Arts & Culture

Annie Malone on roof garden of the Poro College Building, 25 April 1927. Photograph by W.C. Persons. Courtesy of the Missouri History Museum.
Courtesy Missouri History Museum

Sunday marks 105 years since the first Annie Malone May Day Parade in St. Louis, making it one of the longest-running African-American parades in the country.

But as another day of marching, music and dance arrives, historians and parade organizers worry that the event is the only association most people have with the name Annie Malone.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 17 is  “The Music of Joe Lovano.”  Born in Cleveland into a family whose father was a well-respected local tenor sax player, Joe Lovano is now one of the leading saxophonists in jazz.  We will hear him with his own groups and with Hank Jones, the Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra, his wife vocalist Judi Silvano, Michel Petrucciani, Gunther Schuller, John Scofield, Saxophone Summit, Tom Harrell, Paul Motian, Grand Slam, Charlie Haden, the Byron Olson Orchestra, Dave Douglas, Ravi Coltrane and McCoy Tyner.

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis opens its 40th anniversary season on May 23 with a production of Rossini’s comic opera “The Barber of Seville.” Conducted by St. Louis native Ryan McAdams, the production features the Opera Theatre debut of mezzo-soprano Emily Fons in the role of Rosina.

The season continues with Puccini’s romantic opera “La Rondine” opening on May 30. Former Gerdine Young Artist, soprano Sydney Mancasola sings the role of Lisette.

Vintage Trouble energized the crowd Sunday evening. 2014
Brian Villa | Special to St. Louis Public Radio

This year's LouFest line-up includes headliners The Avett Brothers, Hozier and Ludacris.

Festival founder Brian Cohen said the brand new line-up takes a cue from last year’s success and draws from a mix of well-known headliners and high quality musicians. The only change concert-goers can expect at this year's festival may be physical layout of the stages. 

Film Still Une Dance Des Bouffons (Or a Jester's Dance), 2013.
Courtesy of the artist and David Swirner, New York

Famed iconoclast and art world provocateur Marcel Duchamp is tortured and forced to recite chess moves. Rock and roll icon Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth runs down dimly lit hallways in wide-eyed fear. A man with eyes painted on his cheeks forces people in a horse costume to dance for his pleasure. This coterie of strange occurrences forms just a few scenes in artist Marcel Dzama’s film titled Une Dans des Bouffons.

generic funnel cake photos
Ann Fisher | Flickr

While we want to make certain you know about the Big List of summer concerts that we have available, we also want to alert you to some of the other ways to get out and enjoy St. Louis – ways that have music.

New this year is the St. Louis Swap Meet at the old Lemp Brewery at the east end of Cherokee Street by the Chatillon DeMenil Mansion. Playing at 10:30 a.m. will be the alt country band Trophy Mules.

Filmmaker Ken Burns
Cable Risdon

From baseball and jazz to the Civil War and Prohibition, award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has had a long and varied career. The New York Times has called Burns “the most accomplished documentary filmmaker of his generation.” 

Burns joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to talk about his career, upcoming projects and commencement address at Washington University in St. Louis on Friday.

Chef Gerard Craft
(photo provided/used with permission)

Earlier this month, Gerard Craft became the first chef from St. Louis to win the James Beard Foundation’s award for “Best Chef: Midwest.” Craft is the executive chef and owner of Niche Food Group in St. Louis. The business includes Niche, Brasserie, Taste, and Pastaria.

Craft had received nominations in past years, but chefs in bigger cities, he said, are most often chosen for the award.

“I think it’s tougher in St. Louis [to win the award],” he explained. “St. Louis historically hasn’t gotten a ton of exposure, especially in the food world.”

Fabiano Caruana
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Fabiano Caruana is coming home.

The world’s No. 3 Grandmaster has declared intentions to once again play under the American flag, applying for transfer to the U.S. Chess Federation on Tuesday. Assuming the paperwork process goes smoothly, the 22-year-old will reunite with the U.S. right here in the Central West End, at the 2015 Sinquefield Cup this August.

Aida Act 2, scene 2, set design for the Cairo premiere by Edouard Despléchin
Wikipedia

“Aida” is one of a group of extraordinary 19th century works of musical drama that gave opera its sometime first name, that is, “Grand.” In an all-stops-pulled-out production of “Aida,” soldiers lead chain gangs of slaves and supernumeraries wave huge feather fans, with nubile ballerinas dancing their own special ballet, plus the company of acres of choristers, plus elephants sometimes and a cast of principals with voices grand as all outdoors.

Such an “Aida” etches indelible memories on an audience member, leaving him or her either breathless with devotion or convinced that all this actually is excessive and silly.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for May 10, 2015 will be “Exploring Kind of Blue.”  Miles Davis’s iconic album is the best selling jazz album in history.  By changing the harmonic underpinnings of the music from many chords to few chords with scales that related to them, known as modes, the music became light and airy and more approachable.  We will explore all of the tunes in this album with big bands, vocalists and small groups.  Some of the groups and musicians heard tonight include the Miles Davis sextet, the Grant Green quartet, the J.J.

St Louis has many exciting art galas and parties. One of my favorites will take place on May 16. It is the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis's, better known as CAM, Dada Ball and Bash.

The attendees wear crazily surreal outfits and makeup, but just what is Dada?

As usual, I ran around town asking some of the most scholarly folks in the art world to help me with the definition of this obscure and short-lived art movement.  

Lucrecia García, soprano, sings the title role in Aida.
Provided by the St. Louis Symphony

Our live broadcasts of the St. Louis Symphony's 2014-2015 season end this weekend, and you can be right there with us from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 9.

On select Saturday evenings, St. Louis Public Radio broadcasts the Symphony's performance over the air, bringing you a live classical music experience wherever you are. 

Here's what's planned for you this weekend:

VERDI Aida (1871)

(1813-1901)

Rhonda Ely

Soprano Sylvia McNair has sung in concert halls and opera houses all over the world. But she has a soft spot for St. Louis, where she got her start in opera with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 1983.

“Certainly in the 1980s, [Opera Theatre] was and still is a premier training ground for young American singers where you learn your craft from great directors and conductors,” she told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter. “I feel like Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is where I figured out how to walk in the opera business.”

Katy Peace, right in striped top, at an earlier pickup event
Provided by Community Supported Art

Katy Peace, founder and lead organizer of Community Supported Art - Saint Louis, joined “Cityscape” host Steve Potter along with artists Ruth Reese and Brandon Daniels to discuss the organization’s second season.

Community Supported Art provides aspiring artists with an opportunity and financial support to complete their projects. The CSA operates as a subscription service and helps artists sell their work.

Opera Singer Denyce Graves rehearses with the Normandy High School Choir
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

World-renowned opera singer Denyce Graves entered the choir room at Normandy High School Friday morning with a bright and forceful “Good morning, everybody!” She was met by resounding applause and a collective “whoo!” of excitement from the choirs of Normandy and also Central Visual and Performing Arts High School.

Javier Mendoza
File Photo | St. Louis Beacon

Here’s hoping the weather cooperates this weekend because lots of festivals are planned — as well as opera al fresco.

Harry S. Truman
Frank Gatteri | United States Army Signal Corps

It’s the 70th anniversary of V-E Day — and a good day to thank a World War II veteran.

We’ll begin with a classic newsreel, “The War Ends in Europe,” which includes footage of President Harry S. Truman on May 8, 1945, announcing the Nazi surrender. The Missourian had been president for just about a month, following the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Dutchtown South Block
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Two local neighborhoods — one affluent, one working class — and two local historic buildings are being considered for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, head of FIDE
A.Slavin | Wikipedia

I want to believe.

On the possibility of aliens, I absolutely want to believe that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, ruling president of the World Federation of Chess (FIDE), has been visited by friends from another world. By now his claim has been openly discussed for more than a decade, the story well known by details easily researched, ranking as the No. 1 evidence when describing the Russian oligarch’s widely accepted, eccentric behavior.

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