Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, July 30 2017 will be “Remembering Geri Allen.”  Geri Allen was a pianist, composer, arranger, bandleader and visionary jazz educator who died last June.  Jazz Unlimited will pay tribute to her by playing music from her own Mary Lou Williams Collective and Timeline groups as well as with such musicians as Bobby Hutcherson, Andy Bey, Charlie Haden, Charles Lloyd, Roy Brooks, Betty Carter, T.S.

John Henry discussed this year's Open Highway Music Festival.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Next week, the Open Highway Music Festival will return to St. Louis for its sixth year at Off Broadway.

John Henry, a local musician and talent buyer at Off Broadway, is one of the festival organizers. He joined St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter to discuss how the festival has evolved over the years and what to expect this year.

Matthew Kerns poses for a portrait with his late father's mounted deer head. The head, of the first deer his father killed, is now his prized possession. July 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Who among us hasn’t grappled with building a relationship with our parents?

Matthew Kerns, director of the St. Lou Fringe festival of performing arts, struggled to bond with a father who was very different from him. Kerns was a gay theater kid; his dad was a stereotypically “manly” man who drove a truck and hunted deer.

On Chess: St. Louis to host chess legends in 2 tournaments

Jul 27, 2017
Former world champion Garry Kasparov and grandmaster Wesley So compete in 2016.
Lennart Ootes, Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The biggest chess event in the United States will fittingly be hosted in the chess capital of the nation. The Sinquefield Cup, which is the third leg of the Grand Chess Tour, will take place Aug. 2-12 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The top players in the world will compete for $300,000 in prize money, tour points and the coveted title of the 2017 Sinquefield Cup Champion.

A pond inside the John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest in Forest Park. July 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ecologist Amy Witt of Forest Park Forever was leading a nature walk through the John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest, a wooded habitat on the park’s southwestern edge. There are trees here that are older than the 1,300-acre park, which the city of St. Louis opened in 1876.

“They’re awesome. Right? We have some really old trees. We have some really young trees. That’s the natural regeneration of a forest and of a habitat,’’ Witt said. “We are called Forest Park for a reason.’’

File photo: Customers line up outside Crown Candy Kitchen, which sits across from 2720 N. 14th Street. (June 5, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Contestants in the Fantasy Food Fare competition have been sweating it out in overtime to see who would make the final-three list for a free restaurant space in St. Louis' Old North neighborhood.

The list was set to be released on Tuesday. But Nos. 3 and 4 were too close to call. Finally, Wednesday night, the six judges decided to the only thing to do was expand the list to four finalists for the 2720 N. 14th St. location, across from Crown Candy Kitchen.

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

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

But they’re likely nowhere near the size of the surprises that Josh Wilson and Jason Watson, the executive director and Beyond Jobs director at local nonprofit Mission: St. Louis, have found in a move they recently made from a 5,000-square-foot building in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood to a historic. 87,000 square-foot building in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood.

Fred Firestone poses with the Clap-O-Meter, which was handmade for the Punderdome, a pun competition event.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Puns. You may laugh. You may cry. And if one is particularly bad, you may even groan.

For St. Louis punny-man Fred Firestone, a well-done pun should never be considered the lowest form of humor.

“Commonly-held wisdom is that you hear a pun and associate it with a groan, but our objective is that it can be knee-slapper if done right,” Firestone told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Joe Finnigan, a former longtime VP at FleishmanHillard, discusses the ins and outs of his time as "an old PR warhorse," including work with Anheuser-Busch.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

For 35 years, Joe Finnigan spent time at the top of the FleishmanHillard food chain, handling such prestigious and controversial accounts as Anheuser-Busch in the 1970s and 80s and growing the public relations firm to national prominence.

In his recent memoir, “Feisty: Chronicles & Confessions of an Old PR Warhorse,” Finnigan shares what it was like as a VP and senior partner at the St. Louis-based company.

Mike Venso and Daniel Gonzales joined St. Louis on the Air on Monday to detail Jefferson Barracks' and Missourians' involvement in World War I.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

This April marked 100 years since the United States declared war on Germany and officially entered into World War I. But before the United States officially entered the war, the country was preparing heavily for involvement. An exhibit at the St. Louis County Parks’ Jefferson Barracks Historic Site highlights those efforts and what eventually drew the country to war.

Carol Mertz, Christopher Badell and TJ Hughes discusses the local independent game production community on Monday's St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis on the Air

Could a St. Louis game producer be responsible for the next Cards Against Humanity or Minecraft? On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed what turns out to be a bustling independent game production community in St. Louis.

There are several dozen tabletop game developers and hundreds of professional (and hobbyist!) digital game developers located in the St. Louis region. At the last St. Louis Game Jam, a weekend-long meetup where people develop a game, over 300 people attended, making it the second biggest jam in the country.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for July 23, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour Featuring Gary Peacock + New Music.”  The Keys and Strings Hour will present bassist Gary Peacock with the Keith Jarrett Standards Trio, Mark Copland, Barney Kessel, Claire Fischer, Don Pullen and Marilyn Crispell with Annette Peacock.  New music to be presented will include a trio of Jack Dejohnette, Ravi Coltrane and Matt Garrison, a duo of Dominique Eade and Ran Blake, the Tom Kohl Trio, the Mats Holmquist and Hyeson Hong Big Bands, Wadada Leo Smith saluting our National Parks, a trio of Carla Bley, Steve Swallo

Summerisa Bell Stevens  and Laura Taylor play Doralee Rhodes and Judy Bernly, respectively, in Stages St. Louis' production of "9 to 5: The Musical."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

It has been 37 years since the classic comedy “9 to 5” hit the big screen, starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton as three working women fantasizing (and living out!) dreams of overthrowing their sexist boss. The film is the 20th highest-grossing comedy film and, in 2009, it was turned into a successful Broadway musical.

Luke Terrell, Amelia Weil and Brian Chao joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the documentary "Gabe," about Gabe Weil.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

When St. Louisan Gabe Weil was a child, he was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a severe form of the hereditary disease that decreases muscle mass and produces progressive weakness over time. Life expectancy for those with the disease is short, but Weil made it his goal to get a college degree.

In December 2013, Weil did just that, graduating from Washington University, at which point doctors also told him he was misdiagnosed and might live well into his 50s. He had to start rethinking how he would approach his life knowing he had many more years.

Priscilla Block, Ariyanna Johnson,  Jasmyne Diggs and Byron Rogers joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss ArtWorks on Thursday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

A local non-profit is teaching essential life and job skills through a year-round artist apprenticeship program that pays teens to work on art projects around the region and matches them with artistic mentors. The program is called St. Louis ArtWorks.

The Lens: Double feature

Jul 20, 2017

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 30, 2008 - Almost immediately after dropping a completely irrelevant and pointless reference to the deservedly obscure film "Wicked, Wicked"  in an earlier post, I learned that the dear archivists at Turner Classic Movies  have actually programmed this disaster for a rare screening.

It took several years for members of St. Louis' skating community to renovate the old St. Liborius church. A company called Hogan Street Partners owns the building; a nonprofit called Liborius Urban Arts Studios operates the space.
File photo | Provided | Ashley Seering

In recent years, St. Louisans have turned abandoned buildings into apartments, art galleries and restaurants.  But a grassroots effort has repurposed a north St. Louis space into a much more active venue.

The 2017 U.S. Junior Champion, IM Awonder Liang, and 2017 U.S. Girls' Junior Champion, WIM Akshita Gorti pose for a picture with Chess Club executive director, Tony Rich (L) and Chess Club founder, Rex Sinquefield.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The U.S. Junior Championship was held July 8-17 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The tournament kicked off with early leaders in both sections: Kayden Troff, the Junior Champion of 2014 in the Open Section, and Emily Nguyen, the defending champion in the Girls’ Section.

Rebecca Cammisa, the director of "Atomic Homefront."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

"Atomic Homefront" director Rebecca Cammisa grew up in New York and had long been familiar with environmental remediation efforts there before she first came to St. Louis to shoot a film about the legacy of nuclear waste here.

Her documentary, which was acquired by HBO, and will be screened tonight at the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, charts the history of atomic waste in St. Louis associated with the Manhattan Project and the citizen activist movement here to have it dealt with.

Carmen Troesser | Sauce Magazine

Sound Bites is produced in partnership with Sauce Magazine, our monthly installment exploring cuisine in the St. Louis area.

What’s for brunch? Sauce Magazine’s Managing Editors Catherine Klene and Heather Hughes as well as Art Director Meera Nagarajan joined St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter to discuss the best spots to eat the most relaxing meal of the week.

Donna Rogers-Beard, Emma Riley and Rev. Doris Graham joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss the history Clayton's historical, displaced African-American neighborhood.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Picture the affluent St. Louis suburb of Clayton. Great schools. Flourishing businesses. A lively restaurant scene.

But how Clayton came to be synonymous with such commercial affluence is entwined with a little-known part of the suburb’s history.

From the 1800s to the 1950s, Clayton was home to a flourishing African-American community. The area’s black residents were pushed out of the area through rigorous “urban renewal” zoning policy to make room construction of the vaunted commercial center of the suburb. The black community in Clayton all but disappeared.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: John Ford (“The Searchers,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” “Stagecoach,” “My Darling Clementine”), Howard Hawks (“Rio Bravo,” “Red River”), Clint Eastwood (“Unforgiven,” “The Outlaw Josie Wales”) and Sergio Leone (“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “For a Few Dollars More”).

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for July 16, 2017 will be “The Music of Johnny Hodges Away from Duke Ellington.”  Johnny Hodges was a major star in the Duke Ellington firmament as the alto saxophonist who played the lyrical compositions of his bandleader.  Ellington said his tone was so beautiful it brought tears to his eyes.  We will spotlight his music away from the Ellington orbit.  We will hear Hodges with his own groups and as a sideman with Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Joe Thomas, Coleman Hawkins, Billie Holiday, Billy Strayhorn, Jazz At the Philharmonic, Billy Taylor, Sr.

Dave Nadelberg, creator of "Mortified."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Would you ever share your embarrassing childhood writing and other artifacts on stage? How about on a podcast listened to by thousands each month? Or on a television show? Or in a book?

For some, it could be considered a worst nightmare. For others, it could be considered catharsis. For “Mortified” creator Dave Nadelberg, it is a little bit of both.

Still from an earlier iteration of Rewind depicts Klu Klux Klan robes in Kente cloth, camoflage, and other fabrics as an attempt to reclaim rascist iconography.
Provided by Ryan Stevenson

When Paul Rucker received a call inviting him to bring his work confronting racism and white supremacy in United States to a Ferguson gallery, he knew he had to make the trip.

Rucker, of Baltimore, is a Guggenheim Fellow and has shown the work throughout the country. But he saw the opportunity to show his work in Ferguson as a way to address the continuing presence of racism.

File Photo. Alderman Terry Kennedy says the delay in naming a St. Louis poet laureate could stretch into next year.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When members of the Board of Aldermen created St. Louis' poet laureate position, they intended to promote unity. Indeed, inaugural official poet Michael Castro was lauded for building bridges with his words.

But now the post has become a lightning rod for disagreement. 

At issue is whether the task force that recommended Castro's replacement complied with the ordinance that established the position. If not, city aldermen want to know if that invalidates the task force's choice of Jane Ellen Ibur as the city’s next poet laureate.

File: The Knuckles met and became friends before their musical collaboration began.
File photo | Provided | The Knuckles

Don’t put Rockwell Knuckles and Aloha Micheaux in a box.

He’s known as a rapper and she’s more of a pop singer, who made it to the finals in “American Idol” in 2005. But the St. Louis performers shun labels in their collaboration known as The Knuckles.

On Chess: Fashion and chess are a natural match

Jul 13, 2017
Five of the designers selected to participate in the Pinned! competition for the World Chess Hall of Fame. The project manager and author of this article, Rikki Byrd, is second from the left. July 2017
Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

From New York Fashion Week to museum exhibits and global advertising campaigns, the intersection of fashion and chess has long been a source of inspiration.

Poster detail created for the event has the title of event.
Provided by Andrew Gibson

Music played an important role in the civil rights movement that helped transform the nation. Songs such as Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” and “We Shall Not Be Moved” by Mavis Staples inspired black people to push for change — and moved the hearts of others.

A view of one of the renovations at the Florissant Valley branch of the St. Louis County Library.
Kara Hayes Smith | St. Louis County Library

St. Louis County Library has been going through some changes these past few years – closing and reopening renovated branches and experimenting with other new programs. To date, the system will have 17 renovated or replaced branches by year's end.

In 2018, a few more branches will be renovated and then St. Louis County Library headquarters will be updated. You can find a full list of completed and planned projects here.

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