White Christmas at Sweetwater Farm and Grace Winery

Monika Brass, The Bryn Mawr Trust Company and FJ Leto, Inbound Marketing.

Vicki and Chris Le Vine, along with The Broadway Dreams Foundation (BDF), hosted the Fifth Annual White Christmas at Sweetwater Farm and Grace Winery (50 Sweetwater Road, Glen Mills, PA) on Sunday, December 14, 2014. The festive old fashioned piano party and cabaret featured performances by Broadway’s brightest stars (some of who took the night off from Broadway to be there.) and talented Philadelphia area BDF students (who have dreams of reaching Broadway one day.) Each year hundreds of students received valuable musical theatre training through BDF programs offered in partnership with Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

The BDF program is also offered in other cities around the country, but the Philadelphia program is the largest.

The evening was directed by Craig D’Amico (Fiddler on the Roof), with musical direction by Dave Barrus (Les Miserables), and choreography by Greg Graham (Billy Elliot). Featured performers included Leslie Odom, Jr. (Smash), Quentin Earl Darrington (Ragtime), Luke Hawkins (West Side Story), Donnie Kehr (Jersey Boys), Ginna Le Vine, Jen Perry (Kinky Boots), Ryann Redmond (If/Then), and Noah Rickettes (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical).

The Broadway Dreams Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to training, mentoring and providing career opportunities to the next generation of musical theater performers. Intensive programs are offered nationally throughout the year, led by an exceptional faculty of high-profile Broadway professionals. BDF offers significant scholarships to hundreds of participants each year, ensuring that all qualified students are able to realize their Broadway dreams regardless of their financial status.

Photos after the jump »

Palladino’s Restaurant Opening

Kristina Jenkins, Michelle Cassidy and Madison Alpern

Last night Chef Luke Palladino celebrated the opening of his new restaurant, Palladino’s, on Philly’s latest restaurant row — East Passyunk Avenue — with a VIP Party including Mike Jerrick, Pat Ciarrocchi, Barbara Rittenhouse, Deputy Mayor Richard Negrin and his wife Karen, Councilman Mark Squilla and wife Brigid, and Cory Wade (America’s Next Top Model) in attendance.

Guests were greeted by a 50-foot-long red carpet, where they posed for photos before entering the upscale Italian restaurant with bar, open kitchen and a dining room with 80. They enjoyed tastes from his extensive menu as well as specialty drinks by Punzone Vodka. The kitchen features a wood-fired grill where they prepare steaks, fish, and chops, as well as an Italian oven that will be used exclusively to bake focaccia. The official opening of the restaurant is tonight, but is sold out. Palladino’s is located a stone’s throw from Broad Street, at 1934 E. Passyunk Avenue.

Photos after the jump »

Jim Kenney’s Mean Girl 101

Jim Kenney, Chris Christie

Jim Kenney, Chris Christie

Like most people who were tweeting from the Linc on Sunday night, I’m going to assume that Councilman Jim Kenney wasn’t putting much thought into his 140 characters.

An Eagles fan, the possible mayoral candidate was annoyed when he spotted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie snuggling up to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in the skybox. Here’s what that looks like:

Admittedly, part of me likes that a Philly politician would not only publish those tweets but defend them. Councilman Kenney – who has a history of Twitter tantrums – didn’t take them down, explaining, “I have a big nose and he has a fat ass. Just as life deals you.”

But, as much as I enjoy Philadelphia’s unique brand of feisty real-talk, I can’t help but think the same thing I think every time someone attacks Christie for his weight: Kenney sounds like an idiot, and he probably needs a hug.

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Why “I Can’t Breathe” Matters

Dec 8, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) wears an " I Can't Breathe" t-shirt during warm ups prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.  Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 8, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) wears an ” I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt during warm ups prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There was once a time in sports where it was cool to be an anti-hero. Charles Barkley ran a money-making campaign to prove he was not a role model. Michael Jordan, the best to ever do it, never made it his business to prove that he cared about the community either, despite how the hood’s love of Jordans has kept his money long in the years after basketball.

“Republicans buy shoes, too,” he once said. (Or possibly didn’t. Either way, Jordan was famous for his non-political stances during his playing career.)

The 1980s and early 90s, the years of modern excess, were years where anyone could say anything what they wanted, because everyone seemingly had everything they wanted. It was easy not to care, especially if you were one of the world’s biggest athletes.

But something’s changed in a major way. There’s something very special happening in sports right now. People care.

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Fifth Annual Global Conservation Gala

The Philadelphia Zoo hosted its 5th Annual Global Conservation Gala, November 13, 2014 at the Hyatt at the Bellevue.

The Philadelphia Zoo hosted its 5th Annual Global Conservation Gala, on Thursday at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. The gala honors individuals, families and organizations for extraordinary contributions to wildlife and the natural world.

This year’s gala spotlighted the issues facing gorillas in the wild, addressing the impact of climate change and palm oil on endangered species. The gala also officially launched 2015 as the “Year of the Gorilla”, a zoo-wide commitment of resources designed to mobilize action on behalf of gorillas.

Joanna McNeil Lewis was recognized for her contributions and 27 years of volunteer work with the zoo, and was honored with the Conservation Impact Award. Gerry Ellis was recognized with the Global Conservation Prize.

Photos after the jump »

Cella Luxuria Grand Opening

COVER photo cella luxuria
On Thursday night, Cella Luxuria Furniture + Accessories celebrated the opening of their new super-chic showroom, ‎Domus‬, with a cocktail party where stylish guests enjoyed delish savories by Brulee Catering, Zavino Wine Bar & Pizzeria & decadent sweets by ‪Abbey Biery Cake Design‬.

Many of the guests were interior design professionals, real estate agents and Center City dwellers looking for home solutions to complete their apartments. Cella Luxuria has five floors of furniture, with the Domus showroom featuring more sleek modern stylized furniture — including the much-desired Calvin Klein furniture line. The Cella Luxuria showroom features reclaimed furniture and accessories, including an oversized chess set made of wood and elements of tools which I hope to find under my Christmas tree this year.

Cella Luxuria is featuring photo artwork by Philadelphia’s Kory Zuccarelli this month. Really talented guy. It was a nice party, they had a full band playing easy listening music while guests looked around and mingled, it was a nice touch.

photos from the Cella Luxuria opening after the jump »

Timberland Opening Party in Philadelphia

From left: Elizabeth Wellington of the Philadelphia Inquirer, with Cherri Greg, Kirk Wardy and Melony Roy, all from CBS.

The fashionable set was on hand Wednesday night to celebrate the opening of Timberland, 1709 Walnut Street. Before I stepped into the showroom, I thought: “How is Timberland going to survive by only selling those yellow boots?” But I was pleasantly surprised to find Timberland now has a complete lifestyle line: The popular yellow boots were still available, but now they had dress boots, shoes, clothing and outer wear for men and women. The store itself — formerly Alfa American Tavern — is appealing, too, with its exposed brick, wood beams and skylight. It’s not your parents Timberland anymore

I especially loved that customers can custom-make your own shoes, with the color of leather you want to use, the stitching, shoelaces and you can have them monogrammed. I can see that will be a big hit, especially for the holidays. Timberland is perfect for Walnut Street, as it goes under its latest transformation with high-end chain stores moving into the tony Rittenhouse Square area. (The next stores to open are Vans, which opens by Friday across the street, and nearby Michael Kors by the end of the year.)

Photos from the Timberland opening party after the jump »

I’m Pre-Gaming My 40th High School Reunion

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I spent some of this weekend trying to book a table for nine for lunch next Saturday, which turned out to be a lot more complicated than I thought. It seems a lot of places in my old hometown are only open for dinner on Saturdays. And that was a problem because my best high-school friends and I want to pre-game our high school reunion.

Well, not pre-game in the current college-student sense, as in “Get stumble-drunk before we even get to the party.” We’re not the drinkers we used to be, frankly. (And a couple of us never were drinkers at all.) But we want a chance to be able to talk and catch up without unfamiliar faces coming up to us in the dark and offering us hugs. (Note to reunion planners: You can’t read name tags in the dark.) It’s not like I never see my old high-school friends. A group of five of us have been getting together just about every year, sometimes with spouses, sometimes with moms, sometimes with kids, sometimes just by ourselves. We still get along, still make each other laugh and cry, just like we did when we were wearing hockey kilts, or “white shirts, dark skirts” for choir and band. Read more »

Jack Ryan: Rebooted

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Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Philadelphia showtimes

Armed with an unflappable understanding of justice and a haircut you can set your watch to, Jack Ryan was already a movie hero the second the late Tom Clancy committed him to paper. Given its easy appeal, the successful Clancy-inspired film franchise, inactive since 2002’s The Sum of All Fears, has been overdue for a reup. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit takes very few risks with the patriot and the formula, but its action serves as an ass-kicking reprieve from all that awards-season indigestion.

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