Three years ago, the greater St. Louis area became synonymous with racial unrest. The aftermath of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri showed that this metropolitan area had some long-simmering problems.
You’ve made it intact through hump day at work. Looking for a little jazz to mellow out the week? Sounds like a plan. Even better, a legit jam session, expertly smoked meat, and all within the confines of St. Louis County.
Welcome to @Nesby’s Bar & Grill. This family-owned restaurant in the heart of Sunset Hills is where you’ll find many of the region’s finest jazz musicians taking turns entertaining the crowd, themselves and each other.
One of the great musical treasures of far West County is a honky-tonk named Stovall’s Grove Rockhorse Saloon. When you walk in the front door, you immediately feel like you have walked onto a movie set. The decor is mid-century country, complete with wagon wheel chandeliers, tables covered in blue gingham, a pool table and an adequately sized dance floor speckled with sawdust. Patrons wearing cowboy hats line the bar to watch the dancers kick up their heels.
There’s one more big send-off planned April 9, just a couple of blocks north of University City’s eastern border at The Pageant, 6161 Delmar, where the public can pay final respects to Berry from 8 a.m. until 12 noon.
One of St. Louis County’s most beloved community theatre performers was recognized for his work on April 1. George Lamb and his wife Bea were honored with the Theatre Mask Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.
Art For Life, the community theatre support organization, presented the Lambs with the honor during their annual awards luncheon.
George Lamb arrived at the event fresh from a late performance of Sister Act the previous night at the Olivette Community Center. The Overdue Theatre Company production runs through April 9.
In Sister Act, Lamb is cast as two separate characters in Sister Act: A cab driver and Pope Paul IV. While there’s nothing unusual about an actor playing a dual role, George Lamb has a unique claim to fame. At 96, he may be one of St. Louis County’s oldest working actors.
Lamb will turn 97 in June, but he’s already thinking ahead to his next role, playing FDR in the Over Due Theatre production of Annie.
The grind of open casting calls, auditions, learning lines, wardrobe fittings—Lamb loves it. In Sister Act, Lamb’s taxi driver is bound, gagged and threatened with a gun early in act II.
He got into acting and community theatre as a fluke, when the director of a local production of Fiddler On The Roof looked at Lamb and had an idea: why not cast the novice as the fiddler. Lamb enjoyed the experience and found he could easily morph into nearly any role. He’s played Groucho Marx, a judge, a drunk, and many other characters.
Lamb a chemist during before he switched gears and became a character actor, but he’s always loved entertaining others. He played trumpet in a local band for years. Lamb also did a bit of tap-dancing.
Besides acting, Lamb bowls in a weekly league, he plays an occasional round of golf and he works out problems on his computer. He told me the secret to aging gracefully is keeping your mind active.
I asked Lamb if he ever plans to slow down from his busy acting and activity schedule.
Twice a year, Mother Nature puts on a colorful show in eastern Missouri: fall and early spring. The month of April offers a perfect opportunity to get out and see blooming flowers and trees. In fact, the Missouri Department of Conservation suggests this month is prime time for the state’s colorful woodland trees, beginning with dogwoods.
While you’re out looking at the flora, why not take a camera along? The colors of spring flowers offer a perfect subject for photos. You don’t need a fancy DSLR either. A smartphone will do nicely—the photo below of irises was taken with an iPhone 6.
If you want to improve your photo skills and meet people with similar interests, the St. Louis area has a half-dozen photography meetup groups. There are meetups that specialize in portraits, nature and fashion.
In addition, the Saint Louis Photo Club offers free monthly photo critiques led by local noted photographer Edward Crim at the host location, the St. Louis Photo Authority. That’s where members attend classes, workshops and the annual photo contest. It’s open to all members and the work on display shows the talents and versatility of local photo enthusiasts.
One of those people is Denise McKay, who captures memorable images with her Sony digital camera and macro lens. Denise took first place in the 2017 contest with her close-up shots of plant life. Although she isn’t ordinarily a joiner, Denise told me she enjoys the Saint Louis Photo Club.
“It does make me go places where I might not think about going,” she said, “especially at night, because I’ll be with a larger group.”
Nothing quite compares with farm fresh vegetables. When you eat produce picked a day or two earlier, it just tastes better than the generic grocery store goods. Of course, it is also is a one small way of reducing your carbon footprint and benefiting the environment. And, according to the University of Vermont, the shorter the time between the farm and your table, you’ll actually get more nutrients.[i]
Hence the popularity of farmer’s markets, and the growth of specialty food stores like the new Kirkwood and Ballwin Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets. Often, during the summer months, Schnuck Markets and Dierberg’s offer produce from local growers, too.
But, if you are serious about getting the freshest possible produce and supporting local farmers, an excellent option is a Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. A CSA offers convenience through a subscription service. You can sign up for a season, Spring, Summer, Fall, or all three, and receive a selection of locally-sourced produce.
Local Farmer Crop Boxes is one of the larger CSA operations serving St. Louis County and eastern Missouri. It’s based in Pacific, and serves as a bridge between farmers and consumers. Farm boxes start at $29.99 per week and include vegetables and local artisanal cheese. You can pick up the box each week or arrange home delivery.
Another excellent CSA choice is available from The Libertine restaurant in Clayton. This is a great choice if you want to bring a restaurant-grade experience to your home. The Libertine “Neighborhood Bag” is a CSA program that offers a weekly assortment of local produce and house made food from The Libertine kitchen.
The Libertine CSA offers a meat and vegetable or vegetarian weekly bag. Each eight-week season costs $495. It’s one of the few CSA options that come from a farm-to-table restaurant. Libertine owners Nick and Audra Luedde came up with the idea after a similar experience they had in Chicago when Nick worked for a restaurant that had a big urban garden.
“They started doing a CSA pickup at the restaurant which was a little different than the typical CSAs we were familiar with,” Audra Luedde said. “Most of the CSAs are farmer boxes, that came from one particular farm, all fruits and vegetables, that was what we were used to.”
“And we decided to combine it. We also started adding house made goods made at the restaurant like pickles, and extras like the newsletter or recipes that will enhance the experience.”
“We love doing it and it was actually kind of a fluke, because the restaurant we worked at in Chicago was a pick-up place and it just started going from there.”
For more information about The Libertine Neighborhood Bag, contact Audra Luedde at 773-793-0058.
Non-profit website will highlight local arts and artists
April 5, 2017—A new online magazine will connect artists and residents who love the arts in St. Louis County. The blog—stlcountyarts.com – goes on Wednesday, April 5.
The goal of St. Louis County Arts blog is to highlight notable local artists who work in a variety of media, including music, theatre, dance, designers, painters and much more.
St. Louis County Arts Blog is a non-profit, volunteer-driven initiative. The co-creative directors of the blog are Valerie Tichacek and Bill Motchan.
Tichacek was formerly web editor at public radio station KDHX. Motchan is a writer and photographer whose work regularly appears in the St. Louis Jewish Light. Both are enthusiastic about the opportunity to expose more St. Louis Countians to the wide variety of arts in the area.
“The St. Louis County arts scene is alive and vibrant, and we plan to feature the people who make it happen,” Tichacek said. “It could be behind-the-scenes stories of the stage designers at the Rep or the working musicians who call St. Louis County their home base.”
The blog will provide listings of upcoming events, feature stories, photos and audio interviews with notable St. Louis artists.