Saturday, September 6, 2008

Breaking Up

July of 1990 we took the last Oyster Bar road trip to the Davenport Blue Festival. Dennis and DJ had split up and the bar had a new owner. Sharon, Joanie, and I had been offered DJs half. I remember sitting in a diner on south Grand as they made their proposition. I never said it out loud but I had absolutely no interest. I knew better than to own a business with a girl friend. I mean, look at Dennis and DJ. Joanie now owns two restaurants that are doing well.

The road trip was a blast. A lot of friends of ours played the festival. Taj Mahal, Marsha Ball and several people we loved played a few feet from us. It was a very intimate setting.

We took over a hotel out in the middle of nowhere. Everyone seemed to have kids all of a sudden. I’m not sure who watched them, but we partied pretty hard every night.

Everyone remembers the Oyster Bar going downhill at this point. To be fair we still had a lot of great experiences.

When the film White Palace was finished shooting the producer bought the bar a six month Sunday and 3:00 license so they could throw a private wrap party for the cast. The set department built a tent over the beer garden with heaters. It was the middle of winter. It later became a permanent fixture.

I worked the outside bar and was totally alone until a crew member came out and partied with me. We found the private, expensive booze stash and got lit. I hadn’t seen Sex, Lies and Videotape yet so I had no idea it was James Spader. Someone had given Susan Sarandon a kitten and she stood in the doorway stroking her pussy all night (so to speak).

The cast wouldn’t leave at 3:00 and a big fight broke out. Our door man Jim Havey thought a threat was directed at Joanie. He was about to do bodily harm to the movie’s producer until he found out the threat was directed at Ed, our new owner.

The bar would close December 31 totally decked out for the New Year’s party. The decorations stayed up and ready to go for over a year.

Anyway this was around the time I broke up with Joanie. I had just started skydiving. I was running around with my new drinking buddy Margaret Bianchetta. Margaret, Steve Martin and I were recording an album that was never finished. Margaret came up with the great name MSD (Margaret, Steve and Dave) for our band. In St. Louis MSD stands for Metropolitan Sewer District.

Quantum Leap, the canopy relative work team, had an extra slot in the plane they were training from. They invited me to spend the day jumping with them down in Sparta, Il. They ended up winning the Nationals that year. One of my landings didn’t go well. My altimeter slammed into my chest and it seemed I had broken a rib or two.

I wasn’t sure if my insurance covered skydiving so I told the doctor I fell down my porch stairs. She said I needed to cut back on my drinking as she taped my ribs.

Joanie and I had already split and I was seeing a girl named Cheri. Joanie came to my apartment. She found out I’d slept with her. Joanie punched me in the ribs and I slumped to the ground. She remembered the state of my ribs and began to cry. The pictures finally came back and it turned out my ribs were only badly bruised.

Later I tried to get her back but she would have nothing to do with me. I learned an expression that was already well known in St. Louis, “You don’t fuck with a Thomas!”

The photo at Davenport shows Sharon, Becky with Cy, Jim and Donna Havey with Sean. You can tell something’s coming between Joanie and me. I’m on the left and she’s in the middle, far away from me. Joanie’s getting married this October.



I have just finished reading all your blogs up to date. I am doing research for a book on the St. Louis underground scene, circa early 70's to about mid 90's. It will hopefully contain all the various facets of "alternative" (poets, artists, musicians, scenesters, etc.)life in the StL. Anyway, your writings have been quite interesting and have actually helped me close a few gaps in my research. I have a promotional page on myspace for the book. If we are not already linked, I will try and remedy that. Thanks for great stories.

sunbabe said...

Nondus Fortner said....I was at the White Palace wrap party and have some great pictures from that night. I missed seeing James Spader, he had to catch a flight out, but Susan Sarandon stayed for a long time. She was wearing glasses and looked so different. I had been an extra in the movie (the bar scene), along with several other Soulardians. From there, some went on to do other movies filmed in St. Louis. Boy, we've had some fun!