...PLUS AN ELEGANT NYC BLUE BOOK BALL; DUSABLE’S “NIGHT OF 100 STARS”; JANE SEYMOUR OPENS HER HEART; TENNIS LEGEND JIMMY CONNORS SHARES ALL; CUBS' “BRICK & IVY” BALL; JOAKIM NOAH GIVES BACK AND EVENTS FOR MAY YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS!
The first direct route from Chicago to Doha, the capital city of the state of Qatar, opened for business on April 10th. On April 11th, Qatar Airways celebrated with a blow-out party for 580 guests at the Field Museum featuring Grammy and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson as the evening's entertainment. The event began with a cocktail reception and red carpet photos with beautiful Qatar Airways flight attendants. As guests entered the ballroom for a sit-down dinner, a dramatic lighting display was shown on the wall above the stage where Hudson would later perform. A video presentation showcased the beautiful city of Doha and this world class airline. Skytrax, the bible in aviation, has named Qatar Airways the “World's Best Airline” two years running now. (Doha will also be hosting the World Cup in 2022.) The delicious dinner, catered by Food for Thought, began with a poached lobster salad followed by beef tenderloin with thyme jus. Dessert was a Nobu specialty – macana, which is mango jelly with white chocolate mousse, raspberries, pistachio sponge and lime sorbet. I’m told the wine pairings were an oenophile's dream! The program continued with Miss Illinois Megan Ervin introducing the CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker. He told the rapt audience that this new collaboration between Qatar and Chicago is expected to generate $250 million dollars and bring thousands of jobs to the community. Chicago Deputy Mayor Steve Koch spoke next and welcomed Qatar Airways to the Windy City. Qatar flight attendants were scattered throughout the audience collecting business cards which were then used to choose the lucky winners of free trips for two to Doha. Five trips were offered but sadly, no one at our table won. :( When Hudson appeared onstage, the crowd went wild. She looked fantastic in a short, flared black leather mini. Near the end of her performance, guests were invited to dance with her onstage and boy, was that ever a thrill! Tables for this historical gala were offered to members of its VIP social committee. I was thrilled to be included along with these Chicago notables: Israel Idonije, Alexi Giannoulias, Lindsay Avner, Greg Hyder, Monika Dixon, Dan Uslan, Nina and Bob Mariano, Jon and Andrew Landan, Neal Zucker, Linda Johnson Rice, Julie Latsko, Les Coney, Keene Addington, Larry Wert, Shawn Baldwin, Justin Jacobson, Sheila King, Kristine Green, Tracy Schmidt, Wendy Krimins, Marco Larsen, J.P. Anderson, Katherine Tarbox, Abigail Tarbox and Laurie Davis. “As the world's best airline, our goal tonight was to showcase the full extent of our five-star service and invite the people of this great city to fly with us to Doha and our many exciting destinations around the world,” said Al Baker. Qatar Airways is currently offering three non-stop flights a week between Doha and Chicago with plans to upgrade to daily service in June. For more info and flight schedules, please visit www.qatarairways.com. Oh, what a night! (To see ALL event pics, please click here!)
Recently, NYC was glittering with 1920’s pizzazz! The Jazz Age returned for one spectacular evening, summoned by Tiffany & Co. to ignite the Blue Book Ball. The champagne-fueled celebration was held in honor of the 2013 Blue Book Collection of Tiffany’s most breathtaking jewels, inspired by the Roaring Twenties that transformed fashion and culture. The preeminent jeweler, then and now, designed the jewels that epitomized glamour and lit up posh Manhattan supper clubs. The sheer exuberance of this magical moment in American life pervaded Rockefeller Center, scene of the Ball that took place within a 31-foot-high Tiffany Blue Box covering the center’s famous 15,000-square-foot ice rink. In his remarks, Tiffany & Co.’s chairman and CEO Michael J. Kowalski said, “The Jazz Age was a time of great energy and creativity. All eyes looked to New York for the latest in music and style. As the city’s first great jeweler, Tiffany provided the diamonds for this nonstop party and, I am happy to say, we still do. So it is with pleasure and gratitude that we celebrate this memorable chapter in American life, in the city where it all began — and with our diamonds that are still the world’s most beautiful.” The 400 guests included celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, Jessica Biel, Sarah Jessica Parker, Carina Lau, Alice Eve, Poppy Delevingne, Peter and Harry Brant, Doutzen Kroes and Hilary Rhoda, along with Carey Mulligan, Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin (star, director/producer/co-writer and costume/production designer of “The Great Gatsby,” respectively). Guests disembarked at Fifth Avenue and proceeded along the promenade, which was bathed in Tiffany Blue, toward a beribboned entrance to an elegant supper club tailor-made for Jazz Age revelry. The seamless Art Deco setting, designed in a palette of chic gray tones, was lined with luxurious velvet drapes and laid with carpeting in a striking starburst pattern. At the floor’s center, a towering tribute to the bubbly rose toward the ceiling on mirrored risers, with 240 glasses and 142 magnums of Moët & Chandon Imperial champagne. Surrounding it were elegant lounges and banquettes arranged for dining in the style of a supper-club buffet, served amid lavish arrangements of white flowers. And trays of iPads for posting images on social media circulated like the cigarette trays of a previous era. (Was this a great idea or what?) Showcased in custom-designed vitrines were jewels from the 2013 Blue Book Collection that reflect Tiffany’s legacy of Art Deco design. Among them were diamond necklaces and drop earrings, platinum and diamond bracelets set in patterns of a jazz composition or with great diamond fans unfolding on black enamel; a suite of voluptuous diamond flowers; and the rarest fancy color diamonds — pink, orange, blue and green. Gemstones Tiffany introduced to the world included green tsavorite, pink morganite, lilac-pink kunzite and blue-violet tanzanite, Montana sapphires and luxuriant turquoise. The bronze-gilded statue of the Greek Titan Prometheus, a fixture of Rockefeller Center, served as backdrop to the stage and a full-scale, ‘20s-style revue. Backed by an orchestra, dancers in fringed and spangled “flapper” costumes reprised classic songs (“Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”), complete with raucous renditions of the Lindy and Charleston, and current pop hits (Rihanna’s “Diamonds”), followed by Broadway singer Megan Hilty with more standards from the American Songbook. The singer led the finale, accompanied by aerialists that descended from above, trailing feathered headdresses and dancing in mid-air. On cue, a blizzard of silvery fine confetti brought down the curtain on a simply fabulous evening. It was a milestone in the history of New York and its legendary jeweler: the night Tiffany brought the Jazz Age brilliantly to life at the glamorous and euphoric Blue Book Ball. Three words, OH MY GOODNESS! Congrats to Tiffany & Co. on their continuing dedication to excellence in ALL things, including glamorous, over-the-top events like THIS one!
The DuSable Museum of African American History hosted “A Night of 100 Stars” recently at the South Shore Country Club. This lavish evening included exquisite food, stellar entertainment and an award presentation with a sell-out crowd of more than 800 in attendance. Paparazzi’s flashbulbs illuminated the sky as guests walked the red carpet to indulge in “out-of-the-world” cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a lavish buffet and world-class entertainment and towitness the presentation of the “2013 A Night Of 100 Stars Awards.” This year, five incredible Chicago women were honored during this annual black-tie celebration of excellence, women who have made outstanding contributions to society, the city and to the world through their careers and civic engagement. The honorees were Mara Brock Akil (award-winning television producer/writer), Barbara Bates (fashion designer/philanthropist), Michelle L. Collins (president, Cambium L.L.C.), Diane I. Primo (CEO, IntraLink Global) and Cymbrehona Warren (senior, Young Women’s Leadership Charter School). Serving as 2013 Gala chairmen were Nicole Johnson-Scales and Sandy Reynolds. ABC 7’s Karen Jordan and Charles Thomas hosted the awards presentation. Committee Members included Lynne Bamford, Keiana Barrett, Sharon Bourne, Cheryl Bowman-McPherson, Deborah O. Brown, Florestee Buss E.D., Toiya Butler-White, Randall Caldwell, Yolanda Collins, Valerie Corr Hanserd, Linda Crane Boyd, Dolores Cross Ph.D., Yolanda Daniel, Nicole Durham, Stanley Gilkey, Frances Guichard, Diana Hennington, Valerie Hill, LaWanda Holmes- Williams, Delores Irvin, Lisa M. James, Zara Johnson, Grace LaJoy-Little, Sonya Lewis, Shirley Massey, Sandra McCollum, Adrienne McGee, Reverend James T. and Jamell Meeks, Lisa Newman, Pastor Smokie and Carla Norful, Joyce Owens, Darlene Pierre-Louis, Yvette Powe, Sandra Rand, Cheryl Rayner, Toi Salter, Dona Scott, Gladys Smith, Valerie Stoudemire, Gail Swain, Dolores Thibodeaux, Wendy Walker Williams, Cheryl Whitaker, M.D., Cheryl Williams, Carole Wood, and Mary Ann Young. Caterers included Beyond Events Catering, Bon Manger Catering, C’Est Si Bon, Fanfares Catering, Inc., Ja’Grill Catering, Josephine’s Southern Culture Cooking, Just Turkey of Homewood, Lenore’s Kitchen, Melon Express, Sinha Catering and The Parrot Cage. I always like to give credit where credit is due and the food was fabulous at this event! The DuSable Museum of African American History is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the country. Their mission is to collect, preserve and display artifacts and objects that promote understanding and inspire appreciation of the achievements, contributions and experiences of African Americans. For more information on the Museum and its programs, please call (773) 947-0600 or visit www.dusablemuseum.org. Congrats on another great event! (Photos by Jerome Simmons.)
Eighty-five Chicago-area girls ages 5 to 17 hit the catwalk on a mission to help other children for the third annual Girls’ Spring Fashion Show & Tea. The Comer Development Board, Frankie’s On The Park children’s boutique and Rock Candy Salon & Spa teamed up to host this event with more than 250 parents, friends and supporters in attendance in the Women’s Athletic Club of Chicago’s elegant ballroom. The afternoon raised more than $30,000 to support critical patient care programs and treatments at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital. Celebrity stylist Eric Himel, who studied design under style guru Tim Gunn of “Project Runway” fame, served as the show’s emcee. The fundraiser offers girls an exciting opportunity to help save and improve the lives of children suffering from serious illnesses. Now in its third year, this event continues to increase in popularity drawing a slate of young models and guests from across the Chicagoland area. The show featured the latest in kids’ fashions from Frankie’s On The Park, a top Lincoln Park destination for trendy tweens and teens, who also donated 25% of its proceeds from each outfit to Comer Children's Hospital. Rock Candy Salon & Spa was on hand to help each young model get runway ready. Other sponsors included Gene & Georgetti’s, Heffernan Morgan Ronsley Design, Nancy Krause Floral Design & Garden Antiques, Lisa Schenkman Interiors, O'Neil Family Foundation, Fishman's Fabrics and Vineyard Bath Company. Congrats to all of the young models and generous donors who contributed to this wonderful charity event. (To view ALL event pics, please click here!)
Adversity and obstacles confront us all yet how an individual responds to life’s challenges was the sole focus of a special gala evening hosted by actress, artist and philanthropist Jane Seymour and award-winning director and producer James Keach. For the third year, the Open Hearts Foundation recognized some incredible people and organizations that are devoted to inspiring and supporting others. Jane Seymour was stunning in a turquoise Pamella Roland gown (one of my fav designers!) and took the stage to kick off the event. Highlights included Marie Tillman’s speech. (She is the widow of fallen soldier and NFL star Pat Tillman; she was joined by her new husband, Joe Shenton.) She tearfully addressed the 300 attendees, while noting how Pat Tillman would have been so proud and that it’s remarkable how his life still has so much meaning. ESPN’s Hannah Storm, with 14-year-old daughter Ellery in tow, spoke about her devotion to removing the stigma of disfiguring vascular birthmarks and empowering those affected by finding their inner beauty. She spoke candidly about her recent accident, which left her wondering if her career in front of the camera was over due to severe facial burns from the fire and the loss of her hair. An emotional video from former NFL great and ALS advocate patient Steve Gleason and his wife Michelle, set the mood for an incredible evening. Eighties movie star Jonathan Silverman and wife, soap star Jennifer Finnigan, accepted the award on their close friends’ behalf. Gleason, who suffers from ALS, spoke via computer technology using only his eyes, leaving not a dry eye in the crowd. Bob and Lee Woodruff learned all too well that life can change in just an instant when Bob suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq in 2006. Due to recent developments in South Korea, Bob was unable to attend at the last minute but made quite the appearance via a heartfelt taped message while on location. Former lead vocalist for The Calling, Alex Band, not only wowed the crowd with his hit “Wherever You Will Go” but candidly broke the heartbreaking news that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease just six months ago, a surprise to all guests. Congrats to Jane and James for shining a light where it’s most needed. Keep up the wonderful work!
I’m getting so excited about tennis great Jimmy Connors’ upcoming autobiography, “The Outsider.” His wife Patti told me he’s looking forward to a book tour that sadly, for now, doesn’t include a stop in Chicago but I will keep working on them! Here’s Jimmy’s description of the book, “A lot has been written about me, my family, my on-court behavior and my off-court life. Some of it is true, well, you decide. This book is going to change that. People may think they know Jimmy Connors. Maybe they do, but now it's time to set the record straight.” I just can’t wait, love him and love his darling family! The book will be available May 14th. To pre-order, please click here!
More than 840 guests helped raise $1.2 million in a night filled with glamour, baseball and community at the recent Bricks and Ivy Ball to benefit Chicago Cubs Charities. Cubs owners, managers, players, front office associates and fans gathered together at Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom to enjoy cocktails, dinner, silent/live auctions and live music by DJ Kasper K and his ‘70s dancers. Now in its third year, the Bricks and Ivy Ball has become one of the key fundraisers for CCC and supports numerous organizations and programs targeting youth sports access and improvements in health, fitness and education for those at risk. As the program began, chairman Tom Ricketts addressed the Cubs’ commitment to supporting Chicago’s children through community outreach and charitable programming. “Our goal is to make life better for the youth and families of Chicago by doing our part to improve health, fitness and educational opportunities for those at risk,” said Ricketts. “Whether it’s a hospital visit, holiday toy drive, serving lunch at a USO or Thanksgiving dinner to homeless teens, our team is there donating their time and resources.” During the evening, CCC introduced a video featuring some all-star youth who have benefitted from grants, including Cubs Care grants, a McCormick Foundation Fund. Hannah Perez from Cubs Care RBI Fast Pitch Girls Softball, Isaac Diaz from Urban Initiatives, Aaron Ibarra from Midtown Educational Foundation and Devin Hall from Breakthrough Urban Ministries all talked about how the Chicago Cubs are making a difference in their communities and their lives. The video also featured Cubs players Darwin Barney, David DeJesus, Anthony Rizzo and Jeff Samardzija who interviewed the youth for the video. Congratulations on all you do Chicago Cubs Charities! For more info, please click here!
Mark your calendars for April 29th! Beloved diva Lynne Jordan returns to City Winery with her sexy bunch of The Shivers for a night of joyous entertainment and song. Tickets are only $15 to see this award-winning chanteuse sing with her incredible orchestra! For tickets and more information about this event, please call 312.733.9463 or click here!
Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah joined more than sixty friends, family and supporters recently at soon-to be opened West Loop eatery Kabocha (located at 952 W. Lake) to raise
awareness for his namesake charitable organization, Noah’s Arc Foundation. Guests sipped specialty cocktails and snacked on an array of tasty bites from Kabocha’s Chef Shin Thompson while mingling with the basketball star and his
mother/expressive art therapist/sculptor and foundation co-founder Cecilia Rohde. During a short presentation in which smiling faces of children at NAF-organized camps and
programs beamed from the screen, Noah reflected on the work his charity had done over its first two years. “When I think about those kids, they give me strength,” he said. Rodhe also said a few words, thanking partygoers and extolling the necessity of arts education and artistic expression for those children most in need. Noah’s Arc Foundation
was founded in 2010 by Noah and Rodhe to help engage children in positive self-expression through arts and sports. Guests in attendance got a sneak peek
at Kabocha, Chicago’s first Japanese brasserie. Hors d’oeuvres were modeled on dishes one can expect to find on the menu when Kabocha opens soon and included tuna and hamachi
tartare, Kabocha squash and corn soup and rabbit dumplings with Thai basil. Some notable names came out in support, including artist and author Beth O’Donnell (mother of Kabocha co-owner Ryan O’Donnell), Nancy Crown, Caroline Crown and “Check, Please!” creator and executive producer David Manilow.
Stay tuned for these upcoming May events: WTTW Gala featuring Emmy Lou Harris on May 1st; Steppenwolf Gala on May 4th; "The Dinner Party" with host Elysabeth Alfano on May 6th (I can’t wait to be on with Lin Brehmer, Sean Pharr and Nick Bowling); Alzheimer’s Gala on May 11th; Taste for the Arts at the Harris Theatre on May 14th; Shakespeare Theater Gala on May 17th; Goodman Theatre Gala on May 18th; Campfire Ball on May 18th; DePaul University Theatre School Gala on May 22nd; Merit School of Music Gala on May 23rd; my birthday on May 26th (!); and the Hubbard Street Dance Spotlight Ball on May 30th! Whew! We’re going to be very, very busy!
Hope spring is around the corner and I hope you have enjoyed this week’s Candid Candace!
Love, as always,
P.S. I can’t wait to share an exciting documentary with you all soon! I’ve been working with Emmy Award-winning director and founder of Zacuto, Steve Weiss, to produce an inspiring story of an incredible family, the Herrick Family. You might know them as an Ambassador Family for Ronald McDonald House Charities but there’s so much more to learn! We can’t wait to share this heart-warming story with you, it will make you change the way you live in a very good way! Vanishing Point Films creator/editor Josh Orr will be collaborating on this dynamic and awe-inspiring piece. Stay tuned! #INSPIRING