Candid Candace: Culture



The Christkind at the market at Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville.

The Christkindlmarket is back and heralding the holidays like none other. The preview party, "Twas' the Night Before Christkindlmarket," was November 17. This

Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza has been a staple there for 26 years.

was a great chance to really see the amazing gifts on offer up close and actually chat with the vendors. I spoke to Frank of Frank's Ornament House, he's been coming to the market for 25 years and absolutely loves it. He said, "I love seeing people come here from around the world and am proud to display my over 2,500 ornaments from my country [Germany]!" Another vendor's daughter had designed several of the ornaments on display which I thought was so charming. Everyone has a story and I wish I could've chatted with every one of them. Inside a special warming tent, guests could snap

Drinking gluhwein with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy the popular gluhwein (spiced, mulled wine) and an opening ceremony that introduced the Christkind, the face of the market, who welcomed visitors. A buffet dinner was offered in the heated Grand IMG_3440Timber Haus where many of the food items for sale in the market could be sampled. (The potato pancakes were out of this world.). Carolers and the Phenix Trio provided a festive soundtrack to the market. The following day, the market in Wrigleyville/ Gallagher Way opened and, for the first time, a skating rink was placed inside Wrigley Field! It was so cool to see the stadium used in this way. In the Christkindlmarket, also for the first time, a charming

Leila Schmidt, of Christkindlmarket, on the rink.


Inside Wrigley Field, who'd a thunk it?

carousel took center stage surrounded by 35+ vendors. And, again for the first time, a brand new market was launched in Aurora at RiverEdge Park. There's is something for everyone at each market and it is such a great way to celebrate the season. The Daley Plaza and Aurora markets will be in place through December 24 and the Gallagher Way market through December 31. (


Rich Lane  Mindy Segal and Jaime Laurita with pups Woody and Ted.
Rich Lane, Mindy Segal and Jaime Laurita with pups Woody and Ted.

The 21st annual PAWS Fur Ball was held at the Drake Hotel with elegant guests clad in black-tie along with their four-legged friends dressed in equally resplendent

Hosts Jake Hamilton and Sylvia Perez (of Fox-32) served as co-emcees in the Gold Coast Room.

attire, think pups in tux! The event attracted over 600 guests who were scattered throughout the festively decorated spaces—Gold Coast Room and Grand Ballroom—with a cocktail reception held in the French Room. The evening consisted of a packed silent auction in the Walton Room and programs hosted by Natalie Bomke (of Fox-32) and

Twyler Jenkins with pup Nelson.
Twyler Jenkins with pup Nelson.

Fred (of 105.5 KISS FM) in the Ballroom and Sylvia Perez and Jake Hamilton (of Fox-32) in the Gold Coast Room. A dinner buffet was available to both 2-legged and 4-legged guests and a doggie spa was on-site to relieve any excitement-related stress. A raffle featured exquisite diamond earrings donated by longtime sponsor A. Marek Fine Jewelry, valued at over $10,000. A live auction offered signed guitars from

Natalie Bomke (emcee)  daughter Olive and Ed Swiderski.
Natalie Bomke (emcee), daughter Olive and Ed Swiderski.

Dolly Parton and James Taylor, weekend getaways, spa packages and VIP experiences at some of the city’s hottest restaurants A showcase of adoptable pets helped find a home for Larry, a kitten who was adopted by honorary co-chairs Melissa and Michael Canning. An after-party with live music kept

Allie and Jon Harris (co-chair) with dog Winnie.
Allie and Jon Harris (co-chair) with dog Winnie.

the party going until after midnight. Co-chairs for this year’s event were Nancy Timmers and Jon Harris. Supporters Amy and George Burin brought along their best dressed Yorkies, one of which, Addison, was experiencing his 14th Fur Ball! PAWS Chicago is the Midwest’s largest No Kill humane organization and a national model in animal sheltering, committed to bringing an end to the killing of homeless cats and dogs. Since its founding in 1997, the organization has been able to reduce the number of homeless pets killed in the city by 91%.  (



Grant DePorter Joanna DePorter  Sandy Golub  Lee Golub (photo by Kenny Kim).
Grant DePorter,Joanna DePorter, Sandy Golub, Lee Golub (photo by Kenny Kim).

The Green Tie Ball, benefiting Chicago Gateway Green, was held this year at the Chicago Sports Museum. Co-Chairs Joanna DePorter and Meg Newton Satherlie and Chicago Gateway Green Chairman Grant DePorter mixed and

RyanChiaverini  Jerry Azumah  Taylor Kinney_KennyKimPhoto
Triple threat! Ryan Chiaverini, Jerry Azumah and  Taylor Kinney. (Kenny Kim Photo)

mingled with 900 guests throughout the night. Notable guests included gala emcees Cortney Hall and Chris Petlak, Taylor Kinney (Chicago Fire), former Bulls broadcaster Tom Dore, Jerry Azumah (Former Chicago Bear), Dutchie Caray, Roe Conn, ABC-TV's Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini, Alexi Giannoulias, and Ron Kittle (Former White Sox), along with the Honorary Host Committee. The committee was comprised of female sportscasters from all Chicago stations including Cassie Carlson (FOX32 Sports), Taylor McGregor (Marquee Sports Network), Dionne Miller

Danielle Lamorgese  Lisette Andrade  Katie Shuta_MattMansuetoPhotography Inc-501
Danielle Lamorgese, Lisette Andrade and Katie Shuta. (Matt Mansueto Photography)

(ABC7 Sports), Leila Rahimi (NBC5 Sports Chicago), Krista Ruch (CBS2 Sports), Kaitlin Sharkey (WGN TV), Sarah Spain (ESPN), and Danni Wysocki (NBC Sports Chicago). Guests enjoyed premium open bars and a selection of gourmet bites from Harry Caray's Catering & Events. Entertainment included sets by top Chicago DJs, including DJ Rock City, DJ Marcus Carter, DJ Justin Jacobson,

Matt Mansueto Photography
Co-chair Joanna DePorter and Dutchie Caray.

victor.r, DJ Ryan Levin, along with the popular cover band Dr. Bombay, which features Chicago Gateway Green Vice Chairman Lee Golub as the drummer. The evening also included a live and silent auction with one-of-a-kind items and experiences, games, and special guests. Throughout the night, guests competed in various bracketed challenges, including darts, shuffleboard, and golf, to win great prizes. As a

Crowd scene at GTB 2022!

nod to the venue, this year's theme, Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes, encouraged guests to pair their finest black-tie attire with their coolest sneakers. Attendees could pump up their look with The Sole Revival, which was on hand to customize kicks. Guests were invited to end their night at an after-party at Tao Nightclub. Chicago Gateway Green is dedicated to greening and beautifying Chicago's expressways, gateways, and neighborhoods. Founded in 1986 by Donald J. DePorter, Gateway Green has planted more than 5,000 trees, 90,000 shrubs, and 150,000 perennials, along with the removal of over 1.5 million pounds of litter.


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Harry Potter: Magic at Play experience makes worldwide debut at Water Tower Place in Chicago.

Wizards and witches of all ages are invited to experience and celebrate a Wizarding World of their own at “Harry Potter: Magic at Play” now that it's made its worldwide debut at

A not-to-be-missed magical Harry Potter experience!

Chicago’s iconic Water Tower Place (835 N Michigan Ave.) on Friday, November 11. Get your wands up and get ready to play! Created by Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment and Original X Productions (OGX), this first-of-its-kind

Hogwarts Express!

experience will allow fans of all ages to engage with the Wizarding World like never before through 30,000 square feet (and 3 levels) of hands-on magical interactivity including games, exploration, sensory activations and more that celebrate Harry’s own journey in discovering the wizarding world. The journey begins at 4 Privet Drive. Explore the Dursley’s living room taking care to not

An interactive Potions Classroom.

disturb anyone in the cupboard under the stairs; step onto a boat and prepare to cross the Great Lake to Hogwarts; attend some of Hogwarts’ most beloved classes, mastering “Wingardium Leviosa” and levitating a feather in Charms, exploring the Potions dungeon with all senses and fending CAD41149-D24B-4241-AC52-D6A5C396939B off a swarm of Cornish Pixies in Defense Against the Dark Arts; practice Quidditch fundamentals for all player positions; play amid Hagrid's pumpkin patch and traverse the Forbidden Forest; and so much more. A multitude of iconic experiences and

Hunting patronuses by lantern light!

surprises await guests throughout the space as they forge their path through Harry’s journey. The experience also features a gift shop open to both ticketed and non-ticketed guests. The gift shop offers a wide range of bespoke and licensed items alongside themed food and beverages including the beloved Butterbeer. Visitors wishing to send word to friends and family about their magical experience can do so via owl post - a much faster alternative to Muggle mail. Tickets are on sale now at and start at $37.50 for adults and $29.50 for children 9 and under. The experience is expected to last through May 14, 2023.


Macy's 115th Great Tree with a toy store theme.

Holiday cheer filled every nook and cranny of Macy's State Street for the 115th Great Tree Lighting Ceremony. Held in the iconic Walnut Room on the 7th floor, the event was filled with delightful sights, songs and camaraderie. A bank of press was waiting to capture every moment as wide-eyed guests

Paul Iams and The Caroling Party entertained the Walnut Room guests.

enjoyed a gospel choir, carolers, and a nail-biting countdown to the lighting of the Great Tree. This year, the theme around the 45-foot tree was of a whimsical toy shop, surrounded by colorful gifts, wooden soldiers, a robot, and so much more. Guests enjoyed a traditional Walnut Room menu with old favorites like Mrs. Hering's 1890 Original Chicken Pot Pie, classic meatloaf, Walnut Room salads and desserts that included

42 signature trumpets line Macy's at State Street.

Frango Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Pie, Frango Mint Cheesecake, a Build-Your-Own Snowman dish, a holiday yule log and so much more. Before the ceremony, visitors perused the extensive holiday gift shop where darling ornaments featuring some of Macy's holiday decor were for sale. On the 5th floor, Santa awaited in a cozy nook decorated with tartan red, trees festooned with red and white striped bows and

Santa is waiting in Santaland! Make your reservations now!

sturdy holiday boxes for the kiddies to perch on as they fill Santa's ears with their wishes. (Make reservations at: The 55th annual Holiday Windows feature Tiptoe, the darling reindeer, and his many adventures. The setting is along State Street underneath the 42 signature holiday trumpets, all now on display! Macy's partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for its holiday campaign this year.



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Honorees Dr. Ali Djalilian and Kathy Piccone.

The always exciting Eversight Gift of Sight Celebration returned with blow-out party at the Peninsula Chicago on September 22. The sellout

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Tracey Tarantino DiBuono with a colorful ZZAZZ Productions performer.

crowd came dressed to impress and followed the suggested attire, "top hats and masquerade masks encouraged," to a T! Thanks to all who helped pump up the volume yet again on this much loved event. Kathy Piccone was honored as the Woman of Vision and Dr. Ali Djalilian was the Gift of Sight honoree. Both attracted supporters who were anxious Event co-chair  Michael Caputo  R  (with Candid Candace) and guests James and Kay give back to these two Chicagoans who have given so much to so many. Kathy was introduced by last year's honoree Justine Fedak, who gave a beautiful intro (all without notes!) and Dr. Ali, wearing a top hat, was presented by Dr. Parag Majmudar, last year's Gift of Sight honoree. There were so many exciting moving parts to the event that you didn't know where to look first. Upon entry, two "circus performers" (from ZZAZZ

Gift of Sight honoree Dr. Ali Djalilian with Dr. Parag Majmudar.
Gift of Sight honoree Dr. Ali Djalilian with Dr. Parag Majmudar.

Productions) welcomed guests in colorful attire. On the terrace, The Michael Lerich Trio performed against a jaw-dropping view of the Chicago skyline and, before dinner, an

Mary Ann Rose (Tamar Productions)  Heinz Kern and Eversight's Marta Garczarczyk.
Mary Ann Rose (Tamar Productions), Heinz Kern and Eversight's Marta Garczarczyk.

aerialist performed in the grand ballroom! The theme was beautifully brought to life by Tamar Productions, with an assist on lobby bar decor from Kehoe Designs. Mary Ann Rose and her team tented the ballroom in large swaths of black and white fabric which matched the dramatic silk black and white tablecloths. A perfect final touch, donated by Mary Ann, were bright pink feathered fans at each place setting, which added the perfect pop of color. The overall effect was exactly

Nina Mariano  Nikki Friar and Cheri James.
Nina Mariano, Nikki Friar and Cheri James.

like being at a party under the big top! So many fabulous guests were in attendance. Hockey great Chris Chelios and his partner

Hockey great Chris Chelios  ZZAZZ Productions' Kyli Jumas  and NFL star Jim Bob Morris.
Hockey great Chris Chelios, ZZAZZ Productions' Kyli Jumas, and NFL star Jim Bob Morris.

NFL star Jim Bob Morris, were serving their tequila (El Bandido Yankee) at the beautiful bar set up in the lobby. Sadly, due to Covid, Diane Hollingsworth (Eversight president/CEO and its heart and soul) wasn't able to attend but that didn't stop her from taping an incredible message for the guests. It was made even sweeter by her nasal congestion which showed you that, even in sickness, she didn't lose "sight" of

Sheree Schimmer
Sheree Schimmer.

the mission. Marta Garczarczyk, director of philanthropy, introduced a video of Cassandra Perry, a cornea transplant recipient, who shared her inspiring story.

Florencio and Almira Yllana with Renata Sanfilippo.
Florencio and Almira Yllana with Renata Sanfilippo.

John P. Walcher, auctioneer extraordinaire, donated his services to help with the paddle raise and live auction. A heads or tails game preceded the introduction of the honorees. All the speakers' comments were well thought out and added so much emotion to the evening. What a privilege it was to be a part of this night that raised funds to help Eversight restore sight through the healing power of donation, transplantation and research. Dr. Onkar Sawant, the head of research and innovation, attended the event and was on hand to answer any questions. I was honored to return as co-chair with the dear Michael Caputo. This the 75th anniversary for Eversight and I hope I'm around to celebrate its 175th! (For more info or to donate, please click here). _______________________________________________________________________

Celestial Bash honoree Brad Serlin of United Scrap Metal and wife Caroline.
Celestial Bash honoree Brad Serlin of United Scrap Metal and wife Caroline.

The Adler Planetarium celebrated the return to in-person events with its Celestial Bash (formerly known as the Celestial Ball) on September 10, held at the Planetarium. The event treated guests to a special night at the Adler

Jackson Palias enjoying the view through Doane telescope.
Jackson Palias enjoying the view through Doane telescope.

where they had a chance to explore the entire museum after hours. Furthering the Adler’s commitment to an “Adler anywhere” experience, the event also included a 15-minute digital program streamed on the Adler’s YouTube channel for guests around the world to enjoy. Other

Mari Feuer (left)  and Alexandria Dunn
Mari Feuer (L), and Alexandria Dunn.

highlights included the world’s first high-altitude balloon light pollution mapping system that was designed and flown with the help of their teens and volunteers; looking at the universe through the new Doane Observatory telescope; relaxing under the

Grainger Sky Theater (Courtesy of Nick Lake)
Grainger Sky Theater (Photo by Nick Lake).

Grainger Sky Theater dome as breathtaking space visualizations transported guests to other worlds; and then dancing the night away against a backdrop of the Chicago skyline. The Adler’s first in-person event in nearly three years raised almost $1.2

From left to right_ Channing R. N. Lenert _ Kathleen Walter  Billy Baluyot _ Mary Riordan  Ann _ Colin Grant  Brittany _ Matthew Walsh
Channing R. N. Lenert, Kathleen Walter, Billy Baluyot, Mary Riordan, Ann Colin Grant, and Brittany Matthew Walsh.

million for everything the Adler does in support of its mission to connect people to the universe and each other under the sky we all share. In addition to the Planetarium’s award-winning exhibitions, sky shows and hands-on, minds-on programming, the Adler is also home to one of the largest astronomical collections in the world. The museum typically hosts more than half a million visitors each year and reaches millions more through youth STEAM programs, neighborhood sky-watching events, people-powered research, and other outreach efforts. (


311736992_10166625940905024_7308927240648929266_nThe Chinese American Service League (CASL) hosted its Annual Gala October 12, attracting hundreds of prominent Chicagoans as well as notable Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) leaders from across the country.  Presented by the Sue Ling Gin Foundation Trust 311773667_10166625908605024_5119715897462003621_n and chaired by Michael Tang – Chairman, Tang Industries, CASL’s Annual Gala was held at Chicago’s historic Old Post Office. The highlight of the event was the presentation of CASL’s prestigious Golden Lion Award to The Asian American 311777541_10166625907735024_3334375981199181816_nFoundation (TAAF). As co-chair of CASL’s Advisory Board and organizational supporter for over two decades, Emmy award-winning anchor Judy Hsu of ABC-7 Chicago returned as the evening’s emcee. CASL’s esteemed Culinary Training Program, once again served appetizers during cocktail hour. CASL’s Annual Gala raises money for 311700466_10166625894175024_1072139051012460537_n nearly 30 social service programs—such as child development, senior services, legal assistance, employment, citizenship, and more—that serve thousands of individuals in and around Chicago’s Chinatown and beyond. Since TAAF’s inception in 2021, the organization has passionately 311710690_10166625940835024_285584982559130507_nfought to elevate the voices of all AANHPI organizations, communities, and individuals across the country while making significant strides toward a more equitable future. During its first two years, TAAF has built impactful relationships with the Biden Administration, created a national Anti-Hate Action Network, and secured greater 311736407_10166625942325024_2621684546720282110_nrepresentation for the AANHPI community through achievements such as advocating for and securing the first AANHPI Muppet on Sesame Street, helping pass the TEAACH Act in Illinois, and more. The Golden Lion Award, bestowed upon individuals or organizations that positively impact the AANHPI community and embrace CASL’s spirit, was designed and created by the internationally renowned Zhou Brothers. ShanZuo and DaHuang Zhou created only 20 Golden Lion Awards, each depicting an abstract bronze cast statue of a lion. In Chinese culture, the lion symbolizes strength, stability, and happiness.


GroundbreakingThe Maryville Jen School broke ground on its new school, the Charles H. Walsh Sr. Academy and Career Tech High School, on November 9, located at 6935 W Touhy Ave in Niles. The academy is named after the late Chuck Walsh, an alum at Maryville Academy,

Sister Catherine Ryan
Sister Catherine Ryan.

who also served as a member of its Board of Directors for several years. The Academy will be open in Fall 2023. Walsh Academy will continue Jen School's founding vision to provide students with disabilities with a comprehensive and experiential instructional model in academics, career

Walsh Academy Facade
Walsh Academy Facade rendering.

and vocational pathways, and social-emotional skills through research-based practices. The Walsh Academy will prepare students with skills to be career or college ready. “For over 15 years, Jen School has approached education from the student's perspective and needs as individuals. This approach has allowed our students to earn their high school diplomas and move on to the next phase of their journey,” said Ann Craig, Maryville director of educational services and Jen School principal. The new Walsh Academy will create more opportunities for special needs students while helping them reach their fullest potential. It is the only school in Illinois that has a teacher, social worker and paraprofessional in the classroom.


Karen Freeman-Wilson  President and CEO of Chicago Urban League
Karen Freeman-Wilson, President and CEO of Chicago Urban League.

The Chicago Urban League’s 61st Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner (GFD) raised more than $2 million on November 5 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk. More than 1,800 of the city’s corporate leaders, human rights advocates, philanthropists, clergy and elected

Honoree Nikole Hannah-Jones Author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
Honoree Nikole Hannah-Jones, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

officials were present for the evening, where the theme was “The Fight for Equity Continues: Get in League with Us!” The funds raised will benefit year-round programming for about 15,000 Chicagoans. “We are so grateful for our generous sponsors, partners, friends, and family who showed up and showed out this

Honoree Walter E. Massey PhD Trustee Chair of the City Colleges of Chgo
Honoree Walter E. Massey, PhD Trustee Chair of the City Colleges of Chicago.

year for GFD,” said Chicago Urban League President and CEO Karen Freeman-Wilson. “Due to their generosity, we were fortunate enough to raise more than $2 million dollars. That is groundbreaking! Those dollars are critical to addressing producing and enhancing the work that our staff does in and around the community each and everyday day.”  The Golden Fellowship Dinner is the League’s signature gala.

Honoree Helene D. Gayle, M.D, .M.P.H.,
Spelman College President.

Each year, the event raises funds to support its work in helping people find and secure jobs, lock in affordable housing, improve their educational experiences, and nurture their businesses. GFD is one of the premier events during Chicago’s gala season, and that was evident by this year’s attendance just a few years after the start of the pandemic. Guests were excited to get dressed up and fellowship with one another while supporting a great cause. Earlier in the day at the Gleacher Center with Nykia Wright, CEO of the Chicago Sun-Times, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and creator of the groundbreaking 1619 Project, accepted the League’s highest honor – the esteemed Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Award. (Photos by The Crusader. Read more here: The Crusader)


Shermann "Dilla" Thomas received the 21st Century Award.

Over 400 Library champions gathered to celebrate bold stories and public libraries at the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Gala. The event raised funds to continue to provide unparalleled access to lifelong learning opportunities. The Foundation has

Brenda Langstraat Bui, president/CEO CPLF, greeted guests.

already raised more than $1.2M to date. During an evening filled with inspiration and joy, the Foundation honored Chef Rick Bayless with the Arts Award, Shermann “Dilla” Thomas with the 21st Century Award and Tony Kushner with the Carl Sandburg

Award winning playwright, Tony Kushner, received the Carl Sandburg Literary Award.

Literary Award. Event co-chairs were Francia E. Harrington and Andrés Ordóñez. Remarks were offered from Commissioner Chris Brown, Library Board Chair Linda Johnson Rice and Dave Casper. Honorary chairs were Mayor Lightfoot and First Lady Amy Eshleman and Governor JB Pritzker and First Lady MK Pritzker. For more than 20 years, the Library Foundation Awards have brought together civic leaders and creative storytellers to make more unique programming possible at Chicago Public Library. (Photos by Kyle Flubacker)


Rebar for Mag Mile Lights Festival with Giovanna Krozel, Chuck, Florencio Yllana and Almira Yllana.

There is so much going on in Chicago now, as you can see! Isn't it great to see all the events come back and all the fun parties going on? As a Christmas nut, I especially love seeing the abundance of holiday happenings around town. Of course, the Christkindlmarkets are on my must-visit lists but I also loved the latest Wintrust Mag Mile Lights Festival! It was especially fun viewing it from Rebar at the Trump Tower with friends Giovanna Krozel, Almira Yllana and their

Wings to Cure co-chairs Charlene and Scott Seaman with HCRF founder Eleni Bousis.

artist/brother Florencio Yllana. (You DO NOT want to miss the Gingerbread Elevator at Trump!) And kudos are in order for Eleni Bousis, founder of the Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation. At this year's Wings to Cure gala, co-chairs Charlene Seaman and Scott Seaman delivered stirring, inspiring speeches and Hosea Sanders (co-emcee) shared his cancer journey. Dina Bair Maher and Lou Canellis were also emcees. The nonprofit raises vital funds for cutting-edge cancer research.

Ralph Lauren opened its second Ralph's Coffee (after NYC) at

Randy Montesinos and Chuck Jordan at the opening of Ralph's Coffee.

the store on Michigan Avenue. Although beautiful, the lighting is a smidge too bright for me. Nonetheless, we enjoyed visiting with friends Jamie Gaballa and Randy Montesinos as well as having illustrations done by the one and only Kristine Steiner. I know it will quickly become THE place to meet and greet but don't plan on bringing your computer, they aren't allowed.

On Tuesday, December 6, join The Service Club of Chicago for its annual Holiday Luncheon, this year at the

Sc holiday luncheon 2022
Service Club holiday luncheon is Dec. 6 at the Union League Club.

Union League Club. Co-chaired by Karen Peters, Lezley Hodes and sponsored by Sherrill Bodine, the party begins at 10 am for cocktails and shopping with a variety of fabulous vendors. Guests are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy for the nonprofit The Chicago Lighthouse, (Tickets, $200, and info here)

Music of the Baroque's Holiday and Choral Concerts inspire music in some of Chicago’s most beautiful spaces. Celebrate the season with joyful carols, solemn chant, and jubilant works for brass from the medieval era to the present, conducted by Andrew Megill. Concerts will be featured at various locations: Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest (Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m.), St. Michael in Old Town (Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.), Faith, Hope & Charity Church in Winnetka (Dec. 17, 2 p.m), Alice Millar Chapel in Evanston (Dec. 18, 2 p.m.), and On Demand (Dec. 23, 10 a.m.). ( 

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Chef Mauro Mafrici, Pelago Ristorante.

The beloved PELAGO RISTORANTE, 209 East Delaware Place, will come to the end of its fifteen year run serving fine dining Italian cuisine to Chicago on New Year's Eve 2022, when it will serve its last meal. Chef

The cozy ambiance of Pelago Ristorante at 209 E. Delaware Place.

Mauro Mafrici will be serving dinner nightly through December 31,2022. He is going to take some time in January to spend with his family before he decides what is next for his culinary journey. Michelin starred Italian Chef Mafrici's cuisine has been defined a “sapori veri’: true, honest, genuine flavors used masterfully to create new sensations, forms and colors. Fresh seasonal ingredients from Italian and local sources tantalize every

Frollino (Cookie Ring with Mascarpone Sabayon  Banana and Blueberry Sorbet)
Frollino (cookie ring with mascarpone sabayon, banana and blueberry sorbet)

taste bud as Mauro allows each bite to speak for itself in a clean, straightforward flavorful vocabulary. Chef Mafrici's traditions of Italian cooking from the North to the South of Italy have been translated with a regional twist and modern

Veal Ravioli with Pistachio Sauce
Veal Ravioli with pistachio sauce

cooking flair to create a contemporary menu for an outstanding culinary journey. There will be a special menu for Vigilia di Natale, Feast of the Seven Fishes on December 24th and Capodanno New Year's Eve, December 31. But, otherwise Pelago will be serving dinner nightly until January 1, 2023. Visit while you still can for an amazing, intimate dining experience. He will be missed. (Pelago Ristorante, 209 E. Delaware, 312.280.0700, ( 


The Chicago Lighthouse Woman with Flair honoree, Sherry Lea Holson.

The Chicago Lighthouse hosted its 9th annual signature fundraiser, FLAIR (“Eye on Style”), at the Langham Chicago. The sold-out event, the organization’s biggest to date,

Event co-chairs Sherrill Bodine and Sheree Schimmer.
Event co-chairs Sherrill Bodine and Sheree Schimmer.

honored Sherry Lea Holson as its Hood/Swift Woman with Flair in front of 225 fashion-loving, philanthropic supporters. Established in 1922, this nonprofit has provided assistance, services and programming to the blind, visually impaired, disabled and Veterans. The afternoon of “Fun. Fashion. Philanthropy” featured a runway fashion show with looks from ten partner stores and designers. Stores included Frances Heffernan, Anne Fontaine, Max Mara at Bloomingdale’s, Contessa Bottega, St. John, redE and Macy’s (My Personal Stylist at Macy's State Street). Featured designers were Mira Couture, Al Menotti Couture and Lauren Lein. Chicago Lighthouse alum Michael Hansen

Nina Mariano and Tracey DiBuono Tarantino (co-emcee with Candace Jordan)
Tracey Tarantino, show producer and co-emcee with moi, and Nina Mariano.

sang “Unforgettable” in a moving tribute to the organization’s first honoree, the late Vonita

Charlotte Jackson  Laura Selipsky  Dr. Janet Szlyk (CL executive director)  Lindsay Inglis (CL VP of Advancement)
Charlotte Jackson Laura Selipsky Dr. Janet Szlyk (CL executive director) Lindsay Inglis (CL VP of Advancement)

Reescer. A video showcasing the great work of The Chicago Lighthouse on behalf of children with disabilities was presented by its executive director, Dr. Janet Szlyk. Jewelry designer Clara Williams (Clara K Jewelry) donated a pair of earrings for the raffle which was won by Kathy Piccone. Co-chairs Sheree Schimmer and Sherrill Bodine presented Sherry Lea with her award. In her acceptance speech, she shared her own experience with an eye condition that temporarily impaired her vision. The show was expertly produced by Tracey Tarantino DiBuono who also served as the co-emcee with moi. The event raised $150,000 for the organization’s children’s and youth programs. (


Birthday boy Frank N. Jeffery, with friends Donna Rotunno, Jennifer Sutton Brieva and Gayle Anthony.

Congrats with love to realtor Frank N. Jeffery on the occasion of his 50th birthday. His longtime love Todd Hatoff threw him a fabulous bash at Sepia. Before this, he was feted at parties all over town and around the world (think San Jose del Cabo, at the Viceroy). Over 100 friends enjoyed delicious food and an amazing cake served by owner Emmanuel Nony himself. (Photos by Mila Samokhina)

More celebrations are in order, this time for longtime loves Kip Helverson and Trey Gonzales. They were united in marriage at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest on October 22.

Newlyweds Kip Helverson and Trey Gonzalez.

The black tie affair carried over for dining and cocktails under the stars at the historic home of Craig Bergmann and Paul Klug. The homes and gardens on the property were a part of the

Surprise performance by Giordano Dance Chicago in honor of Kip and Trey.

Armour estate and was, of course, supremely grand. The multi-tiered wedding cake was almond with champagne mousse and apricot jam topped with buttercream frosting. A delightful surprise was the dynamic performance by Giordano Dance Chicago (Kip is president of the board for GDC). Oh. What. A. Night.

Another man-about-town, Michael Kutza (founder of the Chicago International Film Festival) has been making

appearances everywhere for his exciting new book "Starstruck"! I was thrilled to conduct a

Interviewing author Michael Kutza at Marchesa.

Q & A with this longtime friend at the beautiful Marchesa restaurant (535 N. Wells). Owner Kathryn Alvera outdid herself with hosting and the event was so elegant, cozy and interesting. Michael truly turned Chicago into the Hollywood of the Midwest and his book documents all of the excitement through spectacular insider photos and personal stories of his close encounters. The book has sold out twice on Amazon! Get it here!


Mary Ann Rose, executive director of the Chicago Police Foundation, with her love Heinz Kern.

The Chicago Police Foundation hosted its 7th annual True Blue Event at the Hyatt Regency November 15. A sell-out crowd turned out to support this nonprofit that helps to improve the city of Chicago’s public safety by funding

With Officer Orlando and his dog Rich.

programs that supplement resources and equipment available to the Chicago Police Department (CPD). Officers in attendance shared information about the work they do including Officer Orlando who was there with his police dog Rich, members of the bomb squad who demonstrated the use of their heavy equipment as well as a robotic dog and others. The room was decorated by Tamar Productions in shades of blue in honor of the police

Officers were on hand to demonstrate their gear for guests of the True Blue event at the Hilton.

department’s colors. Two speakers stood out who inspired the room and made everyone feel proud to be Chicagoans. Here are their speeches in their entirety from Rick Simon, Chicago Police Foundation Board Chair, and Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown. Mary Ann Rose, as CPF executive director, coordinated and planned the event to perfection. Rick Simon, Chicago Police Foundation Board Chair: “What is the Chicago Police Foundation? What do we do? We serve those who serve us. Those who walk the thin blue line

With Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown.

every day. If you have the opportunity, go to the park across the street from Soldier Field and, in the park, you will see a blue line in tile about half a block long. That’s what every police officer walks every night when they go out to work—they walk that thin blue line that separates you from those who want to do you harm. The police officer that walks that line makes sure you don’t come to harm. So, I say to you, what will we do for them? …A LEMART [Law Enforcement Medical and Rescue Training] kit, that I’m holding here, costs

Bomb suit on display at the event.

about $100 and we’ve supplied thousands of these life-saving pieces of equipment to police officers. By supplying these, not only are we saving citizens, but the officers are looked at someone who is a savior, partner, and friend.” David O. Brown, Chicago Police Department Superintendent, also addressed the crowd with this inspiring speech [in part]: “What you do holds together the fabric of our democracy. Policing is what happens to ensure that everyone has a fair chance to have a safe neighborhood, a place that you go to work and enjoy the fruits of your labors safely. Is it imperfect? Yes, officers have to make split second decisions many times to save lives. But often, not much appreciation for what they do. YOU have made Chicago Police Officers feel appreciated. You have. You help us build trust when we risk our lives going into some of the toughest neighborhoods. You make us feel like our jobs are not in vain. You have made us feel like the loud voices are not the majority, that YOU are the majority and are the examples of what society really feels about us, and that they appreciate our sacrifice.”  

Chicago Police Department Superintendent David O. Brown holds award presented to Verizon for its support of the CPD at True Blue Event.


ACE 2022 - 104 - web
Melissa David, Maria Balata, Jennifer Tscherney and Lauren Sandherr enjoy the ACE Preview Party.

Guests attended the 38th annual American Craft Exhibition (ACE) sponsored by The Auxiliary of NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) at the Chicago Botanic Garden. This year’s show raised $300,000 for NorthShore University HealthSystem SAVE MOMS and Pathways patient care programs. For more information about their vital patient care programs at NorthShore and how to support them, please visit

Kevin Sullivan, a key to Chicago's fundraising efforts for nonprofits, and a dear friend.

On a personal note, I want to send lots of love and healing hugs to Kevin Sullivan, a vital component of so many nonprofits' success around town. His commitment to The Service Club of Chicago and The Chicago Lighthouse are so appreciated by so many. He never says no which I am guessing is part of the reason he did some hospital time! To send a card (or a donation), please direct it c/o The Service Club, P.O. Box 10165, Chicago, IL 60610. We love you Kev and hope you're back to your old (wonderful) self soon!

84418632-C234-4202-8F0F-905C6EA9547BThe City of Chicago, Mag Mile Association and World Business Chicago led a strategy, coming out of pandemic recovery, to transform vacant retail spaces into experiences featuring local small businesses and the city’s strong global connections. Thus, was born three pop up shops on the Mag Mile, the Argentine Connection, Nordic House and Colores Mexicanos Chicago. Another pop-up is coming next week to Michigan Avenue. Perfect for holiday shopping!

One of my favorite events of the year, and one definitely not to WINGS SHC 2022 Invitation_Page_1be missed by families, is WINGS Program, Inc.'s "Sweet Home Chicago" event. It will be held at the Four Seasons on Dec. 11 from 10 am to 1 pm. This year's 19th annual event will be co-chaired by Rita and John Canning to support families facing domestic violence issues. It will include gingerbread house decorating, balloon artists, family portraits, ornament decorating, visiting with Santa and K-9 Comfort Dogs, a special music performance by Ralph's World and MORE! (More info here)
Congrats to Eli's Cheesecake and Maureen and Marc Schulman...Always giving back. This year for Thanksgiving they provided desserts for 400 Ukrainian families and dedicated the staff break room at Refugee One in honor of Eli M. Schulman and Eli's Cheesecake.

IMG_4308The Joffrey Ballet began its second season of “The Nutcracker” at the Lyric Opera House December 3 and it is

Festive tree in Lyric Opera House lobby.

SPECTACULAR! The last time we saw it was 2 years ago at the Auditorium Theatre. This production at the Lyric seems bigger, brighter and bolder, maybe it’s because the stage is larger at the Lyric which allows the dancers more room to shine and also more room to showcase the spectacular visuals! The entire cast is superb but you won’t want to miss veteran/star/dancer Victoria Jaiani as an Arabian dancer. Yowza! (Now through Dec. 27,

Paul French, musical director, and the Shrine Chorale and Orchestra.

The Shrine of our Lady of Pompeii (1224 W. Lexington) hosted its 22nd "Mary and Christmas" holiday concert. Congrats to co-chairs Lou Rago, Lydia Aiello and David Allen, Pat and Joe Perillo and Marietta and Louis Pullano on a beautiful and inspiring night. Superstar singers included Lou Rago's son, Anthony, and his granddaughter Mia Rago. Conductor Paul French directed the talented Shrine Chorale and Orchestra.

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas with Pastor John Harrell.

Congrats to ALL!

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas hosted her annual Christmas Party on December 2. The office was packed with friends and supporters for the festive sing-along that included performances from communities across Chicagoland. Wish there were more pols like her.

Wearing a poncho by York Furrier with designer Peach Carr and emcee Alison Rosati.

Congrats to the Oakbrook Chapter of the Infant Welfare Society Family Health on its 50th anniversary! They hosted their annual Mistletoe Medley, "Hearts of Gold," fashion show at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace on November 29. The show was produced by ZZAZZ Productions (Tracey Tarantino DiBuono) with Alison Rosati returning as its inspiring emcee. The event was co-chaired by the dynamic duo, Linda Layland and Marge Tresley. Before the event, guests shopped a fabulous holiday market with over 30 vendors. Funds raised supported healthcare services and Rick Kogan (3)education for underserved and vulnerable Chicagoans.

Special thanks to Rick Kogan for having me back for a chat on WGN Radio! We talked about everything from Chicago Star moving to digital to the hottest holiday happenings to the state of Chicago! Listen here.


Darvin Furniture & Mattress in Orland Park, one of the world's largest furniture stores!

Chuck and I visited one of the world’s largest furniture stores on Black Friday. Darvin Furniture & Mattress in Orland Park tops out at over 200,000-sq-ft of retail space and is one of the top-selling single locations in the entire furniture industry, doing an estimated $95 million in sales

this last year alone. It’s quite an achievement considering

Darvin president Will Harris pointing out one of the company's many awards.

its founder, Louis Darvin, started the business by going door to door to take orders back in the 1920s. Will Harris, president, gave us a grand tour and what touched me the most was seeing how proud he was of the business and his own accomplishments moving it forward. He knew the

Chuck enjoying one of Darvin's offerings.

name of every single employee, including the ones working in the back rooms of the ginormous distribution center, which is located a couple miles away. Chuck and I were also impressed with the extensive offerings too. There is really something here for every taste bud. The mattress department is spread across two floors and, in 2021, the company won the “Retail Giant of Bedding”

Darvin founders breaking ground.

award at the industry-respected Bedding Conference. Darvin brothers, Steve and Marty, acknowledged that since neither of them had children going into the business, that is was important for the future of the company to make it employee-owned. The pride felt throughout is palpable and each employee treats customers just like family. Louis would be so proud. (Check it out at 15400 La Grange Road, Orland Park, IL., (708) 460-4100,

That's the end for now! I'm hoping you are having a joyous holiday season filled with everything your heart desires. As always, thanks so much for sticking with me! I will always try to fill your inbox with good news you can use AND that supports our wonderful communities. Remember, send me any news you would like me to share to And don't let the Grinch catch you napping!

Love, as always,


P.S. And, of course, something to leave you with a smile!

And lastly, the final print edition of Chicago Star is out now (photo by Kristan Lieb, produced by moi)! The move to digital will be in 2023. Sign up now here! 

CSM Dec. cover 2022-final print




July 26, 2019

July 9, 2019

June 25, 2019