Plus ChicagoMOD mag launch party; Vintage stars and Playboy Playmates at Hollywood Show; Chicago International Television Festival; Service Club of Chicago tees up two; Cavalia's Odysseo; Face the Future Foundation's Disco Ball; Stratton's "Chicago Picasso"; Art for Life Chicago; Thodos Dance Chicago's 25th; Spring for Giordano Dance; A cute video and SOOOO much more!
We recently traveled to NYC to celebrate the 50th birthday of beloved man-about-town Paul Iacono. This trip was the definition of elegance and fun in every single way! The day before the big event on March 30, Paul and a few of his guests attended Sunset Boulevard. Since we were lucky to have already seen it, we opted for Hello Dolly! starring Bette Midler that was still in previews followed by dinner at Joe Allen's. To
say the show is outstanding is an understatement. We read in the NY Post the following day that three people refused much needed medical treatment after fainting and being hit by a car outside the theater just so they wouldn't miss the show! The crowd
squealed every time the Divine Miss M made an appearance. We hit some of our favorite spots--Bergdorfs (duh?!), Manhattan Art & Antiques Center (2nd Ave.), Creel and Gow (a divine cabinet of curiosities at 131 E 70th St.), Jeffrey, Urban Zen (705 Greenwich), De Vera (One Crosby St.), Bauman Rare Books (535 Madison), Mardani (fine minerals at 766 Madison) and more. Thanks to dear friend Peter
Martino, we snagged a res at the hot new restaurant, Majorelle, in our favorite hotel (the Lowell at 28 E. 63rd St.). This intimate 75-seat eatery designed by Michael S. Smith and manned by Charles Masson (formerly of La Grenouille), was in a word--exquisite. From the Moroccan inspired menu to the decor to the clientele, everything was perfection. The
BIG birthday party was held in Chelsea the following night at the equally exquisite Del Posto, an Italian art deco jewel located in Chelsea at 85 10th
Ave. As guests entered the private party room, they were enveloped in candlelight, rich mahogany and service reminiscent of days gone by. Each guest gave a toast to Paul and recounted a personal story. You could feel the love in the room for this man who gives so much to so many--not only a great friend but an amazing
philanthropist as well. We were honored to be included along with Gayle Anthony, Donna Rotunno, Cynthia and Peter Au, Frances Renk, Cindy Burns and Rance Crain, Rhonda Sanderson,
William Holdeman, Todd Hatoff, Kathleen Casey, Kim Renk, Dimitry Cherenshikov and Bianca Richie, Kip Helverson, Joaquin and Jennifer Brieva, Kirk Williams and Ann-Marie and Jim Hanson. The following night, thanks to another dear friend, we snagged a res at the Polo Bar. It
was fabulous and I loved the fact that you couldn't jam up at the bar unless you had a reservation. It made for a very pleasant dining
experience. The food, of course, decor and service were impeccable. Nellie made us feel especially welcome. (An added treat was a tour of the Sequin jewelry warehouse--PLENTY impressive! Thank you, Frances and Kim!) We also found a cool new, pop-up store at 980 Lexington Ave. called DOOB. A 3D
process transforms your images into resin replicas! We will soon be three inches high! LOL! To end the trip, we visited the 9/11 Memorial, a museum filled
with found artifacts and two identical pools representing the North and South Towers. (Too sad for words). As an aside, this was Rooney Jordan's first airplane trip and he was perfect in every way! Arf! Arf! There's nothing like a trip to the Big Apple, especially when you have such a fabulous excuse--celebrating the birthday of a much-loved friend! Thank you and here's to
many, many more happy memories Paul!
ChicagoMOD magazine made an impressive and grand entrance on April 5 at its exclusive launch party held at Morgan Manufacturing. MOD Media, publisher of HudsonMOD, the voice of modern luxury in New York and New Jersey, brought together more than 300 guests to celebrate its first issue which features Chicago Fire’s
lead actor Taylor Kinney. The star-studded event featured Showbiz Shelly (96.3 FM radio personality/CBS entertainment reporter) as the red carpet host along with other Chicago Fire cast members Miranda Rae Mayo and Monica Raymund; Hamilton star Miguel
Cervantes and Christopher Lee; TIDAL rising artist and soul singer Lili K; film and TV star Drew Sidora as well as many other notables. The event included a performance by celeb DJ Eric Ferguson (WTMX
Chicago’s Eric & Kathy Morning Show), cocktails, courtesy of Jack Daniels, and a silent auction. Auction items included a fire helmet signed by the Chicago Fire cast, a 2016-2017 Chicago Bulls team autographed basketball, a Chicago Blackhawks fan experience, an oil painting by Rene Romero Schuler, trips to Sorrento and Lake Como and a Jack Daniels barrel head, to name a few. A percentage
of the event proceeds benefited the 100 Club of Chicago which fosters hope for families of fallen first responders. Shannon Steitz, (pres/group publisher MOD Media), said,” I'm so honored to
be able to call Chicago home. It's a historical year for us to launch a new luxury lifestyle magazine, ChicagoMOD...To the great city of Chicago, I want to say this is your magazine. I hope we
exceed your expectations and deliver all that this city deserves.” The bi-monthly print and digital
publication targets top-tier consumers in Chicago who have a minimum annual income of $500,000 and minimum income producing assets of $2 million. (Guess I won't be receiving the magazine. LOL!) Guests seen on the scene included Julie Roth Novack, Monika Dixon, Mark Olley, Anne Wallace, Billy Dec, Beth Heller and Susan and Joe Ahern among a gazillion others.
I always love participating in autograph signing conventions. I used to meet up with my Playboy Playmate pals at Glamourcon, a show that was run by Bob Schultz but no longer exists. I lamented this loss and didn't think I would have any other
chance to see my friends now that Glamourcon is gone and the Mansion parties are basically over but, happily, I was wrong. The Hollywood Show came calling and I was all in! Scott Ray booked the
Playmates and contacted me after a recommendation by the uber-glamorous Crystal McCahill (Miss May 2009), who was there signing side by side with her mom, Gale Olson (Miss August 1968)---a unique mother/daughter combo for sure. Other ladies
in attendance included Cathy St. George (Miss August 1982) who brought her darling pup Maybelline, Charlotte Kemp (Miss December 1982 and author of "Centerfolds" ), Reagan Wilson (Miss
October 1967) and dear friend Liz Glazowski (Miss April 1980). I was thrilled to be seated next to the handsome Nelson Twins, Gunnar and Matt. They are the darling sons of the late singer Ricky Nelson
(and grandsons of Ozzie Nelson of "Ozzie and Harriet" fame). Matt told me they loved visiting their grandpa as he kept a stash of Playboy Magazines. They are two of the nicest people you'll ever meet and were most certainly raised well with manners,
charm, talent and smiles to spare. And lucky me, throughout the day, Gunnar strummed his exquisite guitar so I was serenaded while meeting fans and friends. The show was a who's who of vintage Hollywood and featured so many stars of my youth. Richard Chamberlain,
"Dr. Kildare," who is as handsome now as he was when his series was airing. Angie Dickenson has more energy at age 85 than a 12 year-old and was always the last to leave. More importantly, she was so nice and would've spent an hour with each of her many fans if she could have. Donnie Dunagan was a name I'd
never heard but, upon further inspection, I found out he was the VOICE OF BAMBI! And you just never know what lies beneath, he was also a Marine with three Purple Hearts! The lines were long for this iconic memory of my youth. Other charming stars included
Charlene Tilton, who played Lucy Ewing in "Dallas," and Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann in "Gilligan's Island." Dawn told me she was from Wild West stock and that her family drove stagecoaches and was even robbed by Black Bart, who left a solid gold piece
behind out of guilt, she supposed. Ed Asner, Lou Grant on the "Mary Tyler Moore Show," and sexy Mary Margaret Humes, Gail Leery in "Dawson's Creek," were also in attendance, among
many others. In the va va voom category, Stefanie Powers, 74, who played Jennifer Hart in the 1980's TV hit show "Hart to Hart," is even better looking NOW than she was in the early days. Petite, trim, beautiful face and a megawatt smile, I guess this is what living close to nature can do for you. After all, she did found
the William Holden Wildlife Foundation in Kenya in honor of her late partner and spends much of her time there. In addition to these Playmates and iconic stars, there were also over 100 vendors selling comic books, posters, vintage autographs, photos, collectibles, industry related toys and promo items, vintage mags and so much more. It was a three-ring circus for movie buffs and Playboy fans and I can't wait for the next one. I cherish any opportunity to reconnect with my Playmate sisters and meet new friends!
The 53rd Chicago International Television Festival wrapped up on March 23 with an awards ceremony honoring exceptional work in television
programming and advertising. Held at AMC River East, the honorees included Dean Richards, entertainment reporter/critic for WGN-TV and Radio, legendary television commercial producer Joe Sedelmaier and Amazon Studios. (I was so proud to see my husband Chuck introduce Sedelmaier as a former ad man too.) An array of awards was also presented for television commercials and productions.
Top prizes in the advertising categories were awarded to FCB-Chicago, The Martin Agency and mcgarrybowen. "Chicago Justice" was awarded a Gold Hugo for Dramatic Program. The Awards night closed the 2017 Television Festival that began on March 21. “This year’s Festival was a tremendous success,” said event organizer Sam Flancher.
“We started off with a sold-out screening of ‘Public Housing Unit,' followed by a lively conversation about independent content creation. Our screening of ‘When the Streetlights Go On’ led to an absorbing discussion about the differences between writing for film and television, and Pete Holmes’ insights into the creation of the
HBO series ‘Crashing,’ were hilarious and fascinating.” I was honored to introduce the new docudrama series, "American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story." When I first saw Cooper Hefner in the hallway, I did a double take. The lanky, over 6-footer is the spitting image of his dad and the resemblance is startling. And at age 25, the same age his dad was when he
founded Playboy, he has Hef's sensibilities and, as of 6 months ago, the title of chief creative officer. Cooper was in town to promote the world premiere of the series produced by Amazon Studios that opened worldwide on April 7. In a
wide ranging interview conducted by film critic Richard Roeper, Cooper spoke during a panel discussion following the film. He was joined onstage by executive producers Stephen David and Peter Jaysen. (Watch video here) Hugh Hefner approved the film and supported the producers in acquiring footage
and imagery from his vast library, described by Jaysen as "rivaling the Library of Congress," and including over 2900 scrapbooks that Hef has been creating since he was a youngster. Cooper said he got "emotional" watching the film because he's so proud of what his dad has accomplished. He added that Hefner insisted on a "warts and all" portrayal including his Dexedrine addiction and the tragic
suicide of his assistant Bobbie Arnstein. In answer to a question about the magazine's recent no-nude policy, that has since been thankfully scrapped by Cooper, he said, "The brand is a philosophy and nudity is a representation of that philosophy and without it, we're not fulfilling our commitment to the brand." He spoke about the return of the Playboy Clubs and compared Playboy's business plan as similar to the one Walt Disney used for Disneyland. In closing, he said, "There seems to be an obsession with the 50s, 60s, and 70s among anybody from age 18 to 34...It excites me to imagine a time when we will have young and old reacting to the brand in ways that we haven't seen since the 60s, 70s, and 80s." Thank you, Cooper for being a knight in shining armor for the magazine! Can't wait to see upcoming issues! (For a complete list of Festival honorees, click here.)
And on this note, please mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 24, for the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival at the Loew's Hotel. Honorees for the Spring Gala will be Helen Mirren and her husband/director Taylor Hackford! They will receive Golden Hugos for their achievements in acting and directing. I'm honored to co-chair this event with Helen Melchior and Gigi Pritzker! For tickets and more info, click here!
The world's largest touring production, Cavalia's Odysseo, premiered on April 4 and was a sell-out. The $30 million dollar extravaganza imagined by Normand Latourelle (a co-creator of Cirque du Soleil) was staged inside a 127 foot-tall big top next to Soldier Field with 65 magnificent horses and 48 riders, dancers, aerialists, acrobats, stilt
walkers, musicians and more. A VIP reception was held in a smaller tent before the 7:30 p.m. show and was an event in and of itself with Chicago notables like Windy City Live's Val Warner (filming Facebook live videos), Deputy Mayor Steven Koch, Helen Melchior (with her darling
daughters Melissa and Corinne and granddaughter Fay, 9, who called the show "the best thing she's ever seen"), Ken Norgan, Francie Harrington and Vern Broders, Neal Zucker and Marko Iglendza, Joan Colmar, Dawn Stanislas
(Visceral Dance Co.), Matt Olaveson, WCL's Mary Hynes, Chicago Fire's Miranda Rae Mayo and even Manny the Frenchie making an appearance. As a horse lover, I knew this show was going to be something special but I had no idea of the scope. A HUGE state-of-the-art video screen and a three-story
mountain transported guests to the African savannah, a desert, an enchanted forest and the American Southwest. One of the scenes even gave the packed crowd a breathtaking view of the Northern Lights! And, as if this weren't enough,
a 40,000 -gallon lake appeared out of nowhere as horses splashed and dashed in front of the audience. These gorgeous scenes provided the perfect backdrop for the artistry and skill happening down front--horses of every breed pranced, jumped,
performed dressage skills and more seemingly without any direction and, for a large part of the time, running free with no halters, ropes or reins. In one number that rendered the crowd speechless, purebred Arabian horses were directed only by the soft murmurs of their trainer. My head was spinning with the circus-like atmosphere. Aerialists hanging from rings and
swinging out into the crowd, a life-size carousel that dropped from the ceiling with more artists performing on it with skills that made you scratch your head and wonder, "how in the heck can they DO that?" The show will be in town through April 23, probably longer. Adult tickets are priced from $34.50 to $144.50. The Rendez-Vous VIP package (from $144.50 to $269.50) offers the best seats in the house, full meal
buffet dining before the show, open bar, desserts during intermission and an exclusive visit to the stables after the show. For tickets and more info, click here or call 1.866.999.8111. Congrats Normand on another winner! I predict a stampede to Odysseo!
The Service Club of Chicago has two big events on the calendar! First up, is the Tres Chic Hat Luncheon on Thursday, May 18, at the Saddle & Cycle Club. Co-chaired by Sherrill Bodine and Lynda Silverman, the afternoon will honor Mamie Walton and feature celebrity judges voting on their fav chapeaux and a program emceed by WGN's Micah Materre. (Tickets are $200). And, on Sunday, June 25, "A Day at the Races" will be co-chaired by Cookie Cohen and Susan Gohl at Arlington Park Racetrack. For details on both events, click here!
Celebrating ten years as a nonprofit, Face the Future Foundation’s (FFF) Disco Ball was one of its most successful to date. Attended by 380 guests, the evening raised over $500,000 to support the Foundation’s mission: Providing care and treatment for children born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other craniofacial anomalies
by expanding healthcare access to underserved children in the Chicago area who suffer from these conditions. The beneficiary of gala proceeds is the Craniofacial Center at the UIC College of Medicine, a recognized leader in craniofacial care. Isabell
and Gus Abello, executive VP of Fidelity National Title Group, co-chaired the gala which was held at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago on March 25. The evening included Village People-style dancers performing routines to the songs “Y.M.C.A.” and “Macho Man,” an entertaining live auction led
by David Goodman, and dancing under the disco ball on the LED black and white checkered dance floor to the spins of DJ Andres. Emcee Lourdes Duarte, WGN anchor/reporter, welcomed guests and
introduced Foundation President Rob Grant for the presentation of the President’s Award to Michelle Krage. She was recognized for her outstanding contributions and commitment to help FFF carry out its mission. Krage serves on FFF’s board and
developed the concept behind the Foundation’s annual Holiday Patient Party. Grant said, “My wife Tracy and I adopted a daughter with craniofacial issues and to see her transformation through the care she's received- well, there is no better gift than
we, as parents, can give our daughter than her a smile. Every year I’m humbled and impressed by the generosity of our supporters to enable us to fulfill our mission so the Center can continue its life-changing work.” Krage then announced the establishment of the Adrienne L. Green Scholarship which will be open to current and former patients of the UIC Craniofacial Center.
One recipient each year will be awarded $5,000 to attend a higher education institution of their choice. Michelle said, “I credit my mom and the late Adrienne Green for fostering in me, a spirit of giving, strength and independence. My desire is to set a similar example for my three daughters.” (Photos by Mila Samokhina)
"Unity on the Runway", a brunch and fashion show benefiting Chicago House, will be held on Sunday, May 7, at the Harold Washington Library. This event is the jewel in Chicago House's event calendar to help provide housing and support for people living with HIV/AIDS. I'm proud to emcee this event with a live auction hosted by John Walcher, John Toomey Gallery. For tickets and more info, click here.
In August the Chicago Picasso will turn 50 and the city is planning a special event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of the Picasso sculpture. Out now, to coincide with the anniversary, is a book by Chicago's own Patricia Balton Stratton--Chicago Picasso - A Point of Departure. The
book is a fascinating read filled with photos, illustrations and info like who was the model for this unique sculpture, the politics behind bringing this artwork to Chicago and more. The coffee table style book sells for $24.95 and is available at local bookstores and on Amazon. Patti knows a lot about
the subject. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Northwestern University and wrote her master’s thesis in art history and covered the acquisition, construction, and iconography of the Chicago Picasso. Good luck Patti, a timely read for sure!
Over 350 people attended the inaugural Art For Life Chicago, a juried art exhibition and live and silent auction whose funds raised benefited those living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. The auction included 110 pieces of art from both famous and established professionals to new and emerging artists, and
selected by a jury of renown art experts, including New York Magazine’s senior art critic Jerry Saltz and members of the Smithsonian’s Art Team. Over $75,000 was raised to benefit local organizations making an impact in Chicago’s HIV/AIDS community; such as AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Howard Brown Health, Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative (PACPI), Legal Council for Health Justice, and others.
Thodos Dance Chicago is celebrating its Silver Anniversary season in 2017 so, of course, a major 25th Anniversary gala was in order to commemorate the company’s 25 years as an integral part of Chicago’s dance community. On Saturday, February 4, more than 200 of Thodos Dance Chicago friends, fans and supporters gathered at the beautiful Chicago History Museum for the Thodos Dance Chicago FULL CIRCLE Silver
Anniversary Gala. Honorary Chair and Broadway legend Ann Reinking hosted the cocktail reception, followed by a live performance of the Thodos Dance ensemble's top hits over the last 25 years, a delicious dinner, a silent auction and dancing to the Swing Assembly band.
Nearly $90,000 was raised, all earmarked to support Thodos Dance Chicago’s popular New Dances in-house choreography series, building Chicago’s future choreographers and new works. Always a Chicago summer dance highlight, New Dances 2017 will showcase the company’s dancers’ own, self-created works, Saturday and Sunday, July 15 and 16, at Chicago’s Athenaeum Theatre.“ Gala Committee co-chairs were Michael Anderson, formerly a dancer with the Joffrey Ballet and TDC creative collaborator; Jeanette Gordon, a former Thodos Dance ensemble member and now Dance Program
Director at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School; and Michael Nugent, longtime TDC supporter and president of The Nugent Network. Thodos founder and artistic director Melissa Thodos recently announced that her company would continue its evolution as an integral part of Chicago’s dance community, but will move forward with a new structure in 2017 and beyond as she seeks more creative freedom as a choreographer and educator. (Photos by Charles Osgood)
Giordano Dance Chicago (GDC) debuted “Lost in this World,” a world premiere by Liz Imperio, when the company presented its spring engagement at the Harris Theater for Music on March 31 and April 1. The program
featured former GDC dancer and River North Dance Chicago artistic director Frank Chaves’ restaging of “Grusin Suite,” a work that had its birth at GDC. From 1993-2015, the Cuban-born Chaves, a 2014 Chicago Tribune “Chicagoan of the Year,” served as artistic director for RNDC curating
a repertoire of works by the most respected dance makers, and creating 25 works for RNDC. “I’m also thrilled to welcome back Liz Imperio, who choreographed ‘La Belleza de Cuba,’ a
full-bodied tribute to the jazz of Cuba’s streets and nightclubs, for our 50th Anniversary. Imperio, too, represents our legacy, having initially connected to my father, Gus, whom she has described as the 'iconic godfather of jazz dance,' at a dance convention many years ago. Given her appreciation of our history and sense of heart, I can’t wait to share her newest full company work with our
audiences this spring,” said Nan Giordano, GDC founder/artistic director. The program for GDC’s spring Harris engagement also included works from GDC’s repertoire:
“Divided Against” (2016) choreographed by Peter Chu; “A Ritual Dynamic” (2008) created by Jon Lehrer; “Sneaky Pete” (2016) by Brock Clawson and “The Man That Got Away” (1990) created by former GDC and RNDC artistic director
emeritus Sherry Zunker, and gifted to GDC in 2007.
Congrats to designer John Ansehl whose fabulous work was featured on the COVER of Interiors Magazine for its 15th- anniversary edition! The issue celebrates the top ten designers (of which he is one) whose "contemporary work will withstand the test of time. Great stuff John!
It was thrilling to see my Antiques Roadshow segment revisited on 3/27! If you didn't catch it, here's the appraisal of my Playboy Bunny memorabilia by Laura Woolley.
So much fun in one blog post! How do you stand it?! I hope you enjoyed this fun-filled recap, all from the comfort of a favorite lounge chair! I will be your boots-on-the-ground reporter so you can just relax and read. Have a great spring and thanks, as always, for taking the time for Candid Candace!
Love, as always,
P.S. Something to make you smile!