Category Archives: Date Night

Things to Do | July 9-11

Looking for something FREE to do this weekend? Here are a few of my favorites.

Ann Hamilton’s Stylus piece at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts |  Opening reception Friday, July 9 at 5 pm OR Saturday, July 10, 10 am to 5 pm*

I have yet to read anything that makes much cohesive sense as to what this work is really about so just go and experience it in person. Ann Hamilton is an internationally known artist whose multi-media installations have addressed ideas of process, time, place, and voice among other themes. There is always something startlingly evocative, beautiful, and memorable about all of her work. The opening reception is the evening of July 16 but the exhibition runs through January 22, 2011. Read more about Stylus at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts blog (shared with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis).

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts hours and location information

*The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts is only open Wednesdays and Saturdays to the public.

Citygarden Fabulous Flamingo Festival | Saturday, July 10, 2 to 4 pm (not good for those with afternoon nappers unfortunately!)

If you want somewhere to cool off, St. Louis’s Citygarden is the perfect place. Clean designs, beautiful and playful fountains, sculptures, and fun people watching, this park area/sculpture garden is great for kids and adults. In celebration of its first birthday, Citygarden presents its very own “Flamingo Festival,” filled with a costume parade and contest (come dressed as a flamingo), prizes, refreshments, story tellers, live music, and a stilt walker. Note: the nearby cafe, The Terrace View, is super convenient, has great service, and is reasonably priced. Too bad the food is so blah.

Read about Tom Otterness’s sculpture and other works in the garden.

Citygarden hours and location information

Tilles Park Children’s Playground |  10 am to 8 pm daily

Tilles Park has a wonderful children’s playground and a water spray park. There are two separate age appropriate playground structures, a swing set, lots of objects to climb on, pretty clean bathrooms, outdoor musical instruments, a sand box, and some seating areas. The water spray park area is excellent for hot days. Just don’t forget towels and lots of sunscreen. There are limited shady areas in the children’s park. Ample parking is a plus.

June 19-20 Weekend Events

It’s oh so hot and humid in St. Louis right now. Here are some cool events for the weekend of June 19-20.

Bill Viola’s Visitation video installation opens at the St. Louis Art Museum on Sunday, June 20. The work was inspired by devotional art of the Middle Ages and explores universal themes of life and death, faith and sorrow, heaven and earth. Bill Viola’s pieces are often mesmerizing, a little disturbing, and meditative. Take the time to ponder this one. (Hm… and don’t bring your 10 and under child to the Viola installation. Probably a bit on the nightmare feeding side of things.)

Vatican Splendors at the Missouri History Museum. This exhibition features rare paintings, mosaics, frescoes, maps, artifacts, and other historical documents from the Vatican–many never seen outside of Rome. When I was at the Vatican Museum a few years ago, I was swept along by the swarms of people trying to get to the Sistine Chapel that I never did get to see most of the museum’s artifacts up close. Here’s a wonderful opportunity to experience a bit of history.

KIDDIE FRIENDLY: The Magic House opens their new exhibit space, Children’s Village Hospital, this Sunday, June 20. My daughter is infatuated with giving all of her stuffed animals shots and then putting painter’s tape (band-aids) on them that we’re sure to visit this exhibit soon. Let your little doctor explore a pretend hospital nursery and get decked out in scrubs and lab coats. No insurance required.

A Little Night Music Smiles Big

Here are my thoughts about Opera Theatre of St. Louis’s A Little Night Music, June 11 at 8 pm performance. A few more shows remain!  Watch the preview video.

The title of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music comes across at first as being so casual, so uneventful, so well, “little.” Yet beneath a seemingly lush, at times movie soundtrackesque, rumbles something much deeper, a darker story that unveils how meaningful what we think nothing of, can really be.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis’s production of A Little Night Music is pure magic driven largely by Isaac Mizrahi’s playful and dreamlike set (fit for any Vogue photo shoot), the luscious sounds from members of the St. Louis Symphony (an extra bravo to the clarinets and the bassoons, and of course to Stephen Lord for keeping the complex music together), the lighting by Michael Chybowski, and the team who developed the movement of the artists on stage—the clarity and honesty of the blocking and choreography made a great deal of sense.

Among the cast, I loved every moment that Christopher Dylan Herbert (Henrik Egerman) opened his mouth. He had wonderful nuance in color, breath, and line. At the end of his song “Later,” Mr. Herbert sang “Doesn’t anything begin?” with a poignancy that carried throughout the rest of the performance.

Sondheim music is hard to sing. The chromatics, the words that get all jumbled up in your mouth, the hidden meanings, the required purity of phrasing, all while acting and moving around the stage requires an enormous amount of practice, talent, and the ability to “keep control while falling apart” as is sung in the song “Perpetual Anticipation.” In general, the cast walked the fine line of musical theatre and operetta well, although there were definitely some intonation issues here and there as well as some odd sound balance concerns.

Amy Irving as Desiree Armfeldt well captured the actress’s sad cynicism tinged with bits of hope for what has passed her by. Ms. Irving delivered good comedic timing although her “singing” voice earlier in the production lacked direction or confidence. It must have been very tough for her to share a stage with singers of such high caliber. But oddly, her performance of the famous “Send in the Clowns” struck a chord of success. It’s almost as if her uneven and somewhat raspy singing voice fit perfectly with the words of the song—those that conveyed lost chances, sad smiles, and what could have or should have been. The line “Me here at last on the ground/You in mid-air” was sung knowingly, a little tiredly, and a whole lot worldly by Ms. Irving.

A Little Night Music opens with the grandmother Madame Armfeldt telling her granddaughter Fredrika about how the night smiles three times—once for the young, once for the fools, and once for the old (who know too much). Opera Theatre of St. Louis so beautifully presented those smiles to an eager audience and all the important in-betweens, the seemingly inconsequential happenings of life that add up to a lot more.

When Madame Armfeldt asks her granddaughter Fredrika, “Will you tell me what it’s all for,” Fredrika innocently responds, “It’s all there is, isn’t it?” We smile.

A Little Night Music at Opera Theatre St. Louis

I’m excited about seeing the Opera Theatre St. Louis production of A Little Night Music.

A Little Night Music is a Stephen Sondheim classic. Opera Theatre St. Louis’s production will feature the stage direction and costume/set design of Isaac Mizrahi and Amy Irving in the role of Desiree Armfeldt. Tickets were almost sold out for some performances. Online ticketing information through the opera company’s web site was helpful but incredibly slow. Once you know where you want to sit and how much you want to pay, CALL their box office for tickets, 314.961.0644. It will save you many minutes!

Read the St. Louis Magazine article about A Little Night Music.

Read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article about the opera company’s season.

YouTube Excerpt from A Little Night Music.

A Little Night Music Performances

Sunday, June 6 – 7 pm
Wednesday, June 9 – 8 pm
Friday, June 11 – 8 pm
Tuesday, June 15 – 1 pm
Thursday, June 17 – 8 pm
Saturday, June 19 – 8 pm

I also applaud the opera company for their smart marketing materials that came along with our mailed tickets. They are doing an excellent job at making the opera experience a user friendly one.

Summer Arts Events

Once we further figure out the babysitter situation, we hope to get out to experience more of the rich arts resources of St. Louis. World class music, opera, and visual arts flourish in the region. Some arts organizations you should check out if you haven’t already:

Opera Theatre of St. Louis

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (great summer programming for classical music newbies)

Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Touhill Performing Arts Center (Spring to Dance Festival opens May 27)

Babysitting resource

When we moved here, we only knew a couple of people. I had a lot of success looking for a great sitter through Pretty reasonable subscription rate/package and very complete information on potential sitters. You of course have to interview candidates and be responsible for following up with references. But overall useful service. Just make sure you cancel before they auto-renew your membership.