Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Evie Hemphill

St. Louis on the Air Producer

Evie Hemphill joined the St. Louis on the Air team in February 2018. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature in 2005, she started her career as a reporter for the Westminster Window in Colorado. Several years later she went on to pursue graduate work in creative writing at the University of Wyoming and moved to St. Louis upon earning an MFA in the spring of 2010. She worked as writer and editor for Washington University Libraries until 2014 and then spent several more years in public relations for the University of Missouri–St. Louis before making the shift to St. Louis Public Radio.

When she’s not helping to produce the talk show, Evie can typically be found navigating the city sans car, volunteering for St. Louis BWorks or trying to get the majority of the dance steps correct as a member of the Thunder & Lightning Cloggers of Southern Illinois. She’s married to Joe, cat-mom to Dash and rather obsessive about doubt, certitude and the places where refuge and risk intersect.

A Dutch historian is in St. Louis this week searching for information about 172 African-American soldiers who are buried or memorialized in the Netherlands American Cemetery, pictured here during a Memorial Day 2017 ceremony.
American Battle Monuments Commission

Some of the U.S. soldiers who helped liberate Holland in September 1944 during World War II never made it home, and many of them are buried or memorialized in the Netherlands American Cemetery. Those ranks include 172 African-American service members.

Dutch historian Sebastiaan Vonk's efforts to learn about their lives have taken him on a trip to St. Louis.

“There are a lot of veterans coming over each year [to the Netherlands], but the African-American veterans unfortunately have not been coming over a lot,” Vonk said on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air. “The stories are almost unknown. So that’s something that we, I guess you could say, want to get fixed and make sure that also their stories are told and also that their service is being honored.”

From left, Olivia Lahs-Gonzales, Miriam Ruiz and Colin McLaughlin joined Thursday's show  for a focus on immigration, labor and identity through a creative lens.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

While planning for the 20th anniversary of the Sheldon Art Galleries, director Olivia Lahs-Gonzales and her team could have looked to the past, drawing material for this fall’s exhibits from hundreds of retrospective possibilities. But they opted to celebrate the future instead.

“I thought, ‘What better way – since we serve our community – [than] to focus on our immigrant communities and celebrate them and show all of the range of contributions and the issues that surround [immigration], especially in today’s world?’” Lahs-Gonzales said Thursday on St. Louis on the Air. “I think it was really fitting to kind of look out, forward, rather than looking backward.”

She joined host Don Marsh alongside Miriam Ruiz, community programs manager for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and Colin McLaughlin, musical director for Bread & Roses Missouri, to discuss how the Sheldon and other artistically inclined entities and individuals are deepening St. Louisans' understanding of social issues in creative ways.

Joining host Don Marsh (at left) for Tuesday's discussion were (from center left) four-time Tony nominee Terrence Mann, Variety CEO Jan Albus and Variety teen performer Selah Harris.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Musical-theater aficionados likely associate four-time Tony nominee Terrence Mann with the original Rum Tum Tugger of “Cats,” Inspector Javert in “Les Miserables” or perhaps one of the titular characters in “Beauty and the Beast.” Now the acclaimed actor is diving into yet another key role – this one on a St. Louis stage that will take him under the sea as King Triton.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, while taking a break from rehearsals for Variety Theatre’s upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid,” Mann joined host Don Marsh for a conversation alongside two St. Louisans who are also involved in the show.

Teenage performer Selah Harris was one of them, and when Marsh asked her what it’s like to work with someone as esteemed as Mann, Harris described the opportunity as “really amazing” in terms of boosting her drive and confidence as a young performer.

St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies (at left) and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jim Craig, director of UMSL's Veterans Studies program, joined Friday's talk show.
File photos | David Kovaluk and Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies talked at length with Jason Kander earlier this year, the former Missouri secretary of state seemed upbeat about his next political move: running for mayor in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

“More so than some other statewide Democrats who lost in 2016, Kander has been the one who’s really tried to forge a new path for himself – and did so pretty quickly,” Mannies said on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air.

So when the rising political star announced earlier this week that he was ending his mayoral campaign, citing a struggle with depression and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, it came as a surprise and “was shocking” to her.

The Webster Groves Arts Commission is honoring longtime actor Joneal Joplin with an award for lifetime achievement.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Joneal “Jop” Joplin has lost count of exactly how many roles he’s performed on St. Louis-area stages during his long acting career based in the region.

“I know that I’ve done something like 215, 220 shows in St. Louis – 101 at the Rep, 66 at the Muny,” he estimated Friday while talking with host Don Marsh on St. Louis on the Air.

Joplin, who will be honored Friday evening with the Webster Groves Arts Commission’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award, got his start as an actor in New York. But after traveling to St. Louis with his young family in 1972 to participate in just one show – a production of “Mice and Men” – he was asked to stay in town for another show.

Hours before being honored with the 2018 St. Louis Literary Award, Stephen Sondheim spoke at length with "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh.
Provided by Saint Louis University

Stephen Sondheim hesitates to settle on a single beginning point from which his now 70-year-long career in musical theater took off. There were the piano lessons he began taking as a young child, something he acknowledges may have “infiltrated” him early on. Then there’s the show he wrote at age 15, a script family friend Oscar Hammerstein gave an unsparing critique. He also credits his enjoyment of films growing up.

“The music that most influenced me at first was movie music,” the renowned composer and lyricist said Thursday on St. Louis on the Air. “I was a big movie buff, so it was the scores of people like Franz Waxman and Max Steiner and Bernard Herrmann that got me going.”

Chanticleer's 19-track album "Then and There, Here and Now" is set for release later this month.
Chanticleer

Over the past 40 years, San Francisco-based Chanticleer has gone to great lengths and unexpected places to refine and expand its vocal repertoire, bringing striking arrangements of popular music into the mix as well as commissioning new choral works by contemporary composers. But centuries-old songs can also be full of surprises – including Antonio de Salazar’s 17th-century arrangement of “Salve Regina.”

After a musicology professor discovered the manuscript buried within Mexico’s colonial-era Puebla Cathedral, he prepared it specifically for Chanticleer to perform.

“He unearthed it, quite literally, and he put all the parts together, and we sing it,” countertenor Gerrod Pagenkopf said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, just ahead of Chanticleer’s concert at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. “And it’s just a marvelous setting by a relatively unknown composer.”

Margaret Wolf Freivogel shared her impressions of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings she observed in 1991 and 2018.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with former St. Louis Public Radio executive editor Margaret Wolf Freivogel, who was a Washington reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1991.

During that period, Freivogel covered confirmation hearings involving then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, who was accused of sexual misconduct by Anita Hill. Freivogel published a column in the Post-Dispatch shortly after Hill’s testimony.

“You might think that the allegations against Clarence Thomas set off such a firestorm because they're about sex,” the piece, which appeared in the Oct. 14, 1991, edition of the paper, began. “But like almost everything that matters in politics and public policy, the real issue is power.”

Rosetta Watson was functionally evicted from the city after her former boyfriend attacked her.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this month, domestic violence survivor Rosetta Watson won a settlement in a lawsuit brought against the city of Maplewood, which had revoked Watson’s occupancy permit after she called the police to her home more than two times within six months. She spoke with St. Louis Public Radio’s We Live Here team in recent days and is the focus of this week’s brand-new episode of the podcast.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with We Live Here co-host/producer Kameel Stanley, who gave listeners a quick update on Watson’s situation as well as the broader implications of the settlement in Maplewood and beyond.

“She got a chunk of money which she’s using to buy a home of her own that no one can ever kick her out of, so that’s good news,” Stanley said. “But part of her settlement also [involves] changing things a little bit in Maplewood.”

St. Louis store owners (from left) Vincent Hromadka, Maddie Earnest and Chris Goodson are each familiar with the challenges - and the joys - of running a smaller grocery store in the city.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The small Soulard grocery store that Vincent Hromadka’s grandfather first opened in 1912, shortly after emigrating from Bohemia, has seen its share of challenges over the past century.

From dealing with an influx of much larger competitors, to moving locations in order to make way for a highway, to maintaining customer loyalty, it’s a substantive list of struggles to overcome. But Hromadka also has many reasons for continuing his grandfather’s legacy – and for why their now-106-year-old family business has persisted as long as it has.

“I enjoy what I do,” he told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Tuesday. “My two sons work for me full time, and I’ve got a third son who also comes in, and we try to communicate with our customers and supply them with their needs – if they need something special and we can get it, we will do it.”

The Parlor's Cup at Parlor, a bar located in the Grove neighborhood, is just one offering among a growing trend of low-to-no-ABV cocktails.
Carmen Troesser | Sauce Magazine

An evening of merriment, fun and flavor doesn’t have to involve alcohol – that’s an oft-repeated and frequently doubted notion. But it’s a growing mantra even among some bartenders and drink-industry enthusiasts, and it needn’t be a buzz kill.

Plus, for people trying to drink less – or not at all – it’s a welcome trend that can make the idea of going out socially much more appealing.

“It’s so valuable to remove that social element of not drinking,” said Heather Hughes, managing editor of Sauce Magazine. “If you’re trying not to drink for whatever reason – if you think you may have a problem or if you are pregnant – it’s a huge issue of concern to go out with people.”

"St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh spoke with the former FBI director, who is pictured here during a 2016 event at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
FBI | Flickr

James Comey expressed both concern and hope about the state of U.S. institutions and the rule of law during a St. Louis Public Radio interview on Wednesday.

“I think we’re in two different places,” the former FBI director told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “We’re in a place where the president of the United States relentlessly attacks the rule of law and the institutions of justice, so that’s terrible. But the second place that we’re in is that Americans have awakened to the importance of the rule of law and the danger of its erosion, and that’s a very, very important sort of antibody response. And it’s a source for optimism.”

Fiction writer Michael Nye (at left), Left Bank Books co-owner Kris Kleindienst (center) and Kathleen Finneran, a senior writer in residence at Washington University, are among those involved in this weekend’s festival.
Erica Ott & St. Louis Public Radio

Kris Kleindienst need only glance out toward the entrance to her bookstore at the corner of Euclid and McPherson avenues for some solid reminders of St. Louis’ literary legacy. The busts of four canonical writers adorn the intersection – T.S. Eliot, Tennessee Williams, Kate Chopin and William Burroughs, all of whom spent formative years in the city.

But Kleindienst is just as enthusiastic about St. Louis’ contemporary writing community as she is about the region’s historical claims to writerly fame.

“We’re a great literary town, and that – in my 44 years of bookselling – has really just become clearer and clearer to me,” the Left Bank Books co-owner said on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air during a discussion ahead of Bookfest St. Louis.

Kim Gardner began serving as the city’s top prosecutor in January 2017.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

 

Updated at 2:46 p.m. Saturday with clarification — St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim  Gardner has been on the job for a little over a year and a half now, and her office has been the subject of some controversy and criticism over the course of that relatively short time period.

Earlier this week, Gardner was the focus of an in-depth piece in the Riverfront Times. On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, she joined host Don Marsh for a conversation in light of the recent news coverage, and Marsh started by asking the prosecutor what she thought about the recent description of her office as a “chaotic” one.

“In any transition period when you are a new elected official, taking over an office can be difficult, and transition is difficult and hard for people,” Gardner responded. “So, of course, as [with] any prior prosecutor, there’s going to be transition. People will leave. And some people may say it’s chaos, but I say that’s change.”

The St. Louis-based literary magazine’s latest issue, which runs about 200 pages and includes some focus on immigration, features cover art by Tran Nguyen.
Boulevard

For nearly 35 years now, Boulevard magazine has been publishing works of fiction, poetry and nonfiction by both luminaries and emerging writers. Its hot-off-the-press 100th issue continues that tradition, offering readers a vibrant mix of contemporary literature penned by a wide range of writers.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the St. Louis-based literary magazine’s evolution and legacy since its founding in 1984.

Joining him for the discussion were the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Jessica Rogen, as well as celebrated writers Joyce Carol Oates and Carl Phillips.

In the wake of Ferguson unrest, longtime St. Louisan Henry Biggs felt a pull to do something about the issues facing the St. Louis region.  He chose to swim.
Swimming to Ferguson

University City resident Henry Biggs remembers hearing “a lot of talk” about bridging St. Louis’ racial divides and disparities in the months that followed Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson four years ago.

“But I didn’t really see many people saying, ‘OK, well, what’s the thing that I could do?’” Biggs recalled this week on St. Louis on the Air.

For Biggs – a longtime St. Louisan, scholar and athlete – that one thing ended up involving a whole lot of swimming. He decided to swim the entire 28 miles of water surrounding Manhattan in New York City, and he asked people to pledge a dollar per mile to support “things that would make the Ferguson area better.”

Brian Cohen (at left), the founder of LouFest, and St. Louis Public Radio’s Holly Edgell discussed the cancelation of this weekend’s festival.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Like so many St. Louisans this week, LouFest founder Brian Cohen was surprised and saddened to learn that the major St. Louis music festival set for this weekend had been canceled.

“It’s a sad day for sure, for a lot of people,” he told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “I didn’t necessarily see it going down this way – it certainly was a shock to me, and we’ll just have to see if we can find some answers as to why it all happened this way.”

Cohen, who in 2016 sold his stake in the company that organizes the festival, didn’t speculate about possible financial mismanagement or poor decisions that may have led to this year’s issues. But he acknowledged that the music industry is a difficult one where it’s easy to run into trouble.

On Friday evening, the Archdiocese of St. Louis is holding a Mass of Reparation at the Cathedral Basilica for victims of sexual abuse.
Brian Plunkett | Flickr

The word “outrage” doesn’t quite capture how Catholics in St. Louis have been reacting to a recent report revealing that nearly 1,000 young people were sexually abused by hundreds of priests in Pennsylvania over a 70-year period.

“I think everyone is just really grieving … there’s so much anger and some hostility even,” said Sandra Price, executive director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. “The reports that were outlined in the grand-jury report in Pennsylvania [were] grisly, detailed reports of abuse – that’s what sexual abuse is. And that the public has seen what sexual abuse really looks like, it’s traumatic – there’s just no words.”

Price, along with colleague Carol Brescia, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh for a conversation leading up to Friday’s planned Mass of Reparation. The segment also included comments from Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley and from David Clohessy, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP.

John Baugh began studying linguistics when he was researching the topic of housing discrimination in California.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

From New York to Los Angeles, people everywhere develop speech patterns unique to their region; however, these varied dialects are discriminated against at times. While this phenomenon is nothing new, two recent films explore the cultural responses to dialects with a racial perspective: Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” and Boots Riley’s “Sorry to Bother You.”

“From a linguistic point of view, the dialect that’s distinctive to slave descendants in the United States is the result of racial isolation and also the fact that slavery was legal in the South, so the black dialect has been strongly influenced by white Southern speech,” John Baugh said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “And then once blacks migrated to other parts of the country, they were still racially isolated in Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia, so the distinctive character of the dialect prevailed.”

Anne Bogel (at left) of the “What Should I Read Next” podcast and Holland Saltsman, owner of the Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves, both enjoy connecting good books to the right readers.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When it comes to reading, one person’s great book can be another person’s dull tome.

“As devoted readers know, reading is nothing if not personal … my favorite could bore you to tears, your favorite could put me to sleep,” Anne Bogel told host Don Marsh on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Bogel, the person behind the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog and the podcast What Should I Read Next, joined the talk show along with Holland Saltsman, owner of the Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves. Both women offered a variety of suggestions for choosing what to read next as well as some specific book recommendations to listeners.

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