PLUS Z BAR'S GRAND OPENING; CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER GALA; ETHAN HAWKE HONORED BY GSFC; TOM'S PRIDE TEA DANCE; A SPARK! FOR SHIRLEY RYAN ABILITY LAB; MISSING HEAVENLY HAZEL; GILDA'S CLUB CHICAGO HONORS ANN LURIE; ONE MILLION DEGREES FOOD & WINE GALA; WEIGEL BROADCASTING'S NEW "COLLECTOR'S CALL"; BARKAPALOOZA; ONE GOOD EGG AND THE RANCICS AT PIXAR PREMIERE; ELI'S CELEBRATES TRIBUNE'S BIG MOVE; GREEN TIE BALL KICK-OFF PARTY; SAYING GOODBYE TO KATHY BROCK; REV UP! CHICAGO 2018; THEO EPSTEIN'S HOT STOVE COOL MUSIC CHICAGO FEST; MUSIC INSTITUTE ANNIVERSARY GALA; A DARLING VIDEO AND SO MUCH MORE!
The 20th annual Gift of Sight Gala was held at the Peninsula on June 28. The event raised funds for Eversight Illinois, an organization that for 71 years has been restoring sight for those in need by providing tissue for transplantation and research, working to
develop eye banks around the world and discovering new therapies and treatments. The 2018 Visionary Awards were presented to local philanthropist, man-about-town Marco Foster and Dr.
Elmer Tu, who specializes in infectious diseases of the cornea. Dr. Tu has performed over 1700 transplant surgeries including one on the evening's guest of honor, 12 year-old Liliana Vujic. Liliana was
born with a rare congenital eye defect that has required multiple surgeries but, after successful corneal transplant surgery performed by Dr. Tu, she is now a
vibrant, happy 12 year old who enjoys starring in musicals, singing in talent shows and reading her beloved books. Marco Foster, for the past 8 years, has been the host/founder and head cheerleader for an event for One Hope United, the White Party. As an adopted child, he
recognized the need to support this non-profit whose mission is to increase opportunities for children and their families. In 2009, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and, once again, he answered the
call by raising awareness and funds for the Brain Injury Association, an organization he's been involved with for the past 6 years. He supports many other charities, even dressing as a super-hero to visit hospitalized children for the Super Hero Collective and Holiday Heroes. As you can
imagine, it was quite an inspiring night but one that was also filled with fun and festivities from beginning to end. Guests entering the venue might have been reminded of the legendary Beverly Hills
Hotel since the decor was inspired by its iconic green and white stripes, flamingoes and colors of the summer. Envisioned by my darling co-chair, Michael Caputo, and Kehoe Designs' Phil Cooper, the decor brought the gala to life! A pink
"flamingle" bar, presented by MyEyeDr., was decked out with topiary-filled urns filled with plastic, blinged out pink flamingoes (hand decorated by Michael!). The bar was tented with green and white
striped fabric and filled with hanging, brightly colored balloons from Tamar Productions. The ballroom was a riot of color, again with boldly colored balloons hanging from the ceiling and the walls splashed with matching colors. When I first saw it, I felt like Alice must've felt as she entered Wonderland.
ZZAZZ Productions donated a beautiful flower lady, portrayed glamorously by model Shannon Lersch. Her
outfit was beyond imagining. You have to see the photo to believe it! The weather knew we needed it to cooperate and it did. It was a perfect summer night as guests mingled on the terrace, in the hallway outside the ballroom and inside as well. We had a killer silent auction with over 100 packages--including (thanks to the Peninsula's Maria Zec) trips to Shanghai, Hong Kong, New York, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Carmel and more! A photo booth allowed guests the opportunity to take home lasting
memories and the music by DJ Apollo XO reminded me of my glory days at Studio 54, albeit with more
current beats! Lol! This event was founded by the late (much loved) Beverly Blettner 20 years ago and, happily, her dedication lives on. Last year, more than 7,000 individuals from around the globe received the gift of sight with the help of Eversight. Thanks to all who attended, our past honorees and especially to our sponsors! And please forgive me if I forget someone here--The
Peninsula Chicago, media sponsor Chicago Magazine, Gift of Hope (Organ & Tissue Donor Network), Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, Chicago Blower Corporation (love you Susan Gohl!), MyEyeDr., Tamar Productions, ZZAZZ Productions, Chicago Cornea Consultants and so many more! Also, a special shout-out/thanks to Eversight Illinois executive director Diane Hollingsworth and its PR
gurus Steve Schapiro and Nikita Strange, the Peninsula's Greg Hyder, Breanna Jurs, Carrie Roitstein, Mary Ann Rose, Sally Schwartz and Reid Brody, Dr. Steve Stryker and Andrea Schwartz, Walter and Shirley Massey, Sue Downes, Lois Eisen, Dr. Charles and Anne Bouchard, Hubbard Inn, Dr. and Mrs. Lindenauer, AMLI River North (where we held a killer kick-off party!), TOAST Vodka, Thomas and Karren Wcisel and Mildred Zarzik. (Photos by Mila Samokhina)
And on another special night at the Peninsula Chicago, a brand new space opened and boy, is it something special! The Z Bar opened big last week to
rave reviews! It's not only new, but it was created from scratch and can be reached by elevator across from the previous bar on the lobby level that's now closed. Conceived by international designer Yabu Pushelberg, the bar is stylish and oh-so chic. Composed of multiple spaces, each has its own personality. The name
Z Bar is inspired by Maria Zec, the Peninsula's first ever female manager. The lounge even pays a darling homage to her pug dog with inspirations scattered throughout. On the nights set aside for its
grand opening, the space was in hyper-party mode with a stylish combo brought in from Paris, men and women prowling through the space in animal masks and tasty food offerings from the cuisines of Asia, Europe and the Americas created by Chef Toni Robertson. A private salon will offer a sanctuary type space for the many celebrities who call this hotel home when they're in town. Cocktails are works of art and feature a Manhattan Royale, starring rare Elijah Craig 18 year-old Bourbon with truffle and saffron bitters. You get the picture. And the views from the 4th floor onto Michigan Avenue are definitely Insta-worthy! A hotspot not to be missed!
Sad, sad news....A force to be reckoned with right up to the very end--Hazel Barr passed away peacefully in her sleep on June 28, surrounded by those she loved. She was a long and loyal champion of the Service Club of Chicago, one of the oldest charitable organizations in the city. Her creativity and passion surrounding her Day on
the Terrace Fashion Show is legendary. Co-founded 19 years ago as the Day in the Country, Hazel grew this popular event to be one of the biggest and best in the city. It's a yearly sellout every July at the Peninsula and this year will be no different. Last year, the SC honored Hazel at the Day on the Terrace. I
will never forget the sight of her--always elegant--but, on this particular day, she was absolutely radiant. Her finale strut down the runway brought tears from everyone in the room as she was escorted by her two beloved
grandsons, Justin and Alexander Smith, blowing kisses and taking her final bow as chair of this event. She was instrumental in bringing me, along with a gazillion other wide-eyed
women, into the Service Club fold. There, she molded us and taught us what philanthropy is all about. In large part due to her past efforts, the SC awarded a record-breaking number of grants this year to deserving nonprofits. I was proud and humbled to be under her glamorous wings, as were all her friends. She wasn't an easy woman by a long shot, but she knew what was best and never wanted to settle for anything less than what her
unerring vision dictated. I admired her for that, along with many of her other fine traits. She was tenacious, kind, giving, forceful, determined,
loving to her friends, sentimental and always, always, always positive. I don't think I ever saw her without a smile on that beautiful face. Beyond the Service Club, her reach stretched far into the nonprofit world and made Chicago a much better place to live. In the end, she preferred to be alone with those nearest and dearest. She was truly one of a kind, the best kind in my book, and the world will be a less joyful place without her in it. RIP Heavenly Hazel. Those angels will learn a lot from you. As Kevin Sullivan so aptly put it, I can't wait to see what "Day on the Cloud" looks like!
Chicago Shakespeare Theater celebrated GALA 2018 on June 8 raising $1.6 million for the Chicago Shakespeare in Classrooms and Communities initiatives—which include the Tony Award-winning
Theater’s nationally recognized education programs and free citywide Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour. During the event, Chicago Shakespeare presented the Spirit of Shakespeare Awards, honoring those who embody Shakespeare’s spirit through community engagement
and artistic leadership. This year’s Civic Honorees, Marilynn and Carl Thoma, were instrumental in the
founding of the Theater and have been a driving force behind its evolution and growth. As civic leaders and philanthropists, their generosity has fostered myriad cultural organizations and artists across the country. The 2018 Spirit of Shakespeare Artistic Honoree John Lithgow was recognized for his extensive career as a Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe Award-winning actor. His celebrated career includes roles as varied as Sir Winston
Churchill on the hit Netflix series, The Crown, Malvolio in Twelfth Night at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Arthur Mitchell in the crime drama mystery series Dexter, and Dick Solomon in the extraterrestrial
sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. Lithgow declared of the honor, "This not only gives me a chance to pay tribute to Chicago Shakespeare Theater, but also Chicago theater, period." In the Courtyard Lobby, artists in
lavish costumes mingled and posed for photos with guests. Following a cocktail reception and seated dinner, 500 attendees from Chicago’s civic and cultural community enjoyed a one-
night-only performance in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, featuring Tony and Grammy Award-winner Heather Headley and The Voice all-star Chris Mann. In the star-studded concert, audiences were treated to selections including ―"I Will Always Love You" performed by Headley, and duet performances of "Written in the Stars" from Aida and "For Good" from Wicked. To cap the night, guests pledged direct support to Chicago Shakespeare’s education and community initiatives during a successful paddle raise. (Photos by J. Lauryn Photography and Jimmy Knight Photo)
Paying tribute to an artist who truly does it all, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute honored Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG and Tony award-nominee Ethan Hawke on June 7 at the Ritz-Carlton
Chicago. The evening paid homage to the actor's many accomplishments and provided guests with an opportunity to hear an intimate conversation that provided insights into his creative process and influences, favorite roles and his upcoming film "Blaze", which was co-written, produced and directed by Hawke. A retrospective of his film clips
accompanied the conversation. The evening culminated with the presentation of the Gene Siskel Film Center Renaissance Award to Hawke by SAIC
president Elissa Tenny and GSFC Advisory Board Chair Ellen Sandor. The benefit was co-chaired by GSFC supporters and Advisory Board members Eda Davidman and Melissa Sage Fadim with proceeds supported the Center's curated film programming as well as lecture series and discussions with visiting scholars and filmmakers. Congrats to ALL! (Photos by Mila Samokhina)
The Music Institute of Chicago, one of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most distinguished community music schools, welcomed 300 guests to its 2018, Anniversary Gala on May 21 at the Fairmont Hotel
Chicago. Co-chaired by Renée and Lester Crown, David F. Heroy, Cathy and Bill Osborn and Nancy and E. Scott Santi, the event raised more than $715,000 and included a cocktail reception, followed by an elegant dinner and awards presentation. Musical performances took place throughout the evening, representing every area of the
Music Institute. Highlights included young musicians
from the Community Music School; award-winning students from the renowned Academy, a training center for gifted pre-college musicians; and young students from its outreach programs, including ArtsLink, an arts integration program offered in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, and Third Coast Suzuki Strings, a violin program on Chicago’s
Northwest Side in collaboration with the YMCA of Metro Chicago. The prestigious Dushkin Award, established 30 years ago and named for the Music Institute’s visionary founders, Dorothy and David
Dushkin, recognizes international luminaries in the world of music for their contributions to the art form, as well as to the education of youth. This year’s recipient, Pinchas Zukerman, has remained a phenomenon in the world of classical music for more than four decades. Rick Waddell, Northern Trust's retiring chairman, accepted the Cultural Visionary Award and the Richard D. Colburn Award for Teaching Excellence was presented to Stanley Davis, a 58-year member of the clarinet and saxophone faculty. Honorary co-chairs were Susan R. Kiphart, Alexandra and John Nichols and Rachel Barton Pine. (Photos by Ana Miyares and Bob Carl)
Pride Weekend was extra special this year thanks to the first Tea Dance hosted by Tom Kehoe in his new home in Old Town on June 24. You couldn't miss the location since
2 story Pride Flags decorated the front of the house and the sounds of laughter and music could be heard for blocks. It was a happy crowd that included MK and JB Pritzker, Julie Barrish, Jean Antoniou and her beautiful daughter Andrea, Mark Olley, Quenten Schumacher, Trevor Heffernon, Tom Carto, Ana Belaval, Tracey Tarantino, Mamie Walton, Heather Ingram, David Murga, Nina Mariano and
a host of others. A half-sawed off horse statue served as a unique bar (in true Tom Fashion) and DJ Madrid Perry kept the crowd dancing, dancing, dancing in the
newly planted backyard--full grown trees had been brought in making the garden look like it's existed for 50 years or more. Inside the chic, two-story house delicious food was everywhere you looked. Tom's home is a testimony to good taste, as you would expect, and as guests took self-guided tours, you could hear oohs and ahhhs coming from every elegant room. It was a great celebration dedicated to love and friendship and it was an honor to be included. Long may you reign Tom KEHOE!
And speaking of Tom, another shout-out for the Geraghty's new ad campaign! The latest ad for this fabulous venue is included in the latest issue of Michigan Avenue Magazine and I was so excited to be included along with David Murga, Ava Fain, Zach Brake, Danielle Robay, Luis Lazaro Gonzalez, Josephine Lee and Brock Williams. The fun photo was taken by Bob Davis (Bob & Dawn Davis Photography)
Rev Up Chicago!, sponsored by Bentley Motor Coach, will honor Pat and Joe Perillo at its annual fashion extravaganza on Wed. August 22 at Bentley Gold Coast. The exciting line up of participating local designers will include Brandon Blackshear, Caroline
Rose, Heidi Hess, Lauren Lein Ltd., M2057, Mira Couture, Model Atelier, Rebellion, Ricorso, ARMagamiI and Varyform. The Stanley Paul Fund will award its Tuition Scholarship this evening to one of the 5 finalists whose designs will appear on the runway. The show will be emceed by Erica Strama and produced by Susan Glick. I'm proud and honored to be the honorary event chair! Hope you can all join us! For tickets, beginning at $200, and more info, please click here!
The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s first-ever Spark! signature event was held May 31, at the Four Seasons Chicago and attracted more than 350 supporters. The special benefit —the first the organization has hosted since
officially opening the doors to its new research hospital in 2017 —generated $2.5 million in support for its best-in-class care and ground-breaking research. The event featured a rousing performance by Ali Stroker, star of TV, Broadway and film, as well as an immersive video experience highlighting the best of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. That's some pretty impressive fundraising for a first time event! Congrats, congrats, CONGRATS!
A host of Chicago and Boston baseball and music All-Stars joined forces to raise nearly $500,000 to support Chicago and Boston youth and their families at the Hot Stove Cool Music Chicago concert and event series recently. The proceeds benefited Cubs
Epstein. The weekend events celebrated music, baseball and giving back and included the seventh annual Chicago concert and the annual Urban Classic Baseball game featuring elite youth teams from Illinois, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Baseball Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons and Epstein hosted the annual concert fundraiser, which was headlined by critically acclaimed rock band and Illinois natives The Orwells, and also featured musical performances by Gammons, HSCM supergroup Band Of Their Own (featuring Kay Hanley, Jenny Dee, Jennifer Hall and Kate Tucker) and All-Star ensembles from both Boston and Chicago that included Will Dailey, Chris
Cote (The Upper Crust), Matt Spiegel, Ed Valauskas (The Gravel Pit) and Jason Narducy. WXRT-FM’s Lin Brehmer, actor Joel Murray, NBC Sports Chicago’s Leila Rahimi and former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster served as event emcees. Special guest appearances on stage included Cub’s manager Joe Maddon, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and former pitcher David Ross. The weekend culminated with the Urban Classic Baseball Tournament, which shines a spotlight on the importance of urban baseball and academics by bringing together elite youth urban baseball clubs from across the country.
Gilda’s Club Chicago honored its co-founder Ann Lurie as they celebrated 20 years of free cancer support at their annual dinner recently. Ann expressed her gratitude by stating, “This is exactly what we envisioned when we started Gilda’s Club 20 years ago.” Guest emcee Bonnie Hunt, who was once an oncology nurse in Chicago, shared her enthusiasm for the organization. “No one should have to
face cancer alone and Gilda’s Club makes that possible.” The event raised a record-breaking $970,000 for the non-profit's mission--to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community. Gilda’s Club Chicago serves everyone living with cancer – men, women, teens and children – along with their families and friends.
One Million Degrees hosted its 11th annual Degrees of Impact Food & Wine Gala on June 1 at Rockwell on the River, a brand new event space in the Avondale neighborhood. The event attracted 650 guests and raised $795,000. The event honored OMD Scholars and alumni, with special
recognition to the Honorable Melissa Bean, chairman of Midwest JPMorgan Chase, for her support of OMD and longtime service on its Board of Directors, including as its current Vice Chair.
The Degrees of Impact gala, co-chaired by Deb Gross and Caroline Grossinger, mixed food and wine from some of Chicago’s top chefs with moving speeches from OMD Scholars and alumni
about how OMD is changing outcomes for them, their children, families and communities. OMD is the only organization in Illinois, and one of few in the country, dedicated to providing comprehensive supports to low-income, highly motivated community college students to help them succeed in school, in work, and in life.
For 25 years the West Suburban Humane Society has celebrated everything-dog at their annual Barkapalooza. This half-day, family-friendly fest for dogs and their people, will return to Lisle Community Park located at 1825 Short Street in Lisle, Illinois, on Sunday, September 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This extremely dog-friendly event allows pet owners, prospective pet adopters, and all-around pet lovers to raise money for homeless dogs and cats through a Dog Walkathon and Pet Expo full of pet-related vendors. Participants are encouraged to collect pledges for the walkathon, and all proceeds will support the West Suburban Humane Society, at their signature annual fundraiser. (For more info, click here!)
Chuck and I were excited to be featured on a new show airing in the fall or winter called "Collector's Call". The show is being produced by Weigel Broadcasting with host Lisa Whelchel (from The
Facts of Life). I was able to convince friend Leslie Hindman to appear with me and she offered some interesting insights into the world of auctions. The show showcased our rare book collection with comments/appraisals offered by rare book expert Thomas Joyce. Stay tuned for programming info coming soon!
Giuliana and Bill Rancic with son Duke, along with The Incredible Egg, celebrated the much-anticipated release of Disney Pixar’s “Incredibles 2” at the Loews Chicago Hotel on June 15. The American Egg
Board (AEB) is supporting the superhero families of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI) with a $10,000 charitable donation and year-long supply of eggs to the local kitchens in five local RMHC-CNI Houses. Now that's what I call One Good Egg! (You knew that was coming, right?)
Well, the Chicago Tribune has left its historic home to regroup at One Prudential Plaza. To mark this momentous occasion, Eli's Cheesecake Company delivered a HUGE congratulatory cheesecake with owners Maureen and Marc Schulman doing the cutting/serving honors themselves! As you know, it's NOT a party unless Eli's is there!
Chicago Gateway Green hosted a kick-off party for the upcoming Green Tie Ball ("Green Eggs & Glam") at Lamborghini Gold Coast on June 25. Joe Perillo
welcomed guests and thanked CGG chairman Grant DePorter and the team for all they do to beautify Chicago. Committee members in attendance included Neal Zucker and Marko Iglendza, Linda Johnson Rice, Jon and Andrew
Landan, Heather and Bruce Ingram, James Feeley, Cynthia and Peter Au, Liza Sweitzer, Beth Heller, Jacky Ferro, Matthew McCahill, David Lissner,
Auxiliary Board members and others. Executive director Tony Abruscato thanked everyone for coming and shared updates about the event. This party will be held at the Geraghty (for the first time) on Friday, September 14! Tickets will go fast as this event is an annual sellout! (For more info/tix, click here!) Excited to have Nina Mariano as my co-chair!
You cannot miss a visit to the Happy Place! Founded by Jared Paul and opened originally in November of 2017 in Los Angeles, this massive pop-up experience (20,000+ square-feet)
is filled with larger than life-size installations, multi-sensory immersive rooms and dozens of curated Insta-Moments to #CaptureYourHappy! Highlights include dancing in the middle of the world's largest indoor Confetti Dome, jumping off of a larger than life double rainbow into a pot of happiness, posing inside Happy Place's signature rubber ducky bathtub of fun and taking photos in the Super Bloom Room amid 15,000 blossoms! And let's not forget 7-foot stilettos made of a million candies and 6' tall X and O letters made out of thousands of tiny mirrors, surrounded by a wall of one thousand red lips! Well, you get the picture! It's a mini Disneyland right at 1004 N. Elston! Catch it now before it leaves for another lucky city on August 6!
And lastly, love and a shout-out to ABC-7's Kathy Brock who recently retired after 30 years. She has always been a class act and an unerring reporter. I always loved seeing her next to Alan Krashesky, one of the best, in my opinion, but I know she has another door to open. I can't wait to see where her next chapter takes her!
That's it for this week! I hope you've been entertained, learned something new and, perhaps, was introduced to a new nonprofit that you might want to wrap your arms around. Enjoy summer in Chicago!
P.S. And, as always, something to leave you with a smile! This is the "What the Fluff Challenge?" that's been sweeping the internet! Pets are confounded by their disappearing owners!