...PLUS BUTTERFLY, CAMPFIRE AND DISCOVERY BALLS; NEIMAN MARCUS' FAB MAN’S STORE OPENING; STACIE’S “TEA FOR TOTS”; GLAMORAMA; THE DINNER PARTY (VIDEO); WONKA BALL WAS A THREE-RING CIRCUS!; CENTER ON HALSTED’S HUMAN FIRST GALA; OZZIE IS BACK!; ROBERT REDFORD LOVES CHICAGO AND SO MUCH MORE!
Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s star-studded ensemble was joined by 600 members of Chicago’s corporate, civic and cultural communities for its 2013 gala on May 4th, raising $1.1 million for Steppenwolf’s artistic, educational and community programming! Its premier fundraising event took place in the Downstairs Theatre (1650 N. Halsted) and at Blackhawk on Halsted (1460 N. Halsted) and offered guests the unique opportunity to connect with Steppenwolf artists while enjoying theatrical entertainment and the chance to bid on once-in-a-lifetime auction items. The gala kicked off at Steppenwolf Theatre Company with a showcase of scenes from the world-premiere production of “Head of Passes” by ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney, directed by ensemble member Tina Landau and featuring ensemble members Alana Arenas and Tim Hopper. Following the performance, the party moved two blocks south to Blackhawk on Halsted, a space with theatrically-inspired décor by Event Creative and a breathtaking view of Chicago’s skyline. There, guests enjoyed a cocktail reception, a gourmet dinner prepared by Limelight Catering and the annual live auction (led by auctioneer Michael Davis of Hart Davis Hart Wine Co.) including once-in-a-lifetime adventures with Steppenwolf ensemble members and artists. The evening concluded with dancing and live music and a late night set with DJ Madrid. Steppenwolf ensemble members in attendance included: Kevin Anderson, Alana Arenas, Kate Arrington, Robert Breuler, Gary Cole, K. Todd Freeman, Jon Michael Hill, Tim Hopper, co-founder Terry Kinney, Tina Landau, Martha Lavey, 2013 Tony Award nominee Laurie Metcalf, 2013 Tony Award nominee Amy Morton, Sally Murphy, co-founder Jeff Perry, Yasen Peyankov, Rondi Reed, co-founder Gary Sinise, Lois Smith and Jim True-Frost. The gala co-chairs were Ron and Paula Mallicoat, Deborah and Stephen Quazzo, Colette Cachey Smithburg and Tom Smithburg. Other notable guests included Steppenwolf Board Chair Nora Daley, Chairman and CEO of Northern Trust Rick Waddell, Ellen Alberding and Kelly Walsh, Trisha Rooney Alden, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, David and Luann Blowers, featured actor in “Head of Passes” Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Phil and Mary Beth Canfield, Michael and Elizabeth Cole, Mary Dempsey, Peter and Paula Fasseas, Paul and Mary Finnegan, David and Alexandra Fox, King and Steppenwolf Trustee Caryn Harris, Jack and Marty Higgins, Marko Iglendza, Deputy Mayor Steve Koch, Rick Kogan, 2013 Tony Award nominee and 2013/14 Steppenwolf director Pam MacKinnon, Barry and Tracy Mansur, Randy and Evie Lyon, 2013/14 Steppenwolf playwright Bruce Norris, Penny Pritzker and Bryan Traubert, Bruce and Diana Rauner, Linda Johnson Rice, Desiree Rogers, Michael and Cari Sacks, Michael Shannon, Bill and Maria Smithburg, Dr. Lauren Streicher, Courtney Thompson, Steve Traxler, Estelle Walgreen and Neal Zucker. Northern Trust was a lead sponsor of the 2013 gala, Liz and Eric Lefkofsky were the Live Auction Sponsors, and Deborah and Stephen Quazzo were the Live Entertainment Sponsors. Co-founders Terry Kinney, Jeff Perry and Gary Sinise started off the live auction with prizes that included an exclusive dinner in New York with Steppenwolf ensemble member and three-time Emmy Award-winning actress Laurie Metcalf and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Bruce Norris, as well as prime tickets to Norris’ new play featuring Metcalf, “Domesticated,” at Lincoln Center, and luxury seats in a suite at a Chicago Cubs home game on August 12th with Steppenwolf ensemble member William Petersen, who will sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. Also included was a signed jersey from Chicago Cubs two-time all-star Kerry Wood; an intimate cocktail reception, dinner and tequila tasting in the Chicago home of acclaimed Chef Rick Bayless with guests of honor Steppenwolf ensemble members Joan Allen and Martha Lavey with Chef Rick and Deann Bayless, followed by a performance of “The Wheel,” featuring Allen in her return to the Steppenwolf stage for the first time since 1991; an exclusive, private dinner at The Underground Goat with a menu prepared exclusively by Chef Stephanie Izard with guests of honor Steppenwolf co-founders Terry Kinney and Josh Charles (star of the CBS drama “The Good Wife”). As excitement built for this package during the event, fellow Steppenwolf co-founders Jeff Perry and Gary Sinise as well as frequent Steppenwolf artist and Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon joined the package; a sneak peek at the film “August: Osage County” in the Chicago home and private screening room of ensemble member and Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning “August” playwright Tracy Letts; four prime tickets to the Broadway opening of “Of Mice and Men” directed by Tony Award-winning ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro and starring James Franco. Also included were a private backstage tour and champagne toast with Shapiro and exclusive passes to the official opening night party; a “Scandal”ous weekend in Los Angeles, including a private, gourmet dinner in the Hollywood Hills home of Steppenwolf co-founder and star of the ABC political drama “Scandal,” Jeff Perry and Emmy Award-winning casting director Linda Lowy, “Scandal” co-stars Tony Goldwyn and Bellamy Young, as well as Steppenwolf ensemble member Rondi Reed from the CBS comedy, “Mike & Molly.” Guests also receive signed scripts and photos with the cast of “Scandal.” WOW! Now that’s an exciting auction list if I’ve ever seen one! This is always a great event especially with the stars of Steppenwolf in attendance! Congrats STC! (For more info, please visit www.Steppenwolf.org.) (Photos by Kyle Flubacker and Joan Hackett.)
Guests from across Chicagoland celebrated nature and science May 3rd at the Chicago Academy of Sciences and its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s 15th annual Butterfly Ball. More than 620 guests enjoyed the Museum’s signature gala, which raised more than $1.52 million to support the museum’s essential education initiatives. Each aspect of the gala showcased the museum’s commitment to be the urban gateway to nature and science. The theme for the evening – “Savour Nature” – was inspired by the museum’s newest self-developed exhibition, “Food: The Nature of Eating.” The ball’s décor, designed by Event Creative, featured centerpieces made of local flora and vegetation. Mason jars filled with locally grown vegetables were scattered throughout the museum for guests to enjoy. During the cocktail hour, guests had the opportunity to explore the museum in its entirety, enjoy the serene, tropical paradise that is the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, interact with animals from the museum’s Living Collections and experience the Food exhibition. “We are so thankful for the way corporate and civic leaders continue to embrace and support the essential work we do at the museum,” said Deborah Lahey, the museum’s president and CEO. “Their support enables us to continue connecting our guests, students, teachers and Chicagoans to the wonder of nature and science.” Distinguished Butterfly Ball co-chairs Mamie and Gregory Case (Aon), Claire and Joseph A. Gregoire (PNC Bank), Donna and Anders Gustafsson (Zebra Technologies Corporation) and Kelly and David P. Hackett (Baker & McKenzie) were recognized by Lahey and Chair of the Board of Trustees Susan Whiting (Nielsen Corporation). The museum’s senior curator of urban ecology Steve Sullivan and student programs coordinator Michelle Rabkin concluded the program with an exciting science experiment that ended in applause. Calihan Catering created a menu that began with a gazpacho salad followed by a filet of beef with cabernet reduction sauce with grilled Green Market asparagus and Yukon gold potato and parsnip puree. Dessert was chocolate vanilla bean panna cotta with poached Seedling Farm cherries and shaved dark chocolate. Following dinner, guests danced to music from Dr. Bombay, sponsored by Lincoln Park 2550. For more info about this cultural highlight and their programs, please visit www.naturemuseum.org. (To view more pics from this always amazing event, please click here!)
Nearly 900 guests attended the sixth annual American Cancer Society’s Discovery Ball at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel recently. Actor and comedian Billy Gardell, star of the CBS comedy “Mike & Molly,” performed at the black-tie event that was emceed by ABC 7 news anchor Ron Magers. “The Discovery Ball is a great opportunity for us to come together with the corporate and philanthropic community in support of the fight against cancer,” said John Hinshaw, executive vice president of technology & operations for Hewlett-Packard and one of the society’s “100 Ambassadors for Our 100th Birthday,” a distinguished leadership group comprised of corporate leaders and philanthropists. “Every year I am amazed by the individuals that make this event a success,” Hinshaw remarked. “Let’s all renew our commitment to finding a cure and celebrating more birthdays.” More than 20 percent of the evening’s proceeds were generated from the nearly 170 silent auction items, eight live auction packages and a raffle. Top live auction items included a 2.95 carat Tiffany & Co. diamond bracelet and trip to New York City for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in the jeweler’s famous store. (This package sold for $18,000.) A Paris Air Show package sold for $15,000. Next year’s American Cancer Society Discovery Ball will be held on April 26th so mark your calendars now! The event raised more than $2.1 million for the American Cancer Society! (To view more pics from this night, please click here!)
Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue hosted a grand unveiling bash to introduce their new Man’s Store to 700 of Chicago’s most stylish men and women who flocked to the fourth floor for the festivities. General Manager Wendy Krimins personally greeted each guest as they arrived. As you may know, the store is undergoing a massive renovation of the entire building and this is the first area to be finished. The new department on the fourth floor encompasses 11 shops from the best designers such as Kiton, Ralph Lauren Black Label, Brunello Cucinelli, Loro Piana, Brioni, Giorgio Armani, Zegna, Isaia, Tom Ford, Stefano Ricci and Gucci. All of the shops have a unique design so you feel like you are in a private boutique setting. The party also celebrated CS Magazine’s Men of Style issue. This year’s stylish gents were DJ Matt Roan, auction house owner Richard Wright, Oak Street’s Rino Burdi, Jamal Mayers, Leonard Goldberg, Chris Hendel, Dr. Julius Few and Mike Cao. Neiman’s fashion director Matthew Singer along with IZOD Indycar Series Driver of Andretti Autosport E.J. Viso, were also special guests in attendance. The engines roared in honor of Viso with a slot car racing track presented by Kiton. The crowds loved it and kept cheering the players all evening long. Revae Schneider, the party's exclusive mixologist of Femme du Coupe, showing off her mix master skills behind illuminated lucite bars. Guests relaxed and escaped the crowds in the sophisticated setting of the Man’s Store club room with Dewar’s 12 scotch tastings and goodies from Baked by Pure Kitchen. DJ Rock City shook the floors with his genius mash-ups and kept the party going strong until the lights went down. Well-dressed party goers included Corri McFadden, D.C. Crenshaw, Kyle De Santis, Noreen Heron, Marcus Riley, Jon and Andrew Landan, CBS TV sportscaster Ryan Baker, CS Magazine’s John Carroll, CS Men’s Book publisher Amy Wimer, new GNMAA president Mary Ann Rose and her husband Heinz Kern, Adrienne and Stan Green and Omar Barragan. This great new space is destined to be the ultimate place for men to shop! Congrats Neiman Marcus – I can't wait to see ALL of your exciting renovations! Love this store, much to my husband’s chagrin! :) (Check out more pics here!)
The Ozzie Guillen Foundation was founded in Venezuela in 1998 by Ozzie and his wife, Ibis, with the goal to improve the lives of children and families who have been touched by various illnesses. The foundation has expanded its reach to support foster children and families and to enhance educational opportunities for some of Venezuela’s most underserved youths. In 2013, Ozzie and Ibis decided it was time to bring the foundation’s work to the United
States and received their 501(c)(3) certification. While expanding the foundation’s efforts in the United States, the mission of supporting children in need will continue both in the Chicagoland area and throughout the country. So welcome Ozzie and Ibis back to town on May 29th at Grid (351 W. Hubbard) beginning at 6:30 p.m. and help them help others. There will be cocktails, a silent auction, raffle prizes and hot sounds by Dante’s Danny V. (For tickets and more info, please visit www.OzzieGuillenFoundation.org.)
For all the families out there, here is someone you should know and a not-to-be-missed event! Milesh Jain (aka Dr. Ghabit) has authored a delightful children’s book that teaches little ones how to leave a greener footprint on the earth. With delightful visuals and a clever storyline, Milesh has created a book for all ages called “Gaby’s Organic Garden” and on May 17th, the author will present “Under One Green Roof,” a fun-filled workshop at the Auditorium Theater located at 430 S. Michigan that will introduce kids to Ghaby, the green penguin from planet Ghabit, who will share her green stories, present educational activities for parents and kids including storytelling, making heart seed planters, yoga, dancing, painting and more! For more info, please visit www.ghabit.eventbrite.com or contact Milan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well, Chicago will finally get its own version of a reality show in a very big way when Robert Redford comes to town to film “Chicagoland,” an eight-part series/documentary ordered by CNN that will “look at the challenges faced by the city of Chicago.” According to the CNN press release, “Chicagoland” will capture “the riveting, real-life drama of a city looking to unite at this critical moment in the city’s history. In the aftermath of a countrywide economic collapse, Chicago faces the challenges of improving its public education system, and neighborhood and youth safety. Can the city's leaders, communities, and residents come together in ways that expand opportunities and allow aspirations to be realized?” I'll answer that: HELL YES! Series producer Marc Levin said, “Chicago is the quintessential American city and where it goes tells us a lot about where our country is going.” The series will be executive produced by Redford and his Sundance Productions partner Laura Michalchyshyn with filmmakers Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin (“Brick City”). Love that our city is playing host to so many exciting movie productions! Move over L.A., it’s Hollywood Central right here in Chicago!
Each year, Center on Halsted hosts its annual Human First Performance & Gala to recognize the contributions of individuals, businesses and other organizations to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Chicago. Human First provides an opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate past accomplishments, while looking forward to the work ahead as we continue to build a human first world, together. This year’s Human First Award recipients are Sarah Schmidt & Julie Matthei, Brad Lippitz & Jonathan “Yoni” Pizer, who have each actively participated in the advancement of the marriage equality movement, and Richard Turner, who has been active in AIDS/HIV and LGBTQ issues for decades. The Community Spirit Award will go to Allstate Insurance Company, which has been a great supporter of Center on Halsted programs. Co-chairing this year’s event are CEO Integrys Energy Group Charles A. Schrock and Chairperson of the Board for Chicago Cubs Charities Laura Ricketts. Billie Jean King, who has done so much to advance the rights of women both on the court and off, has agreed to serve as honorary co-chair along with Maria C. Bechily, Amina Dickerson, Anne L. Kaplan and Abby O’Neil & Carroll Joynes. Headlining this year’s Human First gala on Saturday, MAY 18, will be Chicago-born singer, songwriter and musician Chaka Khan!! Visit www.centeronhalsted.org/hf for tickets and pricing.
This year’s Glamorama promises to be one exciting night of fashion and fun in Chicago with the addition of Sheryl Crow as the featured entertainment! Held this year at the Harris Theater on August 9th, the ever-popular after-party will be held under the stars on the Rooftop Terrace following the fashion show and performances with all the excitement you've come to love and expect from Macy’s Passport Presents! Themed “Fashion in a New Light,” this event will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities for the fifth year in a row and will also feature a live performance by Cirque du Soleil! AND to kick-off the hottest event of the summer, join me and our illustrious host committee for the official GLAMORAMA LAUNCH PARTY on June 13th (note date change from the 6th) at Gallery 225 (225 W. Hubbard) from 7 to 11 p.m. There will be fun food from Food for Thought, Tito's Vodka cocktails, specialty drink stations, a Hershey dessert bar, music by DJ Sye Young, fashions by beloved local designers who include Anna Fong, Elda de la Rosa, Horacio Nieto and Eva Pazola, the popular Action Booth, a red carpet reception with Ronald McDonald, eye-popping floral decor by Debi Lilly (A Perfect Event) and so much more! One hundred percent of your ticket purchase will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana! Ticket levels are $75 (performance seating only), $175 (performance seating, access to after-party and access to Launch Party), $285 (premier performance seating, access to after-party and Launch Party) and $1,000 (VIP performance seating, access to after-party VIP Lounge and Launch Party); a ticket to Glamorama at $175 level or higher will provide you with access to the Launch Party on June 13th! (For tickets and more info, please email Christina Thomas at email@example.com.)
Don’t miss this month’s Randolph Street Market coming May 25th and 26th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival is home to the world-renowned Chicago Antique Market, Indie Designer Market, Modern Vintage Chicago and the Holiday Market. As seen in Travel & Leisure, the NY Times, Lucky and featured on TV news shows and web casts, the Randolph Street Market Festival is considered “a mecca of cool,” “the best hot spot for antiquing,” “the best Chicago venue for people watching” and “the Barney’s of Vintage.” Celebrity designer Nate Berkus says, “I love this market…the quality is incredible!” As one of Chicago’s most happening monthly parties, Randolph Street Market has become the summer destination: This European-style, indoor-outdoor urban antique market in the historic West Loop neighborhood features 200 select purveyors of high quality, amazingly priced “finds,” offering unlimited creative inspiration and hours of fun. Shoppers can find furnishings, vintage clothing, jewelry, collectibles and so much more! Upcoming market dates are June 29/30, July 27/28, August 24/25, September 28/29, October 26/27, November 23/24 and December 14/15. So mark your calendars now and I'll see you there! :)
What a thrill it was to appear on “The Dinner Party” with charming, energetic host/creator Elysabeth Alfano at City Winery on May 6th! Guests included WXRT’s funnyman Lin Brehmer and associate director of the Timeline Theatre, Nick Bowling. We, along with the audience, enjoyed tastings of appetizers and entrees created by NoMI’s talented Chef de Cuisine Sean Pharr. Over food, wine and Vosges chocolates, we discussed everything from theatre in Chicago to Cee-Lo Green. Lin even read one of his popular “Lin Bins” about traveling with family that had the crowd in stitches! The night also included performances by Hubbard Street 2 and a moving musical presentation by singer/actress Rebecca Finnegan (a Jeff Award nominee who will star in the Nick Bowling-directed musical “Juno” next year) and pianist Liz Doran. “Saturday Night Live” alum Nora Dunn was even in the audience – how cool is that?! Elysabeth, as you may or may not know, also produces the popular Fear No Art show which showcases Chicago’s artistic side in a fun-filled, informative way. Elysabeth has been called the “Rachel Ray of the Chicago art scene” and I couldn’t agree more! To see the latest “Dinner Party,” see below! Congrats Elysabeth and thanks so much for including me on this memorable night...you just rock!
Friends of Prentice will host its annual Make-A-Wish Ball on May 18th at the UIC Forum (725 W. Roosevelt). The event will feature actor/comedian Martin Short as the guest entertainer with “Windy City Live” hosts Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini serving as emcees for the event that attracts more than 1,000 guests who are passionate about supporting children with life-threatening medical conditions. For tickets ($500) and more info, please visit www.wishes.org.
Nearly 450 guests gathered for a three-ring party of colossal entertainment and excessive elegance at About Face Theatre’s WONKA BALL 2013: CIRCUS MAXIMUS on April 26th at Chicago’s Architectural Artifacts, located at 4325 N. Lincoln Ave. Guests were also introduced to AFT’s newly-announced artistic director Andrew Volkoff, who succeeds outgoing artistic director Bonnie Metzgar this spring. Greeted by fire dancers, stilt walkers, a swinging mermaid and other sideshow entertainers, guests made their way into the giant red and yellow Wonka Big Top. Following an exclusive Ringmaster’s VIP cocktail reception, partiers spilled into the playfully decorated venue for spirits and tasty bites at tasting stations and a chance to bid on tempting silent auction items. Partygoers enjoyed non-stop entertainment, including opera tenor Scott Ramsay, a marching band, belly dancers, contortionists and more. Revelers capped off the evening with dancing to the tunes of DJ Swaguerilla. The 2013 Leppen Leadership Awards were presented to Mary F. Morten and the Office of Alderman Cappleman and Uptown United. Named for About Face Youth Theatre supporter Michael Leppen, the annual awards recognize those whose efforts on behalf of About Face Theatre and the LGBTQA community empower youth leaders to take action and encourage LGBTQA adults and youth to create intergenerational understanding and dialogue. Nemo Serges was the recipient of the About Face Youth Theatre 2013 MVP Award, given annually to an outstanding youth theatre ensemble member for exceptional service to the company and to the greater LGBTQ community. The WONKA BALL 2013 was co-chaired by board members Billy Lullo and Benjamin Sprunger. The company’s 17th annual gala raised more than $85,000 for About Face Theatre programming, including its groundbreaking Youth Theatre. (Check out more pics here!)
On May 18th, join Dr. Stacie McClane Mickelson and her Faces for Love Foundation’s “Tea for Tots” event at the Peninsula Hotel from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stacie founded this non-profit last year to help women and children in distressed situations. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Primo Center for Women and Children (PCWC) and Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC). All guests are asked to bring a new or gently used toy, game or book, which will be donated to children in these shelters. Tickets for adults are $100 and tickets for children 12 years and under are $40. Click here for tickets and more info. I hope to see you there!
Relive your summer camp days at the sixth annual Campfire Ball benefitting Children’s Oncology Services, Inc., at Venue One (1044 W. Randolph) from 7 to 11 p.m. This fun-filled night will include your favorite summer camp treats (think s’mores, tater tots, mac and cheese) from Hub 51 and Bub City, Theory, Stout and Swirlz. Enjoy spiked bug juice served up by local celebrity bartenders (such as Aly Bockler, Anthony Ponce, Kori Chambers, Whitney Reynolds, Gina Ferraro and Ron Kittle) and help send kids with cancer to the inspiring One Step At A Time Summer Camp! For tickets and more info, please visit www.CampfireBall.org or call 312.235.6836.
The Greater North Michigan Avenue Association (GNMAA) will host its annual gala on May 17th at the Hyatt Regency Chicago presented by Northstar Lottery Group. This year’s theme – “Shaken, Not Stirred” – celebrates 50 years of James Bond traveling the world in film. The evening will begin with a cocktail and gaming reception hosted by Rivers Casino followed by dinner in the grand ballroom. Guests will dance the night away to music provided by The Business, a Chicago-based horn band. For tickets and more info, please click here!
And last but not least, the Juvenile Protective Association will hold its signature “Mission Possible” benefit on May 17th at 6:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. Proceeds from JPA’s largest event of the year will support programs serving Chicago's families who are struggling with child abuse and neglect. The auction highlights will include a chance to win a photo shoot with renowned photographer Victor Skrebneski, a baseball autographed by some of the greatest Hall of Famers including Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Lou Gehrig, and a walk-on role/set visit through ABC’s Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning TV show, “Modern Family.” For tickets ($350) and more info, please click here! (I've never seen such incredible auction offerings! OMGoodness!)
I hope I’ll see you at some of these wonderful events around town! Chicago is such a supportive city and it thrills me to see the amounts being raised for so many deserving charities! Great fun and great causes! Have a beautiful week and I’ll see you again soon!
Love, as always,
P.S. Congrats to Jenny McCarthy on her successful sixth annual Rescue Our Angels event held at Chicago hotspot Studio Paris on April 23rd. More than 350 guests turned out to help raise funds to support families dealing with an autism diagnosis via non-profit Generation Rescue. (Jenny is the organization’s president.) Honorees for the evening and the event co-chairs were Michele and Peter Doyle, who founded Rescue Our Angels. Great job, Jenny – thanks for raising autism awareness and for all the good work you do!