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Les Miserables

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

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

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

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

Perfect Arrangement

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 23

Bob and Norma work for the U.S government, a good job in the 1950s. They're friends at work and after hours, a happy little foursome with the addition of Millie (Bob's spouse) and Jim (Norma's husband). Then Bob and Norma get a new assignment: Root out and expose any homosexuals working for the government. Senator Joseph McCarthy has denounced gays and lesbians as perverts, and at the time he got what he wanted. It's bad news for the duo, because they're living a lie. Bob and Jim and Norma and Millie are committed couples living under the cover of two fake marriages and a real friendship, and now it's all endangered. Can they betray their fellow homosexuals to protect themselves? Topher Payne's play Perfect Arrangement draws from the tropes of TV sitcoms and the real-world Lavender Scare, which destroyed hundreds of lives because of one paranoid, power-hungry toad of a man. R-S Theatrics presents the play at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday (December 7 to 23) at the Marcelle Theater (3310 Samuel Shepard Drive; www.r-stheatrics.com). Tickets are $20 to $25. $20-$25

Marcelle Theater (map)
3310 Samuel Shepard Dr
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-0367
Perfect Arrangement

Urban Chestnut's WinterMarkt

Sat., Dec. 15, 12-4 p.m.

In its continuing efforts to become your favorite local craft brewery, Urban Chestnut presents its WinterMarkt. The German-style Christmas market features more than 30 vendors selling everything from flowers to beads to photography at the midtown location of Urban Chestnut Brewery and Biergarten (3229 Washington Avenue; www.urbanchestnut.com). There will be beer specials, hot chocolate and German Glühwein (a seasonal favorite), as well as food and fire pits. The next WinterMarkt takes place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, December 8, and admission is free. There will be one more markt on Saturday, December 15, with a whole new roster of vendors. free admission

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