Dancing in the Loop, Second City, photography

Columnist Lois Caplan

by Lois Caplan

One of the country’s most popular interactive TV shows is “Dancing with the Stars.” Glamorous costumed B-list celebrities and A-list dancers, some with their bellybuttons showing, perform to sexy, mostly Latin music, then the audience across the country is invited to vote on their favorite pair. Truthfully I never saw the show until Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol was on it.  She and her partner did not win, probably because they were no good.

Thanks to the J Associates, a support organization of the Jewish Community Center, a local version of the show, Dancing in the Loop, will take place Saturday, April 30 at The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard. Performances will feature notable St. Louisans coupled with professional dancers from Simply Ballroom.  Local “favorites” participating in the dance competition along with the pros include Janet Conners, director of Enrollment Growth at Molina Healthcare; Dan Gray, anchor and reporter at KPLR-TV; Thom Kohn, jewelry designer, gemologist and owner of the Diamond Shop; Craig Neuman, director of programming at the Jewish Community Center; and Milton Movitz, Pam Rubin (both Jewish Light Trustees), Jennifer Deutsch and Nancy Siteman, all community volunteers.  Guest emcee for the evening is Leisa Zigman, news anchor and investigative reporter for KSDK-TV. Guest judges include Cynthia Boever, professional dancer; David Gladden, hair designer/salon owner of Gladden Hair design and Peggy Mitchusson, CEO and founder of The Face and the Body Salon.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the festivities, which include cocktails, dinner and the dance competition.  Ticket prices are $100 per person or $125 if purchased after April 8.  Advanced reservations are a must and can be made at www.jccstl.com. Last year’s Dancing in the Loop sold out quickly, so this is a hint to make your arrangements sooner rather than later.  All proceeds will benefit the JCC.  For more information and to reserve your place call Ericka Zoll, the J’s Director of Development, at 314-442-3189.

I LOVE SECOND CITY, Chicago’s legendary and irreverent comedy theater, which has been entertaining audiences since it was founded in 1959.  Second City is once again coming to the Touhill Performing Arts Center at UMSL for four performances of its latest show, “Fair and Unbalanced,” a hilarious ride through present-day America.  No institution, including politicians, celebrities and significant others escapes the satiric eye of Second City.  Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, April 28 and 29 and 5 and 9 p.m. Saturday, April 30. Tickets are $36 for general admission; $82 for a cabaret-style table for two; and $164 for a cabaret-style table for four.  They are available at the Touhill ticket office; online at www.touhill.org or by phone at 314-516-4949.

FOUR PHOTOGRAPHERS, Louis Kelly, Carol Shapiro, Barb Steps and Linda Yust will display their works at the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) 6128 Delmar Boulevard, from April 29th to June 6.  All prolific photographers, each will display a large number of photographs. Apparently, RAC’s ground-floor gallery is one of the only venues large enough to hold all of the latest and most significant work of these four photographers. Kelly’s pictures, according to photographer Shapiro, are “…smoky, beautifully refined images of flowers, mist, sunshine and shadow.” Shapiro’s photos demonstrate mastery of many different kinds of subjects and can be profound and humorous at the same time.  Steps photographs her travels with a deft hand – gorillas and mountain lions and bees buzzing as well as daylight, sunset and inhabitants in many different countries. On the other hand, Yust finds the glory of nature in her backyard with its big pond. The opening reception at RAC, to which all of you are invited, will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 29.