Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Courtesy National Lutheran Choir

This weekend, the Minneapolis-based National Lutheran Choir will return to St. Louis for its annual Christmas concert at the First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, the choir’s Artistic Director David Cherwein joined contributor Steve Potter to discuss the performances and how the group works to preserve sacred choral music in the United States:

Gianna Ceriotti and Emily Catanzaro pet Paul during a recent visit to Mauhaus Cat Café in Maplewood. (Dec. 7, 2016)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s a new café in St. Louis, where you can get a cappuccino and your cat fix.

Mauhaus Cat Café  in Maplewood offers coffee and pastries, and houses 10 cats from Tenth Life Cat Rescue available for petting, playing and adoption.

The spot opened in November and already is so popular that if you’re interested in going, you’ll need to book your visit early, co-founder Dana Huth said.

“We’ve had some waits as long as an hour to get in just because it’s a limited space and we don’t want to overcrowd it,” Huth said.

Fabiano Caruana and Veselin Topolov speed through a game at the recent Champion Showdown.
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

I don’t mean to go rogue, but one of the more controversial topics in the chess world currently is the amount of time a chess game should take.

There are the chess purists, who believe high-level chess games should be played at the classical time control (those games take 4-5 hours usually), and then there is a growing group of the chess community which thinks faster chess is better chess. That said, the games may not be better, but the idea is that the speed may be better for excitement and gaining more of a general audience.

Sarrita Hunn's Sarrita Hunn, "Art As...Library"  is a number of books attached at thier ends, spine up to the wall, was displayed at an earlier exhibit celebrating Temporary Art Review's fifth anniversary.
Provided by The Luminary

A St. Louis online arts journal that reaches local, national and international readers, is about to celebrate an important milestone.  James McAnally and Sarrita Hunn founded the Temporary Art Review in 2011. To celebrate its fifth anniversary, they’re publishing a limited edition book of writing from the site.  It may sound like esoteric art stuff, but as McAnally told Willis Ryder Arnold, there’s a lot at stake.

Lucy Englander and Rose Hanley joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss the Little Bit Foundation.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis area non-profit The Little Bit Foundation has aided schoolchildren in need for the past 15 years by providing one-on-one support in schools to identify specific needs from underwear and eyeglasses to meals and mental health.

The organization was founded by Rose Hanley, Little Bit’s executive director, with a simple coat drive for an area school. Now, the non-profit serves 25 schools and 7,000 children in the St. Louis area.

Valerie Battle Kienzel’s new book, “What’s with St. Louis?” tackles some of St. Louis' strangest traditions.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

There are myriad oddities about St. Louis that if you’ve lived here long enough, you’ll learn to nod and make commentary about in polite conversation. Toasted ravioli.

Standing Rock encampment sits under fresh snow
Provided by Kathy Dickerson

When Dominique Aneekaneeka arrived at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest camp last month, she was struck by the site’s organization.  She saw improvised roads lined with tents and teepees, bathrooms, a communal kitchen and large community fire pit. The tribe had even arranged trash pickup at the camp, which for months has attracted people from across the United States — from other Native Americans to would-be allies.

A comparison of improved crosswalks and additional sidewalks before and after the project on Government and Wells Drives.
Provided | Forest Park Forever

Another long-awaited construction project is coming to Forest Park.

The southwest entrance to the park off Skinker Boulevard is closing Wednesday for six months so workers can rebuild the sections of Government Drive and Wells Drive leading up to the St. Louis Zoo’s paid parking lots.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, December 11 will be “The Career of Herb Ellis.”  Guitarist Herb Ellis was born in Farmersville, Texas in 1921.  After a short stint in college, he went on the road with popular dance bands.  In his 59-year performing career, he played with Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Harris, Johnny Hodges, Roy Eldridge, Lester Young, Joe Pass, the Great Guitars and others as well as his own groups.  In addition to these musicians, this show will also feature music by Louis Armstrong, Freddie Greene, Onzy Matthews, Mahalia Jackson and the Ray Brown Big Band.

A KSD TV card advertising Corky's Colorama show the clown counting his fingers in a porkpie hat, red nose, and makeup
Provided by St. Louis Media History Foundation

Local children’s television icon Corky the Clown, beloved by baby boomers, died today. He was 91. 

Clif St. James, of Webster Groves, had been experiencing complications related to pneumonia. 

During the 1950s and 60s St. James was a veritable mainstay on KSD-TV. He appeared daily on the channel after school as his clown persona from 4 to 4:30 p.m., but also held duties as a weatherman and occasional news anchor. Occasionally, he even performed his weather duties as Corky.  His career at the station spanned 30 years.

Nancy Fowler and Jenny Simeone joined "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh about stories they reported on this week for St. Louis Public Radio.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, we took you behind the headlines to discuss the week’s top stories as reported by St. Louis Public Radio. This week, we peered deeper into how people in LGBT and immigrant communities are dealing with the results of the 2016 election.

Joining the program were St. Louis Public Radio’s Arts and Culture Reporter Nancy Fowler and Diversity Fellow Jenny Simeone.

Here are two background stories that would be helpful to read:

A promotional image from Metro Theater's production of "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane."
Metro Theater

St. Louis children’s theater company, Metro Theater, is bringing “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” to life on the stage this month at the Missouri History Museum. The play follows the journey of a toy lost from its owner and is based on the book written by Kate Di Camillo, Newberry Award-winning author of “Because of Winn Dixie” and “The Tale of Despereaux.”

This collage of new RAC Fellows includes, clockwise, Agnes Wilcox, Jess Dugan and Robert McDonald Jr. and Damon Davis.
Provided and file photos

The Regional Arts Commission has chosen its 2016 Artists Fellows, who will each receive $20,000 checks to help with their work.

This is the fourth year RAC has presented the awards. Winning artists do not have to designate a specific project; they may use the money in any way that helps make their work possible.

The new group of 10 features literary, visual and performing artists, including a local performer who wants to spread his love of opera.

A photo of the prisoner of war camp at Weingarten, MO.
Courtesy David Fiedler

Sunday, Dec. 11, marks 75 years since the United States declared war on Germany and Italy. That was four days after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, which killed 2,403 Americans, and three days after the U.S. declared war on the Empire of Japan in retaliation.

The United States had officially entered World War II. With that entry, few realize that the nation would open its borders to house prisoners of war from the Axis powers for the remainder of the war.

From 1942 to 1945, more than 400,000 Axis prisoners were shipped to the United States and detained in camps across the nation. Missouri figured into this equation, housing some 15,000 prisoners of war from Germany and Italy inside state lines.

 Norwegian Magnus Carlsen was challenged by Russia's Sergey Karjakin
Lennart Ootes | Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

The World Chess Championship is the pinnacle event of the chess world. The process to earn the right to challenge the reigning world champion is grueling, and the match itself is by far the most intense event in chess. The championship is 12 games played over three weeks.

This year's championship was held at Fulton Fish Market in the South Seaport neighborhood of New York City. The reigning world champion, Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, was challenged by Russia's Sergey Karjakin, the youngest grandmaster in the history of chess. The prize fund? A cool $1.1 million.

St. Louis Youth Poet Laureate Bisa Adero and official Poet Laureate Michael Castro met each other awards ceremony on Oct. 14, 2016 at UrbArts.
Vincent Lang

Two official St. Louis poets don’t always agree on what’s appropriate but they do concur on at least one thing: If you want change, you've got to work for it. For this pair, words are the tools.

Holiday decorations in the parlor of the Field House include an 1870s Christmas tree made of goose feathers. December 2016.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

The Eugene Field House reopens Thursday with a 4,000-square-foot addition for museum exhibits that supporters hope will spark renewed interest in the historic site that’s just a baseball’s throw from Busch Stadium.

A view of the Trestle above I-70, just north of downtown St. Louis.
Paul Sableman | Flickr

Josie McDonald is “always looking for new walkable and bikeable destinations in the city.” She says she fell in love with St. Louis because of its road and bike path bike-ability.

But something’s been weighing on her mind for a while: a seeming bike path she just can’t bike. It goes by the name of “The Trestle” and you may have seen it as you drive on Interstate 70 north out of downtown St. Louis.

So, she asked Curious Louis to solve the mystery for her — so we have.

Jarl Mohn has been NPR's CEO since 2014.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday, St. Louis Public Radio had a special visitor: Jarl Mohn, the CEO of NPR. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh had a few moments to talk with him about the future of public radio, his thoughts on covering the Trump administration and the state of media literacy.

Mohn joined NPR as CEO on July 1, 2014. Prior to that, Mohn founded E! Entertainment Television and held senior leadership positions at MTV, VH1 and CNET.

Below, we’ve summarized some of the most interesting points from the conversation:

On the Trump administration…

Violinist Leila Josefowicz plays with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in this photo taken earlier this fall.
Dilip Vishwanat

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra can claim some of the glory in a Grammy Awards nomination announced today.

Violinist Leila Josefowicz was nominated for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for her performance on John Adams' Scheherazade.2,  in a February 2016 recording with the SLSO. Music Director David Robertson conducted the performance.

Allen Roth and Jerry Eastman both contributed objects to the St. Louis Blues memorabilia exhibit.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Bruce Brodsky will never forget watching St. Louis Blues center Doug Wickenheiser score the winning goal — after what seemed like sure defeat — in Game Six of the 1986 Stanley Cup playoffs.

“The rafters were shaking the people were banging their wooden seats, cheering, hugging, high fiving,” Brodsky said.

Today, Brodsky’s tickets to the game now known affectionately among fans as the Monday Night Miracle are on display at the St. Louis Public Library’s new exhibit: “50 Years of Blood, Sweat and Cheers-A Tribute to the St. Louis Blues and their Fans.” It runs at the library's central branch through March 4.

Joe Buck doesn’t like NPR. You might not be able to tell this fact from the number of interviews he’s had on the network about his first memoir “Lucky Bastard,” but there it is. St. Louisan and national sportscaster Joe Buck has distaste for public radio. Just not for the reason you think.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for December 4, 2016 is “The Music of J.J. Johnson.”  Trombonist J.J.

Nancy Kranzberg
Nancy Kranzberg

While visiting the Palm Springs Art Museum in California, I wandered into the magnificent Ostergaard Glass Galleries and feasted my eyes on some glorious works of art. A very informative documentary  titled,"Pilchuck: A Dance With Fire" was playing outside the galleries. The film told of how Pilchuck was founded by the iconic figure Dale Chihuly and a few art friends in the counterculture days of the early 70s. Pilchuck Glass School pushed the boundaries from its very beginnings.

The St. Louis landscape was Eugene Mackey’s architectural canvas; his palette was integrity, artistic genius and spirituality.

“You work on a project until you find the soul of it,” his longtime friend, Van Brokaw, said he once told him. “Spirituality was an important underpinning in his life."

In a career that spanned more than 50 years, Mr. Mackey infused more than 3,000 spaces with a spirit of humanity, inextricably interwoven with beauty and functionality. He died on Sunday (Nov. 27) of an aggressive form of squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer) at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He was 77 and had lived in Ladue.

Elizabeth Herring, who turned 90 on Oct. 26, practives for her trapeze show in this photo taken in October of 2016.
Provided | Elizabeth Herring

As a teenager, Elizabeth Herring of Ladue escaped a life luxury by joining the circus. Tonight, she’ll be back in the ring, celebrating her 90th birthday at a party benefiting St. Louis’ Circus Harmony.

Dred Scott's grave is one of the most frequently visited graves at Calvary Cemetery. This photos was taken in November 2016.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Why aren’t Dred Scott and his wife buried in the same cemetery?

Pamela Richardson posed that question to Curious Louis recently after a visit to Calvary Cemetery in north St. Louis, where Dred Scott is buried.

“I wondered, ‘Is she not buried with him — and why not?’ I had been to Calvary many times. I had seen his place of rest, but her name was not on the tombstone,’’ said Richardson, who has family members buried at the cemetery.

An uncooked egg sits in stone, the shell turned transluscent by white vinegar. Through it the yolk is visible.
Provided by the Catalina Ouyang

Catalina Ouyang’s sculptures are an amalgam of unexpected materials: a raw egg soaked in white vinegar, marble, fake bones, a printed copy of Italo Calvino’s book “Invisible Cities” and basketball shorts. 

Ouyang uses the objects to examine her Chinese-American identity and challenge social pressures placed on immigrants to conform to North American norms. She specifically aims to provoke questions about how society asks immigrants to assimilate into white culture.

She wants people to consider what for her is a consistent dilemma: “How to contend with what I call the aspirational fantasy of whiteness in what I think persists as an imperialist and colonialist power structure."

Kea Wilson recently published her first novel, "We Eat Our Own," with Scribner.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“Canny, funny and impressively detailed.” That’s what the New York Times had to say about Kea Wilson’s first novel “We Eat Our Own,” published earlier this year with Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Rendering of proposed Grandel Theater renovations depicts glowing exterior of building at dusk with people chilling outside.
Provided by Kranzberg Arts Foundation

After closing several years ago, the Grandel Theater in Grand Center will get a new shot as a rehabbed performance venue and exhibit space.

The Kranzberg Arts Foundation has begun renovating the Grandel Theater and intends to will reopen its main stage by spring or summer of this year. Kranzberg Arts Foundation Executive Director Chris Hansen said he wants the space to do more than just host performances.

“We really want to stay focused on meeting the needs of our broader community and making sure the space connects the dots beyond just the main stage performances,” he said.

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