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Staying Informed And Engaged In 2013

Continuing the theme from Saturday (Political Engagement & Social Media) I want to talk more about engagement. Many people are working hard to make a difference in St. Louis, each doing their best. Some are involved in more than one effort.

Some seemed upset that last week’s City Affair panel discussion on political engagement wasn’t mentioned in the places they check, so they didn’t know about the event in advance. To help out here is how you can contact some local mainstream media:

This may come as a complete shock, but the people who work hard to put together events like City Affair, Pecha-Kucha STL, etc. don’t actually get to dictate what ends up on mainstream media. Media outlets have consultants, market research and assignment editors that decide what to tell you about.

Here at UrbanReviewSTL.com I’m the only one responsible for what is, and isn’t, presented here. I generally don’t blog about an event before it happens, I like to attend, take a pic or two, then maybe post something about it afterwards. That’s what I did on Saturday.  That said, I do share additional information via the UrbanReviewSTL Facebook page and Twitter account. When event organizers send me ads for upcoming events I run those for free. For example: Wall Ball 2013, an fundraiser for Saint Louis City Open Studio  and Gallery.

ABOVE: Top search results for City Affair Political Engagement with the Facebook event at the top of the list followed by nextSTL calendar , the City Affair Tumblr blog and a repost of my saturday post. Click image to view the nextSTL.com calendar.
ABOVE: Top search results for City Affair Political Engagement with the Facebook event at the top of the list followed by nextSTL calendar , the City Affair Tumblr blog and a repost of my saturday post. Click image to view the nextSTL.com calendar.

Not on Facebook or Twitter? Sorry, I can’t call or mail you a postcard to tell you about everything going on in the city you might find of interest. Those who spend hours putting together interesting events also don’t have the time to call you. Another way to stay informed is to stop into places where much activity originates, such as St. Louis Curio Shoppe and STL-Style, both on Cherokee St. RSS is the best way to stay current with many blogs/websites, see What is RSS? to help you get started.

The biggest problem with many of these events is you’d think by those attending the city was 98% white middle class. Last week I told a couple of other gay friends how well represented gay men were at the event, females comprised at least half the crowd, that’s good. But racial minorities were very few, not remotely close to our demographics, not good at all.

Not sure why these events are overwhelmingly white.  According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project blacks use Twitter at twice the rate of whites, hispanics have a slight lead over whites too:

Several demographic groups stand out as having high rates of Twitter usage relative to their peers:

  • African-Americans — Black internet users continue to use Twitter at high rates. More than one quarter of online African-Americans (28%) use Twitter, with 13% doing so on a typical day.
  • Young adults — One quarter (26%) of internet users ages 18-29 use Twitter, nearly double the rate for those ages 30-49. Among the youngest internet users (those ages 18-24), fully 31% are Twitter users.
  • Urban and suburban residents — Residents of urban and suburban areas are significantly more likely to use Twitter than their rural counterparts.

I suppose the fact the last tweet from the City Affair Twitter account (@CityAffair) was on October 7, 2011. Looks like they need to review this wikiHow on How to Link Tumblr to Twitter. But even once tweeting again I realize the composition of those in attendance isn’t going to change without more effort.

But it’s 2013, don’t check your postal mailbox for a newsletter.

— Steve Patterson


PrideFest 2013 Move Downtown Controversial

Peoples often dislike when an event that’s been held in a location for a long time moves to a different location, a recent example is the Annie Malone May Day Parade:

The parade moved downtown in 2006 in hopes of increasing community-wide participation, but has struggled to maintain the level of support it once enjoyed when the parade was held in north St. Louis. (KMOX)

I never saw the parade in north St. Louis but I have seen it a few times downtown, so more of the St. Louis community has participated.

A marching band heads east on Market Street during the 2010 Annie Malone parade on May 16, 2010.

Now we have a very similar controversy about the 2013 PrideFest parade, the annual LGBT event:

Pride St. Louis, Inc. is making some exciting changes in its 34th year. This year, the festival will be held in the heart of downtown St. Louis, at Soldiers Memorial. That means tourists and visitors will be able to enjoy the festival as well as taking in the amenities and iconic scenery of the Gateway City. (Vital Voice)

But not everyone in the LGBT community supports the change of venue from South Grand and Tower Grove Park. A Facebook page called Keep Pride in Tower Grove was started  and a rally will be held today at 5pm and then at 7pm try to convince the Pride board to reconsider the change (event).

ABOVE: From the 2011 PrideFest parade on south Grand

When I moved to St. Louis in 1990 as a 23 year-old gay man the CWE was the center of the LGBT community. In 1998 the community was in uproar when the parade was moved from its longtime home of Euclid/Forest Park to South Grand/Tower Grove Park. The event has an interesting history.

History does repeat itself.

— Steve Patterson


Rethinking Our Streets: The Value of Flexible Street Design with John Norquist

Tonight should be an interesting event:

CNU President/CEO John Norquist

The event will be held on Thursday, November 29, 2012 starting with a 6 PM reception followed by a 6:30 PM lecture and discussion. Event will be held at Steinberg Hall Auditorium at Washington University at Forsyth Blvd and N Skinker Blvd, St. Louis, MO. The nearest Metrolink Station is Skinker.

 Space is limited. Please click here to RSVP.

Streets can be our greatest asset for building and connecting community. On Thursday, November 29, 2012, John Norquist will discuss how flexible street design can build economic value and enhance quality of life. Norquist will talk about the value of designing streets for people and the implications in the case of I-70 and the proposed South County Connector. He will also discuss CNU and ITE’s Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares manual and how to apply sustainable transportation policies in St. Louis. (CNU)

Other mentions of the event said it wasn’t necessary to RSVP. This CNU event is locally supported by City to River and Trailnet.

I first heard John Norquist speak in 2006, he’d only recently completed four terms as the mayor of Milwaukee (1988-2004) at that point. I was fortunate enough to sit next to him on a bus trip to New Town that day. I heard him again later that year at the 2006 Rail-Volution conference in Chicago, there he argued with architect Jan Gehl about pedestrian malls in North America.

— Steve Patterson


Balloon Glow Tonight, Race Tomorrow

September 14, 2012 Events/Meetings, Featured 1 Comment

Tonight (9/14) hundreds (thousands?) will converge on Central Field in Forest Park for the annual Balloon Glow, a tradition the night before the Great Forest Park Balloon Race.

ABOVE: The 2011 Balloon Glow

The Balloon Glow starts at 7pm and ends around 8:30pm:

The Balloon Glow offers spectators a breathtaking view of inflated balloons lighted by their burners. Get up close and walk around the balloons. Refreshments and Food are available. The event will conclude with the PNC Bank fireworks finale display beginning at approximately 9pm.

ABOVE: Up close last year.

If you plan to attend I suggest you think about your route into the park because driving up to the event isn’t an option (a disabled drop-off location exists).  Last year I took the #10 MetroBus to the Central West End MetroBus Transit Center and crossed over kingshighway into the park. Many bus routes also end up at this transit center (adjacent to the CWE MetroLink station).

ABOVE: Families making their way to Central Field along the paths last year. Click image for event map.

The “hare” balloon launches at 4:30pm on Saturday.

– Steve Patterson


Happy Labor Day!

September 3, 2012 Events/Meetings, Featured Comments Off on Happy Labor Day!

Going to watch the Labor Day parade today? The last day of bike racing in the Gateway Cup? Gotta work?

ABOVE: Labor Day Parade in downtown St. Louis 2009

Whatever you do today, have a great Labor Day!

— Steve Patterson