My favorite things Missouri

What a strong, strong state this is.  Where to start?

1. Director: Robert Altman, with Gosford Park as my unusual choice of favorite.  Nashville I find unwatchable.

2. Popular music: Chuck Berry; "13 Question Method" is his best little-known song.  Throw in Eminem and Wilco and Burt Bacharach for good measure.

3. Ragtime song: "Euphonic Sounds," by Scott Joplin.

4. Jazz song: "Koko," by Charlie Parker.  Don't forget "St. Louis Blues."  Count Basie, Mary Lou Williams, Coleman Hawkins, and Lester Young all could be put into the Kansas City jazz tradition.

5. Painter: Thomas Hart Benton, with George Caleb Bingham as a good runner-up.

6. Sculptor: Donald Judd.

7. Writer: Duh.  But after that, I don't find Heinlein or Laura Ingalls Wilder or William Burroughs to be readable (sorry!)

8. Poet: T.S. Eliot, with Marianne Moore and James Langston Hughes as runners-up.

Virgil Thomson belongs somewhere, but in what category?  Note also that Kansas City has a superb collection of Chinese art and St. Louis has wonderful contemporary German art.

The bottom line: Amazing!  Kansas City and St. Louis were on the rise while America was experiencing one of its cultural peaks. 


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