Soul of the City: Fall/Winter 2019

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New Season New Era

Join us in welcoming Stéphane Denève for his inaugural season as Music Director. Thrilling experiences await with Stéphane and your SLSO. SEPT 13-15 Music of John Williams SEPT 21-22 An American in Paris SEPT 27-28 Mahler’s Resurrection OCT 18-20 Symphonic Dances NOV 2-3 Saint-Säens’ Organ Symphony NOV 15 SLSO Crafted NOV 15-16 Brahms’ Fourth Symphony DEC 31 BMO Wealth Management TICKETS START AT

New Year’s Eve Celebration


For more concerts, visit

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HELLO, DOLLY! • October 1-13 ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE • October 18-20 DEAR EVAN HANSEN • October 22 – November 3 STOMP • November 15-17 CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE • November 29-30 WICKED • December 4-29 SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL January 15-26 JERSEY BOYS • January 30 – February 2 RIVERDANCE • February 14-16 RENT 20th ANNIVERSARY TOUR • February 21-23 THE BAND’S VISIT • February 25 – March 8 CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY • March 17 – 29 CATS • April 7-19 HAMILTON • May 5 – June 7 See for more information and full calendar. Fox Box Office, 531 N. Grand • 314-534-1111 • Shows, dates & times subject to change.


Tickets on Sale NOW! LOS LOBOS










THE 442S


CALL METROTIX AT 314.534.1111 OR VISIT THESHELDON.ORG 2 | The Soul of the City

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“Girls with Fruit”

PG. 4

PG. 22

PG. 42

State of the Arts

All That Jazz

Resource Guide

A letter from Kranzberg Arts Foundation trustee Nancy Kranzberg.

The new class of music artists in residence build on St. Louis’ musical heritage.

Kranzberg Arts Foundation resident companies & artists.

PG. 8

On a Mission

The Kranzberg Arts Foundation has a vision for the city of St. Louis. PG. 10

Turning the Page

PG. 28

All Access

The region’s small and midsize theater and dance companies offer a wealth of options. You just need to know where to look.

The next chapter of the Grand Center Arts District.

PG. 32

PG. 12

As four striking exhibits recently proved, visual art can be both deeply personal and challenge viewers’ perceptions.

Life is a Cabaret

From concerts to conferences to open-mic nights, the St. Louis scene is thriving. PG. 18

A New Chapter

The High Low brings St. Louis’ literary scene together in one place.

Seeing Anew

PG. 39

Must-See Shows

A preview of the cultural calendar, from October through March.

Photography by TKTK

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Cover: Max & Louie Productions’ Indecent. Photography by Don Donovan.

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Now that the St. Louis Blues hockey team has claimed the Stanley Cup and Blues fever still seems to be going strong, we can concentrate on the musical genre called the blues, which has had a presence in our fair city for ages. The blues experience and culture began in the South in the late 19th century and gradually moved up to St. Louis, Kansas City and Chicago. Blues and jazz musicians left the South in a mass exodus up Highway 61, nicknamed “The Blues Highway” in the early 1900s. In the old days, when the hockey players made an entrance onto the ice rink, the organist would pound out the famous “St. Louis Blues,” which is a popular American song composed by W.C. Handy in the blues style 4 | The Soul of the City

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and published in 1914. It was one of the first blues songs to succeed as a pop song and is a standard performed by jazz musicians. Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Bessie Smith, and even the Boston Pops Orchestra are among the artists who recorded it. There are, in fact, known to be more than 1,400 recordings of the “St. Louis Blues.” I’ve often wondered why jazz and blues are discussed in the same vein and checked it out on, the largest collection of unbiased comparisons in the world. The site notes, “An inside joke in the jazz and blues circles goes, ‘A blues guitarist plays three chords in front of thousands of people, and a jazz guitarist plays thousands of chords in front of three people.’” Culturally, both jazz and blues had their origins in the South. The blues’ Photo courtesy of the St. Louis Blues Society

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stylistic origins are from African American folk music and work songs and spirituals, and jazz is a mix of African and European music traditions. The comparisons go on and on, but there seem to be more similarities than differences. St. Louis was home to Chuck Berry, who, although he had a mixture of styles, was certainly influenced by the blues and his friend Johnnie Johnson, who played the blues on piano. Berry’s style and showmanship had an impact on the world of music, but we did have other local greats, such as Henry Townsend and Roosevelt Sykes, who were stalwarts in prestigious circles. Today, we can hear the blues every Tuesday night at The Dark Room. The performances are brought to us by The St. Louis Blues Society, a 30-year old club that promotes and supports the blues; provides educational programming in schools; and deals with such issues as race in music, advocation for artists, and the preservation

Photo by Steve Rosen

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of the St. Louis blue’s legacy. There are more than 60 artists involved in the society. Let’s not forget about the National Blues Museum. Drawing visitors from around the world, the downtown attraction hosts public programs and presents national exhibitions along with the permanent exhibitions. Live music is also offered four times per week in the Lumiere Place Legends Room. The museum takes pride in its commitment to cultural equity. And in 2020, a new blues space will open in Grand Center that will house the St. Louis Blues Society, host an artist-in-residence program, and more. All of the these organizations and artists are thrilled and working together to bring the blues—in its many varieties—to St. Louis and beyond.

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Photography by TKTK

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T H E A T E R ,

Photo by Peter Courtesy of Ashleyliane Dance Company Photography byWochniak. TKTK

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On a Mission THE KRANZBERG ARTS FOUNDATION HAS A VISION FOR THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS. We believe our artists, communities, and cultural experiences represent the heart and soul of our city—and we are committed to providing the opportunities and resources necessary for the arts to thrive now and in the future. Since 2006, we have been passionately committed to providing local artists and arts organizations with the vital space and tools to perform and showcase their work, thus fulfilling the collective vision not only to be part of a vibrant and growing arts ecosystem but also a premier arts and entertainment destination.

Through the development of performing arts venues, visual arts galleries, free music programs, and workspaces for nonprofit arts organizations, we nurture the growth of artists while working with emerging and leading arts institutions to engage with St. Louis’ greater community in ways that are relevant, inclusive, and inspiring. Our need-based, ground-up approach to giving is at the heart of our mission to make St. Louis a true destination for artists to thrive and to foster a more inspiring, interesting place for us all to live. Learn more at

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Open Tuesday–Sunday, Always free


James Little, American, born 1952; Double Exposure (detail), 2008; oil and wax on canvas; unframed: 39 × 50 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, The Thelma and Bert Ollie Memorial Collection, Gift of Ronald and Monique Ollie 190:2017 © June Kelly Gallery / James Little

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When a new season approaches, we tend to lean on an “out with the old, in with the new” attitude that propels us into the coming months with a refreshed wardrobe, frame of mind, and outlook. We believe that you should approach your social calendar in that same way.

SLSO this fall with an exciting new concert lineup, while The Sheldon’s new executive director, Peter Palermo, is ready to capture the attention of a younger audience with targeted programming.

This fall, organizations and businesses in Grand Center Arts District are pushing boundaries like never before. They’re offering up exciting new leadership, programs, shows, and menus. These organizations are refreshed and ready to lead the charge into a new season and a new chapter in our district’s history. Both the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and The Sheldon Concert Hall & Art Galleries are welcoming their newest appointments to their inaugural fall seasons: Stéphane Denève will officially begin his role as the new music director of 10 | The Soul of the City

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Derek Fordjour, Five Down Wide, 2019. Courtesy of Night Gallery, Los Angeles

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For foodies who are looking for a dining experience that they can’t wait to share about with friends, Bulrush is setting its sights on a truly fall-focused menu, thanks to its commitment to foraging ingredients from local farms. If you’re looking for a date night that includes dinner and a show, The Dark Room’s new menu—and new roster of musicians who perform live nightly—gives you a great excuse to hire a sitter and grab your dancing shoes. There’s also Turn, where you can savor delicious farm-totable fare while enjoying a soundtrack full of everything from disco to rock n’ roll curated by chef David Kirkland. And the shows will keep you coming back for more this fall. While The Fabulous Fox kicks off its season on a high note with Hello, Dolly, the district’s locally based theatre productions are pulling together impressive renditions of new and classic productions such as Shakespeare In Love and The Blue Zone. The Pulitzer Photos courtesy of Anew, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Ed Aller

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Arts Foundation’s fall exhibitions open September 6. Susan Philipsz: Seven Tears, will explore the potential of sound and includes a new commission for the water court; Zarina: Atlas of her World will showcase prints, sculptures, and collages. The International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum will showcase the work of Stewart D. Halperin, while the Contemporary Art Museum also opens its fall shows September 6 with a variety of impressive works by Stephanie Syjuco, Bethany Collins, Jonathas de Andrade, and Derek Fordjour. And keep in mind that your very own fall events have a home here at one of more than two dozen event venues, including four of the city’s most stunning rooftops. So whether you come to work, learn, play, or eat, we promise you will always walk away with an experience that you won’t soon forget. The Soul of the City | 11

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Since it started during the turn of the 20th century in France, the art of cabaret has delighted audiences around the world. Typically performed in smaller venues, the sense of intimacy helps differentiate cabaret from musical theatre or a jazz concert. “Cabaret is an intimate style of performance where the singer has a direct relationship to the audience and a personal relationship to their material,” says Tim Schall, executive director of The Cabaret Project of St. Louis. In St. Louis, cabaret is flourishing. “There’s no comparison,” says Schall. “It’s incredibly vibrant.” And that’s in large part thanks to The Cabaret Project (, which was founded in 2010 with a mission to support, develop, and sustain the art of cabaret and song performance in St. Louis. This September, The Cabaret Project kicks off its third season of the Cabaret Series, co-produced with Jazz St. Louis. Running through May 2020, the series

brings six nationally and internationally recognized cabaret performers to St. Louis including Tony winners Lindsay Mendez, Rachel Bay Jones, and Paulo Szot. Beyond presenting concerts, The Cabaret Project focuses on educating and developing local and national artists and audiences through programs including The Cabaret Open Mic; Sing Center Stage, a five-day training program for high schoolers; and The St. Louis Cabaret Conference. The Cabaret Open Mic, hosted every third Tuesday at Sophie’s Artist Lounge, offers singers a chance to perform for an open, receptive audience. Hosted by Chuck Lavazzi, with Carol Schmidt on piano, the event invites any and all to bring sheet music and their voice. “It’s a chance for experienced singers to try new material,” says Lavazzi. “And it’s a way for people without experience to get in front of an audience for the first time.”

Cabaret open mic at Sophie’s Artists Lounge

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Photography by Matthew Washausen

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Robert Breig & Lina Koutrakos

For performers more serious about developing their skills, there’s the St. Louis Cabaret Conference. Currently in its 13th season, it’s “the largest and oldest training program in song performance for adults in the nation,” according to Schall. The Cabaret Project has taken the lead in organizing the conference, which attracts and trains performers from across the nation. “We have singers coming from all over the country,” says Schall. “They get training, develop a network, and get connected locally and nationally.” The conference has made a wide-reaching impact on the local scene. In fact, it’s where Robert Breig, who founded Mariposa Artists in 2009, got his start in cabaret. “I’ll credit Tim Schall,” he says. “I took the St. Louis conference, and I got hooked.” Today, Mariposa Artists helps artists of all experience levels produce shows, but the organization thrives on helping performers with their first shows. It speaks to the group’s roots. “I just kind of landed on the producing side,” says Breig. “I had people tell me they didn’t know where to start, and I said, ‘Hey, we can do this.’” That attitude is what prompted an exchange program that helps artists perform their first show in a new city. Last 14 | The Soul of the City

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June, Mariposa Artists presented A Taste of New YorK at The Kranzberg. The show featured four accomplished New York performers who had never performed in St. Louis. At the end of September, St. Louis performers will have a chance to perform in New York for the first time. Locally, one exciting performance from Mariposa Artists is a collaboration with singer and St. Louis native Katie McGrath on Immigrant Songs, November 9 at .ZACK. Created in response to the recent spike in hate crimes, the show is the first in a series of concerts that will focus on the stories and songs of American arrival and, according to Breig, will “support the visibility and importance of immigrants to our country.” As Mariposa Artists approaches its 10th year, the group is excited about the future of cabaret in St. Louis. “I think our community is thriving and expanding,” says Breig, “as we link arms with other performers and cities.”

Courtesy of Mariposa Artists

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Photography by TKTK

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"Mark Harris II" Photo by Matthew Washausen Photography by TKTK

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Renderings by SPACE Architecture + Design Photography by TKTK

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long list of accomplished writers, poets, and playwrights have called St. Louis home: Maya Angelou, William S. Burroughs, Kate Chopin, T.S. Eliot, A.E. Hotchner, Jonathan Franzen, Curtis Sittenfeld, Justin Phillip Reed… Never before, though, has St. Louis’ literary community had a dedicated creative space to gather under the same roof—until now.


The Kranzberg Arts Foundation recently transformed a formerly vacant building in Midtown into a hub for the literary arts scene: The High Low. Located at 3301 Washington Avenue, the twostory space houses dedicated space for local writers, a library, a 200-seat performance space to host author readings and other literary events, and a gallery features rotating exhibits. Locally owned Blueprint Coffee also operates a café inside the space featuring food from James Beard Award-nominated chef Rob Connoley and Squatter’s Cafe. There are also plans for a writers-inresidence program.

“People from outside the area are often surprised when they learn how lively the literary community in St. Louis actually is, but I think part of that may be that we aren’t currently home to one large hub that draws national attention,” says Shanie Latham, managing editor of River Styx, St. Louis’ oldest literary magazine, which is moving its own offices to the space. For more than 40 years, the awardwinning publication has been publishing fiction, essays, poetry, art, and interviews. The organization also hosts writing workshops for adults and offers several youth programs, including a partnership with Grand Center Arts Academy to publish a digital journal created by high school students. The longtime River Styx Reading Series, which is currently held at Rooster on South Grand, plans to relocate to The High Low. “When the opportunity came to join the art center, we decided what better way to get involved with other groups, as

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well as the community,” says River Styx board president Pat Magee. “From my perspective, this is a really good step in the right direction.” “There are a lot of ways that the space will help us,” adds Latham. “Pragmatically, it’s low-cost and good facilities. Creatively, just being with other organizations—you can’t plan ahead of time to know how it will help. Just having organic opportunities to chat with organizations and see what they are doing and if you have projects in common.” It’s a notion that UrbArts founder MK Stallings appreciates as well. “Creating a brick and mortar and taking these disparate efforts and putting them under the same roof creates energy and opportunity,” says Stallings, whose nonprofit will also reside in the space. The grassroots organization was created in 2001 to “create platforms and platform creatives for youth and community development.” It supports poets, writers, actors, musicians, and visual artists who often contribute to the “social arts,” which respond and reflect the community from which it is being produced. During a poetry open-mic night, for example, a gentleman who worked at a juvenile detention center approached Stallings about starting a poetry workshop for the youth at the center. The result: a nonprofit that pays teaching artists to engage with the community.   “I see The High Low supporting the work that we do because there is a clear alignment for civic service that we need to engage around arts, particularly literary arts in the city,” says Stallings.

Renderings by SPACE Architecture + Design

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One other way he sees the center supporting the arts: It will be home to St. Louis’ poet laureate—a significant distinction. “This person will be a cultural ambassador,” says Stallings. “All of a sudden, you create a center of gravity for the literary arts scene.” The city’s first poet laureate, Dr. Michael Castro, helped launch the Brick City Poetry Festival, which brings together St. Louisans from various backgrounds to present literary art forms. Already, the region boasts worldclass MFA programs, award-winning literary journals, and small presses. “Not to mention fabulous libraries and independent bookstores that offer diverse programming,” says Latham. “I think the fact that our city hosts all this programming through numerous smaller organizations is a good thing—it helps to promote diversity of voices, genres, aesthetics, and so forth in a way that might be harder for a single organization to do. But what we lose out on is the sort of national recognition that a larger organization can garner through a preponderance of programs with consistent branding.” “Having this space makes it easier for groups to foster opportunities for collaboration,” says Stallings. “You create a way of taking these lofty, heliumfilled dreams and you tie them down, and you make it as real and as concrete as possible. I think that’s what the Kranzberg Arts Foundation is facilitating: They’re making it possible for the literary arts to be found.”

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Photography by TKTK

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Photography Photo bybyMatthew TKTK Washausen

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“To keep creating,” Miles Davis once said, “you have to be about change.” The legendary jazz musician would likely approve, then, of the sophomore class of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation’s Music Artists in Residence program. Over the course of 18 months, the residency provides these 10 St. Louis musicians with essential resources, including performance opportunities, access to recording sessions, rehearsal space, marketing support, and industry connections. Besides catching these musicians at local music venues, such as The Dark Room, you’ll be able to hear them on a compilation album slated for release next year. With their impressive chops, these energetic jazz musicians are building on a rich musical legacy.

likes of Wynton Marsalis and Terrence Blanchard. Today, you might recognize him as the alto sax player in local party band Dirty Muggs. Or perhaps you know him as the program director for Jazz St. Louis’ Jazz Academy. Then there’s his creative collective, Ingenuity, which recently released his debut album, Growth. “We’re what I like to call ‘life music,’” he says. “I love adding my own twist to make the audience feel better when they leave.”

Brianna “Be.Be” Brown

Scooter Brown, Jr.

A resident of East St. Louis, Brown grew up hearing the music of Miles Davis and Russell Gunn, and he’s learned from the

The soulful singer is studying jazz vocal performance at Webster University, though her lessons began at an early age, with singing and piano lessons. At Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, she added acting to her resume. Brown has traditionally performed R&B, though she’s recently broadened her repertoire, incorporating more jazz. Her band, Be.Be and the Neo-Souls, also

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performs a fusion of the two genres. She appreciates the latitude that the Kranzberg Arts Foundation grants in encouraging her to blend musical influences: “They really focus on me and my music.”

Mark Harris II

Janet Evra

A native of Gloucester, England, Evra recently moved to St. Louis, where she’s quickly made a name for her unique mix of Latin jazz, samba, and bossa nova. Last year, she released her debut album, Ask Her to Dance, and she regularly performs at The Dark Room and Evangeline’s, as well as The Sheldon, the Old Rock House, and the National Blues Museum. Now, as one of the music artists in residence, she’s looking forward to even more performances. “Kranzberg does so much for the arts and music,” she says.

Performance photos by Matthew Washausen

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Harris’ musical style is hard to pin down, as evidenced by his single “Goin’ Up” from his new CD, Interstellar. The keyboardist describes his music as “a whole bunch of elements”— jazz infused with pop and R&B. His inspirations include the likes of Swiss harpist Andreas Vollenweider and contemporary jazz/R&B/funk musician Brian Culbertson. He’s a solo artist, but he performs with a range of bands on occasion. After recently graduating from Lincoln University with a degree in Sacred Music, Harris is “looking forward to connecting with different artists in the area and learning more about the inside of the music business.”

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Kaleb Kirby

The St. Louis native and graduate of Berklee College of Music puts his own spin on jazz, which he explains is a “derivative of hip-hop and pop.” Besides performing with the Kaleb Kirby Quintet (including Adam Maness, Teddy Brookins, Kendrick Smith, and Kwanae Johnson), he DJs and works at Jazz St. Louis. “I write every card on sheet music, and it’s all original,” he says.

Ryan Marquez

Art has long consumed Marquez’s life, from choir to dance to piano to visual arts and painting. “I have been on this hustle my whole life,” he says. “Music picked me. I didn’t pick music.” He describes his music as “routes of soul, hip-hop, funk, pop, and areas reflective of my inspirations—for example, Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles.” A master of the Keybass, Marquez performs with two bands, pop/soul/funk group Fresh Heir and jazz/funk group The People’s Key. The Kansas City native graduated from Webster University and decided to stick around because he “loved the city so much and got really connected with the community,” he says. “I am excited to have the ability to showcase my original ideas and to collaborate with other artists in the community.”

Brady Lewis

Though just 25 years old, the trumpeter’s played for more than a decade, performing in jazz combos while attending high school in East St. Louis and college at Northern Illinois University. Today, he fronts the BLStet, often performing at The Dark Room. He’s excited to embrace other experiences through the residency. “I want to take advantage of every opportunity possible,” he says.

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Andrew Stephen

Katarra Parson

Music runs in the family for Parson, whose family is full of musicians and artists. She traces back the launch of her career to an evening in 2015 when she performed at open mic collective Lyrical Therapy. “That’s where it all began,” she says, adding that she then “kept getting gigs and more shows.” A vocalist, pianist, and production composer, Parson is looking forward to embracing the opportunities that the residency affords: “Now, with this program, I get to show more of St. Louis my talents.”

The owner of Eightfold Studios, Stephen not only has recorded a wide range of musical styles—hip-hop, R&B, EDM, rock, jazz—but is himself a versatile producer, pianist, and composer. He studied jazz piano at Webster University and spent a term at Austria’s Vienna Conservatory with acclaimed pianist Danny Grissett. Today, he fronts nu jazzhop quartet Texturz and recently created an innovative album series, Sample Kulture, rolling out smooth tracks that draw from an array of genres.

Ben Wheeler

Following in the footsteps of his father and brother, who played upright bass, Wheeler studied jazz bass at Webster University, where he now teaches jazz and music history. In the late ’90s, he played in the swing cover band Swing Cat Swing, and he’s performed with such St. Louis jazz legends as Dave Stone and the late Willie Akins. These days, he performs with Dave Venn, Tango Underground, and the LustreLights, though he’s looking to branch out as a bandleader and composer with his new project Solid Ghost.

Performance photos by Matthew Washausen

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Photography by TKTK

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Photography by TKTK "Indecent" Max & Louie Productions. Photo by Don Donovan.

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“When people say, ‘Oh there’s nothing to do here in St. Louis on a Friday or Saturday night,’ I think they’re crazy,” says Joseph Novak. After living in several places across the United States, the tech director believes St. Louis’ art scene is particularly vibrant—for those who pursue it. “I think people just aren’t looking outside their box.” Part of the reason that small and midsize arts organizations often get overlooked, he believes, is that there are such a vast range of artistic options across the region. “Because there are so many arts groups in St. Louis, I think some tend to go unseen,” he says. “A lot of people are just not aware of their works.” Novak has worked on a wide range of show across St. Louis, including Max & Louie Productions’ June production of Indecent, the true story of a Polish-Jewish playwright who, in 1906, pens a controversial script dealing with prostitution, homosexuality, and cultural assimilation. “I think it has a lot of social impact,” says Novak, who hopes to work on similar projects in the future.

the globe: Australia, Argentina, Croatia, and more. The company’s goal is "to move you and move you to think.” This year, Upstream kicks off the season with The Agitators, the story of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass’ 45-year friendship that helped shape American society. Lisa Tejero, a Broadway veteran who’s also done work at The Rep, will direct Mat Smart’s powerful play, September 27–October 13. Upstream is also expanding beyond St. Louis. This October, it will bring Salt, Root, and Roe— the story of a set of aging identical twins who live by the sea in Wales—to Houston. The theater company produced the U.S. premiere this past spring right here in St. Louis. “We want audiences to think about what they see,” says Boehm. “It seems to me that theater in the United States in general could benefit from more international work.”

“I think the art scene is growing and blossoming,” he says. “A lot of companies seem to be doing more shows, and the quality just keeps going up.”

Swimming Upstream

Upstream Theater Company is about to start its 15th season, making it one of St. Louis’ longest-running small professional theaters. In fact, Upstream is “the oldest resident company in the Kranzberg ecosystem,” says artistic director Philip Boehm. “We’ve been able to produce plays where St. Louis audiences are the first to see these international works in the United States.” To date, the company has produced more than 40 plays from nearly 20 countries, the majority of which have been United States premieres from around 30 | The Soul of the City

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“Salt, Root, and Roe”

Stepping Out

Dance has been a part of Ashley Tate’s life since she was a child. “I don’t really know myself without dance,” she says. “I’m a shy person, so it’s my way of being my most expressive self.” She started out with ballet, tap, and traditional dance. Eventually, she joined the St. Louis Rams’ cheerleading squad. Then, in 2007, she launched her own dance company, Ashleyliane Dance Company. “I wanted to continue giving adults a place to train and dance, including those who Photography by ProPhotoSTL, Peter Wochniak, Matthew Washausen

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worked full-time,” she says. Noting that the company rehearses at night. The company started out dancing at festivals and fairs—“anywhere that promoted the arts,” she says. Now, it spans a professional dance company, an entry program, a summer junior program, and a full drop-in class schedule. Ashleyliane produces at least two main-stage concerts per year and host several other events, in addition to partnering with other organizations. “I want to inspire people to know it is hard, but you can make dance a full-time career,” she says. “We’re a small but mighty organization.” In late October, Ashleyliane will perform Phantom. The show will veer fromthe exact plot points of Phantom of the Opera while playing up masquerade themes. Then, for Valentine’s Day next February, Ashleyliane will host a hair and fashion dance show focused on the theme of love, which diverges from the typical format of a dance recital in its imitation of a fashion show. Tate says, “We wanted something interactive and fun for the audience.”

Ashleyliane Dance Company

Freedom to Flourish

After working on productions across the country, Andrew Snyder can appreciate what makes St. Louis’ art scene so special.

The Big Muddy Dance Company

“Everyone is here to support everyone else,” says Snyder, the lighting designer and stage manager at The Big Muddy Dance Company. “You don’t always get that in other cities. Someone is always there to help, no questions asked.” On November 9–10, the Inaugural Big Muddy Dance Fest will showcase all the company has to offer. Participants can enjoy classes, workshops, auditions, panel discussions, vendors, and networking with other dancers. A few days later, on November 14–15, the company will stage a Christmas Carol production—with a contemporary twist. The show will be set against live music of an original arrangement of Tchaikovsky classics, with themes of love and redemption at the forefront. Then, early next year, Big Muddy will perform Beat Ballads, featuring the music of British composer Joby Talbot, whose work has ranged from a BBC comedy to a ballet of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Moves & Grooves will follow in April and feature the sounds of Henry Saiz an electronic musicartist. The historic Grandel Theater will play host to both shows. As Snyder notes, Grand Center’s artistic hub offers endless variety: “You can walk in and see anything.”

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As four striking exhibits recently proved, visual art can be both deeply personal and challenge viewers’ perceptions. By Melissa Meinzer

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Photography "Back Homeby in TKTK Your New Home" by Saj Issa and Kiki Salem. Photo by Matthew Washausen

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ven during the most challenging times, art has a way of speaking to our society, of reflecting a certain resilience of the human spirit. To embody that spirit, The Gallery at The Kranzberg is hosting a year-long, five-part series on chaos.

“There are many curators who will not show my work,” he says. “Censorship is based on fear and chauvinism. Consider a world without The Kranzberg. Imagine a place with only oppressors and cowards. There are places like that, but we need to keep our space free.”

The gallery’s first exhibition of the year, The Riot Show, explored historical and contemporary Civil Rights struggles. The theme’s long been a focus for artist Michael Faris, whose collage-like images were paired with the poems of Unique Hughley, a spoken word artist from Kansas City.

This spring, artists Saj Issa and Kiki Salem addressed another form of chaos with their exhibition Back Home in Your New Home. Using traditional tapestries and ceramic dinnerware, the first-generation Palestinian-Americans explored the human cost of struggle in their homeland. “We didn’t withhold presenting any vulnerable details about our third-culture identity as PalestinianAmericans,” says Issa. “The Kranzberg was so kind and generous to allow us to be as provocative in our own creative ways.”


“My childhood in the 1960s was filled with images of Civil Rights workers being beaten by cops, bitten by dogs, and sprayed with pressure hoses,” says Faris, an assistant professor of art education at Northwest Missouri State University. “Then Ferguson happened, and it occurred to me that things might not have changed.” Faris worked closely with Director of Galleries Diana Hansen and other employees to create a show that spoke to both the past and present.

Issa was pleasantly surprised by the community’s warm response, including from a local doctor who dedicates his summers to improving medical facilities in the West Bank. “It was so wonderful for someone to take the time and effort to reach out to me,” she says.

The Riot Show by Michael Faris and Unique Hughley

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have something that isn’t quite right about them. Astigmatism is so common." "Photography is kind of a spiritual practice for me,” she adds. “This is what I see—this is literally my eye and my vision of who I am.”

Astigmatism by Victoria Donaldson

Artists often challenge viewers to see the world in a new light—literally. Take, for instance, two recent exhibits at The Dark Room, inside the historic Grandel Theatre. Victoria Donaldson is the co-founder of Sonic Arts United, a nonprofit that addresses issues of gender and race inclusion through education, technology, and the arts. This spring, though, she displayed her own art in her first photography exhibit, a process that she describes as nerve-racking.

For Orlando Thompson, photography is also deeply personal. His exhibit last December, “I am there,” incorporated large-scale prints of photographs from his travels. “Traveling is interesting to me because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but it’s not something that always felt available to me,” he says. “In some ways, having black skin sort of bars you from these places—not physically, but in my mind I sort of bar myself from some places. There are all of these places that are shown in the images, and it’s like I’m not supposed to be there, but I’m clearly there.” Thompson’s 35-mm, half-frame cameras mean every photo is a diptych, with two images in every frame, creating haunting, wry, beautiful juxtapositions. “You don’t always know what you’re going to get until you lay them down,” he says, “but there’s a story in all of them.”

“A lot of my photography is very intimate portraits—and when I say intimate, I mean not just in the sense of closeness of the person or figure that’s in it. I mean the subject matter as well,” she says. The strikingly personal photographs included Donaldson’s friends and family, as well as her colleagues in the music industry and people she’s met while traveling. Even the show’s name, Astigmatism, was personal. “Even though I’m a photographer, I have astigmatism,” she says. “Sometimes my shots come out clear or they don’t come out clear or they

"I am There" by Orlando Thompson

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“Salt, Root, and Photography by Roe” TKTKUpstream Theatre. Photo by ProPhotoSTL.

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U P C O M I N G S H O W S A N D M A K E I T A L L H A P P E N.


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OCTOBER September 26–October 19 New Line Theatre: Cry-Baby The Marcelle September 27–October 13 Upstream Theatre: The Agitators The Kranzberg October 4–13 TLT Productions: Chasing Waterfalls .ZACK October 4–November 15 A Deal with the Devil by Eric Nauman The Gallery at The Kranzberg October 5 Nightchaser: Under The Big Top The Big Top October 8 St. Louis Paranormal Research Society: Grandel Theatre Ghost Tours The Grandel October 10–13 Saint Louis University Theatre: Twelfth Night The Grandel October 14–27 JPEK Theatre: TBA .ZACK

October 17 Jazmine Sullivan The Grandel October 17 Left Bank Books: Dylan Thuras The High Low October 18 Popout The Gallery at The Kranzberg October 18 Diego Figueiredo and the Janet Evra Quartet The Grandel October 19 Breakaway Productions: Norman Brown Summer Storm The Grandel October 20 Poetry Center Workshops The High Low October 23 Left Bank Books: Pete Souza The Grandel October 24 St. Louis Storytelling Festival: Story Lounge The High Low October 25–27 Consuming Kinetics Dance Company: The Blue Zone The Marcelle

October 26–27 Ashleyliane Dance Company: Phantom The Grandel October 26 Nashville Live in Grand Center - Hannah Aldridge The Kranzberg October 27 Ben Wheeler’s Sketchbook fr. Kara Baldus and Jerry Mazzuca The Kranzberg October 28–November 3 JPEK Theatre: Real Life Hip-Hopera The Grandel

NOVEMBER November 2 Labor of Love .ZACK November 5 Left Bank Books: HW Brands The Grandel November 8 Wig Heavier than a Boot Opening The High Low November 9 Immigrant Song: The Stories and Music of American Arrival .ZACK

Dates are subject to change. Visit for the latest calendar. Photography by Matthew Washausen

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November 9 SLACO Presents: Blues Off Grand The Grandel November 9–10 The Big Muddy Dance Company: The Big Muddy Dance Fest Various Locations November 10 Mariposa Artists: Ari Axelrod–A Celebration of Jewish Broadway .ZACK November 12 St. Louis Paranormal Research Society: Grandel Theatre Ghost Tours The Grandel November 15–17 Consuming Kinetics Dance Company: Student Black and White Concert The Kranzberg November 15 Popout The Gallery at The Kranzberg November 15 Left Bank Books The High Low November 15 GWIZ Hitz and Flicks .ZACK November 17– December 15 Metro Theatre Company: It’s a Wonderful Life: Live Radio Theater for the 21st Century The Grandel

November 17 Poetry Center Workshops The High Low November 18–24 Shakespeare Festival St. Louis The Kranzberg November 18–December 1 Fly North Theatrics: TBA .ZACK November 19 Johnson and Matthew’s Publishing Panel Discussion The High Low November 22– December 31 The Artwork of Sukanya Mani The Gallery at The Kranzberg November 22 Nashville Live in Grand Center: Erin Enderlin The High Low

DECEMBER December 6–22 R-S Theatrics: Daphne’s Dive The Marcelle December 7 Erica Reed The Kranzberg December 8 Atypical LLC: Imagine (film screening) .ZACK December 9–22 Insight Theatre Company: TBA The Kranzberg

December 10 St. Louis Paranormal Research Society: Grandel Theatre Ghost Tours The Grandel December 13 GWIZ Hitz and Flicks .ZACK December 14 The 9th Annual Brothers Lazaroff Hanukkah Hullabaloo The Grandel December 18 Alarm Will Sound The Grandel December 20 Popout The Gallery at The Kranzberg December 21 “Lioness:” The Amy Winehouse Tribute The Grandel December 26 St. Louis Storytelling Festival: Story Lounge The High Low December 26–29 Davinci & Michelangelo: The Titans Experience Theatre Performances The Grandel

JANUARY January 6 New Line Theatre: Gilbert & Sullivan’s Bloody King Oedipus - Free Public Reading The Marcelle

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January 10 Fly North Theatrics: MADAM .ZACK January 10–31 CEL Center for Architecture + Design STL: The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion: St. Louis Edition The Kranzberg January 13–February 2 Max & Louie Productions: TBA The Kranzberg

FEBRUARY February 2–March 1 Metro Theater Company: Ghost The Grandel February 8 Phoenix Rise Productions The Kranzberg February 11 St. Louis Paranormal Research Society: Grandel Theatre Ghost Tours The Grandel

January 14 St. Louis Paranormal Research Society: Grandel Theatre Ghost Tours The Grandel

February 15 Ashleyliane Dance Company: Love Spell: An Evening of Dance, hair, and Fashion .ZACK

January 15–19 Ignite Theatre Company: Peter Pan Jr. The Grandel

February 22 Lamar Harris: Soundwave Con The High Low

January 23 St. Louis Storytelling Festival: Story Lounge The High Low

February 27 – March 1 Saint Louis University Theatre: Saint Joan of Arc The Kranzberg

January 24–25 The Big Muddy Dance Company: Beat Ballads The Grandel

February 27 St. Louis Storytelling Festival: The High Low

January 24 Nashville Live in Grand Center - Jenny Tolman The Kranzberg

March 4–8 Emery Entertainment: The Office! A Musical Parody The Grandel

January 24–February 9 Upstream Theatre: TBA The Marcelle

March 9–22 Ignite Theatre Company: TBA The Grandel March 10 St. Louis Paranormal Research Society: Grandel Theatre Ghost Tours The Grandel March 18 New Line Theatre: New Line Film Series: Absolute Beginners The Marcelle March 20 Hearding Cats Collective The High Low March 25–28 Karlovsky & Company Dance: TBA The Grandel March 26 St. Louis Story Stitchers .ZACK March 30–April 26 Ignite Theatre Company: TBA The Marcelle


March 5–20 New Line Theatre: Head Over Heels The Marcelle

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Artists for a Cause 772-419-8778 @ArtistsforaCauseInc @a4ac_inc

Ashleyliane Dance Company 314-346-3187 @AshleylianeDance Company @AshleylianeDance Company @ADCDance

Ballroom Dance Academy of St. Louis ballroomdancestl@gmail .com 314-367-1001 @BDASL room-Dance-Meetup

The Big Muddy Dance Company ewarner@thebigmuddy 314-338-4058 @TheBigMuddyDance Company @BigMuddyDanceCo

Building Futures @BuildingFutureSTL @BuildFuturesSTL

CEL Center for Architecture+Design STL info@creativeexchangelab .com 314-256-9317 @StlCEL

Circus Flora 314-827-3830 @CircusFlora @CircusFlora @CircusFlora

Consuming Kinetics Dance Company 314-546-1477 @ConsumingKinetics DanceCompany @CKDanceCo @ConsumingKinetics DanceCompany

Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design 314-534-7528 @CraftAlliance @CraftAlliance @CraftAlliance

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Dance St. Louis 314-534-6622 @DanceSTL @Dance_STL @Dance_STL

Fly North Theatrics @FlyNorthTheatricals

HEAL Center for the Arts 833-229-5066 @HEALCenterfortheArts @HEALCenterfortheArts

Ignite Theatre Company comeignitewithus@gmail .com 314-717-1851 @IgniteWithUs @Ignite_WithUs

Insight Theatre Company info@insighttheatre 314-556-1293 @InsightTheatreCompany

JPEK CreativeWorks Theatre 951-223-5735 @Joel PE King @jpek_thearts

Karlovsky & Company Dance 314-283-1851 @Karlovskyand CompanyDance

Metro Theater Company 314-932-7414 @MetroPlays @MetroTheater

Mid Coast Media @midcoastgroup @midcoastmedia @midcoastmedia

The Midnight Company hanrahan.midnight@gmail. com @TheMidnightCompany

NCCJ St. Louis 314-432-2525 @nccjstl

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New Line Theatre 314-773-6526 @NewLineTheatre @NewLineSTL @NewLineTheatre NewChaz64

Peace Weaving Wholeness peaceweavingwholeness@ @PeaceWeavingWholeness

River Styx Magazine @RiverStyxLiteraryMagazine @RiverStyxMag

R-S Theatrics 314-252-8812 @RSTheatrics @RSTheatrics

Saint Louis Ballet 636-537-1998 @StLouisBallet @StLouisBallet @StLouisBallet

Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective 314-899-9001 @SaintLouisStoryStitchers @StoryStitchers @StoryStitchers @StoryStitchers 30526785

St. Lou Fringe @StLouFringe @StLouFringe @StLouFringe Shakespeare Festival St. Louis 314-531-9800 @ShakesFestSTL @ShakesFestSTL @ShakesFestSTL St. Louis Poetry Center @stlouispoetrycenter @STLPoetryCenter

SpecDrum @SpecDrumSTL

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Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis 314-517-5253 @TWFestSTL @TWFestivalSTL @TWFestSTL

The Tesseract Theatre Company contact@tesseracttheatre .com 314-496-4743 @TesseractTheatre @TesseractTheatr

TLT Productions @TLTproductionsSTL @TLTproductions @TLT_productions

University Theatre at Saint Louis University 314-977-3327 @SLUTheatre @slu_arts @SLUTheatreDept SLUTheatreDept

Upstream Theater 314-669-6382 upstreamtheater@sbc

Urban Harvest STL 314-810-6770 @UrbanHarvestSTL @UrbanHarvestSTL @UrbanHarvestSTL

Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts 314-863-6930 @VLAA @stlvlaa

Urb Arts 314-627-1603 @urbarts @urbarts_STL @UrbArts

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Music Artists-in-Residence

Andrew Stephen andrewstephen

Ben Wheeler benwheelersketch

Brady Lewis yunglion16

Brianna Brown officialbebe

Scooter Brown Jr. carlos-brown-jr

Janet Evra

Kaleb Kirby kalebSkirby

Katarra Parson

Mark Harris II mark.p.harris.94

Ryan Marquez

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Photography by Bob Morrison

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