Wednesday, March 04, 2009

March Art at Marbles Gallery


Marbles Gallery exhibits “pieces” by artist Benji Rowan with an opening reception on Saturday, March 7 from 6-9 p.m. Also showing “third eye,” recent work by abstract painter Timothy A. Wagner. Both exhibits will run through March 31st. Open hours on Mondays 1-3 p.m. or by appointment. Marbles Yoga Studio and Gallery is located at 1905 Park Avenue in Lafayette Square. For additional information call 314.791.6466 or visit www.marblesyoga.com.

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Marbles Gallery exhibits “pieces”, mosaics and paintings by Benji Rowan through March 31st. Also, exhibiting “third eye” by abstract painter, Timothy A. Wagner.

Opening Reception:
Saturday, March 7 from 6-9 p.m.
Marbles Yoga Studio and Gallery
1905 Park Avenue in Lafayette Square
Meet the artist and enjoy a glass of wine
Free and open to the public

Mosaicist and painter, Benji Rowan, tells stories through visual cues in the images he makes. Shapes, colors, and figures come together to produce two dimensional narratives. His mosaics are decorated stories…stories that leave plenty of room for interpretation. Even when the only information is color and shape, he gives clues through the titles of a work to explain the situations. His paintings, while more representational, allow each viewer to draw their own conclusions. His work can be thought of as stills from a motion picture – what came before, or will come after, is for you to decide.

Artist, Benji Rowan, recently returned home to St. Louis after living in Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston and Austin. He received his art education from the St. Louis Community College, School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1999. A recipient of the Art St. Louis award of excellence, he has shown in juried exhibitions: San Francisco, Austin, and St. Louis. Collections: Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis - Flat Files

Abstract painter, Timothy A. Wagner, illuminates the world of our natural and urban surroundings inspired by form, atmospheric space and color. Wagner develops a specific visual language that defines subject matter and content. The paintings evolve in layers that vary from thin transparencies to thick gestural forms to combine in an expression of his thought process and experience. Every layer of paint, every mark on the picture-plane becomes a crucial meaning of its history and the eventual resolution of the statement.

Emerging artist, Timothy A. Wagner, graduated from Webster University in 2008. Active with St. Louis Art Dimensions, his work has been included in both group and solo shows in the St. Louis area, Colorado, and Tennessee. He received the 2nd place Best of Show award at the Maplewood Let Them Eat Art Festival, 2007.

Open Mondays 1-3 p.m. Call 314.621.4744 to confirm additional hours or for an appointment www.marblesyoga.com

Marbles Yoga Studio and Gallery

Exhibiting St. Louis area artists in historic Lafayette Square

The Missouri Botanical Garden Announces 2009 Plants of Merit


Introduces New Category, Edible Ornamentals

(ST. LOUIS): Just in time for spring, the Missouri Botanical Garden identifies 13 new “Plants of Merit™” for the Midwest in 2009. The Plants of Merit distinction aims to build home gardeners’ confidence in selecting annuals, perennials, shrubs and vines, trees and now edible ornamentals.

Selecting good plants for the landscape can be challenging, especially when faced with numerous possibilities and limited information. The task is made even more complex when many new plants are introduced each year with which gardeners have little experience. The Plants of Merit program aims to promote diversity in the home gardening landscape.

To be nominated as a Plant of Merit, selections must not be invasive in our area; be easy to grow and maintain; grow consistently well in Missouri, central and southern Illinois, and the Kansas City Metro area; be resistant or tolerant to diseases and insects; have outstanding ornamental value; and be reasonably available to purchase.

Highlights of the 2009 Plants of Merit list include Serena series (Angelonia angustifolia), a great, tough annual for Missouri. Try using this brightly colored annual in beds and borders, but also in mixed combinations. Available in three colors, plus a mix, Serena series is a great height item for smaller combination pots, creating a center height element. It requires full sun exposure and is tolerant of our heat and humidity.

In the perennials category is Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium). This Missouri native has ‘yucca- like’ leaves with flowers that resemble thistle heads one-inch in diameter. It tolerates poor soils, and is best used in taller back borders, cottage gardens, meadows and naturalized areas. The seed heads are great in dried floral arrangements. Try using natural paints to add a little zip!

‘Citation’ yew (Taxus x media), a shrub, is not your ordinary yew. ‘Citation’ is a columnar type that does well even in shade. If wet conditions are avoided, this plant will thrive in average soil and tolerates urban conditions. Use as a screen hedge in lightly shaded to shade conditions.

In trees, Chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) adapts well to urban conditions as a lawn, shade, or street tree. Another Missouri native, the Chinkapin oak has characteristics which do not resemble the typical oak leaf. These leaves are narrow, dark and glossy, with a serrated edge instead of a lobed airy leaf. The Chinkapin oak is a rather large tree, but easily sets its branches among the larger home landscapes, parks and even cemeteries.

The Plants of Merit program has a new category in 2009: edible ornamentals. This year’s pick is Ruby Perfection (Brassica oleracea). It’s a cabbage! Ruby Perfection produces three to four pound heads of edible red cabbage in 80 days, but also doubles as a colorful garden ornamental. It may be grown in the cool temperatures of spring or fall, but not in the heat of the summer. Harvest the cabbages for use in salads, slaws or as cooked vegetables, or simply enjoy their showy color in the garden.

The Plants of Merit program began in 1999. Partnering organizations include Powell Gardens, Mizzou Botanic Garden, the University of Missouri Extension, Missouri Landscape & Nursery Association, and Illinois Green Industry Association.

For more information on Plants of Merit, visit www.plantsofmerit.org. Plants of Merit brochures may also be purchased at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Kemper Center for Home Gardening and the Garden Gate Shop.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is the oldest continually operating botanical garden in the nation, celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2009. Missouri Botanical Garden: Green for 150 Years.

Exhibition Art, Inside & Out opens March 6


WHO: The Gallery at the Regional Arts Commission

WHAT: Art, Inside & Out: paintings by John Barton and Phillip Hampton

WHEN: Exhibition: March 6 through April 12
Opening reception: 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. March 6
Gallery talk: Wednesday, March 25; 6:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. talk
Gallery hours: Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

WHERE: The Gallery at the Regional Arts Commission
6128 Delmar Boulevard on The Loop, St. Louis, MO 63112
Free parking in the lot behind The Pageant; metered street parking

Both John Barton and Phillip Hampton-the featured artists in the exhibition Art, Inside & Out-are painters, and art has been an integral aspect of their lives. Those lives, however, have been very different and their work is inevitably shaped by their individual experiences.

Barton, a self-taught or Outsider Artist and the son of a preacher, often has a spiritual message in his work which is inspired by his dreams and visions. As is typical of Outsider Artists, Barton had little or no contact with the institutions of the mainstream art world. He began drawing and painting at an early age but his art wasn't appreciated until late in life. "My paintings grew out of my experiences, thoughts, feelings. I'm 67 years old and I've wondered what all of this means. Needless to say, it's part of me. I've been an artist 'on the outside' maybe all my life," said Barton.

Grappling with such charged topics as human nature and religion, Barton's art is expressive and emotional-at times even tinged with pain. Hampton, on the other hand, approaches his art from an analytical and scientific point of view. A graduate from the Kansas City Art Institute and Professor Emeritus at Southern Illinois University, Hampton was one of three artists featured in last year's exhibition African American Abstraction: St. Louis Connections at the Saint Louis Art Museum. His abstract work is inspired by the self-imposed question "What is reality and what makes reality real?"

Through their work, Hampton and Barton each present us with unique and very personal points of view. Combined, their art shows us every aspect of life: the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.

Art, Inside & Out is curated by Laurie Carmody Ahner of Galerie Bonheur.

Neuroday, Brain Science Expo at the St. Louis Science Center


WHAT: The first annual NeuroDay, Brain Science Expo at the Saint Louis Science Center will include The Real World: Neuroscience, a special brain-themed “house” created by Washington University graduate students, among many other activities.

At NeuroDay, attendees can test their accuracy with prism goggles, a device used to demonstrate visual-motor plasticity, or hold an actual human brain. Other highlights of the event include talks by neuroscientists, exhibitors from community groups, interactive presentations, demonstrations and hands-on activities that emphasize different aspects of brain research.

This event offers the public an opportunity to learn about the brain, the nervous system, and neurological disorders through interactive activities. It is part of international Brain Awareness Week, created by the DANA Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the Society for Neuroscience.

NeuroDay is a collaboration between the Saint Louis Science Center and Washington University funded by the National Science Foundation.

PHOTO AND INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES
Interviews with representatives from the Saint Louis Science Center and Washington University will be available before and at the event.

Visuals:
Hands on Your Brain: Examine a real human brain.
The Jelly Bean: How taste and smell interact.
Electro-occulargrams (EOGs)
Stroop Task: How fast can you say the color?
Electric Fish Tank
Sniffy the Virtual Rat

WHEN:
Saturday, March 7, 2009 10am-3pm

WHERE:
Saint Louis Science Center
5050 Oakland Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110

COST: FREE

MEDIA CONTACT:
Beth Bishop McClure, Saint Louis Science Center, 314.289.1455 (o), 314.267.9916 (c), ebishop@slsc.org

Trademarks:
Thank you for your interest in covering the Saint Louis Science Center. We ask that you include the full names of our institution: Saint Louis Science Center, OMNIMAXĂ’ Theater, and James S. McDonnell Planetarium when writing your story.

Saint Louis Science Center
The Saint Louis Science Center is one of the top five science centers in the United States, serving 1.2 million visitors annually. Recently named one of the “10 Best Science Centers for Families” by Parents magazine and one of “America’s Most Visited Museums” by Forbes Traveler Magazine, - the only museum in Missouri to be named to either list - the Saint Louis Science Center complex includes a four-story OMNIMAXĂ’ Theater, the air-supported EXPLORADOME and the James S. McDonnell Planetarium., the air-supported EXPLORADOME and the James S. McDonnell Planetarium. Its mission is to ignite and sustain lifelong science and technology learning.



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Monday, March 02, 2009

Movie Morsels - March 2009

by Mary K. Morgan - member of the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association.

            Confessions of a Shopaholic (PG) Even if you buy into the neo-Epicurean philosophy that insists that irresponsible consumerism is the twenty-first Century’s answer to “eat, drink and be merry,” the current economic climate still casts a dark shadow on the basic premise of this movie. Becky Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) could well symbolize a microcosm of the attitude toward credit that has precipitated the downward spiral of our nation’s balance sheet.

            Ironically, the irresponsible Becky writes a successful consumer advice column for a prestigious financial magazine. (Perhaps many of our countrymen got their advice from just such a source.) Shallow as it may seem, Becky continues down a lighthearted path of racking up frivolous debts and dodging collection agents and bankers as if it were a game created for her amusement. The idea that creditors are entitled to be paid never seems to cross her mind. 

            Based on the books, Confessions of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella, this film will no doubt appeal to the financially challenged among us who carry large credit card debt and pay unusually high interest rates. If your idea of rollicking fun is to be over your head in debt and oblivious to the ramifications, go for it!  Rating:  2

            The International (R) Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) team up to bust an international conspiracy that is being  perpetrated by one of the world’s most powerful banking institutions, the IBBC (most likely based on the BCCI, Bank of Credit & Commerce International that was involved in a large-scale banking scandal in the ’80s). The crime is international in scope, so Salinger and Whitman must trace banking transactions across the globe, from Berlin to Milan to New York and to Istanbul.

            The banking angle is a bit convoluted, but the crux of the matter is that the evil bankers finance revolutions in under-developed nations and provide monetary resources to terrorists. Ruthless and concerned only with their bottom line, the world of corrupt high finance rolls on without a conscience. Sound familiar?

            German director Tim Tyker (Run Lola Run) makes a radical move about mid-film when the banking movie morphs into a full-blown action flick. When it does, watch out.

            The screen explodes with one of the most striking, prolonged gun battles I’ve seen lately. The fact that most of the shooting takes place inside the architecturally perfect Guggenheim Museum doesn’t hurt the interest level a bit. So believable is the destruction that it is difficult to believe the Museum isn’t actually being riddled with bullet holes. Action, good. Banking, bad. Rating: 3

            Taken (PG-13) If you happen to be abducted by Albanian mobsters, it certainly helps if your devoted dad is an ex-CIA operative. Director Pierre Morel manages to work up an excess of adrenalin in his audience with this fast-action, no-holds-barred thriller starring Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills, a man living 96 hours of his life in a fast-forward, search-and-rescue mission that spares no deadly moves.

            The thin plot takes a back seat to the real guts of the film, Bryan’s skilled and calculated application of his operative skills on the very personal mission of saving his 18-year-old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from a terrible fate at the hands of ruthless villains who trade in human flesh. Abducted soon after she and her friend arrive in Paris, young Kim manages to call her father and hand off a few vital clues via cell phone just as she is being taken. A stern warning from Bryan to the bad guys goes unheeded, the perp on the phone wishes him good luck and the battle is on.

            Pulling out all of the stops and calling in favors from past undercover acquaintances, Bryan springs into his operative mode and takes no prisoners as he unravels the mystery of his daughter’s disappearance. As to the ending, telling any details would be a spoiler. Perhaps it’s best to relish the good times in the film as Liam Neeson plays the cool, capable, secret-agent dad in pursuit of his daughter and her abductors. Rating: 3

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Putting the Swash in Your Buckle, 'The Pirates of Penzance'


The Touhill Performing Arts Center March 13

Famed New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players return for one-night only!

ST. LOUIS (February 17, 2009) – One of the most-loved, and certainly one of the funniest, Gilbert & Sullivan operettas of all time, The Pirates of Penzance comes to the Touhill for one-night only, presented by the renowned G&S aficionados, New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players. The Pirates of Penzance will be performed in the Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis on Friday, March 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50, $40, and $30 and are available now by calling 314.516.4949, or at www.touhill.org. Sponsored by Emerson, RAC and welcomed by KWMU.

The legendary composing duo’s comic masterpiece The Pirates of Penzance is as popular today as it was in 1879 at its New York debut. The light opera’s century-plus endurance is no doubt due to W.S. Gilbert’s brilliantly witty libretto and Arthur Sullivan’s charming melodies.

Presented in two acts and set on the rocky coast of Cornwall, England, The Pirates of Penzance (Or The Slave of Duty) centers on the dilemma of young Frederic who, as a child, was mistakenly apprenticed to the pirates until his twenty first birthday. Helping Frederic to deal with this unusual predicament are his band of tenderhearted pirates, the brash Pirate King, Ruth - the pirate maid-of-all-work, romantic Mabel, and the delightfully stuffy Major-General Stanley.

The Pirates of Penzance will be presented at the Touhill by the famed New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, known for their dynamic blend of contemporary vitality and traditional respect for its specialized repertory. Now in its fourth decade of operation, New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players (NYGASP) is America’s preeminent professional Gilbert & Sullivan repertory ensemble. Under the dynamic leadership of Artistic Director Albert Bergeret, who has been hailed as “the leading custodian of the G&S classics” by New York magazine, NYGASP has created its own special niche in the cultural mosaic of New York City and the nation. Since its founding in 1974, the company has presented over 2,000 performances of the G&S masterpieces throughout the United States and Canada, captivating audiences of all ages. NYGASP return to the Touhill following their well received 2005 performance of H.M.S. Pinafore.

The Touhill is pleased to offer the E3! program in conjunction with The Pirates of Penzance. The new E3! program, Explore – Experience – Engage, offers the occasion for patrons to delve further into the artistic realm and deepen appreciation of the performance. Stella Markou, Director of Vocal Studies and Assistant Professor of Music at UMSL, will lend her extensive knowledge and infectious enthusiasm for opera as program moderator. After Markou’s pre-show lecture, patrons view the opera during the Experience portion. Then they can Engage with other audience members during a reception, enjoying food and drink while sharing their take on what they just experienced. Tickets for the E3! program are just an additional $5.

Next up at the Touhill is Discover Beethoven with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra on Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m. followed by the Duke Ellington Orchestra on Sunday, March 22 at 2 p.m.

The Pirates of Penzance is Friday, March 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50, $40, and $30, and are available now at the Touhill Performing Arts Center Ticket Office; online at www.touhill.org; or by phone at 314.516.4949; and toll-free at 866.516.4949. The Touhill’s Ticket Office is located at One University Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63121. All St. Louis area students receive a 10% discount on two tickets with their I.D. Group and senior discounts are also available.

The Touhill Performing Arts Center is located on the north campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, just 10 minutes from Clayton. (Exit # 240 from I-70). There is ample free parking and the UMSL North Campus MetroLink Station is just steps from the Touhill’s Main Entrance.

Now in its sixth season of presenting the finest in the performing arts to the St. Louis region, the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center opened its doors in September 2003. The $52 million facility designed by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, features the 1,625-seat Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall and the 350-seat E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater. The not-for-profit Center is the jewel of the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus and is the first impetus and focal point for creating an arts district for students at the University.

Symphonic Interpretation Beyond The Baton


The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra offers opportunity to ‘Discover Beethoven’
with conductor Nicholas McGegan at the Touhill on March 15


ST. LOUIS (February 23, 2009) – The most visible aspect of a conductor’s job – gesturing to lead an orchestral performance – is arguably his least important. Preparing for a live performance requires the conductor study and interpret a piece according to his personal vision, then communicate his thoughts to the musicians during hours of rehearsal. Only then can it be properly conveyed to the listening audience. During a traditional symphonic performance, all the interpretation is left to the music. For one afternoon at the Touhill, world-class conductor Nicholas McGegan will take listeners beyond the baton, expressing his take on a great symphony by a great composer in a multimedia presentation. In Discover Beethoven, guest conductor McGegan reveals the wonders of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, Pastoral, with slide show, discussion, and musical excerpts. Then McGegan leads the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) in a full performance of the composer’s dramatic evocation of the natural world. Discover Beethoven will take place in the Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis on Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets for are $35, $25, and $15 and are available now by calling 314.516.4949, or at www.touhill.org. This is the final performance in the Symphony Sundays series, sponsored by Centene Corporation and welcomed by KWMU.

Pastoral is an exceptionally appropriate piece for an in-depth explanation from a composer’s perspective. An inherently descriptive symphony, Beethoven utilized the distinct personalities of musical instruments to mimic the sounds of a country setting, complete with a flowing brook, violent thunderstorm, and bird calls. Whether it’s your first, or one hundred and first listening, McGegan’s insight into the piece is sure to bring new understanding and modern relevance to the two hundred year-old piece.

McGegan, originally from England and educated at Cambridge and Oxford Universities, is known throughout the world for performances that match authority with enthusiasm, scholarship with joy, and curatorial responsibility with evangelical exuberance. Through more than twenty years as its music director, McGegan has established the San Francisco-based Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra as the leading period performance band in America - and at the forefront of the 'historical' movement worldwide thanks to notable appearances at Carnegie Hall, the London Proms, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the International Handel Festival, Gottingen where he has been artistic director since 1991.

The Touhill is pleased to offer the E3! program in conjunction with Discover Beethoven. The Touhill’s new E3! program, Explore – Experience – Engage, offers the occasion for patrons to delve further into the artistic realm and deepen appreciation of the performance. As Discover Beethoven contains an extraordinarily educational component with composer insight, the Explore and Experience portions of this program are combined. After patrons Experience the symphony, they can Engage with other audience members while noshing on light hors d’oeuvres and wine, to share their take on what they just experienced. Tickets for the E3! program are just an additional $5.

Discover Beethoven with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra is Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35, $25, and $15, and are available now at the Touhill Performing Arts Center Ticket Office; online at www.touhill.org; or by phone at 314.516.4949; and toll-free at 866.516.4949. The Touhill’s Ticket Office is located at One University Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63121. All St. Louis area students receive a 10% discount on two tickets with their I.D. Group and senior discounts are also available.

The Touhill Performing Arts Center is located on the north campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, just 10 minutes from Clayton. (Exit # 240 from I-70). There is ample free parking and the UMSL North Campus MetroLink Station is just steps from the Touhill’s Main Entrance.

Now in its sixth season of presenting the finest in the performing arts to the St. Louis region, the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center opened its doors in September 2003. The $52 million facility designed by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, features the 1,625-seat Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall and the 350-seat E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater. The not-for-profit Center is the jewel of the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus and is the first impetus and focal point for creating an arts district for students at the University.

Ptah Williams Trio with vocalist Marsha Evans


PRESS RELEASE, Feb. 23, 2009

www.StLouisJazzandBluesVespers.com

St. Louis Jazz and Blues Vespers feature the highly regarded, Ptah Williams Trio with Marsha Evans, jazz vocalist on Sunday, March 15 at 6:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary of the Beatitudes of Second Baptist Church of St. Louis. The acoustically excellent sanctuary is located 1/3 mile west of the St. Louis Galleria on Clayton Road at McKnight Road. This venue is offered to the best jazz and blues groups in the city to perform 100 minutes of popular music. The Vespers, held on the third Sunday of each month, are free to the public. No tickets needed.

Ptah Williams has been voted five times the best jazz musician by readers of the St. Louis Riverfront Times and has performed throughout Europe and the United States. Ptah has been called the Winton Macellous of the keyboards with a style reminiscent of Charlie Bird and Thelonius Monk. He performs weekly at Riddles Pentultimate in U-City. Long considered one of St. Louis’ Ladies of Jazz, Marsha Evans performs at BB’s Jazz Blues and Soups and was a featured performer at the St. Louis Mardi Gras in 2008. She sang on the “Headliners Stage” of the 2006 and 2008 Big Muddy Blues Festival.

During the inspirational interlude between the band’s two acts, Dr. Stephen Jones, pastor of the church, will offer a brief, non-sectarian message. A free-will offering will be taken to benefit the musicians during the interlude. Refreshments will be served in the church’s narthex after the vespers. Parking is free in lighted lots surrounding the church.

The next St. Louis Jazz and Blues Vespers will be on the third Sunday night of April, April 19 featuring the Steve Schenkel Sextet. For more information, go to our website, www.stlouisjazzandbluesvespers.com or call 314/991-3424.