Cityscape | St. Louis Public Radio

Cityscape

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

Cityscape is no longer airing. Coverage of the arts is now available five days a week on St. Louis on the Air. Cityscape host Steve Potter will continue to interview artists, musicians, and tastemakers. Our SoundBites series with Sauce Magazine will also be broadcast on St. Louis on the Air. The Cityscape archive will remain available on this page.

Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer, and Kelly Moffitt. 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.

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. 

 

 

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis opens its 40th anniversary season on May 23 with a production of Rossini’s comic opera “The Barber of Seville.” Conducted by St. Louis native Ryan McAdams, the production features the Opera Theatre debut of mezzo-soprano Emily Fons in the role of Rosina.

The season continues with Puccini’s romantic opera “La Rondine” opening on May 30. Former Gerdine Young Artist, soprano Sydney Mancasola sings the role of Lisette.

Jessica Hentoff

Circus Harmony, St. Louis’ only social circus and circus school, created Peace Through Pyramids, a performance arts initiative teaching youth of all races that cooperation, communication and standing on the shoulders of each other are keys to the path of peace.

Alex Heuer

In what is often a competitive playing field, some local restaurateurs are teaming up to make sure local food stays local and businesses prosper.

Ligaya Figueras, executive editor of Sauce Magazine, said that in the St. Louis area, food and drink restaurant collaborations began around 2010 between local craft breweries such as Schlafly Bottleworks and 4 Hands Brewing Co. Now, the newest collaborating restaurants, Kitchen Kulture and Sump Coffee, hope to keep the trend going.

Rhonda Ely

Soprano Sylvia McNair has sung in concert halls and opera houses all over the world. But she has a soft spot for St. Louis, where she got her start in opera with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 1983.

“Certainly in the 1980s, [Opera Theatre] was and still is a premier training ground for young American singers where you learn your craft from great directors and conductors,” she told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter. “I feel like Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is where I figured out how to walk in the opera business.”

Katy Peace, right in striped top, at an earlier pickup event
Provided by Community Supported Art

Katy Peace, founder and lead organizer of Community Supported Art - Saint Louis, joined “Cityscape” host Steve Potter along with artists Ruth Reese and Brandon Daniels to discuss the organization’s second season.

Community Supported Art provides aspiring artists with an opportunity and financial support to complete their projects. The CSA operates as a subscription service and helps artists sell their work.

Fred "Fred-O" Onovwerosuoke

Last November, African Musical Arts was awarded a $50,000 Innovation Grant from the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) to fund a two-year pilot project, “The African Performing Arts Exchange.” In addition to producing concert performances and music engravings of works by African-descent composers, the exchange will offer a web-based platform to share these resources. The Exchange is the dream of African Musical Arts founder Fred “Fred-O” Onovwerosuoke. He and development director Wendy Hymes joined “Cityscape” host Steve Potter to discuss the Exchange and a concert to benefit the project.

Kaitlyn Petrin

Flute Flight is a duo performing Saturday in St. Louis that features the compatibility between conventional silver flutes and Native American style flutes.

Alex Heuer

New Jewish Theatre closes its 2014-15 with “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding.” Based on a true story, the musical chronicles the life of writer David Hein’s mother while addressing the topic of marriage equality through song and dance. New Jewish Theatre artistic director Kathleen Sitzer and actors Ben Nordstrom and Laura Ackermann joined “Cityscape” host Steve Potter to discuss the production.

Nordstrom, who portrays David Hein, accompanied himself on guitar to perform the song that opens the production.

The Pulitzer Arts Foundation reopens Friday evening with double the exhibition space and the ability to color outside the lines whenever it wants. 

Christine Brewer is inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Soprano Christine Brewer has joined such other St. Louis greats as Chuck Berry, William Burroughs and Kate Chopin on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. At the ceremony, she said Opera Theatre of St. Louis and the city contributed greatly to her success.

Dilip Vishwanat

The St. Louis Symphony’s IN UNISON Chorus will perform its annual community concert Sunday, April 26 at Greater Grace Church in Ferguson.

Founded 20 years ago under the leadership of Robert Ray, the chorus became a permanent staple with the symphony after a single performance. Directed by Kevin McBeth, the chorus consists of participants from around 40 churches and features music that reflects African and African American culture.

When IN UNISON was founded, the St. Louis Symphony Chorus had already earned a nationwide reputation

Brazilian dance troupe Compagnie Käfig
Agathe Poupeney / (Provided by Dance St. Louis)

Fans of dance in St. Louis are in for a treat this weekend, with National Dance Week - St. Louis taking over Grand Center and an exciting dance performance at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.  

Dance St. Louis presents Compagnie Käfig, a male Brazilian dance troupe that has been selling out performances on their U.S. tour and will perform at the Touhill this weekend.

Nathan Pence, jazz bassist and high school senior
Devin Rodino / Jazz St. Louis

JazzU is a program of Jazz St. Louis that places talented middle and high school musicians in jazz combos. Applications for the 2015-2016 season are due May 1 and auditions will take place June 1-4.

This year, 53 students in the St. Louis area are part of the program and represent nearly four dozen schools. One participant of the JazzU program is Nathan Pence, a jazz bassist and senior at Bishop DuBourg High School.

“It’s really just inspiring to be in the program and that just pushed me forward,” Pence told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday.

Kelsey Proud / St. Louis Public Radio

Simon Lusky, team chef for the St. Louis Cardinals and owner of Athlete Eats on Cherokee Street, plans to start operating a food truck and open a new restaurant in Brentwood.

And, as reported by our partners at Sauce Magazine, the restaurant will re-brand as Revel Kitchen. The food truck will be called Revel Kitchen Food Truck and will debut at the magazine’s Food Truck Friday on May 8.

Alla Voskoboynikova grew up in a small town in Russia near Moscow. She received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance before moving to St. Louis in 1996.

Since 2004, Voskoboynikova, the director of Keyboard Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, has seen many of her former students go on to graduate school and successful careers as performers and teachers.

“This is probably the greatest reward for all the hours of hard work,” Voskoboynikova told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday.

First row: The owners of Earthbound Beer, Los Punk; Second row: Tacos at La Vallesana, ArtBar
(Courtesy: Sauce Magazine)

In South St. Louis, Cherokee Street is booming.

That’s according to Kristin Dennis, co-owner of the Fortune Teller Bar and a member of the Cherokee Station Business Association’s board of directors.

The foundation of the street is Mexican fare and antique shopping but just within the last few years, more than 20 new food and drink establishments have opened.

“Every few months we have new businesses opening,” Dennis told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday.

Janna Linae Schmid is a finalist in the Teen Talent Competition.
(Photo provided)

The Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation is putting on its fifth St. Louis Teen Talent Competition on Friday, April 24 at the Fox Theatre.

Of the 39 acts that competed in the semi-final round, 12 will compete in the finals on the Fox Theatre stage for more than $30,000 in scholarships, prizes and awards.

One of those competing is Janna Linae Schmid, a senior at Eukeka High School. Schmid is a singer and dancer and will perform “I Can’t Do It Alone,” from the musical, “Chicago.”

Courtesy Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum

For over sixty years, Emmy and Tony award winning actor Hal Holbrook has recreated the role of Mark Twain in “Mark Twain Tonight.” He has returned to St. Louis and will once again perform his one man show on Saturday in UMSL’s Touhill Performing Arts Center to benefit the Eugene Field House Foundation.

Eric Christensen, host of STL Up Late
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

If you haven't heard of St. Louis' only late night talk show, you're not alone.

Even though STL Up Late begins its fourth season Saturday night, the interactive show’s reach is limited because it’s a live stage event without a means of distribution. But that could soon change.

“We’ve been doing it for a while and we’re hoping we can get a bigger audience by getting this online or on TV,” said Eric Christensen, the host of STL Up Late. A pilot of the show was recently filmed.

The City & The City: Cotton Belt Freight Depot, 2015
(Courtesy of the artist and RYAN LEE, New York ©Mariam Ghani)

Mariam Ghani came to St. Louis with the idea of an already divided city.

“There’s a lot of long and complicated history that goes into making St. Louis what it is today,” Ghani said.

photo of David Robertson, Stephanie Berg and Jeanne Sinquefield
Courtesy of the St. Louis Symphony

How old do you have to be to compose music? A University of Missouri–Columbia program is proving that students of any age can do it.

The Creating Original Music Project, now in its 10th year, is a statewide composition festival that recognizes work from students, kindergarteners to high school seniors. This year, 70 students applied. Of the 18 winners, eight are from the St. Louis area.

It's a little early for baseball at Busch Stadium, but this weekend you can catch a game of beepball just outside the stadium.

Beepball is a version of softball, adapted for people who are blind or visually impaired. Along with some slight modifications of the rules, it features a beeping ball and two buzzing bases. Players wear blindfolds, except for the pitcher and catcher, who are actually on the same team, and two spotters.

Evan Sult and Paige Brubeck of Sleepy Kitty will perform in Upstream Theater's 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner.'
Sleepy Kitty

For its latest production, Upstream Theater has enlisted the help of local indie rock band Sleepy Kitty.

"Rime of the Ancient Mariner" has been adapted for the stage, and will include live music composed and performed by Sleepy Kitty. The play is based on a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge about a fantastical sea voyage and a sailor's search for redemption.

It’s unlike anything the band has done before.

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