Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Steve Harvey Rocks Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis

Not my usual Saturday night, oh no! It was as if I'd crossed the border into another country. I was so clueless that I'd never even heard of Steve Harvey before, one of the Kings of Comedy. In 2000 Spike Lee filmed the comedy routines of Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, and Bernie Mac in front of an audience in Charlotte, North Carolina. The comedians give the audience their views about African American culture, race relations, church, and families. Steve carried on this tradition in his St. Louis show at the Chaifetz Arena which holds a maximum of 10,600 people. While not completely full Saturday night, it was packed.

St. Louis Today had this to say:

Comedian Steve Harvey made himself known through a variety of avenues during the late '90s. He appeared on his own TV series, The Steve Harvey Show (playing a '70s soul singer turned high-school teacher), starred in the HBO special One Man, hosted the perennial comedy favorite It's Showtime at the Apollo, and earned a record contract through Polygram for his 1997 album debut, Live.

I knew so little that as my companion Fanny Belle Lebby and I walked to the arena, I asked her, "So, tell me about Steve Havey."

We'd just had an adventure finding parking. The lot across from the arena cost $15. Both of us instantaneously declared this outrageous and began a search for something more reasonable. First the SLU lot. "Negative," said the guard when we inquired. Then a $10 lot. Finally, a funky $5 lot that looked like a construction site manned by a valet service. It worked and my car was safe when we got back.

It was an evening crash course in African American culture. Definitely its own distinctive culture. For me it was like crossing the border into another country, something I've always enjoyed. Somehow, it reminded me of being in Barcelona in the 1990s, surrounded by Spanish speakers, all of us watching "Stomp." Cultures within cultures within cultures. I loved it. White skin was scarce the other night. I spotted one other white woman on passport as I was with a gaggle of women friends.

People watching enhanced the night, even before the stage show started. Two warm-up acts preceeded Steve Harvey. Nephew Tommy, aka Thomas Miles gave us a spritely, fast-paced set.

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2 Responses »

  1. Great story, Janet!

    We all need cultural diversity in our lives. It creates understanding! And, Steve Harvey is on fire these days. I see his name everywhere, so your post is very timely.

    Mary

    http://www.marycunninghambooks.com

  2. Mary Cunningham further writes by email that:

    Saw Steve Harvey on Oprah the other day and thought of your timely post. This morning, I got this link from AARP. You're ahead of the curve. Trend setter, Janet Riehl!

    Thanks, Mary!

    Janet

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