Lydia at the St. Louis Art Museum


No movie themed “loosely” around St. Louis would be complete, without touching upon a common “keystone” so integral to the experience of living around these parts. What would it be, “The Arch” grounds by the rolling banks of the deep Mississippi?

Well, maybe. . . . .

But let’s think, “more cosmopolitan”. What brings in tourists, “the arts & croissant crowd”– from corporate investment, foundation grants, and the loose-legged “creative-class”? And that would be nothing other than “The Art Museum”.

Clearly making St. Louis a part of “BEETLEJUICE-2” is more, than about “Monster Truck Rallies” and “Hee-Haw jokes”. Or for any self-respecting punk-princess of alternative street cred, who would see—ascending the long, flat-steps and pushing through the tinted swinging-doors into the wide, spacious foyer.

See it now, the concourse of marble floors and babbling, frothing fountains—where Lydia sits on a bench and crosses her ankles, sketching into a sheet of paper and affecting great concentration. Like an underground artist and gamin, the fluorescent smells of paints and easels on the periphery of success as everyone is “a starving artist” with a suffering creative-stance.

The sky-light, shines above through blue, knitted stained-glass– a shaft of light (– like a cold glow) falling onto “our artiste”. The copper-green statues stand like classical gods and satyrs as passersby walk past, through coins in a fountain and casually, grabbing pamphlets from the information kiosk, all sepia tones and public high-class as the air sparkles with the smell of cleanser, and well-scrubbed upkeep.

A community gift, offered to the tramping, public pace with the guarantees of First Amendment expression, yet the good taste of a curator’s exclusive stamp, as “the common mud” is raised, to pedestals like hooded-eyed lilting, a hand to brow for the drama of earthly, depressive tones.

It becomes “the coinage, of things” for young people to affect themselves, like “a citizen of the world”. Thereby, twisting around Mobius-like messages of creativity and independent-thinking, like “another twist in the tail”, unto the dodge-play of arguments like relativistic puff-balls, and edicts for the profundity of self-expression where “you can never be wrong”. . . . . like a game “you can never lose”.

And there, a statue of Saint Louis, himself salutes away like a trotting, rallying king of old—down the fairway of “Art Hill” in our dusty, chronicled, and storied course of Western civilization— as the city skyline hangs misty, and mysterious in chalky grays and peach-hues like the elevated reaches of culture.

For this is “Forest Park”, a swell of sheer public-acreage squaring-out across the city, a sylvan wilderness of boating-lakes, golf-links, and glens of tress as bicyclists and rollerbladers whisk down the paved trails, never far from the gentrified areas. So much of this space is defined by the edifices and structures left-over from during the great 1904 World’s Fair like a scattering of remnants, like bones. A uniquely American and old European air, testament to the gray photographs of municipal history, the landmarks “that never change” as stuff is added-on, true to the hard, nugget-like legacy of this run-down industrial expanse, never far from the gentrified areas of culture and money.

Yet mannered tolerance “won’t put-up with Beetlejuice, for long” and he has his own side of the county. Stay tuned, for the next installment as we’re “filling in the blanks” for a great movie, as you’re the fan-base I write, for. Keep those hits, coming!

Lydia at the St. Louis Art Museum

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