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Jazz St. Louis hosts a Virtual 25th Anniversary

Gene Dobbs Bradford, President & CEO of Jazz St. Louis, located in The Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz in Grand Center (3536 Washington) announced recently that programming would remain virtual for the remainder of 2020. That includes a celebration of the beloved organization’s 25th Anniversary which will take place this Friday, October 2.

The anniversary party will include a special, open-to-all streamed event that features artists from across the country. The evening will focus on the impact the organization has had on jazz in the St. Louis Community and nurturing the Jazz St. Louis Family throughout the years.

Pull up a chair and raise a glass to support Jazz St. Louis at 25. The online festivities begin at 6:30 p.m.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Jazz St. Louis Gene Dobbs Bradford

Jazz St. Louis will only have one 25th anniversary, and we can’t wait to celebrate it with you! On October 2, we’ll be throwing a party unlike anything we’ve ever done before.

Around the world, jazz fans will make a toast to everyone who has been along for the ride the last 25 years as Jazz St. Louis transformed from a small music program to an internationally renowned jazz venue with jazz education programs for all ages, and forum for thought-provoking community outreach.

This music-filled and mission-driven virtual celebration will include performances by some of our favorite local and national artists, stories from education partners and families, and many special surprises.

And because a party’s only as good as its guests, we want to include everybody—musicians, patrons, donors, and supporters of all stripes from the last quarter-century. Whether you’re a 20+ season ticketholder or a curious spectator, we want to see you there. So, for the first time ever, we’re giving away all the tickets for free.

Jazz St. Louis’ 25th Anniversary Virtual Celebration
Friday, October 2, 2020
6:30pm Pre-event Concert
Arrive at your leisure to a performance by our JazzU Students
7:00pm The Big Event
Gene Dobbs Bradford & Peter Martin host with performances by Regina Carter, The Bad Plus, Ann Hampton Callaway & more!
8:00pm After-Party
Denise Thimes caps off the evening with a special set not to be missed.

Help us celebrate 25 years of the uniquely American art of jazz in St. Louis by RSVPing today, and bring your friends!

RSVP and More Information

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Jazz St. Louis Gene Dobbs Bradford

Mid-September weekend in the neighborhood

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

Lovely to see diners enjoying brunch on Yellowbelly’s patio Sunday morning.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

Edera Italian Eatery, a partnership between the Koplar family and culinary consultant Mike Randolph, looks like it’s getting closer to opening in the former ‘Scape space on Maryland Plaza. Ritz-Carlton veteran Chef Mick Fumo is executive chef.

Plans include a pizza station in the dining room and a take-out window in the passageway on the east side.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

The photo above shows a section of the patio behind Edera, Italian for “ivy”.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott  Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

During a quick visit with Ed King, proprietor of Pagan Wine Bar, I learned that his customers are adapting well to socially-distanced seating and temperature checks at the door.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

Setting up the increasingly popular Streatery on Saturday evening.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott  After months of excavating old pilings from the former Channel 11 building on York Ave., the AC Hotel by Marriott has begun to take shape.  The Koplar family is a partner in this venture.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

On a late afternoon sojourn in Forest Park today I saw the sign above which served as a timely reminder of the need to care for our fabulous gem. We are so fortunate to have Forest Park at our doorstep. It is indeed a refuge, more so than ever these days.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

Snapshots from St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s “A Late Summer Night’s Stroll”

2020 was set to be a banner year for Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, a name change —St. Louis Shakespeare Festival— was announced early in the year, and planning for this season’s production of Much Ado About Nothing was in full gear. Then COVID 19 appeared on the world stage, and “Much Ado…” became “what to do…”

Producing Artistic Director Tom Ridgely and his staff may have taken a cue from the Bard himself while they struggled to cobble some sort of production together. It was interesting to learn recently that the actor and playwright William Shakespeare learned to work around frequent plagues throughout his lifetime. (You can read more about this in an article in STL Magazine authored by Shakespeare Festival’s Tom Ridgely or Stephen Greenblatt’s piece in The New Yorker: WhaShakespeare Actually Wrote About the Plague.)

After 20 years of staging free Shakespeare performances in Forest Park, which drew an average of 2000 per night (some performances saw crowds of 3 to 5,000 people), Shakespeare Festival’s Development Associate Tori Rezek came up with an inventive performance, a walk through the Forest Park titled A Late Summer Night’s Stroll.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Tom Ridgely St. Louis Shakespeare Festival

Photos courtesy of CWEnders Beki Marsh & Janice Forsyth

With backing from 14 generous sponsors, the event, which took place August 12 through September 6, featured 14 arches created by 14 local artists that meandered from Shakespeare Glen across from the Saint Louis Art Museum down the hill to Government Drive, around the Boathouse to the foot of the Grand Basin. Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Tom Ridgely St. Louis Shakespeare Festival  Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Tom Ridgely St. Louis Shakespeare Festival  What awaited guests as they followed the path were performances by over 50 actors and musicians from 12 area arts organizations.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Tom Ridgely St. Louis Shakespeare Festival

Shakespeare wrote the script for the 1st and 14th stops, while dialogue at the remaining 12 was written or composed by the presenting arts organization with vetting by the Shakespeare staff.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Tom Ridgely St. Louis Shakespeare Festival

As a nod to current times, masks and measuring tape were incorporated as props.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Tom Ridgely St. Louis Shakespeare Festival

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Tom Ridgely St. Louis Shakespeare Festival

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Tom Ridgely St. Louis Shakespeare Festival

About 1,000 people (scheduled in socially distanced groups of 10) were able to attend A Late Summer Night’s Stroll  over 23 nights. It’s estimated that an additional 2,000 people scanned QR codes and took self-guided tours during the festival. The self-guided tour featured excerpts read by local actors paired with music inspired by or thematically related to the play.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Tom Ridgely St. Louis Shakespeare Festival

St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s annual gala, which is vital to the organization’s bottom line, was on the calendar for early spring. Unfortunately, this event collided with the coronavirus shutdown so organizers quickly pivoted to a virtual gala, “To Thy Own Self Be True,” which was hugely successful netting more than was raised in previous years. And 2020’s gala was featured in an entertaining Bloomberg News report about hosting galas around the country during the pandemic titled Tuxedo Tops and Pajama Bottoms.

Thanks to CWEnder and Artistic Producing Director Tom Ridgely for sharing so much helpful information for this post, to CWEnder and Shakespeare Board Member Jessica Holzer for her input, and to CWEnders Beki Marsh and Janice Forsyth for all the great photographs.

Visit St. Louis Shakespeare Festival website to stay updated on what’s next.