Talk of the Towns: 5.3.23

delmar loop
St. Louis native and Bravo TV star Andy Cohen will become a true-to-life star in the Delmar Loop on May 5 in front of the Moonrise Hotel. Full disclosure: It’s a brass star. Cohen’s already certifiable—as a beloved, Emmy-winning presence on the small screen, that is. Cohen’s honor is to be embedded in the sidewalk, one of more than 150 stars underfoot on both the north and south sides of Delmar, plaques that describe the exploits of remarkable men and women who were either born in these parts or enjoyed success in and around here. Having rocketed to fame via producing long-running shows such as Project Runway and the Real Housewives franchise, Cohen’s star will join other notables including musicians Chuck Berry, Miles Davis, Tina Turner and Scott Joplin, actors Vincent Price, Kevin Kline, Marsha Mason and John Goodman, writers Maya Angelou, Tennessee Williams, William Burroughs and T.S. Eliot, sports greats Stan Musial, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Yogi Berra, Curt Flood and Lou Brock, and scores of others in the arts, science, sports, music, politics, philanthropy and more. Fanfare for Cohen begins at 4:30 p.m. with a ragtime band; the induction ceremony starts at 5 p.m.

The new principal of Rosati-Kain High School, Maggie Sullivan, is not that—officially, Sullivan’s title is president of Rosati-Kain Academy. It might not have been. Last September, the Archdiocese of St. Louis announced plans to close the school at the end of the 2022-2023 school year. But Rosati-Kain, located just to the east of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis at 4389 Lindell Blvd., has been revived, and then some. Alumnae and parents mobilized to sustain the city’s only remaining all-girls Catholic high school by forming a nonprofit, obtaining sponsorship with St. Joseph Educational Ministries, negotiating a renewable lease with the Archdiocese for school facilities and raising the funds needed to achieve a balanced budget. Enthusiastic to a fault, Sullivan also is direct, unequivocal; she speaks with great reverence for the Sisters of St. Joseph. “They encouraged me to become a teacher,” she says. “They changed the trajectory of my life.” And what a life in education it has been: Sullivan has 25 years of experience. She comes to Rosati-Kain following a stint as assistant principal of mission at St. Joseph’s Academy in Frontenac, her alma mater (class of 1993). Sullivan is proud, beyond thrilled—in fact, she feels absolutely blessed. “This school is a mosaic of powerful, exceptionally talented women,” she emphasizes. Founded in 1911, Rosati-Kain became the first St. Louis Archdiocesan high school to integrate in 1947 and remains committed to those less fortunate: 79% of students receive some form of financial aid; 39% qualify for free or reduced-cost lunch programs. Sullivan anticipates she’ll complete her Ed.D. degree in educational leadership and learning at Vanderbilt University this summer. She taught history at Whitfield School, where she also served as social studies department chair and head of professional development. She’s taught a combination of history, English and writing at Washington U. and SLCC, as well as Clayton and University City high schools. Out of state for several years, she worked as an educator at Kent Denver School in Denver and Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa. She graduated from Washington U. in St. Louis with a master’s in American culture studies with a research focus on gender issues from 1880 to 1940 along with the U.S. anti-lynching crusade. She received her bachelor’s in history and secondary education from the University of Missouri and was a European studies major at the University of Florida, where she worked for the NCAA Division I volleyball program. Fitness is important: A certified yoga instructor, she’s taught in Denver and in Tampa.

st. louis
A highlight of the QFest St. Louis cinema celebration May 4 to 10 at the Hi-Pointe Theater is Jimmy in Saigon. This documentary about the mysterious death of a gay man in Vietnam, produced and directed by Jimmy’s youngest brother Peter McDowell, is for all intents and purposes a love story. The award-winning film explores the tragic death, radical life and forbidden romance of Jimmy McDowell, who was killed in 1972 after he re-entered civilian life. He was 24 then; Peter was only 5. To be shown May 7 at 4:15 p.m. at the Hi-Pointe, 1005 McCausland Ave., the award-winning film takes a hard look at whether American attitudes about foreign policy, domestic politics and sexual identity have advanced very far in 50 years—or if they actually have stagnated. Peter McDowell, who researched his brother’s life and death for a decade, will be on hand after the screening for what should prove to be a lively, intriguing discussion. This, the 16th annual QFest, presents films with LGBTQIA+ themes. Visit cinemastlouis/qfest.

notable neighbors
An icon of Structural Expressionism, the Gateway Arch expresses both a timeless monumentality and a contemporary dynamism. Eero Saarinen’s revolutionary masterwork, a 630-foot-tall (and wide) catenary curve, is a powerful and symbolic expression of our young country’s westward expansion, for good or ill. The story of how the gleaming monument came to be—the agony and the ecstasy, if you will—is remarkable. Architect and historian John C. Guenther lives in a former cabin near Wildwood (in Rockwoods Reservation) with his wife, Jane—since his days at Chaminade, he’s designed its additions and renovations. Guenther’s new volume, The Gateway Arch: An Illustrated Timeline, seeks to “connect the dots” of history and take readers through the key events leading to the creation of the Gateway Arch. The book takes a detailed, chronological look at the historic foundations of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Enriched by historic images, it starts from the very beginning: when the Louisiana territory was controlled by France. The Gateway City’s central location has been key to U.S. history; Lewis and Clark began their Corps of Discovery Expedition here in 1804. Guenther explores the planning, growth and evolution of St. Louis and its riverfront. He reveals the vision, determination, persistence, collaboration, creativity and engineering innovation on the part of many; indeed, the design and realization of the Arch and renovations to its surrounding grounds continue to transform how this city looks and, more importantly, how it views itself. And architecture has transformed Guenther for more than 46 years, from one day during his senior year in high school after he turned in a technical drafting assignment, which was to design a house or an addition to one. Walter Ruesch, his teacher, asked, “Have you ever thought about being an architect?” That took the young man by surprise—at first. “Those eight words would change my life forever!” Guenther exclaims. Those words have been instrumental in helping reconfigure the home where he and Jane raised four boys. And the words would change the look of St. Louis city and county, as well. Guenther humbly realizes he is one of many; he has great respect for his peers; reverence for a few. Saarinen, of course, is one. Gyo Obata is another giant; he’s responsible for everything from directing the design of the airport’s main terminal to designing the chapel at Priory, which both reach for the heavens in their own ways. Guenther has quite the portfolio himself. He designed the addition to the Field Museum downtown, Chaifetz Arena at SLU, and the new Christian Brothers College (CBC) when the all-boys Catholic high school moved from Clayton Road near the St. Louis city limit to mid-county, 1850 De La Salle Drive, just north of Hwy. 40 / I-64. Those examples, of course, are just a few you may have noticed in passing. He’s also taught courses at Washington U. and written several other books, one on the riverfront architecture razed for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Not bad, for starters. “It’s true what they say: If you love what you do for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life!” Guenther says. Visit

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