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Candid Candace: Where to go in Chicago

Where to go in Chicago

SUMMER IN THE CHI WITH LIGHTNING BUGS AND FIREWORKS

I hope you've missed me! I know I've missed you. Who knew this Spring and Summer would explode with so many things to do and events to cover?! I'm gonna catch you up here now. In the meantime, I hope you've been enjoying the magic of summer so far. My friend Bonnie Spurlock shared a beautiful water-color by artist Glenn Galan titled "Fireflies on a Summer Night" that perfectly captures the nostalgia of summers' past. (Glenn's website is a treasure trove of images like this that I highly recommend you check out.)

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I'm amazed at how much the latest events and fundraisers have stepped up their decor and planning. I'm referring to The Joffrey Ballet's "Midsummer Celebration"; MCA's ArtEdge party; Steppenwolf's starry night; the Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation fashion show and so much more. If you weren't able to attend, not to worry, I will tell you all about them. That's what I'm here for. :-) ______________________________________________________________________

Rain sure didn’t dampen the spirits of guests who attended the 10th anniversary of the Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation and its fashionable fundraiser on June 20. Held appropriately in Maggie Daley Park Cancer Survivor’s Garden, the beautiful venue reflected the inspiration and mission behind the event, to find a cure for cancer. The sold-out fundraiser was co-chaired by Pam Capitanini, Janell Adames and Jacquelyn McMahon Petrovich and co-emceed by Kelley Flanagan (“The Bachelor”) and moi. It supported the important work of Dr. Leonidas Platanias and his team at Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern University who are working on out-of-the-box research to find a cure. “Science is advancing fast, and it is only a matter of time before new cures for various types of cancers emerge. The challenge lies in accelerating the process because with every passing minute, lives are at stake, “ he said. A reception featured cocktails and hors d’oeuvres among the flowers, with a display of jewelry by Sofoklis Jewels of Greece, custom-made especially for the foundation. Guests were dressed in their finest with a focus on florals. As they entered the venue, they were greeted by a performer dressed as angel with an array of pricey cars from Perillo set up on Randolph St. Electric violinists provided the background music.The night turned cool following a week of heat, but despite the respite, rain fell briefly before the fashion show began. Guests took it in stride as HCRF staff provided welcome umbrellas. Dinner, provided by Rosebud, was served family-style and included rigatoni alla vodka, salmon limone, chicken Vesuvio, Greek salad and fanciful desserts. The rain stopped in time for a chic fashion show, produced by ZZAZZ Productions (Tracey Tarantino DiBuono with support from Nancy Long, Natalie Roppo and DJ Akib) with beautiful looks from Peach Carr Designs, Elda de la Rosa, Rede Mas, Anne Fontaine, Contessa Bottega, Menotti Couture, Sylwia Designs, Mira Couture and Lepa Boutique.  Eleni Bousis, founder/ event chair, shared, “We are here to support Dr. Platanias and his team at Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern University who are at the forefront of groundbreaking research, including enhancing tumor-killing capabilities and cancer-curing potential; advancing basic research in immunology and immunotherapy for treating malignant melanoma; targeting cell signaling pathways in leukemia and solid cancers; developing novel approaches to tackle aggressive cancers such as pancreatic and brain cancer and building the field of immuno-metabolism in cancer research.” A surprise check for $250,000 was donated to Dr. Platanias by the Thorek Memorial Foundation to support his research. The Lurie Cancer Center, led by Dr. Platanias, is a national leader in the advancement of cancer treatments and was named one of the top 10 leading academic comprehensive cancer centers in the country by US News and World Report. (hcrfwingstocure.org)

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The Museum of Contemporary Art is known for it’s cutting-edge, over the top ArtEdge events, but I must say, this year they outdid themselves. It was a breathtaking and sexy 90-minute show that included burlesque, drag stars, striptease, pole-dancing and so much more. Held at the museum, over 400 guests turned out to help raise $1.7 million for programming and exhibitions. The party began in the lobby where a buffet offered a mile-long stretch of treats that included sushi, hamburgers, pasta, hors d’oeuvres, everything you can imagine- all served under a canopy of trees bedecked in twinkling lights. Kudos to co-chairs Robin Loewenberg Tebbe and Meredith-Bluhm Wolf and board chair Cari Sacks for “bringin’ it” – the crowd was enthralled and not a soul left the tent during the performance that included artists from Tease Productions and Sasha Colby, RuPaul Drag Race 2023 winner. Oh, what a night!

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The Joffrey Ballet’sMidsummer Celebration” literally left Chuck and I speechless. I think this was one of the best events we’ve been to in ages. I love not having to sit at a table for dinner—the new trend of buffets and roaming servers is fabulous, and the Joffrey did it in grand style! The floral décor by HMR Designs was in and of itself breathtaking. An area for photo opps was completely filled with a variety of flowers and an old-fashioned swing like the kind you would find on an oak tree in the backyard. Guests came dressed according to the theme with our friend Brian Smith (Joffrey Chief Marketing Officer) winning top outfit for his stunning flower hat that would’ve made Anne Boleyn jealous. Other guests wore little fairy wings and Derek Drilon, a Joffrey dancer, was expertly styled by Galan Styling with a huge peach flower perched on the side of his head over a black and white brocade jacket. FABULOUS!

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Chicago Star Media celebrated its 4th anniversary in grand style on the rooftop at Mariano’s Lakeshore East on June 12. On a perfect summer night, nearly 60 guests, that included supporters, advertisers, board members and contributors, mixed and mingled while enjoying a party that featured topline vendors from this iconic marketplace. Presented by Mariano’s Lakeshore East and organized by Amanda Puck, Mariano’s Director of Strategic Brand Development, the event featured treats from the Salsa King of Chicago (Marty Garcia); ICHOR water (John Powers and Mike Dagnino); Oki Sushi; Murray’s Cheese; Pop Karma popcorn (Jean Tsai); Big Shoulders Coffee (Dave Marsalek and Chef Jaymes Berry); San Pellegrino presented its new San Pellegrino Zero Sugar (Matt Pozo and Milky); Quari Ice and more. Other important contributors to the event were Chris Weir (Store Director), Michal Gawkowski (Assistant Store Manager) and J & L Catering. Elaine Hyde, Publisher/Editor, welcomed guests and shared the history behind the brand that had its beginnings in the Lakeshore East area. Ashlea Hearn, Marketing Account Manager, spoke about the new marketing opportunities available (see them here) and the many awards the brand has won recently. Candace Jordan, Associate Publisher, acknowledged key supporters and advertisers in the crowd and shared recent stats- in the last four years, the website has received over 1 million visitors and the team has written over 3,000 articles, covering everything from local news to cultural events. CSM writer Elena Smentkowski also addressed the crowd while other contributors, Susan Berkes, Margaret Laing and Michaela Wilson, were recognized as well.  Partygoers posed with fanciful props created and donated by Kehoe Designs (Tom Kehoe and team) and left with goody bags containing branded baseball caps, notepads, marketing materials and “I Am A Chicago Star” pins. Longtime supporter and board member Maureen Schulman provided a beautiful Eli’s Cheesecake for the occasion branded with the Chicago Star logo. DJ World kept partygoers dancing to hot beats until the event concluded. Over the past four years, the company and website have grown tremendously, becoming a pivotal source of news and entertainment for Chicago, and always staying true to its mission of serving up positive news that readers can use. Recently the media company has expanded to include marketing, PR and much more.

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I know there are many naysayers about the NASCAR Chicago Street Race, but I for one, am certainly NOT one of them. I think NASCAR has been great for Chicago and that the pluses far outweigh the cons. Not only did they provide great racing, but I think they have been an exceptional partner for the city. According to a report from the city's tourism bureau, the event brought the city $108.9 million in economic activity from corporate spenders and tourists. This includes donations from the NASCAR Foundation that has donated over $150K to local area hospitals, $50K to the Chicago Park District for teen centers, $100K to YWCA Metropolitan Chicago and more. Since the race was announced, NASCAR team members have participated in over 300 community events. They sponsored the Grant Park Independence Day Salute and the July 4th fireworks in partnership with Choose Chicago and more. I thoroughly enjoyed the race too. I think the rain made it even more exciting. I don't think the top-notch entertainers attracted a big enough crowd though. I watched Keith Urban who played his heart out in front of, what I thought, was a fairly small crowd. I also thought it was odd that the rain started on Sunday at the exact same time as the race. But, overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Spotted on Sunday were Shermann 'Dilla' Thomas, Ronald McDonald, Jon and Andrew Landan, Nicole Robinson (CEO YWCA), Josephine Lee (who conducted her Uniting Voices kids in song for the stage presentation), Wayne Messmer (who sang a beautiful National Anthem) and more. The driver intro was over the top fabulous with blasts of fire and fog and Julie Geise, Chicago Street Race president, eloquently welcomed the crowd. I particularly loved the flyover of the four T-38s "Screamin' Demons" 7th fighter training squadron from Langley AFB in Virginia. (Take a look at the video below by 'Gregorys Brain' that captured all the patriotism.)

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March 27, 2024

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November 20, 2023

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