PLUS URBAN PREP'S ACES UP!; CHILDREN'S BALL IS RECORD-BREAKER; PIERRE'S NEW GIG; HARD ROCK AND PLAYBOY FOR NYE; MARCO GIVES BACK CHRISTMAS; NEW NEWS FOR WCIU; GIFT GALA 2014; GENE & GEORGETTI'S HOLIDAY PARTY; COOL SPOTS FOR YULE FUN AND SO MUCH MORE!
The Service Club of Chicago held its annual Holiday Luncheon, The Twelve Days of Christmas ,at The University Club on December 4. As is always the tradition, guests brought unwrapped gifts for children and families served by its charity partners. This year's recipient, social agency Hephzibah, supports at-risk youth throughout our communities. The Club's
cathedral room was the perfect spot to kick off the holidays with its towering, festively decorated tree standing before magnificent stained glass windows. Carolers from Chicago Hope Academy (one of several Service Club grant recipients) entertained more than 175 guests as they mixed, mingled and shopped in the Great Hall. Vendors from
Alioto’s Gift Shop, Elements, Hinsdale Furriers, Howard Feldstein Mongolian Furs, Jo Malone, Just Class Jewelry, Lulu’s on the Avenue, Mary Mary, Oui Madame, Play, Reginald, Inc., Sparkelle, Suzanne Gillcrest Pearls and TSG Designs offered enticing gift items that ranged from beautiful ornaments to fur pieces to exquisite jewelry. Event co-chairs Diane
Freeman and Bonnie Rickard greeted attendees along with a delightful toy soldier (acted to perfection by Gregg Steigmeyer). Tables took turns singing verses from the Twelve Days of Christmas as they enjoyed champagne and holiday cheer with their friends. “Our members and supporters work so hard throughout the year to raise funds for charities like Hephzibah and Chicago Hope
Academy who do the work of angels in our communities. The Holiday Luncheon is a great way to celebrate our accomplishments, as well as seeing good friends and wishing them the best of the Season,” said Myra Reilly, beloved Service Club President. The Service Club of Chicago has supported hundreds of diverse charitable, educational and civic organizations of all sizes and missions since its founding in 1890. (To see ALL fab photos by John Reilly Photography, click here!)
The Hard Rock Hotel Chicago hosted the youth of Chicago’s Children’s Home and Aid for dinner in its restaurant in celebration of the holidays and of the Hotel’s Imagine There’s No Hunger Campaign. The kids enjoyed a special dinner prepared by Chef Scott Simon
incorporating his favorites-- Waffle Fry Nachos, Southern BBQ Wings and the Double Iron Chef Burger. Each child was given a Wish Tag to write down a wish and place on the trees in the hotel lobby. Why Hunger's global Imagine There’s No Hunger campaign, with the help of Hard Rock International and
Yoko Ono Lennon, is working to end hunger by supporting grassroots partners. The goal is to ensure that families have resources to develop local solutions, such as land, water, seeds and training, to ensure access to nutritious food and a dignified life without hunger. Amen to that and good luck!
Aces UP! 2014, Urban Prep’s Eighth
Annual Charity Poker Tournament was held at The Chicago Sports Museum with hundreds of players and spectators coming out to enjoy fast-paced poker and support Urban Prep Academies! (They raised $100,000 in the process!!!) It was a special night for Aces UP! with support from Urban
Prep Alumni volunteers who are either in or have graduated from college. Hosts Alexi Giannoulias, Richard Roeper, and Urban Prep founder/CEO Tim King were
back at it, adding extra energy to the night’s fun. In addition to the Texas Hold ‘Em tourney, guests indulged in a buffet of delicious Chicago themed food and drinks. Many of the celebrity bounties were quickly knocked out of the game, a sign of the competitive spirit of the night. Raffle winners took home prizes including Bulls Tickets,
commemorative Nike basketball shoes designed especially for Urban Prep and a package from the Majestic Star Casino. A record number of players also chose to “Tie-it-UP” by purchasing special red and gold-striped ties (these ties are given to UP
seniors ceremoniously upon college admission). By the end of the evening, only nine players remained to compete for a piece of a prize pool valued at over $10,000. Only one Celebrity Bounty, Ameet Sachdev, made it
to the final table. He was dramatically knocked-out when his full-house was beaten by Karl Sederberg. After competing in every previous tourney, this year Karl finally won the championship title!
Congrats to Tim and all these fun-fundraisers! (Urban Prep Academies is a nonprofit organization that operates a network of all-boys public schools including
the country’s first charter high school for boys. Their mission is to provide a comprehensive, high-quality college preparatory education to young men
that results in their graduates succeeding in college. In 2010-2014, 100% of the seniors in the school's graduating classes were admitted to four-year colleges or universities).
The Children’s Research Fund (CRF), an affiliated organization of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, hosted its annual signature black-tie event, the Children’s Ball on December 6 at the Hilton
Chicago. The event honored the dreams of innovative physicians and researchers at Lurie Children’s and celebrated the brighter futures made possible for children through their work. The Ball also celebrated the more than $2.7 million raised by the CRF this year in support
of pediatric medical research conducted at the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute, affiliated with Lurie Children’s. More than 1,100 guests celebrated the culmination of the CRF’s year-long fundraising campaign with an
elegant evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dinner and a live luxury auction. The Ken Arlen Orchestra provided the evening’s entertainment which kept the crowd dancing to pop classics and current hits all evening with 18 musicians, including six singers and The Sirens rock violinists. Special features of this year’s event included a video about a young Lurie Children’s patient whose father spoke of his daughter’s participation in a clinical trial that transformed her life, and a paddle-raise that raised $326,000 in 15 minutes. The Children’s Research Fund 2014 Campaign and Children’s Ball co-chairs were
Roxanne and Rocco Martino and Justin and Angela Dearborn. (Congrats to all!)
Longtime director of The Joffrey Ballet's Community Engagement Programs, the beloved Pierre Lockett has struck out on his
own continuing to do what he loves best--inspiring youth and adults in the love of dance and providing dance education for those in communities with limited arts access. Forward Momentum Chicago (FMC) is a non-profit organization that provides school programming in dance genres from around the world in addition to developing students' global awareness and social, emotional and learning skills through dance. Pierre's goals include providing programming in at least 20 schools (they are currently in 16); opening a dance school for low-income families to serve children and adults; raise at least $200K in revenue to help FMC operate "out of the red" and
continue to grow, and expand its partnership with the Chicago Park District and Chicago area community centers. If you would like to help, please click here! Good luck Pierre and thanks for all the good you do for so many!
The Gift Theatre welcomed more than 250 guests to The Gift Gala 2014—its first ever gala—held at the Cultural Center. The event raised more than $70,000 in support of the Theatre, Chicago’s renowned ensemble
dedicated to telling great stories on stage with honesty and simplicity. Guests enjoyed an elegant evening that began with cocktails and included tasting stations and music performed by Unit 3. The Gift Theatre’s Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton presented the
Total Gift Award to Chef Art Smith in honor of his culinary achievements as co-owner of the upscale Southern comfort food restaurant Table Fifty-Two and in recognition of his role founding the non-profit charity Common Threads, which focuses on teaching children about diverse cultures through food and art. A live
performance by the Gift Theatre Ensemble honoring Chef Art, a proud Gift Theatre subscriber, followed the award presentation. The fun continued into the evening as guests filled the dance floor and enjoyed a variety of delicious desserts. The Gala was chaired by Laura Gale of The Gift
Theatre Company Board of Directors and President of Crossmedia451. Participating chefs included Jimmy Bannos (Heaven on Seven); Dobra Bielinski (Delightful Pastries); Chrissy Camba (Maddy’s Dumpling House); Ris Lacoste (RIS Restaurant); Tom Leavitt (White Oak Gourmet); Liborio Martinez (Gale Street Inn); Steve O’Brien (Leadbelly); Quay Tao (
The Portage Owner); Joey Beato and Matt Saccaro (Executive Chef and Chef de Cuisine of The Portage) and Melissa Trimmer (US Foods). Congrats Art for all you do!!!
Hard Rock Hotel & Playboy are partnering for a blow-out New Year’s Eve Gala, on Wednesday, December 31 from 9 p.m. – 2.am. This year they are going all out with a multi-room formal bash featuring live entertainment from Hello Weekend and popular DJ Crystal Ellis. There will be a Playboy Masquerade Lounge hosted by 2013 Playmate of the Year, Raquel Pomplun, Miss October 2013 Carly Lauren and DJ Ellis. A Playboy Treasure Hunt will offer one lucky winner a weekend stay in the Hard Rock Hotel Penthouse plus a Playboy swag bag. Ticket prices start at $125/ticket and VIP Tickets start at $450. Hard Rock will also offer discounted rooms at only $189/night. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here!
Nearly 700 guests attended the Misericordia Women's Board Ball at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel raising more than $680,000 to support 600 children and adults with developmental disabilities at Misericordia Home in Chicago. Co-chaired by Beth Merlo and Eileen Sethna, the event
featured a performance by the Misericordia Heartbreakers and a silent auction that offered exotic trips, golf packages, jewelry and more. This year, the Women's Board honored Bernadette and Edmund Boyle with the Heart of Mercy Award. The Sister Rosemary Connelly Service Medallion was awarded to Peggy and
Bob Bourke and the inaugural Pillars of the Community Award was given to Walsh Construction (Dan and Matt Walsh). Seen on the scene were Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini (emcees), Deborah and
Scott Early, Dorie and Tom Finnegan, Kathy and Michael May, Lorraine and Stephen Devey, Father Jack Clair, Sister Rosemary Connelly, Jacob Green and Jennifer Lunz among others.
Looking for an exotic travel destination for
the holidays? Well, Monaco would be our first choice! The Principality of Monaco sparkles with magic during the holidays that begins with a ceremonial lighting in front of the Monte Carlo Casino. A glistening forest with 100 trees of up to 30 feet, hundreds of white,
silver and gold twinkling lights, more than 4 miles of garlands, 600 strobe bulbs and 18,000 square feet of white cotton wool will transform and illuminate the legendary Casino Square. Monaco’s Christmas Village on Port Hercule will feature chalet shops
with hand-crafted wares, family-friendly creative workshops and animations. Young and old alike can experience the thrill of ice-skating during the day and ice karting at night. To ring in the New Year, enjoy unforgettable fireworks. Woody Allen & Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band will give a concert in Salle Garnier of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo on December 29. So much going on in this Riviera hotspot! Hopefully next year!
For more info on the Principality and special holiday packages at Monaco’s hotels, click here! Joyeux Noel!
For those last minute gifts, don't forget that a lot of top charities around town offer exciting items that benefit great causes. Ronald McDonald House Charities has an entire selection of cool stuff. My favorite was a knit winter cap for $30 and, the best part, for every hat sold a child/family at the House receives one as well! St. Jude has wonderful holiday gifts, too. There's a Celebrity Friend Collection that offers an ornament designed by Keith
Urban and necklaces created in collaboration with Daisy Fuentes and Sabrina Soto. Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation offers beautiful ornaments created by those touched by cancer for only $10. Barrett Bear merchandise includes T-shirts, ties, tanks and a cool throw blanket. Common Threads, Chef Art Smith and
Jesus Salgueiro's national healthy eating initiative, offers a fabulous cookbook, Eat the World, featuring delicious recipes used in the program. PAWS (Pets are Worth Saving) has a darling 2015 pet calendar available with longtime supporters Bonnie and Jim Spurlock's cute "kids" on the cover! Please consider buying gifts from a charity and make your money matter! :-)
On Friday, December 12, beloved Chicago altruist and entrepreneur, Marco Foster, held his 4th annual Grinch Who Gave Back Christmas charity event
benefiting the Brain Injury Association of Illinois at one of Chicago’s hottest night spots, The Underground. The stylish and festive event lasted from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. and included an evening of premium drinks, live music and an
appearance from The Grinch herself, Lora Michael. Raising over $10,000 for the Brain Injury Association of Illinois, the popular event was the perfect way to celebrate the Christmas season while inspiring the Chicago community to give back. Congrats Marco for
all you do for Chicago! We love you! (The BIA of IL is the only organization in Illinois serving individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), their families and professionals who treat them and is dedicated to providing information, advocacy, and support). Seen on the scene were Whitney
Reynolds with hubby David Heiner, William Holdeman and Paul Iacono, Keisha Keywest, Justin Jacobson, Rudy Marin, Breanna O'Neil and so many others!
Plan ahead for Valentine's Day! Cupid fills our hearts once again with Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation’s 8th Annual Be My Valentine Family Event on Sunday,
February 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Ritz-Carlton. The fun-filled event features a scrumptious family brunch buffet and loads of cool Valentine activities for kids that will include music from DJ Kareem; performances by Little
Miss Ann, Jesse White Tumblers and All About Dance; sweet treat decorating and tips from Sweet Mandy B’s; an entire room filled with candy and allergy-safe treats; ELTIF Designs bead bar for all jewelry making enthusiasts;
make-overs from Rock Candy Salon and Spa; an Abt Electronics video arcade room plus a silent auction! Whew, lots goin' on! The event is co-chaired by Joanna Aaron and Sherri Hoke with all proceeds benefiting the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation. Tickets are $85 for adults and $65 for children in advance; and $100 for adults and $80 for children at the door and are available by ordering online or calling 312-926-4274.
PAWS Chicago's Seventh Annual 36 Hour Holiday Adopt-A-Thon was a huge success! Last year, they found homes for 121 pets and THIS year they found homes for 150 homeless dogs, cats, puppies and kittens, making this their most successful Adopt-a-Thon to date! The Adoption Center was bustling with adopters who came to meet their new best friends. Congrats to
PAWS and volunteers Judy and Howard Tullman, Bonnie Spurlock, Kristina McGrath, Joanna Mallers, Rita Moore, Meda Hatcher, Alexis Fasseas, Nancy Sterling and others. The excitement continued into Sunday for their Celebrity Volunteer “12 Strays of Christmas” Holiday Open House where another 32 animals found homes! Local animal-loving celebrities toured the Adoption Center, learned about its No Kill mission, visited homeless pets and helped raise awareness via social media. #AHomeFortheHolidays
Great news and great move by WCIU! Starting January 12, “ABC 7 Eyewitness News on WCIU, The U,” will air from 7 to 8 p.m. weeknights, with BELOVED veteran news anchors Linda Yu and Hosea Sanders, sports anchor Jim Rose and ABC 7’s newest hire, meteorologist Cheryl Scott. The newscast will originate from ABC 7 studios at 190 North State Street. (This info was first reported by Robert Feder in his awesome Chicago Tribune blog/column). #DreamTeam
There's an annual Holiday Luncheon at Gene & Georgetti's, 500 N. Franklin, but not everyone is invited. There's a special group of longtime regulars, including those in The Mahogany Club, who meet there almost everyday and who were a part of this yearly get-together. Here's a cute pic of some of them! Thanks to owner Tony Durpetti for keeping the spirit alive at Gene's!
If you're looking for festive spots to celebrate the holidays, we love Lady Gregory's (5260 N. Clark), and Wilde's (3130 N. Broadway). These two casual restaurants are decorated from top to bottom with Yule Tide cheer PLUS, they have fireplaces! #TooCharmingforWords , #PubGrub
And speaking of the holidays, here's another suggestion for last minute gift ideas! Mary Mary Gift Shop at 706 N. Dearborn is loaded with the coolest stuff for all ages. Owners Mary Ann Rose and Heinz Kern couldn't be sweeter and their boutique looks like the Midwest version of the North Pole!
Amid the horrors of this world nowadays, it's a good time to step back and count your blessings. Here's mine for 2014.
I hope your holiday festivities are well under way and that you're all ready for the Jolly Fat Man! Thanks so much for reading Candid Candace and I hope Santa makes all your dreams come true!
Love, as always,
P.S. If you missed my latest Chicago Tribune column, here it is from The Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker Family Dinner! :-)