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Sep 2005 / sights and sounds :: email this story to a friend

Those Hot Summer Nights
By Amanda E. Doyle and John Ginsburg


Macy Gray
Live on the Levee
August 19

funky diva with a big brain and a big heart Yeah, we've since heard all the bitchin' about how Live on the Levee sucks and St. Louis sucks and why can't we have nice things? Still, when it's a hot Friday night and a fluffy-fro'd diva is growling about getting her freak on, while Mayor Milquetoast is forced to stand by and listen...well, kids, in my house we call that "a good time." Hometown princess Erin Bode — still not too busy to take every gig that comes her way, despite being the Lou's current It-Girl Designate — offered some perfectly fine standards and originals, including a languid version of Paul Simon's "Graceland." Even she seemed to find humor, though, in her juxtaposition with Gray — the Smurf-voiced, down-n-derrrty songstress — saying she hoped she had sufficiently warmed up the crowd. Gray seemed high, and that was plenty okay with the crowd, who shook their moneymakers and put up with her erratic stage presence...and some truly terrible wardrobing choices for the backup singers. (Think Frederick's of Hollywood babydoll gowns, but not the kind anyone would want. Like, Frederick's of Hollywood clearance babydoll gowns. Ugh.) Gray likes sex. That's a lot of the knowledge that was imparted. You, too, should have some sex. Then some fireworks went off. Heh, heh. No, but really, they did, over what seemed like a scattershot-demographic musical medley, designed to make old, young, black, white, and a little bit country feel at home. How well that worked is questionable, but the fact remains that watching a concert and fireworks against the backdrop of the Mississippi River and the Gateway Arch is always an awesome experience. (AED)


Eat Me in St. Louis: Tales from The Dinner Club
Thai Gai Yang Café, 6250 Delmar Blvd., 314-862-4400

This Dinner Club was nothing short of an adventure, and we also had some food. The evening began innocently enough with a small turnout at the old manse — just 5 of us. Jimski and I were sans significant others, Kelly was determined to be defined as herself (and not "Mary Catherine's co-worker Kelly"), and Brian brought along his British friend Matt. We did what we always do — we wrote down our selections, put them in the hat, and drew. The winner was Lily's Mexican restaurant on South Kingshighway. None of us had been there. We were excited.

We hopped in one car, drove down Kingshighway, turned the corner, and IT WAS CLOSED! We were stunned. This was a Friday night in the big town. We were to call Tim to let him know where to join us, and all we could do was sit in the car with our jaws hanging low. There was no choice but to pick another restaurant, but how? HOW!? We didn't even have the hat anymore, for Pete's sake. We faced nothing short of a constitutional crisis.

It was determined that we would use the same votes that were used originally, and the person who picked Lily's (and this was the most contentious point) would get to submit another vote. The winner: Thai Gai Yang Café on Delmar. We called Tim and headed to the Loop.

som tom from some other restaurant You know this place. It is one of the same-family owned Thai restaurants within two blocks of each other — the others being the stalwart east-of-Skinker Thai Café, the spicy Thai Country Café, and the relatively new Thai Pizza Company. Thai Gai Yang (Gai Yang means roast chicken) has expanded its size in the last year or two, so there was plenty of room for us. There is a wide variety of appetizers and entrees to choose from, with meat or veggie options for many of them. The som tom (papaya salad) was ordered spicy, and it did not disappoint in achieving this description — some folks could barely tolerate a taste due to the heat. The rice noodle tom yum soup was described as "nice" and came in a big bowl. Pad Thai was a popular selection among our group. The chicken version was "like meeting an old friend" said its orderer, the pork was "consistent with impressions," and the vegetable "just fine". The chicken with masman and coconut milk was good and something that "would be ordered again." The dinners came out intermittently, however, which struck us as a little odd and awkward for those not knowing if they should wait or start digging into their dishes. As they say in Thailand, however, "mai pen lai" (which, roughly translated, means "no worries"). Nothing is perfect, but with such an attitude, you should have an enjoyable experience at this restaurant or wherever you dine next.

Eat City. (JG)

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