PLUS SERVICE CLUB'S FASHIONABLE FUNDRAISER; TOMMY TUNE TAPS AT JUBALEE; J-HUD AND DRONES AT ART VAN; PLAYBOY'S MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM PARTY; HOLLY WHO?; JOHNNY LOVES MARIA; ANTIQUES ROADSHOW; CHEF ART AND JESUS HOST COOK-OFF; CHICAGO CUBS HOST BOXING EVENT FOR KIDS; "REDS, WHITES AND BLUE" BENEFIT MILITARY FAMILIES; JEFF'S CAMERA-TALK; DAVID BLAINE FREAKS OUT HARRISON; DWAYNE WADE'S "LIVE TO DREAM"; JEANNE'S BIG DAY; ADORABLE/AWESOME VIDEOS AND SOOOO MUCH MORE!
We fell right down the rabbit hole at The Geraghty's recent private party at its 25,000' ft space in Pilsen (2520 S. Hoyne) on August 6. This over-the-top, magical event seemed to be directly inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Everywhere you looked, there was something remarkable. At the entrance,
handsome, shirtless greeters with the words "The Geraghty" written boldly across their chests posed for photos with happy attendees. The ginormous space was
a riot of color with flowers, food, bars, cute people, entertainers and performance artists. A glowing, branded hot air balloon lit the way to the party and could be seen from miles away. A hand-painted art mural (created by Kehoe Designs artisans,
of course!) lined the street leading to the venue and BMX bikers and skateboarders performed tricks outside the entrance. Tom Kehoe (Kehoe Designs) had been dreaming of a space like this for years, meticulously taking notes on what he felt
the perfect event venue should look like. Needless to say, he nailed it and then some. On this night, Tom's grand entrance set the tone for the evening. He rappelled down from the 24' ceiling ala Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible and had the 1,000-strong crowd in the palm of his hand right then and there. His speech was so inspiring and, at several points, he choked
up talking about the people who made this night possible--in particular, his Kehoe Design team, key partners in the organization (Bridget, Daniel, Wendy Miller,
Adam McCarthy, Sean, Craig and others), his dad Lou Kehoe, 89, (who was in the audience), his siblings who were all in attendance with their families (Tom is the youngest of 8), and, of course, his mom Mickey Geraghty, who was the inspiration behind this venue that bears her maiden name. He talked
about how he became involved in the business. "It was a serendipitous moment when I walked into a flower shop 30 years ago to buy my Mom flowers that changed my life," he said. Tom had worked at the shop throughout high school and college and the owner offered it to him for sale. His devoted
parents loaned him the money to purchase it. Mickey, his beloved mom passed away 20 years ago and he "misses her every day." "She taught me about life, how to love and
how to be a true person," he said. "She encouraged me to be creative and design-focused and helped me find not only my aesthetic, but myself." (Grab a hanky and see Tom's video below!) Part of the reason for the opening was, of course, to
show off the space and Tom shared some details about the venue in his welcome speech. "Tonight, I want to show you the possibilities of what you can do when you host an event at
The Geraghty. From our open floor plan with 24' ceilings and 4,000 pound hang points to the 32 toilets! We will be able to do anything you can dream of! Did you see the bathrooms, we can have a party in there!," he enthused. Following Tom's speech, the hot Norwegian singing/songwriting duo Nico & Vinz performed and posed afterwards for photos with VIPs in the venue's elegant "Green
Room". ZZAZZ Productions provided costumed models for even more eye candy as they sang and danced onstage and mixed and mingled with guests. A living wall of hand-painted graphics and a gazillion flowers provided a unique step-and-repeat. One-of-a-kind hand-gilded, gold-leaf chandeliers were
forged in-house and hung majestically above the multiple bars. A cadre of young ladies in custom, butterfly costumes served the signature cocktail of the evening--the "Sweet Mickey" (prosecco and peach liquor) named after Tom's mom, natch.
Food was EVERYWHERE! The Entertaining Company, Paramount Events, J & L Catering, Blue Plate and Catering by Michaels all provided delicious treats that included truffle lobster mac & cheese, snow crab claw tempura, pork loin confit, pork belly
lollipops, coconut shrimp skewers and too many desserts to even mention. It was pure foodie heaven! State-of-the-art technology provided a glowing LED Wall, interactive projections, outdoor moving lighting, dramatic stage lighting and changing color washes
throughout the venue. WHEW! Garrett's Popcorn was there for the taking and, as if this all weren't enough, Tom had created a unique parting gift for guests--living succulents on a bed of rocks inside a Geraghty branded clear plastic box. The lid read, "Take your top off." LOL! The
Geraghty is truly Party Central and we can't wait to experience a lot more exciting events there! Tom has been a friend for a long, long time but I suspect he's everyone's friend as he's completely and totally lovable in every way. Chicago is so very lucky to have him......and so are we. To see ALL event pics, click here! (All the good photos are by We Create Media, the rest are mine. LOL!)
The Service Club of Chicago has done it again! The city's oldest charity had another sold-out event for its annual Day on the Terrace fashion show and luncheon at the Peninsula Chicago on August 3. More than 350 fashionable guests enjoyed a runway show that featured a dozen top retailers: Maximilian Furs at Bloomingdale’s, L.K.
Bennett, Eileen Fisher, Anne Fontaine, Escada, Ike Behar, LuLu’s on the Avenue, Neiman Marcus (Michigan Avenue), Ralph Lauren, St. John, Tom James and Vera Wang. Co-chairs Jean Antoniou, Yvette Cusack, Sharyl Mackey and Tracey Tarantino DiBuono (who also
expertly produced the show) together with Chair Emeritus Hazel Barr presented a first look at fall fashion that began with a reception followed by champagne toasts and a luncheon. Standouts included Vera Wang with models garbed in black and white gowns wearing evening gloves. Lulu's on the Avenue always thrills with a look
back at vintage fashions while the Ralph Lauren segment had guests oohing and aahing as darling kids strutted their stuff on the runway with Ryan Baker, Peninsula catering director Greg Hyder, Quenten Schumacher, Zach Stemer, D.C. Crenshaw and Jackson Miranda. L.K. Bennett presented fashions fit for a beautiful afternoon tea---after all, they are
a favorite of Princess Kate! The program began with a welcome from beloved Service Club president Myra Reilly. She noted that this afternoon was also a celebration of the organization's 125th year of giving. Hazel Barr, who came up with the idea of Day on the Terrace (that began as Day in the Country around 48 years ago), recalled,
"This event was a way of keeping the ladies meeting during the summer and informing them about our fall gala. Then when I met Greg Hyder 14 years ago, he showed me the plans for the new Peninsula Hotel and the rest, as they say is history!...It was born of
enthusiasm and will continue to grow with the support of our members." For the finale, presented by Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue, a dozen Marines escorted lucky ladies
in evening wear. As the Marine Hymn (Halls of Montezuma) played, the men from the Great Lakes Naval Station offered up a salute to rousing applause and a standing ovation.This all-women's philanthropic organization was founded in 1890 to assist and raise funds for
agency programs in the areas of children, family services, education and the arts. The non-profit helps expand facilities,
improve equipment and initiate new programs which will better serve a large number of people in need.
Every single dollar raised goes directly to charity and all events are completely operated by members so there’s no overhead. For more info about this wonderful organization, click here! and congrats to ALL! (Photos by JOHN REILLY PHOTOGRAPHY)
Jennifer Hudson sang her little heart out at the recent Art Van Furniture store grand opening party (themed the Art of Wow) in Lombard (1021 Butterfield Road). Over 2000 guests attended this by-invite-only party that also included a meet-and-greet with Hilary Farr (HGTV host of "Love it or
List It") and handsome fashion photographer/author Nigel Barker. The Downer's Grove location is the largest of Art Van's 8 Chicagoland locations at 112,000' ft. (a former Home Depot) and every inch was covered with something fabulous. Founder and
chairman Art Van Elslander spared no expense for this over-the-top affair even documenting the evening with drones flying back and forth in front of the massive floor to ceiling windows as guests waved in delight. Candles flickered among cool home accessories as waiters scurried to and fro serving delicious hors d'oeuvres. Before Hudson's performance, CEO Kim Yost welcomed
guests and introduced Mr. Van Elslander. And then the show....Jennifer looked chic in a form fitting white gown with her hair slicked back, wearing a large silver choker necklace and sky-high heels.
All of her songs were wonderful as she went from soulful to joyful, but the crowd-stopper occurred during her homage to Whitney Houston, who she was very close to.
Chills went up and down my spine as she performed "I Will Always Love You"---To Perfection... Dancing followed onstage and in the audience.....it was a memorable night for Mr. Van Elslander, who loves the Chicago market
and plans on building 16 stores by the end of 2016. Van Elslander founded the Michigan-based, 89-store chain in 1959.
Contemporary Art Chicago, attracted 270 people and raised more than $212,000. At the Jubalee, Tune performed his one-man show Taps, Tunes and Tall Tales, an autobiographical stroll celebrating 50-
plus years of big-time showmanship—from his arrival in New York City as a fresh-faced kid from Texas, through his most popular roles on stage and screen, to his ascension as one of Broadway’s most accomplished director/choreographers. Accompanied by
Michael Biagi, his musical director for nearly four decades, Tune shared personal renditions of standards by Irving Berlin, Kurt Weill, Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, Burt Bacharach, the Gershwins, Carole King, Green Day and
more. CHRP's founder & director Lane Alexander presented Tune with its 25th Anniversary JUBA! Award for Extraordinary Lifetime Achievement. When the performer first saw the award, he said in his classic Carol
Channing voice, "Oh My!....then in his own voice..."It's even bigger than the Tony!" Tune joins the distinguished company of past JUBA! Award recipients including Gregory Hines, Bill Irwin, Savion Glover, Fayard Nicholas, former Mayor and the late
Mrs. Richard M. Daley, Ted and Susan Oppenheimer, Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Patti Eylar and Charles Gardner and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, among others. At dinner, the Consul General of Romania, George Predescu, made a lovely toast to the guest of honor for his "great artistry and
to our shared anniversary, CHRP's founding and Romania's freedom from Communist domination." Predescu then led a toast to artistic and personal freedom bringing many in the crowd to tears. Mayor Rahm Emanuel served as honorary chair with co-chairs Lane Alexander, Elaine Cohen and Arlen Rubin,
Phil and Marsha Dowd, Paul Levy and Mia Park, Michael Foster, Charles Gardner and Patti Eylar, Diana E. Harris, David Herro and Jay Franke, Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra, Cari and Barry Shein and Richard and Diane Weinberg. For 25 years, Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) has helped to foster the revival and renaissance of American tap dance throughout North and South America, Australia, Europe and Asia.
Congrats to award-winning SPEX (Voted in Chicago Reader poll as "Best Eyewear" 2014 & 2015!) on its new state-of-the-art space in Lake Forest (724 N. Western Ave.) The new space, the chain's 25th, showcases many of the unique eyewear
collections for which Spex is known. “Lake Forest has a lot to offer; there’s a vibrant mix of shopping in the Square. We’re very happy to bring our unique eyewear and our state-of-the-art Spex Wellness exam to Lake Forest. Our Spex experience is an attractive option for anyone seeking stylish eyewear delivered with friendly customer service” states darling Director of Marketing and one of Splash's hottest singles, Michael Caputo.
Playboy's Midsummer Night's Dream party was held at the famed Holmby Hills Mansion on Saturday, August 1. As always, Hef gathered together all the beautiful, usual suspects for a night filled with sexy lingerie, cocktails and a menu prepared by the
Mansion's awesome Executive Chef. This annual extravaganza is considered one of his top parties and this year was no exception. Glam Playmates, actors and actresses, comedians, rap stars and more all clamor to be on the invite list. And even though
tickets are now sold to many of these parties (gotta pay the bills dontcha know?), it's still one damn exciting event. My "boots on the ground" friends, Aubree and Brett Connors had a blast (I do believe Brett was one of the last to leave). In the game house, Aubree took
the opportunity to play a game of pinball on her mom, Patti McGuire Connors', iconic machine that also featured fellow Playmate and Hef's girlfriend at the time Sondra Theodore.
This year’s party was inspired by an enchanted forest with the Mansion transformed into a "wonderland of sexiness and fantasy." Crystal Hefner (aka Mrs. Hugh Hefner) spun the opening DJ set and dancing ensued. (To see last year's hot party featuring PITBULL, see video below!) Some of the Mansion parties are handled by VIP Exclusives, so if you're interested in attending one, check out this site (Halloween will be their next one at the Mansion!) If you weren't on Hef's guest list, tickets for this year's MSND party sold for $3950.
And speaking of Playboy! I've finally been given a date for my Antiques Roadshow appearance! If you recall, I had some of my Playboy memorabilia appraised and, let's just say, I was happy with the outcome! To find out just HOW happy, tune in on Monday, October 19, at 8 pm central. :-) (Thank you Hef!)
More Playboy news--I hate to give Holly Madison's "book" any press, but I have to share my thoughts on "Down the Rabbit Hole--Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a
Former Playboy Bunny." First of all, let's get one thing clear, Holly was never a Playboy Bunny. She might've worn the costume for photo shoots or promos, but she NEVER worked
in a Club, which is the only qualifier to be a REAL Bunny. I remember meeting Holly at the Mansion when I was there to film a segment of "The Girls Next Door" with my bestie, Patti McGuire Connors. She was so
excited and couldn't wait to get to work painting bunnies on Hef's guest-rooms on the property. I also recall a very reputable "insider" sharing with me that Holly called Hef
immediately after his wedding went awry with Crystal (they are happily married now) to "console" him and then went on television defending him at every opportunity. This doesn't sound like she was that unhappy with her life there. Anyway, that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it!
SHOP IT!! My favorite market, Randolph Street Market, returns on August 29 and 30th to Plumber's Hall, 1340 W. Washington. It's a veritable Aladdin's Cave of vintage treasures with live music and fabulous food! I can't wait! Love Sally Schwartz!
Join Cubs Manager Joe Maddon and Cubs players ringside for a charity boxing event, "Joe Maddon's Main Event," to benefit Chicago's youth on Wednesday, September 2, at Ravenswood Event Center, 4011 Ravenswood Ave. Grab a tux and sneakers for an unforgettable night of
amateur boxing, great food and giving back! The event will feature several local youth boxers at various skill levels as well as a special main event bout. Cocktails, hand-rolled cigars, spirits tasting stations, a delicious dinner courtesy of Gibsons Bar &
Steakhouse and a premium auction including wine and unique sports memorabilia will round out this exciting evening. The night will help provide Chicago's inner city children and young adults with opportunities to develop championship attitudes through sports while
Chef Art Smith and Jesus Salgueiro's Common Threads will host its 5th annual Cook-Off on Thursday, October 1, at Revel
Downtown (440 W. Randolph). 100% of the proceeds will support Common Threads' programming, which provides preventative health program solutions to under-served communities through hands-on cooking and nutrition education. More than 30 top restaurants will participate! For tickets and more info, click here!
ChildServ, Chicagoland’s oldest child and family services non-profit organization, is hosting “Reds, Whites and Blue”, an intimate wine tasting fundraiser featuring summer wines, meats, cheeses and chocolates. The event will be held on Friday, August 28 at Lush Wines and Spirits, 1412 W. Chicago Avenue from 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. Proceeds will benefit ChildServ’s Illinois Military Family Initiative that aids the families of military veterans in Cook and Lake counties with a goal to help military members, veterans and their families access support and resources needed to regain full participation in civilian life. Hope you can
support this worthy cause. For tickets, $125, and more info, click here.
NBA star Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat), Wade's World Foundation (WWF)and Tragil Wade (WWF executive director) hosted a fundraising reception recently at the Paris Club co-chaired by RJ Melman and Brian Hynes. The event, hosted by ABC 7's Cheryl
Burton and comedian Damon Williams, raised funds for The Wade's World Foundation. The event was a kickoff for the organization's LIVE TO DREAM SUMMER CAMP that supports youth in under-served neighborhoods in Chicago by
exposing them to a diverse range of activities. Aviation exploration, technology, college prep, computer, math & science and physical fitness are all part of the programming. This camp strives to "ignite, expand and nurture the raw talent of the campers." The camp was available to youth from 2nd to 8th grade and was held July 6th through August 4th. For more information, please click here.
With the success of Jeff Cohen's first CAMERA-TALK workshop, he has decided to offer another fun-filled session on Saturday, August 29, from 9 am to noon. This event is for adults only as Jeff, if you don't know, worked for 40+ years in magazine photography and publishing, most of those years working side by side
with the man himself, Hugh Hefner! So besides teaching basic photography mechanics, he will also dish about covering parties at the Chicago Playboy Mansion (and yes, he watched Bill
Cosby in action), working with celebs, photographing Playmates and so much more! And he's got photos to prove it! This is a not-to-miss walk down a very special memory lane in Highland Park (485 Roger Williams Lane). For tickets and more info, call 847.347.2509!
Huge congrats to WCIU's "You & Me This Morning" co-host Jeanne Sparrow, who graduated last week from Northwestern University with a Master of Science in Communication degree!! Catch her and Melissa Forman Monday through Friday from 6 to 9 am on the "U."
I'm a complete and total sucker for cute/clever videos, so this week I have THREE I can't wait to share with you! The first one truly defies animal nature when a fawn and a bunny discover the art of playtime. Steve and Vicky Johnson, volunteers at the YMCA of the Rockies' Estes Park Center, captured this adorable video in front of the Lula W. Dorsey Museum.
Magician, illusionist and endurance artist David Blaine has performed all over the world and I love his work. But of everything I've seen him do, nothing compares to this "trick" involving Harrison Ford from the ABC special "Real or Magic." Watch!
Plus, proof positive that raccoons freakin' love milk!
And last, but certainly not least, congrats to one of the cutest couples we know--Maria and John Basile, who were married on June 28. John is a producer, talent and web streaming expert at Johnny Bones Media Network and Maria is a flutist with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra. A match made in heaven! Congrats lovebirds!
That's all for this week! I hope I've left you with a smile and, as always, if you would like to subscribe to my blog, please click here! My list is never shared and it's completely spam-free.
Have a happy end-of-summer!
Love, as always,