Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Emily Webb (1976-2018) began clogging as a young girl in St. Charles, Missouri. Family members and fellow cloggers joined “St. Louis on the Air” this week in remembrance of her love for the American folk dance.
Thunder & Lightning Cloggers

About three months ago, Emily Webb and her six children were traveling along Route 3 in Columbia, Illinois, when a large truck struck their SUV, killing 41-year-old Webb and leaving a huge void among her family and friends.

She is remembered as a beloved wife and mother. She was also a big part of the St. Louis region’s clogging community and an active member of the Thunder & Lightning Cloggers of Southern Illinois.

A 3D rendering of the "Romeo and Juliet" stage.
Margery and Peter Spack

Neon lights and the colors of young love will brighten Forest Park over the next three weeks, when Shakespeare Festival St. Louis presents the bard's "Romeo and Juliet" for the first time since 2001.

The play runs June 1 through June 24 at 8 p.m. every night except Tuesdays. A prelude performance starts at 6:30 p.m. before each show. All performances are held on this year's outdoor stage in the Shakespeare Glen, near the St. Louis Art Museum.

The set this year mixes modern pop sensibilities with architectural features inspired by Verona, Italy, where the love story and tragedy play out. 

 This image is from Sarah Paulsen's film White by Law which is part of her The Invention of Whiteness exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum.
Sarah Paulsen

For most of her life, St. Louis artist Sarah Paulsen was oblivious to what it means to be white, and the privilege it confers.

Then in 2008, Charles Lee “Cookie” Thornton shot and killed six people at Kirkwood City Hall.  Thornton was a black man; his victims were white. The tragedy threw a spotlight on the racial, class and wealth divide that had long existed in the St. Louis suburb. It also prompted Paulsen to begin exploring the social construct of race in America and how being white means never having to think about it.

Kamil Dragun (left) won Group B and Vasif Durarbayli won Group A in the 2018 Summer Chess Classic
Austin Fuller | St. Louis Chess Club

The Summer Chess Classic has come to an end. After 10 long days, nine grueling rounds and one exciting playoff, the winners for Group A and Group B were crowned. Before we discuss the winners and their grand style, let’s review the tournament’s purpose, format and fields.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 27, 2018 will be  “The Keys and Strings Hour Plus New Music.”  The “Keys and Strings Hour” will feature some Miles Davis compositions played by the Turtle Island String Quartet, the Lynne Arriale Trio, Gary Burton, two Ray Brown trios, Mary Lou Williams, Harvie Swartz and the Stanley Clarke Trio with Hiromi.

A boy carries a rose at a Vietnam Memorial Ceremony at the College of the Ozarks, near Branson.
Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau | Flickr

Cities throughout the St. Louis region will host parades and ceremonies this weekend in observance of Memorial Day.

In preparation for the holiday weekend, the Missouri Department of Transportation has suspended construction work on interstates and state highways. Construction will resume on Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Provided | St. Louis Science Center

This Memorial Day weekend, the St. Louis Science Center's Omnimax theater will be screening a film that gives audience members a close-up look at one of the most important weapons in America’s military arsenal – nuclear powered aircraft carriers.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with writer, director and producer Mark Krenzien about the IMAX film “Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas,” which takes place on the heavily restricted USS Ronald Reagan.

Organizers expect 20,000 visitors across the festival's three days.  5/25/18
St. Louis African Arts Festival

The 27th annual St. Louis African Arts Festival takes up residence at the World’s Fair Pavilion at Forest Park from Saturday through Monday. 

The festival aims to educate people in St. Louis about the wide ranges of cultures among African nations and the African diaspora.

Tom Ridgely co-founded Waterwell theater company 15 years ago. The organization has developed and produced over a dozen world premieres and adaptations of classics. He began working with Shakespeare Festival St. Louis in mid-May.
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

The new head of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is promising to put more women and minorities in leadership roles within the organization.

Incoming executive producer Tom Ridgely comes to St. Louis from New York, where he founded and directed Waterwell Theater, a company focused on presenting new works — and was committed to diversity — Ridgely said.

(L-R) Nisar Syed-Power, Mojda Sidiqi and Faizan Syed talked about their observation of the holy month of Ramadan.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For the month of Ramadan, Muslims in St. Louis and across the world are counting down the days left of the holy month marked by daily fasting, increased religious observance and self-reflection.

But also added in the practice is refraining from smoking, bad behavior, such as cursing, gossiping or fighting, and impure thoughts. It’s a time for people to reflect on their habits and rekindle a practicing relationship with God, as well as build self-discipline.

An instructor teaches chess at the Gateway Middle School.
Austin Fuller | St. Louis Chess Club

As a chess coach and active player, I am constantly thinking about the ways that I can help my students and myself to improve our chess skills using both contemporary (let us call it post-engine era) material and earlier classical (where ideas and concepts were more important than concrete, move-by-move calculation and use of pre-existing knowledge).

Mark Overton's extensive collection of rare and historically significant instruments sits on the second floor of his Cherokee Street music shop.  5/25/18
Jeremy D. Goodwin | St. Louis Public Radio

If you walk into the Saxquest music store on Cherokee Street, you’ll probably want to pick up a saxophone, even if you don’t know how to play. The front room is full of them. The walls are plastered with images of jazz greats, like Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins.

The folks at the store specialize in restoring and selling vintage instruments, but the biggest attraction is upstairs, where the inventory is definitely not for sale. That’s where owner Mark Overton displays his remarkable collection of saxophones.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis' upcoming production of "Regina" will feature (from left) James Morris, Susanna Phillips and Susan Graham.
Opera Theatre of St. Louis

In 1988 mezzo-soprano Susan Graham sang her first leading role in Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ production of Barber’s “Vanessa.” Thirty years later, she returns to sing the title role of Regina Giddens in Marc Blitzstein’s “Regina.” This second production in OTSL’s 43rd festival season opens May 26.

Elena Araoz and Tom Ridgely joined host Don Marsh to talk about this year's Shakespeare Festival St. Louis production.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The tragedy of star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet is a timeless tale and one of English playwright William Shakespeare’s most popular works.

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is bringing the classic play back to Forest Park June 1 to 24.

Stilwell, Kansas, is an unlikely place to find a Muslim Quran reciter who has over a million followers each on both Instagram and Facebook.

But for now, that's where you can find Fatih Seferagic.

When Seferagic was just four years old, his family fled war-torn Bosnia. He eventually ended up in Houston, Texas, when he was 14 years old and that’s when he gained a following after putting his Quran recitations up on YouTube.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 20, 2018 will be “The Career of Buster Williams.”  The Penguin Guide called him, “one of the most important sidemen in jazz.”  Bassist Buster Williams has had a long career that started in 1960 and continues up to today.  He has played with Mary Lou Williams, Stanley Turrentine, the Gene Ammons-Sonny Stitt Quintet, Albert Dailey, Abdullah Ibrahim, Herbie Hancock, Helen Merrill & Gil Evans, Bobby Hutcherson, the Jazz Crusaders, Sharon Freeman and French horns, the Great Jazz Trio, Sarah Vaughan, Sphere, the Mary Lou Williams Collective, Geri Allen, McCoy T

Gage Skidmore | Flickr

In the aftermath of the media frenzy following his appearance at the 2016 presidential debate at Washington University, Ken Bone, a.k.a the “red sweater guy,” has managed to have more than his so-called 15 minutes of fame.

As an undecided voter, Bone asked candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump a question about energy policy, but it was his appearance and red sweater that caught the nation’s attention.

Ronald Jones greets a client's son at his funeral home 2161 E Fair Ave. (May 16, 2018)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Growing up, there were three people in the community Ronald Jones says people respected: the preacher, the barkeeper and the undertaker.

 

After spending nearly every day in church as a child, Jones decided being a preacher wasn’t an option. Then there was the barkeeper, but Jones says he was turned off by the taste of rotgut whiskey.

Will DeWitt says his goal with this competition is to help "the next big sound" emerge from St. Louis.  5/18/18
Jeremy D. Goodwin

Does St. Louis have talent?

OK, it’s clear the answer to that is “yes.” But an upcoming competition offers a chance for local musicians who are trying to break into the music business to have their work heard by industry insiders and maybe even get that big break.

St. Louis Sound, a music competition modeled on TV shows like “America’s Got Talent” and “The Voice,” is headed for The Sheldon Concert Hall on June 7. Bands and solo artists are invited to submit one song for consideration, with 10 finalists taking the stage the night of the event to perform and receive critiques from a panel of judges.

Amy Sherald, "What’s precious inside of him does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence (All American)," 2017.  5/15/18
Amy Sherald and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago

Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald built a reputation in the art world for painting highly stylized portraits of what you might call ordinary people. But she became a household name in wider circles this year for her portrait of a rather extraordinary subject: the first African-American First Lady of the United States. 

 

An exhibition of Sherald’s work is at Contemporary Art Museum, where it remains on view through Aug. 19.

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