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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

 

The Goodman Theater’s annual Gala fundraiser is one of the most anticipated black-tie events, and this year is no exception. Chicago native Mandy Patinkin will headline the affair, taking place this Saturday at the Fairmont Hotel (200 N. Columbus). Known as the “musical force of nature,” Patinkin is a Tony Award-winner for his performance in Evita and an Emmy Award-winning Best Actor for his portrayal of Dr. Jeffrey Geiger in “Chicago Hope.” Impressive? Of course, but with a pedigree that includes entertaining audiences through film, television and stage over the past 30 years, recognition is inevitable.

Gala Co-Chairs and Students

Gala Co-Chairs and Students

The evening kicks off at  6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception, followed by Patinkin’s 7:30 p.m. performance with Paul Ford (recognized Broadway pianist) on the piano. The duo will cover an array of favorites ranging from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Stephen Sondheim, Harry Chapin and Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. The music continues after dinner, when guests will have the opportunity to put on their own “performance,” dancing to the sounds of Gentleman of Leisure.

The annual Gala is hosted by Goodman Theater’s Women’s board, with proceeds benefiting the Goodman’s Educational and Community Outreach programs. Goodman Women’s Board members Sondra Healy and Cynthia Scholl are the Gala Co-Chairs and Keith Green is the Corporate Chair this year. For tickets and information about the Gala, call Katie Frient, at 312.443.3811 ext. 586.

 

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Roy Vombrack Orchestra

Roy Vombrack Orchestra

Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Teamrebecca_1

 

 

 

 

The guests who attended the Alzheimer’s Association ‘s 22nd annual Rita HayworthGala last weekend left with more than full tummies, tired dancing feet and great swag. The most valuable take-away was the message that “Alzheimer’s is not an old persons disease.” Traditionally held on Mother’s Day eve, the Gala was established by Princess Yasmin Aga Khan to pay tribute to her mother (Rita Hayworth) who died from Alzheimer’s Disease on Mother’s Day weekend in 1987.

Blaise La Briola and Princess Yasmin Aga Khan

Blaise La Briola and Princess Yasmin Aga Khan

The theme this year was “An Evening in Monte-Carlo,” based on the intoxicating location that served as a playground for legends like Hayworth herself. The Chicago Hilton was transformed into the historic Casino de Monte-Carlo, where guests enjoyed complimentary casino gaming, cocktails, a lavish hors d’oeuvres spread, dinner, dancing and live entertainment. Co-chairs Michael and Barbara Urbut of Naperville, along with general chair princess Yasmin Aga Khan delivered poignant speeches that coincided with touching video presentations, leaving it hard to find a dry eye in the house. Deerfield resident Wendy Miller received civic honor for her twenty years as a volunteer and philanthropist.

This year, the Gala had a little something extra to honor. A labor of love,  “”THE ALZHEIMER’S PROJECT” finally aired on HBO this week (it is expected to re-air, however the full documentary series is available for viewing at www.alz.org), after several months in the making.  The documentary was made in an effort to change the way America thinks about Alzheimer’s.  Today, the disease is the second-most feared illness in America next to cancer and may affect as many as five million Americans. While there is no cure for the disease, “THE ALZHEIMER’S PROJECT” shows that there are reasons to be optimistic about the future. Whether or not you have or know someone who has Alzheimer’s, the documentary is a bit tough to view in some instances. However if knowledge is power,  then this is probably one of the most powerful presentations yet.

Barbara and Michael Urbut (Gala Chairs)

Barbara and Michael Urbut (Gala Chairs)

The event raised nearly $800,000 this year, with donations still coming in. Funds raised at the Rita Hayworth Gala directly support the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission of providing care and support resources for individuals and families impacted by the disease, as well as funding groundbreaking research to the cause, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s. For more information about the Alzheimer’s Association, visit www.alz.org.

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

Mike Ditka and Mikayla Sweeney

Mike Ditka and Mikayla Sweeney

 

Bright lights and big dreams came to life during the 22nd Annual Wish Ball last Saturday. More than 700 guests filed into Chicago’s Union Station – and not to take a train. The space was transformed into an area ripe for bidding, eating, drinking and dancing. Honorary Chair Mike Ditka, former head coach of the Chicago Bears, was on hand to greet guests and show his support for the Foundation. Also on the scene were six “Wish Kids,” sporting big smiles and their Sunday best.

Before the seated dinner, guests perused the silent auction items while making their way through a mini Taste of Chicago, sampling bites from the Park Grill, cibomatto, Blue 13, La Madia, Morton’s and Mike Ditka’s. Emceed by Peggy Kusinski of NBC 5 Chicago, the night included a special show by performers from The Second City and Barack Obama – um, that would be our very own Street Teamer Reggie Brown!

Peggy Kusinski (NBC 5 Sports) and Reggie Brown (NBC 5 Street Team)

Peggy Kusinski (NBC 5 Sports) and Reggie Brown (NBC 5 Street Team)

The live auction raised some serious cash for the Foundation with enticing items such as a private dinner party at the winner’s home, prepared by Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard ($10,000) and an opportunity to race a Ferrari 355 Challenge race car ($12,550). At the end of the evening, guests enjoyed dancing to the Bluz Brothers Band and sampling sweets from a dessert table donated by the Affina Hotel.

Proceeds from Wish Ball 2009 will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois, helping to grant nearly 150 of the 700 wishes the Foundation will give this year to Illinois children facing life-threatening medical conditions. This event is made possible by support from generous sponsors, including sponsor GATX Corporation and Platinum Sponsors Baxter, Macy’s, PotashCorp and Unum. Since being founded in Illinois in 1985, the Foundation has granted more than 8,000 wishes. For more information, visit  www.wishes.org or call 312.602.WISH.

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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team

Volunteers and supporters of President Obama got all dolled up and gathered at McCormick Place on Tuesday evening, January 20th, to celebrate the inauguration of our 44th president! Go Obama!

PS: Fellow Street Teamer, Reggie Brown, does an awesome Obama impression in the video!

Check out more celebratory videos at JenChicago.com!
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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team
Chicago Inaugural Ball at McCormick Place
Chicago’s celebration for President Obama
Tuesday, January 20 @ 7pm $175

“If you can get to DC, GO!” says the website for Chicago’s Inaugural Ball honoring President Obama. That’s right; once again, Obama’s grassroots campaign members are self-organizing and hosting an authentic ball experience right here in the president’s home town. From dinner to comedy, champagne to dancing, this night promises to be a presidential celebration like only our beloved city can do!

If you haven’t noticed, Chicago is SUPER stoked to see the president take office on Tuesday, so brace yourself for a par-tay! The buzz has been building and one can faintly hear the champagne toasts already! What’s more is that I’ll be there shooting a video of the event, and I will definitely need some dance partners! So come on out and cut a rug for the new president! You’ll have a great story for when you get back to work… on Thursday.

Cash bar. Formal attire.

McCormick Place
2301 S Lakeshore Drive
Chicago, IL 60616
South Loop
312-791-7000
http://www.chicagoinauguralball.com/index.html

Check out Jen
Chicago.com for sweet videos!
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Chasity Chaos, NBC Chicago Street Team

Why bring in 2009 at a club when you can party with a purpose? This New Year’s Eve, the River East Art Center (435 E. Illinois) and Diageo Brands (Don Julio, Ciroc, Nuvo) are hosting a black tie gala in support of three athlete sponsored foundations. These foundations include: The Luol Deng Foundation, For the Good of the Neighborhood Foundation, and The 8 Foundation.

From 9pm to 2am, guests can indulge in a premium hosted bar, hors d’oeuvres provided by one of Chicago’s top catering companies, a surprise celebrity performance, and a silent auction featuring memorabilia from Chicago Bulls and Bears legends.

The countdown and balloon drop will begin promptly at 11:59:50pm and will be lead by a surprise celebrity host. Guests will not only have the opportunity to mix and mingle with Bears and Bulls players, but also with the leaders of some of Chicago’s most prominent organizations.

The lavish décor for the evening will be provided by Kehoe Designs.

There are limited advance tickets available for $75 or $120 for couples. Tickets at the door are $150 or $200 for couples.

To purchase tickets for the event and to gain additional information, visit TheArtofCelebration2009.com.

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