Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Akshat Chandra, a St. Louis resident and former winner of the U.S. Junior Championship, is hoping to regain his title in this year's contest.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center

One of the most contested tournaments, The U.S. Junior Championships, begins this week.  The event will take place at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis from July 8-18. The winners of both the junior and girls section will automatically qualify for the 2018 U.S. Championships.

Confetti hangs in an open window reminiscent of a snowglobe in Bunny Burson's sculpture
Bruno David Gallery

Early on election night last November, artist Bunny Burson looked to New York City’s Javits Center ceiling, expecting confetti to fall to celebrate Hillary Clinton becoming the nation's first woman president. But the confetti never fell.

Crushed by Clinton’s loss to President Donald Trump, Burson began an almost two-week journey to track down the confetti, which she thought would make great material for artwork.

Jimmy Buffett comes to St. Louis this week for a concert. We spoke with an author who has catalogued Buffett's life and rise to stardom.
Alex Howzit | Flickr

Tropical icon Jimmy Buffett was not always the brand he's seen as today. How did he rise to fame and influence?

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, acclaimed music critic and author Ryan White joined host Don Marsh for the entire hour to discuss his book “Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All The Way” ahead of Buffett’s concert in St. Louis this week.

The book explores Buffett’s laid-back attitude, iconic tropical rock music and transition into big-time business. 

Ken Haller shares his story at The Story Collider podcast event on May 2, 2017.
Sleet Photography | St. Louis Storytelling Festival

On May 2, St. Louis Public Radio hosted The Story Collider, a national podcast and live storytelling group, for an evening of personal stories about science told on stage under the theme of "Eclipse." The event was sponsored by the St. Louis Storytelling Festival.

Ken Haller, SLUCare pediatrician at SSM Cardinal Glennon Childrens Medical Center and professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University, shared a personal story from his first years as a doctor in New York City during the rise of the AIDS crisis.

Drummers lead participants through East St. Louis to remember the 1917 race riot on July 2, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

More than 100 people marked the 100th anniversary of a deadly race riot in East St. Louis Sunday by crossing the Eads Bridge into St. Louis.

About 6,000 African-Americans fled the violence by the same route on July 3, 1917, when mobs of white men, and some women, attacked black people following months of tension over jobs.

Freedom

Jul 2, 2017
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for July 9, 2017 will be “Freedom.”  July Fourth brings to my mind Billy Strayhorn’s Four Freedoms that I try to live by: freedom from hate, freedom from self pity, freedom from fear of doing something that would benefit someone else more than it would me and freedom from the pride that could make me feel that I was better than others.  All of the selections on this show will have the word “Freedom” in the title.  We will play music from Duke Ellington, the Jazz Crusaders, Grant Green, Max Roach, Eddie Harris, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Lennie Tristano, Lion

Christine Brewer and David Walton in Union Avenue Opera's "Albert Herring."
Union Avenue Opera

Union Avenue Opera’s 23rd season kicks off next week Friday and runs through August. This year, the company is introducing nothing but firsts. Each of its three productions is a premiere for the company.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, contributor Steve Potter sat down with three people associated with this year’s productions to hear about what to expect.

File photo: Under the leadership of Rick Dildine, attendance at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has grown by 55 percent and contributed revenue has increased 38 percent.
Provided | Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

The executive and artistic director of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is resigning to take another job.

Rick Dildine will become artistic director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival on Aug. 1.

Dildine, who joined the St. Louis organization in 2009, resigned once before, in 2014. He took a similar position in Lennox, Massachusetts and returned one year later.

Kevin Killeen discussed his most recent humorous novel "Most Improved Sophomore" on St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

KMOX radio reporter Kevin Killeen knows a thing or two about growing up Catholic in St. Louis in the 1970s. It’s apparently a subject a lot of you know about is well, as we heard from a plethora of listeners about their experiences in and out of school during that time period.

These reflections were spurred by a conversation with Killeen about his latest humorous novel, “Most Improved Sophomore.”

Willis Ryder Arnold and Nancy Fowler discussed their revamped arts and culture podcast, Cut & Paste.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday, St. Louis Public Radio's Cut & Paste podcast relaunched with a redefined focus: the human-centered arts stories of St. Louis. The hosts of the podcast, Nancy Fowler and Willis Ryder Arnold, joined St. Louis on the Air on Thursday to discuss how they've re-conceptualized the podcast. 

An artist or advocate stands before a wall of sticky notes at RAC in 2014 artists and advocates gathered at RAC to discuss the roll of the artist in social justice movements following the shooting death of Michael Brown Jr.
File Photo | Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

People in the St. Louis region will soon have a chance to let arts advocates and funders know how to better connect with the public.

Last week, the Regional Arts Commission, or RAC, launched an initiative to bridge the gap between area residents and the arts community. 

“It’s really more about just being more aligned with what is relevant for the community today and not just based on the way we did business more than 30 years ago,” RAC Executive Director Felicia Shaw said.

Nika Marble is an artist, musician and head bartender at Elaia and Olio. (June 23, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Nika Marble’s artistic toolbox holds an eclectic mix: A shot of tonic, a staccato note and a sharp pair of scissors.

Each tool is in service of one of her artistic endeavors: music, mixology and collage making. But as she dons one hat after another, how does Marble define herself? In this reboot of our Cut & Paste podcast, we talk with Marble about an identity crisis that plagues many creative people.

“Am I am I an artist who waits tables? Or am I a waiter who occasionally makes art?” Marble said. “This is a thing that has worried myself and a lot of my friends in their lives.”

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (left) studies World Champion Magnus Carlsen move in the playoff in Paris. June 2017
Lennart Ootes | Grand Chess Tour

The first leg of the third annual Grand Chess Tour took place from June 21-25 in Paris. As it did last year, the tour kicked off with a rapid and blitz event. Five grueling days and 29 games later, World Champion Magnus Carlsen emerged as the winner. He collected 12 tour points and $31,250 for his efforts.

At the first glance, the favorite competitor of the event coming in first place doesn’t seem exciting or interesting, but the final standings don’t tell the whole story. 

Author Candice Millard's book "Hero of the Empire" looks into Winston Churchill's exploits during the Boer War.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed “Hero of the Empire,” a book by New York Times-bestselling author Candice Millard about Winston Churchill’s experiences in early adulthood as a reporter during the Boer War.

Nate Larson's photography and oral history project "Centroid Towns" documents life at towns that were, at one point, designated the mean center of U.S. population.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“The Centroid” refers to the point of the United States’ mean center of population. Baltimore-based photographer Nate Larson has taken this construction and run with it, documenting life in the “Centroid Towns,” which have been calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau since 1790. Here's how that's done.

Andrea Purnell and Gregory Carr discussed "Tinderbox," Carr's play based on the East St. Louis Race Riots of 1917, on St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

July 2, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of one of the bloodiest race riots in the 20th century: the East St. Louis Race Riots of 1917

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Gregory Carr, an instructor of speech and theater at Harris-Stowe State University, and actress Andrea Purnell joined the program to discuss “Tinderbox,” his play based on the history of the event. 

Kathy Favazza (L) and Nika Leoni (R) are the co-founders of Make Music St. Louis, the organization responsible for bringing Make Music Day to St. Louis.
Alicia Lee | St. Louis Public Radio

If you happened to be in the Delmar Loop on Wednesday or in a number of other places in the St. Louis area, it’s likely you heard live music.

Those sounds were part of Make Music Day, an international holiday that’s celebrated in more than 750 cities worldwide including more than 50 in the United States. 

Opera singers Nika Leoni and Kathy Favazza are co-founders of the event in St. Louis.

Planning for this year’s St. Louis Pride has been marked by some disagremeents.
Provided | St. Louis Pride

Over the decades, St. Louis’ PrideFest has grown from a few dozen people daring to come out for a day, to 200,000 community members and supporters gathering to celebrate.

Now, as St. Louis gets ready for its 36th PrideFest, the annual event is experiencing some growing pains. Planning for this year’s gathering has been marked by conflict. For Pride St. Louis President Matt Harper, it’s been a period of trying to balance the contradictory opinions of a disparate community.

“You just can’t please everyone,” Harper said.

Patrons sit on Iowa Street outside Yaquis on Cherokee.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On April 30, Francis Rodriguez, the owner of Yaquis on Cherokee, was drawn to his apartment window by a commotion outside on Cherokee Street. Rodriguez lives above the pizza parlor and, as shots rang out, he and his wife dropped to the floor. After a pause, he ran downstairs to check on the restaurant, where people didn’t immediately recognize the sound of gunfire.

“They're still playing music in here. They didn't hear the shots upstairs that are right outside the door,” he said. “But just as I open up the back door from our apartment and hear people start raising the alarm in here [Yaquis] and so people started screaming and falling onto the floor.”

Logan Ely is the chef behind Square 1 Project, a pop-up restaurant concept.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Sound Bites is produced in partnership with Sauce Magazine, our monthly installment exploring cuisine in the St. Louis area.

Chef Logan Ely has been around the globe and back a few times since growing up in St. Louis. He spent time at Chicago’s North Pond Restaurant after graduating Forest Park Community College’s culinary program and from there went to Hong Kong and New York.

On Chess: Super-GM event has surprising result

Jun 22, 2017
Grandmaster Hikiaru Nakamura at the Super GM event in Norway in June, 2017. Nakamura got second place in the event.
Lennart Ootes | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The annual Super-GM event in Norway began in 2013 and continues to get stronger each year. This year’s edition held June 6 -16, had 10 players, including the “Big 3” American players: St. Louis resident Fabiano Caruana; 2017 PRO Chess League Champion with the Saint Louis Arch Bishops and reigning U.S. Champion Wesley So; and several time U.S. Champion Hikaru Nakamura.

 

The event was played in a round-robin format, where each player plays all other participants. With 10 participants, each player plays nine rounds, hoping to score the most points to win the tournament.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday.

What summer reads should be on our list? You tell us.
meg | Flickr

Well, it’s officially summer now – and with that comes time spent by the pool, on vacation or maybe even a few “sick days” spent at home. With that in mind, we brought in three local book experts to give us suggestions of their top summer reads.

We’re focusing on books for adults this time around but, in a few weeks, we’ll also discuss children’s book recommendations.

You can find links to each book discussed below, but our guest from Left Bank Books made this handy list as well. 

Players on the Arch Rival All Stars roller derby team run drills during practice on Monday, June 12, 2017, ahead of the Sibling Rivalry invitational.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

As of 9 p.m. on a Monday earlier this month,  the temperature had not sunk below 90 degrees all day. Despite the lethargic heat, the St. Louis Skatium, an un-air-conditioned, no-frills skating rink in south city, was bustling with action.

For two hours, the Arch Rival All Stars, 20 of the best women’s flat track roller derby players in St. Louis, have been running drills and scrimmaging.

June 12, 2017 photo. Patty Prewitt (right) and Amy Sherrill perform a scene from "Run-On Sentence" in the Prison Performing Arts production at the Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center
Provided | Prison Performing Arts

A St. Louis-based organization called Prison Performing Arts (PPA) is taking a fresh approach in its 27-year-old effort to turn inmates into actors.

The program is known for the “thees,” “thous” and “forswears” of Shakespeare’s scripts. But a contemporary play on stage Thursday at the Women’s Eastern, Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Vandalia expands PPA beyond The Bard.

“Run-On Sentence” is based on interviews done with those inside the institution. Inmate Patty Prewitt said the playwright Stacie Lents took time to really understand their world.

Stephen Lord, retiring music director at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, joined St. Louis on the Air on Monday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Stephen Lord has been coming to St. Louis for 37 seasons of Opera Theatre Saint Louis in some sort of role with the company. For the last 25 years, he’s been music director, but after this season closes at the end of this month, he’ll step down from that position.

Nermana Huskic, right, and Diana Mrzljak, 15, set out watermelon before lunch at Gateway 180 June 18, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Because Islam puts a special focus on charity during the holy month of Ramadan, many Muslims St. Louisans are taking extra time to serve others.

This year, Ramadan began May 27 and ends June 25.

Sunday a couple dozen people from a nonprofit organization called RukaNade served lunch at the Gateway 180 homeless shelter in St. Louis’ Carr Square neighborhood.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sundan, June 18, 2017 will be  “The Career of Wynton Kelly.”  Pianist Wynton Kelly graced many live and studio sessions with his clean, lively lines.  He was best known as an accompanist, pushing the music of Art Pepper, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson, Art Blakey, Milt Jackson, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and Abbey Lincoln to new heights.  In addition, we will hear one of his compositions played by a group with seven tubas and a rhythm section.

Jazz St. Louis Executive Director Gene Dobbs Bradford
File photo | Dennis C. Owsley

The Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis will honor two performing arts advocates with lifetime achievement awards during the 2018 St. Louis Arts Awards.

David Baron, the author of "American Eclipse," discussed the upcoming total solar eclipse that will pass over parts of St. Louis on Aug. 21.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Author David Baron is not kidding when he says he’s been looking forward to the total solar eclipse that will occur on American soil on Aug. 21, 2017, for the past 19 years. In 1998, he saw his first total solar eclipse. He’s now seen five different total solar eclipses around the world … but never one over his homeland of the United States.

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