Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

St. Louis Social Life: 5 things I’ve learned about our city’s culture in the past 12 months

1) In the year I've been here I've learned that St. Louis is such a Big Small Town. I love going to functions and watching everyone greeting one another with such warmth---folks they've often known all through school, grown up in the same neighborhoods, and can compare the ages and names of brothers and sisters going back for decades. Thus are alliances formed.

2) I've also learned that St. Louis is still, sadly, one of the most culturally segregated cities in the world. I'm not quite sure why. I raise this as a topic for conversation with new friends now and again. They all agree with me and advance theories. Thus it is that there are White Events and Black Events with token members of the other group there almost as diplomatic delegates, but all too few. It shocked me when I first arrived, because in all my years in Oakland, California, when I went to a cultural event...everyone was there, talking to each other...mixing and mingling. Thus is was again at this gathering consisting of both younger and older African Americans, with an emphasis on the older crowd.

3) I've also learned that costuming is of the essence in going out. The Dick Gregory event, falling as it did on the cusp of work life and night life, was a mix of work attire and more riveting styles...regal, from West Africa.

4) Another thing I've learned about St. Louis events is that There Will Be Food...and, the food will always exceed my expectations. Thus it was as we were well nourished before the show and well cared for during the show.

5) I've learned that the Cost of Living Index is quite modest here. $25 bought me a seat at a VIP table and, as I said, a fabulous banquet, as I readied for The Gregory Show.

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