Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

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.

Food from Squatter’s Cafe
Michelle Volansky | Sauce Magazine

The Sound Bites team at Sauce Magazine kicked off the New Year with their top picks for the best St. Louis restaurants to visit during the month of January.

On Thursday, Sauce Magazine managing editors Catherine Klene and Heather Hughes and art director Meera Nagarajan joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss new venues the editors recommend visiting.

You can find full descriptions here, but here are the spots they recommend:

Lonnie Powell's watercolor, Southsun is one of 200 works in the All Colors exhibition.
Portfolio Gallery

A longtime gallery owner is debuting an exhibition Jan. 13 that he hopes will draw people from all over the country to see African-American art in St. Louis.

“All Colors” features the work of 66 national and local artists. The Portfolio Gallery nonprofit will present the show at the Artists’ Guild, 2 Jackson Ave., in Clayton, the first exhibition following the sale of its Grand Center building.

Portfolio owner Robert Powell sold the gallery space in 2015 with the goal of supporting African-American artists.

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial could change to the Gateway Arch National Park by July 2018.
(photo by Tim Tolle via Flickr Creative Commons)

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial could soon have a new name. 

The U.S. Senate has approved a bill to change its name to Gateway Arch National Park, which proponents say would better reflect the Arch, its famous centerpiece.

U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill sponsored the bill, which only addresses the national park’s name. U.S. Reps. Lacy Clay, Ann Wagner and Blaine Luetkemeyer have sponsored similar legislation in the House.

On Chess: The Pro Chess League returns

Jan 4, 2018
the 2017 Saint Louis Arch Bishops; Starting from the left. Nicholas Rosenthal, Wesley So Yaroslav Zherebukh, Dariusz Świercz, Varuzhan Akobian, Francesco Rambaldi, Cemil Can Ali Marandi, Ben Finegold, Mike Kummer.
Austin Fuller | St. Louis Chess Club

The inaugural Pro Chess League season ended with a resounding victory by the Saint Louis Arch Bishops last year. The Pro Chess League, originally the U.S. Chess League, used to be an online chess tournament where American Chess Teams, from different states and cities, competed for first place., the founder of the Pro Chess League, decided to innovate and expand on this league by inviting players from other cities, countries and continents. The first event was a great success, as teams from all over the world joined to play.

Associate professor Corinna Treitel talks about the 200th anniversary celebration of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" novel at Washington University.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

The iconic image of the monster in "Frankenstein" bears little resemblance to the original monster portrayed in the novel by Mary Shelley. Her novel “Frankenstein” was written 200 years ago, and is celebrated in a series of events at Washington University.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the 200th anniversary of “Frankenstein” with Corinna Treitel, associate professor in the Department of History and chief organizer of the Frankenstein celebration at Washington University.

National Blues Museum Director Dion Brown
The National Blues Museum

The National Blues Museum in St. Louis will soon be looking for a new executive director.

Dion Brown, who has led the museum for two years, is leaving to become president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. He departs in mid-February.

Party Time

Jan 1, 2018
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for December 31, 2017 is “Party Time.”  New Year’s eve is always a time of parties celebrating the end of the year and the coming of the New Year.  The parties range from sedate to out out of control with people imbibing too much.  We will celebrate the New Year with party music to fit the occasion and will start one hour later due to the symphony broadcast.  Music by Bluesiana Triangle, Ramsey Lewis, Dinah Washington, Monty Alexander, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Art Blakey, Lee Morgan, Cassandra Wilson, Jimmy Smith, Gene Ammons and Ray Charles.

Winnie Caldwell and Sidney Keys III
Mary Edwards | St. Louis Public Radio

Sidney Keys III, 11, has had quite a month. On December 13, he and his mother, Winnie Caldwell, flew to California where he appeared on “The Steve Harvey Show.” Two days later he was featured on CNN’s “Young Wonders” program in a segment that had been recorded weeks earlier. On December 17, he appeared on a live CNN special in New York City honoring CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of 2017.

As 2017 comes to an end, the team that brings you St. Louis on the Air decided to take a look at the top 20 most visited online stories of the year that came out of this program.

St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh spoke with senior producer Alex Heuer about some of the stories and larger trends.

Carolyn Mueller and John Brown
Mary Edwards | St. Louis Public Radio

Did you know that Missouri was once a mecca for health conscious people, that there is a town in the state named Tightwad or there is still a law on the books that cattle can’t graze on airport runways? These and a plethora of other facts and histories can be found in the new book “Missouri Almanac 2018-2019.” Carolyn Mueller and John Brown, two of the book’s five authors, joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to share highlights and the genesis of the book.

Michael Ferguson and Betsy Bowman starred in Bluff City Theater's 2017 presentation of The Glass Menagerie.
Joe Anderson

A small theater company in Hannibal is giving larger St. Louis troupes a run for their money in a regional awards competition.

The 4-year-old Bluff City Theater is nominated for 12 Broadway World regional awards for the 2017 season, including Best Theater Company. Larger, more established institutions like Stages St. Louis and The Rep typically dominate the annual contest. A public vote decides the winners.

Public Domain

Ste. Genevieve Catholic Church will hold a Mass on Jan. 1, to commemorate the arrival of one of the first Catholic bishops to the region — in what was then the Louisiana Territory.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Bishop Louis William Valentine DuBourg in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.

Santa's Arrival, an illustration for Clement Clarke Moore's poem.
Public Domain

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we observed an annual holiday tradition by listening to host Don Marsh's poem, "The Day After Christmas."

He wrote the poem after hearing an off-handed comment from a young relative whose gifts didn't meet his expectations. The young boy had to learn an important Christmas lesson.

Sofi Seck (left) and Rosebell Komugisha (right) talk about their mission to help expand educational opportunities for women in sub-Saharan Africa.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Eight years ago, photographer Sofi Seck and teacher Rosebell Komugisha, met and became friends in St. Louis. This year, the two reconnected and, after a six-hour brunch, came up with Expedition Subsahara, a company that aims to empower women in Africa.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Christmas Eve, 2017 will be “The Winter Holiday Show.”  A number of traditions are celebrated each December in this country.  All of them have light from candles to light from the sun as an important part of the celebrations.  We will celebrate Chanukah, Winter Solstice, Christmas and Kwanzaa with appropriate music on Jazz Unlimited on Christmas Eve.  Helping us celebrate this joyous time will be Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Haden, Hank Jones, the Buck Clayton Big Band, Keith Jarrett, Art Pepper, Abdullah Ibrahim, Stanley Cowell, The Toshiko Akiyoshi

Paul's Market

It can seem daunting to find the ultimate gift that captures St. Louis’ charm and convinces your family to explore the region.

Whether you’re showing loved ones around the city or just bringing the Midwest back home, here are five ways to bring the food, pastimes and St. Louis pride to Christmas with you.

The trains are the stars of Dan Schmidt's annual Christmas display in Overland in December 2017
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Six-year-old Adam Messmer watched wide-eyed, as a model train pulled freight cars and tankers through a Christmas landscape that takes up every inch of Dan Schmidt’s front yard in Overland.

“There it is. There it is. There it is,’’ Adam called out, as the red and silver Santa Fe engine reappeared from a tunnel and chugged past a little church and a drive-in theater showing a video of “A Miracle on 34th Street.”

Adam has toy trains of his own, and this is one of his favorite Christmas displays, said Amie Messmer, his mother. They live nearby in Maryland Heights.

Pat Woods talks about her efforts to re-open the sit-down eatery in her College Hill neighborhood in north St. Louis.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this month, Fresno's Diner on E. Grand Boulevard suffered extensive damages when a pickup truck ran into the side of the building. Members of the community have started a campaign to help re-open the establishment.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with the local restaurant’s owner, Pat Woods, about her efforts to improve the College Hill neighborhood in north St. Louis.

Fabiano Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi in the playoff round of the 2017 London Chess Classic
Lennart Ootes | Grand Chess Tour

The last super tournament of 2017 ended with American grand master Fabiano Caruana edging out Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi in a tiebreak to claim victory at the London Chess Classic, ahead of World Champion Magnus Carlsen. This is a significant victory for Caruana, who struggled in tournaments at the beginning of the year.