Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Local historian NiNi Harris is the author of 14 volumes focused on the Gateway City’s history and architecture. She joined Thursday’s talk show to share highlights from her latest published work, “This Used to Be St. Louis.”
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When NiNi Harris isn’t busy writing, she’s most likely reading – old documents such as city directories, that is.

“It sounds like I have a pretty boring life, doesn’t it?” the local historian said with a laugh on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “I read old census records.”

But it’s that very attention to such records that has led Harris to some of the most fascinating stories she tells in her books – 14 of which she’s published thus far.

The Muny is looking to extend its lease to 2071, and free up some funds earmarked for parking lot upkeep. A city fund for that purpose has a surplus of approximately $180,000.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

The Muny is one step closer to extending its stay in Forest Park. The Board of Alderman’s Parks Committee voted 4-0 Thursday to extend the outdoor theater’s lease to 2071 and make other changes. The full board is expected to give final approval before its summer recess in mid-July.

The Muny’s lease with the city had been set to expire in 2031. The early extension will help the organization secure donors for its $100 million capital campaign,  Dennis Reagan, Muny president and CEO, told board members.

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' most recent Shakespeare in the Streets production, Blow, Winds, will be on stage this weekend at the Central branch of the St. Louis Public Library.
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is one of the most prominent theater companies in town, yet it doesn’t own a stage.

The organization shares its various stages — Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park, local schools and even city streets — with the public. With programs like Shakespeare in the Streets, which tells a community’s story, that sharing comes with great responsibility.

Cheryl Walker, chairwoman of the poet laureate task force, is a St. Louis native. Her published work includes a poetry chapbook called Silence Isn’t Quiet.
Cheryl Walker

After months of discord over who should be the next poet laureate for St. Louis, the city could select a new voice this fall.

St. Louis has been without an official poet for more than a year after a disagreement between the task force that recommends a poet laureate to the Board of Aldermen and a former member of that group.

Now, a new task force is in place and its members are asking the public to play a role.

The Muny is looking to extend its lease to 2071, and free up some funds earmarked for parking lot upkeep. A city fund for that purpose has a surplus of approximately $180,000. 6/14/18
The Muny

Directly behind the stage at the Muny on a recent morning, workers were hammering, sawing and welding together sets that will appear onstage this season, in some of the theater’s seven productions.

“As we’re performing one show at night we’re actually building two to three other shows during the day,” said Sean Smith, the operations director for the outdoor theater. “We’re finishing up sets for the opening on Monday but then we’re also looking at the next few shows, building for ‘The Wiz,’ which is coming up next.”

As it begins its 100th season this week, the Municipal Theater Association of St. Louis has one eye on the past. But it has another on the future, in the form of series of planned renovations due to be completed after this summer season and before the 2019 campaign.

Two counties in southwestern Illinois grow the majority of the nation’s — possibly the world’s — horseradish. The city of Collinsville, population 25,000, straddles both Madison and St. Clair, and celebrates the root annually, hosting the International Horseradish Festival.

Harvest Public Media decided it was time to check out the entertainment, games and horseradish-based dishes and drinks. Here’s a bite of the zesty gathering.

Ngone Seck hugs a friend after receiving her diploma at Riverview Gardens High School's graduation ceremony. May 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Just a few years ago, Ngone Seck arrived in Florissant from Italy and began the seventh grade.

From the start, she was behind her peers. She struggled to adapt to her new country, had trouble learning English, and, at first, did poorly in school.

Today, the Italian immigrant of West African heritage began her first day of college, on a full scholarship. Her journey is paved with the sacrifices of her working-class family, the comfort of her music and the support of good teachers.

Relationships

Jun 10, 2018
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for June 10, 20218 will be “Relationships.”   Relationships are tricky things.  Most successful relationships start with strong loving families and hopefully, lessons are applied to our relationships with our neighbors, our world and our romantic partners, but sometimes things go bad.  We will explore the gamut of relationships from good to bad to the commercial.  The musicians exploring relationships on this show will be Abdullah Ibrahim, Ahmad Jamal, Horace Silver, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Gene Harris, our own Eric Warren.

Tom Stockman, a self-described movie geek, joined Friday’s show for a look back at the heyday of St. Louis’ drive-in movie theaters, two of which still exist within an hour’s drive of the city.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Tom Stockman estimates that back in 1961 – the year he was born – about 4,100 drive-in movie theaters dotted the U.S. landscape. Now their ranks have dwindled to a total of roughly 350.

66 Park-in, The Airway Twin, Holiday – these and most other St. Louis-area outdoor theaters that were all the rage in the Gateway City several decades ago have disappeared. Much of the industry’s demise locally had to do with real estate, Stockman said on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Switch’s “The Gateway Green – A Hole-in-One for STL” installation at the Sheldon Art Galleries.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

There are many art galleries and exhibits in St. Louis, but none combine the classic game of mini-golf with art like the Sheldon Art Galleries’ current exhibition, "Golf the Galleries: Artist-Designed Mini Golf."

“[Golf the Galleries] brings together design aspects and play – so art and fun,” Olivia Lahs-Gonzales, director of the Sheldon Art Galleries, told St. Louis on the Air producer Alex Heuer as they putted their way through the gallery on Friday’s program.

Curator Sharon Smith notes that roughly 55 million people have attended shows at the Muny in Forest Park over the course of the outdoor theater’s 99 seasons thus far.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

As the Muny marks its centennial season of outdoor musical theater, another Forest Park mainstay is also celebrating the milestone – with “Muny Memories: 100 Seasons Onstage.” That show opens Saturday at the Missouri History Museum.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh offered listeners a sneak peek at the new exhibit, which explores the Muny from many different perspectives. Joining him for the discussion was curator Sharon Smith.

British songwriter Benjamin Clementine says he changed his nomadic ways after a visit to the United States inspired his latest album.  6/7/18
Craig McDean

Songwriter Benjamin Clementine calls himself a nomad, and with good reason. Born in London to Ghanaian parents, he left home as a teenager to live and play music on the streets of Paris.

His low profile changed dramatically when his debut album, “At Least for Now,” earned him an international following and won the Mercury Prize in 2015 for best album of the year by a British artist. He has since moved to the United States, where his travels inspired his latest album, “I Tell a Fly,” released last year. He’s on a U.S. tour to promote his new recording, and opens for David Byrne at Peabody Opera House on Friday.

A scene from the 2017 Your Next Move event in Leuven, Belgium, the location of the first stop of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour.
Lennart Ootes | Grand Chess Tour

The fourth annual Grand Chess Tour is right around the corner — this time with a new format. Instead of the London Chess Classic being just a stop of the tour, it will be the final stage for the Grand Chess Tour. At the end of the Sinquefield Cup, the top four players with the most points accumulated across the four events will proceed to the finals in London, where they will compete in a series of matches for additional prizes and the title of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour Champion.

Red Schoendienst, Cardinal great, dies at 95.
Ron Lewis

Baseball Hall of Famer and former Cardinal player and manager Red Schoendienst, who overcame a severe eye injury and tuberculosis to play major-league baseball for 19 years and managed the St. Louis Cardinals to two National League pennants and a world championship, died Wednesday. He was 95.

Albert Fred Schoendienst, born Feb. 2, 1923, was the most famous native of Germantown, Illinois, a village of less than a square mile in southern Illinois. With his curly red hair and freckles, Mr. Schoendienst was soon known only as “Red."

Bourbon, Missouri, native Taylor Louderman stars in the Broadway musical "Mean Girls." Louderman is nominated for a Tony Award.
Joan Marcus

The recollection of near-daily, hour-long van rides from Bourbon, Missouri, to St. Louis and back is etched in Taylor Louderman’s memory. Also present is the memory of her younger twin sisters screaming in the back of the Toyota Sienna because the sun was in their eyes.

“My family and I, my family mostly, had to make a lot of sacrifices for my career, and I felt like we were all able to celebrate together,” Louderman said just prior to a recent rehearsal for this year’s Tony Awards that are Sunday night.

The Boathouse in Forest Park is one new restaurant featured on this month's Hit List.
Michelle Volansky | Sauce Magazine

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, two staff members from Sauce Magazine joined host Don Marsh to talk about new restaurants in and around Forest Park, as well as their favorite patios.

(L-R) Corinne Melançon, Steve Isom and Andrew Kuhlman talk about Stages St. Louis' “I Do! I Do!” production now showing through July 1, 2018.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

New York meets St. Louis in the cast for Stages St. Louis’I Do! I Do!” production now showing at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in Kirkwood. The play delves into the ups and downs of the universal proclamation of union – marriage. The two-character musical consists of a rotating cast of actors from New York and St. Louis.

Set in the years 1895 to 1945, the play follows the relationship of Michael and Agnes as they go through the motions of falling in love, marriage, childbirth, parenthood and settling down. They depict tough moments in long-term relationships such as the end of the honeymoon phase and having frank conversations on divorce.

Host Don Marsh (left) and author Jon Meacham talked about Meacham's latest book, "Soul of America" at the St. Louis Public Library on May 25.
Kara Smith/St. Louis County Library

“American history is defined by the phrase ‘and yet …,’” author and historian Jon Meacham told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh May 25, before an audience of 900 people at the St. Louis County Library.

“We promised equality to all, and yet, we didn’t extend it to all,” Meacham said, citing other examples of former presidential actions that they later contradicted. His latest book, “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels,” compares and contrasts today’s political climate to historical events.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited  for June 3, 2018 will be “The Career of Ben Webster.”  The show will start with an interview with trombonist Steve Turre about the upcoming Jazz Edge tribute to J.J. Johnson Concert at 7:00 p.m.

Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“Bitten by radioactive bagpipes” 10 years ago, the Wee Heavies are a local, mostly a cappella group dedicated to performing Celtic music. Band members Jay Harkey, Peter Merideth, Steve Neale and Aaron Schiltz joined St. Louis Public Radio contributor Charlie McDonald for a conversation on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air.

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