After a year-plus of publishing this e-magazine, we call out some of our favorite sites featuring St. Louis-related content, of one sort or another, from around the region and around the Web. Sometimes, it's overtly St. Louis. Sometimes, it's a bit hidden. Most of the following, though, bring a degree of amusement or education. Ideally, you'll find a little of both.
Musician Jon Varner brings a little of this and little of that to bear on this site, with a weblog and special subsections of content, including a series of quick-yet-provocative restaurant reviews that'll have you arguing with the author if only in your head for hours. (Lemon Grass only a "B"? Heresy!) Possibly the most intriguing section of the site is "Signs of Gravois," which samples the eclectic neon offerings of St. Louis' most notoriously curving road. The site also serves as home to Varner's latest band, The Tremors, with a couple of MP3s. Fun and colorful, with a wide variety of diversions.
This one's compliments of J-Po, once known to play the guitar and sing, with bands such as Johnny Magnet and Sexicolor. This grab-bag site offers a quirky selection of odds and ends, including several tracks with J-Po, under various guises. Also found: a short essay on a strange encounter at the new Black Thorn, and a page given over to the artwork of songwriter Marcia Pandolfi. The fact that there's not a ton of content here almost makes the page more intriguing.
This is a collection of photographs from around the City, taken by "PeteGray," a poster to the STLexclusives Forum on STLtoday.com. It seems that anytime a debate breaks out on that forum, Gray has photos up and running within a day. Those are compiled here, with a heavy emphasis on Downtown architecture, and the antithesis of quality urban design, parking garages. Sometimes, debates over issues like the Century can get bogged down in competing facts and figures. These pics often reduce the arguments down to the right and wrong of how to shape a built environment.
Once more on the Century. This site's full of pep and vinegar when it comes to the Century debate, with lots of the latter for Our Town's Mayor. The digital cut-and-paste job on his quote regarding an alternative plan for the historic building is priceless. Chronicling the now long-running debate of the fate of the marble structure, this site's a textbook example of building a solid, attractive, workable site around a specific issue or initiative.
This isn't a strictly St. Louis site, though a handful of local bands appear on the pages, including at least three on the first gallery page: Joia, the late Brand New Broken Homes and Pale Divine. The site's mission is pretty simple: mock bad, pretentious and cliché band photos. With pithy one-liners and the promo mugs themselves, these shots are often a riot.
A frequent contributor to thecommonspace.org, Carey's site serves as a professional calling card, of sorts, featuring one must-read, "The Column." Here, she muses on topics great and small, adding healthy doses of wit to each. And, if you need a writer-for-hire, she offers plenty of other clips, too. For the casual reader, though, start with "The Column."
A one-time St. Louisan (you can read about her time in St. Louis here), Spike Gillespie is the author of a memoir, "All the Wrong Men and One Perfect Boy," and dozens of Internet columns. Frustrated by the lack of response by the publishing industry to her first novel, Gillespie opted for the '00s version of DIY culture: publish the damned book yourself, on the Web. Spread out over 16 chapters, it's a sharp, amusing read, featuring plenty of Spike's trademark barbs. If not sated at the end of those, you can turn to a shorter, zingier version of her writing at spikeg.com. If Austin gets dull, Spike, come on back!
Affiliated directly with the newsprint Sauce Magazine, saucecafe.com offers a selection of writings on local food and drink. Venues are reviewed, chefs and interviewed and new spots are given the once-over. Several veteran writers pen regularly for the site, like Joe Pollack, the longtime jack-of-all-cultural-trades at the Post-Dispatch. The piece you'll want to check most often might be "Bytes," where little blips of info are given as they come in. Is a place opening after some delay? Is another joint closing, with little advance word? Get the gossip in this corner of niche-oriented cyberspace.