Cityscape

Airs Fridays noon-1 p.m. and 10-11 p.m. (repeat)

Join Steve Potter every Friday for a discussion of local arts and cultural events.

Subscribe to our e-newsletter, The Talk Studio, to receive previews of upcoming guests, highlights from the most-talked about shows, and questions from our producers.

Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer. The show is sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.

Improvisers Phoebe Richards and Chris Clark in an improv scene
Larry Vorpmi

When you think of improv comedy, you’re more likely to think of Chicago than St. Louis.

 

Chicago has well known theaters like The Second City and iO, which have given many famous actors and actresses their start. But St. Louis has a theater of its own, and while it may be under the radar, it’s attracting a growing number of students and audiences.

 

The Improv Shop opened its doors in early 2014, but it existed years before that. Its founder, Kevin McKernan, moved back to his hometown of St. Louis in 2009 after studying and performing improv in Chicago.

Carmellena Blockton (black pants) and Diva Sweat Girls
Ambee's Photography

In March, Carmellena Blockton set out to provide an outlet for young girls in St. Louis to develop social skills, learn physical fitness and to increase self-confidence. Straying away from the traditional mentoring program, she chose a different approach and created a hip-hop inspired majorette dance team entitled “Diva Sweat Girls.”

Diva Sweat originally began in 2013 as an adult dance class. As time went on, Blockton noticed a need in her community and decided to take action.

Amoco Painting
John Salozzo

Artist John Salozzo is known for making paintings that resemble real life photographs. Two years into his latest project, “St. Louis Icons,” he has completed 12 realistic board and canvas paintings of different St. Louis icons, including the Goody Goody Diner, Blueberry Hill, Ted Drewes and The Tivoli Theatre. The project is a 10-year effort that will consist of 40 to 50 total images.

An exhibit of “St. Louis Icons” is on display at Third Degree Glass Factory through July 18.

Mike Isaacson
The MUNY

On June 15, The Muny kicked-off its 97th season with “My Fair Lady.” Scheduled this season are three premiere productions along with returning favorites such as “Hairspray.”

On Friday’s “Cityscape,” Mike Isaacson, artistic director and executive producer of The Muny, joined host Steve Potter to discuss this season’s productions. Isaacson also had a hand in producing the Broadway musical “Fun Home,” which received five Tony Awards.  

So, what goes into lining up The Muny’s season?

Arlene Zarembka and Zuleyma Tang-Martinez got married in Canada in 2005.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

In a resounding victory for the rights of same-sex couples, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the U.S. Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to those couples.

The organ has been deemed by some as the “king of instruments.” But regardless of what it’s called, the organ will definitely reign supreme in St. Louis next week when the American Guild of Organists (AGO) holds its 2015 North Central Regional Convention in churches and concert halls throughout the metropolitan area.

George Davis, left; Eric Person, right
Alex Heuer

On June 19, for one night only, The Jazz Edge Big Band along with a special guest will pay tribute to St. Louis’ eight most influential saxophonists in their concert entitled “Tribute to St. Louis Saxophonists.”

Among those honored will be Oliver Nelson, Jimmy Forrest and David Sanborn.

On Friday, George Davis, co-founder of The Jazz Edge Big Band and board member of The Jazz Edge, Inc., and Eric Person, saxophonist, joined “Cityscape” host Steve Potter to discuss the event.

Vince Valenza, owner of Blues City Deli
Sauce Magazine

The restaurant business is known for having small profit margins. It’s competitive and sometimes it’s the small things that make the difference between a successful restaurant and one that’s not.

Ken Howard

Although Tobias Picker’s “Emmeline” received great accolades for its Santa Fe Opera premiere in 1996 and again in 1998 when that production was staged at the New York City Opera, it hasn’t been mounted since. But that will change on June 13 when Opera Theatre of Saint Louis opens its production of the American saga.

Used with permission

On June 16, Cortango Orquesta, will host an album release concert for the release of their first album, Tandas. Founded by Cally Banham, the six-member band Cortango describes itself as a “dance band performing tango music with a symphonic twist.”

“I started the group with the intent of creating an ideal experience for social dancing,” Banham said. “We started by playing more traditional, steady tangos. [Now], we like to present some pieces that are concert-like in nature and also play for dancers.”

St. Lou Fringe Festival Left, Em Piro; Middle, Alicen Moser; Right, Joe Hanrahan
Alex Heuer

Four years ago, St. Lou Fringe set out on a “passion project” to create an event that provided a networking platform for emerging artists to gain exposure. The project became known as the “St. Lou Fringe Festival,” which includes 10 days of performances from a diverse variety of art forms, including slam poetry, magic, fashion design and street performance. The overall goal of the organization is to promote St. Louis as a “hotspot for cultural and economic vitality” through arts culture.

Brian McConkey

In the mid-1970s a new theater group put on its first show in the then empty Union Station and changed the theater scene in St. Louis forever. The group was Theatre Project Company and its co-founder was Fontaine Syer.

Syer died of cancer on May 29 in Bloomington, Ind. where she had made her home since joining the faculty of Indiana University in 2005. Although she had been gone from St. Louis for many years, a host of actors, directors and theater managers credit her with inspiring the wide variety of small professional theater companies in St. Louis today.

(From L to R) Roy Kasten, Lynn Cook and Adam Reichmann
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Twangfest celebrates American roots, rock 'n' roll and country with its 19th annual festival featuring four nights of performances at Off Broadway.

Beginning June 10, each night of the festival will include performances by 3 bands from a variety of musical genres. Cracker, a band that combines rock, psychedelia, country, blues and folk, is scheduled to headline on opening night, followed by Philadelphia-based band Marah and local folk-rock band Grace Basement.

Vice-president Roy Kasten, who calls the organization a group of “hardcore music fans,” founded Twangfest in 1997.

STAGES St. Louis opens its 29th season with its 100th production, the musical revue “Smokey Joe’s Café.” The show features songs from the legendary rock and roll songwriting team, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stroller.

“Smokey Joe’s Café” debuted in November 1994 at the Doolittle Theatre in Los Angeles and quickly became a Broadway staple in 1995 after opening at the Virginia Theatre. The production ran on Broadway for 2,036 performances. It has been nominated for seven Tony Awards and in 1996, the original cast won a Grammy for the “Best Musical Show Album.”

via Flickr\Orbspiders

What is art?

That is the question Alton, Ill. residents and council members debated after the owner of a tattoo parlor, Grand Piasa Body Art, proposed relocating his business to East Broadway Street, in the city’s historic downtown district.

Courtesy Circus Flora

On May 29, Circus Flora returns to “The Big Top” in Grand Center to open its 29th season with “One Summer on Second Street.” This season features new talent, including an act performed by domestic house cats, as well as familiar acts such as the Flying Wallendas and the St. Louis Arches from Circus Harmony.

Far Lft, Brian Owens; Middle Lft, Sara Michaelis; Middle Rt, Stanley Johnson; Far Rt, Sonya Murray
Alex Heuer

The St. Louis Symphony and Maryville University collaborated to create an 8-week music therapy program called “Life Compositions” to help students at Confluence Academy Old North deal with the challenges and trauma of growing up in urban neighborhoods. Graduate students in Maryville’s music therapy program worked with the youth to write and record songs, which they will highlight in a concert titled “Courage Counts” on June 4.

Alex Heuer

Independent filmmaker Bill Streeter joined “Cityscape” guest host Don Marsh to discuss “Lo-Fi Cherokee,” an outgrowth of his award winning music and culture web video series, “Lo-Fi Saint Louis.”

“Lo-Fi Cherokee” is a yearly celebration of the St. Louis music scene featuring 18 live performance videos all produced in a single day in 18 different locations on Cherokee Street. The bands range from veteran national acts to up-and-coming local musical groups.

Alex Heuer

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis returns to Forest Park with the rarely performed “Antony and Cleopatra. Members of the company joined “Cityscape” guest host Don Marsh to discuss the production.

“Antony and Cleopatra” chronicles the love life of Mark Antony, one of three rulers of the Roman Empire, and Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, following the assassination of Julius Caesar.

Shirine Babb, an actor who plays the role of Cleopatra, said that in order to prepare for the role, she watched documentaries and read books about Cleopatra.

he Chinese Lantern Festival opens at the Missouri Botanical Garden on May 23.
Stephanie Lecci / St. Louis Public Radio

A popular attraction that debuted in St. Louis a few years ago has returned. 

 

On Saturday night, the Missouri Botanical Garden will present the grand opening of Lantern Festival: Magic Reimagined, a display of 22 sets of Chinese lanterns constructed out of steel and silk and illuminated from the inside. 

 

 

Pages