Kibbitzing With Caplan

Debbie Monfort chairs Central Reform Congregation’s Happy Challah Makers.  Phoro: Leslie Caplan 

ART FAIR AT QUEENY PARK, now in its 36th year, is set for the Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29 to 31. This is one of my favorite shows, as it showcases the work of more than 130 juried artists who represent the gamut of genres – ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, digital art, mixed media, fiber for the walls and to wear, as well as sculpture and wood. As if all this were not dayanu, there will also be wine tasting, live music, a food café plus children’s and adult’s activities throughout the run of the show, so be sure to take the kids.

The Art Fair at Queeny, presented by the Greater St, Louis Art Association, is held in the air-conditioned Greensfelder Recreation Complex in Queeny Park, 550 Weidman Road in Ballwin. Admission is $5 and free to those 18 and under. Proceeds from the $5 admission and the artists’ booth fees go to GSLAA’s Art Scholarship Fund. St. Louis area high school seniors are eligible to apply for the art education scholarship, which is sent directly to the college of his or her choice. 

There is something for everyone at this art fair. Most interesting are conversations with the 130 plus artists who sell their works and tell you all about them. For more information about the Art Fair at Queeny Park visit 

DANCE ST. LOUIS announced its full 2014-2015 season last week and it is sensational. Starting with a complex program on Oct. 10 and 11, Dance St. Louis kicks off with its very own commissioned production, “New Dance Horizons.” 

Here is the concept: Three nationally renowned choreographers come to St. Louis, and are each paired with a local professional dance company (MADCO, Big Muddy Dance Company and the Saint Louis Ballet) to create distinct world premieres. Following this program will be seven others through May: “Dirty Dancing,” Dance Theatre of Harlem, Tango Buenos Aires, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Stomp, Compagnie Kafig and the wonderful locally produced Spring to Dance Festival. 

There are all kinds of packages to purchase tickets to these performances, all but two at the Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri St. Louis (the others at the Fox Theatre). Season ticket packages are on sale now and are available at the Dance St. Louis box office at 3547 Olive Street in the Centene Center for Arts and Education or by calling 314-534-6622 or by visiting

Of special interest to the St. Louis Jewish Community is choreographer Ronen (Roni) Koresh who was born and raised in Israel.  He received his early dance training from his mother, a folk dancer in the Yemenite tradition. After training with Martha Graham’s Batsheva Dance Company, Roni enlisted for three years in the Israeli army. In 1983 he moved to New York, studied and danced with well-known companies and in 1991 founded Koresh Dance Company in Philadelphia. He has established a repertoire of over 40 works and develops 2 to 3 new works each year. You can see Roni at the New Dance Horizons program mentioned above.

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING” opened on Broadway in 1961, and was a huge success featuring Robert Morse as J. Pierrepont Finch. I could hardly wait to get to New York to see it, which I did and loved it. Last week I saw a revival of the show at Stages featuring Ben Nordstrom as Finch, and guess what, Nordstrom was even better than Morse — in fact, much better. 

As a gung-ho theatergoer, I have experienced a lot of good performances but none as outstanding a Nordstrom’s. Although outdated, “How to Succeed,” is still a barrel of fun and worth seeing.  It will run through Aug. 17 at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in Kirkwood, 111 South Geyer Road. For tickets ranging in price from $20 to $57, call 314-821-2407 or visit


CHALLAH A LA RAY DAVIDSON, is still being baked at Central Reform Congregation and can be purchased for $7 apiece. Six to eight volunteers produce 16 to 32 loaves per week using Davidson’s wife Frieda’s special CRC recipe. Davidson came to CRC as a widower in search of help from Rabbi Susan Talve and in turn gave help to the congregation, which uses the challah for both Friday night and Saturday morning services. Debbie Monfort chairs the challah making, called Happy Challah Makers. She explained that, “Folks bake in groups of two and three. The baking day is six hours, start to finish, as there are three rises in the process, so there is some down time. Some bakers do special writing and artwork on ceremonial challahs. We do round challahs with raisins for the High Holidays by special order for $8. Our challahs are made with love and that is what makes them special.  They are healing loaves.” To order your challah, call CRC at 314-361-3918.