The Arch has been a continually reoccurring theme in my life, lately. I was commissioned to photograph interior pieces of it for CD art work. That’s one of my photos on the cover, above. I even got to sing with Joe Thebeau on the track “Eero Saarinen,” which is about the metaphorical and philosophical meanings of The Arch.
Finn’s Motel Escape Velocity releases on September 19, on Scat Records. They play their first show on August 25th, at Off Broadway, and will continue to tour all parts of the country the rest of the year. I’ll refrain from raving about how absolutely brilliant this record is because you need only listen to tracks available on-line to hear that for yourself.
Then, the other night I went to the Fox Theater for the debut screening of The Gateway Arch: A Reflection of America, a new documentary from Civil Pictures. It’s a professional and lively trek through all the important historical points of Arch conception and execution. Of great interest were current interviews with a few of the men who helped build the structure. We see footage of them inches away from death high above the riverfront, and then watch them chat about this experience as if it’s no bigger deal than buying a Big Gulp. Their presence in this documentary makes it worth the price of admission.
For an hour, I’m thoroughly engrossed in the film; the final triangle piece is inserted, and The Arch is complete and then… the movie’s over! What? How can this be? There’s much more to this story: the controversial revision to Saarinen’s plans for the grounds surrounding the Arch, the development of the museum, and how they finally got around to lighting the sucker at night. Just these 3 topics alone would make for a worthy half hour.
But I realize that when making a documentary time is money, and sticking to an hour probably makes it easier for television stations across the globe to program it. The filmmakers never claimed to be offering up a definitive documentary on The Arch, just a compelling, updated one. This they do deliver. Good job, and the field is still wide open for someone to dig deeper for the entire story…
A few hours before the documentary, I saw this man moving furniture on Lindell Boulevard:
That’s the coolest tattoo ever! If he hadn’t been so busy, I’d have chatted him up for the, er, back-story. But at that moment, I was thrilled with what I figured would be the opening act for the Arch documentary. In retrospect, the documentary was the scholarly footnote to the impassioned, inked headliner.