It wasn't even five years ago when I was a junior at the Missouri School of Journalism working on features and hardcore news stories. I'm pretty sure I wrote an obituary every now and then. After graduation, I was pretty confident that I'd be that reporter to get the scoop on hard-hitting news. HA! My column is hardly hard-hitting news, unless you count fabulousity (I totally made that word up) and checking out the best Chicago has to offer as hard-hitting news. I'm sorry Ms. Rowe, my magazine editing teacher, but this is so much more fun!
Michigan Ave. magazine celebrated its 2nd year anniversary party at the House of Blues. The place was packed with scenesters, the usual elite, and tastemakers. Grammy and Oscar award-winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson hosted the soiree with Niche Media CEO Jason Binn, Michigan Ave. editor-in-chief Susanna Negovan, and publisher Dan Uslan. Now, I always thought that Jennifer Hudson was a great looking talent, but I must say that she has truly blossomed into an even more vibrant beauty. Hudson was the highlight of the evening with her two performances and the crowed loved her. Guests enjoyed specialty cocktails courtesy of Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka, Don Juilo, Sapparo or could try their luck at the Horseshoe Casino gaming booth. I was fresh out of college when I was an editorial intern at Michigan Ave. magazine, so it's great to see that the book is still going strong. Congrats to the Michigan Ave. magazine team on another successful year and for snagging such a great Chicago native for the cover. Photography by JeffSchear.com
The good people over at HALO, a chain of upscale gentlemen's spas, invited me over to their cocktail party at their South Loop location at 1351 S. Michigan to benefit Movember. According to the website, Movember is a growing mustache charity event held during November each year to raise funds and awareness of men's health. I've never been to a charity event…well any event for that matter where both the men and women were rocking mustaches! Of course the women were sporting fake mustaches…I think…didn't want to embarrass myself by asking. People are encouraged to grow mustaches for the month of November to support the cause and HALO will remove the stache for free of charge after the month of November. Because I'm stuck in my adolescents, I don't have enough facial hair to grow a mustache, but I did buy a T-shirt to support the cause! It was also great to see Bob Patrizi, HALO's owner, at the event. I first met Bob years ago, so it's great to learn that he's supporting such a fun and important cause that affects his clientele.
I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening party for Chicago Cut Steakhouse restaurant, 300 N. LaSalle. With David Flom and Matt Moore as proprietors and an impressive host committee of social heavy weights including Candace Jordan, Kristina McGrath, Bill Zwecker, and other notables, Chicago Cut Steakhouse has a very promising future. The restaurant has also attracted names such as Mayor Daley, Linda Johnson Rice of Johnson Publishing, and former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers for dining. Honestly, when I first got the invite, my first thought was does Chicago really need another steakhouse? And the answer is yes, yes, yes, and more yeses! Everyone knows the way to my heart and reporting is through my taste buds; though I probably shouldn't admit to that one. The new steakhouse offered guests an absolute delish selection of hors d' oeurves that included seafood, steak, a desert platter, and other treats. For lunch, expect to pay on average anywhere from $10 to $20 for salads and sandwiches while the steaks range from $22 to $40. If you're dining for dinner, seafood ranges from $16 to $19. The entire event was just a big tease for my pallet, so I'll definitely be back for dinner!
I was invited to a personal grooming day at the penthouse suite of John Allan's located in the center of the city's financial district at 111 W. Jackson BLVD. Now, I've only been to John Allan's in the past for a few cocktail parties; one of which I actually got to meet John Allan himself. Allan is absolutely hilarious. He has a certain grandfather charm when telling his stories and everyone loves it! So, I didn't really know what to expect as far as services. Upon my arrival, I was greeted with nothing but smiles. Between the luxe treatment and the great service, I was convinced the staff thought I was someone else! My day included the signature full service: a haircut, a very relaxing scalp massaging shampoo and conditioning treatment, a manicure, and a shoeshine. The annual membership is $720.00, which includes a year worth of full service visits plus two gift certificates, and a 10% discount on additional John Allan services. Not bad at all considering what you get and most definitely a step up from a certain Halsted street "gym and spa" that I know some of you like to frequent; shame on you! I kid, I kid.
I have to give a shout out and a huge congratulation to my friend and renowned celebrity photographer as well as author Steve Starr on the launch of his newest book STARRLIGHT – Glamorous Latin Movie Stars of Early Hollywood. The who's who of Chicago's social scene attended the private launch party, held at River North's Rumba. Starr's guests enjoyed eats by chef Benjamin Soto, live entertainment by the ivory tuxedoed Los Tropicanos, and even left with goody bags with special gifts that included a silver star-shaped bookmark,a glass star-shaped votive, and of course Starr's hand-signed, sought-after book hardbound in silver linen. I've seen Steve dozens upon dozens of times at events in the past. However, the first time I officially met him was at Center on Halsted's Oscar party at the Fairmount last year, and he's been snapping pictures of my friends and I at events ever since with my constant question of "Is it Facebook worthy?" So, congrats Steve and thanks for always making my pictures beyond Facebook worthy!
I was absolutely elated when Effen Vodka asked me to host another one of their Art of Design events. This time the event took place at the West Loop's Victor Hotel, a much more spacious choice, so all my guests were able to get in, sample some specialty cocktails, and make new friends. Once again, the event featured several mixologists competing for the title of best Effen-infused cocktail. Guests voted for their favorites by placing a marble in each mixologist's selected bottle at the table. The winners were the yellow team for their cocktail titled summer don't go. The yellow team included Danny Rossi of VLIVE and Halsted Street's very own Shawn Hazen of Roscoe's Tavern. The gay community was well represented at the event, so it didn't hurt that Hazen was as delish as his cocktail! Congrats to Effen Vodka and LimeGreen Entertainment for putting on another successful event! And if you want to give Hazen and Rossi's summer don't go a try, here's the recipe:
2oz EFFEN® Black Cherry
3 2" chunks Watermelon
3 Basil Leaves
1 oz. Simple Syrup
Juice of ½ a small lemon
Slice ½ of a cucumber into small pieces and muddle with EFFEN® Black Cherry in a shaker, add in watermelon, 3 basil leaves ripped in half to release flavor, simple syrup, lemon juice and ice. Shake and serve up with cucumber slice garnish.
P.Y.G. celebrated its last night out before the new year at J Bar. Although we are still in our infancy, it's great to see my idea transition into a working project and become an actual reality. Guests could opt in for a complimentary fortune reading by Barbara Meyer, or socialize and network with other guests. In support of Dan Savage's It Gets Better Campaign, guests could contribute their video recorded advice, suggestions, or words of encouragement. A portion of the proceeds went to benefit Center on Halsted and its programs. I'd like to thank the good people at J Bar, my board of directors, Center on Halsted, Barbara Meyer, ChicagoPride's own Anthony Meade, and everyone who came out to support P.Y.G. Stay tuned as we have a whole new calendar of events planned for 2011.
Until next update, I'll be back to report, "Nothing but the facts maam."