Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Photo of David MacRunnel 300 pxls 2008
Photo provided by David MacRunnel

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It all started, this fascination with vinyl record albums, says David MacRunnel, back when he was 2 years old.

"My mother (Linda) used to force me to listen to records, her music, Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis, 24-7," says MacRunnel of Creve Coeur.

David MacRunnel
Provided by David MacRunnel

It all started, this fascination with vinyl record albums, says David MacRunnel, back when he was 2 years old.

"My mother (Linda) used to force me to listen to records, her music, Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis, 24-7," says MacRunnel of Creve Coeur.

A mere 14 years later, the sophomore at Parkway Central High School in Chesterfield, is two-racks deep in his personal vinyl collection. McRunnel is up to about 1,200 albums, he says, and he'll add more when he's got a little extra change.

Andrew Carroll
Provided by the publisher | 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Author Andrew Carroll believes America's warriors have plenty to say about their experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq -- and that no historian or journalist can tell their stories as well as they can.

Carroll is the editor of "Operation Homecoming" (Random House 2006), the well-received anthology of personal accounts of war gathered by the National Endowment for the Arts. A new paperback version of the book will be released on Memorial Day by the University of Chicago Press.

File photo

As the new superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Tom Bradley had to hit the Arch grounds running -- learning the daily operations while tackling the question of whether and how to include the park in downtown St. Louis revitalization efforts.

On May 8, after just a week on the job, Bradley announced that the National Park Service will begin a public discussion on ways to reinvigorate the grounds of the 43-year-old Arch, as encouraged by the Danforth Foundation.

2008 photo of Andrew Carroll 300 pxls
Provided by Mr. Carroll

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Author Andrew Carroll believes America's warriors have plenty to say about their experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq -- and that no historian or journalist can tell their stories as well as they can.

Carroll is the editor of "Operation Homecoming" (Random House 2006), the well-received anthology of personal accounts of war gathered by the National Endowment for the Arts. A new paperback version of the book will be released on Memorial Day by the University of Chicago Press.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As the new superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Tom Bradley had to hit the Arch grounds running -- learning the daily operations while tackling the question of whether and how to include the park in downtown St. Louis revitalization efforts.

Play puts a human face on Darfur

May 15, 2008
Photo of Actress and choreographer Vivian Watt in "Complacency of Silence: Darfur." 2008 300 pxls
Provided bt Gitana Productions

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Cecilia Nadal, the founder of Gitana Productions, asked me to write a play about the genocide in Darfur. Many months later -- more than I care to count -- the play is finished and in rehearsals. What a journey between the asking and the actual production!

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As Cardinal Edward Egan of New York approaches retirement, the names of two former St. Louis-area bishops are being bandied about as possible replacements. The first is Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, 60, the former bishop of Belleville who left in 2004. If Gregory were named, he would become the first African-American cardinal.

Another beloved former St. Louis region bishop is also being mentioned  -- Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, 58, who left St. Louis in 2002. For years, church leaders have expected this joyful priest to be named to an archdiocese where he would be named a cardinal.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Welcome to Cinema St. Louis' new blog, The Lens.

How a bishop is named

May 14, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Who knows the name of the next New York archbishop? The pope, if he has decided.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: There are good reasons to visit the new "Lee and Grant" exhibition at the Missouri History Museum, beyond the spectacular Civil War objects and artwork that will be on display, said museum president Robert Archibald.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When it was announced about a year ago that Scarlett Johansson was recording an album of Tom Waits songs, many commentators feigned a kind of exasperated surprise, as if the idea of an actress (or actor) taking a chance on a musical project was unknown. It’s not.

The Lens: Good Wood

May 14, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: An odd coupling from a late-’60s Allen TV special:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Richard Jenkins is superb as the professor, though his "coming out" is slow and methodical. (And, to me at first, it seemed unlikely. Perhaps that is precisely the point.) He's also an appropriate actor for the piece as he had been a regular on "Six Feet Under." This guy's already there. He's robotic, though his default mode seems to be as a martinet. He treats a student's late paper with a cold dismissal. He has been given permission by the college to teach only one course while he works on his next book. It becomes clear, however, that he is not at work on anything.

The Lens: Twin Peeks

May 14, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Two things you will learn from the new documentary "Lynch," which plays May 23-25 at Webster University on a double bill with "Eraserhead":

The Lens: Dental Work

May 14, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Compared to the current flings with torture and Asian-influenced weirdness currently dominating the horror market, Mitchell Lichtenstein's "Teeth," recently released on video, could practically be described as charming and innocent, though its content, the story of a teenage girl who has an extra set of teeth in the wrong place, is anything but that.

Silent movies aren't

May 9, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon:  Some people hate silent movies even more than subtitled foreign movies. The problem they have in common is the reading requirement. In a foreign movie, you can’t watch the action while you read the bottom of the screen. If they talk much or too fast, you know the translation will be simplistic and probably “cleaned up.”

Melissa (holding Ditto), Derek, David and Steve Squires have Mother's Day together.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Beacon | 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Staff Sgt. Melissa "Missy" Squires can look at her photos from Iraq now:

  • The dramatic pictures of her Missouri National Guard unit, the 203rd Engineer Battalion, Company B, digging through the rubble of the U.N. building after a terrorist attack in August 2003.
  • The dozens and dozens of pictures of life on base, her unit's construction projects and posing with friendly Iraqis.
  • The video clips of her convoy crawling through a congested Baghdad neighborhood searching for an alternate route home after reports that an IED was waiting for them somewhere on the roadside.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The National Park Service will consider improvements to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, including a design competition for the area and a better connection between the Memorial and downtown.

The St. Louis riverfront and Arch grounds could be transformed by the Arch's 50th birthday – Oct. 28, 2015 – by a major new cultural attraction.

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?”

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