Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Josephine Baker, who grew up in the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood and lived much of her adult life in France, is the focus of an episode of “The Nod.”
Jac. de Nijs | Dutch National Archives

Josephine Baker is remembered for being many different things over the course of her remarkable life – a burlesque performer, a film actress, an activist, even a war hero. Less well known is the St. Louis-born celebrity’s role as a mother to 12 ethnically diverse children she began adopting in the 1950s as her “rainbow tribe.”

Mayor Lyda Krewson answers questions alongside panelists David Dwight, of the Ferguson Commission, and State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. Oct. 11, 2017
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A new assessment of St. Louis residents finds that many people want the city to address racial, economic and social inequality.

The findings are a part of the preliminary resilience assessment released by Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office. The assessment received contributions from the 100 Resilient Cities initiative, a program funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to strengthen cities around the world in areas of social, economic and environmental shortcomings.

City officials sought the input of over 1,300 people through meetings, surveys and workshops.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for March 18, 2018 is “The Music of Bill Evans.”  Writer Gene Lees described the life of pianist Bill Evans’ as a long slow suicide.  Evans’ piano playing influenced nearly all pianists from the mid-1950’s until today.  We will hear only a small fraction of his beautiful music on Jazz Unlimited, including music with overdubbed solo piano, the Tadd Dameron Big Band, the Joe Pass Quartet, Tony Bennett, Chick Corea & Hiromi, the Kronos Quartet, the Miles Davis Sextet, Shirley Horn, the Gunther Schuller Orchestra, George Russell, Cannonball Adderley, Oliver

Most Broadway actors relax on their Monday days off. But on Monday, April 16, "Hamilton" star Mandy Gonzalez will come to St. Louis to help raise awareness and funds for St. Louis’ december Magazine. She stars as Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway hit.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Gonzalez about her career and upcoming performance in St. Louis, as well as with Gianna Jacobsen, the publisher of december Magazine, a non-profit literary journal headquartered in St. Louis.

“The Pirates of Penzance” will drop anchor at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on Friday. As they do so, they’ll have Mark Hanna, the very model of a modern pirate expert, accompanying them on stage.

The University of California San Diego faculty member is in town to give pre-show talks throughout the weekend as a University of Missouri–St. Louis cast of singing seadogs, star-crossed lovers and mermaids perform the humorous Gilbert and Sullivan opera.

He also joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Thursday for a conversation all about pirates – those that sailed the seas centuries ago and in more contemporary times.

On Chess: chess for all ages

Mar 15, 2018
Two people looking at chess board in St. Louis
Austin Fuller | St. Louis Chess Club

One of the best things about chess is that it is one of the only sports that can be played by any individual at any stage of life. In sports like soccer, basketball and baseball, a person’s career peak is around the ages of 20 to 30. In chess, it’s different.

Kevin Gardner is a Gateway Men's Chorus member and an Master Sergeant in the Air Force.
Carolina Hidalgo| St. Louis Public Radio

 

 

The deep camaraderie of singing with other gay men drew Kevin Gardner to St. Louis’ Gateway Men’s Chorus. Eleven years later, the Air Force Master Sergeant believes it’s time for the group to broaden its focus.

 

(L-R) Sisters Kathleen Hughes, Jackie Toben and Barbara McMullen discussed the history and work of the 15 orders of Catholic Sisters in the St. Louis region.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

As National Catholic Sisters Week wraps up, host Don Marsh discussed the history and work of the 15 orders of Catholic Sisters in the St. Louis region on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air. Their work ranges from working with incarcerated women to children in shelters and elders.

Joining the discussion were Sisters Barbara McMullen, Kathleen Hughes and Jackie Toben to talk about their work in the Catholic community and clarify their roles as sisters. 

Replacement of the Liberal Arts Bridge was one of the projects funded by "Forever: The Campaign for Forest Park's Future."
Forest Park Forever

Forest Park Forever has raised more than $139 million in gifts and pledges to fund needed improvements and to ensure the long-term care of Forest Park, the private nonprofit conservancy announced Wednesday.

Forest Park Forever partners with the city of St. Louis to care for the 1,300-acre park.

Kelsey Thomas started the #314DayAccentChallenge to celebrate and highlight the St. Louis accent. 2018.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Kelsey Thomas celebrates 314 Day the way many St. Louisans do: she puts on a Cardinals shirt and orders some Imo’s Pizza. If she’s feeling nostalgic, she’ll tune in to Hot 104.1.

But a few years ago, she started a new tradition for March 14. To show off her city’s accent, she curated a list of words that end with an “R” sound — chair, hair, millionaire — and posted them on Twitter with the hashtag #314DayAccentChallenge. The words highlight a unique feature of a local accent that has been celebrated by St. Louis rappers and studied by linguists.

Missouri Historical Society’s president and CEO, Frances Levine (right), and managing director of education and visitor experience, Nick Hoffman (left) talked about the organization's rebranding efforts.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

In Nov. 2015, the Missouri History Museum acquired the Soldiers Memorial downtown and embarked on a massive renovation project. As the project nears completion, the organization has rebranded itself as the Missouri Historical Society, operating the Missouri History Museum, the Library & Research Center and the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, set to reopen in Nov. 3, 2018.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with leaders of the Missouri Historical Society (MHS) about recent changes at the institution, including the rebranding initiative and expansion efforts.

Music I Grew Up With

Mar 11, 2018
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for March 11, 2018 is “Music I Grew Up With.”  I began following jazz in the late 1950’s and during this time started my collection, which is all-digital and contains over 53,000 songs.  We will play only a small amount of the music that I heard during this time.  It will include Miles Davis & John Coltrane, Johnny Griffin and the Big Soul Band, Grant Green, Donald Byrd & Pepper Adams, Lockjaw Davis & Johnny Griffin, Stanley Turrentine & Les McCann, Ray Bryant, Etta Jones, Groove Holmes & Gene Ammons, the Jazz Crusaders, Bobby Hutcherson, Ray Char

A volunteer greets Chico, one of the six St. Louis steers who escaped the slaughterhouse and now live at The Gentle Barn. March 3, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Michelle Robertson unlocked the gate to a 15-acre pasture at The Gentle Barn in Dittmer, Missouri, where the St. Louis Six now spend their days. A year after they made headlines for escaping from a slaughterhouse and romping through city streets in north St. Louis, the steers are free to roam.

“There’s lots of rolling hills for them to run up and down and play,’’ said Robertson, cheerfully. She manages the animal sanctuary in Jefferson County, about 40 miles from St. Louis. “There’s beautiful trees for them to scratch on. They’ve got a big, beautiful barn filled with fresh straw that they can sleep in — although they do like to sleep outside.”

Cory Finley has said that his best writing comes from fear, and his new movie “Thoroughbreds” is no exception. The two characters at the center of the darkly comic film first emerged from deep-seated suspicions about his own emotional instincts and moral decision-making.

This Friday, several years since the story first entered Finley’s mind, his tightly wound tale is opening in theaters across the country. That includes several in St. Louis, where Finley was born and raised.

Fabiano Caruana (left) and Wesley So are the two Americans participating in the 2018 Candidates Tournament.
Lennart Ootes | Saint Louis Chess Club

The World Chess Championship dates back to 1886. In fact, St. Louis played host to a portion of the very first world championship, between Johannes Zukertort and Wilhelm Steinitz. Over the years, there have been different methods by which the world’s elite come to challenge the world champion. Initially, the chess world was similar to boxing: any challenger who could raise the funds could face the world champion.

A boy named LaRon enjoys a class at the former Intersect Arts Center building, before the organization moved into its new renovated space.
Intersect Arts Center

St. Louis artist Sarah Bernhardt had no idea she’d be teaching children when she first moved into her Gravois Park studio. But that changed after a rock sailed through her window and she invited a teenager with a good throwing arm to come inside for an art project.

That was five years ago, in the early days of her Intersect Arts Center, 3636 Texas Ave. A $3 million renovation recently transformed the center, but the commitment to free art classes for local kids remains a cornerstone.

Andrew Potter (L), Gina Galati and Peter Scott Drackley joined host Don Marsh to talk about Winter Opera St. Louis’ final production of the season, “L’Elisir d’Amore.’
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For more than 10 years, Winter Opera St. Louis has filled what once was a void in St. Louis’ opera scene – no opera performances during the winter months.

The professional company’s final production of the season is Gaetano Donizetti’s comic opera, “L’Elisir d’Amore.” The opera, which translates to English as “The Elixir of Love,” is about a poor villager (Nemorino) who buys a love potion from a traveling salesman (Dulcamera) after his attempts to woo a wealthy and beautiful woman (Adina) fail.

Being a black student at MU, or any majority-white campus or institution, isn’t easy, but the culture is slowly changing for the better. That’s the takeaway from a recent in-studio conversation with MU Education professor Adrian Clifton and Law professor S. David Mitchell.

Both Clifton and Mitchell work on the frontlines to improve the education experience for African-American students, and they joined The Green Duck Lounge playwright Michelle Tyrene Johnson at KBIA recently as part of a podcast for the project, designed to promote awareness and dialogue about Missouri’s civil rights history and current activism.


Paul Artspace’s Mike Behle (at left) and David Johnson, both artists in their own right, share a passion for providing other creative people with opportunities to help them succeed in their endeavors.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When Mike Behle decided to transform his family’s quiet property in Florissant, Missouri, into a unique resource for artists, he didn’t know exactly how that vision would take shape. But he was certain of one thing: a desire to provide people with time and space.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for March 4, 2018 will be “The Career of Gene Harris.”  Pianist Gene Harris had two careers.  The first was from 1966 to 1976 with “The Three Sounds,” which was followed by semi-retirement in Boise, Idaho.  Ray Brown rediscovered him in 1983.  His joyous career continued until his heath in 2000.

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