“Happy are those who dare courageously to defend what they love.” – Ovid
Four years ago the future for public transit in St. Louis seemed uncertain at best. The repercussions of the Cross-County (now christened the Blue Line) expansion endangered operating funding and imperiled Metro’s much needed Proposition M campaign. Into this grim atmosphere stepped the crusading self-styled superhero Miss Metrolink (neé Liz Kramer). Kramer, along with co-organizer Claire Nowak-Boyd wanted to create a memorable and creative event to rally support for the beleaguered Prop M. Following the general idea of "if you love it so much why don’t you marry it" (or at least dance on it) Metrolink Prom, the nation’s first organized dance aboard light rail, was inaugurated with around 80 attendees.
Surviving the close 2008 defeat of Proposition M, Metrolink Prom continued to grow. In 2009 Metro recognized the event and contributed promotional prizes. In 2010, the reigning Prom King took charge of the event and more than 150 attendees celebrated the restoration of funding to Metro through passage of Proposition A.
It may prove tempting to dismiss Metrolink Prom as a strange or frivolous phenomenon. However, this would ignore the political motivations underlying the creative expression. Like the San Luis Love-In that took place only six months after the original Metrolink Prom, the event represents the first organizational stirrings of the millennial generation. Both events use creativity to destabilize the status quo and restructure elements of the city for a period of time. The open question is whether we will someday understand this as a prelude to a greater sea change or simply another lost opportunity.
In 2011, the Prom has gained the organizational support of City Affair, Citizens for Modern Transit, and the Transit Rider’s Union of St. Louis. This year’s prom celebrates the 5th anniversary of the completion of the Blue Line with a Blue themed Metrolink Prom:
For the fourth time in as many years, St. Louisans will unite to dance aboard the trains in the off-beat, one-of-a-kind MetroLink Prom. Why do we do this year after year? Because MetroLink—and public transit in general—makes St. Louis a better, more accessible city. Now, with the Blue Line in place, St. Louis can experience our resurgent, historic urban core as well as our thriving, inner ring suburbs in just seven light rail stops.
WHAT: 4th Annual MetroLink Prom
WHO: All lovers of mass transit and formalwear
WHEN: Friday, October 7, 2011. 7:00 p.m. – ??
WHERE: Meet at the Forest Park/DeBaliviere MetroLink Station at 7pm
HOW MUCH: A two-hour Metro pass ($2.75) – Purchase your own, please!
WHAT IS IT?
Just like it sounds – a full-blown, high school-style PROM aboard your favorite transit system. Dress in your finest attire—try to wear something blue—and meet us at the MetroLink Forest Park/DeBaliviere Station on Friday, October 7, 2011 at 7 p.m. We’ll direct you from there. St. Louis’s own Trotting Bear will provide acoustic music en route. When we arrive at Shrewsbury Station, we’ll award the night’s finest dressed (blue-themed formalwear or costumes) with the title of Prom King and Prom Queen before riding back to the Skinker Station.
After disembarking at Skinker Station, the newly anointed Prom Court and Miss Metrolink will join the Drumline of St. Louis to PROMenade one half mile to the Moonrise Hotel’s rooftop bar for the Blue Moon Ball – a night of drinking and dancing with an unparalleled bird’s eye view of the city and its duo of MetroLink lines.
For more information, please visit the event’s Facebook page
Also, event details may be found at
Citizens for Modern Transit: http://www.cmt-stl.org/
City Affair: http://cityaffairstl.blogspot.com/
Transit Riders Union of St. Louis: http://trustl.org/
*photo at top of story by Nick Speiser