I had been staring at the gorgeous Andy Warhol-esque invitation for weeks. I even got advance information about the event from the Art Institute but still couldn’t figure out a way I could justify spending $3,000 for two tickets to the Art Institute Tribute to Mayor and Maggie Daley on Friday night, April 15th. And then, like magic, a fairy godmother invited Chuck and me to attend and I felt like Cinderella before the ball. It was, in my opinion, the biggest event in Chicago since the opening of the Modern Wing (those tickets were $2,500 each). The glitz, glamour and reason for the event was for the entire city of Chicago, who came out in droves (900), to support and thank the Mayor and Maggie for their countless contributions to the arts in our great city. I was a little disappointed to see some women in pants suits since the invite specifically read “BLACK TIE” but then I am a stickler for details. I also felt it was a show of respect for the Mayor and his family for all they have done and sacrificed for us (Maggie wound up in the hospital the following day, as we all know). In any case, the evening began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in Griffin Court of the Modern Wing. All of the usual society photogs were there - Bob Carl, Dan Rest and Cheri Eisenberg - and it was so exciting to see all of the beautiful jewelry and fantastic gowns. Suzette Bross-Bulley was a stand-out in the latest Jil Sander creation. It was such a delight so see beautiful colors again after our over-long winter. A gentle drumming caught the crowd’s attention and then, from above, the Shannon Rovers began their march down the long staircase into the cocktail reception. It was an outstanding site to see them silhouetted against the crisp, pale, blue evening sky as they paraded down into the crowd. Gradually, as was expected, the crowd filed out slowly after them and across Monroe Street, which was closed down for this event, and into the massive tent across the street in Millennium Park. The Rovers piped and drummed us all into the tent where another beautiful sound greeted us, the delightful voices of the Soul Children of Chicago. It was sensory overload as you heard the children’s beautiful voices and experienced the beauty of the tent, by Heffernan & Morgan which was awash in colors from top to bottom and corner to corner. In a word, it was breathtaking. Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Tom Pritzker, welcomed the crowd and then introduced James Cuno, the President and Director for the Art Institute. Father Wall spoke and blessed the crowd and then NY Mayor Bloomberg took the mic. He said, “I thought it was bad enough when Jerry Springer left but now Oprah and Daley leaving in the same month is almost too much to bear!” He went on to mention all of the areas New York has taken Mayor Daley’s lead such as 311, the arts, culture, etc. Then Broadway sensation Heather Headley performed “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, spoke next and said, “The best city in the best country is Chicago.” Bill Daley, Presidential Chief of Staff, was up next and addressed his brother as “America’s greatest Mayor, no not yet RAHM!” He went on to say, “Every day for the last 22 years, Rich has awakened with new ideas for Chicago. I know because he’s called me. I believe the greatest contribution he’s made has been bringing this city together.” The Daleys’ daughter, Nora Daley Conroy, spoke next and talked lovingly about her mother’s many contributions such as After School Matters. The Daleys’ contributions will be ongoing at the Art Institute with a school program dedicated to them: Mayor Richard and Maggie Daley School Studio Programs. The night was filled Chicago notables including Maureen and E.B. Smith, Jr., Eric Lefkofsky, MK and JB Pritzker, Scottie Pippin and his wife Larsa, Caryn and King Harris, Margo and Thomas Pritzker, most of the Crown family, Desiree Rogers, Julie Latsko, Linda Johnson Rice, Inese and Richard Driehaus, Ed Smith, Sugar Rautbord, Ashley Wheater, Brian Johnson, Modern Wing architect Renzo Piano, Governor Pat Quinn, Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, Jamie Dimon, David Herro, Jay Franke, NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Jack Sandner, Peggy and Steve Lombardo, Fred Eychaner, Shirley and Pat Ryan, Katherine and Judd Malkin, Dusty Stemer, Carrie and Harry Hightman, Merri Dee, Bob Graham, Grace Barry, Marci Holzer, Suzette Bross Bulley, Christina and Ron Gidwitz, Anne Kaplan, Mary Lou Gorno, Liz Stiffel, Fred Krehbiel, Karen and Marvin Herman, Marty and Jack Higgins, Sean and Nora Daley Conroy, Donna LaPietra and Bill Kurtis, Shelley and Bill Farley, Christopher Conway, Helen Melchior and Patrick Sheehan among many others. The evening was co-chaired by Art Institute Woman's Board Chair Francie Comer and Betsy Rosenfield. At the end of the evening, a huge birthday cake was wheeled out and the Mayor blew out all of the candles. When asked what he wished for, he joked and said, "I want to be Mayor again..." And then he laughed and walked off the stage….It was a night I’ll never forget. (For more pics from this wonderful evening, click here.)
Another night I will never forget occurred when Chicago celebrated their First Red Dress Party! This event attracted over 300 people and benefitted the Aids Foundation of Chicago and the Equality Project. The invite said to wear red and the supportive crowd took this edict to heart. The outfits ranged from the simple to the sublime and EVERYONE participated! Guests came from all over the country to attend – Texas, Oregon, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and beyond. It was a cheerful night filled with happy faces all uniting over an event that began in the early 1990’s when two gentlemen who were dating both contracted HIV/AIDS. They vowed when one of them passed away the other would attend his funeral adorned in a red dress. From this promise, the concept of the Red Dress Party began. Currently, there are Red Dress Parties all over the U.S. from Seattle to Chicago. Board President Kyler Powell said, “After nearly two years of planning and preparation, the Chicago Red Dress Party was a major success in the fight against HIV/AIDS. I definitely think we raised awareness of the diseases. I hope through this event and as it grows—that we bring HIV/AIDS back to the forefront of people’s minds, especially younger generations. I want to thank everyone who made this night possible from our sponsors, Event Creative, Service is Us, Palmer House and many more, the entire Board of Directors and the attendees. Last night was truly a dream come true in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The longest reigning queen in the dance club scene, Kristine W., performed her latest hit single, “Fade” and brought the house down. Miss Foozie charmed everyone in the room with her boundless enthusiasm. Clint May designed the eye-catching graphics and posters that seemed to be displayed in every part of this city. There was also a VIP reception as well as terrific food provided by Cork Catering that included Thai coconut curry chicken salad, whipped goat cheese crostini, cashew crusted meat balls, crab stuffed crimini mushrooms, veggie quesadillas, red potato and bacon-cheddar potato skins among many other delicious items. The event was publicized by much loved Ryan Beshel who worked tirelessly for this event and it showed in every detail. Seen on the scene were the Eyelash Guru to the stars Ja' Maal Buster, Project Runway's Peach Carr, Sequin's Frances Renk, 2520's Carol Ann Edwards-Nasser and Monique Pieron, Katie and Jason McClenghan, Todd Armbruster, Julie Darling, Rachel Schwanz, Platinum Events' Justin Jacobson, Mike Boland, Elizabeth and Joel Brodsky, GoPride.com's Bill Pritchard, Jovie Calma (Via Times News Magazine), Marco Foster, Keisha Key West, Shannon Williams, Jovie Calma, Doreen Joy, Aleah Burkes- Patterson, Taneisha Jordan, Alia Kajput, Nicole Townsend, Dali Do’ Mystique, Mark Nagel, Elizaveta Efimova, Michael Mullen, Erica Kimble, David McMillan, Troy Karnoff, Drew Nixon, Quenten Schumacher, Jay W. Lee, Lisa Nigro, Peter Dreier, Sue Yan and Alexander DeHilster among many others. Next year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, April 21st. What to wear, what to wear? (To see ALL event pics by Mila Samokhina, Amie Hana and Steve Starr please click here.)
My friends kept saying, “Have you been there yet? Have you been there yet?” And finally, I went! And they were right…this was MY kind of store! Sequin, located at 845 W. Armitage, is a little jewel box of a store with, quite literally, the most dazzling costume jewelry I’ve ever seen in one spot! There were lots of oversized pieces too that I am particularly partial to! There are Sequin stores in NYC, Newport, Rhode Island, and now Chicago. They design and manufacture their own brand of jewelry as well as private label collections for a variety of major retailers and designers. Their Badgley Mischka collection is breathtaking! Celebs the world over covet these sparkly gems and rightfully so. Paris Hilton, Jennifer Aniston, Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Cate Blanchett, Cameron Diaz, Rumor Willis, Teri Hatcher, the cast of “Gossip Girl” and the Victoria’s Secret models are all fans. When I went over the weekend, their store was delightfully decorated in honor of the Royal Wedding. There were sparkling chandeliers, jewel-encrusted bottles of Moet, multi- hued bangles, gorgeous necklaces, bold and beautiful earrings and the most cheerful staff you could imagine with prices that range from $8 to $800. Director of Operations Frances Renk and Maria Noll invite you in like you are long lost relatives and I loved it! I will be returning again, and again, and again! Welcome to Chicago, Sequin! (To view more pics from this amazing boutique, click here.)
Playboy’s recent casting call found some sure winners, in my opinion, when almost 300 hopefuls attended the recent auditions at the W Hotel Lake Shore. It was a long process but the girls happily filled out necessary forms, had their waists measured, slipped into silk robes and then took the long walk to the four rooms set aside for photos and individual interviews. Playboy's Jeff Cohen and Stacy Collins made the process painless with their cheerful and professional demeanors. Collins said, "The turnout was really strong and there were some great girls representing Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. I'm confident that at least a dozen or so girls will find a place within the Playboy family." Standouts included Jessica Workman and Nicole Gilich. Good luck to ALL of the participants! And speaking of Playboy, the new London Club in Mayfair, which opens on June 4th, will feature a whole new look for the iconic Playboy Bunny costume: Internationally renowned designer Georgina Chapman of Marchesa has been tapped to do the redesign! Makes me wish I was a Bunny all over again! (To see ALL of the casting pics by Mila Samokhina, please click here.)
Louis Vuitton’s Garth Jackson threw a wonderful networking reception for members, directors and friends of the GNMAA (Greater North Michigan Avenue Assn.) recently to chat about upcoming projects and events for this amazing city. Speakers included Prez and CEO of GNMAA, John Chilkow, and Lyle Barnes, LV’s Midwest Director. The 100+ crowd enjoyed rose champagne as well as delicious hors d’oeuvres from Wolfgang Puck. Seen in the crowd were Mary Ann Rose, Heinz Kern, Rich Gamble, Brigid Andrews (VP of LV Northern, Eastern and Midwest), Lynne Bredfeldt, Maureen Schulman, Haley Schulman, Amanda Montiero, Diana Palomar, LV’s Suzanne Beiling, Carrie Lannon, Jason Dohmann, Kip Rodrigue, Grant DePorter, Thea Robinson and Karen Hickey among others. To view more pics, click here.
And now for upcoming events! First up is the Merchandise Mart’s celebration of art, antiques and culture running from April 29th to May 2nd. The art-filled weekend will feature three must-see events. Art Chicago is an International Fair of Contemporary and Modern Art. NEXT is the Invitational Exhibition of Emerging Art and finally, the International Antiques Fair, which will have their Preview Party benefitting the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago on Thursday, April 28th. Chaired by Mary Arnberg and Lori Nerenberg, this event runs from 5:30 – 8:30 PM. Tickets begin at $150. (For more info, please call 312-238-6023 or visit ArtropolisChicago.com.) Also, mark you calendars for Sunday, May 1st, when Maria Pinto, Mark Shale’s new Creative Director, returns to the world of fashion to head up Chicago House’s 24th annual fashion show called “Kaleidoscope: A Renaissance of Fashion & Flowers.” This event will feature a three-course brunch catered by the fabulous George Jewell, a flower market, a raffle and 100-item silent auction. Over 400 are expected to attend this fun annual event to support Chicago House, which is a leader in housing and supportive services for people affected by HIV/AIDS since 1985. Tickets begin at $200 and can be purchased by contacting Sharla at 773-248-5200, ext. 303, or by visiting ChicagoHouse.org.
I hope you all have a delightful week and thanks again for checking out Candid Candace! Hope you enjoyed it!
P.S. A big congrats to Dr. Sandy Goldberg for hosting a wonderful event for her Silver Lining Foundation recently at the Redhead Piano Bar! She founded this wonderful organization that ensures dignified, respectful and equal access to quality cancer education and services for all, by creating meaningful partnerships with community, advocacy and healthcare organizations.