PLUS THE GOODMAN THEATRE GALA; LINCOLN PARK ZOO'S ZOO-OLOGIE; ALEXIAN BROTHERS BAL DE FLEUR; CHICAGO'S RITA HAYWORTH GALA; THE BIG FISH BALL; NATURE CONSERVANCY'S 60TH ANNIVERSARY GALA; MISERICORDIA'S SPRING FASHION SHOW; EVENING OF IMPACT FOR RVA; EXCELLENCE IN GARDENING AWARDS; TOO MANY LOSSES; EVERSIGHT ILLINOIS GALA KICK-OFF PARTY; DANCING AT THE GERAGHTY; MY SISTER'S CIRCUS CELEBRATES 50; ROCK THE BOAT WITH DINA BAIR; CUTE VIDEOS AND SOOOO MUCH MORE!
Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different." Well, over 300 ladies must have received the memo because they were all different and fashionable at the Service Club of
Chicago's annual Hat Luncheon at The Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest on May 21. The afternoon opened with welcoming remarks from new Service Club president Tracey DiBuono who thanked the crowd for its
support. "Our events succeed because our members and guests are so supportive of our worthwhile mission." WGN-TV's Micah Materre emceed the event and welcomed co-chairs Myra Reilly and Lynda Silverman. They
kicked off the inaugural "Hat Walk," led by dancers from ZZAZZ Productions, who paraded with guests around the rooms to showcase their millinery selections to the judges. The fashionable winners were Tina Weller, Mamie Walton and Mark Olley. Leading the "walk" was the event's
honorary chair Sherry Lea Holson, a longtime SC member who has chaired the Spring Luncheon for many years and has been instrumental in the growth and
continued success of the nonprofit. "Truly the honor belongs to all the women of the Service Club for their hard work, all of our friends who support us and, most importantly, all the charities that are so deserving that
we've been able to support," Sherry said. Rounding out the day were memory-making sketches by famed illustrator Rosemary Fanti, a great raffle with luxury items donated by members and friends, and an “open call” to help fund the Philanthropic Grant Program. The Service Club of Chicago's mission is to assist, improve and expand upon agency programs in the Chicagoland area. Its grant recipients operate in the areas of social service, cultural, educational and civic fields. The SC is an all-volunteer women's organization founded in 1890 with all proceeds distributed to the most-worthy non-profit agencies in our community. (Photos by John Reilly Photography)
The Goodman Theatre celebrated the 40th anniversary of its Women’s Board at its “Ruby Night” spring gala, headlined by Tony Award-winning singer Renée Elise Goldsberry on June 5. The black-tie
event, where more than 500 guests gathered at the Fairmont Chicago, raised more than $1 million to support the theater’s education and community engagement programs. The
event was co-chaired by Joan E. Clifford, Swati Mehta and Alice Sabl. It began with a reception in the International ballroom followed by a program and dinner in the Imperial
Ballroom, which was decorated with an assortment of ruby red embellishments in keeping with the evening's theme.
Goldsberry kicked off the evening with a mash-up of Alan Jay Lerner’s famed “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” and Johnny Nash’s #1 hit “I Can See Clearly.” She paid tribute to Hughie Cannon with the 1902 Jazz classic tune “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home” followed by “Beat Out Dat Rhythm” from the Broadway musical Carmen Jones. Goldsberry nodded to her most notable Broadway roles
with “Shadow Lands,” from The Lion King, in which she portrayed Nala; the popular “Satisfied” and “Schuyler Sisters” from her recent role as Angelica Schuyler—a role she originated—in the smash sensation Hamilton; and “Without You” from her role as the last “Mimi” in Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway by Jonathan Larson. She concluded her performance with a show-stopping rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. The evening concluded with dancing to the sounds of The Gentleman of Leisure. (John Reilly Photography)
Nearly 650 of Chicago’s most influential young professionals walked the walk for wildlife at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Zoo-ologie: Walk on the Wild Side on May 12. This 8th annual Auxiliary Board event raised more than $160,000 to support Lincoln Park Zoo’s The Pride of Chicago campaign which helps fund new initiatives at the zoo such as the
Searle Visitor Center, slated to open this fall. Enjoying the new event footprint this year, the Explorer Add-On VIP package kicked off the night with a special reception
that included delicious food stations, passed champagne and front-of-scenes tours with animal keepers in the intimate Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House. All guests indulged their
culinary curiosities with fare from 20 different Chicago restaurants, danced to the tunes of Blake Alexander and DJ Rock City and bid on numerous premier packages during the silent auction, including an all-inclusive stay at a private resort in Acapulco and tickets to the musical Hamilton. Zoo-ologie guests were the first to try “Coco Loro,” coconut milk stout with Puerto Rican spiced rum flavors crafted by DryHop Brewers to benefit the zoo’s work to conserve the critically endangered Puerto Rican parrot. DryHop’s executive Chef Will Befort paired this craft brew with mole rojo braised beef short ribs served over coconut rice. The evening was co-chaired by Auxiliary Board members Tara From, Tiffany McCormick and Jennifer Splawski.
It was an evening filled with the wonder of wildlife when nearly 500 guests united against the silhouette of city skyscrapers for the 32nd annual Alexian Brothers Ball de Fleur at the Lincoln Park Zoo
recently. Supporters enjoyed a warm summer evening celebrating and supporting the Alexian Brothers mission as they mixed elegance with exploration for one of the organization's most unique gala settings. The enthusiasm was reflected in the evening’s
success as guests, along with the presenting sponsor Superior Ambulance Service and 30 corporate sponsors, helped raise nearly $800,000 to help transform bodies, minds
and spirits of community members recovering from substance use and behavioral health disorders. Décor featured brilliant chandeliers, blooming centerpieces and gold accents
for the “Safari Under the Stars” themed gala complete with a delectable four-course gourmet dinner and upbeat dance music by TC
Squared. Guests were invited to gander at the African lions, gaze at the graceful harbor and grey seals at Kovler Seal Pool and take a whirl around the
AT&T Endangered Species Carousel. In addition, Lincoln Park Zoo experts were on hand to share stories about the animals
including the Japanese snow monkeys swinging in the treetops of the Regenstein Macaque Forest. The event program incorporated an exciting silent auction and impact video detailing the journeys of two children on the autism spectrum and the vital support provided
by AMITA Health Autism Spectrum and Developmental Disorders Resource Center team members. Emcee Robin Robinson, Director of Community Affairs for the Chicago Police Department, brought her considerable broadcasting experience to the stage as she welcomed guests and introduced Mary Franco, Vice
President, Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service, Inc., who offered a toast, followed by an invocation presented by Michael Benoit, Alexian Brothers Foundation Board Chair. “Tonight we spotlight the needs of those on the autism spectrum and continue our
crusade to break the stigma associated with mental illness and psychiatric disorders,” said Mark Frey, president/CEO, AMITA Health and Alexian Brothers Health System. The live auction included an African Safari Experience in Cape Town, South Africa. that sold for $20,000; a legendary Elton John “Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour” concert package that sold for $11,000; and a Costa Rican seven-night vacation that sold for $11,000. The silent and reverse auctions added more than $200,000 to the Alexian Brothers Foundation’s philanthropic effort to reach more individuals and families who need behavioral health services. The Alexian Brothers began their healthcare mission more than 800 years ago in Europe and more locally in 1866 – on Dearborn Street and eventually Belden Avenue in Chicago – not far from this year’s venue for the Alexian Brothers Ball de Fleur. Since the first Ball in 1987, the Alexian Brothers Foundation has raised more than $8 million for programs that administer compassionate healthcare and housing services to Chicago-area residents.
The Alzheimer’s Association hosted its 31st annual Chicago Rita Hayworth Gala at the Hilton Chicago on May 12. More than 700 guests attended this greatly-
anticipated event, which was themed around “Pure Imagination, “– a nod to the late Gene Wilder who died due to complications surrounding Alzheimer’s in 2016 and his iconic role as Willy Wonka in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Karen Wilder (Gene’s widow) and nephew,
Jordan Walker-Pearlman received the “Pure Imagination” award in honor of Gene for their support of the cause. Natalie Morales (West
Coast anchor of NBC’s “TODAY,” host of NBCU’s “Access” and co-host of “Access Live") received the “The Caregiver Award” alongside her family (including husband Joseph Rhodes), which recognized them for their longtime efforts towards raising awareness for Alzheimer’s and families living with a similar experience. The event raised over $1.1 million for the organization. (Photos by Bill Richert)
The annual Friends of the Chicago River gala, The Big Fish Ball, was held at the Chicago Westin River North on June 5. The exciting and informative event,
emceed by CBS-2's Ed Curran, featured live animals, an award ceremony honoring the best in river-sensitive developments and projects and a post-party Chicago River boat cruise. The winner of this year’s top prize, the Blue Ribbon
Award, was won by Eleanor Street Boathouse. Located in the South Side Bridgeport neighborhood and designed by Studio Gang, the two-structure serves as a community field house and a rowing, training, and boat storage facility.
It has been cited as “a sign of neighborhood rebirth.” Margaret Frisbie, Friends of the Chicago River executive director, told the crowd that through the "power of partnership, the river that was once forgotten and neglected has been brought back to life and now plays a vital role for recreation, nature, public health, and economic development in the city and the region. We have rewritten the story of the Chicago River." Frisbie stated that over 60,000 people participated in Friends'
programs including Chicago River Day, restoration work, its school education efforts and the Bridgehouse Museum on the Chicago Riverwalk. In addition, Friends influenced river-edge
developers calling for natural banks over seawalls and restored hundreds of acres of open space to improve habitat for birds, beavers, turtles, foxes, minks, muskrats, and the occasional river otter. Frisbie said, "As we know from being out on the river’s edge tonight, the river is cleaner and healthier than it has been in more than 100 years." Congrats to chairs Richard Sit and my friend Richard Wilson on a job well done! The event raised over $280,000 for the non-profit and included notable guests Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs, Cook County Commissioner John Daley, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago president Mariyana Spyropoulis, and Chicago aldermen Michele Smith, Scott Waguespack and Patrick Thompson. (Photos by Ian Vecchiotti)
The Nature Conservancy hosted its 60th anniversary gala on Northerly Island on May 19. The event, that celebrated 60 years of conservation and the organization's vision of a world in which nature and
people thrive, was co-chaired by Flip and Susu Block, Mirja and Ted Haffner and Coco and Ethan Meers. Michelle Carr (chapter director), staff and volunteers welcomed over 500 guests as they made their way into the main gala area where champagne
and light fare were offered. The décor, that included living trees, a stylish open bar, major donor lounge areas and strolling supper servers, was envisioned by Paulette Wolf Events and Entertainment. Mayor Rahm
Emanuel joined Carr on a trip around the room to visit science stations that helped illustrate some of the conservation work that is done around the city and the state as it pertains to protecting lands and waters. Former Mayor Richard M.
Daley also joined the Conservancy as guests of TNC supporter Daniel Li of Wanxiang America. Beat Mix Music provided a short drum performance. Carr introduced the Mayor who
presented a short but inspiring speech about the importance of protecting the environment for the next generation. The Hamill Family, with matriarch Nancy Hamill Winter, received the Conservancy’s coveted Conservation Legacy and Achievement Award. The event raised over $1 million for the organization and included notable guests Jamee Field Kane and Michael Kane, Caroline and Keating Crown, Karen and Liam Krehbiel, Silvia and Jay Krehbiel, Lincoln Schatz (contemporary artist), Lori Gray Faversham, Vicki and Bruce Heyman, Amanda and George Hanley, Susan and Michael Canmann, Marion Searle Rice and Tanner Rice, Errett and Julia Van Nice, Solveig Ovstebo and Morten Kvamme and Catherine and Mamadou Sarr.
The Misericorcdia Women’s Auxiliary welcomed over 600 guests to their annual Spring Luncheon and Fashion Show on May 11 held at the Hilton Chicago. The event featured a runway show highlighting the
latest in Spring Fashions and trends with looks from Bloomingdale’s Old Orchard. Guests also enjoyed an elegant lunch, a moving performance from the Misericordia Heartbreakers and
the chance to shop at a PopUp Shop from Bloomingdale’s for the looks featured on the runway that day. The event raised over $200,000 in support of the Misericordia Home which serves over 600 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing quality residential, training and employment services.
Rape Victim Advocates hosted its 15th Evening of Impact fundraiser, celebrating 44 years of progress toward ending sexual violence and
attracting more than 350 guests at Morgan Manufacturing on May 24. RVA presented Just Be, Inc. and MeToo founder, Tarana Burke, with the Dr. Natalie A. Stephens Visionary Award,
named after RVA’s founder. This honor recognizes the work of far-sighted leaders who have made a powerful and lasting impact in the fight to end sexual violence. Former RVA client, mental health expert and author Kelley Kitley
also spoke about her experiences. The evening raised more than $132,000 to advance RVA's mission to provide healing and empowerment to sexual assault survivors through
non-judgmental intervention counseling. The not-for-profit also provides education and institutional advocacy to improve the treatment of sexual assault survivors and to effect positive change in policies and public attitudes toward sexual assault. (Photo by Soda Fountain Photography).
Shovels UP! The 2018 Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards are now OPEN! The contest is open to residents of Chicago and judging will begin in July! For more details and to enter your handiwork, click here! (multiple categories!)
Had an exciting pre-production meeting last week with the crew from Decades TV Network/ Weigel Broadcasting! Chuck and I are excited to have our rare book collection featured on their new national show called "Collector's Call" premiering soon! Thanks to Leslie Hindman for agreeing to appear too! I bought our first "collectible" books, first editions by Ernest Hemingway, from her fabulous auction house in 1995!
Thanks to Chicago Social Magazine for hosting a fun-filled celebration of its "Dynamic Women" feature on the rooftop of the Gwen Chicago on May 31! They gifted all of the honorees with framed photos of their pages. So sweet!
The Eversight Illinois gala kick-off party took place on the elegant rooftop of AMLI River North on June 6. Over 100 guests enjoyed breathtaking views, delicious bites from Hubbard Inn, cocktails courtesy of Toast Vodka and beats by DJ Duerell Jones. Special shout-out to Visionary honoree Marco Foster for
arranging this perfect night out with Pam Churchill, AMLI's Regional Marketing Coordinator. This River North luxury rental building is located at 71 W. Hubbard with amenities that include a
super-sized pool, indoor virtual driving range, dog run for pampered pooches, multiple grills, fire-pits, theatre, on-site concierge and so much more! For more info, click here! And I hope you can all join my fellow co-chair Michael Caputo and me for the main event on Thursday, June 28 at the Peninsula! We have lots of surprises in store as we honor Foster and Dr. Elmer Tu as our 2018 visionaries! (For gala tickets and more info, click here!)
Get ready for another exciting ad coming from The Chicago Geraghty soon! I was thrilled to be included in this shoot that also featured Ava Fain, David Murga, Josephine Lee, Danielle Robay and two darling male models! Shot by Bob Davis (Bob & Dawn Davis Photography), the afternoon was filled with dancing, dancing, dancing and dazzling special effects! Stay tuned for all the fun coming soon to your local magazines!
Congrats to one of my favorite stores, My Sister's Circus, who are celebrating 50 years on the Mag Mile! Located in The 900 Shops on the 4th floor, this go-to spot for unique fashions is owned by my friend Sue Gantz. We go wayyyy back, all the way to my Playboy centerfold shoot in 1979 when she and her store were featured prominently in my lay-out. Congrats on this milestone and here's to 50 more!
WGN-TV's Dina Bair and Sarah McCarron will host "Rock the Boat", an afternoon of yachting to benefit Selah Freedom's mission to end sex trafficking. The boat ride will last from 1 to 4 pm on Sunday, Sept. 16 and depart from the docks at the DuSable Harbor on the Chicago River, 111 N. Lake Shore Drive. (For tickets and more info, click here).
We lost a good friend and a leader in the community with the passing of Stephen "Steve" Nardi on May 25. Steve was born and raised in Maywood and is survived by his devoted wife of 22 years, Deirdre Dunn Nardi, his daughter Kimberly Eyer, his son Stephen Craig Nardi, 6 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Deirdre and
Steve shared a passion for all things Italian and traveled many times to Italy and their favorite region of Tuscany. Steve was involved in the horse community in Wayne, Illinois, and both were members of the Dunham Woods Riding Club. Steve was a leader in the industrial and commercial real estate industry too and had recently
started a software business. He played polo for many years all over the world and served as Master of the Hounds for the Oakbrook Fox Hunt. After retiring from the Hunt, he and his wife donated all of the property, 300 acres, to the Byron Forest Preserve, with equestrian rights in perpetuity. Chuck and I saw the couple at the Big Shoulders Fund Dinner the night before he passed. Only God knows what plans he has for us and you never know when it might be the last time you see a friend. RIP Steve....and my sincerest condolences to Deirdre and his family.
On another sad note, I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the suicide of beloved celebrity bad boy chef/ TV host/ author/ travel expert, Anthony Bourdain at age 61. Chuck and I
never missed a segment of his award-winning "Parts Unknown." I loved his acerbic wit and no bull-shit policy. What he felt/thought is what he said. I also loved the fact that he championed and gravitated toward the underdogs. In this excellent Eater article, Bourdain called Chicago, "a colossus
right smack in the middle of the country with everything that I love about a city — tall towers, hard corners, and sharp elbows. And, of course, food.” Shortly after this sad news was announced, another favorite of ours, Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer-Prize winning author/commentator, shared the news that he only had a few weeks to live following a diagnosis that his cancer had spread. Too sad for words...all around. Make sure you hug the ones you love and, if you feel like someone might be considering suicide, please urge them to call the suicide hotline to talk to someone, 800.273.8255.
That's it for this week. Hope you've discovered something new or an event that you want to put on your calendar! And, if you're not a subscriber, please sign up HERE now! My lists are never shared, only treasured.
Love, as always,
P.S. And, of course, something to leave you with a smile! Everybody needs a hug, maybe now more than ever.