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Arts & Culture

Bowling Hall of Fame packs up its pins

Nov 3, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 3, 2008 - Ray Bluth and his "little black book" are parting company.

John Archibald's deathless prose will rest in peace at a new location.

And St. Louis, which some considered the center of the bowling universe, is about to become just another ten-pin outpost in the galaxy of alleys.

Day of the Dead celebrates lives

Oct 30, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 30, 2008 - “El Dia de los Muertos,” or Day of the Dead will be celebrated this weekend among the area's Mexican and Hispanic communities. The holiday may not be as well known as Cinco de Mayo, but it is gradually becoming more prominent.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 30, 2008 - British director Mike Leigh can fool you. While his best known movie, "Secrets and Lies," is about exactly what the title says it is about, some of his earlier films - such as "Life is Sweet" and "High Hopes" - are a lot darker than the words on the marquee suggest. So, I approached his newest film, "Happy-Go-Lucky," with some trepidation - was I about to watch a movie that would have been more accurately titled "Misery and Misfortune"?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 29, 2008 - As a critic, I saw tantalizing possibilities in the proposition of Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940-1976. Originating at the Jewish Museum in New York before coming to us in St. Louis, Action/Abstraction promised to re-evaluate mid-century American art against the backdrop of the art criticism of the day.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 29, 2008 - With "Refraction: Three Contemporary Photographers," St. Louis artist Amy Bautz has brought together, at the Regional Arts Commission's gallery, voices that represent the wide-ranging possibilities photography has to offer. To works by Antje Umstaetter, an established artist based in Berlin, she's added photos by two true-blue St. Louisans, Bob Reuter and Mark Douglas. The mix results in interesting chemistry.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 28, 2008 - Alberta Slavin, a civic activist who wore many hats as a consumer advocate, journalist, politician and supporter of the arts, died Monday Oct. 27 at St. Louis University Hospital. Ms. Slavin, 78, of Clayton, had been battling a neurological disorder for many months.

The Lens: Burning Bush

Oct 27, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 27, 2008 - I wondered what Oliver Stone was up to in creating "W.," his problematic but fascinating biopic about our 43rd president. Released just before the election that will make George W. Bush the lamest of lame ducks, it has only limited claim to factuality. The crucial meetings leading up to the Iraq War are pure speculation, though screenwriter Stanley Weiser's dialogue rings true.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 24, 2008 - When the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts building opened in 2001, a reasonable assumption was that its exhibitions would be concerned primarily with the art of our time. Indeed, in its seven-year history, the foundation has placed an unmistakable emphasis on the exhibition and scholarly examination of modernism. Along with that, however, has been a commitment to revealing modernism as an integral element of an aesthetic, intellectual and even spiritual cultural continuum that shoots through the history of human artistic industry as an incandescent thread.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 22, 2008 - Thanks to two of the area's most popular fall events -- ARTstravaganza and Kimmswick's Apple Butter Festival -- art and apples have become synonymous with fall in St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 22, 2008 - During his 32 years of representing Missouri's 1st congressional district on the north side of St. Louis, Bill Clay, now 77, was a lightning rod of criticism, a gadfly against the political right, and a persistent opponent of the foreign and domestic policies of the Nixon and Ford administrations.

Soul Reunion keeps Oliver Sain's soul alive

Oct 21, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 21, 2008 - Oliver Sain was such a central figure on the St. Louis music scene that his passing on Oct. 28, 2003, left a hole at its core that cannot be filled.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 20, 2008 - Most people, including policy makers, spend very few waking moments thinking about science -- much to the consternation of many scientists. A very small number of people are involved in science policy. And the science "establishment" needs to rethink how to connect science and the public, according to Richard Borchelt, communications director for the Genetics and Public Policy Center of the Berman Bioethics Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 17, 2008 - A contract for U2's 1981 concert at Washington University's Graham Chapel, for which the group was paid $750; Guns N' Roses' contract for the 1991 concert at Riverport that erupted into a riot; photos, ticket stubs, backstage passes, posters, video clips and all manner of memorabilia: All are part of the exhibit "Jazz, Rock, and Soul: 40 Years of Music in St. Louis, 1968-2008" at the Sheldon Art Galleries.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 17, 2008 - Emily Rauh Pulitzer, whose commitment to the advancement of interest in modern and contemporary art brought international attention to her and to St. Louis, has taken her interest in modernism to a new level with the gift of 31 works of art and $45 million to the Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 17, 2008 - With all of the arguments and hand-wringing taking place these days over the status of film criticism, surely one way to raise the level of discussion would be to abolish the increasingly silly compilation of lists for everything from the Top 10 underrated Bill Murray performances  to the Best Nicole Kidman Sex Scenes .

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 17, 2008 - Ask somebody why they didn't like a particular movie, and they might say, "I didn't like the main character."

Is that a legitimate complaint about a film? And do we even have to like and/or admire the protagonist to like the film?

This article fist appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 17, 2008 - The Midnight Company's work has been driven by two motivations:

1) To tell a great story, an exciting and compelling story, a story that's like some breaking news, or fabulous new joke, or tasty bit of gossip -  something that makes you want to grab the first person you see and tell it.

2) And to ask yourself whether you can pull off the telling of this story. Ideally the story, the play, should scare you, challenge you and your resources, so that you are striving to try to do the story and its telling justice.

Come ride with me

Oct 17, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 17, 2008 - I’m a fairly mainstream, moderate guy. My children would say boring. But I did one thing recently that makes me with it, cutting edge, radical chic.

I got rid of my car.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 17, 2008 - Brandon Walker opens his eyes to a drizzling, gray-skied Tuesday morning. Quiet fills his bedroom, but not his head.

Already, he's thinking, planning, dreaming about all that surely must come.

But then, the rain. I gotta go through that? Walker thinks. He's heading off to his weekly morning radio show at the campus station for the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 16, 2008 - "W.," Oliver Stone's new, moderately interesting movie about President George W. Bush, which takes the man from his drunken, girl-chasing college days to the dismaying aftermath of the "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq, is surprisingly restrained - restrained, that is, for Oliver Stone.

"Untitled (Opera)" 2008, oil on panel, by Barry Leibman
Courtesy of Philip Slein

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 16, 2008 - All That Tends to Purify: 9 Abstract Painters at Philip Slein Gallery is required viewing both before and after you see SLAM's Action/Abstraction and the Kemper's Birth of Cool.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 15, 2008 - Let's bob for apples and sing and play 

In the good, old-fashioned way;

Greet Hallowe'en with a party gay,

For spooks and witches but a short time stay.
--from Kiddies' Halloween Book by Marie Irish, 1931

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 15, 2008 - A long time ago but not so very far away, in a living room in Clayton to be exact, I heard someone use the word groovy in a sentence for the very first time. That person was Frances Deitsch Landesman. For four nights this week, Landesman will be in St. Louis at William Roth’s Gaslight Theatre on Boyle Avenue, which, when she lived here, was quite near the center of her quite seriously groovy St. Louis universe.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 14, 2008 - Learning scientific principles can be a stodgy task for children, but not at SciFest where kids could apply those principles to roller coasters, robots and more.

In the program "Warning: Children at Play," small groups worked to engineer and build roller coasters, using everyday materials such as paper towel rolls, tape, tin cans, marbles and foam insulation tubes.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 13, 2008 - I felt John Waters' moustache.

But more about that later.

Late on the night of Saturday, Oct. 11, in front of the Tivoli Theater in the Delmar Loop. the usual crowd - young, tattooed, pierced and punked out - lined up for the weekly midnight show. At the entrance was a large poster for that night's movie, "Pink Flamingos." The poster featured a tall, bulky transvestite, her body bulging out of a garish full-length dress, her face made up in a white fright mask, a pistol in her hand, her eyes like bullets.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 11, 2008 - SciFest 08, St. Louis' first annual International Science Festival, kicked off at high altitude on Thursday with a showing of the popular IMAX film "Everest" followed by a presentation by members of the Caudwell Xtreme Everest team.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 10, 2008 - Pia Luchini, a fashion design student at Washington University, used dryer lint to accent her high fashion creation and won the grand prize in SciFest's version of Project Runway this weekend.

Luchini was rewarded with $1,000 as she used the lint to create swirls of roses to embellish her silk organza slip dress. The judges found her entry the one that adhered best to the contest requirements for original, eco-friendly clothing design.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 10, 2008 - Six bodies lay deadweight under fluorescent lights in the Bensinger Studio at COCA on Wednesday evening. The glow of the light bounces from grain color carpet squares to whitish walls and back onto the figures on the floor. Dusk is falling outside. Untempered by the gentle sunlight, the glow inside seems to intensify. The bodies sink deeper into the floor.

"You can't do anything onstage unless you're relaxed and focused," says Brooke Edwards. And the bodies exhale.

Obituary: Memories of Stan Kann come with smiles

Oct 10, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 10, 2008 - Stan Kann was a man rich in talent and loaded with friends.

A renowned theater organist who spent decades working at the Fox Theater, an accidental comic, a collector of vacuum cleaners and gadgets, Kann's sweet nature earned him an array of loyal friends that included prominent names from Hollywood and St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 9, 2008 - What's scarier right now: the economy, or the fake severed head dangling from a tree, still screaming, in the neighbor's yard?

How about this -- despite bad financial times, the National Retail Federation expects consumers to spend $5.77 billion on Halloween this year. That's a rise of 14 percent, according to AdAge.com, a trade Web site of the advertising industry. Holiday spending in November and December is only expected to rise by 2.2 percent.

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