EIGHTY PERCENT OF HEART DISEASE is preventable. Those are great odds. So says Hadassah, which has organized a walking program to urge women to get moving. The plan is to take a virtual walk from Hadassah headquarters in New York City to its hospitals in Jerusalem. The road is virtual but the challenge is real. The program kicks off on April 1. You can join Hadassah in your own home and every step you take will count. Whatever you are doing: checking the mailbox, walking the dog, raiding the refrigerator, visiting a museum or shoe shopping. You will need a pedometer to wear while you are taking the virtual walks. For information on the local Hadassah Walking program, call the St. Louis Hadassah office at 314-991-0434.
WRITER AND CARTOONIST LEE FALK was born and raised in St. Louis, attended Washington University and collaborated with Kay Thompson to write Wash U. musicals. Lee created and wrote the comic strip “Mandrake the Magician,” which debuted in 1934. In 1936, he premiered “The Phantom,” the first masked, costumed superhero of the comics, predating both Superman and Batman. Syndicated worldwide, at their height the strips boasted over 100 million readers per day. He also wrote novels and plays and directed or produced over 300 stage productions, most on Cape Cod where he owned a theater.
If you want to know what he looked like, see Mandrake, as the magician was modeled after his creator, dark slicked back hair and a slender black mustache. Lee died in 1999 on the Cape in his home in Truro, Massachusetts.
On April 28, Lee Falk will be inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. His star is to be installed at 6142 Delmar. He will be represented by members of his family, including me. Lee was my cousin.
KIDS IN THE MIDDLE will host its 2015 gala “Magic in the Middle” on Saturday, April 25 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Ameristar Casino Resort located at 1 Ameristar Boulevard in St. Charles. The evening includes hors d’oeuvres, dinner, an open bar, silent and live auctions and live entertainment. All proceeds will support counseling services for kids in the middle of their parents’ separation or divorce. For tickets at $175 per guest and more details about the event call 314-909-9922. Kids in the Middle, founded in 1977, helps children and families transition to a new way of life before, during and after separation and divorce, for the sake of creating healthier futures for all involved.
KEN HALLER will reprise his “all new” Cabaret show “Mama’s Boy” on Friday, April 10 at 8 p.m.at the Gaslight Theatre at 358 N. Boyle Avenue. He is a delightful entertainer with a nice voice, a good sense of humor and affection for his audience, which makes suckers like me really love him. In his real, everyday life, Ken is Dr. Kenneth Haller, pediatrician at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, where he is admired by his patients as much as he is by his audiences. If you have not yet been to the Gaslight Theatre, I suggest that you try it. It is also convenient to have dinner in the adjoining restaurant, the West End Grill and Pub.
I GREW UP IN THE CENTRAL WEST END, where my grandfather took me often to Forest Park. When I received a request from Forest Park Forever for funds I realized how important that organization is to the well-being and the maintenance of the park. Since 1986, the members of Forest Park Forever have raised more than $160 million to restore the glory of the park. There have been more than 60 restoration projects from the Grand Basin to the Boathouse. Forest Park Forever partners with the city of St. Louis to restore, maintain and sustain Forest Park. Memberships start at $50 for seniors. For more information about joining Forest Park Forever call 314-367-7275 or send your check to Forest Park Forever, 5595 Grand Drive in Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri 63112.
THE ARIANNA STRING QUARTET has firmly established itself as one of America’s finest chamber ensembles. Its members will perform on Sunday, March 29 at 3 p.m. at the Maryville University Auditorium and will present music by Mozart and Beethoven. Pianist Katja Georgieff will join the group. The Arianna String Quartet has appeared throughout North America, Europe and Asia and has won many international competitions. We in St. Louis get to hear the group’s wonderful chamber music more than most since its members are on the faculty of the University of Missouri at St. Louis. Nevertheless, Arianna’s international reputation as one of the finest string ensembles in the country keeps the group on the road, so this is a special opportunity. Admission is $10 for adults; $5 for seniors; free for students. For tickets contact Maryville University at 314-529-9300 or go to Maryville.edu.