Arts & Culture

Levon Aronian playing Veselin Topalov
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Chess fans are in for a special treat today as the second annual Grand Chess Tour begins. This year, the tour will consist of four legs and will have a slightly different format than its predecessor.

The first leg of the games will be June 9-12 with the Paris Grand Chess Tour; the second will be in Brussels-Leuven, Belgium June 17-20 with Your Next Move. The third stop on the tour is the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis Aug. 4-16, and the final leg takes place in London Dec. 8-19.

Theresa Payne performs.
Provided by Theresa Payne

St. Louis singer Theresa Payne has been through a lot since 2014. She went through a devastating breakup. She lost her job. And she lost confidence in her voice after competing briefly in the reality TV show "The Voice."

But Payne regained her musical footing while working on a new project. When she thought about recording her album, she abandoned the inspirational, gospel-infused style of her past recordings. The result is “Get My Heart Back,” an album Payne says is raw and honest. 

New Line Theatre

Note: Due to an actor's injury, the June 10 and June 11 performances of "Atomic" have been canceled.

The creators of “Atomic,” a new rock musical currently on stage at New Line Theatre, remember living through the fear of nuclear war.

On the floor: Lindsay Gingrich (Meredith). Back, left to right: Sarajane Alverson (Trisha), Eileen Engel (Frances), Frankie Ferrari (Mindy), Shannon Nara (Georgeanne). The sashes were changed from pink to white in the final rendition of the costume.
Justin Been | Stray Dog Theatre

A Stray Dog Theatre play opening Thursday immerses us into a June tradition: the pressure cooker of a perfect wedding.

One of the characters isn’t a person  but a teal-blue bridesmaid’s dress with a wide white satin sash. Thus the name: “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress.” The wedding party is attired in matching perfection. And the bedroom in a Knoxville, Tenn. mansion where the play is set is also “just so,” with its ornate wall decorations, lace curtains and crown molding.

But soon, audiences discover that while the set and the wedding party look made-to-order, things are much messier underneath, according to Stray Dog founder and director Gary Bell.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Lizzie Weber’s ‘Falling Like Fools’ Is Your New Favorite Song About Heartbreak,” read a Huffington Post story from September of 2014 about the Richmond Heights native’s first single from her eponymous debut album.

The singer-songwriter’s music has been lauded in the time since, with the music video for “Falling Like Fools,” screening at several film festivals and winning the “Best Music Video of 2016” from the Real Teal Film Festival in North Carolina.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

“Dogtown? How did it get its name?"

That was the query to Curious Louis from attorney Nathan Goldberg, who wondered about the colorful name of the historic St. Louis neighborhood located just south of Forest Park.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, June 5, 2016 will be “The Career of Milt Jackson.”  Vibraphonist Milt Jackson (1923-1999) was born in Detroit and started playing guitar at age seven and piano at age 11.  His music came from the church.  Dizzy Gillespie discovered him in 1945.  Best known for his long tenure with the Modern Jazz Quartet, his career in jazz spanned 54 performing years with artists that ranged from Ray Charles and Woody Herman to Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane.   In addition to his own groups, we will bear Jackson with Fats Navarro, Cole

Cropped photo by Roy Cox

The St. Louis Symphony has named Gemma New the incoming resident conductor.

New’s responsibilities will include conducting various concerts through the season and acting as music director for the St. Louis Symphony’s Youth Orchestra. The New Zealand-born conductor also will assist Music Director David Robertson and guest conductors during rehearsals.

Nancy Anderson as Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
J. David Levy | Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

It has been a bloody two summers in Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park.

“The past two years have been a lot of death on stage,” said Rick Dildine, artistic and executive director of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. “There is a high body count. Henry IV, Henry V, Antony and Cleopatra … I wanted something that ended with marriage and happiness.”

Andwele Jolly best donut
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Andwele Jolly is a trained physical therapist, an administrator at Washington University’s School of Medicine and an all-around doughnut connoisseur. In high school he could eat 12 doughnuts in a sitting. (Good thing that he ran track at the time.) Jolly has lived on two continents and in numerous states and has sampled doughnuts throughout the land. He says St. Louis’ love for the deep-fried delicacy stands out.

Commentary: It is time to rethink the concept of beauty

Jun 3, 2016

I recently saw an inspiring show at the Goodman Theater in Chicago. The name of the play was "Another Word for Beauty" and is a stirring new music-filled work by Academy Award nominee Jose Rivera and Grammy winner Hector Buitrago. Each year the female inmates at a Bogota, Columbia prison compete in a beauty pageant intended by their jailers to motivate and rehabilitate them. While the pageant's parade of gorgeous gowns, exotic headdresses and rhythmic dances provides a distraction from daily suffering, its real impact on each woman is more than skin deep.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Local podcasting guru Adam Frick says that a podcast can be “really anything, these days.”

“They’ve been around for over a decade now,” Frick said. “The most common example would be something like an NPR show that gets distributed digitally. It’s like Netflix or anything else that you can time-shift how you want to listen to things. They range from 5-10 minutes to three hours.”

Austin and Ryan Jacobs share the role of Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Tim Carter is with Ryan on the right. Carter plays the role of Oberan.
J. David Levy

“What fools these mortals be!” Puck famously utters in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

St. Louis audiences may be fooled in Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' production that lets the spritely Puck be two places at once.  The secret?  Puck is played by identical twins, Austin and Ryan Jacobs, transplants from Houston.

The brothers, who just graduated from Webster University, join us for our latest Cut & Past podcast to talk about sharing the role in the play and a childhood on the stage. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” opens Friday in Forest Park.

On Chess: Memoirs of a chess square

Jun 1, 2016
Tom Hackney, Chess Painting No. 71, (Marcel Duchamp vs. E.H. Smith, Hyéres, 1928), 2016, Gesso on linen, oak frame 16 ½ x 16 ½ in.
Courtesy of Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, New York

At the beginning of many prestigious chess tournaments, players sign their name on particular light squares of commemorative chessboards, often with no intent beyond the thought, “On which square will my signature appear most elegant?” or, “Which square is left to sign?” And yet, specific squares hold so many memories of sacrifices both successful and failed as well as nightmares of a sacrifice or in-between move.

(Tim Lloyd)

Busch Stadium will again play host to an international soccer match this summer.

The St. Louis Cardinals announced Wednesday that Liverpool F.C., from England, will take on the Italian Club A.S. Roma on Monday, August 1, at 7:30 p.m.

sirmichael | Flickr | http://bit.ly/21qhnIM

The Sound Bites team at Sauce Magazine is back and ready to help you plan your nights out at St. Louis restaurants during the month of June.

Catherine Klene, the magazine’s managing editor, and Kristin Schultz, the magazine’s staff writer, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the openings and closings of restaurants you should know.

On their list?

Five Aces BBQ, 4000 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO

Felicia Davis, wife of the Rev. Jonathan Davis, helps a church member's son with his shoelace.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In the same pulpit his father had preached from for decades, he clutched the microphone and spoke.

“You whispered a word.”

Beads of sweat dotted his face. He stretched out his vowels so his words became a song.

“You called him home.”

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Following today’s discussion with Circus Flora, Michelle Stevens, Vice President of Grand Center, joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss proposed new developments and those already on the drawing board in Grand Center.

How are projects for the area decided upon?

Courtesy Circus Flora

Circus Flora, St. Louis’ most famous big top show, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this summer. The theme? “Pastime,” which hearkens back to the “golden age” of baseball. Performances start on June 2 and go through July 3 this year.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Next winter will serve as a curtain call for the head coach of the St. Louis Blues.

Ken Hitchcock has agreed to another one-year contract with the National Hockey League team and he says it will be his final year as a coach.

“I want one-year deals because it allows me to do the things I need to do,” Hitchcock told reporters gathered Tuesday at Scottrade Center for the Blues' end-of-season news conference.

“But I'm telling you right now, this is my last one-year deal. I'm not coaching after this year. This is it.”

CityArchRiver

Public support could help pay for some finishing touches to the massive redevelopment project below the Gateway Arch.  

A campaign by the National Trust for Historic Preservation is offering $2 million in grants for 20 National Park sites in need of improvements. The money will be divvied up based on which sites gets the most votes online.

An American flag flies outside Linda Austin's St. Louis home on a past Memorial Day.
Provided by Linda Austin

Memorial Day is so much more than hot dogs and burgers on the grill. It’s even more than yet another time stores use to pitch the latest sales. 

The true purpose of Memorial Day is a time to honor military service members who died in the line of duty. 

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 29, 2016 is “Jazz Giants for May and June.”  Throughout its history, certain key players have heavily influenced the course of jazz.  These key players are the ones that lesser players imitate and copy.  Jazz Unlimited always plays the Jazz Giants instead of the imitators.  Jazz Giants heard on this show include the King Oliver Creole Jazz with Louis Armstrong, The New Orleans Feetwarmers with Sidney Bechet and Tommy Ladnier, Frank Trumbauer with Biz Beiderbecke, Fats Waller, Paul Barbarin, Benny Goodman with Georgie Auld, the Lennie Niehaus Octet, the Freddi

Priests welcome their two new members Saturday, May 28, 2016 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Row after row of priests filed through the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis Saturday to lay hands on the heads of the two men joining their brotherhood.

Archbishop Robert Carlson then prayed over the candidates, ordaining Kent Pollman and Scott Scheiderer as priests.

Pollman and Scheiderer are part of a new class of priests in St. Louis: smaller in number than the ordination classes of the 1980s, and facing a future juggling more responsibilities.

Laura Heidotten | St. Louis Public Radio

The past couple weeks have been rainy and a little spooky in St. Louis.

With that in mind, this week’s Audio Agitation is inspired by David Lynch and the last couple of rainy low-energy weeks.

From left: Jeff Sears (Brian Howard), Kari Ely (Georgette Howard), Edward Juvier (Albert), Zoe Vonder Haar (Judy Steinberg), and Stacie Bono (Rebecca Steinberg) in STAGES’ 2016 production of "It Shoulda Been You."
Peter Wochniak ProPhotoStl.com

Picture the “perfect” wedding day: the sun is shining, no one spills anything on dresses or tuxedos, and there is no family discord about who is walking who down the aisle.

One dancer removes her mask to pluck something from her eye in a mirror while other dancers form a line behind her.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

When choreographer and performance artist Audrey Simes decided to dance to address years of radioactive contamination and the health concerns of people who live near Coldwater Creek in north St. Louis County, she knew she had a big challenge.

Dance can be a powerful and expressive art form. But could she use it to cover such complex territory? Her piece, “Tributary,” has been several months in the making. Simes wants the choreography to make environmental issues accessible to a broad audience.

Priscilla Miller, who has been coming to Artists First for about a year, colors in one of her drawings.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When it comes to supporting people with developmental disabilities through art-making, the activities are much more than just a pastime.

For some in St. Louis, being creative helps them buy food, or get a job. Those are goals – and outcomes – of a St. Louis-area organization called Artists First. But budget cuts are jeopardizing the nonprofit, forcing some hard decisions.

On Chess: Young guns get ready to be tomorrow's stars

May 26, 2016
Sam Sevian, Garry Kasparov, Kayden Troff and Jeffery Xiong at the KCF Gala last year. Credit: Kasparov Chess Foundation
Kasparov Chess Foundation

Being a genius is pretty helpful in the chess world, but it is far from enough. When Bobby Fischer toppled the Russians in the famous 1972 World Championship match against Boris Spassky, he didn't do it out of magic or in-born talent alone: surely there was plenty of that, but his true strength came from hours upon hours of dedication to studying the 64 squares.

Morgan Nusbaum of Bruiser Queen
Provided by Jess Luther

Dance act LCD Soundsystem, country musician Chris Stapleton and singer Lauryn Hill will headline this year’s LouFest, set for Sept. 10 and 11 in Forest Park.

Other scheduled performers for St. Louis’ largest music festival include local acts Illphonics, Bruiser Queen, Karate Bikini, Sleepy Rubies, Foxing and John Henry.

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