Browsing Category

Art & Architecture

Snapshots from last Saturday’s happenings: National Dance Week STL, Independent Bookstore Day, The Kabine & more

Is it my imagination, or does there seem to be an extra spring in everyone’s step now that the weather has finally turned a corner?  The upbeat tempo was certainly evident last Saturday when the sidewalks were packed—a more frequent occurrence these days with the addition of so many new residents from recently-constructed apartment buildings.  I took advantage of the weather as well and headed out to enjoy a couple of events and found a surprise discovery along the way.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  The Kabine The Dance Co. of St. Charles Roland Burrow NationalDanceWeekSTL.com National Independent Bookstore Day Midwest Ballet Theater McCaughen & Burr Fine Arts Left Bank Books Kim Hayes Kari James Dance Network FOXPACF St. Louis Teen Competition

Fifty dance companies from the St. Louis area participated in National Dance Week STL which took place on Washington Ave. in Grand Center from Noon to 5 p.m. Linda Green, Missouri State Director of National Dance Week STL, upper left, delivered the opening remarks and welcomed the dancers and spectators. Other photographs show participants arriving at the event or, lower left, carving out a spot to practice their routine before their performance.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  The Kabine The Dance Co. of St. Charles Roland Burrow NationalDanceWeekSTL.com National Independent Bookstore Day Midwest Ballet Theater McCaughen & Burr Fine Arts Left Bank Books Kim Hayes Kari James Dance Network FOXPACF St. Louis Teen Competition

Lindenwood University’s Dance Troupe, above.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  The Kabine The Dance Co. of St. Charles Roland Burrow NationalDanceWeekSTL.com National Independent Bookstore Day Midwest Ballet Theater McCaughen & Burr Fine Arts Left Bank Books Kim Hayes Kari James Dance Network FOXPACF St. Louis Teen Competition

Clockwise from top left, Midwest Ballet Theatre, Kari James Dance Network (Kari teaches a DanceJam class at the CWE’s City Studio), The Dance Co. of St. Charles, and FOXPACF St. Louis Teen Competition.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  The Kabine The Dance Co. of St. Charles Roland Burrow NationalDanceWeekSTL.com National Independent Bookstore Day Midwest Ballet Theater McCaughen & Burr Fine Arts Left Bank Books Kim Hayes Kari James Dance Network FOXPACF St. Louis Teen Competition

A view of the crowd watching the performances.

Walking west on Washington I had the good fortune to stumble upon “A Tiny Shiny Shop,” a mobile stationery store parked across from the Pulitzer Arts Foundation.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  The Kabine The Dance Co. of St. Charles Roland Burrow NationalDanceWeekSTL.com National Independent Bookstore Day Midwest Ballet Theater McCaughen & Burr Fine Arts Left Bank Books Kim Hayes Kari James Dance Network FOXPACF St. Louis Teen Competition

For the past 2 years Kim Hayes, who was on the staff at Centro until 2011, has operated her business in a 1965 Airstream called The Kabine. Accompanied by her sidekick, a gentle pit bull named Meri, Hayes takes The Kabine to festivals (she traveled to Palm Springs for Modernism Week in February), to museums such as the Contemporary and Pulitzer, and other locations around town including Cortex and MidTown Alley. Last fall she was a vendor at the CWE BookFest STL.

Hayes is hopeful that her mobile shop will “inspire unplugging, slowing down, and connecting in meaningful ways.” Included in her mix of unusual items, or as the website says, “goods for your next adventure,” are beautiful postcards featuring photos from her travels, a variety of clever notebooks, writing instruments, decorative masking tapes, off-beat paper clips, Japanese binoculars, and much more.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  The Kabine The Dance Co. of St. Charles Roland Burrow NationalDanceWeekSTL.com National Independent Bookstore Day Midwest Ballet Theater McCaughen & Burr Fine Arts Left Bank Books Kim Hayes Kari James Dance Network FOXPACF St. Louis Teen Competition

Hayes said her merchandise reflects what she would put in a suitcase when packing for a trip. “I always include books,” she said, and unsurprisingly her small collection features one titled Pit Bull.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  The Kabine The Dance Co. of St. Charles Roland Burrow NationalDanceWeekSTL.com National Independent Bookstore Day Midwest Ballet Theater McCaughen & Burr Fine Arts Left Bank Books Kim Hayes Kari James Dance Network FOXPACF St. Louis Teen Competition

To learn more and to find out where The Kabine will pop up next, visit the website, Instagram or Twitter. Hayes also writes a blog called two girls (Kim + Meri) and a trailer.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  The Kabine The Dance Co. of St. Charles Roland Burrow NationalDanceWeekSTL.com National Independent Bookstore Day Midwest Ballet Theater McCaughen & Burr Fine Arts Left Bank Books Kim Hayes Kari James Dance Network FOXPACF St. Louis Teen Competition

It was really heartwarming to see the huge crowd at Left Bank Books celebrating National Independent Bookstore Day.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  The Kabine The Dance Co. of St. Charles Roland Burrow NationalDanceWeekSTL.com National Independent Bookstore Day Midwest Ballet Theater McCaughen & Burr Fine Arts Left Bank Books Kim Hayes Kari James Dance Network FOXPACF St. Louis Teen Competition

The bookstore’s staff had planned many activities including a Bullet Journaling workshop led by Margaret Duncan, above right, a W.U. medical student. There was a pancake artist named Dancakes making literary themed pancakes, a group called the Magnificoes who read Shakespeare’s Star Wars Part the Seventh: The Force Doth Awaken (not photographed), and bottom left, an Anonymous Autograph Hour with a chance to choose a book in a sealed bag with a purchase of $20 or more. There was also an hour-long special sale in the Used Book section.

Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  The Kabine The Dance Co. of St. Charles Roland Burrow NationalDanceWeekSTL.com National Independent Bookstore Day Midwest Ballet Theater McCaughen & Burr Fine Arts Left Bank Books Kim Hayes Kari James Dance Network FOXPACF St. Louis Teen Competition

Saturday’s activities ended with an introduction to artist Roland Burrow, above, who had been invited to exhibit his paintings in the home of a CWE couple he met through McCaughen & Burr Fine Arts in Webster Groves. The couple were so impressed with Burrow’s work that they were eager to introduce him to some of their friends.

The artist, who earned a degree in Fine Arts Studies from UMSL in 2006, finds inspiration from the works of Michelangelo and Caravaggio and the Harlem Renaissance Painters. The painting shown with Burrows above is a 40″ x 30″ oil on canvas titled Madonna and Child.

“I love figure drawing” he said, “but consider the background to be just as important as the subject matter.” He also said he loves fashion, which is evident in his choice of attire as well as the elaborate costumes depicted in his paintings. Burrow is also a fan of musicians who lived in St. Louis at the time of the World’s Fair, such as Scott Joplin, Top Turpin and Louis “Birdface” Chauvin.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Shop News  The Kabine The Dance Co. of St. Charles Roland Burrow NationalDanceWeekSTL.com National Independent Bookstore Day Midwest Ballet Theater McCaughen & Burr Fine Arts Left Bank Books Kim Hayes Kari James Dance Network FOXPACF St. Louis Teen Competition

Other paintings that were exhibited were from top: Are you experienced, 26″ x 42″ oil on canvas. Lower left: Defiance, 30″ x 40″ oil on canvas and lower right,  Jazz Singer,  30″ x 40″ oil on canvas.

In the gallery’s artist statement Burrow says: “Growing up on the North Side, growing up black, leaves little opportunity to view your community in a positive light…My goal is to portray the black community in a positive light as opposed to the historically represented theme of negativity…” The closing line is: “I intend to use my art to create a bridge of understanding between the black and white communities and begin to close the divide.” 

For more information, contact McCaughen & Burr Fine Arts

CWEnder Jack Grone launches “McPherson,” an independent journalism outlet

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Services Web/Tech  The Atlantic's City Lab TechArtista Co-Working Environment Park Plaza Next STL McPherson Jack Grone Independent Journalism for the Public in St. Louis and beyond City of St. Louis Central West End Al Anderson

Recently, on one of the few sunny mornings we have had this Spring, I had coffee at Techartista with CWEnder Jack Grone to learn more about his new independent journalism outlet McPherson, of which he is publisher and editor. Though we’ve been aware of each other for several years—we seem to pick the same nights to attend St. Louis Actors’ Studio performances—I never had an opportunity to learn more about him. What follows is another example of why I love writing this blog.

The first topic Grone introduced is why he chose the name McPherson, which is also the street where he lives with his husband Al Anderson.”I hope my new venture won’t be confused with ‘The McPherson’ ” (the CWE’s new event venue).  The choice of title is explained on his website: “The changes underway on the street (McPherson) reflect not only the ongoing evolution of the CWE but raise important questions about the city’s past and the shifting demographics of large cities across the United States. I plan to address some of these questions in a future post.”

Grone, who has returned to journalism after a recent stint working in public relations, is realistic about the challenges of attracting readership to an online publication, but feels he will add a fresh voice to a field crowded with many choices for local and national news “via a mix of analysis, investigative reporting and commentary.”

One of his first moves to garner attention was to partner with more established news organizations, including NextSTL and The Atlantic’s City Lab, which snapped up A Towering Disparity. The Park Plaza is worth more than some neighborhoods in St. Louis… 45 minutes after he pitched it. That article, which was published on April 3, traveled around the neighborhood like wildfire and, serendipitously, offers an interesting counterpoint to my recent posts about what’s happening north of Delmar—Kevin Bryant’s development plan for the Kingsway District, and STL Village’s panel discussion on Bridging the Delmar Housing Divide.

Grone, who grew up in Kirkwood, earned a degree in English Literature from Washington University in 1988. While there he developed a passion for journalism and was a contributor to the university’s Student Life. Following graduation he worked as a reporter for the St. Louis Business Journal. In 1993 he left St. Louis and joined the Peace Corps to teach English in Hungary. Following that assignment, he stayed on in Budapest to work for an English language newspaper—”without a work permit,” he added—and later joined a 2-person office there writing for Dow Jones Newswires.

In 1999 Grone was transferred to the London Bureau of Dow Jones, where he lived and worked until 2005. There he met his future husband, “a red-head from South Africa,” who now runs a private investment firm. “That was a very exciting time to be a journalist working in London, as I was covering the new member states of the European Union such as Hungary and Poland, and the founding of the Euro.” He left journalism to work in public relations for Credit Suisse in London & then New York. After he and Anderson moved back to St. Louis to be closer to Grone’s mother, he continued commuting to New York until 3 years ago when he began working for Wells Fargo Advisers here in St. Louis. Grone found that he missed journalism, so he decided to dive into the online publishing world and launched McPherson in March of this year.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Services Web/Tech  The Atlantic's City Lab TechArtista Co-Working Environment Park Plaza Next STL McPherson Jack Grone Independent Journalism for the Public in St. Louis and beyond City of St. Louis Central West End Al Anderson

Grone said the stories he is eager to explore are those that were front and center 6 months ago, but now seem to have been forgotten. “The best stories are hiding in plain sight. Wherever there is lots of noise, or lights and cameras, I want to be elsewhere.”

The Park Plaza piece originated from a deep dive into 2016’s PFM Report (Public Financial Market) commissioned by St. Louis Community Development Corporation (SLDC). PFM partnered with St. Louis University and University of Missouri-St. Louis on some facets of the report. The introduction (here) explains why the report (which covers the period from 2000 to 2014) was commissioned.  It seemed to Grone there was a lot more to this story.

During his research he found figures showing that some St. Louis neighborhoods have seen big increases in the total assessed value of their commercial and residential real estate, while  other neighborhoods have seen the opposite. “Certain neighborhoods seem to be booming while others are sinking,” he added.

Grone explained that this particular part of the PFM report did not include data on taxes or incentives, but incentives can truly be the spark that get a project going. The Chase-Park Plaza project is an example. “There’s lots of rehabbing and new business evident in the city of St. Louis—the Tower Grove neighborhood, Tower Grove East and Fox Park, are prime examples. Those neighborhoods were beginning to show up on the PFM Report, which is where you’ll find a real example of the huge value created in the city over the past 30 years.”

Jack Grone is realistic about the significant challenges we face in St. Louis, but wants McPherson, Independent Journalism for the Public in St. Louis and Beyond to focus on more positive, nuanced stories about our city.

You can find other articles on McPherson’s website, and follow the latest news via Facebook and Twitter. To contact the publisher email jgrone@mcphersonpublishing.com