Candid Candace: Music



Plus: Brookfield Zoo's "Whirl"; Hard Rock Casino's grand opening party; Tina's FAB Fumee Claire candles; A tribute to Bernie; Blooms on the Mag Mile; Deborah's "Journey to Joshua"; What's happening in Chicago NOW?; "Wonders of the Park" auction for Lincoln Park; Banksy art fans on pins and needles; Schulman Felix Mag; AVLI on the Park; Chicago Pride Fest; Pendry Chicago's, Chicago Star releases June issue!; elegant, grand opening; Birthday joy at La Scarola; Northalsted Market Days; Randolph Street Market updates; Imerman Angels' Angels Spirit Week; Maria Pappas, why we need her; Sweet video, and SOOO much more!


Neiman Marcus Michigan Ave. GM Wendy Krimins, Joffrey pres/CEO Greg Cameron and Joffrey WB member Noren Ungaretti.

Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue, Northbrook and Oakbrook joined in partnership to support The Joffrey Ballet for their FIRST in-person event following the Covid outbreak, "Fashion for a Passion." The event combined an in-person luncheon with a video-taped fashion show

Beautiful decor for this first in-person event!

featuring spring trends. Guests  were welcomed by the GMs at each store, Wendy Krimins (Michigan Ave.), Linda Piepho (Northbrook) and Michelle Distasio-Flinn (Oakbrook). Around 70 guests were in attendance at all three

Valeria Gerber, Casey Carey, Geeta Nagpal, WB pres. Sandi Hartstein and Farissa Knox.

locations with over 30 more zooming in for viewing. Tina Koegel, Brand Experience manager at the Neiman Marcus Chicago location, said, "I’m proud of our longstanding support [a 12 year partnership] of the Joffrey Ballet and our wonderful relationship with their incredibly

Noren Ungaretti holding a beautiful gift box courtesy of Neiman Marcus.

successful Women’s Board. The three Chicago Metro stores donated 10% of all eligible sales over the course of 5 days from April 15th through the 19th." I was thrilled to attend this first in-person event for these two Chicago icons and I can tell you, it was so

With Neiman's Tina Koegel.

refreshing to see people in real time as opposed to yet another zoom call. Everyone was dressed in their finest and the table decor took my breath away. All the colors of spring with bright yellow tablescapes, florals of yellow roses and snapdragons and exquisitely boxed lunches (pink and white striped boxes tied with yellow ribbons). Lunch, catered from Food for Thought, consisted of roasted chicken salad tea sandwiches, a spring greens salad and strawberry panna cotta with berries for dessert. Each guest was also treated to a custom-made gift box that included a darling

Melissa Babcock and Leslie Logsdon.

toe-shoe shaped cookie, a notebook and product samplings. The virtual fashion

Even a toe shoe-shaped cookie in the goodie bag!

show was presented by contemporary buyer Lori Caplin from the company's Northpark Mall in Dallas. Four fabulous models showcased 20 looks ranging from casual to daytime and concluded with glamorous evening looks. Some highlights of the show included a stunning Oscar de la Renta red satin dress and a Dries van Noten metallic foil jacket. One of the things I loved most was how so many of the looks were paired with tennis shoes, a

Even the Joffrey WB members are fans of Chicago Star! Lol! (Wink! Wink!)

nod to our pandemic past, no doubt!  Following the show, Greg Cameron, Joffrey president/CEO, addressed the crowd. He commented on the 12 year-long partnership between The Joffrey Ballet, its Women's Board and Neiman

Overview of the beautiful space at Neiman Marcus Michigan Ave.

Marcus and talked about the Joffrey's Crisis Stabilization Fund, created to ensure the Company's long term health with support going directly to support the Company artists, students and education programs during the pandemic. The group applauded when they heard that they reached 1161$11 million dollars, towards their goal of $12 million. Greg also expressed excitement over returning to the Lyric stage in October for live performances. In attendance at the Michigan Avenue location were Joffrey Women’s Board President Sandi

Joffrey's Brian Smith  Sandi Hartstein (JWB pres) and .
Joffrey's Brian Smith and Chris Jabin with WB president Sandi Hartstein.

Hartstein, Cameron,  Farissa Knox (WB 2nd Vice President), Melissa Babcock, Dana Treister, Casey Carey, Geeta Nagpal, Nancy Berman, Valerie Gerber, Bonnie Fong, Kelly Rosen LaGrange, Ellie Forman, Karen Zupko, Jennifer Fabian, Johanna Ferguson and Liz Sharp and others. The Michigan Avenue luncheon was hosted by Noren Ungaretti, immediate past WB President. The Oakbrook luncheon was hosted by Marcie Wright. In attendance at the Oakbrook location was Julia Doherty, Director of Principal Gifts at the Joffrey. The Northbrook event was hosted by Camille Rudy, Heather Martin, Joan Malliband and Jenelle Chalmers. (Shared first in Chicago Star's "City Seen" debut column!)


Maria Pappas on her WVON radio show set.

WHY CHICAGO NEEDS MARIA PAPPAS: Maria Pappas is our Cook County Treasurer, has been since 1998. But oh, she is so much more. She has been a cheerleader for Chicago for as far back as I can remember and is a

Maria  the Mayor and Amy rule with Lori's 92 year old mom.
Maria with Mayor Lightfoot, Lightfoot's mother and wife First Lady Amy Eshleman.

force in every community throughout the city. You can see her at a ceremony commemorating the Polish plane crash in Russia 11 years ago; singing Gregorian chants in her church; honoring and speaking for friends who have passed in the Filipino community; celebrating the first donors at the

Zooming with Telemundo for property tax issues.

Illinois Holocaust Museum; visiting friends and speaking at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village; celebrating Greek Independence Day; attending events at Univision Mexico; cooking in church halls; doing Serbian TV interviews; being the honored guest and

Maria being interviewed by the Serbian Times.

speaker at the Polish Museum; touring bakeries; being featured on zoom calls for R.A.G.E. (Resident Association of Greater Englewood); zooming with the

#6--Ukranian picnic
Maria at a Ukranian picnic.

Finance Ministry from Madrid (who asked her to teach them her methods); presenting her Christmas Trees Around the World exhibit at her Cook County Treasurer's offices (every year); zooming with Telemundo about property tax payments; zooming with the State Department about property tax collections for foreign countries; trying

Maria supporting the cops in Greektown.

her skills at an axe-throwing contest; saluting veterans at a variety of events around town; appearing at Bronzeville IMG_4620dedications; celebrating mass at Holy Trinity Church; appearing on Hispanic Talk Radio; appearing on the cover of the Filipino VIA Times, Korean Television, Chinese News, etc.; taping infomercials at Graham Methodist; writing a children's book, "Me and My Iguana," to help them cope during the pandemic; baking for St. Joseph's Day; celebrating Bulgarian Independence Day; honoring African American history in Englewood; playing a

Maria in the pulpit!

mean piano during office holidays and so much MORE!....I think you get the picture. Maria is

Maria saluting our vets.

on top of whatever is happening in the city and, more importantly, she's making appearances that matter in our communities.  Besides being talented at writing, playing the piano and cooking, she clearly loves and cares about people. And they love her right back, connecting with her from every ethnicity. She has friends in high, low and everything-in-between places. We all want to be her best friend. Some of her latest triumphs include hosting her own show on WVON 1690 AM

Speaking at the Polish National Alliance.

radio, "Black Houses Matter." On the show, she lets viewers know the many ways they can collect property tax refunds that they might not be aware of. (Her Cook County Treasurer's website is in 24 different

Baking for St. Joseph's Day.

languages!) She expanded this property tax refund idea to a live phone bank telethon that's appeared on ABC-7 several times. To date, this telethon has generated nearly $13 million in refunds to Illinois property owners!  Her "20 Year Tax Bill Study" rattled a lot of cages around town when she discovered and disclosed that the county's tax bills virtually doubled

Maria participating in an axe throwing contest.

over the past 20 years, an increase that is nearly triple the rise in the cost of living index. Her latest efforts involve a re-beautification of the Magnificent Mile which, as we all know, has suffered greatly following the rioting with many stores still boarded up. Her Instagram and Facebook posts ask

Maria on Hispanic Talk Radio.

Alderman Brian Hopkins, "What is magnificent about this?" as she shares photos of crumbling sidewalks, trash and other unsightly scenes. She clearly feels our pain.  And I will admit, I'm also speaking as a friend. I've had the privilege of knowing her for many years now and I can tell you, what you see is what you get. There is not a phony bone in her body and her empathy for others knows no bounds. Personally, I think she would make a great mayor. I know she says no, but I think Mayor Maria has a great ring to it. (Follow her on Facebook and Instagram, )


Whirl raised over $1M for Brookfield Zoo and its programs.

I'm so excited for Brookfield Zoo! This year, the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) celebrated its 40th anniversary of the Whirl, its largest annual fundraiser. The event, co-hosted by the Society’s Board of Trustees and Women’s Board, was held virtually on May 1. Hundreds of guests tuned in during the virtual

Michael and Melissa Canning, WHIRL co-chairs.

fundraiser, which grossed over $1.1 million for the animals at Brookfield Zoo as well as the Society’s conservation, education, and research programs. The evening featured welcoming

Dr. Stuart Strahl, president and CEO of the Chicago Zoological Society

comments from Dr. Stuart Strahl, president and CEO of CZS, who recognized the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chicago Zoological Society, the nonprofit organization that manages Brookfield Zoo. Additional remarks were given by Michael and Melissa Canning, Whirl co-chairs; Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Forest Preserves of Cook County; John Grube, chairman of the Society’s Board

Sasha Gerritson, president of the Women’s Board of the Chicago Zoological Society

of Trustees; and Sasha Gerritson, president of the Women’s Board of CZS. Auctioneer Jonathan Kraft announced the fundraiser’s virtual paddle raise and live auction. Additionally, videos

The band Maggie Speaks performed via Zoom.

featuring many of Brookfield Zoo’s charismatic animals were highlighted throughout the evening and Maggie Speaks, one of Chicago’s most popular bands, entertained the viewing audience with several songs. During the event, attendees were able to bid on dozens of

John Grube, chairman of the Chicago Zoological Society’s Board of Trustees

amazing silent auction items that included a stunning piece of jewelry courtesy of A. Marek Fine Jewelry; a

Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Kate Spade exotic tote; sports memorabilia, including a signed football by Green Bay Packers legendary quarterback Bart Starr; an exquisite elephant brooch; an array of gift basket packages from local venues; and animal-themed opportunities from Brookfield Zoo such as VIP tours and naming one of the zoo’s Bennett’s wallaby joeys and a black-footed cat.


Lezley Hodes  Sherry Abrahams  Heather Spyra host)  Sherrill Bodine  Bonnie Rickard and Lauren Lein Cavanaugh.
Lezley Hodes Sherry Abrahams Heather Spyra host) Sherrill Bodine Bonnie Rickard and Lauren Lein Cavanaugh.

A day in the country was just what we all needed, especially when it was our first-time trip to Richardson's Adventure Farm.  Arranged by Service Club of Chicago leader Heather Spyra, in Spring Grove, IL. (909 English Prairie Rd.), the event was an opportunity for a few Service Club members to experience this adventure that included a

Chuck got into the bloomin' spirit too!

delightful box lunch. Heather put her own touch on everything, including a tulip shaped cookie! This was the farm's first time Tulip Festival and the turnout, despite inclement weather, was terrific. The festival ended May 9, but, believe me, this place ALWAYS has something going on!

The SC gang is all here!

When we visited, there were 300,000 tulips popping up in 30 different varieties, with many guests picking their own bouquets in a specially designated area. The venue is on a private lakefront location with food trucks scattered here and there. There was plentiful free parking, dogs were welcome on leashes and, throughout the year, they also offer live music on

Tracey Tarantino DiBuono and Sapna Rathi.
Tracey Tarantino DiBuono and Sapna Rathi.

Saturday and Sunday afternoons, a corn maze, a Christmas event with trees and lights, a Halloween Festival, a great gift shop with fresh donuts, kettle corn, etc. and so much more. I loved seeing so many familiar faces that day like Sherrill Bodine, Liz

They have a great gift shop there too!

Teasley, Kathy Mondelli, Tracey Tarantino DiBuono, Sherry Abrahams, Bonnie Rickard, Sapna Rathi, Lezley Hodes, Lauren Lein Cavanaugh and so many others. Since Lake Geneva is only 20 minutes away, Chuck and I decided to make a weekend of it. We stayed, for the first time, at the Geneva Inn. We tried to stay here previously

Such beauty there! Richardson's has something going on year-round so be sure and check it out!

but they don't accept pets, so I doubt we'll return, but it was a lovely spot situated right on the lake. The dining room has beautiful views of the sunset but, our top choice for dining is always Mars Resort--it has live piano music, a lively bar and a mean Friday night fish fry. We also love Anthony's Steakhouse and I always get a kick out of IMG_5197the grizzled old men doing the seating. They seem like they could care less if anyone was there or not but, even this was charming and I always love a good relish tray. Lake Geneva will never lose its charm for us. (On the way back, we stopped at a wonderful grocery store in Antioch, the Old Mill Creek Country Store--loaded with items we'd never seen before....wish it was closer!)


Marlon and Tito Jackson accept plaque declaring "The Jackson Family Day" in Gary at the opening of the Hard Rock Casino.

It was a Windex-blue sky for the grand opening of The Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana that opened with much fanfare and a guitar smash on Friday, May 14. An untold number of city officials were proudly in attendance as was Gary Mayor Jerome Prince and his IMG_6111wife, former Senator Earline Rogers (known as "the Queen of Gaming" as she's responsible for the legalization of gaming in Indiana), Tito and Marlon Jackson, Deniece Williams (4-time Grammy Award winner, "Let's Hear it for the Boy"), Kym Mazelle (the "First Lady of House Music"), Marshall Thompson (member of the Grammy Award-winning group,

Kym Mazelle, the "first lady of house music".

the Chi-Lites), Pete Wentz (Fallout Boy), Mark Sayers McGrath (lead singer for rock band Sugar Ray), Crystal Taliefero (singer/songwriter), Donald and Ken Kinsey (Big Daddy Kinsey and the Kinsey Report), members of The Seminole Tribe of Florida (who own the HRI brand), and so

Rockers Pete Wentz and Mark McGrath.

many others. Mayor Prince welcomed the crowd, including dozens of press outlets, to the event. He proclaimed it "The Jackson Family Day" in the city and presented Marlon and Tito with a plaque. Dozens of pieces of memorabilia are on display from the Jackson family including Joe Jackson’s original guitar, that started it all (a 37-foot replica is the centerpiece of the complex located at the entrance), outfits worn on stage by the Jacksons, Michael’s famous Swarovski crystal

Lots of Jackson Family memorabilia at the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana.

glove and Florsheim Imperial shoes from his "Thriller" video, THE red leather jacket from the "Beat It" video, Janet Jackson’s suit from her "Velvet Rope" tour as well as objects from other artists that have connections to the Jacksons – including Elvis, Lady Gaga, Eddie Van Halen, Justin

Kym Mazelle, Mayor Justin Prince, Deniece Williams, and Regina Smith.

Timberlake, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Pharrel, Shakira and Fergie. Marlon said, "I want to thank the Hard Rock Hotel for being the first to take a step and see Gary's vision and wanting to be a part of it, creating so many jobs. So, Gary, a diamond in the rough--you're ready to get polished baby!" He and Tito also thanked city officials for making

The Jackson Family Home, soon to be landmarked, at 2300 Jackson St.

the Jackson Family Home, at 2300 Jackson St., a historical landmark. "It was about a city called Gary, a school called Roosevelt, but most of all it was about a little house on a little street filled with noise and

Earline Rogers, known as the "Queen of Gaming" for her efforts at bringing gaming to Indiana.

music, and most of all, love, " Tito said.  A customary Hard Rock guitar smash followed many speeches and signaled the opening of the Casino as all the dignitaries onstage smashed guitars emblazoned with the HR logo following a countdown. Fireworks went off

Michael's GLOVE on display at Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana.

behind the stand as the crowd rose for a standing ovation. A bank of press, stationed in the rear, captured every moment. The Casino is easily accessible from Chicago (just 45 minutes away) and is located on 29th Street just off Interstate 80/94 at the Burr Street exit in Gary. The $300 million, 200,000 square-foot entertainment complex has nearly 1,600

Members of The Seminole Tribe of Florida, who owns the HRI brand.

gaming tales, 5 restaurants, a theater and a 1,954 seat live performance venue. The new casino is the result of the relocation of the two Majestic Star Riverboat Casinos that are owned by The Seminole Tribe of Florida, into one land-based facility. Since the groundbreaking for the new facility in 2020, Gary officials hope it will provide the economic boost that the struggling Northwest Indiana city needs. (Open 24 hours daily, all details here) (First published in Chicago Star)


Bernie Wong (3)
Bernarda "Bernie" Wong, a champion for the Chinese American community and so many others.

The Chinese American Community has lost one of its biggest champions in Bernarda "Bernie" Wong who passed away at age 77 on April 27. She was beyond a dynamo and, when I first met her, I just couldn't believe how much love, spirit, laughter, caring and empathy for others she carried in that small frame of hers. Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel joked that "no one ever says no to Bernie" and he was so right. She was always on a mission to improve her community and

Bernie Wong (2)
Bernie Wong in her award-laden office at CASL.

mankind in general and it was an honor to know her and a pure joy to see her in action. I was invited to her Senior Center in Chinatown once to receive a little plaque and Bernie beamed from ear to ear the entire time and was so joyous introducing me to each and every one of the members,

Bernie Wong
With Bernie Wong and her beloved seniors.

acknowledging their families and relating all of their many histories, which she knew by heart. Her office was filled to over-flowing with every kind of award imaginable. She was such a beloved individual and I know, anyone who knew her or of her, will have a deep hole in their hearts with her passing. Please sign the Bernie Wong memorial page here and save-the-date for the next Chinese American Service League (CASL) Gala which will be held in her memory on October 21. Details here.  


With Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas and Luxe Bloom's Shelley Rosen on Mother's Day.

Luxe Blooms' Shelley Rosen wanted to cheer up Chicago so she enlisted two of its biggest cheerleaders, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas and me! On a

Paul Iacono, Chuck Jordan and Bonnie Spurlock.

rainy Sunday, we, along with loyal supporters, gathered around the JC Decaux bustop at the corner of Michigan and Chicago Avenues and handed out over 500 long-stemmed Ecuadorian roses. The bus stop had been bedecked with a spectacular floral wall, courtesy of Luxe Blooms, that will last until the end of May. This Mother's Day event was a celebration of all mothers and women of Chicago and intended to bring the community together as a reminder to take care of our city and neighborhoods. We jumped on buses to hand out roses and stopped people in the street. One woman broke

Marie Mancuso (R) and her goddaughter Judith Kenny.

down in tears after Bonnie Spurlock handed her a flower. Other do-gooders included Paul Iacono, Paul Kawa,

Luxe Bloom's Shelley Rosen, R, and friend in front of her JC Decaux floral wall.

Humberto Jimenez (Consul General of Ecuador), Kenichi Okada (Consul General of Japan), Sam Ma (Honorary Chair of the American-Asian Society), Kina Bagovska (Director Magura Bulgarian Cultural Center), Nanta Buranakanchana (Asian American Coalition of Chicago), Vandana Jhingan (Midwest Bureau Chief TV Asia), Suzie Glickman, Kate Murray, Joey Majumdar, Marie Mancuso (and friend) and others. It was a "Random Act of Kindness" that brightened peoples' day. We need more of this, right? (Check out Luxe Blooms' amazing (miracle) roses here and thanks for all you do in our communities Maria and Shelley!  


Deborah Farmer   author of Journey to Joshua with her adopted son.
Deborah Farmer, author "My Journey With Joshua" w/ her adopted son.

Media veteran, communications agency owner and friend, Deborah Farmer, has written a new book, "My Journey with Joshua", which chronicles her experiences in adoption. She says, "Much of what people know about foster care and

Deborah Farmer and her son Joshua.

adoption turns out to be very little or they know misinformation." Farmer grew up in Chicago, where she worked in newsrooms for two decades before launching Brown Farmer Media Group, a full-service communications firm with nonprofit, small business, corporate and government clients. She adds, "Choosing to adopt is just as valid a route to having kids as is biological birth. I truly never understood the stigma it can have." Her book answers a lot of probing questions about the process as well as describes her joy with motherhood. (More details, purchase the book here!


Old town art fairI'm so excited to see so many events and festivals coming back! Following Mayor Lightfoot and the Governor's comments about Chicago opening up by July, I decided to check to see exactly what was returning and when. Here's what I found: Riot Fest will return to the Douglas Park Golf Course, Sept. 17 thru Sun. Sept. 19. And the debut of the ARC Music Festival (electronic, dance and house Windy City Smokeout music, etc.) is set for Sept 4/5 in Union Park, Chicago. The Gold Coast Art Fair returns August 21-22 to Grant Park, Butler Field with 200 juried artists and food. The Windy City Smokeout will kick off Chicago's summer festival season in July. The four-day event is scheduled to take place from July 8 through 11 in the parking lot

Chicago Pride Fest returns June 19-20.
Pride Fest returns June 19/20.

by the United Center, featuring headlining sets from country artists Brett Eldredge, Jon Pardi, Darius Rucker and Dierks Bentley. Windy City Smokeout will also feature world-class Q provided by pit-masters from across the country, including Truth BBQ (Houston, Texas) and Peg Leg Porker (Nashville). Tickets, on sale now, range from $35 for a single-day ticket to $625 for a four-day VIP pass. The Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks is set for July 6-11, bringing more than 100 outdoor screenings of family-friendly films to neighborhood parks this summer. The series will kick off July 6 at Oakdale Park. Details here! And this is just a very few of the events that I've found! Looks like Chicago is coming back bigger and better than EVER! Woot! Woot!


IMG_6487Situated in the former III Forks restaurant space in Lakeshore East, at the corner of Field Blvd. and Benton Place, Avli is far removed from the ghost of this old, dark restaurant. In fact, it's the polar opposite with everything artfully designed in sparkling shades of cream, beige and

With partners LouieAlexakis, designer Nike Demacopoulos and Lou Canellis.

white by the talented Nike (pronounced Nicki) Demacopoulos. The two-level, 13,000-square-foot restaurant, owned by Louie Alexakis, Bill Glastris and Lou Canellis (Fox-32 sports anchor), in partnership with the Magellan Development Group, is draw-droppingly beautiful from the moment you walk through the door. A birch-lined cocktail area, and I suspect a soon-to-be holding "pen," is on the right, before you reach the

The not-yet-complete roof deck will feature gauzy curtains, a long bar and a fire-pit lounge.

hostess station. Then, the room opens up with a direct view of the long, elegant U-shaped bar, a brightly lit wine cellar and wrap-around seating. An outdoor, rooftop deck will offer dazzling views of the city and Lake Shore East Park, a variety of seating options as well as a fireplace lounge. Every single server and worker there were all smiles as well as the principals, including GM Stefanos Lemonis, who table-hopped

Dazzling city views from Avli's soon-to-be-open roofdeck.

throughout the night. That's the way you win friends although with the high level of food service and a delicious menu by Chef Nikolaos Kapernaros, I think they already have it made. Chef Kapernaros has selected dishes for the menu that include his own family's recipes. This is the 4th restaurant in Avli's dining empire with locations in Lincoln Park, River North and suburban Winnetka. Avli on the Park, 180 N. Field Blvd., is open 7 days a week for dinner from 5-11 pm, with reservations via Tock. The restaurant seats 180 in the main dining room, 120 on the rooftop (when it opens), with party and event spaces for 8-100. The restaurant will soon launch a lunch service and a weekend brunch. The venue will also host live music on occasion (think popular Mykonos singers and more). (For more info/ reservations, click here)  (First published in Chicago Star here)


Wonders_2020-AUCTIONSMALL-Heron-1.41-02The Lincoln Park Conservancy will host a virtual auction, "Wonders of the Park," June 18-20 to benefit Lincoln Park and specifically, the restoration of North Pond. Last year, due to Covid, the Conservancy transformed its annual in-person gala to a virtual auction which raised more than $85,000. This year's virtual auction will offer one-of-a-kind park experiences; uniquely Lincoln Park and Chicago items; hospitality packages showcasing all our great city has to offer; opportunities to purchase benches, trees, gardening supplies, and so much more. Established in 1984 as a nonprofit partner of the Chicago Park District, the Lincoln Park Conservancy has supported Chicago’s largest and most visited park for over 35 years.Proceeds will support the Conservancy’s stewardship and programming across the Park and will help close the last remaining funding gap for the restoration of North Pond beginning this fall.


Maureen and Marc Schulman and family celebrate the reopening of the Eli M. Schulman Playground.

Congrats to the much loved Schulman Family on the grand reopening of The Eli M. Schulman Playground & Seneca Park on May 18. Top political leaders, ranking members of the Chicago Fire Department, local notables, friends and family came together to honor the memory of

Alderman Brian Hopkins presided over the proceedings.

the late, great Eli Schulman in a ceremony at the park created in his honor. Located just east of Chicago's historic Water Tower, Seneca Park and the Schulman Playground provide a peaceful oasis and a welcome touch of green amid an increasingly concrete-heavy city. Not since 1990 has the playground been renovated, Now, updates to

A little superhero in attendance.

the play area include a 16% increase in space and softer surfaces for safety. One area mom, Sharyl Mackey, pointed out that it was nice to see some installations created for older children there too.

CFD Commissioner Annette Holt.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was led by Alderman Brian Hopkins, whose young daughter presented the countdown. Other speakers included Maureen and Marc Schulman, son of Eli and Chair, Seneca Park & Eli M. Schulman Playground Advisory Council; Michael Kelly, CEO Chicago Park District; Annette Holt, Commissioner, Chicago Fire Department; Grant DePorter, Magnificent

Grant DePorter.

Mile Association and Harry Carays; Brian Butler, SOAR VP; Jack Guthman, attorney & trustee, MCA, and others. Recognition was given for Jim

The beautiful Eli M. Schulman Playground is now open!

Letchinger, CEO, JDL & developer, One Chicago. Notables seen in the crowd included Abra Prentice Wilkin and Jim Wilkin, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, Mickey Siegel, Sharyl and Mike Mackey, Maria Smithburg, Kate Murray, Rick Kogan and Willa Lang, among others. The event concluded with a poem by Sally Park, read by Andy White of the Lookingglass Theatre. Alderman Hopkins said the playground will see more upgrades in the near future. (First published here in Chicago Star)


Image of Flag Wall Room at _The Art of Banksy_ exhibition in Toronto. Courtesy of The Art of Banksy.
Image of Flag Wall Room at The Art of Banksy exhibit in Toronto.

Whoa! Check this out! $35 million worth of Banksy art is coming to Chicago's West Loop this summer, opening July 1! The world's largest collection of privately- Banksy exhibitowned Banksy art is coming to the Windy City and will feature prints, canvasses, screen-prints, sculptures and limited-edition pieces dated between 1997 and 2008, including his iconic works "Girl with Balloon (shown in image)," "Flower Thrower" and "Rude Copper.' The event will be held at a yet-to-be-disclosed location in the West Loop (btw, this is getting pretty old already). Tickets on sale here with prices starting at $40 for adults and $30 for children age 16 and younger.


IMG_6705Northalsted Market Days, one of the Midwest's largest street festival, will return August 6-8, adding a Friday night edition, the first in its 38-year history, according to the Northalsted Business Alliance. First held in August 1982, Market Days has grown to a half-mile long, annual summer ritual on Chicago's north side, featuring all-day lineups of live music and international DJs on 5 stages, 300 vendors, arts, crafts, wares, summer food and drinks, dancing in the street, and more. Market Days, along with Chicago Pride Fest, was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.


CSM events video
With CSM publisher Elaine Hyde, Jay Kopp and Jon Cohn.

And, as a part of Chicago Star's many offerings to the community, we will be providing video updates of coming events on a regular basis. Here's our first effort, moderated by Elaine Hyde (publisher/editor) and my colleagues Jay Kopp (CSM Director of Brand Development) and columnist Jon Cohn. Watch here!

We're getting pretty excited about our road trip to Three Oaks, Michigan, to enjoy the new, temporary location for RSM three oaksRandolph Street Market (while it's Chicago venue undergoes renovation), opening Memorial Day Weekend, May 29/30. Entrance fee is $5 per adult with children under 12 free. One dollar of every tickets purchased will support Fernwood Botanical Garden in Niles-Buchanan, Michigan. Market dates: June 19/20; July 3/4; August 7/8; Sept. 4/5. Can't wait to see YOU Sally Schwartz! (All details here)

Jonny Imerman and his Imerman Angels will be hosting Angels Spirit Week, now through May 27. Each day will offer a different theme, all to benefit and celebrate this wonderful nonprofit that provides 24/7, 365 comfort and understanding for all cancer fighters, survivors, previvors and caregivers through a personalized, one-on-one connection with someone who has been there. (For all info, click here!)

Imerman angels_______________________________________________________________________

Fumee Claire Candles by Tina Weller.

Kudos to Tina Weller, besides being a glam-girl-around-town, she also is one of the most philanthropic people I know. Her most recent project, Fumee Claire Candles (clean smoke), came about following a health scare. Many candles give off a number of known toxins so I think her timing for this couldn't be better. Each product purchased will help contribute to a yearly philanthropy fund awarded to a variety of charities that make a difference to those in need. Tina and her team select agencies that provide services to women and children, the food insecure, the disabled, medically challenged, elderly, the arts, preservation and the homeless as well as education enrichment programs for the underprivileged. Not only are they beautiful and smell good but they're also good for your health and the environment. (For more info, click here!)

Tina Weller
Tina Weller and her Fumee Claire Candle products, healthy for you and the environment.


Felix Cover Winter-Spring 2020-2021
Thank you Felix Magazine!

Thank you so very much to Felix Magazine, for profiling

PAWS pups always make photos better :-)

me in its cover feature! It's especially nice as I was given the opportunity to highlight one of my favorite nonprofits, PAWS Chicago. The feature was shot on location at the adoption center (1997 N. Clybourn), with a passel of adorable pups. It took all the will power I had not to go home with all of them! This luxury lifestyle magazine serves Chicago, NYC and LA covering the latest trends in fashion, fine dining, nightlife, arts and cultures. 100% of the net proceeds benefit The Aparecio Foundation, a nonprofit that raises funds for educational grants and programs for low-income, high potential women in public high schools. (Read article here and, to order/subscribe, click here).(Article by Courtney Simich, photos by Hope Sayre)


Pendry Chicago opened May 26.

It's like comparing apples and oranges but there are a lot of similarities between the newly opened Greek restaurant Avli in

Venteaux restaurant inside Pendry Chicago.

Lakeshore East and the recently opened, May 26, Pendry Chicago. Located in the loop (230 N. Michigan), the Pendry is a re-imagination of the iconic 1920s era Carbide and Carbon Building. This hotel was formerly the St. James and the differences between then and now are stark. Where the St. James was dark, the Pendry is all light with sparkling brass touches. In its 364 guest rooms and suites, beautiful parquet floors were discovered under the old carpeting. In the grand ballroom, which seats 500+, an enormous window, that was previously covered over, was revealed with great views of Michigan Avenue. And on and on. As the world opens up following the pandemic, restaurants, hotels and bars seem to be following suit, offering guests a more airy feel after the heaviness of isolation. (Read full story here in Chicago Star!)


BEST--4070C638-71B6-4D47-8892-077EBB06FFA3Love and thanks to all my friends and supporters who

With La Scarola's Joey Mondelli.

reached out to me on my birthday on May 26! The messages and photos took me down memory lane and I'm so grateful. Thanks also to special friends Maria Pappas, Jennifer Sutton Brieva, Peter Kamberos, Paul Iacono, Michael Kutza who made my BD so perfect at La Scarola! And especially big, big love to Joey Mondelli. What a gift you all are! 


CSM June 2021 cover
Chicago Star June 2021, with twins Giovanna Krozel and Almira Yllana (Sugar & Spice) and Landan Twins (Jon and Andrew).

I'm so very exciting to share the newly released June issue of Chicago Star! Read all the fun including my first CSM social column, "City Seen" (if you like what  you see, please let my

The debut of "City Seen" with The Joffrey Ballet and Neiman Marcus.

publisher know at I want to make sure our nonprofit and event communities have an outlet here so please let them hear you!). Also, I hope you enjoy my Ask Candid Candace advice column, my feature about where Chicagoan's want to go next now that travel restrictions are being lessened, Cooking with Amanda Puck and so much more!. All the news you need to make you love where you live, work and play! (Read issue here and please join our family here!) (Don't we have the cutest cover stars too, twins Sugar & Spice (Giovanna Krozel and Almira Yllana) and the Landan Twins (Jon and Andrew)?!



Share-Your-EventsI know this is a lot to take in but I don't want to miss sharing with you! If you have an event, a happening, know of some inspiring person, or have info you would like to see here, please send it to And don't forget to send any questions for my Chicago Star monthly Candid Candace Advice Column along too! I love hearing from you!

And, if I've forgotten to include anything you sent previously, please forgive me and give me another chance. With Chicago opening up again, events, restaurants, bars, cultural events and more are exploding with business, not enough yet to make up for their losses, but it's so good to see the buzz in the city again.

And, if not a blog subscriber, please do so now here and follow along with all the fun!

Love, as always,


P.S. And, of course, something to leave you with a smile......


December 30, 2021

June 29, 2021

April 14, 2021

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