Fashion FORWARD: MGO Fashion Salon Showcases Spring Fashions

:::::::DOOO WHOP…FASHION….FASHION..DOOOO WHOP…FASHION!!!:::::: (thinking of David Bowie’s hit “Fashion” while I write this).

Sisters extraordinaire, Michelle and Melissa GOmez, of MGO Fashion Salon, had all eyes on them (as shy as these two usually are) while they held their own at the MGO 2nd Annual Fashion Show Spring Collection (extravaganza).

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Jaslene Gonzalez (Season 8-America’s Next Top Model) flirts with the camera at the MGO 2nd Annual Fashion Show

There were quite a bit of food, plenty of festivities a ton of FASHION, this spring evening as the show was held at Griffin Lounge, located at 326 W. Chicago Avenue. It was a  suitable venue for the show. A long “T” shaped runway was set up right next to the VIP booths, off in the side room, next to the DJ booth and it ended up being just right for the show and it’s many models that would showcase the newest line MGO has to offer. It was not only an appropriate venue, but a perfect locale for the event.

Fashionitsa and Fashionisto, from Latino Fashion Week, Arabel Alva-Rosales and Cesar Rolon would open and MC most of the event that featured clothing designers; James De Colon, Hector-Javier Monarrez and Freddie Rocha Soledad whose Spring collections were all showcased.  Jewelry designs by Katia Carreno and a men’s collection also by Freddie Rocha Soledad were also featured in the show.

It was a funky set up backstage, prior to the show, where I noticed a host of talented hairstylists, fashion stylists, coordinators, photographers, lots of Moroccan Oil (product used by the stylists), and one of several make-up artists, Hernan Rivera (Sin Cosmetics), who seemed quite relaxed while applying make-up to one of the star models of the show, Jaslene Gonzalez (America’s Next Top Model- 8).

Jaslene, who I had never met before, was a sweet young (was celebrating her birthday that day as well), beautiful and genuinely nice, took a minute to talk to me, while getting her hair “did” and make-up on. She told me how she had made the special trip from New York City but not only for the show as another gig, but as she said it, “to support the ones (Michelle and Melissa) that believed in me before I made it to where I am today”. Jaslene remembers where she came from and it was a nice gesture that she was there to show her support and talents for the show.

Jaslene was joined with other local celebrity models, Johana Londono and Betzaida Ramirez of Mega 95.5 Radio, to model some of the fare at the show as well as Nelly Carreno who hosted the show. Nelly also donned some of the fashions, as a guest celebrity model. She did some quick strutting down the long runway herself while showcasing a piece! 

The food, by “Vivo” Chef Vicente Duran was phenomenal– the clothes, shoes and jewelry were amazing and the company was top notch.

Friends like Vanessa Hall of the Mayor’s office of the City of Chicago, Cece Gonzales of Cece and Melinda, Tony Menchaca of Chicago Socialites and Phillip Herrejon of Chicago Metropolitan Dinner and Social Club were all in attendance, (along with many, many more…)not only to show their support to the local fashion boutique, MGO, but to take a look at the FRESH, cool new spring time fashions that would be offered at MGO’s Salon!

BRAVO AND GREAT JOB TO ALL INVOLVED!! It was a MAGNIFICENT SHOW, courtesy of MGO!! 

Photos courtosy of the following PHENOMONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS!!

Steve Starr- www.stevestarstudios.com

Joseph A. Pape Photography – http://www.midnite-fashion.com/homepage.html

Dean Paul Photography  – http://www.deanpaulcreative.com

Harlem Renaissance at Symphony Hall

OMGosh was my initial reaction when I heard the musical genius that I was privileged to witness at this concert. OH MY GOSH, seriously.  I’ve been to plenty of symphony performances in my life, especially this past year with my son who has been playing violin for a few years and all, but this last performance of the Chicago Sinfonietta last week was in one word, AMAZING!!

The Chicago Sinfonietta, in its 23rd season with its original conductor, Maestro Paul Freeman and guest conductor, 2007 Grammy Award-winner, John McLaughlin Williams (also the first African-American conductor to ever win a Grammy), were all that I love in a performance; pure culture, diversity, some educating moments and simply moving great musical performances.

While Paul took me through familiar, pleasant Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart favorites as well as other uplifting moments, I realized why he is the standing conductor and maestro of the Sinfonietta. He is GREAT.

I also truthfully appreciated the lessons, given by John McLaughlin Williams, probably intended for the visiting schools in attendance but taken in by me, of “Variants on a Texas Tune” performed by the Sinfonietta Orchestra piece by piece with commentary of how it was assembled by the original composer in 1937. I loved it and it kept my attention and interest.

Special guest artists on this evening were the Harlem Quartet featuring Ilmar Gavilan, violin; Melissa White, violin; Juan-Miguel Hernandez, viola and substituting for Desmond Neysmith was Russell Rolen, cello; who were all magnificent, in my opinion, truly, magnificent.

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Harlem Quartet members comprised of four young Black and Latino players who bounced off each other during the performances. They were a pleasure to follow and take in their skills, each in their own right first, as individuals and second as wonderful collaborators that formed works of art.
It was evident that they’ve spent years to bring in the diversity of their cultures to the music they chose to perform for the Chicago audience. They received resounding applause at the end of each performance and the audience immediately embraced their assorted and new way of serving up classics as well as original selections (“A Train”).

The Harlem Quartet knew exactly how to not only keep the attention of the young audience members, who may have been given a whole new respect and enthusiasm towards this type of musical performance, to follow in the performer’s footsteps, but also to audience members like me who knows only simple straight forward classical music to be performed by the symphony. This was a true treat and I loved it and stayed at the edge of my seat the entire performance.

Insert Photo by – Jeffrey Horstein

en Chicago Hearts Ache for 8 year old Cashmere Castillo's Family

I along with many are saddened and ache by the heartbreaking loss of eight year old Cashmere Castillo and YOU may be interested in helping the family…

In the Albany Park community, Alderman Margaret Laurino and the Eugene Field Advisory Council have set up a fund for the benefit of the Cashmere Castillo family. 

Donations may be sent to:

Cashmere Castillo Memorial Fund
Albany Bank and Trust
3400 W. Lawrence
Chicago, IL  60625

Read Mary Schmich’s column

All Hands on Dec

Billy Dec was awarded the Fil-Am TV Asian American Hall Entrepreneur Award, Cook County Treasurer Maria Papas’ Asian Pacific American Entrepreneur and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Asian Pacific American Community Leadership Award this past week– (WHEW– I got it all out in one breath!!)…WELL DESERVED!

Billy is a very prominent figure in Chicago and he’s just a decent guy. He’s made a lot of himself and his heritage.

I remember when Rockit opened a few years ago, and I know it’s been hard with all that goes into running restaurant, a nightclub and starting another right in the middle of a recession!! But Billy defeated the odds and sure does know how to find great people to perfect a mac n’ cheese like no other!

Billy is all over the place– and rightly so! He’s the guy (along with partners Arturo Gomez and Brad Young) that gives savy flannel a whole new meaning and right here en Chicago! Billy (along with Arturo and Brad) run 2 of the most popular restaurants in the city, Rockit Ranch and Sunda and also run one of my favorite after event spots, Underground nightclub.

One of the many awards was presented to at the James R. Thompson Center this morning but on Tuesday Billy received awards at the Cook County building. Later Tuesday evening Billy (in all his humbleness) threw a very eloquent party for his team and some close friends. Governor Pat Quinn and Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias were also in attendance. It wasn’t anything over the top but a really nice gathering and way to say thanks to his friends and team for being behind him all these years. It was a very nice touch.

I met Billy’s mom, Celia at the party, while chatting it up with Linda Yu of ABC 7 News Chicago and they were the highlight of my evening. Celia is a true personality so you can see where Billy gets his shine from. She was a delight and a proud mom.

Billy is truly deserving of the honors he’s received this week. He’s a hard worker, a great entreprenuer and an asset to the community he serves.

At Sunda, the food was magnificent, plentiful and drinks were great. It was evident that all had a fabulous time celebrating Billy’s recent accomplishment.

It’s really nice to see a person who deserves to be rewarded for their hard work and ambition, while making his dream a reality but also keeping in mind where he comes from. 

GREATJOB BILLY!!

BRAVO, CONGRATULATIONS AND WELL DONE!!!

 

Photos courtesy of Ivy Espana, Rockit Ranch Productions

The Forgotten Women of Juarez

I received a gift today, a box of Vosges Chocolates, from a friend. A welcomed surprise, really. I guess it was a late mother’s day gift, possibly. Sweet though– but it became very bitter when I inspected the packaging more closely…then my heart got sore.

There was a band around the packaging of my sweet gift (we call it a belly band in the magazine world). It was pretty pink and white work of art. It had in large letters, “VDay {The Azetc Collection}” on it. I was intrigued. It sounded lovely…I thought the cover art was possibly done by a woman in Juarez, Mexico and they were exposing talents in the region– AWESOME… Until I continued to read the band, it then turned from intrigue to disturbed… It read: “Solidaridad con las mujeres de Juarez (Save the Women in Juarez)”. My heart immediately got sore. I continued to read the side of the band, “Join us in the raising funds and bringing international attention to this issue to put an end to the rampant violence against women and girls in Juarez”. The people at Vosges were trying to make people aware– ME AWARE. I wanted to cry as I had never heard of this before today.

I stopped, regained my composure and because of the person I am, I had to find out more on the matter.

Femicides, the new word of my day. A really nasty word. It means that over 400 unsolved murders of women, of Juarez, Mexico, in the past decade and many still missing. Website after website, horrific facts stunned me. Why was this happening? I immediately thought of the only thing I could do for the women in Juarez– make others aware just as I had been made aware today.

Why isn’t anyone talking about it? Why isn’t anyone doing anything about it? I just read recently that Michelle O’Bama and Margarita Zavala (first woman of Mexico) were hanging out recently in Mexico. I hope it wasn’t to discuss the latest fashion trends…seriously. Was the subject broached, at all? I hope so…With the increased immigration problems we are facing in the United States, things will become increasingly dire and desperate for everyone in this country and instead of the numbers of femicides decreasing, the numbers will increase.

These women work in sweat shops that cater to the United States. Why are they not protected at all. They are young and live in poverty, that’s why this is happening to them. When poor, young women disappear, some believe it’s not supposed to matter. It’s not fair and it needs to stop NOW!

It seems only victims’ families are talking about this problem. But more needs to be done NOW! More awareness, more focus and definitely more needs to be done to prevent  these horrible acts on the young women and girls of Juarez, Mexico.

I thank Vosges Chocolates who made me aware of this problem. I feel like I was living under a rock for me not to know about it. Now that I do, I want to help it be addressed. Thank you Vosges Chocolates for your tasty gift and making me AWARE!!

Viva los Schmoozers

The 10th Annual Chicago Latino Network’s (CLN) opened the doors to the House of Blues to just over 600 members and friends of the organization on Friday night. Founder and CEO, Jaime Viteri brought the annual Schmoozefest event to enthusiastic partygoers and it was a fest to remember.

After some genuine appreciation and praise for the past 10 years of success along with presentations, and introductions of the night’s festivities that would follow, Jaime handed the mic over to hosts for the evening, LaMega’s own Betzaida Ramirez and David Miranda. They were later joined by Telemundo’s Nelly Carreno. They had the crowd going as open boxes of beer were passed around the floor and food was plenty…The party had just begun!!

After a few hours of schmoozing, catching up and mixing with friends, Mexican-American Lila Downs took the stage performed for the snazzy clad crowd at around 9 p.m.

Lila has an Indian look to her where some would think she was straight out of the movie Pocahontas, with her flowing long hair and Indian themed wardrobe. Although I had never heard of Lila Downs prior to the show, I did like her “earthy/Indian” sounds that flowed along with the ultra familiar Ranchera-Jazz mix type of music. She captivated the audience and they looked pleasantly at the presence that captured the stage and filled the sounds with her smooth voice.

I along with other professional partygoers enjoyed the festival that lasted well into the night and early hours of the morning. It was a fest filled with fun and Schmoozing for all to remember. Viva los Schmoozers!!!

Chicago Latino Network photos courtesy of: Miguel Zuno, Jr.

Lila Downs concert photos courtesy of: Daniel Tomei, Tutto Bene Photography office@tuttobenephotography.com   http://www.tuttobenephotography.com