PLUS MARIA PINTO CELEBRATES 25; ADLER HAS A BALL; THE WORLD'S MOST ELEGANT BLOCK PARTY; MICHELLE'S CHICAGO CHAPTER; RUSSIAN TV AND ME; MICKEY AND ROONEY GO TO THE DOGS ON "YOU & ME"; LIZ AND TOM HOST "FIELD AT THE GRIDIRON"; DANCE FOR LIFE; DISA AND JOHN SITTING IN A TREE; CHERYL AND AL'S FOREVER LOVE; MUSINGS ON SUMMER; VIDEOS TO MAKE YOU SMILE AND SO MUCH MORE!
It was a doggone good time at The Peninsula on September 8 when the FIRST Haute Dog Chicago, a darling doggie fashion show, was held to benefit Canine Companions for Independence. This noble non-profit provides highly trained assistance dogs, and ongoing support, for disabled children, adults and veterans FREE of charge! Local celebs and their
furry friends modeled human fashions from Contessa Bottega and doggie attire from The Tails in the City. The evening began with a reception on the terrace where guests enjoyed gorgeous weather and posing beside a 12 foot inflatable Canine Companion replica. There was
even a tiny potty area (courtesy of Pet Patio Pickup) complete with the prerequisite red fire plug. The runway fashion show, emceed by Amour Genesis, featured models Kristina McGrath (with Harley and Coco); Lakesha Rose (with Coco); Jan Flanagan (with Bella); Mary Lasky (with Ezra); Cheri Lawrence (with Bentley); Angie DeMars (with
Pawla); Kim Gleeson (with Spencer) and Sherrill Bodine (with a darling Canine Companion dog). Joffrey Ballet dancers Jeraldine Mendoza and Dylan Gutierrez provided an exciting flourish for their runway walk, also with a Canine Companion dog. At the end of the catwalk, errrr
dogwalk, Dylan hoisted Jeraldine in a daring lift as the audience gasped, oohed, ahhed and applauded. Megan Koester, Canine Companions for Independence North Central Region ED, shared info about the organization. She told the crowd it takes two years to train a dog at a cost of approximately $50,000 and that the nonprofit is the largest of its kind in the country with six regional training centers. A highlight of the event was
meeting Janie Mejias. Confined to a wheelchair, she demonstrated how her service dog Haven has changed her life. Fighting back tears, she said, "Because of him, I wake up every day with a smile on my face." There wasn't a dry eye in the house after she finished to rousing applause and a standing ovation. The fashion show was produced by ZZAZZ Productions and
sponsored by Piper Jaffray, Mel Gottlieb, Tails in the City, The Peninsula Chicago and Contessa Bottega. It was a great time for a wonderful cause and Rooney Jordan and I were thrilled to be included as co-hosts! (Photos by Marcin Cymmer).
Noted and beloved Chicago fashion designer Maria Pinto celebrated the opening of her exhibition, "Maria Pinto 25 Years," at City Gallery in the historic Water Tower on September 10. In collaboration with the Chicago Department of Cultural
Affairs and Special Events, the exhibition celebrates Pinto’s first 25 years of working at the intersection of art and fashion in and features a rotating display of garments from Pinto’s archive, along with fashion photography from many Chicago-based collaborators, such
as Sandro Miller, Brian Kuhlmann, Jeff Stella, Nathan Beckner, and Yuya Ohashi. A centerpiece of the exhibition is a series of photographs shot by Miller that features a new capsule collection Pinto designed for her ready-to-wear label, M2057 by Maria Pinto. This capsule will
be the first M2057 collection to show pieces in luxe stretch leather. A self-professed “fabric junkie,” Ms. Pinto also created a fabric gallery displaying the myriad materials, colors, and textures she has used in her designs over the years. At the opening reception, Pinto discussed
her evolution as a designer with over 80 guests who enjoyed an exclusive first-look of the exhibition which opened to the public on September 10. Following the opening, guests were treated to a private VIP party at Bernard's at The Waldorf Astoria where models roamed the venue wearing
fashions from Pinto's archive collection. "It has been a pleasure to curate this show, tracing the evolution from luxury to read-to-wear, from rare textiles to high-tech and high function fabrics," Pinto shared. On a
personal note, I've had the honor of wearing some of Maria's exquisite designs. My friends and I are big fans and treasure her pieces that remain in our closets due to their timelessness. Congrats Maria! The show will run through January 8, 2017, at City Gallery Water Tower and is open daily, free admission. (Images courtesy of Maria Pinto and Jeff Schear Visuals)
The Women’s Board of the Adler Planetarium hosted the Adler’s biggest fundraising event of the year, 2016 Celestial Ball, Across the Universe, on September 10. The annual black-tie gala raised more than $1.6 million for
exhibitions, shows and programs that engage the community and inspire young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math
(STEM). President of the Women’s Board, Linda Gerstman and event chair Jacqueline Hawwa welcomed more than 600 guests who enjoyed a cocktail reception,
a silent auction and a dinner accompanied by table-side science demonstrations from the Adler’s teen “Science Sommeliers.” During the event, the Planetarium presented the 2016 Corporate Partner Award to S&C Electric Company, represented by president/CEO Kyle Seymour
and chairman John Estey. S&C was honored for its generous support of ATLAS (Adler Teen Leaders Advancing STEM), and Estey was recognized for his continued leadership and service as a member and former chair of the Adler’s Board of Trustees.
Despite a gloomy weather forecast (and a torrential morning downpour), the 34th annual Evening on Astor fundraiser, “The World’s Most Elegant Block Party,” hosted by the Gold Coast Neighbors
Association was a rain-free (except for an occasional drop or two) and delightful evening. As has become customary for this event, the tables were sold out and the standing-room-only crowd was
lively and engaged. Dancers and music lovers appreciated the ever-popular Michael Lerich Orchestra. Food and drink were plentiful provided by table hosts and varied food purveyors. Food trucks included Bruges Brothers, Da Lobsta, Gino’s Steaks, and Slide Ride. Yogurtland dispensed (you guessed it!) yogurt at a nearby table. Lodge Management stocked and staffed the street side bar
offering wine and soft drinks. Table Award Judges--Mario Stefanini, Mario’s Table owner; Laura Stoll, Barron & Stoll Design owner and Janet Thomas, 3rd Coast Café & Wine Bar owner—had difficult choices to make, but their decisions were excellent and included the
following categories and winners: Wild Card/Most Creative honors went to the Lodge Management table; Best Dressed honors went to the Junior League of Chicago table; Most Casually Elegant was won by the Schwartz/Border table; Most Elegant was won by the Miller/O'Brien table and the Most Neighborly honor went to the Ellafrits table. Dignitaries in attendance included Illinois Senate
President John Cullerton (6th District); 12th District State Representative Sara Feigenholtz; 36th District State Representative Christian Mitchell; Chicago City Clerk Susan Mendoza; 2nd Ward Chicago Alderman Brian Hopkins; 43rd Ward Chicago Alderman Michele Smith; 18th District Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer and 2nd Ward Democratic Committeeman Tim Egan. Congrata to chairman (and GGNA President) Jane Lenkman and her co-chairs Sheila Clarke, Sandie Benen, Chris Ryan, and Dianne Zaubi on a great event! Sponsors included GCNA board member Janice Corley
of The RE/MAX Collection; the Lodge Management Group/Division Street Merchants; WinTrust Bank Old Town; Mario’s Table; CRAVE CUISINE and Public Chicago Hotel. Proceeds from Evening on Astor support the work of the Gold Coast Neighbors Association in protecting, beautifying, and educating people about this historic neighborhood as well as bringing neighbors
Field at the Gridiron, an invite-only event at Soldier Field, was hosted by the Field Museum's Founders' Council co-chairs/trustees
Tom Ricketts and Liz Sharp, along with event co-chairs Ryan S. Rushkin and John E. McGovern III. The evening brought together Field Museum donors, Museum scientists and Bears experts along with nearly 500 guests who enjoyed an up-close-and-personal look at the Field. Even Bears chairman George McCaskey was on
hand to meet invitees. The event featured presentations from 15 Field Museum scientists who were stationed throughout the stadium, a meet-and-greet with former Bears Emery Moorhead, Mike Richardson and James "Big Cat" Williams; access to the locker room, training room, press room, players tunnel and even the opportunity to kick a field goal! And, of course,
there were dino bones, meteorites, live turtles, snakes and scorpions! Guests included Tom and Cecelia Ricketts, John and Jackie Bucksbaum, Connie Keller (Museum Board Chair), Bill Kunkler, Judy Block, Robin
and Mark Tebbe, Liz and Jeff Sharp, Lori and Mike Flannery, Jan and Richard Lariviere (Museum president/CEO), John and Wentworth McGovern, Ryan Ruskin, Carrie McNally and Rick Maechling, Allison Schmidt, Donna and Casey Keller and Kevin and Margie Stineman.
When I received the email, I thought it was a hoax. A lady by the name of Nataliya Mak contacted me saying she was a producer for a TV show, pust govoryat, that airs on the Channel One Network in Russia and would I be available for
an interview. In her email, she said, "We are very touched with you as a person. You are very inspiring to the Russian Community over the world.....etc." Well, she had me at hello with this kind of flattery! Of course, later I found
out she had sent exactly the same message to my fellow Playboy Playmate Janet Lupo (Miss November 1975)! At least she was consistent! Playboy Promotions director James Gonis was contacted for verification of this request. I
also checked with friends of mine who spoke Russian asking them to check out the show. On Wikipedia, it said the program, "Let Them Talk" hosted by Andrey Malakhov, was similar to "Jerry Springer" and one of the top rated shows in the country. I liked the fact that it was so popular. In her email, Nataliya said, "We have an audience of
over 250 million in 190 countries. Our TV show is as popular and big as Oprah Show in United States," but the association with the Springer show still made my hackles go up. In any case, after a lot of back and forth conversations and emails, the verdict came back that this request was legit so I had to take a chance and make a decision. During this time, Nataliya called me several times to explain what the segment would entail and even invited my husband and I
on an all-expense paid trip to Moscow to film the show in person. When I told her this wouldn't be possible at this time, she said she would come to Chicago. So, on September 7, she arrived at my door with a cameraman (Sergei Zhukov who lives in Chicago) to film me showing off the city I love while sharing some of my Playboy memories.
They were both delightful, very professional and well prepared. We filmed in my apt. and I showed them my extensive collection of Playboy memorabilia. They even filmed part of the 1976 Bunny of the Year pageant that was originally televised live on ABC from my VHS tape! Afterwards, we visited the original Playboy Mansion on State Street where I lived for a
while and then I took them to one of my favorite shopping streets (more window-shopping than actual shopping), Oak Street. I also introduced them to one of my top restaurants, Chicago Cut Steakhouse, where they both
oohed and ahhed over the views from the patio. Co-owner David Flom even said a few words on camera. As far as the finished product, who knows? I may wind up with my words being twisted around in Russian and wearing a mustache, but for now, I'm very satisfied and hopeful that the interview will be produced in a positive light. It was a fun experience sharing my memories. Thanks
again Nataliya and Sergei!
Chicago Dancers United hosted more than 2,400 guests to celebrate the momentous 25th Anniversary of Dance for Life on August 20. The special evening began with an elegant gala at the Hilton Chicago and
continued at the historic Auditorium Theatre where some of the most renowned-Chicago dance companies performed on the same stage for one night only. Raising more than $425,000 in 2016— $100,000 of which went to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago—Dance for Life has
raised a total of $6 million since its inception. “Over the past 25 years, Dance for Life has touched an overwhelming amount of people both directly and indirectly, said Chicago
Dancers United executive director Anthony Guerrero. “To see so many of those people, friends from near and far, come together to celebrate the impact that this event has made, was truly magical, and it was inspiring to see the individuals who helped
carry on Dance for Life and will continue to do so.” The celebratory evening began at 5:00 p.m. at the Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan) with a beautiful Gala reception welcoming old and new friends. Following the reception, guests
made their way over to the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University for the highly anticipated performance. As the massive crowd took their seats, guests were treated to the debut of Audience Architects’
“Every Day is a Dance” video, melding comedy and dance to highlight the power of performance in everyday life. Giordano Dance Chicago, the only company to have performed in all 25 years of Dance for Life, took the stage first with Gus Giordano’s
signature “Sing, Sing, Sing” and were followed by incredible performances from the Joffrey Ballet (“Round of Angels”—the first piece they ever performed at Dance for Life), Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (“Solo Echo”), Visceral Dance Chicago (“VITAL”—featuring live music
by Peter Ferry) and Chicago Dance Crash (“Heard That”). Closing out the first act of the performance, Harrison McEldowney and Jeremy Plummer’s world premiere piece “Purple Medley,” featuring music by Prince; then, in true Dance for Life tradition, Randy
Duncan’s world premiere of “Depth of Light” featuring dancers from the entire Chicago dance community capped off the celebratory evening. Hosts Carisa Barreca and Tim Mason
from The Second City took the stage throughout the performance and helped pay tribute to long-time supporters of Dance for Life Fred Eychaner, Barbara Kipper and Scott
Silberstein and Matt Hoffman with HMS Media. The event was founded in 1991, after Keith Elliott, a member of Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre (JHCDT), lost many close friends and dance colleagues to HIV and AIDS. He took it
upon himself to rally his fellow dancers and take an active role in preventing the spread of the disease. Together with friend Todd Kiech, JHCDT Associate Artistic Director Harriet Ross, HIV/AIDS community
activist and skilled fundraiser Danny Kopelson and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago executive director Gail Kalver, the small group worked together to bring Chicago’s dance community together, for one night only – to raise money and…Dance for Life. The mission of Chicago Dancers United is to mobilize Chicago’s dance community to support organizations and dance community professionals dealing with critical health issues including, but not limited to, HIV/AIDS, through
the art of dance.
On another filming note, I was excited to be included in a new feature on WCIU's "You & Me" (my FAVE show!) called "ChiDOGoan". This cute concept films people and their doggies so, of course, Mickey and Rooney were thrilled! Producer/videographer
Jackie Kostek came to our home last week and we did the shoot. My "kids" were on their best behavior and greeted Jackie at the door in red bandanas. She had some great
questions and Rooney did his imitation of "Little Edie of Grey Gardens" for the camera as well as his favorite, "Fred Astaire in a Top Hat." The segment aired today, click here, for cuteness overload. Arf! Arf! Thanks for thinking of us "You & Me"! :-) To see more pics click here!
On fairytale weddings and forever love, that's definitely in the air! Chuck and I have recently attended not one, but two, dream weddings of dear friends. The first wedding took place at the beautiful First United Methodist Church--Chicago Temple, on
September 2 between Cheryl Pearson-McNeil and Albert R. Grace, Jr. And although this wasn't the first marriage for either, it was a blessed union and most definitely destined to be. I don't think I've ever seen a bride more excited. Her social media feed read like a how-to for wedding planning. She
shared her excitement, her dreams and her hopes for all to see. It was so inspiring. I especially loved this bit of advice she shared following her wedding and final night of her honeymoon in the South of France (Monte-Carlo at Le Hermitage if you must know!) "Our
last night in France and you know what he, my dearest husband, just said to me? 'I have just one regret....that we didn't meet much sooner in life.' He made me cry. Such an exquisite time these last 10 days have been. And I want to say to every hopeful person out there
who has ever had your heart broken -- mowed over, backed up on -- and run over again; to every single girl who has kissed more frogs than any human being should be allowed to kiss; to every person who has been stood up, forgotten, or left behind; to every single mom who has had to be mother, father, chauffeur, nurse and chef while
holding down a full time job; to every career girl who has ever been told you're too intimidating, bossy or demanding; to every woman over 50 who thinks you're too old to ever love that way again; to every guy who has ever made you feel like you are not tall enough, sexy enough, smart
enough to deserve an "It" girl or that being a "nice guy" gets you nowhere... I am here to tell each and every one of you -- do NOT ever stop believing in love. Because LOVE with truth, honesty and respect TRUMPS ALL!! I promise you there is NOTHING better. Now, I'm only 10 days in, but with every instinctive
fiber of my being I know this to be true. See ya'll tomorrow when we're back in the states and Al says he REALLY starts working on making our happily-ever-after dreams come true!!" Cheryl and Al's wedding reception took place at the
elegant Drake Hotel and it was everything a bride could dream of. The Gold Coast Room looked dramatic with long tables set side by side drenched in flowers and flickering candlelight. Everyone who was anyone seemed to be there. Her bridesmaids entered the
room in their "pretty in pink" evening gowns and included maid of honor, Joyce Davis, Theresa Brown, Cheryl Burton, Camille Edwards, Monica Gil, Elizabeth Gooden, Mellody Spann Cooper and Margo Whitfield. Cheryl was escorted down the aisle by her handsome son Kenneth Carl
McNeil II and Al was attended by his son Albert R. Grace III. It was truly a family affair. Following the "jumping of the broom" ceremony, dramatically conducted by Cheryl Burton, the crowd took their seats for toasts. One
of my favorite parts of the night, was watching Cheryl and her son dancing together to "Whip, Whip, Nae Nae." (They need their own show!) It was a night for
merrymaking, joy and lots of love and hugs for Cheryl and Al who made everyone in the room feel like family. I hope happiness and laughter follows them wherever they go. (To see their first moments as Mr. and Mrs., click here!)
The second fairytale wedding took place on September 10 when childhood sweethearts Disa DiBuono wed John Simpson IV at a gorgeous ceremony at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii. The Shrine, where her twin sister Darci DiBuono and Phillip Pinello were also wed, was draped in pale lavender fabric from the gilded ceiling to the
wooden pews. A breeze blew through the stained glass windows on this perfect summer day and all was right with the world. Nothing makes me happier than attending weddings of friends and Chuck always has to carry a hanky with him for me for these special, heart-tugging occasions. Disa glided down the aisle in an exquisite Monique Lhuillier gown on the arm of her handsome dad, Joey DiBuono. Her mom, Tracey
Tarantino DiBuono, was clad in a gorgeous, purple Elda de la Rosa gown and I saw that she needed a hanky pretty frequently too. The beautiful ceremony was presided over by Father Patrick Marshall (who injected delightful doses of humor into the ceremony) along with Father John Costello. Disa's matron of honor was, of
course, her twin sis Darci and John was attended by his brother Ryan Ransford. Ten bridesmaids accompanied Darci, all dressed in glamorous deep purple gowns. Following the ceremony, attendees and the newly extended family gathered on the steps for a group photo before the happy couple were whisked away in a cool, cream colored Rolls-Royce convertible. The reception took
place at the elegant Butterfield Country Club. Following cocktails on the terrace, guests wended their way to a huge tent (you could see it from miles around and it was the first time the Club allowed
something like this to happen on its grounds). The pathway was lit by glowing lanterns with a blazing sunset that made for dramatic photo opps. There was a jam up at the entrance to the tent as guests
stopped and swiveled their heads this way and that oohing and aahing over the exquisite decor by Kehoe Designs. (To see the room,
click here!) The chandeliers, table decor and the drama of the tent was fit for royalty, which Disa and John most certainly are. It was a privilege to be there and witness the joy and love this close-knit family shares. And since
mom Tracey is a crack choreographer, you knew something special had been planned on the dance floor and, sure enough, Disa's dance with her dad was something Fred Astaire would've been envious of. (Watch their exciting, "Too Hot", dance here!) I wish them a lifetime of love and we're proud to call them our friends. Wish Tracey and Joey would adopt us. :-)
Congrats are in order for Michelle Durpetti, (Michelle Durpetti Events) who recently became president of the Wish Upon a Wedding, Chicago Chapter! This non-profit grants weddings and vow renewals for couples facing serious illness or a life-altering circumstance. WUW, a national organization, grants wishes all over the country with the assistance of local city chapters. (To learn more,
click here). This year, WUW's annual "Wish Upon a Wedding Gala" will take place on Monday, November 7, at Morgan Manufacturing. Michelle shared, "I'm so proud to be a part of something that has brought some hope, a little normalcy, a lot of love,
happiness and memories into the lives of people who are fighting every day to be here with their loved ones." Awwww, love this!
I hope you've enjoyed this latest edition of Candid Candace. I feel a little bit of fall in the air now and it makes me both happy and sad. I love cooler weather and the brilliant change of color on our foliage but I also hate to leave another summer behind, so many memories to pack away. And yet, I do feel the excitement another season brings--to read all about it and to share the joy, make sure to subscribe to my little blog here!
Love, as always,
P.S. And, of course, something to leave you with a smile on your face!