Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Dr. Jonathan Smith and Sharon Stevens joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh for a discussion about the depictions of African-American men and boys in the media.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Negative public perception of African-American men and boys in American society has long been documented. Discussion in recent years has turned to how depictions of black men and boys in different media contribute to this stereotypical image.

Charles Berry, Jr. stands behind a podium with a giant image of Chuck Berry behind.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For more than 40 years, bassist Jim Marsala toured with Chuck Berry. They played together in the Kremlin in Moscow, on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, and at Berry’s regular Duck Room show at Blueberry Hill in the Loop.

In the early 2000s, Berry’s son Charles Berry Jr. joined the band. Berry then began music, writing piano lines, lyrics and guitar parts for what would be his final work — tapping Marsala and his son on guitar.

Those recordings will be released today in the rock icon’s final album, “CHUCK.” The younger Berry says it’s a classic, and shows that late in life his father remained a gifted songwriter with a knack for making people dance.

On Chess: The musical imagery of chess

Jun 8, 2017
Wesley So and Akshat Chandra playing at the opening reception of The Imagery of Chess: Saint Louis Artists on March 23, 2017.
World Chess Hall of Fame | Michael DeFilippo

Chess, music and art are pursuits from differing spheres but which have shared meaningful connections over time.

In 1944, chess master and Dadaist, Marcel Duchamp, gallery owner Julien Levy and Surrealist painter Max Ernst set out to recontextualize the game of chess by inviting over 30 painters, photographers, architects, designers, sculptors and composers to create modern interpretations of traditional chess sets. The resulting works were featured in a groundbreaking 1944 exhibition, The Imagery of Chess, which illuminated the game as a lush landscape for artistic expression of all kinds.

Redoubled No. 3 by Jen Everett dipicts a layerd photo of the side of a black man's face that has been scarred.
Provided by Projects+Gallery

Sculptor Kahlil Irving has been making art for more than 10 years and his reputation as a critical thinker and talented sculptor continues to grow. But all too often, he says, people primarily think of him and other black artists in St. Louis in terms of their race. And Irving’s sick of it.

Richard Cohen, Vivian Anderson Watt and Cecilia Nadal discuss "Between Worlds" with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Later this week, Gitana Productions will debut a production that utilizes acting, poetry, music and dance to get across a point that we share common history and similarities between people. The production is called “Between Worlds: An American Journey,” and opens tomorrow night.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by three people involved with “Between Worlds.”

Stéphane Denève will be the St. Louis Symphony's next music director.
Photo by Drew Farrell | Courtesy of St. Louis Symphony

The St. Louis Symphony has named Stéphane Denève as its next music director.

Denève, music director of the Brussels Philharmonic and principal guest conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, will serve as music director designate during the 2018-2019 season. His three-year term begins with the 2019-2020 season.

Edward McPherson, author of "The History of the Future," joined St. Louis on the Air on Tuesday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“St. Louis is a city of gates that do not normally swing wide,” writes author and Washington University English professor Edward McPherson in “The History of the Future,” a book of essays reflecting on American places which was released earlier this spring.

This week marks the 21st annual Twangest, a local music festival celebrating Americana music at Old Rock House.
Twangfest

This year marks the 21st for Twangfest, a local music festival drawing national and local bands to Off Broadway in south St. Louis to celebrate Americana music.

For organizer John Wendland, this year’s festival (featuring bands like Black Joe Lewis, Chuck Prophet and Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards) feels like it has finally matured.

“You know, it took a while, but here we are,” Wendland told St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter.

File photo: St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed said it would be unfair to appoint a poet laureate until the controversy is settle.d
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The delay in naming a new St. Louis poet laureate may soon be over.

in December, a poet laureate task force recommended local poet and educator Jane Ellen Ibur. The next step was up the Board of Aldermen, which oversees the position. But a dispute about whether the task force followed regulations has delayed the board’s vote for five months.

Board President Lewis Reed now says he believes Ibur will be offered the position. But first, he wants a board committee to look into the way task force chair Aaron Williams handled its affairs.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for June 4, 2017 will be “The Career of Lionel Hampton.”  Vibraphonist, drummer and vocalist Lionel Hampton was one of the first to bring the vibraphone into jazz as a solo instrument.  His out-sized personality kept his career going long after the swing era had faded.  We will hear him with artists as diverse as Paul Howard’s Quality Serenaders, Louis Armstrong, Nat “King” Cole, the Jim Cullum River Walk Jazz Band, Benny Goodman, Art Tatum, Buddy Rich, Dinah Washington, Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz, Charlie Christian, Chu Berry, Oscar Peterson, Johnny Hodges and Dizzy

Former St. Louisan Lynn Cohen plays Grandma in the film "The Pickle Recipe."
Provided | Jewish Film Festival

The St. Louis Jewish Film Festival is celebrating 22 years of cinema that explores historical and modern-day Jewish themes.

One of the 16 movies in this year’s schedule features an actor who influenced a generation of St. Louis theater professionals — and is also known for her role in “Sex in the City.”

Kansas City native Lynn Cohen stars in a comedy about the quest for a grandmother’s secret pickling formula.  Festival organizer Zelda Sparks said some St. Louisans may recognize Cohen from the local Jewish Community Center, where she directed youth theater in the 1970s.

"The Trial" will have its American Premiere with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis on Sunday, June 4.
Kelsey Nickerson | Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ 42nd season started last month with a production of “Madame Butterfly” and runs through the end of June. This Sunday, it adds the American premiere of famed minimalist composer Phillip Glass’ opera “The Trial.”

Poet Jane Ellen Ibur, seen here in a May 1, 2017 photo, has enjoyed a storied career. For nearly 20 years, she co-produced and co-hosted the local radio show "Poet for the Halibut."
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis poet Jane Ellen Ibur is certainly a character. She's appeared before a class of children wearing a cape and carrying a magic wand. She sometimes wears two pairs of glasses at a time — one for distance, a second for close-up.

In March I attended the True/False Documentary Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri. The festival takes place yearly at the end of February or beginning of March. What a unique and festive atmosphere with each film featuring music before the film and contemporary pieces of sculpture all over town. The festival was founded in 2004 by Paul Sturtz and David Wilson and draws thousands of people from all over the country.

In this file photo: Antionette Carroll's Creative Reaction Labs works with students and oth
Provided | Creative Reaction Lab

St. Louis’ Arts and Education Council has announced the first recipients of a new startup competition for arts entrepreneurs. The winners are Antionette Carroll and Amanda Wells.

Carroll founded a group called Creative Reaction Lab, which uses design to meet the challenges of underrepresented communities. One project brought in professionals to teach students about creative problem-solving.

Wells organized the writers’ collaborative Flow that enables writers to work together and artists to work with writers.

On Chess: America's juniors continue to rise

Jun 1, 2017
The tournament hall at the Spring Chess Classic May 16 -24, 2017.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The 2017 Spring Chess Classic recently wrapped up after nine continuous days of chess at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

 

The tournament has reaffirmed what many have considered true: This is the golden age of American chess. While the U.S. boasts three top-10 players, along with the current Olympic team title and World U-20 title, history has shown that those accomplishments are extremely difficult to repeat in an era where the game of chess has opened up globally and resulted in increased opposition.

A scene from Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' "The Winter's Tale," which opens on June 2.
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

"Life can turn on a dime,” said Bruce Longworth, the director of this year’s Shakespeare Festival St. Louis production of “The Winter’s Tale,” which opens on June 2 and runs through June 25.

Considered one of William Shakespeare’s “problem plays,” because the subject matter falls neither neatly into the category of comedy or tragedy, Longworth, who is also associate artistic director of the festival, believes this play best emulates the reality of life.

The Sloppy Joe Joe, a dish at Charleville Brewing Co. & Tavern, on Sauce Magazine's list of new restaurants to try in June.
Michelle Volansky | Sauce Magazine

The Sound Bites team at Sauce Magazine is back and ready to help you plan your nights out at St. Louis restaurants during the month of June.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Sauce Magazine’s Catherine Klene and Matt Sorrell joined host Don Marsh to discuss the best new restaurants to try during the month of June. They also filled us in on others that shut their doors in May. 

Patrick Murphy and Candace O'Connor have tracked the rise and fall and rise of St. Louis' Central West End neighborhood in two recent documentary projects.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Central West End, considered by most to be a vital neighborhood in the City of St. Louis was not always viewed that way. In the 1970s, it was considered a symbol of blight. What happened in the space from then to now to transform the neighborhood?

stacks of library books
faungg | Flickr

Don't count on using an interlibrary loan service to get a book from outside your town or county in the future. Services like interlibrary loan may be at risk in the upcoming round of federal budget cuts.

The Trump administration’s proposed budget, released this week, would eliminate funding to the Institute of Library and Museum Sciences, a federal agency that provides significant funding to Missouri’s state, local, and county library systems.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited tonight for May 28, 2017 will be “Six Decades of Keys and Strings at the Vanguard + New Music.”  The venerable Village Vanguard has been the site of many outstanding recordings.  The May Keys and Strings Hour will present music recorded in every decade from the 1960’s to the 2010’s in that venue, including music by the Bobby Hutcherson Quartet, a Jim Hall Quartet and the trios of Junior Mance, Christian McBride, Bill Charlap and Fred Hersch, along with the Great Jazz Trio.  New music for May will feature George Coleman, a duo between Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith,

This photo went viral earlier this year and features five Collage Dance Collective ballerinas. From left to right: Brandye Lee, Daphne Lee, Kimberly Ho-Tsai, Nikki Taylor and Luisa Cardoso
Photo provided by Kevin Thomas | Credit: Andrew J. Breig

The 10th annual Spring to Dance Festival gets underway Friday night at the Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Featured among the 30 professional dance companies is Collage Dance Collective, a Memphis-based company.

Kevin Thomas, the company’s artistic director, explained to St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter on Friday that Collage Dance Collective is a contemporary ballet company.

A young boy carries a rose at a Vietnam Memorial Ceremony near Branson, Missouri at the College of the Ozarks. 2015
Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau | Flickr

Over this Memorial Day weekend, many people through the St. Louis area and around the nation will pause to honor military service members.

Some ceremonies are designed specifically to remember those who died in the line of duty, while others will celebrate all service members, past and present.

This gold mummy case is one of the replica artificats on display at a new exhibit at the Saint Louis Science Center.
Provided | Saint Louis Science Center

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Egyptologist Bob Brier joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss a new exhibit opening at the Saint Louis Science Center.

The exhibit puts guests in the shoes of archeologist Howard Carter when he discovers King Tutankhamun tomb and features recreations of many other artifacts.

“The Discovery of King Tut” opens May 27 and runs through January 7.

Yo-Yo the Narrator, performed by Cecil MacKinnon, is a mainstay at Circus Flora.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

After a nearly 150 year run, the famed Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performed its final show on Sunday in New York.

Here in St. Louis, circus performers were watching a live video stream of the event in a tent of their own.

“It was wonderfully heartfelt, some of the things the performers said, especially about the role of animals in people’s lives,” said Cecil MacKinnon, Circus Flora’s theater director, who joined St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter on Thursday.

Chess legend Gary Kasparov signed copies of his book at the Super Nationals Chess Tournaments in Nashville. May 2017
Karen Boyd

The biggest chess event of all time was held May 12-15 in Nashville. In total, 5,577 players vied for prizes in the three national events which are held together at the same site at the same time every four years. 

 

The event is a mix of four tournaments, the Nationals, the Elementary Chess Championships, the Middle School Chess Championships and the High School Chess Championships. These four competitions are normally held on different weekends and in different cities in the spring. However, every four years, they are held simultaneously at the same site.

In this May 24, 2017 photo, Robert Orth as Uncle John and Katharine Goeldner as Ma Joad tangle with each other in "The Grapes of Wrath."
Ken Howard | Opera Theatre St. Louis

St. Louisans can experience a musical makeover of the classic Depression-era tale of a poor Oklahoma family when Opera Theatre of St. Louis debuts a new rendition of “The Grapes of Wrath” on Saturday.

Drought and desperation drive the Joad family of tenant farmers off the plains to California for the promise of a better life. It’s a story of good intentions and bad outcomes that resonates today, said Katharine Goeldner, who sings the role of Ma Joad.

“All they were trying to do was feed their families,” Goeldner said.

Marcia and Tim Dorsey's fully rehabbed 1850s stone house in Carondelet. Marcia lived in this house when she was a girl, but after it left her family's hands, the home fell into disrepair. In 2014, the Dorseys began the process of rehabilitating it.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Just east of Broadway in the Patch neighborhood of Carondelet stands a small, rough-cut stone house. The structure, over 160 years old, is set to receive a 'Most Enhanced' building award from the Landmarks Association of St. Louis this Thursday evening.

Author Scott Turow is the author of the new novel, "Testimony."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In his latest novel, “Testimony,” author Scott Turow was able to combine two longtime interests: the International Criminal Court in The Hague and the Romani ethnic group.

“This was sort of a writers’ bucket list,” Turow said of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands.

The other interest, the Roma ethnic group intertwines with the ICC as Turow writes about the disappearance of an entire Roma refugee camp following the Bosnian War.

Maureen Kavanaugh recently released an updated version of Elizabeth McNulty’s popular book “St. Louis Then and Now,” which pairs archive and contemporary photographs that tell the story of St. Louis through its landmarks.

On Tuesday, Kavanaugh joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the updated book.

“Some of it is exactly the same,” Kavanaugh said of the book.

In most circumstances, the ‘then’ and ‘now’ photos are taken from the same angle, though Kavanaugh said that wasn’t possible in every instance because of new construction.

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