Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

On Chess: Saint Louis University team ready for battle

Oct 26, 2016
Alejandro Ramirez is the chess coach at Saint Louis University.
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

The explosion of chess in St. Louis goes beyond the Chess Campus that sits on the corner of Euclid and Maryland in the Central West End. The great achievements of the World Chess Hall of Fame and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis are numerous, but with the increasing demand around the country for collegiate chess, Saint Louis University has stepped up to the plate.

The newly minted program at SLU seeks to become the best in the country, a title already held by another St. Louis college: Webster University. Only four players are currently on scholarship on the SLU roster, but their achievements are impressive.

STLPR Membership Campaign button
Zack Stovall

Our Fall 2016 Member Campaign concluded on Friday, October 21st, as we surpassed our goal and raised $334,000 from 2,488 donors. The station is proud to announce that this fall’s drive numbers are significant in comparison to recent years. In dollars, there was a 14% increase over Spring 2016, an 11% increase over Fall 2015 and a 16% increase over Spring 2015. In donors, there was a  12% increase over Spring 2016, a 3% increase over Fall 2015 and a 20% increase over Spring 2014. 

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture opened on September 24, 2016.
Alan Karchmer | NMAAHC

Earlier this month, the first national museum devoted exclusively to African-American history and culture opened in Washington D.C.: The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard a personal reflection from U.S. Circuit Court Judge Robert L. Wilkins, who was part of the presidential commission that advised President George W. Bush on the establishment of the museum. Wilkins is a U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the District of Columbia circuit.

Vaughn Vaughn Davis's Sunset Hills, a ripped and orange canvas hangs from a white wall.
Provided by Philip Slein

Updated Oct. 24 at 10:25 with additional media

Artist Vaughn Davis is an anomaly in the St. Louis commercial gallery scene. He’s young, local and exhibiting in a space usually reserved for more established artists: Philip Slein Gallery in the Central West End.

Jim Schmidt, who coordinates much of the gallery’s exhibits, said there was almost no doubt about showing the emerging artist’s work in their project space.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for October 23, 2016 will be “The Keys and Strings Hour + New Music.”   The “Keys and Strings Hour” or jazz without horns will present some compositions of Thelonious Monk played by Tal Farlow, Kenny Barron & Dave Holland, Joe Pass, Organ Monk, Chick Corea, Jacky Terrasson and Chick Corea & Hiromi.  New music for October will include St.

Keira Cromwell, 10, plays Chip in Variety Theatre's production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. The production aired October 21 - 23, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A local children’s theater company that puts kids with special needs on stage alongside professional actors is performing Disney’s Beauty and the Beast this weekend at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis started the theater group eight years ago, after starting a children’s chorus in 2006.

Marjorie Owens is The Prima Donna/Ariadne in Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne on Naxos at Opera Theatre” presented by Opera Theatre St.  Louis during 2016, its 41st season.
Ken Howard | Opera Theatre St. Louis

Opera Theatre of St. Louis is celebrating important gains in financial support and audience growth.

On Friday, the company released numbers for record-breaking fundraising as well as increases in diversity and opera-goers under the age of 50. Luring younger audiences is a crucial component for a successful future, according to general director Timothy O’Leary.

Juxtaposing "the talk" given to white children versus black children is just one example of the types of illustrations on the plates at a Dysfunctionware dinner. Oct. 20, 2016 file photo.
Aaron McMullin | Dysfunctionalware

A few days after a grand jury declined to indict the police officer who shot Michael Brown in 2014, Tara O’Nay’s family sat down for Thanksgiving dinner. For the first time the St. Louis interdisciplinary artist could remember, her relatives talked about race over a meal.

Tovah Feldshuh, Broadway and popular television star, will bring her cabaret act to St. Louis. The act features this scene from "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," titled "Where's the bathroom?"
The CW

Tovah Feldshuh may not completely own up to her “legend” status, but take one look at her impressive artistic CV and you may think otherwise.

St. Louis rapper and producer Muhammad Austing poses with a picture of himself on his laptop.
Provided by Muhammad Austin

Muhammad Austin doesn’t have top of the line equipment or a world-class studio. He records most of his music in the basement of his parents Spanish Lake home. But that hasn’t stopped him from making some of the most innovative hip-hop in St. Louis — and people are starting to notice.

Over the past two years Austin, who goes by the stage name Mvstermind, has risen through the St. Louis music scene to become one of the dominant voices in the young hip-hop community. Today, he performs at Delmar Hall in support of his new album, “The Cusp.”

A photo of ramen noodles.
sharyn morrow | Flickr

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Local community leaders say a new website devoted to the Mississippi River will boost tourism up and down the river.

They gathered Wednesday at the National Great Rivers Museum in Alton to celebrate the launch of the Mississippi River Geotourism MapGuide, a website that highlights river towns, attractions and businesses. The project, which took more than two years to complete, is a partnership between National Geographic Maps, the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers and regional organizations like the Mississippi River Connections Collaborative and the Meeting of the Rivers Foundation.

On Chess: Caruana thrives in St. Louis

Oct 19, 2016
Fabiano Caruana is now based in St. Louis. Here is playing during the 2016 Sinquefield Cup.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

When Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana decided to move to St. Louis in late August 2015, local chess enthusiasts rejoiced and looked forward to meeting the then world’s No. 5 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. Caruana chose the U.S. chess capital as it proved to provide the best conditions for the Miami-born superstar to improve his skills and eventually challenge World Champion Magnus Carlsen.

Even more important, the U.S. Chess Federation hoped that Caruana, the American No. 1, would successfully lead his countrymen at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. Well, Fabiano Caruana’s first year as a St. Louis resident is over and he satisfied everyone.

Jacqueline Thompson and Terry Weiss
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

The Civic Arts Company’s mission is to use arts and education to encourage conversations about race and social injustice, as well as opportunities to remedy those injustices.

The company was founded late last year by Richard Shaw and Terry Weiss. For its first production, the organization chose Jamie Pachino’s theatrical adaptation of Studs Terkel’s book “Race,” which will debut at 3 p.m., Saturday, in the Missouri History Museum’s Lee Auditorium.

Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company

PNC Bank will distribute $1 million over the next four years to help fund arts groups in the St. Louis region.

The grants, part of PNC's Arts Alive funding initiative, have a larger focus than just keeping organizations afloat in the short term.  They aim to inspire lasting programs that reinvigorate arts organizations.

Since 2011, the Arts Alive program has distributed $2 million to established theater companies, museums and dance companies. Recipients include Dance St. Louis, Opera Theater of St. Louis and The Muny. 

The Art of Blakey

Oct 16, 2016

Jazz Unlimited for October 16, 2016 is “The Art of Blakey.”  Born un Pittsburgh in 1919, drummer Art Blakey began his career with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra in 1939 and made his first recordings with the Billy Eckstine Band in 1944.  A tireless messenger for jazz he has said, “To pass through life and miss this music is to miss out on one of the best things about living” and "This is the music of my culture good, bad or indifferent. No America - No Jazz.

A flip page of a book.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Independent publishing projects are the name of the game this weekend at the third annual St. Louis Small Press Expo. Saturday the Grand Hall of the St. Louis Public Library's downtown location will host over 80 vendors with everything from lit-mags about architecture, art books about sexuality, publishing collectives run by Mayan artists and anti-oppression zines.  

Last year, Danielle and Kevin McCoy attended the St. Louis Small Press Expo as guests. The couple has been together for 13 years — eight of which have been dedicated to their art practice as WORK/PLAY. This year they’re presenting sketch books for artists and screen printed zines. They're also organizing the panel "Inside the Law with Glen Rogers," a retired police officer with more than 20 years of experience in the region.

Actor Dan Kelly aims his gun, as a cop in "You Try It" by Neil LaBute, part of the "Every 28 Hours" theater collaboration. Actors Joel Beard, Noble Montgomery and Theresa Masters look on.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Every day, in St. Louis or elsewhere, a black person shudders in fear after seeing a police officer approaching. Every day, a cop makes a lightning-quick decision that could mean life or death.

Author Candice Millard's book "Hero of the Empire" looks into Winston Churchill's exploits during the Boer War.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on September 29, 2016.

Winston Churchill sure didn’t make it easy to become a seminal figure in world history.

Before becoming Great Britain’s prime minister and leading his empire through World War II, Churchill was an extremely ambitious youngster who saw military glory as a pathway to political power. But this type of thinking almost got him killed in the Second Boer War, a late 1890s military conflict in what’s now South Africa.

A selection from Amy Reidel's "Radar Home: 11.8.13"
Willis Ryder Arnold

We’ve all been touched by cancer, through someone we love or admire, or even our own. Nearly 40 percent of us will be diagnosed with the disease in our lifetime.

Three years ago, St. Louis artist Amy Reidel found out her mother had cancer. Shortly after, first one aunt, then another, got a cancer diagnosis. In the middle of it all, Reidel’s grandmother died.

GM Maurice Ashley presents a ceremonial check to Dariusz Swiercz.
David Llada | Millionaire Chess

One of the most attractive and unique open tournaments in the world has just finished. From Oct. 6-9, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City hosted this chess-revolutionizing event – the 3rd Millionaire Chess Open. Players from all around the world came to New Jersey to not only participate in the tournament, but to enjoy the electric atmosphere.

Countertenor Terry Barber
Terry Barber

Terry Barber is a  countertenor who performed for years with the vocal group Chanticleer and has worked with Grammy-winning artists like Madonna, Jewel, Chaka Khan and more. Recently, he moved to St. Louis from Florida, bringing along his non-profit, called Artists for a Cause, in order to be closer to family. That also means that St. Louisans are treated to a few more local concerts from Barber than they were before.

From left, David Pulkingham, Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, and The Milk Carton Kids (Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale) perform during the Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 9, 2016.
Christian Fuchs | Jesuit Refugee Service

Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle are two of the most revered American singer-songwriters performing today. The two longtime friends and performing buddies have also never been hesitant to express their political views — or throw their generous musical weight behind causes they believe in.

The two have recently reunited, along with several other musicians such as the Milk Carton Kids, Buddy Miller and David Pulkingham, to tour the country hosting benefit concerts, titled “Lampedusa,” to raise money for Jesuit Refugee Service. The Christian organization’s mission is to “accompany, serve and advocate for rights of refugees and other displaced persons.” JRS works in 45 countries across the globe to assist refugees’ educational, health and social needs.

Tonight, the benefit makes a stop in St. Louis at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Visitors to the Contemporary Art Museum are now (Sept. 30, 2016) greeted by warning signs and a wall that went up in front of Kelley Walker's Direct Drive exhibit following criticism and outrage of the work.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 1:40 p.m. Oct. 10 — Chief curator Jeffrey Uslip is leaving St. Louis' Contemporary Art Museum for another institution.

Uslip's departure follows weeks of controversy over CAM's current solo exhibition by white artist Kelley Walker that some found demeaning to African-Americans. Three CAM employees and others had called the museum to remove Uslip shortly after the exhibition, "Direct Drive," opened Sept. 16.

In a news release, the Contemporary did not say where Uslip is going or whether he will remain in St. Louis.

Kansas Citians

Oct 8, 2016

Jazz Unlimited for October 9 will be preempted in the first hour by the Presidential debate and will resume at  10 pm for “Kansas Citians.”  Not only was it an important the center of a great period in jazz, but also Kansas City and its environs were and remain a nurturing place for the careers of many jazz musicians, including Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Pat Metheny, Karrin Allyson and others.  Please note that the first hour of this show will be pre-empted by the Presidential debate.  You can catch the first hour of the show by going the Archive  starting on Monday

Shoes and footwear have a long history varying from culture to culture and have been designed not only for comfort but often have an artistic flair with added elements such as buckles, bows and beads such as those used in Native American moccasins. Most of us have heard the infamous expression about St. Louis--First in shoes, first in booze and last in the American League. St. Louis has a rich history in the production of shoes. Companies such as Brown Shoe, now Caleres, and International Shoe Company helped our city to grow and put us on the map.

Playwright Dael Orlandersmith
Kevin Berne

Actress, poet and playwright Dael Orlandersmith is known for her moving works like “Beauty’s Daughter,” “Monster,” and the Pulitzer Prize finalist “Yellowman.”  The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis recently commissioned a work from Orlandersmith about Ferguson and St. Louis after the police shooting death of Michael Brown Jr. in 2014. It is called “Until the Flood.

Two immigrant men hang suspended in the air as window washers in the play "Spended"
Provided by ProPhotoSTL.com

As the St. Louis metro area continues to take note of the region's growing status as a magnet for newcomers from other countries, Upstream Theater will launch "Suspended," a play that aims to break down assumptions about immigrants.

Director Linda Kennedy said stories about the relationship between immigrants and longtime residents can strengthen both communities.

Annie Wang at the 2015 U.S. Women's Chess Championships
Spectrum Studios

2016 has been an exciting year for chess and the World Youth Championships are no exception. The World Youth Chess Championship, for children aged 18 and under, has sections for both male and female players who are under 18, 16, 14, 12, 10 and 8. However, with so many sections (12 in all) and with so many players, coaches, parents, arbiters and other officials, the World Chess governing body, FIDE, separated the events based on age.

The older group (under 18, 16 and 14) recently played the 2016 World Youth Chess Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

Melinda Cooper performs with her band Town Cars
Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

Local musician Melinda Cooper remembers the exact moment she fell in love with songwriting.  Decades ago, it was snowing outside and she was driving down Interstate 44 when Stephen Merritt’s song “Falling Out Of Love (With You)” began playing on her car radio.  She immediately changed course and drove to Vintage Vinyl to buy the album.

Cooper hopes submitting her music to the St. Louis County Library’s new local music initiative — which will allow music fans to stream local music on computers and eventually an app — gives someone else a similar feeling.

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