Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

The Lens: Over the moon for 'Moon'


This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 31, 2009 - Science-fiction movies are typically big-name/big-studio/big-budget affairs, but “Moon” is an independent first feature film by industry veteran Duncan Jones. It recalls “Gattaca” (1997) in its hard questions about the uses of technology, the ethics of corporations and nation-states – and the meaning of being human.

Tatyana Telnikova is the owner of HandleBar in the Grove neighborhood and an organizer of St. Louis' World Naked Bike Ride.
Tatyana Telnikova

Nearly a decade ago, HandleBar owner Tatyana Telnikova began heading up the after-party for St. Louis’ World Naked Bike Ride.

She’s now even more deeply involved as an organizer of the annual event, which gets going at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Grove neighborhood.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Telnikova talked with guest host Jim Kirchherr of the Nine Network about this growing St. Louis tradition. Twelve years running, the ride aims to raise awareness about oil dependency, body positivity and cyclist vulnerability.

This interview will air on “St. Louis on the Air” at noon Monday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

Emoji have come a long way in recent years, with smiling faces and simple thumbs up now vastly outnumbered by a wide range of visual expressions available for digital use. As this visual language infuses contemporary forms of communication more and more, emoji present both opportunities and challenges in humans’ abilities to understand each other.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jeremy D. Goodwin will talk with three St. Louisans whose areas of expertise have them thinking a lot about how to use emoji and related digital tools well.

Joining the discussion will be rhetorician Lauren Terbrock-Elmestad, a PhD student and graduate instructor at St. Louis University; Amber Hinsley, an associate professor in SLU’s Department of Communication; and Tyler Kelley, co-founder and chief strategist at the St. Louis-based digital storytelling firm SLAM!

St. Louisan De Nichols will spend a year at Harvard University looking at how to enhance and sustain the Griot Museum of Black History.
Provided | De Nichols

Five years after a white Ferguson police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, a black man, there is no permanent, local display of the art sparked by the protests. 

Designer and activist De Nichols wants to change that. Through a Harvard University fellowship, she will study how to transform the Griot Museum of Black History in north St. Louis into such a space.

Nichols is known for the sculpture the “Mirror Casket,” a reflective casket-shaped piece she created with six other artists. It won such acclaim that it is now exhibited at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. 

From left, Justice Hill, Rebecca Butler Mona and Wayne Fields joined Thursday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

More than two millennia after the ancient orator Demosthenes refined his speaking style by talking with pebbles in his mouth, great speeches continue to play a significant cultural role. That enduring impact on public life – as well as the value of public-speaking skills for everyday contexts – is in the spotlight during the Optimist International Oratorical World Championships.

Taking place at St. Louis University, the competition runs Thursday through Saturday, with several sizable scholarship awards awaiting the winners.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, guest host Jim Kirchherr talked with a past winner of the competition, Justice Hill, who is now a SLU student, as well as Rebecca Butler Mona, the president of Optimist International. Also joining the discussion was Wayne Fields, the Lynne Cooper Harvey Chair Emeritus in English at Washington University.

Two of more than 70 ancient mounds protected at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.
Cahokia Mounds World Heritage Site

A bill to make Cahokia Mounds part of a new national park was introduced in Congress on Thursday by Republican Rep. Mike Bost.

The Cahokia Mounds and Mississippian Culture National Historic Park would include Cahokia Mounds, plus ancient mounds in St. Clair, Monroe and Madison counties in Illinois — and Sugarloaf Mound in St. Louis, the last remaining mound in the city.

The National Park Service and state and local agencies would manage the park.

Austin Fuller | St. Louis Chess Club

CHESS Cops was launched in February 2017. What began as a simple breakfast with officers and students enjoying chess over coffee and orange juice ultimately expanded into a multifaceted community outreach program.

The St. Louis Chess Club, St. Louis schools, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the St. Louis County Police Department partnered to start St. Louis CHESS Cops — or Chess Helping Enhance Student Skills. CHESS is currently comprised of city and county police officers who utilize chess to teach lessons on critical thinking, planning and logic.

Damika Moore, 15, waters a garden in the Vandeventer neighborhood as part of the LOVEtheLOU program.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Among St. Louis' thousands of vacant lots, three on the city's north side are having a positive impact. The three community gardens along Enright Avenue in the Vandeventer neighborhood are a part of LOVEtheLOU's vision of creating a stronger community.

Michael Brown's stepmom, Cal Brown, and local artist Dail Chambers, glued old St. Louis American Newspapers onto the chest of Micahel Brown Brown Sr. to build a paper mache cast of his chest to create a life-sized replica of his son.
Rebecca Rivas | St. Louis American

Michael Brown Sr. is unapologetically quiet and introverted.

“I’m not trying to be mean towards anyone, but sometimes I don’t have anything to say,” he said.

His son, “Mike Mike,” was much the same way, he said, and it also made him a “believable” prankster. One day, Michael got a call from his son, telling his father that he had a baby on the way.

“I said, ‘What?!’ and he hung up the phone,” Michael said. “I’m calling him back and he ain’t answering.”

In a photo taken in June, writer Paul Thiel is seen exiting a Ford Model A, prepared for rain. [7/15/19]
Paul Thiel

Paul Thiel was on his way toward a master’s degree that would set him up for a career in geology. Then he made a major life choice. 

“I’d rather be a minor poet than a world-famous geologist,” he said. 

Thiel sought his literary fortunes in San Francisco in 1963, where he moved into the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and discovered the burgeoning scene of Beat poets centered around Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights bookstore. Allen Ginsberg was a familiar face in the neighborhood, and, for a time, an unknown singer named Janis Joplin rehearsed beneath his poet’s loft. 

Left Bank Books event host Shane Mullen recommends 10 books written in or about the St. Louis region.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

With summer in full swing, book enthusiasts are looking for poolside reads and plane trip entertainment. 

Authors from St. Louis and elsewhere in Missouri have written dozens of books released this year by major publishing houses. To learn about some of the most popular local reads, we turned to Left Bank Books, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. 

“St. Louis has a wealth of fantastic authors,” said Shane Mullen, who brings area authors to the indie bookstore for signings and readings. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 11, 2012 - Joining the strings that lure music lovers to Powell Hall will be strings of a different color -- 20,000 feet of them.

The multicolored lines are attached to a metal maze that is the bones of a new piece of public art piece going up on the corner of Grand Boulevard and Samuel Shepard Drive. Installation of A Chromatic Confluence began last week and will be an integral part of the Friday night, May 11, Grand Center Art Walk that runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Jazzoo-Part 1

Jul 14, 2019
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, July 14, 2019 will present “Jazzoo-Part 1.”  A friend challenged me to put together a show featuring with tunes featuring animals in the titles.  There are many more than you think.  This week’s show will feature cats from large predators o the little cats we have as pets.  The word ‘cats” will also be used with some musicians.  The musicians who play the music in part one include Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, John Graas, Julia Lee, Oliver Nelson & Jimmy Smith, Vic Dickenson, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Cy Touff, our own Muggsy Sprecher, Leo Parker

(July 12, 2019) St. Louis-based hip-hop artist Kareem Jackson, who's stage name is Tef Poe, joined Friday's "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss his role as a U.S. cultural ambassador.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis-based hip-hop artist Kareem Jackson, who goes by the stage name Tef Poe, has often traveled across the world to share his musical craft and to also raise awareness about how social justice issues often intertwine across borders. 

His travels will continue next week to the Middle-Eastern country of Jordan as part of Next Level, a cultural exchange program the U.S. State Department is heading alongside the Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The project seeks to use artistic collaboration and social engagement to enhance people-to-people diplomacy, especially among young audiences.

Chess prodigy Thalia Cervantes started playing in Cuba where she says the game runs through people's blood.
St. Louis Chess Club

A Cuba-born teenager who lives in Webster Groves is trying to add to her already impressive chess resume over the next few days at the St. Louis Chess Club. Sixteen-year-old Thalia Cervantes is among 10 phenoms vying for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

The idea of having art displayed in hotels is not so unusual. The unusual thing is that many hotels around the world in this day and age actually double as art galleries and many guests actually pay attention to the works of art.

Just within this past year, I've been lucky enough to "snooze away" at three of them. I just returned from the 21c Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina.

From left, Cody Stokes and Earl McWilliams Jr. joined Thursday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Six of the 113 films in the spotlight during the 19th Annual Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase are feature length. Collectively, they take viewers from the women’s prison in Vandalia, Missouri, to Henry Shaw’s Museum at the Missouri Botanical Garden, to World War II and more.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jonathan Ahl discussed two of the films in depth – “Road to the Pros” and “The Ghost Who Walks” – with directors Earl McWilliams Jr. and Cody Stokes.

Kim Massie is the self-proclaimed "St. Louis Diva," a title she's earned in more than two decades of performing. [7/11/19]
Jeremy D. Goodwin | St. Louis Public Radio

Many people use karaoke as a way to feel like a professional singer for a few minutes. Kim Massie used it to become one. 

In the late 1990s, the St. Louis-area native was a nurse’s aide outside Cleveland, 40 years old and with grown children, when she started entering and winning karaoke competitions. Those experiences gave her a taste for live performance. When she returned to the area at the end of a bad relationship, she decided to take a shot at becoming a full-time singer.

It’s been a little more than 20 years, and she’s still at it.

Norwegian Magnus Carlsen holds the 2019 Croatia Grand Chess Tour Trophy.
St. Louis Chess Club

Magnus Carlsen continued his domination of the Grand Chess Tour and the chess world overall with yet another win. This time, the world champion clinched the Croatia Grand Chess Tour, marking his seventh consecutive tournament victory this year.

The Norwegian won the tournament with a performance rating of 2948, extending his undefeated streak to 79 games. This performance will put his rating at 2882, the peak rating he achieved in 2014. He earned $90,000 and 20 tour points for his efforts.

A documentary short by Joshua Kelley, 14, is among those in the spotlight at this year's Filmmakers Showcase.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A total of 113 films will be in the spotlight during the 19th Annual Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, which gets underway Friday and continues through July 21. Ranging from narrative and experimental shorts to feature-length documentaries, this year’s lineup also includes a documentary short directed by 14-year-old Joshua Kelley.

Kelley, whose film “A Look Ahead: Our Energy Future in 20 Years” considers the future environmental state of St. Louis and the country as a whole, joined Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air for a conversation with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jonathan Ahl. 

Also participating in the discussion was Chris Clark, who is the artistic director of the nonprofit Cinema St. Louis. The organization presents the annual festival, which serves as the region’s primary venue for films made by local artists.

Kids from Circus Harmony and Escuela Nacional de Circo de Puerto Rico performed July 6 at the Ferguson Farmers Market.
Jessica Hentoff

St. Louis circus kids are doing handsprings this week over a reunion with friends from Puerto Rico.

Last summer, nine kids from St. Louis’ Circus Harmony visited Puerto Rico to practice and perform with the young jugglers and acrobats of Escuela Nacional de Circo de Puerto Rico.

A dozen Puerto Rican teenagers are in St. Louis this week, reconnecting with St. Louis friends while performing together at the Jewish Community Center, Ballpark Village and other venues.

Drs. Eric Leuthardt (at left) and Albert Kim discussed how they take information about the brain and present it in a live-theater production format on Tuesday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

When Washington University neurosurgeons Albert Kim and Eric Leuthardt aren’t teaching, researching or performing surgery, they often think of creative ways to get information about the brain and its complexities to the masses, such as co-hosting their “Brain Coffee” podcast.

Another one of their endeavors is putting together a live theater experience showcasing the wonders of the brain. “BrainWorks” dramatizes real-life neurological cases to help explain the science behind brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, brain tumors and strokes. 

The production is a collaboration between the Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Nine Network of Public Media. This year’s performances will be July 19, 20 and 21 at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts on Webster University’s campus. 


Jul 7, 2019
Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday, July 7, 2019, will bet “Country.”  The word “country” denotes many things.  It can mean a rural area, a nation, a style of music a nickname or is a mean saying about someone.  We will hear jazz music with the word “country” in their titles.  Some of the players of this music include Wingy Manone, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Bill Harris, our own Carolbeth True, Charlie Rouse & Les Jazz Modes, Cannonball Adderley, Bud Shank & Bob Cooper, Marcus Roberts, Keith Jarrett, Count Basie, Jackie & Roy, Jimmy Giuffre, Ray Bryant, Gary Burto

Two of more than 70 ancient mounds protected at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.
Cahokia Mounds World Heritage Site

Federal legislation to make Cahokia Mounds part of a new national park could soon be introduced in Congress, according to proponents of the plan.

Heartlands Conservancy, which has led the effort, has been working on the wording of the bill with the staff of U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, said Ed Weilbacher, vice president of the nonprofit based in Belleville.

The Cahokia Mounds and Mississippian Culture National Historic Park would also include ancient mounds in St. Clair and Madison counties and Sugarloaf Mound in St. Louis, the last remaining mound in the city.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 2, 2012 - Seven proved to be a lucky number and red a lucky color for the Repertory Theatre Company tonight. The Rep won seven awards in this year’s seventh annual Kevin Kline ceremony on its home turf in the Loretto-Hilton Center, three of them for “Red.”

A slave ship at the Alexandria, Virginia, waterfront. From a broadside published by the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1836, 200 years after the first slaves arrived in Virginia.
Wikimedia Commons

In August 1619, 20 Africans were chained and unwillingly brought from West Africa to Point Comfort, Virginia, and sold into slavery. Historians point to this date as the beginning of slavery in America.

In 2018, President Donald Trump signed the 400 years of African-American History Commission Act into law. The bill allows for the commission to plan and support organizations with nationwide commemorative activities that acknowledge slavery. 

The national youth-led organization Remember the 400 is an awareness campaign that also honors the first Virginia slaves and their descendants. For the past two years, the St. Louis chapter has connected with the region through community events, black history webinars and informational sessions.

GM Awonder Liang may be the player to beat for the 2019 U.S Junior Championship.
St. Louis Chess Club

The St. Louis Chess Club is known for hosting the premier chess events in the country. This is the first time, however, that three will be hosted at the same time. 

From July 10 through July 20, the top juniors, junior girls, and players over 50 will be in St. Louis to compete for the title of national champion in their respective categories. Each section will feature 10 players in a round robin, all-play and all-closed tournament. 

From left, Percy Green and Devin Thomas O'Shea joined Wednesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Later this week several longstanding St. Louis traditions get underway, including Fair St. Louis and the VP Parade. Both events have connections to the Veiled Prophet Organization, which was founded in 1878 by white elites.

The organization and its regular celebrations are associated with civic pride and philanthropy – and with controversy, secretive rituals and protest.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Shula Neuman looked back on Veiled Prophet history and consider the organization’s evolution and ongoing influence. Joining her to talk about it were two guests with particular interests in the topic.

Percy Green is a prominent civil rights activist perhaps best known for scaling the Gateway Arch 55 years ago. Devin Thomas O’Shea is a Chicago-based freelance writer who recently finished an as-yet-unpublished novel inspired by the city’s Veiled Prophet traditions.

Rob Rains at Busch Stadium.
Rob Rains

The St. Louis Cardinals are now halfway through their season. So far, they’ve left speculators less than impressed – but they still have the chance to improve. 

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s executive editor Shula Neuman talked about the ongoing season and what’s ahead for the team as they go on break for the All-Star game. Joining the discussion was longtime sportswriter Rob Rains of

The purchase and renovations to the Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media put community radio station KDHX $3 million in debt.
Beth Hundsdorfer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:30 p.m., July 9 with a comment from former KDHX employee Jennifer Dunn Stewart — 

KDHX leadership is under fire.

Within the past few weeks, an attorney delivered an anonymous letter to the community radio station's board. Days later, a second letter was delivered via email to some members of the board and others. The letters contained allegations of a hostile work environment for African Americans and financial mismanagement by the station’s leadership. 

The letters also called for the ouster of Executive Director Kelly Wells and the radio station’s board of directors.