Monday, December 15, 2008


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Instead of barstools for Foam I have picked up a collection of shop stools over time. The bulk of them came from the surplus department at a local University. The great thing about them is that they are dated 1986 on the bottom but have never been used. Some of them came from thriftstores. I sprayed painted them a range of colors. I could have had them powder coated for a more durable finish but the cost would have been astronomical. Instead I just painted them myself. Over time they'll scratch up but I think it'll be more of a nice patina rather than look shoddy.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008


We just completed a little art/decor project on the outside of the bathroom walls at Foam. This shot was snapped moments after the last board went up.
bathroom walls

Sunday, November 02, 2008

cafe culture

The first of 3 articles about Foam in local magazines has hit the stands.

Café Culture

Foam promises to resurrect something St. Louis hasn't really had since Gaslight Square: an ultrahip coffeehouse music venue

Café Culture
Photograph by Rachel Brandt

Let's get one thing straight about Foam before we begin, shall we? According to owner Mike Glodeck, there are two kinds of coffee joints: coffee shops and coffeehouses, and Foam is definitely the latter.

"There are a lot of coffee shops in St. Louis and very few coffeehouses," says Glodeck. "Everybody wants to be in a place where people come and hang out all day long—to provide an inviting atmosphere. I'm very much a host. When I throw parties, I'm meticulous about the lighting, the music." Indeed, Glodeck has been making mix CDs to play in the coffeehouse for more than a year, and the space isn't even wired for a stereo system yet.

You might ask: How could anyone hang out at a coffeehouse all day long? Here's the thing: The "foam" here refers not only to the poof of dairy atop your latte, but also to the froth that crowns a good pour of beer. The basement of Foam will house a microbrewery run by a mysterious gentleman from O'Fallon, Ill., who has been putting on an Oktoberfest for many years now, featuring all his own concoctions. "We'll be doing a lot of unique and seasonal beers," says Glodeck, "which will be available only on tap at Foam."

And Glodeck intends for Foam to function as a music venue, too. "There are some pretty cool bands in St. Louis right now," he says. "I'd love to foster and see more of that and give them an opportunity. If somebody wants to come in and play on a Tuesday and do a solo deal and come back with a full band on Saturday, I'd let them work out their material." He's quick to dissipate the stereotype of the angsty, guitar-strumming coffeehouse staple (will any of us ever forget the Phoebe Buffay classic "Smelly Cat"?), emphasizing that bands of all stripes will be welcome at Foam. Glodeck is, as it turns out, quite the music fan. A native of the Detroit area (home of Motown Records, the MC5 and the garage rock scene that birthed the White Stripes, among others), Glodeck says it's "painful" for him to read about bands he loves being on tour and watching them completely bypass St. Louis.

And Glodeck's clearly passionate about his adopted hometown and the neighborhood in which he's chosen to open his endeavor. People from Detroit are famously loyal to that capital of the Rust Belt, but Glodeck has enough room in his heart for pride in both towns. When his wife, a native St. Louisan, wanted to move home in 2001, he acquiesced without knowing much about the city. When they came down for a visit, he fell in love with it. He sees many similarities between the two towns, from the style of the street signs to the way both cities are "reinventing themselves," after years of decline. "One thing I love about St. Louis: Property values are reasonable enough that someone like me can come in and do a project like this," he says.

Glodeck envisions Foam as a "third place," meaning a place in addition to home and work that people frequent as the center of their social community.

"I don't think anyone in St. Louis is doing what I'm doing with Foam," he continues. "It's going to be unique." No doubt, no matter what your foamy beverage preference is, there will be something worthwhile to bring you down to Foam, whether it's a band, a home-brewed beer or just a cup of joe to drink while you work on that novel. And undoubtedly the soundtrack, over a year in the making, will rock your socks off.

Foam is located at 3359 S. Jefferson, in the Benton Park neighborhood; find it at

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Thankfully things are always moving forward with Foam. The building is coming along nicely even if it is a little slow at times. We are hitting the point where infrastructure is complete and the design and decoration aspect begins. This is a rewarding stage to say the least. One of the most exciting things is that I have a new mural in the building. An artist and nearby resident painted my logo on one of the walls inside the space. Several people have exclaimed that it looks old and assumed that I discovered it when in fact it's less than a week old. Success!
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I participated in a photoshoot for an upcoming magazine article on Foam and the good things happening on Cherokee. It gets published in February. I wore makeup. It felt like halloween but afterwards and throughout the day nobody even noticed.
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Here's a super secret shot I snapped at the shoot.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Please join me in welcoming the newest member of the family. Our baby girl Frances Ellen Willa G.
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Sunday, September 07, 2008

toddler photo's

My brother and his wife along with their 2 young boys stayed with us for a couple of days. There were plenty of events to keep them busy but one of the most memorable was a photo project we did. We bought 3 disposable cameras and gave them to the 3 boys. Two of them are 3 years old and one is 5 and a half. We dropped the cameras off to get developed the day before they left so they were able to take home a mini photo album of their work.

A couple of things you notice while looking at the pictures. 1) Their perspective is so low. You forget that they see the world from a much lower vantage point than adults. 2) People behave differently to a 3 year old photographer. Many people, myself included, run from a camera. However, when a toddler is snapping shots you feel comfortable acting goofy thereby providing images that wouldn't otherwise be captured. 3) I love digital cameras. They are so convenient, but film is much more magical. The cheap disposables actually leak a lot of light giving you wonderfully unpredictable shots.

I'm not posting any pictures containing faces in order to protect the innocent, but trust me when I say that there are some special shots that really capture some people I love. Here are the best of the rest.

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Friday, August 01, 2008


I realized that I have neglected to mention on the site that we here at "making of a parent" HQ are expecting another child. It's a girl and is due to arrive at the end of September. I forgot to mention it because as you with children may know there are multiple dates at which time you roll out the news. First the couple finds out and has to keep it to themselves until it is confirmed. Then there are the calls to close friends and family. Later on people like co-workers find out. They are the people you see regularly but that you don't want to tell too soon. At that point you've known for months and the freshness of the news has worn off. You've moved on to things like names and color schemes for the nursery. Both of which have been chosen at this point!

It's going to be a busy September and won't be slowing down much afterwards either.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I have a severe bias against those that go door-to-door soliciting things. It usually happens that they ring my doorbell when my son is napping. He's a light sleeper. A ringing doorbell can certainly ruin a day by ruining a nap.

Given this preference I wasn't all that excited about going door-to-door soliciting signatures for my liquor license petition. Knocking on the doors of strangers isn't my idea of fun. And while it may not have been fun it sure was interesting.

It's possible to hire a company that solicits signatures for you. Primarily through a mailing campaign which seems really impersonal. It was suggested by my alderman that I beat the street for my own signatures. It turned out to be a great experience.

For the most part people were happy to see me and sign my petition. People seemed to fall into 2 categories. Longtime residents who are happy to see new things going in or new residents who moved in because of the potential on Cherokee. There were a handful, and certainly a minority of people and businesses, who refused to sign. Some people said they'd be happy to come to my place but that they were concerned with the gentrification of the area. That one was difficult to fully digest. One business owner admitted a history with alcohol that prevented them from signing. It wasn't clear if it was this particular person or maybe a family member with the history. I can't really disparage them for not signing.

Most people were excited. They'd seen work happening on the building and were anxious to find out what is going in there. I was invited into some houses and introduced around. A couple of people went out of their way to get me in contact with some of the others on my list who didn't happen to be around when I showed up. One property owner in particular who doesn't live in the building they own asked me to leave a petition with a neighbor so she could come down and pick it up. She brought it to her husband who, I later found out, is very ill. She mailed it back to me with the signatures and a little note wishing me good luck on my new adventure.

Some of the doors I knocked on were answered by people who obviously weren't expecting a stranger. Doors were answered by women in tears. One woman was nursing a baby. One man was in a towel. All of these people, while they were being inconvenienced, agreed to sign.

All in all it forced me to meet people I otherwise may not have met and I think it'll make my business and hopefully in turn the neighborhood stronger.

Friday, July 18, 2008


New windows were installed this week. It really makes a difference. For the most part it makes the rest of the building look shabby. Hopefully that will change soon.
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Foam is getting closer and closer to becoming a reality. Things are falling into place the way I hoped it would and as the space is built out I realize there is less I have to explain to people as I take them through the building. I used to say "and imagine a wall here and this will be the bathroom". Now I just say "this is the bathroom".

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


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Willa Fischer
July 5, 2004 - June 25, 2008

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hamtramck Disneyland

There's a famous found art project in Detroit called the Heidelberg Project. While in Detroit I learned about another art project referred to as the "Hamtramck Disneyland". I knew it was going to be worth it to seek it out right off the bat. It's not easy to find. You have to go down an alley to see it since it's perched atop a garage. It was interesting to say the least. It's difficult to really imagine what the owner is thinking. Does he really think it's like Disneyland? Is it his proudest achievement in life. Luckily I was there on a breezy day so I got the full impact with the fans blowing and windmills spinning.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I made a quick trip up to Detroit for a friend's surprise birthday party last weekend. I tried to take advantage of the fact that I was by myself and do a little exploring. I stayed in Greektown at the Atheneum which was walking distance from where the party was at Pulse. It was also across the street from Mosaic where I had dinner with some old friend's before the party. The streets of Greektown were full of people. The restaurants looked full and there were buses full of Japanese tourists pulling up in front of my hotel. Not what you would expect given the current state of the Michigan economy.
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The new Greektown Casino under construction.

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Street performers and artists kept the street feeling lively.

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The stylish new spaces combined with the historic old places make the area feel really interesting.

Next up a review of my Sunday morning trip to Hamtramck.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

under construction

My building is now officially under construction. Foam is becoming a reality. Here are a few pics of the building before and during demolition.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008


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My sister, a new Mom!, bought my son a couple of these mini Automoblox cars. They are cars with wooden parts and windshields and wheels that you can take a part and rearrange and combine with other Automoblox. I'm really glad these didn't exist when I worked in a cubicle. I'd be killing large chunks of time playing with these. Great design. Super stylish. On the "Making of a Parent" scale I give them a thumbs up/A+/5 star rating. I think Nate might like playing with them too.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Last night we finally got around to watching the Academy Award winning film Once. It's been sitting on top of the tv for 3 months. Netflix probably already wrote it off as lost forever. I knew I was going to like it which may have lead to my procrastinating. It was a lovely little peak into some other people's lives. The thing that struck me the most is that I wanted to explore all of those shops in what I assume was Dublin.

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As soon as the movie ended my wife said "What are they gonna call the sequel? Twice?" She's funny.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


I just picked up these 2 vintage Pachinko machines that are going to be used as decor in my coffeehouse when it opens. These things are so cool. They are futuristic and retro at the same time. Pachinko is a Japanese gaming system that is a combination of pinball and slot machines. They have built in ashtrays. How convenient! The graphics are cool and unfamiliar to me and add to the futuristic look while the mechanical equipment is antique looking and pretty rudimentary.
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Thursday, January 31, 2008

painted furniture

I picked this up at a thrift store and removed the mirror and hardware. It had water stains on the top and the wood veneer was peeling off on both sides. I glued the veneer down and used wood putty to fill in the scratches. I pulled out the drawers and primed the whole thing with an oil based primer.
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I had a sketch of the finished product and painted the drawers whatever was the lightest dominant color on the drawer.
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I taped off the pattern and painted the next darkest color. In some cases it was three coats.
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After the painting was finished and tape removed I took a very fine sandpaper and sanded in a single direction on each part to soften the finish coat a little. I then rubbed in a light stain to soften the finish and add a patina.
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A couple of coats of lacquer and Viola! Urban chic. I decided to keep the original hardware with its original finish. It added to the aged appearance. You can have old hardware replated in a satin nickel or some such finish to make it appear newer.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I have yet to post my lovely logo. I'm still working through the permit and licensing process at City Hall, but progress is being made. I should get my building permit soon and have a couple of hearings scheduled to take care of the necessary licenses. In the meantime here is my logo...
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And here is a mock up of the logo as a mural on the building...
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Monday, January 28, 2008

2007 Favorites

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Once again I have pulled together a list of some of my favorite tracks of the previous year and put them in a mix to hand out to friends. In some instances I may have picked tracks that weren't my absolute favorite, but the track I selected fit better in the mix and I liked it a lot anyway. While a track like Rehab from Amy Winehouse was one I listened to a lot last year there wasn't any point in putting it on the mix since everyone else heard it as well. Besides, Amy's backing band is on track 4 anyway.

I think the album I listened to most last year was probably Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga by Spoon and the track I listened to most was most likely Unless It's Kicks by Okkervil River. If you want a copy let me know and I'll see if I have any lying around. I'm working on Favorites of 2008 already. We'll see where Cat Power falls next January after it's been out a year.

Track Listing:
1. All Smiles - Summer Stay
2. The Avett Brothers - Die Die Die
3. Okkervil River - Unless It's Kicks
4. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
5. Andrew Bird - Imitosis
6. Blonde Redhead - 23
7. Elvis Perkins - While You Were Sleeping
8. Dr. Dog - My Old Ways
9. Spoon - The Underdog
10. Hotpipes - Song for the Late Riser
11. Jose Gonzalez - Killing for Love
12. Iron and Wine - The Devil Never Sleeps
13. Theodore - Down River Blues
14. We All Have Hooks for Hands - The Man Trying to Outfox Us All
15. The National - Apartment Story
16. The Shins - Turn On Me
17. Saturday Looks Good To Me - (even if you die on the) ocean
18. The White Stripes - It's My Fault for Being Famous