Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Artwork designed by organizer Charles Purnell for the St. Louis artists event depicts the words not my presidents day laid over official portraits of United States presidents with an X over Donald Trump's face.
Provided by Charles Purnell

It’s rare that people find comfort in admitting their fears.  It’s even more unusual to admit those  fears to a group of strangers.

But finding strength in fear, frustration and confusion in a starkly divided nation is one of the aims of This Is Who I Am Now: Artists on Politics,” which takes place today at The Monocle, 4510 Manchester Ave., in St. Louis.

“That’s been one of the biggest things for me, being able to say I’m scared and I have no idea what I’m going to do in the next couple years," organizer Charles Purnell said. "I don’t know what’s going to change, I don’t know what’s going to happen — and knowing that’s OK. It’s OK to be afraid and to admit that.”

This collage of file photos shows the "Words for Love" book cover and author Emily Robbins.
Collage images provided by Riverhead Books

Author Emily Robbins was a Washington University grad student in August 2013 when she saw St. Louisans protesting in University City against U.S. plans to attack Syria. She was profoundly moved by the local activists and incorporated those feelings into the book she was writing, called “A Word for Love.”

On Wednesday night, Robbins will appear at Left Banks Books to sign copies, and speak about the book and its St. Louis roots.

“There is a very active community here,” Robbins said. “That was something I really drew on and felt proud of in St. Louis.”

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited  for February 19, 2017 will be “Americans in Paris-Part 3.”  Many outstanding recordings with Americans were made in Paris beginning in 1937 and continuing up to today with such musicians as Sidney Bechet, Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Stitt, Roy Eldridge, Miles Davis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Don Byas & Bud Powell, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Randy Weston, Eddy Louiss, Patricia Barber, Roy Haynes, Keith Jarrett, Roswell Rudd, Steve Lacy, the World Saxophone Quartet, Ornette Coleman and Prime Time and John Coltrane.

Marsha Coplon and Jeane Vogel are working to collect oral histories from Meacham Park residents.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Longtime residents of St. Louis County who  regularly drive down Lindbergh in the southern part of Kirkwood may not even realize that there is a historic community tucked behind the Kirkwood Commons shopping center. Meacham Park was annexed into Kirkwood in 1991, but its history dates back to 1892 when Elzey Meacham came to town and bought 150 acres of farmland in the area now bounded by Big Bend, Kirkwood Road and I-44. He divided the area into small parcels and sold them at an affordable price to people of modest means, many of them African American.

Alexis J. Roston, seen in this file photo, has performed "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" in Chicago and Milwaukee.
Provided | Milwaukee Rep

The story of a jazz a singer whose signature song drew attention to the brutal treatment of African-Americans will be on stage in St. Louis for the next two weeks.

Max and Louie Productions presents “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” a drama about the iconic Billie Holiday. The setting is a fictional performance that takes place four months before her death.

The production includes a dozen of Holiday’s songs and a running commentary in which she looks back on her life of love, loss, addiction and struggle with racism.

Rebecca Copeland, Rob Maesaka and Suzanne Sakahara discussed the history and legacy of Japanese internment, almost 75 years after the executive order that paved the way for it was signed.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Retired Lindenwood University professor Suzanne Sakahara was just six years old when she witnessed two FBI agents enter her house on Vashon Island, Washington, in 1942. They searched the house from top to bottom, looking for hunting rifles and radios for confiscation.

“They even looked in the kitchen at the length of our knives,” Sakahara said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “If you had too long of a knife, they confiscated it.”

Dick Henmi is a noted St. Louis architect, best known for the so-called "flying saucer" building on Grand, but his journey to St. Louis started during a dark period of American history.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

If you don’t know Richard (Dick) Henmi by name, and you probably should, you definitely know one of his most iconic contributions to St. Louis’ architectural assembly: the so-called ‘flying saucer’ building in Council Plaza off of Grand Boulevard. Henmi designed that building in 1967.

Logo for an upcoming norm tournament at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

Many readers may be familiar with such titles as Grandmaster (GM) and International Master (IM), but what do they mean? Why are they important? How does an aspiring player earn them?

The "March March" during True/False Film Fest in 2016 includes the Papier-mâché-d heads of the festival's co-founders Paul Sturtz and David Wilson.
Courtesy Kelly Moffitt

In a “post-truth” era of “alternative facts,” the importance of media literacy, and questioning why different media is made the way that it is, has reemerged in American society.  

Such media literacy values are baked into True/False Film Fest, a four-day mid-Missouri festival devoted solely to documentary filmmaking. This year the festival will take place from March 2-5 and screen some 35 nonfiction films that urge audiences to define the line between real and fake.

A mock-up of the St. Louis Map Room, a collaborative projec that will open in March, allowing citizens to reconsider the maps and routes of their daily lives through the lens of data.
Courtesy COCA

Take any given day of the week: What route do you take to work? How do you get to the grocery store? What secret, traffic-free pathways do you take to get to school?

Do you remember how you decided which way to go? What to avoid? Have you thought about what subtle factors influenced those decisions?

A selection of chocolates from The Candy Factory, a candy store highlighted in Deborah Reinhardt's "Delectable Destinations."
The Candy Factory

Happy early Valentine’s Day! We’ve got a delectable present for you ahead of the holiday: an audio guide to Missouri’s chocolate makers.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Deborah Reinhardt, the author of “Delectable Destinations: A Chocolate Lovers Guide to Missouri,” joined contributor Steve Potter to discuss the stories and creations of more than 20 chocolatiers across the state … including some in St. Louis.

Stones used by the St. Louis Curling Club during matches at the Creve Coeur Ice Arena. Each could weigh as much as 44 pounds.
St. Louis Curling Club

The first stand-alone curling facility in Missouri could be operating by the end of the year. Members of the St. Louis Curling Club have made an offer on property at the St. Louis Mills outlet mall. They are also having preliminary discussions with the city of Hazelwood about a possible tax abatement.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for February 12, 2017 will be “Americans in Paris-Part 2.”  Many outstanding recordings with Americans were made in Paris beginning in 1937 and continuing up to today with such musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Evans, Lester Young, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Jay McShann, Randy Weston, Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Keith Jarrett, Gerald Clayton, Albert Ayler and our own Black Artists Group.

The Slide Show contains my photographs of some of the artists heard on this show.

The Karpeles Manuscript Museum-St. Louis is one of fourteen locations across the United States that hold the world's largest private collection of original manuscripts.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Saint Louis Chamber Chorus continues its 2016-17 season February 12 with a concert at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.  The centerpiece of the program is  composer-in-residence Melissa Dunphy's “What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?” which was inspired by the testimony in favor of the Marriage Equality Bill by 86-year-old World War II veteran Phillip Spooner.

Author Rebecca Shuman reads from her book 'Schadenfreude, A Love Story" in St. Louis Public Radio studios.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

As a college junior Rebecca Schuman found herself in peak-hipster Berlin, sitting in a dark, smoke-filled bar where patrons ordered Heineken through a hole in the wall.  She’d wanted to live “Iggy Pop’s Berlin,” and to do that she wanted to find living space in a loft.

A friend told her that people in a a local collective living space was looking for a new roommate That’s how she found herself sitting across from a guy named Johannes who had, “shock of bright blond hair that stuck out in the electrified curls about six inches in all directions.”

Schuman  recounts the experience and a number of other anecdotes in “Schadenfreude, A Love Story,” a memoir. She'll discuss the book Sunday during a book launch at Urban Chestnut in The Grove.

A screengrab of Budweiser's Super Bowl advertisement, highlighting the young Adolphus Busch.
Budweiser

By now, this year’s Budweiser commercial during the Super Bowl has become the most viewed online of all the ads during this year’s big game. 

The ad follows the story of a young Adolphus Busch as he makes his way from Germany to St. Louis before starting Anheuser-Busch. It’s a feel-good story about immigrants’ contributions to American society, especially at a time when some immigrants to the United States feel under attack.

But how historically accurate is it?

Richie Camden and Dominic Rekart take the Breakaway Siberians dog sled team  out for a practice run on the Katy Trail near Weldon Spring, Mo., in January 2017.
Maren Leonard

It’s just after sunup on the Katy Trail in Weldon Spring, and musher Richie Camden is unloading his dog sledding equipment on the trailhead parking lot.

As he carries leads and adjusts harnesses, 11 blue-eyed Siberian huskies and one brown-eyed Gordon setter watch his every move through the truck windows.

Impatiently.

Nanook begins the whining. Jared the setter joins in with an excited bark. Soon, there’s a whole chorus of howls, ranging from baritone to soprano, echoing through the morning quiet.

Jan. 2, 2017 may well prove to be a landmark day in chess history as it marked the launch date of the new Universal Rating System (URS™). This exciting new system is expected to make it much easier for chess players across the world to achieve an international chess rating.

Development of the new rating system was co-funded by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and the Kasparov Chess Foundation. Its launch follows more than two years of research. The URS™ has already had a major impact on many of the world’s top players as the January 2017 rating list heavily impacted the selection of the 2017 Grand Chess Tour wild cards.

Elizabeth Vega is on the front porch of Art House in this February 6, 2017 photo, talking about a child's chalk drawing on the bricks.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis artist and activist Elizabeth Vega spends a lot of time in her home.

It’s a place in north St. Louis known as Art House, that she bought in 2015. There, she provides space for sign-making and other activities related to protest actions. She also works with local children to create kites, collages and other art to help them process their feelings. Recently, she spent five days and nights at Art House without leaving. An ankle monitoring device kept her tethered to her home.

Daven Anderson's "Last Light" captures life on a boat hauling 15 barges on the Ohio River at twilight.
Daven Anderson

Riddle me this: What surrounds us as Americans that most of us have never directly experienced?

If you guessed “our nation’s waterways,” you would be correct. Rivers and lakes are everywhere you turn in this country. This is perhaps no more so true than in St. Louis, which is cradled by the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and their many tributaries.

So it makes sense that St. Louis-based painter Dave Anderson would turn his most recent gallery exhibition into a tribute to America’s aquatic arteries.

Singaporean filmmaker Mabel Gan has brought a version of the International Children's Film Festival she started in Singapore to St. Louis.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s a new film festival in town, this time focused on films made by and for children. It is called the Big Eyes, Big Minds St. Louis International Children’s Film Festival and it is spearheaded by Singaporean filmmaker and festival director Mabel Gan.

“When I think of kids, I think of big eyes, big minds because they have bigger eyes and there is so much potential for their minds to grow,” Gan told St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter on Monday’s program.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for  February 5, 2017 will be “Americans in Paris-Part 1.”  Paris has always been welcoming to American jazz musicians.  Many outstanding recordings with Americans have been made there starting in 1937 with recordings of visiting Americans with Django Reinhardt and Stephanne Grapelli and continuing with Mary Lou Williams, the Clifford Brown Big Band, Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie with Sarah Vaughan, the Duke Ellington Violin Summit & band, Gary Burton, Dexter Gordon and Bud Powell, Horace Silver, Oscar Peterson, Thelonious Monk, Circle, Larry Young, the Quincy Jone

Whether we are singing, dancing or drawing or whether we are watching a play or listening to a concert or reading a book or reciting a poem--the arts can heal and be transformative in one way or another.

Last summer, the Duane Reed Gallery of Art featured works presented by folks involved with the Arts as Healing Foundation. The exhibition was entitled "The Circle of Life."

Katherine Bernhardt, Untitled, 2015. Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 96 x 120 inches. Courtesy the artist and CANADA, New York.
Katherine Bernhardt

Last Friday marked the opening of the new spring exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, featuring a wide variety of work examining the body, the sky and a site-specific mural from St. Louis native Katherine Bernhardt.

David Robertson, the St. Louis Symphony's musical director, leads the orchestra in this file photo.
Scott Ferguson | Provided

The St. Louis Symphony will open its 2017-18 season with six Mozart piano concertos featuring Emanuel Ax.

Its season, which marks half a century in Powell Hall,  concludes with a performance of “Swing Symphony” in collaboration with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz from Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Russel Neiss, a St. Louis-based Jewish educator was one of the creators of the viral @Stl_manifest Twitter account, which recounted the lives of Jewish refugees turned away from the U.S. in 1939 aboard the M.S. St. Louis.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

It was Thursday night, the day before Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. St. Louis-based Jewish educator and technologist Russel Neiss and his friend across the country, Rabbi Charlie Schwartz, had put their heads together.

Jacqueline Thompson plays the role of Esther in New Jewish Theatre's "Intimate Apparel."  She appears in this file photo.
Provided | Eric Woolsey

A play by New Jewish Theatre looks at the constraints placed on women in the early 1900s: the pressure to marry early, within their race.

In much of the United States, interracial marriage would be illegal for another 60 years. Miscegenation laws forbade blacks and whites from joining in wedlock until 1967.

But even as “Intimate Apparel” illustrates that taboo, it helps the theater company break out of its own limitations, given its history of largely white casts.  Four of the six characters in this play, produced by the Black Rep in 2005, are African-American. It’s the kind of opportunity New Jewish artistic director Kathleen Sitzer continually seeks.

Wesley So with the Sinquefield Cup trophy, which is one of the many tournaments he won in 2016
Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Saint Louis | Austin Fuller

Just last weekend, Wesley So won one of the most prestigious chess events, the Tata Steel Chess Tournament held in the Netherlands. So faced a difficult challenge, with World Champion Magnus Carlsen and World Championship challenger Sergey Karjakin participating but, in the end, he won the tournament with a convincing full point lead.

Summer Albarcha stands with friends at a rally to show support for immigrants and refugees outside Sen. Roy Blunt's Clayton office. This week, Blunt released a statement expressing support for President Trump's executive order on immigration. (Feb 2, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Protesters gathered outside Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s office in Clayton Wednesday to voice their opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Writer Kaitlyn Greenidge will talk about her novel at St. Louis Public Library headquarters at 7 p.m. on February 6.
Provided / St. Louis County Public Library

The idea of setting a special time for Americans to learn about black history began in 1926 from educator Carter G. Woodson. Concerned about lack of awareness about accomplishments of African-Americans, Woodson, the son of former slaves, set aside a week for students to learn about people who received scant attention in history books. Since 1976, every U.S. president has designated February as Black History Month. Other countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.

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