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Cityscape is no longer airing. Coverage of the arts is now available five days a week on St. Louis on the Air . Cityscape host Steve Potter will continue to interview artists, musicians, and tastemakers. Our SoundBites series with Sauce Magazine will also be broadcast on St. Louis on the Air . The Cityscape archive will remain available on this page.

Episode Date
Behind-the-scenes with St. Louis producers of five-time Tony Award-winning musical ‘Fun Home’
St. Louis has had a rough week for public perception, what with Stan Kroenke’s 29-page letter bashing the city as home to the St. Louis Rams . In another competitive realm however, those arguments aren’t remotely valid. “It is so funny listening to people bash St. Louis right now, one person in particularly with a bad toupee, and here is this remarkable story of this organization that is producing on Broadway for 20 years, major works, making national and international impact based on offices in Grand Blvd,” said Mike Isaacson, a producer with St. Louis-based Fox Theatricals, now 20 years old, and also the artistic director and executive producer of The Muny. I n 2015, a socially and musically groundbreaking musical produced by the company, went on to win five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Also groundbreaking? That it was an all-female creative writing team that took home best book and best score. That musical was called “Fun Home.” It was based on Alison Bechdel ’s graphic
Jan 08, 2016
Secret concerts are happening throughout St. Louis — here’s how to get in on them
Combining the nostalgic allure of a speakeasy, the surprise element of a pop-up restaurant and the reward of being “in the know,” a new-to-St. Louis group has emerged in the past year that brings those feelings to the concert-going experience. The name of the collective is Sofar Sounds and it has ties to a worldwide movement “Everyone, you’ve gotta just trust me here,” said Chris DiGiacomo, one of the city leaders for Sofar Sounds’ St. Louis branch. Why the trust? People who sign up for Sofar Sounds concerts have little idea where exactly they’re going until the day of the concert and no idea what the band will be until they walk in the door. Also, participants pay what they want to pay in order to get in. “If you have no money, or if you have a lot of money, you can come,” said DiGiacomo of the concerts, which are meant to democratize music for listeners of all backgrounds. The group has hosted five productions since its inception and will offer it’s sixth on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m
Jan 08, 2016
Sound Bites: Two St. Louis chefs-to-watch, two different styles, delicious food all around
Sometimes when you enter Pastaria in Clayton during prep hours you can hear singer Executive Chef Ashley Shelton , 28, belting out a tune or two. You may also receive a Kool-Aid refresher or piece of candy to “keep the flow going” and put a smile on the other cooks’ faces. “I’m not a good singer,” said Shelton. “Pastaria can get really, really busy. It gets daunting. I do whatever I can to lighten the mood when I tell my team is getting down. Singing is something I like to do, I’m not good at it, but I just kind of go with it and give dishes their own songs. I switch out the words of famous songs with the names of our dishes.” Chef Jessie Gilroy , 29, who recently started at Peacemaker Lobster and Crab in Benton Park, could not be any more different. She’s known to look “like she’s going to war,” said Meera Nagarajan, the art director of Sauce Magazine. “I have a focus face,” said Gilroy. “What do they call it? Permanent you-know-what face. Yeah, I have that. On the inside I’m usually
Jan 08, 2016
Learn how to make the perfect paper snowflake with St. Louis’ own ‘Snowflakey Lady’
We here at “Cityscape” know—making the perfect paper snowflake can yield some serious headaches. No, really, we do. For a recent holiday party, we were each in charge of making paper snowflakes. Amid cries of exasperation like ‘Crud! I cut the wrong edge!’ and ‘It doesn’t look like anything,’ we thought to call for help. Enter: Marion Nichols. You may know her as the ‘Snowflakey Lady’ at City Museum. On Friday’s “Cityscape,” she joined us to share how she makes perfectly patterned snowflakes—all while telling a good story or two for those who ask for her help. She started working as a volunteer at the City Museum in 1998, a year after it opened, until Bob Cassilly found she could “do stuff” and hired her full-time. Click through the gallery above to see some of the snowflake creations, as executed by third grade students in Oakville. "I can turn anything into a snowflake; I could turn you into a snowflake," Nichols told host Steve Potter on Friday. Recently, Nichols published a book
Dec 18, 2015
Bach Society celebrates 75th anniversary with its Christmas Candlelight Concert
In the lead-up to Christmas, the Bach Society of Saint Louis’ Christmas Candlelight Concert is a tradition almost as old as eggnog itself—this year marks the 75 th anniversary of the organization devoted to performing choral works by Johann Sebastian Bach, among other classical composers.
Dec 18, 2015
‘Don’t have to be Lutheran to love us:’ National Lutheran Choir makes Christmas stop in St. Louis
The 63-member National Lutheran Choir, based in Minneapolis, is making its sixth stop in St. Louis to perform its annual Christmas festival, this time themed “The Spotless Rose.” The performance will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Kirkwood on Saturday. “We look for a space that fits the kind of program that we do,” said David Cherwein, artistic director of the choir. “That was more of the effort than ecumenical issues…which I would love to brag about, but I can’t. We’re really all partners in the whole thing.” The chorus performs sacred music with the accompaniment of organ, flute and harp—with a few surprises mixed in for attendees. This year’s performance plays off of the theme of the rose, an important symbol for the Christian church. “The rose has always been associated with Christians as Christ or Mary, the mother of Christianity,” Cherwein said. “It is actually a pagan symbol that has to do with fertility, which is typical for the church to adapt and adopt. It’s kind of
Dec 18, 2015
A long time ago, in a place far, far away…Don Marsh interviewed the cast of the original Star Wars
If you’re a Star Wars fanatic, your thrusters are probably already in hyperdrive in anticipation of the release of the next installment of the franchise, “The Force Awakens,” which opened Thursday night. It is hard to imagine the films without the entire subculture of cosplay , props, toys, videogames, books and action-figures that come with them. But, alas, there did exist a time before wookies and droids and Han Solo. That’s where “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh comes in. In 1977, while Marsh was working for KTVI , he had the opportunity to interview some largely unknown actors for a little film with a budget of $11 million called “Star Wars: A New Hope” on the scene in Hollywood. Who were those obscure actors? Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford as well as producer Gary Kurtz, who famously professionally split with George Lucas mid-way through the original series during "The Empire Strikes Back." Click through the photographs above to see Marsh interview the cast in
Dec 17, 2015
Sound Bites: From BBQ to fine dining, the best of St. Louis’ new restaurants in 2015
Things got a little heated in the Sauce Magazine office while putting together the most recent issue , the best new restaurants of 2015. Post-it notes were stolen; Editors got in fights; People had to return to eat delicious foods at their choice contenders time and time again—all in the name of finding the most delicious new restaurants in the area. It was for you, dear listener. On Friday’s “Cityscape,” the magazine’s managing editor Heather Hughes and Catherine Klene were joined by Meera Nagarajan, art director, to discuss how they chose t he eleven best new restaurants out of nearly 100 candidates. The judging process for the editorial team involved going to restaurants several times, sampling favorite dishes, and each member of the team vied for his or her choice to get into the magazine’s final ranking. “Different people have different experiences based on when you go and what meal you have and what dishes are available that day,” said Nagarajan. What set dishes apart, however,
Dec 11, 2015
2015 in Review: The most intriguing St. Louis arts and culture stories of the past year
On Friday’s “Cityscape,” we talked about the most influential, interesting and moving parts of St. Louis’ arts and culture scene in 2015. Themes of social justice, urban design, and the continued evolution of issues within the Zoo-Museum District were all part of the discussion. Joining us were the folks who know it best: St. Louis Public Radio’s arts and culture reporters: Nancy Fowler, Willis Ryder Arnold and Robert Duffy. “I think there was a lot of work around social justice,” said Fowler. “The arts have always addressed social justice. Beginning in 2014, after the events of Ferguson, that has continued in a deeper and bigger way.” “Social justice issues have absolutely come to the fore in the arts community, specifically in the hip-hop community and with visual artists like Damon Davis and De Nichols,” said Arnold. “Some of the work that has been produced, and even protest signs, have been included in places like the Smithsonian.” Some of the topics of conversation: The struggles
Dec 11, 2015
‘It was like jazz to her:’ Keeping the comedy of the late Joan Rivers alive through impersonation
Love her, hate her, replicate her—there’s no denying that Joan Rivers was a force in American comedy. The first woman to host a late night network television talk show, the host of the critically-acclaimed “The Joan Rivers Show” and the co-host of the controversial E! fashion show “Fashion Police,” Rivers always kept people talking. Rivers died in 2014, but actor and female impersonator Joe Posa is on a mission to keep her wise-cracking spirit alive with tribute shows across the country. Tony Tripoli, the head writer of “Fashion Police,” now writes for Posa’s impersonation of Rivers. This Friday and Saturday, Posa will be performing his act in The Emerald Room at The Monocle in the Grove neighborhood. "She was definitely a trailblazer,” Posa said of Rivers. “She was just herself. She made a career out of saying things people were thinking." On Friday’s “Cityscape,” Posa, Tripoli, and the Monocle’s general manager Kyle Hustedt joined host Steve Potter to discuss Rivers’ legacy and the
Dec 04, 2015
St. Louis' musical dream team unites for the 442s’ ‘Holiday Spectacular’
Next Tuesday, a local dream musical team will unite for the 442s’ “Holiday Spectacular” at Washington University’s 560 Music Center. In addition to the talents of the 442s themselves, Peter Martin, Brian Owens and Erin Bode will join the group on stage to perform holiday favorites. "We are all constantly a part of each other's projects," said Bjorn Ranheim, member of the 442s. In this case, that means performing personal holiday favorites and originals from each performer's repertoire. On Friday’s “Cityscape,” three guests joined host Steve Potter to talk about the collaboration: Bjorn Ranheim , Cellist, St. Louis Symphony and member of The 442s Erin Bode, vocalist Brian Owens , Vocalist and IN UNISON Artist-in-Residence and Program Manager, St. Louis Symphony Owens said his favorite Christmas song was " Count Your Blessings " from the classic Christmas movie "White Christmas" and Bode said she looked forward to performing " The Star's Song ," an original song she performs with The
Dec 04, 2015
Mischief? Flying cats? St. Louis author Ridley Pearson on The Rep's ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’
On any given day, the world of Broadway wheelin’ and dealin’ feels pretty far away from St. Louis, Missouri. Not so for author Ridley Pearson, who makes his home here. As the co-author of the popular series “Peter and the Starcatchers” with writer Dave Barry, Pearson has been involved in that world as his book has been adapted for the Broadway stage. In the mid-2000s, Disney Theatrical Productions, the play producing arm of the media powerhouse, adapted the prequel to “Peter Pan” with the help of writer Rick Elice and called it “Peter and the Starcatcher.” The play was performed on Broadway from 2012 to 2013 and then toured the country—that’s when it first came to St. Louis. Now, the play will now be performed by The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis for almost a month, from December 2 to December 27. Pearson, a long-time patron of the theatre could not be more excited to see his work come to the St. Louis stage. “When it toured here, it was really exciting,” Pearson told “Cityscape” host
Dec 04, 2015
St. Louis Symphony re-imagines 'Peter and the Wolf' with Webster U. students' artwork
“Peter and the Wolf,” the classic work of Sergei Prokofiev , has been performed in countless guises over its 80-year history. It is often presented as a work for children, but the St. Louis Symphony is challenging that assumption with its next performance of the work over Thanksgiving weekend. “’Peter and the Wolf’ is often relegated to concerts for children or family concerts,” said David Robertson, the St. Louis Symphony’s music director. “While I particularly love family concerts and have great memories and think they are very important, they tend to be looked down upon. Either by people who are without family or people who say ‘that’s for children, it’s not for me,’ whereas ‘Peter and the Wolf’ is such a beautiful piece of music and so incredibly deep.” Much like when you re-read a children’s classic and learn wisdom you could never have garnered as a child, symphony audiences can find a “real connection to the universal and eternal message” in the piece, said Robertson. Abstract
Nov 28, 2015
World premiere of Ken Page’s ‘Sublime Intimacy’ aims to have you asking questions of your love life
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 . The play, which incorporates music and dance, follows five characters who all have some sort of relationship to dancers or dance. Many of the characters are based on people from St. Louis, Page said, including himself. The idea of “sublime intimacy” came out of a conversation with a friend, Page said. “We were talking about relationships and how they evolve sometimes past the level that they are qualified under most definitions, even in marriages, even
Nov 25, 2015
Greenleaf Singers and Not-Ready-For-Reformation Players team up for 40th annual Christmas Rout
Music, candles, delicious food and drink: all normal parts of a delightful and atmospheric holiday gathering. For the Greenleaf Singers and the Not-Ready-For-Reformation Players the gathering also includes “comely wenches and sturdy lads” as well as Renaissance-era songs of the season. Next week, the two groups will perform in the 40 th annual Renaissance Theatre and Christmas Rout at Eliot Chapel in Kirkwood. The performance includes appetizers, libations, and dessert for the crowd as well as period garb for the performers and volunteers who serve the food. The Not-Ready-For-Reformation Players will put on a play with various hijinks and silliness featuring Queen Elizabeth and entitled “A Prescription for Christmas.” “We have no serious bones in our body,” said Jim Gottschalk, a co-writer for the group. “The show is typically very silly.” The Greenleaf Singers, a local madrigal group, will perform music from their repertoire, which features mostly a capella selections, and mixes the
Nov 25, 2015
To escape ‘black dog’ of depression following military defeats, Winston Churchill turned to painting
Defeat is not one of the primary words associated with Sir Winston Churchill’s career. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953, he gave the prophetic “Iron Curtain Speech” at Westminster College in 1946, and, most importantly, he emerged victorious during World War II as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. What many people don’t know is that Churchill did in fact experience the agony of defeat…and that’s what fueled his second life as a painter. Churchill’s best paintings are now being displayed at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in collaboration with the National Churchill Museum at Westminster College in Fulton. This year marks the 50 th anniversary of Churchill’s death and the 100 th anniversary of his first painting. Timothy Riley, the exhibition’s curator, said that Churchill began painting in 1915 at the age of 40 after his first large-scale defeat, during World War I. “He was a late bloomer as far as painting was concerned,” Riley said.
Nov 25, 2015
Prayer for peace: Calligraphic artist Salma Arastu’s MOCRA works aim to build bridges between faiths
Artist Salma Arastu knows a thing or two about intercultural communication. She was born in India and raised in Hinduism before embracing Islam through her marriage. Now, she uses that melded faith background to build religious bridges through her artwork: Arabic calligraphy melded with abstract expressionist paintings. On Friday’s “Cityscape,” Arastu joined host Steve Potter to discuss her artwork, which is now on display at Saint Louis University’s Museum of Contemporary Religious Art ( MOCRA ). The name of the exhibition is “Painted Prayers: The Calligraphic Art of Salma Arastu.” Terry Dempsey, the director of the museum, also joined the show to discuss the genesis of the exhibit. Arastu, who moved to the U.S. with her husband in 1986 after several years living in Kuwait and Iran, said her art initially became popular through Islamic greeting cards she illustrated. Now, she combines layers of acrylic paint with Arabic calligraphy of prayers from the Quran. In two paintings, she also
Nov 20, 2015
The Soulard Fine Arts Building, home to many St. Louis visual artists, celebrates 25 years
The Soulard Fine Arts Building is celebrating 25 years of housing a community of 17 different visual artists in its walls. The occasion will be commemorated with an exhibit at the Regional Arts Commission about the building itself. Over 15 artists’ works will be shown as part of the exhibition. The owner of the building , Robert Michelmann, as well as a photographer and exhibit curator, Anne Murphy, joined “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday to discuss the anniversary as well as what the exhibit holds in store for visitors. "I think it was very unusual [25 years ago], and that is one of the things that really impressed me about Robert," said Murphy. "The way he envisioned this as a working space for artists and also a place to build communities for artists." Related Event What: Soulard Fine Arts Building Presents "The Building/Soulard Fine Arts" When: Nov. 20, 2015 – Jan. 2, 2016 Monday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 12 Noon - 5:00 p.m. Opening Reception:
Nov 13, 2015
Sound Bites: A closer look at how the farm-to-table movement is at play in St. Louis
Maybe you’ve recently patronized a restaurant that lists the farms their food came from on the menu. Or maybe you read that Vanity Fair article lambasting chefs who prioritize where food comes from over taste. But is that what the farm-to-table movement is really about in St. Louis? On this month’s Sound Bites, St. Louis Public Radio’s partnership with Sauce Magazine, we get to the bottom of it. Our guests: · Anthony Devoti, Chef/Owner of Five Bistro on The Hill · Meera Nagarajan, Art Director, Sauce Magazine · Sam Hilmer, Farmer and Owner, Claverach Farm Listen: What is the farm-to-table movement? “Farm-to-table started out as the consumption of locally-raised food,” said Nagarajan. “Over the past ten years, it has taken on a life of its own—it has become viral, really. Nowadays, you’ll go to restaurants and you’ll see farms on the menu, citing where produce came from and where animals were raised. “That’s not the end of it. If you go to McDonald’s website these days, you can see who
Nov 13, 2015
Big Muddy Dance Company: From ‘accessible jazz’ to ‘eclectic repertory’ in five years
A lot of things have changed in the past five years for Big Muddy Dance Company , but one thing has not: the dedication of the group’s original core members, most of whom are still performing with the company. That’s pretty inspiring, mostly because the group has completely changed the tone and tenor of its dance style over that period of time. “The Big Muddy was filling this gap of accessible jazz dance at its very beginnings,” said Erin Warner Prange, the group’s executive director. “Since that time, we’ve evolved into a pretty eclectic repertory company. We do everything—ballet as a foundation for all that we do. Then there’s some jazz in there, some contemporary in there. We do a lot of comedic works, with some dance theatre thrown in. We really try to cover all of it.” As the group looks forward to their fifth season, which starts Nov. 21, they’ve also added some new blood to the group in the form of two new dancers and pieces to their repertoire. The season will include four
Nov 13, 2015