3. Jones on Sherlock Holmes at the Science Center
Sherlock Holmes is a giant in the world of fiction. He has traversed all media, from the popular Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books to the Benedict Cumberbatch television series. Fiction's greatest detective now becomes the subject of an investigation when the St. Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue; www.slsc.org) hosts its latest First Friday, I Am Sherlocked. Experts from around the community will break down the forensic science of intricate detective work, and participants will try to solve a mystery, just like Holmes. Screenings include episodes of Cumberbatch's Sherlock and the 1987 TV film The Sign of Four, starring Jeremy Brett and Edward Harwicke as Holmes and Watson. For fans of the popular detective, this First Friday is a Sherlock-lover's dream. First Friday starts at 6 p.m., and most activities are free (some require a small fee). —Bill Loellke
4. Learn about a violin's fascinating life at the Touhill
If you want a hint of what immortality is like, listen to a Stradivarius played by a gifted violinist. These instruments are famed for their intonation and voice, and because of that they're passed down through the ages from performer to performer. Frank Almond is the current holder of the Lipiński Stradivarius, a violin built in 1715 and now worth millions of dollars. He and his Stradivari were introduced in 2008 and have been inseparable ever since, other than a ten-day period in 2014 when an ill-informed crook stole the instrument at gunpoint (there is no resale market for a Stradivari, except to another concert violinist). Almond's dedication to the long history of his instrument and its former players is the subject of his performance, A Violin's Life. He discusses its storied history, including stints with Giuseppe Tartini, Karol Lipiński, the Röntgen family, Evi Liivak and Eduard Toubin, and performs selections composed by and made famous by these fellow musicians. A Violin's Life is presented at 8 p.m. Friday at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; www.touhill.org). Tickets are $15 to $29.— Paul Friswold
6. Catch a play about the complexities of being a woman
Broken hearts bring ten women together in Samantha Macher's To the New Girl. In this series of ten monologues, women ranging in age from their late teens to mid-sixties directly address the wives or mistresses of their former husbands. This benefit production by the Tesseract Theatre Company finds women offering both sound advice and firm warnings to the rivals who stole their former loves' hearts. All proceeds from the performances will go to the L.E.A.D. Institute (Leadership through Education & Advocacy for the Deaf). To the New Girl is performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday (February 3 to 12) at the .ZACK building (3224 Locust Street; www.tesseracttheatre.org). Tickets are $10 to $15. — Bill Loellke
7. Marvel at the orchids at MoBOT
Just as winter becomes dreariest, the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard; www.mobot.org) provides some much-needed color to our lives. The annual Orchid Show and sale brightens the Orthwein Floral Display Hall with a selection of orchids from the garden's growing collection. The blossoms on display rotate during the exhibition, so repeat visits will be rewarded with new sights. The orchid show is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (February 4 to March 26). Admission is $5 plus regular garden admission ($3 to $8).— Paul Friswold
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