Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Sophie Malik, Roberta Gutwein and Anna Crosslin joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss the sixth annual Jewish and Muslim Christmas Day of Community Service.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Each year for the past six years, people of Jewish and Muslim faiths have joined together on Christmas for a day of community service

Last year, more than 500 people, including Christians and Buddhists, volunteered on the day. This year, more than 800 people are expected to volunteer.

In the past, the effort has focused on forging ties between the two communities in the aid of a variety of different services and non-profits in the St. Louis area. 

Participants in Las Posadas procession, which tells the story of Joseph and Mary as they sought shelter before the birth of Christ, walk the Anza Trail in Martinez, Calif., this Dec. 6, 2014, photo.
Anza Trail NPS

In churches and neighborhoods across St. Louis, many Latino parishioners gather before Christmas for Las Posadas, a 500-year-old practice that retells the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, where they sought shelter before Christ was born. For many, the celebrations that take place from Dec. 12 to Three Kings Day on Jan. 6 help keep religious, family and cultural traditions. Gustavo Valdez, a St. Louis resident, has celebrated them since he was a 9-year-old boy in Monterrey, Mexico.

It's that time of year: St. Louis on the Air plays your favorite Christmas poems, read by our staff.
Tim Parkinson | Flickr

As you dash about checking off the last of Christmas lists, begin to set the trimmings of a holiday feast, or finish up that last day of work before the holiday, spend some time with the annual St. Louis on the Air Christmas special, which aired on Dec. 23.

We’re celebrating the holiday with two favorite holiday poems, one old and one more recent:

First, a St. Louis Public Radio staff recording of “A Visit from St. Nicholas

From Radar Home by Amy Reidel, an illustration by Fox Smith and a file photo of poet Treasure Shields Redmond
Provided and file photos

The art of activism weaved its way more deeply into the St. Louis arts scene in 2016.

In this year’s Cut & Paste arts and culture podcasts, we brought you conversations with performers, poets and visual video artists, inspired personal experiences and cultural issues.

Wesley So holding chess trophies
Saint Louis Chess Club | Spectrum Studios

After the conclusion of the London Chess Classic, the last event on the 2016 Grand Chess Tour, there is one name that is front and center in people’s minds: Wesley So. Not only did the American win the London Chess Classic, but he also secured his win of the entire tour with one round to spare.  In addition, he became the 12th person in history to cross the highly coveted 2800 rating mark, climbed to the fourth spot in the world rankings and secured his position as the second highest rated player in the U.S. 

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Whether you’ve lived here your whole life or just moved to St. Louis, you’ve probably noticed the, erm, particularities of the way St. Louisans speak. From the “ar” pronunciation that creeps into words like “forty” (fahr-ty) and “wash” (warsh) to the Nelly-esque “here” (hurr) to area-specific vocabulary like “hoosier” or “catty corner,” there is something different going on here.

From left, Nick Blue, Gerard Craft and Chris Kelling at Sardella, one of Sauce Magazine's 'best new restaurants' of 2016.
Greg Rannells | Sauce Magazine

In the Sauce Magazine office, there is a meticulously edited running spreadsheet. On it are the names, dates, and addresses for each of the over 100 restaurants that opened in St. Louis in 2016.

Betsey Bruce is retiring after a 46 year career in journalism, reporting at several outlets in St. Louis.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Newscaster Betsey Bruce is believed to be the first woman in St. Louis assigned to daily hard news reporting on television. She’s been a professional journalist for 46 years. Last Friday, she began her retirement.

“I haven’t slept in yet,” Bruce told St. Louis on the Air host and former colleague Don Marsh. “I’ve been warned I should not make any real commitments for the first six months.”

Although she ended her career at KTVI (Channel 2), she started her career at KMOV (Channel 4) in 1970. In 2008, she was elected to the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame.

Dennis Sparger and  Melissa Payton of the Bach Society.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In the spirit of the holiday season, the Bach Society of St. Louis will celebrate with its annual Christmas Candlelight Concert on Thursday night at Powell Hall.

Ahead of the concert, Music Director A. Dennis Sparger and Executive Director Melissa Payton joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss the organization and the concert.

Brandon Shea / Flickr

JOIN ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO FOR SPECIAL HOLIDAY PROGRAMMING TONIGHT THROUGH NEW YEAR'S DAY!

The Holiday Program Schedule for St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU

Festivo Alt.Latino, Tuesday, 12/20/2016 at 8 p.m.

David Robertson conducts a performance at Powell Hall in this file photo.
Dan Dreyfus

The St. Louis Symphony has extended the contract of Music Director David Robertson through the 2018-19 season. It will be his final season in St. Louis. Robertson began his tenure as music director in 2005.

“I want to express my profound gratitude and deep affection to the musicians of the St. Louis Symphony,” Robertson said. “I feel blessed for every note we have shared in our many years together and will share over the coming years.  Our collaboration is a continual joy for me.”

Sophia Rose Kinninger, Petra Swidler and Fran Hamilton.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration, a nationwide non-profit based in St. Louis, encourages schoolchildren to collect and retell the stories of family members through the written word. Twelve years old, the organization recently released its 11th volume of those stories and is now accepting stories for its 12th volume.

"Home For Christmas" by The 442s and Peter Martin
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

In just more than four years, The 442s have become known for their unique sound that blends elements of classical, jazz and folk music, as well as other genres.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Please join me tonight on Jazz Unlimited from 9 pm to midnight on St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7 KWMU for “The Keys and String Hour + New Music.”  the Keys and Strings Hour will present music with cellos as front-line solo instruments with Roger Kellaway, Red Mitchell, Dave Brubeck, Tal Farlow, Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington.  New music for December will feature four items from the just released historically important Savory Collection with music from Count Basie, Herschel Evans and Coleman Hawkins.

George Caleb Bingham's 'Verdict of the People'
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A legendary 19th century Missouri artist will be the center of attention after Donald Trump is sworn in as president.

George Caleb Bingham’s "Verdict of the People" will be showcased at a luncheon following Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20. The event, which takes place in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol, is a celebration for the president, vice president, congressional leaders and other invited guests.

John McDaniel and Lennie Watts

Although musicians John McDaniel and Lennie Watts both grew up in St. Louis at about the same time, they didn’t meet until Watts made a brief guest appearance on the Rose O’Donnell Show when McDaniel was her bandleader. They have stayed in touch off and on over the years as each has pursued a career in New York City, but have been closer the last couple of years working together at the O’Neal Theatre Center’s Cabaret Performance Conference. While there, they started thinking about a project they could do together.

Moyan Brenn | Flickr

Need something to entertain you during the long, cold winter? Still looking for gifts for your family and friends?  Why not go for a well-chosen book by a local author?

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard from two local booksellers about their favorite local and national titles both for gifts and for reading time over the holidays.

Holland Saltsman is the owner of The Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves. Alex Weir is the manager of Subterranean Books in the Delmar Loop.

Courtesy National Lutheran Choir

This weekend, the Minneapolis-based National Lutheran Choir will return to St. Louis for its annual Christmas concert at the First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, the choir’s Artistic Director David Cherwein joined contributor Steve Potter to discuss the performances and how the group works to preserve sacred choral music in the United States:

Gianna Ceriotti and Emily Catanzaro pet Paul during a recent visit to Mauhaus Cat Café in Maplewood. (Dec. 7, 2016)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s a new café in St. Louis, where you can get a cappuccino and your cat fix.

Mauhaus Cat Café  in Maplewood offers coffee and pastries, and houses 10 cats from Tenth Life Cat Rescue available for petting, playing and adoption.

The spot opened in November and already is so popular that if you’re interested in going, you’ll need to book your visit early, co-founder Dana Huth said.

“We’ve had some waits as long as an hour to get in just because it’s a limited space and we don’t want to overcrowd it,” Huth said.

Fabiano Caruana and Veselin Topolov speed through a game at the recent Champion Showdown.
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

I don’t mean to go rogue, but one of the more controversial topics in the chess world currently is the amount of time a chess game should take.

There are the chess purists, who believe high-level chess games should be played at the classical time control (those games take 4-5 hours usually), and then there is a growing group of the chess community which thinks faster chess is better chess. That said, the games may not be better, but the idea is that the speed may be better for excitement and gaining more of a general audience.

Sarrita Hunn's Sarrita Hunn, "Art As...Library"  is a number of books attached at thier ends, spine up to the wall, was displayed at an earlier exhibit celebrating Temporary Art Review's fifth anniversary.
Provided by The Luminary

A St. Louis online arts journal that reaches local, national and international readers, is about to celebrate an important milestone.  James McAnally and Sarrita Hunn founded the Temporary Art Review in 2011. To celebrate its fifth anniversary, they’re publishing a limited edition book of writing from the site.  It may sound like esoteric art stuff, but as McAnally told Willis Ryder Arnold, there’s a lot at stake.

Lucy Englander and Rose Hanley joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss the Little Bit Foundation.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis area non-profit The Little Bit Foundation has aided schoolchildren in need for the past 15 years by providing one-on-one support in schools to identify specific needs from underwear and eyeglasses to meals and mental health.

The organization was founded by Rose Hanley, Little Bit’s executive director, with a simple coat drive for an area school. Now, the non-profit serves 25 schools and 7,000 children in the St. Louis area.

Valerie Battle Kienzel’s new book, “What’s with St. Louis?” tackles some of St. Louis' strangest traditions.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

There are myriad oddities about St. Louis that if you’ve lived here long enough, you’ll learn to nod and make commentary about in polite conversation. Toasted ravioli.

Standing Rock encampment sits under fresh snow
Provided by Kathy Dickerson

When Dominique Aneekaneeka arrived at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest camp last month, she was struck by the site’s organization.  She saw improvised roads lined with tents and teepees, bathrooms, a communal kitchen and large community fire pit. The tribe had even arranged trash pickup at the camp, which for months has attracted people from across the United States — from other Native Americans to would-be allies.

A comparison of improved crosswalks and additional sidewalks before and after the project on Government and Wells Drives.
Provided | Forest Park Forever

Another long-awaited construction project is coming to Forest Park.

The southwest entrance to the park off Skinker Boulevard is closing Wednesday for six months so workers can rebuild the sections of Government Drive and Wells Drive leading up to the St. Louis Zoo’s paid parking lots.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, December 11 will be “The Career of Herb Ellis.”  Guitarist Herb Ellis was born in Farmersville, Texas in 1921.  After a short stint in college, he went on the road with popular dance bands.  In his 59-year performing career, he played with Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Harris, Johnny Hodges, Roy Eldridge, Lester Young, Joe Pass, the Great Guitars and others as well as his own groups.  In addition to these musicians, this show will also feature music by Louis Armstrong, Freddie Greene, Onzy Matthews, Mahalia Jackson and the Ray Brown Big Band.

A KSD TV card advertising Corky's Colorama show the clown counting his fingers in a porkpie hat, red nose, and makeup
Provided by St. Louis Media History Foundation

Local children’s television icon Corky the Clown, beloved by baby boomers, died today. He was 91. 

Clif St. James, of Webster Groves, had been experiencing complications related to pneumonia. 

During the 1950s and 60s St. James was a veritable mainstay on KSD-TV. He appeared daily on the channel after school as his clown persona from 4 to 4:30 p.m., but also held duties as a weatherman and occasional news anchor. Occasionally, he even performed his weather duties as Corky.  His career at the station spanned 30 years.

Nancy Fowler and Jenny Simeone joined "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh about stories they reported on this week for St. Louis Public Radio.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, we took you behind the headlines to discuss the week’s top stories as reported by St. Louis Public Radio. This week, we peered deeper into how people in LGBT and immigrant communities are dealing with the results of the 2016 election.

Joining the program were St. Louis Public Radio’s Arts and Culture Reporter Nancy Fowler and Diversity Fellow Jenny Simeone.

Here are two background stories that would be helpful to read:

A promotional image from Metro Theater's production of "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane."
Metro Theater

St. Louis children’s theater company, Metro Theater, is bringing “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” to life on the stage this month at the Missouri History Museum. The play follows the journey of a toy lost from its owner and is based on the book written by Kate Di Camillo, Newberry Award-winning author of “Because of Winn Dixie” and “The Tale of Despereaux.”

This collage of new RAC Fellows includes, clockwise, Agnes Wilcox, Jess Dugan and Robert McDonald Jr. and Damon Davis.
Provided and file photos

The Regional Arts Commission has chosen its 2016 Artists Fellows, who will each receive $20,000 checks to help with their work.

This is the fourth year RAC has presented the awards. Winning artists do not have to designate a specific project; they may use the money in any way that helps make their work possible.

The new group of 10 features literary, visual and performing artists, including a local performer who wants to spread his love of opera.

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