PLUS BEST HOLIDAY PARTY EVER; SYMPHONY BALL; GENE & GEORGETTI CELEBRATES 75; LOOP ALLIANCE'S ILLUMINATION GALA; CEDARS-SINAI GALA HONORS SYLVESTER STALLONE; FLAIR FASHION SHOW FOR LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND; GOODMAN'S "WONDERFUL" OPENING NIGHT; HOWARD BROWN'S BIG ORANGE BALL; LUXURY GARAGE SALE HOSTS KRISTIN; RIP "COOL GENT"; STARS SHINE AT CURES GALA; SIMPLY FROM THE HEART; RED JACKET OPTIONAL FOR CHICAGO CHILDREN'S CHOIR; USO GALA HONORS ROBIN WILLIAMS; CELEBRATING AN 8 YEAR BLOG ANNIVERSARY!; CARL SANDBURG LITERARY AWARDS GALA; BEST HALLOWEEN COSTUME; VIDEOS AND SOOO MUCH MORE!
It was an epic red carpet, one eligible for the Guinness Book of World Records, when TV legend Dick Wolf and NBC hosted a party in Chicago on October 24 that included cast members from all of his One Chicago franchise: Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago
Med and the upcoming Chicago Justice. Oh, and yes, the cast of "Hamilton" was there too! The private party, held at Swift & Sons in the Fulton Market district, celebrated the 100th episode
of Chicago Fire. After the many stars walked the red carpet, they were ushered into the dining room, along with a couple hundred adoring fans, to cut the cake, a two foot-long fire engine created by Sugar Hills Bakery. Producer Wolf thanked the crowd and Chicago for embracing his One Chicago
series. "The headline is WOW! This show is gonna be around for a long time to come, I truly feel and truly hope. It has fostered One Chicago that has gone beyond my level of expectation and is a dream come true for me...Many of us
have been together for 25 years and I sincerely hope we can achieve here what we have in New York, that these crews will have second generations of the same families
working together...Our cast members care about each other, the women even have a book club! Chicago is a great city, thanks for supporting us...My hope is that in five years, we will be back here to celebrate again," he said. And then it got a little chaotic as Chicago Fire stars Taylor Kinney (Lady
Gaga's ex), Jesse Spencer, Eamonn Walker, Monica Raymund, Yuri Sardarov, David Eigenberg, Kara Kilmer, Joe Minoso, Miranda Rae Mayo, DuShon Brown, Tony Ferraris and Christian Stolte all tried to squeeze in behind
the cake for the photo opp. After all the pics were taken and everyone was blinded by the flashes, guests continued to mix and mingle enjoying a lavish buffet that included a seafood bar, prime rib shaved onsite, mini sliders and more. Other cast members in
attendance included Chicago PD's Sophia Bush, Jesse Lee Soffer, Jason Beghe, Jon Seda, Archie Kao, LaRoyce Hawkins, Marina Squerciati, Elias Koreas and Chicago's own, Amy Morton. From Chicago Med, Nick
Gehlfuss, Torrey DiVitto, Yaya DaCosta, Marlyne Barrett and Colin Donnell attended and Phillip Winchester, Monica Barbaro, Carl Weathers and Joelle Carter represented Chicago Justice. The cast of Hamilton gave a group cheer for our World Series-winning Chicago Cubs during our interview that
included Miguel Cervantes (Hamilton), Wallace Smith (Hercules Mulligan/James Madison), Ari Asfar (Eliza Hamilton), Jonathan Kirkland (George Washington), Chris de Sean
Lee (Marquis de Lafayette /Thomas Jefferson) and Samantha Marie Ware (Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds). Other notables seen on the scene included former Chicago Bears star Israel Idonije, Chicago Fire players Alex Morell, Jonathan Campbell, Joey Calistri and Drew Conner and Check Please! host Catherine De Orio. (See fun video of the party below!) (FAB photos by Mila Samokhina)
The Women’s Board of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) hosted its annual gala, The Symphony Ball, on October 15, capping a year-long celebration of the Orchestra’s 125th anniversary. Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti and the CSO recreated
the very first program performed on October 16 and 17 in 1891. The elegant benefit, which remains the CSOA’s largest fundraiser of the year, raised more than $1.5 million and welcomed a capacity concert audience, as well as approximately
600 guests for the post-concert Gala at the historic Palmer House. CSOA Women’s Board member Laura King and CSOA Life Trustee Jamey Fadim served as event co-chairs. The
evening kicked off with a red carpet reception where guests were greeted by live music from a brass quintet made up of musicians from the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Attendees
enjoyed a pre-concert reception throughout Symphony Center in the Grainger Ballroom, Buntrock Hall and the Rotunda. Musicians in the Percussion Scholarship Program also performed during the pre-concert reception, which was catered by Blue Plate. The centerpiece of Symphony Ball, and the grand finale of the CSO’s 125th anniversary celebrations, was
the evening’s concert in Orchestra Hall. Zell Music Director Muti and the CSO recreated the first program from 1891 that was originally performed in the Auditorium Theatre under the baton of the CSO’s founder and first music director Theodore Thomas.
The diverse program included Wagner’s A Faust Overture, Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 5, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1—featuring Daniil Trifonov, internationally acclaimed Russian pianist and winner of the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition, as soloist—and Dvořák’s Husitská
Overture. Immediately following the concert, gala goers proceeded to the Palmer House for the black-tie celebration that included cocktails and dinner. A path lined with glowing luminaria showed guests the route to the red carpet and
entrance to the hotel’s elegant Main Lobby for cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres. Signaled by a call from CSO herald trumpeters, guests moved to the State Ballroom where a customized boxwood backdrop provided an irresistible photo opportunity. A neon CSO logo on one side and an elegant display highlighting a timeline of
music directors from Theodore Thomas (1891-1905) to Riccardo Muti (2010-present) served as the elegant backdrop and focal point for the overall décor for the evening designed by Revel Décor. A second trumpet fanfare announced dinner in the
Grand Ballroom where tables were topped with spectacular crystal centerpieces filled with red, burgundy, and fuchsia roses set off by candlelight. Also on display in the Grand Ballroom was a fantastic, multi-tiered 125th anniversary cake,
which measured nearly five feet tall! CSOA president Jeff Alexander and CSOA board chair Helen Zell welcomed guests and offered a toast to Muti and the musicians for
their continuing artistic contributions to the Orchestra’s rich musical legacy. Following dinner, Symphony Ball co-chairs King and Fadim thanked guests and invited them to enjoy dancing to the music of Da Fellas in the Grand Ballroom and a selection of decadent desserts and drinks from the espresso bar. Congrats to all!
Chicago’s original and one of our favorite steakhouses, Gene & Georgetti, toasted its 75th anniversary at its Rosemont location (9421 W Higgins Rd) on Sunday, October 16. More than 500 close friends, family and staff gathered to celebrate the special milestone. The evening featured a
performance by the Becca Kaufman Orchestra with a personalized twist on Bob Hope’s Thanks For the Memory. Guests also delighted in a hilarious and heart warming surprise commemorative video that staff from both Chicago and Rosemont
locations filmed to debut that evening, followed by a choral performance by Tina J. Crawley and the TJC Choir. Throughout the night, guests enjoyed delicious passed appetizers by
Executive Chef Luis Quiroz, and sipped on signature cocktails while sharing their personal stories and fond memories of Gene & Georgetti. The event was capped off with
dancing in The Estate ballroom. “My family and I are truly overwhelmed with emotion. This was a party filled with our closest friends and family celebrating the legacy my grandparents, Gene and Ida Michelotti, had started 75 years ago,” stated Managing Partner Michelle Durpetti. “It is with great
pride and immensely humble gratitude that we thank each and every one who has joined us in celebrating this very special anniversary with us.” Here's to 75 more Tony, Marion, Michelle, Rich Ciota and your entire, wonderful staff!
The Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) Foundation welcomed more than 450 guests, including prominent business owners and civic leaders, for Illumination 2016, its
12th annual gala held at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel on October 21. The event grossed more than $213,000 in support of the Foundation that develops, supports and promotes artistic, cultural and public events that benefit businesses, individuals and stakeholders within the Loop. Guests enjoyed an elegant black tie event
that began with a cocktail reception, live music from the Chicago Catz and performance artists from NewMoon. CLA Board Chairman David Broz presented the
CLA Foundation’s 2016 Illumination Award to Melvin L. Katten of Katten Munchen Rosenman in honor of his selfless civic service, commitment to the Loop and continued support of CLA programming. After a lavish three-course dinner, the fun continued into the evening as guests filled the dance floor for more live music and a festive dessert reception with performance artists. The gala co-chairs for Illumination 2016 were Rich Gamble (Brookfield Zoological Society), Brad Mulay (Chicago Title Insurance Company) and Andrea Schwartz (Macy’s).
The elegant Ritz-Carlton was the place to be on Monday, October 17, when The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind hosted its 3rd annual Flair Fashion Show. This year, the event honored darling philanthropist Kristina McGrath and included fall fashions from Anne Fontaine, York Furrier, Macy's (My Stylist), Contessa
Bottega, Karolina Zmarlak, Frances Heffernan and Seattle. Woof in the Wool-Dog Apparel provided chic looks for the canines in the
crowd. Beautiful models who participated included Sheree Valukas, Korinna Isselhardt, Mary Lasky, Patty Nalepa, Darby Hills, Marci Holzer, Holly Twardak, Cookie Cohen, Gale Gottlieb, Toni Canada, Jamie Hague, Cindy Zelby, Lorna Widdes, Tina Weller, Dawn Hale, Sandy Murillo, Terry Longo and Cindy Zelby. Handsome male models included Joe
Ahern, Dominic Calabrese, Michael Smith, Greg Polman and Michael Kolleng. I was thrilled to be a participant and always, always, always love the fashions that Macy's personal stylist Debbi Porter finds for me! (I
bought the cool Anne Klein top I wore). I especially loved the Barguzin sable and Russian broadtail coat that Kathy Rezny allowed me to wear from York Furs! (See it here!) The show,
expertly produced by ZZAZZ Productions, was a hoot from beginning to end, especially backstage
where everyone was mixing and mingling. The event was emceed by ABC-7's Tanja Babich and attracted over 160 guests. Several children with
disabilities, who are enrolled in The Lighthouse's preschool, modeled clothing courtesy of Runway for Dreams, an adaptive apparel line for people with disabilities that has partnered with Tommy Hilfiger. Co-chaired by Jamie Hague (Flair honoree 2015) and Vonita Reescer (Flair honoree 2014), the event raised more than $65,000 to support children's and teen's programs at The Chicago Lighthouse, helping children and adolescents who may be blind, visually impaired or disabled meet developmental and educational
milestones, build supportive relationships and fully participate in their communities. Congrats to all!
Goodman Theatre hosted its annual season benefit to celebrate the opening of Leonard Bernstein's Wonderful Town on September 20. The event, co-chaired by Elaine
Leavenworth, Anthony Maggiore and Patrick Wood-Prince, began with a dinner for 250 guests in Macy's Walnut Room and included remarks
from artistic director Robert Falls, executive director Roche Schulfer and Wonderful Town director Mary Zimmerman. Illinois first Lady Diana Rauner was also in attendance. The show received rave reviews
from the press including “3.5 out of 4 stars” from the Chicago Tribune! A post-show after-party at Petterino's attracted 400 guests. The festive evening raised over $225,000 to benefit the Goodman's productions and education and outreach programs. (To check out further
programming and for more Goodman info, click here!)
And now for some cool party news from the West Coast! The Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors honored Sylvester Stallone with
the Heart of Hollywood Award and Adele and Beny Alagem with the Philanthropic Leadership Award at its 2016 Gala on Oct. 20 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
The sold-out event again featured Jay Leno as host with a performance by Broadway and Glee singing sensation Matthew Morrison. Paul Guerin and Robert Barth served as co-chairs. Nearly 900 guests enjoyed a performance by the UCLA United Voices Choir before being welcomed by the evening’s event chairs, Guerin and Barth. Quipped Guerin, “This gala has become such a hot event that someone
tried to bribe me to get him in by offering me two tickets to ‘Hamilton!’” Noted Barth, “We’re about two and a half years into our challenge to raise $30 million to fund our spectacular new Regenerative Medicine Institute. We’re proud to say that thus far we’ve raised over $15 million and are ahead of schedule.” Jay Leno’s topical humor kept the audience laughing, noting “I love late October in LA. It’s that time of year when we’re haunted by monsters, goblins and other terrifying creatures … but don’t worry, in 19 days the election will be over!” Robert Barth presented the 2016 Heart of Hollywood Award
to Stallone, calling him not only “the Italian Stallion, but also a thoroughbred, the one you’d always be wise to bet on.” A hero off-screen as well as on, Barth noted the support of Stallone and wife Jennifer to Cedars-Sinai including the COACH for Kids program. Guests also enjoyed a spirited live auction featuring a private tour of Jay Leno’s garage housing his collection of rare automobiles; a Crystal Cruise to Alaska; tickets to the 2017 Golden Globe Awards and a vacation in Los Cabos. Proceeds
from the gala will benefit the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute that advances the field of regenerative medicine by translating laboratory discoveries into stem-cell-based treatments for skeletal disorders and diseases of the brain, eye, pancreas, liver and blood.
The Big Orange Ball, the spooktacular Halloween gala benefiting health and social services agency Howard Brown Health, was held at Carnivale in the West Loop on October 22. Over 400 costume clad guests enjoyed scary decor by Kehoe
Designs, a RIP/VIP meet-and-greet with Bob The Drag Queen (Season 8 winner of RuPaul's Drag Race), food, drinks, dancing and more. Once guests arrived in their most ghoulish attire, they posed for a shot in the photo booth outfitted with props supplied by the
Brown Elephant resale shops. Partygoers then danced into the witching hour to beats by DJs Larissa and Megan Taylor. A 50/50 cash raffle and a (dead) silent auction was also provided as well as a special performance by the Rebirth
Garments dancers. Funds raised support Howard Brown Health’s vital medical care and community initiatives for adults and youth. Founded in
1974, Howard Brown Health serves more than 20,000 people each year in its diverse health and social service delivery system focused around four major divisions: clinical care, research, education and advocacy. Howard Brown Health is also one of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations. I hope everyone had a bootiful time!
Kristin Cavallari made an appearance at Luxury Garage Sale on Wednesday, October 26, for a meet and greet for her new book Balancing in Heels, as well as to showcase her jewelry line Emerald + DUV. 100 guests showed up to mingle with Kristin as they posed for photos and had their books signed. A portion of proceeds from the evening’s sales benefited the Jay Cutler Foundation, that supports free screening campaigns for childhood diabetes; promotes diabetes awareness; makes it possible for children with Type 1 diabetes and their families to attend Chicago Bears games and spend time with Jay and his teammates; and helps YMCA Camp Carson provide week-long summer camps
for kids with diabetes, led by counselors and expert nurses.
The "Cool Gent" of Chicago passed away on Saturday, October 22. He was 88. Generations of families tuned their radios to Herb Kent, "The Cool Gent," the legendary radio DJ who helped launch the musical careers of The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield and many others. The South Side native was a star and a fixture on
WVON-AM between 1962 and 1970. But his long and historic career lasted right up until the moment he passed. In an article by Jon Seidel, Chaz Ebert is quoted as saying, "His radio show, the music, his announcements about the community, politics, civil rights and his admonishments to young people about how to behave was so much a part of my growing-up years in Chicago that he felt like a godfather to the African-American
community." RIP Herb, Heaven is lucky to have you.
Gateway for Cancer Research, a non-profit dedicated to funding transformational cancer research, hosted its 25th annual Cures Gala, “The Great Gateway: 25 Years of Illuminating the Way to Cures,” on October 15 in the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. Co-chairs were
Richard J Stephenson, the founder of Gateway for Cancer Research and Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), and his wife Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson, CTCA Chairman, Functional Medicine. Guests enjoyed an evening of STAR-studded
entertainment that included performances by 16-time Grammy-winner David Foster, 5-time Grammy-winner CeeLo Green, multi-platinum Grammy nominated singer and songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen, Grammy-winning artist Michael Bolton, stand-up comedian Sinbad, platinum-selling artists The Tenors and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Inductee Peter Cetera. Whew, that's some talent! Roaring 20’s decor and a custom “Gatsby inspired” menu, designed by renowned Chef Markus Ford, added more excitement to the evening. Gateway founder, Richard J Stephenson, a recognized philanthropic pioneer whose
personal passion following the loss of his mother, Mary, to bladder cancer has changed the face of cancer care, received Gateway’s Impact Award for his contribution and tireless dedication to the Gateway mission. One of the evening’s
most moving moments was the appearance of the Coffman family, whose two-year-old son, Hunter, is a thriving and healthy toddler only a few short months after his Tumor Paint-supported brain surgery with Dr. Leary. Hunter’s
mom, Laura, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Gateway for making Dr.Leary’s Tumor Paint trial possible, recognizing that far too many children have very different outcomes
from similar brain surgery without the benefit of Dr. Leary’s innovative molecular flashlight. Proceeds from the event, over $4.1 million, will specifically support Phase I and Phase II patient trials across cancer types, including breast, blood, lung and brain cancers.
An incredible organization was recently brought to my attention by my friend Helen Melchior after she met and was inspired by its founder Jackelyn Kastanis. Simply From The Heart enriches the lives of patients through free services that offer beauty, self esteem, and well-being. Jackelyn feels that the services provided not only heighten the way they look, but more importantly how they feel. She said, "Being pampered and cared for is what we believe empowers patients to look good, feel better, and promote healing and recovery. When you raise a patient’s spirit, it brings out the fight in them and reminds them why life can be worth living. This is what we believe gives patients the strength to live their life more normally and with pride." I say amen to this. We've all had loved ones or know of people who are in need of healing services like this and I can't wait to support their 2nd Annual Simply From the Heart Gala on Wednesday, November 30, at the Godfrey Rooftop, 127 W. Huron. (For tickets and more info, click here, and be inspired by the video below). I hope to see you there!
The Chicago Children’s Choir celebrated its 60th anniversary with a joyful Red Jacket Optional gala at The Geraghty on October 21. The event featured special guest artist,
Allison Semmes, CCC alumna and star of Broadway’s Motown: The Musical. She performed alongside the world-renowned
Voice of Chicago to wild applause. The event raised funds that will inspire and unite more than 4,400 youth through music. Thanks to this remarkable Choir and to Josephine Lee, who started it all! See powerful video below!
Grab your jingle bells and join me for what will surely be THE holiday party of the year! 900 North Michigan Shops will transform its atrium into a winter wonderland on Thursday, November 17 and they're inviting the entire Chicago community to join in! A chorus of school choirs
will welcome the arrival of Santa Claus (in a surprise mode of transportation!) as he makes his way to light the 50' tall Christmas tree! Pierre Lockett's darling dancers from Forward Momentum will perform a dance to Mariah Caray's "All I Want
for Christmas is You"; the Chicago Children's Choir will usher in Santa's arrival with Christmas carols; Chicago vocalist Ava Fain will perform the holiday classic, "Santa Baby"; the Ruth Page Center for the Arts will open the evening with an excerpt from the fabled holiday classic, "The Nutcracker"; a raffle will include a chance to ride with Santa in his new sleigh--a Holiday Lights Tour via Chicago Helicopter Experience and so much more! Kehoe Designs will bring the holiday dreamscape to life; Sur La Table will provide sugar cookie decorating; the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago will provide a fantastical chocolate-making machine creating custom chocolate bars onsite and Ketel One will sponsor a cocktail bar! All of this excitement will take place from 6- 8 pm at 900 N. Michigan on Nov. 17 with all proceeds benefiting The Make-A-Wish
Foundation--Illinois Chapter. I hope you can join me and these darling co-hosts: Val Warner, Tom Kehoe, David Sanchez, D. Graham Kostic, Jessica Zweig, Trevor Heffernan, Joe Perillo, Julie Barrish, Corri McFadden, Pierre Lockett, Ana Belaval, D'Rita Robinson, Justin Jacobson and Nina Mariano for a memory-making night for a great cause! Ho! Ho! Ho! (For more info, click here!)
The 2016 USO Star-Spangled Salute Gala was a dazzling night of patriotism and military pageantry in support of the USO's 75th anniversary. Held in Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom, the event attracted over 800 guests and was a salute to our Active Duty, Guard and Reserve military and their
families. Guests entered the ballroom through a tunnel formed by honor guards bearing flags. During the program, the USO Salute to Leadership Award was given to Pritzker Military Museum & Library in honor of its service and dedication to our nation’s
military and was accepted by Pritzker Military Museum & Library Board Major General James H. Mukoyama, Jr., U.S. Army (Retired). The USO Angel Harvey Heart of a Patriot Award was given posthumously to Robin Williams and was
accepted on his behalf by his wife Susan Williams. (It was bittersweet since the night of the gala would have also been their wedding
anniversary). The event was a record-breaker for the organization raising $1,150,570 that will be used to continue the hundreds of programs and services that the USO of Illinois provides each year to 330,000 service members and their families.
raise more than $1.7 million for learning initiatives at the Library. The Sandburg Award was presented to best-selling authors Erik Larson
(Devil in the White City, Dead Wake) for non-fiction and Scott Turow (Presumed Innocent, The Burden of Proof) for fiction. The 21st Century Award, presented to a Chicago-based emerging author, was presented to short story writer Amina Gautier (At Risk, Now We Will Be Happy, The Loss of All Lost
Things.) Bill Kurtis served as emcee; NPR host and author Scott Simon moderated a stimulating conversation with Larson and Turow. The event took place Wednesday, Oct. 26 at The Forum (725 W. Roosevelt Road) on the campus of the
University of Illinois at Chicago. One of the highlights of the annual benefit is that each guest has the opportunity to engage in dinner table conversation with an esteemed author with ties to Chicago. This year, guests were seated amidst notable authors
including five past recipients of the 21st Century Award: Blue Balliett, Elizabeth Crane, Eric Charles May, Nami Mun, Theresa Schwegel and Christine Sneed. The event was produced
by Foundation Director Donna La Pietra and co-chaired by Chicago Public Library Foundation Board Members David Casper, President & CEO of BMO Harris
Bank and Wendy Berger, CEO of WBS Equities. The evening culminated in an intimate onstage conversation with the two Sandburg Award-honorees moderated by author and National Public Radio host Scott Simon. “Few authors are as adept at mesmerizing readers as Erik Larson and Scott Turow,” remarked Casper. “Erik Larson
has a singular talent for recounting history in a way that makes book lovers feel as though they are reading a riveting thriller. Scott Turow, while best known for his compelling legal page-turners, has also written insightful autobiographical works. We are proud to honor these two literary giants."
I celebrate EIGHT years this month of writing my blog! I hope you enjoy the efforts and, if not a subscriber, please join me here! And thanks to friend John Rand for sharing this celebratory
image for my blog anniversary!
Whew, there's so much going on in this beautiful city! I wish I could share ALL of the news, but you probably need
a nap now anyway! Lol! I hope you and your families had a happy Halloween! For once, the weather was perfect for all the little (and big AND furry) trick-or-treaters! I saw a lot of great celebrity costumes, but Beyonce and JayZ get my vote! They celebrated as
Barbie and Ken!
Once in a while, you get a little lucky and live through an historic moment in time. Our World Series win is one of them. Announcers said that Game 7 might go down as the most exciting game in sports history. I agree. I no longer have fingernails and might need a heart monitor from this day forward, but it was so worth it. Congrats to the Ricketts family, Chicago and this tireless, talented team. The Mayor said it best, "The Cubs is not only Chicago's team, it's America's team." And we're no longer the loveable losers either. Amen.
Until next time, love always,
P.S. And, of course, something to leave you with a smile. :-) Pam, is that you?