Arts & Culture

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this year, local singer-songwriter legend Pokey LaFarge’s sixth studio album, “Something in the Water,” dropped. He’s been going ever since. Recently completing a U.S. and a European tour across three continents, he’s barely had a chance to catch his breath.

“I think I have moved into a new definition of pleasant exhaustion,” LaFarge said on Friday’s “Cityscape.” “I just got in at 3:30 this morning from Nashville.”

Salma Arastu

Artist Salma Arastu knows a thing or two about intercultural communication. She was born in India and raised in Hinduism before embracing Islam through her marriage. Now, she uses that melded faith background to build religious bridges through her artwork: Arabic calligraphy melded with abstract expressionist paintings.

StoryCorps: Listen to your elders this Thanksgiving

Nov 20, 2015

StoryCorps, the oral history project program that makes you laugh or cry every Friday during Morning Edition, has an assignment for you this Thanksgiving.

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is your chance to record stories from your grandparents, great aunts and uncles, or any important elder in your life. 

From left: Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Hou Yifan, Parimarjan Negi
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Whenever the two best players in any discipline square off against one another, it is an occasion to be savored. American chess fans were especially eager to see America’s best face-off against one another and the Showdown in St. Louis did not disappoint!

Ballet class at St. Louis' Juvenile Detention Center, Daniel Blount aka Orange Crush and guard tower at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center in Pacific
Nancy Fowler and Willis Ryder Arnold / St. Louis Public Radio

For 22 years, a St. Louis organization has helped prisoners and youthful detainees project words like "thee" and "thou" and practice pliés and arabesques.

Prison Performing Arts instructors work with inmates on projects like performing Shakespeare, perfecting ballet routines and creating hip-hop poetry. It's an effort whose success is told more by anecdotes than analysis.

The St. Louis Zoo is making plans to acquire the family attraction Grant’s Farm from the Busch Family Real Estate Trust.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Summer Albarcha is not your typical Saint Louis University college student. She’s worried about balancing her classes and personal life, yes, but for a reason you might not expect. This 20-year-old is a busy fashion blogger who has garnered some level of international attention for her “modest fashion” blogging—which means she covers up, fashionably, while many other fashion bloggers dress down.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

It took four failed attempts before long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad finally became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage. She completed that journey, 110 miles in total in some of the most challenging waters on the planet, at the age of 64. Her first attempt was at age 28.

Three prisoners share their stories through performance.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Recent national prison reforms have included shortening sentences for drug offenders and releasing a number of prisoners because of the changes in sentencing guidelines. Yet roughly 32,000 people are incarcerated in Missouri.
Thomas Hawk, Flickr, Creative Commons |

One of the most charming parts of St. Louis is the vast swath of unique neighborhoods scattered across the metropolitan area. This quality makes for some lovely day-explorations for people who’ve lived here forever and want to discover something new—but it is also one of the most difficult parts of moving here for the first time. Now, there’s an app for that.

Beyond Housing

Pagedale, one of St. Louis County’s many municipalities, sits just north of University City. Recently, a new movie theatre opened there, called 24:1 Cinema. It is named for the 24 municipalities that feed one school district: Normandy.

Museum Blue Founders Lauren Cardenas and Michael Behle stand in the exhibit 'Water, Water'
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Last year four artists and educators decided to turn their shared studio space into an exhibition space for other artists. The project achieved unexpected results.

“The most important thing that I have learned is how remarkably diverse and surprising our audience is with every single show, with every single opening,” said photographer Gina Grafos.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, November 15 will be “The Career of Christian McBride.”  Born in Philadelphia in 1972, bassist Christian McBride joined Bobby Watson’s Horizon at the age of 17.  A virtuoso, he has played with nearly every important name in jazz since then.  His career has involved funk, pop and fusion in addition to mainstream jazz, earning four Grammies.  He will be heard with his mentor, Ray Brown, Jay McShann, Cyrus Chestnut, the Contemporary Piano Ensemble, Roy Hargrove, Joe Henderson, Ann Hampton Callaway, Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Kurt Elling, Donald Harrison, T.S.

Tef Poe at civilian review board hearing 1.29.14
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

This week a couple of hip-hop musicians released tracks tackling current political issues. Tef Poe’s "Devils" follows Poe’s template of using his ire for a specific politician, in this case Ben Carson, to address systemic issues he sees in the political structure. For Poe, it’s full steam ahead.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Soulard Fine Arts Building is celebrating 25 years of housing a community of 17 different visual artists in its walls. The occasion will be commemorated with an exhibit at the Regional Arts Commission about the building itself. Over 15 artists’ works will be shown as part of the exhibition.

Big Muddy Dance Company

A lot of things have changed in the past five years for Big Muddy Dance Company, but one thing has not: the dedication of the group’s original core members, most of whom are still performing with the company. That’s pretty inspiring, mostly because the group has completely changed the tone and tenor of its dance style over that period of time.

Sabina England, Priscilla Block and Denise Thimes
Photos of England and Thimes from their websites; Block from UMSL

A popular vocalist, a well-known activist and an up-and-coming filmmaker and playwright are among six women honored with a 2016 St. Louis Visionary Award.

The awards, which began in 2003, returned last year after a one-year hiatus and reorganization.

Two area organizations are looking to further their missions by honoring the legacy of Cesar Chavez, even though the labor organizer and Latino rights activist only briefly visited the state. 

The Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates Coalition (MIRA) is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a series of events that look to explain how the organization fits within the history of immigration rights reform. This weekend the organization helps launch an exhibit focused on Chavez facilitated by the Hispanic Arts Council at the St. Louis Public Library .  

University of Texas Press

Aunt Jemima is a contentious figure in African-American history. She is the namesake of the famous Missouri-born pancake mix and, also, a racial epithet akin to the similarly contentious "Uncle Tom." So why did author Toni Tipton-Martin, renowned culinary writer, name her anthologized collection of African-American cookbooks after her?

Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum was honored when, several years ago, the World Chess Hall of Fame approached us with a partnership opportunity to create a nationally-traveling, interactive exhibit for children focused on the game of chess. With so many beneficial 21st century skills to be learned by playing chess, we were intrigued by this potential design challenge.