Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Dennis Edwards with the Temptations in a 1968 publicity photo.
Bernie Ilson, Inc., Publicity for Motown Records & The Ed Sullivan Show

When Dennis Edwards was tapped to fill the flashy suit of a well-known lead singer in one of the hottest male soul groups in music history, he hesitated. The Temptations needed him to replace David Ruffin, who had established himself as the undisputed voice of romance with lush ballads that included what would become the group’s signature song: “My Girl.”

“I went home and it wasn’t but about 10 minutes,” Edwards said, during a 2011 interview with Fox2 News. “I said I would love to try out.”

Henry Adebonojo

Metro Theater Company’s next production, in partnership with Jazz St. Louis, is called “Bud, Not Buddy.” The play is based on a children’s novel that won a Newbery Medal for excellence in children’s literature.

It’s about a 10-year-old boy in Flint, Michigan, named Bud who, during the Great Depression, goes on an adventure to find his father.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, producer Alex Heuer talked with Grammy award-winning jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard. Blanchard composed the score for the play and will appear at a concert to benefit Metro Theater Company.

On Chess: Becoming an international arbiter

Feb 1, 2018
The author, Mike Kummer, left, with his mentor, Chris Bird.
Saint Louis Chess Club

When I first started at the prestigious Saint Louis Chess Club when it opened its doors in July 2008, I didn’t even know what an international arbiter was.

An international arbiter, or “referee”  is the highest title an arbiter can attain through FIDE, the World Chess Federation. It’s basically like earning the grandmaster title, but for arbiters. An arbiter’s primary responsibility is to make sure the event runs as fairly and smoothly as possible. 

Michelle Volansky | Sauce Magazine

The Sound Bites team at Sauce Magazine is always ready to help you plan your nights out at St. Louis restaurants – this time it’s for the month of February.

The St. Louis Symphony performs at Powell Hall in a 2016 concert.
File | St. Louis Symphony

The St. Louis Symphony has announced its 2018-2019 schedule, which includes a mixture of classics and new works.

The method of selecting the lineup was also new. For its 139th season, the orchestra asked its musicians to weigh in.

It just made sense to include them, according to Marie-Hélène Bernard, symphony president and CEO .

Conductor Stéphane Denève talked about his career and upcoming role at  the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Conductor Stéphane Denève is the music director designate of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO), succeeding David Robertson as the orchestra's 13th music director in the 2019-20 season. Denève is currently the music director and chief conductor of the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra and the principal guest conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Denève about his career and his upcoming role in St. Louis. 

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for January 28, 2018 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  The “Keys and Strings Hour” will visit the Maybeck Recital Hall for piano solos by Jaki Byard, Gene Harris, Monty Alexander, our own John Hicks and James Williams.  In addition, there will be duets between Ralph Sutton & Dick Hyman, Roger Kellaway & Red Mitchell  and Dave McKenna & Grey Sargent.  We will also hear new music from our own St.

A construction worker puts finishing touches on a French Creole cabin in the redesigned museum beneath the Gateway Arch.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Construction crews at the Gateway Arch are installing new museum exhibits in the expanded visitors center of the national monument — the final stage in a massive overhaul of the grounds that began in 2013.

“We’re in the home stretch,’’ said Ryan McClure, communications director for the Gateway Arch Park Foundation, as he led reporters on a tour of the site Friday morning. “Right now, what you’re seeing is exhibits being installed, which is really the last piece that needs to happen in the building.’’

Construction will be completed in time for an opening celebration on July 3, he said. Fair St. Louis will be held on the Arch grounds, beginning on July 4.

The St. Louis Theater Circle released its 2018 award nominees on Jan. 26 for locally produced professional theater in 2017. This is the sixth year of the awards.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s theater critic, and Ann Lemons Pollack, St. Louis Magazine contributing writer, joined host Don Marsh to discuss the nominations and the upcoming award ceremony.

Mark Pacoe (left) and Dawn Riske (right) talk about the St. Louis' American Guild of Organists' upcoming January Jubilee.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

In many places of worship, the organ is a principle source of religious music. But with the decline of organists, is there still a promising future for the musical craft?

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about the role of music in churches and the American Guild of Organists' (AGO) efforts to provide support for organists and other church musicians. Joining the discussion were Dawn Riske, director of music ministries at Christ the King Catholic Church and organist Mark Pacoe.

On Chess: The potency of the present

Jan 25, 2018
Grandmaster Peter Svidler contemplates a move.
Lennart Ootes | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

“Playing chess is hard.” All players — from novice to grandmaster — have uttered this phrase. As competitive activities go, chess is one of the least forgiving.

If I hit a double fault while playing tennis, something I’m quite familiar with doing, it’s not the greatest feeling; however, in the end, it only costs one point. I go up to the line to serve again as if nothing has happened. You get to start fresh. Granted, some points have far greater importance than others, but ultimately you always get to start anew.

Chess does not work this way. 

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson | St. Louis Public Radio

When Jazzmine Nolan was 12, her father was murdered by one of his friends. His death left her devastated and empty inside.

“I was so angry that I didn’t know what I was feeling,” she said.

Nolan became unsure of whom to trust. Her cries for help and understanding often fell on deaf ears of the people around her. But instead of going down the path of self-destruction, she turned to the dance form "step" as a way to cope.

Carmen and Isabel Garcia with a Clydesdale, on location in September 2017 at Grant's Farm for a promotional St. Louis Blues video.
Carmen Garcia

For years, teenager Isabel Garcia performed in school plays as her mother, Carmen, beamed from the audience.

Isabel knew her mom once loved to perform, too, and had the playbills to prove it. But she’d never seen her mother on stage.

Dr. Bernard C. Randolph Sr.
Randolph family photo

Dr. Bernard C. Randolph Sr., a civil rights leader and a member of a small, tight-knit cadre of African-American doctors in St. Louis who began their practices during segregation, died this week.

Randolph, who sought and found myriad ways to blend medicine and activism, died of pneumonia on Saturday at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. He was 95.

St. Louis Speakers Series

From revolutions to war zones, journalist and author Robin Wright has covered many massive moments in world history – all without a team by her side or a helmet on her head. She’s reported from 140 countries spanning across six continents.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, producer Lara Hamdan talked with Wright about her career and upcoming talk in St. Louis on Jan. 23 as part of the St. Louis Speakers Series. There she will talk about her expertise in Middle East issues and share her insights into the region.

Susaan Jamshidi portrays Muslim attorney, Claire, and Lindsay Stock portrays radicalzied Muslim, Susie.
Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

Playwright Selina Fillinger wrote the original play “Faceless” while still a college student at Northwestern University in Chicago. Now, the play is showing through Feb. 4, at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about “Faceless,” which explores the story of an American woman, Susie, radicalized online and recruited by ISIS. She gets charged with conspiring to commit acts of terrorism – and her courtroom prosecutor is a Muslim woman.

The Jones Brothers

Jan 21, 2018
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited Sunday for Sunday, January 21, 2018 will be “The Jones Brothers.”  Raised in Pontiac Michigan, pianist Hank Jones and his brothers, trumpeter and composer Thad Jones and drummer Elvin Jones have each been a major force in jazz since Hank’s 1944 arrival in New York until his death in 2010.  We sill hear the brothers featured with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, John Coltrane, Ruth Brown, Kenny Burrell, Joe Lovano, Joe Henderson, Johnny Hartman, the Great Jazz Trio, Cannonball Adderley, Larry Young, Tommy Flanagan, Count Basie, Charlie Haden, various Hank Jones Tri

(L-R) Adolphus Pruitt II, Percy Green and James Buford talk about the life and legacy of civil rights lawyer Frankie Muse Freeman.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Among the names of those who have been most involved in advancing civil rights in St. Louis, Frankie Muse Freeman’s  is one of the most prominent.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the life and legacy of the civil rights lawyer. Freeman died Jan. 12 at age 101. She worked to address and end cases of discrimination in St. Louis and nationally.

This photo shows the St. Louis Symphony performing in Powell Hall in 1968.
St. Louis Symphony

In 1966, the St. Louis Symphony scrambled to find a venue for a publicized concert after plans fell through to play at the Kiel Opera House, now the Peabody Opera House. They ended up at the St. Louis Theater on Grand Boulevard.

For the musicians, the theater space just felt right, Maureen Byrne, according to director of diversity and community affairs.

“People just kind of went, ‘Whoa, this is pretty nice,’” Byrne said.

Chefs Bryan Russo (left) and Evy Swoboda (right)
Carmen Troesser

On this month’s Sound Bites segment produced in partnership with Sauce Magazine, managing editor Catherine Klene  gave an overview of the six up-and-comers the publication chose for its annual "Ones to Watch" feature.  The article highlights local culinary talent to watch in 2018.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to Klene and featured chefs Bryan Russo and Evy Swoboda.

(L-R) Nancy Fowler, Steven Brawley and Miranda Rectenwald talk about the history of LGBTQ+ in St. Louis.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Twenty years ago, St. Louis filmmaker Geoff Story went to an estate sale on Lindell Boulevard. There he picked up two canisters of home movies, not knowing what were on them. What Story found shocked him – dozens of gay men at a pool party in a remote location in Hillsboro, Missouri in 1945.

Check out Nancy Fowler’s story about the home movies revealing what is was like being gay in mid-century St. Louis.

A perplexus chess set and board created by Victor Vaserly, edition 210/1500, collection of Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield
Michael DeFilippo

When Victor Vasarely, the father of op art, first began to experiment with optical illusions, he needed a canvas on which to put down his thoughts. That canvas had to be square. His two other choices were round, which was totally impractical, or rectangular, which would beg the question: Which way to hang the finished work? So he chose the shape of a chessboard, the square.

This image is a still shot from home movies of a gay pool party in 1945 that St. Louis filmmaker Geoff Story bought in an estate sale.
Geoff Story

Dozens of gay men gather for a pool party in a secluded spot in Hillsboro, Missouri. Home movies capture their easy affection and carefree dancing. 

But they’re not recent videos. The movies were taken in 1945.

St. Louis filmmaker Geoff Story has begun weaving the films into a documentary, “Gay Home Movie.” It offers a rare glimpse into a largely invisible world, a time when same-sex relationships were not only looked at as immoral — they were illegal.

Author Daniel Pink talks about the science of timing and how to work efficiently.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Author Daniel Pink researched the science of timing to see how time of day affects what we do and how we do it.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to Pink about his latest book, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,” where the bestselling author drew on research from psychology, biology and economics to reveal how to live and work efficiently.

Time of day influences our performance

Londoner Barb Jungr (left) and St. Louisan John McDaniel (right) will perform together in St. Louis on Jan. 27.
Rick Stockwell

St. Louis native John McDaniel is a Grammy and Emmy award-winning musician. For years he performed as the band leader of The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Londoner Barb Jungr is known for her pop music, theater and cabaret performances. McDaniel and Jungr will perform together at Kranzberg Arts Center later this month.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with McDaniel and Jungr about their upcoming performance “Come Together,” which features music by the Beatles.

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

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, we rebroadcast host Don Marsh’s discussion with Nick Pistor, author of “Shooting Lincoln: Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and the Race to Photograph the Story of the Century” recorded Sep. 27 before an audience at Left Bank Books.

In the book, Pistor argues that photographers Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner were media pioneers who had a lasting impact on the industry that can be traced to TMZ, paparazzi and film.

 

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday January 14, 2018 will be “Musicians Named Williams.”  Williams is the third most common surname in this country.  Jazz musicians names Williams have made significant contributions to jazz history.  We will feature music by Clarence Williams, Count Basie with Claude Williams, Sidney Bechet with Johnny Williams, Sandy Williams, Cootie Williams, Rudy Williams, Joe Williams, Mary Lou Williams, Buddy Tate with Jackie Williams, The Jazztet with Tommy Williams, our own Terry Williams, Jimmy Williams, Ptah Williams, Billy Williams, Chauncey Williams, Todd Williams

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. answers questions at a press conference before his speech at St. Louis University in 1964.
Saint Louis University

When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. visited St. Louis for a speech in early 1957, did he imagine Americans would still be grappling with the legacies of segregation and economic disparity more than 60 years later?

As Americans prepare to commemorate King's birthday on Jan. 15, it is worth noting that the civil rights leader made St. Louis a regular stop for at least a decade.

Vernon Mitchell Jr. talked about the ongoing impact of Martin Luther King Jr. and about the impact of social media on the Civil Rights Movement today.
Lara Hamdan

The impact of Martin Luther King Jr. continues to influence various civil rights movements today. Washington University will commemorate the late civil rights leader  at 7 p.m., Monday, in Graham Chapel.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to Vernon Mitchell Jr., curator of Popular American Arts and Culture in the Department of Special Collections at Washington University.

Saint Louis University

As part of University of Missouri-St. Louis’ annual Martin Luther King Jr. observance, keynote speaker Freeman A. Hrabowski III will address the impact of the iconic civil rights activist over the last half century. The celebration is at 10 a.m. to noon on Jan. 15 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) about his work in advocating for equal access to education for all.

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