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Vikki Siddell (bottom right corner) on St. Charles performed in from of the "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" cast for the live singing contest: "Kimmy vs. the Music: A Live Singing Contest That's Live."

These days, Zoom calls are more likely to inspire grousing than gratitude. Who wants to make uncomfortable eye contact with their boss or professor — and themselves? But Vikki Siddell of St. Charles recently joined a very different Zoom call, one where she got to talk — and perform — in front of celebrities including Daniel Radcliffe, Tina Fey and St. Louis’ own Ellie Kemper. 

The occasion was a live singing contest: “Kimmy vs. the Music: A Live Singing Contest That's Live.” It celebrated the launch of the new interactive Netflix special "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend.” During the YouTube stream, the cast and creators raised awareness and funds for Crisis Text Line, which provides 24/7 mental health support to people in crisis.

April 28, 2020 Judith Heumann
Courtesy of Beacon Press

A rundown camp in the Catskills ended up fomenting the disability rights movement. That’s the remarkable story told in the acclaimed “Crip Camp” documentary, which was produced by Barack and Michelle Obama and is now on Netflix. 

The documentary has won raves for its unflinching depiction of how Camp Jened brought together young people with wide-ranging disabilities and allowed them to experience life without their parents. The community they formed and the self-reliance they cultivated within it led to the landmark 1970s protests that opened doors for disabled people — and, ultimately, to the Americans with Disability Act.   

Actors Garland Scott and Linda Kennedy
The Ghost Who Walks

When Cody Stokes decided to shoot “The Ghost Who Walks” in his native St. Louis, it wasn’t because he was trying to make the city itself a character or was set on showcasing certain regional icons. In fact, the Gateway Arch doesn’t make a single appearance. But Stokes did choose St. Louis as his backdrop with good reason — and for viewers who know the region well, there’s plenty of local imagery to enjoy over the course of the fast-paced, 106-minute film.

“I think that the advantage is this is just an untapped visual landscape,” Stokes told St. Louis Public Radio’s Jonathan Ahl last summer during the 19th Annual Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase. “There’s really not a lot of films shot here that make it to a wider audience or get seen by many people at all.” And now, “The Ghost Who Walks” has indeed reached movie lovers near and far. It’s currently streaming on Netflix.

Michelle P. King is the author of 'The Fix: Overcome the Invisible Barriers Holding Women Back at Work.' | 4/10/2020
Michelle P. King

Michelle P. King says the American workplace was designed for men. And, in many respects, it remains the model for corporations throughout the world. 

King is the director of inclusion at Netflix and the author of “The Fix: Overcome the Invisible Barriers That Are Holding Women Back at Work,” which explores how gender equality plays out at work.

"Self Made" Courtesy of Netflix
Amanda Matlovich | Netflix

Sarah Breedlove’s life was the stuff of binge-worthy TV. Born on a cotton plantation to newly freed slaves in 1867, she toiled as a washerwoman in early 20th-century St. Louis before founding a business empire. After selling products for St. Louis hair-care magnate Annie Malone, she launched a line of her own under her married name, Madam C.J. Walker — and became the richest African American woman in the country. At the time of her death, in 1919, Walker had amassed a fortune of over $7 million in today’s money.

A little over a century later, Madam C.J. Walker’s remarkable life has gotten the Hollywood treatment. The Netflix series “Self Made” tells the story of Walker’s rise and what it portrays as a toxic relationship with Malone, fictionalized as “Addie Monroe.”   

Longtime Quincy Senior High School music director Kathi Dooley talked about her experience on Netflix's "Queer Eye" show on "St. Louis on the Air."
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Kathi Dooley was set in her ways when it came to her looks and career; she knew what she loved and stuck with it. The longtime music director at Quincy Senior High School has a passion for helping students expand their artistic horizons, all while rocking the same hairstyle for more than 40 years. 

But all that changed last October when a former student of Dooley’s made a return to Quincy, Illinois, to switch up her routine. Jonathan Van Ness is a 2004 graduate of Quincy Senior High School, and he pitched for his beloved teacher, and her late 1970s mullet, to be featured on the hit Netflix series “Queer Eye.”

Hari Kondabolu at St. Louis Public Radio on Friday, May 4.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Hari Kondabolu is not afraid to talk about the topics that make people uncomfortable. Sexism, racism, colonialism — all the “isms” you can think of — are fair game at his shows.

To that he says, why wouldn’t I?

St. Louis native Sean Gunn as Kirk in the "Gilmore Girls." The pig is named Petal.

If actor Sean Gunn isn’t out promoting the Netflix reboot of the “Gilmore Girls,’’ which premieres on Friday, you might find him at a comic book convention meeting fans of the film “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which will be released in May.

The two projects meant months of commuting between the West and East coasts for the 42-year-old St. Louis native who follows Cardinals baseball wherever he is and admits to liking both Imo’s and Pi pizza. And, yes, he went to high school here — St. Louis University High.