CHICAGO'S TOP CULINARY STARS; MERRI DEE CELEBRATION; INSPIRING JENNIFFER AND JOHN; RYAN'S CONCERT FOR A CAUSE; MARK ROSCOE DOES IT AGAIN; FLEUROTICA; PLAYBOY IS BACK!: PRISCILLA IS A FUNFEST; HEROES GALA; REMEMBERING MARY; AMERICA'S BEAUTY SHOW; STANLEY IN PALM DESERT; ST. JUDE'S RED CARPET FOR HOPE; LESLIE'S NEW "WILD" DOC; PATRICK J. RYAN MAIN EVENT; CUTE VIDEOS AND SO MUCH MORE!
In kicking off Cubs Convention weekend, former Cub Kerry Wood, along with wife Sarah, hosted their annual “Woody’s Winter Warm-Up,” a celebrity bar-tending fundraiser on January 13th at Harry Caray’s Tavern Navy Pier. Over 500 guests were in attendance
including some of Wood’s celebrity friends, former/current Cubs players and coaching staff who jumped behind the bar to serve drinks while competing for tips to raise money for the Wood Family Foundation’s Pitch In mentorship program. Emceed by WGN radio
personalities Pete McMurray and Jane Monzures, the evening included a premium open bar, food stations, raffle, silent and live auctions and “meet and greets” with members of the World Series Chicago Cubs. Guests enjoyed a variety of music from DJ White Shadow, Ryan Chiaverini and the Suburban Cowboys, Jim Peterik and the
Ides of March, Drake Bell and The Plain White T's. The World Series Trophy even made a special appearance so that fans could take photos while celebrity Master Chef Scott Fischer presented a replica cake for all to enjoy! Those in attendance from the Chicago Cubs included Kyle Schwarber, Anthony
Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Albert Almora Jr., Justin Grimm, Jason Heyward, CJ Edwards, Mike Montgomery, Theo Epstein, Joe Maddon, Tom Ricketts and Crane Kenney. Additional celebrity guests included Ryne Sandberg (former Cub Hall of Famer), Fergie Jenkins (former Cub Hall of Famer), Taylor Kinney
(Chicago Fire), Rhymefest (Rapper), Drake Bell (Actor), Plain White T’s, Suburban Cowboys, Jim Peterik (Eye of the Tiger), Ron Kittle (Chicago White Sox), Israel Idonije (Chicago Bears), Desmond Clark (Chicago Bears), Sarah Spain (ESPN), Tanja Babich (ABC 7), Ryan Chiaverini (ABC Windy
City Live), Lisa Fielding (CBS radio), Kelly Crull (Comcast Sports), Joe Soto (V103) and Eric Ferguson (Eric & Kathy Show). “This was, by far, our best
Woody’s event yet,” said Kerry Wood. “It’s extremely encouraging to see the team (Cubs), musicians, media personalities and athletes come together for our cause and make a difference for
Chicagoland youth. Despite the curve balls that may come their way, everyone should be given a chance in life regardless of resources or
geography." The Wood Family Foundation facilitates relationships that provide support and opportunities to empower youth and their families to succeed in life. The Warm Up raises funds for the foundation’s Pitch
In group mentoring program serving 4th through 8th graders in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. (For more info about the Wood Family Foundation, click here.) (Photos by Kenny Kim and James Currie).
Over 400 culinary enthusiasts gathered at the 2017 Jean Banchet Awards on Sunday, January 15th at Venue Six10 on South Michigan Avenue. Presented by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence are the only Chicago-based awards ceremony that recognize culinary
originality and talent throughout the region. Guests were greeted with a Champagne
reception followed by the award ceremony hosted by Michael Muser, partner and general manager at Grace. A selection of award winners includes Blackbird for Restaurant of the Year, Andrew Brochu of Roister for Chef of the Year, Oriole for Best New Restaurant, Dixie for Best Restaurant Design and
Nomad for Best Alternative Dining. Rick Bayless was also honored for a Culinary Achievement Award at the post-Awards Party presented by ITW Food Equipment Group. The Awards precede the Grand Chef’s Gala on
February 3rd which benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation while honoring all nominated restaurants and treating event attendees to tasting tables and light bites from the best in Chicago’s culinary scene. Besides the winners listed above, the complete list follows: Rising Chef of the Year--Bill Montagne and Jennifer Kim (Snaggletooth);
Best Chef-de-Cuisine--Wilson Bauer (Schwa); Pastry Chef of the Year--Meg Galus (Swift & Sons/Momotaro/BOKA); Rising Pastry Chef of the Year--Alison Cates (Honey's); Best Neighborhood Restaurant--Sumi Robata Bar; Best Ethnic Restaurant--5 Loaves Eatery; Best Sommelier--Rachel Driver Speckan (City Winery) and Best Mixologist--Julia Momose (GreenRiver). (Photos by Caitlin Lee
Photography and Galdones Photography)
Merri Dee, longtime television and radio personality, will be honored on Wednesday, March 1, at the Metropolitan Club as she celebrates 50 years of broadcasting. Kicking off Women's History Month, the event, titled
"Celebrating the Life Lessons & Professional Accomplishments of Broadcast Legend Merri Dee", will support a soon-to-be-announced Merri Dee Healing Center. The Center will be located at the YWCA in Logan Square and will help women
impacted by violence. Merri Dee's life would make an inspiring Hollywood movie and, indeed, she has authored several books about her experiences that is nothing short of remarkable. One of the first African-American women to anchor the news in Chicago, she turned her celebrity
status into a beacon for charity work. In 1992, after suffering a childhood of abuse, Dee helped draft the country's first ever Victims' Bill of Rights that was passed by Illinois state
legislature and served as a model for other states to pass their own victim's rights legislation. She founded the Chicago-based program Athletes for a Better Education and served as the television host of the United Negro College Fund's "Evening of Stars" fundraiser for over two decades. She also hosted telethons benefiting Easter Seals as well as advocating for many other charities. Dee has raised millions for
children's charities after struggling for years as a single mother. During her long broadcast career, Dee also developed "The Waiting Child", an on-air segment for WGN-TV spotlighting children in the child placement system in need of adoptive homes. This initiative earned Dee several awards, including being honored with the Adoption Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2004. In 1971, after hosting a segment of her Merri Dee Show, on then station WSNS (channel 44), she was kidnapped and shot in the head. She was given last rites twice by her friend Reverend Jesse Jackson. Her positive spirit, that she's held onto throughout her life, helped her to, not only survive, but to thrive. In 2000, she was honored with an honorary Doctorate of Humanities by Lewis University; the following year, Dee won the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Silver Circle Award. The University of Illinois' Center on Women
and Gender also honored Dee with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003; and in 2004, she was honored with a President's Award by the United Negro College Fund. Dee has also served as an executive board member for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Junior Achievement Worldwide and the Associated Colleges of Illinois. In January 2011, she became one of six inductees into the National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame. Whew! Sooooo, in honor of Merri's 50 years of service as a public figure and the huge impact she's had on her adoring public, tickets to this event, are only $50 each! (Click here). (The evening will be co-sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and the Metropolitan Club of Chicago). Hope to see you there!
ONE NIGHT ONLY, Thursday, February 16th! The Wilmette Theatre has partnered with longtime Chicago journalist and author Jenniffer Weigel for a program called “Conversations With Weigel: A Series Exploring Spiritual Enlightenment.”
This is an ongoing program in which Weigel brings in special guests to explore all avenues related to spiritual enlightenment. On this night, she will have special guest/dear friend John St. Augustine, a well know radio personality who Dr. Mehmet Oz described this way. "John is a formidable presence in the world who has a gift. He sees things that most of us miss, the sacred spaces that are hidden in the ordinary events of life." So true! Weigel has been a broadcast journalist in Chicago since 1995. Starting in radio (WLUP, WLS-AM, WGN-AM) and then moving to
television (WGN-TV, WBBM-TV, WMAQ-TV). She has written three books: “Stay Tuned,” “I’m Spiritual, Dammit!” and “This Isn’t the Life I Ordered.” Her one-woman show “I’m Spiritual, Dammit!” had three successful runs on the Chicago stage. “I’m very excited to bring a variety of people to the Wilmette Theatre to discuss the questions many of us have, but are afraid to ask,” said
Weigel. Tickets, only $20, are available here!
Windy City LIVE co-host Ryan Chiaverini gathered his friends together for the 3rd annual "Concert For A Cause" at Joe's on Weed St. Friday night, Jan. 27. This year, it was bigger and better than ever and, as always, partial proceeds benefited the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Other guest artists
is near and dear to his heart. "I thought about cancelling or at least postponing this year's event given my mom's health but I know she would want me to do the show to honor my brother and families affected by suicide," shared Ryan. To learn more about this much needed non-profit or to donate, click here.
Congrats to renowned fashion designer Mark Roscoe on yet another coup! One of his beautiful creations was worn by Chicago pianist
Ani Gorgova for her debut at Carnegie Hall on January 27! She wore two of his ensembles, one a champagne and gold beaded gown and the other, a black and gold sequin halter gown worn with killer heels by another Chicago designer, Brian Atwood! Feel the love Mark and congrats!
I'm so thrilled to see FLEUROTICA return, this year to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show on Friday, March 17! This "flowers meet fashion" show will be held during "Evening in Bloom," the event's opening night, from 6-9 pm at Navy Pier. I've attended two Fleurotica shows and it's one of my favorite events! The show will feature several of Chicago's hottest designers presenting fashions created entirely from flowers and/or plant materials! The creativity is OFF the CHARTS and is a must-attend. (To preview a past Fleurotica, see my video below).
Congrats to president/show director Tony Abruscato for this brilliant idea to resurrect Fleurotica at this perfect venue! The fashion show will be held in collaboration, and benefit, the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance and will also include culinary creations from some of our town's top restaurants.
For tickets and more info, click here!
The Bunnies are BAACK! I'm thrilled to hear, after a 30 year absence, Playboy is opening up a new club in New York! The lounge and supper club is slated to open in the new Cachet Boutique hotel later this year in midtown Manhattan. The space will feature a lounge, a game room, a
full-service dining room and, of course, Playboy Bunny servers, hostesses and cocktail waitresses. There will even be a "gaming" Bunny which will take the place of the "bumper-pool Bunnies" of yesteryear. (I must admit I did play a mean game of bumper-pool)! Valerie Golson, Playboy's VP of
Gaming and Location Based Entertainment said in a statement to Fox News Travel, "The reintroduction of the Playboy Club to New York City is a huge milestone for us as we continue to reinvent our brand for new
audiences all around the world." New York's original Playboy Club opened in Manhattan in 1962 and operated until 1986 before closing its doors.
Today, there are Playboy Clubs in London, Hanoi, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Mumbai, as well as a beer garden in Pune, India, and a café in Bangkok, Thailand. Golson also confirmed that there will be a new Playboy Club opening in Shanghai, China, this March, again in collaboration with Cachet. I'm hopping around with happiness! It's a whole new day for Playboy!
The 5th annual Beauty Changes Lives Experience will be presented on Sunday, March 26, during America’s Beauty Show (ABS). The event will return to the Art Institute and include an intimate VIP by-invite-only dinner followed by the industry’s premier party celebrating the NextGen and industry icons. The Legacy Award will be presented to honorees Sydell Miller and the late Arnold (Arnie) Miller, founders of Matrix. The evening will build toward a
dramatic NextGen runway show spotlighting perspectives on soon-to-emerge beauty trends. (For tickets or more info, please click here!)
Over 175 members of the Chicago music community gathered at the 2017 GRAMMY Nominee Reception
and Membership Celebration on January 24th at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. Presented by The Recording Company, the celebration honored the Midwest music community and the 59th GRAMMY Nominees. Midwest artists nominated for a GRAMMY included Sean Connors, David Cunliff, Todd Dulaney, Robert Dillon, Robbie Fulks, Jim
Ginsburg, Meagan Hennessy, Clara Lyon, Richard Martin, Desiree Ruhstrat, Ken Shipley, David Skidmore and Russell Rolen. Guests were treated to an inspired performance by the Chicago Children’s Choir and music by DJ Adam Luksetich of Numero Group. Congrats to all! (Photos by Getty)
"Priscilla, Queen of the Desert the Musical", is a heart-warming, uplifting adventure of three friends Tick, Bernadette and Adam (played by Luke Meierdiercks, Jordan Phelps and beloved local star and headliner, Honey West. Presented by Pride Films & Plays and choreographed by Jon Martinez, this delightful romp through the Outback will be at the Pride
Arts Center (4139 N. Broadway) through March 12. The production's musical director is Robert Ollis with David Zak and Derek Van Barham co-directing. Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones said, "I'd say there was not a soul in the room who was not having fine, prideful fun. You will too!" For tickets and more info, click here!
I was so very sad to hear of the passing of Mary Tyler Moore. Not only was she inspiring onscreen, but her charity work for
animal rights and diabetes awareness, among other charities, were equally admirable. I remember tossing my own hat into the air trying to emulate her zest for life. For many working women, she was a touchstone. Below is a clip of one of my favorite episodes:
Chicago Tribune's Scott Stantis created this wonderful cartoon tribute to Mary. He will also be honored as the recipient of the Hero Award for Inspirational Commitment at the Heroes Gala benefiting the Epilepsy Foundation on Friday,
February 24. The event will be held at the Field Museum and also honor Dr. Jeffrey Loeb for his outstanding efforts on behalf of people living with epilepsy. For tickets and more info, click here.
Beloved entertainer/pianist/bandleader/storyteller Stanley Paul is busy, busy, busy no matter where he is in the world! This time, in his home-away-from-home in Palm Springs, he will be performing his one man show, "Red Hot & Rich" featuring the music and life of Cole Porter on Friday, March 10. The evening begins at the Heather
James Gallery (45188 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert) at 6 pm with a reception followed by the show at 7 pm. Tickets are only $95 and includes cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and STANLEY! The evening will benefit AIDS Assistance Programs/Food Samaritans. (For ticket and more info, call 760.325.8481 or visit www.aidsassistance.org) Break a leg Stanley!
Nearly 300 Chicagoans arrived to walk the Red Carpet at Revel Fulton Market ready to be dazzled by the glitz and glamour of the 74th Annual Golden Globes Awards to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Hosted by NBC-5's Kalee Dionne, the 3rd annual St. Jude Red Carpet for Hope event is part of a multi-market display of St. Jude support as guests enjoyed cocktails, dinner, both live and silent auctions, and the Golden Globe Awards made possible by a partnership with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The event benefited the care and research at St. Jude’s Research Hospital for children in need and, since its inception in 2015, has raised nearly $2.3 million.
Congrats to Leslie Zemeckis (actress/producer/author) on her upcoming documentary about famed female tiger trainer Mabel Stark. The film will be premiered at the Santa Barbara Film Festival on February 8 at the Lobero Theatre at 7 pm and on 2/9 at Metro 4 at 8:30 pm. For a sneak peek, see below and check out the website here!
Catholic Charities will host its 3rd annual charity boxing match, The Patrick J. Ryan Main Event & Casino Night, on Friday, February 3rd. The event will support Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide (LOSS) Program and was established by former Attorney General of Illinois Jim Ryan and his wife Marie and their family following the loss of their son Patrick J. Ryan to suicide. Design star Monica Pedersen will return as the emcee to Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace from 6- 11 pm. For tickets and more info, click here.
I know most of us have lost beloved pets so you know how hard it is. We recently lost our little Mickey and when God created him, he broke the mold. He passed away too soon on January 14, 2017. If you would like to read my tribute to him, please click here.
I hope you've enjoyed this week's edition of Candid Candace! If you have any news or events you would like me to cover, please send them my way. There is so much goodness going on in Chicago as far as charities. I love attending fundraisers and seeing the support people seem to always be willing to give for causes near and dear to their hearts. At least we have this going for us!
Love, as always,
P.S. And, of course, something to make you smile.....