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The Philadelphia Antiques Show kicked off the 41st show, 2002 Americana Theme, at a Preview Party on Friday, April 5th at the Philadelphia Armory. The Philadelphia Antiques Show is recognized as one of the finest American Antiques and decorative arts show in the country. Fifty-six of the nation's leading dealers gathered to showcase their finest Americana. This year's loan exhibition, This Glorious House Stenton, featureed fabulous furniture and artifacts from James Logan's 1730 country home. Stenton, which is maintained by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a pristine example of a Quaker plantation. Included in the loan exhibition are pieces of furniture original to Stenton that have never been seen publicly.
 
The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia hosted a Black-tie, 75th Birthday Celebration on March 30th at the Rittenhouse Hotel to honor one of the towering musical figures of our time cellist, Mstislav "Slava" Rostropovich. After cocktails in the Cassatt Lounge guests sauntered upstairs for dinner and dancing in the ballroom. Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix prepared an authentic Russian feast, including caviar for all. Then, on April 2nd, Rostropovich, his fingers flying deftly over the cello strings, performed with the Chamber Orchestra at the Kimmel Center to a nearly full house. Ignat Solzhenitsyn, the Chamber Orchestra's principal conductor as well as an accomplished pianist in his own right, and Slava have had a very close friendship all of Solzhenitsyn's life, so the concert was ended with a special song that the two played, unaccompanied.
 
This year's Book and The Cook, now in it's 18th year, started with an advance preview party on February 20th at the Ballroom in Loew's Hotel, where the participating restaurants came together to prepare enticing dishes. The week officially started March 15th and ran until the 24th with around 100 different dinners, luncheons, brunches and cooking demonstrations from area restaurants such as, the Sansom St. Oyster House, Jake's, Dilworthtown Inn, Django, Zocalo, Avenue B, and Philadelphia Fish and Co. Here are some highlights from a couple dinners we attended at Davio's and Opus 251.
 
Each year, the Girl Scouts of Southeastern PA honors area women who have achieved notability in their chosen field in the Take the Lead Awards. This year, at the Four Seasons on March 18th, honorees were Philly's District Attorney Lynne Abraham, Kathryn Kolbert of the the Annenberg Public Policy Center and NPR, Liz Murphy, COO of the Delaware River Port Authority, Charisse Lillie, Partner at Ballard, Spahr law firm, John Street's Chief of Staff Joyce Wilkerson, and UPenn's VP of Public Safety. After the awards were given and the girl presenters saluted the recipients, the girls sang to the crowd, showing everyone that their auction bids and support have a direct impact.
 
At the ninth annual ChefAid to benefit MANNA (Metropolitan AIDS Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance) on Sunday, March 10th, this year held at the Hyatt Regency at Penn's Landing, over 300 people came to support and recognize the group. MANNA delivers three meals a day to area victims of AIDS, and/or their dependents. It was a colorful and lively gathering in many ways. The shimmering rainbow tablecloths and abundant rose arrangements reflected the bouyant and celebratory nature of the night and it's straight (but not narrow) and gay guests. A bittersweet note was sounded between sets by the always amazing Eddie Bruce band though as the evening's host, KYW's Pat Ciarrocchi rememebered her late friend and former co-worker, Siani Lee, previous years' host.
 
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