PLUS DAR'S 125TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY; SPIN'S OPENING BASH; A NEKKED BOOK READING; LEGENDARY LANDMARKS CELEBRATION; SOUTH SHORE SHAKE & STIR; BOB MACKIE HONORED; A FRIEND REMEMBERS FRANK JR.; CHOWDAH FEST WINNERS; SEEING HOPE TOGETHER WITH BOND GIRLS AND SPEX; THE PRESENCE BALL; YVETTE IN TIME; DIFFA'S BURLESQUE PARTY; YOUTH OF THE YEAR WINNERS; BATON'S 47TH; SERVICE CLUB'S HAT LUNCHEON; MDA'S "TOAST TO LIFE"; VIDEOS TO MAKE YOU SMILE AND SO MUCH MORE!
The Old Masters Society hosted an opening night gala to celebrate the Art Institute of Chicago's latest exhibition, Van Gogh's Bedrooms. Curated by Gloria Groom (Chairman of the Dept. of European Paintings & Sculpture), the exhibition is the first ever
dedicated to Vincent van Gogh's Bedroom paintings, considered the most famous bedroom depicted in art. It features three oil-on-canvas paintings of Van Gogh's "Bedroom in Arles" along with 36 paintings, drawings and letters illustrated by the artist. The festive, black-tie evening
began with cocktails on the Grand Staircase in Griffin Hall followed by an exclusive viewing of the exhibition and dinner in Griffin Court. The decor perfectly echoed the event's theme. Planned by Laurie Bay in collaboration with John Hensel of HMR Designs, the decor featured a projection of Van Gogh's Starry Night that covered the entire west wall, while his Night Cafe was projected on the east wall. Six large Cyprus trees were "planted" in the Court and tables held pottery pitchers filled with bunches of sunflowers. Guests posed against a
backdrop of the famous bedroom, taking home photos in addition to lavish Sotheby's goodie bags that included the exhibition catalogue written by Groom. Some partygoers got into the spirit of Van Gogh too like Axel Ruger, Director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, who wore a sunflower-patterned dinner jacket. Diana Senior wore a sunflower corsage while husband Richard sported a matching boutonniere. Two of the artist's relatives, Willem van Gogh, his great grand nephew, and Machteld van Laer, his great grand niece, flew in from Amsterdam for the party. They served as honorary chairs along with Vincent Floreani, Consul General of France in Chicago, and Klaas van der Tempel, Consul General of the
Netherlands in Chicago. Following dinner, Groom, toasted Douglas Druick, retiring Art Institute President/Director and his successor James Rondeau. The exhibition will run through May 10 and, besides the paintings, includes an exact reproduction of the bedroom, some of his paints and brushes and examples of the artist's ephemera including birds' nests.
SPiN, the ping pong social club co-founded by Susan Sarandon, made its official debut on March 10, at 344 N. State St. with a private VIP celebration in partnership with Esquire and White Girl Rosé. Chuck and I attended and the crowd scene was insane! Who knew ping pong was
so popular? A red carpet led guests into the 16,000 sq-ft. space where they helped toast the club's mission of supporting underprivileged youth and, of course, PING PONG! Spotted at the star-studded event were
familiar faces, including CHICAGO PD cast Sophia Bush, Jesse Lee Soffer, Brian Geraghty and Marina Squerciati. Sarandon was scheduled to host the event, but
unfortunately had an injury while hiking in Columbia that prevented her from attending. She recorded a video message for guests along with SPiN CEO Pieter Vanermen who expressed gratitude for the support from the local community on SPiN’s mission to give back. Ping pong
enthusiasts enjoyed two special shows that featured Josh "The Fat Jewish" Ostrovsky who played a thrilling game against ping pong champion Soo Yeon Lee, and the ‘Dirty Dozen’ in which notable SPiN pros including ping pong showman, Wally
Green, and Kazuyuki Yokoyama, the best defensive player in America, went head-to-head for a crowd-pleasing match. Another opening match featured Alex Perez and Malin Pettersson (the lady won!) The evening also highlighted an electric performance by singer and beatbox sensation KRFNX (Terry Im) with music spun by DJ Luxxury. Guests sipped on
cocktails concocted by mixologist Benjamin Newby with small bites prepared by Chef Ariel Bagadiong. In partnership with STIGA, SPiN donated world-class ping pong tables to two
Chicago Public Schools-- Jacob Beidler Elementary in East Garfield Park and Dulles School of Excellence in Englewood, and also to the non-profit, Breakthrough Urban Ministries in East Garfield Park. And YOU thought you were having fun playing table tennis in your parents'
Leslie Zemeckis, author/actress/director/producer/award-winning documentarian and wife of famed filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, will host a reading of her latest book, Goddess of Love Incarnate in Chicago on Friday, April
1, 7:30 at 4001 Ravenswood. This book showcases the life and times of the "highest paid stripteaser in America", Lili St. Cyr, and is the definitive biography of this legendary figure done with the cooperation of Lili’s only surviving sister. Lili led an incredible life—six marriages, romances with Orson Wells, Yul Brynner, Vic Damone, arrests on indecency charges, a number of suicide attempts —all alongside great fame and money. A bigger star than Gypsy Rose Lee, Lili was named one of the world’s ten most beautiful women alongside Ava Gardner and Brigitte Bardot. Yet she lost it all, becoming a recluse in her final decades. Now this won't be an ordinary book signing, oh nooooo. Leslie will host the reading at Studio L'amour where its burlesque stars will read "nekked" from the book for fans. I told her I didn't think she would have a problem attracting a crowd. The event is open to the public on Friday, April 1st, 4001 Ravenswood, Studio L'amour, at 7:30. (See a clip of Lili here!)
Celebrating its legacy as the first DAR Chapter in the nation, the Chicago Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution held an Afternoon Tea in the Gold Coast Ballroom at The Drake Hotel on Sunday, March 13. The 125th Anniversary Tea,
planned by committee chair, Jennifer Sutton Brieva, and fellow members B.A. Church and Karen Seda, was a celebration of the Chapter's
legacy of community service and role as the first Chapter in the NSDAR organization. Among the 270 attendees were President General Lynn Forney Young, Illinois State
Regent Sharon Crumbaker Frizzell, as well as DAR members and guests from 16 states and 61 Chapters. The Chicago Chapter has 252 active members and is the largest DAR Chapter in the state of Illinois. In proclamations declaring the day in their honor,
Mayor Emanuel, "urged all Chicagoans to always remember and reaffirm the ideals and freedoms set forth by this world renowned society." Illinois Governor Rauner cited Chicago Chapter's "significant contributions to the Society through its patriotism, education, the preservation of history, and honoring the
spirit of the men and women who achieved American independence." Chapter Regent Traci Martinez attributes the success of Chicago Chapter to its founders' vision and
determination, as well as to the dedication of their members throughout the years. "Originally organized by the social elite of Chicago, such as Bertha Honoré Palmer, founders recognized that the goals of the DAR needed
to be more than just words, but a call-to-action. Its women have given aid to active-duty forces and veterans of wars from the Spanish-American to current conflicts. It still gives medals to JROTC cadets, supports six DAR-sponsored schools and offers educational scholarships to students. Last year,
they volunteered at the Camp Douglas archeological dig. Working toward the traditional DAR goals of historic preservation, education and patriotism, they also focus on a variety of areas such as conservation, women's issues and genealogy." The keynote speaker was multiple Emmy Award-winning composer Brian D. Siewert. A book entitled Articles & Artifacts from the Archives,
compiled by Chapter Historian Peggy Forney Becker, was published to mark the occasion using materials from historical archives. (As a side note, the group photo of the luncheon is an exact replica of another DAR luncheon at the Drake taken on the same date, March 13, in 1958!) Event chair Jennifer Sutton Brieva explained her history with the organization. "DAR is an organization that the women in our family have been involved with for several generations. We are very
proud of what our patriots did for all of us in the name of freedom," she shared. (Photos by Nicee Martin).
Landmarks Illinois, the state’s leading advocate for the preservation of historic places and neighborhoods, marked its 11th annual “Legendary Landmarks Celebration” on March 7th, awarding “landmark” status
to three of Chicago’s most respected civic and cultural leaders: business leader and philanthropist Col. Jennifer N. Pritzker;
The Neal Family (Isobel Neal, Jeanette Sublett and Langdon Neal), and construction firm W.E. O’Neil. Chuck and I happily attended as guests of past Legendary Landmark Leslie Hindman since this night is always inspiring witnessing the people who
make Chicago, CHICAGO! Over 735 guests filled the Chicago Hilton Grand Ballroom raising over $750,000 to support the programs of Landmarks Illinois and to celebrate the honorees. Bonnie McDonald, President/CEO of Landmarks
Illinois, thanked the supporters and said,"Our mission as 'people saving places' is only fulfilled through their generous contributions and this event shows there is overwhelming interest in our impact.” The first honoree, Colonel Pritzker, was thanked for her dedication to the preservation of notable Chicago landmarks such as the Emil Bach House and the Monroe Building. Her emphasis on leveraging historic preservation as an economic development tool has produced an
impressive list of preservation success stories. Pritzker was introduced by Illinois Institute of Technology President Emeritus Lew Collens. Next up, the Neal family of Chicago, who was honored as the first family ‘Legendary Landmark’ for their collective impact on the physical and cultural landscape of the city. Isobel Neal, Langdon Neal, and Jeanette Sublett were introduced by Joan Harris, President of the Irving Harris Foundation. And lastly, the Corporate Landmark award to W.E. O’Neil. Mike Faron, chairman of W.E. O’Neil Chicago, received the honor on behalf of the company, which during its 90-year history
has restored some of the city’s most historic buildings. Dan McCaffery, President of McCaffery Interests, presented the award to Faron. Chicago architecture critic and photographer Lee Bey acted as the evening’s emcee. Event co-chairs were past Legendary Landmark honorees Joe Antunovich, AIA, founder and president of Antunovich Associates; Lew Collens, president emeritus of Illinois Institute of Technology and Dan McCaffery, CEO of McCaffery Interests. The Celebration Host Committee, chaired by Sandra Rand, included Joe Antunovich, Madeline Gelis, Shelley Gorson, Frieda Ireland, Janet Rotner, Karen Prieur, and Martin V. Sinclair, Jr. Past Legendary Landmarks in attendance included Joe Antunovich, Allan Bulley, Jr., Richard Driehaus, Lee Flaherty, Leslie Hindman, Michael Kutza, Erica Mann Ramis on behalf of Harold Ramis, John McCarter, Jr., Jane Sahlins, Victor Skrebneski, and John Vinci.
Dignitaries in attendance included Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Chicago Planning Commissioner David Reifman, Deputy Commissioner Eleanor Gorski, and Chicago Landmarks Commissioner Juan Gabriel Moreno and many more. Congrats to all the honorees and thanks for making/keeping our city great! (Photos by Diane White Alexander Photography)
Chicago Youth Centers (CYC), Chicago’s largest independent youth and family services organization, held South Shore Shake & Stir on March 18 at the historic South Shore Cultural Center with nearly 300 in attendance. The event celebrated and raised funds for CYC-Rebecca K. Crown Youth Center (CYC-Crown) and its work with children and families in South Shore. Several local community leaders attended the event including the event’s honorary chairs, 7th Ward Alderman Gregory I. Mitchell and Allyson Scrutchens, a former operations and program manager at the South Shore Chamber of Commerce. Shaken or stirred, the bartenders had everyone covered at this premiere spring event with a James Bond theme. Under soaring ceilings and chandeliers, guests enjoyed cocktails, bites from Boka Catering, an extensive silent auction, and the highly anticipated return of Chicago Catz who had guests moving and shakin' on the dance floor. VIP guests enjoyed an exclusive cocktail hour with a meet-and-greet with South Shore community leaders, signature drinks, a mixology class and a gift bag featuring gifts made by CYC children. The event raised more than $50,000 to benefit the Centers that support the development of high-achieving kids in the city's underserved communities by providing them with the tools they need to achieve their goals in school, life and, ultimately, the workforce. Currently, the CYC serves more than 4,000 children and families each year at its seven neighborhood facilities in the west and south sides of the city, several partner sites and a camp in Dowagiac, Michigan. (Photos by Greg Inda)
Toast legendary fashion and costume designer Bob Mackie when the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum presents him with their Designer of Excellence Award on Tuesday, April 19, at the Chicago History Museum. Join co-chairs Linda Johnson Rice, Nina Mariano and Robin Loewenberg Tebbe for an elegant evening worthy of Mackie’s style from 6 to 10 p.m. The Designer of Excellence Award is bestowed upon visionary designers who have indelibly left their mark on the fashion world. Mackie joins a distinguished
list of fashion luminaries previously honored by the Costume Council including James Galanos, Christian Lacroix, Sonia Rykiel, Hubert du Givenchy, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, and Ralph Rucci. Guests can enjoy a VIP reception hosted by Laurent Perrier Champagne, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and a seated dinner. Following the award presentation,
acclaimed author and journalist Hal Rubenstein will moderate a discussion with Mackie on his long career that includes work in television, film, theater, home furnishings, ready-to-wear and fragrance. However, he is best known for
his opulent, exquisitely constructed and detailed creations for the stage and runway. Celebrities such as Carol Burnett, Cher, Pink, Jennifer Lopez, The Jackson Five, Barbra Streisand, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, and Elton John have all worn Mackie designs. For tickets and more info, call Mairead O'Malley at 312.799.2118 or email email@example.com.
On March 16, Frank Sinatra Jr. died unexpectedly while on tour in Daytona Beach from cardiac arrest. He was 72. Beloved entertainer and Harvey native, Tom Dreesen, spent a lot of time with him and his legendary father. This is what he
had to say in tribute: "For 14 years I toured with Frank Sinatra as his opening act and for the last 7 of those years his son Frank Jr. toured with him as his conductor. He came to the show every night so well prepared. The
band was well rehearsed and he would lay out the songs for his father to sing and would often change them up to keep his dad sharp in the later years. I know it comforted his dad that his son was behind him every show. In all the years I
toured with Frank Sr., he only cancelled twice because of a bad throat and both times Frank Jr. stepped up and knocked the audience out. He was a good singer and a good musician. At his dad's funeral, several people got up to speak, including myself, but no one was as eloquent as Frank Jr. who spoke from the heart and
mesmerized all who were there. He left us too soon, but will be with his Father once again. Rest in Peace my friend."
Chowdah Fest returned for its 6th year to the Columbia Yacht Club on March 7. Judges Ji Suk Yi (Windy City Live) and Doug Sohn (Mr. Hot Dog) had their hands full judging the best
chowder in town from a large field of chefs that included --Carlos Gaytan of Mexique, David Dworshak of Bar Takito, Cory Morris of Rural Society, The Mazza brothers of New England Seafood Co., Dirk & Terry Fucik of Dirk’s Fish & Gourmet, Adam Grandt of
Vincent, Johnny Anderes of The Kitchen, J Hart Wolf of Da Lobsta, Tommy Zarlengo ~ Zarlengo & Company, Marita Tantivirasut of Enso Sushi & Bar and CJ
Callahan of Hopleaf. Drumroll pleeeeseeee: Best Traditional New England Clam Winner--Dirk and Terry Fucik of Dirk's Fish & Gourmet, Best Non-Traditional Winner--Marita Tantivirasut of Enso Sushi & Bar AND Fan Favorite Winner--Carlos Gaytan of Mexique! Proceeds supported The Sea Scouts youth sailing program in Chicago. Congrats to ALL! (Mark your calendars for next year's Fest on March 6!)
Spex (MyEyeDr.) joined with the Little City Foundation to host its annual "Seeing Hope Together" fundraiser on March 11 at the Montgomery Club. Marketing director Michael Caputo helped create a magical night that included a James Bond-themed Spex lounge
complete with Bond girls in gold catsuits, sparkly gold decor and a night of good-hearted poker playing for a great cause!
Proceeds supported Little City's mission, that for over 55 years, protects and creates hope for adults and children living with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.
More than 1,000 guests joined some of Chicago’s local heroes, philanthropists and physicians at The Presence Ball, a black-tie gala held at Navy Pier on March 5. In the Grand Ballroom, the theme of the event was
“Heroes Among Us,” and celebrated the everyday heroes who serve with compassion at Presence Health, the largest Catholic health care system in Illinois. The honorary chair was Israel Idonije, former
Chicago Bear, whose foundation parallels Presence Health’s mission of helping underserved communities. The event raised over $1,000,000 to serve the priorities of
Presence Health, including its 350 mission-based programs that support the healthcare needs of the communities served from Evanston to Urbana. “I’ve met so many heroes: physicians, nurses and associates; volunteers, board members and donors; patients, residents and their families who we have the
privilege of serving,” said Presence Health CEO Michael Englehart. “Healthcare is evolving. We are constantly trying to find a balance in an ever-changing landscape. The road ahead will be dynamic for sure, but one thing that will not change is our mission. We
will not waiver from the compassion that is our mission.”
After a months-long journey toward a coveted youth award, Eve Houser, 17, was declared
the winner of the 2016 Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago Youth of the Year competition. Houser, a junior at Northside College Prep School in the Austin neighborhood and a member of the Dr. King
Boys & Girls Club, was awarded the top prize after delivering her speech before judges and an audience of more than 1,000 supporters on March 8, in Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom. The runner up in the Youth of the Year competition is Aeriel Burtley, 16, a junior at the British International School of
Chicago from the Fuller Park neighborhood, and a member of the Jordan Boys & Girls Club. The event raised more than $900,000 – a record for the Youth of the Year event! “The Youth of the Year
competition really brings out the best and brightest among our Club’s youth members,” said Bart McCartin, Vice Chair of Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago’s Board/Youth of the Year event co-chair. “Their sometimes difficult, but uplifting
stories of achievement demonstrate their tenacity and will to overcome any obstacles on the path to success. We are proud of our eight finalists who, with the help of Club staff and mentors, are excelling in school, driving change and improvement in their neighborhoods and
becoming role models for other young people.” Other finalists were Tamaris Dennis, Joanna Burns, Gerardo Abrego, Marcos Matias, Christian Ortega and Bridget Dankwah. Congrats to all these bright, young stars!(Photos by Bob Carl)
The Baton Show Lounge celebrated its 47th anniversary on March 16 with a brand new show! It was great to see all the familiar faces I've seen through
the years at this legendary club at 436 N. Clark. The performers all have an avid group of fans who are very supportive and this night proved it. Chilli Pepper was in her usual rare form as were Maya Douglas, Angel Saez, Sherie Payne, Ginger Grant, Regine Phillips and Victoria La Paige. Newcomer Jacky Ireta Couture blew the doors
off with one of the most dramatic costumes I've seen at the club, a pure white feathered costume with a dramatic Indian headdress, as she lip synced to Cher's song, "Do You Believe in Love." Longtime emcee/performer Ginger Grant had the crowd
in stitches with her version of a Playboy Bunny costume as well as a corset she wore for a number featuring Madonna's song, "Vogue." During the program, owner Jim Flint announced he had considered closing the club until he
heard from his landlord, Al Friedman, who gave him an offer he couldn't refuse and reminded Jim of his importance for helping make the area what it is today. It was a fun night, as always! Happy anniversary to all our friends there! (Wed thru Sunday shows at 8:30, 10:30 and 12:30, 312.644.5269)
The Service Club of Chicago will host its annual hat luncheon, this year themed "Les Chapeaux pour les Femmes", at the Drake Hotel (Gold Coast Room) on May 10. Kathy Brock and Bill Zwecker will judge the attendees' hats in three categories. For tickets and more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) will host its 10th annual "Toast to Life" fundraising event at the Park West (322 W. Armitage) on Friday, April 15. WGN's Dina Bair will serve as emcee for the event that will also honor Ben Byer with the ALS Award for his courageous 100 mile-a-day bike ride across the US after being diagnosed with this disease. He raised awareness as well as $76,000 in donations! Other honorees will include Mesirow Financial, Bally Total Fitness and The Payne Family. For tickets and more info, click here.
It's not every day that a friend gets profiled by TIME Magazine, but that is exactly what happened to local photographer Yvette Marie Dostatni! She was chosen as one of only 28 photographers to be featured in its recent article, "Discover the Unsung American Female Photographers of the Past Century"! Yvette is a Chicago native who has been photographing professionally since the age of 18. Her work has appeared in SPIN, Smart Money Magazine, Shape Magazine, Russian Esquire, National Geographic, Chicago Magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Reader. Her work can also be seen in the Permanent Collection of The Art Institute of Chicago and The Museum of Contemporary Photography's Midwest Photographers Project, also in Chicago. In the year 2000, she was selected as one of eight full-time photographers to document the city of Chicago as part of the Comer Foundation. She is also the winner of numerous documentary photography awards including two consecutive Magazine Photographer of the Year awards for portraiture. Congrats with love to this visual powerhouse! To see more of Yvette's work, click here. (I'm also lucky to have her as one of my Tribune photographers for Candid Candace!)
The Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS/Chicago (DIFFA/Chicago) Auxiliary Board hosted its 4th annual DIFFArence event on March 3, at The Hideout. Following the success of 2014's "Kiss For A DIFFArence" and 2015's "Dance For A DIFFArence," this year's Burlesque theme complemented past DIFFArence events while adding a dramatic flair to emphasize the cause in a fun and exciting new way. The evening featured performances by local, celebrity burlesque dancers from Chicago Starlets and Naughty Little Cabaret. Local personality Kat Sass, with Naughty Little Cabaret, served as the emcee. Raffle items included two, three-day passes to Pitchfork Music Festival, a KOVAL Distillery tour for 25, a private wine tasting for 20 people from Wines for Humanity and more. Proceeds supported the DIFFA/Chicago Excellence In Care Awards that are granted each year to Chicago-area service agencies that provide assistance, education and outreach to those living with HIV/AIDS. (Photos by Lisa Kay Creative Photography)
That's it for this week. I'm so saddened over all the awful news in the world these days. My heart goes out to all those poor victims in Brussels as well as others across the globe. I always like to end my blog on a bright, happy note but times like these can't be ignored. Prayers go out to all those affected and that means all of us.
Love, as always,
P.S. And just to make you smile.....
Doxie cops and robbers:
This just made my day... https://t.co/Or1ezJlWRt— Baby Animals (@BBAnimals) March 23, 2016
The definition of trust:
my heart... this is the definition of trust 😍😭❤ pic.twitter.com/SwIFNsrGnP— Baby Animals (@BBAnimals) March 22, 2016