st. louis
Stella!! (Stella?) Wanna join in a ‘Stella Shouting’ contest? You can make like Stanley Kowalski in May, when the metro will pay homage to the city’s favorite playwright—Tennessee Williams—with an inaugural celebration that kicks off May 11 and runs through the 15th on a variety of both conventional and unexpected stages in Grand Center and the CWE. Highlights from this first festival include a Hirschfeld Exhibition Unveiling and ‘An Evening with Olympia Dukakis.’ Along with the Stella Yellin’ (well, shouting) competition, this multifaceted festival offers something for all tastes—theatrical productions, movies, a visual art exhibition, readings, a beatnik jam, panel discussions, a tour, and live music. The Hirschfeld Exhibition, Broadway Poet, kicks off the festival Wednesday, May 11, at the Kranzberg Studio. Al Hirschfeld Draws Tennessee Williams gathers more than 20 of Hirschfeld’s iconic works to give visitors a glimpse of an archive of Williams’ Broadway career (both original productions and revivals). Both men, who hailed from St. Louis, spent their lives studying their fellow men and women and interpreting them through their own prisms for their respective (and in many ways shared) audiences. Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award-winner for Moonstruck, appears in a program Thursday, May 12, that reveals the depth of her relationship with Williams’ words. Dukakis has been performing roles written by Williams since she played Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire during her first professional work—summer stock in Maine. If there is a virtuoso actor of Tennessee Williams throughout America, it’s her. She’s played Maxine in Night of the Iguana; Serafina in The Rose Tattoo (four times over the course of almost 30 years); The Glass Menagerie’s Amanda; and Flora Goforth in Milk Train, most notably on Broadway in 2011. Programming over the five-day festival includes more variety than you could shake a stick at.

TT-CWE.3-9-2016central west end
To all you St. Louisans out there gigging frogs this spring, knock it off! Frogs are our friends, not just a hoosier delicacy, and the Saint Louis Zoo needs people to watch, and document, the omnipresent croakers. As a volunteer frogwatcher, you will be trained to help with identification by listening for distinctive vocalizations and helping researchers conduct an amphibian census, if you will. The lovely, lowly, non-wart-inducing toad is part of the effort, as well. Just like anyone with a smartphone can become a ‘citizen journalist,’ you can become a ‘citizen scientist’ as a FrogWatch USA volunteer with the zoo. I can see Kermit in a top hat pointing to you—yes, you—because you and other St. Louisans are needed to jump right in and monitor frogs and toads from backyards, parks, fields, creeks or just about anywhere. The information gathered can ultimately lead to workable ways to stop amphibian decline: For more than a decade, analyses of data have been used to help develop practical strategies for the conservation of the important species. You needn’t be a frog or toad expert to join FrogWatch, and you won’t even have to see or touch the amazing amphibians to participate. All you need is the interest and time to attend a training session. You’ll be asked to commit to monitoring a site of your choosing for at least three minutes twice a week throughout the frogs’ breeding season, which ranges from about February to August. In just a few hours, you’ll be trained to distinguish the love songs of 10 of the most common species in our region. That may not be a bird or cricket you hear, but actually a lovesick toad. The calls range from a soft musical trill to a deafening chorus. Well, it’s pretty loud at a bullfrog convention. If you’re ready to make the leap (sorry), you can sign up for one of five FrogWatch trainings, the first to be held 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 11 in the Living World building at the zoo. Three will be held in the Carriage House at Shaw Nature Reserve on March 29, April 8 and 12, and on April 9 in Broemmelsiek Park in Defiance. Do those other four sessions seem way out there? Maybe they are a little west of the Inner Belt, but you have to go where the critters are. So, please peep up, peeps. It ain’t easy being green.

St. Luke’s Hospital first opened its doors in 1966, the year after the Civil War ended. The independent hospital is celebrating its sesquicentennial. That means it’s been 150 years since its original incarnation admitted the first patient, when a 25-room infirmary opened at Interstate 55 and Russell Boulevard. It consisted of eight medical staff members, while family and friends provided nursing care. Today St. Luke’s provides healthcare services in more than 60 specialty areas at its main campus in Chesterfield, and it has 25 other locations throughout St. Louis and St. Charles counties. St. Luke’s will celebrate its anniversary with the community by hosting a free health fair 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. June 4, on its main campus with screenings and information about various health topics and resources. A lot of water has flowed under the bridges in 150 years. In August 1866, St. Luke’s began providing free treatment to patients during a cholera epidemic. In its first 12 years, St. Luke’s treated more than 7,000 patients free of charge. In 1889, the St. Luke’s School of Nursing was established. Until it closed in 1988, it was the oldest nursing school in continuous operation west of the Mississippi River. During the 1904 World’s Fair, the hospital opened a hospital on Delmar Boulevard. In 1975, St. Luke’s West opened in Chesterfield in the hospital’s current location, and in 1985, all operations were moved to the Chesterfield campus. The hospital rapidly expanded to include medical office buildings and new services. St. Luke’s opened its eighth urgent care center in 2015.

The fair ’wood of Maple reminds us that March 14 (3/14) is Pi Day, which has everything to do with the mathematical constant (3.14159… ) and very little to do with the pizzeria of that name. We … well, I … had never heard of it. But the day that gives math geeks great glee is Monday, March 14. Yes, you can get a pizza at Pi, the president’s favorite slice, but you also can wonder why you … well, I … didn’t hear about Pi Day last year, when there was great rejoicing on 3/14/15 at 9 a.m. Why? Well, slide rule clickers got to be at work a half hour later, or something. At any rate, the special combination of numbers only comes around once a century, and most of us won’t be around in 2115 when it happens again. Congress actually decreed in 2009 that March 14 would be observed as Pi Day, but you don’t have to be a math geek to be a little annoyed that we don’t have a federal holiday on Monday. Maybe we’ll luck into a snow day instead. Or, those so inclined could call in sick from trying to remember pi to the umpteen millionth place. Sigh. Life has just become so digital.

Dave Spence

At The Magic House in Kirkwood, it’s out with the old fitness exhibit and in with the new, by Mizzou! The old was affiliated with that team that used to play what some thought was football at the Dome. The team that headed for the Left Coast and was formerly called the St. Louis Rams, among other expletives. The new? The St. Louis children’s museum is teaming up with the Missouri Tigers to remodel the museum’s popular fitness exhibit, thanks to the support of University of Missouri alumnus Dave and Suzie Spence. The exhibit formerly was branded to the Rams and featured that organization’s colors, players and other insignia. Spence, a former member of The Magic House board, played a key role in initiating the new partnership with his alma mater. He has emphasized his conviction that the exhibit stay current, and the new Mizzou Training Center will include Tigers-themed fun activity stations that build the skills all athletes need for playing on the field: agility, balance, endurance, flexibility, strength and velocity. Teamwork is a given. Suited up in team colors of black and gold, the Mizzou Training Center will feature a locker room displaying real MU equipment, official uniforms and snacks that players use to fuel up before a game. Unlike the fickle Rams, Mizzou’s gridders aren’t going to be leaving. The only MU things sure to cause controversy could be the off-field antics/goofball behavior by administrators and teachers. Spence is delighted that the exhibit will be for everyone in the metro and beyond to enjoy, “as it celebrates our flagship state school and helps change the narrative from recent headlines.” He can say that again. (In 2012, Spence, of Frontenac, was the Republican contender facing Jay Nixon for Missouri governor.) In other news: The opening kickoff of the new Mizzou Training Center will coincide with the fan-favorite preseason Black & Gold football game scheduled April 16. One more point: Parking at The Magic House is free, but we’re not sure about the museum’s policy regarding tailgate parties.