We went to the Contemporary Art Museum this afternoon. (Warning: one of the installations is of a cow giving birth. I had to walk away.)
i knew the CAM was downtown. Google maps confirmed that it's on Washington, by the Fox theater.
The first revelation came when we took the Grand exit. I realized I've never gone to the Fox during the day, and I was surprised to see the Fox is on the city side of highway forty, not the south side. We always take the 20mph ridiculous cloverleaf in the dark, usually late, usually panicked. That's my excuse.
The next revelation came when I looked across the street from the Fox and saw Powell Symphony Hall right there. Again, I've been to Powell at least eight times, always in the dark, and had no idea it was in spitting distance from the Fox. My Fox neighborhood awareness goes: scary exit, SLU sign, Fox, baptist church, turn to go back home. I was gobsmacked to see Powell Hall the other side of the baptist church in the light of day.
(I also confess that on the way there I had seen signs pointing to the Grand Arts Center. "I'll have to go there someday," I thought, as I have so often before. Today I realized the Grand Arts Center might not be a row of art galleries I have in my imagination, and it might be the area with the theater next to the symphony on the way to the contemporary art museum.)
We turned on Washington and there behind the Fox was the Sheldon concert hall. I said, "Are you KIDDING me?" As before, I've been to the Sheldon, I had no idea it was anywhere near the Fox, always in the dark, blah blah blah. It started to feel like the city powers decided to rearrange all the landmarks one night at two am so they could call it the Grand Arts District. And if I wasn't actually in the Grand Arts District and that's some other neighborhood with the Pageant music venue next door to the Peabody opera house I don't want to know.
And then, THEN when we left the Contemporary Art Museum, I asked the parking attendant which way on Washington I should go to get to the Arch. (Not because I wanted to go to the arch, it's just because I wanted to get some idea of where I was, because clearly I need to work on that.) He explained the arch is east, and Washington goes north and south. This reinforced my city rearrangement theory, but still I protested that I was pretty sure that Washington was right there by the arch. I almost argued, "I know it's downtown, because it's where the hookers were forty years ago," when he said, "Oh, that's Washington Avenue. THIS is Washington Boulevard."
Seriously, though. I need to lift my head up and look around when I'm out at night.