PLUS 1ST EVER "TRUE BLUE" EVENT; CHI-RAQ PREMIER PARTY; PRITZKER LIBRARY'S STIRRING LIBERTY GALA; JACK HANNA AND ANIMAL PALS AT FRIENDS OF CONSERVATION BASH; VICTORY GARDENS THEATER'S "CHICAGO STORIES" GALA; SERVICE CLUB CELEBRATES 125TH ANNIVERSARY IN STYLE; HELEN, BETH AND SHARYL'S BIG BD CELEBRATIONS; BILL KURTIS' "THROUGH THE DECADES"; WHITNEY REYNOLDS' WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS; BEATRIX POTTER AT CHICAGO CHILDREN'S THEATRE; TARRAH'S GOODBYE AND HELLO; HOT CHINESE AMERICAN SERVICE LEAGUE PARTIES; THE MAGIC OF MACY'S AND HOBBY LOBBY; ROONEY ON YOU & ME; HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS; SOMETHING TO MAKE YOU SMILE AND SO MUCH MORE!!!
Chicago Gateway Green (CGG) hosted its annual Green Tie Ball themed "Studio 54" for the first time at Venue One in the West Loop. Guests enjoyed remarkable cuisine from over 30 of Chicago’s top restaurants including Harry Caray’s, Mercadito and Firecakes. Musical entertainment was provided by popular local DJ’s; Matt Roan who dished out his best
electronic dance mixes, Justin Jacobson had the crowd moving to the groove, Eddie Mills provided pop hit dance remixes, DJ Rock City had the guests jamming to today’s top ten hits and the Dr. Bombay Band rocked Venue One
with everyone’s favorite cover songs from the past. Closing the night’s entertainment was MTV’s “Artist to Watch,” Matt LeGrand who performed a few of his hit songs from Spring Break Grl and Fire. The night didn’t stop there! Guests played a number of charitable casino games
like roulette, blackjack and craps. Throughout the night there was a silent auction where attendees could bid on packages that consisted of Kendra Scott jewelry, Hamilton jewelry, a Chicago Blackhawks signed hockey stick, vacation packages and more.To date, CGG’s Green Tie Ball has raised over $50 million in donations to benefit its Expressway
Partnership Program, which maintains beautiful and sustainable landscapes in the city of Chicago. This year’s ball raised over $300,000 to help improve the quality of over 107 gardens on
all local expressways going to-and-from downtown Chicago!! Chicago Gateway Green is rooted in the spirit of civic pride and leadership first established in 1986 by their visionary founder, the late Donald J. DePorter. Chicago Gateway Green was founded on the belief that
beauty and sustainability go hand-in-hand, and continues to lead the charge in greening and beautifying the great city of Chicago together with their partners. Distinct from traditional ‘adopt-a-highway’ programs, Chicago Gateway Green develops and maintains sweeping landscapes which feature their sponsors, creating green
ribbons of sustainable landscapes weaving throughout the city. Then and now they rely on that commitment and spirit of service to support the work of creating a beautiful and green Chicago that can be sustained well into the future. Congrats to all!! (Photos by Rubin Roche)
The Chicago Police Foundation (CPF), a new non-profit organization established to help support the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) efforts to improve public safety in the city, held its first charity event to raise supplemental funding to
provide additional resources for the department on November 7. The more than 350 guests attending the sold out "True Blue Event" enjoyed dinner, as well as displays by the Chicago Police Department’s canine,
equestrian, marine and SWAT team units at Chicago Police Headquarters. The CPF raised approximately $400,000 from the event and auction to benefit the Police Department. “The mission of this new Foundation is to
work in partnership with the Chicago business community to support and fund vital programs to supplement the resources in technology, training and equipment available to the Chicago Police Department,” said John C. Robak, Chair of
the Chicago Police Foundation Board of Directors. “The support that CPF provides is ultimately intended to enhance overall public safety, and also to help build stronger relationships between the public and the Chicago Police Department through
community outreach and youth programs.” Mary Ann Rose, executive director, added, “We are sincerely grateful for the generosity of all of our sponsors, donors, and guests who made this inaugural
True Blue fundraising event a success. Through their support, we are excited to be able to use the funds raised to obtain needed additional resources that will help the CPD and our city.” This debut fundraiser for CPF raised approximately $400,000 to benefit the Police Department.
hoopla surrounding the Chi-Raq screening and premiere party here in Chicago. Aisha attended the premiere with her friend James T. Alfred (Empire) and said lots of people had to wait in the cold to get in. The film
premiere was at the Chicago Theatre and began with a moment of prayer conducted by Father Michael Pfleger. The after-party at the Chicago Cultural Center had lots of familiar faces including Minister Lewis Farrakhan, John Rogers, John Cusack, Wesley Snipes, Nick Cannon, Jennifer
Hudson, Hermene Hartman, Jackie Taylor, Abe Thompson and Val Warner, who had a cameo in the film as a TV news reporter. Spike Lee attended with his wife and kids and even danced to the "Watch Me! Whip Nae Nae" song! Delicious appetizers provided by Food for
Thought catering featured mini tacos and burgers, mac & cheese bites and mushrooms topped with short ribs of beef. My two friends are divided on their critique of the film. Aisha
said, "The film is good and sends a message about how cities can unite to end violence." Geoff had a different point of view. Read his Chi-Raq review here on December 3 along with his other cool film reviews.
It’s hard not to feel a tug at your heartstrings and a swelling of pride when the colors are called and the national anthem is sung at the annual Liberty Gala benefiting Chicago’s Pritzker Military
Museum & Library, held this year at the Hilton Chicago on November 7. John Schwan, former first lieutenant in the United States Army and Veteran of the Vietnam War called upon the Army ROTC Color Guard from the University of Illinois at Chicago to present the flags followed by a stirring rendition of the national anthem by Lindsay Metzger of the Lyric Opera.
Schwan then recognized high ranking military guests in the crowd of 484 that filled the ballroom for the evening, followed by active military guests in the audience. Next up was longtime champion of military families and three-time emcee of the event,
ABC-7's Stacey Baca. “Over the years, I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about the Museum and Library, and have truly come to appreciate all that they do and how they do it,” she said. “They make sure that history stays alive and
do this through exploring the personal stories of service of everyone from General to Private, from Admiral to Seaman. They provide a way in which military families can preserve the memory of the
service members in their families. Their mission is one that is of great importance to me as I also come from a military family. My husband is a retired navy commander.” In a moving demonstration of what the Museum & Library is all about, its president and CEO, Kenneth Clarke, pinned a service medal on JROTC student
cadet Major Miranda Cardona, Battalion Executive Officer and a Senior at Prosser Career Academy. Cardona conducted research at the Museum & Library and participated in a visit to West Point
sponsored by sister organization, the Tawani Foundation. "These experiences," she said, “showed me that a Puerto Rican kid from Humboldt Park can do what it takes to succeed.” She is now seeking an Army ROTC Scholarship to use at Western Illinois, Loyola or DePaul,
and plans to be an officer in the Army Nurse Corps. Next up on the stage was Pritzker Military Museum and Library Founder Colonel (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (RETIRED), who each year presents a founder’s award to an individual or organization to recognize significant contributions to the Museum and
Library’s mission of preserving and sharing the stories of citizen soldiers. She introduced this year's winners as "two individuals who have established a standard of excellence for generations of military history writers, Edward “Mac” Coffman and Sir Michael Howard." Accepting the awards
on their behalves were two former winners of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library’s Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing, Gerhard Weinberg and Pulitzer Prize-winner Rick Atkinson. The organization presented the
Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing to Brandeis University professor and author David
Hackett Fischer. In another poignant moment, the crowd was held in rapt attention by Vice Admiral Ron Thunman, USN (Retired), who told of his 35 years of service during the cold war building a powerful nuclear submarine force under his mentor, famous Chicago native Admiral Hymen Rickover.
The event raised over $725,000 for the Museum & Library's programs.
The Friends of Conservation Ball is always a "wild" affair and, this year, the event planners upped the ante with famed wildlife expert Jack Hanna on-board. A highlight of this annual event, besides raising funds for a desperate part of our world, is the meet-and-greet with
exotic animals. This year over 200 guests got up close and personal with animal ambassadors from the Columbus Zoo. They included an endangered, 5 1/2 month-old snow leopard, an African cheetah cub, a
penguin, an Asian Palm civit and a lemur from Madagascar. Snow leopards are on the endangered species list with a breeding population of only 3000 left in the world. Hanna shared sobering info about the (now) sophisticated world of poaching and stated that more than 1,200 rhinos were lost to
poaching in South Africa in 2014. "Poachers have helicopters with GPS and they know where the animals bed down at night...In the late 1970's and early '80's, the rhino's horn was worth $4000 and today it's up to $500,000, so of course, you're going to
have organized crime syndicates with sharpshooters involved. They can take a horn in less than 2 1/2 minutes--they shoot them from the air and come down with a chainsaw. In 2 1/2 minutes, they have a half million dollar
prize to take back to Asia." Hanna advised the attendees that poaching is now a billion dollar business and that much needs to be done to protect rare wildlife from disappearing from the earth forever. The elegant, black-tie affair, held on October 17 at the Four Seasons Hotel, was chaired by
President Reute Butler, co-chaired and emceed by Ch. 5's Zoraida Sambolin and Vonita Reescer (a co-chair). During the program, President Butler was surprised to receive a Lalique lion from
her mother, FOC founder Jorie Butler Kent, for her 30 years of dedicated work with Friends of Conservation. The crystal lion was donated by Lalique and Chicago showroom
director Rachel Lang. A letter was read from FOC’s Royal Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, who is personally acquainted with the issues facing conservation in Africa, and is a longtime supporter of FOC's efforts. FOC has been working in East Africa since it was founded in 1982 by Jorie Butler Kent and Geoffery
Kent. Their mission was to join with local people and partners to support traditional and sustainable ways of living in harmony with wildlife and ecosystems. FOC was one of the world’s earliest leaders in the development of
Community Conservation, since 1988 actively engaging the participation of communities in the Masai Mara area of Kenya in planning, decision making as well as implementation of
actions and policies relating to natural resources management and capacity building, and continues with this mission today. (To learn more about the valuable work the FOC does, click here).
Victory Gardens Theater, under the leadership of artistic director Chay Yew and managing director Christopher Mannelli, along with gala chair Virginia Fitzgerald, welcomed 200 guests to its 25th annual Chicago Stories
Gala, celebrating Victory Gardens’ 41st Season. The event was held on October 23 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Chicago and raised more than $200,000 to support the development of new work and education and outreach programs. Victory Gardens
Chicago Stories Gala is tailored to Victory Gardens’ dedication to the playwright and mission of producing new works. Since 1991, the unique highlight of the evening has been a trio of short plays
written by Chicago celebrities specifically for the event and directed and performed by local professionals. The unique world premiere productions are performed as part of a gala evening, which includes a live and silent auction, cocktails and a three-course gourmet dinner. Funds
raised through Chicago Stories not only help cultivate and showcase diverse new works, but also support outreach programs, which integrate vital arts education into some of
Chicago’s neediest public schools This year's celebrity playwrights were Gery Chico, attorney, former US Senate and Mayoral candidate, who wrote Incarnation; Billy Lawless, Jr., restaurateur and owner of Acanto, The Gage, and The Dawson, who wrote Uneditable; and Stephanie Springs, CEO of Make-A-Wish
Illinois, who wrote March 1968. The evening began with a cocktail reception, followed by an elegant dinner and performances of this year’s celebrity playwrights’ 10-minute productions. The 2015 Chicago Stories playwrights join the ranks of past celebrity playwrights, including Rick Bayless, Jeff Garlin, Phil Jackson, Candace Jordan (:-)))))), Bill Kurtis, Howard Tullman, John Mahoney, Lisa Madigan, Brandon Marshall, Mike Royko, William Petersen, Peter Sagal
and Judy Baar Topinka. (Photos by Adam Blaszkiewcz)
The Service Club of Chicago celebrated its 125th anniversary in grand style at a gala at the Four Seasons on November 6 that was inspired by its historic past. The "Anniversary Ball" began with a reception
where guests shopped an extensive silent auction before dinner in the ballroom. There, decor by Kehoe Designs set the tone
for the organization's milestone anniversary evoking the old world glamour of the 1890's. Nearly 350 guests dined under three styles of centerpieces, from grand trumpet vases covered in gold leaf holding majestic palms to Victorian-style candelabras with Waterford crystal hurricanes amid
clusters of white roses. Along the perimeter of the ballroom, 12' tall ornately framed candle "walls" held over 700 glowing candles. The room was aglow both with decor and remembrances of the non-profit's historic founding in 1890 by 14 women from the most prominent families in Chicago with
names such as Armour and Palmer. The black-tie ball, co-chaired by SC members Susan Gohl and Cookie Cohen, had an "Evening in Versailles" theme. Past events' themes featured a salute to disco and the '70's with Studio 123, an historical look back at the White City
and a Moulin Rouge celebration last year. The organization raises money all year long, and at the end of the year, they donate 100% of the funds raised to 501c3 charities throughout Chicagoland. The process begins when the
charities apply for grants, then the Philanthropic Committee reviews each one. This year, the Committee interviewed or visited over 70 agencies needing help. Money is never given directly to the charity, but rather funds are provided to pay for tangible items that are needed to expand or
enlarge their services. For example, the Service Club pays vendors for such items as hospital beds, kitchens for a homeless shelter, shuttle vans for after-school programs and computers for social service agencies operating with antiquated equipment. The evening concluded with guests dancing to the 21-piece Stanley
Paul Orchestra under a collection of crystal chandeliers suspended over the dance floor where a leaf pattern design was projected. According to SC president Myra Reilly, "When you donate
to Service Club, in reality, you're helping your neighbors. We have been proud over the years to support the Lincoln Park Zoo, Catholic Charities, Little City and Chicago Hope Academy among many others. In 2015, we were able to grant over $300,000 toward these efforts." Reilly acknowledged honorary chair, Marguerite Hark, a 60 year member of the Service Club. This year's event raised nearly $425,000 to support SC's grant program. (Photos by John Reilly Photography)
Helen Melchior had a BIG birthday recently hosted by her friends Leslie Hindman and Joan Colmar at Leslie's "Palazzo" on Lake Shore Drive. It was a joyous affair and the elegant
home was packed with nearly 50 FOH's (Friends of Helen's). I saw Ken Norgan, Barbara Kipper, Phil Lumpkin, Abby O'Neil, Pierre Locket, Helen's daughters Corrine
(and her new husband Chris Doerr) and Mary Ann, Joan's daughter Camille Britton and Joe Siegle, Kate Benson and her husband Dick, Margie Habermann, Amelia and Alejandro Silva, George Jewell, Tara Klecka, Adam Spender, Diane and Gaynor Kelley, Pam Crutchfield, Vicky and Gary Holdren, Louise Lane, Mary and Charlie Lofgren, Charlie Gardner, Beth Silverman and many,
many others. Delicious hors d'oeuvres were from Froggie's in Highwood. A beautiful cake by Elysia Root Cakes required a wish and the wearing of pointy
hats while we all sang happy birthday to one of Chicago's top powerhouses. Love and Happy BD Helpful Helen!
What a thrill it was to tape a segment for "Through the Decades" hosted by the legendary Bill Kurtis. The program takes a look at news, events and top stories of the day and decade through the lens of television. The
show I did with former Playboy colleague Jeff Cohen will air on December 18 at 6 am, noon, 6 pm and midnight on Comcast Channel 338 and WOW Channel 172. We dish about what really went on behind the scenes at Playboy and our perspectives on its recent changes. Hope you'll tune in! (Photos by Mila Samokhina)
I toured the Chinese American Service League's Jeanne Gang-designed headquarters recently at 2141 S. Tan Court. There, they provide over 30 services to the
community in every age group. I was so touched when the elders presented me with my Chinese name, Zuo Kang De, which they told me translates into "a passionate advocate for what is right." :-))) Mark your calendars now for their next big social event, Winter Night Chic, at the Bridgeport Art Center (1200 W. 35th St.) on Friday, December 4. Over 30 Asian restaurants will be offering delicious
tastings and DJ Aileen Tie will have you dancing all night, from 6:30 to 10 pm anyway! For tickets, $100, and more info, click here! Also, their 27th annual black-tie gala, China's First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors, is on Wed. May 11, at The Field Museum. For tickets and info for this event, click here!
In celebration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s former Press Secretary, Tarrah Cooper, saying farewell and beginning her new position as Managing Director of Mercury Public Strategies in Chicago, local influencers gathered at modern Italian concept, Dolce Italian on Nov 17, to toast
Tarrah on her exciting new chapter. During the farewell celebration, guests savored Italian favorites such as house-made ricotta cavatelli, delectable crostone, and Dolce’s Northern Italy-inspired pizzas. Attendees included the Mayor, Deputy Mayor Steve Koch, Cook County Treasurer Kurt Summers, ABC-7's Cheryl
Burton, University of Chicago's Liz Thompson, Navy Pier pres/CEO Marilynn Gardner, President Lurie Children’s Hospital Francia Harrington, CEO/YWCA Metropolitan Chicago Dorri McWhorter, ED of Charlie Trotter’s Culinary Education Foundation Rochelle Trotter and Pres/Founder of Robinson Hill, Dee Robinson. Can't wait to see where you soar next Tarrah!
A big thank you to darling Whitney Reynolds, host of The Whitney Reynolds Show, for including me in an
upcoming segment about women entrepreneurs. Featured in the show are Hillary Sawchuk (founder of A Drink With), Kit Graham (author of The Kittchen), Erin Bassett (Windy City blogger and Collective co-founder), Blair Staky (author of The Fox and She, owner of Leap Designs) and Emily Charron (author of Isn't That Charming, (co-founder of
Wandeleur) and PBS/CEO Paula Kerger and celeb chef Lidia Bastianich. Air date is planned for the spring.
I am thrilled that the joys of the holiday season are upon us! I've visited Macy's State Street and couldn't believe all the magic I found there! The Great Tree is
bigger and better than ever and the holiday decor and gift ideas
were mind numbing for this elf! I especially loved the new "Art We Grew Up With" department where you can buy personalized gifts featuring characters from the much loved Peanuts cartoons. (Macy's is the only store in the country offering this!) I've ordered several items and can't wait for Christmas! Do yourself a favor and take someone you love there for lunch under the
tree and be sure and check out "Christmas Lane" on the 7th floor!
And I'm pretty sure I'm coming very late to this party, but I've recently discovered the Joys of Hobby Lobby and have been there 3 times this week. (Don't judge me) Again, the holiday decor took my breath away! I
even saw a Chihuahua Christmas cookie jar! So, if you're looking for a great variety of decor at good prices, you have to go there! Tell them Candid Candace sent you. Just kidding, they don't know me but probably will by the time I'm finished! LOL!
Who is looking for a unique and inexpensive gift for the holidays? How about an original 11" x 14" drawing of yourself or a loved one for only $100? Nude or boudoir....sexy or demure. It's a great gift idea from Chicago artist Vincent Wolff who
specializes in the female figure. Check out his website and book an apt. now!
More happy birthday wishes are in order! Beth Heller, VP Marketing at Harry Caray's Restaurant Group, celebrated the big 4-0 at Harry Caray's &
Chicago Sports Museum on November 20 with a gazillion friends. And Sharyl Mackey celebrated her birthday at hotspot Maple & Ash with close friends on November 23. Love both these lovely ladies and hope their BD wishes all come true!
There's no fighting a Chicago winter so Chicago Children's Theatre is embracing it instead, counter-programming the frigid temperatures with three consecutive "snow" shows - A Snowy Day with Beatrix
Potter & Friends (November 28-December 19), Snowflake (January 27-February 14) and Snow Angel (February 16-21). Tickets are on sale now, plus Chicago Children's Theatre is introducing a special Holiday Family Pass, the ideal gift for families and Chicago's youngest generation of live
theater fans. For tickets and Holiday Pass information, click here or call (877) 222-9555. A great idea for the whole family!
I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving! Here's a post I wrote on Chicago Now of my thoughts of this holiday.
Hope you enjoy it!
And lastly, huge thanks to WCIU's "You & Me" for having me back as a co-host today (Friday) with the always darling Melissa Forman. It was an even bigger thrill that they included ROONEY as their 3rd
co-host! He shared a few of his cutest outfits and loved, loved, loved being on TV! He now wants his own show! Follow me on Facebook (Candid Candace) to see more of this cutie, patootie! Also, one of my segments included three top upcoming winter events! Check them out here! #FavShow, #RooneyRules (And watch our hilarious segment with comedian Jamie Kennedy, here!)
P.S. And, as always, something to make you smile....:-)