Arts & Culture

A selection of posters from the nominees for a 2015 St. Louis Theater Circle Award.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Theater Circle released its 2015 award nominees on Friday. The productions leading the nominations were Stages St. Louis’ production of “Anything Goes,” with nine nominations, and Stray Dog Theatre’s “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” with seven nominations. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis led all companies with 30 nominations.

In all, 21 companies were nominated in the fourth year of the awards, judged by 15 local theatre critics. All professional St. Louis productions are eligible; touring shows are not.

Saint Louis Science Center

A new interactive exhibit is opening at the Saint Louis Science Center called “Above and Beyond.” It explores the science of flight and what innovations are happening today that are shaping the future of aerospace.

On Chess: Tiny feet take big steps in chess

Jan 28, 2016
Chess at 3 kids play at the chess club and scholastic center of St. Louis on Jan. 23, 2016.
Provided by the Goddard School

On Saturday, Jan. 23, a chess tournament was hosted in the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. No grandmasters at this one. Goddard School students age 3 to 5 participated in the tournament.

It was quite the spectacle as more than 30 children and nearly 100 adults, including parents, grandparents, extended family, family friends and siblings, observed the tournament.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Lou Baczewski joined “St. Louis on the Air” last year to discuss his plans to document his grandfather’s World War II service to benefit veterans’ organizations. Now, he’s returned from a bicycle tour in Europe, where he retraced the route of his grandfather’s division during the war. He biked over 400 miles and raised $5000 for veterans’ organizations during the process.

Rev. Osagyefo Sekou and Jay-Marie Hill pose for a portrait. The two wrote 11 songs together in six days just days after meeting at a demonstration.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The pulpit, streets full of protesters and a recording studio don’t have much in common.  But for the Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, these three environments offer the chance to spread a gospel of equality.

“What are the ways that we’re going to wrestle with saving the democracy? Music can do that; the pulpit can do that; and engaging in the rich tradition of civil disobedience can do that,” said Sekou.

kylesteed | Flickr, Creative Commons | http://bit.ly/1K9dLqp

When it comes to the graffiti art scene, St. Louis has quite a bit going on.

“I’ve traveled the world and St. Louis, by far, is similar to the Super Bowl,” said Brian Van Hoosier, a graffiti artist and committee member with Paint Louis, an event that covers two miles of flood wall in downtown St. Louis with sanctioned art from national and international graffiti artists each year.

David Robertson conducting at Powell Hall
Dan Dreyfus | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Symphony will return to New York’s Carnegie Hall in March 2017.

Music director David Robertson will lead the symphony and chorus in a performance of John Adams’ “Gospel According to the Other Mary.” The event pays tribute to Adams’ 70th birthday.

The performance will include an international vocal ensemble, showcasing singer Kelley O’Connor. The mezzo-soprano performed the 2013 world premiere of the title role of “Gospel”

(photo by Tim Tolle via Flickr Creative Commons)

Updated 5 p.m., Jan. 26 with capital campaign informationRenovation work at the Arch Grounds still has more than a year to go, but planners have finished finding the money to pay for it.

CityArchRiver Foundation, the nonprofit organization helping coordinate and raise funds for the project, announced Tuesday it has completed its $250 million capital campaign.

Matt the Cat's human mom, Maire Murphy, said Matt's brother Oliver is doing okay, but he's a little needy since his best buddy has gone missing. Matt looks a lot like Oliver but he was heavier last time Murphy saw him.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When St. Louisans think about the biggest news so far in 2016, what probably comes to mind is the New Year’s flooding or the Rams leaving town.

But for many people in one city neighborhood, the focus isn’t on football but a feline — a certain orange one, who has his own Facebook page and Twitter account. So how has this cat become the talk of Tower Grove South?

Artist Davide Weaver examines an installation-in-progrress at his "Star Wars Toys" art exhibition at the City Museum.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

If the “The Force Awakens” has reignited your passion for “Star Wars,” you might be interested in an art exhibition at St. Louis’ City Museum.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, January 24 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  Pianist Marian McPartland was a beloved figure in jazz because of her “Piano Jazz” radio program.  She will be featured on the “Keys and Strings Hour.”  In addition, new music for January will feature a six-CD set from pianist Joe Castro, and new CD’s from Harold Mabern, Marlene Ver Planck, Lew Tabackin, Joshua Redman with the Bad Plus, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Jimmy Cobb’s original Cobb’s Mob, The 14 Jazz Orchestra and a trio of Ralph Alessi, Kris Davis and St. Louis’s own Steve Davis.

Terrell Carter's work begins the show
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

A visual arts exhibit provocatively titled "Good Negroes" is challenging viewers' thoughts about racial inequality in the St. Louis region. 

Courtesy Corey Woodruff

While most of us are finding creative ways to hide annoying political statements and baby pictures from our Facebook feed, one St. Louis photographer is going out of his way to reconnect with his Facebook friend — in person. This past fall, Corey Woodruff traveled more than 10,000 miles, cross country, in 28 days to photograph 360 of the people he’s befriended on Facebook over the years. As of Thursday night, he’s brought that number up to 370.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments is launching a new program called “Experience the Arts,” which aims to help children who are visually impaired or blind sharpen skills and develop a love of music. It is the first program in the St. Louis area of its kind.

The program will kick off with an event on Friday night featuring Jeff Austin, the founder and former member of Yonder Mountain Spring Band. On Friday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” host Don Marsh discussed the new program with:

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

The old water tower in Millstadt, Ill., wears an unflattering coat of rust these days, but preservationists say the nearly 85-year-old landmark is as solid as the American steel used to build it during the Great Depression. They call the tower the “Tin Man,” and they’ve been working  to save “him” from the wrecking ball. 

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The general director of Winter Opera St. Louis, Gina Galati, in addition to her duties as general director will also be performing in the organization’s next production. She will play Fiordiligi in Mozart’s “Così fan tutte.” The opera opens Friday, Jan. 22.

Commentators Jennifer Shahade and Yasser Seirawan host the 2015 U.S. Chess Championships, which kicked off Wednesday at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

St. Louis, as the chess capital of America, is duty-bound to host the most important national event of the year: the U.S. Championship and the U.S. Women's Championship. The already-impressive tournament has gained more and more prestige year after year, attracting an increasingly stronger field.

Erin Renée Roberts as Nina and Ron Himes as Kenyatta look at photographs of Nina's late mother in the Black Rep's "Sunset Baby"
Phil Hamer

Revolution is not for the faint of heart; neither is parenthood. In The Black Rep’s production of the play “Sunset Baby,” the character Kenyatta finds connecting with his grown daughter is perhaps more difficult a challenge than enduring years as a political prisoner.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Agnes Wilcox founded Prison Performing Arts 23 years ago. Last year, she retired as director of the organization, which involves inmates and former prisoners with theatre.

A few days from now, on January 25, the Arts and Education Council will award her the lifetime achievement award in the arts for her work with the organization and other contributions to the St. Louis arts scene.

In 1983, the Saint Louis Art Museum was bequeathed the largest private collection of the work of German artist Max Beckmann in the world. Part of that collection now lives in the museum’s Grigg Gallery, but few people may know what the meaning of the artist’s work is.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has had a long and star-studded literary legacy but what’s often left out of that narrative is how the legacy is still in full-bloom through literary magazines. These print publications exist in this city to showcase new and old writing talent alike and some of them are nationally-known frontrunners in the lit mag world.

Missouri History Museum

Last week after the St. Louis Rams officially became no more and opted to move to Los Angeles, the Missouri History Museum sent out a little email. It read:

“While some organizations are leaving St. Louis, we’re staying. Today we’re launching the #staySTL campaign. We need you to join with us and show the world how much we love the St. Louis region. Visit Facebook, Twitter, change your profile picture and help us share the #staySTL logo.

The newsies including Alex Prakken, kneeling on the right behind the small boy, surround Jack's love interest, Katherine
Deen van Meer

Updated 2:10 p.m., Jan. 19, 2016 — This story was originally published on Jan. 14, 2016 and has been updated to include an extended cut of Nancy Fowler's interview with Alex Prakken for "St. Louis on the Air."

Countless boys and girls have sat in the audience at St. Louis’ Fox Theatre and dreamed of one day performing on its stage. For one young man from Ladue, that dream is coming true.

A mural sits along a garden wall on Wells Avenue, behind the old J.C. Penney building on Martin Luther King Drive.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This is the third of a three-part series on the past, present and future of Martin Luther King Drive.

The day we showed up at Dorothy’s TV, Furniture & Appliance, the weather outside was like Florida, and Dorothy Davis’ brother sent us inside to meet his sister, who juggled taking care of business and talking to us and answering the phone. We came to talk about crime on her street, Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, and about why she’s chosen to stick it out there.

The Wellston Loop structure, most recently a burger joint, is where city trolleys would turn around to head back east toward downtown St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This is the second of a three-part report on the past, present and future of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.

Shavette Wayne-Jones was in her office early the first working day after the long New Year’s weekend.  A caller suspects that is not unusual for her.

Wayne-Jones is executive director of the Hamilton Heights Neighborhood Association, a community improvement organization whose work encompasses three north side neighborhoods, including the western stretch of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive where it runs into the city of Wellston.

She was reared in north St. Louis and at times she resembles a mother mockingbird, so fierce is she in her defense of her home turf. She regards the questions about the death of her neighborhoods as risible as well as wrong. She envisions the world on and around Dr. Martin Luther King Drive with a sense of possibility, a belief things will go right.

Santiago Bianco
Santiago Bianco

A group of primarily young St. Louis residents have launched a campaign to turn a crowd-sourced photo book about Ferguson-related protests and events into a free educational package for students in area schools.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for January 17 will be “The Career of John Hicks.”  Born in Atlanta, pianist John Hicks came to St. Louis at the age of 14.  Hicks went to high school with Lester Bowie and Oliver Lake.  He went to Lincoln University and the Berklee School of Music.  Hicks made his first recordings with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.  He soon became an in-demand pianist, playing with Betty Carter and David Murray in addition to leading his own groups.  This show will feature him with, in addition, Joe Lovano, Jay McShann, Booker Ervin, Nick Brignola, Ray Anderson, St.

Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

After our bout with melody circa last Audio Agitation we’re going to let things get a little weird. There’s a specific strain of St. Louis rock that seems to draws inspiration from anywhere they can get it.  The music can turn from melodic to aggressive or ambient in one bar.  The vocals may be volatile.  Electronics, distortion, and a heavy bassline are all tossed together in a send up of that old rock ‘n roll fury.  Here’s some of the kickers.

The 24-foot-tall "Adinkra Tower" by sculptor Thomas Sleet was dedicated on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.
Arts in Transit

If you see people craning their necks to look up at Riverview Transit Center in north city, here’s a reason why: They’re likely contemplating a new 24-foot-tall sculpture called “Adinkra Tower.”

Officials from Metro’s Arts in Transit program formally dedicated the work today. It features Adinkra symbols of the Ashanti people of Ghana in West Africa, representing principles including creation, hope and wisdom.

Press Image courtesy of Kimberley French, 20th Century Fox

If you haven’t seen the “The Revenant,” nominated for 12 Oscars, you’ve probably heard about the mythologized performance of Best Actor-hungry Leonardo DiCaprio who went to great lengths to make his performance as the wild and ferocious frontiersman Hugh Glass believable.

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