PLUS NYE AT THE CASINO; DELANO SOUTH BEACH'S STAR-STUDDED NYE PARTY; BAILIWICK CHICAGO'S COOL AUCTION GALA; HAPPY 125TH TO AUDITORIUM THEATRE; BLOGGING TIPS FROM AN EXPERT (NOT ME); MOST POPULAR CHICAGO CELEB HANGOUT; AMY GUTH'S EXCITING WGN RADIO NEWS; DONNIE LOVES JENNY (VIDEO) AND SO MUCH MORE!
2015. I can hardly believe it....time is flying by so quickly! Last year already seems like a blur to me. I have lots of plans for this year and I hope you've made some, too. I really don't believe in resolutions because, typically, they go unrealized. I prefer to use the word "plans" because it denotes a solid course of action. Mostly though, my plans/hopes are more of a sentimental nature rather than a work-oriented one. I want to slow down a bit and really appreciate what I have, where I've been and where I want to go. I want to travel more and spend more time with my friends, near and far. I want to hug my husband and play with my Chihuahuas--oh, I still have my ambitions, but I want to combine them in a more balanced overall package. I love my work and want to grow it, but I also want to play more, too! Here are New Year's goals/dreams from some of our town's Movers & Shakers!
Donna LaPietra (beloved philanthropist; Kurtis Productions): With all Donna and Bill do for Chicago, it's no surprise that they had a quiet NYE. Every night for them is a party so this is her witty response: "Sorry to say we neither moved nor shook -- let alone stirred. But very happy to be welcoming a new year!" LOL!
Jessica Zweig--(Bride-to-be, former CheekyChicago.com, now
JessicaZweig.com)--2015 is the year I become a wife, so my largest new year's resolution is to build the strongest foundation for my marriage with the greatest friend, partner and soon-to-be husband (Brian Fisher) a woman could ask for. I manifested and accomplished so much of what I set out to do in
2014, and so my 2015 intention is to ride this wave of abundance, joy and love...and to let more of it in.
Jessie Kalin Mash-- (Newlywed, Emmy award winning Style Producer for ABC 7 Chicago's Windy City LIVE)-- We actually rang in the new year at a good friend's wedding at Hotel Monaco. It was the perfect setting for New Year's Eve. The wedding ceremony was at 7:30pm - and then we celebrated the new couple and new year until 1:30 am. My new year's resolution is to learn how to cook! We received such fancy
cookware for our wedding earlier this year... and now I need to learn how to use it!
Melissa Forman--(WCIU's "You & Me This Morning" co-host, happy mother of four)--Her resolution? Just keep jumping for joy!!!!!
Borris Powell--(fashion designer, SEX + LOVE creative director)--This year I did the Eve of Eve Party at Union Station. It was everything that I thought it would be and more... For sure the place to be. I wanted to get the HUGE gathering out of my system because I really enjoy being with a small group of friends in one of our homes when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Morning... I never make resolutions, just goals... I set goals throughout the year to keep me on track of my future wants and needs. Going into 2015, my goals are to ensure that I have another dress on a Major Red Carpet. I've now had a piece at the Oscars, the Grammys, and The 2014 Emmys. I'm looking for my 4th and maybe 5th in 2015, I'm also working on 2 shows that I want to have contracts on this year. One would be my own show and the other is the show called SEX + LOVE where I've been named creative director of fashion. And now that I've signed
a major contract with a nanotechnology company, I'm excited that I am the 1st to bring you stain-proof garments in the luxury world of Fashion... And these are just a few things that I'm introducing this year...
Tina Weller (Weller Dental) with Mary Lasky (Service Club members extraordinaire)-- "We (the Wellers) rang in the New Year at Fig & Olive--we sat in the lounge by the DJ and enjoyed cocktails and dinner as we danced and laughed. We were joined by Mary and Jim Lasky and Michael Burkamira and Janet Lee. My
resolutions this year are fitness related. I hope to be in the best shape possible and have been working on this goal since Fall 2014. I also want to spend more time with my family."
Whitney Reynolds (The Whitney Reynolds Show)--"We (David Heiner and I) went to Hugo's Frog Bar for dinner and then rang in the NY over champagne and board games with our close friends and four-legged babies. Resolutions: 1. Grow The Whitney Reynolds Show to new PBS markets with permanent time slots. 2. Start journaling about my childhood and the funny adventures of this small town southern girl that's made her way in this big city."
Elysabeth Alfano (Creator/Executive Producer and Host The Dinner Party)--"My New Year’s Resolution is the same every year: to have the peace of mind to be my authentic self, and the serenity to acknowledge those I love- family, friends and pets – and my blessed life while pursuing my passion. And when life gets so busy and chaotic that I stray, I keep trying to find my way back to a place a gratitude and balance. To sing and/or hum more around the house."
Kristina McGrath--(PR/Customer Service Outreach McGrath Lexus)--"We hosted a "last minute" New Years Eve party at our
home in Utah. It was filled with about 100 family and friends. The best part was that I didn't hire a caterer and we girls spent the day cooking. I couldn't have dreamed of better quality time! My wish for 2015 is to simplify my life. Sometimes it's too easy to hire people to do things. Our lives move too quickly and I want to slow down. New Year's Day was spent designating responsibilities to my family--I had the joy of watching my nieces blow up balloons and decorate with "tacky" Wal-Mart decorations (sorry Wal-Mart fans!) while the guys cooked the meat--alllll day long! Of course we could've hired someone to decorate, but nothing made me
happier than to watch their excitement. This might not have been the fanciest party, but it was the most special New Year's Eve party thus far!"
Amie Hana (Photographer; graphic design artist)--"My hope for 2015 is for a greener world !! Why not add one or two GREEN mini-resolutions to your New Year’s list this year? Much smaller in scale than many of the lofty goals we make and break year after year, these steps can add green cheer all year long to our environment, health and even our pocketbook. Recycle your Christmas tree through the TreeCycle Program; refuel your vehicles during the evenings; carpool; take the bus;
bike and walk more; turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth; take shorter showers, repair faulty plumbing and collect rainwater for your plants. It's such easy steps that make such a difference.
Nicki Pecori (Director of Community Affairs at Illinois Housing Development Authority) and Bob Fioretti (2nd Ward Alderman and Mayoral Candidate)---"Bob (Fioretti) and I stayed home for New Year's Eve and it was wonderful! I made a delicious dinner: mixed green salad with balsamic dressing, shaved parmigiano-reggiano and dried cranberries; grilled salmon with honey mustard glaze; roasted new potatoes with fresh rosemary from my indoor herb garden; buttered
asparagus spears and a champagne toast. We resolve to eat healthy, continue to work hard, and enjoy each day of the new year! We also watched two of Bob's DVR'd episodes of Superman (circa 1952) with George Reeves while we waited for the clock to strike midnight."
Bunky Cushing--(Beloved man-about-town, author "Squire of Society", philanthropist)-- "Write more, Eat less; Walk more, Worry less." (I love this).
Marcus Riley (President of the local chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and popular event
host)-- "I did it up big again this year at HighSight's Eve of the Eve celebration at Union Station. This annual event attracts thousands with proceeds benefiting the organization's scholarship programs. We kept it closer to home on New Year's Eve with a more intimate party at Ravenswood's "Grand Tour," and later boogied in 2015 to the sounds of DJ Ryan Ross at "The Southern" in Wicker Park."
Michael Caputo--(Director of Marketing, Spex/ 21 Chicago locations/ Voted 'best eyewear' in Chicago READER poll.) --"New Year's Eve? I was home settling into SHOWTIME's "Penny Dreadful" series marathon with an icy bottle of prosecco! Commercial breaks found me writing New Year cards to out-of-state friends that I simply couldn't dash a Christmas card to before the big day. My New Year Resolution is to stop using my kitchen only for cocktail ice; I want to spend more time preparing good food for friends. I made a
terrific lasagne for Christmas and took a pic like any proud mama!"
Dorri McWhorter (YWCA Metropolitan Chicago CEO)--"My New Year's resolution is simply to STAY JOYFUL! We get so caught up in all the hard work and seriousness of life that I've decided no matter what I will find joy in everything I do! You enhance your creativity when you come from a place of
joy! I plan on being highly creative this year so let the joy flow!"
Erica Bethe Levin (Co-founder CheekyChicago.com/ Bride-to-Be)--"My New Year’s resolution is to spend time on what really matters in life: family and friends and the little things that make me happy. To continue mentoring and empowering women to follow their dreams. And to maintain health and happiness."
Amy Guth (RedEye and Metromix GM, WGN radio host)---"I love NYE and the "clean slate" feeling it brings. This year, I kept it low key and called into WGN Radio to
visit with the other hosts on-air and, of course, to offer up a special NYE #GuthGauntlet report or two-- people watching is some of the best entertainment around! My resolution for 2015 is to raise awareness about the successes and challenges of women in the workplace."
Elda de la Rosa (Fashion designer extraordinaire/ RICORSO fashion illustrator/tailoring director)---"This last
year I have freelanced for my friend's design label (RICORSO) and was blessed to be offered a full time position as the fashion illustrator/tailoring director. It's a new design label and it consists of a design team of four creative individuals. I absolutely love my new job and working with other creatives. I plan on making 2015 my best year yet!"
Leslie Hindman (Founder Leslie Hindman Auctioneers)--"My 2015 resolution is to work hard and play harder!" (
Frankly, I don't know how much harder she could work!)
Mila Samokhina (Photographer/artist/gemologist)---"New Year's Eve night we spent with our parents in Tallinn, Estonia. It was the best gift we could give ourselves! My resolution for 2015 is simple: Always love everybody and everything I do; Live fully; Enjoy every
day; Laugh often; Give positive input in life and try to bring happiness and joy to all I do. And, of course, I'm looking forward to my daughter Elena's wedding in Nice, France this September! Could not be happier for her and Peter!"
Paul Iacono (President Chicago Dowel Company)--- "This past New Year's Eve was pleasant. My great friend (and former babysitter I might add) Dede Lubeznik
invited me to join her and several others for dinner at Hugo's. After dinner we all headed back to the beautiful home of Jay & Gale Gottlieb for dessert, champagne, and a competitive game of Charades. What a thoughtful hostess Gale is! Even though there were only 8 of us, she had fun NYE-themed gift
bags for each after the night was over. My NY Res: getting to bed earlier on week nights!!!"
Cece Gonzalez (Co-founder Cece & Melinda with Raymi Productions)-- "I went out for dinner to a Havana restaurant with my boyfriend John and some friends. We celebrated with dancing, salsa, merengue and bachata, latino way!!"
Melinda Joseph (Co-founder Cece & Melinda with Raymi Productions)--"My boyfriend (Jay) took me to
Las Vegas to see Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett at the Cosmopolitan where I also made a donation to the casino." Both she and Cece's New Year's resolutions involve "exercising more and spending more time with their families as well as growing Mac & Cheese Fest (which will return on 10/24/15) from
2K to 5K in 2015."
Gayle Anthony (Paris Ceramics USA, Sales Director)--"We've been in Palm Beach enjoying the warm temps and playing a lot of golf. We've been going from one thing to the next and haven't had a minute to write
or think about resolutions, but what's most important to me in 2015 is spending more time with my family!"
Kathleen Casey (Founder Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation)--"I will continue to be an advocate for children battling childhood cancer. This disease remains the number ONE death by disease and these children need us to be their voices to get more funding to provide hope for a cure! I would also like to experience new things in the coming year be it through classes, travel
or the many things our glorious city of Chicago has to offer! Wishing everyone a year filled with good health, happiness, love and laughter."
With a sell-out crowd, the English Speaking Union (ESU) hosted its fifth annual New Year's Eve Bash at the Casino Club. Billed as
a "friend raiser", not a fundraiser, 220 black and white tie-clad guests enjoyed cocktails, a lavish dinner and dancing to the Ralph Wilder Orchestra. Guests were greeted by co-chairs Courtney Pitt and dashing Brian White. Gardenias were passed to each attendee as they arrived by models dressed in period costumes
appropriate for the party's English Regency theme. In the ballroom, elegant table decor consisted of tall pink, white and black feather centerpieces. The menu featured Lobster Thermidor followed by filet mignon with black truffle butter. Mango and raspberry mousse domes were served for dessert. Seen on the scene were Janet and
Rodger Owen, Kim Gleeson and Brian Kearnes, Marci and David Gookin, Mary and Tom Bagley, Susan and Harlow Higinbotham, Anne and Steve Deli, Kathy and Dr. John Q. Cook, Jackie Thompson, Caroline and Heather Wright, Pauline and Neil Sheehan, Loren and Larry Ekstrom, Elyse and Walter Leavy and Vonita Reeser and Richard Miller. (The next big event for the ESU will be the Shakespeare Competition
for local high school students that will be held at Roosevelt University on February 9. The group's major fundraiser is a black tie gala that will be held on Saturday, June 13. Mark your calendars now)! (Photos by Jennifer Girard)
Right about now, I'm having South Beach envy and wish we were having some sun n' fun on the Right Coast! Fortunately, we've made plans to stay at the Fontainebleau in February. This will bring back many happy memories spent there with my mom, Elsa Stott, before she passed. NYE was craaazzy at the Delano South Beach , another favorite SoBe spot. Here's their write-up: "We rang in 2015 in lavish style Wednesday evening at
our poolside oasis Delano Beach Club where Roc Nation artist J. Cole took to the stage to ring in the new year and graced the crowd with an epic midnight performance featuring his new album and classic hits "Work Out” and “Power Trip,” as host Yes Julz hyped the crowd. Taraji P. Henson was spotted with her posse of girls, snapping selfies in their
cabana. Cleveland Brown’s quarterback Johnny Manziel was also in attendance enjoying the performance with New York Giants star wide receiver Victor Cruz and teammate Kevin Ogletree. Following the
poolside soiree, the event headed downstairs to Delano’s subterranean lounge FDR where J. Cole hosted an eventful, sold-out after party. R&B star Ne-Yo made quite an entrance, walking in with a massive entourage and later was spotted in the
crowd taking photos with revelers. Miami Heat players Mario Chalmers and Luol Deng were also in attendance to help kick off the New Year with a bang at Delano South Beach." Now THAT'S a party!
I'm still on a high after attending the blow-out bash celebrating the Auditorium
Theatre of Roosevelt University's 125th anniversary! The magical evening consisted of a star-studded performance at the Theatre that welcomed more than 2,000 patrons and a Gala dinner at the Palmer House. The evening began at the Theatre with a 90 minute tribute that included Broadway legend Patti Lupone. When she belted out "Don't Cry for Me Argentina", she had
the crowd in the palm of her hand. (Her great grand aunt Adelina Patti appeared onstage 125 years ago for the grand opening!) The tribute was hosted by Chicago actor John Mahoney. Dancers from Alvin
Ailey American Dance Theater (Vernard Gilmore) and the Joffrey Ballet (Rory Hohenstein and Christine Rocas), singers from the Lyric Opera of Chicago (Jonathan Johnson and Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi) and The Apollo Chorus, musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass and an "All-star Chicago Rock Band" featuring local rock icon Jim Peterik, Paul Wertico, Barbara Unger-Wertico and Richard Patterson all
graced the stage paying tribute to the diverse entertainment that has been, and continues to be presented at the Auditorium Theatre. Besides Lupone's performance, highlights of the performance included the Joffrey Ballet’s Christine Rocas and Rory Hohenstein performing a pas de deux from “Romeo and Juliet” and Alvin Ailey’s Vernard Gilmore in an excerpt of Ailey’s
1960 masterpiece, “Revelations.” The performance concluded with a rare treat: the gilded panels on
both sides of the Auditorium stage were lifted to reveal the full grandeur of the proscenium, allowing the audience a unique glimpse at the architectural mastery of the theatre’s designers and creators, Dankmar Adler and
Louis Sullivan. Following the performance, the Auditorium welcomed 600 guests to a post-performance reception at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel hosted by co-chairs Helen Melchior, Phil Lumpkin, and Joan Colmar. I especially loved the "greeters", students from the Theatre
Conservatory of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, who welcomed guests in period costumes as they arrived. The table decor in the Grand Ballroom kept to the 19th century theme, too, with crystal candle holders resembling old fashioned oil lamps. The theatre raised more than $500,000 to support the
initiatives of the Auditorium Theatre. The evening concluded with yet another surprise: Auditorium Theatre Executive Director Brett Batterson invited a combination of friends, staff, donors and artists of the theatre for a communal hymn of Auld Lang Syne, an auspicious song of luck and good fortune heading into the future. Here's to 125 more! (Photos by Bob Carl and Dan Rest)
& E. Both McCarthy and Wahlberg executively produce the show and they have even started up a production company, D&J Productions, in order to do so. Donnie Loves Jenny‘s first episode was an hour long and documented their
lavish wedding. The remainder of the season will be 30-minute shows that will follow the Wahlbergers, an A & E reality show focusing on the Wahlberg brothers' Boston restaurants. Check out this cute snippet here and watch my first Watch312 interview below with the lovebirds to see how it all began!
Bailiwick Chicago’s annual Chicago Casting Auction raised more than $50,000 for the company, earning the top bidders starring roles in Bailiwick Chicago’s upcoming production of Wonderful Town! More than 35 roles were auctioned off during the event at this year’s new venue, Michelle’s Ballroom, 2800 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Contenders for leading and major
supporting roles took the stage during a nail-biting live auction, often egged on by the crowd to show off their vocal talents. Additional supporting and chorus roles were won via silent auction. The evening also included musical performances by Bailiwick Chicago ensemble members, signature cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and enticing silent auction prizes. Following eight weeks of rehearsal, the winning
bidders will star in a public production of the musical classic Wonderful Town directed by Company Member Varris Holmes with music direction by Kyle Pollio and choreography by Company Member Jon Martinez. (The production will be presented February 23 – 28, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets go on sale Thursday, January 15,
at castingauction.com). The “winning” cast of Wonderful Town will include: Jill Renn as Ruth Sherwood, Leatrice Berman Sandler as Eileen Sherwood, Andy Lambros as Robert Baker, Barry O’Driscoll as Wreck Loomis, Laura Ladewski as Helen Wade, Herb Quinde as Mr. Appopolous, Rusty Rector as Chick Clark, Joshua Steinfels-Saenz as Frank Lippencott
and Amy Robbins as Tour Guide. Supporting roles include Michelle Bibergal, Larry Blust, Stuart Burstein, Carol Christensen, Jenny Davis, John Dreixler, Denise Doherty, Jenna Dreixler, Paula Goedert, Bliss McMahon, Cris Piper, Linda Quinde, Myles Tobin and Peg
Wander plus students from Franklin Fine Arts Center, British School of Chicago and other CPS schools. With music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Betty
Comden and Adolph Green and book by Joseph A. Fields and Jerome Chodorov, Wonderful Town debuted on Broadway in 1953, winning five Tony Awards including Best Musical with a Tony-nominated revival in 2003. Wonderful Town tells the story of two sisters from Ohio who come to New
York to make their fortunes: Ruth, the older, wisecracking one in writing and journalism, and Eileen, the younger, beautiful one in show business. Their subsequent adventures, which include dive apartment-dwelling on Christopher Street, involve the various wacky denizens and citizens of bohemian
Greenwich Village they encounter while on their search for fortune, fame and romance in the big city. Last year’s Chicago Casting Auction, which culminated in a sold-out public run of The Drowsy Chaperone, raised nearly $70,000 to support Bailiwick Chicago programming.
On a very sad note--Beloved performing arts publicist, Eric Eatherly, passed away in an auto accident while visiting his family in Tennessee during the holidays. He was the vice-president of the Silverman Group and the principal publicist for the Joffrey Ballet. A celebration of his life will be held at the Joffrey Tower on Sunday, January 17, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Friends can make a donation in his name to the Joffrey Ballet. He was
one of the kindest people I've ever met and he will be sorely missed. RIP dear Eric.
Have you ever thought about becoming a blogger, but don't have a clue how to go about it? Well, learn from the best--Chicago Now Community Manager Jimmy Greenfield, who is offering a Blue Sky Innovation presentation on March 10 at Tribune Tower. His classes usually sellout so, if interested, book here now!
Congrats to Amy Guth, RedEye/Metromix GM and WGN radio host! Her show, RedEye Remix (produced by Katie Gibson) on WGN radio 720, has added
a third hour, now airing from 11 p.m. on Saturdays until 2 am Sundays. Woot! Woot!
The Chicago International Film Festival is the first to recognize actor Michael Keaton's skills for his electrifying performance in "Birdman." He was awarded the Founder's Hugo for his portrayal of an actor trying to revive his career! #SoDeserving
Congrats are in order for Chicago Cut Steakhouse that was recently named "Most Popular Celeb Hangout" by the Chicago Tribune (Luis Gomez). Love this hotspot and the love and care co-owners David Flom and Matt Moore give to all who
enter! Can't wait to return!
Thanks to WCIU's "You & Me This Morning" for having me back to co-host in December! I love hosts Melissa Forman and Jeanne Sparrow! They are so
That's it for this edition. I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I love writing it. 2015 will be an exciting year for all of us and I hope we can all take the ride together!
Love, as always,
P.S. Congrats to Caffeinated Club whose awesome beverage roll-out continues across the country! Congrats to their newest L.A. Brand Ambassadors Aubree and Brett Connors! (And Happy 30th Aubree!)