This Week: Mid-Mod Bowling, Mythory and Vacant Property

by Michael R. Allen

A very busy week starts tonight…

Tuesday, March 15 from 6 – 9 pm
Tropicana Lanes, 7960 Clayton Road

Tonight we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of St. Louis’ best-known postwar bowling alley, Tropicana Lanes. All are welcome! The Tropicana owner, Tino DiFranco, is turning over 26 lanes to Modern STL fans and lowering the price. At 7 p.m., Tino and I will present a program on the history of the Tropicana and bowling culture in St. Louis. We’ve pulled together an illustrated slideshow on Tropicana and Googie architecture in St. Louis, too, which you can watch as you pick up that spare…

St Louis Mythory Tour
Friday, March 18 starting at 5:00 p.m.
Cherokee Street west of Jefferson Avenue

On Friday, March 18th Cherokee street will be alive like never before with art, music, food, drinks, and live demonstrations on almost every block as local artists and business owners collaborate to welcome over 1,500 visitors to St. Louis for the Southern Graphics Conference International.

Emily Hemeyer and I have joined together to create a series of semi-temporary kiosks highlighting bizarre sights and fantastic stories that make St Louis’ history nearly mythological. Kiosks will provide glimpses and directions to curiosities such as the sunken ship, hidden street car entrances, the Pruitt-Igoe wildlife area, buried caves, and mound formations of the ancients. Prior to city-wide distribution, seven kiosks will be “hidden” throughout Cherokee Street for conference-goers to enjoy now and explore later.

Open/Closed: Exploring Vacant Property in St. Louis
Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19
Old North and Hyde Park

Open/Closed: Exploring Vacant Property in St. Louis is an event that readers of this blog need to attend. The city’s first annual conference on vacant property presents an opportunity for community stakeholders, leaders, artists, and activists to strengthen their knowledge of the vacant property issue and to develop new solutions.

Panels will explore successful reuse strategies (economic and creative), community engagement, the role of city government and whether wide-scale reuse of vacant land in St. Louis is feasible. Vacant schools get a stand-alone panel at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, with Landmarks Association’s Assistant Director Andrew Weil included. On Saturday at 4:15 p.m. I have the honor of joining Stephen Acree, Hank Webber and Paul J. McKee, Jr. for a panel on “Regeneration.” With our different approaches and skill sets, the conversation will be provocative, wide-ranging and hopefully informative. Saturday night concludes with a special sneak preview of Bill Streeter’s forthcoming Brick by Chance and Fortune.

I may end this week exhausted, but between the joy of bowling, the amazing display of creativity Friday and the intense examination of our future on Saturday you should end it with a sense that anything is possible in this big city called St. Louis.

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