Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Review: Lelouch reminds you why you loved French film

Jun 19, 2008
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Samuel Goldwyn Films

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Early on, French New Wave directors like Jean Luc Godard -- “Breathless,” 1959 -- and Francois Truffaut -- “Shoot the Piano Player,” 1960 -- delighted in taking American crime movies and simultaneously spoofing them and paying them the deepest homage. The result was something new and exciting and very French.

This work by Gary Passanise is part of the show. 300 pixels. 2008
Provided by the artist | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 18, 2008 - If you're like most people in St. Louis, you need a good reason to make a trip across the river. Here's one that Missourians and Illinoisans alike should find worth a short jaunt: New Paintings: IL + MO at the Edwardsville Arts Center, an exhibition curated by St. Louis painter Daniel Raedeke and featuring some of the region's finest artists.

The Lens: Playing the fuel

Jun 18, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 18, 2008 - Anyone dismayed at missing last weekend's screening of "GasHole,"  a new documentary on stratospheric oil prices and alternative energy, can take heart: The Hi-Pointe provides another opportunity to see the film this weekend. Times are 7:15 p.m. June 20 and 2:30, 4:45 and 7:15 p.m. June 21-22. Cost is $8.75 general admission, $6.75 for students and seniors.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: What can you say about a 79-year-old sailor who's likely to live forever?

That he was strong to the finich? That he loved his pipe, skinny women and spinach?

St. Louis Shakespeare will produce 'Merry Wives'

Jun 16, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 16, 2008 - Falstaff will be on tap in the spring of 2009 in Forest Park.

Not the historic St. Louis brew, but the Shakespeare's humorous Sir John Falstaff the main character in Shakespeare's rollicking comedy "The Merry Wives of Windsor."

'Troilus' is a legacy of Colin Graham

Jun 14, 2008
2008 program image from the opera
St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 14, 2008 - Behind the passionate, love-at-first sight tale of “Troilus and Cressida” is a story about war weariness, war’s futility and the painful cost to losers and winners.

This St. Louis production is more than a revival of a fine work; it’s the world premiere of a new performing version.

Variety's the password for the Muny 2008

Jun 13, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 13, 2008 - What place equals summer in St. Louis?

The Zoo? Ah, but go in the winter and see the bears and the snow leopards.

Ted Drewes? Of course, but its frozen custard is available at grocery stores throughout the area.

The Muny ? There's nothing like it.

Commentary: My Father's Day Gift

Jun 13, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 13, 2008 - I got an email on my work address from someone I didn't recognize.

Queries are good. It means new people are finding the Beacon. I only wonder when I'll get to the point that I can't keep up.

The Lens: Turning Hi-Pointe

Jun 12, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 12, 2008 - St. Louis moviegoers have long loved the Hi-Pointe Theatre, which under the James family's careful stewardship was an essential art-house destination for decades. Anglophiles jonesing for the latest Merchant Ivory could always depend on a costume-drama fix at the Hi-Pointe, but during its heyday the theater's offerings also included such films as "The Draughtsman's Contract," "Diva," and "My Beautiful Laundrette," so the blue-haired regulars received occasional shocks that no doubt quickened their pacemakers.

A Father's Day to celebrate

Jun 11, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 11, 2008 - For 17 years, Lawrence Davis says, he did everything he thought a father was supposed to do.

He kept a roof over his children's heads; he fed them. He paid for their school, their clothes and their toys.

Meet at the Gazebo for music and movies

Jun 11, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 11, 2008 - When Joe Schwab moved his independent music shop, Euclid Records, from the Central West End to the Old Orchard area of Webster Groves, he thought it might be nice to book some bands to play in nearby Gazebo Park. The idea was to create a family friendly street festival atmosphere that would generate some interest in the Old Orchard shopping and restaurant district.

With the help of the Merchant & Business Association of Old Orchard, Schwab carried out his plan and his idea grew into a concert and movie series that has attracted more attention each year in the half-decade since its inception.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 11, 2008

Character Study

Courtney Henson's Character Study: Collected Data at Maps Contemporary Art Space is more than a simple art exhibit. It's a glimpse into Henson's ever-expanding Gesamtkunstwerk, her ongoing investigation into processes of growth, decay, dichotomies, and taxonomies.

Hosmer symposium pairs with Benton statue celebration

Jun 11, 2008
benton statue by harriet hosmer 300 pixels. 2008
From Lafayette Park Conservancy | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 11, 2008 - Harriet Hosmer was an artist who had to fight for the right to learn her craft. She was able to attend medical school and learn anatomy only because of the intervention of St. Louisan Wayman Crow. 

The Lens: Factory girl

Jun 10, 2008

Mickey Raphael: Harmonica man

Jun 10, 2008
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Photo by John Chiasson

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 10, 2008 - At some point in his concert at the Fox on June 14, Willie Nelson will be winding up a riff on his beat-up guitar and he’ll say, “Let me hear it, Mickey.”

The next notes will be plaintive and passionate, cutting sharply through the softer guitar chords. Mickey Raphael’s harmonica will give a different voice to the blues, accent the exuberance of the country rock and tug at your heart in “Georgia on my Mind.”

Collecting in the Heartland: Superman

Jun 10, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 9 - Seventy years ago this month – as Adolph Hitler was tightening his grip on Europe and a teen-age schoolboy named Stan Musial was preparing to sign his first major league baseball contract with the St. Louis Cardinals – a strange caped figure burst onto the nation’s newsstands.

Opera preview: Rare, rarer, rarest

Jun 10, 2008
Mary Wilson as the Queen of Spain in 2008 production of una cosi rara  300 pixels
Ken Howard, Opera theater | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 10, 2008 - Twenty-six years ago, Opera Theatre of St. Louis mounted a new production of a Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart favorite, "Cosi fan tutte." This opera is often presented as something of a joke about the duplicity of women, but according to the vision of the polymathic genius Jonathan Miller, who was stage director, and the extraordinary musicality of the late Calvin Simmons, who was conductor, the 1982 "Cosi" emerged as something considerably more than another misogynistic romp. It was, in fact, no joke at all: Similar to the Enlightenment gem "Una cosa rara," currently on stage, "Cosi" was a luminous revelation of an Age of Reason inquiry into the nature of human beings.

William Roth
Provided | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 2, 2008 - When the St. Louis Actors' Studio announced its 2007-08 season, the first four shows offered a wealth of range, with all of the titles united by the seasonal theme of "The Family Dynamic." Everything from three-hour dramas to sitcom-like comedies was represented on the debut slate, which included "The Late Henry Moss" and "A Delicate Balance." Though that kind of aggressive, "anything goes" approach might be a surprise for a new company, it's not shocking for a company trying to make its mark in a booming market, led by a trio of seasoned theater professionals.

'Not your mother's plush'

Jun 9, 2008
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Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 9, 2008 - A furry black creature with big teeth and pink spikes stretched out its arms in welcome at the Crammed Organisms plush show – an exhibit in four parts.

Michael Browning, a student at Washington University, came with his roommates to check out the show's first event at Delmar's Star Clipper Comics. Browning's childhood teddy bear, Teddy, looked nothing like the two-headed girls, green blobs and other works.

Gardens shimmer in the sun in Hermann

Jun 8, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis  Beacon: June 8, 2008 - At least it wasn't raining.

That's what we laughingly told ourselves as we braved the heat and muggy conditions to visit the gardens on the annual Hermann garden tour and plant sale -- and then took in the art fair in the center part of town. Better a hot, bright sun than the almost biblical deluges of late. As usual, the gardens were a delight.

Circus Flora soars

Jun 7, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 7, 2008 - Circus Flora opened its 21st season in St. Louis on Friday, June 6, with one of the best shows in its history. Anchored by two superb trapeze acts – three when you count the deceptively goofy-appearing high-bar antics of clown Giovanni Zoppe, known as “Nino” – the show started strong and stayed that way.

The Lens: Secret-agent homme

Jun 6, 2008
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Music Box Films

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 6, 2008 - Sometime around 1964 or '65, after the success of the first James Bond films, movie screens - especially drive-ins and neighborhood houses - were besieged by the Attack of the Pseudo-Bonds. From America's Robert Vaughn, (whose TV series "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." was recycled for theatrical release) to Sean Connery's brother, any leading man who could part his hair, hold a gun and look presentable in a dinner jacket had a shot at temporary stardom.

The Lens: Carried away

Jun 5, 2008
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New Line Cinema

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 5, 2008 - It's time for me to come out of the closet: I'm a guy who just saw the new "Sex and the City" film. And I liked it. Not just a little bit, either. A lot. I laughed a lot and actually cried a bit, too, but let's not dwell on that, because dudes don't do that.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 5, 2008 - “Una Cosa Rara” was so popular in 18th-century Vienna that when it first was performed in 1786, it overshadowed Mozart’s new opera “The Marriage of Figaro.”

Mozart and Vincente Martin y Soler, who composed the music of “Cosa Rara,” were, in a sense, school chums. Both studied privately under Bologna music composition master Giovanni Battista Martini. And the libretto, or story, of “Cosa Rara” was written by Lorenzo Da Ponte, a frequent partner with Mozart.

The Lens: Woody, take two

Jun 3, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 3, 2008 - An earlier entry on Woody Allen was left incomplete, not from any attempt to create suspense but solely due to the limitations of my cut-and-paste editing technique, which sometimes proves to be biased toward the first task.

So to finish my point ...

What separates most of Allen's work since roughly the early '80s from his earlier films, and what frustrates many of the preconceptions of his critics, is a kind of single-mindedness in his comic approach.

Twangfest adapts to stay alive

Jun 3, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 3, 2008 - These are hard times in the world of Americana music, a genre that spans all manner of styles from folk, blues, country and bluegrass to rockabilly, alternative country and roots rock.

With CD sales plummeting across the board, the small, independent labels that specialize in Americana have been hit especially hard. An Americana radio format has never really taken off. And two magazines that wrote about the genre with depth and clarity, No Depression and Harp, have shuttered in recent months.

three bed sheet sculptures are cast bronze with rich, blackish patinas. 2008. 300 pals
Courtesy of the gallery | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 2, 2008 - Thank god for artists like Joseph Havel, who make fascinating objects out of the simplest stuff and leave plenty of room for humor.

The Lens: Family ties

May 30, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 30, 2008 -  Though I suppose it made headlines at the time, I don't recall hearing or reading anything about the 1972 death of Barbara Baekeland, an American socialite who married (and divorced) the grandson of the inventor of Bakelite and was murdered by her 25-year-old son, Tony. (But I should point out that until a few years ago I didn't even know what Bakelite was.)

Review: A 'Butterfly' that didn't ascend

May 29, 2008
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Photo by Ken Howard | Opera Theatre St. Louis

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 29, 2008 - In its 33 seasons of life, Opera Theatre of St. Louis has grown into a company of international renown, but equally as important, it has brought to hometown audiences productions of extraordinary quality. “Madame Butterfly” has made regular appearances. The first production was in Forest Park at the Muny, and Butterfly under the stars and the gigantic fans was a night to remember. Subsequent productions, many of them equally memorable, were mounted in 1984, 1992 and 1997.

The Lens: Silver city

May 29, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 29, 2008 - Local cinephiles might consider temporarily abandoning the darkness of the movie theater for the bright lights of the bookstore on Thursday, June 5, when novelist Marisa Silver reads from her lauded new work, “The God of War,” at Left Bank Books , 399 N. Euclid Ave.

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