Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

(L-R) Nancy Fowler, Steven Brawley and Miranda Rectenwald talk about the history of LGBTQ+ in St. Louis.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Twenty years ago, St. Louis filmmaker Geoff Story went to an estate sale on Lindell Boulevard. There he picked up two canisters of home movies, not knowing what were on them. What Story found shocked him – dozens of gay men at a pool party in a remote location in Hillsboro, Missouri in 1945.

Check out Nancy Fowler’s story about the home movies revealing what is was like being gay in mid-century St. Louis.

A perplexus chess set and board created by Victor Vaserly, edition 210/1500, collection of Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield
Michael DeFilippo

When Victor Vasarely, the father of op art, first began to experiment with optical illusions, he needed a canvas on which to put down his thoughts. That canvas had to be square. His two other choices were round, which was totally impractical, or rectangular, which would beg the question: Which way to hang the finished work? So he chose the shape of a chessboard, the square.

This image is a still shot from home movies of a gay pool party in 1945 that St. Louis filmmaker Geoff Story bought in an estate sale.
Geoff Story

Dozens of gay men gather for a pool party in a secluded spot in Hillsboro, Missouri. Home movies capture their easy affection and carefree dancing. 

But they’re not recent videos. The movies were taken in 1945.


Author Daniel Pink talks about the science of timing and how to work efficiently.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Author Daniel Pink researched the science of timing to see how time of day affects what we do and how we do it.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to Pink about his latest book, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,” where the bestselling author drew on research from psychology, biology and economics to reveal how to live and work efficiently.

Time of day influences our performance

Londoner Barb Jungr (left) and St. Louisan John McDaniel (right) will perform together in St. Louis on Jan. 27.
Rick Stockwell

St. Louis native John McDaniel is a Grammy and Emmy award-winning musician. For years he performed as the band leader of The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Londoner Barb Jungr is known for her pop music, theater and cabaret performances. McDaniel and Jungr will perform together at Kranzberg Arts Center later this month.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with McDaniel and Jungr about their upcoming performance “Come Together,” which features music by the Beatles.

Author Nick Pistor and St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discuss "Shooting Lincoln" at Left Bank Books on Sept. 27.
File Photo | Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, we rebroadcast host Don Marsh’s discussion with Nick Pistor, author of “Shooting Lincoln: Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and the Race to Photograph the Story of the Century” recorded Sep. 27 before an audience at Left Bank Books.

In the book, Pistor argues that photographers Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner were media pioneers who had a lasting impact on the industry that can be traced to TMZ, paparazzi and film.


Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday January 14, 2018 will be “Musicians Named Williams.”  Williams is the third most common surname in this country.  Jazz musicians names Williams have made significant contributions to jazz history.  We will feature music by Clarence Williams, Count Basie with Claude Williams, Sidney Bechet with Johnny Williams, Sandy Williams, Cootie Williams, Rudy Williams, Joe Williams, Mary Lou Williams, Buddy Tate with Jackie Williams, The Jazztet with Tommy Williams, our own Terry Williams, Jimmy Williams, Ptah Williams, Billy Williams, Chauncey Williams, Todd Williams

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. answers questions at a press conference before his speech at St. Louis University in 1964.
Saint Louis University

When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. visited St. Louis for a speech in early 1957, did he imagine Americans would still be grappling with the legacies of segregation and economic disparity more than 60 years later?

As Americans prepare to commemorate King's birthday on Jan. 15, it is worth noting that the civil rights leader made St. Louis a regular stop for at least a decade.

Vernon Mitchell Jr. talked about the ongoing impact of Martin Luther King Jr. and about the impact of social media on the Civil Rights Movement today.
Lara Hamdan

The impact of Martin Luther King Jr. continues to influence various civil rights movements today. Washington University will commemorate the late civil rights leader  at 7 p.m., Monday, in Graham Chapel.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to Vernon Mitchell Jr., curator of Popular American Arts and Culture in the Department of Special Collections at Washington University.

Saint Louis University

As part of University of Missouri-St. Louis’ annual Martin Luther King Jr. observance, keynote speaker Freeman A. Hrabowski III will address the impact of the iconic civil rights activist over the last half century. The celebration is at 10 a.m. to noon on Jan. 15 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) about his work in advocating for equal access to education for all.

Robert Wadlow on tour with the International Shoe Company. Crowds of thousands would flock to Wadlow wherever he went.
Alton Museum of History and Art

Feb. 22, 2018, marks the centennial of the birth of Robert Wadlow, the tallest man who ever lived, and a lifelong resident of Alton.

Wadlow was normal size at birth, but a growth on his pituitary gland caused him to grow rapidly and never stop. By kindergarten, he was 5 feet 4 inches. He grew to 8 feet 11, and 490 pounds, by the time he died at age 22.

The chess team from Saint Louis University at the Collegiate Chess Championship in December 2017.
Nozima Aripova

The 2017 Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess Championships saw St. Louis teams prevail yet again. The tournament was held in Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 27-30. Sixty teams from all over the U.S., Canada and Mexico took part in the six-round Swiss tournament.

The traditional chess collegiate powerhouses, Webster University, University of Texas Dallas, Texas Tech, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Saint Louis University, all came with reinforced teams, while many top universities, like Harvard, University of California Berkeley and Columbia University brought strong representation.

This photograph by Kat Reynolds is part of the Mane 'n Tail exhibition. Other artists include LaKela Brown, Pamela Council, Baseerah Khan, Abigail Lucien, Narcissister, Yvonne Osei, Shenequa, Diamond Stingily and Rachel Youn.
Provided | Kat Reynolds

Kat Reynolds stops by the beauty products store about as often as some people shop for groceries — about three times a month.

For many women, shampoos, conditioners, extensions and weaves seem to hold the key not only to an improved appearance but also a kind of self-satisfaction, according to Reynolds. With that in mind, the photographer is curating an art exhibition, “Mane ‘n Tail,” named for a popular line of beauty products.

Reynolds said the show, which opens Jan. 19, focuses on female attractiveness and African-American culture, including money and self-determination.

Laura Domela

When singer, songwriter and author Storm Large is not with her band Le Bonheur, she fronts Pink Martini and symphony orchestras. Her varied interests include performing music from Broadway, the American songbook, rock music and her own originals.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, producer Alex Heuer talked with the singer about her career and her performance in St. Louis on Jan.17

Comedian and St. Louis native Greg Warren talks about his comedic career and upcoming performances in St. Louis.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

For many years, comedian and St. Louis native Greg Warren traveled around the country to make people laugh. He’s appeared on CMT Comedy Stage, NBC's Last Comic Standing, Late Night with Seth Meyers and CBS's The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Warren about his upcoming appearances at the St. Louis Funny Bone. Friends, family and fans will line up to see the new material he’ll showcase, starting Jan. 11.

(L-R) Etta Daniels, Marvin-Alonzo Greer and Shakia Gullette talked about collaborative event between the Missouri History Museum and Greenwood Cemetery to commemorate Missouri's Emancipation Day.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

This Thursday, Jan. 11, marks 153 years since slaves in Missouri were finally freed from bondage. Missouri’s Emancipation Day will be commemorated at the Missouri History Museum, in a collaborative event between the museum and Greenwood Cemetery.

St. Louis author Ken McGee talks about his latest historical novel, “The Great Hope of the World.”
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

The construction of the Eads Bridge a century and a half ago almost made St. Louis one of the most important cities in the country. The steel combined road and railway bridge over the Mississippi River brought rail and other traffic from the east to St. Louis and beyond.

The bridge serves as the backstory to St. Louis author Ken McGee’s latest historical novel “The Great Hope of the World.”

The Bebop Hot House

Jan 6, 2018

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, January 7, 2018 will be “The Bebop Hot House.”  The bebop style, which flowered in the hot house of the mid 1940’s burst on the scene with harmony, velocity and virtuosity never heard in jazz.  We will feature music with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Lionel Hampton, Jay McShann, Cab Calloway, Charlie Christian, Lucky Millinder, Don Byas, Billy Eckstine, Coleman Hawkins, Tiny Grimes, Boyd Raeburn, Sir Charles Thompson, Woody Herman, Fats Navarro, Red Norvo, Milt Jackson, J.J.

Commentary: St. Louis is a strong literary city

Jan 5, 2018

Last week I had a morning filled with culture. I first went to the Eugene Field Museum in downtown St. Louis. In March 2007 the Eugene Field House was designated as a National Historic Landmark by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. 

Eugene Field was best known for his children's poetry and humorous essays. I think of the light-hearted "Wynken, Blyken, and Nod." The museum has a wonderful library filled with Field's works and has special exhibitions and a wonderful collection of antique toys.  

Circus Harmony artistic and executive director Jessica Hentoff talks about their production, “Legato.”
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Circus Harmony, the local social circus, is preparing for a series of performances at the City Museum this month. The production will take a look at circuses through the decades from 1920-2010.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about the next production, “Legato,” with Jessica Hentoff, artistic and executive director of the organization.