The Black Rep founder/ director RON HIMES will be part of an unprecedented gathering of black artists, writers, academics, scientists and community leaders for the first time in 50 years. Himes is participating in The World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures in Senegal at the invitation of that country’s president, ABDOULAYE WADE. The festival, which runs through Dec. 31, celebrates the theme of African Renaissance and participants will discuss the role of art and culture in promoting development and achievement of the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals by 2015, including progress in reversing the AIDS epidemic.

    A musical about the legendary vaudeville entertainer SOPHIE TUCKER is being touted as New Jewish Theatre’s most ambitious and expensive production to date. Tucker had a career that spanned five decades and performed frequently at the Chase Club in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. The musical, The Last of the Red Hot Mamas, runs through Dec. 26. In conjunction, Sophie Tucker memorabilia, including sheet music, photographs and books from the personal collections of MARY STRAUSS and Mamas co-writer/director TONY PARISE, are on exhibit.

    Season of giving…This year, Ladue News is working with THE WOMEN’S SAFE HOUSE to help brighten the holidays for local women and their children seeking to escape the cycle of violence in their lives. We invite you to join us in this very worthy cause. The shelter’s Wish List includes basic living items like new and gently used women’s and children’s clothing, bed linens and towels, small toys, batteries and disposable diapers. View the complete list on Collect ion boxes are available at our offices, 8811 Ladue Road, Suite D. Items will be collected through Monday, Dec. 20.  

    ALPINE SHOP has launched its ‘One Warm Coat Drive,’ to help keep needy children warm this winter. The store is collecting clean, gently used coats at its locations through Dec. 18 to donate to Sunshine Ministries, Coats for Kids and Edgewood Children’s Center. For every donated coat, shoppers receive a 20 percent off store coupon.

    The ST. LOUIS CHRISTMAS CAROLS ASSOCIATION is marking its 99th year of spreading holiday cheer. The organization, which began in 1911 when WILLIAM H. DANFORTH and some friends started caroling outside their neighbors’ homes on Kingsbury Place, has grown to benefit 40-plus children’s agencies in the metro area. Its caroling group, KINGSBURY PLACE SINGERS, is a familiar sight during the season, performing at churches, private parties and corporate events. Public performances include the Lafayette Square Holiday Parlor Tour (Dec. 12) and The Boulevard St. Louis (Dec. 18).  

    DR. IRA KODNER is the new president of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Medical Staff Association. Kodner, the Solon & Bettie Gershman Professor of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine, succeeds outgoing president DR. DEBORAH PARKS.   

    ST. ANTHONY’S MEDICAL CENTER has been honored with one of only 49 Ambulatory Care Unit Awards nationwide. The recognition comes from the Studer Group and applauds outstanding performance in patient care and patient satisfaction.

    Newlyweds, attention please! Did you spend your honeymoon somewhere extraordinary? Send us your best honeymoon photo (taken within the last 12 months), along with the couple’s names and a short paragraph describing the highlights, by Wed. Dec. 22. All submissions will be considered for a special wedding publication in early 2011. Send photos to  ¤