Archeology lecture; ADA 20 years later; Circus kudos

Eliana Hentoff-Killian hangs from the trapeze at the circus ring at the City Museum in 2009 during the final show of the Galilee Arches — a combined troupe of the Galilee Circus from Israel and the St. Louis Arches. File Photo: Mike Sherwin

Lois Caplan

HERODIUM: HEROD’S PALACE AND TOMB will be the subject of a lecture by Professor Dan Bahat at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15 at the Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Boulevard. According to Judy Brilliant, an archeologist and member of the Archeological Institute of America St. Louis Society, explains that Bahat started digging tunnels near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in 1976.  Since that time he has become one of the leading authorities on the archeology of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount and the 1,600-foot tunnel that runs from the Western Wall. Currently a professor at the University of Toronto, he was the District archeologist of the City of Jerusalem for almost 30 years.

King Herod, who reigned over Judea from 37 to 4 B.C.E., was rich and successful and known as “the Bible’s bloodiest tyrant.” His tomb has been one of biblical archeologists most sought after prizes. Among those who have spent most of their lives digging for answers is Professor Ehud Netzer of Hebrew University, a friend and colleague of Bahat, who will speak about the early explorations of the palace and tomb and the various expeditions that excavated the site as well as Netzer’s significant contribution to unearthing the almost lost palace and tomb. The illustrated lecture is free and open to the public.

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THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT: 20 YEARS LATER, also at the Missouri History Museum, is s 1,000-square foot gallery instillation that discusses life before the passage of the ADA and the myriad changes that have occurred in America and our region since the legislation was enacted. Visiting this exhibit, you may be surprised by the progress that has been made for children and adults with both physical and intellectual/cognitive disorders.  So before you hear the lecture on Herod’s tomb you may want to explore and learn the good news – how far we have come in dealing with disabilities.

“THE NUTCRACKER” is an exquisite ballet performed to the wonderful music of Peter Ilyiavich Tchaikovsky. Ordinarily I would not write about it feeling that it was a Christmas offering and not appropriate for this column.  This year however, “The Nutcracker” will be performed by the world famous Joffrey Ballet, along with 59 young St. Louis area dancers, the Cambiata Singers of the Kirkwood Children’s Chorale and the Ballet Orchestra of St. Louis. Barbara McRobie, communications manager of Dance St. Louis told me, “It’s a production as grand as the original 1892 version for the Imperial Russian ballet, but as American and intimately charming as the Currier & Ives Illustrations and antique toys that inspired Robert Joffrey to create his own version of the ballet.”  There are six performances at the Fox starting Thursday and continuing through Sunday, Dec. 5.  For more information and for tickets call 314-534-6622.

CELEBRATE NEW YEAR’S EVE in Grand Center.  Bring the entire family for this year’s First Night under-water extravaganza called “Fantasea.” On Friday, Dec. 31 from 6 p.m. until midnight Grand Avenue will be closed from Lindell to Delmar boulevards where multitudinous musical, theater, dance and comedy performances will take place. There’s something for everyone including The Cadance, a dynamic drumming group from Springfield, Mo.; Buckets & Tap Shoes dancing duo from Minneapolis, and many local favorites like Rosemary Watts and Jim Dreyer, Jeanne Trevor, and Ben Nordstrom. Strauss Park across from the Fox Theatre will be transformed into an undersea adventure where visitors will walk through “waves” of light and “schools” of fish.  But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  For details visit but in the meanwhile purchase First Night admission buttons, a rare bargain at $4 for children and $8 for adults.  They are available at all Borders, Dierbergs and select Schnucks locations.  Footnote – the City of St. Louis has changed the hours of Grand Center parking meters from 10 p.m. to 7 p.m. so there is no need to carry large quantities of quarters. Great news for symphony and theater- goers.

CONGRATULATIONS TO CIRCUS HARMONY for the awards it received at the St. Louis International Film Festival. Artistic/Executive Director Jessica Hentoff explained that the Midrash Award was for St. Louis related films of honesty and artistry that portray the need of hope and reconciliation, and the Interfaith Award for artistic merit and the contribution to the understanding of the human condition and recognition of ethical, social and spiritual values. She is hoping to raise funds to bring Rabbi Marc from the Galilee Foundation, home of the troupe’s Israeli circus partners, to St. Louis to speak to groups during the winter.  Keep posted about further news from Circus Harmony and Circus Day Foundation.