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February 27, 2013

Chappell Confidential

BY
TERRENCE CHAPPELL

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This past Feb. 5, I celebrated my 28th birthday. I've never been one to dread getting older even with the constant jokes from my family that I'm almost off the calendar and the notion that gay men expire at 30. However, I couldn't help but to look back on my life and reflect over what I've accomplished, my career, and where I'm going.

These thoughts turned into fears and well these fears turned into a quarter-life crisis. I kept on focusing on what I haven't accomplished, what I don't have and all the nots and n'ts in my life. This past month of events refocused my thoughts on how far I've come from being an intern and sending out my write-ups on a MS doc to anyone who would read it. I was reminded of my precious passport as a journalist that grants me an insider's look into events and people of interest around the city.

In particular, my interview with Equality Illinois's CEO Bernard Cherkasov just days before the EQIL Justice For All 2013 Gala and in light of the news surrounding the same-sex marriage bill put things in perspective. Cherkasox, a Jewish refugee fled his country in hopes of living the American dream. He is now the head of one of the nation's most diligent LGBT nonprofit organizations concerning equal rights.

Cherkasov's story, this past month's of events matched with my mom's reassurance and advice, I'm more comfortable knowing that it's how much you have acquired and how much you have accomplished, but how you act to pass on those accomplishments and acquirements onto others.

Founder and president of Luxury Management Ricardo Sebastian hosted his 2013 kick-off party at the new Chuck's Manufacturing, 224 N. Michigan.

Tastemakers, budding influencers, connectors, and other friends and associates of the growing boutique agency toasted Sebastian and his team on an impressive year and continuing the success into 2013. Since its inception in 2008, Luxury Management has grown into a full-service company with a portfolio, which include event and brand management as well as working with up-and-coming entrepreneurs on growing their brand.

The young agency has already cultivated a creative network of fashion designers including JuJu LaCour of Maison De LaCour. The Chicago designer kicked off the company's premiere fashion show tour during New York Fashion Week. With already one presenting fashion designer during NYFW under their wing and some upcoming exciting endeavors, Luxury Management has a bright year and future ahead.

Ok, now time for a ratchet story about the company's president and founder Ricardo; my write-up just wouldn't be complete without it. I'm so happy and excited that Ricardo and his company has a steak in New York Fashion Week. Because when we partied like rock stars in New York for fashion week in September of 2011 and decided to hit up the Harper's Bazaar fashion week party, do you know the editors had the nerves to kick us out!? I know, right, So, rude! Between the champagne and the shots, it's still not clear who yelled at the editor-in-chief on our way out, but the famous parting quote as we left was, "I wanted to go to Chipotle anyways!" And we did too! So kudos to Ricardo and his team on their role in New York Fashion Week and maybe next time we can send those Harper's Bazaar editors to Chipotle – two steak tacos with sour cream please!

As the new event chair for the Joffrey Auxiliary board, I was honored and excited to kick off the board's season with our annual Pointe of Departure art exhibition benefit.

Already in its third consecutive year, Pointe of Departure has attracted a loyal following of fresh, promising philanthropists who support the arts. This year, just overlooking the Joffrey Tower Block 37's penthouse, loft space lent its walls for the art pieces by local artists.

Event co-chairs Alan Swanke and David Kimball welcomed guests to an evening of commissioned art themed after American Legends, custom Skinny Girl cocktails as well as a host of silent auction gifts. Heavy hor ‘dourves were provided by Jewell Events Catering Services. RL's executive chef Ryan Pitts rolled out his culinary red carpet and served up his signature lobster rolls only complemented by a table of specialty St. Germaine infused cocktail flutes on deck. Local photographer and artist Mila Samokhina won the Best in Show Award for her art piece.

Bottom line, with over 200 guests the evening raised just over $24,000 for the Joffrey's programs and performances.

(Photos by Kenny G. Wassus for L+C)

With the recent news and momentum of the same-sex marriage bill, there was no other gala or place to be at then the Equality Illinois Gala at the Hilton, 720 S. Michigan Ave. in the Loop.

No other gala, benefit, or event in the city attracts quite as many civic leaders, dignitaries, and activists; ones that not only truly care but also stay after hours to dance with fellow guests. Gov. Pat Quinn isn't a bad dancer I might add.

This year, the black tie dinner featured notable power couple chef Art Smith and husband Jesus Salgueiro as chairs for the evening. Salgueiro shared with guests his take on love.

"Love yourself, find someone to love and on your way there, help someone else," said Salgueiro.

Equality Illinois Board member and Sidetrack co-owner Art Johnston shared a few words with guests as well.

"You all have a seat at the table of equality," said Art Johnston.

Gov. Pat Quinn continued to express his support for same-sex marriage by saying, "This year we're going to make and pass a law called Marriage Equality," to which he was met with a round of applause from the audience.

Celebrity chef and co-chair Art Smith of course inspired the Southern-inspired menu for the gala. And we're not talking your everyday romaine lettuce with ranch dressing. Personally, I enjoyed Smith's fried green tomato based hearty salad.

With over 1,000 guests, the sold-out gala brought the same-sex marriage bill full circle, connected the LGBT community, and above all reminded us of our enriching influence and power as one.

Until next update, let's crash some parties and if you get kicked out, just yell at the host that you wanted to go to Chipotle anyway!

 
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