Sorry, Hallmark — the most enduring image of Valentine’s Day isn’t puppies in heart-shaped baskets or frilly cursive fonts. Rather, it’s seven dead gangsters with blood spilling out, courtesy of Al Capone’s mob. The 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre has inspired pro-wrestling events, a Marilyn Monroe movie and even a James Taylor song. The slaughter’s brutal legacy also lives on in the form of costume parties, thanks to places such as Californos (4124 Pennsylvania, 816-531-1097). The restaurant’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Masquerade kicks off at 8 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres, no-stakes gambling (roulette, blackjack and craps) and an inhibitions-loosening cash bar. Tickets cost $25 for the event, which is geared toward singles as well as couples. Make like a gangster and win the 11 p.m. costume contest by nailing your impression of a flapper, a lady gangster, a cigarette girl, a service man, a zoot-suiter or a Mob boss. Or you could do like Capone’s thugs and dress up like cops. But leave the Thompson submachine guns at home.
Fri., Feb. 15, 2008