...PLUS MARCO’S WHITE PARTY FOR ONE HOPE UNITED; ROBBIE HAS A HEART OF “GOULD”; NORA DUNN’S “MYTHICAL PROPORTIONS”; HEF AND COOPER PAR-TAY IN LA; SILVER SISTERS COMING TO CHICAGO; CSO’S SYMPHONY BALL; "NOW YOU KNOW" CELEBRATES ITS THIRD YEAR; MRS. INTERNATIONAL 2013; HOTEL LINCOLN’S CUTEST POOCH SEARCH; WCIU’S PLAYBOY MANSION VIDEO; RAVINIA FESTIVAL GALA, NEW WATCH312.COM VIDEOS AND SO MUCH MORE!
Chicago’s young philanthropists gathered for the Shedd Aquarium’s annual Auxiliary Board soiree, BLU, which was held recently under the stars and against the back drop of the beautiful Chicago skyline. The event – which raised more than $370,000 – commemorated the 10 year anniversary of Shedd’s Wild Reef exhibit which showcases the diverse ecosystem of the Philippines. BLU co-chairs Gideon P. Searle and Susan Patience, along with the 60-member Auxiliary Board, shared their passion for Shedd’s learning and conservation initiatives with 900 guests at one of Chicago’s premier summer fundraising fêtes. The evening began in the aquarium’s galleries with sweet and savory bites from some of our city's most popular restaurants including Carnivale, The Florentine, Mercadito, Publican, Big Jones and Jellyfish. (The food at this event is always top notch, as you can imagine!) Delectable desserts from Forever Yogurt, Pioneer Tavern and Glazed & Infused Doughnuts satisfied the crowd’s sweet tooth. Diving deeper into Shedd (oh no, a pun!), guests experienced what it was like to touch a cownose stingray at Stingray Touch, enjoyed up close and personal animal encounters, and strolled through the shark habitats in the Wild Reef exhibit. Smooth sounds filled the aquarium from local musical talents The Salt and the Sea, The Samples and DJ Trentino (with a special VIP set from Bailiff) while guests danced the night away against a backdrop of fireworks on the Sick Family Lakefront Terrace. For dancing feet that had yet to grow weary, trolleys shuttled guests to an afterparty hosted by The Underground concluding the eventful evening. “We’re thrilled Shedd’s Auxiliary Board continues to successfully inspire young philanthropists of Chicago to support Shedd Aquarium,” said president and CEO Ted A. Beattie. “The critical funds raised through events like BLU allow Shedd to share the wonders of the aquarium with thousands of school children each the year, provide exceptional care to its 32,500 animals, and support conservation efforts around the world.” (Photos by Brenna Hernandez.)
Chicago philanthropist and good guy-about-town Marco Foster held his Third Annual White Party on July 26th at American Junkie, located at 15 W. Illinois. The evening, which benefitted One Hope United, a not-for-profit organization that protects vulnerable children from child abuse or neglect, strengthens their families, and prepares children for a prosperous future, was Marco’s biggest party to date and one of the hottest parties of the summer. “There was a time in my life when I was young and lost in the system, also known as the Department of Children and Family Services. I was adopted by a great woman, Marjorie Foster, at the age of seven, and I’m able to relate to what a foster child and parent has to deal with,” said Marco. “The White Party gives me a platform to raise awareness for and give back to One Hope United, an absolutely wonderful organization with the goal of finding a safe home for every child.” Featuring two hours of specialty cocktails and beats from DJ Dante the Don beneath a retractable roof, guests painted the town white (not red!) for this highly anticipated soiree. Marco arrived in style in a Cadillac XTS4 Platinum Edition that was donated by Cadillac, who also offered another lucky guest the opportunity to drive one for a week! Sponsors included Burrell Vodka and CS magazine, with host committee members Vincent Anzalone and Lonnie Rodriguez, Genuine Entertainment; Finnigan, 101.9 The MIX personality; Shannon Ihrke, 97.9 Loop Rock Girl; Jonny Imerman, Imerman’s Angels; Justin Jacobson (with Shannon Williams), Platinum Events; Rose Mandel, Mandel Productions; Alicia Roman, NBC 5 Chicago meteorologist; Raj Sai, philanthropist; and moi! Other fun loving and philanthropically-bent partygoers included Ryan Chiaverini, Marcus Riley, Brenda Arelano, Scott Hays, Nick Katsafados, Veronica and Michael Palumbo, Brooke Lichtman, Rachel Jacklin, Matt Ryan, Ashley Greene, James Landis, Treavor Mosbaugh, Jason Belenke, Andre Miller, Jenny Sitko, Kendra Correa-Brady, Chellie Carlson, Chantel Luxem, Jacqui Rovirosa, RiKaleigh Johnson, Danielle Young, Cheryl O'Connor, Candyce Parragua, Cindy-Lee Pijoos, Nelly Cintron and Luzely Avila, among many others. Congrats and much love to you, Marco! For more info on this wonderful organization, click here. (Photos by Onasis Odelmo Stoby and Ray Thompson.)
Dinner at David Burke’s Primehouse was served with a kick recently when Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould hosted an intimate dinner with Primehouse Executive Chef Rick Gresh where a portion of the proceeds benefitted his charity, The Goulden Touch. The evening featured a silent auction in the new Burke’s Dining Room, with a Prosecco reception by Mionetto Wines. The highlight of the dinner was Robbie doubling as a server for the evening, waiting on tables and even plating the food in the Primehouse kitchen – a man of many talents! The four-course meal created by Chef Gresh included a cocktail starter with shrimp, lobster and king crab, followed by bacon wrapped veal medallions with roasted mushrooms, broccoli and lemon confit. The dinner also featured Primehouse’s dry aged steaks and included a 35-day dry-aged rib eye! Finally, patrons noshed on a blueberry waffle dessert created by Primehouse Executive Pastry Chef Jove. T. Hubbard that included hickory nuts, maple ice cream and crystalized blueberries. After dinner, Robbie Gould was interviewed by Zach Zaidman from 670 The Score and he held a short Q&A with attendees. Love this Bear with a heart of Gould! (See what I did there? ;))
An Asian pig with a penchant for liquor, a wooden leg discovered in the corner of a dank cellar and the deadly rampage of a desperate middle-aged bookkeeper becomes the stuff of legend in Nora Dunn’s “Mythical Proportions.” Written and performed by Ms. Dunn, this one-woman show that has been two years in the making will come to Theater Wit (located at 1229 W. Belmont) on August 20th. Produced by Steven Ullman, the show combines characters from across the country with Nora’s own stories from her childhood in inner city Chicago. She describes the show thusly: “The centerpiece of the show is Mrs. Williams, whom I started talking to on my road trip to Los Angeles to do a three-week workshop run of the show. While driving through Missouri, I got nervous about my progressive party bumper sticker. There were so many gruesome “Pro Life” billboards and patriotic “Pro War” billboards that I was afraid to pull over for gas and a PowerBar. I started a conversation in that state with an imaginary black woman named Mrs. Williams whose husband had withdrawn from society because of his experience with racism. I road along with this monologue all through Missouri and Oklahoma and Texas and when I got to The Andulaz Hotel in Albuquerque, I wrote it down. That’s when my two-year odyssey writing ‘Mythical Proportions’ was finally over.” Dunn goes on to say, “I love Hollywood, especially the old remnants of it you find by accident. ‘Mythical Proportions’, in part, pays homage to that worn history, and to the ghosts in Hollywood who never realized their dreams. The show is also an ode to the art of storytelling, and the great communion between audience and performer when you are all in the same room together. That experience is worth the time it takes to put something like this together. It even made the dangerous pit stops in rural right-wing America with a Progressive Party sticker on my bumper worth it. Really.” I had the lucky opportunity to meet Ms. Dunn through a mutual friend (Project Runway’s Peach Carr) and I must say she’s just as fabulous and funny in person as she is on the stage and screen. And did I say loveable? Her list of impersonations is endless and she had us both in stitches throughout the entire lunch at RL Restaurant recently. I can’t wait to see her one-woman show and I hope to see YOU there, too! (For details, please click here!)
ALL of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s parties are exciting (at least the ones I’ve attended) and I was thrilled to see that the tradition continued as Hef’s son Cooper hosted this year’s Midsummer Night's Dream party on August 3rd. The beautiful Tudor-style Mansion was lit up like a Roman candle in shades of Playmate pink, purple and green with twinkling white lights filling the trees. Mrs. Hefner (Crystal Harris) chose a pink fairy outfit covered in pale flowers and ribbons that made her look like a beautiful wood nymph complete with little wings. Hef wore his signature red pajamas with a captain’s boating cap tipped jauntily to the side. (I remember when Kendra first convinced him to start wearing this style of headgear back in the days of “The Girls Next Door” and it looks like he still enjoys the look!) Cooper, aka Mini Hef, chose black silk pajamas for the party that also featured stilt walkers costumed as trees, beautiful aerialists performing on rings attached to the ceiling of the tent and, of course, lots of glam Playmates, many wearing fairy wings. Kendra and husband Hank Baskett were on hand and she looked as fit as ever in black short shorts and a skin tight black T. Other guests included Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Matthew Moy, Miles Teller, Jon Lovitz, Garry Marshall, Joel David Moore, Edi Gathegi, Larry Sanders, Playmates Kayla Collins and Summer Altice (who helped DJ), Diablo Cody, Breckin Meyer, Mike Judge, Clifton Collins, Jr., Mikey Roe, Scott Porter, Rob Buckley, Miles Teller and Stephen Colletti. Even electronic Playboy cigarettes were offered to guests from a vending machine! Glad to see Hef still having fun! Here’s to many more legendary Playboy parties!
Are you naturally gray and proud of it or are you still coloring your hair the old school way? Well, if you're a proud Silver Sister, Diana Jewell wants YOU! Diana, a former director of marketing for Vogue and author of “Going Gray, Looking Great” is bringing her Silver Sister Strut to Chicago for a weekend filled with fun beginning on October 25th. This gathering, which is sponsored by Jhirmack Shampoo, will be held at the Marriott Courtyard Mag Mile (located at 165 E. Ontario) and is a celebration of women of all ages who have embraced gray and silver hair. I’m thrilled and honored to be the ambassador for this event and will be its keynote speaker on Saturday afternoon October 26th. Festivities will begin on Friday evening (7 p.m. to 9 p.m.) with a Gala Cocktail Party at Cité Restaurant followed by a luncheon on Saturday that will include a fashion show with glorious designs from Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue. A photo session of The Jhirmack Silver Sister Strut will follow the luncheon at the Bean in Millennium Park. (Transportation will be provided.) Tickets are $125 for complete weekend and $75 for those attending the luncheon and Strut here...hope to see my fellow Silver Sisters soon!
WCIU’s “You & Me This Morning” recently aired this fun segment that I contributed to about life at the Chicago Playboy Mansion. Producer Chris DeRose’s attention to detail was spot-on and I loved taking this walk down memory lane. Christie Hefner did, however, correct me on one point: Though Hef did live and play in the Mansion which is where the famous shots of him in the giant circular bed were taken, the building next door to the Mansion was actually offices. Thanks Christie and thanks to WCIU and Chris for including me! Hope you enjoy the segment!
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Gala concert and Symphony Ball will be held at the Palmer House Hilton on September 21st at 7 p.m. Maestro Riccardo Muti will lead the orchestra for a concert that will celebrate the bicentennial of Italy’s greatest composer, Giuseppe Verdi. In honor of this exciting
evening, Bulgari Jewelers (located at 909 N. Michigan Ave.) recently hosted a jewel-themed kick-off party for the CSO Women’s Board, trustees and friends. (Bulgari, a leading Italian jeweler since 1884, is the official jewelry sponsor of Symphony Ball.) Co-chairs
Elisabeth Adams and Katie Barber greeted guests at the kick-off party who included Women’s Board president Leslie Henner Burns and her husband John, Elizabeth Foster, Mary Lou Gorno, Karen Goodyear, Shelley Ochab and Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association president Deborah Rutter. (For tickets and more info, click here).
Save the date: HUGE congrats to one of my favorite bloggers around town, Katie Cahnmann, as she celebrates the third anniversary of her popular website, Now You Know Events, one of the BEST events calendars in town! I hope you can join me in toasting this much loved personality who covers all of the best events in the city on October 1st at the new Blackfinn Ameripub in River North! The party will also benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. (Details to follow!)
Forty-year-old Amy Gregorio of Northfield was crowned Mrs. International 2013 recently at the 28th Annual Mrs. International Pageant held at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. The two-hour event featured 70 contestants from around the world competing in three categories including interview, fitness wear and evening gown. Gregorio’s husband, John, crowned her Mrs. International before a sold-out audience.A former award-winning television journalist, Gregorio will spend her year as Mrs. International promoting her platform of helping abused and neglected children through CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). Congrats and good luck, Amy!
Do you think you have the cutest pooch? Well bring him/her to Hotel Lincoln on September 14th and let the judging begin! “Lincoln Park’s Cutest Pooch” competition will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the hotel at 1816 N. Clark St. Guests will also be able to bid on silent auction items and win raffle prizes with all proceeds benefiting PAWS Chicago. The event is free to attend and no registration fee is required to enter the competition! For more info, please call (855) 514-8112. Hope to see you there!
Don’t ask me why I waited so long but I attended the Ravinia Festival Gala for the first time this year! Renowned classical pianist Lang Lang was as cute as he was talented and thanks to an invite from Ravinia Festival director of communications Nick Pullia, I covered this elegant event in my Chicago Tribune column this week. To read more about it and see all of the wonderful pics, please click here! What a performance and what a wonderful event...congrats to all!
The annual PAWS Chicago Beach Party was tail-wagging fun from beginning to end! Check it all out below on my Watch312.com video and read all about it AND see pics here in my Chicago Tribune column! The event raised more than $210,000 for the organization.
Thanks so much for checking in and I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful summer as much as I am!
Love, as always,