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BARBARA EAGLETON & HARRIS FRANK – NEWSOME TWOSOME AT THE BEACON’S GALA

Hand-in–hand, gotbucks Harris Frank and activist Barbara Eagleton arrived for the St. Louis Beacon’s gala evening

Harris Frank and Barbara Eagleton

built around a performance of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Widow    of the beloved and former Sen. Tom Eagleton, Barbara tipped  that she has inked for a February date The New York Times op-ed    scribe Joe Nocera for her Women’s Democratic Forum. The topic of his Sunday piece was “the high cost of football teams.” Last year, The Beacon presented H.M.S. Pinafore with a super-star    cast that included Christine Brewer, David Robertson, Tim O’Leary and Hugh Russell, with Chicago Lyric associate conductor Craig Terry at the piano. Terry and Russell were back this year, for the Beacon’s “Mikado” but the 2012 cast was made up  of talented young men and women from our region, including  Keith Boyer as Nanki Poo, Heather Patterson as Yum Yum, Russell as KoKo, Mark Freiman as the Mikado and  Debbie Lennon as Katisha. “It’s the Opera Theatre model,” quipped Beacon associate editor Bob Duffy. “Find the best young talent around and help them build great careers.” Champagne was poured before the show in the Sheldon Concert Hall, and afterward gala-goers moved upstairs to a transformed banquet room, the Cabaret

Shirley Bynum Smith and Ed Wallace

Katishs, for a cabaret starring the inimitable Brewer, who started  off with Great American Songbook tunes. Craig Terry accompanied her, and good guy Ernie Clark spelled him at the grand. Among the    VIPs in attendance was longtime organist and chorus master at St. Michael & St. George Episcopal Church, Ed Wallace, who thrilled to a reunion with Shirley Bynum Smith, who once sang in his choir. The Beacon’s major benefactor Emmy Pulitzer arrived    minutes before the concert with her escort Roy Pfautch.

Emmy Pulitzer with Roy Pfautch

ST. LOUIS SYMPH GETS RAVES IN GOTHAM

The Symph performed to a packed house Saturday night in Carnegie Hall, where the audience gave the orch and maestro David Robertson no less than five curtain calls and a standing ovation at the end of Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique.” The New York Times critic wrote, “, , ,the St. Louis Symphony under Davd Robertson gave a riveting performance. . .The orchestra’s clear, transparent textures emphasized the work’s debt to the Baroque. . .Mr. Robertson led a well-shaped performance. . .Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” symphony played with polished grace, shining brasses and exciting control. . .the third movement’s rousing march showed off this orchestra’s characteristic combination of power and class.”

ST. LOUIS SYMPHONY ON TOUR

The Symph has embarked on a tour that will include a perf at NYC’s Carnegie Hall under the baton of maestro David Robertson, with guest soloist Leila Josefowicz performing a Carneigie premiere of ‘Thomas Ades’ Violin Concerto, Vaughan Williams‘ “Fantasia on a Theme” and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6.  Then, the orchestra heads for Long Island’s Tilles Center and the Fine Arts Center of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. BTW: The Symph’s 2009 recording of the “Doctor Atomic Symphony” has been named the best classical CD of the decade by the Times of London.

WATCH OUT FOR LOOSE ENDS AND FLYING HYPERBOLE!

A literary reception with wine and cheese of which the late Joe Pulitzer told the columnist he didn’t enjoy it because it played hell with the breath. . .Politicians who slap you on the back and say, “Great to see you” and have no idea who you are. . .Chinese fortune cookies are never wise, because all I want them to read is that someone like Sam Fox, Rex Sinquefield, Jack Taylor/Barbara Bryant, Ginny Weldon or Dennis Jones will lay a million bucks on me. . .Some labor unions send out statements that read members are not making enough, while the international presidents are pulling down massive, six-figure salaries. .  . Old-timers still guffaw over the yesteryore sign in the window of Clarence Baris windows on Skinker at Delmar, that read, “Help beautify St. Louis.  Buy a plastic plant today!”. . .Some doctors’ offices at Mo. Bap. medical buildings have plants that are real, but the furniture’s artificial. . .Cong. Lacy Clay is considered ballsy, because he won’t let Sen. Claire McCaskill push him around. . .Just think, that if Dick Cheney sat in a bathtub and opened his veins, he’d freeze to death. . .A Cardinal knows when he’s cut from the team, when he comes into the clubhouse and he’s told they won’t allow visitors. . . It’s thrilling to see a Cardinal pitcher at Morton’s raise a glass of water to his lips and misses. . ..A sign read in a Dogtown bar, “If you drink too much, pay in advance!”. . .My neighbor had a baby-sitter who fed the baby at twelve, two and four. She fed herself at one, three and five. . .At the Ritz Carlton a woman got bruise marks on her womb from the baby holding on until after the wedding. . .When will Starbucks in Creve Coeur begin selling Cafe Latke?. . ..Anytime a customer walks into Protzel’s Deli and orders pastrami on white bread, a Jewish person dies. . .At a visit to my dentist, Dr. Dean West, he told me my cavity was so deep he’s sending me to a podiatrist. . ..Always enjoy dinner at Cardwell’s at Plaza Frontenac, where there are usually a hundred face lifts. . . The best things the columnist can cook are peach cobbler and chili and was asked by a guest, “Which one is this?”. . .Chili will be de rigueur Friday night at the Chase Apartments, when the Symph’s David Robertson will cook his version before invited guests, who will each plunk down $300 for the privilege of devouring it and they might hear how the orch’s $25 million budget will be spent. . ..Whatever became of sex researcher Virginia Johnson? Can you just imagine an expert on sex introduced to an audience celebrating Masters & Johnson, when he would stand up and say, “It gives me great pleasure” and then sit down?. . .Miss the old-fashioned laundries, where they tore off buttons by hand?. . .There’s one guy, whose mother is Catholic and his father is Jewish and when he goes to confession at the Old Cathedral he brings along his lawyer. . .East St. Louis isn’t the safest town for criminals.  One guy held up a bank and got mugged on the way to the getaway car. . .The columnist misses the years, when John Vitale, Tony Giordano and Buster Wortman were fodder for reporters. A joke that made the rounds on The Hill in those days was the guy who was told by one of them to blow up a truck.  He burned his lips on the exhaust.

MO. ATTORNEY GENERAL CHRIS KOSTER

“I’M THE OLDEST BACHELOR UP THERE”

A Wells Fargo building on Market Street, with the character of a packing case, was where the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra gala took place Saturday evening following the concert at Powell Hall. Class and style are hard to define, but if we’re talking about classic quality, that may describe many of the 520 who attended. There was a dazzling explosion of designer wear, that moved with the women, albeit wrinkles and stretch marks peeping daringly. With her hub, Joe, UMSL’s retired chief Blanche Touhill, a self-described historian, confided she’s writing a book on the history of the campus. Carol Walker was there with her husband, former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, Bert Walker (who probably can’t go to funerals, because he’s always smiling), swooned over that nation as “much better than England and France.” Bob Duffy, bossman of The St. Louis Beacon, tipped that the online newspaper will present a performance of the comic opera, H.M.S Pinafore on New Year’s Day at The Sheldon. Heading the cast of the Gilbert-Sullivan work are: Christine Brewer; Symph conductor David Robertson and Opera Theatre’s Tim O’Leary. Duffy escorted Susie Weldon Erlinger of St. Charles. “Don’t write St. Charles,” ordered Erlinger, the heiress of Dr. Virginia Weldon and the late cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Clarence Weldon. Mo. Attorney General Chris Koster escorted Chris Kaplan, wife of the much-too-ill real estater Bob Kaplan. Kaplan whispered in the columnist’s ear, “Bob jokingly told me ‘to go with Chris if that dumb son-of-a-bitch is willing to take you.'” Koster, 46, said he’s been divorced for 10 years and “I’m the oldest bachelor up there (in Jeff City).” His mom, Pat, has been re-married to Bob Thompson and Chris said, “She can still break 50 on the Whitmoor C.C. golf course.” Builder Tony Thompson dined with United Way’s stunning Cheryl Polk, while La Chef Catering’s Sherill Gonterman’s staff was serving salmon and tenderloin. A founder of the Contemporary Art Museum, Susan Sherman fawned over her new business as a fine arts consultant with former nightclub owner/restaurateur/sports drink peddler Jimmie Jamieson. Sherman and Miran Halen, wife of concertmaster David Halen, posed for photos in their Dennis Bass outfits, while Sherman said,”I was taught to model for photos by someone in New York.” Conductor David Robertson and his Israeli-born wife Orli’s sons, Peter, 19, and Johnny, 18, watched with awe as the crowds heaped praise on David as Peter proclaimed, “We’re agnostics.” Dr. Bill Danforth praised the Danforth Plant Science Center for its work and added, “The green revolution has saved a billion lives around the world.” With Danforth were St. Louis American’s Donald and Deena Suggs. Donna Wilkinson described her eye-popping outfit as a creation by fashion designer Bob Mackie – “You know, he does all of Cher’s.” I was seated with retired PR maven Anne Tretter and her partner, Holmes Lamoreaux, owner of 52 percent of Sabreliner Corp, which has just received $5 million in state economic development incentives. The company hopes to add 400 employees after construction of a new 27,000 square-foot hangar to house expanded stripping and painting operations in Perryville, Mo. For the U.S. Army, Sabreliner has just completed turning out clam shell doors for VIP’s use on Blackhawk helicopters and will soon make stabilizer parts for Boeing. The company also does major work for Lockheed, said Lamoreaux. Veiled Prophet Queen of the early 1950s, Julia Terry Barnes, escorted by Lee Zingale and his partner, homebuilder Edgar Ellerman took off, while Grand Center patriarch and former mayor Vince Schoemehl, with his wife, Lois, drove away in their fancy Cad. Vince had only one worry – that he’ll be torn down for a parking lot. The gala was dying with a flurry of wraps, hugs and pecks on the cheeks. Out on Market Street, more than a few guests remembered the good times, when the street was anchored by John Cella‘s American Theater and a Union Station, that drew thousands of customers into its Fred Harvey’s coffee shop. So, throw another buck into the slot and remember the good old days. Oh, hell!

Jimmie Jamieson

COLUMNIST BIDS A FOND FAREWELL TO 2009!

The columnist has made hundreds of New Year’s resolutions over the years – for himself and on behalf of many of you.  Some have taken: some have not.  For himself, the columnist vows better attention to health; more acceptance of the limits of medicine; greater patience with the pace of healing; and a more heartfelt gratitude to doctors, nurses, billing clerks, insurance companies, and (especially) to well-wishers.  He also vows greater attention to correct spelling, accurate timing, complete quoting, standard punctuation, organized note-taking, credible attribution, flattering photography, and graceful corrections.  Of course, that is an annual resolution, made with little real intention of doing anything about the habits of a lifetime gossipist. On your behalf, the columnist attributes (with no foundation and with relatively little malice) the following fantasy resolutions:

  • From President Barack Obama: I’ll do my Christmas vacation next year with Claire, Joe, and their family in St. Louis, as long as Claire promises not to Tweet about it and Joe pays for the Pi.
  • From Governor Jay Nixon:  I’ll ask Peter Kinder, who practically lives there, to tell Georganne the best places to eat, shop, and stay in St. Louis.
  • From Archbishop Robert Carlson:  I’ll make more good news with Catholic Charities than bad.
  • From SLU president the Rev. Larry Biondi:  I’ll commission a statue of a naked Rick Majerus for Bannister House if the Billikens make the NCAA Tournament.
  • From Sen. Kit Bond:  I’ll use my final year to find jobs for all my staff.
  • From County Executive Charlie Dooley:  I’ll ask the nice Greg Boyce for a couple of lumps of clean coal to put into a certain former staffer’s Christmas stocking.
  • From Mayor Francis Slay:  I’ll give a Key to the City to Lady GaGa.
  • From KMOV GM Alan Cohen:  I’ll do infomercials 24/7.
  • From “Donnybrook” founder Martin Duggan:  I’ll start a blog. What’s a blog?
  • From Emerson CEO David Farr and celebrated attorney Linda Martinez:  We had no idea we were named “man and woman of the year” by the Variety Club until we read it in Berger’s column. We hope he’ll be seated with us at the April 24th dinner.
  • From Congressman Lacy Clay:  I’ll check “finally single”  on my Census form next year.
  • From former GOP consultant Rod Jetton: I’ll use the hot air
  • From the Robin  Carnahan campaign to fill a bouquet of green balloons.
  • From Gateway Foundation donor M. Peter Fischer:  I think I’ll do another two blocks.
  • From Build-A-Bear boss Maxine Clark:  I’ll stuff the first marketing person who suggests a children’s video on national health care reform, immigration, or gun control.
  • From former Engineered Air’s Mike Shanahan:  Since that fancy country club in Naples, Fla., has blackballed me and sent me a check that bounced, I think I’ll remain at Old Warson.
  • From the St. Louis Beacon’s Bob Duffy:  We now have our own space in the KETC-TV offices and hope we’ll open an Illinois bureau in Pontoon Beach.
  • From television reporter Alex Fees:  Maybe I can get Donna Wilkinson to follow Steve Schankman on my “Conversations with. . .” in January on HEC-TV – if her stockings aren’t falling.
  • From Congressman Russ Carnahan:  I’ll use my frequent flier miles to send mouthy Ed Martin on a long trip to country without the Internet.
  • From Blues owner Dave Checketts:  I’ll play Ed Goltermann in goal for home games.
  • From Gerard Craft:  I’ll open a Niche on every corner.
  • From WashU chancellor Mark Wrighton:  I’ll get that Top 10 ranking back.
  • From Chief Tim Fitch:  I’ll find a new badge for Floyd Warmann.
  • From KSDK GM Lynn Beall:  I’ll retire or replace any face viewers might conceivably recognize.
  • From Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom:  I’ll fire the coach if he blows our number one draft choice by actually winning another game.
  • From Bob Baer:  I’ll ride the last Metro bus to Chesterfield if the County tax campaign fails in April.
  • From would-be Rams owner Rush Limbaugh:  I’ll buy the Arch Rival Roller Girls instead.
  • From north St. Louis developer Paul McKee:  I’ll mow all my yards and rake yours too.
  • From entrepreneurs Mike and Steve Roberts: We’ll suggest changing the name of St. Louis City to Roberts St. Louis City.
  • From Symphony music director David Robertson:  I’ll buy KFUO and program it with hip-hop, uh. . .classical music.
  • From Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III:  I’ll change the name of Ballpark Village to Holliday Haven.
  • From the Loop’s Joe Edwards:  I’ll open a successful venue on the actual Moon.
  • From Lee CEO Mary Junck:  I’ll improve morale by signing a good contract with the Newspaper Guild.
  • From AmerenUe officials:  I’ll use the phrase “a warm holiday glow” in our next filing with the Public Service Commission to soften them up on a nuclear power rate increase.
  • From Art Museum honcho Brent Benjamin:  I’ll expand.
  • From AB Inbev boss Carlos Britto: I’ll find out if Clydesdales go better with a little lime.
  • From grocer Greg Dierberg:  I’ll open the most popular grocery in a decade and call it. . .Culinaria Too.
  • From the Caseyville and Collinsville police:  Next time we hope we’ll get it right. (At Teezers Bar in Collinsville, a guy walked in with a silver handgun over the holidays and fired off a few rounds and marched out.  Police began looking for a 70 year-old man known to them and after much searching, they decided that the gunman they really needed to look for had the same name but was just 52.  Then, the Caseyville police gave their Collinsville counterparts an entirely different suspect’s name. The guy, who allegedly committed the explosive act, was none of the above: he had been hiding out all that time at Jessi’s Hideout in Collinsville.)
  • From restaurateur Sam Kacar: I hope to open a third Trattoria Branica in Chesterfield Valley by mid-January and then focus on a fourth in the CWE or Webster Groves.
  • From former airport director Dick Hrabko: I’m going to get those slots installed at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport.
  • From Wind Capital exec Tom Carnahan:  I’ll use the hot air
  • From the Roy Blunt campaign to generate electricity.
  • From uber-flack Joan Quicksilver:  I’ll nominate Jerry Berger as Media Person of the Year.
  • From affable CVC’s Kitty Ratcliffe:  I resolve I’ll ask for another convention center. (The woman has garnered kudos for signing such major confabs as the Church of God in Christ, that brought 40,000 here and has inked its convention for St. Louis in 2011 and 2012 – away From Memphis.
  • From all of this column’s many sources: We’ll not turn a blind eye to any item that might amuse St. Louis in Jerry Berger’s website.

Caveat lector and Happy New Year!

MR. NITELIFE

Onward to Powell Symphony Hall to catch a few notes from the music of composer John Williams.  Atop a staircase, I looked on as BJC neuro-radiologist Dr. Colin Berdeyn fielded a battery of cell phone calls.  He said he specializes in brain aneurisms. I could’ve had an aneurism from the thunderous applause and the begging for more after the “Star Wars” selection, that caused conductor David Robertson to announce, “This is the last piece, unless you clap a lot!”  And, the beat went on. Another beat went on, as I listened to Johnny Rabbit on KMOX, airing an old Tommy Dorsey piece and then a stop at the Old Original Pancake House. Asked why the pancakes taste so fresh, manager Gordon Manus replied, “All batters are freshly made each day, unlike the other pancake houses that get batter from bags. And, now we’re testing biscuits and gravy.”   And if music writer David Mermelstein is correct, St. Louis audiences of classical music will not be hearing any news about the St. Louis Symph music director David Robertson’s imminent departure.  Mermelstein, who writes about classical music for the Wall Street Journal, penned a widely republished article last week about maestro Robertson’s abiding love affair with his St. Louis musicians.


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