Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Members of the SFJAZZ Collective
Photo by Jay Blakesberg

When jazz trumpeter Sean Jones took on the job of interpreting tunes by Miles Davis, he didn’t try to recreate the famed musician’s notes.

Instead, Jones set about pushing the music forward.

He’s part of the SFJAZZ Collective, a San Francisco-based group of musicians that is booked through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro in St. Louis. The group, which each year honors a big name in jazz, is now focusing on Davis, a trumpeter who helped give birth to the cool but stylistically never stayed in one place.

In this April 12 photo, arts advocate and law professor Adrienne Davis looks upon a piece by artist Lorna Simpson in her home collection.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Adrienne Davis teaches law but she regularly cross-examines the status quo in a completely different field: the arts.

The Washington University law professor will receive an Arts Advocacy award from the Women of Achievement of St. Louis in a May 16 event at the Ritz-Carlton. The honor applauds her service on various boards including that of the St. Louis Art Museum and Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

But it also extols her efforts to infuse more racial diversity into the artistic pipeline, from art-makers to gallery attendants to curators to institutional leaders. In our latest Cut & Paste arts and culture podcast, we talk with Davis about her advocacy and why it matters.

In this file photo, St. Louis Poet Laureate Michael Castro talks with students at an event presented by the 7th Grade Poetry Foundation.
Adelia Castro

Some in the St. Louis poetry community are upset about a delay in announcing a new poet laureate.

In December 2014, Michael Castro was ushered in with great fanfare as St. Louis’ first official poet. It was a two-year term.

This past December, the head of the task force charged with naming Castro’s successor told poet Jane Ellen Ibur that she’d been selected. But she still doesn't have the job.

Michael Middleton
Courtesy University of Missouri Columbia

This weekend will be the last for a performance of “My Country: A Devised Work,” a play presented by the UMSL's Theatre and Cinema Arts department, which was inspired by Sam Beadle’s poem “My Country.”

On Chess: When your chess opponent wears a cape

Apr 26, 2017
Children enjoy the intersection of chess and comics at the opening reception for "POW! Capturing Superheroes, Chess & Comics" at the World Chess Hall of Fame on March 23, 2017.
World Chess Hall of Fame | Austin Fuller

Ever since the first cartoonists joined text and images together to tell stories, they turned to chess to deliver funny gags and to illustrate metaphors of power, fate, and good and evil. Now, the World Chess Hall of Fame’s exhibit, "POW! Capturing Superheroes, Chess & Comics,on view through Sept. 17, offers a rare chance to enjoy the full scope of what happens when chess and comics join forces.

Devonshae Ali, who plays Alice, and Gary Shepard, who has the role of Sam, are pictured in this April 2017 photo. They have both experienced homelessness in their own lives.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

There was a time when Devonshae Ali, Kimberly Romine and Gary Shepard had no place to call home.

Now they all have not only permanent addresses but a new mission: helping people see what it's like to be homeless, through a play to be staged this weekend by St. Louis’ True Community Theatre.

Mike Mullins, director of Tionól, and Eimear Arkins, an Irish singer and fiddle player, joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss upcoming concerts and workshops.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Irish singer and fiddle player Eimear Arkins first came to the United States to Missouri for university. After completing her degree, she headed home to Ireland for a while, returning to St. Louis in 2014 to stay. With her, Arkins brought her fiddle and a singing voice steeped in Irish folk singing tradition from County Clare.

St. Louis Blues President and CEO Chris Zimmerman, photographed at St. Louis Public Radio's studios on April 24, 2017.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Saturday, the St. Louis Blues defeated the Minnesota Wild, moving on to the next level of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Next, they’ll take on the Nashville Predators.

“The Minnesota Wild are a really strong team with a lot of weapons,” said Blues President and CEO Chris Zimmerman. “It took great goaltending and our guys stepping up to get by them. For many people that was a surprise to see us winning in five games. Nashville is playing really well. You don’t sweep the Chicago Blackhawks without being an outstanding team.”

Anne Allred, a KSDK anchor, recently underwent kidney transplant surgery. She spoke with St. Louis on the Air's Don Marsh on April 24, 2017.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Last April, KSDK Anchor Anne Allred hadn’t given a thought to organ donation. She was preparing to have a baby in August and balancing life as an evening anchor of KSDK news.

A year later, everything is different for Allred as she marks this year’s National Donate Life Month. In the past year, she faced the premature birth of her daughter, Nora, and her extended stay in the NICU, severe renal failure due to a rare kidney disorder, dialysis and an eventual kidney transplant.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 23, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour (Hoagy Carmichael Tunes) and New Music.  The music will be played by: Marian McPartland, Ray Brown, Ray Bryant, Jim Hall & Charlie Haden, Dave Brubeck, Red Garland, Gene Harris, the SFJazz Collective, Benny Green, Kelvyn Bell, Judy Niemack, Charlie Watts & the Danish Radio Big Band, Mike McGinnis, Adam Schneidt and Antonio Adolpho.

The Slide Show contains my photographs of some of the artists heard on this show.

The Archive of this show will be available until the morning of may 1, 2017.

A picture of vinyle tops and stacked records from Euclid Records' upstairs which is filled with old pressings of jazz, country, ambient and rock
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Saturday is Record Store Day, an international event developed in the age of the internet to build awareness for brick and mortar music shops. The music-buying public has embraced the event and many stores use the day to host live music, have cookouts and generally adopt a party atmosphere.

Moyan Brenn | Flickr

The concept of a library is over 5,000 years old, but that doesn’t mean these community institutions are stuck in the Stone Age. On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard from librarians from two different communities in the region, in Ferguson, Mo., and Fairmont City, Ill., and how they are innovating exactly what the concept of a library is.

Continuing the Legacy COCA 2015
Provided by COCA

When folk artists die, their craft can be lost. To make sure their work is preserved, Lisa Higgins, director of the Missouri Folk Arts Program at the University of Missouri in Columbia, helps preserve those techniques.  That way, when an artist dies, it’s not the end of their expertise.

“There’s a bit of joy in there also, it’s bittersweet, to know that through the program they have been able to sit down and pass that tradition onto someone else who’s invested in it and plans to carry it on,” Higgins said.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

If you’ve watched Cardinals baseball in the past 20 years, you know the story of Rick Ankiel, a former pitcher-turned-outfielder who joined the Cardinals organization in the late ‘90s as a pitcher expected to become the next Bob Gibson. He was doing well until 2001, when his pitching became suddenly and conspicuously erratic. No one, not even Ankiel, could identify the reason why.

A 2016 New Haven, Connecticut, exhibition is seen in this file photo. It's called “As in the Light of Marielle” and involves the work of artists Faring Purth and Raven Fox and is similar to what they plan to show in St. Louis Friday night.
Provided | Faring Purth and Raven Fox

St. Louis drivers going north on Jefferson Avenue who pass Cherokee Street can’t miss the 100-foot long mural of a nearly-naked crouching woman, called “Prime.” On Friday night, it will be more visible than ever.

“Prime” will be lit up with different colors and adorned with projected photos, as part of a pop-up exhibition at 3401 South Jefferson Ave. called “The Other Girls.”

Elshan Moradiabadi and Sabina Foisor
Lennart Ootes | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

From March 27 until mid-April, I had the chance to be grandmaster in residence at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. Being at the “mecca” of chess was already a great privilege but what doubled my luck was coinciding this period with the most prestigious chess event in the United States: the U.S. Chess Championships!

I had the chance to observe this event from three perspectives: grandmaster and professional player familiar to the demanding nature of this sport, coach, and spectator (I was closely following the event and commenting for other spectators). I happen to be the fiancé and coach of WGM Sabina Foisor, who came in as an underdog and won the event in style.

Jon Else, filmmaker and author of "True South," discussed the legacy of St. Louis filmmaker Henry Hampton with St. Louis on the Air on Wednesday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Filmmaker Henry Hampton grew up in segregated St. Louis, Richmond Heights to be specific, during the 1940s. He would go on to found a film production company called Blackside, Inc. in Boston. His company produced over 80 documentaries and other productions and most notably created “Eyes on the Prize.”

The 14-part documentary is considered one of the most influential and definitive documentaries about the 30 years encompassing what Americans call the civil rights movement era, from Emmett Till to the Black Panthers.

Keisha Mabry, the Director of Innovation at College Bound, recently wrote a book about connecting with other people called "Hey Friend: 100 Ways to Connect with 100 People in 100 Days."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In her daily work at College Bound, Keisha Mabry, the organization’s director of innovation, administers a text messaging app for students called Bridgit 2 College, which connects high school graduates who’ve been accepted to colleges with people to send them reminders about deadlines to meet and experiences to prepare for when they go to college.

Tiffany Lee and Reginald Petty recently published "Legendary East St. Louisans."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Miles Davis. Katherine Dunham. Jackie Joyner-Kersee. These are three household names you may know who have connections to East St. Louis. But they are not the only African-American East St.

Novice actor and video-rental entrepreneur Robert Koonce-Bey and artist Ilene Berman talk about the Shake38 play "A Day of Confusion" in this April 5 photo.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Every April, the words of Shakespeare echo throughout St. Louis — not just in theaters, but in bars, coffee shops and local parks.

It’s all part of a five-day event called “Shake 38,”  presented by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. The schedule offers 38 different performances, based on the work of the Bard.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 16, 2017 will be “The Compositions of Duke Ellington: Collaborations with Billy Strayhorn.”  Duke Ellington and his writing partner, Billy Strayhorn were so closely attuned that on some compositions, no one could tell who wrote what.  We will have selections from this collaboration by the Ellington Orchestra, Scott Amendola & Charlie Hunter, Stefon Harris, Kenny Baron & Dave Holland, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Clark Terry & Ernie Wilkins, the Dutch Jazz Orchestra, Tommy Flanagan & Jaki Byard, Cleo Laine, The Palmetto All-Stars, Art F

Mississippi Nights Music Festival will be on Memorial Day Weekend 2017 at Laclede's Landing.
Landing Neighborhood Association

A new music festival takes place on the St. Louis riverfront this Memorial Day weekend.

 

The Mississippi Nights Music Festival aims to recreate the atmosphere of the Mississippi Nights music club in Laclede's Landing, which closed a decade ago.

 

The club, which featured many bands, was a local favorite, said Laura Tobey, executive director of the Landing Neighborhood Association.

 

On April 7, the world lost Patricia McKissack, a famed children’s book author who made her home in St. Louis. She died of a heart attack at age 72.

Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

Hundreds of church bells of the St. Louis Archdiocese and other local congregations have hung silent since Holy Thursday, but will sound again, as is tradition, for Easter Vigil on Saturday. For generations, the handmade metal signals have called on local communities to mark the significant moments of life.

Kat Reynolds is pictured in a file photo of a self-portrait shown recently at The Militzer Art Gallery in St. Louis.
Provided | Kat Reynolds

Photographer Kat Reynolds is having a moment.

In the past few months, Reynolds has exhibited at five St. Louis venues. She was named this year’s Emerging Artist by the local Visionary Awards, a prize she’ll accept April 24 at the Sun Theater in Grand Center. She’s also wrapping up a residency program at Paul Artspace, north of Florissant. Her work primarily features young people of color, friends, people she encounters on the street, or people she finds through social media.

Reynolds works all these activities around a full-time customer relations job. In our latest Cut & Paste podcast, we catch up with this busy artist, who strives to genuinely connect with her subjects.

Gene Jackson started his professional performing  career at 15 when his mom signed a waiver allowing him to perform at the Midnight Lounge on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in the mid-1970s.

Older musicians took him under their wings, showing him the ins and outs of St. Louis’ rhythm and blues, and initiating him into a fellowship of performing musicians determined to keep soul music alive.

Roland Johnson entered the scene years earlier, started his career singing with groups at sock hops and youth dances before entering the realms of bars and clubs.

2017 U.S. Chess Championship winner Wesley So and 2017 U.S. women's champion, Sabina Foisor.
Lennart Ootes | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

Between March 29 and April 10, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis hosted the 2017 U.S. Chess Championship and U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, two of the most exciting events in the American circuit. This year, the events were stronger than ever, with three players out of the world’s top 10 participating in the open section, making it the strongest national championship in the world.

U.S. Championship

David Carson, photojournalist with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss drone journalism.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Last month, with the launch of the aptly-titled “Weatherbird One,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch made a foray into a new newsgathering realm: drone journalism.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we discussed the ethics of drone journalism with David Carson, photographer with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel with the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA).

Here’s a glance at what that looks like: 

Patricia McKissack
Photo provided | The St. Louis American

With the death of Patricia McKissack on Friday, the world lost the surviving partner of one of the most prolific duos in literature.

McKissack suffered a heart attack and was taken to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She was 72.

Patricia McKissack and her husband, Fredrick McKissack embarked on their collaborative literary lives nearly 35 years ago, with the intention of being the change they wanted to see. The couple decided that little black boys and girls deserved positive images of themselves and a broad scope of their people’s rich history as they turned the pages of books.

Dipstick the goat chomps away on honeysuckle at Willoughby Heritage Farm in Collinsville. April 2017
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

“What can we do about the massive spread of bush honeysuckle? It spreads greatly and destroys ground-level wildflowers.”

That was the question the Rev. James Brobst of Belleville recently put to Curious Louis.

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