Kranzberg Arts Center

Rendering of proposed Grandel Theater renovations depicts glowing exterior of building at dusk with people chilling outside.
Provided by Kranzberg Arts Foundation

After closing several years ago, the Grandel Theater in Grand Center will get a new shot as a rehabbed performance venue and exhibit space.

The Kranzberg Arts Foundation has begun renovating the Grandel Theater and intends to will reopen its main stage by spring or summer of this year. Kranzberg Arts Foundation Executive Director Chris Hansen said he wants the space to do more than just host performances.

“We really want to stay focused on meeting the needs of our broader community and making sure the space connects the dots beyond just the main stage performances,” he said.

Ignite Theatre company is one of nine groups to take up residence in .ZACK
Provided by Ignite Theater Company

Nine young arts groups will find a home this fall at .ZACK, the new performing arts incubator.

Created by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, the space aims to foster collaborations among the St. Louis performing artists. Its inaugural class will include dance companies, theater troupes and youth outreach initiatives.

Provided by Darian Wigfall

“Play All Trap Music/That's What We Want/Let it wash ya brain/All We Do Is Stunt.”

In the first stanza of a new poem, multimedia artist Darian Wigfall examines how corporations run by the wealthy profit from art forms they didn’t develop.  He says the work takes aim at corporations and wealthy classes that appropriate minority voices.

Wigfall turned his poem into a series of large-scale paintings currently on view at the Kranzberg Arts Center. The show is titled “Hidden Messages: The Subtlety of Oppression.”

Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

For its next season, the gallery at the Kranzberg Arts Center will focus on presenting variations on social justice art. But the new direction of the Kranzberg’s Grand Center gallery won’t necessarily be abrasive or overtly political, Director of Operations Chris Hansen said.

“It could be very subtle,” Hansen said. “This isn’t an outward projection of ideals as much as how the social landscape and the times are influencing your art.”

Future home of .ZACK
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The Kranzberg Arts Foundation is developing the new multi-media arts space called .ZACK (pronounced Zack). Kranzberg Arts Foundation’s Director of Operations Chris Hansen said the project will help develop the broader St. Louis theater scene.

“There needs to be a synergy in this new theater district that we’re developing here in Grand Center” he said. “It becomes a place where the performing arts world not only works but they start to build community and fellowship.”

Max and Louie Productions

Renowned singer, actor, playwright and St. Louisan Ken Page describes it like this: “There’s a point in the play where one of the characters says ‘It’s like that captain of the football team that you fell in love with or that boy whose green eyes you still see when you close yours…you know the one.’ It’s that thing, that’s what it’s based on.”

The ‘it’ in that description is “Sublime Intimacy,” the name of Page’s new play for Max and Louie Productions, which will have its world premiere on Friday, Dec. 4 at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

Jenny Lewis by Abbie Gillardi
Abbie Gillardi

This weekend a new art show held in tribute to St. Louis and rock and roll opens in multiple Grand Center venues. Although the show is held in fine art spaces, organizer Jason Gray hopes it will attract music fans as well. 

“You can’t negate the fan right?” said Gray. “Rock and roll has this tremendous fan-base and culturally it’s this kind of zeitgeist, so it was important for me to think about what the fan would want to see and probably hasn’t seen before.”

Adult Fur ii, Album Cover
Adult Fur | Courtesy of the Artist

Local music collective FarFetched is a loose association of musicians from various genres and age groups. The group celebrates its fourth anniversary with a compilation album, "Prologue IV," and a release concert at 2720 Cherokee arts space on Jan. 9. The group is united by a will to experiment with genres, use digital means for music creation, and push boundaries lyrically and stylistically. In four years, it has grown to encompass 14 acts that range from hip-hop to progressive pop music.

Chris Renteria's portrait of an Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper assigned to protest detail re: Ferguson
Courtesy of Chris Renteria

This Friday the Kranzberg Arts Center opens a photo show challenging popular media representations of events in Ferguson. The photographers focused the lives of Ferguson residents, details, portraiture, and children instead of just conflict. Participating photographer Chris Renteria, 40, saw unity where many see division.

“Whether I looked through my lens and saw a police officer in riot gear holding an assault rifle, or a 2-year-old in his mom’s arms as she’s fist-raised and chanting - in each person there’s humanity,” said Renteria.

Musician, curator, and artist Damon Davis
Jen Everett/Courtesy of the Artist

Voodoo and Twitter, Christianity and Facebook. The new visual art exhibit ALTrs draws inspiration from them all.

Damon Davis, participating artist, musician and curator, said he hopes to highlight the relationship between daily rituals and the tradition of grand ritual in religious practices.

“The basic idea is blending technology and social media, things of that nature, all the rituals we have now with older, for lack of a better word, archaic rituals,” said Davis.

Marty Ehrlich
Beacon archives | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Marty Ehrlich was attending University City High School in the early 1970s, he played saxophone after moving to that instrument from clarinet in junior high. More than 40 years after his high school graduation in 1972, Ehrlich is still playing sax, clarinet and a variety of other woodwind instruments – earning critical acclaim for his work.

(Courtesy of Todd Studio)

If you like your comedy dark and twisted, irreverent and absolutely “for adults only,” you’ve probably been a fan of HotCity Theatre for ages; and their latest offering, Entertaining Mr. Sloane by Joe Orton, shouldn’t be missed. First, it’s a rare chance to see Orton’s first play, written in 1964. While no longer scandalous, it’s a great touchstone to see how far we have evolved. Second, it has some of the strongest technical elements I’ve seen to date in the Kranzberg Art Center’s black box theater. Third, the pre-eminent comic actor in town, Lavonne Byers, leads the able cast.

Peter Wochniak

Gitana Productions’ Executive Director Cecilia Nadal is the product of a Puerto Rican father and an African American mother.  She spent her early years in the Latino culture Puerto Rico and Panama before the family settled in her mother’s hometown of St. Louis.  So she understands the challenges for a person trying to bridge two cultures.