Cherokee Street | St. Louis Public Radio

Cherokee Street

Mark Overton's extensive collection of rare and historically significant instruments sits on the second floor of his Cherokee Street music shop.  5/25/18
Jeremy D. Goodwin | St. Louis Public Radio

If you walk into the Saxquest music store on Cherokee Street, you’ll probably want to pick up a saxophone, even if you don’t know how to play. The front room is full of them. The walls are plastered with images of jazz greats, like Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins.

The folks at the store specialize in restoring and selling vintage instruments, but the biggest attraction is upstairs, where the inventory is definitely not for sale. That’s where owner Mark Overton displays his remarkable collection of saxophones.

Cassandra Pace, center, teaches Sarah Wright-Aholt and Kristin Carlson how to skin a rat at her Creaky Crow taxidermy class.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louisans looking for a new date night activity can add taxidermy to the list.

The Creaky Crow, a four-month-old curiosity shop on Cherokee Street, now offers hands-on taxidermy classes. Aspiring taxidermists learn the basics of animal preservation, from skinning to stuffing, while enjoying a glass of wine.

 


Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This weekend, Cherokee Street between Gravois and Jefferson will be officially designated as a Hispanic/Latino cultural district known as “La Calle Cherokee.”

The area, known for a proliferation of Latino-owned businesses and street festivals, will be unveiled as such during the annual Fiestas Patrias celebration observing Mexican Independence Day.

Joining St. Louis on the Air to discuss the importance of the designation and the celebration were:

Patrons sit on Iowa Street outside Yaquis on Cherokee.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On April 30, Francis Rodriguez, the owner of Yaquis on Cherokee, was drawn to his apartment window by a commotion outside on Cherokee Street. Rodriguez lives above the pizza parlor and, as shots rang out, he and his wife dropped to the floor. After a pause, he ran downstairs to check on the restaurant, where people didn’t immediately recognize the sound of gunfire.

“They're still playing music in here. They didn't hear the shots upstairs that are right outside the door,” he said. “But just as I open up the back door from our apartment and hear people start raising the alarm in here [Yaquis] and so people started screaming and falling onto the floor.”

Stuart Keating, owner of Earthbound Beer, prepares to take St. Louis Public Radio producer Collin Mueller on a tour of the brewery's soon-to-be new digs inside the old Cherokee Brewing Company on Cherokee St.
Collin Mueller | St. Louis Public Radio

Earthbound Beer is a local micro-brewery that got its start two and a half years ago. Currently, the business is located in a cozy little 1000-square-foot shotgun-style building on Cherokee Street, right across from The Luminary.

As the brewery continues to experiment with unique beer ingredients and attempts to distribute them, Earthbound found itself with a new need for space. Conveniently enough, the solution to that problem is located right down the street.

Revelers crowd Cherokee Street at a Cinco de Mayo celebration in 2016.
Paul Sableman | Flickr

“It was the wildest Cinco de Mayo party I have ever experienced,” recalled Angel Jimenez-Gutierrez remembering his first May 5 in Missouri.

It was 2002 and he was working at a Mexican restaurant in Rock Hill. Jimenez-Gutierrez had just moved to the United States from Mexico where Cinco de Mayo has never been widely celebrated.

Brewmaster Stuart Keating, seen in a May 1 photo, stands in the excavated cellar below the taproom of Earthbound Brewery. It contains eight groin-vaulted arches, supported by a trio of three-foot limestone pillars..
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis beer drinkers will soon be able to toast the return of a cherished brewery tradition.

Earthbound Brewery is moving into a 150-year-old building that once housed a brewery built above a natural cave system along Cherokee Street. Recently, workers hauled 600 tons of debris from one cellar beneath the old building. It took 20 people and $40,000 to complete the job, said Stuart Keating, the owner of the microbrewery.

Earthbound Brewery's new taproom is scheduled to open this month.

A 2016 New Haven, Connecticut, exhibition is seen in this file photo. It's called “As in the Light of Marielle” and involves the work of artists Faring Purth and Raven Fox and is similar to what they plan to show in St. Louis Friday night.
Provided | Faring Purth and Raven Fox

St. Louis drivers going north on Jefferson Avenue who pass Cherokee Street can’t miss the 100-foot long mural of a nearly-naked crouching woman, called “Prime.” On Friday night, it will be more visible than ever.

“Prime” will be lit up with different colors and adorned with projected photos, as part of a pop-up exhibition at 3401 South Jefferson Ave. called “The Other Girls.”

Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

 

During a two-month long residency in Iceland, artist Addoley Dzegede scoured the country’s beaches, fields and turf homes for natural detritus. Dzegede found bones and wood that she sculpted in clay. She wove nets with seaweed she picked up and covered a bullet-riddled buoy with copper leaf.

These are the elements from Dzegede’s first solo show at Fort Gondo on Cherokee Street. The exhibit will also be the venue’s last exhibit; Fort Gondo is closing Jan. 7. It’s a bittersweet moment for her. The artist’s work is as unconventional as the building where it’s shown, and she’s not sure another gallery would have provided the freedom to exhibit her work.

A tour through Día de los Muertos altars on Cherokee Street

Nov 2, 2016
The owners of Diana's Bakery, at 2843 Cherokee, set up a Día de los Muertos altar honoring Mexican celebrities.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s a quiet night on Cherokee street where Minerva Lopez has lived for the past decade. She scans the blocks and breathes a heavy sigh.

“It makes me sad being here today,” Lopez laments in Spanish.  “In California we would have had a huge party.  Two hundred thousand people would take to the streets to celebrate Día de los Muertos.”  

No, Día de los Muertos isn’t Mexican Halloween.

Oct 31, 2016
Sugar skulls and flowers decorate an altar at Diana's Bakery on Cherokee Street.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Preparations for Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, among St. Louis Latino communities are already apparent up and down Cherokee Street and in many of the region’s Mexican businesses. Celebrated the first two days of November, the holiday has the same elements every year: altars, marigolds, sugar skulls — and people comparing the day to Halloween.

“Día de los Muertos isn’t Halloween! It’s not Halloween,” said Minerva Lopez, who lives on Cherokee Street. “We don’t dehumanize death. For us, death is our friend. We see it as something that will happen, and in the meantime that it’s not happening, we’re here to live.”

One of Lola Ogbara's illustrations
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Much of contemporary media and arts production is dominated by straight, slender, white bodies. A new St. Louis exhibit aims to upset that dynamic and highlight work focused on marginalized body types.

"Bodies on Display" opened this month at Westminster Press on Cherokee Street. It features Krista Valdez's self-portraits, Kat Reynolds' photography, Anya Liao's drawings, and Lola Ogbara's illustrations. Their work examines how LGBT bodies and those of people of color reflect identity, how they are viewed in public spaces — and how those bodies can resist dominant cultural representations of the human form.

Documentation of Reclamation 3
Provided by LBPhotography

When visual artist Basil Kincaid looked for a way to complete the Reclamation Project, a 4-year effort that creates art by remaking elements of St. Louis' black heritage, he turned to his grandmother for inspiration.

A quilter who passed her knowledge to her children, Eugenia Kincaid taught her grandson a lot about preserving cultural traditions. He decided to put the same focus into his work.

Lo-Fi Cherokee turns 5 as bands play unexpected venues

Apr 12, 2016
Fans and camera crews surround the band Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear's performance
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s 9:30 on Saturday morning and there’s a garage rock band playing in a flower shop and plant nursery on Cherokee Street. Half an hour later another group performs in front of a group of kids in a chemical safety office.  By mid-afternoon bands have played in bike shops, feminist sex stores, micro-breweries and clothing stores along Cherokee Street. It’s all part of Lo-Fi Cherokee. 

“It’s like a marathon of shooting music videos,” said Lo-Fi attendee Adam Ballard.

Almost exactly two years ago Jon Burkhart left a commune in northeast Missouri that he called home and moved back home to St. Louis. He brought with him a host of analog electronic musical equipment, a computer, and a new musical persona, Hylidae. The project was born in contrast to the rural lifestyle the musician had just ended.

“It was kind of like my retreat from communal life to be making solo electronic music,” Burkhart said.

Cherokee Street Reach participants collaborate on a painting
Provided by Cherokee Street Reach

Last year a group of artists got together to form an arts camp. Initially they wanted to provide a place for kids to spend time between the end of traditional summer camps and the start of the new school year. 

“We just really wanted to find something, or find a way to help children utilize their potential for something productive, and since we’re all artists, that’s what we know,” said founding member Pacia Anderson, 36.  

Katelyn Mae Petrin / St. Louis Public Radio

A group of skaters screeched, weaving circles around the rink. Dozens of booths sat in the rink’s center. Artists sat at the booths, selling their work to the crowd that milled through the rink. The skaters flew past T-shirts printed with crass but clever jokes, collages of old pinups, fanarts of popular comics.

Alex Heuer

Independent filmmaker Bill Streeter joined “Cityscape” guest host Don Marsh to discuss “Lo-Fi Cherokee,” an outgrowth of his award winning music and culture web video series, “Lo-Fi Saint Louis.”

“Lo-Fi Cherokee” is a yearly celebration of the St. Louis music scene featuring 18 live performance videos all produced in a single day in 18 different locations on Cherokee Street. The bands range from veteran national acts to up-and-coming local musical groups.

Idealism vs. pragmatism: the economics of Cinco de Mayo

May 2, 2015
Gigante puppets pulled by bike in the People's Joy Parade during Cherokee Street's Cinco de Mayo festival Saturday,May 2, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Glittery sombreros big and small. The occasional plastic mustache dangling from sunglasses. Reggaetón blasting from one speaker, pop tunes blaring on another. Tacos, piña coladas and colorful margaritas in fish bowls.

Wrestling, live music and the eccentric, playful People’s Joy Parade. This is Cherokee Street during  Cinco de Mayo.

A lot of fun for sure, but was Saturday's festival all in good fun or was there an element of cultural appropriation going on?

First row: The owners of Earthbound Beer, Los Punk; Second row: Tacos at La Vallesana, ArtBar
(Courtesy: Sauce Magazine)

In South St. Louis, Cherokee Street is booming.

That’s according to Kristin Dennis, co-owner of the Fortune Teller Bar and a member of the Cherokee Station Business Association’s board of directors.

The foundation of the street is Mexican fare and antique shopping but just within the last few years, more than 20 new food and drink establishments have opened.

“Every few months we have new businesses opening,” Dennis told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday.

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