Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

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.

A mob stops a street car during the East St. Louis race riots, which started on July 2, 1917.
University of Massachusetts-Amherst Libraries

The East St. Louis race riots have gone down in history as some of the worst examples of race relations in the St. Louis region. This Sunday, May 28, is the 100-year anniversary of the first, smaller riot. July 2 is the 100-year anniversary of one of the bloodiest race riots in the 1900s.

Related: St. Louis History in Black and White: East St. Louis Race Riot

Tae Kim, manager of Oriental Spoon in Edwardsville, and Victor Jang, co-owner of Wudon BBQ Korean Restaurant in Creve Coeur discussed the world of Korean cuisine with St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

If you’re cued into the St. Louis foodie scene at all, you’ve probably heard of David Choi’s Korean fusion favorite Seoul Taco. But have you tried one of the many strictly Korean restaurants in town?

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 21, 2017 will be  “The Music if Bill Evans.”  Pianist Bill Evans is arguably the most influential pianist in jazz since the early 1960’s.  His elegant, impressionistic pianism and compositions will be celebrated by hearing recordings of him with his own groups, with others and by other instrumentalists and vocalists playing and singing his music.  The featured musicians, in addition to Evans, will include vocalists Johnny Hartman, Tony Bennett, Janice Borla, Karrin Allyson and Judy Niemack along with instrumentalists Tadd Dameron, Joe Pass, the Miles Davis se

The Goldenrod Showboat took on about 7 feet of water when the Illinois River flooded near Kampsville, Illinois, in early May 2017.
Historic Riverboat Preservation Association

Illinois River floodwater has drained from the hull of the Goldenrod Showboat, along with any lingering optimism that the century-old vessel can be saved, according to the preservation group that owns it.

“There’s no glimmer of hope,’’ said Jacob Medford, vice president of the nonprofit Historic Riverboat Preservation Association. “We’ve tried our best with the Goldenrod, but not everything works out exactly how you want it. But we gave it our all.”

St. Louis-based vocalist Brian Owens joined St. Louis on the Air on Friday to discuss recent and upcoming projects.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, vocalist Brian Owens joined host Don Marsh to discuss his upcoming Johnny Cash tribute concert at the St. Louis Symphony. We  also heard a selection from his recently-released album “Soul of Ferguson” and one from his forthcoming album "Soul of Cash."

A young woman stands before Edo Rosenblith's painting which is three black and white triangle panels linked to form a large triangle.
Provided by Daniel Burnett

Most people probably don’t think artists develop their exhibits by meeting for coffee, walking through the park, and talking. But that’s exactly how the Daniel Burnett-curated show, “Anchors,” came together. Burnett said his initial approach wasn’t about finding the biggest names in St. Louis, but finding out how artists might fit together to represent the visual art community.

Pokey LaFarge joined St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter to discuss his new album, "Manic Revelations."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

This week marks the release of St. Louis-based singer-songwriter Pokey LaFarge’s seventh album “Manic Revelations,” which has a decidedly different feel and hits close to home.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, LaFarge shared with contributor Steve Potter some of the inspirations for three of the songs on the album and the meaning of the title.

Pages