the midwest & I

I am one of those coastal snobs who thinks the midwest mainly exists as a place where one changes planes. I exempt New Mexico, at least Santa Fe, from this equation because, you know, Santa Fe is so unique and beautiful that, like most of us who live here, I have a probably delusional sense of superiority just ‘cuz my zipe code is 87501 (oh wait, I guess it’s actually 87507, not that I ever get my mail anyway).
So when everyone I know was hating on St. Louis and telling me it was a “shithole,” I assumed they were right. I mean, you know, Missouri? Find that on a map. Well haters, St. Louis is actually pretty cool. Now, granted, I got to hang out all weekend with my homegirl Samia AND see The Roots, the best band in the world, and see them with, maybe 600 people, in a college gymnasium. And they sang Seed 2.0 for the encore and did a totally amazing hip hop history lesson throwing in everything from Kweli to Salt n Pepper. But aside from all that, St. Louis also has numerous awesome independent coffeehouses (one of which is huge, in a four-story house), a very large and dynamic restaurant scene with numerous cuisines we don’t got here and if I’d stayed another month I could see The Roots twice more, not to mention Erica Badu. So, coffee, food and music, what else do you need? Plus, we found a really, really good bookstore.
It was weird to be somewhere where you can smoke inside at coffeeshops and bars, though. And, I have to admit, we had to move outside because I couldn’t breathe and my eyes were burning. Who would have dreamed it? The bar we went to last night, Cafe Venice, was amazing: the entire place is covered in all different sorts of mosaics, everything from very studied, artistic ones to just funky walls with marbles and toys in mosaics. Everywhere you looked, there was something cool to see. I kind of wished the boy was there, because he’s artistic (when he’s not changing IVs for the injured, that is), but maybe it’s good he wasn’t as he’d probably feel inspired to mosaic his entire house and I’d never see him again. Anyway, here’s a few pics from Cafe Venice, and then i’m off to shower the plane smell off of me and edit the cover story.

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