Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Sawyer, Dudman featured at Millstone Lecture

Jul 29, 2018

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 2, 2011 - Jon Sawyer, founding director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and former Chief Washington Correspondent of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, will present the 16th James C. Millstone Memorial Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Saint Louis University School of Law.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for July 29, 2018 will be “Jazz Giants for July and August.”  Throughout its history, certain key musicians have heavily influenced the course of jazz. This month, the musicians will include Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Lester Young, Charlie Christian, Jack Teagarden, Benny Carter, Bill Evans, Abbey Lincoln, Johnny Hodges, Hank Jones, Kenny Burrell, Charlie Parker, Oscar Peterson, Charlie Haden, Lee Morgan Steve Lacy and Albert Ayler.  The music heard will span 76 years of jazz.

Psychologists say racial profiling can cause physical and mental health issues including anxiety attacks, insomnia and nightmares.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

When Washington University student Teddy Washington and nine other black incoming freshmen were stopped by Clayton police officers in early July, the group followed the officers’ orders to prove they were not the perpetrators of a recent “dine and dash” at the nearby IHOP.

Several of the students presented their receipts to the officers before they walked back to the restaurant around midnight on July 7, with police vehicles alongside them. The manager of the IHOP confirmed to the officers they were not the suspects and the students were free to leave.

RhonniRose Mantilla, wearing a red dress, rehearses Thursday night for an upcoming community production of West Side Story in July.
Monica Mileur | COCA

A few weeks ago, St. Louis provided a flashpoint in a national conversation about theater casting and cultural heritage.

A group of visiting theater artists booed a Muny performance with a white actor playing an Asian role, before walking out. They also objected to Caucasian actors playing Puerto Ricans in a segment from “West Side Story.”

This weekend, COCA is performing “West Side Story” at the Edison Theatre at Washington University. Half the characters in the story are Puerto Rican. But with a few exceptions, they’ve historically been played on stage and in film by white actors.  That bothers some of the young people in the COCA production.

Entertainer Jenifer Lewis will be in St. Louis Saturday, July 28, promoting her book "The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir."
Courtesy of Julia Walker

She’s been dubbed the “Mother of Black Hollywood” for playing a number of maternal characters in film and on TV screens for more than two decades. From “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and “Poetic Justice” to “Cast Away” and more recently “Black-ish,” Jenifer Lewis has made herself a well-known name in American households.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh spoke with the St. Louis native about her career highlights that have led to the release of “The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir.”

“I gave my entire heart and soul,” Lewis said about writing the book. “I have never known how to half-ass do anything. I do it with 2,000 percent, now mind you, that could’ve bounced off the bipolar mania, but some parts of that, it worked for me.”

the 2018 U.S. Junior Champions, Awonder Liang and Carissa Yip.
Austin Fuller | St. Louis Chess Club

After the first two rounds of this year's U.S. Junior Championship it was anything but clear who was in the lead. Defending champion, grandmaster Awonder Liang, was at a 50 percent score with two draws in a row. 

To make matters more complicated, of the five grandmasters competing, two players ranked in lower half of the field. International master Advait Patel and FIDE master Alex Bian, were performing exceptionally well.

Incoming Rep artistic director Hana Sharif will spend a year shadowing retiring director Steve Woolf and connecting with various communities.
The Rep

The incoming artistic director of Repertory Theatre of St. Louis believes that growing audiences involves much more than simply issuing one-time invitations.

Director, playwright and producer Hana Sharif will spend a year getting to know the area and The Rep before stepping into the post after longtime artistic director Steven Woolf retires in 2019. She comes to St. Louis from Baltimore Center Stage, where she worked as associate artistic director.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Nancy Fowler talked with Sharif about the work ahead and the experience she’ll bring to The Rep.

Shayba Muhammad crafted a 12-week course to help artists and artisans start or grow a small business. 7/26/18
Jeremy D. Goodwin | St. Louis Public Radio

A few years ago Shayba Muhammad started making jewelry for herself, and was inspired to start a business, Mahnal, to sell her work.

Now she wants to help other artists and artisans who would like to do the same. The Makers Program, which she started with help from a $10,000 prize from Arts and Education Council, will offer guidance to help participants navigate the business end of their craft.

Left, Sarah “Bricktator” Arnosky and Brooke “Vicious van Gogo” Clark are the co-captains of Arch Rival Roller Derby.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Ranking fifth out of 400 leagues in the world is St. Louis’ own Arch Rival Roller Derby.

Established in 2005 and now reaching numbers near 100, this league has made a name for itself locally, but the skaters are ready to take that to the next level.

“We compete across the state [and country], and now we get an opportunity to compete internationally,” Brooke “Vicious van Gogo” Clark said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Students training with UMSL's jazz ensemble will get an enhanced travel budget, in addition to other improvements to the program. 7/24/18
University of Missouri St. Louis

Students at the University of Missouri-St. Louis will soon have access to a beefed-up jazz studies program due to a $1.3 million donation by the Steward Family Foundation.

Though the school currently has student ensembles and offers instrument instruction and related courses — including one on jazz improvisation — students will now be able to earn a degree in jazz studies from UMSL’s newly christened David and Thelma Steward Institute For Jazz Studies.

Hana Sharif will begin working with The Rep this fall and become artistic director in 2019.
The Rep

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has named Hana Sharif  as artistic director to replace Steven Woolf.

Sharif, who is associate artistic director at Baltimore Center Stage, will take The Rep post at the end of the 2018-2019 season. 

Sharif’s career includes working as a director, playwright and producer. She is the first African-American woman to head a large professional theater organization in St. Louis.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for July 22, 2018 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour and New Music.”  Boogie Woogie and blues piano music will be heard in the first hour with Count Basie, Leroy Carr, our own Ralph Sutton playing a duet with Jay McShann, Pete Johnson, Albert Ammons and Meade “Lux” Lewis, Otis Spann, Gene Harris and Dave Burrell.  New music in the last two hours will feature selections from the Mosaic Set, “The Savory Collection 1935-1940,” a newly discovered 1963 John Coltrane recording session, the Charles Pillow Large Ensemble playing music from Miles Davis’ electric period, Chica

Jessica Hentoff and Ari Maayan talked about Circus Harmony's trip to Puerto Rico from which they returned earlier this week.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Lions, tigers and … unicyclists, oh my! Circus performers are known for juggling many acts, but the St. Louis Arches can add humanitarian efforts to their repertoire as well.

Kevin and Danielle McCoy, seen here with their daughter, Elle, posed an artistic response to their own experiences with colorism. 7/20/18
Jeremy D. Goodwin | St. Louis Public Radio

Married couple Danielle and Kevin McCoy are used to being treated differently based on the color of their skin — not only because they are each African-American, but because her skin tone is lighter than his.

“Dani being fairer-skinned, wavier-textured hair,” Kevin McCoy said, “and me darker, more coarse, as we say nappier hair — I was not the ‘safe’ black person.”

He said people they encounter, both “in the black community and outside of the black community,” appear comfortable with Danielle but view him as “aggresive.”

This led them to create the work in “Color-ism,” an exhibition that opens at the Gallery at the Kranzberg Arts Center on Friday and remains on view through Sept. 3. Put simply, colorism is the preference for lighter-colored skin, even within communities of color.

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

Lois Conley of St. Louis grew up in Mill Creek Valley, where everything was in walking distance, and neighbors kept a close eye on each others’ children.

“You felt safe; You felt protected. Everybody knew everybody,” Conley said.

But in the late 1950s, the area between Union Station and Saint Louis University was condemned in the name of urban renewal. Families moved away and lost touch.

Now St. Louis is a finalist in a national contest that would help fund a public art project documenting the destruction of Mill Creek.

Stephen Werner joined host Don Marsh to discuss the life of Daniel Lord.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Daniel Lord was a prominent American Catholic figure in the 20th century. He attended St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant before being ordained in 1923. A priest, writer, editor and speaker, Lord shared his message of faith through a variety of media. He even had his hand in movie and theater production, co-writing the controversial Motion Picture Production Code that studios adhered to from 1930 to 1968.

Jeffrey and Pamela Blair pose for a portrait at EyeSee Me.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

At a bookstore in University City, young people of color can crack open a book and see themselves as doctors, superheroes, historical figures and even princesses.

Jeffrey and Pamela Blair are the co-owners of the EyeSeeMe African American Children’s Bookstore. Jeffrey said he knew there was a need for the store long before they opened their doors in 2015. As they were homeschooling their children, Jeffrey said it was a challenge to find books and educational resources that were reflective of their children and their own experiences.

Left, Adelaide Lancaster, Georgie Herz and Aja La’Starr Owens discussed their efforts of dismantling prejudices starting at an early age through literature.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Studies indicate children are aware of gender stereotypes by age 3 and of many racial stereotypes by 4 or 5. Yet only a portion of the population is having conversations with their kids about these topics. Research also shows that white families are less likely to engage in this dialogue.

Jim DeFelice is the author of "West Like Lightning: The Brief, Legendary Ride of the Pony Express."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The Pony Express is an enduring icon of the American West. It was a venture that used horseback riders to transport mail halfway across the continent from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California.

“This book had to be one of the ones that I had the most fun with,” explained Jim DeFelice, author of “West Like Lightning: The Brief, Legendary Ride of the Pony Express."

DeFelice, who was a guest Tuesday on St. Louis on the Air, said his research included following the old trail, much of which is publicly accessible by car or walking.

Jason Stokes, 10, reaches to make a move Friday, July 13, 2018, during a St. Louis Chess Club summer camp at Saint Louis University.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The giant chess piece outside the St. Louis Chess Club in the Central West End grew even bigger this spring to regain its title as world’s largest.

It’s a fitting play as the club celebrates its 10-year anniversary on Tuesday.

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