ArtFul Living

With Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky
Healthy Planet Arts Editor

As the Leaves of Autumn Turn a Wonderful Variety of Colors,
the ARTS Scene in St. Louis Presents Incredible Variety as Well

Start October with a fresh outlook when PechaKucha comes to the Contemporary Art Museum on October 6. What? You don’t know about PechaKucha? Originating in Toyko in 2003, PechaKucha is fast-paced speaker series. Twenty slides are shown for twenty seconds each—that’s 6 minutes, 40 seconds per segment. Multiple, specifically-selected speakers offer these rapid, concise, exciting, and informative presentations on a variety of topics. I was a presenter at a PK night a few years ago, and was hooked! This PK night’s theme is the cultural culture of St. Louis. Intrigued? Be at 3750 Washington by 6:30 p.m. —and be ready for some fun learning!

On October 8, 16, 17, experience the Dance and Song Traditions of Ghana, featuring Songs of Africa Ensemble with guest artists Attah Poku and Tema Choir from Ghana. A special workshop, “The Roots of African-American Choral Music” presented by Bryan Johnson (Director of Worship Arts, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago) is also included. Performances will be presented at multiple venues around St. Louis, so call 314-652-6800 or visit www.africarts.org for details.

If it’s true, as Liza Minelli once sang, that “Life is a Cabaret,” here’s the show to prove it: Marilyn Maye is recognized as the queen of nightclub/cabaret singers. At the age of 88 (and proud to announce that number!), Ms. Maye remains an electrifying performer, just perfect to open the new season for Gaslight Cabaret Festival. Marilyn Maye began her singing career at age 9, was “discovered” by Steve Allen, and logged an impressive 76 appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Her place in American music history was cemented when the Arts Council of the Smithsonian Institute selected one of her recordings, “Too Late Now,” for its 110 Best American Compositions of the 20th Century. Hear this musical legend at Gaslight Theatre, 358 N. Boyle. Experience cabaret theatre at its best on October 14-15. Details at www.gaslightcabaretfestival.com.

While you’re looking at that website, check out details for Tovah Feldshuh’s performance, on October 28-29, also brought to St. Louis by The Presenters Dolan. In a show entitled “Aging is Optional,” this performer serves up an hour to “bolster for the heart, a probiotic of laughter.” Tovah has said, “Some people call them decades; I call them my collected works.” Making her Gaslight Theatre debut, Feldshuh taps into music from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Carole King in her show of wit and wisdom. Fun for sure at 8 p.m. each night.

Would you like to collect art, but don’t know where to start? The solution is COLLECTOR’S CHOICE 16, an annual event benefitting St. Louis Artists’ Guild, on October 21, 6-8 p.m. Ticket holders to this artsy event get to preview original artworks while enjoying great refreshments, knowing that one of those works of art will soon be their own. Then, on November 5, each name is matched with an original work of art, valued at $250 or more. Find out details at www.stlouisartistsguild.org or call 314-727-6266. And maybe make room on a wall in preparation for your newest acquisition!

The Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) presents Sudarios, an exhibition of work by Erika Diettes, now through December 4. The artist explains that her work “is inspired by the extremely complex social, political, and cultural situation that exists in Colombia, along with theoretical questions raised by my reaction to the unrelenting violence that my country has experienced for decades.” This violence stems from long-running conflict between Colombian government forces and the FARC rebel group (resulting in 260,000 people dead and millions displaced) as well as fighting between rival drug cartels and law enforcement. In the face of so much violence, Diettes says, “I have decided to bear witness to that violence, and to give the victims—both those murdered and disappeared and their survivors—voice through my art.” Thought provoking and powerful. MOCRA is located on the campus of St. Louis University. For details, call 314-977-7170 or visit www.slu.edu/mocra.

Ready to get in the mood for Halloween? Don’t miss the classic film “Nosferatu” at Moore Auditorium, 470 E. Lockwood on the campus of Webster University on October 22, 7:30 p.m. My son, a university professor of film studies, introduced me to this incredibly scary, black & white silent film several years ago. Directed by F.W. Murnau in 1922, the film will be completed with live musical accompaniment by the Invincible Czars. Admission is $10, but you might want to bring a friend (‘cause it’s scary!).

And finally, Happy Birthday wishes to my dear friend Lois Miller, who is 100 years young this month! Congrats!!!