Volume 15 Issue 4

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Experience Augmented Reality

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Publisher’s Note I WAS JUST IN HAVANA, Cuba for a speaking engagement. After going through what was a relatively simple customs process, I stepped outside the airport to witness hundreds of people waiting for their loved ones. The warmth of the crowd’s interactions was moving: I watched as people squeezed each other’s faces, intensely embraced and had fits of conversation between kisses. I quickly realized what I had heard was true; I was stepping into a fleeting moment in time. Currently in Cuba there are no credit cards, no Coca-Cola products and minimal access to internet, but multiple signs promising future five-star hotels allude to the changes on the horizon. When I walked down the streets amid the incredible architecture, provocative art and political posters, I observed multiple generations of men playing cards and kids fighting each other with handmade swords. One thing was strikingly different from the streets at home: No one was on a cell phone. Cuba’s future is uncertain. Many are predicting that change will come quickly as consumerism and looming political shifts set in. The rows of old cars on the streets represent a time when things were simpler—when the way we connected was different and perhaps more intimate. Not that it was all good then or that it’s all bad now, but it’s certain that we interact differently—more distantly— and many of us are left craving intimacy and human connection. On my third day in Havana, I was invited into the private home of a couple who designs art books. They live there with both sets of parents and their three children. At one point, the wife’s grandmother lived with them, making it three generations under one roof. “It’s great to have my parents help raise my children. It gives them a richer experience growing up,” she said, describing the dynamics of the household. “I mean, it’s not always perfect. Sometimes it’s tense and we all retreat to our private spaces, but overall we just feel really lucky to be together.” The trip to Cuba helped me think about how I spend my time and how I show up to the people I love. In a moment in our country’s history when people feel so far apart, perhaps we can look to Cuba to remember a time when things were slower, people were more present and we made an effort to come together.


Elizabeth Tucker @eliz_tucker

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“The value of having art in our home is nothing you can put a price tag on. It’s spiritual and exhilarating to live with different artworks.” -Susan Sherman

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4 Hands brewing co.

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ALIVE Media Group Co-founders Elizabeth Tucker Kelly Hamilton Attilio D’Agostino Editor Rachel Brandt Managing Editor Kelsey Waananen

A Dangerous Profession: Brand + Content Studio

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Cover photo Attilio D’Agostino

ALIVE Influencer Network Co-founder/Director of Business Development Lindsay Pattan Senior Accounts/Project Manager Alicia Underwood Marketing Manager Laura Heying Contributors Attilio D’Agostino, Matthew Daughaday, Jeff Friedman, Eileen G’Sell, R.J. Hartbeck, Sarah Kendzior, Jessica Leitch, Richard Nichols, Jeremy Nulik, Jennifer Silverberg, Carmen Troesser Interns Taylor Conran, Nia Darden, Daniel Darkside, Nikki Drexi, Chelsey Farris, Bryant Finerson, Courtney Kluge, Liz Leonard, Brooke Lowrey, Megan Magray, Maggie McCarthy, Rachel Rost, Fannie Terrell, Zoe Zaiss

Advertising Content in ALIVE labeled “featured partners or vendors” denotes sponsored and paid-for content. Thank you for supporting the businesses that keep ALIVE growing. For advertising rates and information, email advertising@ALIVEmag.com. Subscriptions Subscribe to ALIVE Magazine, view our free digital issue and purchase reprints on ALIVEmag.com, or call us at 314.446.4059 to order a subscription. Contribute ALIVE accepts freelance art, photo and story submissions. For more information please email contribute@ALIVEmag.com. Printed in Canada by Hemlock Printers at their Carbon Neutral printing facility using vegetable-based inks and FSC®-approved paper containing recycled fibers. ALIVE, Volume 15, Issue 4 (Periodical #025092) is published by ALIVE Media Group, L.L.C., 2200 Gravois Ave., #201 St. Louis, MO 63104-2848. Periodicals Postage paid at St. Louis, MO, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ALIVE, 2200 Gravois Ave. #201 St. Louis, MO 63104-2848. © 2016 ALIVE Media Group, LLC.

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Letter from the Editor AT MY HOME, on any given summer evening,

one may find a group of friends sitting around a wooden table while rings of wine soak into coasters, Bill Evans plays lightly in the background, forks clink against china and chair legs creak against the floor. These happenings usually culminate with that same ensemble pulling chairs around a fire, resting guitars and noise-makers of all kinds on their laps and strumming familiar tunes while howling at the moon. The roaring conversations surrounding politics, religion and how we’ll change the world have ended; the rest of civilization has gone to sleep. In those musical moments, we rejoice in the fact that we’re all in this together. We’re all breathing the same air, we’re all gazing at the same stars, we’re all human. In this issue, we celebrate the simple, ancient act of coming together—be it for a common goal or simply the pleasure of company. Join chef Matthew Daughaday as he uses his gourmet talent to riff on dishes that remind us of gathering around a table. Then dog-ear his spaghetti Bolognese recipe for your next dinner party (page 14). Writer Jeremy Nulik rides along with entrepreneur Kevin Brennan and digs deep into the expansive mind of this creative chameleon’s dedication to crafting unique experiences (page 40). I know you’ll devour Sarah Kendzior’s gripping story of a Congolese man’s migration to the United States, fleeing a life wracked with terror. His family, their close

bond and his partnership with the International Institute saved his life (page 48). Some say art also saves lives, and artist and curator Amy Granat is connecting worldrenowned artists with art enthusiasts at Parapet Real Humans. The small, stark white gallery, enhanced by the community Granat has built, is one of the most important visual art projects happening in our region (page 20). Speaking of cultural statements, if you haven’t heard the St. Louis Public Radio podcast, “We Live Here,” I suggest you add it to your queue. We sat down with founding reporters, Tim Lloyd and Kameel Stanely, and got personal about race and the impact of their year-old podcast (page 18). I dusted off my musician’s hat when I chatted with Nathaniel Rateliff about country living and connecting with a crowd (page 16). Talking with him was like reconnecting with an old friend; I was instantly transported to one of those late summer evenings in my mind. Rateliff could easily be my brother-in-law or the guitar player in my husband’s band. As we talked about playing an original song for someone that was written about a personal moment in your life, he reflected that it becomes their song as well as yours. It becomes their story and fuels their feelings—as it should. When the last bar is played, we’re all in this together, after all. We’re all breathing the same air, we’re all gazing at the same stars, we’re all human.


Rachel Brandt @TheRachelBrandt

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Advancing the art of jazz through live performance, education and outreach. JAZZSTL.ORG

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Photo by Attilio D’Agostino.


14 Food | Matthew Daughaday

24 Style | Natural Alloys

61 Partners | Venues

16 Music | Nathaniel Rateliff

30 Fashion | Summertime Blues

72 Calendar | Find Us Here

18 Civic | “We Live Here”

40 Entrepreneurs | Kevin Brennan

74 Guide | Schools

48 Community| International Institute

80 Poem | “Legerdemain”

20 Art | Parapet Real Humans

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ALIVE Issue 4 DINING Matt.indd 1

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Bolognese Sauce A local chef’s homage to dining with family. RECIPE BY MATTHEW DAUGHADAY + PHOTO BY JENNIFER SILVERBERG

Growing up in their University City home, Matthew Daughaday’s family observed what some might call “old-school dining.” They had dinner every night at 6pm; everyone had to help out and no one could leave the table early. Daughaday has drawn inspiration from these moments in his youth for what he creates at his restaurant, Reeds American Table. The dishes, which embody an elevated take on rustic cooking, are often ones his family has eaten together. The bacon fat-fried cornbread is what his father used to make every winter with chili. The meatloaf was his personal favorite dish as a child. And the beef Bolognese is a translated version of what most American families serve—a giant pot of spaghetti, a can of red sauce and a shaker of Parmesan.

Ingredients: 2 pounds ground beef 1/4 pound pancetta (can substitute with bacon), diced small (1/8-inch pieces) 2 carrots 4 celery stalks 2 onions 5 cloves garlic 1/4 cup olive oil 6 ounces tomato paste 1 herb sachet with 2 sprigs thyme, 1 sprig rosemary, 1 sprig sage 1 cup white wine 1 cup milk 1 cup water salt, to taste pepper, to taste

Preparation: 1. Cut the pancetta into a small dice, about 1/8” pieces. You can also place pancetta in a food processor to get it to the appropriate size. Place into a bowl. 2. Dice carrots, onions and celery, then place into a food processor together with the garlic cloves and pulse until finely chopped. Place into a bowl on the side. 3. Take all the herbs and create a sachet by binding them into a bundle with butcher’s twine. 4. Measure out all the wine, and set aside. Combine the water and milk in a separate bowl.

Cooking: 1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven,

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As a chef, Daughaday strives to perfect his craft— creating exceptional dishes while rejecting the formalized exclusivity that often comes along with fine dining. He says, “The feeling of sitting around the dinner table and laughing and talking with family was something—especially once I realized that wasn’t the experience that everyone had—I wanted to share with other people. I felt that if you were using ingredients people didn’t recognize, it took away from the dining experience.” For Daughaday, opening Reeds was a test of whether this approach would work in practice. Based on the roar of positive feedback he’s received for his meatloaf alone, the volume of which still astounds the chef, old-school is a very welcome approach.

on medium-high heat. Add olive oil and start by cooking the ground meat and bacon together. Season lightly with a pinch of salt. One important part of this step is to cook the ground meat past the point where you think it is done. You want to cook until about half the meat becomes almost crispy. This is all about developing depth of flavor and texture for the dish. Once it’s cooked, take the meat out of the pan and drain the fat, reserving about 1/4 cup. 2. Place the pan back on the stove over medium heat, adding the reserved fat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic mix, season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until the vegetables begin to lightly caramelize, about 7-10 minutes. 3. Once the vegetable mix is cooked, add the tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste and vegetables, continuing to stir often, until the tomato paste caramelizes slightly, turning a rusty red color, about 3-5 minutes. 4. Add the wine—mix in and cook out for only about 2 minutes. 5. Add the meat back to the pan with the herb sachet, milk and water. Turn the heat down to a low simmer. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour.

Serving: 1. Once the Bolognese is done, it can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. 2. If using immediately, cook spaghetti in boiling, salted water. Add pasta to Bolognese with a few ounces of the pasta water and cook together for five minutes, until the noodles take on a reddish hue. 3. Serve in bowls topped with freshly grated Parmesan and fresh herbs such as torn basil and parsley.

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Working Man Nathaniel Rateliff riffs on country living and connecting with his audience.


Shoulder to shoulder with four good friends, sweat tickling my back under my leather jacket, we waited. We knew he would return. The five of us were packed into The Ready Room on a Tuesday night at the sold-out Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats show. He had played for a steady hour and a half and thanked the crowd for being so kind. “Damn, it’s good to be home,” the Missouri native yelled before he and his seven-man band waved and strolled offstage. I looked around at the fans and noticed a huge age range. Fathers in their 50s were there with college-aged sons. Tattooed 20-somethings were huddled in front of the stage. Excited 35-year-old women clutching their bags close to their chests were standing next to their husbands. If you hadn’t seen the stage, smelled the weed and stepped in the spilled Stag, you might have thought you were at church. And with the way the crowd summoned Rateliff back onstage, you might have thought it was a revival. Somewhere in a corner, someone started singing the bridge to Rateliff’s most recent hit, “S.O.B.”—the same song that launched the veteran songwriter’s starship the night he shimmied across the stage on “The Tonight Show,” prompting a bevy of festival bookings, a hit single and a world tour. A few more people in the packed house picked up the chorus. Soon, the entire crowd was chanting the song in unison, stomping their feet and clapping their hands in a show of appreciation I’ve only ever seen at Springsteen shows. With the release of the group’s eponymous album, Rateliff had arrived, transforming the weight-of-the-world, workingman songs of his past and giving them a dance beat and a soul spirit. I knew when he came rambling back onstage that I needed to talk to this man and ask him where a rough-neck kid from the sticks learned to sing like a rock ‘n’ roll James Brown. Tell us about growing up in the Midwest. I’m from Hermann, Missouri. But when I was a kid my parents moved around a lot. We lived in Kansas City when I was really young, and then we moved to Washington and Wentzville. We lived with aunts and uncles for a while and finally found a spot in Hermann. I loved growing up in the country. All of our favorite swimming holes were a short drive away and we spent most of our time hanging out on gravel roads. How did growing up in the country influence your music? When you grow up in the country, you

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have a different perspective on a lot of things. You have to learn to embrace the boredom. If you told your parents you were bored, then they’d find you something to do, ya know? [Laughs] I spent a lot of time as a kid just walking around alone, hanging out by my favorite creeks just taking in nature. I always had a song in my head. Nothing specific, but I was always making noise. I also grew up in a hardworking family, and I like to think about what we’re doing as hardworking music for hardworking people. When you grow up in rural America, you have this understanding: I worked from the time I was a young kid and that’s just because that’s what everybody did. It wasn’t some horrible child labor thing. We thought, “Well, if we want something better than what we’ve got, we’re gonna have to work for it.” I liked working hard and working with my hands. I think that really shaped me as a writer. Do you feel like your sound changed a lot when you brought the Night Sweats together? I wrote all of the songs on my own and had a vision for the band. But now that we’re a solid group, the songs definitely sound a little bit different. Everyone’s contributing. I heard you and your bandmates give each other tattoos on tour. Is that true? [Laughs] We have, but nothing very good. I do have a Missouri tattoo—an outline of the state with a river running through it and a dot where Hermann is. Your performances are high-energy with a lot of crowd engagement. Tell us about connecting with the crowd during a performance and the difference between that and songwriting. I always considered myself a songwriter before a performer. Even when I was younger and I had an indie rock band, I always thought of myself as a writer. As a performer, I always thought, “I’m too chubby to be up here.” [Laughs] But now, performance is an important part of playing the live show. I like to think that music transcends a lot of things, for all of us. We get to have this shared human experience together. The songs aren’t mine anymore. They’re ours. To see people have an emotional response to something you wrote about personally and then connect it to something they’ve felt personally, it really feels like we’re all in it together. It becomes part of their story, too.

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Living Here Two St. Louis reporters tackle some of the biggest issues facing our country.


Race, class, poverty and power. For Kameel Stanley and Tim Lloyd, these issues are intimately intertwined with their everyday lives—a fact that becomes evident as they discuss them in their shared office in the headquarters of St. Louis Public Radio. In that brightly lit space, I take a seat in a high-backed wicker chair they’ve affectionately nicknamed “Brad.” To my left, and next to the plant that they’ve named “Cici,” is a drawing Stanley made for Lloyd playfully outlining her various moods throughout any given day. The two spend a majority of their working hours together, and their comfort with one another is evident. Attached to Stanley’s computer monitor is a sticky note that reads “Tiny podcast. BIG Impact.” Their eyes are clearly focused on the work. These two reporter/producers are the life force behind SLPR’s “We Live Here” podcast, which takes an honest look at race, class, poverty and power in St. Louis and throughout the country. Born in 2015 as a response to the events that began following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, the podcast presents 30-minute journalistic investigations into these issues twice per month. Now deep into season two, Stanley and Lloyd say they’ve hit their stride. They’re taking on even further-reaching issues—like the burden of proof, school desegregation and what proposed legislation has made it into law after Ferguson. And as far as they know, there’s no end to the work they’re doing. I chatted with the duo to find out more about their work, and how it’s affecting them and the city. How comfortable were you talking about race before this podcast? KL: Most black people talk about race all the time. At this point in my life, I am super comfortable talking about this stuff, but there are a lot people who didn’t grow up that way. It’s a constant thing for us, so I don’t know how to be tiptoeing around these things. TL: I was raised, like a lot of white people, in a time when we were taught race didn’t matter, where racial issues belonged in black-and-white film strips. Personally, that conversation was made so much clearer to me post-Ferguson, being a reporter

on the ground there. This is coming from the white guy perspective, but when the microphones went away, I had more conversations about race in those hot weeks in August 2014 than I have at any other time in my life. That changed me. For a lot of white people, Ferguson was the great wake-up call. You can no longer make believe that these issues aren’t real, don’t have a very clear impact, or that there are systems that support the way these inequities function in people’s lives. Could you elaborate on these systems? TL: I think perhaps the “school-to-prison pipeline” and what are known as “collateral consequences” might be a good example. Black students are far more likely to not only be suspended, but to receive out-ofschool suspensions. This cycle can start very early in a child’s education. During the 2014-15 school year, for instance, black K-3 students in Missouri only made up about 17 percent of all students in those grades but received almost 70 percent of out-of-school suspensions. Research shows that when students are suspended, they are far more likely to have interactions with the criminal justice system. People of color disproportionately make up Missouri’s, and the rest of the nation’s, prison population. When prisoners are released they can find themselves caught in a web of collateral consequences which can function like interest on a debt to society. How have you been affected since taking on these issues each day? KS: [Tim and I] talk about this, and will probably do a show about it, but as a black person you never get to not be black. I’m used to that, but also having to bring it into my professional work all the time can sometimes be exhausting. It’s not like I’m doing stories that I’m surprised about or I didn’t know about. So it’s just trying to find that journalistic curiosity. TL: I’ve gained awareness, understanding on a deeper and deeper level what the human experience is in this country and in this city because of that your skin color is. The more you learn, the more you can learn about perspectives. Your capacity for empathy grows. That’s been the biggest change.


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Real Artists, Real Humans Amy Granat’s gallery vision comes to life in Parapet Real Humans.


It’s one of those wet spring mornings in St. Louis, the sky a milky gray and the air so dense you could drink it. Driving through the neighborhood, past the swaying oaks and quiet sidewalks, the prospect of encountering high art around the corner seems as likely as rear-ending a giant beanstalk. And indeed there is something magical about first discovering Parapet Real Humans, an art gallery co-founded in September 2015 by visual artist Amy Granat and her Berlin-based collaborator, Annina Herzer. Seated unassumingly on the leafy corner of Sidney Street and Nebraska Avenue with the original wood of its storefront windows veiled in thick brushstrokes of paint, it could easily be mistaken for a business in

transition or an unconventional residence. As Granat opens the door, she reveals clear green eyes and youthful zest undulled by her decades of art-world experience. Stepping into the space itself is like drifting inside a cloud—the walls and floor a soft white, illuminated by the sun alone. Modest in scale but airy, with an original tin ceiling at least 18 feet high, the room blurs the line between public and domestic. “The idea to do Parapet Real Humans grew very organically from my life,” Granat explains after graciously offering a bottled water. “I had gone through many transitions, and wanted to make my professional life blend with what was happening now—both with being a new mother and being in a different kind of city.”

A St. Louis native who left in the early ’90s to pursue a BA at Bard College, Granat spent the next 20 years in New York and Berlin, swiftly gaining considerable renown for her structuralist-influenced film projections— showing at galleries in Europe, New York, and Los Angeles, but rarely in her place of provenance. Returning to St. Louis in early 2014 to raise her baby, Granat took the move as an opportunity for renewed creative rigor—both personally and in a broader way that engages the community. As an artist of light—her video installations chronicle the sound of light itself—her attunement to its power is evident in Parapet’s design, which has a hushed, homey quality even while resembling the classic whitecube gallery space. VOLUME 15 // ISSUE 4

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Previous: John Riepenhoff, “Plein Air (Saint Louis),” April 20, 2016, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 38x46 inches Above: Bleta Jahaj, 2016, installation view

Unlike the “pop-in-pop-out” circuit dominating New York’s Chelsea or Upper East Side, Parapet features only one artist and one work at a time. Crucially, the artists take an active part in all gallery openings. “Parapet is the antithesis of the art-world conveyor belt; you have to make an appointment to come here, and our openings revolve around concentrated discussions with the artists themselves,” Granat says. Each discussion is led by a St. Louis local, such as James McAnally of Temporary Art Review and The Luminary; or Ann Marie Mohr, co-founder and director of Onsite Theatre Company. “What I love so much about it,” she continues, “is that it gives people a deeper, closer look at contemporary art and artists, something very unique to St. Louis.” Traveling to Tower Grove East from across the country, the artists featured thus far include Los Angeles-based painters Jacob Kassay and Mark Hagen, Swiss artist Olivier Mosset, Zurichbased sculptor Bleta Jahaj, LA-based filmaker

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Drew Heitzler and Milwaukee-based artist John Riepenhoff, whose “Plein Air” painting from his “Night Sky” series greets visitors upon arrival. “A lot of these artists are showing at blue-chip galleries,” says Granat, referring to the artworks’ sale value. “This is a very unique opportunity for them to talk spontaneously about their process to those outside of it. Everyone has been so excited to come here, and it’s amazing to see artists of this stature in an intimate, salon-like atmosphere.” Each opening, chairs are brought out and visitors are encouraged not just to sit and passively listen, but to ask questions of the artists. Describing her vision, Granat says, “It’s a true reflection of art meeting life. The experience between artist and audience is very human, where the term Parapet Real Humans comes from. It’s about making space for something that isn’t there otherwise. For conversation, to slow down, to look again.”

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Above: Jenny Walker Jewelry copper-accented hoop earrings—Urban Matter, Dutchtown. Dalmatian Jasper pendulum, collar and pendant— fableandlore.com. Rebel + Ruse earrings—Ruby Francis, Cherokee Street. Right: Solar Apogee cuff and Daybreak brass cuff—fableandlore.com. Rebel + Ruse hand cuff—Ruby Francis, Cherokee Street.

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Left: Metal Institution Spike earrings—OSO: a style lab, Delmar Loop. Rebel + Ruse half-moon ring—Ruby Francis, Cherokee Street. Lisa Colby ring, cuff bracelets and earrings—Urban Matter, Dutchtown. Rebel + Ruse white buffalo turquoise rings—Urban Matter and Ruby Francis, Dutchtown and Cherokee Street. Above: Alchemy ring—fableandlore.com. Rebel + Ruse hand cuff—Ruby Francis, Cherokee Street. Carmelita Nunez ceramic ring necklace—Urban Matter, Dutchtown. Thanks to Zoe May and Kasper Woldtvedt.

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Illustrations by Clementine Studio

7150 Manchester Road, 63143 EARLY ACCESS: FRIDAY, JULY 22, 6-9PM Friday night ticket proceeds benefit Celebrate Style



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Summertime Blues Soak up the sun in the season’s coolest hues.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ATTILIO D’AGOSTINO Stylist: Fashion Editor Sarah Stallmann Model: Meredith Mickelson, NY Models Hair + Makeup: Caleigh Hampton Assistants: Bryant Finerson, Brooke Lowrey, Kent Richardson

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Previous: Mr. Larkin “Olive” dress—mrlarkin.net. Topshop shoes— us.topshop.com. Fringe earrings—The Vault, Brentwood. Left and right: Khandi Ray “City” top—khandiray.com. Mr. Larkin “Addy” pants—mrlarkin.net. Nakamol earrings—The Vault, Brentwood. Vince leather slides—vince.com.

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Left: Equipment denim dress—Neiman Marcus, Plaza Frontenac. Topshop shoes—us.topshop.com. Middle and Right: Frame denim jacket—Neiman Marcus, Plaza Frontenac. Olivaceous scoop-back bodysuit—Splash, Ladue. Converse sneakers— converse.com. Lateef earrings—special order. Gold necklaces—stylist’s own.

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Left: Mr. Larkin “Olive” dress—mrlarkin.net. Fringe earrings— The Vault, Brentwood. Right: Mr. Larkin “Rita” top—mrlarkin.net. Alice & Olivia shorts—Neiman Marcus, Plaza Frontenac. Wood bangle and Jenny Walker Jewelry earrings Byrd Designer Consignment Boutique, Ladue.

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Carleen “Gore” midi dress—carleen.us. Necklace—thefoundrie.com. Vince leather slides—vince.com.

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Signatures off-the-shoulder crop top—Splash, Ladue. Joie cropped black pant—Neiman Marcus, Plaza Frontenac. Leigh Miller “On the Halfshell” bronze earrings—leighmiller.us. Vogue Footwear shoes— voguefootwear.com

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This Is Kevin Brennan The original mind of a creative tour de force.


Long after we come to a stop, the red, once-fuzzy dice sway on the rearview mirror of Kevin Brennan’s ‘79 Dodge Ramcharger. The halt coincides with an email alert on Brennan’s phone. He digs in his pocket to find a message about a Cuban immigrant living in Miami who Brennan is considering as a host for a series of cigar-rolling pop-up events. He holds up the phone to Carlos Zamora, who created the branding for Brennan’s new cigar line, in the passenger seat. Zamora, a native Cuban, sips on a chalice of Stella Artois and glances at the phone after Brennan attempts to read her name. “Niurka,” says Zamora, emphasizing the pronunciation in his native accent and interrupting Brennan—who had it wrong on the first syllable and then again on softly rolling the “r.” I’m in the seat-belt-free bench behind the two captain’s chairs, and as we lurch forward, the bench rocks backward, attempting (unsuccessfully) to lock into place. We are commuting from the Central West End to Randall’s Wine & Spirits to view the culmination of four years’ work by Brennan, Zamora and a host of others. The effort has included international business connections, countless design revisions and the applied wisdom of years of hard-earned retail

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experience. If risking our lives in this maniacal vehicle to view an end cap display of cigars seems anticlimactic, it helps to know the backstory. Approximately 13 years prior to this car ride, Brennan’s opened as a bar and retail space near the corner of Euclid and Maryland. To characterize it as such, though, is akin to saying there was once a little coffee shop that opened in Seattle. Brennan’s featured an upscale-ish, laid-back environment with hidden surprises that gave patrons the opportunity to make unexpected discoveries, such as the basement speakeasy behind an unmarked door. It was the kind of place you would show off to your friends from out of town—an enigma that had to be experienced in order to fully appreciate its artistry and clever twists. “People found us a bit confusing at first,” says Brennan. “They didn’t know if we were a store or a bar. There were no TVs or other St. Louis bar paraphernalia. You could just hang out here and have some wine or beer and talk. More and more people started coming, so we kept adding other levels and different things.” Most retail store owners with a growing business would take it as a sign to stick with what is working. That is Business 101: Find the one thing you are do-

ing well and keep doing it. But Brennan doesn’t subscribe to this sort of conventional wisdom. “We realized we could do some interesting things that were needed in the Central West End,” says Brennan. “We started to change the way we looked at spaces we had and what meaning they could have for the neighborhood.” Brennan’s ability to view his space from unconventional perspectives and his openness to experimentation allowed him to have a different take on the trends he saw developing in the industry—a flexibility that required a creative mind and a high tolerance for entrepreneurial risk. The end result was a host of new opportunities both within and outside the business’ walls. Prior to opening a location, Brennan created Durango Cigars, a pipe tobacco company whose products he sold in his retail space. A solid following had developed for the distinctly sweet cigar he created, which features a small amount of pipe tobacco rolled with long filler cigar leaf. Unlike the savory spice of traditional cigars, Durango’s recipe contained hints of vanilla and fruit so distinct Brennan created the tagline “This Is Not A Cigar,” inspired by Belgian surrealist René Magritte’s influential painting, “The Treachery of Images,” which bears the phrase “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (this is not a pipe) under an image of a pipe.

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A little more than five years ago, Brennan opened the Durango Cigar Lounge on the second floor above the main retail space. The club lounge feels like the set of a mob film—if the mob were full of hip Gen Xers. The contemporary space is lined in dark oak with upcycled music artwork and the Durango buffalo logo on the low tables. Cigar clubbers can select tobacco from their personal humidor, then kick back with their favorite vinyl records in the sneaker-collection-lined cave. “We found that the more you offer the cigar club guys, the more they come back, and then they want to do other things in the space,” says Brennan. The enthusiastic response from his members stoked Brennan’s passion for innovation. Fastforward to today and the cigar club has grown in membership. It now resides upstairs next to the The Maryland House—a speakeasy-inspired lounge open to the public and available for private events. The Maryland House was where Brennan and I ran across the long, lean figure of Frank McGinty with his ever-present grin sipping on both a pint of pale ale and what seemed like a small bucket of ice water. McGinty, director of customer service and culinary at Kaldi’s, was not a scheduled meeting. But his presence was not really a surprise to Brennan— very few things are. The two agreed to sit down in a room located in The BHIVE, a 3,000-square-foot office space on the other side of the stairwell from The Maryland House. The idea for The BHIVE, launched in 2015, came to Brennan as he was focusing more energy on growing his online cigar business. He found himself attracted to the possibilities around creating one-off experiences—unique concepts that would be built around collaboration and innovation. He saw opportunity in reimagining an underutilized space on the second floor by capitalizing on St. Louis’ startup buzz and network of creative business people—the kind who are attracted to working in a space like Brennan’s. He envisioned a daytime co-working space that would double in its evening hours as a salon for events. Brennan brought in Martin Goebel of Goebel & Co. Furniture to design signature pieces and elevate the space with a contemporary “Mad Men” feel. Currently, a wide range of businesses use “the hive” as their center for operations—from consulting services to a nonprofit baseball league. It has become a hub for a tight-knit group of well-known Central West End-based entrepreneurs—all no doubt attracted by the modern aesthetic, ample natural light and idiosyncratic spaces, like the Dead Wax Records vinyl lounge—a space designed for the temporary, liminal moments creative entrepreneurs experience during the day. Seated in one of the office spaces in the hive, Mc-

Ginty and Brennan hatched the vision behind what will be the next iteration of This is Not a Restaurant. The use of another Magritte-inspired name is intentional; many of the featured chefs do not currently serve in restaurants, and the ones who do craft food experiences unique to the evening—further playing with the surrealists’ ideas about our perceptions of reality. Not to mention the product synergies—Brennan notes Durangos are a perfect after-dinner cigar. McGinty, who is taking on many of the organizational duties for the series, tossed ideas across the room about what makes for the best possible experiences. But quickly, both men got off-track and discussed more experiments—a sous chef challenge and an interactive evening with cigar rollers. “I want to get the most interesting people in the space, and I want them to come back and be surprised,” says Brennan. “I remember reading the Starbuck’s CEO’s book, ‘Onward,’ and he talked about creating a third place. People have home, and they have work. He talked about the importance of a third place—Starbucks. I see what we are doing with Brennan’s as creating a fourth place—it is all those places.” After McGinty takes off, we meet up with Zamora in the hallway. He pours his Stella Artois into a chalice. Brennan gets a text, and we are off in his Dodge to Randall’s. On the way there, Brennan reveals his vision for a pop-up franchise within retail locations. He sees the beer and spirits craft movement making its way to tobacco, and each retailer of cigars has the opportunity to become his own microtobacconist. He believes so much in this idea that he has launched a line of traditional cigars called Micro Tobacconist. Retailers can choose their own blends, sizes and other variables, and Brennan will put their brand on the wrapper creating a distinctly unique product. When we arrive at Randall’s, Brennan approaches the end cap, puts on a pair of cheater glasses and reads the labels on the black oak case—it has a screen with rotating messaging about each custom cigar blend created in collaboration with Micro Tobacconist and descriptions of the flavor profiles. The case also features Durango cigars and other major brands. He rearranges the top row of cigar boxes with the Randall’s custom wrapper and then moves them back to the original place all the while analyzing and critiquing in minute detail the placement, lighting and overall presentation. After a few minutes, Brennan and Zamora stand back from the display. For a rare moment, they stand still. They see what most do not. They have already visualized where cigar rollers will be placed. They already know the looks of surprise and intrigue future shoppers will have. They know those looks because they see them every day at Brennan’s.


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With Our Children

Freedom To Be With Our Children One Congolese family’s resilience in the face of adversity. BY SARAH KENDZIOR PHOTOS BY ATTILIO D’AGOSTINO

Bashegwa Byenga is sitting in a conference room at the International Institute of St. Louis, showing me his scars.

country as refugees. The worst violence was and remains in the DRC’s Eastern region, where Byenga and his family lived until 2008.

“I can’t remember the good Congo, because it’s gone,” he explains. “It’s too much, it’s too much. I can’t remember because… .” He trails off.

“They cut me here,” he says, turning his head so I can see the thin white line in his scalp. “And here. And here. When the rebels came, they killed my brother and his wife and took their bodies away. They beat me and tried to kill me. They took my house, took everything in it. They beat me until they thought I was dead, and then they left.”

“I am from Goma,” he explains, referring to an Eastern city on the border of Rwanda, where genocidal wars in the 1990s helped fuel the DRC conflicts. “I had to leave my wife in Goma when I went to Kampala [in Uganda] as a refugee. That was in 2008. Then my wife and children came too. We were in Kampala for six years.”

“I’m here now,” he says finally. “I don’t have these problems here. I have my family; I have food to eat; my children can go to school. That’s my life. That’s fine.”

“You see this eye?” he adds, pointing to his left eye, which is disfigured. “I’m having an operation on it this month. It’s been like that for eight years.”

He gestures to two young girls next to him, who are quietly playing with toys as they listen to their father’s story.

Byenga is a 44-year-old refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a Central African country where the population has endured relentless violence since civil war broke out in 1996 following the arrival of rebels who aimed to depose dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. Battles between multiple militant groups claimed the lives of more than five million citizens between 1998 and 2007, while over two million fled the

“Vanesa and Sefora were born in Kampala,” he explains. “My wife and I had three babies there. We have nine kids. We had babies in St. Louis too.”

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Byenga smiles whenever he talks about his children. That smile fades when asked about his memories of life in DRC, where prior to the violence he struggled to make a living selling plastic shoes and jewelry.

For nearly 100 years, St. Louis has been a primary relocation site for refugees. In recent decades, the city has become particularly attractive because a low cost of living makes it easier to start over compared to affluent coastal cities. The International Institute, founded in 1919, has played a vital role in providing adjustment services, including English language lessons, citizenship classes, job training, and trauma counseling. Between 1979 and 2015, the Institute sponsored 22,347 refugees from around the world. In turn, refugees have helped revitalize St. Louis, playing a vital role in keeping neighborhoods afloat as the city suffers a general population decline.

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In the 1990s, thousands of Bosnian refugees arrived, transforming deteriorated parts of the Bevo Mill neighborhood into a thriving “Little Bosnia.” A new wave of refugees from war-torn Syria began arriving a few years ago, and in 2015 Mayor Slay announced his support for a resettlement program to sponsor our “fair share.” Those new St. Louisans began participating in civic initiatives, some helping to remedy December 2015 flood damage mere weeks after their arrival. But the largest group of recent refugees the International Institute has served consists of immigrants from the DRC, like Byenga and his family. Since the mid-1980s, Congolese refugees have arrived in St. Louis in waves as new conflicts and wars have broken out, with a sharp uptick over the last few years as the refugee crisis in that country has worsened. More than 100 Congolese refugees arrived in St. Louis in 2015 alone. The influx speaks to the severity of the DRC situation and to a growing East African community in St. Louis, with

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refugees arriving not only from DRC but from other countries like Burundi. As was the case in the Bosnian community, St. Louis’ Congolese community has also attracted fellow Congolese from other parts of the US. Byenga lives in a small apartment in South City. When I visited, he and his wife, Josephine, and their nine children— the youngest an infant, the eldest 17 years old—were sitting on the couch watching a Mickey Mouse cartoon. There are few traces of life in DRC on display in the home. Instead, images of better times here in America—class pictures, a photo of one of the kids joyfully posing with a woman dressed as Cinderella— line the walls. Although the family members say they are satisfied with life in St. Louis, their transition has not been easy. They arrived in August 2014, in the middle of the Ferguson crisis—an event they said they found frightening—and spent their first week glued to the television, unnerved that the city they had fled to from a war zone was wracked with violent conflict over race.

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They also struggled with their initial housing in the Hodiamont area of St. Louis, where the large family was separated into two neighboring apartments that Byenga claims were in deteriorating condition. He tried to get money and permission to fix it—“I have a mind from Africa,” he explains. “I can fix what’s not good for my children”—but was unsuccessful. After a legal dispute with the landlord, who refused to upgrade the property, the family relocated to their current home in early 2016. Employment proved a challenge as well. The International Institute helped Byenga find a position at Volpi Foods, but he left after sustaining an injury on the job. He now works as a housekeeper at a hospital, putting in long hours at a salary that barely covers the needs of his large family. He dreams of a better job with higher pay. Josephine, his wife of 20 years, stays home with the children. In halting English, she describes St. Louis as “nice—people here are friendly” and says the family plans to stay in the region for the long run. Like the rest of the family, she does not want to talk about the past.

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“Congo is no good,” she says with a shudder as she nurses her youngest child. “No good. St. Louis is good.” After a difficult adjustment period, the family found its footing. The children attend public schools with a large number of immigrant students, including fellow Swahili speakers from other African countries. But navigating St. Louis’ sociocultural dynamics is not without its own challenges. “Our school is good, but it’s very different,” says Wivine, Byenga’s eldest daughter. “In our country, you would never see a student yelling at a teacher. Sometimes I get scared of the students, they’re so crazy. We have kids from all over the world, but they don’t always get along. People here won’t be friends with people from other races.” Byenga’s son, Mandela, 16, is more positive. “I like the school,” he says. “There are kids from a lot of different countries—Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya. We have a lot of African students and we play soccer together.” Mandela and five of his siblings are part of the Umoja Athletic Club of Saint Louis, a soccer organization started in 2012 by refugees and immigrants

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including Fred Maboneza, a fellow Congolese refugee. “Umoja” is Swahili for “unity.” The club provides athletic services for boys and girls who arrived in St. Louis as immigrants or refugees from varying countries, with a stated mission to “be the best soccer club in the USA” and “uplift our communities through sports, by God’s grace.” The Democratic Republic of Congo is a majority Christian country, and Byenga’s family are among many Congolese families who attend New Covenant United Methodist Church, a ministry in South City. On weekends, families from DRC and other African countries gather not only for sermons and services, but to perform and watch concerts by fellow members of their community. Some are dressed in traditional African clothing, others in American sports gear. They speak and sing in Swahili and English, mixing the traditions of their homelands with their new St. Louis life.

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Though Byenga’s family enjoys the African religious and cultural organizations of St. Louis, Byenga emphasizes that what matters to him most is his family. “I have nine children,” he says, laughing, when asked about his friends. “My children are my friends. The oldest take care of the youngest—we are our own community.” When asked what he likes best about St. Louis, Byenga struggles to come up with the words. “I like St. Louis so much. We have … what is the word, liberté?” “Freedom?” I offer. “Yes. Freedom. Freedom to be with my children. To have a home where people can visit us. We have freedom here.”

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A Venue Tour Unexpected event venues to celebrate your memorable moments.

Whether your next event will bring people together for a shared mission, learning experience, retreat or celebration, we recognize that location is everything. We have hand-selected a group of brands and organizations that share our vision to innovate, curate and cultivate memorable experiences.

After taking in the beautiful spaces in this section, head to ALIVEmag.com to engage with more of our partners’ compelling stories.


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Art | Music | Theater | Events KRANZBERGARTSCENTER.ORG

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St. Louis Union Station A historic gathering place in the heart of Downtown In the not-so-distant past, millions of passengers came together in St. Louis’ Union Station to travel across the country. Now as a fully renovated hotel, event space and Downtown destination, locals and out-of-towners have a place to gather once again. After passing through the newly renovated majestic Grand Hall, witnessing the high-tech 3-D light show, and strolling down the historic hallways, guests can’t help but be awed by all that makes the space unique. This includes the areas where coming together happens most—around a conference room table, in an impressive ballroom, or even at the lounge bar. With a combined total of 100,000 square feet of possible

event space, even the grandest of affairs will have enough room to remain distinguished. In the past, Union Station has hosted Saint Louis Fashion Week, the St. Louis Fashion Fund Gala, ShutterFest photography contest and the FIRST Robotics Competition. For a smaller gathering, the stately conference rooms on the second f loor—all named after famous trains that once graced Union Station’s Midway—offer meeting spaces with high ceilings, along with all the amenities and services you have come to expect from a Hilton hotel, including full catering, PA systems and the tech tools needed to have a f lawless board meeting or presentation.


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Photos courtesy of 360.

Three Sixty A sophisticated spot for every celebration Four hundred feet above the streets of Downtown St. Louis, locals and tourists alike have one of the most breathtaking bar experiences at their fingertips. Voted one of 2016’s most stunning rooftop bars in the world, Three Sixty offers 6,000 square feet of sophisticated luxury, experienced both indoors and out. As a venue located on the 25th floor of the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, Three Sixty already has some of the most important aspects of a winning event built in—an unbelievable ambiance, a breathtaking view of the city, award-winning food, prepared by executive chef Rex Hale in a state-of-the-art open kitchen, and a flexible layout.

Playing host to corporate dinners and holiday parties, the venue can accommodate a large group with plenty of room to move from the indoor open floorplan to the inviting outdoor seating. But a bachelorette or birthday party won’t feel out of place in the contemporary and lively space. With a history of hosting its own stellar events, like the annual food and wine tasting event Farm to Fork, along with intimate musical performances, Three Sixty's staff brings taste, elegance and expertise to every event.


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Photos by R.J. Hartbeck.

MAJORette! St. Louis’ newest contemporary venue In early 2016, 37 artists took to Majorette’s main floor and mezzanine spaces, and practiced their craft, passion and livelihood in front of hundreds of St. Louisans over the course of four hours at ArtScope’s Wall Ball 2016. That event exemplifies what the venue’s owners, Pat and Carol Schuchard, want to offer St. Louis—a space for innovators, creators and young entrepreneurs to come together for work, celebration and education. Since hosting the artist-focused event, Majorette has hosted dozens of corporate events, lunch ’n’ learns and nonprofit fundraisers in its 12,000-square-foot space, making ample use of the renovated clerestory stage, 360-degree bar, game room, projectors, spacious private parking and open layout.

Looking back to the history of the space—a former furniture store that later became home to a telemarketing-firm—the renovations have livened up this portion of Manchester considerably. The Schuchards used their areas of expertise as studio artists and interiors experts, partnered with an affection for “problem buildings,” to transform their blank canvas into a hip, inviting and historic St. Louis space. As established venue owners, the Schuchards tap their connections to enhance each client’s experience. Those looking to enjoy the space will have access to interesting florists, caterers, photographers and entertainers who know the venue well, leading to an unforgettable experience from start to finish.


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An oasis with spectacular landscapes, sophisticated lodging and beautiful entertaining spaces. OVERLOOKFARMMO.COM

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Photo courtesy of Robust Wine Bar.

Robust Wine Bar The city’s savvy source for wine and wine education After spending years developing their knowledge of wines from around the world, husband and wife duo Stanley and Arlene Maminta Browne, owners of both Robust Wine Bar locations, know that wine tastings can be intimidating. However, they believe the best way to experience wines both new and old is in the atmosphere you desire, whether it’s casual and educational or sophisticated and upscale. Stanley, who passionately leads the way when it comes to Robust’s wine tasting programming, says what’s most important for him is to make wine approachable and fun. At each event, be it a bachelorette party, a corporate dinner or an evening donated for a not-for-profit

fundraiser, one of the six on-staff sommeliers will take each guest through a complete explanation of the wine, from the visuals, to the aromas, to the alcohol content. Whether guests are cozying up to the bar to try a wine from a featured winery, or taking a New World (California) vs. Old World (France) class on Chardonnay, Stanley says the ultimate goal is to elevate each individual’s experience and knowledge of wine. He says, “Everyone is at a different level. Some may be new to wine, and some may be very experienced, but we can always help people get to that next level. There’s always more to learn.”


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Keep your fashion forward. DMSALON.COM

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Photo by Wayne Crosslin courtesy of the Festival of Nations.


Ballroom meeting rates start at $500 including in-house AV. For more info, contact Stephanie Sadler at ssadler@peabodyoperahouse.com Photo by Todd Morgan

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July 8 • Historic Downtown Maplewood In the event’s 11th year celebrating local, eclectic creativity, you’re invited to bring the whole family (even your pet) and enjoy inspiring artwork, delicious food and cocktails from local vendors, live music, and an atmosphere full of joy, diversity and local pride.


July 12 • UrbArts Join We Live Here, Second Tuesdays and UrbArts for an evening of storytelling, featuring experiences dealing with race, class, poverty and power. After reporting on these issues for just over a year Kameel Stanley, Tim Lloyd and their editors are welcoming locals to take the mic and share.


July 15 & Sept. 16 • Grand Center Returning for its second year in Grand Center, Music at The Intersection presents a celebration of Missouri’s musical talent. Groove while also enjoying sips of complimentary brews from Urban Chestnut Brewing Company.


abandoned STL homes, raumlaborberlin intends to turn those materials into artwork that will be showcased in the main gallery of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation.

the opportunity to experience an extremely diverse range of performance art, from microtheater performances and acting challenges to circus arts and slam poetry.





July 29-Aug. 6 • Multiple Locations Celebrate local beer brewers and drinkers, while also having the opportunity to learn more about the STL local beer scene and history. Check out the St. Louis Craft Beer Week website for information on the neighborhoods and restaurants that are participating in this event.

August 27-28 • Tower Grove Park International Institute of St. Louis presents two days of festivities celebrating the world food scene with more than 40 ethnic food booths, endless arts and crafts, dancing and an international bazaar where you can acquire unique trinkets and presents from all around the world.

Aug. 3-7 • Chaifetz Arena HERITAGE FESTIVAL This vivid performance returns to St. Louis with August 19-21 • Forest Park its latest show. “OVO” tells of the bright world of Spend the weekend celebrating the local diversity insects that must deal with the sudden appearance and beauty of our St. Louis community at the of an egg that represents an enigma and the cycle of World’s Fare Heritage Festival. Grab some friends or their lives. bring the family to enjoy amazing local musicians, artists, and of course, the delicious food trucks.


Aug. 19-27 • Grand Center Immerse yourself in St. Louis’ eclectic performing arts scene. During this five-day festival, you have

Discover all the events on our radar at ALIVEmag.com.

July 22-23 • MAJORette! ALIVE’s second annual Cash + Carry is a mustattend event for any savvy St. Louis shopper who appreciates great style and top brands as much as exclusive deals and insider access. The two-day experience brings together the top boutiques in the city for the ultimate shopping trip stacked with stylish finds at discounted prices.


July 29-Oct. 15 • Pulitzer Arts Foundation PulitzerArts Foundation commissioned raumlaborberlin, a Berlin-based architecture collective, to bring vacant, soon-to-be demolished STL homes back to life. By salvaging materials from Let Them Eat Art photo by Ashley Lear.










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Peabody Opera House Ad Alive Magazine, JULY 2016 Issue, 1/3 pg. spread 6/16/16 1:55 PM 16.5 in x 3.4167 in with bleeds (.125 on sides and bottom)

2016 School Guide Our curated list of St. Louis schools making an impact.



If you’re looking for a hands-on, stimulating experience for your child, Chesterfield Montessori School is the place for you. Recognized as one of the best AMI Montessori schools in the US, Chesterfield teaches students in peaceful, mixed-age classrooms with engaging materials.

A one-of-a-kind campus with classrooms in six historic homes for children age 3-Grade 6, Forsyth School is a place to stretch beyond your comfort zone, where personal best counts, where engaging curriculum meets challenge education. It all begins with a great early childhood program.




THE FULTON SCHOOL The Fulton School is an independent, Montessori-based school serving children 18 months old through 12th grade. With an emphasis on engaging students, TFS offers a progressive education fostering confidence, curiosity and character while preparing students for college and life.

The St. Michael School of Clayton features an integrated curriculum that connects subjects, teachers and students, with personalized teaching that challenges students of every learning style. In a warm, welcoming and diverse culture, students will develop character and an appreciation of all faiths.


stmichaelschool.org FEATURED PARTNERS

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MICDS: Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School 101 N. Warson Road, Ladue 314.995.7367, micds.org Age 4-Grade 12 • Coed

At MICDS, the middle school is a place where students come together in a “Community of Kindness.” Individual talents are nurtured and new passions are discovered. The school celebrates differences and appreciates diverse perspectives as students grow and collaborate as enthusiastic critical thinkers, committing to live each day with purpose and service. The community encourages leadership in the educational journey and beyond.


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Photo by Richard Nichols.

The Wilson School

400 De Mun Ave., Clayton 314.725.4999, wilsonschool.com Age 3-Grade 6 • Coed For children at Wilson, starting at age 3 through sixth grade, each day brings a world of opportunity. Two full-time teachers in each classroom take a nurturing approach to an academically accelerated program. With innovative and personalized instruction, students gain the confidence and academic foundation they need for a lifetime of success.


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New City School

5209 Waterman Blvd., Central West End 314.361.6411, newcityschool.org Grades PreK-6 • Coed New City School is an independent elementary school for students age 3 through sixth grade. The school encourages critical thinking and celebrates individuality, fostering a love of learning through self-awareness, empathy and appreciation for diversity. Graduates excel academically, and are leaders in their communities. New City is excited to welcome Head of School Alexis Wright for the 2016-17 school year.


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new exhibit

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“Take a vacation with God”


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“Legerdemain” BY JEFF FRIEDMAN

“Enough tricks,” she said as her opal earrings disappeared from her ears and a parrot flew from her purse, as pink smoke rose between us. “Enough sleight of hand, enough legerdemain—” as I pulled an egg from her nostril, a hundred dollar bill from her ear, and the bra from under her shirt, as I waved my hands and said the magic words and watched her float in air, supine. Against my will, she righted herself and walked through a door as if only spirit. Before I knew it, she kissed me. “No more tricks,” she said as her black thunderous hair fell loose down her back, as her jeans split at the seams and fell off, revealing her turquoise thong. “Okay,” she said, “if that’s who we are.” Then I was naked, and as the smoke cleared, there was nothing between us.

Jeff Friedman has published six poetry collections, five with Carnegie Mellon University Press, including “Pretenders,” “Working in Flour” and “Black Threads.” His poems, mini-stories and translations have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, New England Review, The Antioch Review, Poetry International and numerous other literary magazines.

Volume 15 Issue 4 DEPARTMENT Poem.indd 1

6/16/16 10:51 AM