...COSTUME COUNCIL HOSTS HAL RUBENSTEIN, FACE THE FUTURE FOUNDATION GALA, THE BEST FRENCH TEACHER, HORACIO NIETO PRESENTS, WATCH312’S VIP CLUB PLUS ANOTHER NEW VIDEO AND MORE!
I have been to quite a few galas and fundraisers in my day, but never have I seen such a visual feast like Redmoon Theater’s “Spectacle Lunatique” at the Hudson Club on March 17th. Everywhere you looked, there was something to delight your senses. Theater members and volunteers were riding bicycles dressed in exotic garb serving cosmos from teakettles! Giant colorful balloons would surprise you around corners and you saw people sleeping in flying and twirling bathtubs, a guy scribbling in an ancient notebook high atop a burned-out Victorian room, people dressed as huge birds on 20-foot-long flying bicycles...I tell ya, I thought I had seen just about everything until this gala night – it was surreal! One guest described it as “being right out of a Fellini movie” and I couldn’t agree more! From the very start, upon entering the venue (which truly used to be an old Hudson car dealership), the excitement began with at least 50 theater members forming a gauntlet for guests. As you walked through the gauntlet, wild applause began as if you were an actor receiving accolades. And they did this for EVERY SINGLE GUEST! All through the night, I could hear the applause and it brought a smile to my face. I could imagine some needy guests going in and out multiple times just to hear the applause! It was so cool! The VIP reception, which started earlier than the actual event, began in the front of the venue near its 2222 S. Michigan address. (Guests actually entered from the rear on Wabash since the food trucks were all accessed from there.) The reception, designed in part by the dynamic HGTV star Kevin Grace, was loaded with fantastic and fantastical food stations. The VIP Lounge chefs included David Posey (Blackbird), Efrain Cuevas (Clandestino Supper Club), Valerie Bolon (Culinary Speakeasy), Jeff Pikus (Maude’s Liquor Bar), Jason Vincent (Nightwood), Duncan Biddulph (Rootstock) and Joshua Kulp (Sunday Dinner Club). Food trucks were well represented with the Brown Bag Lunch Truck, Chicago Schnitzel King, Tamale Spaceship, Wagyu Wagon, Curry Cruiser and Hummingbird Kitchen offering up delicious dishes. Delicious desserts were prepared and served by emerging pastry students from the French Pastry School. After the VIP reception, guests were directed into the next room, the aptly-named Spectacle Hall, for a unique fundraising “ask.” Theater members were gathered onstage and began singing for donations...an opera singer would sing out the amount and then the rest of the group would sing a refrain. It was one of the most clever ways to ask for money that I’ve seen in a long time and it must’ve been effective since I saw people waving and raising their hands all over the room! After this unique display, there was a digital countdown to the main event which, in and of itself, made the room hum with expectant excitement. And then the machines were started up and the pageantry began in earnest. All sorts of wild displays of imagination began their turn around the venue and all the while, there were surprising games, smaller displays and a silent auction positioned all around the edges of the room. I felt like I had fallen down the rabbit hole and I didn’t know where to look first! Guests must’ve drained their iPhone capacities capturing it all on their cameras! From 10:30 p.m. until dawn, the space became a huge dance party with more food catered by friends of Redmoon including Manny’s Deli. Redmoon’s directors Jim Lasko and Frank Maugeri said that “this night’s gala was a first step towards a new large-scale public spectacle that Redmoon is planning to build using the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice as a point of departure. We will be performing installments of the piece in high-traffic public venues which will be guerrilla-style, pre-announced, promoted and curated affairs. Some will be brief parades exploring a single contraption. Others may be 15-minute-long performances focused on a narrative event.” Proceeds from this gala will directly fund Redmoon’s artistic mission of community building through the company’s award-winning Neighborhood Arts Programming, public art events and a fraction of the costs associated with running an internationally touring, Chicago-centric not-for-profit arts organization. I just can’t wait to see where they lead us next!!! (Fab photos by Mila Samokhina.)
Fascinating stories of fashion from the man who knows, Hal Rubenstein, was the order of the day at the recent Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum event hosted by Susanna Negovan, editor of (as if you didn’t know!) Michigan Avenue Magazine. Rubenstein, fashion director of InStyle magazine and author of “100 Unforgettable Dresses” delighted the Casino crowd with insightful stories of some of the most unforgettable dresses and the women who wore them. He shared stories of gowns worn by celebrity icons including the “revenge dress” worn by Princess Diana the night Prince Charles announced his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles, Elizabeth Hurley’s Gianni Versace “safety-pin” gown worn at the world premiere of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (which, not surprisingly, was also the night that launched her career), Audrey Hepburn’s long-standing devotion to designer Hubert de Givenchy, and the unforgettable gown worn by Marilyn Monroe as she sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy. This event was the first in a series of events planned that will feature high-profile fashion personalities and included a sellout crowd of more than 140 fashion-savvy guests. Costume Council President Nena Ivon, along with luncheon co-hosts, Toni Canada and Dusty Stemer, outdid themselves! Guests also enjoyed lunch and a book signing. Luncheon sponsors included Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event (who donated the flowers) and Greg Hyder (The Peninsula provided guest accommodations). For more info on upcoming events, please visit www.chicagohistory.org. (To see ALL fab fotos by Caitlin Saville Collins, please click here!)
It was a “Night on the Orient Express” for the lucky 325 attendees to this year’s Face the Future Foundation Gala co-chaired by Andrea Cohen and Mary Ann Rose. At the top of the grand staircase of the Four Seasons Hotel, a train engine and railcar slowly made its way around a circular track. Every so often the car stopped and guests hopped on for photo ops. As the crowd sipped cocktails and nibbled on hors d’oeuvres, they perused the extensive silent auction which included items ranging from luxury to sports packages. Dinner and a brief program followed presented by Dr. Mimis Cohen, director of the Craniofacial Center at UICM, and Gus Abello, president of the Foundation. Awards were given to Alisa Bloom, Christine Cantalupo and Melissa Kelz Ben-Yoseph for their work to further the efforts of the Foundation. This dynamic trio chaired last year’s gala while Christine and Melissa were expecting and Alisa was in the middle of a total home renovation. Now THAT’s dedication! The live auction followed, with the top prize raking in $155K for a trip to the Italian Villa located in the Chianti wine region just outside of Florence. The Face the Future Foundation was established to help children face the future by funding some of the costs associated with craniofacial treatment. The Foundation is largely supported by the doctors, nurses and other specialists at the Craniofacial Center at the University of Illinois Chicago. (For more info, please visit www.facethefuturefoundation.org and to see ALL event photos by Onasis Stoby, please click here!)
Now for some upcoming events around town:
Don’t miss designer Horacio Nieto’s “Falling for Paris” fashion show featuring his Fall/Winter 2012 collections on Thursday, April 12th at the Highland Park Community House located at 1991 Sheridan Road. Hosted by Shea Vaughn, this event will begin at 7 p.m. and will feature Diego Rocha (“Project Accessory”), jewelry from Anidem (by designer Jesse Torres) and music by DJ Famos! For more info, please call 872.232.5909.
If you want to learn French from a master who also makes learning fun, then do yourself a favor and enroll in Erwan Sorel’s L’Ecole Francaise, opening on April 9th. I took classes for years from Erwan at the Alliance – he was the only instructor whose classes were always booked full – and now he is opening his own school in Lakeview at 3349 N. Clark. For more info, please call 773.857.1322 or visit www.lef-learn-french.com. Grosses bises et merci!
I am so excited to announce Watch312.com’s new VIP Club! Please sign up to receive email updates on our shows, get exclusive promotions and have the first look into Chicago’s hottest events plus more fun stuff! You can thank me later! :) Please click here for more info.
Thanks so much for checking in this week! I hope you liked what you’ve seen! Please tell your friends and if you would like to be put on my blog alert list, please just email me below. These emails are strictly confidential and will never be shared. Have a great week!
P.S. My son, Rooney Jordan, was thrilled to appear on a Ch. 7 news segment recently For Dog’s Sake Boutique, located at 207 W. Superior! He is participating in their Cutest Dog in Chicago Contest and as we wait for the results, check him out on-camera with boutique owner Marcia DeAndrade who is also a doggie wellness expert! Visit her store to see all of these fun things shown here plus a whole lot more!!!