Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Orli Shaham
Christian Steiner / Courtesy of Orli Shaham

Classical pianist Orli Shaham knew that she would likely have a career in music when she was only 11 or 12 years old.

“I knew I needed to be part of that music making,” Shaham said, recalling how she thought after getting the opportunity play with an orchestra at a young age.

Although Shaham has performed frequently with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra as a guest artist, for the final time, she will perform with the SLSO this weekend with her husband, David Robertson, as music director.

Men outside of Lynch's slave pen at 104 Locust St. in the 1850s.
(Courtesy: Missouri History Museum)

This interview will be on "St. Louis on the Air" at noon on Wednesday; this story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

Before the Civil War, Bernard Lynch owned the largest slave market in St. Louis.

After the war, Lynch’s slave pen became a storage building for the Meyer Brothers Drug company, and the building was eventually demolished to build Ballpark Village.

An exhibit on the history of newspapers is now on display at the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
(Courtesy: St. Louis Mercantile Library)

This interview will be on "St. Louis on the Air" at noon on Wednesday; this story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

About two hundred years ago, St. Louis had between 20-25 daily newspapers operating concurrently.

 On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh will discuss a new exhibit at the St. Louis Mercantile Library, "Headlines of History: Historic Newspapers of St. Louis and the World Through the Centuries."

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 15, 2017 will be “The Thelonious Monk Centennial.”  In his lifetime, Thelonious Monk composed just over 70 tunes.  Monk’s little gems are the second most recorded compositions in all of jazz history.  Monk would have been 100 years old on October 10.  We will play his music performed by him on solo piano, small groups and big bands and by Ray Anderson, Carmen McRae, Scott Amendola, the Monk’s Music Trio, Abbey Lincoln, Irene Schweizer, Coleman Hawkins, Organ Monk, Fred Hersch, John Coltrane, Andy Bey, Kenny Barron & Regina Carter, Danilo Perez, Steve

A Murmuration
Zlatko Ćosić

Video artist Zlatko Ćosić has called St. Louis home since 1997, but it was his experiences growing up and eventually fleeing the former Yugoslavia that have most influenced his work. After the war in his homeland started, he was kicked out of the university and his father lost his job just because of their nationality and religion. They were eventually arrested and placed in forced labor for eight months.

We see and hear art at our many art venues around town and most, both large and small institutions and venues, have exciting education programs. I'll just highlight a few of them.

The Muny's 100th season includes several favorites that will return to the stage of the outdoor theater.
Provided | The Muny

The Muny outdoor theater today announced a 100th season that honors its St. Louis heritage, classic musicals and the African-American rendition of Dorothy’s journey into Oz.

The banner season includes several favorites such as “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Muny-goers last saw the musical about the tribulations of a St. Louis family against the backdrop of the 1904 World’s Fair nine years ago.

Courtney Berg and Kate T. Parker joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss "Strong is the New Pretty" and girls' empowerment.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday's St. Louis on the Air, we turned our discussion to that of girls empowerment with Kate T. Parker, author of “Strong is the New Pretty,” and Courtney Berg, executive director of Girls on the Run, a local non-profit that uses running as a tool for youth development.

"When you have power, you get to know your voice and use it," Berg said of the need to teach girls earlier of their power.

A view of the old North Side YMCA building from the old Sportsman's Park in JeffVanderLou. Mission: St. Louis, a local non-profit, recently moved to the building and has uncovered some unexpected surprises and historic elements.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

This story originally aired on St. Louis on the Air on July 26, 2017. It was rebroadcast on Oct. 12, 2017.

If you’ve undertaken any kind of home renovation project, you’ve probably encountered a few, well, we’ll call them pleasant surprises.

Melanie Barrier was adopted at age 10 by a Columbia, Missouri ,couple, after living in 20 different foster homes.
Carolina Hidalgo| St. Louis Public Radio

Melanie Barrier went into the Florida foster care system as a newborn. She lived in 20 foster homes before she was adopted at age 10.

Stability existed in only one realm: music. As a child traveling from family to family, Barrier took along her beloved songs of the 1970s.

Daje Shelton and her high-school boyfriend, Antonio Shumpert, welcome their baby boy, Ahkeem, into the world.
File | Provided | Jeff Truesdell

By the time Daje Shelton of St. Louis was 17, she’d already lost lots of friends to gun violence. One was shot while waiting at a bus stop, another while walking to the store.

Shelton had few outlets for expressing her grief and coping with emotions about that trauma. In her world, fighting, not talking, was a typical way to address conflict. After one fight, she was expelled from high school.

Ding Lirin, at age 24, is one of the youngest champions in this year's World Cup.
Lennart Ootes | Sant Louis Chess Club

Whenever I am the Grand Master in Residence at the Saint Louis Chess Club, non-chess players often ask, “When did you start playing chess?” I gladly answer, 10 years old. Many talented players start very young and even become grand masters in their teens, but I recently noticed that there is actually a shift happening with chess professionals. According to recent results at the World Cup in Tbilisi and the strong tournament on the Isle of Man, experience seems to weigh more heavily than age.

Gaslight Cabaret

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard about the return of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival, which starts October 13 and runs through November 11. 

Joining the program with contributor Steve Potter were Farah Alvin and William Michals, discussing their careers and appearance at the festival in November. Alvin is a singer, songwriter and actress. Michals is a baritone singer and actor.

Amanda Doyle, author of "100 Things To Do In St. Louis Before You Die."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is the kind of city you can live in all your life and still uncover hidden gems in neighborhoods you’ve never before visited.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, local author Amanda Doyle helped us uncover some of those gems as she discussed her book “100 Things to Do in St. Louis Before You Die.”

Kris Kleindienst, co-owner of Left Bank Books, stand next to the ResiSTL display table.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

The protests in St. Louis over the last three weeks have topped the news almost daily.

Even for those who stay up on what’s happening, there may be questions about how this came to pass again, just three years after race-related protests in Ferguson.

Delving into St. Louis’ history of racial division and relations between police and black people can seem overwhelming. St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman set out to make a reading list with recommendations from people who are used to being asked.

Matt Sorrell, Lavinia McCoy and Sean Morris discussed soul food on St. Louis on the Air.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is home to so many soul food restaurants, it is hard to get an accurate count of them all. On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, contributor Steve Potter delved into the world of soul food from an outsider’s perspective. What comprises the food type? And what should you know about ordering?

Words from home: Newspapers

Oct 8, 2017
Chinese-American News offices in University City. 2008. 300 pixels wide
Courtesy of the News

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 5, 2008 - Area residents don't have to go online or to another country to read ethnic newspapers. Publications here have been breaking news and keeping the region informed in languages other than English for decades.

Today, the Bosnian Sabah, Spanish Red Latina and Chinese-American News along with national publications like Il Pensiero are keeping that tradition alive. The papers are also looking to the future and possible reinvention as English language publications - or dual language publications - with a specific ethnic focus.

Reviews of top shows: at RAC and Mad Art

Oct 8, 2017

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 4, 2008 - If you missed the incredible opening of "Screwed In" -- and even if you saw it -- it's highly, highly recommended that you visit the exhibition, even though it's a completely different (and quieter) animal than it was on that opening night.

Leonard Slatkin spent 27 years with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, 17 of them as music director. When he left that post in 1996 the SLSO gave him the title Conductor Laureate. Since leaving St. Louis in 1996, he has been music director of the National Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de Lyon and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, a post he will give up at the end of the current season.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 8, 2017 will feature “The Music of Mal Waldron.”  Pianist Mal Waldron was one of the great accompanists in jazz, playing with nearly everyone during his over 50-year career, including Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Teo Macero, Steve Lacy, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Terence Blanchard & Donald Harrison, Abbey Lincoln,  David Murray, Judy Niemack and Anthony Braxton.  He composed over 400 tunes and we will hear two of these played by our own Hard Bop Heritage group and Dizzy Gillespie.  He also composed music scores for at least four films.

(L to R) Michael Donovan, Robert Lynch and Sherry Sissac
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

In Missouri’s big cities and in its rural area, the arts have a big impact – not only for their inherent value – but economically as well.

“It’s a billion dollar story [in Missouri],” said Michael Donovan, Executive Director of the Missouri Arts Council, an organization that has funded the arts in communities across the state for more than 50 years.

Donovan along with Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, and Sherry Sissac, Deputy Director of the Regional Arts Commission, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Friday.

Steve Potter
Susannah Lohr

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with St. Louis Public Radio afternoon host and talk show contributor Steve Potter.

With St. Louis Public Radio fulltime since 2001, Steve has contributed to the station in many ways. For 11 years he hosted the arts and culture program Cityscape, and the last few years has served as a back-up host and contributed arts and culture segments to St. Louis on the Air.

Author Nick Pistor and St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discuss "Shooting Lincoln" at Left Bank Books on Sept. 27.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The men who took the most memorable photographs during the Civil War are the subject of local author Nick Pistor’s newest book, “Shooting Lincoln: Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and the Race to Photograph the Story of the Century.”

At a special St. Louis on the Air event last week at Left Bank Books in the Central West End, host Don Marsh talked with Pistor, who is a former reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

On Chess: Race to the Candidates Tournament

Oct 5, 2017
2017 World Cup Champion Levon Aronian will go on to the Candidates Tournament in 2018
Lennart Ootes

Levon Aronian, from Armenia won the 2017 FIDE World Cup, defeating his Chinese rival Ding Liren in the finals. The World Cup was held in Tbilisi, Georgia, between Sept. 2-27.

The World Cup was a unique event this year as the world champion, Magnus Carlsen, chose to participate. He didn't have to, however, because the World Cup is primarily a qualifier in the world championship cycle and is used to determine the challenger to the reigning world champion. 

Todd Decker, musicology professor and chair of the Department of Music at Washington University
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The music used in films helps tell a story, guide plotlines and elicit emotional responses from an audience. This is especially true of war films.

Todd Decker noticed there is a distinct difference in the music of combat movies before the war in Vietnam and after it.

Prior to the Vietnam War, music was “meant to send the audience out of the theater marching along to victory,” said Decker, a professor of musicology and chair of the music department at Washington University in St. Louis.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson congratulates business owners and residents of South Grand Boulevard on Oct. 4, 2017.
Chelsea Hoye| ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis has been named one of this year's five Great Streets on the American Planning Association’s Great Places in America list.

The nonprofit organization recognizes streets and public places across the country that demonstrate "exceptional character, quality, and planning — attributes that enrich communities, facilitate economic growth, and inspire others around the country."

“It’s the stories, the memories, and the people that continue to make a street and a community great,” said Jim Drinan, CEO of the American Planning Association.

The Dinosaurs album cover features all four bandmates shot in black and white in a line.
Provided by Big Muddy Records

Four decades ago, a young Bob Reuter walked into the T&D Lounge, a south St. Louis dive bar, just as the country band on stage announced the end of its run at the club. Reuter, then in his mid-20s, walked up to the bar and talked the bar manager into offering him the performance slot. But there was just one problem. He didn’t have a band.

So Reuter reached out to three friends and formed the Dinosaurs, which he claimed was the city’s first punk band. It wasn’t, but over the next three months, the band played a weekly four-hour gig at the bar, combining covers with original tunes that sounded too punk for  rock ‘n’ roll and too rock for punk.

Big Muddy Records has refocused attention on the late guitar player, singer and DJ with its release of the band’s first self-titled album. That early music established the brash Reuter as an enduring force in St. Louis’ underground music scene.

Burnt-end nachos at West Port Social, one of Sauce Magazine's picks for new spots to try in St. Louis in October.
Sauce Magazine

The Sound Bites team at Sauce Magazine is back and ready to help you plan your nights out at St. Louis restaurants during the month of October.

On Monday, Catherine Klene, the magazine’s managing editor, and Matt Sorrell, a staff writer, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the openings and closings of restaurants you should know. 

You can find full descriptions here, but here are the spots they recommend:

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, world-renowned author Dan Brown, most famous for “The Da Vinci Code,” joined host Don Marsh to discuss his most recent novel, “Origin.”

The book, featuring the famous character Robert Langdon again, will be released on Oct. 3 and centers heavily on new technology. 

Sept. 30, 2017. Dail Chambers works on a piece called A Song for the Black Rising at the St.ART event in Forest Park. Chambers the piece examines repetition and and reflects the current Stockley verdict protests and the 20th-century Great Migration of
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

The two-day St.ART festival this weekend is billed as a street art event, but it takes places in parks, not streets.

It opened Saturday at Langenberg Field in Forest Park with local artists including Basil Kincaid, Cbabi Bayoc and Peat Wollaeger covering 8- by 10-foot canvasses with mostly black and white materials including paint, spray paint and quilted pieces.

The stark images represent deep divisions within the St. Louis community, said organizer Michael Tompkins.

“The segregation, not just in race, but also in the socioeconomic divide,” Tompkins said.

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