ArtFul Living

By Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky

Happy Father’s Day! In honor of great dads everywhere, I’ve decided to fill this column with ARTful events that guys will love.

Now I don’t really know what guys will love. Sometimes I can’t even guess what the guys in my family like for dinner. But, when I mentioned each of these events to my husband (who is one heck of a great dad), he said “Oh, wow!” So naturally, I assumed that these are things that guys would like to do. Actually, I’m positive that everyone will enjoy this list:
Is there anyone who doesn’t love Circus Flora? This nonprofit arts organization that belongs to St. Louis! This year’s performance is “The Wizard – Merlin & the Legends of King Arthur,” a playful, delightful exploration of the Arthurian world of Merlin and Owl, Camelot and Guinevere, animals that talk and people who fly.

“The production will be funny, warm, rich and mystical – a true tapestry of human history and human spirit,” said Ivor David Balding, artistic director and co-founder of Circus Flora. Circus Flora opens on May 31 and runs through June 24. It’s always family-friendly and affordable: tickets start at $10. Little Top Wednesday offers a special one-hour show at 10 a.m. geared just for smaller kids. Look for the air-conditioned big top behind Powell Hall in Grand Center. I’m surprised—and sad—when I meet someone who has not attended Circus Flora. Make sure you don’t miss out on the fun! Find details at www.circusflora.org or call 314-289-4040.

ANNONYArts presents the premiere of Airborne Soirée by En L’Air Aerial Dance Company, June 7-9. Under the artistic direction of Monica Newsam, the Panama native choreographed challenging movements using aerial apparatus, combining dance and aerial arts. This performance is best described as indescribable and truly astonishing. Performances begin at 8 p.m. at Satori, 3003 Locust. Learn more at www.enlairaerialdance.org. Reserve tickets at www.airbornesoiree .eventbrite.com , or 314-652-3003, priced at $20 but discounted to $10 for students and artists.

From now through August 19, Missouri Botanical Garden brings an unprecedented international exhibition to St. Louis. “Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night” features elaborate, illuminated works of art from China. Crafted primarily of colorful silks and molded steel, the Garden provides an outdoor setting to showcase Chinese culture, traditions and symbolism through larger-than-life displays lit for evening viewing.

“When most people think of a Chinese ‘lantern,’ they immediately think of a small, round, hanging paper lantern,” said Lynn Kerkemeyer, special exhibits and events manager at the Missouri Botanical Garden. “Visitors will be overwhelmed when they see what our ‘lanterns’ actually are. These are incredible, vivid, elaborate sets created from thousands of pieces to form amazing, large-scale works of art. When illuminated at night, they are nothing short of awe-inspiring!” Each lantern set portrays an aspect of Chinese culture, history and tradition. Subjects include dragons, pandas, Buddha and even the Terra Cotta Warriors. Explore the lanterns by day. Many are made of recycled items such as medicine bottles and porcelain dishes. Come back after dark for a totally different experience that will amaze and delight Thursday through Sunday evenings. For more info, visit www.mobot.org or call 314-577-5100.

What better way to relax than with some great music? Mark Holland, considered one of the top Native American flute players, is the leader and founder of world fusion group Autumn’s Child. His music is calming but never boring. “You can have a sense of energy while still in a relaxing mode, balancing the two,” explained Holland. Holland, joined by Cory Edwards on piano, Valentina Takova on cello and Joshua Daily on percussion perform a live concert, “Instrument of Peace,” on June 16. The performance, held in the very intimate setting of The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive just off Skinker, is also a CD release party for Holland’s latest instrumental songs for peace.

The project, according to Holland, “had 4 aspects: first, the musical instruments we play are instruments of peace; second, we ourselves are instruments of peace (if you allow yourself to be). Third, music encourages inner peace; fourth, it is birthed out of the desire for peace in times of war.” Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. performance. The $10 admission at the door includes two beverages of choice; the new CD will be available at the concert. For info, visit www.autumnschild.com.