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Arts & Theater This Weekend

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Now Playing Third Base for the St. Louis Cardinals...Bond, James Bond

Thu., Aug. 23, 9:30 p.m., Fri., Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m. and Sat., Aug. 25, 6 p.m.

The Midnight Company is well known for presenting unusual plays filled with unusual ideas, but its contribution to the St. Lou Fringe festival may be one of its most outré endeavors. Joe Hanrahan's Now Playing Third Base for the St. Louis Cardinals ... Bond, James Bond is about theater itself, as well as baseball in St. Louis. As the title hints, James Bond is involved, but so are the Beatles, and there's a plot to kill the president. Because this all takes place in St. Louis, race is also a big part of the play. It sounds ambitious, but that's Midnight Company. Now Playing Third Base is performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday (August 18 and 19), and 9:30 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday (August 23 to 25) at the Kranzberg Black Box Theatre (501 North Grand Boulevard; Tickets are $15. $15

Buy Tickets
Kranzberg Arts Center (map)
501 N Grand Blvd
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-0367
Now Playing Third Base for the St. Louis Cardinals...Bond, James Bond

Chinese Buddhist Art, 10th-15th Centuries

Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Aug. 30

Very rarely does an art exhibition include the actual wall an artist worked on, but the Saint Louis Art Museum does so for Chinese Buddhist Art, 10th-15th Centuries. A six-foot-by-four-foot section of a temple wall that has a painting of the Bodhisattva Akalokiteśvara (Guanyin) on one side is the focal point of the exhibition, and an exceptionally rare object. The show also includes four hanging scrolls, and a never-before-displayed painted, wooden sculpture of a seated arhat, the Buddhist term for a person who has achieved enlightenment. Chinese Buddhist Art, 10th-15th Centuries is open Tuesday through Sunday (March 30 to August 30) in gallery 225 of the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; Admission is free. free admission

Sunken Cities: Egypt's Lost World

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Sept. 9

The ancient city of Thonis-Heracleion was Egypt's main Mediterranean port from 664 to 332 BC, or roughly 100 years longer than the country of America has existed. It was a thriving, international metropolis — and then a string of natural disasters wiped it off the map. Archeologist Franck Goddio and his team of underwater archeologists rediscoverd Thonis-Heracleion 1,000 years later, four miles off the coast of present-day Egypt. It was more than 30 feet below the surface of the sea, its colossal statues of gods, pharaohs and ritual animals resting in the ruins of a world long gone. Three of these massive statues comprise the heart of the new exhibition Sunken Cities: Egypt's Lost Worlds, which will be on display at the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; Tuesday through Sunday (March 25 to September 9). Alongside the trio of statues are more than 200 ceremonial and commercial artifacts (bronze vessels, coins, jewelry) found both on the sea floor and on loan from museums in Cairo and Alexandria. Admission to the exhibit is $8 to $20, and free on Friday. $8-$20

Jeremy R. Brooks

Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Continues through Aug. 31

Ceramicist Jeremy R. Brooks is currently based in Carbondale, Illinois, where he's teaching at Southern Illinois University. His own studies include an unusual type of clay with a rubber-like elasticity that sets up quickly. Working quickly, he extrudes paper-like slabs and long coils, which he can then use for knitting, weaving or crocheting. The resulting forms have a plasticity that seems nearly impossible. Knitted vessels made from delicate strands of clay, sinuous loops of loosely bunched clay-yarn, a rainbow skein of fibers wrapped around itself that approximates the whorls and shape of a brain — Brooks' work is both trompe l'oeil and trompe l'clay. A small exhibition of Brooks' ceramics go on display this weekend at the Duane Reed Gallery (4729 McPherson Avenue;, along with Brian Smith's abstract paintings. The show opens with a free reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 20, and remains on display 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Tuesday through Saturday through August 31. free admission

Duane Reed Gallery (map)
4729 McPherson Ave.
St. Louis - Central West End
phone 314-361-4100
Jeremy R. Brooks

Painted Pieces: Art Chess from Purling London

Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays, 12-5 p.m. and Wednesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Continues through Sept. 16

The standard chess set has been reimagined in multiple formats, using everything from Simpsons characters to loaded shot glasses. The new exhibition at the World Chess Hall of Fame sees regulation Staunton sets done up with a fresh coat of paint, which doesn't sound all that impressive. But when it's artists such as Caio Locke, Sophie Matisse and Thierry Noir wielding the brushes, the results are dazzling. Painted Pieces: Art Chess from Purling London features vibrant, hand-painted chess sets exploding with color and invention. Painted Pieces opens with a free reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12, at the World Chess Hall of Fame (4652 Maryland Avenue; The show remains up through September 16. free admission

Messages from Mercury

Through Aug. 31

Strongly influenced by the ideas of semiotics and sacred geometry, artist Benjamin Lowder creates works of deconstructed text that convey ideas about the hidden world that exists all around us. For his new show, Messages from Mercury, Lowder paints street signs, then breaks them apart and reassembles them so the familiar words become glyphs that bear a cautionary tale to our inner voices. Just as Mercury was the messenger from the gods in Roman theology, so Lowder's art carries a warning from the gods that we're on the wrong path. Benjamin Lowder: Messages from Mercury opens with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, June 29, at the artist’s brand-new Cherokee Street Gallery (2617 Cherokee Street; It remains up through the end of August. Also on display are new works by Jerald Ieans and Zack Smithey in conversation with one another. Admission is free. free admission

Flora Borealis

Through Aug. 26, 7 p.m., Thursdays-Saturdays, 6 p.m., Thursdays-Saturdays, 6 p.m. and Thursdays-Saturdays, 6 p.m. Continues through Oct. 20

Summers in St. Louis are no picnic, what with the brutal heat and oppressive humidity. At night conditions improve a bit, and that's the time to get outside and experience the city. The Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard; takes full advantage of the nocturnal respite with Flora Borealis, a nighttime-only special exhibition. Thanks to the artistic and technical brilliance of AVI Systems Inc., a section of the garden is temporarily transformed into a new experience with active lights, moving images and sounds that alter and enhance the familiar landscape. Tickets for Flora Borealis are $10 to $25 and are sold for specific time slots each night (Thursday through Tuesday through August 26). While you're waiting for your scheduled time you can take advantage of MoBOT’s new tented biergarten, which features live entertainment on select nights. $10-$25

No Exit

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Sept. 1

Three people — Joseph Garcin, Estelle Rigault and Inès Serrano —are taken by the Valet to the same nondescript room. All three expect to be tortured, for that's what happens to damned souls. Instead they are left to their own devices, which mostly consists of justifying their damnation, complaining that they're not supposed to be here and arguing for the truth to be told. Jean-Paul Sartre's play No Exit is the quintessential existential drama, and in Alyssa Ward's new translation the characters must once again suffer as they see themselves through another person's eyes. Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble presents No Exit at 8 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday (August 15 to September 1) at the Chapel (6238 Alexander Drive; Tickets are $15 to $20. $15-$20

The Chapel (map)
6238 Alexander Dr
Clayton No Exit

King Charles III

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sundays, 2 p.m. and Thu., Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m. Continues through Aug. 26

The current prince of Wales is heir to the throne of England, still, at age 69. If he ever does become king, what sort of monarch would he be? Playwright Mike Bartlett imagines Charles' reign in his controversial play King Charles III. Told in Shakespearean blank verse, the play imagines a Charles who isn't afraid to take a more active leadership role than his mother — or really any modern English monarch. Faced with giving his assent to a law he doesn't approve of, Charles refuses to give his permission, which just isn't done. Suddenly the figurehead king is an active participant in the governing of England, and the people are outraged. Charles has his own problems as well — the ghost of his first wife haunts him in private moments. St. Louis Shakespeare opens its new season with the tendentious King Charles III. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (August 17 to 26) at the Ivory Theatre (7620 Michigan Avenue; There is an additional performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 23. Tickets are $15 to $20. $15-$20

Ivory Theatre (map)
7620 Michigan Ave.
St. Louis - South City
phone 314-631-8330
King Charles III

Lost in the Stars

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 25

Shaun Patrick Tubbs has only been in St. Louis a few weeks, and already he's weary of hearing the same response when he talks about directing Union Avenue Opera's forthcoming production of the Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson musical Lost in the Stars, which is based on Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton's novel of Apartheid-era South Africa.

"People keep saying to me this show is 'so relevant' to St. Louis. And I keep asking them, 'Isn't that a shame?'" Tubbs says. He offers a disingenuous smile, but he means it. "This is a show that's relevant to all of America, and it is a shame. But we keep getting better. I know that because I'm here directing this piece."

"This piece" is the story of a black father and son, Stephen and Absalom Kumalo, living in South Africa. Stephen is an Anglican priest, and he raised his son to be a moral person. But when Stephen goes to Johannesburg to find his son, he learns that Absalom has committed serious crimes. During a robbery, Absalom kills a white man and faces the death penalty. This shakes Stephen's faith and also brings him into close contact with the murder victim's grieving father.

Tubbs grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and now travels the world directing and performing. He's a fellow of the Kurt Weill Foundation, which directed him to Union Avenue Opera. The company had contacted the foundation in search of a director with a strong background in Weill's work. That was Tubbs, even though he freely admits this particular show wasn't even on his radar.

"When the foundation reached out to me about directing this, I had to do my research because I wasn't familiar with it," he recalls.

Tubbs immersed himself in both the musical and the source novel. During the course of an hour-long interview, he never looks at his phone or casts about for an answer; he's focused completely on the matter at hand. His vision for Lost in the Stars is clearly defined and inspiring. Tubbs acknowledges that this a show written by two white men, for a white audience, in 1949. For him, that's a feature, not a bug.

"I don't want to point out all the things wrong with the show. I want to embrace them," Tubbs says. "It's too simple to say this is white-and-black story. The story is in the gray. Once you make them all come together, that's when you get in the gray, that's when things happen."

That togetherness is bound to Tubbs' frequent refrain, "It's a show about people. The stage will be littered with bodies."

For Tubbs, it comes down to what's been lost and the choices that have been made. Stephen drilled Absalom in the Ten Commandments and the word of God, but Absalom kills a man. How could he go so far astray?

"Absalom has learned how to be moral, but he hasn't been taught how to live in the real world with that code," Tubbs explains. "His village has been over-milled and over-plowed, and so there's nothing left for the next generation. The future is in Johannesburg, but the city is full of rules and restrictions for a black man. The future isn't for them."

Yet just as Shaun Tubbs is here directing Lost in the Stars in 2018 St. Louis — something that was impossible in 1949 America — Tubbs still sees the opera as being about hope.

He is crystal-clear on what he hopes audiences take away from the show. "I want people to leave with a question in their mind; I don't want them to leave with an answer. I want people to question what they're doing in this. I don't want to lose hope for the future, but I want us to think what can we learn to give the next generation a future?"

Lost in the Stars is presented by Union Avenue Opera at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (August 17 to 25) at the Union Avenue Christian Church (733 North Union Boulevard; Tickets are $30 to $55.


The Light in the Piazza

Sundays, 7 p.m. and Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 26

R-S Theatrics opens its eighth season with The Light in the Piazza. The Adam Guettel/Craig Lucas musical eschews the typical Broadway sound for a more romantic, classical-music approach and follows the ups and downs of a whirlwind Italian romance. Clara and her mother Margaret are visiting Florence, Italy, when Fabrizio notices Clara across the piazza. At first rebuffed by the protective Margaret, Fabrizio soon enough is falling in love with Clara, and his feelings are reciprocated. Margaret still harbors doubts, even after meeting the young man's delightful family. Why is she so concerned about letting her adult daughter fall in love and start a new life? The Light in the Piazza is performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday (August 10 to 26) at the Marcelle (3310 Samuel Shepard Drive; Tickets are $20 to $25. $20-$25

Marcelle Theater (map)
3310 Samuel Shepard Dr
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-0367
The Light in the Piazza

Closing Reception for Edo Rosenblith: Let’s Make a Mural

Fri., Aug. 24, 5:30-8 p.m.
phone 314-725-6555

Join us in for a closing reception to see the final result of Edo Rosenblith: Let Me Help You Make a Mural Friday, August 24 from 5:30PM – 8:00PM. There will be a panel discussion, remarks and light snacks. Israeli born, St. Louis-based artist Edo Rosenblith will guide COCA visitors of all ages in creating a site-specific mural, blurring the distinction between artist and audience. Inspired by Rosenblith’s signature black and white wall drawings, the mural will reflect the thoughts, ideas, opinions and expectations expressed through collective visual impressions on COCA’s Millstone Gallery walls. Free
The Millstone Gallery at COCA (map)
524 Trinity Ave.
University City
phone 314-725-6555
Closing Reception for Edo Rosenblith: Let’s Make a Mural

Sunken Cities Behind-the-Scenes

Fri., Aug. 24, 7-8 p.m. and Sun., Aug. 26, 2-3 p.m.
phone 314.721.0072
, ,

Friday, August 24, 7 pm Sunday, August 26, 2 pm The Farrell Auditorium $5 (free for Members) Get a behind-the-scenes look with Lisa Çakmak, associate curator of ancient art, and Jeanette Fausz, director of collections and exhibitions, who will talk about the planning and coordination required to bring more than 200 precious and colossal artifacts to St. Louis. $5 (free for Members)
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Lost in the Stars

Fri., Aug. 24, 8-10:30 p.m. and Sat., Aug. 25, 8-10:30 p.m.
phone 314-361-2881

@ Union Avenue Opera, 733 N. Union Blvd 63108
Merging influences from Broadway, traditional African music, jazz, and blues, Kurt Weill’s final work for the stage is a gripping musical tragedy based on Alan Paton’s novel Cry, the Beloved Country. Set in 1940s South Africa apartheid, Lost in the Stars soars with thrilling operatic passages as it lays bare the tragedy of social barriers among all people, ending with a moving promise of reconciliation and hope for the future. $32-$55 for single tickets; subscriptions starting at $80
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The Light In The Piazza

Fri., Aug. 24, 8 p.m., Sat., Aug. 25, 8 p.m. and Sun., Aug. 26, 7 p.m.

Winner of numerous Tony Awards in 2005, this musical tells the story of a young American woman vacationing with her mother in Florence in the 1950s. When the woman falls for a local Italian man, uncomfortable truths come to light about what was past and what may be future. $20-25
Buy Tickets
Marcelle Theater (map)
3310 Samuel Shepard Dr
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-0367
The Light In The Piazza
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