Eighty years ago, Mae West performed in “The Belle of the 90s” in which she sang in her inimitable, adenoidal contralto “When a St. Louis Woman Comes Down to New Orleans.” West was a sex symbol and still is known by her sagely comments such as, “It’s better to be looked at than to be overlooked.” Perhaps her most memorable line was, “Come up and see me sometime.” The gaudy sex symbol, comedienne, actress and writer died in 1980 while living in her apartment building in Hollywood. Among her tenants – our town’s Stan Kann, who regaled pals with tales of his landlady whose career spanned seven decades.
These things I like: The fetching name, Mama Josephine, attached to the tiny, but dynamite restaurant on Shaw Avenue, that alludes to serving Italian fare. Not so. Some of the best soul food ever is served there. Ask connoisseur Alan Protzel, who’s fallen in love with Josephine’s pies – both pecan and sweet potato. . .Past memories of Produce Row, notable for sweat, spinach leaves and rats bigger than cats. . .The CWE, before cranes hoisted girders out of a sea of mortgages. It’s hard to kick nostalgia even when buildings rise all around to symbolize the futility and fatuity.
MORE TO LIKE: A dizzying weekend of parties drawing hundreds of do-gooders like the International Humanitarian of the Year do at the Four Seasons at which the World Affairs Council honored Shriners Hospitals for Children. KSDK’s Pat McGonigle was billed as emcee; County Exec Charlie Dooley worked the room like any devoted, tiresome and incumbent candidate should; awards were presented to Ted Dearing, Shriners’ chairman of the board of governors and the hospitals chief of staff, Dr. Perry Schoenecker. Guests: David and Jennifer Pisarkiewiz; Fakisa and George Silvo; Susan and John Wade; Shelley and Phil DeFord; Burt Follman; Deborah and honoree Ted Dearing; Jesse and Lexie Tampow; David and Channie Clark; Joseph Malec.
ONWARD: That was Peter Neidorff dodging photographers like a pinball as he begged, “Don’t take my picture!” The omnipresent Niedorf was lost in the sell-out crowd of 900 for the Urban League’s Salute to Women Gala at the Renaissance (almost) Grand Hotel. Newly-installed president and CEO Michael McMillan was greeted with hosanahs as he and others presented the awards to: Christie Griffin; Nicole Colbert Botchway; Doris Graham; Ozella Foster-Robinson; Melanie Chambers; Esther Haywood; Darlene Davis; Barbara Washington; Brittany Packett; Trish Muyco-Tobin; St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones; Donna Knight; Shannon Bagley; Kathleen Mazzarella; Glenda Hatchett (star of TV’s “Judge Hatchett” and Anna Maria Horsford.
Fwhoosh! The columnist was off and running to yet another gala Saturday night – the “Justice for All Ball” at the Chase Park Plaza. There were two others the same night – “The Heart Ball” and “Ballet Ball” (too many balls!). Word swept among a gaggle of Demos that the marriage of Jane and Dick Gephardt has gone kaput! (Hope it’s an untrumor). Hundreds of lawyers and their guests stormed the pre-dinner auction at which the most amazing item valued at $`14k was open for bids.
It included a five night package to London (at the Savoy) and Paris (the Royal Monceau). Scribe and event co-chair Gail Appleson was there with her beau, Guillermo Rodriguez and Jason Sengheiser got kudos from Mo. Supreme Court Judge Richard Teitelman for his recent National Young Lawyer Award from the American Bar Association. Funds raised at the ball help advance Legal Services of Eastern Missouri’s mission of providing high quality legal assistance and equal access to justice for low-income people.
Need a meltdown from the winter’s woes? Why not head to Palm Beach where BrickTops has opened. Among those hanging out at the hot spot recently: octogenarian beer heiress Carlota “Lotsie” Busch Webster; Rent-A-Car billionaire Jack Taylor; Lord Charles Spencer-Churchill with Sarah Goodbody; Henry Ford II’s widow Kathleen Ford. If your family owned a Model T Ford, your folks probably shopped at drug stores such as Katz, Wolf-Wilson, Park’s, Rexall and Glaser’s.They were all too familiar with these confections: Zagnut, Baby Ruth, Licorice Cutouts, Whiz “the best nickel there izzz”, jawbreakers, Chocolettos, Cho-Cho bars, Sen-Sen, wax bottles with sweet syrup, malted milk balls, Barbako’s, Frilingo’s, Busy Bee, Mavrakos, Tauber’s. Ice cream from Esquire, Reed’s, Meadow Gold, Velvet Freeze, Pevely and Lady Borden. Popular cigs of the day: Marvels, Wings, Coffeetone, Philip Morris, Old Gold, Kent “with the micronite filter,” Kools. Apparel for women: Three Sisters, Cunningham’s, Garland’s, Lockhart’s, Sally Ann. For men: For Men: Zorensky’s, Werner Hilton, Bond’s, Ripley, Richman Bros., Boyd’s and Weil’s.
Ain’t nostalgia fun?
Cequel III was not only the proud sponsor of Stages’ “Applause! Gala” Friday night at the Ritz Carlton, but its founder and his wife, Jerry and Judy Kent, have become the namesake of the musical treasure’s new home in a former synagogue building. (If you came in late, Jerry co-founded Charter.) Stages has become regionally-renowned for its creativity and innovations in musical theater.
The formal event scored a triumph by drawing the company’s ardent supporters. Unsung heroes on the scene: Stephen Bourneuf, associate artistic director and Vince Pesce, director of education – both Broadway vets – and Eric Pugh, marketing director. Other faces: Larry Parres and Vicky Soffner; Ed and Janet Wheatley; Pam and Bob Horwitz; Jordan, Ally, Lisa Paige Nichols; Michael Morvaso and John Flack; Ellen, Dan and Linda Gibson; Connor Krabe; Sarah Knoblich; Jeffrey Flicker; John and Barbara Hammond; Greg and Sharon Dosmann; Julie and Jason Bataglia; Vicky Soffner with Larry Parres….
Speaking of entertainment, Lindenwood’s J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts has booked: The Haifa Symphony (Feb. 25); the Moscow Festival Ballet (Jan. 25); Peter Nero: The Gershwin Project (March 8); the national tour of the musical, “The Addams Family” (April 6) and the national touring company of “Memphis:
The Musical (April 21)…..Over at Pumpernickel’s, boulevardier John Levis chatted on about attending the 80th reunion of the Rambler Rugby Club at the Racquet Club East, while his pal, Heartland Bank’s Larry Schiffer, was toasted on his wedding to the former Jeanie Manness. Sally and John celebrated their 28th anniversary. Schiffer revealed that his nephew, the skilled Scott Miller, has become chief of Kadee Candlesafter tossing in his post with Koplar Communications.
Schiffer’s Heartland Bank is in a holding pattern to merge with Effingham, IL-based Midland States Bank, after which the entity will be named Midland States Bank. . .Nearby, was the charming Angle family: David, Tonia and footballer Braxton.