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Arts & Culture

Tazewell Thompson, at left, is a trustee with the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music. He has served as a mentor to Shaun Patrick Tubbs, the stage director for the production that opens Friday.
Union Avenue Opera

Contrary to any stuffy misconceptions, opera isn’t something one simply observes or sits through – especially not an opera like “Lost in the Stars.” That’s according to American theater director Tazewell Thompson, who is guiding Union Avenue Opera’s upcoming production of the still-timely masterwork.

“Opera in general, and this opera in particular, is a living, breathing organism, and … it packs an emotional wallop,” Thompson said this week on St. Louis on the Air. “And I think the audience will walk away transformed and changed … they’ll find that this is an opera of great hope – reconciliation, man’s capacity for change, man’s capacity to forgive. And the music will not be washed over the audience. The music will actually penetrate the hearts of those who watch ‘Lost in the Stars.’”

Daria Finley took her sudden onset of blindness as an opportunity to get into acting.  8/16/18
Jeremy D. Goodwin | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis native Daria Finley was focused on her career, working in the information technology department of the Department of Defense, when one day she woke up blind. She'd been diagnosed with glaucoma the year before, but her sudden onset of blindness was a shock for her and her doctors.

Finley used this life-changing experience as an opportunity to pursue things she had only daydreamed about doing before. They include modeling, acting in a short film and writing and performing a one-woman play about her experiences.

The albums "Straight Outta Compton and "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back," are shown with other albums at Vintage Vinyl. The two albums have inspired a wider variety of hip-hop artists for three decades.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Two seminal hip-hop albums are now 30 years old.

"It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" by Public Enemy and "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A. ushered in a new direction for the genre with lyrics that exposed conditions in black communities to white audiences.

The St. Louis region has a long history with hip-hop. An East St. Louis radio station was one of the first to broadcast the first mainstream hip-hop song, “Rapper’s Delight.” And of course, the city has its own stars, Nelly and Chingy. But the death of Michael Brown, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and incidents of police misconduct have brought the lyrics and themes of the two albums back to the forefront.

On Chess: The view from a commentator's chair

Aug 16, 2018
Maurice Ashley, right, interviewing Garry Kasparov during the 2017 St. Louis Rapid & Blitz.
Grand Chess tour

I am a chess commentator. That is a sentence I write with pride.

For more than 20 years, I have been blessed with a front row seat watching the game’s greatest players spend hour after hour in pitched battles, trying to rip each other to shreds.

Black Pride St. Louis President Randy Rafter said, “Everyone’s invited; everyone’s included,” about this weekend’s events.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the intersectionality of black and queer identities and how the organization Black Pride St. Louis offers support for the community in advance of its celebratory weekend starting Friday.

The president of Black Pride St. Louis, Randy Rafter, joined Marsh in-studio as Earl Fowlkes, president and CEO of the Center for Black Equity, chimed in via phone.

Comedians Max Price, Tina Dybal and Duke Taylor discussed diversity within the comedy scene on Tuesday’s "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

No matter what your style of humor, there’s something you can see that you’re gonna enjoy,” Max Price said about the local comedy scene on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. 

The Sunset is available at Living Room in Southampton.
Michelle Volansky | Sauce Magazine

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh spoke with Sauce Magazine’s Heather Hughes and Catherine Klene about new food and drink establishments in the region to try this month.

With three coffee shops on their radar for August, Klene said, “We’re very caffeinated over at Sauce this month.”

After-school meals will be available at six library branches, paired with activities like weekly chess instruction.  8/12
Kara Smith | St. Louis County Library

An after-school meal program in St. Louis county that feeds hungry children in public libraries is expanding.

St. Louis County Library and the nonprofit group Operation Food Search began the effort as a summer program in 2014. They expanded it in January 2018, serving 6,200 meals at three library branches between then and May.

The 100th PGA Championship is taking place this week at Bellerive Country Club.
PGA of America

The best golfers in the world are in St. Louis this week vying to be the one who will hoist the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday.

The 100th PGA Championship is taking place at Bellerive Country Club in west St. Louis County.

“It's like any massive project where you start out with a big picture plan and then you break the plan into pieces,” Mike DeCola explained to St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh this week.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 12 will be “The Music of Herbie Hancock.”  Jazz Master Herbie Hancock has been actively been writing, performing and recording his original music for 54 years.  His early success with Blue Note records and with Miles Davis provided a springboard for an exceptionally creative life.  He has written and performed in several different styles of music.  Born in Chicago, he was recognized as a prodigy, playing a movement the 26th Mozart Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony at age 12.  He simultaneously earned engineering and music degrees from Grinnell College.  His e

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave won the 2017 Sinquefield Cup.
Austin Fuller | St. Louis Chess Club

The 2018 Grand Chess Tour arrive in  to the United States for the second annual St. Louis Rapid and Blitz from Aug. 10-16, which will be the third leg of the tour. It will be followed by the Sinquefield Cup from Aug. 17-28, the only classical event of the tour this year.

Going into the second half of the tour, two Americans, Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura, are leading with 21 and 20 points respectively as the competition for the top four places heats up. They are closely followed by Sergey Karjakin who has 19 points and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave with 15 points.

Jacob Shacko, who performs as Lilschacko, performs an original song in the St. Louis Public Radio studios. 8/9/18
Jeremy D. Goodwin | St. Louis Public Radio

A teenager from Democratic Republic of the Congo  finds himself on the other side of the world, starting a new life in St. Louis. A young Bosnian woman whose family fled their country when she was little more than a toddler now finds herself looking for ways to connect to her past.

Their stories, while shaped by the particulars of war and of history, are like single voices in a larger chorus: refugees who re-settled in the United States and now use music as a way to understand the past and make their way forward.

Madelyn Boyne, Matthew Kerns and Omega Jones are involved in the 2018 St. Lou Fringe Fest.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“You can kind of do whatever you want, and it’s still art, it’s just not what people would see as mainstream,” actor Omega Jones said about the 2018 St. Lou Fringe Festival on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

The festival brings together independent performing arts such as theatre, dance, storytelling, burlesque, visual art and more for a 10-day event beginning Wednesday, Aug. 15. Host Don Marsh discussed the upcoming event with Jones, Madelyn Boyne, managing director of the company Whale of the People, and Matthew Kerns, executive director of the festival.

Dewey Nicks

“When [The Lonely Bull] was Top 10, I got a letter from a lady in Germany who said, ‘Dear Mr. Alpert. Thank you for sending me on this vicarious trip to Tijuana’ … and then I thought, ‘Wow, that music was so visual for her, it transported her … that’s the type of music I wanna make.’” Herb Alpert recalled on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air. “I wanna make music that takes you some place.”

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for August 5, 2018 will be “The Turrentine Brothers.”  The Turrentine brothers, saxophonist Stanley and trumpeter Tommy were born in Pittsburgh.  They were associated mainly with the Hard Bop/Soul Jazz styles of the fifties and sixties, but Stanley had a hit recording, “Sugar,” in the 1970’s while Tommy recorded with Sun Ra in 1989.  We will their music with their own groups, the George Hudson Orchestra, Ray Brown, Gene Harris, Horace Silver, Jimmy Smith, Branford Marsalis & Kurt Elling, Ernie Wilkins, Freddie Hubbard, Les McCann, Max Roach & Abbey Lincoln, R

St Louisans are welcoming many new faces to head up some of our city's most prestigious arts and cultural institutions.

David Robertson will pass the baton to Stéphane Denève who will serve as the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's 13th Music Director beginning with the 2019/2020 season.

Rhiyana Jackson and Chingy pose for a selfie at St. Louis County Library on Natural Bridge Road. Rhiyana's rap about violence, education and housing was one of a few verses selected to be in a Hip-Hop Architecture Camp music video.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Natural Bridge location of the St. Louis County Library is a little less quiet than usual. Instead of the occasional rustling of paging through books or the light tapping of computer keyboards, one meeting room at the library is electrified with children’s exclamations of elation. A celebrity is in their midsts.

About two dozen children, ages 11-14, met St. Louis rapper Chingy on Thursday. The hip-hop recording artist helped kids at Hip-Hop Architecture Camp — a week-long program that combines music and urban planning. The project focused on imagining a new North Hanley Transit Center.

On Chess: St. Louis showcases chess in Africa

Aug 2, 2018
Grandmaster Bassem Amin of Egypt won the Cote d'Ivoire Rapid and Blitz Invitation in July, 2018.
Graham Jurgensen

Inspired by the Grand Chess Tour, the FIDEC (Ivory Coast Chess Federation) teamed up with the Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) to bring out the best of African chess. These efforts culminated in the Cote d'Ivoire Rapid (25+10d) & Blitz (5+3d) Invitational that took place July 25–29. The field included 10 players from 10 different African nations, each of them being the top-rated player from their respective countries. The field was as follows:

Lomo Soltado is a Peruvian beef tenderloin stir fry available at Mango Peruvian Cuisine in downtown St. Louis.
Carmen Troesser | Sauce Magazine

“[Peru has] an incredibly diverse cuisine, and not just because of the geography of the region, but also because of the immigrant culture and colonization history that Peru has,” Catherine Klene said on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “It’s a really excellent mix of flavors and cuisines.”

From Incan staples like corn and ancient grains to varieties of peppers and potatoes, Peruvian food has been also influenced by regions including Europe, Asia and Africa, according to Klene, the digital managing editor at Sauce Magazine.

Producers of "Forget Me Not" are hoping to inspire audience members to  connect with local health professionals and learn more about Alzheimer's. 8/1/18
African-Americans Against Alzheimer's

When actors in the play "Forget Me Not" take the stage tonight at the Grandel Theatre in St. Louis, they’ll have an important mission. They aim to raise awareness that African-Americans have a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s disease than whites, and to provide tips about how to recognize the symptoms of the brain disease.

Playwright Garrett Davis, who heads the North Carolina-based theater troupe Gdavis Productions, wrote the play — produced by African-Americans Against Alzheimer’s — as an educational aid. The group is part of the national advocacy organization Us Against Alzheimer’s.

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