Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

On Chess: 'Grand' chess exhibition from St. Louis travels to Belgium

Jun 21, 2018
A close up of artist Gregg Louis' "Untitled (Chess Set)" on display in Leuven, Belgium.
Lennart Ootes

For the second year, the World Chess Hall of Fame has organized "Grand Chess Tour: Art of Chess 2018," a traveling exhibition of chess artifacts, in conjunction with the Grand Chess Tour, an international circuit of chess events with the world’s best players.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

ArchCity Defenders and community radio station KDHX are rolling out a three-month film series on racial justice.

First in the series, "Marvin Booker was Murdered" by filmmaker Wade Gardner, will be screened on Thursday evening at The Stage KDHX. 

Bill Littlefield, host of the Boston-based NPR sports program “Only A Game,” will retire this summer.
Alex Kinsgubury | WBUR

For 25 years, Bill Littlefield has brought insightful commentary and thoughtful narratives surrounding the sports world to NPR listeners’ ears every Saturday morning. But in July, the host of the program “Only A Game” will retire from WBUR in Boston.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh spoke with Littlefield about his long career, the landscape of American sports today and the crossover between that realm and politics.

Gallery-goers mill about near the piece "Blake the Great."  6/20/18
Brea McAnally

St. Louis-based artist Damon Davis works in many forms, from visual art to hip hop records. His profile has grown steadily in recent years. He's now showing a deeply conceptual, richly realized exhibition at the Luminary, on Cherokee Street, that he calls the culmination of his years of art-making collaborations.

The show, called "Darker Gods in the Garden of the Low-Hanging Heavens," is built around a series of myths and fables Davis wrote, featuring black deities.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 14, 2011 - The best fans in baseball did their part at Busch Stadium Thursday night: They cheered themselves hoarse, fervently waved their rally towels and turned their baseball caps inside-out to coax a do-or-die rally in the bottom of the ninth with the Cardinals trailing the Brewers 4-2.

Timothy O'Leary concludes ten years of leadership at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Timothy O’Leary, general director of Opera Theatre of St. Louis, is concluding a 10 year run in St. Louis as head of the city’s premier opera theater company.

“I’m getting very nostalgic about St. Louis and how much I love it here,” O’Leary told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

O’Leary is heading east to lead the Washington National Opera, an organization that’s part of the Kennedy Center and that enjoys more than twice the budget of OTSL.

From left, film director Michael Beattie and Alan McFarland, a descendant of Robert Campbell, traveled to St. Louis from Northern Ireland for this week’s screening and discussion of “Robert Campbell, Mountain Man."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A love story, expeditions full of danger and discovery, unimaginable tragedy – the life of Robert Campbell (1804-1879), a prominent resident of early St. Louis, pretty much has it all.

“In 40 years of making documentaries I have rarely found a story that has so many aspects, that has so much adventure … it’s just an incredible story,” filmmaker Michael Beattie said on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air. “And to have the opportunity to tell it was just too good to miss.”

From left, Carol Swartout Klein and Joan Lipkin hold a poster for the play "26 Pebbles."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Drawing inspiration from a dark place, playwright Eric Ulloa created a theater production that highlights the issue of gun violence in the United States.

After 20 first graders and six school teachers were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, Ulloa visited the recovering community of Newtown, Connecticut and collected more than 60 interviews, ultimately weaving them into a play titled “26 Pebbles.”

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for June 17, 2018 will be “The Music of Horace Silver.”   Pianist-composer and bandleader Horace Silver wrote over 160 compositions.  Over 20 of these compositions have become jazz standards.  We will hear some of these tunes played by Horace himself, George Shearing, Hank Mobley, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Jefferson, The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Keith Jarrett, Dr.

A group of visiting theater artists decry the first show of the season at the Muny. 6/16/18
via Facebook

Updated on June 18 at 1:50 p.m. to include the Muny's written response — A group of theater artists visiting St. Louis for a professional conference staged a demonstration during the performance at the Muny on Friday night, objecting to what they described as offensive elements in “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway,” a revue of scenes from famous American musicals.

The group, which numbered about 15, booed in unison during an excerpt from the musical “The King and I.” Muny employees quickly led the protesters away and and ejected them from the venue.

Demonstrators objected to the portrayal of a character from Burma (now called Myanmar) by a white actress. They also decried other parts of the show as displaying inappropriate cultural appropriation.

Stacie Lents, Rachel Tibbetts and Christopher Limber talk about artistic approaches to rehabilitation for incarcerated women.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A creative collaboration between a nationally known playwright and a group of women incarcerated in Vandalia, Missouri, is bringing new voices and stories to St. Louis theater-goers with the production “Run-On Sentence.”

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the initiative, which is a partnership between Prison Performing Arts and the award-winning SATE Ensemble.

The effort aims to move and entertain audiences and extend public awareness, particularly about the effects of incarceration and innovative, artistic approaches to rehabilitation.

The casket of St. Louis Cardinals great 'Red' Schoendienst is escorted from the Cathedral Basilica in the Central West End on June 5, 2018. Schoendienst died June 6, 2018 at the age of 95.
Robert Cohen | Pool photo

One of the most beloved members of the St. Louis Cardinals' organization was rememberd Friday as a humble man who loved baseball and his family. Albert "Red" Schoendienst has been laid to rest. The baseball Hall of Famer died June 6. He was 95.

Fabiano Caruana enjoyed a well-fought victory at the 2018 Norway Altibox Chess tournament.
Lennart Ootes

St. Louis resident, Fabiano Caruana, the candidate for the title of the chess world champion, wins again. This time he scored a tournament victory in Norway, the homeland of the current world champion, Magnus Carlsen.

The 2018 edition of Norway Altibox Chess  (May 27-June 8, in Stavanger, Norway) gathered a remarkable field of players: Carlsen, Caruana and seven other players from the top 10 in the world. “The weakest” player, #11 in the world rankings, was former world champion, and current world rapid champion, Viswanathan Anand.

Coffee Wright founded the St. Louis Inner City Cultural Center Enterprise 20 years ago. This year, the organization is partnering with the Missouri History Museum for a Friday night Juneteenth event. This photo is from her group's second annual Juneteenth
Derrick Phillips

St. Louis is known for its elaborate Fourth of July events, with fireworks bursting in dozens of municipalities and most famously, over the Arch.

But many St. Louisans want that kind of attention also focused on a significant day for African-Americans and the nation: Juneteenth. It commemorates a June 19, 1865, Texas order that freed all enslaved Americans, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Several local events mark the occasion. Many take place this weekend, including one organized by Tracy Johnson of south St. Louis, who said he can’t overemphasize the day’s importance.

“Besides an African-American’s birthday, that should be the next day they celebrate,” Johnson said.

From left, Bob Baker, John Larson and Ken Haller joined host Don Marsh on Thursday's episode about improvisation.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis on the Air

Improvisation is a skill often associated with jazz music or comedy. But on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh spoke with three individuals who use it in their daily lives.

Bob Baker, John Larson and Ken Haller joined Marsh to discuss the quirky talent.

While some may have the notion that improv artists just “wing it,” Baker, founder and director of the Improv Comedy Cabaret, said there is actually a framework that exists when improvising.

Local historian NiNi Harris is the author of 14 volumes focused on the Gateway City’s history and architecture. She joined Thursday’s talk show to share highlights from her latest published work, “This Used to Be St. Louis.”
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When NiNi Harris isn’t busy writing, she’s most likely reading – old documents such as city directories, that is.

“It sounds like I have a pretty boring life, doesn’t it?” the local historian said with a laugh on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “I read old census records.”

But it’s that very attention to such records that has led Harris to some of the most fascinating stories she tells in her books – 14 of which she’s published thus far.

The Muny is looking to extend its lease to 2071, and free up some funds earmarked for parking lot upkeep. A city fund for that purpose has a surplus of approximately $180,000.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

The Muny is one step closer to extending its stay in Forest Park. The Board of Alderman’s Parks Committee voted 4-0 Thursday to extend the outdoor theater’s lease to 2071 and make other changes. The full board is expected to give final approval before its summer recess in mid-July.

The Muny’s lease with the city had been set to expire in 2031. The early extension will help the organization secure donors for its $100 million capital campaign,  Dennis Reagan, Muny president and CEO, told board members.

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' most recent Shakespeare in the Streets production, Blow, Winds, will be on stage this weekend at the Central branch of the St. Louis Public Library.
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is one of the most prominent theater companies in town, yet it doesn’t own a stage.

The organization shares its various stages — Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park, local schools and even city streets — with the public. With programs like Shakespeare in the Streets, which tells a community’s story, that sharing comes with great responsibility.

Cheryl Walker, chairwoman of the poet laureate task force, is a St. Louis native. Her published work includes a poetry chapbook called Silence Isn’t Quiet.
Cheryl Walker

After months of discord over who should be the next poet laureate for St. Louis, the city could select a new voice this fall.

St. Louis has been without an official poet for more than a year after a disagreement between the task force that recommends a poet laureate to the Board of Aldermen and a former member of that group.

Now, a new task force is in place and its members are asking the public to play a role.

The Muny is looking to extend its lease to 2071, and free up some funds earmarked for parking lot upkeep. A city fund for that purpose has a surplus of approximately $180,000. 6/14/18
The Muny

Directly behind the stage at the Muny on a recent morning, workers were hammering, sawing and welding together sets that will appear onstage this season, in some of the theater’s seven productions.

“As we’re performing one show at night we’re actually building two to three other shows during the day,” said Sean Smith, the operations director for the outdoor theater. “We’re finishing up sets for the opening on Monday but then we’re also looking at the next few shows, building for ‘The Wiz,’ which is coming up next.”

As it begins its 100th season this week, the Municipal Theater Association of St. Louis has one eye on the past. But it has another on the future, in the form of series of planned renovations due to be completed after this summer season and before the 2019 campaign.

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