Wed. October 23, 2013 12:00 AM
by Terrence Chappell
Famed hotelier and Studio 54 brainchild Ian Schrager hosted a private dinner at his very own popular mainstay Pump Room, inside Public Chicago, in honor of the restaurant's 75th year anniversary. Throughout the years Pump Room has been a staple among the jet set likes of rock stars, celebrities, famous families, politicians, and other society icons, and Schrager's dinner paid homage to the restaurant's rich and fun history. The evening also raised a glass to Chicago's new icons, which included: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Mayor Daley, Perry Farrell, Nora Dunn, Common, Desiree Rogers, Richard Melman, and MK & JB Pritzker. Not to be outdone by the dinner's guest list of social fixtures, Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten whisked guests away to a three course culinary adventure to the background of a live DJ set of one of my personal favorite DJs, Dj Madrid. Schrager turned to Chicago's current elite group of tastemakers and upwardly mobile to grace the walls of Pump Room
"When I took over the Pump Room, I was lucky enough to inherit the incredible photos of all of the celebrities, actors, comedians, musicians, artists, politicians and world leaders that graced the restaurant in its heyday. These photos now proudly line the walls of the Pump Room entrance and other public spaces in the hotel. In honor of this milestone, I wanted to create a new wall of photos of today's "Chicago Icons" that we feel represent the modern day cultural milieu," said Schrager.
The Women's Board of the Joffrey Ballet hosted their annual Couture and Cocktails at the historic Park West, which has become quite the signature fall fashion event of every year. Co-chaired by Sonya Y. Jackson for the second year in a row, and Kathleen Henson, this year's event attracted over 300 guests and took a theatrical approach with special performances by Joffrey ballet dancers adorned in famous costumes from Romero and Juliet, The Nutcracker, and Le Sacre du Printemps, and models rocking the runway with designer pieces from Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue, a major sponsor of the evening as well.
As a member of the Joffrey Auxiliary Board, I should say that my favorite part of the evening was the costumes or supporting the Joffrey as a whole. But why lie, the highlight of my night was when DJ Matt Roan blasted Juciy J's Bandz a Make Her Dance at such an unexpected event, of course by request of yours truly. The confused look on all the guests, in particular the older ones and their inquiries as to what the rapper is talking about was not only hilarious but priceless; certainly made for a memorable moment at Couture & Cocktails.
Behind every man and hair flip is a powerful woman. So, I was thrilled to attend this year's YWCA's Why Women Matter Leader Lunheon at the Fairmont Hotel. The luncheon honored influential women and their contributions to the community. Co-chair Linal Harris, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of U.S. Cellular, welcomed guests and expressed his humble honor of being asked to co-hair this year's luncheon and being the first male co-chair.
The event took an interactive approach to toasting its honorees by streaming personal interviews on large LCD screens with each honoree's fellow business colleagues before their acceptance speeches. In particular, I was proud to be there to support my friend Tarrah Cooper, Outstanding Leader Promise Award, Major Rahm Emanuel's press secretary. Tarrah delivered a touching speech that not only honored women who came before her but also thanked her mother – Tarrah's date for the luncheon was none other than her grandmother. Fellow honorees included: Margaret Stender, Chairman/Minority Owner, Chicago Sky and Co-Owner, Flow Basketball Academy, Outstanding Leader Professions Award; Connie L. Lindsey, Executive Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Northern Trust, Outstanding Leader Award in Community Leadership, Therese Fauerbach, Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, and Maureen Beal, Chairman and CEO of National Van Lines, Outstanding Award in Business; Sandra Finley, President and CEO of League o Black Women, Outstanding Leader Award in Racial Justice.
According to the website YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The luncheon also invited guests to support the mission all from the comfort of their seats by sending donations with their smartphones. Names of each donating guests was flashed across the room's large LCD screens.
I was knocking cancer out at the Barbara Bates Foundation's fashion show fundraiser at Venue One in the West Loop. Mother, daughters, and cancer survivors alike and in some cases women who have beat cancer multiple times walked the runway in Barbara Bates' latest designs. Board chair Dr. Wilbur Keith welcomed guests to an evening of empowerment and kicking cancer's while pretty in pink! Emcees comedian Sinbad and Fox news anchor Robin Robinson infectious and humorous chemistry offered a light edge to a very serious topic. One hilarious highlight of the evening was when Sinbad convinced designer Barbara Bates to twerk on the runway for additional donations from guest – and it worked! The evening raised funds to support the Barbara Bates Foundation and its mission to serving economically disadvantaged High School Seniors for prom attire, raising breast cancer education, and for Mount Sinai Hospital's cancer research for women. Board chair Dr. Keith thought the evening was a huge success!
"For over 25 years, Barbara has designed for the greatest of Chicago. We would like our guests to have walked away with the importance of mammogram screening, a heightened awareness of Breast Cancer in the African and Latino communities, and the art of Fashion. We also want them to have seen what giving does in any arena," said Keith.