LSCRF's WILLY WONKY-STYLE PARTY; A PLAYBOY RANT ON "YOU & ME"; FIRST LOOK FOR CHARITY AT THE AUTO SHOW; CRYSTAL HEART BALL; JOHN'S BIG BIRTHDAY; NORTHWESTERN HOSPITAL'S AWARD WINNERS; SPORTS ILLUSTRATED MAG MAKES HISTORY; CYSO GALA; "WOMEN ON THE MOVE" HONORS WENDY; WEDBASH WITH DERRICK; A PARTY FOR YVETTE; ICE SKATING FOR A GOOD CAUSE; UPCOMING EVENTS; FUN-FILLED VIDEOS AND SO MUCH MORE!
Urban Initiatives (UI), a non-profit that provides programs for at-risk youth that engage them in sports and play within a safe and inclusive environment, hosted its 10th Anniversary Soccer Ball presented by Allstate. This fun-filled event's proceeds will directly help fund UI’s
health and education programs and help them expand into additional Chicago Public Schools. The Ball took place at Morgan Manufacturing with nearly
1,100 guests. They enjoyed a night of philanthropy complete with dancing, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a loaded silent auction. UI recognized civic leaders who actively make a positive impact in Chicago. Storck USA was presented with the Soccer Ball
Award for its commitment to Urban Initiatives for over 7 years. The Hirshman Family from Northbrook received the Paula Armstrong Memorial Heart of a Champion Award for their volunteerism through UI’s Board of Directors and Student Board and at UI
partner schools and events throughout Chicago. The Troy Cameron Team Captain of the Year Award was presented to Morton School of Excellence 7th grader Lavell Butler. “This was by far our largest and
most successful Soccer Ball to date,” said Julie Chelovich, the Soccer Ball’s executive producer. “Thousands of children across Chicago will benefit as a result of the support from this event.” Through its programs, UI not only impacts youth in a
positive manner but strengthens the relationship between parents and their schools so that they all become more involved in the child’s life. “What we love about the Soccer Ball,” said Jim Dower, Urban Initiatives’ tireless executive director and co-founder, “is that it galvanizes so many incredible people and organizations around a cause we all believe
in, empowering kids and building stronger community in some of this city’s most under-served neighborhoods. Thanks to our supporters at the Soccer Ball, Urban Initiatives is expanding into two new schools—Barry Elementary and Stevenson Elementary—this spring." The night raised $600,000 through ticket sales, silent auction, and a paddle raise.
Little Company of Mary Hospital’s Foundation hosted its annual Crystal Heart Ball on February 6 at the Field Museum. The emcees were Little Company of Mary’s very own baby alum, Patrick Elwood (WGN Chicago), along with WGN's
Nancy Loo. More than 750 guests danced the night away to the music of the Indigo Orchestra while experiencing international cultures and observing artifacts from ancient Greece. This premiere gala, the largest on Chicago’s Southwest side, raised more than $440,000. Final proceeds will benefit Little Company
of Mary Hospital’s Neonatal Special Care Unit. This year’s Venerable Mary Potter Humanitarian Award was presented to Kerry Ryan Lynch for her Choose Kind
campaign. After Kerry’s daughter, Mary Cate, was diagnosed with Apert Syndrome after birth in December 2011, Kerry earned her "warrior" badge through her devoted care of her infant daughter. Her days were spent intent on improving Mary Cate’s quality of life. In the time that Kerry has taken to educate herself and advocate for her daughter, she
has also been teaching the world about kindness and acceptance. This year, the Sister Nancy Boyle Award for Excellence honoree was the Little Company of Mary Hospital
Pastoral Care Team. These selfless individuals celebrate Little Company of Mary's Heritage and Catholic identity every day, while meeting the diverse spiritual needs of the staff, physicians, patients and their families. Dennis and Jennifer O’Malley were the chairs along with co-chairs Drs. Michael and Karen O’Mara. Guests at the ball enjoyed signature lemon martinis followed by a gourmet meal prepared by Blue Plate Catering. In honor of the Field Museum’s newest premier exhibit, The Greeks, the hospital foundation raffled a grand prize--a trip to Greece for two, won by Frank Cunningham.
I stayed up later than I wanted to just to get a look at Playboy's new covergirl Sarah McDaniel on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. She is, as you know, the first to pose in Playboy's new, "improved"
edition sans nudity. Supposedly, she was chosen due to her Instagram following (299K) and her photographer suggesting her to the magazine. The latest cover has an image of McDaniel taking a selfie with the text "heyyyyy" across the front. First of all, if this is
the new, improved Playboy, count me out now. And, after seeing her interview with Colbert, be assured I am not a fan. From the moment she stepped onto the stage, she was struggling to keep her inappropriate dress from exposing her lady bits. For someone who posed for a non-nude issue, she was certainly making up for it with her attire on this night. Believe me, I'm no prude, I'm a proud PB centerfold (Dec. '79) with a very long history with both Hef and the magazine. I, along with my fellow
Playmate friends, traveled around the country and abroad doing promotions as ambassadors for the magazine. I was one of the six who was also chosen as a brand ambassador for Anheuser Busch's Michelob Light brand which took us into Canada as well, meeting fans.I can tell you now, McDaniel would not pass the Playmate Promo Muster Test after seeing her interviewed by Colbert. Even he
was distracted by her constant tugging at her dress to the point where he offered both duct tape and a napkin for her to use. It was very hard watching her with the memories of the Playmates I know swimming in my head. They all would've aced this
prime time opportunity and left the audience and viewers panting for more. We were chosen as Playmates, not only for our physical attributes, but also for
our ability to connect with fans. I know for a fact that most all did it to perfection too, which is why there are still so many fans yearning for the Playmates of yesteryear. I'm so sorry to see this "new"
direction for Playboy. I know everything and everyone must change with the times or die on the vine, but I feel very strongly that there could've/should've been another way. I know the
magazine is trying to capture the millennial audience, but being inspired by the girls of Instagram just seems stupid. Playboy's CEO Scott Flanders described the recent magazine as "the most highly anticipated issue of Playboy in our history." Oh, please! A recent article stated Hef's son, Cooper Hefner, is against these changes. (Read his article here.) I hope he can help, I sure don't want to see Playboy disappear! (See McDaniel's interview with Colbert below--she comes on at 32:18)
I appeared on WCIU's "You & Me" discussing Playboy's new direction, the recent Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and a few other hot topics. I even got a chance to sneak in a plug for the Chicago Puppy Mill Project Book, with gorgeous photos of Chicagoans and their pets by Karen Morgan. Founded by
Cari Meyers, the Pet Project fights to end puppy mills. Funds from this book will support Millie's Mission, a fund to pay for veterinary bills incurred by pups rescued from the mills. To purchase the $75 book, click here! (To see my Playboy rant on WCIU's "You & Me", click here!)
Congrats to Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Nora Cooney Marra Compassionate Care Award Winners for 2016! The awards honor nurses and doctors for their empathetic
care of cancer patients and the deserving recipients were: Mario J Pineda (MD/PhD, Department of Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Oncology); Erin Pettijohn (MD, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology); and Lauren Socol (MA, LSW, social worker). These individuals were
recognized for setting the standard for compassionate care by combining the highest degree of professional attainment in clinical practice with exceptional sensitivity to the needs of
each patient. The awards were presented by Leonidas Platanias, (MD PhD, Director, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center). Over 210 guests attended the event hosted by the Woman’s Board that established the Compassionate Care Awards in 1991. They were renamed in 2014 in memory of their
beloved former president, Nora Cooney Marra. Congrats to all!
History in the making! Sports Illustrated has chosen three models to grace individual covers for its famous swimsuit issue, all
different sizes including Ashley Graham, a gorgeous plus-size model. Kudos to SI for realizing beauty comes in many different packages! The other two covers will feature Ronda Rousey and Hailey Clauson. (Read all about it here!)
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) presented its annual gala, “The Noteworthy Night: Game On!,” at Chicago’s Four Seasons Hotel with nearly 300 guests in attendance. The event was
chaired by Sheila Johnson, CYSO alumna and vice chairman, and featured performer Wayne Messmer narrating Casey at the Bat accompanied by CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra. Messmer was clad in a Casey-themed Mudville baseball jersey and
the musicians performed wearing baseball caps. Cute! “Sports and music are a natural combination, and having Wayne Messmer and his legendary voice with us tonight is a
dream come true,” said CYSO executive director Joshua Simonds. “All funds raised tonight directly benefits 3,000 students across greater Chicago, and helps to ensure that CYSO continues to be a leader in arts and music education.” Other highlights of the event included sports-themed musical performances by CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra
(under the baton of CYSO Music Director Allen Tinkham) and the presentation of the 2016 “Note of Excellence” award to the Polk Bros. Foundation. The evening began with
formal attired guests serenaded by the sounds of young CYSO Preparatory Strings and Steel Orchestras students. Attendees bid on an exciting selection of more than 140 silent auction
items ranging from exclusive private music lessons with members of the CSO to a Les Paul guitar. Once inside the Four Seasons ballroom, guests were treated to pre-dinner music from CYSO’s award-winning Symphony Orchestra performing Bugler’s Dream and
Olympic Fanfare Medley, along with an introduction of the evening’s “heavy-hitters” to the music of The Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius.” During dinner, partygoers enjoyed a performance of tunes familiar to any sports fan: “Intermezzo Sinfonico” from Cavalleria Rusticana, the theme from
Raging Bull; Henry Mancini’s Chariots of Fire; and “Les Toréadors” from Bad News Bears, along with Charles Ives’ dramatic “Yale-Princeton Football Game,” featuring an unforgettable kazoo chorus provided by the audience. Presentation of the 2016 Note of Excellence Award followed with CYSO Ed Simonds presenting the award to Frank Baiocchi of the Polk Bros. Foundation. The foundation was recognized for its
commitment to improving the quality of life for Chicago families and, in particular, its support of CYSO students since 1990 through its Arts Access and Learning Programs. The final portion of the evening’s musical program featured a Symphony Orchestra ode to “stadium rock.” Well-known sporting event anthems thrilled the crowd, including Queen’s We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions, The Fratelli’s Chelsea Dagger, and Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline.
Now, let me tell you about One Perfect Night in Chicago. It started out as a lot of our evenings do, with too many parties booked on the same night, but these were for friends (not for work) and we were committed to going out. Chuck had even
washed the car so we were locked, loaded and ready for fun! The first party was on the Southwest side, a section of town I'd never visited. The drive there was absolutely breathtaking and will be etched in my memory for some time. The sky looked like something straight out of a Van Gogh painting, filled with color, light and shadows. The sunset kept changing the sky with eye-popping
beauty and it was hard to stop shooting Iphone photos. We finally arrived at Justice Anne Burke and Alderman Ed Burke's lovely home. I particularly loved seeing our flags, U.S. and city of Chicago, flapping furiously and fabulously in the wind high atop a very tall flagpole that you could see from blocks away. The dynamic couple had
hosted a book party for the daughter, Yvette Klobuchar, of long-time friends (and noted couturier) Mira Horoszowski and her war hero husband Bogdan (Mosquito) Horoszowski. Everyone was there and before Yvette was introduced, the Alderman, an accomplished pianist, played a lively rendition of the wedding march before she was
introduced along with her first book, "Brides Unveiled." Anne spoke loving words about Yvette, her family and her book which is the story of a young designer (inspired by Yvette's life) and her desire to meet the amusing demands of her bridal shop clientele while longing for a fairytale wedding of her very own (which she has now achieved with her handsome husband Lou). Yvette read an amusing excerpt from her book and then we all enjoyed mixing, mingling and delicious food from Inspired Catering (Karen Stefani's awesome company). Congrats Yvette! Great job!
Next stop, Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue, for a "Woman on the Move Kick-Off Party" chaired by Dusty Stemer. The April 14 event will benefit the National MS Society and honor Neiman's beloved GM, Wendy Krimins. We had a spirited conversation about the ongoing FX series about OJ Simpson's trial. (I learned that Johnny Cochran had told OJ to stop taking his arthritis medication so his
hands would swell before trying on the gloves)!
The Swissotel was our next stop for friend Derrick Taylor's (Taylor & Co.) awesome WedBash. This annual networking event is for all involved in the wedding business, from caterers to event planners to wedding gown designers and more. "Brides" posed on the Red Carpet with attendees as cameras flashed. Inside, it was a
dazzling display of design, decor and culinary delights. Sky-high wedding cakes were on display with sugar flowers that looked so real, you leaned in to smell them. Dancing to Beat Mix Music and an appearance by Aurora
"Joan Rivers" Sexton put the party over the top. On our way to dinner, we stopped in at The Palm Restaurant inside the hotel. There we saw our caricatures were still on the wall from the time the restaurant opened. I barely recognized myself with dark hair but it was fun to return to the scene of the "crime." I had met Chuck
at the original Palm on E. Lake Shore Drive in 1989 so this spot will always hold a special place in my heart. GM Steven Farrahi couldn't have been sweeter and is the perfect host at this delicious dining mecca. We had a taste for oysters, so Shaw's Blue Crab Lounge was our choice for
dinner on this night. While a spirited R & B
band played we enjoyed Naked Cowboy oysters from Long Island,wine and beer. When we returned home, I was on sensory overload. Chicago never ceases to thrill and amaze me. Where in the world could you have a night like this-
-filled with friends, music and so many sights, sounds and tastes you've never experienced before? The Windy City is my Land of Oz and I hope I never lose my ruby slippers.
Chuck and I were honored to be included in John Lanzendorf's 70th birthday celebration recently. His friends/fans feted him at Ping Pong, 3322 N. Broadway, which was closed for this special occasion. Dear
friend, Toomey Gallery's John Walcher was a guest too. Here's his description of John and his remarkable history:"John has
transformed the lives of every person he has ever crossed paths with. If you are lucky enough to have met him, you'll know this to be true. He has done it all, from defying cancer; adopting three sons and putting them through college; he is an ardent
collector and built the world's largest dinosaur art collection and had an exhibit at the Field Museum, in addition to having a dinosaur named after him; raised exotic birds; father of two loving dogs; hair stylist to the stars and all of our very own Chicago gems; and the list could go on endlessly. Adrienne (Lederer) and
Edith (DeMar) are so amazing to throw a celebration of John's birth and of his life every year since he was 50! John always says how much all of us have blessed his life, but it's a two way street and he has blessed ours more than we will ever know. Happy Birthday John!" The night also included John singing Stephen Sondheim's "I'm Still Here", with his
own lyrics, of course! A special touch were T-shirts emblazoned with the words "John Lanzendorf--You Blessed My Life"--gifts for each guest from Chicago Film Fest's Michael Kutza, who was unable to attend. Seen on the scene: Leslie Hindman, Marilyn Alsdorf, Margie Korshak, Greg Moss, Elaine Levinson, Peter Makovicky, Rudyard Sadlier, Jeff Moy, Joan and Bob Feitler, Dr. Robert Dan, Janet and Tom Murphy, Thomas Benimou, Corbin Horn, Andrew Lick, Susan Stein, Joann Nathan, Edward Horner Jr., Doug Van Tress, Chuck and so many others. Happy, happy
birthday to a true Renaissance man, John Lanzendorf! YOU are much loved! (Extra photos by John Walcher :-)
The Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation celebrated the heartfelt 9th Annual “Be My Valentine” Family Event on February 7 at The Ritz-Carlton. The fun-filled, Willy Wonky-style event brought out more than 500 attendees and raised over $100,000 for breast cancer research. This year’s
event was co-chaired by Sarna Lee Goldenberg, Libby Langsdorf and Katie Schwartz. Upon arrival, guests were treated to a delicious brunch buffet featuring French toast fingers, mini bagels, brunch pastries and muffins, a Belgian waffle bar, the “Ritz” macaroni and cheese, crispy
chicken tenderloins with dipping sauces and a Mimosa Bar as well as many Valentine’s activities perfect for the whole family. Viewers, young and old, marveled at true Chicago talent with performances from the Jesse White Tumblers, All About Dance, Art Beat Live, and Ben’s Bubble Show; plus character appearances courtesy of Sparkles Entertainment.
Activity stations included sweets from Sweet Mandy B’s, an ABT game arcade, Foodstirs cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts provided by Sew Crafty, Pixi Girl hair and makeup for kids, Clowning Around
carnival activities by Dale Bloom, experiments with Mad Science, and more entertainment throughout the day. Music was provided by Big Cat Events Group and step-and- repeat photos by Sheri Whitko Photography who also captured these event photos. All proceeds benefited the Lynn
Sage Cancer Research Foundation and went toward breast cancer research, fellowships and education programs at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. Sponsorships were generously
underwritten by the Soren Family Foundation, Daniel and Karen Kales Lee, the Zisook Family Foundation, Northwestern Memorial Foundation, the Kovler Family Foundation, Highland Baking Company and the Rosen Family, Sarah Halack, Katie, Marc, Emma Rose and Olivia Schwartz, Debra Dann Kay, and Meredith Soren Freese and Chad Freese. (Photos by Sheri Whitko)
Man-about-town and beloved philanthropist Marco Foster is hosting a cool party at the Peninsula on Thursday, March 3. How about ice skating on the roof of the Pen to benefit A Silver Lining Foundation? Hosted by Alicia Roman and Marley Kayden, the event will support the organization's free mammography program and include a
cocktail reception, Swirlz Cupcakes and Garrett's Popcorn and ICE SKATING! For tickets and more info, click here!
The 25th annual First Look for Charity, the formal opening night event for the 108th annual Chicago Auto Show,
raised more than $2.6 million for 18 Chicago area charities! The event, that attracted over 9,100 attendees, is as much like Disneyland as it is a first look at over 1,000 new cars and trucks! There were so many interactive experiences including three indoor test tracks,
a Honda "Dreamcatcher" experience that projected your photo onto a screen through a smoke ring, Camp Jeep and its 23,000' ft. track, the Mustang Dynamometer that lets the driver accelerate through all 6 gears and Ford's Simzilla driving simulator. I also saw a singing robot, the Chicago 6 band that featured former Bears Dan Hampton, Otis Wilson and Steve McMichael and so much more. Watch for my Chicago Tribune column coming soon with ALL the fun deets!
Susanin's Auctions will host a sale of our dear Bunky Cushing's estate beginning on March 19 (other auction dates are April 20 and April 30). There will be an exhibition cocktail reception on April 28 from 4-7 pm where his beloved needle-pointed pieces will be available for sale.
Love, as always,
P.S. And just to make you smile......:-)