Talk of the Towns

Talk of the Towns: 11.4.15

[university city]
U.S. Rep. John Lewis will speak at a free screening of Get in the Way: The Journey of John Lewis, a documentary on the life and career of the revered statesman and civil rights leader who was beaten by club-wielding Alabama state troopers during the 1965 Selma march known as ‘Bloody Sunday.’ Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, will speak at the first screening, 7 p.m. Nov. 8 at WashU’s Brown Hall Auditorium. Admission is first come, first served. A young student 50 years ago, Lewis at first wasn’t convinced that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s nonviolent methods would work in the face of vicious racial oppression, but the televised images shocked Americans far and wide. The film will screen again at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Missouri History Museum. No guests will accompany that show, but the program also will feature the short piece Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot, the story of a courageous group of Alabama students and teachers who fought a nonviolent battle to win voting rights for blacks in the South. The screenings are part of the 24th annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF), Nov. 5 through 15. Get in the Way is part of SLIFF’s continuing response to the 2014 events in Ferguson. The fest again will feature a stream of programming entitled Race in America: The Black Experience, which includes nearly 30 screenings. To maximize outreach, about half of the programs are free.

[maryland heights]
Volunteers and guests went straight to the source at Mills Apple Farm recently for a fundraising and food collection event to benefit Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry in Maryland Heights. One large barrel of freshly picked apples went directly from the orchard to the pantry, along with four other barrels full of food during the eighth annual ‘Feed the Pantry-Feed the Soul’ event produced by Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Organizers emphasize that the need for donations is increasing as the number of people served by JF&CS continues to rise. Youngsters participated in arts and crafts projects at the event, where donations to the pantry included household items and money.

[sunset hills]
Sunset.11-4-15The future has been sculpted. Laumeier Sculpture Park’s $10 million ‘Sculpting the Future’ capital campaign has resulted in many fantastic features, not the least of which is the sleek new Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center, a 7,500-square-foot, multi-purpose building that contrasts sharply with the park’s historic architecture. Completed this summer, the center will serve as the new public focal point of the park, featuring a large indoor gallery, reception area, collections storage, conservation space and event facilities. Presently, it is hosting its first two public shows: an indoor exhibition and outdoor commission by the Raqs Media Collective and the 2015 Kranzberg Exhibition Series, Zlatko Ćosić + Ashley McQueen: Harmony in 3. Both opened last month and offer the first opportunity for visitors to fully experience all the changes at the park. A modernistic ‘barn,’ the Aronson is directly across from a new public plaza of the 1917 estate house, now called the Kranzberg Education Lab. The historic house, formerly used for exhibitions, the welcome center and museum shop, now features spacious studios and meeting areas for classes, lectures and workshops. This is all integral to preparations for the park’s 40th anniversary next year (Laumeier opened in the summer of 1976). Many of the changes are virtual: The website has been renovated, and the bold new logo is evocative of sculpture.

Wild.11-4-15Completed over the summer, the first phase of Wildwood Community Park, The Grove, is a natural. No store-bought, manufactured elements here. They’re as common as bugs in any number of other area parks, but there are no blue slides, red plastic steps or yellow swings in these 7 acres of a natural play area that blend modern amenities with surrounding topography. Oates Associates of Collinsville, Illinois, developed the master plan for the 66-acre park (on Hwy. 100 just west of Hwy. 109) using input from residents in 2010. Oates provided architectural, civil engineering, structural engineering, survey and construction phase services in designing the area as an active play space balanced with more passive amenities that allow residents to reflect on the natural environment, which is one reason they moved out here in the first place. There are trails, a dog park, an exercise area, a pavilion, picnic areas, gardens, a creek crossing and playground where kids can get their clothes wet and hands dirty. The Grove features rock walls and ledges, at least one teepee, log posts and piles, climbing structures, rope nets, boardwalks and a 20-foot tower. As a designer observes, “A ladder has one way to the top. A real rock climbing ledge has dozens of ways to the top.” A public participation process showed that residents preferred trails, sledding hills, natural playgrounds and open play grass over manufactured play systems. The city will continue to develop the remainder of the community park in phases over the next five to 10 years as funding becomes available.

[st. louis]
It was a clear and dry day when wild tapas resturant Sanctuaria in The Grove neighborhood was struck by a car, whose driver told police she lost control after swerving to avoid another vehicle that cut her off. The restaurant/bar was unable to collect from the driver’s insurance company, which blamed the accident on a ‘phantom vehicle.’ Repair of the damaged brickwork was up to them, even after an attorney called the insurance company and asked for reconsideration. The insurance company stood firm on its original position that the phantom vehicle driver is responsible. Suffice it to say Sanctuaria was on the hook for the damage, but it made the most of the mishap. A phantom-themed Party of the Dead was its response, with ‘phantom’ drink specials and an even more elaborate get-together on Halloween to celebrate the holiday and Dia de los Muertos … (Day of the Dead) in style. The phantom-related accident occurred at 1:42 p.m., so Sanctuaria held a scary story reading at 7:42 p.m., with a $342 prize awarded for the best story. Meanwhile, patrons were warned to keep an eye out for the alleged phantom vehicle haunting The Grove. It might just still be out there. Eek!

You can never get ready for the holidays too early. My mom, God bless her, started reminding us about gift lists every August. And just think how efficient Santa Claus has to be, although he somehow manages to visit every mall in the western world starting around Thanksgiving. How? Well, any kid can tell you: it’s magic! Believe it or not, the jolly old elf even finds time to write letters to good little boys and girls. Friends of the Kirkwood Public Library again will sponsor its ‘Letter From Santa’ program to raise money for the library, as well as help Kris Kringle keep up with his correspondence. Whoever wants a letter to go to a child needs to answer a few questions about the recipient, such as favorite classes in school, recent accomplishments, pets, sports, grandparents. They then will receive a custom letter from the big guy. But requests have to come in early to qualify for a North Pole postmark: Dec. 2. After that, letters come with a local postmark. The deadline for all orders is Dec. 16. Kids love the attention, but so do grandparents and older siblings and even overly sentimental college students. You can donate between $7 and $15, but every recipient gets the same impressive letter from Santa regardless of donation amount. Monies raised have gone toward library tech upgrades and the like. But kids, remember: leaving out tasty treats to feed Santa and his reindeer is still up to you.

Pictured: John Lewis