Here's the latest wrap-up of assorted links and short local news items of interest:
* Organizers of the Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival remind us that there's still time for musicians and singers to enter their "Webster's Got Talent" contest and compete for a chance to perform at this year's OWJBF on Saturday, September 15. You can get more information and download the application here. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday, August 14.
* A new episode of HEC-TV's I Love Jazz premiered last night, featuring spouses and former St. Louisans Reggie and Mardra Thomas. Recorded during the Thomases' recent homecoming gig at Jazz at the Bistro, the episode will air periodically until October on local cable and satellite systems - check your program guide for details - or you can watch online at HEC's website.
* Saxophonist Willie Akins this week was the subject of a feature story written by Terry Perkins for the St. Louis Beacon.
* Musicians, artists and other creative types looking for a place to live and work have a new option in the Metropolitan Artists Lofts, located at 500 N. Grand (at Olive) in the Grand Center district. (That's across the street from the Fox Theatre, and just down the block from Powell Symphony Hall and the Bistro at Grand Center.)
The newly redeveloped building has features aimed specifically at artists, including music and media spaces and studios for pottery and dance, as well a fitness center and other more conventional amenities. One bedroom spaces begin at $654 per month, two bedrooms at $802. For more information, visit the website or call 314-535-2110.
* Lindy Hop St. Louis has announced a new monthly swing dance, West End Stomp!, to be held on the first Friday of every month at the Mahler Ballroom in the Central West End. The event will feature live music and free swing dance lessons for beginners, starting September 7.
* DownBeat magazine's 77th Annual Readers Poll is underway, and the deadline to cast a ballot is midnight on Tuesday. August 21. You can vote for your favorite jazz and blues artists of 2012 online here. Results of the Readers Poll will be reported in the December issue.