Mon. September 17, 2012 12:00 AM
by Terrence Chappell
Time is so very precious because it's the one thing we don't get back. I've never really grasped this trite albeit truthful concept until in recent years when I reached middle age in gay years, 25; I kid, I still have at least three more years until I expire in the gay community, :). However, on a serious note what others see as a problem or even a relentless fact of life I see as a blessing. Because we don't receive any time back, we have the privilege of choosing how and whom we spend our time with. Also, because I've truly grasped this concept of time and have really treated it as a blessing, the people and the situations that I would've put up with when I was younger no longer take up my time.
Without a doubt, I've been blessed to spend my time covering worthwhile events, dynamic causes, exciting endeavors, and the people that make it happen.
Chicago House and Social Service Agency's CEO Stan J. Sloan opened up his home in Wicker Park for a cocktail reception that offered guests an inside look into the charity's new TransLife Project. The new program will provide scattered site housing, career, and healthcare support that are exclusive and specific to transgender people. Sloan believes that too often the "T" in LGBT is silent and that the program will be a step in the right direction of "embracing their transgender brothers and sisters." Guests included writer and HIV counselor Zachary Stafford, The Fag Who Could Fly performer KOKUMO, Center on Halsted's head Modesto Tico Valle, and my date Vanite salon owner Kinley Preston as well other activists and other members of the transgender community. Guest KOKUMO is on the same page with the charity head when it comes to the trans community and it's developing program.
"I really do love Stan's concept, I'm in complete support of it, and I look forward to working with them," said guest KOKUMO.
I feel honored to have been included in the conversation as a listener and observer and I too look forward for what's to come from Chicago House's TransLife Program.
I was invited for a sneak peek media dinner at Red Violet, 121 West Hubbard Street. I already know what you're thinking; just another restaurant added to Chicago's most favorite playground that is Hubbard Street. I know because I was thinking the same thing. However, Red Violet cooked away any sort of skepticism on my part and whisked my palate away to a modern take on authentic, traditional Chinese cuisine. The intimate evening of other media professionals, notable foodies, and other tastemakers featured five savory courses to only be complemented with a starter and topped off with some delightful desserts. In particular, the first course, which was a tea smoked duck breast served with black garlic soy and hot mustard set the tasty tone the night's experience. Ending the courses with a classic filet mignon wok seared filet with pistachio, spring onion, spicy soy glaze served over potato basket was a strong finish. Seeing that my weekend nights are usually spent at my local White Castle, I wouldn't say that I have the most sophisticated palate, but thanks to my Mom, I do know when thought, time, and effort is put into a meal. Consulting Chef Gene Kato did a great job at preparing and collaborating with Red Violet's executive chef for a well-curated culinary retreat.
"The whole idea of the menu was to create an upscale Chinese menu that was lighter for Americans. We also wanted to give the chef some room to grow with the menu," said Kato.
Out in the Park was simply a blast. This was my first time going to the big gay event at Six Flags and most certainly will not be my last. This event was just so much fun because honestly I got to be a kid again. The usual concerns of networking and black-tie etiquette were whatever with and my major concerns were should I ride the Superman or the Raging Bull first. Even better, the Park stayed open after hours until 1am for an exclusive party that featured live DJ sets from Mattew Harvet and of course local fixture DJ Phil Da Beatz with a dance party in Hometown Square of the park; and the rides even stayed running for the after party! Best Gay Cities' founders Michael Snell and Derrick Sorles did a great job at planning and banding together the city's LGBT community for a day out at Six Flags. Proceeds form the event went to benefit Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN).
I stopped by the Chicago Culture Center to toast famous Chicago Sun-Times society columnist Stella Foster. Foster is noted for her prolific coverage of celebrities, exclusive events, and overall people and endeavors of interest to the city. As a budding columnist, it was so great to even be in the company of another columnist who has built a successful career and network from her written words. Now, I'm not one to gossip but I heard that all the top restaurants in the city were vying for Foster to host her retirement party at their restaurant. Instead of selecting a particular place, Foster had them all come to her! Top dining destinations such as RL Restaurant, Wildfire Chicago, Gibson's Steakhouse, and other top names rolled out the culinary red carpet for the famous columnist. Guests included blogger Candace Jordan, Rahm Emanuel's press secretary Tarrah Cooper, Michael Jordan's ex-wife Juanita Jordan, and other notables. Congrats to Stella Foster on a great career and thank you for leading the way for the rest of us.
What: Couture & Cocktails
When: Friday, September 28, 2012
Where: McGrath Lexus Chicago, 1301 North Elston
Cost: Tickets for the event range from $150 dance party ticket, $300 general admission ticket, $600 VIP ticket, to a $1,500 supermodel ticket, $6,000 VIP package ticket, and a $15,000 supermodel VIP package. Visit: Joffrey.org/coutureandcocktails for more information and to purchase tickets
Who: The Women's Board of the Joffrey Ballet
Insider's Scoop: This year's chairs Sonya Y. Jackson and Kristina McGrath has a real treat in store for guests. Major corporate sponsor United – also the exclusive and official airline for the Joffrey Ballet- teamed up with other major sponsors for an evening of celebration for fashion and the arts. Guests can expect a runway fashion show presented by Neiman Marcus featuring designs by Pamella Roland, a live auction, and a dance party with Joffrey dancers completed with Skinnygirl specialty cocktails and Chicago food trucks. As the top go-to fall fashion event of the year, Couture & Cocktails' co-chair Jackson encourages people to really express their personality through their fashion and just to just have fun with it.
"What people should wear to the Couture & Cocktails is whatever makes them feel fabulous. Different from any other events, you'll see on the invitation it reads black-tie, cocktail attire, or whatever. You don't have to pick from an expensive store or pay a fortune for an outfit to come to this event. The thing I love about this event is that you see some of everything. You see people in long gowns. You see people in cocktail dresses. You see people in outfits that are just funky and chic and that is what is fun about this event," said Jackson.
Until next update, be sure to pass the blessing of your time to someone.