A TOAST TO CHARLIE TROTTER; CONGRATS TO LAURA, PHIL, KEITH & LARISA; RUSH IMAGINE FASHION SHOW; ADVANCED STYLE FOR EVERYONE! (VIDEO); LURIE'S CHAMPIONS FOR CHILDREN; NIGHT OF A 1000 NOOGIES (GILDA WOULD'VE BEEN PROUD); INSTITUTE OF WOMEN GALA; WINGS' SWEET HOME CHICAGO; SERVICE CLUB'S MOULIN ROUGE; JOFFREY'S SWAN LAKE; A FANTASY VACA; CHRISTMAS IN OCTOBER? AND MORE!
The third annual Primo Classico, this year themed Primo Classico d'Europa, was a record breaker to benefit the Primo Center for Women & Children. Hosted by Diane and Quintin Primo, the event raised more than $400,000 on Sunday afternoon, September 21, at Lake Forest Sportscars.A private VIP dinner was held the night before
at the Primo's beautiful interim residence in Lake Forest. There, guests mixed and mingled with the honorees, tennis legend Jimmy Connors and Kate Gaynor-Dickey (a longtime supporter
and board member) as well as the tennis star's beautiful wife, Patti McGuire Connors who was Playboy's Playmate of the Year 1977. Committee member/board member Michael Pagliuco found some T-2000 rackets online, Jimmy's favorite during his playing days, that he graciously signed
for supporters and fans during the evening. The following afternoon, Primo Classico d'Europa was held at Lake Forest Sportscars for the second year. Guests enjoyed tastings from some Chicago's most iconic eateries featuring European cuisine. They included Fig & Olive, Tocco, Basil Leaf Cafe,
Gene & Georgetti's, Pelago Ristorante, Travelle, Prosecco Ristorante, The Florentine, Bartaloma, Bella Via, Sugar Hills Bakery, Vosges Haut Chocolate and Angelo Gelato Italiano. It was a
smorgasbord of delicious food served up by some of our favorite, most supportive friends and chefs!! A fashion show, produced by Tracey DiBuono's ZZAZZ Productions, featured fall fashions from Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue. Models posed on pedestals placed throughout the venue before their final walk across the
stage to wild applause. I was honored to co-chair the event with Paul Iacono, my very philanthropic friend who is also a board member. We shared hosting
duties and were honored to introduce Diane and Quintin, who shared a touching video about how life at the Center is life-changing for those who need it. Center resident Angela and her daughter spoke next and said, "You don't grow up
hoping to be homeless. The Center has been a godsend for us," she shared. Diane Primo added, "These are only two of many hundreds who could all tell you their compelling stories about how they arrived at the Primo Center, alone, homeless and ashamed of their circumstances. However, thanks to the amazing, caring and wonderful staff
at the Center, their despair quickly turns to hope and optimism, as these homeless women and children learn that they DO have value and that they can overcome trends that led them to this point and get back on their feet." There wasn't a dry eye in the house. A live auction followed conducted by auctioneer extraordinaire,
Greg "G-Man" Dellinger. He raised big bucks for some unique packages that included a beautiful yacht trip in Naples on the Susanna Bella (graciously donated for the 2nd year by Susan Gohl); deluxe trips to
Doha and Johannesburg (Four Seasons) with business class tickets courtesy of great partner Qatar Airways (Rebecca Jelfo and Kedzie Schotters) plus a stunning Walden
International Chronograph timepiece; a trip to Park City's Hyatt Escala Lodge with airfare; a tour and lunch at the Capitol with Congressman Danny Davis; a cocktail party for 25 courtesy of George Jewell Catering; a 7-night Mediterranean cruise courtesy of
Celebrity Cruises; a 7-day trip to Belize courtesy of Kristine Farra (Gold Coast Exclusive); an Olympic cycling package with Dotsie Bausch and LA Dodgers tickets; a loaded Chicago sports package; a Joffrey Ballet/Swan Lake package and original artwork by Tony
Fitzpatrick. An auction highlight was a tennis package with Jimmy that included a lesson at his Montecito Country Club plus lunch via a private jet to Santa Barbara. (Marc Jacobson rocked this package!) Wowza! Following the exciting auction, honorees Jimmy and Kate were brought onstage. They shared hearfelt comments
thanking and acknowledging the Primo Center. Afterwards, I conducted a Q & A with Jimmy where he shared his thoughts on tennis, his life after, being married for 35 years, golfing with Michael Jordan, playing with
his nemesis John McEnroe, his new book "The Outsider: A Memoir" and much more. (See following video!) It was a fun and rewarding day supporting this great cause, The Primo Center, that was founded in 1996. Working with his late father, Bishop Quintin
Primo, Jr., Quintin assisted in founding St. Barnabas Urban Center, the predecessor to the Primo Center in 1978. To honor the legacy of his father's work, it was renamed the Primo Center for Women & Children in 1996 and has offered transitional services to the area's homeless
for nearly 30 years. Its goal: to end the cycle of homelessness, one family at a time. (To learn more or to donate, please click here). Congrats and thanks to ALL who participated! I wish I could list everyone who supported this event, but you know who you are: Debi Lilly (A Perfect Event); Margaret O'Connor (Marcon Productions);
Teddie Kossof Salon & Spa; DLA Piper; Marsh; Capri Capital; Dan Uslan (Michigan Ave. Mag media sponsor); Benjamin Newby; Event Creative; Rick Mancuso and family; Marsh; ACE, PURE and so many more. (Fab fotos by AMIE HANA PHOTOGRAPHY and JON RECANA). To see the fun from the afternoon, please watch my latest Watch312 video below! (Thanks to Illinois Centers for Broadcasting students for their support!)
I will just lay it out right now. I am a complete and total freak for anything related to Harry Potter even though I'm a mere muggle ("non-magical folk" as Hagrid says). So it's no surprise that a visit to Universal Studio's Wizarding World of
Harry Potter in Orlando was definitely on MY bucket list! On the first day, we boarded the little water taxi that took us to the entrance of the park. I loved seeing the giant, rotating globe with
"Universal" scrawled across the front, but I kept my eyes on the prize as we darted through the sets depicting Beverly Hills complete with Schwab's Pharmacy, a faux front from the Beverly Wilshire, an "I Love Lucy" museum and a New York set that featured Delancy Street, Little Italy and the
original Macy's facade. We raced through the Kid Zone (featuring the E.T. ride--we helped him save his home planet), Seuss Landing with The Cat and the Hat and Marvel Super Hero Island with The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and then there it was.... DIAGON ALLEY.....the
street of my dreams, where my imagination soared with the books and now here it was in all its glory. When we passed through the jagged brick wall that Hagrid tapped, tapped, tapped to usher Harry into the Wizarding World, I knew I was home. It was all I'd hoped for and more. Once you entered, you were totally immersed in all things Harry Potter. You
could even hear Moaning Myrtle in the restrooms! We saw charming stores displaying owls, we had a Butter Beer at the Leaky Cauldron, bought candy at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes and visited a store selling
Hogwarts uniforms. There was a block long line to get into Ollivander's, the famous wand shop depicted in the books. The interactive wand ($44.95) was a hot
item and a genius idea. It came with a map offering spots to weave spells for extra visual delights. The multi-dimensional 3-D ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott's, was definitely NOT just for kids. As a matter of fact, it was such a thrill ride that we were pretty shook up afterwards. Chuck said he was lucky he hadn't eaten
lunch yet. As an example, a disclaimer suggested that people with prosthetic limbs should "secure or remove them" before boarding! Yikes! I won't give it away, but if you're a thrill seeker, then this ride is definitely for
YOU! I saw kids walking around in 80 degree heat in woolen robes with Hogwarts emblazoned on their lapels. Everyone wanted to be a wizarda and it was too adorable for words! The Hogwarts Express connected the two
parks (and yes, there IS a Platform 9 3/4!) Amid the steam, happy Potterphiles boarded the train to Hogsmeade. Enroute we glimpsed Hagrid, Harry, Ron and the Weasley twins flying along waving from their broomsticks. The
little cabin darkened as Dementers' ominous shadows passed by our door....and when the candy cart was silhouetted there, we could even see the chocolate frogs jumping onto the door frame. When we arrived at Hogsmeade, it was another visual sensation. All of the
quirky buildings with bent chimneys were snowcapped and you could see even more delightful shops all recognizable from the books and films. Kids and adults were busily snapping up souvenirs as the Harry Potter theme song by John Williams echoed throughout the parks.
We were no exception. A photography studio offered guests the opportunity to become "one with the film." Chuck and I donned Hogwarts' robes and then acted out 12 scenes against a green screen that was then made into a
DVD. It's the memory of a lifetime and well worth $69.95! (See our fun 2 minute video HERE). There wasn't a false note in either park-- the Harry Potter franchise is safe and sound at Universal! So, if you're a fan of the series, this experience is a MUST! If only my wand could cast us back there again!
Charlie Trotter’s Culinary Education Foundation (CTCEF) will host an inaugural benefit, “A Toast to Charlie Trotter" on Wed., Nov. 5. The celebration to honor the late Chef Charlie Trotter, will be hosted by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse with honorary co-chair Mayor Rahm Emanuel at Venue One, 1034 W Randolph Street. Chefs and other culinary figures who played a personal and professional role in Chef Trotter’s life participating in the fundraiser include host Emeril Lagasse, Rick Bayless, David Bouley, Paul Dubroski,
Graham Elliot, Gale Gand, Kevin Hickey, Michael Kornick, Matthias Merges, Tony Montuano, Patrick O’Connell, Ryan Pitts and Art Smith. The chefs will prepare dishes inspired by Trotter and paired with cocktails created by Chicago’s top mixologists as well as wines selected by some of the late Chef’s former Master Sommeliers led by Serafin
Alvarado and Larry Stoner. Cocktails will also be featured from The Sportsman’s Club and sweet treats from Sugar Hills Bakery. “I am honored to carry on Charles’ passion for raising money for scholarships to give underserved youth an opportunity to advance through a career in the culinary arts. Charles was renowned for his philanthropic efforts. Working on the Foundation he founded 15 years ago allows me to realize his dream,” said Rochelle Smith Trotter, Director of the
Charlie Trotter’s Culinary Education Foundation. (For tickets and more info, click here).
Congratulations to beloved restaurateur Phil Stefani who was honored by Mayor Emanuel with a proclamation declaring October 13 to be Phil Stefani Day in Chicago. This honor followed his recent induction into the Chicago Culinary Museum and Chefs Hall of Fame.
The Mayor recognized Stefani for his philanthropy and advocacy for childrens' charities that have raised more than $2 million to date. Congrats Phil!
More congrats are in order for media personality Laura Schwartz! She spoke on Capitol Hill recently with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Dean Heller on behalf of "Clean the World", a non-profit global recycler of soap. The organization recycles used soap from hotels around the world, sanitizes it, re-forms it and gets it to families that need it. 9,000 children die every day from diseases preventable just by washing their hands! So far, "Clean the World" has given away 20 million bars of soap to over 96 countries. The event was held in the historic LBJ Room and, of course, our Laura was a superstar! (To learn more about this worthy organization, click here!)
The Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center hosted the 88th Annual Fashion Show, IMAGINE, at a new venue, Morgan Manufacturing (401 N. Morgan Street) recently. Chaired by Rush WB member Gloria Masterson, the event began with cocktail reception followed by the fashion show. The longest continuously running charitable fashion
show in the country featured collections from well-known brands and top retailers, including Belle Vie, Calypso St. Barth, CH Carolina Herrera, Max Mara, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines,
Chalk, Lake Forest Shop, Neapolitan and Wilfred & Newman presented on the runway with segments for women, men, t'weens, kids and famous fathers walking with their children. Over 700 attendees witnessed a fall fashion show modeled by a mix of 100 well-known Chicagoans and local celebrity models including
actor Colin Egglesfield, Chicago Blackhawks Bryan Bickell, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger and Brent Seabrook, Chicago Bear Kyle Long, real estate mogul Mario M. Tricoci, Danny Wirtz of Wirtz
Beverage Group, journalist Anna Dalvantes, Check, Please! host Catherine De Orio, America’s Next Top Model Cycle 8 Winner Jaslene Gonzalez, WMAQ-TV anchor Lauren Jiggets and ESPN reporter Sarah Spain. Following the runway show, guests and celebrity models joined an after party with fantastic food by Midwest Foods and Blue Plate Catering, a premium
bar provided by Wirtz Beverage and Koval Distillery and lively entertainment. Proceeds from the event, more than $500K, raised awareness and funds toward the five-year commitment to the Rush University Cancer Center.
Dr. Keith Magee was recently honored with a Genius for Men Award from the University of Chicago Logan Center for the Arts. The award was given in recognition of the work he's done as founding director of the National Public Housing Museum as well as his current work on college campuses surrounding social justice, poverty and dyslexia. Congrats and happy 46th birthday Keith!
And congrats to America's newest citizen! Glamorous, vivacious Larisa Kronfeld, just
passed her citizenship test and celebrated with a blow-out celebration at her Park Hyatt penthouse with family and friends. The U.S.A. just became more beautiful by ONE. Congrats Larisa!
I didn't know what to expect from this documentary, Advanced Style. I knew I loved fashion, I know I'm over 50, but sometimes these sorts of films can get going in the wrong direction. Some see aging and fashion as being mutually exclusive. This film definitely dispels that notion. Based on street style photographer Ari Seth Cohen's famed blog of the same name
and directed by Lina Plioplyte, this film delves into the personal lives of seven of New York City's most fashionable ladies aged 62 to 95. It examines and celebrates their eclectic personal style and vital spirit which have guided their approach to aging. They all challenge the conventional ideas about
beauty, fashion and our culture’s increasing obsession with youth.I enjoyed every single minute of it and replayed several parts over. These ladies can teach all of us a lot about fashion and even more about being fearless. Premiering at the Gene Siskel Film Center, (164 N. State) on October 24 and running through October 30. For tickets and show times, click here! (See trailer below)
Make a difference in the life of a child by attending the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital's 6th annual Champions for Children's event at the Hilton Chicago on Friday, November 14. The evening will celebrate Chicago's sports teams who have shown support for the patients and families served by Lurie's as well as individual athletes and sports legends who are
dedicated to giving back to their community. For tickets and more info, click here
Night of a Thousand Noogies, an event that combines comedy with a cause, was hosted by the Associate Board of Gilda’s Club Chicago. Host TJ Shanoff,
welcomed guests and introduced Laura Jane Hyde, CEO of Gilda’s Club Chicago, and the president of the Associate Board. Notable local celebs were interviewed onstage by Shanoff and included Tyler Alexander (VP of Digital Media for The Second City), Ashley Bradarich (Miss Illinois 2010), Nina Chantele (Chicago media personality), Ryan Chiaverini (co-host of Windy City LIVE), Sarah Jindra (WGN’s
traffic reporter), Brett Porter (Goose Island’s Brewmaster) and Chuck Swirsky (announcer for the Chicago Bulls). While the interviews were going on, the cast of Second City performed improv comedy sketches about the guests who were being interviewed, poking harmless fun while the audience laughed
along. All proceeds benefited Gilda’s Club Chicago, a free support community for men, women, teens and children and their families and friends touched by cancer. Gilda’s Club’s namesake, Gilda Radner, was one of the original cast members of “Saturday Night Live” and is known for her love of laughter.
The Institute of Women celebrated its 40th Anniversary Gala at the Swissôtel Chicago recently with Governor Pat Quinn serving as the keynote speaker. Kerry Kennedy and Leah Hope were honored with the Margaret
Traxler Award for their support of civil, women’s and human rights. Guests included Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke. The evening raised much-needed funds for IWT to continue provide critical services for homeless persons and senior citizens. (Pics by Barbara Holt).
Get your tickets now for Ronald McDonald House at Lurie Children's 4th annual COCKTAIL PARTY at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, on Monday, October 20th. Guests will enjoy a three-hour top shelf open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres and live music and entertainment. Your attendance and support will help provide care and comfort to families of hospitalized children in our community. :-) Congrats to RMHC-NI on its 40th anniversary, too!
WINGS, Women In Need Growing Stronger will hold its eleventh annual Sweet Home Chicago fundraiser at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Place, on Sunday,
December 14, from 10am to1pm. Greg and Anna Brown are honorary chairs and Anna Bilton and Meghan Norton will return as co-chairs. More than 200 children, along with their parents and grandparents, will decorate gingerbread houses, visit with Santa, take free family portraits, dance to the music of Ralph’s World and enjoy a delicious brunch. Student carolers from Robert Healy Chicago Public School will add to the festivities.
WINGS, a not-for-profit organization, is currently building the city’s first new safe house and transitional housing on the southwest side of Chicago for families who experience domestic violence. During its first 10 years, this benefit, designed to delight youngsters and instill holiday spirit, has raised more than $5.8 million.
The Service Club of Chicago's annual gala is always fabulously themed with perfect decor by Tom Kehoe Designs. This year the black-tie event, Moulin Rouge, is co-chaired by SC members/dynamos Kristina McGrath and Lisa Kraus and will be held at the Four Seasons on November 8. For tickets and more info, click here!
The Joffrey Ballet's Swan Lake Luncheon, co-chaired by WB members Ellie Forman and Kathleen Henson, was a delightful afternoon with a swan, THE principal swan for the
production--Victoria Jaiani to be exact. Dance critic Hedy Weiss conducted a fascinating Q & A with the beautiful dancer and artistic director Ashley Wheater while a
sell-out crowd dined in splendor at RPM Steak. The Christopher Wheeldon production runs through October 26 at the Auditorium Theater. To read more, check out my Chicago Tribune column here and hear Victoria's interview on my Rivet Radio show! (For show tickets and more info, click here!)
I'm already getting in the spirit of Christmas...I know, I know...it's too early, BUT if you want to jumpstart your holiday spirit, visit Macy's State Street's 6th floor! I want their visual artists to come to MY house! Wowza!
Hope you enjoyed the latest edition of Candid Candace and I hope to see you again soon! :-)
Love, as always,