the delmar loop | A vibrant celebration is slated for June 15 in the Delmar Loop to commemorate Juneteenth in grand style with a race, festivities, vendors and music. This year, four organizations are coming together to curate a unique event. Delmar Boulevard, a longstanding symbol of division, is transcending its historical barriers as both the west and east portions of the Delmar Loop—University City and St. Louis City, along with Delmar Main Street and the St. Louis Reconciliation Network—unite their efforts to create an extraordinary experience. This partnership underscores a shared commitment to fostering unity, celebrating diversity and commemorating the significance of Juneteenth. The festivities kick off with a spirited 5K race/walk from University City Hall to DeBaliviere Avenue and back. After the race, dive into a vibrant Vendor Fair in the Tivoli parking lot that will showcase the creativity and entrepreneurship of vendors and artists. Explore an array of offerings while engaging in family-friendly activities. As the sun sets, join an Evening Celebration filled with captivating performances. Groove to African Dance by Spirit of Angela and the soulful tunes of the Red Black & Brass Band. Meanwhile, with D.J. KP keeping the energy high all evening, it promises to be a party you won’t soon forget. Plus, don’t miss the exciting car show in the Loop Trolley parking lot. Juneteenth National Independence Day is a federal holiday every June 19 to mark the end of slavery. On June 19, 1865, a high-ranking Union officer ordered the final enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas at the end of the Civil War. Find more information on the Delmar Loop’s events and schedule at

the metro
I’ve no idea how long the Riverfront Times’ red newspaper box has been at the bus stop at North McKnight and Gannon, but I walked down to check it out upon hearing that the alternative weekly had been sold to an undisclosed buyer—and laid off its staff. There was one issue left, a little wrinkly from the elements, but nearly dry. I’d always admired the RFT for its in-your-face reporting style, and the last, and perhaps final, edition was no different. I enjoyed their coverage of the local music scene, and it was a great place to find record reviews that I could relate to. I was usually amused by stories that wouldn’t have passed muster at any number of publications in town, especially our esteemed metro daily. RFT was co-founded by firebrand Ray Hartmann in 1977. Hartmann today is vying for the seat in Congress now occupied by Republican Ann Wagner. For years, thousands of us have watched him trade barbs on Channel 9’s Donnybrook with fellow print and electronic journalists Bill McClellan and Charlie Brennan. Hartmann hasn’t owned the RFT for years, but he remains somewhat larger than life, like Joe Edwards, Albert Pujols, Bob Costas and any number of St. Louisans who continue to wield influence much outside their original roles. Most cities or institutions have an alternative published voice. The Maneater, Mizzou’s student-run paper, often raises hackles among university officials. At my high school in Long Island, New York, it was a paper named Dog Breath. Faculty and administrators were often called to task. In Atlanta, the alternative to the city’s mainstream Journal-Constitution is Creative Loafing—although mostly an entertainment vehicle today, it covers news items, too, most of them controversial, many outré. For the most part, IMHO, the more competing editorial stances there are, the better.

union station
You don’t have to spend too much time in school before learning that sharks don’t infest the Mississippi River, nor any lakes or rivers in Missouri, for that matter. They live in saltwater. But in the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station the misunderstood and much-feared lords of the oceans will be a featured attraction through Labor Day. Summer of the Shark emphasizes hands-on activities, experiences and exhibits featuring these magnificent creatures. Visitors are immersed in a world of shark-centered adventures designed to get them up-close and personal with the rulers of the ocean. There’ll be a shark feeding frenzy daily. Heck, these carnivorous beasts couldn’t have prowled the oceans for millions of years without being top of the food chain in the deep blue sea. The regular daily activities at the aquarium focused on sharks will be enhanced with regular presentations of the American Natural History Museum in New York’s traveling exhibit “Sharks.” The St. Louis Aquarium is the first to host this touring exhibition, where visitors may learn about prehistoric sharks and explore new discoveries about today’s sharks, about a dozen species of which swim in the aquarium. Of course, sharks and their cousins, the rays, swim in touch pools where guests may dip their hands. For more information and tickets, visit

notable neighbors
She grew up in the church, sings everything from torchy covers to gospel to R&B and rock, caught the attention of John Legend, and is playing two intimate shows this summer at different venues in Grand Center. “I like to play around with genres,” says singer and dancer Lisa Ramey, who lives in Chesterfield and performed for 11 seasons at The Muny, but is now based in New York. She even ran away to join the circus, once, as an adult. “My death-defying act is singing,” quips Ramey, who toured Australia with Kooza, an offshoot of Cirque du Soleil. And she’s scheduled to start rehearsals for her June 28 show at the Blue Strawberry. Likely she’ll sing at least two covers along with songs she wrote herself, some of them club bangers, others power ballads, but most impossible to pigeonhole. One of Ramey’s singles from last year, “The Internet,” laments a relationship cut short by her lover’s addiction to social media. In 2019, Ramey’s version of “The Weight’’ turned judges’ chairs on NBC’s The Voice. The song, written and first performed by The Band, charted at pop radio in 1969 when Aretha Franklin covered it. But Ramey hardly sounds like she’s trying to dethrone the Queen of Soul. She’s infused older music with something new, unexpected and visceral, as in “Sex On Fire,” her blind audition for the NBC-TV show. Judge Adam Levine of Maroon 5 turned to Kelly Clarkson and said, “I love this song!” Clarkson nodded. “Interesting,” she managed to respond, noncommittally. But Legend punched his button to turn his chair around. Ramey got a call from Legend sometime afterward and wound up singing with him at a Madison Square Garden concert. “He’s the sun!” she exclaims. “You just want to stand next to him and catch his rays!” She’s also sung in London with Zayn Malik, formerly of One Direction, to dizzying success. Like many budding performers, Ramey’s goal at the outset was to sell out arenas. Although she’s never wanted ‘the suits’ at major labels to dictate what she should sing and record, her output is substantial and available on iTunes and YouTube. After hearing what a diva she is from her online performances—yes, we’re making a very strong suggestion—check her out this summer. If you miss the Blue Strawberry gig, she reappears at the Grandel in the Dark Room for another intimate show on July 26. Then, if you want to experience her in a show, she’s appearing in the musical Ragtime Sept. 20 through Oct. 20 at STAGES in Kirkwood. While her career may not be headed in the direction she’d hoped as a young woman, she’s doing just fine, thank you. She was anything but a diva in our interview. Ramey is approachable and quite funny. Although that’s obviously her personality, it’s just great marketing, too. “You are the product you’re selling,” she points out. Visit