Sunday, March 27, 2011
"Sea Turtle", by Charter Communications
CANstruction is an international design/build competition wherein teams from the architecture & engineering communities design sculptures made entirely from canned goods. The winners in each city advance to the next level of competition. After the competition, all the canned goods are donated to local food pantries.
"Royal Bengal Tiger", RJN Group
"Croaking Frog", Mackey Mitchell
Here in St Louis, the theme of this year's contest is Climate Change, and all the cans will go to Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry and the St. Louis Area Foodbank. My favorite part is that the public was able to vote by bringing in canned goods and putting them in the barrel next to their favorite.
"Hold On Tight", Cassidy Turley Commercial Real Estate Services
"The Great Dissolving Coral Reef", ABNA Engineering, Black & Veatch, Shannon & Wilson
Each sculpture had a card next to it that listed the firm that did the design, plus the other local businesses who contributed. I wish I had room here to list each and every one, since I was constantly saying, "I know them!" There was also another placard that listed facts about the sculpture, such as the fact that the one below by Arcturis is made up of 9,272 lbs of food, which is almost as big as two great white sharks!
"Climate Change and the Melting of Arctic Ice", Arcturis
"Empty Nest", Maryville University
Had I brought canned goods with me, Maryville University definitely would have gotten my vote. The subject is the peregrine falcon, a native Missouri bird whose habitat has been destroyed by the expansion of cities. I love their cocoa falcons!
The St Louis sculptures are on display in the Exploradome Lobby at the St Louis Science Center. Unfortunately, today was the first chance I had to get down there, and the contest ends tomorrow. The good news is, you won't have to wait long to find out who the winners are. When I hear the results, I'll post them on the Facebook page.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
So Sunday was a GORGEOUS day for a Busch Stadium tour. In the off season, they only do tours at 11am and 1pm, but due to the warm weather, Opening Day on the horizon, and the fact that the Groupon was due to expire on 3/31, they had to add nine more tours on Sunday, and said they added eight the day before! Even the regular season tours only happen four times a day.
My sister is a huge Cardinals fan, but I had never been in the new stadium, which was completed in 2006. Even though I'm not much of a baseball fan, I thought this tour was really interesting. You get to go in a lot of areas that are normally off limits, or prohibitively expensive, and our new stadium, with its retro design, just has a really friendly feel to it. I'm definitely going to try to make it to a game this season.
In the picture above, below the Budweiser screen, are all the numbers retired by the Cardinals. Some trivia, especially for people like me who love trivia but not sports: The numbers are 1, 2, 6, 9, 14, 17, 20, 42, 45, and 85. You can read about them in detail here, but my favorite highlights are that #42 was Jackie Robinson's number and has to be retired by every team. However, Bruce Sutter also wore this number before it was retired in honor of Jackie Robinson, so the Cardinals retired it twice. #85 was never worn by a player, but is actually an honorary number given to August Busch, Jr on his 85th birthday.
There is also a microphone symbol on the board in honor of Jack Buck, the beloved Cardinals announcer who died in 2002. Besides this statue, he also has a stretch of I-64 named after him, and a star on the St Louis Walk of Fame. When he died, fans were leaving flowers at his statue within hours, even though it was the middle of the night. Come to think of it, I really stopped paying attention to baseball after he died. He really was the voice of summer.
Number 6 is another St Louis favorite, Stan "The Man" Musial, the first player in Cardinals history to have his number retired. I'm not going to bore myself with statistics, other than to say he broke a whole lot of records. Stan was just awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the stadium also has a seating area called the Stan Musial Bridge. Here's the view from the bridge:
A couple other fun tidbits: See the section of seats in the picture below that are over a big door? That's the only access point for vehicles to get into the stadium. It's not big enough for a fire truck, or even the Clydesdales beer wagon, so when vehicles need to come in, that whole section raises up on hydraulics. It takes 7-8 minutes for them to go up (and no, you can't stay in your seat when they do it).
Outside the stadium is a white line that crosses the sidewalk. This is the exact location of the right field foul line of the old Busch Stadium.
You can see on the plaque how the stadiums overlapped. It was quite tricky to build a new stadium while the old one was still in use, and then demolish the old one and complete the new one before the next season started. Not only did the Cardinals do it, they won the World Series the first year in the new stadium! I took pictures from the top of the Arch when this was going on, and if I can find them, I'll post them on the CC&G Facebook page later.
Now for a couple of those expensive areas that you might not get to see otherwise. The Cardinals are using dynamic pricing this year, which means that prices change based on day of the week and opponent, so I can't really get into cost here. They are premium, "all inclusive" areas, and you can look up pricing on the Cardinal's website.
For us little people, one of the moderately affordable options: The Champion Club. Air conditioned bar/buffet area, private entrance and restrooms, two bars, 30 televisions, and covered seats outside. PLUS they have one of the 2006 World Series trophies behind the bar (I didn't get a picture, but you can see Kirk and Kate posing with it here).
A step up from the regular suites is the Owners Suite, also known as the Rebirds Roost, which you can rent when the owners aren't using it. Also includes food and beverage, couches indoors, and covered seats outdoors. Here are Susan and Patrick at the bar:
The Cardinals Club is the fanciest one of all, with a swanky restaurant and bar and "green seats" (the rows behind home plate). In this case, you have to actually buy a pair of seats to get access to the Cardinals Club, and the price I just saw on the Ballpark Founders Marketplace was $36,000 for a pair.
From the Cardinals Club we walked through the back halls and right out onto the field! Well, not literally. As they stress over and over (and over), you cannot ever, EVER touch the grass. It's Kentucky Bluegrass from Colorado, by the way, and the sprinkler system actually pumps chilled water to fool the grass into thinking it is still in Colorado.
We also got to go into the dugout, but not the locker rooms. The only times you can tour the locker rooms are during the Cardinals Winter Warmup in January. You don't have to attend the Winter Warmup, just take the stadium tour on those days.
So there you have it. If you have baseball in your city, you probably have a stadium tour, and it's a fun little activity for a nice Sunday afternoon. Tour prices for Busch Stadium are $10 and you should check the website for times and blackout dates.
Monday, March 14, 2011
This is my first attempt at live updating with Blogger. I hope the picture isn't obnoxiously huge. If you go to the CC&G Facebook page, I reposted a link to the SBAC post from a couple years ago. I understand Kane got his start there! I'll try to post a picture of hometown boy Randy Orton later on.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
One of the places I have always wanted to travel is Greece. The mythology! The architecture! The sculptures! Who wouldn’t want to see this stuff up close and in person? Sadly, for one reason or another, I’m not much of a traveler – while I’ve been to several other states, the closest I’ve been to another country is Branson, which I’m guessing for many of you doesn’t really count (but I’m standing by that assessment).
Not too long ago, Mary, one of my dearest and closest friends, moved away from St. Louis and spent the next several months guilting me to come visit her in Nashville. As per usual, she wore me down. After getting down there, I found myself searching the internet for the biggest tourist traps Nashville has to offer when I found one that appealed to the closeted world traveler in me.
In Nashville, Tennessee?
Yes, Nashville’s moniker, “the Athens of the South,” was taken a little too literally by the Tennessee Centennial Exposition of 1897, where in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the state’s entry into the Union, they erected a full-size version of the Parthenon (even though Tennessee was admitted into the Union in 1896).
While the Greek version of the Parthenon was made primarily from marble, the Nashville Parthenon built for the celebration was made from plaster, wood, and brick. Later, in 1921, the Parthenon was rebuilt (again) in concrete, and was completed in 1931.
There are 46 Doric columns around the perimeter of the Parthenon, an addition 6 by each entrance, and even more on the inside.
All of the exterior columns actually incline slightly inwards, even the corner columns. In fact, in an amazing feat of eye trickery, one of the design elements carried over from the Greek Parthenon to Nashville’s is that there are no straight horizontal lines in the Parthenon. Everything that looks horizontal actually arches slightly in the center. This is believed to make the Parthenon appear flawless to the human eye.
The lower level of the Parthenon is a serves as Nashville’s art museum and hosts a permanent collection of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists as well as additional gallery spaces for temporary exhibits. There is also a collection of photographs and memorabilia from the Centennial and the Parthenon’s construction. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed on the lower level, so upward to the main event!
The interior of the Parthenon is divided into two rooms; this room is called the Naos and it houses the statue of Athena.
Random Dude, for scale
When the Nashville Parthenon was built, the only thing it was missing was a replica of the Athena Parthenos, so in 1982, the city commissioned Alan LeQuire to recreate the statue. The original statue, created by Pheidias, was constructed from ivory and gold and was actually lost by 400 A.D., so LeQuire had to rely on what little historical documentation there was to create his version of Athena.
LeQuire’s Athena was made from gypsum cement in many molds and each section was attached to a steel support. Construction was completed in 1990, but was left as a plain white statue for 12 years. In 2002, Athena was gilded, and details of her face, wardrobe and shield were painted.
At 41’10”, Nashville’s Athena is the tallest indoor sculpture in the Western World.
Even at 6’4”, the statue of Nike seems diminutive when compared to Athena.
Mary: (whispering) Athena doesn’t have a butt.
Me: She’s a 42 foot tall white chick, what do you expect?
Along the walls of the Naos are full sized replicas of the statuary found in the pediments – the triangular bits seen on the outside of the Parthenon on the east and west ends. These fragments are known as the Elgin Marbles, and are replicas created from casts made from the originals fragments.
The other room of the Parthenon is the Treasury Room. In Ancient Greece, this was where Athena’s treasures were stored. The Treasury Room of the Nashville Parthenon was a little sparse, but it did have smaller replicas of the completed pediments so you can get a closer look and better idea of the detail put into them.
In both the Naos and the Treasury Room are a set of bronze doors. These doors are 24’ tall, 7’ wide and 1’ thick and weigh 7.5 tons each. The doors on the ancient Parthenon were made from wood with a bronze overlay.
These were the set of doors back in the Naos. Again, random dude helps me out for scale purposes.
So, that was our trip to the Nashville Parthenon! If you want to know more, their website (http://www.nashville.gov/Parthenon/) has a TON of information and great educational resources, as well as more information about the art galleries on the lower floor.
I want to thank Beth for letting me play substitute for a week, and I want to thank my friend Mary for putting up with me for a weekend and showing me around her new home town. I look forward to adventuring in Nashville again!