Arts & Culture

 Corinne Winters as Magda in 'La rondine,' her exulting performance is worth the price of the ticket.
Ken Howard | Opera Theatre of St. Louis

By the time the opera “La rondine” finally was given its première in Monte Carlo in 1917, the world as the West had known it for centuries had begun to fall to pieces inexorably.

Alex Heuer

Former Major League Baseball catcher Bengie Molina, the eldest brother of baseball players Yadier and José Molina,  joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to discuss his new memoir, “Molina: The Story of a Father Who Raised an Unlikely Baseball Dynasty.”

One of Mayya Panfilova cats astound every cat person.
Donna Korando | St. Louis Public Radio

Yo-Yo has a new pair of shoes.

For just shy of 30 years, when Yo-Yo the Narrator stepped balletically into the center of the ring of our city’s own Circus Flora, she was shod in court shoes with a medium heel, rather fancy in the footwear world, shoes in keeping with her studied gestures and attitudes.

On opening night at the circus on Friday, her shoes were quite different, low to the ground, decidedly sensible, nondescript. And intended or not, these new shoes are signifiers.

Courtesy Circus Flora

On May 29, Circus Flora returns to “The Big Top” in Grand Center to open its 29th season with “One Summer on Second Street.” This season features new talent, including an act performed by domestic house cats, as well as familiar acts such as the Flying Wallendas and the St. Louis Arches from Circus Harmony.

Far Lft, Brian Owens; Middle Lft, Sara Michaelis; Middle Rt, Stanley Johnson; Far Rt, Sonya Murray
Alex Heuer

The St. Louis Symphony and Maryville University collaborated to create an 8-week music therapy program called “Life Compositions” to help students at Confluence Academy Old North deal with the challenges and trauma of growing up in urban neighborhoods. Graduate students in Maryville’s music therapy program worked with the youth to write and record songs, which they will highlight in a concert titled “Courage Counts” on June 4.

Gokul Venkatachalam talks with media as his younger brother holds the National Spelling Bee trophy
Courtesy of Scripps National Spelling Bee

Last night, one word stood between 14-year-old Chesterfield resident Gokul Venkatachalam, $35,000 and a National Spelling Bee championship. That word was “nunatak” which Merriam-Webster defines as “a hill or mountain completely surrounded by glacial ice.” When the final word was announced Venkatachalam said he knew what to do.

“I was just thinking focus and get my word right.”

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 31, 2015 will be “Jazz Giants for May and June.”  Throughout its history, certain key players have heavily influenced the course of jazz.  These Jazz Giants are the ones that lesser players imitate and copy.  Jazz Unlimited always plays the Jazz Giants instead of the imitators.  Sunday night’s music will feature Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer, Joe “King” Oliver, Fats Waller, Benny Goodman, Miles Davis, Shelly Manne, Freddie Redd, Betty Carter, Woody Herman, Eric Dolphy, Chick Corea, Bud Shank, Bill Holman, Betty Carter and Sun Ra.

alt-rock band American Authors
courtesy Fair St. Louis

Country, rock and R&B fans will all have a free night of entertainment tailored to their interests this summer during Fair St. Louis.

Additional artists performing at the fair were announced Thursday: alt-rock band American Authors, bluesy pop singer Noah Guthrie, R&B trio Tony! Toni! Toné! and pioneering female rapper MC Lyte. Local band Dirty Muggs will also take a turn on stage.

Photo Flood Photographer Jeni Kulka's September 20th Image in Tower Grove Park
Photo Flood Photographer Jeni Kulka

With the way the weather has been going on the weekend, just pick what you're interested in and head out. The rain seems to come for a bit but not necessarily wipe things out. Hope that statement isn't a jinx.

Alarm Will Sound rehearses "Unfair for the Common Man" Ryan Mcneely
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

While studying music at St. Louis Community College-Meramec, Ryan Mcneely presented one professor with a part-classical part-jazz composition. According to Mcneely, his professor reacted with a sneering question and dismissed the work.

“Why are you even here?”

Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

At the beginning of the 2014-15 FIDE Grand Prix cycle there was just one American attempting to qualify for the Candidates Tournament; but by the end of the series, two American flags topped the leaderboard. As previously reported, American-born Fabiano Caruana changed federations mid-cycle to once again represent the U.S.

Leo Drey
Provided by the family

In 1929, Luther Ely Smith, whom the National Park Service calls “the father of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial,” convened a group of civic worthies for lunch at the old Noonday Club downtown. Later on, a fellow named Leo Drey joined the group. Mr. Drey, who died Wednesday at the age of 98, would become a stalwart member of the group, and one of its most dynamic leaders.

Martin Duggan
The Nine Network

Martin Duggan became the leader of Donnybrook, one of the most popular locally produced programs in the nation when, after 45 years, his job at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat disappeared.

“I was 62, at the peak of my career, and some people thought I’d be the next publisher,” Mr. Duggan told St. Louis Magazine in 2009. “Then the paper was sold out from under us.”

Author, historian and public speaker Lou Baczewski
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Lou Baczewski, historian and author, joined “St. Louis on the Air” to talk about his efforts to document and honor his grandfather's World War II service to benefit three veterans organizations. Baczewski is the author of "Louch: A Simple Man's True Story of War, Survival, Life and Legacy.” The book chronicles his grandfather’s time growing up impoverished in rural Illinois, fighting several major battles in World War II and then returning to civilian life.

On May 23, 2015, the Chinese Lantern Festival returned to the Missouri Botanical Garden for the first time since 2012.
Jamie Heuer

On Saturday night, the Chinese Lantern Festival's return to the Missouri Botanical Garden came amid a sellout crowd of 4,500 people.

It’s extremely uncommon to see an authentic Chinese lantern festival outside of Asia. The garden staged its first lantern festival in 2012 as a onetime event and celebration of the completion of Flora of China, a 25-year project documenting China’s wild plants that was completed in cooperation with gardens in China.

Katelyn Mae Petrin / St. Louis Public Radio

A group of skaters screeched, weaving circles around the rink. Dozens of booths sat in the rink’s center. Artists sat at the booths, selling their work to the crowd that milled through the rink. The skaters flew past T-shirts printed with crass but clever jokes, collages of old pinups, fanarts of popular comics.

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

The elm and oak trees have grown tall with age in Section 57 of Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in south St. Louis County. It’s a quiet place, where songbirds rule the peace from the branches above.

Amid the white marble tombstones, row on row, stands one stone obelisk from another era. It marks the final resting place of African-American Civil War soldiers from Missouri who died from cholera in August 1866, as they made their way home from the war.

Cleopatra, left, and Antony, second from right, battle Rome and, at times, each other.
Provided by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

The evening was crisp. Chairs and blankets were spread out as feasts appeared from baskets. On one hill, Juggling Jeff escaped from a straightjacket. On another, young players trod literal boards previewing what was to come. And in the second act was a tribute to a heroine and the performing arts in St. Louis in the summer: “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale Her infinite variety.”

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 24, 2015 will be “The Keys ad Strings Hour/New Music.”  The quieter side of jazz will present music by Oscar Peterson, Gene Harris and Errol Garner.  During the hour, we will hear new music by Regina Carter’s Southern Comfort, Roger Kellaway and two piano/bass duets between John Hicks and Richard Davis and Kenny Barron and Dave Holland.  The new music segment will segment will have recordings from Art Blakey and the Jazz Giants, Benny Green, the SFJazz Collective, the Palmetto All-Stars, Chris Potter’s Underground Orchestra, Daniel Bennett, Levon Mikaelian and the Uni

Alex Heuer

Independent filmmaker Bill Streeter joined “Cityscape” guest host Don Marsh to discuss “Lo-Fi Cherokee,” an outgrowth of his award winning music and culture web video series, “Lo-Fi Saint Louis.”

“Lo-Fi Cherokee” is a yearly celebration of the St. Louis music scene featuring 18 live performance videos all produced in a single day in 18 different locations on Cherokee Street. The bands range from veteran national acts to up-and-coming local musical groups.