...PLUS SHELLEY MACARTHUR HOSTS JOFFREY VALENTINE’S DAY PARTY; VAL AND JEFF’S “HEARTFELT” NIGHT; CHEF ART AND JESUS WANT “JUSTICE FOR ALL”; FOUNDERS FIRED UP (A FREE EVENT); SPRING FASHION SHOWS; A NEW SHOW FOR WATCH312; GIORDANO CELEBRATES 50; A PHOTO SURPRISE FOR KATIE; SAM’S 28TH; COMMON THREADS CELEBRATES TEN; WORLD FESTIVAL RETURNS TO SOLDIER FIELD AND SO MUCH MORE!
The Joffrey Ballet’s Auxiliary Board hosted its third annual Pointe of Departure at the elegant space of Block 37 on February 7th. It attracted more than 200 guests and helped raise $25,000 to support the Ballet’s programs and performances. The theme of this year’s event was taken from the title of The Joffrey’s Winter Program, “American Legends,” which features pieces by Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, Gerald Arpino and Stanton Welch. (Arts critic Sid Smith said in a recent article that the company is moving into “legendary territory” and I couldn’t agree more!) The event featured more than 63 pieces of art inspired by the movement of dance and available for sale. Participating artists were encouraged to explore creative interpretations of “American Legends” ranging from classic examples of American art and dance to famous Americans. The Joffrey Ballet’s Director of Special Events, Herbert Migdoll, selected three finalists for Best in Show and they included beloved photographer Mila Samokhina (“Rehearsal”), John Rush (“Cloven Kingdom”) and fabulous Joffrey dancer, Temur Suluashvili (“Untitled”). The artwork covered the walls of Block 37’s 3rd floor space, overlooking State Street and the Joffrey Tower, appropriately. The night began with a cocktail reception provided by Skinnygirl (helllooo Tom Strehle!), Peroni and St. Germain. Jewell Events Catering served a selection of canapés and RL’s Chef Ryan Pitts created mini lobster rolls at an action table on site. The happy art and ballet-loving attendees left with delicious More Cupcakes after dancing the night away to DJ Chicago. The event was expertly co-chaired by Alan Swanke and David Kimball. For more info on Joffrey programming, upcoming events and the Auxiliary Board, please click here! (See all photos by Mila Samokhina here!)
Another FABULOUS Joffrey event, “What is This Thing Called Love,” celebrated Valentine’s Day with beautiful songstress Shelley MacArthur at The Murphy, located at 50 E. Erie. Guests swayed to the music as this talented vocalist took the audience on a journey through song to discover the power that love brings. Shelley was joined by special guests, opera stars Alfreda Burke and Rodrick Dixon, along with The City Lights Orchestra conducted by Rich Daniels. The event attracted more than 250 guests who enjoyed a cocktail and hors d’oeuvre reception with a delectable and inspired menu specially designed for the event by distinguished Chef Charlie Trotter. Attendees were also treated to a superb raw bar from Fortune Fish Company featuring an array of lobster, crab and oysters, paired with a sampling of some of the world’s best limited-production vodkas served up by master mixologists. Following the show, guests were invited to a lavish champagne and dessert reception in the lobby of The Murphy and each received a special Valentine’s Day gift from Vosges Haut-Chocolat. “What is This Thing Called Love” raised more than $210,000 for the organization! Event co-chairs included Shauna Montgomery, Whitney Lasky, Melissa Babcock, Renee Crown, Marty Higgins, Jerrilyn Hoffmann, Traci Mansur, Maria Smithburg and Kim White. Guests included Joan Colmar, Toni and Rick Canada, Virginia Bobins, Joffrey Executive Director Christopher Clinton Conway and Floyd Elwell, Kristina and Mike McGrath, Sam Kori George, Wendy Irvine, Jim Karas, Kathleen Klaeser, Dino Labot, Donna LaPietra and Bill Kurtis, Cheryl Larsen and Robert Murphy, Lucien LaGrange and Melinda Jakovich, Peggy and Steve Lombardo, Phil Lumpkin and Bill Tedford, Dawn Meiners, Jan Melk, Shirley Michels, Dierdre and Steve Nardi, Ken Norgan, Shawna Owen, Ken Price, Amanda Puck, Sugar Rautbord, Anthony Rossi, Dale Sandro, Michael Shannon, Amelia and Alejandro Silva, Maureen and E.B. Smith, Karen Strumillo, Robin and Mark Tebbe, Rochelle and Charlie Trotter, Monsignor Kenneth Velo, Tina and Jeff Weller and Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Brian Johnson among many others. More GREAT event news in store for the Joffrey’s much-anticipated and loved “Couture & Cocktails” event: Executive Director Christopher Clinton Conway has secured the internationally renowned design team of Badgley Mischka for its 2013 C & C designers!! I can’t imagine the crowd THIS year! Wow! Since 1995, the Joffrey Ballet has been Chicago’s own classical ballet company, reaching more than 150,000 people annually through its performances, classes and outreach initiatives. Just over four years ago, the Joffrey moved into its first permanent home, Joffrey Tower, at the corner of State and Randolph streets, in the heart of Chicago’s revitalized theater district, reinforcing its commitment to Chicago and taking its place amongst the city’s preeminent cultural institutions. Joffrey Tower, with its 52,000 square feet of space, is home not only to the Joffrey’s world-class company of dancers, but has become a family center for dance in the north loop, dedicated to nurturing young talent while also promoting diversity and inclusion in the field of classical ballet. (Thanks to Bob Carl for the photos!)
The penthouse at Hotel 71 was packed with friends and family who turned out to wish Windy City Live's Val Warner, and her longtime love, handsome Jeff Cartwright, a life filled with happiness at their recent engagement party. A Perfect Event's Debi Lilly had created, well, a perfect event: A charming cupcake bar, ice cream, popcorn and donut stands as well as a delightful Smile Booth all helped to make the evening enchanting and DJ Vince Adams had guests line dancing well into the night while the specialty cocktails flowed. Before coming to Chicago in 2005, Valerie spent five years as primary evening anchor and reporter for WEYI-TV in Flint, Mich. While there, she was very active in the community mentoring young people and speaking at schools. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Valerie's family roots are here in Chicago (South Holland) – her children, Zoe and Max, are her primary focus as well as her darling grandmother, mom and sister. I met Val when she was still working at WGN-TV and even then her energy and charm were off the charts. And, as WCL's executive producer Marlaine Selip once told me, "She is lightning in a bottle" ...and her legion of fans couldn't agree more. When I asked Jeff what he loved most about his Val, he said, "Even with all of her many successes, she still remains the same person." On this night, clad in a sexy low-backed black cocktail dress surrounded by admirers, Val looked every inch the star that she is. I feel very lucky to know them both. Here's to a lifetime of happiness, Val and Jeff! (To see all event pics, please click here!)
Chicago-based nonprofit Common Threads is proud to announce its 10th anniversary!!! To celebrate, the organization is holding the 7th Annual World Festival at Soldier Field’s United Club on March 4th from 6-9 p.m. Founded in 2003 by beloved, celebrated chef and restaurateur Art Smith and his partner, artist Jesus Salgueiro, with founding chief executive officer Linda Novick O’Keefe, Common Threads has been teaching school-based nutrition and health education programs to underserved communities in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Palo Alto and Washington, D.C. for 10 years. This year’s World Festival Chicago will feature dishes and participation by such top chefs as: Girl & the Goat’s Stephanie Izard, Mercadito’s Patricio Sandoval, Boka’s Carl Shelton, Socca’s Roger Herring, Paris Club’s Alex Ageneu, Tavernita’s Greg Bastien, Belly Q, Urban Belly and Belly Shack’s Bill Kim, Table 52’s Rey Villalobos, Prasino’s Riley Huddleston, among many others. Be sure to come HUNGRY! “World Festival is an example of the power of the chef community,” said O’Keefe. “It shows us that growth is unlimited when you work together and these chefs have rallied from around the world in support of Common Threads and our greater mission – to educate children on the importance of nutrition and physical wellbeing, all while fostering an appreciation of cultural diversity through cooking.” The event kicks off with an exclusive VIP trolley ride hosted by Food & Wine editor in chief and Bravo’s "Top Chef" judge Gail Simmons. For $1,000, a limited number of generous and epicurean guests will board a Chicago trolley with Simmons and a few surprise chefs that will land at Kendall College, where students from Common Threads’ Small Threads classes will prepare a chef-led meal before heading to Soldier Field for the main event. General admission tickets are $250 and World Festival VIP tickets are $500. The evening will feature a live fund-a-need auction, with all proceeds going directly to Common Threads programs. Common Threads is also conducting a silent online auction thru March 12th. Click here to participate! I’m proud to be co-chairing this event with Hillshire Farm’s Jon Harris and Beam’s Mindy MacKenzie. Hope to see YOU there!
Governor Pat Quinn declared "a historic week in Illinois" and on Valentine’s Day, it became just that when the Illinois Senate passed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act on a vote of 34-21. (If the bill becomes law, Illinois will become the 10th state to allow same-sex couples to marry and Gov. Quinn will become the sixth consecutive Catholic governor to sign marriage equality legislation). At the recent Equality Illinois Justice for All Gala, co-chaired by Chef Art Smith and his partner/husband Jesus Salgueiro, Quinn issued a call to arms for supporters of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. “This year we're going to pass and make a law called marriage equality in Illinois,” Gov. Quinn said. “When people band together and work together using the power of democracy, we can make sure we pass a landmark law. And I hope everybody works together in these next few weeks so we get the votes in the Senate (we did), to get the votes in the House, and make history in Illinois.” On the night of February 9th in the Chicago Hilton, the biggest black-tie gala for LGBT equality in the Midwest was a combination celebration of the coming vote and a call to action. “To all those who said ‘it’s not gonna happen,’ it is happening,” Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov told the crowd. “The freedom to marry is unstoppable; in the Land of Lincoln, it is inevitable!” The bill has been endorsed by more than 300 members of the clergy and top Illinois business leaders and according to polls, the freedom to marry has the support of a majority of Americans and a majority of Illinoisans. In addition to Quinn, gala attendees included Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is part of the national group Mayors for the Freedom to Marry. Scores of other federal, state and local officials attended the event, including U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, Lt. Gov Sheila Simon, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Illinois Comptroller Judy Barr Topinka, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and the bill’s legislative sponsors, state Senator Heather Steans and State Rep. Greg Harris. Among the 1,200+ attending guests, the organization hosted local business leaders who included Hillary and Danny Wirtz, Col. James Pritzker, Laura Ricketts, and other Chicago notables. At the gala, Senator Steans was honored with the Equality Illinois Freedom Award for her indefatigable work on behalf of equality. Equality Illinois also recognized United Airlines with the Business Leadership Award for the company’s long history of commitment to the LGBT community. (Photos by Mystic Images Photography).
Twelve of Chicago’s non-profit founders get four minutes on the mic to tell their stories at “Founders Fired Up” on April 11th from 6-9 p.m. Emceed by Immerman Angels founder Jonny Immerman, the event will feature Lindsay Avner (Bright Pink), Jenna Benn (Twist Out Cancer), Kathleen Casey (Bear Necessities), Israel Idonije (Israel Idonije Foundation), Jackson Kaguri (The Nyaka Aids Orphan Project), Colleen Kisel (Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Fndtn.), Cathy Krieger (The Children’s Place), Diane Latiker (Kids Off the Block), Jeff Nelson (ONEGOAL), Reveca Torres (Backbones) and Immerman. This night at John Barleycorn (located at 149 W. Kinzie) promises to be an evening of celebration, inspiration and enlightenment and is FREE to the public (with a cash bar). I hope to see you there!
The Fashion Show Production class at the Illinois Institute of Art- Schaumburg is hosting its annual fashion show, Awakening, at the Meadows Club (2950 W. Golf Rd.) in Rolling Meadows, Ill., on March14th beginning at 7 p.m. All proceeds will benefit Women At Risk International, an organization that helps women in more than 30 different countries, including the United States, who have been trafficked or are at risk of being trafficked. Help them “Create a Circle of Protection & Hope Around Women at Risk.” For more information about this charity, visit www.warinternational.org and for more information about the show please contact Amanda St. Augustine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giordano Dance Chicago will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a concert and gala celebration on March 23rd at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Following the performance, a celebration will take place on the stage of the Pritzker Pavilion overlooking Millennium Park. Tickets are $200 per person but the $500 VIP Signature Experience will include
an in-the-wings champagne toast, a back-stage buffet and conversation with artistic director Nan Giordano, honorary chair Pam Crutchfield and choreographer/honorary artistic chair Liz Imperio. My friend Kip Helverson, who has a long history with this dance company, has been invited to perform! This alone will be worth the price of admission! The troupe is featured on this month’s Dance Magazine cover, too! I can’t wait and hope to see you there! For tickets and more info, please click here!
I’m so excited for a brand new show coming to Watch312.com! “Gear Grinders,” hosted by John Basile and Kyle DePersia with segments by Hersey Mallory, promises to be the end-all, be-all car show! I know these guys are huge gear heads and really know their stuff so “Top Gear” better watch out! Stay tuned for their premiere episode of the Chicago Auto Show’s hits and misses. I was honored to be their first guest! Good luck guys! Also, “Candid Candace Chicago” can now be seen on Watch305.com!! Founder Bob Mills has expanded programming so now you can see the latest news from Chicago AND Miami!
Beloved girlfriend Katie McLenaghan received a very special surprise 40th birthday gift from talented photographer/friend Lori Allen. Lori shot 28 of Katie’s dearest friends for a very unique photo shoot, dressed them all in white and created a dramatic montage starring Katie as the Lady in Red! Katie said, “When Lori showed me the photos of all of my glamorous, gorgeous, gifted and generous girlfriends, I was floored!!! I still cannot believe that our dear friend Lori Allen conceptualized and executed this amazing shoot as her gift to me. How spoiled are we to not only have such a beautiful and kind friend but one that is the talented photographer that she is?”
The photo included adoring girlfriends Kerry and Sally Shorr, Carey Isom, Jennifer Rexroat Lavin, Dr. Hasen, Fadila Zec, Carla Frangella, Annette Isom, Sarah Zeller, Margaret O’Connor, Julianne Glatz, Cindy Burns, Rachel DeMarte, Mary Long, Julie Darling, Sonya Jackson, Frances Renk, Sylvia Perez, JoeAnna LaCourse, Heather Murphy, Jennifer Sutton, Katie, Lori and me! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, dear Katie – we are all SO lucky to have you in our lives! (To contact Lori Allen and find out what she can create for YOUR special moments, please email her at email@example.com.)
The Smithe brothers (Tim, Walter and Mark), known across Chicago for their witty and memorable Walter E. Smithe television commercials and extensive inventory of stylish and well-made furniture are at it again, this time inviting Billy Corgan and his Resistance Pro wrestling company to join in their commercial hijinks, which can be seen below. Corgan may be best known as the Smashing Pumpkins’ singer/songwriter but he’s not OK with smashing just anything. In the commercial, Corgan humorously saves a bar chair by beloved Chicago furniture retailer Walter E. Smithe from a royal crushing. “I am proud of Resistance Pro’s growing popularity,” says Corgan. “Tim Smithe and his brothers presented us with the opportunity to share our brand. I’m grateful to the Smithe brothers for their $50,000 donation to PAWS, a charity that is important to me.” (Corgan has helped raise more than $140,000 for PAWS this year!) Why musical chairs in a wrestling ring, you ask? Corgan is the creative director of Chicago-based Resistance Pro wrestling company – a partnership between Corgan and brothers Jacques and Gabriel Baron. The commercial will officially air on TV soon.
I hope you will save April 24th, when I’ll be honored by The Stanley Paul Foundation/Apparel Industry Board at the Casino on Delaware. Tickets are $200 and will benefit the Stanley Paul/Raelene Mittelman Fashion Design Scholarship Fund, which was established in 1990 by Stanley Paul in honor of his sister, Raelene Mittelman, who was a great lover of fashion and had a strong belief that we must aid the future of fashion by aiding in the education of its students. The scholarships are awarded annually to students from greater Chicago and/or Illinois who are enrolled in a Chicago college that has a fashion design program. I’m honored and humbled by this recognition and hope you can join me! (For tickets and more info, please call 312.836.1041 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
It’s all about the kids for the “Mini Me Fashion Show” coming March 10th. Presented by Fashion Wars (Kesha Wilson), this is a total kid’s production from top to bottom with child models and even stylists! This fun competition teaches hands on training in the world of fashion with designers who include Andre Swanson, Derricka Cole, Rachel Spencer, Lande Sanusi, Anne Marie and Kia Hall. In addition to the runway show, the event will feature many on-site vendors, including children’s boutiques, activity stations and interactive games with a silent auction benefitting RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). For tickets ($40 includes adult and child) please click here! The event will be held at Lacuna Fitness, located at 645 N. Clark.
Thanks for reading Candid Candace and if you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know! I write for YOU!
Love, as always,
P.S. I celebrated my beloved goddaughter’s 28th birthday recently with her and mom, Rhonda Sanderson, at the Pump Room. Samantha Amato grows more beautiful by the day and I’m so lucky to have her and her mother in my life! Happy Birthday, Sam! Love you!