The tournament, which runs through March 29, preys on St. Louis' classic-rock obsession by pitting artists against one another in an effort to crown the Most Supremely Rocking Band Ever in the History of the Universe. (Bracket sheets are available at www.kshe95.com.) "It's a spin on the NCAA basketball tournament," explains veteran rock jock and KSHE program director Rick Bayless, who organized the tourney. The system's simple: Matchups play out three times daily, at 4, 4:30 and 5 p.m. KSHE plays two songs by each competitor and invites listeners to call in and vote. Despite the dumb name -- and the fact that Bayless didn't take the trouble to seed the bands, which led to first-round matchups such as Hagar-Hendrix and Pink Floyd-Van Halen -- the tourney is making for some interesting office arguments around town. "It's been a hoot," Bayless reports. "People are copying the bracket and doing their own pools."
Several perennial powerhouses made it to the big dance: Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC (upset in the first round last week by Stevie Ray Vaughan), the Stones, Rush, Van Halen, Lynyrd Skynrd, Def Leppard and Judas Priest. Plenty of pretenders, as well: Collective Soul (yeah, right), Foreigner, Puddle of Mudd, Billy Squier (but don't be surprised if he makes it to the Sweet Sixteen) and Montrose.
Unreal, who has been known to wager a week's pay on a VFW hall mouse race, quickly filled out our bracket while downing the day's first PBR. We've got our office-pool buckage on a Led Zep-Van Halen championship, with Rush and Hagar rounding out the Final Four. But that's just us. "Without a doubt, Pink Floyd will dominate from start to finish," one of our Stag-drinking cronies predicts. "They still tour, they still release albums. Dads who get high to Dark Side beget kids who get high to The Wall. Fathers and sons can watch The Wall while toking up, then finish off the night with that Wizard of Oz/Dark Side trick. No real competition here, Floyd is too strong."
Lost in Translation
This Friday at 10 a.m., in front of the Craft Alliance building on Delmar Boulevard, University City officials will unveil two "colossal sculptures" by German artist Dietrich Klinge. The pieces, six-and-a-half-foot-tall human forms titled "Grosser PfuBrub" and "Polyanthe," are on loan from the Gateway Foundation, a local philanthropic organization that fosters cultural and artistic activities in the Lou. According to U. City public relations manager Monica McFee, the city is hoping to make the temporary installment a permanent one.
Not so fast, bureaucrats: Unreal cornered Herr PfuBrub for a little pre-unveiling Q&A, during which the surly soon-to-be U. City resident issued the following statement:
"Waschen Sie Ihren Esel mit einem Federwisch? Ich. Ich kann nicht duschen, denn ich aus Stein bestehe. Wer schickte mich zu dieser Allee? Ich verstehe dein 'Toasted Ravioli' nicht. Ich bin nur eine enorme deutsche Statue. Sie ist langweilig. Ich starre entlang des 'Schmelzenden Topfes' aller Tag an und es gibt mir hemorrhoids. Mein Esel wird an Kalkstein verriegelt, der an Kleber verriegelt wird. Die Einzelhaft hat nichts auf geklebt werden zum Gehweg in dieser klitzekleiner beschissener Stadt. Am nominalwert hat St. Louis eine französische Assoziation. Aber sehe ich hier keine Franzosen. Noch schlechter ist mein Schwanz lange nicht und steif nicht genug, das lecker Polyanthe durchschneiden. Sie ist bis jetzt von mir hier. In Stuttgart waren wir hautnah. So hautnah. In St. Louis sind wir abgesondert. Ich bin angebohrt. Ich bin einsam. Holen mich mein Agens ab."
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Now that the Missouri Supreme Court has opened the door for concealed weapons, many businesses around the state are saying, Mike Myers-style, "Shah!" via signs posted on their front doors.
Unacceptable, according to missouricarry.com. The Web site, which posts daily listings of gun shows, law enforcement events, shooting matches for women, etc., is calling for a boycott of Missouri businesses that don't allow guns on the premises. They're starting with the enemies-of-liberty at Cosentino's Sun Fresh food stores in Kansas City. But next on the list is Dierbergs.
After that? Banks, including Commerce Bank in St. Louis. Unreal doesn't claim to be a supergenius of the caliber of, say, Jerry Berger, but allowing guns in banks does seem a bit counterintuitive.
Not so, says Zachary Bauer, a St. Louis native who runs missouricarry.com from Orlando, Florida, where he studies computer animation and digital media.
"There are at least four instances where concealed-carry permit holders stopped bank robberies," says Bauer, citing one in Salt Lake City in which the Second Amendment utilizer "held the suspect at gunpoint until the police could arrive."
Regardless, Sara Foster, senior vice president at Commerce Bank, won't be allowing gats in her joints anytime soon. "Commerce Bank strives to provide a safe and comfortable environment for its customers and employees, and we feel this is the most appropriate decision for our organization," says Foster.
Bauer, who claims more than 200,000 Web site hits a week and more than 50 supportive e-mails a day, says he won't be happy until Missourians are allowed to bring guns into every commercial establishment in Missouri.
Hospitals, schools and churches he'll leave alone: "They're off-limits according to the law and that's fine. I have no problem with that."
Jerry Berger rules. Honestly, how can Unreal compete with such a well-connected workhorse, a man who has been putting the "G-O" in River City gossip since Gaslight was a Square?
But it has come to our attention that the Post-Dispatch tidbit jockey's restaurant manners leave something to be desired. We couldn't resist sharing the following unsolicited e-mail, in which one Brandie Kettmann tells of a recent brush with Berger at Patty Long's 9th Street Abbey in Soulard:
"If you don't know who Jerry Berger is, you're probably not old enough to care about reading the Post-Dispatch -- that's why you're reading the Riverfront Times. Well, today he came to eat at the restaurant I work at as a server. He came in and sat down like he owned the place, and when I was told who he was (I didn't know either), I was like 'OK, I'll give this man good service.' I was excited because I had never waited on anyone that's publicly notable, and I thought to myself, 'Isn't this neat -- I get to wait on a columnist for the paper I want to write for someday.'
"But my thoughts quickly diminished when I introduced myself. I walked up, offered beverages, the same thing as usual, and tried to joke around with him a bit, but he and his guests were not enthused. They looked at me like I was the biggest piece of crap they had ever seen, and they treated me that way the entire time they were at my table.
"So after they are all done eating, he asks my boss for an ashtray and sat there and smoked cigarettes in a non-smoking facility, like he was the king of the place. He and his guests were all provided with a free meal, free dessert, and good service, but when this man stood up to leave, he handed the busboy a $10 tip and left me nothing.
"It's always nice to know that people like Jerry Berger are out there waiting to make you feel like the scum of the earth. Perhaps it's just because they can't see any further than the blue-collar workers and the $20 entrée they just ordered -- minus the spit. So to all you fellow servers out there, if you ever see Jerry walk into the restaurant you work at, don't wait on him. Why waste your time and table space for someone who's going to talk down to you and then leave you nothing, like you don't deserve it after you kiss his ass for an hour and a half? Don't ever wait on Jerry Berger."
When we got back to Kettmann, she told us she'd just been fired for dissing Berger to her co-workers. (Terry Kraus, general manager of Patty Long Catering, says company policy prohibits him from commenting.)
In Kettmann's honor, Unreal is hereby putting out a call for submissions. Got a Jerry story? Send it to BergerBites@riverfronttimes.com, or mail to BergerBites, c/o Riverfront Times, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63130. If we get good stuff, we'll publish it in an upcoming issue. Only a few requirements: You need to supply your real name and contact info (we'll withhold your identity from publication if your job's on the line). Keep in mind that no story is too old or cold for Unreal. But it does have to be true, cross your heart and hope to die.
Jesus: Cooler Than Danny Glover
It was only a matter of time until Branson approximated American Idol. Branson Idol, the brainchild of mustachioed Branson mainstay Doug Gabriel (who frequently shares his stage with Hee Haw legend/Branson retread Roy Clark). Auditions were held this past weekend at Westfield Shoppingtown South County Mall, where sixteen-year-old Lemay resident Heather Sutton was among the contestants. The cream of the audition crop will compete every Friday from April 9 through October 22 at the Legends Family Theatre in Branson, vying for a first prize of $5,000 and a guest slot on Gabriel and Clark's show -- proving once again that the road to Hollywood goes through Southwest Missouri.
Sutton was kind enough to grant this exclusive interview to Unreal:
Unreal: How'd you hear about Branson Idol?
Heather Sutton: My grandma found out about it, I'm guessing off the Internet. She gets on and she finds different talent things for me.
What will you be singing this weekend?
I'm not exactly sure if I've decided. I think one of 'em is "Life Goes On" by LeeAnn Rimes. I may also sing "It's My Time" by Martina McBride.
Can you sing us a couple lines from "Life Goes On"?
Sure! [Sutton sings, with a healthy helping of vibrato] "You sucked me in/And played my mind/Just like a toy/You would crank and wind."
Good job! Clay Aiken or Ruben Studdard?
Is your love for Jesus Christ as intense as [Branson Idol producer] Doug Gabriel's?
I really don't know how intense his love is, but I go to church every Sunday, out of my own choice.
Are you going to see The Passion of the Christ?
Have you been to Branson?
I've been there twice. It's a really fun city.
Did you see Yakov Smirnoff?
No. He was away on some sort of trip.
Have you seen any of the Lethal Weapon movies?
Who's cooler, Danny Glover or Jesus Christ?
I would have to say Jesus Christ, because He shows everyone how their lives should be lived the righteous way. He died for our sins, and that's the ultimate sacrifice.
Are you saying Danny Glover wouldn't die for our sins?
I don't know him personally, but probably not.
Translation: "Do you wash your ass with a feather duster? I do. I cannot shower, for I am made of stone. Who sent me here, to this Delmar Avenue? I do not understand your 'toasted ravioli.' I am only a huge German statue. It is boring. I stare at the Melting Pot all day and it gives me hemorrhoids. My ass is bolted to limestone, which is bolted to cement. Solitary confinement has nothing on being glued to the sidewalk in this itty-bitty shitty city. At face value, St. Louis has a French connotation. But I see no Frenchmen here. Worse yet, my fungo is not long and stiff enough to penetrate the luscious Polyanthe. She is so far from me here. In Stuttgart we were close. So close. In St. Louis we are far. I am bored. I am lonely. Get me my agent."