Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Shannon Greir, seated in this file photo, took classes at St. Louis' Improv Shop to work her way into the theater world and produce her play, "Fat."
Provided | Shannon Greier

Shannon Geier knows what it’s like to be rejected because of the way she looks. For years, she struggled to lose weight, and was often afraid of how people would react to her.

“I felt like the love I got was conditional, based on my size,” Geier said. “[I’ve been] on blind dates and having the guy see me and turn around and run from the restaurant.”

Today, Geier is at a weight she considers healthy. Now a playwright, she hasn’t forgotten the pain of rejection, but has found a way to talk about it in "Fat," a new play on stage in St. Louis that deals with weight and body image.

David Greenhaw, Ghazala Hayat and Mont Levy joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss "The Cave."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis on the Air

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An upcoming production from Arts & Faith St. Louis aims to connect Jewish, Christian and Muslim people together in the shared traditions and history of the Abrahamic faiths.

Tiny Desk Saint Louis logo rooftop concert
Susannah Lohr

A big thanks to all of you who took the time to sample St. Louis' local music scene and submit your videos to NPR's Tiny Desk Contest.

NPR Music's rules don't allow us to pick a contest "winner." But, with your input, we're able to select singers and bands people in the St. Louis area should know more about. Nationally, there were more than 6,000 entries. Nearly 50 of them were in the St. Louis Public Radio listening area.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for March 5, 2017 will be “The Compositions of Hoagy Carmichael.”  Songwriter-pianist-singer Hoagy Carmichael was an important figure in the jazz scene of the 1920’s and 1930’s and some of his compositions are still used today.  We will celebrate his compositions with music played by Duke Ellington, Sidney Bechet & Muggsy Spanier, the Ray Brown Trio, Peck Kelly, Bill Charlap, Oscar Peterson, Louis Armstrong & Jack Teagarden, the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Curtis Fuller, Dave Brubeck, the Jeff Hamilton Trio, George Adams, Ahmad Jamal, Carmell Jones, Shei

Kent Coffel as Zorba and Dominic Dowdy-Windsor as Nikos in New Line Theatre's production of "Zorba"
Jill Ritter Lindberg

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Overgrown greenery almost entirely obscures a gravestone at which a giant white paper mache heart is positioned.
Provided by Jennifer Colten

When Terri Williams’ daughters brought home their Black History Month assignment from school, she noticed most of the historical figures were entertainers or athletes. 

This contrasted with the uniquely heroic lives she saw represented by the figures interred at Washington Park Cemetery — people like Ira Cooper, the first black police lieutenant in St. Louis, George L. Vaughn, the attorney who fought for J.D. Shelley in the Shelley vs. Kraemer court case that eliminated courts’ abilities to enforce housing segregation.

William’s learned about such figures while researching the cemetery for the new exhibit “Higher Ground: Honoring Washington Park Cemetery Its People and Place,” which opens at The Sheldon this weekend.

Wednesday: The best new St. Louis restaurants to try during the month of February
Michelle Volansky

Your support makes the unexpected possible. Keep St. Louis Public Radio Strong. Donate today.

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 March.

Officer Nate McCraw enjoying a chess game with public school students.
Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The current climate of community and police relations in our country has forced law enforcement agencies to examine what tactics work well and what areas pose challenges. Officers work extremely hard day in and day out to keep the citizens of our community safe. However, the focus on building relationships while performing their jobs should also be a priority and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is committed to finding opportunities to build better community relationships, especially with youth. Now, they are doing so through chess.

Choreographer Stephanie Martinez worked with Big Muddy Dance Company to create a piece inspired by Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, who died in 1957.
Provided | Dance St. Louis

A 20th century Chilean poet who wanted her daughter to be more than just a princess is the inspiration for a dance performance on stage in St. Louis this weekend at the Touhill.

The dance that is rooted in the poem is called “Destino, Roto.” It’s one of three pieces in Dance St. Louis’ “Women Who Inspire,”  the name of the organization’s fifth annual New Dance Horizons presentation.

Bill Siemering was instrumental in the founding of National Public Radio and the creation of "All Things Considered." Today, he runs Developing Radio Partners.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

National Public Radio will serve the individual: it will promote personal growth; it will regard the individual differences among men with respect and joy rather than derision and hate; it will celebrate the human experience as infinitely varied rather than vacuous and banal; it will encourage a sense of active constructive participation, rather than apathetic helplessness.

That’s an excerpt from a 1970 mission statement that Bill Siemering wrote at the outset of National Public Radio, of which he was one of the original organizers and its first program director.

St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones responds to questions from the audience while alderman Lyda Krewson looks on.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The leading Democratic candidates for mayor of St. Louis all say they would boost support for the arts if elected.

Aldermen Antonio French and Lyda Krewson, Board President Lewis Reed and St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones all made that commitment Monday at The Mayoral Town Hall on Arts and Culture. Kara Turrentine, a consultant for Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, also voiced his support for artists.

Donald Brewer starts raking trash on 7th Boulevard just after sunset on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Mardi Gras crowd was thinning out, and drunk revelers zigzagged in the middle of the street, kicking cans and shivering in the 35-degree weather. As they left the big party, Donald Antonio Brewer meticulously raked bits of confetti, beads, and plastic cups from the median onto Seventh Street for the street sweepers to catch later that Saturday night.

Event Flier for Mayoral Town Hall for Arts and Culture on February 27 depicts a mass of people and the dates.
Provided by Citizen Artist STL

As the St. Louis Mayoral Race heats up, a group of artists are insisting candidates address how policy makers will make sure that the city makes the arts a priority.

Artist and educator Pacia Anderson's life revolves around the arts — from her friends to her work life and projects with civic leaders.  “There’s so much overlap between arts and policy, just when I wake up in the morning,” she said.

And yet, Anderson thinks politicians don't address the intersection of the arts and policy enough. To make sure that happens in a new city administration, she and other members of Citizen Artist STL have organized tonight's Mayoral Town Hall on Arts and Culture, where candidates will be pressed on how their policies and administration would focus on the arts and the support creative people need.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for February 26, 2017 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”  The Keys and Strings Hour,” or the quieter side of jazz will feature Sonny Rollins compositions played by Joe Pass, Junko Onishi, Grant Green & Sonny Clark, Phineas Newborn, Jessica Williams, Tommy Flanagan, Fred Hersch and Mal Waldron.  New music will feature a new release of a 1980 concert with Dizzy Gillespie and some bebop cohorts, Pedrito Martinez, the Ben Marklee Big Band playing Cedar Walton compositions, our own Fred Tompkins, Branford Marsalis & Kurt Elling, Jeremy Udden, Theo Bl

St. Louis/East St. Louis native Harry Edwards is a renowned sociologist, specializing in sports protest.
Wikimedia Commons

No one who speaks out has ever been welcomed with open arms, for the most part, even when people say things like ‘I understand the message.’ The reality is that silence has been evil’s greatest and most consistently dependable ally.

So said Dr. Harry Edwards, a prominent sociologist who specialized his research and activism in the areas of sport, race and protest, on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air. He has also written several books, including “Revolt of the Black Athlete” and “The Struggle that Must Be.”

Edwards also happens to be a St. Louis native.

A recent show at the Contemporary Art Museum
Provided by the Contemporary Art Museum

The director of the largest art museum in the United States says during turbulent political times museums should stay faithful to their missions of unifying the country.

Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is the featured guest tonight at the Contemporary Art Museum’s annual distinguished speaker event. In recent weeks, he has spoken against attacks on federal funding for the arts, writing "The Folly of Abolishing the NEA" for the New York Times.

On Chess: A look at the Tradewise Gilbraltar Open 2017 contest

Feb 23, 2017
Gibraltar Champion GM Hikaru Nakamura at the Tradewise Gilbraltar Open in 2017.
Lennart Ootes

The Tradewise Gibraltar Open is considered one of the strongest open tournaments in the world. The 2017 tournament was held Jan. 24 through Feb. 2 with an exceptionally strong pool of players, including super Grandmasters Fabiano Caruana of St. Louis, as well as Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Hikaru Nakamura Mickey Adams and many more. 

Not only is Gibraltar a strong tournament, but it is a great destination for chess players in the winter months. Also, as in previous years, the 2017 Gibraltar contest attracted the strongest female players in the world with one of the largest prize funds for the best female players, 15,000 GBP.

Members of the Charis women's chorus perform at a recent event, in this file photo.
Provided | Charis

In the early 1990s, same-sex relations were illegal, the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy helped keep closet doors sealed shut, and marriage equality for same-sex couples was unthinkable.

Slices from La Pizza, one the pizza establishments featured in Sauce Magazine's pizza issue.
Carmen Troesser | Sauce Magazine

All pizzas are not created equal.

"Most pizzas I would eat and enjoy, but that does not mean they are all good,” said Heather Hughes, managing editor of Sauce Magazine.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Hughes was joined by Catherine Klene and Meera Nagarajan, the magazine’s managing editor and art director to discuss just what St. Louis pizzerias are worth your time.

Christine Brewer
Christian Steiner

Good morning, darling, the sun has just come up. It is a beautiful morning…

So begins a letter from 1944 that 1st Lt. George W. Honts wrote his wife Evelyn Honts, while deployed during World War II.

The text to these letters has been set to music by composer Alan Smith. The song cycle, “Vignettes: Letters from George to Evelyn, from the Private Papers of a World War II Bride,” will be performed by soprano Christine Brewer on March 3 at Concord Trinity United Methodist Church.

Artwork designed by organizer Charles Purnell for the St. Louis artists event depicts the words not my presidents day laid over official portraits of United States presidents with an X over Donald Trump's face.
Provided by Charles Purnell

It’s rare that people find comfort in admitting their fears.  It’s even more unusual to admit those  fears to a group of strangers.

But finding strength in fear, frustration and confusion in a starkly divided nation is one of the aims of This Is Who I Am Now: Artists on Politics,” which takes place today at The Monocle, 4510 Manchester Ave., in St. Louis.

“That’s been one of the biggest things for me, being able to say I’m scared and I have no idea what I’m going to do in the next couple years," organizer Charles Purnell said. "I don’t know what’s going to change, I don’t know what’s going to happen — and knowing that’s OK. It’s OK to be afraid and to admit that.”

This collage of file photos shows the "Words for Love" book cover and author Emily Robbins.
Collage images provided by Riverhead Books

Author Emily Robbins was a Washington University grad student in August 2013 when she saw St. Louisans protesting in University City against U.S. plans to attack Syria. She was profoundly moved by the local activists and incorporated those feelings into the book she was writing, called “A Word for Love.”

On Wednesday night, Robbins will appear at Left Banks Books to sign copies, and speak about the book and its St. Louis roots.

“There is a very active community here,” Robbins said. “That was something I really drew on and felt proud of in St. Louis.”

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited  for February 19, 2017 will be “Americans in Paris-Part 3.”  Many outstanding recordings with Americans were made in Paris beginning in 1937 and continuing up to today with such musicians as Sidney Bechet, Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Stitt, Roy Eldridge, Miles Davis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Don Byas & Bud Powell, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Randy Weston, Eddy Louiss, Patricia Barber, Roy Haynes, Keith Jarrett, Roswell Rudd, Steve Lacy, the World Saxophone Quartet, Ornette Coleman and Prime Time and John Coltrane.

Marsha Coplon and Jeane Vogel are working to collect oral histories from Meacham Park residents.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Longtime residents of St. Louis County who  regularly drive down Lindbergh in the southern part of Kirkwood may not even realize that there is a historic community tucked behind the Kirkwood Commons shopping center. Meacham Park was annexed into Kirkwood in 1991, but its history dates back to 1892 when Elzey Meacham came to town and bought 150 acres of farmland in the area now bounded by Big Bend, Kirkwood Road and I-44. He divided the area into small parcels and sold them at an affordable price to people of modest means, many of them African American.

Alexis J. Roston, seen in this file photo, has performed "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" in Chicago and Milwaukee.
Provided | Milwaukee Rep

The story of a jazz a singer whose signature song drew attention to the brutal treatment of African-Americans will be on stage in St. Louis for the next two weeks.

Max and Louie Productions presents “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” a drama about the iconic Billie Holiday. The setting is a fictional performance that takes place four months before her death.

The production includes a dozen of Holiday’s songs and a running commentary in which she looks back on her life of love, loss, addiction and struggle with racism.

Rebecca Copeland, Rob Maesaka and Suzanne Sakahara discussed the history and legacy of Japanese internment, almost 75 years after the executive order that paved the way for it was signed.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Retired Lindenwood University professor Suzanne Sakahara was just six years old when she witnessed two FBI agents enter her house on Vashon Island, Washington, in 1942. They searched the house from top to bottom, looking for hunting rifles and radios for confiscation.

“They even looked in the kitchen at the length of our knives,” Sakahara said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “If you had too long of a knife, they confiscated it.”

Dick Henmi is a noted St. Louis architect, best known for the so-called "flying saucer" building on Grand, but his journey to St. Louis started during a dark period of American history.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

If you don’t know Richard (Dick) Henmi by name, and you probably should, you definitely know one of his most iconic contributions to St. Louis’ architectural assembly: the so-called ‘flying saucer’ building in Council Plaza off of Grand Boulevard. Henmi designed that building in 1967.

Logo for an upcoming norm tournament at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

Many readers may be familiar with such titles as Grandmaster (GM) and International Master (IM), but what do they mean? Why are they important? How does an aspiring player earn them?

The "March March" during True/False Film Fest in 2016 includes the Papier-mâché-d heads of the festival's co-founders Paul Sturtz and David Wilson.
Courtesy Kelly Moffitt

In a “post-truth” era of “alternative facts,” the importance of media literacy, and questioning why different media is made the way that it is, has reemerged in American society.  

Such media literacy values are baked into True/False Film Fest, a four-day mid-Missouri festival devoted solely to documentary filmmaking. This year the festival will take place from March 2-5 and screen some 35 nonfiction films that urge audiences to define the line between real and fake.

A mock-up of the St. Louis Map Room, a collaborative projec that will open in March, allowing citizens to reconsider the maps and routes of their daily lives through the lens of data.
Courtesy COCA

Take any given day of the week: What route do you take to work? How do you get to the grocery store? What secret, traffic-free pathways do you take to get to school?

Do you remember how you decided which way to go? What to avoid? Have you thought about what subtle factors influenced those decisions?

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