This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” over the noon hour Tuesday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live . At 18 years old, comedian Nikki Glaser knew how to draw in a crowd — even before she knew what path that would take her on. The St. Louis native got her start performing stand up in her University of Kansas dorm during her freshman year. Her comedic talents served her well beyond her college days. She’s now solidified her role in the comedy world, and appearing on numerous radio and television shows, including “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”, “Conan,” “Comedy Central Roast” and “Dancing with the Stars.” She debuted her first feature stand-up special, “Bangin,” on Netflix last year.
This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” over the noon hour Tuesday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live . Every summer, the Muny draws hundreds of thousands ecstatic to experience outdoor musical theater. The venue can host up to 11,000 people on any given night, and last year’s seven-show season drew a total of 368,584 people . Those kinds of numbers weren’t possible this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Muny had to push back this year’s original program to next year, but in the meantime has continued to put on a show virtually.
Aircraft hijackings have been rare in recent years. But a half-century ago, they were a frequent occurrence. Between 1967 and 1972, 130 commercial airplanes were hijacked in the U.S. alone. That’s according to a newly launched podcast that dives deep into a hijacking in which St. Louis Lambert International Airport co-starred. The 10-part series, “ American Skyjacker: The Final Flight of Martin McNally ," is hosted and co-produced by St. Louis-based journalist Danny Wicentowski. The story is one Wicentowski has followed for years . His reporting was fueled by extensive conversations with McNally, who in 1972 chose Lambert as the spot where he would put into action his plan to hijack a flight in hopes of snagging $500,000.
As I walk into the “ Dare to Know: Chess in the Age of Reason ” exhibition, I instantly feel surrounded by history. Even though I’m not a well-seasoned chess master, there are several unique chess sets and collectibles that catch my eye. As an artist, I am immediately drawn to the skillful craft and the aesthetics of the hand-carved chess sets. However, some of my favorite pieces in “Dare to Know” celebrate the wonder, mystery and illusion of the Enlightenment.
Nefarious. That’s how Julius B. Anthony describes the data surrounding Black children’s literature — there’s just not enough representation of books with Black characters or written by Black authors. Anthony is the president of St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature , and spearheads the Believe Project, which consists of literacy labs throughout community centers, private schools and traditional public schools in the region. It provides kids consistent access to Black children's literature as a strategy for improving reading proficiency. But the day-to-day operations of the program came to a screeching halt once the coronavirus pandemic closed schools and other gathering places. Anthony said he thought he’d have a couple of weeks to figure out a new strategy. What he got was a couple of days.
In January, Derek Fordjour’s first major solo museum exhibition opened at St. Louis’ Contemporary Art Museum. SHELTER features Fordjour’s paintings and sculptures in a space transformed by a dirt floor and corrugated metal walls, a ramshackle look designed to place visitors in the “heart of a storm,” according to the museum, and evoke “notions of safety, crisis, and impending harm.” Then came an actual storm, as the coronavirus pandemic plunged the world into crisis. Museums across the U.S. shut down for months, CAM among them. Now the museum is again open for visitors, with extensive safety protocols . And for its final seven weeks of display, SHELTER has gained a new component, one that connects its themes to the way St. Louisans sheltered at home during CAM’s hiatus.
The St. Louis Art Museum is cutting expenses after its projected revenue dropped by 11% during the coronavirus pandemic. Museum officials say they will have to trim the $37 million operating budget by $4 million to make up for the projected loss. They told members of the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District on Tuesday that the museum must adjust its spending because of a decrease in endowment support and admissions fees lost after officials shut down the region to keep the virus from spreading. The art museum reopened its doors June 16. The three-month shutdown delayed exhibits and events and led officials to close the museum for three months, said Carolyn Schmidt, the museum’s deputy director and controller.
As the St. Louis Cardinals start their 2020 season with a home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates this Friday, a burst of brightly colored familiarity will return to downtown. But not the tens of thousands of fans who typically fill Busch Stadium. As the Redbirds’ devoted fans gather instead (hopefully in socially distant ways) around TVs and other devices to take in the abbreviated, 60-game season, conditions inside the stadium will be a whole new ballgame. On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air , the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold joined host Sarah Fenske to talk about the upcoming season. They discussed some of the biggest changes — and the big remaining questions — associated with this year’s play, as well as the strength of the team's roster.
When one thinks of “the island life,” sentiments of a tropical ocean breeze, easygoing lifestyle and good food likely come to mind. And that is very much part of the experience. But with the good, comes the bad — and Zahra Spencer and Telie Woods saw the worst of it. They are the owners of Jerk Soul, a Caribbean carryout restaurant on Cherokee Street. Before it became one of St. Louis’ staple Caribbean food spots, it was supposed to be a prime destination for tourists visiting St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. That was until devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria shattered that possibility in 2017.
Singer-songwriter Tre'von Griffith, better known as Tre G, reclaimed his artistry and identity as a musician earlier this year with his album “As I Am.” For a long time, Tre G said he created music he thought others wanted to hear. But his latest album was about creating his own lane and sound as a Black queer artist in St. Louis. Tre G’s earliest introduction to music was the church. He would attend choir rehearsals with his mother and quickly became accustomed to the repertoire. “And I really just think from that moment I was like, ‘Whoa.’ The music kind of like just took over me. I kind of knew at that moment that that was what I wanted to do — and that was probably the age of 4,” Tre G said ahead of Monday’s St. Louis on the Air .
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra has canceled plans to resume concerts in August. Powell Hall has remained dark since March, when orchestra leaders began postponing or canceling concerts to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Orchestra officials said in late May that performances originally planned for June would be moved to August. But they announced Thursday that they cannot safely reopen because the region is seeing increased coronavirus infections.
Chess is often regarded as the game that is most commonly associated with intelligence and strategy. Science has in fact proven that chess players have more cognitive skill than non-chess players. But why is that so? Chess increases problem-solving skills . Legendary former World Champion Garry Kasparov once wrote: “Chess helps you to concentrate, improve your logic. It teaches you to play by the rules and take responsibility for your actions, how to problem solve in an uncertain environment.” Learning tactics and strategy in chess extends itself in helping us resolve personal and business challenges as well. Rex Sinquefield is a successful entrepreneur and the driving force behind the resurgence of chess in the United States through the formation of the St. Louis Chess Club . He’s also been integral to the relocation of the World Chess Hall of Fame to St. Louis. He often credits his study of chess as helping him make the strategic decisions he needed to excel in the business world.
The St. Louis Blues Society has raised more than $90,000 to help musicians who lost their livelihoods during the coronavirus pandemic. The blues society has distributed grants of $500 or more to 150 artists who lost their ability to work in March when officials prohibited large gatherings to limit the spread of the virus.
When Vanika Spencer moved to St. Louis in 2008, she was a fresh high school graduate eager to experience something different from what her native Dallas, Texas, had to offer. She said she arrived in St. Louis “with a suitcase and a dream,” and the city did not disappoint. Sapna Bhakta found herself in a similar situation years later. She visited St. Louis one weekend in 2013 to celebrate her cousin’s birthday — and has been here ever since. Spencer and Bhakta eventually crossed paths and became close friends who share the goal of shining a light on what they say they love most about the city: its thriving arts and culture scene.
For a long time, 27-year-old St. Louis native Joseph Puleo mostly associated the city’s iconic Hill neighborhood with a wealth of delicious Italian food and colorful fire hydrants. That changed a couple of years ago when a conversation with a fellow Italian American, Rio Vitale, prompted Puleo to begin what would become his first feature-length film. “He was concerned we were losing stories that need to be told,” Puleo told St. Louis on the Air . Within five days of Vitale’s suggestion that he dig into the history of the Hill, Puleo was in longtime residents’ homes. Many dozens of interviews and months of film editing later, “ America’s Last Little Italy: The Hill ” is making its debut at the 20th annual — and first virtual — Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase . The documentary is one of 15 film programs that will be available for streaming July 10-19.
The secret to Brian Owens’ success is no secret at all. “I always tell people I get these heavenly hookups,” he explained. “God’s favor in my life. It’s begun in spite of me to position things to happen.” The Ferguson-based soul singer, a devout Christian, can cite numerous blessings of late where he sees God’s hand in the works. There’s the former church building donated to his nonprofit Life Arts; he’s working on its renovation now. There’s also $200,000 in funding for that nonprofit from a New York-based benefactor. Owens said Tuesday on St. Louis on the Air that he met the benefactor by chance online (or, to be more precise, by “heavenly hookup”). He’d posted a video on Facebook of his 6-year-old son, who has autism, playing the piano. As he recalled it, “some random person” chimed in suggesting a potential resource.
Editor's note: This story was originally published in the Belleville News-Democrat . The St. Louis Zoo’s 23-year-old Asian elephant has given birth to a male calf — only the second ever male elephant born in the zoo. In a news release, the zoo said the baby was born at 1:55 p.m. on Monday. Both the baby and his mother, Rani, were doing well on Monday evening. The baby has not been named yet. The baby’s father, Raja, was the first male elephant born at the zoo in 1992, the release stated. The birth of this calf marks Raja’s fifth offspring. “We’re thrilled to welcome Raja’s first son into our three-generation elephant family,” said Tim Thier, director of the zoo’s WildCare Institute Center for Asian Elephant Conservation. According to the release, Rani is part of a 10-member, three-generation elephant family at the zoo’s River’s Edge and Elephant Woods habitats that include the new calf, Rani’s mother Ellie, Rani’s daughter Jade and other elephants Maliha, Priya, Donna, Sri, Pearl and
Before forming the band CaveofswordS, Sunyatta Marshall broke into the local music scene as a 13-year-old strumming acoustic guitar at bars on Laclede’s Landing. Later she joined Fred’s Variety Group and eventually became lead singer for indie rockers the Helium Tapes. Kevin McDermott, aka KVN, was a DJ who made short, instrumental tracks at home for his own amusement. He approached Marshall in 2011 and asked if she might like to step outside her musical milieu and sing over some of his tracks. The musical connection clicked, and so did the personal one — they are now the McDermotts.
Author J. Courtney Sullivan has a knack for probing the interior lives of women. Her four bestselling novels — “Commencement,” “Maine,” “The Engagements” and “Saints for All Occasions” — tackle many different ideas. The marketing of engagement rings. The gift of religious devotion. The difficulty of families. But they have one thing in common: The women in them seem utterly real and completely sympathetic, even when readers might be horrified by their choices. That is also true of the women in Courtney Sullivan’s new book, Friends and Strangers . The novel tells the story of Elisabeth, a Brooklyn journalist who finds herself living in a small college town just as she becomes a new mother. She’s lonely — and the college student she pays to watch her baby, Sam, becomes her main confidant.
Many sanctioned fireworks shows are canceled this summer due to the pandemic, but people continue to set off everything from firecrackers to Roman candles in backyards and streets throughout the region. And compared to 2019, fireworks use in St. Louis is up this year. “[It] started much earlier in my neighborhood and in the neighborhoods I work in,” said St. Louis Fire Department Chief Dennis Jenkerson. “We have 30 different firehouses around the city. They’re all seeing an earlier start and an increased amount of shooting going on early in the evening. The size and the sound of these fireworks going off has increased.” Last year from May 1 to June 24, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department received 196 calls about illegal fireworks use. During the same period this year, the city received 879 calls.