Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Letter from China: Working on the Olympics

Jul 30, 2008
Photo provided by Rachel Kurowski

This post first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 30, 2008 - I came to Beijing July 5 to work at the Olympics as one of 300 English-speaking volunteers,  all of whom are students of journalism. My job is in the office of the Agence-France Presse in the Olympic Village's press center.

The Lens: Dark is the 'Knight'

Jul 29, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 29, 2008 - And now, $300 million (and counting) later, the backlash begins. After the kind of opening-weekend frenzy that only a 4,000-screen, Imax-enhanced superhero movie can provide, a few dissenting voices are suggesting that, its inflated IMDB rating notwithstanding, "The Dark Knight" may actually be just a little bit ... messy, shall we say?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 29, 2008 - Fire laid claim to Grand Center's Spring church in 2001, gutting its interior and licking away at its roof, leaving behind only a charred shell. But German artists Sebastian Hungerer and Rainer Kehres have plans for the church. In September, the pair will be re-creating its roof with lamps and shades donated by St. Louis area residents.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 28, 2008 - I arrived back in St. Louis from Iraq on Wednesday night (July 23) after three flights and a stopover in Vienna, and the gray skies and rain in Missouri never looked so good.

My last few days in Erbil were fun and full of teaching from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. or later at my own choice. Teacher-training classes were full and sometimes turned into gripe sessions, with teachers complaining about all the problems they face with their administrators.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 25, 2008 - As the “The Dark Knight”  broke box office records, Heath Ledger, who played the Joker, is in the spotlight. We are once again reminded of the circumstances of his untimely death.

The Voyage of the ibelungen to Etzel (Der Nibelungen Fahrt zu Etzel), 1980–81; book of 22 double-page spreads of gelatin silver prints with gouache, oil and graphite mounted on cardboard
Provided by the St. Louis Art Museum

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 24, 2008 - One of the most fascinating works in The Immediate Touch is The Voyage of the Nibelungen to Etzel (1980-81), a book by Anselm Kiefer. It illustrates a story of murderous revenge from the medieval Song of the Nibelungen, using contemporary photographs of German landscapes and the interior of Kiefer's own studio.

Josh Peck plays Luke in 'The Wackness' 2008
Photos from Sony Pictures Classics

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 23, 2008 - The other day, I was trying to tell a couple of friends half my age when a certain event occurred and I said, "It wasn't that long ago, maybe in the '80s."

They looked at me oddly, and I realized that they had been children in the '80s and the decade was a long time ago indeed, for them if not for me. To put it in terms of the electronic revolution that so dominates our lives these days, I remember a time when nobody had a television; they could barely remember the days before everyone had a personal computer. My perspective inevitably means I will react differently from someone half my age to movies that focus on the recent past, particularly when the principal protagonist is a teenager.

Some collectors only go for one color or material; others embrace the variety available. The toothpick holders pictured here belong to the photographer's grandmother, Dorothy Korando.
Rachel Heidenry | The Beacon

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 23, 2008 -  They are miniature throwbacks to a bolder time, when the art of publicly poking the gums for a stray morsel of meat was no more indelicate than peppering a baked potato. From about 1880 to 1910, in fact, a pressed-glass or china toothpick holder was as much a fixture on the well-appointed Sunday dinner table as the family silver.

The Lens: Hollywood reporter

Jul 23, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 25, 2008 - As reported by the bloggers at Wired,  an outfit called Profiles in History is holding an enormous auction of movie memorabilia on eBay  starting July 31. The catalog is worth a look even if you're not willing to pay a few thousand for pieces of film history, offering everything from Ben Turpin's wristwatch (a wedding present) to Steven Spielberg's "A.I." teddy bear.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 22, 2008 -  Hey, kids! Let's put on a show. We can use the old barn out back! I've got a tent we can turn into a curtain, and a stack of old ABBA records, and ... I think we can get Meryl Streep!

Before I get ahead of myself ...

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 22, 2008-  In his new book, "Flash Frames," Don Marsh, host of KWMU's St. Louis on the Air, takes readers through his nearly 50 years of broadcast news experience, covering big stories from the hot days of the Cold War to the Midwest flood of '93.

Within four years of when he came on board with the American Forces Network in Germany in 1959, the Soviets constructed the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis put the world on the verge of nuclear warfare and President John F. Kennedy became the fourth U.S. president to die at the hands of an assassin.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 21, 2008 - Imagine that lightning struck your 135-year-old home last year, and it sustained heavy fire damage. Then imagine that you learned that because of unexpected complications, the extensive reconstruction could take up to two years.

How would you feel?

You are not likely to be as patient as the Rev. Matthew S. Bonk, a Redemptorist priest, does about St. Alphonsus Liguori "Rock" Catholic Church.

photo by Marc Thayer

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 21, 2008-  I realized yesterday that I take grass for granted. Everything is so dry and brown here, so dusty and hazy, that the few plants that grow have to be drowned daily. Houses have no grass,  just cement sidewalks and walls. Hotels have some green around them but they seem hardly worth the trouble.  Our hotel, the ChwarChra (Four Lanterns), has a nice green lawn in front where guests sit outside for dinner.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 20, 2008 - In St. Louis, thermometers soar to legendary heights during afternoon hours. But after sunset, breezes blow away sweat and pave the way to outdoor fun. As long as you lave yourself with bug spray, we invite you to enjoy the St. Louis Beacon's guide to cheap outdoor evening fun.

The Lens: Foreign exchange

Jul 18, 2008
Francois Cluzet
Music Box Films | Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 18, 2008 - Many reviews have noted with curiosity that the French film "Tell No One," which opens today at the Plaza Frontenac, is based on an American novel, as if it was some odd cross-cultural aberration: The Europeans are buying up everything!

I haven't read Harlan Coben's novel, but judging from the film, I assume it's the kind of mainstream thriller that people refer to when they use "bestseller" as a generic term, the sort of novel that gets turned into a Lifetime movie of the week or - if the author's extremely lucky - an off-season Ashley Judd vehicle. This kind of generic man-in-peril story, heavy on plot twists and sudden turns of fate, would play the same in any Western setting.

Ice cream gets its day

Jul 17, 2008
Photo by Rachel Heidenry | The Beacon

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 17, 2008-

Chocolaty and lemony;
Vanilla-y and raisin-y,
Marshmallow-y; rum butter-y,
So good, it's almost scary-y.

Cherry-y; peach cobbler-y,
Hot fudge-y and blackberry-y,
I'd love to hold it longingly,
If it wasn't so darn melty-y.

Banana-y and almond-y,
Fudge Ripple-y; strawberry-y,
There's nothing quite so yummerly,
As ice cream in your tummerly.

— Bill Smith

Movie review: The doctor is in

Jul 17, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 17, 2008 - Alex Gibney’s “Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson,” now playing at the Tivoli, provides an insightful biography of Thompson, author of “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72” and other treasures of American journalism. For baby boomers, it offers superb time travel through the tumultuous years of our coming of age. Younger viewers may glean new insights about their elders – and about a unique journalist who changed the course of American history. To all, it is highly recommended.

The Lens: Celebrating Stanley

Jul 17, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 17, 2008 - As I've noted, Britain's Channel 4 is offering a nearly complete retrospective of Stanley Kubrick's films.

They're even including two relatively rare oddities, “Flying Padre”  and “Day of the Fight,” (part 1 and part 2 ) though not this one.

Pulitzer Foundation brings Herndon-Consagra on board

Jul 15, 2008
Photo by Kendra Paredes Hayden

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 15, 2008 - The move’s a short one in terms of geography – about three and a quarter miles as the crow flies. But Francesca Herndon-Consagra’s career move from the St. Louis Art Museum is a big one not only for one of the region’s most creative and capable art historians and curators but also for the forward motion of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.

Stray Rescue is one lucky pup

Jul 15, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 15, 2008 - Randy Grim has long considered himself an underdog. But he and Quentin -- a basenji and pit-bull mix that Grim rescued from a gas chamber -- along with Grim's other rescued pets seem to have pawed their way to the top.

In May, Grim and his animal shelter Stray Rescue beat about 1,000 entries to become the first winners of zootoo.com 's National Shelter Makeover contest, winning $1 million.

Josephine Baker honored with stamp

Jul 15, 2008
postage stamp honoring Josephine Baker. 2008. 300 pixels
Provided by the Postal Service

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 15, 2008 - On July 2 1917, 11-year-old Freda Josephine McDonald witnessed the horrors of the East St. Louis race riots.

As reported in Harper Barnes' book, "Never Been a Time," her brother Richard asked, "Is there a storm coming, Mama?"

"No, not a storm, child, it's the whites." 

Chess club makes bold move into West End quarters

Jul 15, 2008
Tony Rich at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. 2008. 300 pixels
Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon archive

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 15, 2008 - One good lesson Tony Rich learned at St. John Vianney School was patience. Although the lives of saints might have been part of his studies at Vianney, it was not the patience of someone such as St. Francis de Sales that taught the boy the value of patience. Both of Tony's parents worked, so between the time the final bell rang and their arrival he had three hours or so to kill. Many days those three hours were spent playing chess.

"Chess filled the void," he said.

Pulitzer Foundation brings Herndon-Consagra on board

Jul 15, 2008
Francesca Herndon-Consagra
Kendra Paredes Hayden | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 15, 2008 - The move’s a short one in terms of geography – about three and a quarter miles as the crow flies. But Francesca Herndon-Consagra’s career move from the St. Louis Art Museum is a big one not only for one of the region’s most creative and capable art historians and curators but also for the forward motion of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 12, 2008 - When I turned 21, my mother wrote to theater and film stars asking them to send me birthday greetings. One letter in particular changed my life, from Lucie Arnaz (daughter to Desi and Luu-ceeee!) and her husband, actor Laurence Luckinbill. Lucie wrote the letter, but it was Larry's P.S. that hit me like a shot of Red Bull after a long night of altered consciousness.

mountain300picnic.jpg
Photos by Marc Thayer

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 11, 2008 - It’s 1 a.m. Monday now, and I’m just getting to a computer, finally -- but I'm at Bzhwen's house this time. He and his sister were playing Kurdish musicfor me. They gave me a book of folk songs for violin and piano. They also gave me my first lesson on a Kurdish scale called rast and taught me how to play the quartertones in that particular scale. The music is really beautiful.

The Lens: Conflict irresolution

Jul 11, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 11, 2008 - I've watched "War, Inc." twice and I'm still not sure what to think about it.

Yes, it's funny in spots, and the filmmakers are certainly acting with the best good intentions. Besides being a fine actor, John Cusack - who produced and co-wrote the film - has written many eloquent and thoughtful pieces on the Huffington Post and elsewhere expressing his objection to the war in Iraq. And "Con Air" notwithstanding, there is no reason to doubt his sincerity or his taste in choosing movie projects.

No horsing around

Jul 10, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 10, 2008 - To hear Carlos Brito tell his story, St. Louis has nothing to worry about should InBev buy Anheuser-Busch. Why would InBev want to "lose the local touch?" he said. And, Brito adds, "Why would I change the Clydesdales if the Clydesdales are the thing that most people remember?"

Hostile InBev takeover could play out in the mail

Jul 10, 2008
anheuser busch eagle.  300 pixels. 2008
Tom Nagel | St. Louis Beacon archive

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 10, 2008 - The next big winner in the battle between Anheuser-Busch and InBev could be the Postal Service. Phone companies and express-mail companies could do nicely, too.

It all depends on how long the companies continue to call each other's increasingly expensive bluffs based on Anheuser-Busch's recent rejection of the Belgian brewer's $65-a-share takeover offer, which InBev still touts as friendly.

Bastille Day marked in Soulard, Maplewood

Jul 10, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 10, 2008 - There may be no infamous French prison to storm, but that doesn't mean cities in the St. Louis area won't be marking the 219th Bastille Day.

Celebrations in and near the Soulard neighborhood and in Maplewood are just some of the events honoring the start of the French Revolution nationally and internationally.

The Lens: Life in the cloistered age

Jul 10, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 10, 2008 - The Internet as workplace, library, and moving-image content provider. The DVD paired with the oversized TV screen. Escalating crime on the streets, global warming, and now the outrageous oil price-gouging and the overall inflation that follows. All of these have left us hopelessly cloistered in our ever-more-secure home places. A large and fast-growing percentage of our population essentially has no good reason to venture from their locked and burglar-protected domiciles. As a matter of fact, the more we stay inside, the less we have to worry about an invasion of our chosen place of isolation.

Pages