Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Nancy Fowler

Arts & Culture Reporter

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.

She’s an avid reader of memoir and a big fan of all true, compelling stories, which is why she loves public radio.

Nancy received a regional Emmy Award for news writing at WXYZ-TV in Detroit, and the Pride St. Louis' Felton T. Day Award for service to St. Louis' LGBT community. Her numerous fellowships include USC Annenberg’s NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater, and the Wake Forest University Addiction Studies Program for Journalists.

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Follow her on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 22, 2011 - Not an opera fan? It doesn't matter. Chances are you'll still enjoy "Dead Man Walking," composed by Jake Heggie. Union Avenue Opera Theatre has two more performances this coming weekend.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 15, 2011 - Clothes encounters of the procured kind will soon materialize in Grand Center. 

Beginning Monday, Aug. 15, Craft Alliance will accept donations of shirts, skirts, pants, shoes and more at both its locations for an art installation at its Kranzberg Arts Center gallery. The clothing collection, called "Undress for Art" will continue through Sept. 10.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 5, 2011 - Ameren Missouri's Callaway Nuclear Plant passed but did not ace its 2011 federal disaster drill.

A newly released report for the May 11 exercise reveals three areas needing improvement. A previous drill found no issues. Even so, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has deemed the overall response plan satisfactory for protecting the public.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 4, 2011 - Do you recognize the name of stencil artist Peat Wollaeger? Maybe not. But it's very likely you've felt his eyes watching you from the sides of buildings, road signs and other unlikely St. Louis locations.

Wollaeger has been making eyes at St. Louis since 2002. Even before isolating the eye as a specific focus, the poetically proclaimed window to the soul was the place he began every portrait.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 19, 2011 - When Carol Fleming was growing up as a deaf child in St. Louis, her world was largely silent. But she took in everything around her through sight.

"I am visually oriented; my eyes are a big, dominant part of my brain," Fleming said, with articulation that's not difficult to understand.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 11, 2011 - No spoiler alert here: Precious dies on page one in Sapphire's new novel, "The Kid."

The book follows Precious' son, Abdul, through his own hell in foster care from ages 9 through 18, where he endures both physical and sexual abuse. These horrors become a part of him, one that he takes out on others.

Ultimately, Abdul must make a life-changing choice.

For time immemorial, theatrical renderings of adolescent angst have revolved around typical themes of boy-meets-girl, or occasionally, boy-meets-boy or girl-meets-girl.

But boy-meets-horse? Though the premise is a rarity, the play’s not exactly new. “Equus,” first produced in 1973 and presented by St. Louis’ HotCity Theatre Sept. 10-25, tells the story of 17-year-old Alan Strang (Drew Pannebecker) and his sexual and religious preoccupation with horses.

Almost everyone knows of renowned author Samuel Clemens -- especially here in Missouri, where we're proud to call Hannibal his home.

But the life of the man whose pen name was Mark Twain is far from an open book.

For example, few people realize that a chance meeting in his early 20s with a young girl may have sparked and sustained his writing career and provided the inspiration for the character of Becky Thatcher in his most famous novel, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer."

For four years -- more than twice as long as an elephant's gestation period -- Karen Brody labored over her play about the ultimate conclusion of pregnancy. Then, "Birth" was born.


Newly engaged artist Arthur should be walking on air. But as a fetishist who's missing his favorite footwear, he's in a quandary.

So begins "Psychopathia Sexualis," a comedy revolving around an anxious soon-to-be groom, his wealthy socialite fiancee and his father's argyle socks.

Only within proximity to the socks is Arthur able to make love. However, in an unorthodox therapeutic move, his psychiatrist snares the potent pair.

Waiters whizzing by on skates was exactly what a scene from “Footloose” needed in the Stages St. Louis 2005 production, thought choreographer Dana Lewis.

In rehearsal after rehearsal, the performers rocked and literally rolled all over the stage without a hitch.

But during a technical rehearsal just prior to opening night, a bad fall left actor Zoe Vonder Haar with a broken arm, and put the kibosh on the skating idea. Theater-goers never knew what they’d missed.

Matt and Tom Smith
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Beacon | File photo

In high school, Matthew Smith busied himself designing websites, taking photos and making pottery. His younger brother, Tom, played trombone in the school jazz band, worked on his Eagle Scout badge and concentrated on honors classes in math, physics and geometry.

Like most teenagers preoccupied with their own pursuits, they didn't really notice anything unusual about their dad. But their friends did.

"They'd say, 'Your dad doesn't have any hair on his legs. Your dad's hair is really long'," said Matthew, 23.

Michelle and Debbie Smith
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Beacon | File photo

Growing up with three brothers in a cramped house just outside Chicago, Michelle Smith delighted in the rare chance to slip into her mother's bra and black wig. As her heart pounded, her excitement was tempered only by the terror of being discovered. Had she been caught, Michelle feared her mother would not be amused by a 6-year-old's attempt to imitate mommy.

That's because Michelle was being raised as a son.