he is. Because while you and I both know you’re being entirely sel ess you re the lorence Nightingale of anonymous/ no-recip blowjobs — this extremely attractive stranger is going to assume you’re a delusional creep with boundary issues, because slipping a note like that into someone’s backpack or pocket (which would require you to technically and legally assault him) is precisely the kind of thing delusional creeps with boundary issues do. And because delusional creeps with boundary issues do this sort of thing, BUSTED, good and decent guys like you can’t do it without being misunderstood. So absent some sign of interest from this attractive stranger — like him staring back at you — you’re going to do what any normal, nondelusional, non-creepy gay guy would do after seeing an attractive stranger on the bus: leave him alone while surreptitiously checking to see if he’s on any of the gay hookup apps. Hey, Dan: My wife is über-vanilla. She is willing to spank me and peg me, but she won’t “take charge” of the situation. She’s doing it to please me and expects me to signal approval throughout the process. As soon as a spanking gets to the point that I’m flinching and wanting it to stop, she stops. We’ve never gotten more than a few strokes into the pegging for the same reason. I don’t really crave pain per se, but I want and need her to be in charge. Seeking Pointers About Needed Kinks One of the top reasons people choose safe words, SPANK, is so that they can scream, “Oh, God! Stop, please! I beg you! It’s too much!” and the person who’s spanking or pegging them knows that since they didn’t hear “collusion” or “giuliani” or “zelensky,” the spanking or pegging can con-

While you and I both know you’re the Florence Nightingale of anonymous/norecip blowjobs — this extremely attractive stranger is going to assume you’re a delusional creep with boundary issues. tinue. Not using the safe word is how a sub signals their approval throughout the spanking/pegging/whatevering process — or, at the very least, how a sub signals their willingness to endure the spanking/pegging/whatevering to please the top. Hey, Dan: My long-term partner and I are in a soft Dom/sub relationship. Neither of us has been sexually or physically abused. I suffer mainly from depression and a little anxiety. Lately when the sex is great, I end up having a panic attack. If I have an intense orgasm and then he goes to town with penetration, there will be a point where I physically shove him off and then my body shakes and my breathing starts getting really fast and I start crying, and basically I’m having a panic attack. I feel terrible for my partner, because it’s not really his fault. But somehow the physical overstimulation gives my body the “okay” to have a panic attack. It’s happened a few times, and my partner is now hesitant to have sex. I want to be able to stop these panic attacks mainly for him. However, when I do have the panic attacks, I want to just cry and let everything out. But of course my amazing partner just wants to comfort me and get it to stop. Please help. Problems Around Nookie-In-

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duced Crisis Panic attacks during sex are something you might want to explore with a therapist or counselor, PANIC. If you’re already seeing someone about your depression and anxiety, please bring these attacks up with your provider. If you aren’t seeing someone, please start seeing someone. As for your partner’s hesitation to have intercourse, well, that’s understandable. But there’s an easy enough work-around: If an intense orgasm followed by go-to-town-style penetration triggers your panic attacks, then either don’t do penetrative sex after you’ve had an intense orgasm or wait until after your partner goes to town to have your orgasm. Hey, Dan: I’ve been in situations where I’m with my better half, rocking her world, giving her an orgasm, coming inside her, and she loves it. The next week, same scenario, she’s moaning and groaning, I explode, and she says to me, “Did you come?” And I’m there thinking, “I thought I was pleasuring her like last time, and she suddenly can’t tell when I exploded inside her?!” What The Actual Fuck Sometimes the person getting uc ed P is payin close attention to the person doing the uc in PD he P is really ta in the PD in the P can see ho close the PD is ettin the P no s ust hen the PD has arri ed ut sometimes the P s eyes roll bac in their head and they oat the uc a ay because the uc in eels that damn ood he P moans the P roans but the P is so lost in the physical and emotional sensations — they’re getting so deeply into the dicking — that it s not until a ter the PD stops uc in them that the P e en reali es the PD is done uc in them. So it’s not a bad sign that your better half sometimes has to as i you came it s a ood sign. Check out Dan’s podcast at savagelovecast.com. mail@savagelove.net @fakedansavage on Twitter ITMFA.org

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GET YOUR MEDICAL MARIJUANA CERTIFICATION FROM ONE OF OUR QUALIFIED DOCTORS Cannabis Doctors US started in Maryland in 2017 we have 6 locations in Maryland. We opened our first office in Missouri in 2019, and have since opened these additional St. Louis area offices. 111 Church St. in Ferguson 3006 S. Jefferson Ave. Suite 140 in St. Louis 9378 Olive Blvd. #312 in Olivette 222 S 2nd St. Suite LL in St Charles 8135 Manchester Rd. in Brentwood All of our Doctors are board certified to give patients a medical evaluation for medical cannabis Recommendation and Certification, it’s the only thing we do.

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