...PLUS DWYANE WADE GIVES BACK; PGA WIVES TOUR; ADLER’S CELESTIAL BALL; MUTT STRUT; JACKIE TAYLOR’S NEW HIT; DEVIL’S BALL; BARBARA BATES’ FASHIONABLE FUNDRAISER; JOFFREY’S COUTURE & COCKTAILS; ODYSSEY’S $2-MIL RENO; VICTOR AND SHERREN ARE DREAM WEAVERS; I “HEART” REKLAMA AND MILA; A NEW WATCH312.COM VIDEO; TOP FALL EVENTS AND SO MUCH MORE!
The Green Tie Ball, benefitting Chicago Gateway Green, always has the BEST themes in town! For 2012, the theme was “Alice in Wonderland” and boy did they ever have fun with that! As soon as you entered the grounds of “Finkl Town” (aka A. Finkl & Sons at 2011 N. Southport), you knew it was going to be a fabulous night. With dramatic decor that included oversized lamp fixtures on every bar with big clocks hanging from the shades, this event propelled me right down the rabbit hole along with 3,000 other guests! Characters that included Alice, the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter roamed the grounds giving all of the guests great opportunities for photos. And for this year’s 22nd annual event, it was no different: Themed “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”, this gala was a very sweet treat indeed. Co-chair Lee Golub (along with wife Sandy) described it best: “This year’s theme will satisfy your sweet tooth and bring music makers and dreamers of dreams together. Just like Wonka offered the children of his adventure a lifetime of chocolate, events like tonight allow us to offer Chicago a lifetime of sustainability and beauty. So, for tonight, claim your Golden Ticket, delight in our pure imagination and dare to dream of a better Chicago.” More than 50 restaurants participated in the gala which the “Food Dude” David Lissner described as “the largest damn culinary event ever!” Several of the restaurants had fun with the Willy Wonka theme including Old Town restaurant, The Refinery. Pastry Chef Hetty Art, enclosed five Golden Tickets inside her chocolate fudge with the winners receiving gift bags. Too cute! Other highlights included a bubble-blowing DJ from Red Moon Theatre Company, glow-in-the-dark cotton candy and characters from the Willy Wonka movie that included a chocolate boy and a huge, purple Violet Beauregarde. For the third year, Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini emceed the event alongside co-chairs Sandy and Lee Golub (who was dressed as Willy Wonka)! Dancers opened the night with a hot DJ set by Justin Jacobson and later, Lee Golub drummed onstage with his cover band, Dr. Bombay. In a nearby tent, Rivers Casino hosted craps, roulette and blackjack tables with winnings going towards the raffle. The headliner of the night, SNDCLSH – a DJ duo consisting of Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco and DJ Sky Gellatly – kept the guests on the dance floor including the VIPs in the Oompa Loompa lounge. For the last song, Fiasco rapped out his hit “The Show Goes On” while confetti rained down from the stage. This year's attendance of 3,500 was a record breaker! Guests seen on the scene included Kim DeJesus, Joanna and Grant DePorter, Erica Strama, Lana Bramlette, Jason Erkes, DJ Rock City, Katie Cahnmann, the Landan twins, Alayna and DC Crenshaw, Chef Ryan Poli, Kimberly and James Feeley, Daniela Guzman, Anna Davlantes, Alicia Roman, Tony Abruscato, Brenda Arelano, Rachel Haley, Susanna and Tom Negovan, Donnell Wolford, Bob Sirott and Bridget Halanski. Other familiar faces included Joe Minoso and Yuri Sardarov of NBC’s “Chicago Fire”. Each year, the Green Tie Ball raises funds for the Expressway Partnership Program, an initiative aimed at “beautifying the gateways and transforming the roadways into parkways.” This year's event raised more than $480K. (For info about Chicago Gateway Green, click here.) (Additional photos by Dwayne Kuan.)
Families and children staying at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s (located at 211 E. Grand Ave.), were treated to a visit from members of The PGA Tour Wives Association on September 11th, complete with Patriot Day activities for the kids. The visitors, who were in town for the BMW Championship that took place recently in Lake Forest, included Diane Donald, Amber Watney, Rachel Thompson, Lori Points, Katie Robinson, Amy Wilson, Brittany Horschel, Rosalind Schwartzel, Taylor Fowler, Debi Rolfing, Lynn Fowler and Stephanie Mrofchak. The PGA Tour Wives Association gives back to golfing communities and child-related charities through volunteerism and other contributions. The fun-filled afternoon at the House featured a variety of activities, such as a “Hands Helping Hands” craft where children created American Flags to send to U.S. troops and their families, a special ceremonial salute with the Chicago Fire Department, and a delicious lunch of dishes from the PGA Tour Wives Association’s commemorative book, “Beyond the Fairways and Greens”. The special day originated with Diane Donald, wife of PGA Tour player Luke Donald. The couple (who call Chicago home) became supporters of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana in the fall of 2012 when they first visited the House near Lurie Children’s. Today, Diane serves on the charity’s Board of Directors, and Luke has been raising money for RMHC-CNI through a unique fundraising initiative called Birdies for the House. Love this! Congrats and thanks ladies!
At the Adler Planetarium’s Celestial Ball, more than 725 guests helped raise $1.4 million for the Adler’s STEM education programs which reach more than 90,000 students and teachers each year with a special emphasis on at-risk communities. Apollo astronaut James Lovell, Jr. was the honorary chair and Elisa Primavera Bailey, Linda Gerstman and Donna Beering Wheaton were ball co-chairs. With a theme of “Infinite Horizons”, the decor transported guests on a trip throughout the galaxy. A fabulous auction offered a family trip to Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and a rare charcoal Labrador puppy. The Adler Planetarium, dubbed America’s First Planetarium, was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler and inspires young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
And could Dwyane Wade be any cuter?! Oh my goodness, an awesome athlete, handsome as can be AND charitable?! He is the real deal and it was a thrill to meet him at his recent Wade’s World Foundation Gala hosted by CNN’s TJ Holmes at the Peninsula on September 6th. The VIP reception was packed with bold-faced names that included Michi and Brandon Marshall, James Feeley, Dionne Williams, Deborah and Adam Farmer, Dr. Ian and Triste Smith, Alderman Carrie Austin, Damon Williams, Zoraida Sambolin and Kenny Williams, Secretary of State Jesse White, members of Mindless Behavior (they have more than 1 million Twitter followers, don’t cha know?!), Michael Malone, Urban Prep’s Tim King, Father Michael Pfleger, Jolinda Wade, Jon and Andrew Landan, Lisa Newman, Astra Gamsjaeger and so many more. Wade’s sister Tragil introduced him at the reception and congratulated him on his 10 years in the NBA (with the Miami Heat) and the 10 year anniversary of his foundation. The event also featured performances from violinist Lee England, Grammy Award-winning gospel artist Vashawn Mitchell, singers Kristen Lowe and Mae Ya Ryan and comedian Damon Williams. Wade’s high school basketball coach Jack Fitzgerald spoke about how Wade had always been a team leader and children from the foundation recited the “Live to Dream” pledge. Marjorie and Steve Harvey and Laura Ricketts received the 2013 Philanthropy Awards. (For more info and photos, check out my Chicago Tribune column here!)
Don’t miss Jackie Taylor’s “It’s All-Right to Have a Good Time”, the life story of Curtis Mayfield, at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center in previews now through the 21th! Reggie Torian, the lead singer of the Impressions, will be making his acting debut! Written by Jackie Taylor and directed by Taylor and Daryl Brooks, the production will begin on September 22nd. (For tickets and more info, click here.)
Friends of Chicago Animal Care and Control will host their 9th annual celebrity chef's benefit, “Big Night”, to help the city’s neediest animals on September 26th from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center, located at 78 E. Washington. More than a dozen of the city’s best chefs will participate in this event that will also feature an open “Muttini” bar, silent and live auctions (that will include Conan O’Brien tix and Sidney Garber jewelry) and so much more! ABC 7’s Jim Rose and his beautiful wife Lakesha will emcee. For tickets ($100 donation, $125 at the door) and more info, click here!)
The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University’s Junior Board brings “old Chicago” back to the Historic Landmark Theatre with the 3rd annual Devil’s Ball, on September 27th. Presented by Rivers Casino and themed after “old Chicago neighborhoods”, the event will host nearly 250 young professionals and feature a menu that will include deep dish pizza, mini Chicago hot dogs, Little Italy’s Italian beef, Spanakopita as on ode to Greektown and egg rolls and pot stickers highlighting Chicago’s Chinatown! Yum!!! (For tickets – $65 – and more info, click here.)
National breast and ovarian cancer charity Bright Pink’s 4th Annual FabFest is back, hosted by E! News anchor and breast cancer survivor Giuliana Rancic, on September 29th at the Westin River North! At the event, more than 500 women from across the nation will join together for a day of health, wellness and beauty – all in support of the cause. (For more info, visit www.BrightPink.org and www.FabFest2013.org.)
I have a soft spot in my heart for The Joffrey Ballet’s Couture & Cocktails coming to Park West (located at 322 W. Armitage) on October 4th. Co-chaired by dual dynamos Kathleen Henson and Sonya Jackson, this is the 8th annual C & C and the second largest fundraiser for the Joffrey Ballet. I was proud to create this event with Helen Melchior, a long-time supporter/board member/mentor for this awesome company and, from the very beginning, it’s been all about the dancers! So happy to see this tradition continue in such a grand way and led by dear friends Kathleen and Sonya! This year’s event will feature a presentation of Joffrey costumes as well as the Couture Collection from Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue that will include menswear! I hope you can all come out and join us for this chic event benefitting Chicago’s world class ballet company! For tickets and more info, visit www.Joffrey.org.
Celebrating 10 years of Chicagoans “strutting” their stuff for dogs in need, Chicago Canine Rescue will host their popular Mutt Strut on October 5th in Lakeview along Newport Avenue (between Southport and Lakewood). Dog-lovers and their four-legged friends are invited for a 1.5-mile walk with their “mutt” followed by a block party with food, entertainment and more! Highlights will include a doggy fitness course, K9 cake eating contest, dog wash and nail trims along with a children’s bouncy house, face painter and costumed characters! Pet expert Steve Dale and NBC 5’s Kye Martin will be the celeb emcees. To register in advance ($25), click here! (Kiddies and doggies free!)
I had always wanted to take a trip on the Odyssey. My last time aboard was when my dad was still alive back in the ‘80s and, after I’d read about its recent $2 million reno, I was anxious to return to see the changes that were made and also to verify for myself all of the press I’d read. I was even more excited when they asked me to cover it! So, with my crack Watch312.com team in tow, along with my husband Chuck, we set off on another new adventure aboard the largest vessel cruising Lake Michigan, the Odyssey Chicago. As we wended our way up the gangplank, I was delighted to see that every passenger was given a great photo op behind its signature lifesaver. And as I entered the space, I was blown away. I thought it was nice back in the ‘80s but now it's a floating palace...take a look at my video and you’ll see what I mean!
A special thanks to Sherren Leigh and legendary photog Victor Skrebneski for making a dream come true. I’m thrilled to be appearing on my second cover for beloved Today's Chicago Woman Magazine for its 31st anniversary issue in October AND having it shot by Victor! It was the experience of a lifetime – read all about it here in my latest Chicago Now post. Thanks so much, Sherren and Victor and Dennis Minkel! (www.TCWMag.com)
And now, here are some not-to-be-missed events for fall! Hope to see you at one or more!
1. Primo Classico Br’Italia (benefitting the Primo Center): September 22nd at Lake Forest Sports Cars, 990 N. Shore Dr. in Lake Bluff from 1p.m. to 5 p.m.
2. Goodman Season Opening Benefit: September 24th, featuring “Pullman Porter Blues” (Performance follows the gala dinner at The Standard Club)
3. Ronald McDonald House Annual Cocktail Party: September 26th at the Back Room, 937 N. Rush from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
4. Big Shoulders Fund Ball: September 27th at the Illuminating Co., 2110 S. Wabash from 7:30 p.m. to midnight.
5. Imerman Angels’ Tuxes & Tees Ball: September 28th, Roosevelt University Ballroom at 430 S. Michigan
6. Chicago Humanities Gala: October 2nd at The Four Seasons at120 E. Delaware beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Congrats are in order for The Joffrey Ballet! The Board of Directors of the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation have awarded The Joffrey Ballet a $500,000 challenge grant, creating an endowment for the purpose of producing and performing full-length story ballets for years to come. This grant represents one of the largest awarded to a single cultural institution in the Foundation’s history!!
So honored to have been included on the cover of this week’s Reklama with the beautiful Larisa Kronfeld! Thanks to fab fotog Mila Samokhina for making this happen and for her brilliant coverage of the Service Club’s Day on the Terrace fashion show which was also featured. :)
Hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Candid Candace! We will be moving next week so wish me luck! My next report will be from the Gold Coast where we’ll be firmly ensconced with a doorman and a heated garage – I’ll finally know what all of the fuss is about! :) And lastly, I always want to leave you smiling so this video should definitely do the trick!
Love, as always,
P.S. On the rooftop at Epic Sky, with a great backdrop of the city, Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan came to Chicago to promote the new home for their show - “LIVE! with Kelly and Michael” - on ABC 7 weekdays at 9 a.m.! Good luck, Kelly and Michael...you make a great team!