2015 Academy Ball Featuring Al Pacino

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Philadelphia’s annual white-tie gala to celebrate the Academy of Music’s birthday — it’s 158th! — took place Saturday night at Academy of Music and the Hyatt at the Bellevue. Nearly 1,400 people attended the grand celebration which raises money to restore and maintain the Grand Old Lady of Locust Street.

The evening began with the chairman’s pre-concert reception held at the Academy of Music. Guests dined on Jose Garces catering of lamb chops and crab and eggplant sliders, and enjoyed an open bar. The MRB Jazz Project entertained guests as they mingled and posed for the society photographers on hand to capture society’s most celebrated and time-honored traditions, where men were dressed in white tails and women in ball gowns, white gloves and a few even wearing tiaras.

The concert began a little past 7:30 p.m., as Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Al Pacino took the stage. Pacino joked throughout his piece that he wasn’t sure what he was going to do on stage; it reflected the audience’s likely thoughts when it was first announced Pacino would be the special guest after decades of musical guests like Sting, Billy Joel, and, last year, Jill Scott.

But Pacino didn’t disappoint, as fans of his movies were excited to hear his dialogue, often punctuated by laughs from the audience. And he did entertain as he did a monologue from Shakespeare’s Richard III while the orchestra played William Walton’s Preludio dalla colonna sonora. Then Pacino recited an e.e. cummings poem as the orchestra performed Copland’s Clarinet Concerto in the background. Pacino was a unique choice for a headliner, and was a complete success, delighting the audience.

After the concert, guests took part in the annual promenade up Broad Street to the Hyatt at the Bellevue for the Ball. Along the way guests were entertained by the Delaware County Christian Academy Choir (2013 More 101 FM Choir competition winners!), The Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble on Broad Street and The Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School Choir at the Bellevue. The 158th Anniversary Concert and Ball co-chairmen were Linda Fynes Siegfried and Joseph F. Coradino. The Young Friends co-chairs were Christie Honigman and Brian Lipstein.

Photos from the Academy Ball after the jump »

Hair O’ the Dog 2015

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The 21st Annual Hair O’ the Dog gala took place Saturday night, January 17th, at the Crystal Tea Room in the John Wanamaker Building. Hair O’ the Dog was started in 1995 by friends and business partners Dan Cronin and Robert Molinaro (of Chorus Communications) as a small party of friends and has grown into a must-attend 1,000-strong charitable event.

This year, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Philadelphia chapter of UNICO, which provides clothing to the homeless. Often described as an adult prom, the glamorous event attracts guests who really dress in their gala best, from black tie to gowns, cocktail dresses to your best dark suit.

I’ve gone to about five Hair O’ the Dogs, and this was by far the best: The crowd was beautiful, the event was well-organized, and the space was perfect. I’ve never seen the Crystal Tea Room used so well.

The lounge outside of the ballroom was dubbed Ibiza, and there guests could lounge on sofas, hang at cocktail tables, be entertained by feathered dancers, and dance to the tunes of DJ Montone, all while enjoying gourmet hors d’oeuvres and a light buffet.

The main ballroom was dubbed “Sin City,” a Vegas-inspired area with reserved tables, an extensive silent auction of sports memorabilia, and rotating musical acts — The Rockets, DJ Dan Cronin, Maxim Model, DJ Paola Shea of CBS’s Big Brother and, at midnight, Natalie Guercio of VH1’s Mob Wives debuted her new song, “Throttle” — with a light buffet served all night.

The final room was the super exclusive Miami bottle service room; entertainment included DJ Bizz, Mr. Robot, lighted dancers, and the Jewelz dancers. The standout of the night was definitely the dresses. I’m running a few of my favorites, which ones do you like?

Photos from Hair O’ the Dog after the jump »

Screening of The Maestro at Curtis Institute

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Friends, supporters and patrons of the arts gathered at the Curtis Institute of Music on Saturday night for the screening of Maestro, an intimate, unprecedented glimpse into the life of a renowned conductor and a vibrant, contemporary portrait of the world of classical music. For two years a film crew followed Grammy award-winning conductor and Curtis alum Paavo Jarvi, violinists Joshua Bell and Hilary Hahn, as well as an array of other musicians to show the importance of classical music and music education.

More photos from the Curtis screening of The Maestro after the jump »

Lobbyist Holly Kinser’s Birthday Party

Annie McCormick, and Monica Malpass of 6ABC with Stacey Jorgensen, center

On Friday night at Stratus Lounge at the Hotel Monaco Holly Kinser celebrated her 50th birthday and marked 25 years as a lobbyist in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Many notable political figures, including former Pennsylvania Governor and Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, Mayor Michael Nutter and two 2015 mayoral hopefuls, Anthony Williams and Doug Oliver, were on hand to celebrate with her, as well as friends in the hospitality field like Angela Val, Mickey Rowley.

Longtime friends Mia McDonald, Nina Tinari and Peter Longstreth also turned out to help the beautiful, vivacious blonde celebrate her milestones. In lieu of gifts they were asked to make a donation to the Philadelphia Children’s First Fund for the School District of Philadelphia or the Arden Theatre Company.

More photos from Holly Kinser’s birthday party after the jump »

Malcolm Jenkins’ Blitz, Bow-Ties and Bourbon

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Philadelphia Eagles player Malcolm Jenkins hosted Blitz, Bow-Ties & Bourbon on Monday night at Union Trust Finley Catering, a fundraiser for his non-profit, The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation (TMJF). Many of Jenkins teammates came out to support his first area fundraiser, including Jeremy Maclin, Connor Barwin and Brandon Boykin. Many of the guests attending adhered to the dress code and wore bow ties, including some from Jenkins own line, Rock Avenue Bow Ties.

The evening began with a VIP cocktail party in the mezzanine where guests enjoyed food tastings from Treemont, and Bank and Bourbon as well as treats from Chip Roman’s candy line Tradestone Confections where the artisan chocolates were paired with various bourbons.

Brian Bevilacqua, a bourbon master at Bank & Bourbon, chatted about the various bourbons on the market with the guests. At 6:30, more guests arrived to enjoy the festivities, bid on the silent auction, enjoy a delicious spread by Finley Catering as well as small plates from Sbraga, and The Farm and the Fisherman. Comedian/magician Darrell Fisher was on hand as entertainment as well as auctioneer, successfully selling a trip to Mexico for $6,000, a Tiger Woods signed golf club and original paintings.

Malcolm Jenkins and his mom, Gwendolyn V. Jenkins, President, The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, thanked the guests for coming, and told them the money raised at the event would go to expand the foundation’s programming to support youth in the Great Philadelphia area. The foundation has existing programs in New Jersey, Columbus, Ohio, and New Orleans. After the program, guests enjoyed the sounds of Valarie Adams & the Dimensions and packed the dance floor as dessert and coffee were served.

Photos from Blitz, Bow-Ties & Bourbon after the jump »

Children’s Crisis Treatment Center’s 14th Annual Roundup

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You might have thought the rodeo was in town had you passed the Franklin Institute on Friday night. The Children’s Crisis Treatment Center held its 14th annual Roundup to raise much needed funds for CCTC’s efforts to assist Philadelphia children and their families who are coping with the impact of behavioral health issues, traumatic events and other challenges that affect childhood development.

This year’s event chairs for the western-themed event were Lavinia and Michael Smerconish, who honored Andrea and Warren Kantor. Guests were asked to leave their tuxedos and gowns at home, and instead encouraged to wear their their best cowboy and cowgirl apparel (which many of them did) for a night of cocktails, delicious cuisine from Frog Commissary, and dancing to the tunes of EBE Entertainment. There was also an extensive silent auction with sports tickets, vacations and theater outings.

Did I mention the mechanical bull? That was a very popular spot all evening.

Photos from the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center’s Roundup after the jump »

12th Annual In Fashion! Luncheon and Fashion Show

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Norisol Ferrari and Tony Alcindor.

Last week, the Cancer Support Community (CSC) hosted the 12th Annual “In Fashion!” Luncheon & Fashion Show at Saks Fifth Avenue on City Avenue. Nearly 100 ladies lunched, mingled and checked out fashions featuring special guest designer Norisol Ferrari.

New York-raised Ferrari popped onto the NY fashion scene about three years ago, and draws on her Venezuelan roots to bring a world culture experience to all of her cutting-edge designs, many of which were inspired by icons Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth.

The day started with cocktails and conversations at 11 a.m. At noon, guests sat down for lunch and enjoyed a fashion show featuring Norisol’s designs modeled by local cancer survivors and professional models. There was a silent auction, and there was shopping, as Saks generously donated a portion of all sales during the event to the Cancer Support Community and local families living with cancer. Co-chairs for the luncheon were Lydie Szabo Brown and Wendy H. Rosen.

Photos after the jump »

Little Smiles 7th Annual Stars Ball

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Little Smiles lit up the lives of 12 children living with life-altering diseases at the Seventh Annual Stars Ball on Saturday night, November 22nd, at the Please Touch Museum, the perfect spot to host an event that celebrates children.

The evening began with a VIP dinner for the little stars in the carousel room, where they dined on dishes by Brulee Catering, and enjoyed a ride on the carousel. Then it was lights, camera, action as they made their way down the red carpet, signing autographs and posing for fans.

Fox 29’s Alex Holley and Matt Paterson, president of Little Smiles, handed out mini Oscars along with gift bags to the celebrated gifts. A buffet dinner was served, as guests checked out and bid on the extensive silent auction items available. Afterward, the guests danced till closing to Funktion 11 before heading home with memories that will last a lifetime. Since 2011, the Stars Ball has raised $350,000, and is the main source of revenue for Little Smiles. Proceeds help the organization put smiles on the faces of local children battling chronic or acute illnesses or experiencing other life-altering situations. For more information, visit www.littlesmiles.org.

Photos after the jump »

NMAJH’s Only in America Gala

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The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) held its annual Only in America Gala on November 20th, and this year the theme was The Roaring Twenties. The stylish crowd enjoyed cocktails, dinner, and dancing; it was nice to see many of the guests get gussied up in styles of the era: flapper girls, G-men and jazz. Gala chairs Beth and David Blum and their committee did an excellent job evoking a speakeasy feel for the ballroom, which event producer Fred Stein produced with stunning atmosphere, lighting, and table settings from Pencora Productions.

Ivy L. Barsky, CEO, and Gwen Goodman, director of the NMAJH welcomed the guests and discussed some of the important Jewish moments that occurred in the 1920s, the first talkie made it’s debut — The Jazz Singer, based on a screen play by Alfred A. Cohn — was released, and Hank Greenberg signed with the Detroit Tigers. Proceeds from the evening go to the educational programs and experiences that preserve, explore and celebrate the history of Jews in America.

Photos from the Only in America Gala after the jump »

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