Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Travels with Kevin Part 7: Meet Me in St. Louis….This City Needs More Judy Garland

I have been outside of the world of popular culture for the last few days because I was at work conference. My work conference was the Standing Committee for LGBT Awareness (SCLGBTA).  We have been working long days starting Thursday until Monday.  I am drained from long 8 hour days, and lots of processing.  I am ready to get back to Boston, the Northeast, and pop culture.

St. Louis was an interesting city.  While I was traveling west I was not sure where exactly the city fell in regard to accents.  As I arrived in the airport I slowly learned that St. Louis, was more part of the Midwest then the south.  St. Louis (for those who are not aware) is incredibly close to the border of Illinois, which plays a role in helping define this part of Missouri. While I was there mainly for work I pushed myself to go out at night to see the gay scene.  There were several different LGBT bars on one street, which seemed to provide a space for mostly everyone.  I only went to just Johns, which had no cover, but the other places looked and were fun according to some of the people I traveled with.  While the scene was fun, I did not find many people I felt attracted to which was interesting, although I have a feeling many people head north to Chicago pride (I hope).  I also got to watch their pride parade, which was surprisingly long, but fun.  One of the people I was there with that lived in St, Louis stated this is the kind of city you only want to maybe visit one time.  This was my one time.

The city felt different.  With a crumbling infrastructure, and poor city set up it reminded me why I never want to move back to the Midwest (except for Chicago).  While I know I did not get to see every of the city, the parts I did see were the perfect snap shot of a traditional Midwestern city that is neither my speed, no a place I would go back to visit.  Even the beauty of the arch could not save what is falling a part.  Cities like this deserve to thrive, and we need our economy to turn around so tourism can allow this city to prosper like it did within the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis. Now there is no specific song about being in St. Louis in Meet me in St. Louis, but Judy Garland sure put this place on the map.  

I have honestly never seen this musical, in fact I have been warned that I will not enjoy it at all.  Yet as a student of popular culture, and avid musical fan I know the two most famous songs from this film “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself a Marry Little Christmas.”  Judy’s version of the second song brings me to tears every time I hear it, mainly because of its use in the film The Family Stone.  The first Sex and the City film used this as a reference as well, with Louise (Jennifer Hudson) from St. Louis.  I feel as though I am in good company because Carrie Bradshaw had never seen the film either.

Going to this city made me never want to go back, but it did make me think about the cultural impact of this film, Meet me in St. Louis was the second highest grossing film in 1944, and has impacted numerous other films.  Time to watch the film, and get in a good cry when Judy sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

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