At 2:35 a.m. on Saturday, March 18, Asia Francis delivered a six-pound, fifteen-ounce baby girl. But this wasn't just any run-of-the-mill procreation. Samiah Wynn's birth was sponsored by Globat.com, a California-based Web site-hosting company and winner of Francis' pregnancy auction on eBay. Francis, who's 21 years old and lives in Lake St. Louis, received $1,000 and reams of publicity in return for begetting Samiah Wynn while sporting a Globat temporary tattoo on her belly.
Unreal: Is Globat.com the father?
Francis: No. Just the sponsor of her birth. When I was in the delivery room, we posted advertising for them. Their sister site, DefyingGravity.com, is going to show some video of the birth.
Are you worried about exhausting Samiah's fifteen minutes of fame before she's a week old?
No. It'll be something she can look back on.
How so? Describe her thought process eighteen years from now.
She'll know that she was loved when she came into the world, that we were excited for her, that we support her.
So without Globat.com's support you wouldn't love or support her?
No, I'm not saying that at all. This is my way of showing everybody how much I care about her.
Tell us everything you know about Globat.com.
That's a Web-hosting site. They gave me free Web hosting for life, to set up a site for her.
If Monty Burns' nuclear power plant wanted to sponsor your next birth, would you go for it?
Probably. It depends on the circumstances. I wouldn't let an atheist cult sponsor the birth of my child.
If Anne Geddes wanted to pose Samiah inside of, say, the rind of a very large musk melon, would you let her?
If Unreal gave you $1,000.50, would you be willing to renounce Globat.com and everything they stand for?
Oh no. It wasn't really all about the money, it was about showing everyone how excited I was.
Art of the Matter
At 5 a.m. on the last day of August 2004, John Dulick leaped off Eads Bridge. But he didn't die upon impact, nor did he drown. Instead, the current pulled him several miles down the Mississippi River. Finally, near East Davis Street on the St. Louis side, tugboat operators pulled him to safety.
During a three-week stint in Saint Louis University hospital's psychiatric ward, Dulick was diagnosed as bipolar. Upon his release, he returned to his home in Skinker-DeBaliviere, where he embarked upon a career in neighborhood activism.
Dulick, who works part-time as a home healthcare aide and sports taped-together glasses frames beneath an orange stocking cap, would rise early to pick up trash. At a bus stop he replaced a broken pane with a piece of cardboard and, then, for good measure, taped up articles from Entertainment Weekly for commuters to read while waiting. Next Dulick took on local crime, posting schedules for a phony neighborhood watch and hanging a sign from a tree: "Danger, Criminals, Enter at Your Own Risk."
And he transformed a vacant city-owned lot at the corner of Pershing and Des Peres Avenues into a veritable work of public art.
The installation featured a hodgepodge of found objects, including a wheelchair, a mannequin and a disembodied gorilla head. CDs and laser discs dangled from the branches of one tree. Another bore marionettes made from sticks; a third was covered in MetroLink schedules and surrounded by sandbags and a traffic cone.
"Initially it was to try to make the neighborhood more safe," says Dulick, who made weekly modifications. "To me there was an artistic component, but I just wanted to get a laugh, mostly."
Some neighbors loved it. "I liked the creativity and the color, especially during the [winter]," says Mary K. Cullen, adding that Dulick's lot provided a conversation piece. "It was an opportunity for neighbors to talk to each other," she says.
Pershing co-op resident Joshua Chupack is filming a documentary about Dulick for a film class project at Washington University. "He's an interesting guy," Chupack explains. "He believes that if he's paying attention to the neighborhood, it gives the impression to potential criminals that it's being watched and they should move on."
"I think it's an eyesore," counters neighbor Paul Michaelson, a high school social studies teacher whose wife complained about Dulick's work to the Skinker-DeBaliviere Community Council. "It kind of looks like a lynching."
Last Tuesday the exhibition was dismantled. "They were very kind," Dulick says of his encounter with workers from the City of St. Louis Parks Division. "They asked me if I wanted my materials back." (The parks division didn't return a call from Unreal requesting comment.)
"I'll think of other ways to express myself," he adds. "I think there'll be some sort of a groundswell from the neighborhood for repeating some of that stuff."
Unreal has always loved a good "trend story" you know, that brand of journalism, favored by daily newspapers and by magazines like Time and Newsweek, that spots the Epidemic du Jour, be it meth or boys who fail in school. So it was with chin-stroking glee that we delved into the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's March 20 stem-winder, "Girls Gone Mild," which informs us that "smaller groups and more chaperones appear to be the trends in spring break travel for high school students this year."
Jeez. Spring break appears to have taken a long tumble indeed since Steve Basset uttered a generation's mantra in that 1983 paean to off-campus debauchery, Spring Break: "Beer's like...fuckin' great, ya know?"
Then again, according to a survey recently released by the American Medical Association, many students persist in consuming prodigious quantities of alcohol during spring break. That's right: alcohol.
The AMA's findings may shock you; please bear in mind that Unreal presents them as a public service.
(Fuckin' great, ya know?)
74 percent of respondents said women use drinking as an excuse for outrageous behavior.
More than half of the women surveyed (57 percent) said being promiscuous is a way to fit in.
83 percent of the women had friends who drank the majority of the nights while on spring break.
More than half of the respondents (59 percent) said they know friends who were sexually active with more than one partner.
Nearly three out of five of the women said they know friends who had unprotected sex during spring break.
One in five respondents regretted the sexual activity they engaged in during spring break; 12 percent felt forced or pressured into sex.
84 percent of respondents thought images of college girls partying during spring break may contribute to an increase in females' reckless behavior.
86 percent agreed these images may contribute to dangerous behaviors by males toward women.
92 percent said it was easy to get alcohol while on spring break.
Two out of five women agreed access to free or cheap alcohol or a drinking age under age 21 were important factors in their decision to go on a spring break trip.