PLUS THE SPRING PARTY HOT LIST; HOPE THROUGH CARING GALA; PHYSICIAN BALL'S HOT DOCS; IMPERIAL LAMIAN'S GRAND OPENING; UNITED WAY'S "IGNITE" BASH; UNICEF CELEBRATES KID POWER; THE YARD AT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE; ALLIANCE FOR WOMEN IN MEDIA; CHICAGO FLOWER POWER; PARK HYATT AND PAWS UNITE FOR FURRY FRIENDS; THE CONNORS' 38TH; MEMORIES OF STUDIO 54; CHEF ART CELEBRATES; THIS & THAT; FEEL-GOOD VIDEOS AND SO MUCH MORE!
“And the Award Went to….!” Over 225 guests arrived on the red carpet for the Gene Siskel Film Center's (GSFC)
longest-running awards show viewing party, “Hollywood on State: Where You’re the Star,” on February 28. Guests celebrated the 88th Academy Awards while dressed in their finest Oscar fashions—enjoying delicious food and festive drinks, all while watching the star-studded
event on the Film Center’s state-of-the-art BIG screens. The event, co-chaired by GSFC Advisory Board members Eda Davidman and Chuck Droege, raised more than $57,000 for the Center's diverse programming. The GSFC (at 164 N. State St.) was transformed into a star-studded affair as
hosts Tommy Walton (SAIC Fashion Design Department, MasterChef) and Kate Pankoke (Project Runway, Elaya Vaughn Bridal by Kate Pankoke) welcomed guests to the red carpet asking their predictions for the evening and of course, who they were wearing. Before settling
into the theater, party-goers were treated to a delicious assortment of food from some of the city’s top restaurants and chefs including Untitled Supper Club, Craig Couper of Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse, ENO Wine Room, Raul Gamble (Raison D’etre), Joshua Yates (Good for You Events) and a custom-made Eli’s Cheesecake to fit the theme, as
well as a selection of other delicious desserts. The fun continued as Jeremy Moss Photography provided a FotoFavors Photostation to capture partygoers' memories AND fashions. The event also featured an inaugural VIP lounge where guests had a more intimate space to watch the show while mingling with
friends. In addition to Hollywood heartthrobs walking away with the golden statue, so did various Chicago filmmakers honored by the GSFC for their outstanding contributions in film. This year’s honorees were Ronit Bezalel, Melissa Sage Fadim, Terry Hesser, Christine List, Shahari Moore, Ines Sommer and Kartemquin
Films (celebrating its 50th Anniversary). Each honoree received a gold star award created by Regis Crystal for shining a light on the thriving film community in our great city. And now, here's my 2 cents on the real Academy Awards--Overall, I thought it was
a good show. It's sad we had to have such controversy but this seems to be life nowadays. I thought the Oscar fashions were elegant, nothing over-the-top except for poor Heidi Klum who looked like Carol
Burnett in the "Gone with the Wind" sketch. I loved, loved, loved Charlize Theron's red dress slashed to there and especially her goose-egg diamond necklace. And I thought Lady Gaga ended the show with a perfectly poignant message and was glad she was there as an exclamation point. Some in the crowd were visibly moved to tears during her heartfelt rendition of "Til It Happens to You," in which she brought rape survivors onstage.
Four-hundred and fifty people dined and danced at the Les Turner ALS Foundation’s “Hope Through Caring” Gala at the Loews Hotel on February 27. The gala raised $550,000 and honored people with ALS (PALS) as well as Chicago philanthropists Joan and Paul Rubschlager and Madeleine and Joe Glossberg. Hosted by
ABC-7's Phil Schwarz, the event featured a video presentation, paddle raise, balloon raffle, award presentations, dinner , dancing and so much more! Proceeds helped fund medical research, patient care and
educational programs about ALS. During the evening, a video presentation showcased two people living with ALS, Mindy Williams and Ryan Brubeck, as well as the Paust family, who lost a loved one to this disease. Awards were
presented to longtime supporters, the Rubschlagers and the Glossbergs. The Rubschlagers received the Visionary Award and have been donors to the Foundation since the 1980s, after Paul lost his father to
ALS. In 2015, in recognition of the groundbreaking work being performed at the Les Turner ALS Research and Patient Center at Northwestern Medicine, the
Rubschlagers made a $2 million cornerstone endowment gift to the Center. The Glossbergs were presented with the Hope Through Caring Award for their ongoing support of the Gala. Madeleine lost her mother to ALS. Foundation spokespeople Lin Brehmer of 93.1 WXRT and best-selling author Jonathan Eig, were also on hand mingling with guests. For more info on this worthy cause, click here.
The 66th annual Physician's Ball honored the best of the best at a black-tie event on February 6 hosted by the Polish-American Medical Society (PAMS) at the Ritz-Carlton recently with more than 750 guests in attendance. The elegant event was chaired by Dr. Kornelia Krol, PAMS
president, and I was honored to return as co-host with ABC-7's Alan Krashesky. We introduced notable guests Governor Bruce Rauner, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, Congressman Robert Dold and Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the
U.S., Ryszard Schnepf. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex Storozynski was the night's guest of honor. He is currently board chair of the Kosciuszko Foundation (KF) that promotes closer ties between Poland and the U.S. through educational, scientific and cultural exchanges. His speech was both humorous and humbling and brought wild applause from the crowd. Each year, PAMS honors individuals for their achievements in the medical field.
This year's honorees were Professor Jaroslaw Maciejewski, chairman of Hematology and Oncology at The Cleveland Clinic; Professor George Krol, Dept, of Radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NY; Professor Andrzej Matya, chairman of General Gastrointestinal and Oncologic Surgery at
Jagiellonian University Medical College; Professor Malgorzata Szczerbo-Trojanowska, chairman of Radiology at the Medical University in Lubin and Professor Andrzej Jakubowiak, director of the Myeloma Program at the University of
Chicago. Special recognition was given to Professor Piotr Witkowski and Mr. Emilio Williams-Lopez. A Polonia dance ensemble, WICI Song & Dance, dressed in traditional garb and directed by Anna Krysinski, enchanted the crowd with its rendition of the Waltz and the Polonaise...all the couples participated in
this beautiful dance and it was sheer magicl! Next, the audience went wild for BONEY M, with original lead singer Maizie Williams, and danced Jamaican style into the wee hours! The Polish American Medical Society is the world's largest organization of Polish doctors
outside of Poland and has been in existence since 1946. Funds from the event benefited medical, veterinary and dental students of Polish descent as well as a $5000 grant to the Paderewski Symphony Orchestra (PASO). Congrats to all!
The first U.S. location of Imperial Lamian (6 West Hubbard Street in the old Centro space) is now open to the public! A grand opening party on March 3 was packed at this soon-to-be hotspot right in the heart of Chicago’s bustling River North neighborhood. The restaurant features authentic, yet modern, Chinese cuisine with
dishes prepared by three Master Chefs expertly trained in their individual crafts: Chef Kok Lam Andy Foo helms both traditional and inventive wok dishes, Chef Lim Kee Tiong specializes in
beautiful dim sum and xiao long bao (soup dumplings), and Chef Wang Hongjun focuses on fresh, hand-pulled lamian noodles. For its United States debut, Imperial
Lamian works hand-in-hand with Chicago-based Hat’s Off Hospitality, who provides expertise in menu
development for the American market, construction, kitchen design, operations, and business planning. Congrats to all and especially GM Pepe Guzman! I can't wait to come back! (Photos by Jeff Schear Photography)
United Way of Metropolitan Chicago’s (UWMC) Young Leaders Society (YLS) hosted its 2nd annual Ignite fundraiser at Nellcôte in Chicago’s West Loop on February 19. Event co-chairs Will Darley and Emily Steckel
welcomed a sold-out crowd of more than 400 young professionals and supporters to the bistro where they enjoyed signature cocktails and hors d'oeuvres from Nellcôte’s European-inspired menu. Partygoers danced the night away to music by the Selner
Brothers and bid on silent auction items that included a signed Jonathan Toews jersey, eighteen holes at Medinah Country Club with PGA Tour swing coach Drew Steckel and 7th row tickets to an upcoming Chicago Cubs game! The event generated a record-breaking $95,000 to
help United Way provide support for nearly 2 million needy people in local neighborhoods. “The proceeds raised at Ignite will help provide early learning and middle school programs, job training and financial tools, healthcare services and critical basic needs
support for people around the region,” said Will Darley, YLS executive chair. United Way’s Young Leaders Society (YLS) members are committed young professionals who encourage
philanthropy and volunteerism among their peers. Through their numerous fundraising efforts throughout the year, they raise funds to support 185 nonprofit agencies across Chicagoland.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF Midwest hosted the Chicago UNICEF Kid Power Celebration on March 3 which highlighted the achievements of the team during Kid Power Month. Joining 230 local students from Budlong Elementary School in a pep rally were R2-D2 and guests representing Star Wars: Force for Change, local Target store team members and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Kid Power team members, including President and CEO Caryl Stern. By getting active with the UNICEF Kid Power Band, the World’s First Wearable-for-Good™, bracelet, kids go on missions to earn points and unlock therapeutic food packets for severely malnourished children around the world. This spring, more than 6,000 local students are participating in UNICEF Kid Power Month, a school-based program that promotes physical activity and global citizenship among elementary school kids. #forceforgood,
Attention culture vultures! Chicago Shakespeare Theater's artistic director Barbara Gaines, executive director Criss Henderson and board chair Sheli Z. Rosenberg were joined by Navy Pier's CEO Marilynn Gardner and board chair William
J. Brodsky as well as Mayor Emanuel on March 1 to announce the exciting creation of an innovative performance venue, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare! Construction on the theater begins this spring with its first production scheduled for the 2017-18 Season. I just can't wait!
THE SPRING PARTY HOT LIST:
PAWS Animal Magnetism will be held at a new venue this year, Morgan Manufacturing, on Friday, March 18.
Jonny Imerman's "Wings of Hope" Gala will be held on the Godfrey's Roof on Thursday, March 24.
Whitney Reynold's will celebrate her new show with a gala on Friday, April 1.
Discovery Ball (benefiting the American Cancer Society) at the Hilton Chicago on Saturday, April 2.
The Joffrey Ballet's 60th anniversary Spring Gala will be held on Friday, April 15 at the Hilton following a performance at the Auditorium Theatre.
The Costume Council will honor legendary designer Bob Mackie at an event at the Chicago History Museum on Tuesday, April 19.
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre celebrates the bard's birthday on Saturday, April 23 with a gala at the Theatre space on Navy Pier.
Brookfield Zoo hosts its annual black-tie gala "A Whole New Whirl" on Saturday, April 30 at the Zoo.
The School of the Art Institute will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a gala at the Art Institute on Friday, May 6.
Mothers in the Mills benefit (to end puppy mill abuse) will be held on Saturday, May 7, at Moonlight Studios.
The Rita Hayworth Gala will be held on Saturday, May 7, at the Hilton to benefit the Alzheimer's Association.
The Muscular Dystrophy Assn. will host its 10th annual "Toast to Life" on Friday, April 15 at Park West.
Snow was falling sideways but that didn't keep a small, yet determined crowd from joining us for the Alliance for Women in Media's (AWM) panel discussion hosted by ROARR (Columbia College's student chapter for AWM) on February 24.
Organized by Professor Shanita Baraka Akintonde (Columbia College), the event included three panels. I was honored to be included as a guest speaker on the "Media Makers" panel alongside Tasha Harris (Sr. Dir. of Communications and Marketing at Natl. Assn. of Realtors), Sheree Franklin Hill (author "Intuition") and Annette Martinez (ComEd Dir. of Communications). The 2nd panel ("Glass Ceiling Breakers") speakers included Cheryl Mainor (Chicago Defender publisher) and Dr. Theresa Nelson (CEO, Young Women's Leadership Charter School). And the "Future Generation" panel included Julie Harris (Columbia College internship director) and Shpresa Milla (junior media planner, HAVAS).
Media Makers vice president Adrienne Jones welcomed the group and panel moderators were Shanita and Jeremy Vasquez (ROARR exec. VP). Thanks to AWM for including me in this insightful, inspiring discussion with these dynamos!
It was a VERY interesting discussion on the fate of print media at a recent sold out luncheon at the City Club of Chicago. Featured speakers were Tony Hunter
(Chicago Tribune), Jim Kirk (Sun-Times publisher/editor-in-chief) and David Snyder (Crain's Chicago Business publisher). My takeway-- I think it's clear that the future of
print media is complicated but it still seems very hopeful for all of us who love newspapers. They're a long way from disappearing. Here's highlights from the 45 minute
discussion delivered to a rapt audience. Overall, I left feeling very positive about the future of print. And I do read my books on a Kindle even though my husband and I are rare book collectors. I think/hope there's room for both. :-)
Mark your calendars for April 10th, when the Mercedes dealership, Autohaus on Edens (Northbrook), will be transformed once again to Launch 2016: Driving Fashion Forward--a stunning fashion preview and runway show with many of Chicago's top boutiques. This year's beneficiary will be The Glenview Women's Club that supports many local charities. In addition, Columbia College Chicago will have their emerging design student competition with their top looks walking the catwalk! The student with the most votes will win a $5,000 scholarship! For tickets and more info, click here.
Help someone less fortunate attend her prom in style with this year's The Glass Slipper Project. Just drop off a new or gently used prom dress/formal dress, evening bag, heels, etc. to any of the 1500 USAgain bins around Chicago or ship to USAgain, 1555 W. Hawthorne Lane, 4W West Chicago IL 60185 marked "PROM" (or call 312.409.4139 for more details). The 2016 Boutiques will be held on April 2 and 9 (from 9 am to 4pm) at Price Elementary School, 4351 S. Drexel Ave. The boutiques will be available for junior and seniors.
The DuSable Museum of African American History will present "Hollywood Comes to the Du," the first in a series of events examining "Race & The Media." An all-star panel of Black filmmakers, actors, screenwriters and musicians have been assembled for this event which will take
place on Friday, March 11 at the Museum. For tickets and more info, click here.
Visions of Spring! "Evening in Bloom", the preview party for the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, returns to Navy Pier on Friday, March 11. This year's event benefits The Trotter Project and will be chaired again by Nina and Bob Mariano. For tickets to the preview party, $150, click here. The Flower & Garden Show is open to the public from March 12 to 20th. Adult tickets are $15 weekdays and $17 weekends. Children ages 4-12 are admitted for $5.
Arf! Arf! The Park Hyatt Chicago and PAWS Chicago will partner for the hotel's new "Bark Hyatt Chicago" program. The Park Hyatt will donate 100% of the $100 standard pet fee to PAWS in honor of each special four-legged guest who stays at the hotel! Just love this unique program and I hope more hotels will follow suit.
I can't wait to share the news from the private grand opening of SPIN, the River North (344 N. State) ping pong social club co-founded by Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon, on March 10. The club officially opened to the public on March 4 and offers a menu from
Chef Ariel Bagadiong, cocktails and, of course, ping pong in its 16,000 sq. ft. space!
Stay tuned for an interesting segment on Studio 54, New York's famous '70s hotspot
dubbed the greatest club in the world, coming soon from "Through the Decades." I taped a segment for Bill Kurtis' fabulous series on the DECADES network recently sharing my fuzzy memories of those days. And even though this photo is from my Playboy centerfold shoot at FACES (Chicago's own hot club from the '70s), I fear I wore this same outfit to the NY club too. Yikes!
Mark your calendars NOW for the next Randolph Street Market coming to Plumber's Hall (1340 W. Washington) on March 19 and 20 with over 100 awesome vendors! Besides vintage treasures, you'll find food, fun and friends! Hope to see you there!
Macy's epic annual flower show returns to State Street on March 20 through April 3. Themed "America the Beautiful," this year's event will celebrate our country's varied landscapes. I just can't wait and love this event that is the
perfect harbinger for Spring!
And now for a couple of personal shout-outs. A big happy birthday to beloved Chef Art Smith who blew out all the candles on his hummingbird cake on March 1! Much love to him, Jesus Salguiero and their darling family!
Tennis legend Jimmy Connors and his
beautiful Playboy Playmate of the Year wife Patti McGuire Connors, celebrated 38 years of wedding bliss on March 4. Love to this cute couple and their two perfectly darling kids, Aubree and Brett! We hope to see you all soon!
That's it for this week's action packed blog! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I love writing it. The generosity of this great city's inhabitants never ceases to amaze me. It seems like every time I write about an event, either here or in my Chicago Tribune column, it's a record-breaker. No matter the economy, people still support their passions and that's a wonderful sight to behold. I feel very lucky to be a witness.
P.S. And, as always, something to make you smile! THIS is amazing!
P.S.S I want HER genes!