Arts & Culture

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, November 6, 2016 will be “The Compositions of Jerome Kern.”  Composer Jerome Kern was one of the first to bring jazz rhythms and harmonies to theater music.  Paradoxically, he did not like jazz musicians arranging his music for their own performances.  But, jazz musicians like his tunes and are still using them as a basis for improvisation up until today.  We will hear music from Art Pepper, Ella Fitzgerald, St.

From left, Veselin Topalov, Fabiano Caruana, Viswanathan Anand and Hikaru Nakamura
Chris Bauer | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis has been the epicenter of chess momentum in the United States since its inception. The magnitude of the events organized has been easily surpassing anything seen on a national, and even international, level. On Nov. 10 another event – the Champions Showdown – is set to delight chess fans all over the world and, as is fitting, the Chess Club will host.

Jack Grelle's album cover. (Nov. 2, 2016)
Provided by Jack Grelle

Jack Grelle wrote some of his first country songs as he hitchhiked across the Midwest, meeting people from around the country with life experience far beyond his own. Nearly a decade ago, he spent time with strangers in cramped cars — sometimes for days — and gained a strong sense of compassion for a shared, but diverse, humanity.

The owners of Diana's Bakery, at 2843 Cherokee, set up a Día de los Muertos altar honoring Mexican celebrities.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s a quiet night on Cherokee street where Minerva Lopez has lived for the past decade. She scans the blocks and breathes a heavy sigh.

“It makes me sad being here today,” Lopez laments in Spanish.  “In California we would have had a huge party.  Two hundred thousand people would take to the streets to celebrate Día de los Muertos.”  

St. Louis children go trick-or-treating armed with funny jokes to deliver.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As a newcomer to the region who has never once heard of working for your Halloween candy with a joke, I find the St. Louis tradition endlessly charming — even after the 15th “What is a ghost’s favorite food? Booberries.”

Artist William Burton Jr. talks with Black Rep founder Ron Himes as he works on a mural on the side of the theater company's office building on October 31, 2016.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

In the mid-1970s, Ron Himes started a St. Louis theater company to tell the stories of African-Americans.

This week, Himes and the Black Rep are marking a milestone — the company’s 40th anniversary — with a fundraising concert, and the launch of a mural project. Both are designed to draw attention to the company, which is emerging from years of turmoil.

Did you know Pixy Stix got their start in St. Louis?
bryan t | Flickr

Attention trick-or-treaters: The candy haul you’re preparing to collect tonight might just have some candy in it with St. Louis origins. Pixy Stix, in all their sugary goodness, for example, got their start here when they were invented by Sunmark Corporation (formerly Sunline Inc.) in 1942. 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, in honor of Halloween, we heard from a local food historian about candies that got their start in St. Louis — and what candies are still manufactured in St. Louis today.

Sugar skulls and flowers decorate an altar at Diana's Bakery on Cherokee Street.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Preparations for Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, among St. Louis Latino communities are already apparent up and down Cherokee Street and in many of the region’s Mexican businesses. Celebrated the first two days of November, the holiday has the same elements every year: altars, marigolds, sugar skulls — and people comparing the day to Halloween.

“Día de los Muertos isn’t Halloween! It’s not Halloween,” said Minerva Lopez, who lives on Cherokee Street. “We don’t dehumanize death. For us, death is our friend. We see it as something that will happen, and in the meantime that it’s not happening, we’re here to live.”

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 30 is “Jazz Giants for September and October.”   Jazz giants are those musicians who have made exceptional contributions to jazz.  Our Jazz Giants show for September and October will present such musicians as Jimmy Blanton, Lester Bowie, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson, Clifford Brown, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, Oscar Pettiford, Dave Holland, Ray Brown, Oliver Lake, Jelly Roll Morton, Sonny Rollins, Art Pepper and Gerald Wilson.

The Slide Show contains my photographs of some of the musicians heard on tonight's show.

Long Acres Farm co-owner Debbie Schneider talks to long-time customer Susan Wells-Souza during the produce stand's last day at Delmar Loop, October 29, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

A produce stand that’s been a Delmar Loop institution for more than four decades is moving to a new location.

After 43 years at an outdoor market in a parking lot just northwest of Fitz’s, Long Acres Farm is being forced to move because it can no longer afford the rent.

Kahlil Irving, 24, hunches over a clay vessel as it spins on a wheel. He smooths the sides, with his face an inch or two away from the turning.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Kahlil Irving sits down to the potter’s wheel in his studio, picks up an unfinished pot, the muddled grey of unfinished clay, and begins to turn the wheel. He knows the smooth pot will be glazed, fired, and pulled from the kiln, a deep, lustrous black. 

Irving will add the pot to a growing collection of more than 700 other black vases and vessels, which he’ll arrange into a 20-foot-long table-like platform for the grand opening of Bruno David Gallery in Clayton.  Like a demonstration blocking traffic, Irving’s sculpture manifests dissatisfaction with the systemic racism he sees throughout the art world and greater United States.  

“This is like an act of protest. This is a protest, but I’m not standing outside with picket signs and yelling at you,” said Irving. “I’m yelling at you through the monument of the work, I’m yelling at you through the monument of obstructing your time and space.”

The American Boychoir, pictured, will perform in St. Louis on Oct. 28, 2016.
American Boychoir

The renowned American Boychoir is composed of 40 some odd boys in grades fourth through eighth from across the country. Tonight, the choir makes a tour stop in St. Louis at the Cathedral Basilica, as part of the St. Louis Cathedral Concerts series.

The choir seeks to continue the 1,000-year-old tradition of boy choirs — and it has done so with much prestige: the choir has been invited to sing for every sitting U.S. President since John F. Kennedy.

These Trolls didn't hang out on the internet. Part of a toys exhibit at the Missouri History Museum opening Oct. 29, 2016.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio.

An exhibit opening Saturday at the Missouri History Museum offers a peek into the toy chests of baby boomers:

* There are Slinkies and Mr. Potato Heads.

* Roy Rogers figurines and first-edition Barbie dolls.

* Lionel train sets and Betsy McCall paper dolls.

These are the toys that entertained children before the Information Age — when games were played on colorful boards with dice, not touch screens. And Trolls were glass-eyed with wild hair and didn’t lurk on social media.

"St. Louis Brews" is a work-in-progress documentary from local filmmaker Bill Streeter. Extended clips of the film will be shown at St. Louis International Film Festival's opening night on Nov. 3.
Bill Streeter | Hydraulic Pictures

Local filmmaker Bill Streeter is known around town for his work producing corporate videos through his company Hydraulic Pictures, creating Lo-Fi St. Louis, and for his 2011 documentary “A Brick By Chance and Fortune.”

10-27-2016: This detail from Edo Rosenblith's mural, "Supper Club," in the Techartista co-working building. shows the artist within his work.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

You can almost hear the silverware clatter, the glasses clink and the generations clash as Thanksgiving approaches.

St. Louis artist Edo Rosenblith aims to capture the conviviality and chaos of the family dinner table — during holidays or not — in wall-sized mural, “Supper Club.” The 10-by-24 piece towers over work tables at the TechArtista co-working space in the Central West End (see image of full mural, below).

On Chess: Saint Louis University team ready for battle

Oct 26, 2016
Alejandro Ramirez is the chess coach at Saint Louis University.
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

The explosion of chess in St. Louis goes beyond the Chess Campus that sits on the corner of Euclid and Maryland in the Central West End. The great achievements of the World Chess Hall of Fame and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis are numerous, but with the increasing demand around the country for collegiate chess, Saint Louis University has stepped up to the plate.

The newly minted program at SLU seeks to become the best in the country, a title already held by another St. Louis college: Webster University. Only four players are currently on scholarship on the SLU roster, but their achievements are impressive.

STLPR Membership Campaign button
Zack Stovall

Our Fall 2016 Member Campaign concluded on Friday, October 21st, as we surpassed our goal and raised $334,000 from 2,488 donors. The station is proud to announce that this fall’s drive numbers are significant in comparison to recent years. In dollars, there was a 14% increase over Spring 2016, an 11% increase over Fall 2015 and a 16% increase over Spring 2015. In donors, there was a  12% increase over Spring 2016, a 3% increase over Fall 2015 and a 20% increase over Spring 2014. 

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture opened on September 24, 2016.
Alan Karchmer | NMAAHC

Earlier this month, the first national museum devoted exclusively to African-American history and culture opened in Washington D.C.: The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard a personal reflection from U.S. Circuit Court Judge Robert L. Wilkins, who was part of the presidential commission that advised President George W. Bush on the establishment of the museum. Wilkins is a U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the District of Columbia circuit.

Vaughn Vaughn Davis's Sunset Hills, a ripped and orange canvas hangs from a white wall.
Provided by Philip Slein

Updated Oct. 24 at 10:25 with additional media

Artist Vaughn Davis is an anomaly in the St. Louis commercial gallery scene. He’s young, local and exhibiting in a space usually reserved for more established artists: Philip Slein Gallery in the Central West End.

Jim Schmidt, who coordinates much of the gallery’s exhibits, said there was almost no doubt about showing the emerging artist’s work in their project space.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 23, 2016 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”   The “Keys and Strings Hour” or jazz without horns will present some compositions of Thelonious Monk played by Tal Farlow, Kenny Barron & Dave Holland, Joe Pass, Organ Monk, Chick Corea, Jacky Terrasson and Chick Corea & Hiromi.  New music for October will include St.

Keira Cromwell, 10, plays Chip in Variety Theatre's production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. The production aired October 21 - 23, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A local children’s theater company that puts kids with special needs on stage alongside professional actors is performing Disney’s Beauty and the Beast this weekend at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis started the theater group eight years ago, after starting a children’s chorus in 2006.

Marjorie Owens is The Prima Donna/Ariadne in Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne on Naxos at Opera Theatre” presented by Opera Theatre St.  Louis during 2016, its 41st season.
Ken Howard | Opera Theatre St. Louis

Opera Theatre of St. Louis is celebrating important gains in financial support and audience growth.

On Friday, the company released numbers for record-breaking fundraising as well as increases in diversity and opera-goers under the age of 50. Luring younger audiences is a crucial component for a successful future, according to general director Timothy O’Leary.

Juxtaposing "the talk" given to white children versus black children is just one example of the types of illustrations on the plates at a Dysfunctionware dinner. Oct. 20, 2016 file photo.
Aaron McMullin | Dysfunctionalware

A few days after a grand jury declined to indict the police officer who shot Michael Brown in 2014, Tara O’Nay’s family sat down for Thanksgiving dinner. For the first time the St. Louis interdisciplinary artist could remember, her relatives talked about race over a meal.

Tovah Feldshuh, Broadway and popular television star, will bring her cabaret act to St. Louis. The act features this scene from "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," titled "Where's the bathroom?"
The CW

Tovah Feldshuh may not completely own up to her “legend” status, but take one look at her impressive artistic CV and you may think otherwise.

St. Louis rapper and producer Muhammad Austing poses with a picture of himself on his laptop.
Provided by Muhammad Austin

Muhammad Austin doesn’t have top of the line equipment or a world-class studio. He records most of his music in the basement of his parents Spanish Lake home. But that hasn’t stopped him from making some of the most innovative hip-hop in St. Louis — and people are starting to notice.

Over the past two years Austin, who goes by the stage name Mvstermind, has risen through the St. Louis music scene to become one of the dominant voices in the young hip-hop community. Today, he performs at Delmar Hall in support of his new album, “The Cusp.”

A photo of ramen noodles.
sharyn morrow | Flickr

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Local community leaders say a new website devoted to the Mississippi River will boost tourism up and down the river.

They gathered Wednesday at the National Great Rivers Museum in Alton to celebrate the launch of the Mississippi River Geotourism MapGuide, a website that highlights river towns, attractions and businesses. The project, which took more than two years to complete, is a partnership between National Geographic Maps, the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers and regional organizations like the Mississippi River Connections Collaborative and the Meeting of the Rivers Foundation.

On Chess: Caruana thrives in St. Louis

Oct 19, 2016
Fabiano Caruana is now based in St. Louis. Here is playing during the 2016 Sinquefield Cup.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

When Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana decided to move to St. Louis in late August 2015, local chess enthusiasts rejoiced and looked forward to meeting the then world’s No. 5 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. Caruana chose the U.S. chess capital as it proved to provide the best conditions for the Miami-born superstar to improve his skills and eventually challenge World Champion Magnus Carlsen.

Even more important, the U.S. Chess Federation hoped that Caruana, the American No. 1, would successfully lead his countrymen at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. Well, Fabiano Caruana’s first year as a St. Louis resident is over and he satisfied everyone.

Jacqueline Thompson and Terry Weiss
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

The Civic Arts Company’s mission is to use arts and education to encourage conversations about race and social injustice, as well as opportunities to remedy those injustices.

The company was founded late last year by Richard Shaw and Terry Weiss. For its first production, the organization chose Jamie Pachino’s theatrical adaptation of Studs Terkel’s book “Race,” which will debut at 3 p.m., Saturday, in the Missouri History Museum’s Lee Auditorium.

Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company

PNC Bank will distribute $1 million over the next four years to help fund arts groups in the St. Louis region.

The grants, part of PNC's Arts Alive funding initiative, have a larger focus than just keeping organizations afloat in the short term.  They aim to inspire lasting programs that reinvigorate arts organizations.

Since 2011, the Arts Alive program has distributed $2 million to established theater companies, museums and dance companies. Recipients include Dance St. Louis, Opera Theater of St. Louis and The Muny. 

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