Brittany Butts believes music soothes the soul: Wise words coming from a 16-year-old living with sickle cell disease. The teen has taken her negative experiences battling the illness and turned them into a positive message through song, with the help of the Kids Rock Cancer program.
Now that awards season is underway, many quality under-the-radar movies are getting their due. Below are a few gems that got little mainstream attention, but are garnering plenty of critical acclaim. The following films are rated based on the four-star system:
Local artist Theresa Disney recently opened The Funhouse Gallery, which will display her work. The first exhibit, The Art of the Circus, features Disney’s circus-themed work, including painted furniture, paintings and 3-D sculptures. Guests at the recent grand opening enjoyed circus-themed drinks and food, as well as a performance by Clownvis Presley.
There are new historical markers throughout downtown St. Louis to highlight seven streets with their original French names. The new signage is a gift from Les Amis for the city's 250th anniversary.
Nothing grabbing you at the theater? Here are the options for home:
Grown-ups can be kids again at St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s inaugural nontraditional gala, Play Date. Guests are invited to forgo the usual cocktail attire and don colorful, creative and comfortable wear for the interactive evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 22 at St. Louis Union Station. “It’s an adult night out inspired by kids,” explains Annie Geile, event chair and board member of Friends of St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “It ties back to the whole goal of Children’s—which is to let kids be kids.”
Gerald Early was born and raised in South Philadelphia's Southwark neighborhood. It was the setting for the story of Rocky Balboa. The movie was fiction but the area was a very real place, and Early is one of its real-life over-comers.
A 17-year-old Frontenac girl, Ellie Towle, currently is biking her way across the country—from Charleston, South Carolina, to San Diego—to help raise tuition money for local schoolchildren.
Story: Ten down-on-their-luck contestants vie for the ownership of a new ‘hardbody’ pick-up truck being given away at a Nissan dealership in Longview, Texas. The trick is for a contestant to keep at least one hand on the vehicle at all times (apart from brief, infrequent breaks) until the other nine contestants drop out. It’s every man for himself, every woman for herself and everybody for the keys to a fresh start to their troubled lives.
In the spirit of Father’s Day, we take a look at five great father-and-son films. Some are uplifting, others are tragic, but all are well worth watching. We purposefully avoided more obvious choices like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Godfather and Road to Perdition, in favor of lesser-known gems that you may have missed.
And the Oscar goes to…Webster University alum Leah Latham! Latham, who graduated from Webster’s animation program in 2010, served as editorial production coordinator for Disney’s latest worldwide box-office smash, Frozen.
Story: Tommy DeVito is a small-time musician with big-time dreams, taking along his guitar and combo partners, brother Nick DeVito and friend Nick Massi, wherever he can line up a gig. Problem is, the lads from the tough streets of New Jersey have a penchant for trouble, causing all three of them to spend time in the state penitentiary in the 1950s.
Story: The Lazara Quartet is a classical music group of considerable talent and acclaim, so much so that in the past year they have been the subject of a documentary. Now, their noted achievements in recordings and in performances around the world have caught the attention of The White House, where they have been asked to perform for the President in a televised concert.
A capacity crowd at New York’s Carnegie Hall greeted the St. Louis Symphony’s performance of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes last month, on what would have been the composer’s 100th birthday. The Nov. 22 program featured music director David Robertson; the Symphony chorus, under the director of Amy Kaiser; and tenor Anthony Dean as Peter Grimes, and soprano Susanna Phillips as Ellen Orford. The performance received an extended standing ovation, as well as praise from critics, including The New York Times. The Carnegie program was previewed at Powell Hall Nov. 16.
Students at The Wilson School used cardboard, recycled materials and their imaginations to design and build creations as part of this year’s Cardboard Challenge. The global event involved almost 77,000 people, and the students used a broad range of skills to prepare for, promote and participate in the challenge. Projects ranged from cardboard vehicles designed by pre-kindergarteners to arcade games engineered and constructed by upper-school students.
Daring color is in the air this fall. F. Schumacher is calling fuchsia this season’s ‘it’ color and the perfect upbeat alternative or complement to neutrals.
Well, Oscar season is officially here, and Lee Daniels’ The Butler is an early contender. The film follows the life and career of a White House butler as he watches history unfold over the decades. Many words describe this film: sweeping, moving, heart-wrenching and heart-warming. Unfortunately, slow and didactic also are on the list, but all in all, the film certainly is a valiant effort.
Steve Scorfina, antique 'picker,' was once the lead guitarist for legendary rock band REO Speedwagon, and later, the iconic ‘70s St. Louis band, Pavlov’s Dog.
WEBSTER UNIVERSITY’s Chess Team, ranked No. 1 in the nation, will be competing as the top seed in the Final Four of Collegiate Chess this weekend. The team, coached by renowned chess grandmaster SUSAN POLGAR, will do battle against students from University of Maryland-Baltimore County, University of Texas-Dallas and University of Illinois. The six grandmasters who make up the Webster team include: WESLEY SO (also ranked No. 1 in the Philippines), RAY ROBSON (also ranked No. 8 in the U.S.), FIDEL JIMENEZ (also ranked No. 3 in Cuba), GEORG MEIER (also ranked No. 4 in Germany), MANUEL HOYOS (also ranked No. 1 in Mexico and is the reigning U.S. Open Champion), and ANATOLY BYHKOVSKY (also ranked No. 21 in Israel). Bring home a winner, Webster!
CITY ACADEMY received a $1 million gift from the Crawford Taylor Foundation for endowment. The gift supports the school’s efforts to offer an expanded Early Childhood Program. With the help of this grant, plans to expand to a total of 175 students by 2014 are in place. Pictured: D’Niya Ammons, Chantell Johnson and Chontell Johnson of City Academy's new Early Childhood Program.
We now have the names for the upcoming Maryville University St. Louis Speakers Series. The 2013-2014 season at Powell Hall begins Oct. 8 with former Greek Prime Minister GEORGE PAPANDREOU. The rest of the lineup includes: A Walk in the Woods author BILL BRYSON, Former U.S. Defense Secretary ROBERT GATES, Apple co-founder STEVE WOZNIAK, historian/author DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN and journalist DAN RATHER, whose March 25, 2014, appearance will be sponsored by LN. For subscription information, visit stlouisspeakersseries.org.
We applaud this year’s GRAND CENTER INC. Visionary Awards honorees, who are being recognized for their commitment to the arts in St. Louis. They are: CAROL VOSS (Major Contributor to the Arts), ANDREA PURNELL (Emerging Artist), LYNN RUBRIGHT (Outstanding Arts Educator), LYDIA RUFFIN (Successful Working Artist), AGNES WILCOX (Outstanding Arts Professional) and JOANNE KOHN (Lifetime Achievement). The awards ceremony will be held Monday, May 13, from 5:45 to 8:30 p.m. at The Sheldon. Tickets, which include admission, pre-event cocktails and a dessert reception, will go on sale April 5. Visit grandcenter.org for more information.
As a University of Missouri student, Amy Lorenz-Moser witnessed a devastating domestic violence episode where a man came in and “clobbered” a woman who worked at the school cafeteria. From that moment, Lorenz-Moser knew she wanted to become a personal injury lawyer. “I thought that it was an area where I could make a difference.”
Washington University has awarded filmmaker KEN BURNS with its 2012 International Humanities Medal. Burns was presented with the award for having a significant impact on American society with his contribution to the arts.
If you’re waiting for the Skyfall line at the box office to die down, here’s what's hot on DVD