Before the annual stroll around The Galleria in search of holiday gifts both selective and silly, it’s time to contemplate what occurred on local stages in the past 12 months.
Story: Annie, a contestant on the reality TV series Looking for Love, is ecstatic when she outlasts the competition and receives a wedding proposal from the focal eligible bachelor Matt, taped of course for a later broadcast. Meanwhile, producer Josh informs Annie and Matt that they are legally obligated to keep quiet about the results until the show airs or they will forfeit their winnings.
Story: Dr. Ruth Westheimer is known as a sex therapist who, at age 86, is still dispensing advice to an ever-present audience interested in matters of human bondage. That is the familiar scholar-turned-celebrity Dr. Ruth.
Story: A performing troupe under the direction of a Leading Player presents the tale of a young man named Pippin for its audience. We are told that the story will unfold in a series of segments under such titles as “Home,” “Glory,” “The Flesh,” “Revolution,” “Encouragement” and “Ordinary Life,” followed by an all-stops-out grand finale in which Pippin will perform an act of derring-do.
Situated almost in the shadow of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Frazer's Restaurant & Lounge has been a southside staple for 20-some years. After a lengthy absence, we recently headed back and found that this old favorite continues to impress.
Story: War is raging in Europe, but novelist Charles Condomine enjoys the good life at his English country estate. Wishing to include an element of the occult in his next book, he invites Madame Arcati, a local eccentric who claims she is a medium to the spirit world, to his home.
Story: Singer/musician J.R. “Johnny” Cash was born in Arkansas in 1932 and died in Nashville in 2003. His impoverished childhood was grounded by a hard-working, God-fearing family, values that shaped his own philosophy. He was married twice, divorced once and briefly widowed after the death of his second wife, June Carter Cash, his spouse and oft-times performing partner for 35 years.
Story: Living in an orphanage is no picnic, and the Great Depression makes it even worse. Still, 11-year-old Annie has faith that she’ll find the parents who left her as an infant on the Municipal Girls Orphanage doorstep in New York City back in 1922.
If the Hunger Games sequel isn't floating your boat—or you've already seen it twice—you may want to consider a rental. Here's what's worth watching:
Long a standard-bearer of Persian food in St. Louis, Cafe Natasha remains an anchor of the vibrant and eclectic food scene on South Grand Boulevard while continuing to innovate with creative food and drink.
Story: Joe McCandless has lived a tortured life. Forty years ago, as a kid he witnessed the deaths of his two older brothers, Andy and Jack, at the family cabin on the shores of Lake Belle Rive, Mississippi. Jealousy over a woman named Jenna fueled the escalating tension between the brothers, which ended with all three adults dying there.
Story: Walter Lee Younger lives with his wife Ruth, son Travis, sister Beneatha and mother Lena in a rundown, cramped apartment on Chicago’s South Side. It’s 1959, and Walter spends much of his time dreaming about a better life. He had an opportunity to go into business with a friend years earlier, but Ruth talked him out of it. That business subsequently flourished, leaving Walter frustrated with his job as a chauffeur but determined to move forward with plans for a liquor store.
Story: In 1883 Alferd Packer is put on trial for the murder and cannibalism of five other miners he had led in 1873 from Provo, Utah in search of gold in the Colorado Territory. Packer returned alone from that expedition, claiming that one of the men, a minister named Shannon Wilson Bell, had murdered all of the others in a deranged state and then himself was killed by Packer in self-defense.
The first real Oscar contender of the season has emerged: If you recognize Eddie Redmayne, it will most likely be from his endearing performance as Marius in Les Miserables, or his charming turn as the object of Marilyn Monroe's fleeting attention in My Week with Marilyn. This time, Redmayne takes center stage in a striking portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking.
Right about now, you should be contemplating a cold turkey sandwich while the booth reviews the call on the field. Here's a little quiz for halftime entertainment:
Remarkably, if you were to come across a wish list from 2013, many of the items would not be found on this year’s list. In one year, the technology/gadget landscape changed.
We sampled the fare at Panorama not long after the doors opened and were suitably impressed. Since then, the restaurant has undergone some changes in the kitchen, necessitating a return trip.
Story: In 1938, 8-year-old Berry Gordy Jr. witnessed the thrill his parents experienced when American boxer Joe Louis defeated German fighter Max Schmeling in a heavyweight bout. Gordy Jr. was determined to bring happiness to others in a way much like he saw in his parents’ faces at news of that epic boxing event.
Story: It’s another deadly dull day for Angela and Stu. The couple, who’ve been married for some 20 years, aren’t nearly as passionate as they were when they met in high school, at least not Angela. She’s grown weary of their threadbare existence and the livelihood that depends on their moribund convenience store.
Story: Five months after the outbreak of World War I, a number of British, French and German troops positioned in trenches alongside “no man’s land” in Europe stopped their fighting for a brief but poignant period on Christmas Eve, 1914. Tentative and leery at first, they slowly emerged from their rat-infested trenches to extend holiday greetings to each other. They sang songs, exchanged simple gifts and even participated in an impromptu soccer game on the frozen terrain.
Earlier this year, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company underwent a major expansion. Not only does this second location put out a lot of extra barrels of beer, it also houses a restaurant that boasts an impressive menu of elevated pub fare.
Story: Figaro, valet to Count Almaviva of Seville, is set to marry Susanna, maid to Countess Rosina Almaviva. The womanizing Count, determined to have Susanna, threatens to invoke the “feudal right of the manor,” by which he may take the place of his valet on the latter’s wedding night. This doesn’t set well with either Figaro or Susanna, who make plans to thwart the Count’s efforts.
Story: The times are tough in County Kildare, Ireland, and business hasn’t been good at the convenience store run by married couple Aiden and Dee. In fact, they’ve been forced to rent out their house and move their family of four into the back of their small store to make ends meet.
Story: Oh, the pressure. As the parents of a 4-year-old, Greg and Alexandra are steeped in stress. That’s because they are New York City yuppies who are convinced that they must spend thousands of dollars to get Jake into one of Manhattan’s prestigious academies for kindergarten students.
Since stepping into the executive chef role, Melissa Lee has been slowly putting her mark on the various eateries at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. The latest to benefit from her expertise is The Grill, which has transformed into a creative dining destination.