The Gateway to the West: an Outsiders Perspective

I was in The Lou this past weekend, this is a synopsis and overview of the weekends events, as submitted to Alive Magazine.
The first thing I noticed is that there are a lot of festivals and a lot of culture surrounding St. Louis. The city is definitely a lively one. One that feels fully alive, whether good or bad, it changes and escalates quickly. Being a person who travels quite a bit, I find this most exquisite and intriguing, especially to find in a city within the United States.

My friends and I traveled here from New York City, Jefferson City, and Milwaukee for an art reception opening that Sunday. We had the whole weekend to explore.

Our welcoming committee was a group of volunteers and festival organizers in The Grove. After helping out we stood in line for 45 minutes for two full racks smothered in four delectable sauces at Pappy’s Smokehouse. Our tummy’s full we went to drop off our suitcases at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel so we could continue our exploration. A quick drop-off and car exchange, we take off back to The Grove for the true Wampus Arts & Music Festival Experience.

This story goes deeper though, as with every life changing event, there are layers. Let us delve a bit beneath the surface.

We enter the gates, they stamp our hands, flashes of light, we approach the doors of a hollow room. The violinist begins his set. The crowd is scattered at best, but the man stands in front of the audience and tells us that everything that comes out of his violin is a spiritual channeling of whatever’s supposed to come out of his soul in those moments. I bite. I sit down on the floor. A cloud of smoke fills my peripherals, the man with the cigarette tubes — Oh, how I love the sweet strawberry scent!

A few more people join me in this musical sit-in. A fairy creature emerges from the crowd and dances for us her angelic song. She moves, oh lord, how she moves in mysterious ways! The lights on her wings alive, swaying to the music, each a different wavelength than the next. She disappears around the corner. Dixon’s Violin thanks her and every shaking soul body in the room becomes more attuned to what’s happening.

An inkling feeling in my intuitive gut, I reach out for my friends hand and tell her to do the same to the stranger sitting next to her, she tells him to pass it on and we become a chain-linked fence of love absorbing all the positive energy and reflecting it back to the power chords he strums through that beautiful electric violin. He assures us the power in following our dreams rather than living someone else’s. We applaud.

Another magical lady steps forward and greets us with her rainbow light entourage. Sensory overload, the hula-hoop seems to speak it’s own language because when it spins up and back down again it seems to spell out words that I can’t quite understand. She disappears. The music slows down. Time regains consciousness, slowing the momentum and we are pleasantly plopped back into reality.

Saturday had us greeted by a beer crawl in both The Grove and Cherokee Street neighborhoods. If I must suggest the flavor that kept my taste buds spinning I would certainly select the Strawberry Wheat Ale from Public House Brewing Company. We were given free samples of kombucha, sweet sticky rice, a turquoise hair extension, magazines, stickers, glasses. We sang an Adele style karaoke with a street performer across the street from the South City Art Supply Co. We danced in the street with a wedding party coming out of church. Then when all was said and done and the sun set again, we found ourselves in an Uber to the other side of town once more.

Our last day in The Lou was spent crossing the bridge to St. Charles for the opening of Freedom Imagined, Freedom Lived at the J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts at Lindenwood University.

If I were to speak of any city in which anything can and will happen, I would certainly suggest St. Louis, for those that are bold and daring.


2 thoughts on “The Gateway to the West: an Outsiders Perspective

  1. serenasinclair says:

    This sounds so much like an adventure I would have. I’ve only visited St. Louis once and it was part of a family vacation. I’d love to go back on my own now to explore it my own way. Happy as always to read your stories! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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