[ {"id":"9bae46b4-fdd8-531d-ba32-9a9d7583ba78","type":"article","starttime":"1515692700","starttime_iso8601":"2018-01-11T11:45:00-06:00","priority":45,"sections":[{"features":"arts-and-culture/features"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Broad Brushstrokes","url":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/features/article_9bae46b4-fdd8-531d-ba32-9a9d7583ba78.html","permalink":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/features/broad-brushstrokes/article_9bae46b4-fdd8-531d-ba32-9a9d7583ba78.html","canonical":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/features/broad-brushstrokes/article_9bae46b4-fdd8-531d-ba32-9a9d7583ba78.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":2,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Bryan A. Hollerbach","prologue":"The St. Louis nonprofit Portfolio stages a new widescreen presentation of artwork in Clayton.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["st louis artists guild","portfolio gallery and educational center","all colors"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"ab9894a2-c426-58e6-bfc9-3d188e31bfee","description":"","byline":"Images courtesy of Portfolio Gallery and Educational Center","hireswidth":1251,"hiresheight":1655,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/b9/ab9894a2-c426-58e6-bfc9-3d188e31bfee/5a578fe7145ff.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1223","height":"793","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/b9/ab9894a2-c426-58e6-bfc9-3d188e31bfee/5a578fe71390b.image.jpg?crop=1223%2C793%2C27%2C389&resize=1223%2C793&order=crop%2Cresize"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"65","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/b9/ab9894a2-c426-58e6-bfc9-3d188e31bfee/5a578fe71390b.image.jpg?crop=1223%2C793%2C27%2C389&resize=100%2C65&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"195","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/b9/ab9894a2-c426-58e6-bfc9-3d188e31bfee/5a578fe71390b.image.jpg?crop=1223%2C793%2C27%2C389&resize=300%2C195&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"664","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/b9/ab9894a2-c426-58e6-bfc9-3d188e31bfee/5a578fe71390b.image.jpg?crop=1223%2C793%2C27%2C389&resize=1024%2C664&order=crop%2Cresize"}}},{"id":"34da90aa-67c6-547c-aad2-e0c74c1fb8a9","description":"","byline":"Images courtesy of Portfolio Gallery and Educational Center","hireswidth":1102,"hiresheight":1881,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/4d/34da90aa-67c6-547c-aad2-e0c74c1fb8a9/5a578fe6c31a1.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1102","height":"1881","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/4d/34da90aa-67c6-547c-aad2-e0c74c1fb8a9/5a578fe6c21fa.image.jpg?resize=1102%2C1881"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"171","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/4d/34da90aa-67c6-547c-aad2-e0c74c1fb8a9/5a578fe6c21fa.image.jpg?resize=100%2C171"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"512","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/4d/34da90aa-67c6-547c-aad2-e0c74c1fb8a9/5a578fe6c21fa.image.jpg?resize=300%2C512"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1748","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/4d/34da90aa-67c6-547c-aad2-e0c74c1fb8a9/5a578fe6c21fa.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C1748"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"9bae46b4-fdd8-531d-ba32-9a9d7583ba78","body":"
\"Faces
Faces of Eve Final.JPG

With an exhibition opening this Sat., Jan. 13, Portfolio Gallery and Educational Center seeks to frame a vast canvas of visual artistry.

\u201cAll Colors,\u201d the exhibition in question, will run till Feb. 28 in the St. Louis Artists\u2019 Guild\u2019s spacious Clayton gallery at 12 N. Jackson Ave. It will feature more than 50 participants and more than 150 pieces of variegated artwork from both local and national creators, collectors and educators, some invited, others taking part in a blind juried process.

In principle, at least, \u201cAll Colors\u201d will include clay creations, photographs and related works, drawing/printmaking, fine crafts, glasswork, jewelry, mixed media, painting and sculpture. \u201cThere will be some limited-edition prints, but most of the art will be original art that we hope collectors will purchase to generate funds that Portfolio Gallery and Educational Center can distribute through grants to artists of all disciplines, small nonprofit cultural/heritage organizations and community/neighborhood organizations,\u201d says Robert A. Powell, Portfolio\u2019s executive director.

Powell, a sculptor who founded the organization in 1989, is curating the exhibition. Previously, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education and taught in various public schools elsewhere. \u201cIt\u2019s a culmination of 28 years or so of friendships and working relationships,\u201d Powell relates of the exhibition. \u201cPortfolio\u2019s \u2018All Colors\u2019 came about from conversations with the St. Louis Artists\u2019 Guild and our need for a space. The guild\u2019s available space, location and their experience of hosting art exhibits made for an effortless connection for both of our not-for-profit organizations.\u201d

Powell suggests that visitors to \u201cAll Colors\u201d approach its felicities from a panoramic vantage.

\u201cI\u2019d suggest they view the whole body of work \u2026 ,\u201d he says. \u201cCompare it to an anthology of various writers in one book. Writers, like artists, tell individual stories, but when they combine their work, those stories can become much more powerful, thrilling, informative and pleasing to the soul. I want visitors to look at all the work of the artists I\u2019ve invited and understand what they\u2019re individually and collectively saying through this exhibit of their combined art.\u201d

That wish dovetails aesthetically with the logo of Powell\u2019s nonprofit, which sports a stylized silhouette of an average artist\u2019s portfolio, designed to protect and transport canvases and congruent works. Digital natives obsessed with smartphones little larger than dominoes likely would boggle at the capacity of such a portfolio, which can literally engulf a dozen or so tablet computers. Figuratively, Powell\u2019s nonprofit aspires to a similar capacity.

According to Portfolio\u2019s brief, it \u201cimpact[s] more than 5,000 persons a year.\u201d That brief also notes that \u201cteaching and learning are at the very heart of Portfolio\u2019s mission,\u201d continuing that it strives to provide \u201cdirect art education to children, adults and developmentally disabled persons,\u201d collaborate with \u201ceducators to enhance traditional arts in the school setting\u201d and present \u201clectures, demonstrations and opportunities for cultural and intellectual exchange.\u201d

Given that Portfolio\u2019s brief likewise states that it works \u201cto preserve, educate and enrich lives and foster a greater awareness of American artists of African-American heritage,\u201d Powell also addresses the potential for confusion over the exhibition\u2019s title, noting that \u201cAll Colors\u201d relates to no specific race or culture.

\u201cIts concept is more about how artists use \u2018all colors,\u2019 all mediums, and how they use them to make creative and unique statements,\u201d he says. \u201cBut if we\u2019re to be honest, African-American artists have been influenced by, challenged by and inspired by artists of all colors. Portfolio has always been a place of great diversity, which includes artists, organizations and individuals who have either exhibited art or hosted events with us.\u201d

\"20160115_113620-1Cuban
20160115_113620-1Cuban Dancers.jpg

As Portfolio nears the close of its third decade, Powell reflects on what he regards as its most memorable achievements to date. \u201cFirst, I\u2019d say our 29 years of bringing exposure to talented local and nationally known and budding African-American artists,\u201d he says. \u201cPortfolio opens a unique world of opportunity, not only giving black artists the opportunity to create and be appreciated but the opportunity for the entire region to experience their cultural and artistic statements.

\u201cSecondly, the service aspect of Portfolio has been an important accomplishment for me. We\u2019ve used art as a tool in public schools for children. We\u2019ve done mural projects, pottery and woodcarving classes and other art-making endeavors.\u201d

Similarly, Powell reflects on Portfolio\u2019s most noteworthy unfinished task. \u201cOur yet-to-be-met challenge is to institutionalize black art in the region,\u201d he says. \u201cThink about the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, Grand Center or the Missouri Botanical Garden. These are all cultural destination places supported by tax dollars. I\u2019d like black art to be a part of the city\u2019s portfolio of cultural attractions for locals and out-of-towners.\u201d

That wish constitutes a second instance of dovetailing. As the start of Portfolio\u2019s fourth decade looms in 2019, Powell projects a direction for the nonprofit to progress, citing in particular the potential under extant Missouri statute \u201cto fund an African-American arts district, which could include a museum, galleries, dance and theater companies \u2013 the whole artistic gamut in one specific area. All it would take is a ballot initiative and votes to expand the statute.

\u201cI want to see Portfolio Gallery and Educational Center spearheading and managing an effort that will create an artistic space in the region that institutionalizes black art and culture in the region and provides grants and funding for many deserving artists and art organizations in our region.\u201d

Portfolio Gallery and Educational Center, 2029 E. Fair Ave., St. Louis, 314-265-0432, portfoliogallerystl.org

"}, {"id":"b106d29f-9d9a-5185-b8c0-9f0f4ff71d6b","type":"article","starttime":"1515692700","starttime_iso8601":"2018-01-11T11:45:00-06:00","priority":40,"sections":[{"dining":"arts-and-culture/dining"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Healthy Appetite: Cauliflower \u201cRice\u201d Bowl With Golden Detox Sauce","url":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/dining/article_b106d29f-9d9a-5185-b8c0-9f0f4ff71d6b.html","permalink":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/dining/healthy-appetite-cauliflower-rice-bowl-with-golden-detox-sauce/article_b106d29f-9d9a-5185-b8c0-9f0f4ff71d6b.html","canonical":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/dining/healthy-appetite-cauliflower-rice-bowl-with-golden-detox-sauce/article_b106d29f-9d9a-5185-b8c0-9f0f4ff71d6b.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Story and recipe by Sherrie Castellano","prologue":"Once again, we face a new year with new resolutions on our plates \u2013 both figuratively and literally.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["healthy appetite"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"e1771fcb-1ea1-5470-b62b-538c0a78be3f","description":"","byline":"Photo by Sherrie Castellano","hireswidth":1175,"hiresheight":1762,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/17/e1771fcb-1ea1-5470-b62b-538c0a78be3f/5a4541932d406.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1175","height":"1762","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/17/e1771fcb-1ea1-5470-b62b-538c0a78be3f/5a4541932c3cf.image.jpg?resize=1175%2C1762"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"150","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/17/e1771fcb-1ea1-5470-b62b-538c0a78be3f/5a4541932c3cf.image.jpg?resize=100%2C150"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"450","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/17/e1771fcb-1ea1-5470-b62b-538c0a78be3f/5a4541932c3cf.image.jpg?resize=300%2C450"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1536","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/17/e1771fcb-1ea1-5470-b62b-538c0a78be3f/5a4541932c3cf.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C1536"}}}],"revision":6,"commentID":"b106d29f-9d9a-5185-b8c0-9f0f4ff71d6b","body":"
\"cauli-bowl-1.jpg\"
cauli-bowl-1.jpg

Once again, we face a new year with new resolutions on our plates \u2013 both figuratively and literally. If one of your 2018 goals involves incorporating more fresh veggies into your diet, this cauliflower \u201crice\u201d bowl should please you for more than one reason, particularly its simplicity \u2013 processing cauliflower into rice-sized pieces and then steaming or saut\u00e9ing it to mimic the texture of real rice.

The golden sauce stars in this meal, though. Loaded with turmeric, ginger, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, it both abounds with detox-friendly ingredients and tastes great.\u00a0

CAULIFLOWER \u201cRICE\u201d BOWL WITH GOLDEN DETOX SAUCE

Serves 4

Golden Detox Sauce

Cauliflower Rice

Preparation \u2013 Golden Detox Sauce | In the bowl of a blender, add all ingredients and blend on high until smooth. Set aside.

Preparation \u2013 Cauliflower \u201cRice\u201d | Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes and 1 tablespoon olive oil, and toss to coat. Spread potatoes evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes or until browned.

In bowl of a food processer, add cauliflower florets and pulse until a ricelike appearance is achieved. In a medium saut\u00e9 pan over medium-high heat, warm remaining olive oil. Add cauliflower \u201crice\u201d and saut\u00e9 for 5 minutes or until tender.

Evenly divide cauliflower \u201crice\u201d between 4 serving bowls. Top with cooked lentils or beans, roasted sweet potatoes, golden detox sauce, parsley and green onions, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt for tanginess, if desired, and serve.

Sherrie Castellano is a former health coach turned food writer, photographer and pop-up chef based in St. Louis. A collection of Castellano\u2019s recipes, stories and images can be found on her Saveur Blog Award-nominated website, With Food + Love. She currently serves as the marketing director for Midwest-based Big Heart Tea Co.

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Ye Ethiopian Restaurant, which debuted in November east of the Delmar Loop, features a traditional East African menu with beef, lamb, chicken and vegetarian options served with fresh injera \u2013 a sourdough-risen flatbread meant to be torn into pieces and used to scoop food.

The venture comes from chef-owner Teddy Argaw. In 2009, the Ethiopian native was operating a similar venture in the metro area called Selam Ethiopian Restaurant, which he sold after three years. Subsequently, Argaw opened this new restaurant, named after a moniker of his brother, Naty, who now lends a hand in the business behind the scenes.

\u201cThis is a family-oriented restaurant,\u201d Argaw says. \u201cWe welcome anybody that wants to try Ethiopian food. I love cooking and making sure the customers love it.\u201d

Ye Ethiopian Restaurant fills the 4,000-square-foot space previously occupied by It\u2019s A Wrap Health Food & Fitness Bar, with more than a dozen tables and booths beside a bar. The logo and interior feature the primary colors of the Ethiopian flag, green, yellow and red.

In the kitchen, Argaw cooks with kibe, spiced, clarified butter with such flavorings as Ethiopian-grown chilies, ginger, garlic, onions, basil, bishop\u2019s weed (which resembles thyme) and powder of ensete plants (which resemble banana trees). It almost goes without saying that enjoying any of his dishes would make a fine culinary prelude to attending a performance of Fences from The St. Louis Black Repertory.

Specialties include national dishes like Argaw\u2019s family recipe for kitfo, an entr\u00e9e made of lean ground beef mixed with coriander, mitmita (a hot spice blend) and kibe. Another highlight, zilzil tibs, known as the Teddy Special, comprises beef strips in red chili pepper sauce, served on a hot skillet. Appetizers include sambusas with chicken, ground beef or a vegetarian blend of lentils, onions and jalape\u00f1o.

Guests can order beef, lamb and vegetarian plates \u00e0 la carte or in various combinations. The largest meat and vegetable combination platter, for instance, comprises spiced beef stew, mild lamb tibs, chicken tibs, fried beef, spicy split lentils, string beans and carrots, collard greens and yetimatim selata (tomato salad).

Additional options include whole fried tilapia with rice and salad, as well as spaghetti with tomato or meat sauce. In the future, Argaw hopes to acquire a liquor license to serve beverages like Ethiopian beer and honey wine. Avocado and mango juice also will be available.

\u201cI want to bring good food and our culture to the community,\u201d Argaw says. \u201cPeople want to try new things. And here, the customer is always king.\u201d

Ye Ethiopian Restaurant, 5916 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314-361-9202, yeethiopianrestaurant.com

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Story: It\u2019s the night of the 1958 senior prom at good old Springfield High School. Entertainment was to have been provided by the boys glee club, but its lead singer, Billy Ray Patton, was suspended from school after being caught smoking.

In steps our intrepid quartet, The Marvelous Wonderettes. Missy, Suzy, Cindy Lou and Betty Jean answer the bell with enthusiasm if not the most polished stage presence, responding to an urgent request by Mr. Lee, a teacher at Springfield High who led their team in a state song leaders\u2019 competition. They know the lyrics to Mr. Sandman, though, and so entertainment for the prom is underway.

The girls\u2019 zest for performing is matched by their need to showcase their personal lives. Suzy reveals that her boyfriend is none other than Ritchie Stevens, who is handling the lights for the evening\u2019s festivities. After some prodding, Missy admits that she has a crush on Mr. Lee. And Cindy Lou is not above stealing the attentions of Betty Jean\u2019s guy, Johnny.

All four singers happen to be competing with Judy Carter, an absent classmate, for the title of Prom Queen. The quartet dispatches a number of pop tunes that correspond more or less to the prom\u2019s theme, \u201cMarvelous Dreams,\u201d and even use a paper \u201cdreamcatcher\u201d to segue into various numbers.

A decade later, the girls reunite for their class\u2019 10th year reunion. The hit tunes have changed and so have the lives of The Marvelous Wonderettes. Suzy married Ritchie and is now pregnant, while Missy has been dating Mr. Lee for five years.

Betty Jean has been working since graduation at the local hardware store along with her husband Johnny, and her marriage is as bumpy as Suzy\u2019s. Cindy Lou actually left town and tried unsuccessfully to grab the brass ring as an actress in Hollywood before returning to Springfield.

Life has given The Marvelous Wonderettes their share of challenges, but they\u2019re back at the Springfield High School gym to ensure a good time for the Class of \u201858 once again.

Highlights: The Rep does its best to ward off the frigid feelings of winter with a pleasant enough rendition of this popular jukebox musical first performed at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater in 1999.

Other Info: Augustin Family Artistic Director Steven Woolf writes in his currrent letter to subscribers that The Marvelous Wonderettes \u201cis a bit of a departure from our usual January choice, but when I found it had never been produced in St. Louis before, I simply couldn\u2019t pass up the chance to bring you a little joy. The weather may be cold and dreary, but in the theatre we\u2019ve got sweetness, warmth and frivolity that will certainly lift your spirits.\u201d

True that. As far as jukebox musicals go, though, The Marvelous Wonderettes is among the fluffiest and most lightweight in content as well as execution. It\u2019s all handled professionally enough by director/choreographer Melissa Rain Anderson and her effervescent quartet of performers. There just isn\u2019t a whole lot there.

Still, there\u2019s no denying that Morgan Kirner as Missy, Leanne Smith as Suzy, Chiara Trentalange as Cindy Lou and Iris Beaumier as Betty Jean have an infectious way with a couple of dozen pop standards from the 1950s and \u201860s. They even show their skills doing Springfield High\u2019s \u2018Chipmunk Cheer.\u2019

Each of the singers displays a pleasing voice as well as some stylish moves in the tradition of the \u201cgirl groups\u201d of the era, thanks to Anderson\u2019s terpsichorean contributions. They\u2019re good delivering the show\u2019s abundant comic lines, too, combining physical comedy with dirty looks and knowing glances at their colleagues.

Dorothy Marshall Englis dresses them in the \u2018safe\u2019 style of the \u201850s for Act I as well as go-go boots and flashier attire in Act II of the breezy musical, which zips along in less than two hours including intermission under Anderson's watchful eye.

Lollipop, Lipstick on Your Collar, Dream Lover, Heatwave, It\u2019s My Party, You Don\u2019t Own Me, Son of a Preacher Man, Leader of the Pack and It\u2019s in His Kiss are among the recognizable tunes warbled by the Wonderettes, songs which creator Bean weaves cleverly into his script. Bean collaborated with Brian William Baker on the vocal arrangements, with musical arrangements by Baker and orchestrations courtesy of Michael Borth.

Adam Koch\u2019s scenic design is an amusing and recognizable depiction of a high school gym of the era, complete with a basketball court floor and exit signs in the rear. There\u2019s a side table at the front of stage right that holds a punch bowl in Act I and bottles of booze at the 10-year reunion, plus an archway of brightly colored balloons to enhance the prom look.

Music director Joshua Zecher-Ross conducts the lively band hidden behind the set, which includes guitarist Steve Schenkel, drummer Alan Schilling, Mike Buerk on reeds and both Joe Neske and Zecher-Ross on the keyboards.

Rusty Wandall\u2019s well-appointed sound design features introductions by the \u2018school principal,\u2019 while Peter Sargent\u2019s lighting playfully alludes to the presence of the somewhat dimwitted Ritchie in the gym\u2019s lighting booth.

The show\u2019s best moment on opening night was the selection of an audience member to portray the elusive Mr. Lee. The gentleman who reluctantly walked on stage brought his best deadpan look with him, to the delight of the audience and doubtless the performers as well.

The Marvelous Wonderettes has played Off-Broadway in a couple of productions, including a 2016 revival, and also has spawned a number of sequels, so there\u2019s definitely a market for its music and story. If you\u2019re in the mood for a little Respect, check out The Marvelous Wonderettes and step back in time when you were younger and high school was the place to be.

Musical: The Marvelous Wonderettes

Company: Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Venue: Browning Mainstage, Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road

Dates: Through January 28

Tickets: $18.50-$89; contact 968-4925 or www.repstl.org

Rating: A 3.5 on a scale of 1-to-5.

Photos courtesy of Eric Woolsey

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Story: To hear Troy Maxson and his friend Jim Bono tell it, only Babe Ruth and Josh Gibson were more fearsome hitters in their time than Maxson. The Babe, of course, achieved unrivaled stardom and popularity as a core member of the New York Yankees and their \u2018Murderers\u2019 Row\u2019 in Major League Baseball.

Gibson and Maxson, however, were deprived any opportunity to compete against their white peers because of their skin color. Now, it\u2019s 1957 and Troy, age 53, is a trash collector in Pittsburgh, as is his pal Bono. The two met while they were in prison, where Maxson served a sentence for murder (likely second degree since it was not pre-meditated).

It\u2019s been a decade since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, and the major leagues now have numerous black stars, including Henry Aaron, Willie Mays and Don Newcombe in addition to the recently retired Robinson. Bono also mentions a young Puerto Rican player named Roberto Clemente, who is playing well for the home town Pittsburgh Pirates, but Troy is unimpressed.

Maxson is resentful of the black athletes who can now play in the pros, an opportunity that didn\u2019t arrive for him until he was 43 years old and well past his prime. He tells Bono that Robinson couldn\u2019t have even made the roster on some of the Negro League baseball teams.

Worse, Troy berates his own son Cory, a high school senior who is being scouted by college football teams. Cory is smart, industrious and ambitious, but none of his hopes and dreams can measure up to his father\u2019s satisfaction. Spurned by society in his own life, Troy demands that Cory abandon sports and concentrate instead on working at A&P and then maybe learning a trade so that he can earn a living as an adult.

Despite his bitterness, Troy is grateful for the love of his wonderful wife Rose and also takes care of his brother Gabriel, who was seriously injured in World War II and hasn\u2019t been sound mentally since. Troy also has a son from a previous relationship named Lyons, an aspiring musician who incurs Troy\u2019s disdain for pursuing such a frivolous dream.

Troy has his own opportunities in the present, including a chance to become the first black trash truck driver in his union. He also has his eyes on a co-worker named Alberta, something Bono warns him can have adverse consequences.

With it all, Troy forges forward building fences around his yard, obstructions that have different meanings to him, his wife and others. Does Troy think that these barriers can keep the ravages of racism away from him and his family?

Highlights: Lorna Littleway, who directed The Black Rep\u2019s first production of August Wilson\u2019s drama, Fences, in 1999, returns to direct this stellar rendition which currently graces the stage at Washington University\u2019s Edison Theatre.

Other Info: Fences won Tony Awards in 1987 for Best Play, Best Actor (James Earl Jones) and Best Actress (Mary Alice) and in 2010 for Best Revival, Best Actor (Denzel Washington) and Best Actress (Viola Davis).

Littleway\u2019s precise guidance elicits a number of excellent performances in The Black Rep\u2019s new presentation of Fences, one of two Pulitzer Prize-winning dramas written by Wilson in his Pittsburgh Cycle, 10 plays which focus on the African-American experience in each decade of the 20th century.

Jim Burwinkel has fashioned an impressive set design which is dominated by a series of fences at stage right and across the back of the stage. There\u2019s also a ramshackle, two-story house at stage left and a backdrop serving as the sky.

Properties designer Katie Slovinski adds a number of old tires on the side of the house. The set also includes a clothesline and a tethered ball which Troy and Cory hit from time to time with Troy\u2019s treasured baseball bat in the Maxsons' back yard.

Joseph Clapper\u2019s lighting design fills the house with background illumination as well as focusing on action in the yard. Marissa Perry dresses Troy and Bono in blue-collar attire, Rose in simple dresses and Lyons in more stylish threads, while Kareem Deanes\u2019 sound design favors a jazz motif which may indicate Lyons\u2019 musical leanings and ability.

There\u2019s a brief puzzle, though, when Deanes includes a radio broadcast of the Yankees playing the Pirates. They did meet in the World Series, but in 1960 not 1957, so perhaps we\u2019re hearing a spring training game?

Ron Himes excels in the role of the cantankerous Troy, moving convincingly from romantic interludes with Linda Kennedy as Troy\u2019s wife Rose and easy badinage with Robert Alan Mitchell as the good-hearted Bono to tense scenes with Brian McKinley as the dutiful but conflicted Cory. Himes succeeds in helping the audience understand the complexity in Troy\u2019s character even in Maxson\u2019s less admirable moments.

Kennedy delivers the show\u2019s most arresting monologue in a powerful scene in Act II when Rose is confronted with Troy\u2019s stunning revelation Her speech resonates with Rose\u2019s own determination to forge a respectable life for herself and her family despite her own troubled past. It\u2019s a scene which lingers long after the show concludes.

There\u2019s splendid work by Mitchell as the genial Bono, a man who supports Troy in his troubles as well as his triumphs but also who tries to serve as the bitter ex-ballplayer\u2019s moral compass. McKinley is very good as Cory, a young man who has his own thoughts about the future and chafes at Troy\u2019s unreasonable demands.

Steven Maurice captures the easy-going, artistic nature of Lyons, another of Troy\u2019s sons who can\u2019t match his father\u2019s demanding decrees but appreciates Rose\u2019s unconditional love. Richard Agnew is effective as the good-hearted Gabriel, a mentally challenged man whose bugle blowing is a constant irritant to neighbors and whose injury actually helped Troy financially. Lena Sanaa Williams completes the cast in a brief but pleasant portrayal of young Raynell.

Despite a surprising number of muffed lines at last Saturday\u2019s performance, The Black Rep hits this production of Fences out of the park.

Play: Fences

Company: The Black Rep

Venue: Edison Theatre, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. at Washington University

Dates: January 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

Tickets: $20-$45; contact 534-3810 or www.theblackrep.org

Rating: A 4.5 on a scale of 1-to-5.

Photos courtesy of Joe Clapper and Philip Hamer

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\"I was born in St. Louis and grew up here in the 1970s and \u201980s,\u201d Nartana Premachandra says. \u201cPeople had no idea of India back then. If you said you were Indian, people would respond, \u2018Really? I\u2019m a quarter-Cherokee!\u2019\u201d

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Nartana Premachandra

The gentle insightfulness of that reminiscence reflects the wit \u2013 in more than one sense of that word \u2013 of Premachandra, who serves as president of Dances of India. Now in its 41st year, that local terpsichorean troupe staged one of its few but precious marquee performances in mid-November, with the next such performance not scheduled until the second week of spring.

Dr. B.N. and Asha Premachandra, her parents, established Dances of India in 1976. Her mother, a distinguished local teacher of dance, still serves as artistic director, teaching classical Indian dance to all the company\u2019s students. For some time, meanwhile, her father oversaw the troupe as its president until his unexpected death three years ago, at which time Premachandra succeeded him.

Premachandra amusingly continues her reminiscence about how the perception of Indians in America has changed in the past few decades \u2013 and how Dances of India has sought to affect that perception.

\u201cNow, people have different ideas,\u201d she says. \u201cFor example, I must be a doctor. I\u2019m not \u2013 I\u2019m a writer and dancer! Or we must perform Bollywood. In other words, people had no idea of India before, and now they do, but much of it is stereotyped. We like to break down stereotypes. We do so by respecting the rules of classical Indian dance while always striving to make it accessible to contemporary audiences. That\u2019s the only way art can really be alive.\u201d

Premachandra mentions loving \u201cdifferent styles of dance,\u201d citing one production that included \u201ca ballet dancer, tap dancer, contemporary dancer and flamenco dancer,\u201d as well as prior collaborations with Gen Horiuchi\u2019s Saint Louis Ballet. \u201cIt\u2019s magical to watch different styles of art next to one another and perceive similarities as well as differences between them,\u201d she says.

For the benefit of those who know nothing of her troupe\u2019s specialty, Premachandra provides a handy pr\u00e9cis, focusing first on form.

\u201cClassical Indian dance \u2013 and I am referring to classical, not Bollywood \u2013 uses the entire body and the entire range of one\u2019s thought and feeling,\u201d she says. \u201cThe harmony of body and mind is paramount. In that respect, it\u2019s considered a yoga. There are myriad movements of feet, hands, eyes and poses of the body. It\u2019s a very rhythmic dance, very melodic and, at the same time, deeply emotional.

\u201cThe one aspect of classical Indian dance that sets it apart from every other classical dance style in the world is the range of expression involved in the dance \u2013 expression of eyes, eyebrows, hands, body itself \u2013 as it was created over 2,000 years ago primarily as a vehicle for storytelling.\u201d

In addition, Premachandra briefly dwells on the potential content of her troupe\u2019s performances.

\u201cTraditionally, of course, the range of stories described in classical Indian dance were from Hindu myth, history and folklore, but the dance is very adaptable to tell many tales, to perform alongside many kinds of music,\u201d she relates, citing one prior conflation of the pantheistic deities of Hinduism and famed 20th-century American composer George Gershwin.Those knowledgeable of Indian dance to one degree or another may well wonder precisely how Dances of India positions its artistry in the context of Indian terpsichorean tradition. \u201cWe do focus on bharata natyam, but we have also taught some kuchipudi, another style from south India, and folk,\u201d Premachandra says. \u201cThere\u2019s a huge variety of folk dances in India, and our dance productions are very inventive.\u201d

Almost necessarily, Premachandra reflects on the challenges of the troupe\u2019s presidency since her father\u2019s death.

\u201cFortunately, I used to help my dad write grants for various arts organizations, so the process wasn\u2019t entirely unfamiliar to me,\u201d she says. \u201cIf I hadn\u2019t helped him, I would\u2019ve been lost. I would say one of the main challenges has been simply the fact that I handle both the creative and administrative sides \u2013 I switch back and forth from each side of the brain constantly in the run-up to the show, and that can be a little exhausting! In addition to dealing with the logistics of setting up the show, I also dance and write/narrate our original productions.\u201d

Regarding potential modifications to Dances of India during the next five years or so, Premachandra sounds a note common to many area arts organizations.\u201cThe only major change I can see is to reach out to more of the St. Louis community,\u201d she says. \u201cThis past November, we had our largest \u2013 and most diverse \u2013 audience ever, which was a joy. We\u2019d like even more people to come and join us! We do lots of performances around town during the year \u2013 such as at the Saint Louis Art Museum, schools, libraries, assisted living centers, universities, corporations and so forth.\u201d

Dances of India\u2019s 19th annual St. Louis Dance Festival (an event founded in 2000 by Premachandra\u2019s father and now presented along with Dimensions Dance Center and Beyond Motion Productions) will take place next March 31, with the troupe\u2019s 41st annual performance following in November 2018. For details, she directs interested parties to the troupe\u2019s website.

\u201cIt gives us great joy to share the beauty, colors and music of this art with the community and [the] world at large,\u201d Premachandra concludes.

Dances of India, Dimensions Dance Center, 1201 N. Warson Road, Olivette, 314-997-0911, dancesofindiastlouis.org

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"}, {"id":"5e91aa54-3909-5b2c-8e2e-8e080924e642","type":"article","starttime":"1515088800","starttime_iso8601":"2018-01-04T12:00:00-06:00","lastupdated":"1515089826","priority":40,"sections":[{"columns":"arts-and-culture/columns"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Art & Soul: Andy Leicht","url":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/columns/article_5e91aa54-3909-5b2c-8e2e-8e080924e642.html","permalink":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/columns/art-soul-andy-leicht/article_5e91aa54-3909-5b2c-8e2e-8e080924e642.html","canonical":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/columns/art-soul-andy-leicht/article_5e91aa54-3909-5b2c-8e2e-8e080924e642.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Bryan A. Hollerbach","prologue":"In an era during which far too many people are talking globally but far too few are genuinely thinking that way, St. Louisan Andy Leicht\u2019s\u00a0Earth 2.01\u00a0comes as a small comfort.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["art & soul","andy leicht"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"5e7b66fb-125c-5031-9508-1e2a44528bb0","description":"","byline":"Image courtesy of Andy Leicht","hireswidth":1568,"hiresheight":1320,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/e7/5e7b66fb-125c-5031-9508-1e2a44528bb0/5a42b1ffe925e.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1557","height":"1068","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/e7/5e7b66fb-125c-5031-9508-1e2a44528bb0/5a42b1ffe7f9d.image.jpg?crop=1557%2C1068%2C4%2C22&resize=1557%2C1068&order=crop%2Cresize"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"69","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/e7/5e7b66fb-125c-5031-9508-1e2a44528bb0/5a42b1ffe7f9d.image.jpg?crop=1557%2C1068%2C4%2C22&resize=100%2C69&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"206","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/e7/5e7b66fb-125c-5031-9508-1e2a44528bb0/5a42b1ffe7f9d.image.jpg?crop=1557%2C1068%2C4%2C22&resize=300%2C206&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"702","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/e7/5e7b66fb-125c-5031-9508-1e2a44528bb0/5a42b1ffe7f9d.image.jpg?crop=1557%2C1068%2C4%2C22&resize=1024%2C702&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":6,"commentID":"5e91aa54-3909-5b2c-8e2e-8e080924e642","body":"
\"Art
Art and Soul 0118 image

In an era during which far too many people are talking globally but far too few are genuinely thinking that way, St. Louisan Andy Leicht\u2019s Earth 2.01 comes as a small comfort.

That oil on canvas focuses on a circle divided into irregular segments of light gray, equally light pink, midrange cyan-blue and, most prominently, old gold, with one matte black straggler. Circling the larger circle and sometimes, because of variations in size, seemingly hovering above it are nine ellipses that recall nothing so much as Kalamatas, oddly enough; in harmony with the painting\u2019s title, those pseudo-olives look rather like satellites.

Of that 60- by 50-inch work created last year, Leicht relates, \u201cThis painting, Earth 2.01, is the first in a series of 10 large oil paintings that represents my idea of other \u2018earthlike\u2019 planets, as well as a reflection of our own planet.\u201d

Unapologetically abstract, Leicht\u2019s painting likely will prompt a number of beetled brows among viewers more inclined to embrace representational art. At the same time, though, it should by rights demand a measure of self-inquiry about aesthetic precepts and prejudices, particularly in light of the fact that precious little, at base, separates the abstract nature of Earth 2.01 from the \u00fcber-representational impact of The Blue Marble, the historic photograph of our own Earth 1.01 shot on December 7, 1972, by the Apollo 17 crew from roughly 18,000 miles above the planetary surface.

Leicht provides few details about himself or his artistic background and career. Appropriately enough in context, however, he does admit to having taken part in the national juried exhibition \u201cWhat\u2019s Your GPS?,\u201d which ran for roughly a month last September and October at the St. Louis Artists\u2019 Guild & Galleries in Clayton.

At the moment, Leicht\u2019s WordPress blog displays two more paintings in the series to which Earth 2.01 belongs, along with other intriguing works, most of them similarly abstract, but some of them distorted yet strangely appealing (even touching) representational pieces, like certain oils collectively labeled \u201cObituary Portraits.\u201d

\u201cThroughout my career as a painter, I have consistently experimented with ideas, creating series of paintings that span over the years and, in some cases, decades,\u201d Leicht states on his blog.

\u201cFrom my dozens of portraits inspired by obituary photographs selected from newspapers to the narrative Lifeboat series, I demonstrate the ability to work through aspects of an idea and then pick up on it again and rework it. The original idea then becomes an ongoing cycle of a painting series.

\u201cEach series is explored, set aside, and explored and worked again. My commitment is to this creative process: trying to achieve a perfection in my art that inherently must be imperfect to reach its gestalt.\u201d

With the larger, societal landscape now figuratively dominated by the rectilinear \u2013 mostly of minds and monitors in miniature \u2013 Leicht\u2019s Earth 2.01 and related paintings ultimately and wistfully recall a few lines from \u201cLobachevsky\u2019s Eyes,\u201d a poem by the late Roger Zelazny: \u201cThe world is curves, I\u2019ve heard it said,/And straightway in it nothing lies.\u201d

At the risk of sounding like a Humpty Dumpty wannabe, truer and truer, day by day.

To learn more about our featured artist, visit andyleicht.wordpress.com.

St. Louis-area artists who wish to be considered for future installments of this monthly department of Ladue News should email inquiries to bhollerbach@laduenews.com with “Art and Soul” in the subject line.

"}, {"id":"152e54c5-b730-5a00-b531-9f3577c46f49","type":"article","starttime":"1515088800","starttime_iso8601":"2018-01-04T12:00:00-06:00","lastupdated":"1515090423","priority":40,"sections":[{"features":"arts-and-culture/features"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Dinner & A Show: Diverse Productions in 2018","url":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/features/article_152e54c5-b730-5a00-b531-9f3577c46f49.html","permalink":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/features/dinner-a-show-diverse-productions-in/article_152e54c5-b730-5a00-b531-9f3577c46f49.html","canonical":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/features/dinner-a-show-diverse-productions-in/article_152e54c5-b730-5a00-b531-9f3577c46f49.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Mark Bretz","prologue":"With the new year comes a slate of shows set to premiere in the next few months.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["dinner & a show"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"c3b4f2b8-0016-5d76-ac7a-cb26f78baabc","description":"","byline":"Photo by Matthew Murphy","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"749","height":"507","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/3b/c3b4f2b8-0016-5d76-ac7a-cb26f78baabc/5a3d629f655d3.image.jpg?crop=749%2C507%2C122%2C29&resize=749%2C507&order=crop%2Cresize"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"68","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/3b/c3b4f2b8-0016-5d76-ac7a-cb26f78baabc/5a3d629f655d3.image.jpg?crop=749%2C507%2C122%2C29&resize=100%2C68&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"203","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/3b/c3b4f2b8-0016-5d76-ac7a-cb26f78baabc/5a3d629f655d3.image.jpg?crop=749%2C507%2C122%2C29&resize=300%2C203&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"693","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/3b/c3b4f2b8-0016-5d76-ac7a-cb26f78baabc/5a3d629f655d3.image.jpg?crop=749%2C507%2C122%2C29"}}}],"revision":8,"commentID":"152e54c5-b730-5a00-b531-9f3577c46f49","body":"
\"010518-School
010518-School of Rock

Holiday celebrations have concluded, kids have returned to school and the workaday world spins again \u2013 alas! Not all the good times have rolled, though. With the new year comes a slate of shows set to premiere in the next few months, among them the following:

The Fabulous Fox Theatre opens a two-week School of Rock touring production on\u00a0Jan. 16. The musical based on the eponymous 2003 movie blends songs from the movie with a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Julian Fellowes. After his band ditches him, a rock guitarist poses as a substitute teacher for a fifth-grade class, challenging both the kids and their prim headmistress.

Weekend runs of The Sound of Music (Feb. 2 to 4), The Wizard of Oz (Feb. 23 to 25) and Chicago (March 2 to 4) dot the calendar before The Color Purple returns from March 20 to April 1. Following it is Lin-Manuel Miranda\u2019s Tony-winning smash, Hamilton, which opens April 3 and continues through April 22.

On its Mainstage from Jan. 3 to 28, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis opens its season with The Marvelous Wonderettes, a paean to pop tunes from the 1950s and \u201960s set at a high school prom and a 10-year high school reunion. Downstairs, on Jan. 17, the Studio Theatre opens with Faceless, a drama about a young female terrorist on trial and the Harvard-educated Muslim attorney prosecuting her.

The 2016 Tony-winning Best Play, The Humans, runs next from The Rep, from Feb. 7 to March 4, and centers on three generations of a family gathered for Thanksgiving in a New York City apartment. From March 14 to April 8, the Garson Kanin classic comedy Born Yesterday concludes the Mainstage season. Caught, a drama with a multilayered plot and an ever-changing set of rules, closes The Studio season from March 7 to 25. The Rep then presents its annual Ignite! Festival of New Plays from March 28 to April 7.

Peabody Opera House greets a touring production of the smash Broadway musical Kinky Boots on Jan. 13 and 14, followed by Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story on Feb. 9 and 10 and the Broadway musical comedy sensation A Gentleman\u2019s Guide to Love and Murder on March 9.

New Line Theatre goes to the undead with its Jan. 8 public reading at The Marcelle of a \u201cnew/old\u201d musical titled The Zombies of Penzance \u2013 supposedly, according to a New Line news release, a long-lost first draft of Gilbert and Sullivan\u2019s Pirates of Penzance. Uh-huh. The troupe continues its 2017-18 season with Cole Porter\u2019s masterpiece, Anything Goes, from March 1 to 24.

The St. Louis Black Repertory \u2013 now on its second journey through August Wilson\u2019s epic Pittsburgh Cycle, 10 dramas singularly set in Pittsburgh in differing decades of the 20th century, reflecting the African-American experience \u2013 presents Fences from Jan. 3 to 21. Set in the 1950s, Fences (at the Edison Theatre of Washington University in St. Louis) focuses on a former Negro Leagues baseball player embittered by Major League Baseball\u2019s \u201ccolor barrier,\u201d which quelled his chance at stardom.

Winter Opera Saint Louis continues its 2017-18 season with Bizet\u2019s Les Pecheurs de Perles (The Pearl Fishers) on Jan. 26 and 28, followed on March 9 and 11 by Donizetti\u2019s comic opera L\u2019Elisir d\u2019Amore (The Elixir of Love) \u2013 both at the Skip Viragh Center for the Arts at Chaminade College Preparatory.

Metro Theater Company\u2019s 45th season continues with Bud, Not Buddy from Feb. 3 to 25 at The Grandel. In this \u201cconcert play\u201d produced with Jazz St. Louis and featuring a 13-piece jazz band, a 10-year-old orphan tries to find his father during the Great Depression.

The How and the Why focuses on the difficult choices faced by women of every generation; the drama concerns an intellectual battle between an established leader in evolutionary biology and a graduate student half her age and runs from Jan. 24 to Feb. 11 from The New Jewish Theatre.

Charles Busch wrote the \u201cradical comedy\u201d Red Scare on Sunset, which Stray Dog Theatre stages from Feb. 8 to 24 at Tower Grove Abbey; in it, a woman takes action when her husband unwittingly joins the Communist Party in Hollywood at the height of Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy\u2019s early-1950s obsession with tracking communist sympathizers.

Upstream Theater artistic director Philip Boehm has translated Albert Ostrmaier\u2019s Infected, a German play whose American debut Boehm\u2019s troupe celebrates at the Kranzberg Arts Center from Feb. 9 to 25.

Newcomers claiming to see angels threaten the tranquility of women in an 1830s Shaker community in Arlene Hutton\u2019s As It Is in Heaven. Mustard Seed Theatre presents the drama from March 15 to 31 at the Fontbonne University Fine Arts Theater.

St. Louis Actors\u2019 Studio continues its season from Feb. 9 to 25 at the Gaslight Theater with the provocative, arresting drama Blackbird by playwright David Harrower; in it, a 56-year-old man is tracked down by a 27-year-old woman \u2013 15 years after their relationship.

A woman yearning to be an astronomer but barred from doing so because of her sex takes the spotlight in Silent Sky, which dramatizes the true story of Henrietta Swan Leavitt and female \u201ccomputers\u201d in the late 19th century. West End Players Guild stages the drama from Feb. 9 to 18.

The perennially popular Menopause the Musical returns to the Playhouse @ Westport Plaza for an extended run from Jan. 9 to March 31. Finally, Tesseract Theatre Company presents a new play by Ben Jolivet titled Cold, concerning the tension between two women over an experimental surgery that could save their daughter; it takes the stage in February at the .ZACK.

So \u2013 the holidays were fun and relaxing, yes. Now, though,\u00a0the time has come to exercise those mental muscles with a visit or three to your favorite local theater. Curtain\u2019s up!\u00a0

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\"SisterCitiesHiRes-01.jpg\"
SisterCitiesHiRes-01.jpg

Sister Cities Cajun (named in hommage to the parallels in French heritage between St. Louis and New Orleans) occupies St. Louis\u2019 Marine Villa neighborhood and features a menu and bar blending classical French, traditional Cajun and modern American cuisine.

The restaurant boasts a rather storied if not downright peculiar history. It first opened in St. Louis\u2019 Dutchtown neighborhood (at 4144 S. Grand) in 2013, but closed when a car smashed through its window in January 2016. A reopening followed \u2013 as, improbably, did a second car, which rammed its front the following March.

That, understandably, made co-owners Pamela Melton and Travis Parfait choose to move. A few pop-ups at the now defunct Melt kept the couple\u2019s vision alive while they worked on finding a new location for their passion project.

When the 2,500 square feet or so that previously housed The Brick became available, Melton and Parfait started transitioning the building into an ideal live-work situation. The dining room features exposed original handmade brickwork, rustic reclaimed wood features, seafoam-blue highlights and abundant natural light.

\u201cIt\u2019s so earthy here, with a homey feel that goes right in with comforting food and our whole M.O.,\u201d says Parfait, who plans to make the spacious back patio as dog-friendly as possible.

In the kitchen, Parfait cooks plenty of favorites from Sister Cities Cajun\u2019s previously established menu, including staples such as Cajun smoked wings, seafood gumbo and chicken-and-sausage jambalaya.

Menu additions include offerings developed while serving food temporarily on Cherokee Street \u2013 tacos. Guests can choose from options like spicy shrimp or smoked chicken, as well as blackened zucchini or fish with Cajun slaw, r\u00e9moulade, and corn and poblano salsa.

Additional highlights include barbecue cochon, shrimp and grits, Creole pasta, a Cuban sandwich and house nachos with hand-sliced chips, chicken, pork, red beans, cheese, peperoncini and Cajun garlic dressing.

\u201cWe\u2019re also working on a little more dietary inclusion, with more vegetarian options,\u201d Parfait says. \u201cEverything is whole and unprocessed \u2013 no MSG, partially hydrogenated oils or high-fructose corn syrup. We even started making our own ketchup for barbecue sauce.\u201d

From the full bar, incidentally, guests can choose from a short list of specialty cocktails, including seasonal sangria, bloody marys and a Green Goddess cooler with green tea, cucumber simple syrup, lime, gin and fresh mint.

Otherwise, Sister Cities Cajun plans to start serving breakfast fare (following the reported rollout of brunch offerings last November).

\u201cWe pride ourselves in serving country Cajun food,\u201d Parfait says. \u201cI\u2019m from south of New Orleans. New Orleans tends to serve a lot of tourist food, so I like to bring in some down-home bayou Cajun. It\u2019s rustic, authentic comfort food.\u201d

Sister Cities Cajun, 3550 S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314-405-0447, sistercitiescajun.com

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\"DSC05124.JPG\"
DSC05124.JPG

The cosmopolitan nature of London cannot be escaped. Wherever one is in the city \u2013 the East End, Westminster, Sloan Square, the London Underground \u2013 the multitude of languages overheard alone signals that you\u2019re in a world-class destination.

Even with all the global influences, traditional British courtesy and politeness reign. In every subway experience we had, we saw younger men and women yield their seats to older riders. I repeat, we saw that every time we used the city\u2019s famed Tube.

And in the most crowded streets or museums, if someone happens to brush your arm, a \u201csorry\u201d or other apology will follow immediately.

The person brushing your arm might have green hair, a bare midriff and fishnet stockings (in October) and other outward signs of modern fashion, but old-fashioned British courtesy remains. May it ever be so.

We recently spent a happy two weeks in London, splitting our hotel stays to experience more neighborhoods. We stayed in The Milestone Hotel, which was located across the street from Kensington Palace, and in 11 Cadogan Gardens in Sloan Square. Both were excellent locations and excellent hotels.

But the question in London is what you want to experience. As Samuel Johnson said more than two centuries ago, it\u2019s all available. In consequence, advance planning is required so one doesn\u2019t dissolve into a puddle of confusion at all the options.

Having been to London on several occasions, we had already seen the traditional tourist attractions like Buckingham Palace, the changing of the palace guard and the crown jewels. So on our most recent visit, we skipped those to go to a few of London\u2019s splendid museums, admire the changes and do some gastronomic investigation. We also found time to do a daytrip through Rabbies Tours out of the city to see the Avebury Henge, Lacock and Bath again. No Stonehenge? We saw it many years ago, when you could actually touch the stones. Now you can\u2019t even get close, and I didn\u2019t want to diminish the old memory.

We visited the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) for its special exhibition on Spanish couturier Crist\u00f3bal Balenciaga. Even for a high-fashion neophyte like me, the V&A brought the designer to life in a way that instructed and entertained. Another feature of the V&A, besides its 4\u00bd million items, is its magnificent dining rooms; the V&A, which opened in 1852, is claimed to be the world\u2019s first museum-dining venue.

The British Museum reflects the long history of its namesake empire. Across many centuries, armies and explorers ventured into the world and brought home a few million things. The museum\u2019s huge space displays some 80,000 objects, but items displayed represent only 1 percent of the total collection, which happens to include the Rosetta Stone (whose 1799 discovery, of course, proved instrumental in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs).

Some might not place the Royal Academy of Arts in the first rank of London museums. However, the special exhibition of famed American painter, sculptor and printmaker Jasper Johns there constitutes the best collection of his work I\u2019ve seen anywhere. It was beautifully exhibited, described and explained.

The one touristy thing we did was visit Kensington Palace and its exhibition \u201cDiana: Her Fashion Story.\u201d You also can see the king and queen\u2019s state apartments. Both are worth the price of about $20. Plus, we stayed just across the street at The Milestone Hotel. (A good address has advantages.) We, unfortunately, didn\u2019t see Prince George or his parents \u2013 perhaps they occupied one of those cars with dark windows that turned into the private drive. We never will know.

As for the food, London offers great culinary options for any taste. We took a tour from East End Food Tours that turned out to be much more than food. It included points on London\u2019s history and architecture that we never would have known without the tour \u2013 an entertaining and delicious educational experience.

Back to food: Eneko. Enough said \u2013 well, almost. This new world-class restaurant in London comes from young chef Eneko Atxa, who\u2019s earned three Michelin stars for Azurmendi, his restaurant in Bilbao, Spain. But The Ivy restaurant, 100 years old this year, makes a statement about London itself; its beautiful art deco interior envelops you, and as the manager told us, \u201cYou enter here, and you find another world.\u201d

So true. Also true of London itself.

WHERE TO STAY

11 Cadogan Gardens (11 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea, 44 (0) 20 7730 7000, 11cadogangardens.com) is a Small Luxury Hotels of the World property, which I have found is a strong recommendation in itself. However, 11 Cadogan Gardens also recently ranked as one of the top 40 London hotels by Condé Nast Traveler readers. It features excellent breakfast, superb rooms and suites (some quite large) and personable, professional staff.

The Milestone Hotel (1 Kensington Court, 44 (0) 20 7917 1000, milestonehotel.com), a Red Carnation Hotel Collection property, is owned by the Tollman family and scrupulously managed. (Like the preceding venue, it ranked among the top 40 London hotels, according to Condé Nast Traveler readers.) Everything about this hotel reflects a meticulous attention to detail, from daily guest amenities to breakfast to how guests are treated personally from the moment they enter. This detail-oriented management reflects a deep understanding of hospitality by The Milestone staff, which outnumbers guests by about two to one.

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WHERE TO EAT

Brasserie (in The Tower Hotel, St. Katharine’s Way, London, 44 800 330 8005, guoman.com/en/London/the-tower/restaurants/the-brasserie.html) serves international cuisine and has an excellent view of London Bridge. If the weather’s good, take advantage of outdoor tables. Afternoon tea fare looked great.

Cheneston’s at The Milestone Hotel (1 Kensington Court, London, 44 (0)20 7917 1000, milestonehotel.com/food-and-drink/chenestons) takes its name from an early spelling of Kensington. It offers “cutting-edge British cuisine,” much of it inspired by Beatrice Tollman, president and founder of Red Carnation Hotels, whom we had the pleasure of dining next to. (Tollman accompanied her husband and daughter and hadn’t a clue who we were, but we knew who she was.) The room is beautiful and intimate, the service is professional and the dishes are excellent.

Dalloway Terrace (16-22 Great Russell St., 44 207 347 1221, dallowayterrace.com) adjoins The Bloomsbury Hotel, part of the Doyle Collection, and used to be for trash collection. Then someone had the brilliant idea of reimagining it as the terrace of an English manor – et voilà, a restaurant space was born. From its international menu, we found the desserts especially wonderful. (And yes, it’s named for the title character of Mrs. Dalloway, the 1925 novel by iconic English writer Virginia Woolf. What else would you expect from a hotel named Bloomsbury?)

Eneko (1 Aldwych, Covent Gardens, 020 7300 0300, eneko.london) comes from chef Eneko Atxa, the youngest chef ever to win three stars for his Spanish restaurant, Azurmendi. In this London restaurant \u2013 a new project for Atxa \u2013 we loved every morsel of his modern take on traditional Basque dishes and the minimalist, contemporary d\u00e9cor. The egg yolk tempura will be the stuff of my dreams for a long time, perhaps forever. We met Atxa \u2013 a humble, jovial young fellow, not a prima donna of any sort. Upstairs, at One Aldwych bar (not a part of Eneko), two signature drinks will set you back almost $50. However, they\u2019re quite good, generously served with flair in an excellent people-watching venue.

The Ivy (1-5 West St., Covent Gardens, 020 7836 4751, the-ivy.co.uk) stands across the street from the St. Martin’s Theatre, which has presented Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap for the last 43 years, more than 27,000 performances. The Ivy turned a century old this year, and stepping into it feels like entering another world, a beautiful, bona fide Art Deco locale with beautiful people to match. Dishes range from the traditional shepherd’s pie to the contemporary. When we visited, American actor, producer and director Danny DeVito sat a few tables away. (Also, I believe the next table was occupied by the female lead in Aladdin, who shared a starter of steak tartare with her female companion before devouring a rare steak with frites.) This is a lovely place for a long lunch.

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WHERE TO VISIT

East End Food Tour (1-215-688-5571, eatinglondontours.co.uk) features eight stops (in about four hours) for food that ranges from fish and chips to bread-and-butter pudding to Indian curry dishes and salt beef, pickle and hot mustard on a classic bagel. Along the way, many other stops involve historic milestones in the neighborhood’s history and London’s. Plus, there’s wonderful East London street art. The tour makes good exercise with food rewards for about $90 each for adults, all noshes included.

London Transport Bus No. 11, although not a tour per se, follows a great route. In 7 miles, an hour and a half, it travels from the eastern end of the city through the City of London (London\u2019s distinct historic core) and its financial institutions; past the Old Bailey, formally known as the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales; Fleet Street, home to newspapers; the famous central London thoroughfare known as the Strand, with its grand hotels and restaurants; Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery and Nelson\u2019s Column; Whitehall and the political power of Downing Street and the Horse Guards Parade; all the way to Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. If you have an Oyster card (purchasable at any London Underground station), a bus or Tube ride costs about $3 \u2013 half what it would if you pay as you go.

Rabbies Tours (44 (0) 131 226 3133, rabbies.com/en) is operated by a Scottish company that promises to run even if only one person shows up, but it restricts the number of guests to about 15. (Our own tour comprised just four guests – including us.) The vehicle was a comfortable Mercedes-Benz van rather than a big tour bus, the guide-driver was very well-informed and humorous, and the tour was very nontourlike, in a good way. We liked it a lot. It cost about $60 per person, not including lunch.

ATTRACTIONS

British Museum (Great Russell St., Bloomsbury, 44 20 7323 8299, britishmuseum.org) costs nothing to visit, although special exhibitions involve a charge. Almost perforce, it ranks as a world-class museum by any measure. Before you travel, check the “What’s On” tab on all London museums. That’s how we discovered a performance of the Crick Crack Club at the British Museum. The female storyteller spun two Irish myths in a performance that enraptured the audience.

London Transportation Museum (Covent Garden Piazza, 020 7379 6344, ltmuseum.co.uk) explains London’s history via transportation infrastructure, which makes lots of sense. Kids love the carriages and early Tube cars. I myself loved the large reproductions of historic London Underground ad posters in the gift shop at a very reasonable price. An adult admission costs about $23.

Royal Academy of the Arts (Burlington House, Picadilly, 020 7300 8000, royalacademy.org.uk), like most London museums, charges no fee except for special exhibitions. Also, like all London museums, it’s a beautiful (and large) space.

Tate Modern (Bankside, 44 (0) 20 7887 8888, tate.org.uk), which opened in 2000 in the former Bankside Power station, numbers among the world’s largest museums of modern art. It features British and international modern and contemporary art from 1900 to the present. Also, the upstairs café affords good views of the River Thames.

Victoria & Albert (Cromwell Road, 44 (0) 20 7942 2000, vam.ac.uk) ranks among the world’s largest museums for the decorative arts, with some 4.5 million objects.

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In September, St. Louis\u2019 Benton Park neighborhood greeted Caf\u00e9 Piazza, following the rollout of its adjoining fast-casual counterpart, Caf\u00e9 Piazza Now.

The venture comes from co-owners Vito LaFata III of Vito\u2019s Sicilian Pizzeria & Ristorante and chef Tim Meinecke, who served as Vito\u2019s executive chef for five years. Meinecke also previously owned Caf\u00e9 32 near Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri. Michael Stampfl serves as sous chef, with Kenneth Harper as bar manager.

\u201cEvery small Italian city or town has its own piazza,\u201d Meinecke says. \u201cThat\u2019s where people go daily to gather, socialize, eat and drink, and that\u2019s kind of the concept we\u2019ve created here. We want this to be a gathering place where people can relax, let us serve them and tend to their needs.\u201d

The first thing guests will notice on entering the restaurant is a large mural of St. Louis history painted on the ceiling and walls by artist Paco Rosic. Carpenter Ronnie Gregorecz also contributed a lot of structural and artistic elements to the building, such as finishing the bar with wooden red-wine-barrel staves and making the installation of a 4,100-pound oven in the kitchen possible.

Caf\u00e9 Piazza seats roughly 50 guests, while Caf\u00e9 Piazza Now (with which it shares a kitchen) has a capacity of roughly 30. The new venture offers a number of specialty pizzas, panini, salads, frittatas, appetizers and boards, all crafted from scratch.

\u201cBasically, we\u2019re trying to create a hybrid of breakfast, brunch, and Italian classics and favorites. We\u2019re trying to keep it local and be neighborly,\u201d says Meinecke, who sources ingredients from local vendors including Bogart\u2019s Smokehouse, Gus\u2019 Pretzels, Tony\u2019s Sweet Heat, Citizen Kane\u2019s (for seasoning) and Mama\u2019s Sugo.

Visitors can sample Mama\u2019s Sugo in items such as St. Louis-style toasted ravioli under the menu\u2019s appetizers section \u2013 lightly breaded beef-stuffed lovelies \u201cfried to a golden brown and served with Mama\u2019s Sugo marinara.\u201d Additional highlights from the menu include a Mediterranean charcuterie board; a fresh leaf spinach salad with portabella mushrooms, roasted red peppers, pecans and feta crumbles tossed in a house-roasted garlic-balsamic dressing; a traditional muffuletta panino; and Sicilian-style deep-dish pizza from an old family recipe.

From the full bar, guests can choose from a selection of eight craft beers on draft, domestic bottled beers, wine and signature cocktails such as the Benton Spritzer (prosecco, Aperol Italian ap\u00e9ritif and club soda over ice). Dubuque Coffee Co. drinks are also available, including cappuccinos and lattes.\u00a0

Café Piazza, 1900 Arsenal, St. Louis, 314-343-0294, cafepiazza.com

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He\u2019s amiable enough, pleasant and well-meaning. He doesn\u2019t speak much, though. In fact, he doesn\u2019t speak at all, it seems. Even when he mouths words, no sound emanates from him. Still, the inquisitive guy gets across the point that he\u2019d like to meet a woman with whom to share his joys and heartaches. Lo and behold, somewhere inside a giant video screen he sees her. She notices him, too, and they form an immediate bond.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["oddville","dave shirley","robert dubac","oddville: a love story?","playhouse at westport plaza","westport plaza","theater","review","emery entertainment"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"357a4854-ec10-11e7-a2f2-23b9dbad35a1","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1000","height":"1000","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/57/357a4854-ec10-11e7-a2f2-23b9dbad35a1/5a455831db045.image.jpg?resize=1000%2C1000"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"100","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/57/357a4854-ec10-11e7-a2f2-23b9dbad35a1/5a455831db045.image.jpg?resize=100%2C100"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"300","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/57/357a4854-ec10-11e7-a2f2-23b9dbad35a1/5a455831db045.image.jpg?resize=300%2C300"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1024","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/57/357a4854-ec10-11e7-a2f2-23b9dbad35a1/5a455831db045.image.jpg"}}},{"id":"41e1a628-ec10-11e7-84e9-0b00393ce6e0","description":"","byline":"ANTHONY CAMERA","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/png","width":"500","height":"498","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/1e/41e1a628-ec10-11e7-84e9-0b00393ce6e0/5a455846ac6c8.image.png?resize=500%2C498"},"100": {"type":"image/png","width":"100","height":"100","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/1e/41e1a628-ec10-11e7-84e9-0b00393ce6e0/5a455846ac6c8.image.png?resize=100%2C100"},"300": {"type":"image/png","width":"300","height":"299","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/1e/41e1a628-ec10-11e7-84e9-0b00393ce6e0/5a455846ac6c8.image.png?resize=300%2C299"},"1024":{"type":"image/png","width":"1024","height":"1020","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/1e/41e1a628-ec10-11e7-84e9-0b00393ce6e0/5a455846ac6c8.image.png"}}},{"id":"4dafc552-ec10-11e7-9f7f-03752c7ad6ba","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"320","height":"320","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/da/4dafc552-ec10-11e7-9f7f-03752c7ad6ba/5a45585a7cc0d.image.jpg?resize=320%2C320"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"100","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/da/4dafc552-ec10-11e7-9f7f-03752c7ad6ba/5a45585a7cc0d.image.jpg?resize=100%2C100"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"300","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/da/4dafc552-ec10-11e7-9f7f-03752c7ad6ba/5a45585a7cc0d.image.jpg?resize=300%2C300"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1024","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/da/4dafc552-ec10-11e7-9f7f-03752c7ad6ba/5a45585a7cc0d.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"8a6931c6-ec16-11e7-be9b-2f7be72f4e57","body":"

Story: Lonely 1 is a sad sack kind of fellow. He\u2019s amiable enough, pleasant and well-meaning. He doesn\u2019t speak much, though. In fact, he doesn\u2019t speak at all, it seems. Even when he mouths words, no sound emanates from him.

Still, the inquisitive guy gets across the point that he\u2019d like to meet a woman with whom to share his joys and heartaches. Lo and behold, somewhere inside a giant video screen he sees her. She notices him, too, and they form an immediate bond.

Life is complicated, though, for Lonely 1. He can\u2019t seem to get his dream lady firmly into his world, nor is he allowed safely into hers for any length of time. What the heck can he do to solve this dilemma?

While he\u2019s pondering his fate, a French carnival barker appears on the screen. He has such a deal for Lonely 1: Play the carny game, be really creative and see if Lonely 1 can rack up the 300 points required to attain \u201ceHappiness.\u201d There are no cliches in Oddville, though, advises the mysterious barker, and tricks which don\u2019t impress him result in lost points and steps backwards.

Does Lonely 1 have what it takes to capture his elusive dreams?

Highlights: Comedian Dave Shirley and director Robert Dubac pull out all the stops with rapid-fire dexterity and dazzling creativity in the witty, wondrous and wacky Oddville. It\u2019s a place you haven\u2019t seen before and likely won\u2019t again, and a pleasing destination it is.

Other Info: Shirley\u2019s voiceless character is part mime, part Charlie Chaplin, part Harpo Marx and part the mute character often portrayed by Jackie Gleason on his old TV variety series.

He has a Ziggy-like wonder about him as he pores inquisitively through a variety of props, such as a box filled with special knickknacks including an inflatable woman. She dances with Lonely 1 as long as the jukebox works, which is sporadic.

There are numerous head-scratching achievements in Oddville, where an audience wonders just how Shirley, Dubac and any assistants exactly pull off so many clever feats. The hand is quicker than the eye, \u2018tis said, and never more in evidence than in Oddville.

The 90-minute, one-act show is a funky combination of old-time tunes warbled by the likes of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Elvis and Shirley Bassey (?) with some later vintage numbers, such as Phil Collins' Against the Odds and The Who\u2019s Let My Love Open the Door. A song such as the latter is taken literally in Oddville with humorous results.

Dubac has visited Westport a couple of times with his own unusual and intelligent brand of humor (The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?, Book of Moron) and does just as well from a director\u2019s vantage point. Shirley\u2019s timing is virtually flawless as he \u2018migrates\u2019 between the real world at stage front and the \u2018virtual reality\u2019 behind a large screen. I can\u2019t begin to figure out how he manages some of the magic acts, but they\u2019re fun and engaging, for sure.

The show dips only twice, really. One is during an overly long audience participation piece, a musical interlude that grows wearisome after a point despite the good nature of the participants. The other is a peculiar decision to include a song patterned after the Johnny Cash hit, I\u2019ve Been Everywhere, which features a string of vulgar, coarse and politically incorrect pejoratives just because. Sadly, that\u2019s the one time Lonely 1 actually speaks (OK, sings).

For most of one\u2019s journey through Oddville, though, a sense of wonder moves side-by-side with Shirley\u2019s deft comic talents and the performer\u2019s droll sense of humor, first noticed nationally on the TV series, America\u2019s Got Talent. The Denver-based comedian is equally adept at physical comedy and clever forays into sophisticated humor.

Dubac keeps the show moving magically along, with nary a drop in pace or precision save for those mentioned above. Oddville is very different from anything you\u2019re likely to have seen or will visit, a city which has no comic limits once you enter its peculiar and fascinating locale.

Play: Oddville: A Love Story?

Company: Emery Entertainment

Venue: The Playhouse at Westport Plaza

Dates: December 28, 29, 30

Tickets: $50; contact metrotix.com or 534-1111

Rating: A 4 on a scale of 1-to-5.

Photos courtesy of Oddville

"}, {"id":"a3a4d634-ea65-11e7-acf3-73280668f278","type":"article","starttime":"1514310780","starttime_iso8601":"2017-12-26T11:53:00-06:00","lastupdated":"1514311217","priority":40,"sections":[{"features":"arts-and-culture/features"}],"application":"editorial","title":"'The Devil's Passion' Conveys the Timeless Meaning Behind the Christmas Season: Theater Review","url":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/features/article_a3a4d634-ea65-11e7-acf3-73280668f278.html","permalink":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/features/the-devil-s-passion-conveys-the-timeless-meaning-behind-the/article_a3a4d634-ea65-11e7-acf3-73280668f278.html","canonical":"http://www.laduenews.com/arts-and-culture/features/the-devil-s-passion-conveys-the-timeless-meaning-behind-the/article_a3a4d634-ea65-11e7-acf3-73280668f278.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"by Mark Bretz","prologue":"Story: Satan is annoyed. A new rebel in the Middle East who goes by the name of Jesus is sewing seeds of discontent among the downtrodden, vexing the Roman forces who occupy their land. Before a series of maps, Satan carefully describes how Jesus\u2019 words and the subsequent, fledgling religion of Christianity have spread throughout much of the known world. The devil himself reminds us of multiple stories about this \u2018messiah,\u2019 but focuses primarily on the week before Jesus\u2019 execution.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["satan","lucifer","devil","jesus","christ","christianity","easter","christmas","the devil's passion","justin butcher","john o'hagan","jacoby arts center","bankside repertory theatre company"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"00d1d006-ea65-11e7-a287-338d5fa1c445","description":"Illuminated empty theatre and stage","byline":"Leonard Mc Lane","hireswidth":1242,"hiresheight":776,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/0d/00d1d006-ea65-11e7-a287-338d5fa1c445/5a428b766e69e.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1242","height":"776","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/0d/00d1d006-ea65-11e7-a287-338d5fa1c445/5a428b766d530.image.jpg?resize=1242%2C776"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"62","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/0d/00d1d006-ea65-11e7-a287-338d5fa1c445/5a428b766d530.image.jpg?resize=100%2C62"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"187","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/0d/00d1d006-ea65-11e7-a287-338d5fa1c445/5a428b766d530.image.jpg?resize=300%2C187"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"640","url":"https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/0d/00d1d006-ea65-11e7-a287-338d5fa1c445/5a428b766d530.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C640"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"a3a4d634-ea65-11e7-acf3-73280668f278","body":"

Story: Satan is annoyed. A new rebel in the Middle East who goes by the name of Jesus is sewing seeds of discontent among the downtrodden, vexing the Roman forces who occupy their land.

Before a series of maps, Satan carefully describes how Jesus\u2019 words and the subsequent, fledgling religion of Christianity have spread throughout much of the known world. The devil himself reminds us of multiple stories about this \u2018messiah,\u2019 but focuses primarily on the week before Jesus\u2019 execution.

Lucifer is not about to give up, but he does admit his frustrations at the love and tolerance exhibited by Jesus as he welcomes the poor, the disenfranchised, the sick, the weak and others whom the Christ says will join him in his kingdom beyond Earth. Still, the devil has his ways and his tricks and waits patiently for his next opportunity to wreak havoc.

Highlights: Bankside Repertory Theatre recently offered a holiday show that, despite a different theme and seasonal focus, nonetheless conveyed the meaning of love and tolerance behind Jesus\u2019 timeless message.

Other Info: John O\u2019Hagan, one of the founding members of the Bankside Repertory company, starred in this one-man drama that received its American premiere in Alton. Written a few years ago by English playwright Justin Butcher, the two-act presentation allowed O\u2019Hagan to stretch his acting abilities as he portrayed not only Satan but a variety of other characters, including animals.

O\u2019Hagan arrived on the set dressed in a dark suit with a red tie appropriate for the devil, decrying the \u201cglobalized goodness\u201d fostered by Jesus. Butcher\u2019s script is poetic, alluding to \u201cMiriam\u201d (Mary) and \u201cYussef\u201d (Jesus) and sundry stories from the New Testament. Alex Hauf-Belden\u2019s lighting alternated between bright and soft depending upon the scenes taking place on his sparely adorned scenic design, which was dominated by that series of maps.

Hauf-Belden and O\u2019Hagan added a pensive sound design which underscored Satan\u2019s fluctuating moods as he rails on about the \u201costentatiously humble\u201d Jesus. Butcher's words allowed O\u2019Hagan to capably etch brief characterizations in the meandering script, and O'Hagan kept an audience\u2019s attention with his meticulous work.

In the end, however, despite O\u2019Hagan\u2019s accurate program note that \u201cthe story really begins in this season,\u201d it was difficult to get into Butcher\u2019s story months ahead of Easter week.

Next up in Bankside’s 2017-18 season will be a presentation of Deanna Jent’s excellent and affecting drama about autism, Falling, with the playwright directing the production from April 19 through 28. Visit www.banksiderep.com for details.

Play: The Devil\u2019s Passion

Company: Bankside Repertory Theatre Company

Venue: Jacoby Arts Center, 627 East Broadway, Alton

Dates: Run concluded

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The holidays make a fine time to indulge in big, bold flavors. Because we want to enjoy as many over-the-top festive eats and drinks as possible this season, we\u2019ve developed five cocktail and small-bite pairings perfect for holiday entertaining (or for just sipping and snacking at home). Anchoring these five pairings are classic flavor combinations \u2013 salty and sweet, effervescent and earthy, sweet and spicy, botanical and chocolate, and complex and creamy. Although each pairing was developed with balance and complementary flavors in mind, feel free to try your hand at reconfiguring the combinations to delight family and friends.

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olives.jpg

Sparkling Citrus Sangria and Roasted Herb-Citrus Olives

Complementary citrus flavors connect this juicy, effervescent sangria with tangy roasted olives. The sweet balances the salty, making the pairing the ideal palate opener for a dinner party.

Sparkling Citrus Sangria

Serves | 4 |

| Preparation | In a punch bowl or large pitcher, combine lemon, lime and orange juices with honey, and stir to blend. Add prosecco, and stir once more. Add citrus wheels and ice. Serve.

Roasted Herb-Citrus Olives

Serves | 4 to 6 |

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a baking dish, combine all ingredients except zest, and toss to incorporate. Roast olive mixture for 15 minutes or until sizzling. Toss cooked olive mixture with orange zest and, if desired, additional olive oil. Serve warm with crostini or crusty bread.

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Earl Grey French 75 With Brown-Butter Mushrooms

Boost the traditional French 75 with Earl Grey tea, which adds depth of flavor and richness. Paired with earthy, buttery mushrooms, this combination is pure luxury.

Earl Grey French 75

Serves | 6 |

| Preparation | In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat water until almost boiling. Steep tea bags in water for 3 minutes; discard tea bags. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Refrigerate until cool.

Spread a thin layer of sugar on a small plate. Lightly squeeze lemon wedge across rim of 6 glasses, and dip rim of each glass in sugar to coat. Evenly divide chilled tea in each glass. Pour \u00bd ounce gin into each glass, and top with sparkling wine. Garnish each glass with a lemon peel, and serve.

Brown-Butter Mushrooms

Serves | 4 |

| Preparation | In a large skillet over medium heat, heat butter until almost browned, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, and add wine and thyme; cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and season to taste with salt and pepper. Saut\u00e9 mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until fully cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes. Spear mushrooms with toothpicks if serving as a small bite.

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Black Pepper-Honey Old-Fashioned With Baked Brie With Honey and Pomegranate Seeds

Lightly sweetened with honey and spiced with a touch of pepper, this Old-Fashioned is a bit more complex than the classic. Rich baked Brie drizzled with honey and tart pomegranate seeds provides an excellent foil for the bold cocktail.

Black Pepper-Honey Old-Fashioned

Serves | 6 |

| Preparation | In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water, peppercorns and sugar to a gentle boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain peppercorns from simple syrup, and allow to cool.

In a large glass Mason jar, combine simple syrup with bourbon, and stir. Evenly divide mixture into 6 highball glasses filled with ice. Add a dash of bitters to each glass, and stir. Garnish with orange peels and black peppercorns. Serve.

Baked Brie With Honey and Pomegranate Seeds

Serves | 8 |

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place Brie in center of prepared baking sheet, and bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until bubbly. Watch Brie closely, as cheese cooks fast.

In a small saucepan over low heat, slightly warm honey and remove from heat. Add pomegranate seeds, salt and pepper. When Brie is finished baking, while still warm, pour honey-pomegranate seed mixture over top. Serve warm with a cheese board, tart apple slices or crusty bread.

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Dirty Chai Martini With Salted Espresso Fudge

This martini combines winter-perfect chai flavors with espresso for a little extra kick. Paired with salted espresso fudge made with coconut milk, this sweet-and-salty pairing will appeal to both tea- and coffee-lovers.

Dirty Chai Martini

Serves | 4 |

| Preparation | In a saucepot over medium-high heat, heat water to almost boiling. Steep tea bags in water for 4 minutes; discard tea bags. Add maple syrup and espresso or coffee, and stir to combine. Refrigerate until cool.

Combine cooled tea mixture in a cocktail shaker with milk, vodka and ice. Strain liquid evenly into 4 martini glasses, and garnish each with a cinnamon stick. Serve.

Salted Espresso Fudge

Yields | 12 squares |

| Preparation | Line an 8-inch-square baking dish with parchment paper, and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring coconut milk to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low, and add honey. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken.

In a large metal or glass mixing bowl, combine chocolate with coconut oil, espresso or coffee, and Himalayan salt. Pour warm coconut-milk mixture over chocolate, and stir until smooth.

Pour chocolate mixture into prepared baking dish, and sprinkle espresso or coffee grounds and sea salt over top. Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours or overnight, and then until ready to serve. Cut fudge into 12 squares, and serve.

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Rosemary-Gin Fizz With Coconut-Chocolate Mousse

Rosemary and gin are a natural match. This cocktail hits all of the right notes: floral and botanical, yet sweet and spicy. The rosemary also lifts the chocolate mousse, adding earthiness to counterbalance the richness of the dark chocolate.

Rosemary-Gin Fizz

Serves | 6 |

| Preparation | In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water, rosemary and sugar to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain rosemary from simple syrup, and allow to cool.

In a large glass Mason jar, combine simple syrup, gin and lemon juice, and stir. Divide mixture evenly between 6 highball glasses filled with ice. Top each cocktail with club soda and a sprig of rosemary for garnish. Serve.

Coconut-Chocolate Mousse

Serves | 6 |

| Preparation | In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, combine aquafaba and lemon juice. Beat until stiff peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. If using coconut milk, in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat on low speed, slowly increasing to medium-high, until fluffy.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring water to a simmer. Place a heatproof bowl over pan to temper chocolate; add chocolate to bowl, and stir occasionally with a heatproof spatula until chocolate is smooth. Fold chocolate and sea salt into aquafaba or coconut milk, and stir until combined. Spoon mousse into 6 ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours or overnight. Sprinkle flake salt over top prior to serving.

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Late October saw the opening of 1764 Public House in St. Louis\u2019 Central West End neighborhood, featuring modern spins on St. Louis and New Orleans favorites for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining.

The opening marks the latest venture from Gamlin Restaurant Group\u2019s Derek and Lucas Gamlin, joining their other establishments in the CWE: Sub Zero Vodka Bar and Gamlin Whiskey House.

Derek Gamlin reflects: \u201c1764 is the year St. Louis was founded. We based our entire restaurant on the foundation of St. Louis\u2019 relationship with our sister city, New Orleans. We decided to mash their food and drink traditions together. It creates fun menu items like crawfish ravioli and a St. Louis pork steak po\u2019boy. It\u2019s very fun and unique.\u201d

Filling roughly 5,000 square feet, 1764 Public House seats around 200 inside and 90 outside. The Gamlins worked with SPACE Architecture + Design from St. Louis\u2019 Grove business district to realize their vision for the bistro and bar\u2019s aesthetic, with homages to the CWE\u2019s own classic design history and an indoor balcony that serves as a nod to New Orleans architecture.

The Gamlins collaborated on the creation of the menu with executive chef Ryan Cooper, offering signature items like \u201cbreakfast in bread\u201d \u2013 bowls created from house-made bread stuffed with a variety of fillings. The 1764 Original \"breakfast in bread,\u201d for instance, consists of a sourdough round stuffed with bacon lardons, Ozark forest mushrooms, breakfast sausage, roasted tomatoes and leeks topped with a Provel-mozzarella blend and a farm-fresh egg.

Sandwich options include a Volpi muffuletta with Genoa salami, capocolla, mortadella, provolone, olive tapenade and house-made giardiniera; a Gerber sandwich with garlic butter, ham, Provel and paprika; and a beechwood-smoked pork steak po\u2019boy with Budweiser barbecue sauce, creamy slaw and diced red onions.

Additional highlights include jambalaya, rectangular St. Louis-style pizzas, cast-iron blackened redfish, gumbo that\u2019s finished tableside and a mega pretzel board featuring a 14-inch soft pretzel served with Volpi charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, dried and fresh fruits, bourbon-vanilla honey and marinated olives. No matter what a guest chooses, all of these offerings sound delectable before catching Hans Brinker from Metro Theater Company.

From the bar, patrons can choose from 16 taps and a long list of beer, wine, spritzes, classic cocktails and mules \u2013 including a shareable 168-ounce size. Nitro java from Kaldi\u2019s Coffee is also available, along with a selection of single-barrel spirits. In the coming weeks, look for a weekend brunch (starting at the end of this month, according to the venue\u2019s website) with live music and items such as a sparkling wine-and-oysters platter.

\u201cI just want this to be a place where everyone feels comfortable,\u201d Derek Gamlin says. \u201cWe\u2019re proud to be St. Louisans and proud to be in the Central West End. This public house in the middle of the neighborhood is the perfect place for people to gather at, relax, have fun and be happy.\u201d\u00a0

1764 Public House, 39 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314-405-8221, 1764pub.com

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