Arts & Culture

French artist Laurent Grasso's "Les Oiseaux" ("The Birds") (2008) is an extraordinary video piece now showing in the St. Louis Art Museum's New Media Series.

The eight-minute projection has the camera trained on the pink sunset over Rome's skyline and a series of curious dark clouds floating across it. The clouds turn out to be hundreds of starlings flying in groups, their synchronized motions creating unexpected, even thrilling shape-shifting effects that are more beautiful than the built structures in the city below.

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Four years ago my partner, Marty Kaplan, and I took off on a road trip from the banks of the Mississippi to the beaches of California. Vacation and visits with relatives were very much on our minds, but along with such pleasures we packed some serious business into the journey. Today, he and I are in the middle of a similar trans-American journey across the country. This blog comes to you from Palm Springs, and I hope you'll find my very first ever blog not too swollen with a lot of hot air.

Amazon book cover

Wendy, the happy protagonist in local author Angela Ruzicka's first book, loves to go to the beach, splash in the water, dance around and build sandcastles. And she does it all in a wheelchair.

"Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach" has "gotten a lot of positive feedback," said Ruzicka. "I've had a lot of people that have bought the book for their children without disabilities like it just as much as the ones with the disabilities."

While Cardinals fans waited to get their first look at Jim Edmonds in a Cincy uniform, second-baseman Brandon Phillips of the Reds couldn’t contain his disgust for Edmonds’ old team.

Phillips, who fouled a ball off his shin Saturday in Chicago, missed Sunday’s game but was apparently feeling well enough to spout off to Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News that there was no way he’d miss Monday night’s game.

Grand Center parking 2010
Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon

Communication requires a sender and a receiver: That's your basic COMM 101 class in college. But there's another important part to the equation -- the message has to be in a format the receiver can understand.

I just opened an email from Rachelle L'Ecuyer, the excellent PR master for Maplewood. Part of this missive directed late night/early morning folks to Tiffany's Original Diner. According to L'Ecuyer, "Here you can indulge in made to order eggs, fries, burgers and great milkshakes. Plus, while your eggs are frying, you can pop a dollar in the jukebox and be serenaded by your favorite Classic Rock tunes."

Dollar?!? Jukebox?

This Saturday, Aug. 7, at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups, the St. Louis jazz and blues community will gather together to raise funds for one of its own - Gabriel. A fire in June severely damaged the East St. Louis home of the man who has been a legendary DJ, musician, record producer, club owner and concert promoter in the metro area for more than half a century.

Music runs from 5-10 p.m. at BB's, and there's a $10 minimum donation at the door. The lineup includes Cryin' Shame, Silvercloud, Ron Edwards, David Dee, Uvee Hayes, Marquise Knox, Arthur Williams and special guests.

Ellen S. Clark Hope Plaza
Rachel Heidenry | 2010

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune -- without the words,

And never stops at all ...

Emily Dickinson's words stretch around a platform overlooking an infinity pool that sits among buildings at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

To: Her Royal, Majestic Highness

Dear Liz:

Forgive my maladroit salutation, but we here in the colonies are never quite sure how to act around royalty. On the one hand, we think it's pretty cool that you've got crowns, robes, thrones and all that rot. We never tire of tabloid coverage of palace gossip and consider it rather sporting of your taxpayers to pitch in to make sure that you don't have to work for a living.

Co-owner Jeanne Spoto poses with the City Diner cutout.
Elia Powers | St. Louis Beacon | 2010

The one-two punch of audiences spilling out of The Fox Theatre at night and Saint Louis University students spilling out of their dorm rooms at all hours was enough to motivate Jeanne and Peter Spoto to open a second location of their popular diner earlier this summer.

City Diner at the Fox (541 North Grand Blvd.) is on the same street as the original City Diner (3139 South Grand Blvd.). The new eatery, which is about one-third as large as the flagship, is at the busy intersection of Grand and Washington Avenue in the shadow of the Fox.