Arts & Culture

On Chess: Bringing the game to the classroom

Sep 1, 2016
Students at Walnut Grove Elementary School provided a rapt audience for the unveiling of a new chess program.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis | File photo

In addition to a place for enjoying chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is an educational institution doing work both inside the club and in the community. It is now gearing up for a record year of providing high-quality chess programming to St. Louis area schools.

This academic year will be a watershed, not only because of the unprecedented scope of the program’s reach, but also because chess instruction will be an in-curricular offering in nearly 10 schools in the St. Louis Public School District.

A previous exhibition by artist Joan Hall at Bruno David Gallery
Bruno David Gallery

Bruno David Gallery in Grand Center has closed its doors.

Bruno David said his namesake art gallery shut down because of structural concerns recently discovered in its Washington Boulevard building. The issues came to light during an engineering survey.

All upcoming exhibitions are canceled while David looks for a new location.

"The Jarmo" from Nathaniel Reed Bakery in Kirkwood.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Sound Bites team at Sauce Magazine is back and ready to help you plan your nights out at St. Louis restaurants in September.

Catherine Klene and Meera Nagarajan, the magazine’s managing editor and art director, respectively, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the openings and closings of restaurants you should know.

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performs in Lucerne, Switzerland, 2012
Provided by Dilip Vishwanat and the St. Louis Symphony

The St. Louis Symphony will be launching its third tour in almost two decades in Europe this February.

The Symphony will perform Feb. 8-11 in the Spanish cities of Madrid, Oviedo and Valencia. The musicians will present works by composers John Adams, Antonin Dvorak, Aaron Copland, and others.

St. Louis residents will have a chance to hear those works in January before the group leaves for Spain.

Sarah Paradoski and Ramona Marshall discussed the Immigrant and Women's Refugee Program on "St. Louis on the Air."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Imagine leaving your home and moving to a country that doesn’t share your customs, where you can’t understand the language and where you have to re-learn basic life skills in order to survive in your new context.

Most immigrants and refugees living in the United States don’t have to imagine these challenges. Learning to overcome linguistic, cultural and social barriers is just part of their reality.

Denise Bogard, founder of St. Louis Writers Workshop, has written a novel titled "The Middle Step."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Monday’s St. Louis on the Air featured a discussion with Denise Bogard about her recent book “The Middle Step,” which is set in north St. Louis and explores the intersection of race, poverty and family.

The novel delves into the life of a white woman, Lisa, as she runs a group home with four charges, three of whom are black. 

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for August 28, 2016 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  The Keys and Strings hour for August will present the quieter side of jazz with four female modern jazz pianists: Lynne Arriale with new music from Geri Allen, Hiromi, and Renee Rosnes.  New music with Dr.

A. J. Rosenberg was the lead artist on "Peace Wish Dove," 2014. Off-duty police officers and a number of others helped paint the 7-by-4-foot piece at an office on West Florissant Avenue.
Outside In: Paint for Peace

An art exhibition made of plywood, paint and community spirit opens this weekend in St. Louis.

The work emerged from the 2014 unrest sparked by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shooting and killing 18-year-old Michael Brown. Nights of protest and police action gave way to days of boarding up buildings.

After a grand jury declined to charge Wilson in Brown’s death, the protests moved in to St. Louis on South Grand Boulevard. Business owners affixed plywood to their plate-glass windows to cover the damage and protect against more.

To artists and others, the plywood became a canvas. Painting alone, and in collaboration, they transformed the knotty wood into works of art. Beginning Saturday, a collection of the pieces will be displayed at several venues in a show called “Outside In: Paint for Peace.”

Gateway ARch Sunshine
(photo by Tim Tolle via Flickr Creative Commons)

The superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial says the work to renovate the ground around the Gateway Arch could be an example for other national parks as they deal with the possibility of under-funding by the federal government.

Tony Rich, executive director of the Chess Club, presents a check to Jeffery Xiong after he won the 2016 U.S. Junior Closed tournament in St, Louis. At right is Mike Kummer, deputy arbiter.
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

I've had the pleasure of knowing Jeffery Xiong since he started taking his first pawns. Jeffery is the current rock star of the junior chess world, having last week won the World Junior Championship in Bhubaneswar, India.

The tournament brought together the strongest players from around the world age 20 or younger, and it was the 15-year old grandmaster from Coppell, Texas, who achieved the remarkable. It was the first time in 19 years that the title went to an American - already quite notable. However, and perhaps most impressive, Jeffery is the youngest player in history to have won this title.

In 1916, women in St. Louis brought an era of non-violent protest to the women's suffrage movement.
Wikimedia Commons |

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we looked back on a movement 100 years ago in St. Louis when 3,000 women marched to remind Democratic National Convention attendees that women still didn’t have the right to vote. That was in June of 1916, four years before women won the right to cast ballots on Aug. 26, 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution.

Little Sisters of the Poor local Superior Mother Gonzague Castro described on Wednesday her "mixed emotions" about the order's decision to withdraw from its St. Louis facility, as provincial Superior Mother Maria Christine Lynch looks on.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

After nearly 150 years of ministering in St. Louis, the Little Sisters of the Poor will stop operating its residence for low-income elderly individuals in the city’s St. Louis Place neighborhood.

Explorer William Clark is most well known for his famous expedition with Meriwether Lewis. A few years prior, in 1798, he traveled to Spanish Louisiana.
(Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

William Clark and Meriwether Lewis’ expedition as part of the 1804 Corps of Discovery is one of the more well-known and celebrated journeys in American history.

Not as well known, however, is William Clark’s journey a few years prior down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to Spanish Louisiana in 1798.

Ignite Theatre company is one of nine groups to take up residence in .ZACK
Provided by Ignite Theater Company

Nine young arts groups will find a home this fall at .ZACK, the new performing arts incubator.

Created by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, the space aims to foster collaborations among the St. Louis performing artists. Its inaugural class will include dance companies, theater troupes and youth outreach initiatives.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for August 21, 2016 is “The Music of McCoy Tyner.”  Pianist McCoy Tyner has been a powerful presence since he was part of the classic John Coltrane quartet from 1960 to 1965, but his uniqueness and artistry have been overshadowed by that tenure.  We will focus on his performances and compositions without Coltrane to bring his unique style of harmony and rhythm to Jazz Unlimited.  Tyner will be heard with Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, Grant Green, the Jazztet, Freddie Hubbard, a Blue Note All-Star group and Wayne Shorter.  His compositions will be played by the Blue

Miryam Tauber and Eli Tauber prepare Sephardic eggs in preparation for Miryam's cooking class on Aug. 19, 2016. The eggs are boiled at a low temperature for hours with onion skins.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A Bosnian historian is in St. Louis through Monday to share stories about Jewish and Muslim people living side by side in Sarajevo for centuries.

University City native Rebecca Patz Nathanson invited Eli Tauber to St. Louis to take part in a series of events highlighting positive shared experiences between Muslims and Jews in Bosnia called Sarajevo 450.

She hopes the events shift thinking in the St. Louis Jewish community and beyond, as her experience living in Bosnia shifted her own thinking.

"Visualize Pi Perspective" is a 2015 Brooklyn mural by Ellie Balk, painted with the help of local students. Pi is represented as a color coded bar graph drawn in one-point perspective. See finished mural in story, below.
Ellie Balk

A trio of local multimedia artists is set to achieve greater prominence.

The arts organization Critical Mass for the Visual Arts announced today that its annual Creative Stimulus awards will go to three women whose work will be shown next year in a mainstream institution.

The 2016 awardees are:

Raclette is a funky, nutty Swiss-French cow’s milk cheese.
(Courtesy: Sauce Magazine)

Remember when the cronut was a thing … you know, the croissant-doughnut pastry hybrid?

Well, move over cronut and hello sambal, raclette and fried rice for breakfast! Those are just a few of the latest out-of-the-box food trends that have made their way to the St. Louis area.

St. Lou Fringe Festival is back for a fifth year, running Aug. 19-27 in Grand Center, and features everything “avant-garde, independent and brand-new” that “you wouldn’t see in other theaters here in St. Louis,” said Matthew Kerns, the festival’s new executive director.

This year’s Fringe features acts from Colorado, Nashville, as well as those native to St. Louis. All the acts are one hour or under.

The start of the marathon race at the 1904 Olympics, held in St. Louis.
Missouri History Museum |

As the Rio 2016 Olympics begin to wind down, it is worth remembering that St. Louis once played host to the Olympics: the 1904 Olympics, the first to be held on U.S. soil — and they were a mess. Doping, shameful “Anthropology Days” competitions among “savages” and minimal international participation were a recipe for a games that the Wall Street Journal once dubbed “Comedic, Disgraceful And 'Best Forgotten.’”

Ironically, St. Louis wasn’t even supposed to host the 1904 Olympics. As Sharon Smith, Curator of Civic and Personal Identity at the Missouri History Museum, relayed it on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air: “St. Louis took those Olympics from Chicago.”

St. Louis-based author Ridley Pearson.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis-based author Ridley Pearson has written over 50 suspense and adventure novels but his latest, “White Bone,” is tackling an issue that is close to him: illegal wildlife poaching in Africa.

Em Piro founded St. Lou Fringe in 2011.
Em Piro

From a modern-day operatic tribute to “The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg” to a woman interacting with a toy chicken, St. Lou Fringe offers entertainment that can’t be found on any other local stage.

But can the Fringe still fly without its original founder? Em Piro is leaving the organization after its fifth festival, which opens Friday.

In our latest Cut & Paste podcast, we talk with Piro about her collaborative approach, how the festival has grown in step with St. Louis’ arts community and the future of Fringe.

Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, from left, with Grandmaster Wesley So, winner of the 2016 Sinquefield Cup, and Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield.
Lennart Ootes | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

The third leg of the Grand Chess Tour, the 2016 Sinquefield Cup, took place at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis from Aug. 4-16.

With the first edition taking place just four years ago, the Sinquefield Cup has expanded from four players to include 10 of the world’s best. Furthermore, the cup joined other elite events around the world in 2015 to create the Grand Chess Tour. As usual, the tournament featured the top players in the world, as well as a wild card, giving an opportunity to a talented player who otherwise would not have made it by rating.

Meghan Baker and Michael James Reed play the husband and wife in "Love's Labor."
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

The Pulitzer Arts Foundation will take on a new role this weekend — as the stage for an original play.

The Pulitzer and Shakespeare Festival St. Louis are teaming up to present a play called “Love’s Labor.”  The production weaves together words from the Bard and  modern-day language in a story about a couple on the brink of divorce.

Elise Quagliata and Christine Brewer in Union Avenue Opera's production of "Doubt."
John Lamb | Union Avenue Opera

August 19 will mark the first time the opera version of “Doubt” is performed in its full glory after its Minneapolis premiere in January 2013. Famed soprano Christine Brewer will reprise her role as Sister Aloysius, the principled nun whose unwavering certainty begins to buckle over suspicions of a parish priest’s improper relationship with an eighth grade student.

Provided by The Maness Brothers
Provided by The Maness Brothers

The Whiskey War Festival, a homegrown day of music celebrating contemporary Americana, blues and rock groups from the Midwest, turns 5 on Saturday.

This year the festival is moving from its home base in St. Charles to the South Broadway Athletic Club in the Soulard neighborhood. Jake Maness, who founded the festival with his brother David, said the show is a chance to share the music they’ve found while touring the Midwest.

Robert Tebbe, Darcella Craven, and Sheila Suderwalla joined Don Marsh on Tuesday to discuss how their organizations are serving the veteran community.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Military veterans often face significant challenges in re-acclimating to ‘normal’ life in the United States. These challenges may be rooted in mental, emotional and psychological issues resulting from the trauma and stresses of war. Physical injuries can be seen, but internal struggles (what Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton calls “invisible wounds”) frequently remain hidden from the outside world.

Robyn Browning, Carla Fletcher and Carolyn Randazzo joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss the Ferguson Readings on Race book group.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

This interview, initially scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 11, will be on "St. Louis on the Air" at noon on Monday; this story will be updated after the show. You may listen live.

Karen Downey as Betsy Boss, left, and Allison Harris as Emily Lickinson, right, speed through a quick arm wrestling match during a dress rehearsal at the Heavy Anchor bar.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As the lights dim, wrestler Hulk Hogan’s theme song will rise and Betsy Boss will strut onstage in her American flag bikini. Her biceps flexed, and with a sewing kit tucked under her arm, the newest St. Louis Lady Arm Wrestler will be ready to rumble.

Her motto: She leaves you red, white and boo hoo.

Betsy Boss — local fitness instructor Karen Downey — makes her debut tonight at the group’s latest Grease-themed bout — “Summer Shovin.”

The St. Louis Lady Arm Wrestlers — also known as SLLAW — describe themselves as "a philanthropic conglomerate of awesome," with a mission to “empower women and strengthen the community through theatre, philanthropy and the pure power of ladyhood.”

J Freivogel, Sara Sitzer and Dana Hotle discussed the Gesher Festival on "St. Louis on the Air."
Mary Edwards | St. Louis Public Radio

In Hebrew, the word “gesher” means bridge. The theme of this year’s Gesher Music Festival, which runs through Aug. 21, is taking that title to heart by bridging divides over immigration using chamber music.

This is the festival’s sixth year and features a variety of events, including three main concerts around St. Louis all around the theme “American Dreams.”