Fall Arts Preview

The Top 25 Cultural Events of the Season

 

It’s hard to miss the many arts and cultural events that emerge in St. Louis as the fall season gets underway. Venues and theater companies announce their fall lineups, art galleries and museums host new exhibits, and annual festivals take advantage of the weather by bringing the fine arts outdoors. With so much to do in so little time, ALIVE has compiled our top 25 picks to help you make the most of the exciting fall arts season.

SEPTEMBER

BIG MUDDY BLUES FESTIVAL

Laclede’s Landing
September 1-2 

Named for the Mississippi River’s nickname, “The Big Muddy,” this 17th annual blues fest brings more than 60,000 people— St. Louisians and visitors alike—down to the riverfront at Laclede’s Landing every year. With three stages of music, this year’s festival features the likes of Joe Louis Walker, the Melissa Neels Band, Marsha Evans & The Coalition, Ana Popovic, Marquise Knox, Eric “Guitar” Davis & The Troublemakers and many more phenomenal blues musicians. Tickets at bigmuddybluesfestival.com $

36th ANNUAL JAPANESE FESTIVAL

Missouri Botanical Garden
September 1-3
One of the most highly anticipated cultural festivals in the St. Louis area, MOBOT ‘s annual Japanese Festival attracts thousands of visitors each year. Festivalgoers get a colorful look at Japanese culture through martial arts like judo and aikido, traditional sumo wrestlers, bonsai- and flower-arranging, Japanese drums (taiko), the art of kimono-dressing, candlelight tours and much more. More info at mobot.org $

BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS

The Repertory Theatre
September 5-30
 
Mark your calendar for the opening of The Repertory Theatre’s 2012-13 season, which kicks off with the company’s first-ever production of a Neil Simon play: “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” The play explores the issues surrounding pre-war 1930s New York, all through the eyes of 15-year-old Eugene Jerome—who’d much rather discuss baseball and, well, teenage girls. Tickets at repstl.org $$

SAINT LOUIS ART FAIR

Downtown Clayton Business District
September 7-9

One of the largest art celebrations of the year, the 19th annual Saint Louis Art Fair features more than 180 visual artists and artisans, as well as 38 performing arts groups, across eight blocks in downtown Clayton. Presented by Sterling Bank, this year’s fest features delicious food from 16 local restaurants, a children’s art fair and activities, and three stages of live entertainment. Whether your tastes are semi-traditional, more modern or eclectic, you’re sure to go home with something unique. More info at culturalfestivals.com $

JOAN HALL: MARGINAL WATERS

Bruno David Gallery
September 7-October 13

Navigator, sailboat racer and esteemed artist Joan Hall presents “Marginal Waters,” her exhibit of Mylar and paper pieces examining the relationship of the ocean to the individual and global society. Hall has skillfully created work that is both beautiful and socially aware, calling for action to put environmental threats like pollution and deteriorating shores behind us. More info at brunodavidgallery.com

JONATHAN HOROWITZ: YOUR LAND, MY LAND: ELECTION ‘12

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
September 7-November 11 

During the 2008 presidential election, Jonathan Horowitz presented his exhibit, “November 4, 2008” in New York City. This year, just in time for the 2012 election, the exhibit is reconfigured and brought to CAM. “Your Land, My Land: Election ’12” features sculptures, photographs and a unique video setup that includes a “blue zone” and “red zone” divided by two suspended televisions—one broadcasting Fox News and the other CNN. More info at camstl.org $

STEVEN LEE, BETH LO, BRIAN SMITH

Duane Reed Gallery
September 13-October 13

Duane Reed Gallery kicks off its fall season with three separate, but equally captivating exhibits. Steven Lee challenges viewers’ preconceptions of form in aesthetic and functional ceramic art and sculptures. Meanwhile, Beth Lo presents her Asian American-influenced pottery and mixed media, both celebrating and revealing humor in customs like calligraphy, origami and social realism. Finally, Brian Smith’s vivid paintings transport viewers into a world of memory and landscape, challenging ideas of fixedness and place. + More info at duanereedgallery.com $

NOTATIONS: CONTEMPORARY DRAWING AS IDEA AND PROCESS

Mildred Lane Kemper art Museum
September 14-January 7

This fall, Kemper Art Museum presents two explorative exhibits. “Notations: Contemporary Drawing as Idea and Process” takes a look at drawing and its inclination toward theoretical or experimental ideas. The exhibit showcases more than 60 works by 39 artists, both contemporary and from the ’50s-’70s. “Design With the Other 90%: CITIES” examines the need for thoughtful and innovative architectural design, particularly in rapidly growing urban areas where many people live in makeshift communities. This exhibit features more than 60 innovative structures and systems that have helped or can help develop global communities. + More info at kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu $

IN THE STILL EPIPHANY SHORT FILM SHOWCASE

Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
September 21

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and guest curator Gedi Sibony have joined forces with Cinema St. Louis to present a showcase of short silent films by local filmmakers, each inspired by The Pulitzer’s 10th anniversary exhibit, “In the Still Epiphany.” Films selected for the showcase will be shown on the museum’s exterior walls, with the winning film screening in the courtyard with Sibony’s pick: Theodor Dreyer’s film, “Ordet.” More info at pulitzerarts.org $

MUSIC OF RAY CHARLES & KENNY G

Powell Hall
September 21-22

Join the St. Louis Symphony and celebrate the music of legendary soul and jazz artists Ray Charles and Kenny G. First, Ray Charles’ friend and longtime protégé, Ellis Hall, plays with the symphony in tribute to the musician who broke down barriers both in music and social rights. The following evening, Grammy Award-winning contemporary saxophonist Kenny G brings Powell Hall alive with his signature jazz moves. Tickets at stlsymphony.org $$$

THE IMPROVISED SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

Touhill Performing Arts Center
September 28-29

The Improvised Shakespeare Company is one of the nation’s most popular improvisational theater troupes of the moment. This Chicago-based company features five of its performers during each show, setting the tone for a highly interactive experience by first asking the audience for a play title—which could be anything from “A Midsummer Night’s Menopause” to “Justin Bieber.” Then, using Shakespearian-style language, characters and themes, these incredibly witty and quick-ontheir-feet actors create a story you’ll not soon forget. Tickets at touhill.org $$

TASTE OF ST. LOUIS

Downtown
September 28-30

Art and wine are as natural a pairing as they come, and fans of Taste of St. Louis know it. Each year, this weekend-long celebration of fine art and fine dining draws thousands Downtown. A highlight is the Art & Wine Walk, a one-of-a-kind experience where guests not only admire, discuss and purchase from a juried collection of local and national artwork, but also sample more than 100 wines from around the world. Other tantalizing aspects of this signature St. Louis festival include the Chef Battle Royale, a heated competition of local chefs, demos by celebrity chefs from Food Network, and a free concert series on the Center Stage, featuring The All-American Rejects. More info at tastestl.com $

OCTOBER

NEW DANCE HORIZONS

Touhill Performing Arts Center
October 5-6

Dance St. Louis brings together four nationally renowned choreographers with four St. Louis dance companies to create and perform four completely unique dances to premiere at Touhill. With such names as LA’s Victoria Marks, NYC’s Pam Tanowitz and contemporary ballet artists Gina Patterson and Jessica Lang, as well as local favorites Saint Louis Ballet, a Trek Dance Collective, MADCO and Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company, this is one show that is not to be missed. + Tickets at touhill.org or dancestlouis.org $$

THE SHELDON’S 100th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

The Sheldon Concert Hall & Galleries
October 11

The Sheldon celebrates its centennial with an extravagant anniversary gala, special musical performances, art exhibits and more. Sheldon favorites like Branford Marsalis, Christine Brewer and Christian McBride perform in concert, and St. Louis pianist Peter Martin presents the world premiere of the piece he composed for the occasion, “This Present Past.” Also on display is the expansive Al Hirschfeld retrospective, “Jazz and Broadway Scrapbook,” featuring more than 100 original drawings. + Tickets at thesheldon.org $$$$

LES MISÉRABLES

Fox Theatre
October 16-28

Just in time for the 25th anniversary of Boublil & Schönberg’s musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables,” The Fox showcases the latest production of this classic tale of human dignity. The story rings as poignant as ever, featuring fan-favorite songs like “Do You Hear the People Sing?” and “I Dreamed a Dream.” + Tickets at fabulousfox.com $$$

FEDERICO BAROCCI: RENAISSANCE MASTER

Saint Louis Art Museum
October 21-January 20
 
Saint Louis Art Museum and The National Gallery in London partner to present a beautiful and thorough exhibit of more than 150 works by Federico Barocci, one of the lesserknown Italian Renaissance artists. Esteemed for his innovative paintings, as well as pastel and chalk works, this 16th-century artist combined High Renaissance techniques with Baroque touches and was integral in influencing the development of European art. More info at slam.org $

ANNE AND EMMETT

Grandel Theatre
October 25-November 4

The Black Rep, now in its 36th season in St. Louis, celebrates the 20th anniversary of opening shop at Grandel Theatre in Grand Center. To commemorate the occasion, the company presents “Anne and Emmett,” a story of two individuals’ courage against racism, and what it means to find hope and reconciliation. Don’t miss the Opening Night Gala on Oct. 26. Tickets at theblackrep.org $$

JUAN WILLIAM CHÁVEZ

Laumeier Sculpture Park
October 27-January 20

As part of the Kranzberg Exhibition Series 2012, Juan William Chávez expands upon his “Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary” project with work from a research trip to Europe, photos of The Beekeeping School in Paris and cave drawings from Valencia, Spain. This series of films, photographs, drawings and outdoor sculptures explores concerns surrounding urban abandonment and creative uses of city space. More info at laumeiersculpturepark.org $

ART SAINT LOUIS XVIII, THE EXHIBITION

Art Saint Louis
October 29-December 27

Art Saint Louis hosts its 28th annual exhibition, presenting a wide variety of media, styles and techniques by St. Louis and regional artists. This year’s showcase is juried by Richard V. West, art historian and director emeritus of the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. Don’t miss the Juror’s Gallery Talk at the free reception on Nov. 10. More info at artstlouis.org $

NOVEMBER

FACING THE SHADOW

Missouri History Museum
November 1-11
 
As part of the Missouri History Museum’s theater series, The Black Rep performs Sheila Payton’s play, “Facing the Shadow.” Set in pre-Civil War Baltimore, the play follows the Free Women of Color Literary Society as it faces the decision of whether to help a runaway slave escape to freedom and, in the process, risk the freedom of its own members. Tickets at theblackrep.org or mohistory.org $$

ST. LOUIS SPEAKERS SERIES: CONDOLEEZZA RICE

Powell Hall
November 13
 
Condoleezza Rice served as Secretary of State to former president George W. Bush during some of his most climactic years—and was the second woman and the first African American woman to hold the position. Hear Rice discuss her successes, challenges and thoughts on the recent past and future of American politics. Tickets (with series subscription only) at stlouisspeakersseries.org $$$$

ST. LOUIS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Tivoli Theatre
November 8-18

Hosted by Cinema St. Louis, the 21st annual St. Louis International Film Festival brings thousands of high-profile national and international filmmakers, critics and movie-lovers to the city. Over the course of the week, more than 400 cutting-edge films and shorts from around the world show at numerous local venues, including The Tivoli, Plaza Frontenac Cinema, Webster’s Winifred Moore Auditorium and Washington University’s Brown Hall Auditorium. Don’t miss out on the many parties, special lectures and pre-screenings at CAM, The Pageant and the Hi-Pointe Theater. Tickets and passes at cinematlouis.org $

CENTRAL TO YOUR WORLD: CENTRAL LIBRARY REDEDICATION GALA

Central Library
November 17

Following the lead of many historic Downtown sites, the St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library has undergone a $70 million restoration—just in time to celebrate its centennial year. The “Central To Your World” rededication gala gives supporters of the library a first look at the revitalized space before it opens to the public in early December. Tickets at slplfoundation.org $$$$

JOHN PIZZARELLI QUARTET

Jazz at the Bistro
November 28-December 1
 
Jazz St. Louis presents internationally renowned guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli, bringing songs from the Great American Songbook to Jazz at the Bistro—with nods to classic jazz and swing legends like Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, George Gershwin and more. Tickets at jazzstl.org $$

THE DIVINE SISTER

Kranzberg Arts Center
November 30-December 15 

HotCity Theatre performs Charles Busch’s comedic SoHo-bred play, an homage to nearly all nun-focused Hollywood films. If you’re familiar with movies like “The Song of Bernadette,” “The Bells of St. Mary’s” or even “The Singing Nun,” you’ll recognize many cues in “The Divine Sister” and sympathize with the sequence of events that fall upon the protagonist, Mother Superior. Tickets at hotcitytheatre.org $$

Photos courtesy of The Sheldon, Ari Scott, St. Louis Symphony, Peter Newcomb, Dance St. Louis, and Saint Louis Art Fair. Big Muddy Blues Festival photo by Peter Wochniak. Saint Louis Art Fair photo courtesy of Saint Louis Art Fair. New Dance Horizons photo courtesy of Dance St. Louis. “Les Misérables” photo by Deen van Meer. Federico Barocci photo courtesy of Saint Louis Art Museum. Central Library rendering by Cannon Design.

 

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Sheldon Concert Hall

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Improvised Shakespeare Company

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Kenny G

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Taste of St. Louis

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New Dance Horizons

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Les Miserables

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St. Louis Art Fair

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Barocci

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Big Muddy Blues

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Saint Louis Art Fair

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St. Louis Central Museum

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Jason Mraz

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“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Grandel Theatre

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Queeny Park Art Fair

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Great Forest Park Balloon Race

 

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