GRAND CHEFS EXPERIENCE; CRYSTAL HEART BALL; MAKE IT BETTER MAG'S WOMEN OF IMPACT; DRIVING FASHION FORWARD; GLITZ & GLAMOUR; STANLEY PAUL FOUNDATION HONORS THE SCHULMANS; RAGTIME AT THE MARRIOTT; KING OF HEARTS GALA; GIORDANO DANCE ON FOX WITH SYLVIA; CHICAGO P.D. CELEBRATES 100!; CHINA: LOVE THROUGH THE DYNASTIES; WHITNEY'S BOOK!; LANDAN TWINS ON THE HOT SEAT; ROTUNNO THE GREAT DEFENDER; KATHY'S BIG MOVE; TWO CHICAGO HOTELS ARE TOPS IN NATION; TOUCH COMMUNICATIONS DEBUTS; KATHLEEN'S AGENCY H5; UNICEF HUMANITARIAN AWARDS; FUN VIDEOS AND SO MUCH MORE!
Rolling Stone Magazine called it one of the "50 Greatest Saturday Night Live Sketches of All Time" and, indeed, the uproariously funny "Schweddy Balls" skit, brought to life by Alec Baldwin and Ana Gasteyer, who wrote and starred in this legendarily naughty sketch, became a classic. Baldwin, of course,
was Pete Schweddy, a man who was producing a holiday treat – balls, branded with his name and sold in sacks. Those who didn't get the joke at first would get multiple chances during the skit. So iconic was this simple bit
of wordplay that Ben & Jerry's produced an ice cream in honor of the skit in 2011. And now, for the first time at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, this funny sketch even has a fun-filled gala named in its
honor! Over 260 people attended the first "Schweddy Ball Gala" on December 30. Guests were encouraged to dress as their favorite SNL character or in ugly sweaters. Attendees included media darlings Richard Roeper (Sun-Times), Chris Hansen (WCIU/WGN), and Jill
Hopkins (NPR). The Sianis Family provided "cheezborgers" and Billy Goat Beer in keeping with the SNL theme and Goody's Famous Popcorn provided the signature treat of the evening,
"Schweddy (popcorn) Balls." Chicago's very own Live Band Karaoke provided entertainment including appearances by "Wayne & Garth." Best SNL Costume went to Kelly Dougan
who arrived dressed as Mary Katherine Gallagher. Emily Poskrobko won a trip for four to see Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Fallon in NY! Guests also had access to the ongoing "Saturday Night Live" The Experience," the official SNL exhibit housed at the museum until December 2018. (Exhibit tickets can be purchased here!) I wonder what's next, "Schweddy Balls-the Musical"? (To see original SNL skit, see below, caution, naughty but fun!)
The 2018 Grand Chefs Experience attracted over 900 culinary enthusiasts (aka foodies!) to the Field Museum on February 2. Presented by the Illinois Chapter of the
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, this year's newly revamped experience brought together Chicago’s most sought-after chefs, pastry chefs, and mixologists who prepared signature dishes and drinks for attendees. WGN’s Dina Bair emceed the evening and Jennifer
Nickerson, VP of Restaurant Operations for Levy Restaurants, received the coveted “Chicago Classic” award. Gene & Georgetti chef Luis Quirez won People's Choice. To close out the night, the official after-party, Nitecap, treated guests to pastries and creative cocktails. All funds raised, over $350,000, will support the CF Foundation in its mission to find a cure for cystic fibrosis, a genetic
disease affecting 30,000 Americans. (Photos by Soda Foundation Photography)
The Darling Denizens of the Night, the Landan Twins (Andrew Landan, pres/founder
Chicago Interactive Social Club and Jon Landan, partner/advisory board member InList) went on the hot seat to benefit their favorite charity, Chicago Gateway Green (CGG), on January 29. They were "roasted" at Prysm
nightclub in front of a packed house filled with industry insiders. Backstory--In 2010, the nightclub held a poll to find out who would be the top industry person, among restaurant group owners, bar owners, club owners, DJs, managers, socialites and others to be featured in the Inaugural Industry Roast in Chicago. After 2 weeks of voting, The Landan Twins were selected by their peers with an overwhelming amount
of votes! They agreed to be roasted when their recommendation was agreed upon by the club that this event would become a charity event. From there, it grew into a "beast" with donations coming in from the Twins' many connections including @properties, Golub & Company, Harry Caray’s, DineAmic Group, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and Prysm Nightclub to name a few. The event, that attracted over 400 people, featured a 2 Hour VIP reception catered by DineAmic Group and sponsored by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits for The Twins’ donors and
friends. Roasters included Thad Wong, Grant DePorter, David Rekhson, Jonny Imerman, Lee Golub, Keegan Moon, Danny Raskin and Ozzie Guillen, Jr. The evening raised over $10,000 for their favorite charity, one that they've been involved with for close to 20 years, Chicago Gateway Green! Congrats to all! (If you would like to support CGG in honor of the Landans, or on your own, click here!)
The Midwest Regional Office of UNICEF USA hosted its 7th annual UNICEF Chicago Humanitarian Awards Luncheon honoring extraordinary leaders who contribute locally and internationally to the improvement of children’s lives. This year’s award recipients were Maria Woltjen,
(director/founder of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights), Suzanne Akhras Sahloul, (founder/president of the Syrian Community Network) and Zaher Sahloul (founder, American Relief
Coalition for Syria and past president and senior advisor, Syrian American Medical Society). This year's luncheon focused on the global migrant and refugee crisis, impacting nearly 50 million children who have migrated across borders or been forcibly displaced and the efforts of community
leaders to provide humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable. Christian Skoog, UNICEF Mexico representative, gave the keynote address. With more than 20 years of professional experience working on human rights, humanitarian crises and emergencies,
he spoke about his experience and how to help children affected by the global migrant crisis. UNICEF USA wants all children to have a happy, healthy childhood no matter where they live. UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first, and has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization.
From the volatile melting pot of New York City at the dawn of a new century, comes the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, RAGTIME, at the Marriott Theatre now through March 18. Featuring a powerful score by the Tony Award-winning composer/lyricist team of Stephen
Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, and book by four-time Tony Award winner Terrence McNally, RAGTIME is a sweeping musical portrait of America. Seven-time Jeff Award winner Nick Bowling (The Bridges of Madison County, Man of La Mancha, The King and I) returns to Marriott Theatre to direct, with musical direction by Jeff Award winner Ryan T. Nelson and
choreography by Kenneth L. Roberson. “RAGTIME is a musical about individual people, but it shows the bigger picture of a struggling country, which is
often divided by race, class, and economic standing, working together for American progress,” says Director Nick Bowling. “We live in such explosive times, but often, to move forward, it is necessary to endure hardships, and I think that is what makes RAGTIME such an emotional and beautiful
musical.” At the dawn of a new century, everything is changing and anything is possible. Based on the distinguished novel by E.L. Doctorow, this musical weaves together three distinctly American tales – that of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician – united by their courage, compassion and belief in the promise of the future.
Together, they confront history's timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair... and what it means to live in America. For performance schedules, click here. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings there are a limited number of dinner-theatre packages available for purchase through the Marriott Theatre box office. To make a restaurant reservation, please call 847.634.0100. Free parking is available at all performances.
Congrats to all the inspiring women included in Make it Better's magazine
feature, "42 of Chicago's Top Black Women of Impact"! I spy Dorri McWhorter, Perri Irmer, Linda Johnson Rice, Erika Sargent, Andrea Zopp, Mellody Hobson, Kim Foxx, Desiree Rogers, Shari Runner and so many more! Read/see them all here!
The annual Glitz & Glamour Fashion Show returns on Friday, March 9, at the Peninsula to benefit A Silver Lining Foundation (ASLF). 100% of the proceeds funds the foundation's mammography program, Buy A Mom A Mammogram, which provides cost-free mammograms and diagnostic testing to all. Presented by A. Marek Fine Jewelry, the fashion show will feature designs from Mark Roscoe, Elda de la Rosa, Ricorso, J. Toor, Mira Couture, Sylwia Designs, Al Menotti, Tamra Ellingson and more! For tickets, $125, and more info, click here!
This year's Stanley Paul Foundation benefit will honor one of the city's "sweetest" couples--Eli's Cheesecake owners/ philanthropists Marc and Maureen Schulman! The event will be held at the Casino on Wednesday, May 9, with a magical tribute produced by another icon, Donna LaPietra (Kurtis Productions). Ticket info and more event details to follow!
PAWS Chicago will take over the catwalk for Launch: Driving Fashion Forward at the Autohaus on Edens for an evening of friends, fashion, philanthropy and FUR! This year's event will celebrate PAWS' expansion into the North Shore and feature a ZZAZZ Productions fashion show with looks by Peach Carr Designs, Juniper Boutique, Avant for Men, Londo Mondo, Lake Forest Shop and more! For tickets and more details, click here!
On Saturday, April 28, the International Women's Associates will host "China: Love Through The Dynasties", a gala fundraiser to be held at the Peninsula featuring Chinese performances, music, a traditional Chinese seated banquet with dozens of delicious dishes, dancing, a fashion show, silent and live auctions (luxury trips to China!) and so much more! Whew! For tickets and more info, click here!
Huge congrats to Chicago P.D., executive producer Dick Wolf, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios and NBC Universal on the 100th episode of P.D.! A celebration was held at the Studios that included both the Mayor and Governor who applauded the cast and presented Wolf with a state flag! Watch video here ! (And to see the 100th episode celebration of Chicago Fire, click here) We're so lucky to have YOU in Chicago!
Christ the King Jesuit College Prep hosted its 10th annual King of Hearts Gala, raising over $1 million for scholarship assistance for students from Chicago’s
West Side. The gala took place at the Fairmont Hotel Millennium Park with more than 700 people in attendance, an event record! The evening included a seated dinner, a silent auction and speeches by
Clement V. Martin (the current CTK president); Rev. Christopher J. Devron, S.J. (the founding CTK president) and Kyara Lee, ’12 (part of CTK’s first graduating class). The event had 44
sponsors, a combination of corporations who employ CTK students as part of the innovative Corporate Work Study Program, including presenting sponsor Wintrust, as well as individual sponsors like Lynn and Tony McGuire, the 2018 King of Hearts chair couple.
Since the first King of Hearts gala was held in 2009, the event has raised approximately $5 million. In its 10 years in Austin, Christ the King has provided students from the West Side
with a safe and academically rigorous college-prep education through a thriving and economically sustainable educational model. With the support of businesses
throughout the region, the program makes the dream of a safe, affordable, faith-based, quality college prep education a reality. The program exclusively serves students and families with limited economic resources in Chicago’s Austin and
Pilsen neighborhoods. For 7 consecutive years, 100% of CTK’s seniors have been accepted into a college/university, including the current class of 2018.
Beloved media peep, Whitney Reynolds, has a BOOK! "Beyond The Interview" is a 52-week guide of inspiration filled with the most powerful stories from guests who appeared on her fab PBS show, "The Whitney Reynolds Show," during the last eight seasons. To purchase this pocketful of inspiration, click here! Just love her!
Special thanks to Eli's Cheesecake and Mariano's! Chuck and I participated in a fun photo shoot to introduce a new gelato that debuted at Mariano's on February 1. The Eli's Strawberry
Cheesecake Gelato, take my word for it, IS the tastiest around! Chuck and I pretended to make an Eli's Cheesecake Gelato Cake but we all know it was a masterful creation by Mariano's chef Angelo Lollino and Eli's chef Sarah Zupancic. Thanks for the fun and yes, even for the extra calories! All worth it!
The Hephzibah Children's Association will honor Susan Ellefson and her colleagues at The Peninsula Chicago with the "Heart of Home" award on Saturday, March 3, at the Bridgeport Art Center. The hotel has supported the organization for more than a decade in numerous ways from fundraising to countless visits to the house
with Peter Bear (the hotel's mascot), simply to put smiles on the children's faces. Kudos to all you do Susan, your co-workers and the Peninsula! I'm thrilled to see it doesn't go unnoticed! For tickets and more info, click here! And speaking of honors, the Peninsula Chicago also picked up a #2 ranking of top U.S. hotels (after Hawaii's Four Season's Resort Lanai) in U.S. News & World Report. (Langham Chicago came in at #3!).
Old St. Patrick’s Church will host its 22nd Siamsa na nGael celebration, an annual celebration of Irish heritage that will bring world-class Celtic entertainment to the Chicago Symphony Center on Tuesday, March 6. This year’s celebration will tell the story of two slave liberators: an Irishman named Daniel “the Liberator” O’Connell and a slave turned liberator named Frederick Douglass, who joined forces to become “drum majors for justice.” The tales will be told through performances by soloist Gavin Coyle; Chicago’s own Irish diva Catherine O’Connell; renowned tenor soloist Rodrick Dixon; by the Metropolis Symphony Orchestra, the 100-voice Old St. Patrick’s Concert Choir, the step dancing of the Trinity Irish Dancers, the Irish Trad Band, the After School Matters singers, special guest narrators and others. This year's honorary co-chairs are Virginia and Norm Bobins, Shelley and Bill Farley and Lynn and Jim Kiley. For tickets and more info, click here or call 312.294-3000.
I sure wouldn't want to run into criminal defense attorney Donna Rotunno in a courtroom. She is a force and someone not to be messed with but, for those who know her, she has a heart as big as all outdoors. Chicago Magazine profiled her in this fabulous article titled "The Defender" (written by Brian Smith with photography by Jeff Sciortino)....read all about this one-women dynamo here!
If you love make-up, skincare and more stuff like this as I do, then you should know Kathy Schmalen. She's a longtime friend and we actually were models together in a land far, far away. I've always admired her skill and knack for finding the BEST beauty products so have been a regular at her Che Sguardo store on Illinois for years. She recently moved to 208 W. Huron, the same block where she began her business 34 years ago. If you want to know where the industry insiders shop, this is THE place! Hope to see you there, looking glam, of course!
Congrats are in order for Kathleen Kenehan Henson, who previously, after 17 years, has rebranded her award-winning PR agency (formerly Henson Consulting) to Agency HS! This new name change signifies a shift from a traditional PR consulting firm to an integrated marketing agency. Henson shared, "Agency H5 will remain grounded in our five core values, which has truly set the foundation and shaped the company since day one...creativity, passion, integrity, hustle and, most importantly, kindness." Kudos KKH and get it girl!
On another agency note, welcome to the world Touch Communications! This new multi-functional communications agency was founded by Nina Mariano and Susie Thompson Riskind. Their clients include Barry's Boot Camp, Nonnina's, Piccolo Sogno, Marchesa, Splash, Modern Luxury, Terlato Wines, Kehoe Designs, After School Matters and more. According to the website, they're a "boutique marketing firm specializing in brand development, event management, social media planning, strategic partnerships and so much
more." Congrats and good luck Neens and Susie!
Special thanks to Sylvia Perez and Fox 32 Chicago for having the Giordano Dance Chicago dancers (Natasha Overturff Denny, Ryan Galloway and Zachary Heller), Nan Giordano and me on to talk about the company's 55th anniversary Legacy Ball. By the time you've read this, the event will have passed but you can bet there will be photos and info shared so stay tuned! (To see the clip, click here!)
That's all the news I can squeeze in this week and I hope you're enjoyed it! Stay tuned for the next fun-filled "blog-azine" coming in two weeks! If you have any event news you would like to submit, please do so at email@example.com.
Love, as always,
P.S. And, of course, something to make you smile!