Honoring Barbara

Barbara Shuman

Lois Caplan

BARBARA “BABS” SHUMAN HAS IT ALL.  She is warm, kind and caring, and a dear friend to all who know her. Now she is about to add to her exemplary career an unusual award. The Lupus Foundation of America, Heartland Chapter, will present her with the Lupus Ambassador Award at the Lupus Foundation’s Purple Ball on Saturday, March 12 at the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel, 800 Washington Ave. For tickets at $150 per person visit lupus.org/heartland/events or call 314-644-2222. 

The evening starts at 6 p.m. with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction to be followed by dinner, live auction and the awards ceremony.  All proceeds will benefit the Lupus Foundation, which has made enormous strides in the areas of research, treatment and patient care during the past decade.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, where the body attacks its own tissues. The illness affects more than a million individuals and strikes young women during their child bearing years.  In fact, 90 percent of Lupus patients are women and Babs is one of them, having been diagnosed with the disease when she was 18-years-old at the end of her freshman year at Washington University. Nine years later the disease attacked her kidneys and she was on dialysis for 14 months until her mother, Esther Langsam, donated one of her kidneys.

The national Lupus Foundation was founded in St. Louis in 1974. Babs no longer feels alone with her illness and knows that the foundation is effective in funding essential research, legislative advocacy and patient services. 

“I’ve tried to give back, by reaching out to others with Lupus and by serving on the board of the Lupus Foundation,” Babs told me. So here is the happy ending of this story. Babs is happily married to Michael Shuman, has a beautiful, healthy daughter, Amanda, and leads an active life “giving back.” I should also note that Babs is also a former president of the Jewish Light Board of Trustees.She will be thrilled to see you at the Purple Ball.

CONGRATULATIONS TO CROWN CENTER FOR SENIOR LIVING for finding itself in a feature story, great pictures and text, in the monthly publication of Association of Jewish Aging Services, which calls itself “The Central Address for Jewish Eldercare.” Among the photos is one of three women having lunch at the Circle@Crown Café. The café is open to the public for breakfast and lunch and serves reasonably priced kosher dishes in an attractive setting. You might even find an interesting program in Crown Center.  Check it out at 314-991 2055. 

WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY seems to be creeping quietly back into my life. Once in the Middle Ages it was my entire life but it seems that marriage and three children interfered. Now the university is offering programs suited to my lifestyle, especially Lifelong Learning where I produced six short stories of fiction, my first! And the music program is amazing. For example, the Annual Chancellor’s Concert will feature Berlioz’s “March to the Scaffold” (cheery) followed by the “Harp Concerto in A Major” by Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf performed by the winner of the Friends of Music Concerto Competition, Helen Fox. This free concert will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 4 at the E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall, once Temple Shaare Emeth, at 560 Music Center in University City. RSVP to [email protected].

IN CELEBRATION OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH, Dance St. Louis will appear in its own commissioned production of New Dance Horizons lV. Three nationally renowned African-American choreographers working with three local professional dance companies will create three world premieres inspired by legendary black St. Louis artists such as Maya Angelou, Miles Davis, Dick Gregory and more.  The three former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre principal dancers, Antonio Douthit- Boyd, Kirven Douthit-Boyd and Alicia Graf Mack, will pay homage through dance to these legendary black artists.  

Mark your calendar for this exceptional dance program Dance St. Louis has created. The dates are Friday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. and 8.p.m. at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the UMSL campus. Tickets are surprisingly reasonable at $20. Buy them on line at dancestlouis.org  or by calling 314-534-6622.

I AM INTRUIGED by Ken and Nancy Kranzberg’s most recent cultural contribution. This one is the new Marcelle Theatre in Grand Center, which is located kind of behind and across the street from Powell Hall at 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive.. Here is an interesting reason to go see it — “American Idiot,” New Line Theatre’s rock fable, which opens March 3 and runs through March 26. I can’t tell you anything about the play except that it has a large cast and a lot of talent working to produce it. According to the Toronto Star, the show is “the first great musical of the 21st. century.” Tickets, ranging from $10 to $25, are available at Metrotix.com or by calling 314-534-1111.