Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Countertenor Terry Barber
Terry Barber

Terry Barber is a  countertenor who performed for years with the vocal group Chanticleer and has worked with Grammy-winning artists like Madonna, Jewel, Chaka Khan and more. Recently, he moved to St. Louis from Florida, bringing along his non-profit, called Artists for a Cause, in order to be closer to family. That also means that St. Louisans are treated to a few more local concerts from Barber than they were before.

From left, David Pulkingham, Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, and The Milk Carton Kids (Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale) perform during the Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 9, 2016.
Christian Fuchs | Jesuit Refugee Service

Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle are two of the most revered American singer-songwriters performing today. The two longtime friends and performing buddies have also never been hesitant to express their political views — or throw their generous musical weight behind causes they believe in.

The two have recently reunited, along with several other musicians such as the Milk Carton Kids, Buddy Miller and David Pulkingham, to tour the country hosting benefit concerts, titled “Lampedusa,” to raise money for Jesuit Refugee Service. The Christian organization’s mission is to “accompany, serve and advocate for rights of refugees and other displaced persons.” JRS works in 45 countries across the globe to assist refugees’ educational, health and social needs.

Tonight, the benefit makes a stop in St. Louis at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Visitors to the Contemporary Art Museum are now (Sept. 30, 2016) greeted by warning signs and a wall that went up in front of Kelley Walker's Direct Drive exhibit following criticism and outrage of the work.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 1:40 p.m. Oct. 10 — Chief curator Jeffrey Uslip is leaving St. Louis' Contemporary Art Museum for another institution.

Uslip's departure follows weeks of controversy over CAM's current solo exhibition by white artist Kelley Walker that some found demeaning to African-Americans. Three CAM employees and others had called the museum to remove Uslip shortly after the exhibition, "Direct Drive," opened Sept. 16.

In a news release, the Contemporary did not say where Uslip is going or whether he will remain in St. Louis.

Kansas Citians

Oct 8, 2016

Jazz Unlimited for October 9 will be preempted in the first hour by the Presidential debate and will resume at  10 pm for “Kansas Citians.”  Not only was it an important the center of a great period in jazz, but also Kansas City and its environs were and remain a nurturing place for the careers of many jazz musicians, including Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Pat Metheny, Karrin Allyson and others.  Please note that the first hour of this show will be pre-empted by the Presidential debate.  You can catch the first hour of the show by going the Archive  starting on Monday

Shoes and footwear have a long history varying from culture to culture and have been designed not only for comfort but often have an artistic flair with added elements such as buckles, bows and beads such as those used in Native American moccasins. Most of us have heard the infamous expression about St. Louis--First in shoes, first in booze and last in the American League. St. Louis has a rich history in the production of shoes. Companies such as Brown Shoe, now Caleres, and International Shoe Company helped our city to grow and put us on the map.

Playwright Dael Orlandersmith
Kevin Berne

Actress, poet and playwright Dael Orlandersmith is known for her moving works like “Beauty’s Daughter,” “Monster,” and the Pulitzer Prize finalist “Yellowman.”  The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis recently commissioned a work from Orlandersmith about Ferguson and St. Louis after the police shooting death of Michael Brown Jr. in 2014. It is called “Until the Flood.

Two immigrant men hang suspended in the air as window washers in the play "Spended"
Provided by ProPhotoSTL.com

As the St. Louis metro area continues to take note of the region's growing status as a magnet for newcomers from other countries, Upstream Theater will launch "Suspended," a play that aims to break down assumptions about immigrants.

Director Linda Kennedy said stories about the relationship between immigrants and longtime residents can strengthen both communities.

Annie Wang at the 2015 U.S. Women's Chess Championships
Spectrum Studios

2016 has been an exciting year for chess and the World Youth Championships are no exception. The World Youth Chess Championship, for children aged 18 and under, has sections for both male and female players who are under 18, 16, 14, 12, 10 and 8. However, with so many sections (12 in all) and with so many players, coaches, parents, arbiters and other officials, the World Chess governing body, FIDE, separated the events based on age.

The older group (under 18, 16 and 14) recently played the 2016 World Youth Chess Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

Melinda Cooper performs with her band Town Cars
Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

Local musician Melinda Cooper remembers the exact moment she fell in love with songwriting.  Decades ago, it was snowing outside and she was driving down Interstate 44 when Stephen Merritt’s song “Falling Out Of Love (With You)” began playing on her car radio.  She immediately changed course and drove to Vintage Vinyl to buy the album.

Cooper hopes submitting her music to the St. Louis County Library’s new local music initiative — which will allow music fans to stream local music on computers and eventually an app — gives someone else a similar feeling.

Bruno David in his empty Grand Center gallery
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

After Bruno David opened his gallery in Grand Center 11 years ago, he was a cheerleader for the area’s emergence as a major arts destination. Now Grand Center is so successful that David has to leave.

In late October, David is relocating his namesake gallery to Clayton, to a spot on Forsyth Boulevard near the St. Louis Artists' Guild. The move comes a month after inspectors deemed his Washington Boulevard location unsafe. A regularly scheduled assessment revealed that concrete walls in the back of the building were crumbling.

Dana Hotle and Adam Maness joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss the Chamber Project St. Louis' upcoming concerts.
Mary Edwards | St. Louis on the Air

The 442’s pianist and composer Adam Maness is a lifelong St. Louisan and, with that, he has something on his mind: socioeconomic and racial divisions in the city of St. Louis. He recently composed a piece called “The Delmar Wall” to address those issues.

Charlie Hoessle helped start the St. Louis Zoo's education department in the 1960s.
Courtesy of St. Louis Zoo

For St. Louisans of a certain age, the statue outside the herpetarium at the St. Louis Zoo depicts a familiar figure: Charles H. Hoessle — better known as “Charlie” — who taught them about snakes and exotic reptiles when they were schoolchildren in the 1960s.

Hoessle worked for the zoo for 40 years. He helped start the zoo's education department in 1964 and hosted the weekly “Saint Louis Zoo Show’’ on local TV from 1968 to 1978.

The Cliff Cave branch of the St. Louis County Library system reopened on Sept. 21, 2016, after renovation work. That included the children's area, pictured here.
(Photo courtesy of St. Louis County Library)

Phase two of a project to replace or renovate 19 of the 20 St. Louis County Library brancheis set to get underway this month.

The first phase of what’s called the “Your Library Renewed” campaign included 11 projects throughout the county. Kristen Sorth, library system director, says that work cost about $58 million, which came from a 2012 property tax increase. Phase two will cost about $79 million.

Apples and leaves.
NWY69 | Flickr

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 October.

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

The three they highlighted as 'must-try'? Narwhal's Crafted Urban Ice, Snow Factory and The Garden on Grand. Read more about them here

The Rep, The Muny, Stages St. Louis

Stages St. Louis hopes its current production of “Sister Act” will do what the Whoopi Goldberg character in the movie did for her Catholic convent choir: Shake it up — at least where its audiences are concerned.

The theater company’s patrons are not very diverse. Executive Producer Jack Lane, describes the Stages St. Louis audience this way: “suburban, white.”

Attracting more theater-goers of color, while addressing important social-justice concerns on the front burner in St. Louis right now, is important to St. Louis’ larger theater companies, which include the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The Muny and Stages. Adding more minority patrons could help with the perennial issue of aging subscribers and donors. But it’s also a way to stay relevant at a time when St. Louis is more riveted than ever on race.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 2, 2116 will be “Adderley Compositions.”  The Adderley brothers, Cannonball and Nat, were not only world-class jazz instrumentalists, but also were composers of attractive tunes like “Sack O’ Woe,” “Work Song” and “The Jive Samba.”  We will hear their compositions played by themselves, Ray Bryant, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Paul Chambers and Wynton Kelly, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, our own Kenny Rice, James Clay, the Louis Hayes Quintet, Antonio Hart, Quincy Jones, J.J.

Bjorn Ranheim
St. Louis Symphony

Cellist Bjorn Ranheim’s busy schedule rarely allows time for rest. If he’s not rehearsing or performing with the St. Louis Symphony, then you may find him with his colleagues in The 442s or playing chamber music in any of several ensembles. But one of his favorite roles is that of father to two beautiful little girls.

In a conversation with St. Louis Symphony Vice President of External Affairs Adam Crane, Ranheim talks about this weekend’s concerts highlighted by performances of John Adams’ Violin Concerto featuring Leila Josefowicz.

Local guitar duo Fine to Drive play onstage at a preview show at Delmar Hall the night before its grand opening.
Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ newest concert venue opens tonight in the Delmar Loop neighborhood. With Delmar Hall, Joe Edwards and Pat Hagin, co-owners of the Pageant concert hall next door, continue their push to make the neighborhood an entertainment hub.

“This is the live music corridor, center, of St. Louis and this just cements that,” Edwards said.

Delmar Hall will seat up to 800 people and focus on concerts, comedy and private business events. Edwards said up to 25 percent of the acts will be local performers with national touring groups making up the remaining shows. The opening weekend features Stir, Jay Farrar, and Hippie Sabotage.

A crowd packed the Contemporary Art Museum for a panel discussion on artist Kelley Walker's use of black bodies.
Wills Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s “Behind the Headlines,” we took a deep dive into the controversy around Kelley Walker’s “Direct Drive” exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

We heard from St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jenny Simeone and Willis Ryder Arnold, who have been reporting on the issues surrounding the exhibit and public outcry over its depiction of black bodies. Some have called for the exhibit to come down in its entirety and others have said that would constitute an act of censorship.

Alexandra Noboa takes pictures for social media as reporters conduct a pre-game interview at Busch Stadium. Noboa, the Cardinals' Spanish translator, launched the @cardenales Twitter account.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This week, for the first time in team history, two St. Louis Cardinals' games will be broadcast in Spanish. It’s one of the biggest nods to the local Latino community, and comes during what has been a big year for Spanish speakers in Major League Baseball.

Jason Wilson, CAM board member, and Shanti Parikh, anthropology and African Studies assistant professor
Kelly Moffit | St. Louis Public Radio

An exhibition that opened at the Contemporary Art Museum Sept. 16 continues to draw fire for images that some say are demeaning to African-Americans. The issue has hit home with many St. Louisans including Shanti Parikh, an anthropology and African Studies associate professor, and her husband Jason Wilson, who’s on the board at CAM.

Chris Hebert.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Angels of Detroit” is author Christopher Hebert’s second novel.  It delves into the fictional lives of those experiencing Detroit’s decline and redevelopment. 

Hebert joined St. Louis on the Air on Thursday to discuss the book and the parallels between Detroit and St. Louis. 

Hebert lived in St. Louis in 1998 after finishing college.

"It was brief but meaningful," Hebert said.

Lonely Mountain String Band played last year's An Under Cover Weekend and came back for this year as well.
Provided by Corey Woodruff and Michael Tomko

As Libby Swanger raised her viola and began Jimmy Page’s solo from Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” there was no way for her to anticipate the crowd reaction.

“People were like screaming for me, and as a violist, that has never happened ever," she said. "People don’t scream for us, and it was just like a shining moment that came out of last year.”

Swanger’s performance took place with the bluegrass group The Lonely Mountain String Band during An Under Cover Weekend, St. Louis’s annual tribute band festival.  This weekend, the event celebrates its 10th anniversary.

An insect chess set
Provided by the World Chess Hall of Fame

Dr. George and Vivian Dean have been fascinated with chess sets for more than half a century. Their collection of more than 1,000 sets and diverse singular pieces stretches from the 8th century to the present, with examples from as many different cultures and eras as they have been able to find.

Their criteria for selecting works have been: aesthetic beauty, quality and diversity of materials, and quality of craftsmanship. In assembling an exhibition from their collection – titled Animal Vegetable Mineral: Natural Splendors from the Chess Collection of Dr. George & Vivian Dean – one question that had to be addressed was what rational guide could  be used to select the works.

The Kabbalah Centre St. Louis opened five years ago, but has outgrown its space. It will hold a grand re-opening Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016.
The Kabbalah Centre St. Louis via Facebook

A St. Louis spiritual center that is only the second facility of its kind in the Midwest is growing, even as its students say many people in St. Louis don't know about it.

Portraits hang at the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art as workers finish setting up Erika Diettes' exhibit.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 3:20 p.m., Sept. 28 with Erika Diettes and Terry Dempsey's interview on St. Louis on the Air.

As the daughter of a Colombian general, Erika Diettes grew up fearing FARC rebels would one day kill her father. The rebels routinely made death threats and killed several government officials over decades. Though her father survived the conflict, and Diettes' fear dwindled, those thoughts stayed with her.

When she became a photographer, Diettes dedicated herself to examining how that violence affects individuals. Her portraits capture women as they recall watching rebels torture or kill loved ones during the half-century battle between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The photos  will be on display Sunday at the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art at Saint Louis University.

Jessica Alvarado and Cecilia Nadal joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss Gitana Productions' play based on the lives of local refugee women.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Gitana Productions, a local nonprofit that advocates global healing through the arts, is performing a one-act play titled “New World” this weekend as part of the St. Louis Arts Experience. The play is based on the lives of three St. Louis women who are also refugees from Bosnia, the Republic of Congo and Afghanistan.

De Nichols | Facebook

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in Washington, D.C., to the public this past weekend. Unlike many of those in the crowd at the opening ceremony, St. Louis artists De Nichols, Marcis Curtis and Mallory Nezam made artwork that is in the museum’s collection.

The trio made the 13-hour trip by car from St. Louis to see The Mirror Casket’s new home. After touring the exhibits, the group left confident that the Smithsonian will carefully display the life-sized casket covered in shattered mirrors. The sculpture asks audiences to reflect on their role in the struggle for social justice.

A art piece by Kelley Walker depicting a civil rights-era protest is splattered with melted dark, white, and milk chocolate.
Kelley Walker, Black Star Press | Paula Cooper Gallery

Updated Sept. 29 with a statement from Jeffrey Uslip — The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis will not remove Kelley Walker’s controversial artwork from its walls. 

Some St. Louis residents called for a boycott of the museum and three of the museum’s black employees called for the removal of four works  — and for chief curator Jeffrey Uslip to resign — on the grounds that Walker’s exhibit demeaned black people. CAM director Lisa Melandri said Monday that removing the work would be censorship.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The September 25  Jazz Unlimited show will be a three-part show.  The “Keys and Strings Hour “ will feature pianist Gene Harris in the first hour.  The second hour will be “Remembering Toots Thielemans.”  The Belgian harmonica player and sometime guitarist will be heard with George Shearing, Cleo Laine, Kenny Werner, Mongo Santamaria, Judy Niemack and Joe Lovano.  New music for September in the third hour will feature Tim Warfield, John Scofield, the Bad Plus, the pianist Lang Lang, Enrico Pieranunzi, a duet between Andrew Cyrille and Bill McHenry and Quest.

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