PLUS CAFFEINATED CLUB'S CHICAGO LAUNCH; ART VAN CELEBRATES 55TH; CARNIVALE'S INVITE-ONLY HALLOWEEN BASH; CHICAGO STORIES GALA; CHICAGO HUMANITIES FESTIVAL GALA; ART AUCTION FOR SAIC; SOFITEL'S BIG REVEAL; RED JACKET OPTIONAL; GOODMAN'S "TWIST YOUR DICKENS"; JESSICA, HELEN, SHARYL AND ZEMRAH CELEBRATE; CHICAGO HUMANITIES GALA; MARSHALLS' BABY NEWS; NEW WATCH312 VIDEO AND SO MUCH MORE!
More than a dozen celebrity chefs came together for one special night in Chicago to honor the life and legacy of renowned Chef Charlie Trotter. "A Toast to Charlie Trotter" benefited the Charlie Trotter Culinary Education Foundation (CTCEF) founded by the late chef in 1999. Chef
Emeril Lagasse served as emcee at this event held at Venue One on November 5. Chefs in attendance, besides Lagasse, included Patrick O’Connell, Washington; David Bouley, NY and Chicago chefs Rick Bayless, Paul Dubroski, Graham Elliot, Gale
Gand, Kevin Hickey, Michael Kornick, Matthias Merges, Tony Montuano, Ryan Pitts, Art Smith and Jacob Neminarz. The chefs prepared dishes
inspired by Trotter and paired with cocktails created by Chicago’s top mixologists. Wines were selected by some of Trotter’s former Master Sommeliers led by Serafin Alvarado and Larry Stone. Cocktails were also offered from The
Sportsman’s Club and sweet treats from Sugar Hills Bakery. Guests mixed and mingled amid decor reminiscent of a chic South Beach club with white leather lounges, sparkling lucite cocktail tables and hot sounds from DJ Mother Hubbard, the
same DJ who played at the Trotter's wedding reception. Rochelle Trotter, CTCEF Director, looked stunning in a tomato red and gold "high-low" cocktail dress with beautiful embellishments created by local designer Azzeez Desai Khan (AZZA Atelier). This was the last dress the late chef bought for his wife as a surprise to
wear to the Service Club of Chicago Gala. Sadly, he passed away two days before the event. Rochelle thought it fitting to wear this dress in his honor at the event since he advocated supporting local talent. Mayor Rahm Emanuel (who grew up with Trotter) and Chef Lagasse offered welcoming remarks. "Charlie Trotter has grabbed hundreds of hands and pulled
them through the doors of opportunity. Hundreds of children and chefs' dreams have been made possible because Charlie Trotter had a spirit larger than life and there's no better city to have had him call home than the city of big
shoulders," said Emanuel. Chef Lagasse' toast brought laughter from the crowd when he said, "I know Charlie's in a big wine cellar in the sky probably drinking a magnum of Caymus right now, so here's a toast to my dear friend Charlie Trotter." The Charlie Trotter Culinary Education Foundation kicked off a year-long campaign in January
2014 with a Chef David Bouley Tribute Dinner in collaboration with the James Beard House in New York City. Since then, special fundraising events have taken place each
month across the country. To date, the campaign has raised $50,000 for need-based scholarship programs in culinary arts education. "So many college scholarships are merit-based and a lot of people don't realize my husband was dyslexic and that he struggled to
maintain a 2.5 GPA in school so he wanted to expand opportunities for people who have a passion for hospitality, " Rochelle shared. Chef Art Smith added, "Chef Trotter understood how
important it was to learn and, through all of his efforts, he has inspired a nation of talented chefs. There's not a fine dining restaurant in America that doesn't have a Trotter alum." What a great night to honor the legacy of legendary Chef Trotter, who left us way too soon. Hope you enjoy my latest Watch312 video below! (Additional photos by Marcin Cymmer).
The stars were aligned during the Art Van Furniture Shining Star Event, held at its Logan Square store at 2602 N. Elston Avenue in Chicago. More than 700 guests attended
the soiree celebrating the retailer’s 55th anniversary and first year in The Windy City. During the event, Art Van Elslander, founder and chairman of Art Van Furniture, officially announced Cindy
Crawford, international supermodel, businesswoman and philanthropist, as the 2015 Art Van Charity Challenge Ambassador. In addition, $1 million in charitable grants will be awarded next year to nonprofit organizations in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana
and Ohio. Art Van style ambassadors Nigel Barker, internationally renowned photographer and celebrity host of The Face on Oxygen Network, and Hilary Farr, international home designer and co-host of Love It or List It on HGTV, were also in attendance for the festivities. Welcome
to the Windy City Art Van! (Photos by MILA SAMOKHINA)
Caffeinated Club made its initial launch into the Chicago market this winter with a campaign that will feature some familiar faces around town! Caffeinated Club is a crisp, clean, clear, lightly flavored soda water with caffeine, the equivalent to a can of cola, about 34 milligrams per serving that is described as "the perfect alternative for health conscious individuals to get the caffeine boost they crave without any sugar, calories or artificial
sweeteners." The idea for Caffeinated Club was born from entrepreneur Rocky Mosele’s exhaustion and ingenuity. “I wanted a pick-me-up, but I’m not a fan of the sugar and additives in energy drinks, and I don’t always have time for coffee or tea. I thought, “Why doesn’t
my club soda have caffeine in it? Since there wasn’t, I decided to create one,” Mosele said. "There is no other product on the market like it. Caffeinated Club has created a new segment in the beverage industry," he added. Currently launching in the Chicago market, Caffeinated Club will expand into top markets across the nation in 2014 and is owned and operated by Rocky’s Beverages, LLC. (My poster, along with others, will appear on bus stops and billboards around town)! #GetCaffeinated
Go "ALL IN" for Urban Prep Academies' 8th annual "Aces Up! Charity Poker Tournament" on Thursday, November 20th at the Chicago Sports Museum (Water Tower Place, level 7, 835 N. Michigan) beginning at 5 pm. Hosted by UP founder Tim King with Alexi Giannoulias and Richard Roeper, the evening will include an lavish buffet, open bar and a prize
pool valued at over $10K! Just so ya know, I was the last player standing in 2013, so see how easy your chances are? Click here for tix and more info!
One of Chicago’s most exclusive Halloween parties hosted its annual by-invite-only event at Carnivale in Chicago’s West Loop
this year. Stephen Lee, co-founder of the infamous West Loop loft party, partnered with nightlife power players, Chicago Scene Magazine and Genuine Entertainment, to create an
upscale and unique Halloween party different from the mainstream nightlife scene. “We’ve hosted this loft party for many years, and it was time to bring a new element into it,” said Lee, an entrepreneur who founded this private Halloween party that has become popular among the Windy City's party scene crowd. “To keep the same energy and excitement we needed a new venue and a bigger group of promoters for a public event. Carnivale is such a dynamic space and with Ted Widen and Ken Monro (Chicago Scene Magazine) and Lonnie Rodriguez and Vincent Anzalone (Genuine Entertainment) on board this was quite the scene.” Carnivale, one of the city’s biggest restaurant venues, hosted the costume-clad guests, who enjoyed five
of Chicago’s hottest DJs (including my favorite DJ Sye Young), costumed entertainment and specialty cocktails served at seven full service bars throughout the night. A portion of proceeds benefited Imerman's Angels, a non-profit organization that provides personalized, one-on-one cancer support. “Carnivale is all about bringing big personalities together in stylish and spectacular ways,” said Tim Griffin, general manager of Carnivale. “This is kind of the super-group of upscale party promoters in Chicago, and they all wanted to do something that was a bit different from the typical club party on Halloween. This was a party that people will be talking about for a long time.” (For more information about Carnivale, click here). (Photos courtesy of ChicagoScene.com)
Thanks so much to Alexandra Torissi, a Chicago-based luxury shoe designer, for including me in her debut blog, "In Her Shoes." In her Q & A, she asked probing, funny and whimsical questions that made me laugh and think.
Check her out and follow her "Evolution of Sole" here!
Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) celebrated its 25th Anniversary Benefit Gala on October 21, raising more than $800,000for the organization. The Gala honored John and Jeanne Rowe as
Humanists of the Year, and featured an intimate conversation with political/cultural commentator David Brooks and Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington. Proceeds from the event
advance CHF’s mission to create opportunities for people of all ages to support, enjoy, and explore the humanities. Additionally, proceeds from the event’s paddle raise—which raised more than $100,000—supports CHF’s First Time for a Lifetime education
and outreach initiatives. The Gala was co-chaired by Richard J. Franke (CEO Emeritus, Nuveen Investments, Inc.,) Harrison I. Steans, (Exec Committee Chair, Financial Investments Corp.) and Frederick
Waddell (Chairman/CEO, Northern Trust). Each year, the Festival recognizes organizations and individuals that have demonstrated a strong commitment to the humanities and a working partnership with CHF and the Rowe's have done this in spades! Through the Rowe Family Charitable Trust, they have
founded the Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy and the Rowe Elementary School and are long-time patrons of the John Paul II parochial school. They have also been substantial contributors to the Field Museum, the Oriental Institute,
the Chicago History Museum, the Illinois Holocaust Museum, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and Dominican University among many others. “This support will help us engage more children,
more students, and inquiring minds around the most important issues and ideas that define us as individuals and communities,” said Phillip Bahar (Exec, Dir. of the Chicago Humanities Festival). (To learn more about this wonderful organization and how you can help, click here). (Photos by Shane Welch Photography).
Yes, you heard it right! Not only is Brandon Marshall a world class football player, but he's also a remarkable playwright! Marshall was one of three local notables tapped to write a ten minute play for the Victory Gardens Theater's annual Chicago Stories Gala. Victory Gardens
Founding Manager Marcelle McVay and Grubhub co-founder Mike Evans rounded out the fun-filled evening of playwrights with their own unique stories. Marshall's play was directed by Lisa Portes, head of directing at DePaulUniversity's Theater School. She said, "Brandon's play does not address his personal story. It does
address the damage done by dysfunctional families and the need to break the cycle." A rousing round of applause followed the performance of his play, "Love of the Healing Kind." Brandon took the stage with his darling wife Michi. "I told Michi a couple of years ago that I've always
wanted to create something that could possibly be on Broadway and you guys gave us this opportunity to create something that's thought-provoking, not only for the guests but also for us. I think we need to really continue to tap into the creative side," he said. Besides having this dramatic play to celebrate, the Marshall's are expecting twins in December! Awwwwwww! (Victory Gardens Theater raised nearly $350,000 at its 2014 Chicago
Stories Gala to support its work and mission).
Chicago Children’s Choir celebrated its 58th anniversary with nearly 600 guests and raised over $830,000 at the annual Red Jacket Optional Gala at Morgan Manufacturing. The Choir will use the funds
to continue its mission of peacefully uniting children through education, musical expression and excellence. The gala was co‐chaired by Robert and Rose Fealy, new Chicago Children’s Choir Board President and President of the Duchossois Group, and John and Christina Hatherly, long‐time supporters and last year’s honorees. This year, the Choir honored Meeghan and Michael Nemeroff.
Nemeroff, President and CEO of Vedder Price, has been a tremendous leader as Chicago Children’s Choir Board president for the past four years. During Michael’s tenure more than 1,000 children were added to Chicago Children’s Choir programming. Nearly 200 of the Voice of Chicago and Neighborhood Choir singers performed, plus special guests Nicole Cabell, Milo + Otis, the Q Brothers and CCC Alumni. “It was an unforgettable evening, celebrating 58 years of Chicago Children’s Choir, which is dedicated to shaping the next generation of compassionate thinkers, innovators, leaders and world citizens,”
said Josephine Lee, Chicago Children’s Choir President and Artistic Director. High‐profile philanthropic and civic leaders were in attendance including former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Ms. Amy Rule, former Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood, Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz (Boka Group), Benjamin Weprin (AJ Capital Partners and Soho House Chicago), fashion designer Azeeza Khan, and artist Hebru Brantley. The event was preceded by a
cocktail hour and concluded with Champagne & Sweets, with desserts donated by Sugar Hills Bakery. DJ Matt Roan, Ambassadors Board Chair, continued the celebration through midnight. Congrats to all!
An over-the-top art auction hosted by Bank of America raised BIG money for the School of the Art Institute Chicago (SAIC) recently.
The auction featured works from 10 artists including Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Paschke, Jacob Lawrence, Claes Oldenburg and others and raised $1.2 million! One hundred percent of the proceeds went to SAIC. The biggest item sold was Lichtenstein's "Sweet Dreams Baby!" that sold for $145,000! The
proceeds will go toward scholarships for Chicago-area high school students. Various VIPs in attendance included Mayor Emanuel, BofA CEO Brian Moynihan and Illinois President Tim Maloney, among others. Congrats SAIC!
The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a national nonprofit organization focused on
vision-saving research, hosted its biennial Visions Ball in Chicago at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago recently. Over $860,000 was raised to benefit innovative research toward preventions, treatments and cures for sight robbing retinal diseases. Rob Stafford (NBC5) served as emcee. Former
Chicago Cubs player and National Baseball League coach Davey Johnson was presented with the Foundation’s Visionary Award for his accomplishments and support of the fight
against blindness. Musician and songwriter Jim Peterik, the lead singer of the 1980’s band Survivor, entertained guests along with his band World Stage at this event co-chaired by Nancy and Dale Pollak and Cassandra and Matthew Lawton. Ira Schulman served as honorary chair. Congrats to all!
Sofitel Chicago will present “REVEALED,” a compelling
photo exhibit that takes an intimate look at the world’s greatest modern artists at work from November 20 thru January 21 at the hotel, 20 E. Chestnut. Olivier Widmaier Picasso, grandson of Pablo Picasso, curated the exhibit, hand-selecting the 30 photographs
from the collection of Paris Match, the famous French weekly magazine. Among the prized photographs are a black-and-white image of Pablo Picasso eyeing a Dalmatian longing to climb upon his lap; Salvador Dalí seen sitting in an animal exhibit at the Paris Zoo; Jeff Koons styling a BMW for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other fascinating images depicting Rene Magritte, Marc Chagall, Joan Miro, Francis Bacon and more. Showcased throughout the lobby and bar spaces, the exhibit is open to the public and free to attend. Don't miss it
The Chinese American Service League’s (CASL) will celebrate its 35th Anniversary year on Friday, December 5, at the Zhou B Art Center. Emceed by Judy Hsu (ABC-7) and Nancy Loo (WGN-9), the evening will include samplings from more than 20 Chicago-area Asian restaurants as well as live entertainment: dance performances by CASL kids and Indian dances performed by Northwestern University students. For tickets and more info, click here.
Pilot Light, a chef driven nonprofit working with Chicago Public School children to empower them to have a healthy relationship with food, will welcome friends and supporters to its 2nd annual fundraiser, Feed Your Mind. The event will take place on Friday, December 5, 2014 at Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center.
Pilot Light chefs and founders, Matthias Merges, Paul Kahan, Jason Hammel and Justin Large are joined by a dozen other chefs for an interactive night of cooking demonstrations and signature tastings from some of the best restaurants in Chicago. Enjoy cocktails by mixologists Billy Sunday and The Violet Hour, live entertainment and an incredible culinary-focused live and silent auction while enjoying the festivities. The evening’s emcee is Ji Suk Yi from Windy City
Live. For tickets and more info, click here!
Landmarks Illinois, the state’s leading advocate for the preservation of historic sites and buildings, named three Chicago buildings as recipients of the 2014 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards on Saturday, November 1. The Wrigley
Building, the Indian Boundary Park Field House and The Fortnightly Club of Chicago along with longtime preservation advocates Walker and Carolyn Johnson and an additional five venues from elsewhere in Illinois, were honored at a special ceremony on November 1 at the InterContinental
Hotel. 275 guests attended the ceremony, enjoying hors d’oeuvres and celebrating this year’s Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards recipients and their historic contributions to Chicago architecture. The nine winners received a Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award—which includes $500 and
a distinctive trophy: a meticulous, miniature scale model of Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan’s Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room. #KeepingChicagoGreat
It was great to share a delightful lunch with PR
guru Dionne Williams and columnist extraordinaire, Stella Foster, at Fig & Olive recently. They both rock the world of Chicago and celebrity with their insights and connections. If you miss Stella like I do, follow her fabulous blog here! YEAH, she said it!
If you haven't experienced the one and only ZEMRAH in concert, do yourself a favor and don't miss her Holiday Show at the Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. in Chicago opening Saturday, Dec. 13 at 8 pm. Her uplifting spirit will transport you to a kinder, gentler time. #LoveHer
Congrats and good luck to Jessica Zweig, who will be leaving Cheeky Chicago to launch her own website, JessicaZweig.com, in December 2014. Her new website will be filled with content, video and educational online programs, providing insights, tools and stories for the entrepreneurial woman looking to be her own boss and build her brand. Jessica will offer marketing and branding consulting services for lifestyle brands and
corporate businesses, one-on-one coaching, plus opportunities for speaking and live workshops. LOVE YOU JESSICA and wish you the BEST!
Loving birthday wishes to dear friend Helen Melchior! She changed the landscape of philanthropy, not only for The Joffrey Ballet, but for all the worthy
organizations she supports. Happy Birthday Helpful Helen!
More birthday wishes are in order for another dear friend, Sharyl Mackey! As soon as we saw the entrance to Avenues Ballroom at the Peninsula, we knew we were in for a very special celebration. Flanked by giant white ostrich feathers in silver urns, the entryway was just the
beginning of a surprise-laden birthday party that also included a huge ice sculpture of a Louboutin stiletto that poured martinis out of its toe! Crystal chandeliers, limitless delicious food offerings and an elegant mirrored bar added to this festive atmosphere. More than 100
of Sharyl's closest pals were in attendance at this soiree to toast her milestone 40th birthday. Ken Arlen's "Front of House" band kept the crowd on its feet
all night long (this was the same group that played for Mackeys' wedding reception. Awwwww)! The birthday cake kept to the "stiletto" theme with another darling sugary shoe perched on top. It was a fun-filled night of friendship and celebration for our dear Sharyl Mackey! Happy birthday SM!!!
The romantic and richly textured tale of East versus West, THE KING AND I, opened at The Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, on October 29, and will run through January 4, 2015. Nick
Bowling (Juno and The Normal Heart at Timeline Theatre) makes his Marriott Theatre directorial debut with a fresh take on this Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, merging history and romance with today’s
social and political issues. THE KING AND I takes audiences on an uplifting journey of the power of education as characters transform from instructor to students themselves, learning from one another in the process. In consultation with the Thai Cultural and Fine Arts
Institute of Chicago, Bowling and Choreographer Tommy Rapley will explore ancient Siamese customs, dance and traditions, and bring them to life on stage.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Illinois Chapter, will host its 35th annual Dream
Gala on Saturday, December 13, at McCormick Place! FOREIGNER will be the featured headliner! For ticket and more info, click here!
And lastly, more theater news! I hope you can join me on opening night, Friday December 5, at the Goodman Theatre, when I appear in a cameo for The Second City production of "Twist Your Dickens"! This hilarious send-up of Dickens classic, "A Christmas Carol", is sure to put you in a holiday mood! Hope I don't break a leg! (The play will run from 12/5 to 12/28 with other local notables popping in for cameos, too).
P.S. I hope you're enjoying Candid Candace in the Chicago Tribune's Sunday Life & Style section as well as online! In case you missed it, here's THE PAGES from our last two events, the Chicago Public Library Foundation's Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner and Victory Gardens Theater's "Chicago Stories" Gala! :-)