Candid Candace: Travel



NYE moving into 2023
Be careful out there!

I don't know about you, but I am glad to see the tail end of 2022. Oh, I know I shouldn't be happy about passing time but it's been a topsy-turvy year and

Amanda Puck
Amanda Puck (and Mariano's), early supporters of the Star.

I'm ready for a new start, spending more time with friends, not working quite so hard and stopping to smell the Pinot Grigio. I hope 2022 has been kind to you. Chuck and I have had some great moments, I must admit. I loved seeing all our wonderful nonprofits return with such force.

Celebrating the paper's 1st BD at Robert's Pizza & Dough with Sugar & Spice and the Landan Twins.

As I've mentioned before, many of them saw record numbers in 2022 which bodes well for the coming year for them. I'm proud of the work I've done for Chicago Star, making it a brand name now in the city. I'm so grateful for the help of so many friends, supporters, businesses and nonprofits who came onboard to help me build this brand. People who lent their names to the board when they

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas is a CSM fan.
I'm so grateful for all the friends who supported me in this endeavor, like Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.

didn't know a thing about it but took the challenge on good faith because I asked them to: Howard Tullman, Manolis Alpogianis, Lee Blackwell Baur, Tracey Tarantino DiBuono, Melissa Harris, Todd Hatoff, Leslie Hindman, Paul Iacono, Izzy Idonije, Tom Kehoe, Michael

Gibson's staff and Chicago Star
Thanks to Gibsons, Kathy Piccone and the staff for their support!

Kutza, Sherren Leigh, Sarge McCormick, Alex Pissios, Amanda Puck, John Robak, Maureen and Marc Schulman, Chef Art Smith, Bonnie Spurlock, Phil Vettel, Dionne Williams and Bob Zentner.  I also want to thank Bravco and dear Howard Gordon for being one of the first locations to allow me to put the papers. Another shout out to Anne Cavanaugh for giving me permission to place them in Urbanspace too. And more thank-yous for the contributors who said yes to me: Howard Tullman,

Comedian Tom Dreesen is a Chicago Star fan _2719
Love this guy--thank you Tom Dreesen!

Bonnie Spurlock, Catie Keogh, Mark Olley, Andy Frye, Theresa Goodrich, Debi Lilly, Connie Fairbanks, Anthony Martorina, Michael Kutza, Izzy Idonije and so many others! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! In 2023, Chicago

Bravco's Howard Gordon.
Thank you Howard Gordon! (Bravco)

Star will be going digital, as is the recent trend with a lot of publications. I will hate to see the print edition go away as I love reading my news this way. But, it will still serve as a positive news force--which has always been my mantra, as it has been for this blog for the past 15 years! I am a fan of any good news source as I think we need it now more than ever. I also

Promoting Chicago Star before it went digital.
I will miss not reading this in print.

want to thank my friend, the legend Rick Kogan, for having me on his WGN radio show to share event news and, well, just to have a good natured chat. Same goes for the beautiful Sylvia Perez and Lisa Fielding who have been kind enough to have me on Fox-32 and WBBM AM 780. I've loved Rick since my days at the Chicago Tribune and am lucky to still call him a friend. He has no

Two full-time supporters -- WBBM-FM's Lisa Fielding and Chuck at a party hosted by Mariano's (Amanda Puck) for the Star (and me).

equal. Same goes for Sylvia and Lisa. Also, big love and thanks to friends Nick Pullia and Brian Smith(for everything! IYKYK). I've been invited to join two new boards this year, The Chicago Lighthouse and The Aparecio Foundation. The Lighthouse, which I'm sure you know, does remarkable work for the blind, vision impaired, disabled and veteran's communities. I also became involved with The Aparecio Foundation through my friend Jessica George (the founder and publisher of the

Charlie Ann Dwyer RL -12-22-22
With new friend Charlie Ann Dwyer (Darvin Furniture).

spectacular Felix Magazine). The magazine supports the

Special thanks to the legend Rick Kogan and Leila Schmidt (Christkindlmarket).

Foundation which funds mentoring, academic assistance and scholarship programs for high-potential, low-income girls in public high schools. I feel very honored to have been invited to support these two stellar nonprofits. I'm also excited about chairing the 60th anniversary celebration on April 1 at the Harris Theater. This remarkable company, led by Nan Giordano and Michael McStraw, is like the "little engine that could" and DID! (Special congrats to Michael who was recently named a "Chicagoan of the Year" by the Chicago Tribune!) So much goodness in this town - even though lately it seems you have to look a little harder to find it, but it's there (and here!)


Welcoming committee for Make-A-Wish child included dancers from Ballet Chicago  the Zzazzettes  and Evelyn Galstad as the Angel of Peace.
"Illuminate 900" - The welcoming committee for this year's adorable Make-A-Wish child included dancers from Ballet Chicago, the ZZAZZettes, and Evelyn Galstad, as the Angel of Peace.

Thousands of Chicagoans ushered in the holidays in storybook fashion at “Illuminate 900,” 900 North Michigan Shops’ annual tree lighting event. The mall’s atrium was transformed

Emcee Helen Berkun and Family.
Emcee Helen Berkun and Family.

into a winter wonderland by Kehoe Designs as it hosted its fifth annual tree lighting ceremony on November 17th. The event was an arts-forward, community-wide kick off

Caley Chelios  Chris Vosters  and Genna Rose of The Chicago Blackhawks.
Caley Chelios, Chris Vosters, and Genna Rose of The Chicago Blackhawks.

to the holiday season, that delivered a most magical celebration for all 2,000+ guests in attendance. The evening was packed with festive experiences complete with real-life toy soldiers, holiday performances, caroling kiddies, food and drink, and other seasonal surprises which signified the start of the holiday season for this iconic shopping center. In addition to being a citywide celebration, Illuminate 900 was also a

Vocalist  Shayan from New Music School performing live.
Vocalist Shayan, from New Music School, performing live.

fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Illinois. Each year, a Make-A-Wish child is selected to accompany Santa as he lights the 54’ tall tree. This year, 900 North Michigan Shops raised $24,000 for the wish-granting organization. The highlight of the night was Santa’s arrival to light the magnificent tree, which was heralded by the joyous clanging of silver bells. With the

Eddy Galstad as The Angel of Peace  singing  “Carol of the Bells.”
Eddy Galstad as The Angel of Peace singing, “Carol of the Bells.”

Make-A-Wish child by his side, Santa led the countdown to shine the first holiday lights on Michigan Avenue alongside a committee of Chicago’s movers and shakers. As soon as the majestic tree was illuminated,

Host Committee member  Johanna Grange is all smiles with The Real Elf.
Host Committee member, Johanna Grange is all smiles with The Real Elf, Tommy Holl.

amidst a chorus of, “oohs”, and “ahhs”, a troupe of dancers from Forward Momentum brought the house down with a thrilling routine performed to the holiday favorite, “All I Want for Christmas is You, “ by Mariah Carey.A variety of other cultural organizations, nonprofits and businesses from across Chicagoland also participated in this festive celebration. Ballet Chicago brought a multitude of costumed dancers to perform excerpts from the fabled holiday classic, “The Nutcracker.” The Real Elf (Tommy Holl), a life-like replica of the famous elf who watches from the shelf, was on hand delighting all as he walked about with a custom picture frame,

Host Committee member Rosie Clayton & friend enjoying the 360 photo booth
Host Committee member Rosie Clayton & friend enjoying the 360 photo booth.

inviting folks to, “Take an Elfie.” Beatmix

Dancers from Forward Momentum thrilled guests with a surprise  pop-up dance routine to Mariah Carey’s
Dancers from Forward Momentum thrilled guests with a surprise, pop-up dance routine.

provided drummers with illuminated drums to perform a compelling rendition of, “Little Drummer Boy,” as well as a saxophonist to perform a holiday solo. Eddy Galstad, a professionally trained opera singer, came dressed in a custom gown with a fantastical crown of glistening icicles wearing life-sized angel wings.  She beguiled guests with a seasonal serenade as the “Angel of Peace.” ZZAZZ Productions presented a chorus line of dancing women, ala the Rockettes, who performed in red velvet, white-fur

The 54” tall tree finally lit – shining the first holiday lights on Michigan Avenue!
The 54” tall tree -the first holiday lights on Michigan Avenue!

trimmed costumes with oversized candy canes in hand. Male models dressed as toy soldiers playfully greeted guests upon arrival and escorted Santa to light the tree  A

Make-A-Wish child and sister enjoying a magical visit with Santa & The Real Elf.
Make-A-Wish child and sister enjoying a magical visit with Santa & The Real Elf.

vocalist from the New Music School interpreted popular holiday classics and Bubbles Academy hosted a children’s ornament-making workshop. Other activities throughout the mall included sugar cookie decorating hosted by Sur La Table and, in Aster Hall, 900 Shops’ provided passed hors d’oeuvres and signature cocktails throughout

The 900 Shops' Alicia Skruba with the best Santa in the land.

the evening. “Illuminate 900 has always been our Holiday Love letter to Chicago”, said Alicia Skruba, Marketing & Business Development Manager, 900 North Michigan Shops.

Three of my favorite event/design gurus - Wayne Harth, Tom Kehoe and David Murga.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to be able to create a moment in time where Chicagoans from throughout the city come together to be reminded of the magic and wonder of the holidays. And no better partner than Make-A-Wish Illinois, as they share their own kind of healing magic throughout the year.” (Photos by Alicia Fierro of Aesthetica, décor and tech support by Kehoe Designs and BlackOak Technical Productions)


Neiman Marcus White Elephant Party 2022-2
Wendy Krimins – Vice President/Metro Market Manager Neiman Marcus, and Bridget Campbell – President of the Lincoln Park Zoo Women’s Board.

My favorite Neiman Marcus (at Michigan Avenue) hosted a magical holiday experience for some lucky ladies who are members of the Lincoln Park Zoo Women’s Board Executive Committee. The second annual White Elephant Party   

Patty Eggert, Laura Malec, Alice Schaaf, Mary McGregor and Susan Charles.

recognizes and honors the work of  women’s board members in supporting Chicago’s charitable organizations. The guests picked their lucky number to determine who would be the first to select a gift and then the fun ensued as guests had to decide to select a new gift or steal an already opened gift. The fabulous selection of beautifully wrapped gifts included a Burberry scarf, a Saint Laurent

Neiman Marcus White Elephant Party 2022-16
Lucky Gale Gottlieb selects her gift!

pouch, a Maison Francis Kurkdjian fragrance set and a Christian Louboutin handbag. The Saint Laurent envelope pouch was the top “stolen” gift and the lucky recipient of the final steal was Gale Gottlieb. Guests enjoyed a delicious selection of passed bites from the Mariposa restaurant including crab cakes, cranberry brie bites and candy cane cannolis.  Everyone was a winner and went home with a great gift. Thanks for always keeping our nonprofits in your hearts Wendy Krimins and Tina Koegel!

Artist Zack Wirsum and Hindman Auctioneer Alyssa Quinlan_Photo Credit_ Faith Decker
Artist Zack Wirsum and Hindman Auctioneer Alyssa Quinlan.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) recently celebrated its online art auction on, by hosting an exciting and whimsical A Happening Auction Party. The event recognized more than 80 generous artists and designers, in both the

Ruth Jennings  Elissa Tenny  Caroline Rosenberg_Photo credit_ Faith Decker
Ruth Jennings, Elissa Tenny, and Caroline Rosenberg.

online auction and live auction held at the benefit, who sold 67 pieces and generated $641,625 for student scholarships. The impressive list of artists included Nick Cave, Sanford Biggers, Candida Alvarez, Roger Brown, Karl Wirsum, Angel Otero, Richard Hunt,

School of the Art Institute of Chicago party guests revel in the _Happening_Photo Credit_ Faith Decker
School of the Art Institute of Chicago party guests revel in the Happening.

Michelle Grabner, Jeffery Gibson, Diane Simpson, Richard Rezac and many more.  In celebration of these efforts, SAIC hosted A Happening Auction Party at its flagship public gallery, located at 33 E. Washington St. The event attracted nearly 300 artists, designers and art enthusiasts, with notable guests including Phyllis Bramson, Lora Fosberg, Judith Geichman, Lorraine

Virginia _Ginny_ Clarke  Linda Johnson Rice  Shelley Cooper_Photo credit_ Faith Decker
Virginia "Ginny" Clarke, Linda Johnson Rice, and Shelley Cooper.

Peltz, Paul Rocca and Mary Lou Zelazny. The evening's entertainment consisted of “Happening” performances dispersed throughout the gallery, directed by SAIC Professor Mark Jeffery and inspired by the

Artists Lorri Gunn Wirsum and Zack Wirsum with his father Karl Wirsum's artwor_Photo credit_ Faith Decker
Artists Lorri Gunn Wirsum and Zack Wirsum with his father Karl Wirsum's artwork.

boisterous “Happenings” of Allan Kaprow during 1950-60s where he and his contemporaries would perform small tasks that encompassed art, performance and spontaneity. In addition to the performances, guests participated in a live auction featuring exclusive works by Suellen Rocca, Karl Wirsum, Roger Brown, Betsy Rupprecht and Ellen Lanyon.  "It's thrilling how so many in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago community—from donors and friends to alums and faculty—rallied for our students,” said SAIC President Elissa Tenny. “I am so grateful that their enthusiasm for the work of our faculty and alums will help ensure the next generation of student artists, designers, and scholars can realize their own creative potential."

Elena Bazini and TJ Okeefe.
Elena Bazini and TJ Okeefe.


1 Munez  Martay  Dine  Doyle  Kelley  Corley
Henry Munez, Jennifer Martay, Jennifer Dine, Lindsay Doyle, Lydia Kelley and Melissa Corley.

Over $1 million was raised during the Chicago Botanic Gardens' spectacular Lightscape preview by The Board of Directors, Woman’s Board and Guild of the Chicago Horticultural Society. More than 700 guests enjoyed

7 Eunice  Andre and Amina Hawkins
Eunice, Andre and Amina Hawkins.

the warm, moonlit and festive event that supports the Chicago Botanic Garden’s work in plant science, community engagement, learning, and the curation of the living museum. The evening was an exclusive first look at the return of

18 Rene Svach and Girls
Rene Svach (L) and daughters.

Lightscape, the popular holiday lights event that sells out each year. Guests enjoyed trailside hot bites and seasonal drinks while they walked the all-new path filled with favorite artistic installations, like the Winter Cathedral, along with new and reimagined pieces along the 1.25-mile outdoor trail. Culinary Landscape catered the event. The 2022 Lightscape Preview was co-chaired by Board of Directors Lydia Kelley, Henry Munez, Woman’s Board members Melissa Corley, Jennifer Martay, and Guild members Jennifer Dine, and Lindsay Doyle.


Congrats to the Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation on its annual "Wings to Cure" gala, this year themed "A Hand to Hold." Co-chairs Charlene and Scott Seaman brought their own heartfelt stories to share along with co-emcees Dina Bair Maher, Lou Canellis and Hosea Sanders. Dr. Leonidas Platanias, director of Lurie Cancer Center, shared, "Every dollar donated to cancer research will save a life sooner or later." Amen, and special thanks to one of the nonprofit's main founders, Eleni Bousis, for growing this vital event every year. 


First Bites Bash returns!

First Bites Bash, the celebratory kick-off event for the 16th annual Chicago Restaurant Week, will make an exciting return for the first time since 2020. The event will be held Thursday, January 19, at Chicago’s Field Museum from 6 to 9 p.m. “First Bites Bash is one of the events Chicagoans love the most about our city,” said Lynn Osmond, Choose Chicago President and CEO. “It is a signature celebration championing Chicago’s leading role as a culinary destination. The breadth of both cuisines and neighborhoods represented at this event and throughout Restaurant Week provide an unparalleled opportunity to make memorable dining part of an

Chef Darnell Reed, owner of Luella’s Southern Kitchen which has been in the Michelin Guide as a Bib Gourmand.

amazing Chicago experience.” Beloved Chicago Chef Darnell Reed of Luella’s Southern Kitchen – located in Chicago’s vibrant

A delectable dish at Louella's Southern Kitchen, 4609 N. Lincoln Ave., 773.961.8196.

Lincoln Square neighborhood – steps into the spotlight, serving as the Host Chef for the star-studded party. Guests will have the opportunity to experience exclusive tasting portions from more than 50 restaurants showcasing their respective Chicago Restaurant Week menus, as well as wine, beer, spirits, entertainment and more. A portion of the proceeds from First Bites Bash will be donated to Kitchen Possible, a nonprofit that helps empower mindsets in kids through cooking. The event will also benefit the James Beard Foundation’s Scholarship Program.  The complete list of First Bites Bash participants is available here. A limited number of Flash Sale tickets are now available for $115 per person at until tickets in that category run out. Limited Early Bird tickets will then go on sale for $130 per person, and then General Admission tickets to First Bites Bash will become available for $150 per person until event capacity is reached or until 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 19.


Abel Leon, David Murga, Wayne Harth and Tom Kehoe attend a past World of Chocolate event.

Glitz, glamour and chocolate! After a nearly three-year hiatus, AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC)'s beloved fundraiser will return with its famed World of Chocolate on Friday, February 17 at Union Station (225 S. Canal). This fun-filled event features a menu of light bites, uniquely crafted cocktails and global chocolate confections from Chicago’s top chefs and chocolatiers from notable restaurants, hotels and bakeries—such as Chef Enrique Cortez, CH Distillery, Vanille Patisserie, Noir d’Ebene Chocolat et Patisserie, JoJo’s ShakeBAR, Terry’s Toffee, the David

John Peller, AIDS Foundation of Chicago president/CEO, and Robert Neubert.

Rubenstein Forum, Blackout Baking Co., Chocolate Uzma, Chocolates by Maria, Vivere Chocolates and more (a full list will be announced at a later date). Guests will have the chance to purchase raffle tickets to be entered into a drawing for several prizes, including travel packages and hotel accommodations. Additionally, guests can further their impact through AFC’s donation

Jovante Thomas, Belinda Jackson, Jada Smith, Kali Rock and Kye Adams.

punchboard to receive a mystery prize of equal or greater value to donations. (All prizes are donated by local Chicago businesses.) This has always been one of my favorite fundraisers and I’ve attended every time it’s come around for as far back as I can remember, many times as a judge for the event. It’s a very “sweet” way to give back and have a lot of fun along the way. The committee and board of the AIDS Foundation

2018 event co-chairs Robert Neubert, Jill Allread, Benjamin Stringfellow, Glen Pietrandoni, AFC pres/CEO John Peller and Paris Mullen.

Chicago work very hard to make this night special. It’s a night of camaraderie, chefs showing off their skill sets and CHOCOLATE! Everything from chocolate covered Twinkies to fabulous old standards like chocolate pudding—everything is created with love and a “twist.” You will also enjoy fun photo opps and make a lot of new friends for a common cause. Tickets are on sale now for the general public here.  Proceeds from the event will support AFC advance its mission of mobilizing communities to create equity and justice for people living with and vulnerable to HIV, including the Getting To Zero Illinois initiative of ending the HIV epidemic in Illinois by 2030. Hope to see you there! (All info here)


Ee9hMmfFThe American Writers Museum (AWM) always has such fun events! In January, they want you to start the New Year off right by experiencing its first Get Lit happy hour Tuesday, January 10, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Subsequent happy hour events will take place on the second

American Writers Museum at 180 N. Michigan Ave.

Tuesday of every month with themed programming that includes music, special tours and fun activities such as open mics, book swaps and more. January’s theme is A Snowy Day and guests can enjoy winter warmth with beer and wine, live music with jazz musicians Tim Fitzgerald and Tom Vaitsas, snowy poems from Poems While You Wait and a snow-themed photo booth as they explore the AWM’s permanent and temporary exhibits after hours. The AWM’s gift shop will also be open to browse. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here. (American Writers Museum, 180 N. Michigan, 2nd floor)


The 16th annual PAWS CHICAGO Animal Magnetism event will be on Friday, April 28. Sponsorships are now open, and early bird tickets are on sale. Join PAWS for a night of great food, great drinks, great music and great company in the trendy West Loop neighborhood. Last year, the event was a sell-out, and I'm sure it will be the same this year, so get your tickets early and help PAWS Chicago continue its life-saving efforts for Chicago's homeless pets! (Tickets, starting at $125, can be purchased here.  )


60Giordano Dance Chicago will be celebrating 60 fabulous years on April 1 at the Harris Theater with a grand anniversary gala. There will be two tickets choices, Gala + Performance ($300) includes VIP seating at the theater, a post show celebration on the Pritzker Stage with a lavish buffet and open bar AND a VIP Backstage Experience w/ Gala + Performance ($600) which includes a backstage view for the final moments of dancers' preparation, a champagne toast, dinner, VIP seating, and a post-show celebration on the Pritzker Stage with all the trimmings. I'm proud to be the chair for this spectacular, historic night and I hope you can join us! The august committee (in

Nan Giordano (Artistic Director), Michael McStraw (Executive Director), Joshua Blake Carter (Operations Manager) and Cesar G. Salinas (Associate Artistic Director).

formation) includes Paul Iacono, Ken Norgan, Will Harris, Marilynn Gardner, John Robak, Nick Pullia, Mark Olley, Diane and Richard Weinberg, Kristine Kinder, Bethany Florek, Todd Hatoff, Ann Ford, Melissa and Brian Babcock, Dr. Joaquin Brieva and Jennifer Sutton Brieva, Courtney Burk,  Joshua Blake Carter, Pam Crutchfield, Chris D’hondt, Sandy Golub,  Dan Sabol, Stewart Kerr, Jennifer Kastenholz, Ryan Jacobson, Kip Helverson, Rachel Kohl, Molly Manus, Pat Manus, Kevin McGirr, Michael McStraw, Audi Melsbakas, Tina Monaghan, Molly Newell, Cesar G. Salinas, Tom Sinkovic, Gorman Cook, Tara Cope, Dina Gallay, John Cipriano, Kevin Janes, Diana Nielander and Nan Giordano. The evening will honor Ben Hodge and Mort Kessler. (Tickets and more info here)

Giordano Dance Chicago


Susie and Chris Maloyan, owners Second City Prime.

Congrats to Chris and Susie Maloyan, owners of Second City Prime, a fabulous meat and seafood company! This dynamic duo hosted a party, along with dear friend Jimmy Place, at Butch

Chris Maloyan and Jimmy Place--Second City Prime.

McGuire’s recently to celebrate their growing success. The company’s offerings of meats (Wagyu, strips, ribeyes, filets and tomahawks) and seafood (salmon, red snapper, grouper, halibut, ahi tuna and Chilian sea bass) are indescribably delicious. Their Portugeuse Sea Salt is a life changer, as is the "Rub" and "Umami" sauce. Anyway, check them out at  


USO Salute Gala, honoring and supporting our military.

The USO hosted its annual Salute Gala, Chicago’s premier patriotic event, at the Offshore Rooftop at Navy Pier. The event, presented by Jewel-Osco, is a cherished Chicago

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph and Susie Silich
Longtime supporters Susie and Joe Silich.

tradition that honors military service. Funds raised support the USO in its efforts to connect our troops to family, home, and country throughout their time of service to our nation. Attendees at the gala had the opportunity to tour the USO’s new state-of-the art Gaming mobile trailer, funded by the NFL as part of its Salute to Service initiative, and join in on a military spouse ‘snack and chat’ live virtual event. Guests also experienced an Air Force flight simulator and participated in a one-of-a-kind live auction, with prizes that included a week-long luxury vacation in Italy and a private dinner at the renowned Chicago Cut Steakhouse. This year’s USO Gala emcee was, Tommy McFly,

Mr. and Mrs. Albert and Maria Goodman and Mr. and Mrs. Steve and Veronique Markscheild
Albert and Maria Goodman and Steve and Veronique Markscheild.
Mr. and Mrs. John and Martha Idler (ABC7)
ABC-7's John and Martha Idler.

a multi-platform voice and anchor. Keynote speaker General David L. Goldfein, 21st Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), and Dr. J.D. Crouch II, USO President & CEO, also addressed the crowd. In recognition of 10 years of exceptional leadership in Chicago, the USO honored the Veterans Working Group of the Commercial Club of Chicago with the 2022 USO Salute to Leadership Award.


Last Out 1. Photo by Kevin Lang
Heather Corrigan and Scott Mann in the Gary Sinise Foundation’s production of "Last Out: Elegy of a Green Beret."

Steppenwolf Theatre Company will host a special presentation of Last Out: Elegy of a Green Beret – a touring production championed by the Gary Sinise Foundation, playing two performances only January 20 & 21, 2023 at 7 pm in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theater. Steppenwolf Co-Founder Gary Sinise comments, “Nearly 40 years ago, I had the good fortune of directing the

Last Out 5. Photo by Kevin Lang
Lenny Bruce, Chris Vetzel and Scott Mann in the Gary Sinise Foundation’s production of "Last Out: Elegy of a Green Beret."

Vietnam War drama Tracers at Steppenwolf Theatre. With Vietnam veterans in my own family, it was a personal mission for me to honor them with a great production, to let them, and all veterans, know that their service to our country was appreciated and that their sacrifices would never be forgotten. My friend,

The incomparable Gary Sinise.

Afghanistan combat veteran, LT Colonel (retired) Scott Mann, has written the modern-day equivalent to Tracers. Based on the stories of the men and women he served with, it is a powerful play with an all-veteran cast, and as the Founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation and one of the founders of Steppenwolf Theatre Company, I am honored to present Last Out under our Foundation’s ‘Community and Education’ pillar.” Last Out, which

Steppenwolf Theatre Company,1650 N. Halsted.

has been performed across the country since 2018 and reached thousands of audiences, pulls from the experiences of the longest war in American history, a war fought mostly in the shadows. Written by Ret. Lt. Col Scott Mann and directed by Karl Bury, this epic play, performed by a cast of combat veterans and military-family members, validates the journey of our military veterans and their families while building genuine and well-informed understanding in the communities where they live. (For more information on the Gary Sinise Foundation, visit, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St. in Chicago. Tickets ($20 general public; $5 veterans, active military and military families) are now on sale at or by calling (312) 335-1650.) (Photos by Kris Lang)


That's all for this week! This year, my blog (and I) will be celebrating 15 years of bringing you the 411 on the 312. I hope you've enjoyed it all! And, if not a subscriber, please sign up here!)

If you have any news/events you would like me to share, please send it to:

And remember: "The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you're not going to stay where you are." - J.P. Morgan



P.S. We got caught Brian, just act normal.






December 19, 2022

December 5, 2022

August 24, 2022

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