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Candid Candace: Food and Drink

Food and Drink


900 Shops' Illuminate 900

'Tis the season to be dazzled, and what better way to embrace the holiday spirit than by immersing yourself in the enchanting world of the 900 Shops' Illuminate 900 event? Nestled in the heart of Chicago's Magnificent Mile, this festive extravaganza once again turned the shopping experience into a winter wonderland of lights, laughter

Six levels of holiday cheer!

and festive visuals. Illuminate 900 is planned and presented by the 900 North Michigan Avenue Shops. This mall is one of the most popular in Chicago and its event is billed as a “Holiday Love Letter to the City of Chicago.” The magical night encompassed all six floors with décor inspired by a winter wonderland. It is also Chicago’s top holiday fundraiser for Make- IMG_1701A-Wish Illinois. Each year, the experience features a 54-foot tree where children and adults alike feel the wonder of Christmas. Revelers young and old don their holiday finest to attend the party. Kids line up to decorate sugar cookies while grown-ups toast the season with champagne and cups of cheer. The evening included larger-than-life photo

Tommy the Real Elf, co-host Cortney Hall, Santa, co-host Matt Rodrigues and David Sanchez, an original committee member. | Photo Cortney Hall

opps and costumed holiday characters. Partygoers were seen snapping photos with Rockettes-like dancers and Toy Soldiers (by ZZAZZ Productions), a singing Angel with fantastical, oversized wings, The Real Elf, The Grinch and, of course, Santa!  The culmination of the storybook evening centered around the tree-lighting. Santa was surrounded by his

The ZZAZZettes with Santa. | 900 Shops photo

host committee that included many of Chicago’s movers and shakers. He pulled the lever along with several children from Make-A-Wish Illinois. The event raised funds to help this nonprofit grant wishes to children facing challenging health circumstances – the true spirit of Christmas. Participating nonprofits and entertainers included Ballet Chicago (that performed excerpts from the fabled holiday classic “The Nutcracker”); The Real Elf (who was on hand spreading cheer and taking “Elfies”); The Grinch (from Broadway in Chicago); Forward Momentum (a contemporary dance company); Beatmix drum corps; Sur La Table (provided a sugar cookie decorating activation); and Bubbles Academy (that provided a craft-making workshop). Light bites and cocktails were served on all 6 levels. If you missed it, mark your calendars now so you can join in next year! _______________________________________________________________________

Screenshot 2023-11-06 at 12-51-48 The Service Club of Chicago (@service_club_of_chicago) • Instagram photos and videos
SC Gala committee members Cheryl Coleman, Bobbi Panter, chair Patty Marx, Myra Reilly, Lisa Huber and SC president Jean Antoniou. (Patrick Nugent photo)

The Service Club of Chicago presented its 133rd annual gala, this year themed “An Evening of a Million Dreams,” and indeed this organization definitely makes dreams come true through its

Longtime member Peg Scoville and her daughter.

Philanthropic Grant Program that awards grants to expand

Mark Olley, Chuck Jordan and Paul Iacono.

facilities, improve equipment and initiate new programs for Chicagoland’s nonprofit community. The event at the Four Seasons Hotel attracted 175 guests and raised over $200,000. Chaired by SC member Patty Marx and her committee, the gala was a night of friendship, beauty, and philanthropy. Michael Nouri, the handsome star of stage and screen, served as the evening’s emcee. He is best known for his television roles that include “All My Children,” “NCIS,” “Yellowstone,” and others. He is also known for his starring roles in the films “Flashdance” (1983) and “The Hidden” (1987) and has appeared in several Broadway

Cheryl Coleman and Patrick Sheehan.

and Off-Broadway plays, including the original production of

Cathy and Bill Bartholomay, who was also celebrating his birthday this night.

“Victor/Victoria.” At a party at Gibson’s the previous night, he showed what a true star he really is by taking photos with every single attendee. He continued doing so the night of the event as well. I never once saw him turn anyone down for a photo. He was a very gracious man and the crowd just loved him. On gala night, he humorously opened the program with, "As Henry VIII said to each of his wives, "I won't keep you long." The ballroom was simply decorated by The Flower Firm with an art deco feel, which was refreshing for a change. 3-foot trees bedecked in fairy lights stood atop white tablecloths topped with candles, surrounded by chic chairs that looked like they

Belvon Walker (R) and cute friend.

had come straight out of a Biedermeier showroom. The Ron Bedal Orchestra made sure everyone danced the night away. Patty Marx thanked her Steering Committee, that included Myra Reilly, Bobbi Panter, Jean Antoniou, Lisa Huber, Andrea Antoniou and Cheryl Coleman, the

Debi Catenacci and Sherrill Bodine.

sponsors and the auction committee who secured exciting silent and live auction prizes. There also was a touching moment during a video presentation that paid tribute to the late, great Kevin Sullivan, a longtime and important part of, not only the Service Club, but of many other nonprofits. The video also showcased grant recipients whose lives have been changed, including The Chicago Lighthouse, Gateway to Learning, Mane in Heaven, and others. SC member Peg 

Event chair Patty Marx with Michael Nouri, emcee.

Scoville was surprised with a shout-out by SC president Jean Antoniou who acknowledged her 68-year commitment to the club. She was presented with flowers and a gift at her table that was filled with loving, proud family members.The night was a lovefest for The Service Club with members and guests showing their appreciation during a paddle raise and silent and live auctions that collectively raised approximately $124,000. The Service Club of Chicago, 133 years of giving and still going strong. (For more info/or to donate please click here) (Photos by Patrick Nugent for John Reilly Photography)



Art with Chef Mark Flanagan  chef to King Charles and Queen Camilla.
Art with Chef Mark Flanagan, chef to King Charles and Queen Camilla.

Chef Art Smith has cooked for the Dalai Lama, Oprah, and Lady Gaga and now, for the second time, he was the chosen chef for the prestigious Le Club des Chefs des Chef annual gathering. This culinary organization was founded in 1977 by Gilles Bragard to bring together chefs from national and international kitchens who act as diplomatic representatives. This illustrious group of chefs, who form a unique international network, are in contact with their own heads of state or governments. The name of the organization in English can be translated into “The Club of Chefs to Heads of State.” The event was held at Art’s 15-

Chef Art with Chef-Niles  ILL Mayor George Alpogianis and Art's husband  artist Jesus Salgueiro
Chef Art with Chef-Niles, IL Mayor George Alpogianis and Art's husband, artist Jesus Salgueiro.

year-old “Art & Soul” restaurant in Washington, D.C. Art was invited, for the second year, by The White House’s longtime Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford. Art prepared his world-famous fried chicken alongside TV star Chef Lamar Moore from the Bronzeville Winery, who prepared his beloved beef brisket. VIP chefs included Christian Garcia (Chef of HSH The Prince of Monaco); Mark Flanagan (Chef of HM the King Charles III and Queen Camilla of the United Kingdom); Fabrice

Key lime, apple and pecan pies, of course!

Desvignes (Chef of the President of France); Vassilis Mpekas (Chef of the President of Greece); Daniele Chian (Chef of the HM the King of Saudi Arabia); and 19 other chefs to important heads of state. Art also included his longtime Executive Chef Hector Guerrero of  “Chef Art Smiths Reunion” restaurant in Chicago as well as Chef/Mayor George Alpogianis (brother of Art’s manager/partner Manolis Alpogianis); and Chef Danny 

Chef Art receives his second chef jacket from Les Clubs des Chefs des Chef.

Chavez of “Art and Soul.” Besides Art’s famous chicken, guests enjoyed local Rappahanik oysters and blue crab claws which were served on the ONLY patio on Capitol Hill! A photo booth, electric violinist and local DJ added to the fun. Chef Lamar Moore’s brisket was a huge hit too, especially with Chef Mark Flannigan, Executive Royal Chef to King Charles III and Queen Camilla, who said,” I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a Palace invite although he would have to make sure it’s the King’s beef. King Charles loves his own raised livestock, game and vegetables.” The group stayed into the wee hours and, the next evening, enjoyed another lively party, this time at the French Ambassador’s Residence. Ah, vivre la bonne vie….(Photos by Nina Palazzolo)

Chef Mark Flanagan (Chef to King Charles and Queen Camilla)  Chef Art Smith  White House Chef Cristeta Comerford and her daughter  Chef Christian Garcia (Chef to Prince Albert of Monaco  and Jesus.
Chef Mark Flanagan (chef to King Charles II and Queen Camilla), Chef Art Smith, White House Chef Cristeta Comerford and her daughter, Chef Christian Garcia (chef to Prince Albert of Monaco, and Jesus Salgueiro.
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Eversight 25 honorees John Robak and Dr. Maria Soledad-Cortina, with Diane Hollingsworth, president-CEO Eversight.

This year, Eversight celebrated its 25th anniversary gala at the Peninsula on Friday, Oct. 13, although the date certainly wasn’t “unlucky” for this wonderful fundraiser! Nearly 275 partygoers donned creative masks and attire to enjoy an inspiring night that supported the organization’s “gift of sight” mission and deserving honorees, John Robak (2023 Person of

Mary Ann Rose of Tamar Productions.

Vision) and Dr. Maria Soledad-Cortina (2023 Gift of Sight recipient). The beautiful décor by Tamar Productions (and Kehoe Designs who created the dramatic lobby bar area), made it a night to remember. Guests were greeted at the door by a performance artist from ZZAZZ Productions who was dressed from head-to-toe in a sparkling silver disco-ball catsuit and the excitement built from there. The lobby was filled

Debi Catenacci, Averill Leviton, Tracey DiBuono, Tina Gravel, Sherrill Bodine, Susan Gohl and Jonathan Grabill.

with a variety of wonderful silent auction items that included a trip to the Peninsula in NYC; a trip to the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel (courtesy of the Peninsula); dinner donations from Gibson’s, Maple & Ash, Steak 48, La Scarola and more; a sweets package from Eli’s Cheesecake; Fumee Claire candles; a Leah Chavie Skincare package; a signed “Starstruck” book and DVD set courtesy of Michael Kutza; a White Sox package; two beautiful, original paintings courtesy of Greg Hyder; a hair-care package courtesy of Charles

Tracey DiBuono and her ZZAZZ Productions donated this darling disco girl for the event.

Ifergan Salon; and so much more. The backdrop of the lobby bar was an homage to our 25 Silver Spectacle theme created by Kehoe Designs. Two 5-foot-tall candelabras flanked each side, adding even more drama to

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Marta Garczarczyk, Eversight Director of Philanthropy

this stunning focal point. The wow factor continued into the Grand Ballroom, thanks to Mary Ann Rose and her team from Tamar Productions. Disco balls were placed on every table with lighted balloons and silver stars hanging from the ceiling. The bold-colored uplighting added to the spectacular spectacle. Additionally, Mary Anne donated gifts for each attendee – a beautiful, silver-plated star keychain. As guests mingled and ultimately found their seats, a

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Alyssa Quinlan,CEO Hindman Auctions.

video of past event photos scrolled across the screen. Michael Caputo and I returned for our 6th year as proud co-chairs and welcomed the crowd. We acknowledged Visionary Sponsors: Paul & Cindy Vogel, John Robak; and Leadership Sponsors: Collette Taylor Worthing Donor Fund, IL Eye and Ear Infirmary; and Table Sponsors: BMO Harris, Cabrera Capital Markets, Chicago Cornea Consultants, and Gift of Hope; and Supporting Sponsors: Ken and Irma Bates, Gail Garza in honor of Dr. E. Lee, Susan Gohl, Jarvis Foundation, PNC, William and Andrea Zopp. We also acknowledged

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Artist/event producer, Greg Hyder.

Chicago Star and Chicago Magazine as media sponsors. Diane Hollingsworth, Eversight President and CEO, shared a history of the organization which began in 1947. She

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Bethany and Andrew Kitick

said it is the leading nonprofit eye bank. She acknowledged Chief Operations Officer, Michael O’Keefe, VP of Clinical Operations, Michael Titus, and the nonprofit’s Organ Procurement Organization, who were all in attendance. Diane asked the event’s past honorees to stand and be recognized. They were Susan Gohl, Sherrill Bodine, Mary Ann Rose and Heinz Kern, Drs. Parag Majmudar, Marian Macsai, Randy Epstein, Elmer Tu and Joel Sugar, and yours truly. Marta Garczarczyk, Eversight Director of Philanthropy, shared a video showing how donor families and recipients are impacted by

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Tina Gravel, Paula Borg and Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange.

the gift of sight. She then introduced our auctioneer for the evening, Alyssa Quinlan, the CEO of Hindman Auctions, who donated her valuable time for the event. She raised over $15,000! Before the honorees were introduced, partygoers enjoyed a delicious meal that started with lobster bisque soup followed by grilled

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Dr. Maria Soledad-Cortina receives her Gift of Sight honor from last year's recipient Dr. Ali Djalilian.

chicken with saffron risotto, Tokyo turnips and heirloom carrots. Vanilla and rum-raisin ice cream, along with poached pears were served atop a rum cake that was flanked by a tiny wafer with the number “25.” Awwwww…… 2022 Gift of Sight honoree, Dr. Ali Djalilian, introduced this year’s honoree Dr. Maria Soledad-Cortina. He called Dr. Cortina the “Messi of corneal surgery” before reading a poem he had written about her. “She works her magic with

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John Robak with his Person of Vision Award and his mentor Z Scott, president of Chicago State University.

precision and care, a healer of eyes beyond compare.” Her parents had flown in from Argentina and were at her table along with her four sons and husband. She said her dad, also an ophthalmologist, is her inspiration teaching her to believe she can be anything that she wants to be. She praised Eversight for “being on the cutting edge and providing patients and surgeons with the very best that there is to offer when it comes to

Tina Koegel and Wendy Krimins.

corneal transplantation, tissue processing and research.” Bethany Florek introduced her friend John Robak, our 2023 Person of Vision. She praised John's clear vision and leadership in the international water infrastructure industry as CEO and Board Chair of Greeley and Hansen. Bethany acknowledged and

Proud to serve for the 5th year as co-chair with the adorable Michael Caputo.

thanked Anne Leventry (of Ball Horticultural Company) as the person who hired John for his first HR job. Bethany highlighted John's many philanthropic endeavors, such as helping create the Chicago Police Foundation (with Mary Ann Rose) and raising millions for the CPD. He currently chairs the Chicago Police – Community Policing Advisory Panel and is involved in various organizations like the Chicago Botanic Garden, World Business Chicago, and Chicago Sister Cities

Magnificent ballroom decor by Mary Ann Rose, Tamar Productions.

International. Through John’s outreach and competitiveness, the event grossed the most in the history of Eversight before it even began. Robak thanked all those who came out to support him, including his fellow Daniel Burnham Classmates from Leadership Greater Chicago. Newly retired from Greeley & Hansen, he led the sale of this firm that he had worked at for 20 years as

Feathered friends!

Chairman/CEO. He said, “I have always had a deep passion for uplifting people and communities and am proud to hold leadership roles or actively participate in a number of civic and philanthropic organizations whose work really matters.” He praised Eversight for the wonderful work they do and quoted Helen Keller, “The only

Terrence Chapell and friend.

thing worse than being blind is having sight and no vision.” He concluded his speech with, “Eversight will lead with vision and provide those in need with hope and a brighter future.”Throughout the evening, there was fabulous music provided by DJ Spin VXN and electric violinist Rachael Miller. This event has it all, an uplifting and critical mission, a wonderful, hard-working committee, very deserving honorees and it’s FUN! Congrats to Eversight, Diane Hollingsworth, Marta Garczarczyk, Jenna Berry, and all who supported, donated, shared event news, and attended to make this year’s event a record-breaker! It was an honor to return for the 6th year as a co-chair with the wonderful Michael Caputo. (Photos by Mila Samokhina)

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Eversight's A-Team: Marta Garczarczyk, Diane Hollingsworth, Michael Caputo, Candid Candace, Mary Ann Rose and Bethany Florek Kitick.


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Honoree Tracey Tarantino DiBuono with her beautiful family.

The Chicago Lighthouse hosted its biggest FLAIR fundraiser to date at the Ritz-Carlton with over 275 supporters in attendance. The event, “Eye on Style,” celebrated a decade on the runway promoting access and inclusion. The fashion show was produced by honoree Tracey Tarantino DiBuono (of ZZAZZ Productions) and featured models both with and

Chicago Lighthouse's Lindsay Inglis  Dr. Janet Szlyk (CL president - CEO) and Karoline Kijowski.
Chicago Lighthouse's Lindsay Inglis, Dr. Janet Szlyk (CL president - CEO) and Karoline Kijowski.

without disabilities wearing the latest couture. The runway presentation featured stunning looks from Anne Fontaine, Elda De La Rosa, Mira Couture, Peach Carr and Max Mara at Bloomingdale’s, St. John, Lauren Lein Ltd., Al Menotti

Dynamic co-chairs Sheree Schimmer, Sherry Lea Holson and Sherrill Bodine.

and Contessa Bottega with a special appearance from participants in the Lighthouse’s Youth Transition Program modeling fashions from Macy’s Personal Stylist (presenting sponsor) in the finale. You could feel the buzz as soon as you walked into the room. Attendees, who had raided their closets for their chicest looks, chatted excitedly with fellow guests in anticipation of what would become the best show to date (in my humble opinion). Exciting runway participants

Art and me best
With Chef Art Smith on the runway!

included the legendary Chef Art Smith, popular daytime talk show host Val Warner and her handsome husband 

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Mr. & Mrs. - Val and Jobba

Elijah Jobba Maxey Jr., and a former Miss Continental and popular female impersonator, Chilli Pepper. Tracey’s beautiful daughters also modeled and were superstars in their own rights, Darci Pinello and Disa Simpson. Men dazzled on the runway too. Seen strutting their stuff were Mark Olley, Scott Bobek, Samuel Carter, Elbert Ford, Dr. Rashmi Kapur, Shaun Rajah, Learnus Ross, Dr. Thasarat Vajaranant, and John Walcher (who graciously donated his time as auctioneer, with the Lighthouse’s Sandy Murillo).  Youth Transition Program models included Lance Gladney and John Johnson. (Female Youth Transition Models were Ellie St. Arnaud and Yo’Mari Williams.) Guests enjoyed a sit-down luncheon, a cocktail reception, a

Maria Giordano wearing elda
Maria Giordano wearing Elda de la Rosa.

packed silent auction, and a pop-up shopping experience

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Bevy of Beauties at FLAIR!

before the event. The Hood Swift Woman with Flair Award was presented to Tracey by co-chairs Sheree Schimmer, Sherrill Bodine and Sherry Lea Holson. I was honored to return as a co-host with Tracey. Tracey has been a supporter of this event, “FLAIR: Fun, Fashion and Philanthropy,” from the start. During her speech, she acknowledged the late Kevin Sullivan, who was the first to suggest her as an honoree. Everyone immediately and unanimously agreed. During her acceptance speech, Tracey thanked the organization, Dr.

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Sherry Lea Fox and her table of cute friends.

Janet Szlyk (Chicago Lighthouse President and CEO), the

John Walcher, who donated his time as auctioneer, with fiancee Ellie Sethness.

co-chairs, her family, DJ Akib, her team at ZZAZZ Productions, the Lighthouse’s Lindsay Inglis and Karoline Kijowski, the participating stores and designers, and others.“Being here made me think about how life changes, in the blink of an eye. I came to understand the amazing models with their difficulties and then my husband, after a day of golfing, came home and said he couldn’t see the ball. He 

Designer Peach Carr and Linda Yu.

needed immediate retina surgery - and he healed. A few years later, my daughter had her second baby and also needed immediate retina surgery - and she healed. Today, I have a cousin here who told me she needed to go to the Lighthouse recently to get a better magnifying glass because she has macular degeneration, and she is trying to heal as best she can. What I know now is that the Lighthouse is here to help all who are in need, from the

Tracey receives her award from co-chairs Sherry Lea Holson, Sheree Schimmer and Sherrill Bodine.

young children and the teenagers to the seniors, no one is refused help. And did you know that they’re behind the scenes manning the call centers for the DMV, the Tollway, and many hospitals, always ready to help and refusing no one in financial

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Honoree/show producer Tracey DiBuono, co-chairs Sherry Lea Holson, Sheree Scimmer and Sherrill Bodine.

need. I am beyond grateful and deeply touched and honored to be celebrating this decade of fashion as this year’s honoree. I hope that you know that the Lighthouse is here for you, in the blink of an eye, if life changes,” Tracey tearfully shared, as the crowd cheered its approval. Dr. Janet Szlyk spoke about the history of the organization, that was founded in 1906 by a group of socially prominent

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Debi Catenacci and Scott Bobek.

women that included Winona Hood and Edith Swift. (This is why the award is called the Hood/Swift Woman with Flair Award, so now ‘ya know!)  Dr. Janet called Tracey, a “modern day Winona Hood.” She also shared the story of her older sister who became blind due to too much oxygenation in her incubator but, despite her difficulties, became a confident, highly independent, successful adult. Because

Sugar & Spice (Almira Yllana and Giovanna Krozel) with Tina Gravel.

of this experience with her sister, when Dr. Janet came to the Lighthouse, she knew they needed “robust and strong youth transition programs,” which they most certainly do. Besides a moving tribute to the late Kevin Sullivan, the event also 

Tracey and Joey sittin' in a tree.

acknowledged past honorees: the late Vonita Reescer, Jamie Hague, Kristina McGrath, Cheri Lawrence, Cheryl Coleman and Ron Katz, Susan Griffiths Gohl, Sherry Lea Holson, and yours truly. Proceeds will support The Chicago Lighthouse’s Children’s

Mark Olley, looking dapper as always.

and Youth Programs that help young individuals with disabilities build confidence and become independent adults. Mark your calendars now for this event next year. It's always a sellout and for such a wonderful cause. I'm very proud to return as a co-emcee with honoree Tracey. Hope to see you all next year! Special thanks to Val, Jobba, Art and Chilli for being such exceptional VIP runway stars! (To donate, or for more info on The Chicago Lighthouse, please click here). (Photos by Mila Samokhina)


Rosario Guillen and Sheri Passalino, Tina Monaghan and Ryan Galloway, and Mario Sullivan with Amanda Hickey- winning dance teams! (Photo by Anderson Photography)

Giordano Dance Chicago presented its exciting “Dancing with the Giordano Stars - ALL STARS" event at Park West on October 5. Patterned after the popular ABC hit show, “Dancing with the Stars,” this dance competition paired professional GDC dancers with the

Richard Weinberg with dance partner Vasylyna Barabash and Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.

who’s who of Chicago’s civic, social, and business communities (All Stars who had competed before in this competition) to vie for “Best Male Dancer,” “Best Female Dancer” and “People’s Choice” honors before a panel of judges. Park West was packed with supporters and the

Kip Helverson and Michael McStraw.

buzz was palpable as the excitement mounted for the upcoming competition. There were a lot of new faces in the audience this year as GDC continues to attract more fans. Yours truly, a proud GDC board member, welcomed the crowd, explained the rules and introduced emcee Ryan Baker (CBS-2 news anchor). VIP judges included: Kevin McGirr

Dr. Stacie McClane's posse was out in force to root for her!

(dance aficionado/benefactor); Irma Suarez Ruiz (Artistic Director, Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater); and Lauren Warnecke (dance critic for Chicago Tribune). In the opening dance number, the company honored Tina Turner followed by the introduction of the 11 dance teams. They included the following dancers and their All

With my co-emcee Ryan Baker, Nan Giordano (artistic director) and Erica Lynette Edwards (executive director).

Star partners (non-professionals are listed first): Matt Bozzo and Sasha Lazarus; Joe Brown and Katie Rafferty; Gorman Cook and Erina Ueda; Susan

Kathy Mondelli, Kristine Kinder and Chuck Jordan.

Flynn and Adam Houston; Nicole Klotz and Zach Heller; Pat Manus and Cesar G. Salinas; Dr. Stacie McClane and Fernando Rodriguez; Tina Monaghan and Ryan Galloway; Sheri Passalino and Rosario Guillen; David Prange and Ashley Downs; and Mario Sullivan and Amanda Hickey. All the choreography was created by the GDC dancers with the attire, music and dance styles selected by the contestants. In the end, IMG_9463 after much applause and support for the crowd’s favorites, three couples took home the coveted silver disco ball. Winners were Tina Monaghan partnered by Ryan Galloway

Katie Rafferty and Ashley Downs.

walked away with TWO awards, Audience Favorite and Top Fundraiser; Sheri Passalino with GDC dancer Rosario Guillen won for Best Female Dancer; and Mario Sullivan with GDC dancer Amanda Hickey won for Best Male Dancer. The event also included a wonderful performance by Richard Weinberg, a former U.S. Pro-Am 9 champion, who danced an elegant waltz with Vasylyna Barabash. Before the event, a lavish buffet was served on the dance floor where guests mingled and snapped photos. Congrats to all who attended, EVERYONE was a winner! The event raised over $200,000 for the organization’s Jazz Dance/ Science & Health program in Chicago Public Schools, youth mentorship and education programs, a free ticket program, and jazz dance advocacy. (Photo by Anderson Photography and moi)


Stephanie anderson
Stephanie Anderson, Dr. Joaquin and Jennifer Brieva.

The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois honored Dr. Joaquin Brieva and his beautiful wife Jennifer Sutton Brieva at its recent gala. Friends and supporters came out in force to help raise over $250,000 for this life-saving nonprofit. Joaquin received a kidney transplant and his donor was in attendance, Stephanie Anderson. What a courageous and loving person to offer the gift of life. We were so sorry we couldn't attend but were there in spirit. Congrats to Joaquin and Jennifer for working so hard to raise awareness for this important charity. (To donate or learn more, click here.) The organization provides patients with resources, programs, free screenings and more.


Team Joaquin at the Hilton Chicago for the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois Gala.


61b63cb55f747.imageNavy Pier’s festive and reimagined, "Light Up the Lake 2023," an enchanting winter celebration that promises to illuminate the Chicago lakefront, is at the Pier now through Dec. 31. This dazzling program includes free and ticketed activities and invites visitors of all ages to immerse themselves in the holiday spirit through a spectacular array of activities, lights, and seasonal delights, including the nationally acclaimed Navy Pier fireworks.


Tracey Benford and Uniting Voices board members and singers
Tracey Benford and Uniting Voices board members and singers.

More than 500 guests gathered to support Uniting Voices Chicago (formerly Chicago Children’s Choir) at their Red Jacket Optional gala hosted at The Geraghty.

Uniting Voices President Josephine Lee in Let_s Get Funky medley_photo by Kyle Flubacker
Uniting Voices President Josephine Lee.

Uniting Voices’ transformative youth empowerment and music education programs serve thousands of students from every neighborhood in Chicago and beyond. $1.5M was raised to support music programming, offered free of charge to students in 88 Chicago schools. Red Jacket Optional (RJO) is Uniting Voices Chicago’s largest annual fundraiser and, in the past 10 years, has raised more than $14.5M, to fund music education programming that

Yusef Jackson  Rev. Janette Wilson  Angelica Amador  Bill Cooper
Yusef Jackson, Rev. Janette Wilson, Angelica Amador and Bill Cooper.

emphasizes holistic learning. Participating students have 100 percent high school graduation and college acceptance rate. 80 percent of the kids in the 140+ ensembles come from low- to moderate-income households, and 100

RJO honoree Caroline Dettman  Uniting Voices president Josephine Lee  RJO honoree Eric Ashworth
RJO honoree Caroline Dettman, Uniting Voices president Josephine Lee and RJO honoree Eric Ashworth.

percent participate at some level of subsidy. Mayor Brandon Johnson opened the evening by reflecting on Uniting Voices’ long history of impactful programming for Chicago youth. The night featured vibrant performances by Uniting Voices members, ages 6-18, including show-stopping renditions of Broadway classics, original 

Uniting Voices Board Chair Ellen-Blair Chube and Larry Fitzgerald_photo by Kyle Flubacker
Uniting Voices Board Chair Ellen-Blair Chube and Larry Fitzgerald.

music, and songs from around the world. With culinary delights from Boka Catering Group, an open bar, access to a live auction with premium experiences, and an epic after-party, the evening was a night to remember, all in support of Chicago’s youth!  “Red Jacket Optional 2023

Bob and Rose Fealy and singers
Bob and Rose Fealy with singers.

was a testament to the power of music to unite us as one. In light of recent events, I am hopeful that we lifted spirits and fueled souls. We are deeply grateful to the community of supporters who have committed to Uniting Voices as a template for our present and the future: a world filled with beauty, optimism, empathy, possibility, hope, love and peace,” says

Uniting Voices Board Chair Ellen-Blair Chube and Uniting Voices singers_photo by Elliot Mandel
Uniting Voices Board Chair Ellen-Blair Chube and Uniting Voices singers.

Josephine Lee, president of Uniting Voices. Additionally, the event honored board members Caroline Dettman, chief marketing and creative officer for The Female Quotient, and Eric Ashworth, president of Agency Solutions and executive vice president of Product and Market Strategy at Quad, for their

Kyle and Kristin Mack  Bob and Patty Lane  Peter and Erin Lane
Kyle and Kristin Mack, Bob and Patty Lane, Peter and Erin Lane.

leadership of the organization’s vibrant Fall 2022 rebrand to Uniting Voices. Mr. Ashworth and Ms. Dettman focused on this ethos as well as the more than 65-year commitment to exceptional performance-based learning that helps youth find their voice through music. The honorees were joined by co-chairs Michelle and Tom Cusick and Suzanne EL-Moursi and Bassel Ericsoussi in hosting the event alongside the Uniting Voices’ Board of Directors. Tom Kehoe of Kehoe Designs served as Design Chair. Supporters included lead sponsor Rose and Bob Fealy, The Hatherly Family, and David and Lesly Koo. (Photos by Elliot Mandel and Kyle Flubacker)


Fashion designer Christian Siriano is interviewed by Dionne Williams after receiving the Costume Council Presidents' Circle Award.

The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum honored renowned fashion designer Christian Siriano with the third President's Circle Award on Thursday, October 12, at the elegant Four Seasons Hotel. The luncheon included a champagne reception with the 

Designer Christina Siriano receives the Presidents' Circle Award from co-chairs Pam Capitanini and David Mordini.

designer, a raffle, and an interview with Christian Siriano where he discussed his life, career and fashion outlook, with Dionne Williams, Emerge fashion show creator/ founder Williams PR. The award, named after the past 17

Toni Canada, David Sanchez and Dusty Stemer.

presidents of the Costume Council, honors designers who are making an indelible mark in the fashion world. Event co-chairs Pamella Capitanini and David Mordini presented Siriano with the award on behalf of the Costume Council. Karen Peters, Costume Council First VP, Programs, welcomed the crowd, and shared the purpose for the afternoon’s fundraising efforts – to drive

Domanique Woods, Deanna Spoerl, Tyler Porter and Anika Allen.

curatorial activity, provide conservation needs and preserve and curate exhibitions for the Chicago History Museum and its 50,000-piece collection. David Mordini, president of the Costume Council, acknowledged the four past presidents who were in the audience before introducing Siriano and Williams. Siriano answered a far-ranging array of questions. He said his mom and his sister are his muses

Ambar Campos and Jess Crane.

and he loves to create for people who know who they want to be. It’s his “greatest gift.” Siriano is known as a pioneer for changing body positivity for all types, shapes, and genders.  He spoke about some of his favorite clients

Co-chairs Pam Capitanini and David Mordini. 

including Oprah, First Lady Michelle Obama and others. Over the years, he has dressed many prominent figures included First Lady Jill Biden, Angelina Jolie, Zendaya, Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga, to name a few.  Christian Siriano is a distinguished CFDA designer, who has been a driving force in the world of fashion since his eponymous collection's launch in 2008. Trained under fashion icons Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen in London, Siriano's unique designs have graced the red carpets and wardrobes of today's most prominent figures. With nearly two decades in the industry, his work has been featured in prestigious museum exhibitions, including his groundbreaking solo retrospective at SCAD and record-breaking appearances at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute's Met Gala. He currently captivates audiences as the host and mentor on Bravo'sProject Runway," with the brand celebrating its 15-year anniversary this Fall.


The "BLT" trio.

It was a dark and stormy night on Navy Pier, with a full moon and witches about.....naw, just kidding, but it was a HOWLING Howl-O-Ween at Harry Caray's Tavern for the

Host Grant DePorter.

3rd annual pet Halloween contest on Navy Pier. The Pier was filled with people and kids in costume but none were cuter than the doggos that made their way, with owners in tow, to this popular bar and restaurant. There were pups dressed as a piece of sushi, referee, lion, Cracker Jax, scary spiders, Wonder Woman, a piece of candy corn, a banana, Phantom of the Paw-pera, Paddington Bear, Pennywise, Barbie, and so many others. It was an honor to return for the 2nd year as emcee/judge.

IMG_0656Besides the cuteness overload, all the proceeds from the entry fee ($10) went directly to PAWS Chicago. The three categories were "Funniest", "Most Creative", and "Best IMG_0770Ensemble." Volunteers from PAWS, Judy Paice and Courtney Hopkins, were on  hand to help move the party along. Harry Caray's owner Grant DePorter was also on hand to give out prizes that included a pair of tickets for a dog-friendly Seadog boat ride courtesy of City Cruises; a pair of tickets for Navy Pier's Ferris Wheel; and a $25 gift certificate to Harry Caray's.


Ursula     Ursula Bielski, author "Haunted Chicago."

In my Halloween podcast (Candid Candace - The Podcast), we chat about Haunted Chicago with Ursula Bielski, author of 12 books (and counting) on the supernatural and paranormal. My host/producer John St. Augustine  Randy hundley surprises us with an actual recording of an experience that will have your hair standing on end. Listen here! And, if you're looking for the perfect Christmas gift for a baseball fan, look no further than John St. Augustine's new book, "Ironman," about the exciting life of legendary Chicago Cubs catcher Randy Hundley. With a foreward by former player Fergie Jenkins, this book is gaining wide acclaim from even diehard Bleacher Bums! And now, Randy is offering SIGNED BOOKS as Christmas gifts! To purchase a signed book, please message John St. Augustine directly to his FB page. Can pay by Zelle or Venmo. Venmo.To simply purchase the book unsigned here's the direct link to the Lulu book page.


The one and only Tom Skilling.

In the most recent podcast, we had the privilege of chatting with the world’s most beloved meteorologist, Tom Skilling. He shares fascinating insights on climate Priscilla change, what it’s like to ride through the eye of a hurricane, UFOs, and what made him cry on live television. I think of him as the "Mr. Rogers of Meteorologists." We will be sad when he retires on Feb. 28, 2024, but he also gives us hope with a peek into some thoughts for future projects. And, as always, I take you behind the velvet ropes at some of the best events that have happened and are happening around town, including Illuminate 900, PAWS Chicago Fur Ball, Service Club Gala, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’ Christmas Party, Christkindlmarket, Priscilla Presley’s return, and the last Randolph Street Market of the season. So, sit back, relax, grab a glühwein, and enjoy the show! Listen here


Laura Sage  Meredith Soren Freese  Halee Sage - 101923
Laura Sage, Meredith Soren Freese and Halee Sage.

The Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Foundation celebrated an “Evening of Collaboration for Breast Cancer Research” on  at Theater on the Lake. The event raised almost

David Casper  Jane Casper  Diana Rauner  Bruce Rauner  Stephanie Stanton  and Eric Rauner
David Casper, Jane Casper, Diana Rauner, Bruce Rauner, Stephanie Stanton, and Eric Rauner.

$1.4 million with the help of over 800 guests. Highlights included the announcement of the formation of the Chicago Breast Cancer Research Consortium, a collaborative clinical trial initiative aimed at improving breast cancer mortality rates and disparities in outcomes in the Chicagoland area

Jill Alberts  Jim and Wendy Mills
Jill Alberts, Jim and Wendy Mills.

and beyond. The initiative will bring together University of Chicago, Northwestern and Rush. The evening featured a dynamic live auction with Taylor Swift tickets in Paris and a behind-the-scenes tour of the hit Chicago-centric show The Bear. Guests dined on donated bites from some of the city’s favorite restaurants including Piccolo Sogno, Gene & Georgetti's, Sushi San, The Oakville, Harry Harays, Avli, Adalina, Ron of Japan, Eli's and Big Fat Cookie. Whiskey and tequila tastings were provided by Heaven's Door and Mijenta. Congrats to ALL!


Crystal Belcher-Rector  Tina Koegel  Jeanette Aubry and Wendy Krimins
Crystal Belcher-Rector, Tina Koegel, Jeanette Aubry and Wendy Krimins.

Fashion and philanthropy reigned at the Children’s Service Board’s 67th annual Gold Coast Fashion Show. Cutting-edge fashions from Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue were showcased in a live runway show and cocktail reception. Event proceeds supported the board’s two-year, $2 million commitment to the Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Lurie

Children's Service Board VP Danielle Hoeg with co-chairs Renee Stock and Cathryn Schmaltz with board president Emily Flahertyand.

Children’s. Paired with the luncheon and runway show that took place earlier in the week, the 67th Gold Coast Fashion Show raised over $1.28 million. Nearly 500 guests

Lurie's Patient Champion Penelope with Lurie Children's staffer Ilana Gutman
Lurie's Patient Champion Penelope with Lurie Children's staffer Ilana Gutman.

attended the evening event, which took place at The Geraghty and kicked off with a cocktail reception featuring food stations from some of Chicago’s most popular restaurants, including Le Colonial, Lyra and Adalina. The night’s excitement culminated with a paddle raise and live auction, followed by dessert bites. During the program, Lurie Children’s patient Penelope talked about how acute anxiety has impacted her life since she was a IMG_2790toddler. The courageous 11-year-old confidently took the stage and met her therapist Dr. Jaclyn Hoffmeister. They spoke about how the mental health treatment she received through Lurie Children’s changed her life. The event was hosted by Children’s Service Board President Emily Flaherty with co-chairs Cathryn Schmaltz and Renee Stock. The team, with full support of its 60-person Children Service Board, is driven to help Lurie Children’s address the increasing demand for pediatric mental health care services, with an emphasis on early detection and treatment. (Photos by Sean Su / Purple Photo Group)


InviteI hope you can join us for the Felix Magazine Charity Dinner Series on Monday, Dec. 11 featuring the gourmet mastery of Chef Paul Virant and luxe Diamond Ossetra Pvfrom Meredith Marks Caviar. Indulge in a four-course meal, beats by DJ Madrid Perry and enjoy a guest appearance by Meredith Marks (Bravo's Real Housewives of Salt Lake City)
The event will take place Joy District from 6-8. Private dinner, $135. Open to public from 8-10. Post-dinner party, $60. All proceeds benefit the The Aparecio Foundation which provides funding, mentoring, academic assistance, and scholarship programs for high-potential low-income girls in public high schools. Details here!
Jerry SeinfieldSpecial congrats to La Scarola restaurant for snagging great comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan, who chose this hotspot for their go-to dinner following their show at the United Center on November 9. Joey and Armando attract celebs like magnets! (La Scarola, 721 W, Grand Ave., Chicago, 312-243-1740, lascarola.com.) Celebrating 25 glorious years!

401057856_10231387607338468_1070797470142540249_nCook County Treasurer Maria Pappas certainly

Maria calendar
2024 Maria Pappas Calendar!

has the holiday spirit and she wants YOU to have some too, so join her on Friday, Dec. 1 at her office, 118 N. Clark Street from 5- 6:30 p.m. There will be sing-a-longs, sweet treats, decorated trees from around the world, and so much more! She is the hardest working pol in the city and she does so much good, from finding tax refunds for unsuspecting property owners to making sure her brochures are printed in every language, she is a force in Chicago! To add to the joy of the holiday season, don't miss out on her 2024 MARIA calendar! To rsvp for the Christmas party, call 312.603.6931 or email [email protected] and I'll see you there!


SC holiday luncheon graphic.The Service Club of Chicago will host its annual Holiday Luncheon Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the stunning Union League Club of Chicago! Congrats in advance to co-chairs Lezley Hodes, Karen Peters, and Debi Catenacci! Themed, "Santa Baby," you know this event in Lincoln Hall will be another sellout! A variety of vendors will be on hand to fulfill your holiday wish list as well as surprise entertainment! There will be an exciting silent auction and raffle prizes too, including Neiman Marcus – Christian Louboutin shoes (gift certificate); Joffrey Ballet – Midsummer Night’s Dream tickets (2); Park Hyatt Hotel – 1 Night Stay; Contessa Bottega – Camilla Scarf; Kendra Scott necklace. 1 for $50 | 3 for $100 | 10 for $200. You definitely won't want to miss this! For tickets, more info, click here.



NutThe Joffrey Ballet's critically acclaimed reimagined classic, The Nutcracker by two-time Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, returns to the Lyric Opera House, 20 North Upper Wacker Drive, in 25 performances, December 2 – 27. Set in Chicago's World's Fair in 1893, Wheeldon's The Nutcracker highlights the rich cultural heritage of Chicago and the wonder of the season. This is one of my favorite productions by The Joffrey as it truly captures the spirit of the season and the best part, it's set in our own home town. A truly beautiful show in every respect. A must-see. (For tickets and more details, please click here!)

The Joffrey Ballet's "The Nutcracker," will return to the Lyric Opera House Dec. 2. | Photo by Cheryl Mann for The Joffrey Ballet


One of my favorite writers, Michael Sneed at the Sun-Times, writes a gratitude column every year around Thanksgiving. It's touched me so much that I found myself clipping and

A Thanksgiving past- missing so many friends and family.

saving her articles. In past years, with some prodding from Oprah (and her love of gratitude journals), I decided to tackle some gratitude musings of my own. It's really a Imageslesson in self-reflection and a look back at all the things that has made us who we are. It's also an acknowledgement of the goodness in your life. Scientists have found that grateful people manage stress better and live healthier lives. Maybe after you read my column here, you will be inspired to write one of your own. This Thanksgiving, more than in years past, seems like a good time to start. I hope you’re surrounded by family and friends who seem like family.

Love, as always,


[email protected]

P.S. And, of course, a wonderful holiday message from Coca-Cola!


August 29, 2023

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June 12, 2023

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