Joffrey Ballet Premiers Merry Widow

The Joffrey Ballet delivers once again. The Joffrey’s current 2010-2011 Stars season is underway and featuring its Midwest premier of of Ronald Hynd’s “The Merry Widow” from Feb 16 through Feb. 27 at the Auditorium Theater.

The Merry Widow, set in Paris in the early 1900s, is about a rich widow and her countrymen’s attempt to keep her fortune in the principality by finding her the right husband. The show was extremely fun, exotic, and beautiful. The comedy play is a fun tale of elegance and naughtiness, accented with can-can dancers. You can’t go wrong with can-can dancers! The dancing, scenery and costumes were all a collaborative work of art.

The original story was written in 1905, by Franz Lehar and then later created into a neo-classical ballet by Sir Robert Helpmann. Joffrey Artistic Director for the production, Ashley  Wheater said, “It is an exciting opportunity to celebrate the 80th birthday of renowned choreographer, Ronald Hynd, by presenting the ballet during the Joffrey’s Winter Program.” Both Wheater and Executive Director Christopher Clinton Conway should be pleased with The Merry Widow and the reception each performance is receiving in Chicago.

Photos by Herbert Migdoll courtesy of The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. Used with permission. All rights reserved 2011.


Let's Hear It For The BOYS!!!

Chicago maven at large Sarah Vargo, recently gave tribute to the boys…her DIVOS.

Divos is a term of endearment that Sarah labels to her hand picked group of successful, classy and of course beautiful men of Chicago.

Sarah, owner of maven PR firm, is best known for her impeccable talent in public relations. She also hosts many events across the city that are very popular called the “Diva Series”. For this particular event, the party was for the boys. Fittingly enough she dubbed the it the “Divo Series”.

The classy, beautiful people all came out for the event that was held at House of Blues’ Foundation Room and once the room got packed, it stayed packed.

A refreshing crowd, fun coversation and great location made for an wonderful, fun-filled evening.

Although this was my first time taking in one of Sarah’s Diva(o) events, it definitely won’t be my last. Way to class it up Sarah!

Check out the photo gallery of the event, courtesy of Steve Starr who was also honored by being one of Sarah’s select Divos of the night!! Congrats Steve!

Akira Heats Up Chicago With Spring Fashion Line

Jon Cotay arrived in the United States from the Philippines when he was 12. Who would ever have thought when he was bouncing around after college trying to figure out if he wanted to pursue his career in nursing that this multi-talented, multi-cultural, entrepreneur would premier on the fashion scene with what was to be one of Chicago’s very own beloved fashion treasures, Akira Chicago.

Akira Spring Fashion Show

Jon Cotay of Akira Chicago Spring 2011 Fashion Show

Photo courtesy of Dean Paul

Along with two other college friends, Erikka Wang and Eric Hsueh, the trio launched Akira Chicago in 2002. The first boutique opened its doors in Wicker Park/Bucktown on North Avenue. Since then the enterprise has grown to 14 locations in Chicago and the suburbs. They’re still growing fast.

Akria’s owners credit their success to keeping their loyal and new customers happy by keeping their friends and neighborhood patrons in mind when they make decisions about what to put in their boutiques. 

Spring 2011 is no exception. Akira brought some gorgeous, vibrant and beautiful pieces to their already versatile line. The fashions were premiered at the Lyric Opera House of Chicago. It was an AMAZING, beautiful setting for a fashion show. A young female opera singer, from the Young Professional Chapter of the Lyric Opera Chicago, opened the event to the standing room only crowd of fashionistas of all ages who eagerly awaited the Chicago home-grown vision for spring.

The vibrant colors seduced me totally, reminding me of the selection of sorbets that fill the case at the neighborhood ice cream shop. The offerings for both women and men shimmered on the runway.

Simple, classic boat shoes for men, along with fedoras and lots of cardigans and jackets were among the selections. Beautiful silky flowing dresses, hot pants and midriff outfits dominated the women’s offerings.  And I’m pleased to see “yellow” is still the hot color of choice for the summer months. 

Denim is hot and designed for the Chicago weather, while maxi dresses never left our lakeside scene. Strappy sandals and florals were all around, and my ultimate surprise for the ladies: “bubble-gum pants”!! We used to wear those in the ’80s but I’m just sayin’!!

The designs and color pallets of Akira’s selected designers were limitless for Spring 2011 and I’m excited to shop for my Spring Break Trip NOW! What a HIT!!

Photos courtesy of Dean Paul

HOY, HispanicPro and Telemundo Soiree

Hoy Chicago, HispanicPro and Telemundo partnered up for a Winter Soiree that was held at Dana Hotel’s Vertigo Sky Lounge.

The event was designed in order to reach out to the young Hispanic professionals of Chicago that are opinion leaders and trend setters. Hosts were successful at their mission. 

Each of the partners felt that meeting and mingling with Chicago’s top Hispanic professionals, in a comfortable setting, will strengthen the link between various business, media outlets, government organizations, education leaders and non-profit sectors in our city, to help them engage in social media platforms and discussions.

The hosts were also successful at making the event an intimate setting of networking as well as a simple mixer that which the professional community looks forward to on a cold winter Chicago night


Check out photo gallery of the event, courtesy of Steve Starr.


John Leguizamo, the grown Ghetto Klown

John Leguizamo has been in Chicago for the past couple of weeks to perform his newest one-man production called “John Leguizamo Warms Up.” The warm-up is a two-week taste test for his new (also solo) pre-Broadway play “Ghetto Klown.” The show was held at the Royal George Theater and the real previews of “Ghetto Klown” begin on February 21 in NYC.


Photo courtesy of John Leguizamo

John’s Chicago stint helped warm up the week of our worst blizzard in over 100 years!! I have to say, I like this guy more than I did before. He’s earned his Chicago cred (credibility) by my standards.

I’ve grown up with John, and I  really do enjoy his work. I love (most) of his movies and yes, someone please tell John that I especially like the PEST. The PEST is very well adored piece of film history in my home.

BUT, while I was bursting into laughter in my seat during “Warm Up”, I also felt really sorry for the guy.

Don’t get me wrong, John performs like a master, I’m so glad I got to see him again. He’s talented and has a gift for getting through this so-called life through laughter. And, it also helps that he has a big contagious smile that always seems genuine.


“Ghetto Klown” is clearly John’s way of taking you on his life’s journey filled with trials and tribulations, family joys and disappointments, and he also gives you a peek at what it was like to be a member of the elite and not so elite movie casts, struggles with stereotyping, and full on agent dramas. He also sets you straight on why certain things are the way they are in his life. Underneath it all, John just keeps it real and still knows how to serve it up whether you grew up in Queens NYC or Humboldt Park Chicago.

Although sad at times, especially when the Eddie Santiago classic Salsa tune “Lluvia” would play– (I get it John, I GET IT!!!),  John wants his audience to delve deep into his journey. If you follow him and his method of madness that takes you there, you’ll enjoy the ride. I did love it.

(singing out loud):::::Lluvia… tus besos frios como la lluvia…Lluvia… que gota a gota fueron enfriando….Lluvia…  mi alma, mi cuerpo y mi ser… Lluvia… tus besos frios como la lluvia:::::

I hope to catch the full version of “Ghetto Klown” at a stage near me, soon.

Photos courtesy of Ghetty Images and John Leguizamo. Photos used with permission, all rights reserved.


PAWS Animal Magnetism

PAWS Animal Magnetism packed the house with beauties and hounds to help drive money for the organization that was held at Galleria Marchetti, on Erie Street.

Fabulous food, dessert, doggie treats and lots of live and silent auction items were featured at the event to help raise money for the chairity which holds the event annually.

Check out the great doggie pics and gallery, courtesy of Steve Starr.