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Candid Candace: Sports



Ellie Forman, honoree Greg Cameron, Anne Kaplan and Ashley Wheater.

It was described on the invitation as a “fantastical bash” and The Joffrey Ballet’s Sir Real celebration was all that and so much more. René Magritte would

Ken Norgan (R) and Pepe Conforme (2nd from L) and friends.

have been very proud. As a matter of fact, all the event servers paid homage to his “The Son of Man” painting by wearing bowler hats with a green apple perched on top. And, as guests entered, dancers were ‘warming up’ wearing frogs’ heads below a massive Magritte-inspired mural featuring Greg Cameron, the honoree. Yes, it was surreal from top to bottom and beginning to end. The cavernous space at The

Leslie and Bob Zenter get "framed" for the event's surreal theme.

Old Post Office on Van Buren had been decorated with all sorts of whimsy, including a ‘cloud ceiling’ with huge, hanging pink satin toe shoes. The event had so many

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Temur Suluashvili and friends.

moving parts that the over 800 guests were mailed maps of what the event would entail. There was a whiskey room, seafood lounge, a variety of photo opportunities, singing astronauts (Radius Vocals), multiple buffet stations, dancing, a parade of dancers, and then, of course, the guests themselves in their fabulous attire! John Walcher, a longtime supporter, wore a birdcage on his head, Leslie Zentner (WB member) and her husband Bob wore gilded

The Joffrey's Brian Smith (R) and friends.

picture frames around their necks, Adam Vitale wore a blue and white polka-dot suit, Alexa

Fashion fun!

Rice’s headband featured an over-sized golden eye, Dia Weill (WB member) wore a colorful butterfly headpiece by Philip Treacy, Pierre Lockett (Forward Momentum founder) wore a white turban with a matching jumpsuit and honoree, Greg Cameron wore a plush ram’s head helmet…….you get the picture. Cameron, the Joffrey’s president/CEO, was honored for his ten years of outstanding service. During a presentation, Ashley Wheater (artistic director) and Anne Kaplan (Joffrey board chair and a presenting sponsor) dedicated the

Tom Shapiro and Madeleine Grynsztejn.

Administrative Floor at Joffrey Tower The Greg Cameron Campus. “This past weekend we celebrated Robert

Alexa Rice, lookin' good!

Joffrey’s vision for an inclusive organization where artists and students are always at the center.  Friday’s celebration at the Old Post Office warmed us up for JOFFREY FOR ALL. Over 7,500 dance enthusiasts enjoyed a free performance in Chicago’s magnificent Pritzker Pavilion that concluded with a double rainbow (thank you Mother Nature). WE MOVE PEOPLE!,” Cameron said. The free performance in Millennium Park, the Joffrey for All program, included a dance class on the lawn led by students in the Joffrey’s Community Engagement program with a 90-minute performance following. It was presented as a ‘thank you’ to Chicago. (Photos by Sean Su and moi)

"Froggy" dancers warmed up as guests entered the Old Post Office for the surreal Sir Real event.


Kathleen Casey, Courtney Krupa, honoree Amanda Puck and Kate Tillotson.

Once upon a time, in the hopefully not-to-distant future, the world will find a cure for pediatric cancer. But until then, we are so grateful for the nonprofits that are there

Fabulous co-chairs/besties Kirk Williams and Donna Rotunno.

to support these kids and their families like Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Founded in 1992 by Kathleen Casey following the loss of her son Barrett “Bear” Krupa, BNPCF strives to bring hope and joy to kids with cancer, as well as fund cutting-edge research to end this disease that is the top cause of death for children and teens (according to To further this mission, the organization hosted a

Kadmiel and Whitney Christmas.

grand gala, the Bear Tie Ball co-chaired by Donna Rotunno and Kirk Williams, at Union Station recently. Attracting 300 guests, the fundraiser also celebrated the organization’s 30th anniversary. Emcee Sylvia Perez (Fox-32 anchor) welcomed the crowd and spoke about the nonprofit’s history, reach and fundraising efforts.

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Jennifer Goodwin with her uncle Paul Iacono.

Since its inception in 1994, Bear Necessities has raised over $13.5 million for research and support services at its Bear Tie Ball. BN founders Kathleen Casey and Courtney Krupa spoke about the inspiration for Bear Necessities - Casey’s late son, “Bear, “ who passed away at age 8 after being diagnosed with Wilms tumor, a cancer of the

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Beautiful emcee, Sylvia Perez, with Kathleen Casey, BN founder.

kidney that was discovered when he was 3. While fighting for his life, Bear’s main focus was trying to figure out ways to make life better for kids like him. The William J. Casey Hope Awards were presented to longtime supporters Donna and Tom Itrich and Amanda Puck. (Puck also won the adorable mini-Australian Labradoodle as a live auction prize!)  Russ and Tracy Scurto (BN board members) won a colorful painting by Bear Ambassador Walker for $4000. Walker is 9 years old and in treatment for lymphoma. For his Bear Hug earlier this year, BN facilitated an art show of his work where he donated a portion of the proceeds back to BN. The Bear Tie Ball raised $547,000 with proceeds benefiting BN’s Bear Hugs program, family support services, counseling, scholarships, and pediatric cancer research. ( (Photos by Mila Samokhina and moi)

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Adorable Bear Tie Ambassadors sold plush teddie bears at event.


Alan Jones  Rene Dreyfus -1 formula one winner  and 2nd place winner Carlos Reutemann
With Alan Jones, Formula One winner (2nd from L), 2nd place winner Carlos Reutemann and Rene Dreyfus.

No matter what your feelings are about the recent NASCAR races, there's no doubt their coverage showed Chicago in a beautiful light. The announcers seemed to be in awe of our great city and I love the way they made me

Monique St. Pierre
At Watkins Glen Toyota Grand Prix with Monique St. Pierre (1979 PMOY) 

see it through new eyes. Mind you, I’m no stranger to racing (lol). As a matter of fact, I awarded the trophy at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix in 1980 to Australian Alan Jones, the first driver to win a Formula One World Championship with the Williams team, becoming the 1980 World Drivers’ Champion. The race

Parnelli Jones
With Parnelli Jones.

was the 22nd annual Toyota Grand Prix. I was there representing Playboy as its most recent centerfold along with Monique St. Pierre (also a Playmate and 1979 Playmate of the Year). We lounged in the celebrity trailer with the likes of legendary drivers Parnelli Jones, Mario Andretti and Johnny

Parnelli Jones and Johnny Rutherford psyching up before the race.
Parnelli Jones and Johnny Rutherford psyching up before the race.

Rutherford and Gene Hackman, Paul Williams, Robert Hayes and others who were driving in the celebrity pro-am. But, as exciting as this event was, it didn’t compare with being in the pit for Chicago’s first ever NASCAR Chicago Street Race. I won’t lie though; I was initially a naysayer. When I first heard

Rickey Stenhouse Jr. and wife Madyson at Steak 48 fundraiser.

the news that NASCAR was coming to Chicago, I thought what the hell. I didn’t think this city was the “right place” for this type of sport. I remember all the kids in my small hometown were huge fans but Chicago, the big, sophisticated city?  My first encounter with NASCAR was at Steak 48 earlier

NASCAR driver Ross Chastain and longtime girlfriend Erika Anne Turner, a former Miss North Carolina.

in the week, where a special event was hosted by the NASCAR Foundation and the restaurant to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. There, I had the privilege of interviewing four of the race’s stars: Rickey Stenhouse Jr, Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain and Harrison Burton. After I quizzed these patient gentlemen, I acquired a newfound respect for the sport. I learned some of the intricate strategies that went into winning and how they

NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, came in 5th in the race. 

started driving, one as young as 12. (listen to interviews here) They spoke excitedly of their love for Chicago, and it made me see everything in a much brighter light. Their passion made me passionate too. The following day, I attended my first NASCAR race. I proudly exhibited my media credentials at the Art Institute, where the media center was located, grabbed my photo vest and off I went into the unknown. Even

Saturday, Xfinity Series race.

though there were great crowds, over 50,000 on Saturday, and oppressive heat, there were big smiles everywhere I looked. It was so nice to see Chicagoans so happy after all we’ve been through. As I crossed the McDonald’s pedestrian bridge, you could see and hear the cars going through qualifying below. It made your heart race, in a good way. The

Michael Jordan's driver Bubba Wallace.

Saturday race, the Xfinity Series is NASCAR’s second-tier circuit. It had the Loop 121, a 121 mile race with 55-laps around a 2.2 mile course. The main event occurred on Sunday after rain delays. This one was the Cup Series Grant Park 220, a 220 mile race with 100 laps on the same course. The seven 90-degree turns were a worry for all

NASCAR driver Harrison Burton at Steak 48 fundraiser.

the drivers with some crashes and scrapes as they tried to hug the walls which were closer than in any other race. Anyway, let’s talk about the “pit experience.” Each pit team works as one, their moves are synchronized, and they know what the driver is thinking before he even says it. It was breathtaking to see all the devotion and dedication that each team goes into trying to make their driver the winner.  The shaking of heads when a lap wasn’t going well, the

Cole Custer wins Xfinity Series race on Saturday after it was called 2 laps short of halfway due to weather.

agony of a scrape, worrying about the tires which had to be switched out after the rain began—all the worries and planning were like watching a master chess game. I even saw the legendary Jeff Gordon, who is considered one of the best and most influential drivers

Grant Park 220 trophy designed by local artist Thomas Lucas.

in NASCAR history, offering advice in his role as vice chairman for Hendrick Motorsports (who had four  drivers in the race). The sounds… I asked veteran racer Kyle Busch what to watch for as a first-time

Jon Cotay spotted at Xfinity Series race.

viewer and he said, the “rumble of the ground as the cars move onto the racetrack.” And he is so right… feel it all through your body. You become a part of the experience in a very visceral way. In the end, Cole Custer, won the Xfinity Series race (even though it was cut short due to rain) and Shane van Gisbergen won the inaugural Chicago Street Race, the Grant Park 220. As you can tell, I am a fan. BUT, I do understand the cons to this race as well. There were many, many valid complaints. The biggest for me was how little the city got paid for this event, $500,000 permit fee compared to the rent bill for Lollapalooza, which was $8 million (according to this Sun-Times article). So there's that.....

Credit CHICAGO  ILLINOIS - JULY 02 Shane Van Gisbergen  driver of the #91 Enhance Health Chevrolet  celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Grant Park 220 at the Chicago Street Course on July 02  202
Shane Van Gisbergen, driver of the #91 Enhance Health Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Grant Park 220 at the Chicago Street Course on July 02, 2023 (Getty image/NASCAR)


Leon Walker (Greater Chicago Food Depository board member), Julie Giese (NASCAR Chicago Street Race president) and Lynn Osmond (Choose Chicago president/CEO) at Steak 48 fundraiser.

Prior to the races, there were a lot of events to spotlight this new Chicago happening including “Fueling the Fight to End Hunger” at Steak 48 . The exclusive fundraising dinner was hosted by NASCAR Chicago Street Race and

Manny and Pat Sanchez.

The NASCAR Foundation with proceeds supporting the Greater Chicago Food Depository, a Chicago-based nonprofit that strives to end hunger. NASCAR drivers, celebrities and Chicago notables were in attendance for the first event of many that were scheduled to highlight NASCAR’s presence in downtown Chicago for its first-ever NASCAR Cup Series race. During dinner, Julie Giese, Chicago

Sherman "Dilla" Thomas and friend at RPM Events party hosted by Chicago Sports Commission.

Street Race president, shared examples of NASCAR’s efforts to help build the community. They included donating bikes and helmets to CPS students; commissioning an After School matters’ mural painted by students; sending 220 kids to Chicago Park

Maureen and Marc Schulman and team bring Eli's Cheesecake to the RPM event.

District’s summer day camp; supporting Chicago children’s hospitals, including La Rabida and Lurie Childrens; awarding design grants to two local artists to design the racing trophies, and more. She said the race will be a “love letter” to Chicago. Steak 48 comped the evening’s offerings so that the Chicago Food Depository could receive the maximum donation. A check was presented to the nonprofit for $50,000.

NASCAR Foundation presents $50,000 check to the Greater Chicago Food Depository at Steak 48.


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Gala chair Cookie Cohen and honoree Dr. Manus Kraff.

The Chicago Lighthouse hosted its annual “Seeing What’s Possible” Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel. Over

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Sheree Schimmer with Bruce Adelman and Shauna Montgomery.

350 guests attended the event to support the Lighthouse’s life-changing services and programs. Dr. Manus Kraff and the Associate Board Executive Committee were honored for their outstanding contributions. The lively night included dinner, dancing to the Becca Kaufman Orchestra, silent and live auctions and more. Gala chair was Anida Johnson “Cookie” Cohen with auction co-chairs Terri Engelman Rhoads and Shauna Montgomery. The event raised a record-breaking $570,000.


Lucien Lagrange and his wife Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange (photo by Sean Kennedy).

SOAR (Streeterville Organization of Active Residents) hosted its annual Blueprints celebration at The Arts Club of Chicago on June 22. The event was a sellout honoring

Michael Reschke Jr., Lucien Lagrange and Deborah Gershbein (SOAR president).

one of Chicago’s best loved architects, Lucien Lagrange. The crowd gathered for cocktails before an awards presentation followed by dinner. Lagrange was honored with the Vision into Reality Award for his 40+ years of exceptional work as an architect. Some of his most notable projects include the

Dr. Joaquin Brieva, Jennifer Sutton Brieva, Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange, Todd Hatoff and Frank Jeffery.

Waldorf Astoria Chicago, 2550 Lincoln Park, 840 Lake Shore Drive, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, 65 E. Goethe, and the Park Tower. Born in France and schooled in Montreal, Lagrange has designed contemporary

Emcee Natalie Martinez.

skyscrapers, classically inspired commercial mixed-use structures, and sophisticated renovations. Many of these define the local Chicago cityscape with others gracing cities around the globe. Before founding his firm in 1985, he was with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, where he designed major office tower and retail projects, among others,

Mitchel Sabshon and Lucien Lagrange.

across the nation. Emceed by Natalie Martinez (of NBC Channel 5), the event opened with a welcome from SOAR president Deborah Gershbein. “SOAR is one of the oldest and most respected community organizations in the city. We are dedicated to preserving the world class status of this neighborhood of which Lucien has certainly contributed to,” she said. Robert

Lucien Lagrange and family.

Sharoff, author “Lucien Lagrange: Search for Elegance,” and photographer William Zbaren presented slides of Lagrange’s iconic work from the book as they discussed his inspiration and history. An interview with the

A beautiful penthouse designed by Lucien (photo by William Zbaren).

architect, that Martinez conducted in the courtyard of the Waldorf, was also presented. Lagrange said, “I always wanted to come to Chicago, and I made it here in 1968. Only in Chicago could I have done what I have. I don’t think I could’ve done it in any other city….My wife, Melinda, asked me, ‘If I wasn’t an architect, what would I want to be’? I would want to be a stone mason like my father.” At the end of the video, Slash, the lead guitarist from Guns N’ Roses, came onscreen and called Lagrange, “a rock star.” Michael Reschke, Sr., chairman of The Prime Group, and Gerschbein, awarded Lagrange his award as the crowd stood and applauded. He said, “I don’t want me to be remembered, I want people to remember this [his work], what it adds to the city. That’s what I want people to remember.”


Amisha Rigia & Arnett Faulker  Kerfuffle! 2023 Co-Chairs & Foundation Board Members_Photo4
Amisha Rigia and Arnett Faulker, Kerfuffle! 2023 Co-Chairs & Foundation Board Members.

The ChiArts Foundation hosted its annual spring benefit, Kerfuffle!, at Morgan Manufacturing to support the Music, Theatre, Dance, Creative Writing, and Visual Arts

Mirja Spooner Haffner  Foundation Board Chair & José Ochoa  ChiArts Foundation President
Mirja Spooner Haffner, Foundation Board Chair, and José Ochoa, ChiArts Foundation President.

Conservatories at The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts). The event was co-chaired by Arnett Faulker and Amisha Rigia and honored Susan McKeever and The McKeever Family. The fundraiser highlighted ChiArts faculty, alums and featured scholar-artist performances throughout the evening. ChiArts’ five arts conservatories are 100% donor-funded through the Foundation. They raise over $3 million annually for ChiArts to champion a tuition-free model and sustain a public arts high school for Chicago’s youth. Kerfuffle! 2023 raised more than $425,000 to support accessible arts education.


So much love and happiness for the new Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Kitick (Bethany Florek and Andrew) who recently tied the knot during a BEAUTIFUL ceremony at RPM Events with floral decor by Taylor & Co. The bride wore Lauren Lein Couture and the groom was attired by designer Borris Powell. These two have so much love it's contagious. So many friends and family were there to witness their wedded bliss! (Photos by Cassie Rosch)

B and a
Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Kitick (Bethany Florek and Andrew) with their glam wedding party.


PAWS Chicago will host its annual Beach Party on Thursday, July 27, at Offshore on Navy Pier (6-11 pm).  This summer celebration will include more than 500 luau-clad guests and their pets. Sip cool frozen cocktails and soak up the sun, as the Lake Michigan waves roll in. As the sun sets, dance the night away, enjoy an open bar, dinner, live and silent auctions, pet spa services, raffles, and so much more. In 2022, the nonprofit rescued over 4,629 animals and offered 41,587 free and low coast vaccinations. Tickets start at $250 for general admission. For tickets and more info, visit [email protected] (Attendees must be 21+ for this event).



Britt showing off the exhibit's latest acquisition, a Banksy from Palestine's Walled-Off Hotel.

The Banksyland! Immersive Experience “popped” up July 7 at the Morgan Arts Complex in Bridgeport. This one-of-a-kind international touring exhibition is in Chicago for only the next

Part of Banksyland exhibition.

two weekends (July 8, 9 and again on July 14, 15, 16) and includes Banksy’s original and studio works, salvaged street artworks, all within a never-before-seen immersive installation. The experience showcases the mystique and cultural impact of one of the most sought-after artists of our time, Banksy. One of the show’s producers, Brittany, was on hand to show off an original Banksy she and her partner, Britt (who is also with the visual art company LUMIO Studio), had purchased during their recent visit to Bethlehem, Palestine. They stayed at the Walled-Off Hotel, an independent visual arts hotel set up and financed by the artist. (The hotel is also a popular subject in his work). The artwork they purchased includes an original piece of brick IMG_4784 IMG_4792from the wall and will be on display at the exhibition. “To me, Banksy is a hero. He’s someone I look up to. Obviously, no one knows who he is but he’s super selfless and everything he does is for someone else. My favorite piece, the M.V. Louise Michel, is an active French Navy war vessel that he bought and refitted as an emergency vehicle. It is actively sailing the Mediterranean, saving people’s lives to this day. He also has an organization that gives people a second chance in life,” Brittany shared. The boat’s mission is “to uphold maritime law and rescue anyone in peril without prejudice.” Host venue for the exhibit, The Morgan Arts Complex, is one of the newest art-focused venues in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago with a mission of supporting culture and the arts within the celebrated south Chicago neighborhood, located at 3622 S. Morgan St.,

Banksyland at the Morgan Arts Complex.


Misericordia 'Artist in All' on July 19.

Make sure you mark your calendars for the following big events! All "Candid Candace approved." Lol! The Service Club of Chicago's "Day on the Terrace" fashion

Eversight Gift of Sight Masquerade, Oct. 13.

show/fundraiser, Monday, Aug. 7 at the Peninsula; PAWS Chicago's BEACH PARTY on Thursday, July 27 at Offshore Navy Pier; The Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation's "The Wings to Cure" gala on Saturday, Nov. 11 at Navy Pier; The Chicago Lighthouse's FLAIR fashion show/fundraiser, Friday, Sept.

Flair 2023 Save the Date_V2-page-002
Chicago Lighthouse FLAIR on Sept. 22.

22 (honoring Tracey Tarantino DiBuono) at the Ritz-Carlton; The Service Club of Chicago's "An Evening of a Million Dreams" gala, on Friday, Nov. 3 at the Four Seasons Chicago (featuring guest MC Michael Nouri); "Energy" art event presented by Abigail Zoe Martin at the Zhou B Art Center, Friday, July

Invitation (002)
Service Club Day on Terrace, Aug. 7.

21 (one night only); National Multiple Sclerosis Society's "Dinner of Champions" on Thursday, Sept. 21 at VenueSix10; Misericordia's "Artist in All" exhibit/fundraiser at the Modern Wing (Art Institute) on Wednesday, July 19; Lincoln Park Zoo Ball on Friday, July 14 at the zoo; Eversight's 25th anniversary Gift of Sight celebration (honoring John Robak and Dr. Maria Soledad Cortina, Friday, October 13 at the Peninsula; PAWS Chicago's Fur Ball on Friday, November 17 at the Drake Hotel; Ravinia Festival at Ravinia on Sunday, July 23; and the Symphony Ball on Saturday, Sept. 23.


Shirley Ryan (Winnetka) and Rory Repicky (Hinsdale)
Shirley Ryan and Rory Repicky.

The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab hosted its annual Spark! Event, the first in-person Spark! since 2019, with more than 300 supporters at Rockwell on the River. Before dinner, partygoers enjoyed cocktails and great views of the Chicago River as the CoverGirls

Laura Schwartz Santiago  Jenny Roock and Susan Santiago Schwartz
Laura Schwartz Santiago, Jenny Roock and Susan Santiago Schwartz.

played high-energy music on electric violins. The dining area was bathed in the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s signature orange as guests took their seats. Jude Reyes (board chair), Peggy Kirk (pres/CEO), and Nancy Paridy (president and Chief Administrative Officer), welcomed attendees. Following dinner, guests were treated to an animated and engaging science lesson focusing on the nervous system’s electrical power — and our ability to harness it for better patient recoveries

Dr. Steven Stryker & Andréa Schwartz
Dr. Steven Stryker and Andrea Schwartz.

— led by , Rick Lieber PhD (Chief Scientific Officer) and James Sliwa, MD (Chief Medical Officer). Guests were treated to a performance by Tony Award-winning actress Ali

Spark 2023_Peggy Kirk  CEO Speaking
Spark 2023 Peggy Kirk, CEO.

Stroker (the first wheelchair-user to appear on Broadway), whose vocals served as a powerful backdrop to video of Shirley Ryan AbilityLab patients’ recovery journeys. Then, Ali engaged in a Q&A with Laura Ferrio (Chief Advancement Officer), followed by a performance. (Ali also performed at the very first Spark! event in 2018.) The event raised $4 million to advance science and patient recoveries at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.


Gala Co-Chairs Pete Shannon (l) and Bill Patterson
Gala co-chairs Pete Shannon (L) and Bill Patterson. (Christopher James photo)

Chicago Lights held its signature Gala of Hope benefit at the Ritz-Carlton, attracting over 350 guests. The night included an evening of dinner, dancing, live and silent auctions, and so much more. Chicago Lights Executive Director Stacy Jackson welcomed guests before Shannon

Chicago Lights Executive Director Stacy Jackson (l) and Fourth Presbyterian Church Pastor Shannon Kershner greeted 350 guests.
Chicago Lights Executive Director Stacy Jackson (L) and Fourth Presbyterian Church Pastor Shannon Kershner. (Christopher James photo)

Kershner, pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church, offered a blessing. The nonprofit was founded in 1964 by the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago and, since its inception, has served more than 60,000 people. Programs

Chicago Lights' Urban Farm that provides fresh, local, and sustainably grown produce through its educational programs.

are all low- to no-cost for participants. During the event, a video showcased participants who benefit from social services such as food, clothing, housing assistance and other basic human needs, as well as student and mentor success stories. 100% of seniors who participate in the program graduate from high school versus about 76% of Chicago Public Schools students. Co-chairs Bill Patterson and Pete Shannon led the gala committee. Proceeds will help the organization build brighter futures for Chicago’s youth and adults through supportive relationships and life-changing programs.


By John Robert Wiltgen.

“Imagine becoming legally blind while working at being an architectural designer. You have a mortgage on a building you’re renovating, rent is due monthly for your office, and employees must be paid. What would you do? Or picture yourself with kidney disease which ultimately requires a transplant. And then, at the age of 30, you are diagnosed with heart disease, informed of several silent heart attacks, and ultimately have two medicated stents

John Robert Wiltgen describes his journey of finding joy and success amidst a life riddled with obstacles and despair due to insulin-dependent diabetes in his memoir “The Candy in My Pocket.
John Robert Wiltgen describes his journey in his memoir “The Candy in My Pocket.

inserted into your one open artery. How would you cope? Additionally, what if you fought cellulitis and osteomyelitis for 20 years and finally had to have your leg amputated?”--John Robert Wiltgen (JRW). These are just a few of the amazing questions resolved in Wiltgen’s compelling memoir: “The Candy in My Pocket.” The award-winning, international designer welcomes readers to join him on the roller-coaster ride of

John robert wiltgen
John Robert Wiltgen at book signing with friend.

his unbelievable life. The author battled many debilitating complications of Type 1 diabetes (T1D) while creating a highly sought after design firm with projects across America, Canada, WiltgenMexico-even Africa. His memoir journals his 40 years as an award-winning designer commissioned by celebrities, world leaders, and other luminaries; his (secret) debilitating and death-defying battle with diabetes; and the struggle to hold on to himself and those he cared about along the way. You can’t put this book down. (Buy online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Barbara’s Book Store, and Walmart. A part of the profits realized from the sale of this book will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.)


UntitledCongrats to Michael Kutza! His top selling book, “Starstruck: How I Magically Transformed Chicago into Hollywood for More Than Fifty Years,” is now available as an audio book! The author narrates the book himself with lots of juicy sound bites thrown in from the subjects. The book is a rollicking, provocative, racy, colorful irreverent show business memoir culled from Kutza’s decades rubbing elbows with the giants of film at the Chicago International Film Festival and numerous other festivals around the globe. It includes many of the lowlights as well as the highlights of a life lived just off-screen. (Available here!)


Screenshot-2022-11-01-at-11-34-58-amGreg Hyder has rediscovered his passion and it feels so good. On his new website,, it reads: “Gregory Hyder is an artisan and a classically trained

A sampling of beautiful custom gifts by Greg Hyder (

musician. He’s also designed and cultivated legendary parties and events at some of the nation’s finest hotels worldwide. But something happened along the way. Some inner turmoil and frustration, the needing to have an expressive outlet other than a life’s worth of professional success helping breathe life into the dreams of others. Paint. We all find ways to express ourselves. Gregory picked up a paintbrush on a whim, and

Artwork by Greg Hyder can be customized for your decor.

a different world came to life. A world of colors, inspired by his garden and his travels. He works with various materials, mostly acrylics and oils, but won’t ignore broken glass or the occasional chia seed. This was not Gregory’s dream. It started

Abstract art by Greg Hyder.

more as compulsion, something he needed to do. This IS his outlet for expression. His breath. He humbly challenges you to consider what might give you a motivation to find a pursuit that allows you to express yourself, maybe reveal some emotions that are just coming to light.” We have all known Greg in his association with the Peninsula, but he is oh-so much more! Check out his website and discover all the cool things he can do for you, from custom corporate gifts to unique personal art for the home, Greg has got you covered! Love you GH!


Celebrating Sherry Lea Fox's birthday at RL- Sherril Bodine, Sheree Schimmer, Tracey Tarantino DiBuono, April Schwartz and others.

This week was a big one for celebrations with so many reasons to raise a glass! Happy birthday wishes to Sherry Lea Fox, Kathy Piccone and Julia

With Kathy Piccone, Jennifer Sutton Brieva and Julia Jacobs at RL.

Jacobs and big congrats to Jennifer Sutton Brieva and her Doc Joaquin Brieva on their 10th wedding anniversary! Seen toasting Sherry at RL were Myra Reilly, April Schwartz, Tracey Tarantino DiBuono, Sherrill Bodine, Denise Tomasello, Sally Jo Pfaff, Bobbi Panter and Wynnis Mackie. At RL for lunch earlier that same day, Jennifer Brieva, Kathy Piccone, Julia Jacobs and moi toasted. I was happy and excited to celebrate with all these sweet peeps!

Denise Tomasello, Sally Jo Pfaff, Myra Reilly, Bobbi Panter and Wynnis Mackie at RL.


Hope you're signing up and following "Candid Candace: The Podcast"! I love having another outlet to share all the cool news (with interviews) from the Windy City. I am forever grateful to my producer/co-host John St. Augustine too. He definitely keeps the wheels on the bus! Listen to the latest show here!


PRINTER23_do312_1200x1200If it’s summer, then it must be FESTIVAL time! AMDUR Productions has a packed festival schedule for 2023 (see JULY2023FLYER-final-webthem all here) and mark your calendars for the upcoming Millennium Arts Festival on July 14, 15 and 16 (Michigan and Lake St.) and the Printers Row Art Fest on Aug. 12/13 (701 S. Dearborn).  Randolph Street Market’s next big market is July 29/30 (1341 W. Randolph St.)


I hope you've enjoyed this week's Candid Candace, the first and longest running lifestyle Gratitudeblog in the city! I so appreciate your support! If not a subscriber, please sign up here and, if you want to get the word out about your event/business/product, please email me for advertising info ([email protected])! I would love to help you promote your passions. :-)

Love, as always,


[email protected]

P.S. Meet Pipsqueak.


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