Humanities Broadsheet

St. Louis–Area Humanities Events

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Phil Maciak, The Disappearing Christ, Secularism in the Silent Era (Author Talk)
PHILLIP MACIAK, lecturer in English and American culture studies, Washington University. At the turn of the 20th century, American popular culture was booming with opportunities to see Jesus Christ. Why, in an era traditionally defined by the triumph of secular ideologies and institutions, were so many artists rushing to film Christ’s miracles and use his story and image to contextualize their experiences of modernity? Maciak examines filmic depictions of Jesus to argue that cinema developed as a model technology of secularism, training viewers for belief in a secular age. Studying these films alongside a multimedia, interdisciplinary archive, Maciak offers a new narrative of American cultural history at the intersection of cinema studies and religious studies.
Washington University, Duncker Hall, Hurst Lounge (Room 201)

Molly Butterworth and Thomas Eyssell, They Will Run: The Golden Age of the Automobile in St. Louis (Author Talk)
Were it not for a few quirks of history, St. Louis might have become the center of the American automotive industry instead of Detroit. Join Molly Butterworth and Thomas Eyssell, authors of They Will Run, as they head down the road of automotive history in the Gateway City.
Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 63112

Screening: The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov novel is the epitome of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s creative work, the acme of the philosophic investigation carried out by this colossal and restless mind throughout his life. World-renowned choreographer Boris Eifman offers a remarkable vision of the core ideas within the novel, expanding upon them though body language as a way of exploring the origins of the moral devastation of the Karamazovs, creating through choreographic art an equivalent of what Dostoyevsky investigated so masterfully in his book: the excruciating burden of destructive passions and evil heredity. Russian Film Series.
Washington University, Seigle Hall, Room 206

The Land of Open Graves: Understanding the Current Politics of Migrant Life and Death along the U.S.–Mexico Border
JASON DE LEÓN, professor of Anthropology and Chicana/o studies at the University of California. Since the mid-1990s, the U.S. federal government has relied on a border enforcement strategy known as “Prevention Through Deterrence.” Using various security infrastructure and techniques of surveillance, this strategy funnels undocumented migrants toward remote and rugged terrain such as the Sonoran Desert of Arizona with the hope that mountain ranges, extreme temperatures and other “natural” obstacles will deter people from unauthorized entry. Hundreds of people perish annually while undertaking this dangerous activity. Since 2009, the Undocumented Migration Project has used a combination of forensic, archaeological and ethnographic approaches to understand the various forms of violence that characterize the social process of clandestine migration. In this presentation, De León focuses on what happens to the bodies of migrants who die in the desert. Drawing on the archaeological concept of taphonomy (i.e., the various post-mortem processes that impact biological remains), he argues that the way that bodies decompose in this environment is a form of hidden political violence that has deep ideological roots. Using ethnographic data from New York and Ecuador, he focuses on the families of people who have lost loved ones in the desert and demonstrates how the post-mortem destruction of migrant corpses creates devastating forms of long-lasting trauma. Jason De León is executive director of the nonprofit organization Undocumented Migration Project, a long-term anthropological study of clandestine migration between Latin America and the United States, and author of the award-winning book The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail. He is president of the board of directors for the Colibrí Center for Human Rights and on the academic board for the Institute for Field Research, a nonprofit organization operating over 42 field schools in 25 countries across the globe. Holocaust Memorial Lecture.
Washington University, Women’s Building Formal Lounge

True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality Screening & Discussion
This film chronicles the career of Bryan Stevenson, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of New York Times best-seller Just Mercy, in his efforts to fight racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. Post-screening panel discussion with Blake Strode, CEO, Arch City Defenders; Shawntelle Fisher, CEO, SoulFisher Ministries; and Diedre Wortham, organizer, Close the Workhouse.
Center for Global Citizenship, Saint Louis University, Auditorium, 3672 West Pine Mall, St. Louis, 63108

Allen Eskens, Nothing More Dangerous (Author Talk)
After 15 years of growing up in the Ozark hills with his widowed mother, high-school freshman Boady Sanden is beyond ready to move on. He dreams of glass towers and cityscapes, driven by his desire to be anywhere other than Jessup, Missouri. Even his beloved woods, his playground as a child and his sanctuary as he grew older, seem to be closing in on him, suffocating him. Then Thomas Elgin moves in across the road, and Boady’s life begins to twist and turn. Coming to know the Elgins — a black family settling into a community where notions of “us” and “them” carry the weight of history — forces Boady to rethink his understanding of the world he’s taken for granted. Secrets hidden in plain sight begin to unfold. But the biggest secret of all is the disappearance of Lida Poe, the African-American woman who keeps the books at the local plastics factory. As the mystery of her fate plays out, Boady begins to see the stark lines of race and class that both bind and divide this small town — and he will be forced to choose sides.
Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 63108

St. Louis Browns Historical Society
Join us as author Ed Wheatley speaks about the historic St. Louis Browns, the city’s “other” Major League Baseball team from 1902 to 1953.
St. Louis County Library – Headquarters, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, 63131

Fully Committed
This devastatingly funny play follows a day in the life of Samuel Peliczowski, an out-of-work actor who mans the red-hot reservation line at Manhattan’s number one restaurant. Sam battles coercion, threats, bribes, histrionics — a cast of desperate callers will stop at nothing to land a prime reservation or the right table. While juggling scheming socialites, name-dropping wannabes and fickle celebrities, can Sam manage to look out for himself? Fully Committed has 40 wildly diverse characters played by one actor. Audience talk backs following the on Dec. 12 and Dec. 15 performances.
New Jewish Theatre, Staenberg Family Complex, 2 Millstone Campus Dr., St. Louis, 63146

Angels, Beggars and Burghers: The Etchings of Rembrandt
Gallery talk by Elizabeth Wyckoff, curator of prints, drawings, and photographs, and Heather Hughes, study room manager for prints, drawings, and photographs, both with the Saint Louis Art Museum. This talk includes a visit to the Print Study Room and is limited to 15 persons on a first-come, first-served basis. Pick up a lanyard at the Information Center in Sculpture Hall to reserve a spot. This free, hour-long informal discussion offers insights into the Saint Louis Art Museum’s permanent collection and featured exhibitions. Talks take place in the galleries (unless otherwise noted) and are led by curators, museum educators, professors, artists, and other experts.
Saint Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Drive, St. Louis, 63110
THURS., DEC. 5, 11 AM; FRI., DEC. 6, 6 PM

Bold and Brilliant Women
Mark your calendars to celebrate and empower the unapologetically bold and brilliant. Whatever their focus and talent — science, design, music, education — these local thought leaders will inspire understandings of new perspectives and empower audiences to shape the future. Women and their allies are joining forces to share innovative ideas that create real, meaningful change. Topics and peakers include “Art in Urban Places,” Meridith McKinley, founder and partner, Via Partnership; and “Kids Need Diverse Literacy,” Rebecca Clark, author, Witty Kids.
Ferrara Theater at America’s Center, 701 Convention Plz., St. Louis, 63101

Suggestion and Spirituality in Symbolist Prints
KIRSTEN MARPLES, PhD candidate in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Washington University, considers the ways in which French symbolist artists Odilon Redon and Paul Gauguin united evocative content and innovative technique in their shared aim of suggestive expression.
Washington University, Kemper Art Museum, Room 104

Undergraduate Student Readings
Undergraduate students in creative writing read from their fiction, nonfiction and poetry in an event hosted by MFA students.
Washington University, Duncker Hall, Room 201

The art of dance has historically been highly differentiated, with nation, culture, ethnicity, gender and class informing distinctions of genre. Over time, however, dance artists from all over the world have challenged such categories. Spaces where dance happens are also the places where we meet, connect, share and integrate our diverse human experience and tell our stories. Making dance requires people to collaborate on a live work of art. This process culminates when a yet wider community of people gather together to witness the live performance. Please join the dance artists of the Washington University Performing Arts Department as we coalesce — to “grow together” — through shared experience of human movement. This annual showcase features diverse work by resident and guest choreographers, performed by select student dancers of the Performing Arts Department. Artistic direction by David Marchant. $15–$20.
Washington University, Edison Theatre
FRI., DEC. 6 & SAT., DEC. 7, 8 PM; SUN., DEC. 8, 2 PM

Susan Philipsz: Seven Tears
Join Stephanie Weissberg, Pulitzer Arts Foundation associate curator, for a guided tour of Susan Philipsz: Seven Tears. Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1965, Turner Prize–winning artist Susan Philipsz is best known for her works that explore the potential of sound — often including her own, untrained voice — to define space and its interaction with architecture. Created in response to specific space and their architectural, environmental, and historic contexts, Philipsz’s sound installations bring to life the meaning of the places in which they are sited.
Pulitzer Arts Foundation, 3716 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, 63108

Workshop: Urdu Calligraphy
Practice the art of Urdu calligraphy with artist Faraz Khan and learn how to write your name in Urdu. Khan’s work constructs new modes of expression based on Urdu/Arabic writing. Artists ages 12 and up are welcome, and materials are provided. Space is limited; to reserve your seat, please complete the registration form below.
Pulitzer Arts Foundation, 3716 Washington Blvd., 63108

When We Talk to Each Other
This panel discussion takes as its point of departure the visualizations artist Ai Weiwei has created of contemporary refugees and their sociopolitical contexts through his artworks and films. Local refugees join in this conversation to begin a dialogue of learning and sharing across different communities and cultures. Join Lindsay Stark, associate professor, Brown School, Washington University; Diego Abente, Ahmad Farid Barekzai and Nadya Kanim of the International Institute of St. Louis; and Sabine Eckmann, the William T. Kemper Director and Chief Curator, Kemper Art Museum, Washington University, for a participatory and reflective discussion.
Washington University, Kemper Art Museum

Art Is Labor Exhibit Opening and Gala
Art Is Labor highlights labor history as seen through art and artifacts, with a focus on St. Louis. The selected works explore topics such as social and economic justice and labor history. Contemporary artwork is curated alongside historical collections of ephemera, text and artifacts to build a narrative that speaks of the workers of our time and recognizes artists as workers. Curated by Dail Chambers, the exhibition is on display through Jan. 17, 2020. A sketch from the 2020 Workers’ Opera will also be performed. Program honoring Jamala Rogers and Percy Green begins at 7:30 pm. $45–$75.
Arcade Contemporary Art Projects, Webster University Gateway Campus, 812 Olive St., St. Louis, 63101

Masterclass with Eric Owens
Bass-baritone Eric Owens has a unique reputation as an esteemed interpreter of classic works and a champion of new music. Equally at home in orchestral, recital, and operatic repertoire, Owens brings his powerful poise, expansive voice, and instinctive acting faculties to stages around the world. Owens will open the Metropolitan Opera 2019–20 season, starring as Porgy in James Robinson’s production of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. He will give a recital the previous evening, performing Schubert’s Winterreise with Jeremy Denk as a part of the Great Artists Series.
Washington University, E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall, 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave, University City, 63130

Symposium on Empire in the Eighteenth Century
Speakers include Sophus Reinert, professor of business administration and history, Harvard Business School. His award-winning book Translating Empire, and new book Fisticuffs focus on imperial wealth and early modern global economics. Christy Pichichero is associate professor of French at George Mason University. Her first book, The Military Enlightenment: War and Culture in the French Empire from Louis XIV to Napoleon (Cornell University Press, 2017), won the Kenshur Book Prize from the American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies. She is now working on a book racialization in 18th-century Europe. Thomas Dodman is assistant professor of French at Columbia University. He specializes in modern France and its empire. His first book is What Nostalgia Was: War, Empire, and the Time of a Deadly Emotion (University of Chicago, 2018).
Washington University, Hillman Hall, Room 60

Memories of the Kings and Queens of Kush: Archaeology and Heritage at El-Kurru, Sudan
El-Kurru was a royal pyramid burial ground for many of the kings and queens of the dynasty of Napata from 850 to 650 BC. Learn more from Geoff Emberling of the Kelsey Museum at the University of Michigan. Presented with the Archaeological Institute of America.
Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 63112

Human Rights Day 2019
Celebrate Human Rights Day with a panel discussion centered around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This program will have a special focus on voting rights. Presented with the Coalition of Human Rights.
Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 63112

Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly
Director Cheryl Haines meets with former prisoners of conscience and their families to discuss the comfort they found in messages of hope sent to them by visitors to the exhibition @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz (2014–15). These postcards were sent as part of Ai’s participatory artwork, Yours Truly, which was inspired by the artist’s own childhood in exile and a postcard that found its way to the middle of nowhere.
Washington University, Kemper Art Museum, Steinberg Auditorium

Japanese Art of the Rinpa School
Gallery talk by Philip Hu, curator of Asian art, Saint Louis Art Museum. This free, hour-long informal discussion offers insights into the Saint Louis Art Museum’s permanent collection and featured exhibitions. Talks take place in the galleries (unless otherwise noted) and are led by curators, museum educators, professors, artists and other experts.
Saint Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Dr., St. Louis, 63110
THURS., DEC. 12, 11 AM & FRI., DEC. 13, 6 PM

Ghost Sanctuary
Jonathan Stitelman, visiting assistant professor of architecture and urban design, Sam Fox School, and students in this semester’s graduate architecture studio course “Ghost Sanctuary” discuss the notion of sanctuary in relation to their own work and to the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Bare Life. Inspired by both the exhibition and philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer, the course focuses on places of comfort to which we can no longer return, with students considering their own individual experiences and exploring ideas through both digital and analog representation.
Washington University, Kemper Art Museum

Segregation in the City: Fighting a Lasting Legacy
This second annual symposium explores the steps that three cities — St. Louis, Baltimore and Kansas City — are taking to confront issues of segregated housing and policy solutions. Working with Nneka N’namdi, founder of Fight Blight Bmore; Molly Metzger, Washington University; Tyrone Turner, Better Family Life; and representatives from regional housing agencies, this two-day event will engage St. Louisans in thinking about how they can empower themselves and their neighbors to break down the lasting legacy of housing inequality.
Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 63112

Winter Celebrations
Make the season merry and bright at Winter Celebrations! This family-friendly extravaganza of performances, art activities and festivities is inspired by the warmth of the season and traditions from around the world. Drop in for performances by community groups, art activities with your little ones and much more during this special two-day festival.
Saint Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Dr., St. Louis, 63110

Becoming American Series: “Destination America”
Every second Saturday of the month, from June through December, the St. Louis Public Library invites you to come and celebrate the history of immigration in America. Visit the Buder, Carpenter and Schlafly Libraries as they each explore a different facet of the immigration experience. Each showing will feature various items of interest including guest speakers, food and music. No reservations are required. December’s screening will be of Episode One of “Destination America,” “The Golden Door.” In this first episode from the acclaimed four-part series on immigration, historians Donna Gabaccia and Janet Nolan, and others, provide a historical context for America’s longstanding, and sometimes, conflicted relationship with immigrant labor.
St. Louis Public Library – Buder Library, 4401 Hampton Ave., St. Louis, 63109

Path of the Past Screening & Discussion
In remembrance of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, local historian Lou Baczewski presents a riveting documentary of the intrepid tank crews of the 3rd Armored Division and their fight to save the world from the Nazis.
Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, 1315 Chestnut St., St. Louis, 63103

Impressionism: It’s More Abstract Than We Think
Gallery talk by Jeanne Zarucchi, professor of art history and French, University of Missouri–St. Louis. Capacity is limited for each Gallery Talk. Pick up a lanyard at the Information Center in the Sculpture Hall to reserve a spot. This free, hour-long informal discussion offers insights into the Museum’s permanent collection and featured exhibitions. Talks take place in the galleries (unless otherwise noted) and are led by curators, museum educators, professors, artists and other experts.
Saint Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Dr., St. Louis, 63110
THURS., DEC. 19, 11 AM; FRI., DEC. 20, 6 PM

Special Collections Tour
Please join the St. Louis Public Library for Central Library’s Special Collections Tour. These magical evenings will begin in the Steedman Architectural Library where staff will display items and give a presentation about the Steedman Library and collection. The tour will continue with a special after hours look into the Rare Books and Manuscripts department. This fascinating look behind the scenes will take place on the third Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Tours will meet and begin in the Fine Arts Room (Second Floor).
St. Louis Public Library – Central Library, 1301 Olive St., St. Louis, 63103

Stephanie Butnick and Liel Leibovitz, The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia (Author Talk)
From the hosts of Tablet magazine’s wildly popular unorthodox podcast, The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia is an edifying, entertaining, and thoroughly modern introduction to Judaism. The book is an alphabetical encyclopedia of short entries — some profane, some profound, and some both — heavy on the graphics and, like contemporary Judaism itself, featuring a panoply of divergent voices, all amusing and well-informed and none in perfect agreement. By weaving together the essential and the esoteric, the snarky, and the earnest, the Jewish and the Jew-ish, this book honors its title, offering a truly unorthodox approach to Judaism, and allowing each reader to find his or her point of connection with the culture, the tradition, and the religion. St. Louis Jewish Book Festival. $20.
Jewish Federation of St. Louis, 12 Millstone Campus Dr., St. Louis, 63146

Harry Potter & the Sacred Text
Podcast hosts and Harvard Divinity School graduates Casper ter Kuile and Vanessa Zoltan (also a Washington University alumna) dive deep into a chapter of Harry Potter, tell stories from their own lives and try out a medieval religious reading practice or two with this modern-day classic. On the Harry Potter & the Sacred Text podcast, the hosts begin with a central theme through which to explore the characters and context, always grounding ourselves in the text. They engage in traditional forms of sacred reading to unearth the hidden gifts within even the most mundane sentences. On this podcast, we ask: What if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts? During this live event, Kuille and Zoltan discuss Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, chapter 21, “The Unknowable Room,” through the theme of friendship. Come and enjoy a night of live music, spiritual engagement, great story telling and hanging out with two of your favorite podcasters!
Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Rd., St. Louis, 63117

The Last Laugh Screening & Discussion
Is the Holocaust funny? This documentary looks at the taboo topic of humor, delving deep into pop culture to find out where to draw the line, and whether that is a desirable — or even possible — goal. Much of the film is centered around Auschwitz survivor Renee Firestone, who discusses humor in the concentration camps and finding enjoyment in life after. Comics including Mel Brooks and Sarah Silverman also share their views. Introductory remarks and post-screening discussion facilitated by Henry I. Schvey, professor of drama and comparative literature at Washington University. Schvey is a director, playwright and memoirist, as well as a scholar of modern American drama. His play, Hannah’s Shawl, was originally commissioned by the St. Louis Holocaust & Learning Center, and a coming-of-age memoir, The Poison Tree, was published in fall 2016. He is currently completing a study of Tennessee Williams’s complicated relationship to St. Louis. See website to RSVP.
Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, 12 Millstone Campus Dr., St. Louis, 63146

Collection Highlights Tour
Join us for a dynamic look at the Kemper Art Museum’s world-class art collection and newly expanded galleries. Trained student educators will guide you through highlights of the permanent collection, providing context and insights behind the artworks on display. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the tour. Meet in museum lobby.
Washington University, Kemper Art Museum

Community Remembrance
With recent efforts led by the Equal Justice Initiative, Geoff Ward, associate professor of African-African American studies at Washington University, examines the extensive history of racial violence in Missouri, its legacies and the increasing effort toward redress.
Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 63112

Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles
The Greek tragedy Medea is reborn through the experiences of a young immigrant family living in modern-day Los Angeles. Shrouded in evocative mysticism, this tale of love, loss and transformation pulses with an escalating sense of danger. In this fresh retelling, Medea and Jason grapple not only with their own star-crossed marriage but with the weight of the sacrifices demanded in the battle between assimilation and tradition. By Luis Alfaro. Post-show discussions follow the performances on Jan. 15, Jan. 16, Jan. 23 and Jan. 29. $20–$94.50.
Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts, 130 Edgar Rd., St. Louis, 63119

Two Trains Running
In August Wilson’s masterpiece, history unfolds around everyday lives against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. Part of Wilson’s trailblazing American Century Cycle, Two Trains Running paints a compassionate and unforgettable portrait of ordinary people in the midst of transformation. $15–$30.
The Black Rep, Washington University, Edison Theatre

The First Peoples’ World: A River Inheritance
DAVID LOBBIG, the Missouri Historical Society’s curator of environmental life, will compare the Mississippian culture’s close relationship with the Mississippi River with our own. Presented with the Mound City Chapter of the Missouri Archaeological Society.
Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 63112

Voices from the Grave: Missouri Emancipation Day
On January 11, 1865, the delegates of the Missouri state convention, led by Radical Republican Charles Drake, passed the immediate emancipation of all enslaved persons. In conjunction with Greenwood Cemetery, we will give a voice to those once enslaved and celebrate their lives and contributions to this region.
Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 63112

Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Activist Theology (Author Talk)
In this searing and personal book, activist and theologian Robyn Henderson-Espinoza bridges the gap between academia and activism, bringing the wisdom of the streets to the work of scholarship, all for the sake of political liberation and social change for marginalized communities. This is an invitation — a powerful and provocative call-to-action — to academic theologians to the work of social activism through movement building. Activist Theology summons all to take up radical acts of labor that uses scholarship and contemplation to build bridges with difference and make connections of solidarity, rooted in collective action. This rich and interdisciplinary work draws on continental philosophy, queer theology, and critical class theory in accessible and artful ways, using story, personal narratives, and sharp cultural analysis to bring clarity to the methods, sources, and objectives of activist theology. This is a key step forward in the contemporary conversation about theology and social action and will be essential reading for all those who want to see theology and ethics break new ground in the work of justice, hope, and liberation for all.
InPower Institute, 4125 Humphrey St., St. Louis, 63116

Liberty and Justice for All: ACLU of Missouri, 1920–2020
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) marks its centennial in 2020. Washington University Libraries’ Julian Edison Department of Special Collections serves as the official archive for the ACLU of Missouri. Exhibit tours and family-friendly hands-on activities are planned for the opening. Please RSVP to attend:
Washington University, Olin Library

Secrets of Ancient Games
People all over the ancient world loved playing games. Irving Finkel of the British Museum details the rules to several ancient games including Senet, the Royal Game of Ur and Parcheesi. Presented with the Archaeological Institute of America.
Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 63112

Songs for Nobodies
This one-woman powerhouse performance, starring Debby Lennon, weaves the music of legendary divas Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, and Maria Callas throughout a mosaic of stories told by the everyday women who had unexpected life-changing encounters with these musical icons. Featuring such favorites as “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Crazy,” “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien,” “Lady Sings the Blues,” and “Vissi d’arte,” Songs for Nobodies illuminates the power of song to share a story, heal a heartbreak, and inspire a dream. Q&As will be held after the Jan. 26 and Feb. 2 matinees.
Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 63103

Worth 1,000 Words
How does a picture capture a story, and what parts of a story does it not tell? Join a panel of local photographers for a discussion about the strengths and limitations of photography as a storytelling device and the role of the photographer as the storyteller. Presented with the St. Louis Press Club and the International Photography Hall of Fame. The exhibition Pulitzer Prize Photographs on view through Jan. 20.
Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 63112

St. Louis Poetry Center Sunday Workshop
Guest poet critic Alison C. Rollins, leads the workshop and provides professional critique on a selection of the pre-submitted manuscripts. All poems submitted will receive written comments. The Sunday Workshops are the longest running poetry writing workshops in St. Louis. These workshops are offered as a free service to local poets, with notable poet critics commenting on pre-submitted works in a friendly and constructive group setting. Poetry workshops are held the third Sunday of each month, September through April, except for December.
The High Low, 3301 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 63103

MLK Community Celebration
Celebrate and reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Missouri History Museum throughout the weekend. On Sunday, hear from Rev. Traci Blackmon, Dr. Anthony Witherspoon, and Rev. Kevin Anthony as they reflect on sermons delivered by Dr. King.
Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 63112

‘The Time Is Always Right to Do What Is Right’
Taking its theme from a quotation from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the 33rd Annual Washington University MLK Commemoration features a keynote address from Chancellor Andrew D. Martin, performances by student choirs and other student groups and the presentation of the Rosa L. Parks Memorial Award for Meritorious Service to the Community. Reception to follow in the Danforth University Center.
Washington University Graham Chapel

River Styx Reading Series: Kathryn Davis, Alison C. Rollins, and Jeffery Thomson
The River Styx Reading Series continues its 45th season by presenting writers Kathryn Davis, Alison C. Rollins, and Jeffrey Thomson. Kathryn Davis is the Hurst Writer in Residence at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the author of eight novels, most recently The Silk Road (2019). Alison C. Rollins is author of the poetry collection Library of Small Catastrophes (Copper Canyon, 2019), and she received a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Literature fellowship and a 2018 Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award. Born and raised in St. Louis City, she currently works as the lead teaching and learning librarian for Colorado College. Jeffrey Thomson grew up in St. Louis. He is a poet, memoirist and translator who has published 12 books, including his most recent, Half/Life: New and Selected Poems (Alice James Books, 2019). $5 general admission; $4 for students and seniors.
The High Low, 3301 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 63103

Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White, All the Ways We Said Goodbye (Author Talk)
Following their hit novels The Glass Ocean and The Forgotten Room, historic fiction writers Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White present a new breathtaking work of collaborative storytelling that moves from the dark days of two World Wars to the turbulent years of the 1960s, in which three women with bruised hearts find refuge at Paris’ legendary Ritz hotel. The heiress, the resistance fighter and the widow — three lives that are touched by war, secrets and family betrayals. Each of the extraordinary characters in this epic novel face a journey of discovery that that takes them to Paris and the Ritz — and to unexpected places of the heart.
St. Louis County Library – Headquarters, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, 63131

My Name Is Asher Lev
My Name Is Asher Lev follows the journey of a young Jewish painter torn between his Hassidic upbringing and his desperate need to fulfill his artistic promise. When his artistic genius threatens to destroy his relationship with his parents and community, young Asher realizes he must make a difficult choice between art and faith. This stirring adaptation of a modern classic presents a heartbreaking and triumphant vision of what it means to be an artist. Talk backs following the performances on Jan. 30 and Feb. 2.
New Jewish Theatre, Staenberg Family Complex, 2 Millstone Campus Dr., St. Louis, 63146

Dancing Against the Law: Critical Moves in Queer Bangalore
KAREEM KHUBCHANDANI, Mellon Assistant Professor, Department of Drama and Dance and the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Tufts University. India’s rights-based LGBTQ activism — legislation, public protest, film and web production — has centered on the decriminalization of sodomy, particularly the reading down of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. In addition to 377, queer bodies have been criminalized by other laws, including a ban on dancing in Bangalore enforced between 2005 and 2012. Understanding rights and protest through the lens of the dance-ban ins. Khubchandani teaches at the intersection of performance studies and queer studies. He holds a PhD in performance studies from Northwestern University, and previously served as the inaugural Embrey Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
Washington University, Umrath Hall, Room 140

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope (Author Talk)
Acclaimed authors of the international best-seller Half the Sky, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are the first husband-wife team to share a Pulitzer Prize for Journalism. In their latest masterpiece of investigative reporting, Kristof and WuDunn issue a plea to address the crisis in working-class America, while focusing on solutions to mend a half century of governmental failure. Deeply personal and told through the life stories of real Americans, Tightrope is a riveting picture of the daily struggles of working-class families. Doors open at 6 pm. Tickets go on sale Dec. 16 and can be purchased through or at Saint Louis County Library – Headquarters. $30 (1 admission and 1 copy of the book) or $35 (2 admissions and 1 copy of the book).
St. Louis County Library – Headquarters, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, 63131

Wildfire (Le Brasier)
U.S. premiere of Wildfire (Le Brasier) by Quebecois author David Paquet. Three very odd triplets, burning to be loved; two are misfits, inflamed by passion; one is a lonely woman, kindled by forbidden desire. Somewhere between black comedy and Greek tragedy, this ferocious, poetic and tightly structured mini-epic is an exploration of heredity and fate that also leaves room for the choices we make. Doomed to the flames by their very nature, Paquet’s seemingly ordinary characters nevertheless choose to struggle against their solitude in extraordinary ways, always managing to remain both relatable and astonishing. Q&A after the Feb. 2 matinee.
Upstream Theater, 501 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 63103

Weaving Your Name: Singing Penelope’s Tapestry
PHILIP BARNES, John Burroughs School.
John Burroughs School, Science, Technology and Research Building, Newman Auditorium, 755 S. Price Rd., St. Louis, 63124

Andrew Wanko, Great River City: How the Mississippi Shaped St. Louis (Author Talk)
For St. Louis, the Mississippi has always been more than just a river. It’s been the focus of the local economy, a shaping force on millions of lives, and a mirror for the city’s triumphs, embarrassments, joys, and tragedies. In Great River City, public historian for the Missouri Historical Society Andrew Wanko examines the many ways St. Louis has interacted with the mighty river running past its door. Included among the dozens of stories are landmark moments in the history of St. Louis, from Lewis and Clark’s 1803 expeditionary stopover and the construction of the Eads Bridge in the 1860s to more recent events, like the Great Flood of 1993. Doors open at 6 pm.
St. Louis County Library – Headquarters, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, 63131

Immigration Then and Now: Exploring the Making of Undocumented Immigrants
Throughout the history of the U.S., federal laws and policies have been used to determine who should be allowed to immigrate to the U.S. and who should be excluded. Sociologist Ariela Schachter of Washington University in St. Louis explores how historical and contemporary policies have contributed to current debates and understandings of undocumented immigration. Presented with the Academy of Science–St. Louis.
Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 63112

Resistance Acts Panel Discussion
Faculty Book Celebration keynote speaker Daphne Brooks (see below) with Patrick Burke, associate professor of music; Miguel Valerio, assistant professor of Spanish; and Rhaisa Williams, assistant professor of performing arts, all at Washington University. Lunch provided. Please RSVP at to attend the lunch.
Washington University, Olin Library, Room 142

Blackface Broken Records: On the Eve of the Blues Feminist Experiment
DAPHNE BROOKS, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of African American Studies, and professor of theater studies, American studies, and women’s, gender, and sexuality Studies, Yale University. This talk threads together an exploration of women in blackface minstrelsy, race riots of the Progressive Era, the classic black women’s blues craze and the origins of one of the world’s most famous musicals. In particular, it questions the ways that African Americans navigated an early 20th-century popular culture that policed and restricted their sounds. Ultimately, it asserts that the struggle over radicalized sound in the 1910s was a battle waged between women artists — black and white, in the north and in the south, and on the eve of a blues music revolution. Brooks is the author of two books: Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850–1910 (Durham, NC: Duke UP), winner of The Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship on African American Performance from ASTR, and Jeff Buckley’s Grace (New York: Continuum, 2005). Brooks is currently working on a three-volume study of black women and popular music culture titled “Subterranean Blues: Black Women Sound Modernity.” The first volume in the trilogy, Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Archive, the Critic, and Black Women’s Sound Cultures, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press.
Washington University, Hillman Hall, Clark-Fox Forum

When Rivers Were Trails
Inspired by the stories that were missing from the classic Oregon Trail video game, When Rivers Were Trails is a 2-D adventure game that follows an Anishinaabeg in the 1890s who is displaced from Minnesota and travels to California. Join Carl Petersen, one of the team of Indigenous writers who brought the game to life, to hear about how the game came to be, as well as his other projects that bring Native voices to the gaming industry.
Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 63112

Lisa Gardner, When You See Me (Author Talk)
LISA GARDNER unites three of her most beloved characters — Detective D.D. Warren, Flora Dane, and Kimberly Quincy — in a twisty new thriller. FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Sergeant Detective D.D. Warren have built a task force to follow the digital bread crumbs left behind by deceased serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. When a disturbing piece of evidence is discovered in the hills of Georgia, they bring Flora Dane and true-crime savant Keith Edgar to a small town where something seems to be deeply wrong. The team soon discovers that for all the evil Jacob committed while alive, his worst secret is still to be revealed. Doors open at 6 pm.
Saint Louis County Library – Headquarters, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, 63131

SLAM Underground: Repeat
Join us on the last Friday in January as we celebrate the tradition of batik textiles with an evening of art, music and cocktails.
Saint Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Dr., St. Louis, 63110