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Arts & Culture

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The National Park Service will consider improvements to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, including recommendations by Walter Metcalfe, Peter Raven and Robert Archibald.

The Danforth Foundation is pleased that the National Park Service is initiating a public planning process that will consider improvements to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. We appreciate the Park Service's responsiveness toward our report of last August and its hard work in moving the issue to this stage.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: 

Last summer, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay asked us to offer our counsel about how St. Louis can transform its Riverfront into a world-class destination for the people of our region and visitors.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Before Thursday morning, St. Louis civic leaders who have been actively promoting a revitalization of the St. Louis riverfront sat south of square one in the progress department, in a holding pattern, maintaining hope perhaps, but definitely sitting still. The sticking point was the reluctance of the National Park Service to consider any changes or alterations of the grounds of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the site of the Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse to its east.

Carolyn Hewes Toft, whose name is synonymous with historic preservation in St. Louis and whose reputation as a relentless advocate for the built environment and sound urban planning spreads nationwide, announced she will leave the Landmarks Association of St. Louis Inc. in September.

A dom for the Wash U lawschool courtyard - 33 pxls, 2008
David Kilper | WUSTL Photo Services | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: You might think an injunction would be required to shut down a major American law school for a day. But Monday, the locks were thrown and faculty and students were told to go home not because of legal action but because of the installation of a two-part, 60-ton framework atop the Washington University School of Law’s Anheuser-Busch Hall.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Meanness abounds, and David Mamet has always taken an almost unseemly amount of delight in rooting it out, usually in places you would already expect to find it.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Filmmaker Socheata Poeuv once asked her father to describe the worst part of his life under the Khmer Rouge, the nightmarish regime that ruled Cambodia from 1975-1979 and was responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million people from starvation, disease or execution.

It was the silence, her father said.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In the picture on the sweatshirt they gave me, they are so small. My basketball team. They are not small because they are in grade school. They are small.

And there, standing next to me in a triple-threat pose is one of smallest girls, one with red hair and an infectious grin: Emily Starkloff. She was one of a trio of players on my eight-person roster who either hadn't passed the 5-foot mark or just barely crossed it.

Rich Eichhorst's group sets up special train excursions including mystery destinations, sleeper-car trips and theme adventures. (300pxls, 2008)
Jay Jordan | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: That’s National Train Day chugging down the tracks and scheduled to arrive May 10.

Amtrak, the national passenger railroad, has picked that day for its celebration because it marks the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869. On May 10, 139 years ago, dignitaries drove a golden spike linking the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads in Promontory Summit, Utah, officially uniting the United States by rail.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: By the time you read this, Scott Parkman should be packed up and setting off for Boston, where he’ll begin a new phase of an already quite successful career as a conductor and composer.

At Powell Symphony Hall, the St. Louis Beacon’s neighbor here in the Grand Center neighborhood, Parkman was assistant conductor of the St. Louis Symphony and music director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. His most profound and enduring legacy lives with hundreds of young men and women who worked with him and for him in the Youth Orchestra.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Chuck Berry turned 81 last fall, so perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that a couple of dozen singers whose average age is 80 have earned international acclaim singing rock and roll. Indeed, many people associate rock music predominantly with youth. That's a mistake you certainly wouldn’t make after seeing a rousing new celebration of life called “Young@Heart,” which opens with a 92-year-old woman declaiming with an appropriate British monotone the chorus to the Clash’s punk classic, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

Harriet Hosmer's Beatrice Cenci
Provided by St. Louis Mercantile Library

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Harriet Hosmer wasn't born in St. Louis. She didn't grow up here or, in fact, live here for very long.

But the woman who would go on to carve her own way as a neo-classical sculptor in a man's world was changed by her time in St. Louis. And she left her mark, including some of her work, in several significant places.

2008 photo of Sally Van Doren (300 pixels)
Provided by Ms. Van Doren

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The St. Louis region has long supplied spiritual and intellectual nourishment to poets, both born-here poets and poets who’ve migrated here. The list of names stuns you: T.S. Eliot; Marianne Moore; Sara Teasdale; poets laureate of the U.S. Mona Van Duyn and Howard Nemerov; and Eugene Redmond.

Book cover, Black Olives
Provided by the publisher

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Martha Tod Dudman gained respect and renown as a writer of brutally honest nonfiction – "Augusta, Gone" and "Expecting to Fly" – that laid bare her personal and familial relations. So we had to ask how much of "Black Olives" is based on fact.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Perfume bottles come in an amazing array of colors, shapes and styles. Filled, they can offer up wonderful aromatic scents, triggering old, familiar memories. Empty, they can be dazzling objects of art, delicate little treasures of glass, silver and porcelain.

The face of Darfur

Apr 24, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: St. Louisans who have a mundane reason to go to St. Louis City Hall next week - renew license plates, check a deed, pay a water bill - will come face to face with people a world away.

"Faces of Darfur" presents images of refugees who have fled what has been labeled a genocide, of Darfuris who have remained in Sudan and face continuous danger, of people trying to maintain a life where stability does not exist.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Bloum Cardenas grew up seeing her grandmother creating. And when Niki de Saint Phalle began a round, bright female piece called "Clarice Again," Cardenas watched it in the yard and painted and colored a smaller version of her own.

"She didn't want me to be painting on her work," said Cardenas, a board member of the Niki Charitable Art Foundation and herself an artist living in San Francisco working mostly with plastic bags. "But she gave me one to color so that I could participate."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Past stretches of green grass at the Missouri Botanical Garden, around open tulips and emerging tree buds sits a giant skull. Flashes of greens and yellows, oranges and reds pop out from glaring eye sockets. Nearly every inch sparkles under the Sunday sun.

And there are voices.

Three of them. Through the ear-like archway, Kavi Wilson listens as his words bounce from shiny spot to shiny spot, back into daylight through the space between bared teeth. Kavi, 5, stares up into a ceiling of blue glass circles and a white half moon.

Hi-Pointe going dark?

Apr 17, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Hi-Pointe Theatre, which closed Thursday after the final showing of the British comedy “Run Fatboy Run,” will re-open in several weeks, the owner assures the St. Louis Beacon. But regular patrons of the art house at Skinker and McCausland may not recognize what they see on its screen.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Good evening. My name is Philippe de Lapérouse. On behalf of my fellow co-chair, Isabelle Montupet, and members of the Les Amis steering committee who worked diligently over the past year to organize this event, I would like to thank all of you for joining us this evening to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Lafayette’s birth. ...

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Cheers to the winners of this year’s St. Louis marathon and related events, now called Go! St. Louis. It takes grit, nerve and a lot of sweat to lead the field. But I found equal inspiration elsewhere during the race — at the back of the pack.

In sports, as in most things, glory falls on the winners. Take the steely Kenyan speedsters who’ve dominated distance events for years. I saw them once as they flew past the finish line of the Boston Marathon, pushing the limits of human endurance. As a jogger who had never entered a race, I was in awe.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When the Avalon Theatre Company announced auditions for its spring production of "Little Bosnia," excitement buzzed in the St. Louis Bosnian community. Four actors from the former Yugoslavia were chosen, some performing for the first time. They jumped at the chance to interpret a familiar story, one they've often encountered in their community and lives.

Union Methodist Church, 3543 Watson Road.
Donna Korando | Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Among the many Bosnian immigrant communities scattered throughout the country, St. Louis is affectionately referred to as Little Bosnia. The St. Louis south side neighborhoods are lined with coffee shops, bakeries and other businesses reminiscent of the native land where the estimated 50,000 Bosnian immigrants, now in St. Louis, once lived. Inspired by this community, the Avalon Theater Company presents the world premiere of a play fittingly titled "Little Bosnia" on April 10-20.

These tiny books are less than one inch.
Provided by Washington University

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Most people are well aware that size has nothing to do with worth. Treasure can be made up of small, but precious objects. For all too many St. Louisans, it will take a bit of a treasure hunt to find a marvelous new exhibit that shows off tiny masterpieces.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is considering what could be its biggest production yet: a move from its long-time home at Webster University to a new facility in the Grand Center arts and entertainment district.

Karl Markovics and Dolores Chaplin enjoy life before the Nazis in "The Counterfeiters."
Jat Jurgen Olczyk | Sony Pictures Classics

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Sixty-three years after the fall of the Third Reich uncovered the stark horror of the Nazi concentration camps, and 61 years after the first publication of “The Diary of Anne Frank” put an unforgettable human face  on Hitler’s murder of 6 million Jews, the Holocaust remains one of the  central stories of our time, a story of immense moral weight that lends  itself to fiction, to nonfiction, and from time to time – as in the  recent case of the woman who claimed to have been saved from the Nazis  by wolves -- one masquerading as the other. We are haunted by the Holocaust, as we should be.

Maya Lin considers Grand Center commission

May 30, 2007
josh_habermehl_church300.jpg
Photo by Josh Habermehl | Grand Center

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 30, 2008 - Internationally acclaimed artist Maya Lin is mulling over ideas for making what remains of a 124-year-old, burned-out stone church in Grand Center one of her next art projects. Should she take it on, it would be her first permanent art installation in Missouri.

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