Candid Candace: people in the news

people in the news

New blog- no title

Punxsutawney Phil, aka Chicago Harry, was a little reluctant to come out of his tree stump for the grand celebration at Harry Caray’s Tavern at Navy Pier on Feb. 2 but, after handler Mark Szafran finally wrangled him out, the results weren’t good – he saw his shadow, ergo 6 more weeks of winter! The light-hearted, fun-filled event planned by Grant DePorter (Harry Caray’s CEO) and team, was “100% what they were hoping for.”  From the guest list to the event details, it was a smile a minute. Grant replicated the entire Groundhog Day event straight from details in the film. The free-to-the-public event also included a Celebration of Life for the film’s director Harold Ramis (with screenplay by Danny Rubin and him). It was the 10th anniversary of Harold’s passing and his widow, Erica Mann Ramis, was on hand to honor him along with fans and cast members. (Harold was also a partner in the restaurant.) Harry Caray’s backyard patio, where the ceremony took place, was filled along with a bank of cameras from every TV station in town. Almost every cast member showed up except for Andie McDowell and a couple others. When Bill Murray walked onstage (he had not been announced as attending), the crowd went wild. Cast members in attendance included Brian Doyle-Murray (Buster Green),  Marita Geraghty (Nancy Taylor), Robin Duke (Doris the Waitress), David Pasquesi (the Psychiatrist), Peggy Roeder (the Piano Teacher) and Richard Henzel (the DJ), Ken Hudson Campbell (Man in the Hall) and Richard Henzel (DJ voice heard on clock radio). This was the first time the memorable cast has officially reunited since the film’s release in 1993. Actors absent from the stage and who called in with messages included Chris Elliott (Larry) and Stephen Tobolowsky (Ned Ryerson). Erica read a message from former President Obama: “Harold’s movies make us laugh, but they do more than that. They encourage us to root for the underdog, to identify with the outsider and to remember that we’re all capable of changing for the better.” Brian Doyle-Murray as “Buster Green,” President of the Chicago Groundhog Club, initiated the Groundhog Day Ceremony where Chicago Harry, the live groundhog, emerged from his tree stump to reveal 6 more weeks of winter. Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly closed out the ceremony by reading a City of Chicago proclamation declaring it Harold Ramis Day in Chicago and the group onstage toasted with the drink from the film, sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist. Harry Caray’s Tavern transformed into a truly immersive Groundhog Day experience, featuring food and beverages inspired by Groundhog Day’s Tip Top Café, a snowman, and large ice sculptures, similar to those seen in the movie. Several artifacts from Harold’s storied career were on display including the Armani coat Bill Murray wore in Groundhog Day, the bust of Harold Ramis that appeared in the 2016 version of Ghostbusters, the jumpsuits worn by Harold Ramis and Bill Murray in Ghostbusters, and several of Harold’s leather-bound shooting scripts including Groundhog Day. Navy Pier also participated in the fun festivities. The film and soundtrack played inside the Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and an image of a groundhog was featured as the centerpiece of the Centennial Wheel. Various restaurants on the Pier served Groundhog Day specials, and Navy Pier’s Sable Hotel called itself the “Pennsylvanian Hotel” for the day in honor of the hotel featured in the movie. Notables seen on the scene included former Governor Pat Quinn, Senator Dick Durbin, Aldermen Brian Hopkins and Brendan Reilly, Fox-32’s Jake Hamilton, Roe Conn, Richard Roeper, Marilynn Gardner (Navy Pier president/CEO), Bonni Pear, Chaz Ebert, Joanna DePorter, Pam Kasper (Ramis’ assistant), Betsy Shepherd, Sandy Golub, Jamie Gabala, Chuck Jordan, Beth Heller, Larry Wert and Tom Skilling. Chris O. Biddle was on hand with his band of “Ghostbusters,” completely decked out in gear inspired by the film.  (This group is available for any event with a donation to Children’s Hospital, if interested email him at [email protected].)


The Children’s Research Fund’s signature event, “The Children’s Ball,” returned this year to the Hilton Chicago. Aptly themed “Curiosity Cures”, more than 900 Chicagoans came together for the black-tie gala hosted by Dr. Elizabeth and Andrew Reyes, the 2023 Children’s Research Fund Campaign and Children’s Ball co-chairs. Over $3.75 million was raised at the event, helping to raise the total to $4.65 million for the organization’s annual campaign. The funds raised will support the Children’s Research Fund’s three-year, $9 million commitment to Advanced Therapeutics at the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. An enthusiastic drumline led guests from the reception to the International Ballroom, where guests were welcomed with a dance set by Becca Kaufman Orchestra. After welcoming remarks, guests enjoyed an energetic set from a School of Rock Band, featuring young talent from the North Shore. Following dinner, a program featured a moving patient video and a paddle raise. The evening included remarks from the Children’s Ball event co-chairs Dr. Elizabeth and Andrew Reyes, who spoke about their dedication to pediatric health.  Andrew’s family has a long involvement in Lurie Children’s and Elizabeth has a connection there as a physician. In addition to remarks from Lurie Children’s President & CEO Dr. Thomas Shanley, and Children’s Research Fund chair Peter Bensinger, Jr., the audience was inspired by the words and work of Dr. Sonali Chaudhury, who spoke compellingly about a promising new treatment for the most aggressive forms of childhood leukemia. Guests then watched an inspiring video about Ella, a young patient of Dr. Chaudhury’s, and her family, who were in attendance at the event. This year’s leading event sponsors included presenting sponsors Jewel Osco and Hinsdale-based investment firm OceanM19, as well as Enova, Pancoe Family Foundation and Savills, among others. Lurie Children’s has a network of over 20 outpatient and primary care locations and 10 partner hospitals, providing top pediatric care across the greater Chicago area. Lurie Children’s relies on philanthropic support to care for more than 260,000 children each year. Learn more at (Photos by Ana Miyares)


Sony Pictures Entertainment presented the grand opening party for Wonderverse, a new immersive entertainment destination in Oak Brook Center. Over 750 guests attended the invite-only event recently, including celebrities, industry leaders, and more. The first immersive entertainment destination from Sony Pictures Entertainment, Wonderverse allows guests to go beyond the screen and enter imaginative worlds from popular films, television series, and video games such as Ghostbusters, Jumanji, Uncharted, Zombieland, and more. The 45,000 square-foot transformative space hosts a hybrid of physical and immersive multimedia experiences, interactive installations, dynamic attractions, and themed dining experiences including “The Ghost Trap” - a hidden speakeasy taking guests into the Ghostbusters universe with gems from the franchise incorporated into every inch of the space, with ghosts! The exciting night featured an extensive menu by Chef Scott Donaldson from the destination’s Commissary Restaurant and crafted cocktails from Pernod Ricard’s mixologist Jane Danger. Entertainment included a live DJ, musicians, visual installations and more. Activations included a Ghostbusters VR Academy; a Jumanji VR game to find the stolen jewel and reverse the curse; Uncharted: The Pursuit allows guests to unearth hidden treasure and solve challenges across three escape rooms; arcade games galore in the Pacific Playland; a VR roller coaster; air hockey; Zomieland bumper cars; interactive walls, and so much more. Mckenna Gracestar of the upcoming film, Ghostbusters: The Frozen Empire;Aly & AJ, American pop-rock duo; Kyle Abrams, star of Love is Blind; Marina Squerciati, actress and star of Chicago P.D.; and Torrey DiVitto, actress and former star of Chicago Med made appearances on the red carpet and posed for photos with guests. Entry to Wonderverse is free but there is a fee for the games and attractions. (, 2310 Oakbrook Center, Oakbrook, IL, open now)


The Founders' Board of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago hosted its Winter Wishes holiday cocktail celebration with over 350 guests gathered at a private club (Casino) in Chicago’s Gold Coast for an evening of cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Proceeds from this year’s Winter Wishes will support the Board’s fundraising commitment to the Lurie Children’s Heart Center and The Chicago Institute for Fetal Health. Donors who attended the event made gifts to Lurie Children’s through the evening’s Wish List, which included items and services that will help launch a Fetal Cardiac Intervention program to provide lifesaving treatment for babies diagnosed with complex congenital heart disease before birth. Two renowned physicians and medical leaders shared their vision for the future of fetal cardiac intervention: Dr. Aimen Shaaban, the Director of The Chicago Institute for Fetal Health and an Attending Physician in Pediatric Surgery and Dr. Alan Nugent, Section Head of Interventional Cardiac Catheterization. Dr. Shaaban spoke of the tremendous growth in the CIFH program, explaining that six years ago the group consulted on about 600 complicated pregnancies a year, in comparison to this year where Lurie’s is on track to consult on more than 3,000 complicated pregnancies. Dr. Nugent introduced Rosa Baron, the mother of little Julian, who received life-saving care and compassion at Lurie Children’s when he was born just over a year ago, and Maureen Seaman, Founders’ Board President, provided the closing remarks. Over $500,000 was raised at this year’s event which will go towards the Founders’ Board’s two-year $4.5 million commitment to support Lurie Children’s Heart Center and Lurie’s dedicated nursing staff. In addition to presenting sponsor Sterling Bay, other lead sponsors included Christopher Family Foundation, the Fosnaugh Family & Vista Equity Partners, May River Capital and Packaging Corporation of America.  (Photos by Robin Subar)


Anyone who knows me, knows how proud I am of my Playboy history. And, for my recent podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing Hef and Kimberly Conrad Hefner's oldest son, Marston. I've met him before but it was only in passing so this was my first chance to realy get to know him a little better. What surprised me was how deeply kind and thoughtful he was. Before the interview, I had listened to other podcasts with some of Hef's former girlfriends (Bridget and Holly) and wife Crystal, all of whom (except for Bridget, so FAR!) have written scathing books about Hef and their life with Playboy. I was astounded to find that he seemingly had no animosity whatsoever about this. He even suggested he understood that by saying things like they did about his dad, they might "sell more books or attract more followers." We cover a wide range of topics, from what life was like at the Mansion to advice his famous dad shared. It was a joyful revisiting! I also share some very, very exciting upcoming events from a blow-out bash at Harry Caray’s to a famous sports star’s upcoming new restaurant opening. Anyway, listen HERE and let me know what you think. 


A media event for the upcoming Flyover attraction was held at Chef Art Smith’s Reunion restaurant recently with the principals of the experience on hand to explain what all the buzz is about. A simple answer is that it’s a “love letter to Chicago” that will open March 1 at the Pier, in the old IMAX space, but it will be so much more according to its creators. On hand for a Q&A were Lisa Adams (COO and executive producer), Rick Rothschild (creative director), David Mossop (film writer and director/ associate creative director), Rich Daniels (music director), Elliott Wheeler (score composter and executive music producer) and Dr. Walt Whitman (founder/CEO Soul Children of Chicago). After the guests mixed and mingled and enjoyed Chef Art’s delicious appetizers, the group (mentioned above) sat down for a lengthy discussion. Adams stressed the mission of Flyover, “to amplify some of the epic places on the planet and be true to that.” Rothschild spoke about the new technology used to make this attraction possible and noted his love for our city. “Chicago has one of the most beautiful urban landscapes in the world and certainly in America.” The ride seats 61 people who will view a 65-foot spherical screen as they glide on a flight journey through Chicago. The attraction uses a state-of-the-art moving platform with six degrees of motion that will enable guests to feel every sweeping movement of the experience. Special effects, including wind, mist and location-specific scents, will heighten the immersive experience as guests hang suspended with their feet dangling above stunning natural and urban wonders. Rothschild added, “The ride is fully immersive, not a VR, goggled or glasses experience. It is exceedingly high resolution with a 3-dimensional soundtrack. It’s the most immersive environmental system we’ve ever put into a ride. We hope it reveals the soul of Chicago, both of its people and the city.” David Mossop shared, “Everything is so beautiful here. Even more so is the beauty of its people, their grit, spirit and integrity. Chicago is just cool, it’s cooler than the other cities, easily. Chicago is where it’s at. People from Chicago are so proud to be Chicagoans. We wanted to find out what makes this place tick. First off, you guys never give up. Everybody here is so hard-core and has such a can-do attitude. We came here in the dead of winter and people are out in their shorts jogging! There’s no problem too big. If the city burns down, you rebuild it and when the river was polluted, you reversed it. There’s magic here in this city and I think the world can learn a thing or two from you.” Native Chicagoan Rich Daniels helped create the music for Flyover, pointing out exciting artists in the blues, jazz, soul and hip-hop fields that were included in the score. Dr. Walt Whitman’s Soul Children played a large part in the sound as the oldest internationally acclaimed, Grammy-Award winning youth gospel choir in the country. All in all, this experience will pay homage to Chicago, its people and the music that makes it great. Whitman closed the discussion with, “This group has captured the heart of the city.” (Flyover opens Friday, March 1, tickets and info can be found here. Adult tickets are $24.95, children 13 and under, $14.95 and military $19.95. To view the trailer, click here.) _______________________________________________________________________



January 8, 2024

November 20, 2023

August 29, 2023

Follow Candace!

Keep Up With Chicago's Hottest Events!

Candid Candace's Tweets

    follow me on Twitter