ART INSTITUTE CELEBRATES 45; CYSO'S "WEST SIDE STORY" GALA; LSCRF'S SWEET VALENTINE'S DAY FAMILY EVENT; MELINDA AND LUCIEN TIE THE KNOT; CATHOLIC CHARITIES' MAIN EVENT; HYDE PARK ART CENTER'S DESERVING HONOREES; SOUTH LOOP'S M LOUNGE CELEBRATES; THE ARTFUL LIFE AT LURIE'S; FUN VIDEOS AND SOOOO MUCH MORE!
Legendary dancer, choreographer, teacher, change-maker and author Gus Giordano, founded Giordano Dance Chicago in 1963, and boy would he be thrilled to see how far it's come now under the leadership and
artistic direction of his daughter Nan Giordano! The dynamic dance company celebrated its 55th anniversary at its Legacy Ball on February 10 where nearly 300 guests joined in the fun! The multi-sensory
experience began at the entrance to Chez, a chic event space at 247 E. Ontario. This dance company sure knows how to stretch a
dollar as they created and installed all of the unique and colorful decor themselves (led by Trey Gonzalez) to pay homage to five decades of dance! Delicious food stations, catered by Jewell Events & Catering, honored each decade beginning with a candy
station filled with every sort of sweet treat you would find in the 60s. There were even vintage toys from this era displayed throughout the offerings. A 70s inspired station featured aluminum TV trays where you could add mac and cheese, hot dogs, hamburgers, sloppy joes, mashed potatoes and so
much more. A wall of hanging vinyl records, from Nan's own collection, served as a perfect backdrop for one of the food stations. (See video here) The program opened with remarks from executive director Michael McStraw. He
thanked the Associate Board and its president Ben Hess for hosting the event and the sponsors--Anna Held Floral Studio (Beth Tenney), Breakthru Beverage Illinois, E Malone, Chez Event Space,
Cooper's Hawk Winery & Lagunitas Brewing Company, Jewell Events & Catering, Eli's Cheesecake Company, Inspired Events & Catering, Mon Ami Gabi, Quarles & Brady LLP, Best Value Vacs, Jam Productions Ltd., Ketel One Vodka and Michigan Avenue Mag, among others. McStraw read a letter from Governor Bruce Rauner that said, in part, "The longevity of Giordano
Dance Chicago is truly a testament to the quality dance instruction and outreach it provides and the relationships it has developed through the years." A surprise announcement acknowledged Giordano
Dance's new home and brought wild applause from the crowd. GDC recently took ownership of the Hermon Baptist Church at 1754 N. Clark Street that will see a redesign but will still maintain the original church facade. A capital
campaign to support construction and building is in its initial phase. And with that, what everyone was waiting for--GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO! Dressed in costumes inspired by the five decades, the dancers twirled down a glass staircase spinning colored hula hoops dancing to
"Whatchamacallit" (see video here) followed by "Twist & Shout (the Beatles). Other dances included "He's so Fine" (The Chiffons); "You Really Got Me" (The Kinks) and more. For the 70s decade, dancers encouraged the crowd to join in to "Night Fever" (The BeeGees),
"Last Dance" (Donna Summer) and more. By now, the attendees were worked into a frenzy and continued dancing with GDC to "When Doves Cry" (Prince), "Sweet Dreams" (The Eurythmics) and "Let's Dance" (David Bowie), among many others. The dramatic light show, created by Shaun Shouldeen (see video here),
added even more excitement to the party. DJ Matthew Harvat kept the excitement going and the crowd dancing long after the performance numbers had finished. It was thrilling and terrifying to be introduced during the 1990s segment to Madonna's iconic
"Vogue." Bare-chested, handsome dancers (Devin Buchanan, Adam Houston, Jacob Frazier, Ryan Galloway and Zachary Heller) flanked me on an entrance that I will never forget down that glass staircase. I danced (a little) and then we made our way
to the stage after numerous lifts and poses. (These patient, generous dancers can make anyone look good and put them at ease, as they did me). Nan Giordano had surprised me earlier in the evening with a beautiful framed photo that all of the company had signed. This presentation preceded
a touching prayer circle that is part of the company's tradition before every performance and event---yet another reason why this dance company is so very special. After my dance number, Nan and company had yet another surprise
planned. A video of award-winning choreographer Ray Leeper (GDC's "Feelin' Good Sweet") announced that he will be choreographing a special work in my honor that will debut during GDC's fall 2018 concert at the Harris
Theater for Music and Dance! Thank goodness I was wearing water-proof mascara. A massive, commemorative Eli's Cheesecake was then wheeled down the Red Carpet where the entire company, board members and
I posed for photos. A live auction, expertly conducted by Nick Coombs from Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, sold two packages--
the first being an "Elite Experience" that included two courtside seats to a Chicago Bulls game, prime seats to two Chicago Blackhawk's games; tickets to a performance by
Grammy Award-winner David Byrne, Gold Coast dinners and more. The second experience was priceless--a Giordano Dance Chicago Cocktail Dance Party where the winner
can invite 150 friends for a "dance party like none other" with the dancers at Chicago's hottest Cuban club, Flamingo Rum Club in River North. The evening was a success from
beginning to end raising over $90,000 for this beloved company. When the lights came on, no one wanted to leave. Now that my friends, is truly the measure of a good party!
(Photos by Amie Hana and Phillip Thomas) (To see a video recap of ALL the fun by Joshua Blake Carter, click here!) (The next big event for the dance company will be the very popular "Dancing with the
Giordano Stars" that returns on October 4 to Park West. For tickets to this and other GDC events, click here). The GDC's 55th Season Spring Series begins at the Harris
Theater on Friday, Marcy 23, 7:30 pm! (For tickets/more info, click here!)
The Auxiliary Board of the Art Institute of Chicago hosted 400 chic guests at the museum in celebration of its 45th anniversary on February 10. The sold out event, chaired by Patrick Wood-Prince and co-chaired by Wendy Franzen, Roxy
Goebel and Tommy Miller, featured entertainment by Emily Blue and magician Jibrizy, specialty cocktails and a fabulous dinner at Terzo Piano followed by a festive after-party
in the Modern Wing. The Auxiliary Board, one of the oldest and most recognized charitable boards of its kind, raised funds to support special exhibitions and projects at the museum, including the board’s annual Treasure Hunt and Tea Party, which provides Chicago-children access to the museum.
The The Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation (LSCRF) celebrated its 11th Annual “Be My Valentine” Family Event at The Ritz Carlton on February 11. This sweet family event attracted over 400 attendees
and raised more than $90,000 for breast cancer research. Co-chaired by Julie Lampert and Jennifer Meyers, the fundraiser featured a delicious brunch with all the trimmings-- fresh fruit and O.J., scrambled eggs with herbs and cheddar cheese, country bacon, French toast, mini hot dogs,
crispy chicken tenders and The “Ritz” macaroni and cheese. (Dying here!) Parents and children were also treated to special performances by The Jesse White Tumblers
and DJ Versage. Miss Kim, from Bubbles Academy, entertained tiny tots in their own special area. Other activities included a hair braiding bar hosted by Blo Blow Dry Bar, the Abt Arcade, crafts from Sew Crafty Studio, red carpet and event photos by Sheri Whitko Photography, photo booth provided by Midwest Foods, classic treats from
Chicagoland’s Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, a prize wheel by Blaze Pizza, cookie decorating with Sweet Mandy B’s, a candy table, flower crowns from Alice’s Table, wax hands
with Chicago Wax Hands, a sports corner with a shootout with Chicago Wolves mascot Skates and pop-up shops from Frankie’s on the Park, Enaz and Rue De Emily. WHEW! There sure was a lotta bang for your buck, tickets were $100!! Guests also had the opportunity to win fabulous prizes from the silent auction. All proceeds benefited LSCRF
and the breast cancer research, fellowships and education programs at Northwestern Medicine and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO), one of the nation’s premier youth orchestra and ensemble training programs, featured one of Leonard Bernstein’s most
quintessential works, West Side Story, at its annual gala on February 10 at the Four Seasons Hotel. Attended by more than 320 supporters, the evening broke previous CYSO fundraising records, raising more than $425,000 for CYSO’s music training, education, and community
engagement programs. The evening celebrated the talent and achievements of CYSO’s young musicians with an experience that began as soon as guests arrived. A performance by Preparatory Strings musicians, ages 7-9, serenaded arriving partygoers
along the grand staircase. A cocktail reception included a red-carpet experience, West Side Story-themed cocktails, appetizers, a mini-live auction, and music provided by CYSO Steel Orchestra students. Jamie Bernstein, broadcaster, author and eldest daughter of Leonard
Bernstein, was the special guest at a VIP reception which featured a performance by a CYSO jazz orchestra trio. As doors opened to the Grand Ballroom for the seated dinner portion of the evening, CYSO’s 125-member Symphony Orchestra, made up of high school-age performers from across the Chicago region, welcomed guests with a performance of West Side Story’s Symphonic Dances under the baton of
CYSO Music Director Allen Tinkham. Event chairs Saurab and Anjani Bhargava welcomed guests and emcee Lourdes Duarte, WGN-TV anchor/investigative reporter, introduced the evening's program and recognized sponsors. An appeal video created by Green River Films highlighted the CYSO’s many programs and the impact donor support has on young musicians. The paddle raise brought in nearly $121,000 to support CYSO’s financial assistance program
and help keep program tuition affordable for all families. (Click here for video). The Note of Excellence Award was presented to Jamie Bernstein. She said, “I am so honored to be here tonight and receive this award and want to thank the CYSO for being a part of the centennial celebration of my father’s work. If my dad was around and could see the sharing and reading of his works, and the social and musical impact he continues to have, he’d—as we say in Yiddish —plotz! [explode].” The
establishment of the Doug and Sharon Carroll Conducting Fellowship was announced which will support the conducting education of one CYSO student each year. Gala proceeds will benefit nearly 10,000 young people from across the Chicago region who are enrolled in CYSO music training, education, and community engagement programs. (Photos by Mila Samokhina).
Congrats are in order for renowned architect Lucien Lagrange and his longtime love, Melinda Jakovich, a high end real estate broker with Coldwell-Banker. They tied the knot at City Hall, after 7 years of togetherness, and then celebrated with friends at an Arts Club bash on February 17. The atmosphere and menu by Rachel DeMarte was
as elegant as the couple themselves. They both looked like chic throwbacks to another age with Melinda draped in a white fox stole with a floor length, low-backed white flowing evening gown. Lucien, of course, dapper in
black tie and those signature eyebrows. Flower-filled and candle-lit, the evening included piano background music, cocktails, a lavish buffet and, of course, loving speeches from friends. Speakers/toasters included Hanno Webber, Jocelyn and Jim Stoller, Michael Reschke, Julia and Michael Peters, Nancy Gottlieb
Bauer and Mel's Aunt Kay who flew in from California. Nancy's speech was my favorite as she perfectly encapsulated the love that the Lagranges share. Read an excerpt here and congrats to this much loved couple! "When I think about the two of you, I think about creating something beautiful from what was previously empty space…it is in this way
that I consider your marriage like a well-designed and constructed building. The most important part - a solid foundation. You have a strong foundation formed from mutual respect and admiration…… Yes, a
marriage is like a building. It has stress points. When addressed with attention and support there is stability and longevity…… Marriage is like a building. It has an aesthetic. With Melinda’s creative singular style and Lucien’s savoir faire you two have a unique charm and
enduring elegance. Marriage is like a building. It is rooted to the ground, but reaches for the sky. It opens its doors to shelter and protect. As we celebrate your marriage, we toast the two of you as a couple, and welcome Mr. & Mrs.
Lagrange." Well said Nancy! Guests in attendance included Helen Melchior, Pierre Lockett, Katherine Gehl, the French Consul General and his wife, Natalie Martinez and her handsome husband Flavio Gama (they're expecting their first child, a girl!), Joan Colmar and her boyfriend Mitchell Sabshon, Remy Lagrange, Michelle and SuZanne Lagrange and daughter Valerie, Mike Reshke, Ron Halvorson, Dan Faloon, Kathy Hebson, Fran Broude and many others. Long may they love! (Kup's famous quote!) (Photos by Mila Samokhina)
As expected, the 13th annual "Dentists With Heart" event, hosted by Dr. Ted Siegel, (Big Smile Dental), was another great success with attendees lining up as early as 2:30 a.m. the night before! Dr. Siegel offered a gift of FREE dental services on Valentine's Day and, all who attended, received
a free dental treatment that included exams, x-rays. cleanings and, if needed, fillings, extractions and pain control. The event had numerous volunteers that spent their day giving back to help patients including Miss Chicago 2018 Grace Etzkorn. Over
the past 13 years, Big Smile Dental has been able to treat more than 5700 patients and provide over $2 million dollars in free dentistry. #SomeoneYouShouldKnow
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago hosted the 4th annual Patrick J. Ryan Main Event at Drury Lane in Oak Brook Terrace on February 2. The ballroom was turned into a boxing ring and mini-casino with proceeds benefiting the Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide
(LOSS) Program, created for children and youth who have endured the loss of a loved one to suicide. This year was a record-breaker, in both attendance and fundraising, with over 820 guests enjoying an evening of amateur boxing, casino games,
dinner that raised over $140,000! The event was established by former Attorney General of Illinois Jim Ryan and his wife Marie and their family, after the
loss of their son, Patrick J. Ryan, to suicide. Boxing has been a family tradition for the Ryans, starting with Jim Ryan Sr., who won the Middle Weight Golden Glove Championship in 1964. His sons, John (Chief of Staff
at Catholic Charities), Jimmy and Matt Ryan, all grew up boxing. Notables attendees included Monsignor Michael M. Boland (President of Catholic Charities); John Ryan (Chief of Staff at Catholic Charities), emcee Phil Schwarz (ABC-7), Len Wiatr (Catholic Charities Board Chairman) and State's Attorney Robert Berlin. (Photos by John Reilly
The annual Gift of Sight Gala returns to the Peninsula on Thursday, June 28. The evening will benefit the nonprofit's mission to restore sight and prevent blindness through donation, transplantation and research for all who need it. I'm thrilled to be co-chairing this event for the 2nd year with
MyEyeDr.'s Michael Caputo. We recently sat down with 12 year-old Liliana Vujic who was born with Peters Anomaly, a rare congenital eye defect. She's had 3 surgeries, the most recent being a corneal transplant surgery. She shares her story in our video (expertly created/donated by Donna LaPietra-Kurtis Productions) below! I hope you can join us at the gala and meet Liliana! (For tickets and more info, click here!)
The Hyde Park Art Center recently honored three esteemed members of the Chicago arts, civic and business community--Shirley and Walter Massey and artist and educator Anne Wilson. Co-chaired by
Sundeep Mullangi and Trissa Babrowski, and Monica and Bill Hughson, the event attracted over 500 supporters and began with a lively cocktail hour, a silent auction and an opportunity to explore artists’ studios.
Partygoers also entered to win an art collection of works on paper by more than 50 Chicago artists. Following dinner, Teen Programs
Participant Madison Holley shared her inspiring story. Numerous pillars of the Chicago creative community were in attendance, including Dawoud Bey, Rhona Hoffman and Elissa Tenny. The event raised more than $380,000 to help keep the Center free and open to the public while supporting 45,000
people who make, learn, see and discuss art there every year. Among the programs that will be supported is The Community Supported Arts
School, Chicago’s first open-access arts school and an arts-learning model in which learners of all ages and backgrounds can develop their creative skills and voices. Following dinner, guests returned upstairs for
the Art Center’s official after-party and celebrated with cocktails, dessert and music by Audio Jack and artist activities by Aurora Tabor, Documents Bureau, Jason Dunda & Paul Hopkin, Jessie Mott, Michelle Nordmeyer, Amina Ross, Kristine Steiner and Katie Vota.
M Lounge is celebrating its 12th anniversary! This popular South Loop jazz club, owned and operated by the much loved Reginald and MaryAnn Marsh, opened in January 2006, and it's still going strong! The intimate martini lounge, located at 1520 S. Wabash, has over the years become synonymous with hot, live jazz;
cool, innovative cocktails; warm customer service and a client base as immensely loyal as the “Cheers” bar of old. And it recently became the Chicago home base of renowned jazz saxophonist Ray Silkman and his band! "Regulars” are so loyal that, quite unintentionally, the South Loop oasis has spawned a sub-community of couples who have met their match at M Lounge — some married with children. M Lounge is also
somewhat of a celebrity haunt with notable guests that have included Angela Bassett; Jussie Smollett, Andre Royo and other cast members of the popular Empire series; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (who frequents whenever he's in town); Chicago media personalities and members of the Chicago Bears and Chicago Sky! If you've never been, stop in and say happy anniversary--just tell 'em Candace sent
4Everly Adorned, a Chicago-based business created
to inspire children and adults through the use of art, hosted its very first event in the Family Life Center at Lurie Children's Hospital, called "Painting Day with 4Everly Adorned"! Hospitalized children created masterpieces in the form of painting and
stenciling small wooden boxes and other object d'art and then got to take home a beautiful piece of art that they created and could feel proud of! 4Everly Adorned hopes this is the beginning of many
more projects like this one. If you know of an opportunity for them to interact with kids like this, please let them know and visit their colorful website here to find hand-painted furniture and other room decor. No matter how small, efforts like this can change a life. Thanks 4Everly Adorned!
That's it for this week! I hope you've enjoyed all this Chicago goodness! And, if you have any important events/news I can share, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Have a wonderful week!
Love, as always,
P.S. This is Agador (known on Instagram as poochofNYC). He was featured in last week's NY Times as one of the top Insta-dogs with over 400K followers! And I can certainly see why with posts like this one!