Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

The Saint Louis University chess team engaged in chess matches with the Webster University team.
Courtesy Alejandro Ramirez

Collegiate chess is a subject that has cropped up often in this column, and rightfully so. The explosion of interest that this rather niche market has attracted is not without merit. One of the trend setters in this field was certainly the University of Texas at Dallas, incidentally. This university's first chess team arrived in the fall of 1996, and started the idea of offering “chess scholarships.”

Since chess players are usually known for their brain power, it was seen as a perfect way to increase the brand of the university while attracting some of the brightest minds to its campus. As for the students, they would have the opportunity to attend college basically for free.

Roasted chicken at Snax Gastrobar.
Michelle Volansky | 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 April.

On Thursday, Catherine Klene and Heather Hughes, the magazine’s managing editors, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the openings and closings of restaurants you should know. 

On their list to try?

St. Louis-based author Ridley Pearson.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by bestselling St. Louis author Ridley Pearson to discuss his Disney side.

Recently, Pearson released his third and final installment in a middle-grade trilogy called "The Return" books.  He also has released a second book in a series about James Moriarty. And that’s not to mention upcoming theatrical work, following the success of “Peter and the Starcatcher” for Stages St. Louis.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 2, 2017 is “Jazz From London-Part 2.”  A lot of exciting jazz was recorded in London by visiting American and other jazz musicians including British musicians and expatriates from other countries.  We will present music from Duke Ellington’s Third Sacred Concert, John McLaughlin, Keith Jarrett and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Oscar Peterson & Dizzy Gillespie, Cleo Laine, Quadrant, Stan Getz.

The grounds crew prepares the field at Busch Stadium for the Cardinals home opener on Sunday night. Photo was taken on March 29, 2017.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10 p.m. Friday, March 31, with details of pregame ceremony.

Sorry, Cardinals fans. There’s no reason to sneak out of work early to celebrate Opening Day in St. Louis this year.

Instead of the usual Monday afternoon game, the Cardinals will open their 2017 season against the Chicago Cubs, their National League division rivals, on Sunday in a nationally televised game that starts at 7:35 p.m. at Busch Stadium.

The Milliners, c.1898; oil canvas; 29 5/8 x 32 ¼ inches; Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917
Saint Louis Art Museum

A new, exclusive exhibit showcasing works by impressionist painter Edgar Degas is open at the St. Louis Art Museum. The exhibit features several works that have never been displayed in the United States.  

The featured paintings and pastels reflect Degas’ perception of the Parisian Millinery Trade of the late 1800’s, when there was a booming demand for exquisite head-wear. Many paintings portray young women who were milliners, or hat makers. Also part of the exhibit are several hats carefully preserved in glass cases.

A file photo of Augusten Burroughs accompanies this image of the cover of his new book, "Lust and Wonder."
Christopher Schelling

From the beginning of his writing career, Augusten Burroughs was determined to be honest, even if writing about his often messy life would be a daunting process.

In his memoir “Running with Scissors,” and his later works, Burroughs has engaged in self-reflection, an approach that has won him a loyal following and inspired a hit movie. He continues that process in his latest book, “Lust and Wonder.”

“That’s really the key: to understand what happened to you, what your role in it was,” said Burroughs, who speaks tonight at the Schlafly Branch of the St. Louis Public Library. “Just becoming more and more and more truthful with yourself.”

the winning bracket after the PRO Chess League finals
PRO Chess League

Chess, like other games, is being revolutionized by the world of streaming online. Using platforms like Twitch.tv, players have jumped at the chance to promote live chess and engage viewers in real time. This weekend saw the championship match of the Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League featuring the Norway Gnomes and the Saint Louis Arch Bishops.

Chuck Berry
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File Photo

Upated March 29 — The funeral  for Chuck Berry will take place on April 9. A visitation open to the public will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at The Pageant Concert Club, 6161. Delmar Blvd., St. Louis.

It will be followed by a closed funeral service for family and close friends.

Berry, the legendary singer, songwriter and guitarist who duck-walked his way into rock and roll history, died March 18. He was 90.

Pastor F. Willis Johnson of Wellspring Church in Ferguson.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

If the Rev. F. Willis Johnson were to distill the message of his new book, “Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community,” into a single phrase it would be: acknowledge, affirm and act.

Actor and singer Nicholas Rodriguez will take the stage this Wednesday and Thursday in this year's edition of Muny Magic at The Sheldon with a show titled, "My 70s Show – A Night with Nicholas Rodriguez."
photo provided

Singer and actor Nicholas Rodriguez is no stranger to St. Louis. He’s also effusive in his love for the city and The Muny, where he’s performed in five productions since 2010.

Rodriguez most recently portrayed the Tin Man in last year’s Muny production of The Wizard of Oz. He also has played the title role in Tarzan and Beast in Beauty and the Beast.

“It’s awesome. More than any theater I’ve worked with in the country, The Muny just takes such great care of us,” Rodriguez told St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter.

Two eyes peer out of a red field and an alligator rests below celestial machinery in the collaged cover of Rhizomatic St. Louis 5
Provided by Nathan Cook

For electronic musician Nathan N. Cook, abstract soundscapes, nature recordings interwoven with voices, and harsh noises, aren’t just intellectual experiments in audio editing. Instead, he finds them places of human connection.

Five years ago, Cook decided to mix those elements into recordings that capture a community of local musicians — and to share that connection with others. He launched the Rhizomatic St. Louis series, an annual album release of 10 distinct, avant-garde and experimental musicians.

Jazz Unlimited for March 26, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  The Keys and Strings Hour” or the quieter side of jazz will play piano music from the Storyville and Steeplechase with Mary Lou Williams, Freddie Redd, Duke Jordan, Doug Raney, Albert Dailey, Horace Parlan and Joe Bonner.  New music for March will feature Lisa Parrott, an Australian saxophonist, piano duets between Bruno Canino & Enrico Pieranunzi, vocalist Virginia Schenck in a tribute to Abbey Lincoln, the Idrees Sulieman Quartet recorded in Tangier, the Mingus Big Band, the Mingus Dynasty.

Red and blue, circular logo of the American Cricket Academy & Club.
American Cricket Academy & Club

A cricket field opening Saturday in St. Charles County signals how much the sport is growing in the region.

The venue at BaratHaven Park in Dardenne Prairie will, for the first time, give the American Cricket Academy and Club of St. Louis a dedicated home to practice and play.

Local enthusiasm for the sport has been largely driven by Indian and other immigrant communities, said ACAC founder and executive director Ajay Jhamb.

This is the marketing image for "The Boys in the Band," released in 1970. It is one of two classic films to be shown in this year's QFest.
Provided | Cinema St. Louis

When St. Louis' QFest of films officially launched, people in the LGBTQ community were barred from institutions ranging from the military service to marriage.

A decade later, LGBTQ citizens can both serve and marry.  The 10th annual festival, which opens March 29, includes a dozen films that reflect a restricted past and progressive present.

On Chess: US Chess is rising and So is the competition

Mar 23, 2017
Fabiano Caruana in a match with Hikaru Nakamura at the 2016 U.S. Championship
Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis | Lennart Ootes

It’s that time of the year again. The time when St. Louis dresses up in its white and black gown and welcomes the best chess players the nation has to offer. The 2017 U.S. Chess Championship & U.S. Women’s Championship will take place from March 28 to April 10 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and it will feature the highest prize fund in history, with $194.000 for the U.S. Championship and $100,000 for the U.S. Women’s Championship.

Less than a week after Chuck Berry's death at the age of 90, his family announced details Wednesday about the rock and roll pioneer's first album in 38 years — and gave us a taste of what it will sound like.

Paula Poundstone
Paula Poundstone

If you listen to St. Louis Public Radio at 11 a.m. on Saturday mornings or 10 a.m. on Sunday mornings, you definitely know of the guest who joined St. Louis on the Air on Tuesday: Paula Poundstone.

Poundstone will visit St. Louis for a performance at the Sheldon on Saturday evening and joined host Don Marsh to discuss her career, comic relief in stressful times, her upcoming performance and a new book set to be released in May titled “The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness.

This file photo is a image from The Rep's production of "Follies," which kicked off its 50th season.
Provided | The Rep

Tales based on the Bard and a Stephen Sondheim musical about the glory days of show business were the top winners at the 2017 St. Louis Theater Circle Awards.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis took home nine awards for work associated with the company, seven of them for the musical “Follies," including outstanding production of a musical and outstanding director. The wins topped off a year of celebrating the company's 50th season.

Joe Edwards at Chuck Berry at Blueberry Hill.
Courtesy Blueberry Hill

Legendary musician Chuck Berry, the “poet laureate” of rock 'n roll, died Saturday, at his home in St. Charles. He left behind him a changed world of music, culture, friendship and a dedication to the St. Louis region that continued until the very end.

Related: Obituary: Chuck Berry dies. He was the ‘poet laureate’ of rock ‘n’ roll

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for March 19, 2017 is “The Steeplechase, Storyville and Challenge Labels”  Since the early 1970’s, the Danish labels Steeplechase, Storyville and Challenge have recorded many great American jazz musicians who are not well recorded in this country because they were not jazz-rock fusioneers or “Young Lions.”  We will play music by Buddy Tate, Kenny Drew, the New Jungle Orchestra, Stan Getz, The Dutch Jazz Orchestra, Joe Bonner, Johnny Griffin, Clark Terry, Ernie Wilkins, Jeanfrancois Prins, Archie Shepp & Horace Parlan, Joe Albany, Ronnie Cuber, Bob Brookmeyer, Jim

How many of us have gone sledding down Art Hill in Forest Park or biked or walked along its many paths. We all love the park and use it, but many miss one of the city's true gems looming high on the hill, the St. Louis Art Museum.

When speaking to Brent Benjamin, the director of the museum, he reminded me that the St. Louis Art Museum is not only one of the country's top premier encyclopedic art museums, but is one of a handful of museums of its kind that is free and open to the public. This, of course, is due to the generosity of the tax payers.

The Rise & Scream poster gives the date and depicts a closed fist raised in the air.
Provided by Vincent Saletto

When Vinnie Saletto and his wife considered adopting a child from overseas, they turned to the International Institute of St. Louis to learn more about how immigrants fare in St. Louis.

As Saletto learned more about the Institute’s mission — and noticed an increasing wave of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States — he felt compelled to support to the organization. So he turned to his passion, music, and began organizing a benefit concert for the institute.

The concert “Rise and Scream” will take place Saturday at 2720 Cherokee Performing Arts Center. About 90 people are contributing to the event —  from bands to artists, cooks to vendors. Many will voice opposition to the Trump administration's immigration policies.

Robert Schowengerdt, Abbey Spencer and Catherine Klene discussed the local craft brewing scene on St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

According to the St. Louis Brewers Guild, there are now more than 50 breweries in the St. Louis region — that’s the most since the boom in craft brewing began over a decade ago.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh highlighted some of the local brewing scene alongside Sauce Magazine’s Managing Editor Catherine Klene. Every year, Sauce Magazine produces an entire issue focused on beer, which is on newsstands now and available online.

Kevin Willmann of Farmhaus, left, and Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street, seen in these file photos, are James Beard Award finalists for the second year in row
Provided | Sauce Magazine

For the second year in a row, two St. Louis chefs with the same first name are finalists for an award from the James Beard Foundation. Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Café, 2000 Sidney St., and Kevin Willmann of Farmhaus, 3257 Ivanhoe Ave., are each nominated in the category of “Best Chef: Midwest.”  

Last year, Minneapolis chef Paul Berglund took home the award but at the time, Nashan said he was “just grateful to be on the bus.”

Bruiser Queen (Morgan Nusbaum and Jason Potter) stand before a giant mural
Provided by Bruiser Queen

Today's the day! We've reached the end of our local Tiny Desk Contest countdown. Our final favorite to highlight? Bruiser Queen

This week, we highlighted the favorite local Tiny Desk Contest submissions ahead of a Tiny Desk STL Happy Hour concert on Thursday,  at Anew, the rooftop venue above the Big Brothers and Big Sisters building in Grand Center.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

If you look at a map of the Normandy area, three large splotches of green space stand out amid the patchwork of small municipalities that make up this chunk of north St. Louis County.

They’re golf courses, and they date back to the early 1900s.

On Chess: March Madness at the PRO-Chess League

Mar 16, 2017
Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

European Chess Grandmasters earn their bread and butter by playing for clubs in leagues across Europe.  Clubs hire grandmasters to play for their teams in the fight for the National Club Championships.  As with soccer, members take great pride in their clubs and seek to hire the strongest players.  It is not uncommon for a grandmaster to play for teams in the German, Dutch, French and Spanish leagues over the year, allowing them to earn a decent living wage.  

Kenny DeShields sits at a wooden table smiling wryly
Provided by Kenny DeShields

This week, we're counting down favorite local Tiny Desk Contest submissions ahead of a Tiny Desk STL Happy Hour concert on Thursday,  Anew, the rooftop venue above the Big Brothers and Big Sisters building in Grand Center.

More than 50 St. Louis area acts submitted to NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest this year. There were more than  6,000 entrees nationally.

After an intense voting round, we've narrowed down the top five local submissions to the contest, which we are highlighting on our website and on St. Louis on the Air this week. Earlier this week, we brought you interviews with Monkh and the People and Roland Johnson. Yesterday, we heard from Augusta Bottoms Consort.

Today, we turn our attention to Kenny DeShields.

Jessica Hentoff, the executive director of Circus Harmony, recently lost her father, who died in January at the age of 91. She joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss a tribute she's planning for him.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In January, Nat Hentoff, a syndicated columnist and writer noted for his jazz criticism and attention to First Amendment issues, died at the age of 91.

His daughter, Jessica Hentoff, is a St. Louis resident and will pay tribute to her father’s work in an upcoming performance featuring Circus Harmony, the organization of which she is executive director.

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