PLUS A VISIT WITH MR AND MRS SMITH; AIBI'S LEADERSHIP AWARDS; SUSAN G. KOMEN LIGHTS IT UP; LYRIC OPERA'S (ALWAYS AWESOME) OPENING NIGHT; FURRY FRIENDS OF CONSERVATION GALA; WORLD OF (YUMMY) CHOCOLATE; POUR OUT YOUR HEART FOR COMMONS; BORRIS, KYLE & KATIE'S BIG NIGHT; NICKI AND BOB SITTIN' IN A TREE; COOL COMMON THREADS NEWS; PLAYBOY PLAYMATES IN NEW YORK MAG AND SO MUCH MORE!
The Chicago International Film Festival is always one of my favorite, must-attend events. This year, for its 50th, founder Michael Kutza and his incredible staff blasted it out of the ballpark! The Opening Night Red Carpet event was almost too exciting for words, but I'll try. This star-studded evening premiered "Miss Julie", the latest film directed by veteran actress and
Ingmar Bergman collaborator, Liv Ullmann. (Michael has premiered every single one of her 50 films at his Festival, so to say she is beloved is an understatement). The film stars Golden Globe-award winning actors Jessica Chastain, Samantha Morton and Colin Farrell. The film is based on August Strindberg's 1888 ground-breaking naturalistic drama, "Miss Julie" that takes place over the course of one midsummer
night in an Irish country estate. The haughty Miss Julie (Jessica Chastain) and her father's lowly valet John (Colin Farrell) charm and manipulate each other culminating in a final act as "sublime and devastating as anything in Greek tragedy." Colin Farrell, Festival jury chairman Kathleen Turner, Festival founder/artistic director Michael Kutza, Liv Ullmann and "The
Fugitive" director Andrew Davis walked the Red Carpet as well as newcomer Grace McPhillips who is producing and starring in the film "The Other One." Every bold face name in media was waiting breathlessly to interview this stellar cast including Dean Richards, Janet
Davies and dear Rudy Segovia from WCIU. It was so exciting, but my knees were knocking since you just never know how conducive these Red Carpet peeps will be to questions. I came prepared, but nothing prepared me for the raw sexuality that Colin Farrell oozed. (Meow!) I've been fortunate to meet quite a few hunky film types, but he beat all. As a matter of
fact, I told him just that when he came to my mic. I said, "You're so insanely handsome, I've forgotten my questions." He was friendly and willing to talk, but very, very serious. When he looked you in the eyes, it seemed like he could see right through you. I could certainly see why he is called one of the "bad boys" of Hollywood. (Coincidentally, the week
before, another bad boy came to town for the Festival, Robert Downey, Jr. to premiere his fabulous film "The Judge"...). My next big interview was the eternally
awesome Kathleen Turner, who was at the Festival in the capacity of Jury Chair. When she opened her mouth to speak, you could hear a pin drop. Husky, throaty, sexy and with so much intelligence, it was awe-inspiring. (Make sure you check out the video following this segment because she
shared many pearls of wisdom!) I loved talking to director Andrew Davis, too. He's the king of action thrillers with my favorite being "The
Fugitive." A native Chicagoan, he's done six films here and loves it because "he knows where to go." Lol. It was also an honor to talk to Liv Ullmann. For every question, she provided a thought-provoking answer. I also loved what she said about her next project. (Again, don't miss the video!) After the excitement of the Red
Carpet, it was time to see the featured film. As a lover of fantasy and non-reality based movies, it was a little tough to take. I won't give anything away, but let's just say it wasn't easy to watch. And I must admit I
had tickets to see "Boxtrolls" so you can see where my head is at. Following the film, guests headed over to the packed after-party at the Chicago Cultural Center. I was surprised and thrilled to see Colin, Liv and Andrew Davis all in attendance. I had the honor of introducing the massive, fantastic Eli's Cheesecake Company cake which was graciously provided by Maureen and Marc
Schulman for the occasion. I called Colin and Liv to the stage and they cut the whimsically decorated cake. Colin said to Liv, "Let's hold hands and cut it like we're getting married." She happily obliged, of course. It was such a thrilling night and I'm
so happy for Michael Kutza, his wonderful staff, Jeanne Malkin (Festival Board Chair) and all of the other hard-working people who make this Festival a success year after year. He truly has made Chicago the "International Film Capital of the World." (Photos by MILA SAMOKHINA) Check out my Watch312.com "Candid Candace Chicago" video below and let me take YOU to the party, too!
On October 15, I was thrilled to co-host an event with Azeeza Khan to welcome James and Tamara Lohan, the founders of the British-based boutique travel service Mr & Mrs Smith (no periods, thank you!), to Chicago. The intimate dinner was held at
Soho House Chicago with thirty of Chicago’s leading tastemakers in attendance to toast Mr & Mrs Smith and enjoy an evening filled with
tempting travel, fabulous food and fun conversation. The festivities featured a cocktail hour followed by a seated dinner prepared by Soho House’s wonderful catering team, led by executive Chef Andrea Cavaliere. Azeeza and I introduced this loving couple before they shared their interesting story of how this brand was born. Guests were treated to a four course menu
that included delicious wood-oven baked meatballs, tuna tartare, salmon with tomato and oregano and cauliflower with truffles. The “Whisked Away by Wanderlust” dinner event was held to welcome the M & M team
to Chicago and inspire them to explore all that the Windy City has to offer--"we will definitely be back"! In the meantime, check out their cool website here and, if you love boutique hotels like I
do, you'll be charmed. Seen on the scene: Alderman Bob Fioretti, Nicki Pecori, Jena Gambaccino, Jessica Moazami, Joan Colmar, Kevin Phelan, Rodrigo Calvo, Matt Roan, Rehan Khan, Shannon O'Brian,
Chanel Coney, Jennifer and Joaquin Brieva, Rochelle Trotter, Diane Primo, Monika and Geoffrey Dixon, Emma Arnold, Scott Drasler and Jessie Kalin among others. Guests received a hotel collection travel guide as well as a gift voucher to plan
their next trips! (Pics by Cory Dewald, Jeff Shear Visuals) :-)
Leadership Event honors outstanding Chicagoans who have given of themselves to better our community. Honored this year were local legend Dominic DiFrisco for Civic Leadership, Lettuce Entertain You’s Rich Melman for
Corporate Leadership and entertainer extraordinaire Tom Dreesen for Philanthropic Leadership. Following a reception, guests had the opportunity to bid on a silent auction before being welcomed into the ballroom by the Pipes & Drums of the Chicago Police Department. Event co-chairs Marsha
Brenner, Executive Director of AIBI, and Joe Ahern,Chief Executive Officer of the 100 Club, gave thanks and appreciation for a full ballroom of leading civic leaders who turned out to support the two organizations, and to celebrate the
honorees. Emcees Jim Rose, sports anchor WLS-TV Channel 7, and his wife Lakesha, presented the selection of auction items that featured United Airlines trips, tickets to the finale season of the David Letterman
Show and a lunch with famed actor Joe Mantegna in L.A. After a sumptuous dinner, it was time to present the awards. Each honoree was given their award by their chosen presenters, Richard Melman’s three children, R.J., Jerrod and Molly presented the crystal award to their dad; Alan VanderMolen of Edelman presented the Civic Leadership Award to
Dominic DiFrisco; and State Senator James DeLeo presented Tom Dreesen with his honor. Each gave heartfelt thanks and moving speeches about their lives and contributions to
Chicago. According to Brenner, “It was a wonderful evening celebrating three great men, each a legend in his own right. The success of this year’s event will help the people our agencies serve throughout all of 2015.” The 100 Club of Chicago
supports the families of the police, fire, paramedic and EMT men and women who lose their lives in the line of duty, assisting them with family expenses and tuition for the surviving children. AIBI is a delegate agency of the City of Chicago, charged with assisting the local Chicago design community
and supporting design students with tuition scholarships. (Photos by Francis Son).
Susan G. Komen celebrated October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the lighting of the LaSalle Street and Clark Street
Bridges in pink. The evening began with cocktails and remarks at River Roast restaurant (helmed by John Hogan and Chef Tony Mantuano) followed with a family-style dinner next door at the new The Kitchen Chicago restaurant (helmed by Johnny Anderes), which opened officially to the public on October 20. The
evening’s event was underwritten by Al Friedman and raised $300,000 for Susan G. Komen Chicago to help provide free high quality mammograms and quality treatment to women in need of such services. The night was co-hosted by Beth and Bruce
White and Kim and Miles White. Members of the host committee included Lisa and Jeffrey Aronin, Howard Bernick, Eve and Rich Biller, Eric Brinker, Elizabeth and Michael Cole, Janet and Craig Duchossois, Jacky and Michael Ferro, Suzanne and Albert Friedman, Sabrina and Antonio Gracias, Aimee and James Gray, Anne Dias Griffin,
Martha and Richard Melman, M.K. and J.B. Pritzker, Laura Ricketts, Shirley and Pat Ryan, Desiree Rogers. Michael Ferro of The Sun-Times Foundation/The Chicago Community Trust announced a surprise matching challenge of
$25,000. To date, Susan G. Komen has invested nearly $15 million towards the fight against breast cancer by funding lifesaving local grassroots education, screening, navigation, treatment and treatment support programs.
Lyric Opera rolled out the red carpet for Opening Night to celebrate its 60th anniversary season on September 27. The 2014/2015 season debuted with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The Civic Opera House’s Rice Grand Foyer was beautifully decorated with calla lilies and palms as guests mingled before the 7:30 p.m. performance. The special event included many VIPs including Richard M. Daley, Creative Consultant Renée Fleming, Director
Robert Falls, Brittany Payton, Mr. & Mrs. Dietrich M. Gross, and many more. Several members of Lyric's Women's Board and Board of Directors attended a private dinner in the Graham Room held in memory of Debby Jannotta, a former president and longtime member of the WB. Following the opening-night performance the Don Giovanni stars and creative team (including Lyric's
Music Director Sir Andrew Davis) celebrated the brilliant new interpretation of Mozart's dark comedy with production sponsors, board members, and their guests. The festive cast party was
held in the Graham Room. Congrats to the Lyric on another wonderful night at the opera!
The 23rd annual Friends of Conservation Gala was another great success due to the dedication of its chair and president Reute Butler and her legion of supporters. Established in 1982, the FOC helps prevent wildlife and habitat degradation in the Masai Mara, one
of the most ecologically important regions of the world. Their longtime royal patron, HRH The Prince of Wales, sent a moving message again this year that congratulated the FOC and lamented on the egregious loss of elephants in the wild. It said, in part: " Africa's elephants are in desperate trouble.
Poachers are now killing more every year than are being born. The latest estimate of the loss is around 35,000 per year, or 7% of the population, yet the birth rate is only 5%. If this continues, the species will disappear from the face of the Earth in less than a century. In some areas the situation is far worse. The population of forest elephants in Central Africa has plummeted by over 60% in the last decade. This year's slaughter
in Kenya has included three of the last remaining giant bull elephants, each around fifty years old and with tusks that swept the ground. These wonderful creatures now live only in the hearts of all those who had the privilege of
seeing them. They were killed for their ivory, dying slow and agonizing deaths from the poachers' weapons." Reute added, " "We now know that the alarming rise in poaching to feed the voracious Asian appetite for ivory funds terrorism, which has dangerous implications for us in the West. At
this rate the African Elephant will be extinct in the wild in fewer than 10 years." The evening began with a VIP meet-and-greet with wildlife experts Jim Drury Partners who presented a delightful array of furry friends that included an African eagle owl (they have the largest wingspan of ANY owl); two young Grey kangaroos (which
hopped throughout the crowd to oohs and ahhs); two Bengal tiger cubs; two African black-footed penguins (Reute told the male guests, "This is how great you all look in black tie!”) and a baby Plains zebra. The ever glamorous Zoraida Sambolin returned to emcee this love-fest again and described the joy and awe she and her son felt when visiting the
Masai students in one of the schools funded by the FOC. A surprise presentation to Zoraida, who was there with her cute hubby Kenny Williams, had her
speechless. She was gifted by Reute with a beautiful crystal Lalique lion for her ongoing efforts (5 years) with the organization. Vonita Reescer served as Committee Chair for the event that also included one-of-a-kind trip experiences courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent. To learn more about this vital charity and to become involved,
click here! Congrats Reute! YOU are a force of nature, pun intended! (Photos by MILA SAMOKHINA and PAUL YAMASHIRO.)
Chicago is about to get a whole lot noisier as three established top professionals have announced their combined forces. “I couldn’t be happier,” Borris Powell said,
one of Chicago’s foremost fashion designers, on the night of his new studio’s grand opening. “This year has been an incredible one and 2015 is set up to be one of the biggest years yet.” On Saturday, October 18th, an elite group of guests/fans/FOBs (Friends of Borris)
gathered for the trifecta’s private celebration. Earlier in 2014, Borris Powell partnered with film director/producer, Kyle Thomas, from the highly anticipated new series, SEX + LOVE, and announced the director as the face of Powell’s brand new men’s line. Katie Cahnmann, the owner of Now You Know Events, one of Chicago’s go-to events and pop culture media outlets, has also joined forces with the duo as a major component to their events arm of the collaboration. “I love working with Borris and Kyle because
they’re some of Chicago’s finest. They work hard and don’t stop until they’ve realized their vision. I’m honored to be working with them,” Katie said at the opening. “Tonight is a huge celebration with
so many things to be energized about. I haven’t seen a crowd this electric in a very long time.” (Now You Know celebrated its fourth anniversary at the invite-only affair). During the evening, Thomas screened a private sneak preview of SEX + LOVE to thunderous applause. “SEX + LOVE is a dramatic-comedy about the
complex dating landscape of Millennials. Two twenty-something roommates—a straight woman and a gay man—set upon a quest to find love in the dynamic city of Chicago in a digital era where Millennials and technology embark on an ambiguous dance.” Kristin Anderson, the show’s lead actress, received much praise for her powerful and humorous performance. To end the night, Borris Powell wowed the crowd with a demo of his line’s
newest development nano-technology which ensures stain resistant clothing. Intentionally spilling red wine on one of his garments, the designer smiled as it rolled right off, leaving no hint of residue. “I’m honored to be the first fashion designer in the world to be using this technology. The future is here. I’m ecstatic to be releasing it here in Chicago FIRST.” And we are too Borris! We are too! :-)
Mark your calendars now for the 13th annual World of Chocolate's winter gala on Thursday, December 4, presented by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) at the historic Union Station, 500 W. Jackson Blvd. Arouse your senses with tasty morsels from 30 of Chicago's finest chocolatiers, chefs and caterers. This one-of-a-kind event commemorates World AIDS Day and celebrates the progress that the HIV/AIDS community has made in ending the epidemic. For more info and tickets, click here.
Chicago Commons will host its annual wine tasting fundraiser, Pour Out Your Heart for Commons, on Friday, November 14 at Galleria Marchetti, 825 West Erie Street. Guests will sip wines, craft beer and dine on delicious hors d’oeuvres all for a great cause. Presented by Marina Cartage, Inc., Waste Management and the Chicago Commons Emerging Leaders Council (CELC), the evening will bring together more than 300 guests who
share a commitment to providing quality programs for people living in Chicago’s most under-served communities. The evening, chaired by Allison Carroll of Leo Burnett, will feature wine tasting stations (curated by Vin
Chicago), a silent auction, brews from Lagunitas Brewing Company and live entertainment by the Chicago Players. (For tickets and more info, click here).
Great news and congrats to Common Threads! They are growing by leaps and
bounds and are now in 151 schools across the nation, providing them with a full year's program of study that includes a combo of in-school, after-school, parent education and teacher training curriculums. Evaluation findings show that CT's summer
camp programs have positive effects on participating students in the areas of nutrition, cooking, dietary intake behavior, screen time and physical activity. But then we knew that! Congrats to Chef Art Smith, Jesus Salgueiro and Linda Novick O'Keefe on your tireless efforts to
make the world a better place for our kids! To learn more, click here!
We shot the feature in February! I was sure it was trashed and would never see the light of day. Six former Playboy Playmates were flown to New York to shoot with world famous photographer Nadav Kander for a New York Magazine shoot. The article would revisit
six Playmates: Dolores Del Monte, Miss March 1954 ; Helena Antonaccio, Miss June 1969; Laura Lyons (Aldridge), Miss February 1976and Marilyn Cole (Lownes), Miss January 1972; Janet Lupo, Miss November 1975 and me,
Miss December 1979. The title: A View From a Centerfold. The shoot took place at Jack Studios in the heart of Chelsea. It was quite an elaborate production with hair, makeup, set design, lighting and camera people darting this way and that. The wardrobe room alone would rival any department store. It was great to see my friend Laura Lyons again. We'd been Bunnies together at the Chicago Playboy Club. She was
Bunny of the Year in 1975 and I was BOY in '76. We had a lot of laughs, then and now. That's the great thing about being a Playmate, it's an exclusive sorority that connects us in ways I could've never imagined. I'm still friends with the girls I worked with as well as former art directors, photographers, press people and more--any and all with an association with Playboy,
I'm still happy to call my friends. As a matter of fact, I just shot a campaign for Caffeinated Club yesterday with two former Playboy photographers, Kevin Kuster and Scott Anderson, who were on staff when I was a Playmate (what a
small world!) Nadav Kander, the photographer on this NY Mag shoot, was flown in from England for this feature. He's a London-based photographer, artist and director, known for his portraiture and landscapes. His work is included in the collections of the National Portrait
Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and others. He even shot President Obama for the cover of Time Magazine as its "Person of the Year." To say he's talented is an understatement. Now that I've seen the layout, I'm a little sorry they chose to go with such harsh lighting and old-fashioned
backgrounds. I also can't say I "love" some of the poses that were included, but those were individual choices and, if they're happy, then I'm happy, too. (Check it out for yourself--on stands now). :-) We might be "vintage" but
we're certainly modern women in every way. I'm glad the Playboy mystique is still alive and well. And just like Hef....we all keep hop, hop, hopping along......
And finally, a softer side of politics: Besides the mayoral race, 2nd ward Alderman Bob Fioretti has something else on his mind, too. He recently
asked his longtime love, Nicki Pecori, for her hand in marriage giving her a beautiful emerald-cut diamond engagement ring to seal the deal at one of their favorite restaurants, Rosebud on Taylor Street. This happy couple has been
together for 15 years and have shared a lot. Through thick and thin: Nicki nursed Bob through a cancer scare and introduced him at his recent mayoral
announcement with a beautiful, loving (kick-ass) speech. Bob met Nicki at an event and asked a mutual friend to introduce them. He said, "We really compliment one another. Through challenging times and happy times, I've been lucky to have her at
my side. She makes me happy and she inspires me, too." Nicki about Bob: "I love the way his mind works. He's compassionate and hard working and inspires me to be my best self. And the icing on the cake, he makes me laugh and smile every day." Avid Blackhawks fans and grillers of meats on their backyard BBQ pit, Bob and Nicki live in the West Loop. They hope to move Chicago forward together. Mark Twain said, "To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with." And they most certainly have....Congrats Nicki and Bob!
That's all for now! As always, thanks for checking out my blog! I hope you enjoyed every bit of it....:-)
Love, as always,
P.S. Hope you and yours have a BOO-tiful Halloween! My "kids" are dressed and ready to GO!