Donna Korando

Arts & Culture, Voices Editor

Donna Korando started work in journalism at SIU’s Daily Egyptian in 1968. In between Carbondale and St. Louis Public Radio, she taught high school in Manitowoc, Wis., and worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the copy editor and letters editor for the editorial page from 1973-77. As an editorial writer from 1977-87, she covered Illinois and city politics, education, agriculture, family issues and sub-Saharan Africa. When she was editor of the Commentary Page from 1987-2003, the page won several awards from the Association of Opinion Page Editors. From 2003-07, she headed the features copy desk.

She was part of the original staff of the St. Louis Beacon where she worked with features and commentary articles, combining her experience at the Post-Dispatch. Those areas remain her focus.

In addition to a journalism degree from SIUC, Donna earned a master of studies in law from Yale Law School. Her son and daughter took to heart her advice to go away to college and live far from St. Louis. Two cats rule the house.

Ways To Connect

NPR website

Tune in to St. Louis Public Radio at noon Saturday to hear the Ask Me Another show recorded at the Pageant in April.

You can hear Ophira Eisenberg make the obvious discovery that people in St. Louis smile more than they do in New York. The show’s local VIP is novelist Curtis Sittenfeld, the acclaimed author of “Prep,” “American Wife,” “Sisterland” and more. The last of those is set in the St. Louis area, where Sittenfeld has lived since 2007.

Veronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Tap takeovers, National Mead Day, beer and cheese, beer and brats, beer and chocolate, dim sum and beer, yoga and beer, burgers and beer, art and beer, popcorn and beer, and beer artfully paired with only the finest varieties of Doritos: Surely in all of this there must be music.

Marquise Knox at the Reykjavik Blues Festival in 2011
Olikristinn | Wikipedia

Grand Center is where you’ll find a variety of bands, beer tents, street art, food and drink specials and more Friday night.

This Music @ the Intersection Festival is one night in July, one in August and one in September. And it does not fit the pattern of the events in the Big List below. It has several bands each night in several venues.

Aldermen Joe Vaccaro (rear standing) and Shane Cohn (front standing) debate the minimum wage increase on July 20, 2015.
Sarah Kellogg/St. Louis Public Radio intern

A measure that would boost the minimum wage in the city of St. Louis for most workers got back on track Friday, following a contentious Board of Aldermen debate that lasted nearly an hour.

The bill appeared dead two weeks ago when the chairman of the Ways and Means committee, Alderman Joe Vaccaro, abruptly canceled all future meetings. He told reporters at the time he saw no way for anyone to achieve a "reasonable compromise" before aldermen went on summer break.

The main sponsor of SB5, state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, talks about the bill as Gov. Jay Nixon, right, looks on.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Amid continued concerns over the state’s response to last summer’s Ferguson unrest, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed what he calls “the most comprehensive and sweeping municipal court reform bill in Missouri history.”

The governor and a bipartisan cadre of the bill’s sponsors gathered triumphantly Thursday in a courtroom at the historic old St. Louis Post Office. The setting offered up a symbol of the changes that the bill – officially known as Senate Bill 5 – imposes on communities and their local courts.

Let them eat art logo
Maplewood website

Given the French heritage of St. Louis, one might expect Bastille Day to be a bigger deal here. Yes, the Chatillon-DeMenil House will host festivities from noon-3:30 p.m. July 12, including singing of “La Marseillaise.”  And Soulard is hosting a “Gathering of the Mob” on July 10 and “Bastille en Vogue” During the former, the rabble — “in our worst peasant attire” — will start a Howard’s on 13th and Lynch at 5 p.m. and end up at Pontiac Park. The latter is a fashion show — “from a point of historical whimsy” — at Franco. Tickets are required for that.

The big event is in Maplewood.

Bent or missing spear points are just a visible part of the problems with the fence around Lafayette Park.
Donna Korando | St. Louis Public Radio

The fence around Lafayette Park is an iconic symbol of the neighborhood: the fleur-de-lis of the spear points is in the Lafayette Square logo. Now part of that fence is on its way to Alabama.

Although the iron may appear sturdy, it is not.

"The only thing holding the fence together is the rust and the paint,” said Keith Houghton, an engineer who lives in the Lafayette Square neighborhood in south St. Louis. Bolts are missing; the fence sags or dips in places; some spear points are bent.

Chris Young, Kool & the Gang, Melissa Etheridge
various sources

It’s Fourth of July weekend. And with Independence Day falling on a Saturday, a lot of people have Friday off. And that means parties can start Thursday evening. So what do you do?

U.S. Supreme Court
supremecourt.gov

The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the use of midazolam as part of the execution protocol in Oklahoma. The same drug had been used — and challenged — in Missouri.  In the execution of Richard Strong earlier this month, midazolam was used as a sedative before pentobarbital was used to carry out the execution.

Palumbo

How many of this summer’s park concerts have been rained out? We’re betting a lot. And to try to change the mojo a little, this installment is going to include an indoor option.

Washington University Medical Center

Get your kicks on Route 66 — or at least the celebrate the Mother Road with the first-ever Route 66 Festival in downtown Kirkwood on Saturday. The festival starts early — 8 a.m. — with vintage cars arriving into downtown Kirkwood. At 10:15 am, the cars will begin to depart on their eight-day journey to Santa Monica, Calif. Throughout the day, there will be live bands in the Station Plaza across from City Hall as well as a variety of family-friendly activities, including Disney characters. Rev up those engines.

Courtesy Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center

Ok folks, it’s a good weekend for a road trip. We’ve got Superman, French Heritage and a celebration of Route 66.

strawberries for sale at Mahabaleshwar
Tarun.real | Wikipedia

Last week we touted the Red Berries and Bluegrass Festival in Illinois, so naturally we want to check out the Strawberry Festival in Kimmswick this weekend. The website promises, “If it is made with strawberries you will find it at this festival.” We’re willing to bet, however, that as with last week, the music will be more bluegrass than red hot.

Jabari Asim
Provided by Mr. Asim

If you didn’t know Jabari Asim was from St. Louis, a quick look at his first novel, “Only the Strong,” makes it clear. An Arch dominates the cover of the book, which is set in “Gateway City.”

The fictitious name lets him add details such as a destructive race riot after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  And it means he doesn't have to worry whether streets or places exist where they are placed in the book. Still “Only the Strong” is true to St. Louis. The action takes place in North Gateway circa 1970. Delmar is very much a dividing line, though corporate interests are recognizing the need to have partners on both sides of that street and the Central West End is somewhat integrated.

Photo Flood Photographer Jeni Kulka's September 20th Image in Tower Grove Park
Photo Flood Photographer Jeni Kulka

With the way the weather has been going on the weekend, just pick what you're interested in and head out. The rain seems to come for a bit but not necessarily wipe things out. Hope that statement isn't a jinx.

Cleopatra, left, and Antony, second from right, battle Rome and, at times, each other.
Provided by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

The evening was crisp. Chairs and blankets were spread out as feasts appeared from baskets. On one hill, Juggling Jeff escaped from a straightjacket. On another, young players trod literal boards previewing what was to come. And in the second act was a tribute to a heroine and the performing arts in St. Louis in the summer: “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale Her infinite variety.”

cello bridge
Turidoth | Wikipedia

Memorial Day weekend is one of those times that St. Louisans can expand their ethnic heritage. Check out the St. Louis County Greek Festival at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 1755 Des Peres Road in Town and Country. Of course it has music that you can listen to for free, as does the St. Louis African Festival at the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park. Ditto the Mississippi River Irish Festival  in Frontier Park, St. Charles.

VonDerrit Myers' mother, Syreeta Myers, speaks with reporters following the announcement that charges will not be filled against the officer who killed her son.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

 St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce has released her report in the fatal shooting of VonDerrit Myers Jr. by an off-duty police officer. It concluded “that Mr. Myers produced a firearm on the evening in question," and that “Given all the available facts, witness statements, physical and forensic evidence and for reasons outlined in the detailed report, prosecutors have determined a criminal violation could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Joyce said although the circumstances were tragic, the incident did not constitute a crime under Missouri law. 

Protesters disrupt opening day of Missouri legislature 2015
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio / politics

In a year that is more likely to be remembered for text messages and parliamentary maneuvers than legislative accomplishments, some bills were passed. Going in, the leadership (Republican) was determined to pass the state's budget bills early so that the governor (a Democrat) couldn't veto measures and then use the summer to campaign on issues raised in the fiscal plan.

generic funnel cake photos
Ann Fisher | Flickr

While we want to make certain you know about the Big List of summer concerts that we have available, we also want to alert you to some of the other ways to get out and enjoy St. Louis – ways that have music.

New this year is the St. Louis Swap Meet at the old Lemp Brewery at the east end of Cherokee Street by the Chatillon DeMenil Mansion. Playing at 10:30 a.m. will be the alt country band Trophy Mules.

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