ArtFul Living

With Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky
Healthy Planet Arts Editor

Spring Has Sprung On The St. Louis Arts Scene…

I don’t often use “art” and “science” in the same sentence — except for this exhibition, they do belong together perfectly. DINOSAURS IN MOTION is a fascinating, interactive exhibition at the St. Louis Science Center. Kinetic sculptures blend science and art in an engaging manner. Said Bert Vescolani, President and CEO of the Science Center, “Dinosaurs In Motion brings the intersection of art and science to your attention through these incredible artistic sculpture by the late artist John Payne. This blending creates STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) and illustrates how the arts can enhance science learning by creating a connection that naturally makes you want to know more about everything you see.”

Payne used recycled and repurposed metals to develop his dinosaur sculptures, meticulously making each bone and joint from real-life skeleton recreations. “I had to bring them to life,” the artist said. Through videos and interactives, visitors become Payne’s apprentices, following his artistic process from sketches to real works. To further enhance the experience, visitors can manipulate the 14 life-size dinosaurs, making them move and change positions. It’s a must-see exhibition for both sculpture and dinosaur-lovers, at the Science Center through September 1. For details, visit slsc.org or call 314-289-4424.

In 2011, the duo of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan built a following with the purity of their music. Since then, the duo now known as The Milk Carton Kids has won accolades for their flat-picking harmony. On April 15, they’ll fill the acoustically-perfect Sheldon with a sound that defines the folk music tradition. According to Garrison Keillor, they are “absolute geniuses in close-harmony.” Cultural purveyors such as T Bone Burnett and Billy Bragg proclaim The Milk Carton Kids to be “among a group of new folk bands expanding and contradicting the rich tradition that comes before them.”

Pattengale and Ryan have toured with a host of established acts, including Old Crow Medicine Show, and Punch Brothers as well as appearing on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series. Their on-stage humor is charmingly deadpan. Performing with twin acoustic guitars and tightly matched harmonies, The Milk Carton Kids bring for the highly inventive guitar lines and intricately woven vocals. I promise you’re gonna love ‘em! For info, visit www.TheSheldon.org or call 314-533-9900.

While we’re discussing music… it’s time for the 11th Annual Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, April 24-26. This year promises to wow audiences with headline performer Arturo Sandoval on Friday evening at the Touhill Center for Performing Arts on the UMSL campus. Also performing there on Saturday evening is the Legendary Count Bassie Orchestra.

It was my distinct privilege to hear Mr. Sandoval perform live in Washington, D.C. just this past December and it took just one note to realize I was in the presence of a musical great. Sandoval is considered one of the most dynamic contemporary performers. A Cuban-born trumpeter, pianist and composer, Sandoval has earned nine Grammy Awards, six Billboard Awards and an Emmy. He has performed for President and Mrs. Obama at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and is the 2013 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The list of musicians with whom he has recorded reads like a Who’s-Who of performing greats.

At Jazz at the Bistro on opening night (Thursday), the festival features an all-star quartet of pianist Reggie Thomas, bassist Rodney Whitaker, tenor saxist Willie Akins and drummer Montez Coleman. It promises to be a soulful, hard-swinging performance beginning with the first set at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for the various performances can be purchased separately through the Jazz St. Louis Box Office at 314-289-4030 or via MetroTix at 314-534-1111 or online at www.metrotix.com.

The three-day festival encourages the musical education and growth of the participating students by interaction with these internationally acclaimed jazz artists. “In addition to celebrating professional jazz musicians in our headline concert performances,” said Jim Widner, director of the Jazz Studies program at UMSL and artistic director of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, “we focus on nurturing the talent of young musicians with jazz student performances and clinics.” Learn more about Jazz St. Louis at www.jazzstl.org.

This month offers so very many musical performances. I regret only having space to feature a few. Check out my ARTful Happenings to find even more that you’ll want to attend.

And, best of all this month, NO SNOW!!!