PLUS MARCO'S GRINCH STRIKES AGAIN; PEARL TAVERN OPENS BIG; CHICAGO BULLS CELEBRATE BRIGHT PINK; RASHIED DAVIS BOWLS FOR CHARITY; SOMEONE YOU SHOULD KNOW; JAPONAIS BY MORIMOTO FOR COMMON THREADS; SPEX GAMBLES FOR LITTLE CITY; "BLACK & WHITE" GALA FOR CANINE THERAPY; MAKE-A-WISH'S WOMEN'S NETWORK GALA; ILLINOIS CENTERS FOR BROADCASTING'S ENTERTAINMENT REPORTING SEMINAR; ANTIQUES AT THE PIER; NEW VIDEO AND SO MUCH MORE!
It’s a busy time of year for retired Chicago Cub Kerry Wood and wife Sarah. They recently surprised 482 students at Lawndale Elementary Community Academy when they transformed its gymnasium into a Winter- Wonderland complete with Santa and his elves. Each child received a new coat and toy as a result of Principal Willard Willette’s success in leading the school for four years with continuous substantial improvements. And now Sarah and Kerry, with a little help from their high profile friends, have just finished hosting their 3rd annual Woody’s Winter Warm-Up Celebrity Mixer which took place on Friday, January 17th at Harry Caray’s Tavern at Navy Pier. The Warm-Up was emceed by radio personality Pete McMurray and 24/7 television host Catie Keogh and showcased Chicago Cubs (past and present), celebrities and media personalities as they guest-bartended mixing drinks and competing for tips to raise money for the Wood Family Foundation. Participants included Anna Davlantes, Allison Rosati , Kathy Hart (Eric & Kathy), Eric Ferguson (Eric & Kathy), Ryan Chiaverini (Windy City LIVE), David Kaplan (Comcast SportsNet), Peggy Kusinski (NBC), Lou Canellis (Fox), Sarah Spain (ESPN radio), Rob Johnson (CBS), Showbiz Shelley (B96), Danni Allen (winner of The Biggest Loser), Jeanne Sparrow (WCIU), Whitney Reynolds (The Whitney Reynolds Show), Mindie Kaplan (Happy Hour with Mindie), Jane Monzures (FM 101), Kelly Crull (Comcast). Cubs in attendance included Starlin Castro, Mark Prior, Jim Bullinger, Theo Epstein, Edwin Jackson, Brooks Raley, Anthony Rizzo, Jeff Samardzija, Junior Lake, James Russell, Welington Castillo, Justin Ruggiano and Carlos Villanueva,. The evening also featured an amazing silent auction filled with unique sports memorabilia, a premium open bar, a dinner buffet, raffle, a DJ and awesome live performances. There was a special solo performance by Robert Randolph, pedal steel guitarist whose American funk and soul sounds have entertained audiences across the country since 2001. “The past two Warm-Ups have attracted an amazing crowd and featured musicians William Beckett, Plain White T’s, Dave Mason, DJ White Shadow and DJ Greg Corner and this year was another great time to benefit the kids!” said Wood. The night was a fun-filled affair with guests mixing and mingling with their favorite sports stars and media personalities. Governor Quinn spoke to the crowd and thanked the Woods for their continuing support of kids in the community. A live auction included a spring training package, a signed performance art piece by Elliott From, and the chance to win a place on the celebrity wiffle ball team for the upcoming "Wiffle for a Diffle" event in Wrigley Field on August 15. Additionally, throughout the month of January, Harry Caray’s Tavern Navy Pier will be serving up “Woody’s Smokin Pitch” winter cocktail to help raise money for WFF and its programs. Made with Avion silver tequila, fresh lime juice, agave nectar and topped with a sliced jalapeno pepper, the drink will donate 100% of sales back to the foundation! So drink UP! The Wood Family Foundation (WFF) is a non-profit organization that was founded in June 2011 by Kerry and Sarah Wood. The WFF works to improve the lives of children in and around Chicago by raising funds and awareness for children’s charities and the causes they support. The WFF acts as an advocate for children in the Chicago community, inspiring others to join them in their mission of giving children the resources they need to succeed. (For more info, click here www.woodfamilyfoundation.org) Keep up the great work Kerry and Sarah! (Fab photos by Mila Samokhina)
Beloved philanthropist-around-town, Marco Foster, hosted yet another great event for a good cause! His third annual "The Grinch Who Gave Back Christmas" attracted more than 350 guests to Underground for a party to benefit the Brain Injury Association of Illinois. This organization is near and dear to Marco's heart since he is a brain tumor survivor himself. "It was scary, but I had my family and friends around me the whole time. Not everyone has the happy ending I did, and this organization provides wonderful support and resources for those who need them," said Foster. The event featured holiday-themed cocktails and photos with the Grinch himself, as well as The Grinchette. Guests could watch scenes from "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" on a custom 40-foot HD video wall. Notable attendees included Jonny Immerman (founder of Immerman Angels), Whitney Reynolds (Whitney Reynolds Show) and Alicia Roman (NBC-5 Chicago meteorologist). The Brain Injury Association of Illinois provides information, advocacy and support for individuals with traumatic brain injuries, their families and professionals who treat them. (Photos by Ray Thompson, Francis Son and Murad Namik)
The Chicago Bulls celebrated its first “Health & Wellness Night” on January 13 in a game with the Washington Wizards. The Bulls welcomed staff and volunteers from Bright Pink to the game as representatives of the team’s community partners who focus on health and wellness. Bright Pink is the only national non-profit focused on prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. Their life-saving education and support programs empower young women to be proactive with their breast and ovarian health. Bright Pink volunteers were on hand providing fans with information on breast and ovarian health. “The Bulls organization always look for opportunities to encourage our fans to live healthy and active lifestyles,” said Nancy Reinsdorf, President of Chicago Bulls Charities. “The Bulls are proud to work with organizations like Bright Pink that are so passionate about the health of Chicagoans and to celebrate these partners during Health & Wellness Night.” (For more info, visit www.Bulls.comand www.brightpink.org )
Rashied Davis Charities is hosting its second annual "Bowling for Brighter Tomorrows" event to support Saturday Place, its academic enrichment program, on Sunday, January 26. Former Bears wide receiver, Rashied Davis, will host the event with attendees expected to include many of his former teammates as well as other players and media personalities such as Anthony Adams, James Loving, James "Big Cat" Williams, Jason McKie, Jim Cornelison and Ray McElroy. The party will be hosted by News Radio 780's Jeff Joniak with a special guest appearance by Jarrett Payton. Lanes can be purchased for $2500 with individual tickets prices at $100. (To learn more about Rashied Davis Charities, Saturday Place and ways to get involved, visit www.SaturdayPlace.org).
Under the category of "Someone You Should Know", beloved children's book author Joe Brown (father of the famed makeup expert Bobbi) has been donating his time and services around the world reading to the kids! He offers signed copies of his popular children's book series, "The Flights of Marceau", and also donates the entire 7 book set for each school's library. He's delighted kids in NY, throughout Illinois, Arizona, California and all the way to Ho Chi Minh City with many stops in between. He's planning his 2014 calendar now so if you know of any schools or worthy children's causes where he might bring his loving brand of entertainment, please contact him at email@example.com .....
As you are probably aware, Japonais has been undergoing some renovation and rebranding work and, when they reopen their doors at the end of the month, their new concept, Japonais by Morimoto, will be revealed! Critically acclaimed Japanese Chef and star of Food Network’s Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, Masaharu Morimoto is heading to Chicago as the new face behind Japonais! In an effort to fully immerse himself in the Chicago food scene, Morimoto has invited some of Chicago’s finest chefs to join him for the evening to serve small bites to some 250 guests. The Launch Party will be on Wednesday, January 29, from 6-9 pm with proceeds from the evening benefitting Common Threads. VIP access allows for table service and special seating as well as a complimentary bottle of champagne. There are 8 VIP tables available that fit 6 to 8 per table and 2 private dining areas available, one seats 8 and the other up to 14. To book a table, contact Common Threads’ Event Coordinator, Robin Vance at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312.462.0722. For tickets and more info, click here and be the first to welcome Morimoto to our wonderful city!
On Sunday, January 26, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago will host its 13th Annual d'Vine Affair, a premier wine tasting event that will be held at the Union League Club of Chicago on Sunday, January 26, from 2-6 pm. Benefitting Catholic Charities' self-sufficiency programs, the event will feature educational seminars, tastings, a
silent auction and a prize raffle followed by a 3-course dinner. Expecting more than 500 attendees, the annual event is hosted by Monsignor Michael Boland, president of Catholic Charities, along with event founders Joseph and Helen Glunz of Louis Glunz Wines, Inc. and co-chairs John and Teddi Scholz. (Tickets are $125 with an additional $80 for the 3-course dinner. www.catholiccharities.net/dvine .
We attended a fabulous preview over the weekend of hot new Loop restaurant/bar, Pearl Tavern (located at 180 N. Wacker). It was jam-packed with beautiful people enjoying tasty selections from Chef Chris Lorenz that included every type of oyster you could imagine, lobster rolls, tuna bites and so much more! Restaurant developer Adolfo
Garcia has revived the classic All-American seafood eatery and oyster bar in this beautiful new space (that used to be Coogan's) by preserving the original hardwood floors and restoring the vintage ceilings. Guests dined at ornate bistro tables with Carrera marble, gold
brass lighting and the Chicago River as the backdrop. (Outdoor seating will be available in the summer). Chef Lorenz' menu includes oysters from the east and west coasts, a rotating crudo bar with a carpaccio and tuna poke, razor clams with fennel and trout roe, swordfish au poivre, grilled octopus, crab churros and a Connecticut-style lobster roll. It was a great "shucking"experience! (www.PearlTavern.com)
GET YOUR POKER FACE ON! Spex, one of Chicago’s premier destinations for luxury eyewear, joins with Little City Foundation on Friday, March 7th, from 6:00pm to 12:30am, to present “Seeing Hope Together.” This is the second year of sponsorship for this exciting poker tournament and casino night fundraiser that will be at The Montgomery Club, located at 500 W. Superior Street, Chicago. The evening will support children and adults with autism and developmental disabilities. Iconic fashion eyewear collections and eyewear accessories will be informally modeled and showcased during the festivities. Gibson's Bar & Steakhouse will provide a lavish, all-night buffet for guests to enjoy plus there will be a premium open bar, exciting raffle, and swag bags as part of this special gaming for a cause event. Michael Caputo, Director of Marketing, expressed pride with the continuing partnership: “We had a great crowd last year; the ballroom was buzzing with excitement! And Spex remains energized in supporting Little City’s commitment to change lives. We’re particularly proud of our association with an Illinois organization whose core advocacy – simply stated, sees hope. It’s our shared Chicago roots -- as well as our standard of care and wellness, that makes our committed partnership a winning hand!" (For tickets and more info, please click here!)
The Make-A-Wish Women’s Network, a newly formed women’s board for the foundation, will host its inaugural fundraiser, Women, Wine & Wishes on Thursday, February 20, at New Leaf (1818 N. Wells St.) This cocktail themed party will honor several women in the Chicago community that have helped the organization with identifying and facilitating the wishes of children with life threatening illnesses: Alyssa Hock, Joni Lamb, Jennifer Loewy, Dr. Elaine Morgan and Andrea Schwartz. Make-A-Wish granted over 700 wishes last year and continues to make dreams come true. Contrary to what many people have heard, a child doesn’t need to have a terminal illness to qualify. In fact, there are many more survivors who grow up to lead extraordinary lives, sometimes in professions directly related to their wish. ( For tickets and more info, click here!)
A special shout-out and thanks to Chicago Now blogger/author Nicole Kane Knepper for this interview! We talked for more than an hour at Tempo recently for a column she'll be posting on her blog on Friday. I was honored to be chosen by this incredibly funny writer who puts her heart and soul into every post! Her blog, "Moms Who Drink & Swear" is a must-read! Hope you enjoy the fun-filled (silly) video below!
If you love antiques as much as I do then you won't want to miss Opening Night of the Chicago International Art, Antique & Jewelry Show on Thursday, April 24, presented by the Palm Beach Show Group and hosted by the Women's Board of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Held for the first time at Navy Pier's Festival Hall, the event will give guests a "first look" at treasures from around the world. The show will run from 4/25 to 4/28. For tickets and more info, click here or call 561.822.5440.
Thanks so much to Tina Weller for bringing "One: The Benefit" to my attention! This fundraiser, hosted by the Hinsdale Junior Woman's Club, will be held on Saturday, February 22, at Skyline Loft, 1200 W. 35th Street, in Chicago. Eric Ferguson, Ben Bradley and Mike Schimmel will emcee alongside DJs Lee Michaels, Megan Taylor and Alvin Black. The event will benefit Hephzibah Children's Association, Oak Park’s oldest charity. The organization was founded in 1897 by Mary Wessels who opened her home to children from a nearby orphanage that had been destroyed by fire. Responding to a need in the community, Mary continued to welcome youngsters into her home and made it her mission to “care for society’s most vulnerable children.” (For tickets and more info, click here!)
Congratulations to John Kelly, founder of A Meal to Heal. This new non-profit provides meals at popular restaurants for families following the loss of a loved one to help with the healing process. John conceived this idea after the loss of his dad in 2005. A meal at Bob Chinn's with his siblings provided such a sense of bonding and healing that he wanted other families who have experienced loss to be able to have this same type of support. "This is my way of grieving and dealing with the loss of my parents. We grew up with a focus on cooking and dining and I thought others might benefit as well," said Kelly. Past endeavors have supported families of servicemen lost with meals at Francesca's. For the month of January, Standard Market Grill in Lincoln Park will donate 10% of sales to www.AMealToHeal.org . Good luck John!
The Canine Therapy Corps Young Professionals Board will host its 3rd annual Spring Gala, "Black & White", to benefit Canine Therapy Corps (CTC) on Saturday, March 8 at Revel Downtown, 440 W. Randolph. (CTC providesinteractive animal-assisted therapy services and support for people in need). Festivities will include hors d'oeuvres, a silent-auction and photo ops with the CTC dogs! Watch this website for tickets and more info or contact Will Wagner at 847-962-4743 ( email@example.com).
I'll be teaching my 3rd entertainment seminar for the Illinois Center for Broadcasting on Wednesday, February 5th. If you're interested in entertainment reporting and interview techniques, please join me!
Congrats to founder Kathleen Casey on the good work she's doing with Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation. I was thrilled to see the young artists hard at work creating beautiful original pieces to auction off at our upcoming Bear Tie Ball on March 8! Hope you can come! (For tickets and more info, please click here!) (Photos by Mila Samokhina).
I loved Nico at the Thompson Hotel! Great food and ambiance and I was so happy to see GM Steve Shern and assistant director of catering Mimi Lopez! I celebrated Sheila O'Grady and Dr. Stacie McClane's birthdays with Mary Pat Burns, Tracey Tarantino, Sheryl Dyer, Jean Antoniou and Sharyl Mackey. We all loved the experience from beginning to end! Happy, happy birthday Sheila and Stacie!
That's all the news for this week! Hope there's an event here you want to wrap your arms around! Until next time, thanks for checking in!
Love, as always,
P.S. Don't forget our little furry friends in need, too!