Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Missouri Historical Society’s president and CEO, Frances Levine (right), and managing director of education and visitor experience, Nick Hoffman (left) talked about the organization's rebranding efforts.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

In Nov. 2015, the Missouri History Museum acquired the Soldiers Memorial downtown and embarked on a massive renovation project. As the project nears completion, the organization has rebranded itself as the Missouri Historical Society, operating the Missouri History Museum, the Library & Research Center and the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, set to reopen in Nov. 3, 2018.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with leaders of the Missouri Historical Society (MHS) about recent changes at the institution, including the rebranding initiative and expansion efforts.

Music I Grew Up With

Mar 11, 2018
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for March 11, 2018 is “Music I Grew Up With.”  I began following jazz in the late 1950’s and during this time started my collection, which is all-digital and contains over 53,000 songs.  We will play only a small amount of the music that I heard during this time.  It will include Miles Davis & John Coltrane, Johnny Griffin and the Big Soul Band, Grant Green, Donald Byrd & Pepper Adams, Lockjaw Davis & Johnny Griffin, Stanley Turrentine & Les McCann, Ray Bryant, Etta Jones, Groove Holmes & Gene Ammons, the Jazz Crusaders, Bobby Hutcherson, Ray Char

A volunteer greets Chico, one of the six St. Louis steers who escaped the slaughterhouse and now live at The Gentle Barn. March 3, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Michelle Robertson unlocked the gate to a 15-acre pasture at The Gentle Barn in Dittmer, Missouri, where the St. Louis Six now spend their days. A year after they made headlines for escaping from a slaughterhouse and romping through city streets in north St. Louis, the steers are free to roam.

“There’s lots of rolling hills for them to run up and down and play,’’ said Robertson, cheerfully. She manages the animal sanctuary in Jefferson County, about 40 miles from St. Louis. “There’s beautiful trees for them to scratch on. They’ve got a big, beautiful barn filled with fresh straw that they can sleep in — although they do like to sleep outside.”

Cory Finley has said that his best writing comes from fear, and his new movie “Thoroughbreds” is no exception. The two characters at the center of the darkly comic film first emerged from deep-seated suspicions about his own emotional instincts and moral decision-making.

This Friday, several years since the story first entered Finley’s mind, his tightly wound tale is opening in theaters across the country. That includes several in St. Louis, where Finley was born and raised.

Fabiano Caruana (left) and Wesley So are the two Americans participating in the 2018 Candidates Tournament.
Lennart Ootes | Saint Louis Chess Club

The World Chess Championship dates back to 1886. In fact, St. Louis played host to a portion of the very first world championship, between Johannes Zukertort and Wilhelm Steinitz. Over the years, there have been different methods by which the world’s elite come to challenge the world champion. Initially, the chess world was similar to boxing: any challenger who could raise the funds could face the world champion.

A boy named LaRon enjoys a class at the former Intersect Arts Center building, before the organization moved into its new renovated space.
Intersect Arts Center

St. Louis artist Sarah Bernhardt had no idea she’d be teaching children when she first moved into her Gravois Park studio. But that changed after a rock sailed through her window and she invited a teenager with a good throwing arm to come inside for an art project.

That was five years ago, in the early days of her Intersect Arts Center, 3636 Texas Ave. A $3 million renovation recently transformed the center, but the commitment to free art classes for local kids remains a cornerstone.

Andrew Potter (L), Gina Galati and Peter Scott Drackley joined host Don Marsh to talk about Winter Opera St. Louis’ final production of the season, “L’Elisir d’Amore.’
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For more than 10 years, Winter Opera St. Louis has filled what once was a void in St. Louis’ opera scene – no opera performances during the winter months.

The professional company’s final production of the season is Gaetano Donizetti’s comic opera, “L’Elisir d’Amore.” The opera, which translates to English as “The Elixir of Love,” is about a poor villager (Nemorino) who buys a love potion from a traveling salesman (Dulcamera) after his attempts to woo a wealthy and beautiful woman (Adina) fail.

Being a black student at MU, or any majority-white campus or institution, isn’t easy, but the culture is slowly changing for the better. That’s the takeaway from a recent in-studio conversation with MU Education professor Adrian Clifton and Law professor S. David Mitchell.

Both Clifton and Mitchell work on the frontlines to improve the education experience for African-American students, and they joined The Green Duck Lounge playwright Michelle Tyrene Johnson at KBIA recently as part of a podcast for the project, designed to promote awareness and dialogue about Missouri’s civil rights history and current activism.


Paul Artspace’s Mike Behle (at left) and David Johnson, both artists in their own right, share a passion for providing other creative people with opportunities to help them succeed in their endeavors.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When Mike Behle decided to transform his family’s quiet property in Florissant, Missouri, into a unique resource for artists, he didn’t know exactly how that vision would take shape. But he was certain of one thing: a desire to provide people with time and space.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for March 4, 2018 will be “The Career of Gene Harris.”  Pianist Gene Harris had two careers.  The first was from 1966 to 1976 with “The Three Sounds,” which was followed by semi-retirement in Boise, Idaho.  Ray Brown rediscovered him in 1983.  His joyous career continued until his heath in 2000.

A few evenings ago, my husband and I had dinner with two creative and inspiring senior citizens. Frank Schwaiger at age 78 continues to design buildings, build sculptures, paint and be creative in every way, shape and form. Our mutual friend, Leslie Laskey, 96, professor emeritus at Washington University, is still a revered artist and teacher. When Laskey spoke at the Bruno David Gallery a few weeks before, every eye, heart and mind was enraptured by his words and enthusiasm.

Cider flights are among the offerings on tap at Brick River Cider Co., one of four must-try places on Sauce Magazine's latest Hit List.
Michelle Volansky | Sauce Magazine

The first question that St. Louis on the Air’s Don Marsh asked the Sauce Magazine team during Friday’s Hit List segment had to do with the word “cidery.”

The term was new to Marsh and understandably so, with St. Louis’ first such cider-focused brewery opening just about a week ago. Located in a former firehouse on Washington Avenue, Brick River Cider Co. was the first of four new, must-try restaurants that Catherine Klene and Matt Sorrell plugged during the discussion.

Former Mayor Raymond Tucker (at right) and then-civic leader and bond issue chairman Sidney Maestre look out over an area of Mill Creek Valley slated for clearance in this photograph from 1956.
Missouri Historical Society

Gwen Moore can rattle off the names of all sorts of characters who once walked the streets of Mill Creek Valley, a historic St. Louis neighborhood demolished in the name of urban renewal in the late 1950s.

General William T. Sherman lived in Mill Creek at one point. The poet Walt Whitman stayed there during trips to visit his brother, and the owner of the Daily Missouri Republican also called the community home.

Hip-hop artists perform during a Story Stitchers event called Make Music on the Loop, June 2017.
The Sheldon

An exhibit at the Sheldon Art Gallery will display videos and photos of young St. Louisans working through their experiences with gun violence.

“Pick the City UP” is a presentation of the Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective. The exhibit, which opens Friday, documents work from the past several years.

Susan Colangelo and several other artists founded the nonprofit in 2013 with the idea to tell stories through embroidery. Now, the work encompasses written and spoken word, including hip-hop and poetry.

2017 U.S. Junior Champion Awonder Liang who will be playing in the 2018 Spring Chess Classic.
Austin Fuller | Saint Louis Chess Club

The time for strong round-robin tournaments at the Saint Louis Chess Club (STLCC) is about to restart!

Marsha Evans and the Coalition at the 1860 Saloon on February 24. The band played blues, hip-hop, and r&b songs during their performance.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Marsha Evans is no stranger to the blues. She has performed blues music all her life and can be found performing at venues across St. Louis with her band, Marsha Evans and the Coalition.

But Evans doesn’t confine her passion for the blues to the stage. She’s a strong advocate for the music. For weeks, she and other musicians in the St. Louis region have discussed ways to honor the legacy of the blues and keep the treasured African-American art form alive.

“You’re pouring your life in three or four minutes of musical expression — your innermost emotions, all of the pain you felt on any particular day for a number of months or years,” she said.

Thomas Easterly | Missouri Historical Society Collections.

After experiencing a cholera outbreak and the Great Fire, 1849 was a difficult year for St. Louis. In addition, the city struggled to keep up with population growth. The U.S. Census shows the population of St. Louis nearly tripled between 1840 and 1850 from 35,979 to 104,978 residents.

This is the audio mix of St. Louis Public Radio's ongoing coverage of the protests and unrest following the not-guilty verdict of former police officer Jason Stockley in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.

The coverage in this audio mix starts with the announcement of the verdict in September and continues for about a month.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited  for February 25, 2018 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour (Oscar) Plus New Music.”   The “Keys and Strings Hour will present performances by Oscar Peterson plus four of his compositions played by Makoto Ozone, Rene Rosnes & Bill Charlap, Ramsey Lewis and Monty Alexander.  The New Music Segment for February in the last two hours will feather music by Alicia Olatuja, Cyrus Chestnut, Peter Sommer, Mike Vaax & Ron Romm, James Hall. Craig Fraedrich.

McCluer High School theater students rehearse “Man of La Mancha” at the Florissant Civic Center. Feb. 21, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis schoolchildren in well-funded school districts often enjoy newer amenities like updated textbooks and newer technology. They may also have an advantage when it comes to the arts.

The disparity of resources is illustrated by theater departments at two local high schools. Clayton High School, whose students are mostly white, gets more help from the district and the community. In Florissant, predominantly African-American McCluer High School largely relies on the theater director, Doug Erwin, for funding.

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