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Les Miserables

Tue., Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m., Wed., Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m., Thu., Dec. 13, 1 & 7:30 p.m., Fri., Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 15, 2 & 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 16, 1 p.m.

Valjean, a man of prodigious strength and moral character, has finally been paroled from prison, but he can't escape his past. No one wants to hire an ex-con, and only the genuine kindness of another frees him to start over with a new identity — but inspector Javert is still out there looking for him. In the Paris of the early nineteenth century, Valjean's promise to save a dying woman's daughter, political unrest and the unshakeable Javert all collide. And all because Valjean stole a loaf of bread to feed his starving nephew more than twenty years ago. Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's blockbuster musical Les Miserables returns to St. Louis with new staging and scenery, but the same songs and story. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday (December 11 to 16) at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; www.fabulousfox.com). Tickets are $25 to $150. $25-$150

Buy Tickets
The Fox Theatre (map)
527 N. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-534-1111
Les Miserables

Printing Abstraction

Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through March 31, 2019

Abstract art is a term that includes a wide variety of media: monochromatic color fields, hard-edged abstraction and its flat colors, and the sharply defined edges and optical illusions inherent in op-art's geometric forms. What links all of these styles together is that they are divorced from the traditional representation of physical objects. For its new exhibition Printing Abstraction, the Saint Louis Art Museum draws from its own holdings of abstract art created by printmakers. The show is something of an expansion of the museum's ongoing main exhibition, Graphic Revolution: American Prints 1960 to Now, in that it offers more examples of the printmakers' art and the key role it's played in the promulgation of abstract art. Printing Abstraction is on display from Tuesday through Sunday (November 30 to March 31) in galleries 234 and 235 of the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; www.slam.org). Admission is free. free admission

Steinberg Skating Rink

Fridays, Saturdays, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. and Mondays-Thursdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Continues through Feb. 25, 2019

Ice skating and hot cocoa go together like Christmas and carols. Every year, Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park (www.steinbergskatingrink.com) is open from early November to late February, providing the Midwest's largest outdoor rink for the low price of $7 a day. Your $7 is good for the whole day, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Skate rental is another $7, which is a steal — but just because it's so affordable doesn't mean you have to bring the family. If you're tired of the in-laws, their kids or just want to get out of the house, Steinberg is there for you. Nothing clears the head like a brisk skating session and hot cocoa by an outdoor fire. $7

Steinberg Skating Rink (map)
400 Jefferson Drive
St. Louis - Forest Park
phone 314-367-7465 or 314-361-0613
Steinberg Skating Rink

Graphic Revolution: American Prints 1960 to Now

Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Feb. 3, 2019

The 1960s were a period of social upheaval and radical change in America, and no art form captured that churning spirit better than printmaking. Printmakers have always had one foot in the commercial art world and one in the realm of fine art, and that hybrid nature allows them to adapt to new technologies and new thinking more quickly than, say, sculptors. Graphic Revolution: American Prints 1960 to Now, the exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; www.slam.org), is a treasure trove of startling images. Featuring more than 100 works drawn from the museum's holdings and local private collectors, Graphic Revolution includes landmark prints by the big names (Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup II, Robert Rauschenberg's Signs) and less famous but no less astonishing pieces by modern masters such as Julie Mehretu and Edgar Heap of Birds. The show is open from Sunday, November 11, to February 3. Tickets are $6 to $14, but free to all on Friday. $6-$14, free on Friday

Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis

Fridays and Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through Feb. 10, 2019

Artist Kehinde Wiley leaped into the public consciousness when his presidential portrait of Barack Obama was unveiled in February, but he's been making vital work that explores the nexus of race and representation for years. In 2017 the New York City-based Wiley visited the Saint Louis Art Museum to review the collection with an eye toward a future exhibit inspired by the historic style of portraiture. While he was in St. Louis, Wiley went to north St. Louis and Ferguson to meet with people and find subjects for his own paintings. Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis is an exhibition of eleven large-scale paintings of everyday black St. Louisans dressed in modern clothing, posed in the manner of kings, statesmen and other powerful figures. Wiley's new work will be on display in galleries 249 and 250 from October 19 to February 10 at the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; www.slam.org). Admission is free. free admission

Gardenland Express Holiday Flower and Train Show

Through Dec. 24 and Through Dec. 30

Families once gathered to build their own holiday train sets under the Christmas tree, but it's a disappearing pasttime. Still, there's something magical about a well-built model train setup with buildings, little people and personal touches. Maybe Santa Claus is the engineer, or a tiny James Gang is waiting around the bend. The Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard; www.mobot.org) keeps the tradition alive with its annual Gardenland Express Holiday Flower and Train Show. Six tracks of model trains roll through hand-built scenery, which is surrounded by a landscape of living plants. It's an elaborate setup that rewards the careful observer, and it's open daily through January 1 (closed Christmas Day). Tickets are $5 per person in addition to regular garden admission. $5 in addition to regular garden admission ($4-$12)

Muny Memories: 100 Years on Stage

Through June 2, 2019

The Muny is just about to open its landmark 100th season, and its neighbor, the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBalivere Avenue; www.mohistory.org), celebrates the occasion with an exhibit dedicated to the history of America's largest outdoor theater. Muny Memories: 100 Years on Stage features exhibits that explain the founding of the theater, display favorite memories from stars and staff, and give a look back stage to see how the dedicated technical crew creates and rigs all those sets and lights. You can also take a look at programs from the Muny's long, storied past. Muny Memories opens on Saturday, June 9, and remains on display daily through June 2, 2019. Admission is free. free admission

Missouri History Museum (map)
Lindell Blvd. & DeBaliviere Ave.
St. Louis - Forest Park
phone 314-746-4599
Muny Memories: 100 Years on Stage

Panoramas of the City

Through March 24, 2019

In a year in which the Missouri History Museum exhibition team has given us the stories of St. Louis' greatest civil rights freedom fighters and returned us to the glory days of Route 66, it would take something truly spectacular for the museum to outdo itself — and yet somehow it's done just that. The museum's new exhibition, Panoramas of the City, is as close to time travel as you can get without involving Morlocks. The show comprises seven floor-to-ceiling size images of scenes such as Charles Lindbergh speaking to a crowd of 100,000 people on Art Hill at his "welcome home" party and a 1920 march on Olive Street by the League of Women Voters. These massive photographs are joined by props and interactive media displays that give viewers a better understanding of the historical context of each scene. More than 60 panoramas of various sizes round out the exhibit, which will be on display from September 2 to March 24, 2019, at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; www.mohistory.org). free admission

Missouri History Museum (map)
Lindell Blvd. & DeBaliviere Ave.
St. Louis - Forest Park
phone 314-746-4599
Panoramas of the City

The Immigrants: Works by Master Photographers

Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Wednesdays-Fridays, 12-5 p.m. and Tuesdays, 12-8 p.m. Continues through Jan. 12, 2019

America's long history of welcoming new arrivals to Team USA is celebrated in the exhibition The Immigrants: Works by Master Photographers. From the earliest days of photography in the 1890s, when Ellis Island clerk Augustus Frederick Sherman began documenting immigrants with his camera, to today, when Italian photographer Alex Majoli captures the crisis of refugees trying to survive the ocean crossing from Africa to Greece, the exhibit shows the people who fled their homes in search of safety. The Immigrants doesn't shy away from the worst moments; Dorothea Lange's suppressed photograph of Japanese Americans in a U.S. internment camp during World War II is part of the show, as are more ennobling images made by Lewis Hine and Bob Gruen. The Immigrants opens with a free reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, October 5, at the Sheldon (3648 Washington Boulevard; www.thesheldon.org). The show remains up through January 12. free admission

Buy Tickets
The Sheldon (map)
3648 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-9900
The Immigrants: Works by Master Photographers

Garden Glow

Through Dec. 23, 5-10 p.m. and Through Jan. 1, 2019, 5-10 p.m.

One of the most popular holiday traditions in St. Louis returns this weekend, when the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard; www.mobot.org) officially opens Garden Glow. More than one million lights wrap the trees and buildings of the garden, creating a seasonal spectacle. In keeping with the garden's mission, many of the lights are solar powered, and electrical use for the event has been offset with Renewable Energy Certificates, making this one of the few guilt-free Christmas treats. The 1.3-mile path through the park has a few concession areas serving hot chocolate, s'mores and the like, and both the Sassafras Cafe and Cafe Flora (Friday and Saturday nights only until December) will be serving food until 9 p.m. Garden Glow takes place from 5 to 10 p.m. nightly (November 17 to January 1; closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Tickets are $3 to $18 and are sold for specific start times; you can't get in before the time on your ticket. $3-$18

A Christmas Story

Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m., Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Wed., Dec. 12, 7 p.m., Sat., Dec. 15, 4 & 8 p.m., Sun., Dec. 16, 2 p.m., Wed., Dec. 19, 1:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 22, 4 & 8 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 23, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 23
,

The evergreen holiday film A Christmas Story is based on the stories of the great Jean Shepherd, who mined childhood nostalgia and memories of his own family to tell an honest tale about the true meaning of Christmas from a child's point of view. It's Ralphie Parker's fervent dream that he wake up to a Red Rider BB gun on Christmas morning, but his parents are against it. So Ralphie tries to work the system to get his wish, first by writing the most beautiful essay about air rifles his teacher has ever read, and then by placing an order with Santa Claus. In between his schemes, Ralphie has to deal with his oddball family (why won't his kid brother just eat?), his friends and the neighborhood bully, Scut Farkus (he has yellow eyes!). The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis gives us all a gift with Philip Grecian's stage adaptation of A Christmas Story. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday (November 30 to December 23) at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road; www.repstl.org). Tickets are $24 to $97. $24-$97

St. Charles Christmas Traditions

Sundays, 12-5 p.m., Saturdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Wednesdays, Fridays, 6-9 p.m. Continues through Dec. 24

Traditionally, there's only ever one Santa Claus on the job — that's what makes him so special. But at St. Charles Christmas Traditions, all the iterations of Santa Claus from other cultures and times gather in historic downtown St. Charles (South Main Street and Jackson Street, St. Charles; www.historicstcharles.com), which allows you to meet and take a picture with some far-out Santa variants and other assorted holiday characters. There's Ded Moroz ("Old Man Frost"), who brings the well-mannered children of Slavic countries their presents, and Julenisse, the Scandinavian supernatural being associated with the Winter Solstice. Non-Santa costumed characters include a reindeer flight instructor, Jack Frost, the Ice Queen and Julia D. Grant, the St. Louis-born wife of Ulysses and America's former first lady. St. Charles Christmas Traditions opens with a big brouhaha from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, November 23. The fun resumes from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday (November 24 to December 24). In some cultures, Santa Claus has a mischievous counterpart; on Wednesday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the Krampus gets his time to shine during Krampusnachts. At 8:13 p.m. he spins his Wheel of Misfortune in the Colonnade, joined by unsavory pals the Mouse King, Jolakotturinn (Iceland's ferocious Yule Cat, who eats people who don't get new clothes for Christmas) and the Abominable Snowman. If you feel like you can't keep all these beings straight without a scorecard, you're in luck: Special trading cards are available for each of them. Admission is free, and most shops and restaurants in the downtown area will be open for business during Christmas Traditions hours. free admission

Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Fridays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 16, 2019

Lola Álvarez Bravo was a Mexican artist, educator and curator whose life spanned nearly the entire twentieth century. From the 1930s to the 1970s, Álvarez Bravo crisscrossed her way across the country with camera in hand, creating portraits of other working artists. Always shooting, she also made images of regular people and the architecture — both old and new — at a time when Mexico was rapidly growing and transforming. Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico, the new exhibition at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation (3716 Washington Boulevard; www.pulitzerarts.org), features more than 40 of her black-and-white photographs in all their glory. Picturing Mexico opens with a free reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 14. Also debuting the same night are more than 60 sculptures by Ruth Asawa, who often worked with wire. Both shows remain on display through February 16. The Pulitzer is open Wednesday through Saturday. free admission

Pulitzer Arts Foundation (map)
3716 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-754-1850
Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico

Sanford Biggers and Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980

Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 30

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis opens some of the most ambitious and vital shows in its history this month, with a series of exhibitions by, and about, black artists and the black experience. Sanford Biggers works directly with the materials of his forebearers — quilts and African sculptures — only he reshapes and repurposes them as contemporary statements about black identity, history and trauma. Biggers gives found quilts new life with new handwork, encoding personal messages into their original pattern. The fact that the work of an anonymous black craftsman or woman now appears in galleries and museums around the world, even in Biggers' modified form, is both subversive and celebratory. With wooden sculptures, some of which are copies, he dips them in wax and then works them over with firearms. What begins as a statue of a human or human-shaped supernatural being becomes obscured, disfigured and unrecognizable through the violence wrought upon it.

In addition to Biggers' work, CAM presents a show of the private photos of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat emerged from the New York City hip-hop/punk/graffiti scenes in the 1970s as one-half of the graffiti duo SAMO, along with Al Diaz. The pair together tagged buildings with cryptic phrases denouncing the establishment, politics and religion, always signed "SAMO" (an acronym for "Same Old Shit"). When the duo broke up, Basquiat performed in the noise rock band Test Pattern (later named "Gray") with Vincent Gallo and Michael Holman. He lived on the streets, sold drugs and experimented with Xerox art, painting and drawing. Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980 will showcase everything the artist made while living in a small East Village apartment with his friend Alexis Adler before he hit the big time. It's a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures and works on paper, as well as Adler's photographs of his friend.

Both exhibitions open with a free reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, September 7, at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; www.camstl.org). The shows continue through December 30.

free admission

An Act of God

Sundays, 2 p.m., Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Wednesdays, Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through Dec. 16

In David Javerbaum's comic play An Act of God, the deity has returned to humanity in the form of a human man well known for his oddball charm in order to reveal his ten new commandments. The play was inspired by Javerbaum's Twitter account, @TheTweetOfGod, which delivers regular updates from the Man Upstairs. In the play, God goes to the theater ("it's where the Jews are"), not only to deliver the new revelation but also to take us mildly to task for misinterpreting his earlier work. It's a role that hinges on an empathetic actor who can strike the right balance of charm and parental disapproval, and for the New Jewish Theatre's production, the genial Alan Knoll dons the robe and sneakers. An Act of God is performed at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (November 29 to December 16) in the Wool Studio Theatre at the Jewish Community Center (2 Millstone Campus Drive; www.newjewishtheatre.org). Tickets are $42 to $45. $42-$45

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