Show your love for St. Louis this Valentine’s weekend by attending the 250TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION festivities at Forest Park. On Friday, Feb. 14, the Burnin’ Love Festival on Art Hill kicks off at 4:30 p.m. with family-friendly activities, food trucks, fire-dancers, live performances by the likes of ERIN BODE and DENISE THIMES, and fireworks to cap off the night. On Sunday, Feb. 16, THE BIGGEST BIRTHDAY BALL at the Missouri History Museum promises to be one of the year’s most memorable affairs, featuring cocktails, a variety of food stations sampling local fare and live entertainment. Ladue News is a proud Silver Sponsor of the Ball. For tickets and more information about all other events, visit

Award-winning St. Louis author JOAN BARTHEL’s new book explores the life of Elizabeth Seton, the 18th-century revolutionary who became the Catholic church’s first American-born saint. American Saint: The Life of Elizabeth Seton is set against the roiling political context of the American Revolution and its aftermath, and offers the true story of a woman who made a name for herself in a world entirely ruled by men. The book, which features a foreword by MAYA ANGELOU, will be released March 4. Barthel will appear at St. Louis County Library headquarters on March 26 at 7 p.m. to discuss her book.

Washington University School of Medicine neurosurgeon ERIC LEUTHARDT’s experiences in the lab and the operating room have inspired him to write a futuristic thriller. RedDevil 4 envisions a world where brain implants permeate every level of personal and social interaction as cellphones do today. The book features a protagonist, St. Louis neurosurgeon Dr. Hagan Maerici, who is on the verge of creating the world’s first artificial intelligence and becomes entangled in a series of brutal murders. For the record, Leuthardt has never been involved in a murder case, but his research into interfaces that link the brain and computers has given him unique insight into some of the social, ethical and legal challenges that may arise with developing technology.

Prolific mystery writer CLAIRE APPLEWHITE has found another way to tell a story: through music. The St. Louis author has released Night Rain, a collection of songs to complement her ‘Nam Noir mystery series. Applewhite, who studied piano as a young girl, says she began to seriously consider music composition while creating book trailers for her novels. “I shopped the Internet for background music…(but) couldn’t find what I wanted. When I did find some suitable music, the cost of the right to use (it) was surprising. Besides that, it still wasn’t exactly what I wanted,” she says.

When asked whether writing or music composition is more difficult, Applewhite says many times, she can hear the music in the background when she writes. “I know what I want the reader to hear.” One of the songs in the collection, The Gift I Have Is You, is dedicated to Applewhite’s husband, Tom. For more information, visit

The popular Shakespeare in the Streets offering from SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL ST. LOUIS will take place later this year in the streets of Clayton. The grassroots theatrical event invites local neighborhoods to share their stories, and culminates with three one-hour street performances that showcase the combined talents of professional actors working alongside residents. The Clayton event is planned for Sept. 18 to 20. For more information, visit

Coffee-marinated duck breast canapé, slow-cooked Arctic char and braised lamb neck were some of the highlights during St. Louis Community College’s signature black-tie affair, Falling in Love…in Five Courses at the Four Seasons. The featured celebrity chef was ANDREW ZIMMERMAN of Chicago’s Sepia Restaurant, who worked alongside STLCC culinary students in preparing the feast. Zimmerman spent a couple of days prepping for the weekend dinner, giving students first-hand instruction and sharing advice. Assisting him in the kitchen were Four Seasons’ own FABRIZIO SCHENARDI and pastry chef CASEY SHILLER.