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Story: Four candidates for the 332nd Fighter Group, better known as the Tuskegee Airmen, meet at the military school in Tuskegee, Alabama where they train to become fighter pilots during World War II. These candidates, though, are black, and the challenge to earn their stripes in flight school is exacerbated with racism, both blatant and subtle, throughout their training.
This summer, think of your backyard as the next decorating frontier. Use designer-quality furniture, rugs, lighting and charming decorative accents for stunning results.
Imagine this life if you will: You are a senior in high school. You can throw a fastball 90-plus miles per hour. You are a starter on a very good basketball team. And you also happen to be one of the better quarterbacks in the Midwest.
Story: Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis has a lone occupant on April 3, 1968. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has returned to what the desk clerk jokingly refers to as the “King-Abernathy Suite” on the eve of a big speech he’s preparing for the Memphis sanitation workers.
The year 2012 was tumultuous in many respects, so perhaps fittingly Wicked is the title of the production that brings down the curtain on the last 12 months. A record drought plagued the St. Louis area, temperatures sweltered in an elongated summer and the area’s economy staggered toward a slow but steady recovery. All of this took place in the face of impending doom predicted centuries ago by the Mayan calendar.
Yours truly was honored to be a judge at a chili cook-off, part of the annual Fall Festival at Reed Elementary School in Ladue, on Oct. 14. This was the first year for the cook-off, which took the place of the long-running pie-baking contest, and 14 chili masters stepped up to compete. Custom-carved pumpkins from CJ Sanders were given out as prizes for categories such as Best Pork Chili, Best Beef Chili and Best Vegetarian Chili. At the end of the day, JALAIN FELLMAN took the overall top honors with her creation, dubbed Blazing Saddles.
Let it be…SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY is coming to St. Louis. As of press time, his Nov. 11 concert at the Scottrade Center is one of only two U.S. stops for his On the Run tour. This is McCartney’s first St. Louis show in a decade (his Back in the U.S. tour stopped here in 2002).
St. Louis’ own EMILY PULITZER has been awarded one of the 2011 National Medals of Arts and Humanities by PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA. Pulitzer’s “contributions as a curator, art collector and philanthropist (who) has dedicated herself to connecting art and viewers through her generosity…” were cited as some of the reasons why she is deserving of the honor. Other National Medal of Arts recipients honored at the White House this week included actor AL PACINO and poet RITA DOVE.
THROUGH 3/4 SPIRIT & HISTORY Visit Saint Louis University-Museum of Art and view a wonderful collection of work expressing the plight of African-Americans in American history. The paintings, by Fr. James Hasse and Judge Nathan Young, explore biblical themes and the strife of African- American women. Wednesdays through Sundays. Free. 977-3399 or slu.edu/sluma.xml.
A packed house of family, friends and fans celebrated new Cardinals manager MIKE MATHENY at a lively party last week at Mike Shannon’s downtown. Matheny addressed the crowd, saying that he’s fortunate to have the “best job on the planet,” but that it all “hasn’t sunk in yet.” As Matheny wrapped up his speech, host MIKE SHANNON whispered into his ear, reminding him to thank the most important person in the room: Mrs. Matheny. The new manager immediately acknowledged his oversight, sheepishly telling the crowd. “Mike Shannon just taught me lesson No. 1.”
Sneak peek, times two…Filmmakers KEN BURNS and LYNN NOVICK will be in town Sept. 19 to offer a preview of their latest documentary, Prohibition, at the new Peabody Opera House—a rare opportunity to see the venue prior to its gala opening on Oct. 1. Burns and Novick will lead the screening and discussion of the film, which documents the rise and fall of the Constitution’s 18th Amendment prohibiting the sale and manufacture of alcohol. We’re told St. Louis, with its rich brewing history, has a prominent role in the film. For tickets, call 800- 745-3000 or visit ticketmaster. com. The six-hour documentary will premiere on Nine PBS Oct. 2 to 4.
Anyone who has ever sprinkled a dash of salt on a slice of watermelon knows the savory enhances the sweet. The combination reaches new heights at Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier at Maryland Plaza, which now has an expanded menu to go with its recently expanded space.
Author’s Nouriel Roubini and Stephen Mihm aren’t psychics, and their book is not a crystal ball into when our world will be rocked by another financial crisis. But once you’ve read their Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance, you might question why more people didn’t see the signs that the world was embarking on its greatest financial challenge since the Great Depression.
Local orthopedic surgeon DR. KEITH ODEGARD is back in town after spending more than a week assisting with relief efforts in Haiti. Odegard, a surgeon with St. Louis Orthopedic Institute, served with a team of 13 medical personnel from across the country on a trip organized by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod World Relief and Human Care organization. This is Odegard’s second medical mission in 12 months. He was in El Salvador last year to help provide primary care.
Commuters, rejoice! I-64/US-40 will be back in business in a couple of days, and to celebrate, the MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION is holding a grand opening ceremony this Sunday, Dec. 6, when all lanes between Hanley Road and Kingshighway Boulevard will be open for pedestrians and bicyclists! Along with a ribbon-cutting, MoDOT officials will also unveil a sign designating the stretch of highway from the McCausland/Skinker interchange to the I-64/I-55 interchange as JACK BUCK MEMORIAL HIGHWAY. In addition, the public is encouraged to participate in an Operation Food Search food drive. Volunteers will be collecting canned food items at every access to the highway that day. The new I-64 officially reopens to traffic Dec. 7, one month ahead of schedule and $11 million under budget.
EMILY RAUH PULITZER will be the guest of honor at the Contemporary Art Museum’s annual gala in March. Pulitzer, who has enjoyed a notable career as curator, collector and patron of the arts, is the wife of the late St. Louis Post-Dispatch publisher JOSEPH PULITZER. Together, they’ve amassed one of the country’s premier art collections with works by PABLO PICASSO, ELLSWORTH KELLY, ANDY WARHOL, RICHARD SERRA and others. The March 6 event at the Four Seasons Hotel will feature a special award presentation to Pulitzer for her contributions to the world of contemporary art.
Eyelashes After Chemo
> Lafayette Fire Co. No. 1: A Firehouse Grill is opening in the space formerly occupied by Soda Fountain Square. The restaurant will feature firehouse cuisine with recipes—deluxe rolled meatloaf and deep-fried banana bread, anyone?—from firemen in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and Illinois. The name is a nod to local firefighting history: “Lafayette Fire Co. No. 1 existed before the St. Louis Fire Department was founded in 1857,” notes Shawn Bittle, one of 28 firemen partnering in the venture. Look for lots of firefighter memorabilia and photos when it opens for three squares a day starting Nov. 27.
LADUE NEWS has received a 2009 Media Award from the AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY, which recognizes excellence in communicating about cancer. LN was among 16 winners from six states applauded for reporting on cancer issues and survivorship. LN staffers received their award live via Web cast during a Nov. 11 ceremony. The award-winning article, ‘Life Lessons: Living with Breast Cancer,’ was written by contributing LN health writer MARY JO BLACKWOOD.
One of the world’s most beloved voices, ANDY WILLIAMS, has embarked on a national tour that will take him to St. Louis later this month. Unfortunately for those who swoon at the sound of his golden tenor pipes, the 80-something entertainer won’t be doing much singing. Instead, he’s promoting his memoir, Moon River and Me, which encompasses his seven decades in show business, including the beginnings of The Williams Brothers, the struggle to launch a solo career and recording a string of hits that led to worldwide superstardom. His St. Louis appearance is at The Ethical Society Oct. 24.
Remember when theater in St. Louis took a sleepy hiatus before The Rep kicked off its new season in September? Apart from The Muny, culture from May through August was derived mainly from a good book or a trip to the museum.
Last month’s grand opening of Webster University’s Confucius Institute transformed the Old Post Office downtown into a sensory celebration of Chinese culture, to the delight of more than 250 guests!
BLACK HISTORY MONTH…2/8 CELEBRATE THE GOSPEL Vocalist Mardra Thomas performs a special program at 3 p.m. in the Shoenberg Theater at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Free with Garden admission; 577-9400 or mobot.org. 2/12-15 FESTIVAL OF AFRICAN AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSIC Hear internationally acclaimed performers and local artists and attend discussions with African heritage scholars in a four-day event celebrating composers and artists of African descent. $55 students or $100 adults; 289-4052. See fesaam.org for times and locations. 2/19 & 20 GALLERY TALK: AFRICAN- AMERICAN ART & ARTISTS Join Danielle Burns, Saint Louis Art Museum’s Romare Bearden fellow, for a discussion on African American art in the museum’s collection. Free; meet at the information center. 11 a.m. Feb. 19 and 6 p.m. Feb. 20. 2/22 BLUE NOTE RECORDS 7OTH ANNIVERSARY TOUR To celebrate the jazz label, an all-star band featuring Ravi Coltrane, Nicholas Payton, Steve Wilson, Peter Bernstein, Bill Charlap, Peter Washington and Lewis Nash performs at The Sheldon Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. $40; jazzstl.org or 289-4034. 2/26 — 3/1 E. DESMOND LEE AFRICA WORLD DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL The Missouri History Museum screens films addressing a broad range of topics related to Africa, including post-war healing in Rwanda and Liberia, minority comedians, the struggle of refugees, the roles of women, Vodou and the search for family history. Purchase tickets and find a schedule at mohistory.org.
While 2008 is ending on a recessionary note economically, there’s little doubt that the St. Louis theater scene continues to grow, at least as far as the number of productions is concerned. In reviewing my notes about shows covered this year, I noticed that the number I saw in person, 128, was at least 85 short of the total presentations offered by touring, professional, community and college companies in the area. And that doesn’t count the dozens of performances offered by the burgeoning cabaret crowd.