Arts & Culture | St. Louis Public Radio

Arts & Culture

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 1, 2010 - With Clayton's smoking ban begining today, smoke and mixed feelings filled the air in many of the municipality's bars and restaurants Wednesday night. 

While many restaurant customers and employees support the ban that prohibits smoking in Clayton restaurants, several oppose it, saying the ban infringes on their individual rights.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 29, 2011 - After an opening miscue led to a struggle for equality, Grandmaster Yury Shulman conceded a draw to Grandmaster Gata Kamsky and with it the title of 2011 U.S. Chess Champion. Kamsky was the defending champion, and he won the title last year in another final-round game with Shulman. This year Kamsky took home $40,000 for first place, plus $2,000 more for winning his preliminary group. In the U.S. Women's Championship, International Master Anna Zatonskih survived 19 matches to claim her fourth title. She was awarded $18,000 for first place.

On Chess: Nakamura gets to observe


This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 25, 2011 - Having competed in six prior U.S. Championships, including the past two here at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, it is certainly an unusual feeling to be a casual observer this year. Over the past few months, I have raised my rating to number eight in the world, and I elected to not play in this year's event to focus my energy on preparing for the world elite and the next World Championship cycle.

On Chess: What's The Deal With Bughouse Chess?

29 minutes ago
Garry Kasparov's first ever bughouse game played with 10-year-old Marc Andria Maurizzi versus Etienne Bacrot and Dana Reizniece-Ozola at the Paris Grand Chess Tour Pro Biz.
Lennart Ootes | St. Louis Chess Club

If you’re tired of playing chess against that same friend over and over again, why not team up with them instead?

Bughouse is a fast-paced variant of chess, following a few of the familiar rules of chess along with an extensive list of new moves and strategic possibilities. Bughouse requires two teams of two players, two chess boards and two clocks. 

From left, Gregg Favre, David Lott and Christopher Gordon joined Wednesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The flames that engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday have people around the world thinking about the importance of cultural preservation and fire safety as well as the fragility of cherished landmarks.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jeremy D. Goodwin explored how those topics have informed local efforts associated with protecting historic buildings and St. Louis’ cultural heritage.

Hulton Archive | Getty Images

Obsessed with the legacy of musician Louis Armstrong and care to learn more about him? Tonight, the curator of the Louis Armstrong House in Queens, New York, Ricky Riccardi, will be in town for an event at Jazz St. Louis to delve into two of Armstrong’s best-known ensembles: the Hot Five and Hot Seven.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Riccardi – who is also the author of “What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years” – sat down with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jeremy D. Goodwin to discuss the importance and impact of Armstrong’s early career.

Jack Galmiche helped make Nine Network of Public Media one of the most-watched public television stations in the country. He died April 16 at age 71.
Nine Network of Public Media

Jack Galmiche, who spent more than two decades transforming public television from "classroom in a box" into a digital resource that engages the entire community, has died. He was 71.

His efforts were on full display in August 2015, when hundreds gathered on the new Public Media Commons for the preview of "Whose Streets," the acclaimed documentary about the unrest following the killing of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer in 2014.

Gregory Wolk, Heritage Resources coordinator for the Missouri Humanities Council, talked about an unveiling of the panel, "America's Long Road to Freedom: Missouri's Civil War," at Harris-Stowe State University. Joining the conversation by phone was Grego
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

This Thursday, Harris-Stowe State University and the Missouri Humanities Council are commemorating some of the city’s past residents in a new Civil War panel titled “Long Roads to Freedom.” It will be unveiled on the grounds of the university near the former site of John B. Henderson’s home, the Missouri senator who co-authored the constitutional amendment abolishing slavery.

The panel also honors others who advanced the cause of equal rights, such as Henderson’s wife Mary Henderson – who was very involved in the cause of women’s suffrage and women’s rights – and Hiram Reed, the first slave freed on the authority of the American military during the
Civil War.

Joining Monday’s St. Louis on the Air discussion with St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jeremy D. Goodwin to delve into the topic’s history were Gregory Wolk, Heritage Resources coordinator for the Missouri Humanities Council, and Gregory Carr, an instructor in speech and theater at Harris-Stowe State University.

Nazi guards force Jewish prisoners on a death march during World War II. The fifth man from the right is Leo Wolfe, who survived the Holocaust and co-founded the Holocaust Museum & Learning Center with Tom Green and Bill Kahn.  4/15/19
Holocaust Museum & Learning Center

Paula Bromberg was a Polish Jew whose family was seized by the Nazis, forced to live in the Lodz ghetto and later sent to the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. She was sent from there to another camp, where she was exploited as slave labor. On May 6, 1945, her camp was liberated by the U.S. army near the end of World War II. She was the only one in her family who survived to see freedom.

Bromberg met her future husband, Harry, in a displaced persons camp after the war. They and their young child resettled in St. Louis.

Decades later, she told her story to Vida "Sister" Goldman Prince, with a tape recorder rolling. Bromberg died in 2013.

After years in storage, the interview on that tape — and those of 143 other Holocaust survivors with ties to the area — is now online.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 14, 2019 will present “How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?”  The answer is that you practice-a lot.  Starting in 1938 with the famous Benny Goodman concert, Carnegie Hall has played host to a large number of jazz masters, including Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Count Basie, Charlie Christian, Louis Armstrong, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Lionel Hampton with Dinah Washington, Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Woody Herman, Miles Davis & Gil Evans, Dave Brubeck, Lester Young, Jay McShann, Thelonious Monk with John Coltr

Tony Parise (at left), director of this year's St. Louis Teen Talent Competition, local teen Nicaya Wiley (center), who won the 2018 contest, and Yvette Lu, the emcee of the event, joined Friday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is home to a thriving performing arts scene, with a wide range of plays, concerts and much more on the collective playbill any night of the week. But it’s not every day a show provides a little of everything – all of it courtesy of some of the city’s youngest performers.

On Saturday evening, the 2019 St. Louis Teen Talent Competition will bring audience members a total of 15 performances that run the gamut, from vocal and instrumental numbers and dances to musical theater and circus acts. The free event , sponsored by the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation, marks the culmination of a several-month-long process highlighting emerging talent in the St. Louis performing arts community.

Team Liquid won last year's North America League of Legends Championship Series in Miami.
Riot Games

A "League of Legends" tournament final this Saturday at the Chaifetz Arena at St. Louis University is expected to draw thousands of esports enthusiasts from around the country.

“Literally every single ticket in the house was gone in about 48 hours,” said Kelsie Woodward, the venue’s marketing director. “While we are expecting local fans and gamers, we are getting people from all over the world coming to this.”

Artist Theodore Kerr mounted a series of paintings addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS on St. Louis's black residents on the outside walls of the Luminary  at 2701 Cherokee Street. 4/12/19
The Luminary

The Luminary gallery on Cherokee Street is moving beyond its walls.

Weeks after reopening their gallery space following a $500,000 rehab to the building, its leaders are launching a large exhibition of public art centered on Cherokee Street.

The three-month exhibition, called “Counterpublic,” will feature the work of 37 artists.

They’ll display work that ranges from paintings affixed to building walls with wheatpaste to immersive, sculptural installations.

The Armenian Eagles celebrate victory at the  2018 PRO Chess League Final Four.
Eric Rosen | St. Louis Chess Club

The St. Louis Arch Bishops are going back to the Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League final four in San Francisco.

To make it to the final rounds, they defeated their crosstown rivals, Webster Windmills, in a thrilling 9-7 victory that came down to the final round. International master (IM) Nikolas Theodorou’s triumphant rook sacrifice proved to be too much for his grandmaster (GM) opponent to handle.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 26, 2010 - A very big part of a trip I'm now on in Central America can be summed up in a story of two mangos.

The first part of the trip was with my daughter who is in San Salvador with a group of students from the University of Santa Clara. She is taking courses -- Spanish, philosophy, history -- at the University of Central America in El Salvador. She is also taking a graduate-level course in life.

Rafia Zafar is the author of "Recipes for Respect: African American Meals and Meaning." Her teaching and research at Washington University focuses on literary, culture and food studies.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“When is a cookbook more than a set of instructions? And how might a meal rewrite history?”

These two questions frame Washington University scholar Rafia Zafar’s exploration of the rich history of African American food and dining in her new book “Recipes For Respect: African American Meals and Meaning.” In it, Zafar leads readers to a deeper understanding of the authors and chefs whose lives and contributions she brings to the fore.

She offers insights on figures ranging from the enigmatic St. Louis mixologist Tom Bullock, to well-known figures such as George Washington Carver, to black women authors of cookbooks and novels that speak to the struggle of the 1960s as well as the preparation and centrality of food.

St. Louis civic leaders, members of the Taylor family, which owns Enterprise Holdings, and World Wide Technology Jim Kavanaugh announced plans to form a bid to attract a Major League Soccer expansion team in St. Louis. Oct. 9, 2018.
File photo | Melody Walker | St. Louis Public Radio

The ownership group behind a potential top-flight professional soccer franchise for St. Louis could have a clearer picture next week about the chances of securing an expansion team.

Major League Soccer owners will meet April 18 in Los Angeles and expansion is on the agenda. That does not mean new teams will be announced, but it could end up being another gauge of the league's interest in St. Louis.

Momentum for an expansion franchise in the region is strong in some U.S. soccer circles.

Singer-songwriter Jay Farrar joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss the latest Son Vault album. April 9, 2019.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

It is hard not to notice that “Union,” the newest release from St. Louis-based band Son Volt, has a distinct political bent. Songs like the title track and “The 99” tackle some hot-button topics indicative of contemporary American discourse, with lyrics that speak of protest and income inequality.

Jay Farrar, the band’s lead singer and song writer, explained to producer Alex Heuer on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air that he wanted to write songs addressing the modern political climate, something that the artists he grew up listening to did in their own eras.

Longtime national anthem singer Charles Glenn, 64, has announced plans to retire at the end of the St. Louis Blues' 2019 season.
St. Louis Blues

For the past 19 years, Charles Glenn’s voice has regularly set the tone for St. Louis Blues home games. Last week he announced that this will be his last season singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the hockey team, citing multiple sclerosis as a factor in his decision to retire.

Monday’s St. Louis on the Air revisited a conversation with Glenn from about two years ago, when Glenn opened up about the experience of frequently performing the national anthem in front of a huge crowd.

“You’re singing it to 16,000 people every game, because every game’s a sellout,” the singer told executive producer Alex Heuer. “And it’s a rush, it really is. Each game is a thrill. I love it … and since it’s in a hockey arena, it’s a closer-knit audience – they’re closer to you, so you feel their energy. It’s a good thing.”

Oren Rudavsky is the director and producer of "Joseph Pulizter: Voice of the People."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Like many documentarians, Oren Rudavsky delved into his latest film project eager to “get under the surface” of his subject’s public persona. And his soon-to-premiere documentary “Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People” manages to do just that.

But Rudavsky’s primary reasons for making the film about the celebrated giant of American journalism and founder of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch were political ones, he told St. Louis on the Air executive producer Alex Heuer during Monday’s show.

“[Those reasons] became even more evident during the run-up to the 2016 election when immigration and issues about immigrants came to the fore,” Rudavsky said, “[and] when the news media was being attacked and continues to be attacked. ‘Fake news’ was a term that Pulitzer [used] in an article he wrote in 1902.”

U.S. Chess Championship winners, Jennifer Yu and Hikaru Nakamura on April 1.
Lennart Ootes | St. Louis Chess Club

The U.S. Chess Championship and U.S. Women’s Championship are the marquee events of American chess and for the last 11 years, the St. Louis Chess Club has been hosting both events at their illustrious club.

This year’s edition has been the strongest championship in history, with a record five players over the 2700 rating threshold. The U.S. Women’s Championship has had a tale of its own, with an eclectic mix of new and experienced players setting the stage for what would become one of the most exciting national championships in history.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

Jazz Unlimited for April 7, 2019 will be “Long Form Duke Ellington Compositions.”   Duke Ellington was one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, but he was best known for his popular songs because the critics, as their wont, put him in that box.  As a result, most of his long form compositions are not well known.  We will play “Black, Brown & Beige,” “The Liberian Suite,” “The Degas Suite,” “The Queen’s Suite,” and “Night Creature” with the Louie Bellson Orchestra and the Duke Ellington Orchestra.  Shorter form pieces will be played and sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Lion

A docent leads students on a tour through the Holocaust Museum & Learning Center. 4/5/19
Holocaust Museum & Learning Center

For years, the cassette tapes gathered dust. The original master recordings were squirreled away in storage, with lesser-sounding copies made available to scholars upon request.

Now, a collection of 144 interviews with Holocaust survivors is available for easy access on the website of St. Louis’s Holocaust Museum & Learning Center.

Commentary: Neon Art Is More Than Just Advertising

Apr 5, 2019

I just returned from Glendale, California and was thrilled to visit while there, MONA, The Museum of Neon Art, a tiny but very special museum which not only features exhibits of neon art, but offers special classes. The classes feature the making of neon art and the bright lights of the neon in the exhibitions appeal to all ages.

The surviving members of the St. Louis Six are (from left) Eddie, Johnny Cash, Roo, Chico and Houdini.
The Gentle Barn

Two years ago this spring, six renegade steers who would later come to be known as Chico, Eddie, Houdini, Johnny Cash, Roo and Spirit took to the St. Louis streets. After escaping from a local slaughterhouse, the animals embarked on a winding journey, finally reaching their permanent home more than five months later.

Their story is the centerpiece of this week’s Riverfront Times, with Danny Wicentowski pulling together an oral history of the St. Louis Six that looks at the saga from multiple angles and at every stage.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Wicentowski went behind the headlines with executive producer Alex Heuer to remember the steers who took the city by storm – and the people who helped them find their way back to pasture.

Ralph Toenjes carries game-used baseballs during an Aug. 16 game from the Cardinals' dugout to the Authentics Shop in the right field concourse of Busch Stadium.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Editor's note: This story was originally published Aug. 22, 2018.

What happens to all those used baseballs the umpires toss out of games at Busch Stadium?

After Keith Duncan of St. Louis submitted that question to our Curious Louis feature, we went to the Aug. 16 game between the Cardinals and Washington Nationals to find out.

That’s where we found Ralph Toenjes hard at work, happily greeting fans at the Authentics Shop, located behind center field. Toenjes sells memorabilia, including used baseballs, fresh from the field. During games, it’s his job to fetch baseballs from the Cardinals dugout every two or three innings.

The grounds crew works on the field at Busch Stadium on March 27, 2019.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

At long last, spring finally arrives for Cardinals fans at 2:30 p.m. Friday when the Budweiser Clydesdales take their annual strut around the warning track at Busch Stadium — a day later than planned.

A rainy forecast for Thursday prompted the Cardinals to postpone their home opener against the San Diego Padres to Friday afternoon. The team promises all the traditional hoopla of opening day, including the Clydesdales and motorcades introducing the 2019 Redbirds and Cardinals Hall of Famers.

(April 04, 2019) Acclaimed scholar, critic and essayist Gerald Early discussed a variety of topics on Thursday's "St. Louis on the Air," including baseball, his latest book, "The Cambridge Champion of Boxing," and the value of literary works.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Gerald Early is an acclaimed scholar, critic and essayist. He is the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters in the African and African American Studies Department at Washington University, and among his many interests is the wide world of sports – especially baseball.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, he grew up a Phillies fan. With that in mind during Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio reporter Rachel Lippmann asked Early whether his loyalties have shifted at all while living in St. Louis.

The grounds crew prepares the field at Busch Stadium for the Cardinals home opener in 2017. Photo was taken on March 29, 2017.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

No day looms quite as large on the St. Louis sports calendar as the Cardinals’ home opener. Even though other cities put on a show for the start of baseball season, St. Louis stands out from the crowd – at least according to Derrick Goold, a sportswriter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“Opening day is a special time of year for a lot of teams mainly because they get a packed house, they're coming back from spring training – but the Cardinals add to it the Clydesdales and the parade of cars and the Hall of Famers,” Goold told St. Louis Public Radio reporter Rachel Lippmann on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air.

The grounds crew works on the field at Busch Stadium last week. Construction was still under way on the Budweiser Terrace, a new social gathering area in the upper right field seating sections. It will feature lounge seating, standing areas and two bars.
File photo | Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Cardinals have moved their home opener at Busch Stadium from Thursday afternoon to Friday because of a rainy forecast, the team announced.

But don’t worry, Cardinals fans, the traditional Opening Day show will go on — just a day late.