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Talk Pretty

David Sedaris' publicist asks Unreal to bend the space-time continuum. Plus: the blog of a former Cards hurler, and an obituary for Jim Igoe, the Delmar Poet.

The phone rings.

"Would you like to interview David Sedaris?"

Why not? We have much in common. Sedaris is chatty, urbane, well-read, a practicing homosexual — Unreal is clearly three-fourths the person he is. And besides, Unreal's tight-fisted employer, Riverfront Times, is sponsoring Sedaris' evening of drollery at Powell Hall — we're practically entitled to a chat with Sedaris. Like seeing your cousin nekkid during your teen years, the experience would be weird, uncomfortable, titillating and fated to happen.

"David's only doing two interview in each market. I can put you down for one —"

The weight of that looming "but" blots out the light, much like the nether cheeks of Damocles, the aforementioned cousin.

"— but only if it's for a feature-length story."


"Or the cover would be good. And it has to run the week prior to his appearance."

Outstanding! Unreal's demesne is a brusquely platted duchy of tête-à-têtes with ass doctors, sex pervs and the occasional Scientologist, and now we should pull a feature and cover from rump central and break the rules of Time and Publishing if we want to ask Amy Sedaris' younger brother questions about France? Balderdash. That honor is reserved for Jerry Mathers only.

Fast-forward a week.

The phone rings.

"Would you like to interview David Sedaris? He's only doing two in each market."

Who do you think you're talking to? The Ladue News?

"This is a rare opportunity. Now, it'll need to run a week before his appearance, and —"


Fast-forward a few days. The phone rings.

"Do you have anyone there who would like to interview David Sedaris? This is a rare opportunity...."

Yeah — no.

Phone rings.

"I'd like to offer you the rare opportunity to interview David Sedaris."

The barrel of a .38 Smith & Wesson tastes exactly like you think it does — promising.

Scattered throughout this week's issue, alert readers will spot several likenesses of David Sedaris. Some are obvious, others hidden. Point 'em all out and e-mail Maybe we'll put you on our cover.

Last year, Washington University senior class president Jordan Friedman had an idea for a tremendous public service. What if, in the tradition of the "senior sleep list," his classmates were to catalogue everyone they'd always wanted to do the horizontal bop with but never did? He'd compile them, sort them, alert the matches and dorm laundry-room hookups would ensue. Glorious!

"Senior year, you're about to leave, who cares?" says Friedman, reached by phone from New York City, where he's now a grad student. "If there's a way to find out if a girl likes you without actually asking her, that's neat."

Wash. U. administrators found the plan un-neat and kiboshed it.

But the idea inspired Friedman, along with his friend Jason Illoulian, a 2005 Georgetown grad, to start an online college dating site, called Crush U.

The free site, which went live at www in February, lets students create individual profiles similar to MySpace and Facebook, but with one key difference: While browsing profiles, they can flag "crushes," which are quietly stored in the site's database. Unless, that is, two users indicate a crush on one another, in which case each is notified.

A quick sampling of members shows geeks, jocks and scantily clad bottle blondes suspiciously similar to the spammers flooding our MySpace inbox imploring us to "Cum Out and Play."

For now participation is limited to Wash. U. students, but Friedman says the site will soon allow access to counterparts at Saint Louis U., Fontbonne and Emory University — this last presumably because its coeds are less ugly. (See Unreal, October 5, 2005.)

Friedman — whose Crush U profile makes him look like a bearded Tom Cruise and lists his stats at six-foot-four and 208 pounds — says membership stands at 240. A recent stroll through the Harvard of University City's newly christened Danforth Campus indicates that the service has yet to capture the Wash. U. imagination.

"It kind of reminds me of a site at my sister's high school, which ranked the girls based on appearance," says Jen, a sophomore who's not a site member. "In fact, I swear we had something like this in middle school."

"It doesn't seem to have critical mass yet, but even if it did, I'm not sure I'd join," adds her study partner, Sam, also a sophomore. "If you want to tell your crush you like them, that's what alcohol is for."

Delmar Poet R.I.P.
In the days after Jim Igoe died on April 3, the Delmar Loop felt a "JIM IGOE: DELMAR POET R.I.P.," declared Vintage Vinyl's marquee, announcing to the neighborhood that the district's caretaker and conscience had died.

It had been a few years since Igoe made his regular rounds up and down Delmar, and longer still since you saw him with his flock of teenage disciples hanging at Meshuggah coffeehouse. But until a few weeks ago, John Igoe would occasionally roll his 76-year-old uncle up and down Delmar in a wheelchair. Even in his frailty, Jim Igoe's Merlinesque beard, gray ponytail and empathetic gaze were reassuring.

"He was the gray-haired hippie sage wandering on foot through the Delmar Loop and Soulard, and a surrogate father to a lot of people," recalls Bruce Kurt, a long-time friend.

"Jim was a counterculture character. He was a Buddhist, an extremely sweet man," says Bob Zeffert, who met Igoe in the 1970s. "He had a way of connecting people to the infinite. It's strange, because it's not like he was a teacher in the normal sense of the term. But because he talked about the universe in a different way, he brought you in touch with it.

"He had been through a really weird past," Zeffert adds. "I think he told me at one point that psychiatrists got him turned onto LSD as a cure for his alcoholism."

Born in north St. Louis, Igoe served with the U.S. Marines in Italy after World War II. When he returned stateside, he briefly studied philosophy at Washington U. before heading to San Francisco, where he witnessed the sprouting of a culture in the late 1950s before coming back to St. Louis around 1970.

"He used to tell me stories about hanging out with all the beats — with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Kerouac, Jerry Garcia," John Igoe recalls.

Says Kurt: "When I first met him, he was caddying for a living. He was carrying double. He was a mule. He used to collect junk in the alleys and make artwork, and he was a really fine poet."

Igoe was a member of the renegade Soulard Culture Squad and a mainstay at community radio station KDNA. He briefly joined a commune called the Church of All Worlds. In the mid-'80s he landed in the Loop, where each day for twenty years he roamed Delmar in ragged overalls and flannel shirts, offering kind words and keen advice. Andy Ayers, owner of Riddle's Penultimate, reserved him a spot at the bar with a plaque that read: "Jim's Chair."

Denise Ortega is a caretaker at the Loop nursing home where Igoe spent his last years. "I loved Jim," Ortega says. "Jim was a very special person to me and this facility. He helped me with a lot of things — just understanding who I really was, the type of person I was within. He touched my heart."

Local Blog O' the Week

"Haren's Heat"
Author: Dan Haren
About the blogger: Dan is a former Cardinals hurler who went to the Oakland A's last year in the Mark Mulder trade.

Recent Highlight (April 4): Our place is in a beautiful area tucked into the hills a little bit. We have a pool and a few bedrooms. Now we're busy making a home of it, selecting furniture and decorating. We spent a few hours during the day of the season opener doing some more furniture shopping. But I told Jessica that I can't be running around like that on days that I pitch. I was carrying a huge box with an entertainment center around. Now that the season is starting, that sort of thing is going to have to stop.

The dog is a pug named Bernie. I got him back in October from Joe Kennedy, who joined our team last year. Joe has two pugs who had a litter, so he gave one of them to me. I always wanted a dog and now that I have my fiancée here with me, it became possible. The big problem was always not having someone to take care of a dog while I'm on the road. So, yeah, I have a little pug. He's very cool with his pushed up face. He's about 10 months old now and mostly trained, although I had to get a little tough with him the other day when he started chewing on an area rug.

Jessica and I got engaged on Jan. 28 when I came up here for the A's FanFest. We went to visit our house, which was still empty because we hadn't moved in yet, and that's when I made the big move. I had the ring all ready in my jacket pocket and I went from there. We're planning our wedding for Nov. 17, after the season. So, yeah, it was a pretty busy offseason for me and a pretty memorable one, too.

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