Saturday night the Rittenhouse Hotel was the scene of a lively bingo game — except that the guests were not the blue-haired ladies I’m used to playing with. The night was called Blingo, as every winning card won a prize that was blinged-out, with proceeds from the evening going to find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare, fatal disease which afflicts only boys, usually by the age of 5, most of whom die in their 20s.
Mistress of ceremonies for the evening was WMMR’s Marisa Magnatta who assisted in the Blingo games with local celebrities John Bolaris of WeatherSavior.com, comedian Joe Conklin, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback A.J. Feeley, CBS3’s Stephanie Stahl and former Gov. Ed Rendell,who called out the numbers for Blingo. Jesse and Beka Rendell, along with Sonal and Manu Gambhir, were co-hosts of the gala. During the program the Gambhir’s son, 13-year-old Yuva Gambhir, who has Duchenne and is in a wheelchair, spoke on how the disease affects his life.
His body may be weak, but his mind is sharp, he said, and he talked about the future cure which was just on the horizon. We were all smiling through our tears during his speech.
Photos from Blingo after the jump »
On Saturday, WDAS held its First Annual Women of Excellence Luncheon and paid tribute to the “Sheroes” who are essential contributors to the Tri-State Area. Surprise guest Mary J. Blige received this year’s WDAS Trailblazing Woman of Excellence Award — which will be renamed next year the “Mary J. Blige Woman of Excellence Award.”
The afternoon’s Sheroes included:
Faatimah Gamble, Universal Companies
Susan Slawson, Commissioner, City of Philadelphia
Sheinelle Jones, News Anchor, Weekend Today
Dr. Robin L. Smith, Relationships Expert
Tanya R. Hill-Holliday, McDonald’s Owner
Sister Margaret McKenna
Rochelle Yates Whittington
Rhonda E. Willingham
At the event there were performances by Kenny Lattimore, Johnny Gill and Tamar Braxton, who all wowed the crowd at the five-hour luncheon at the First District Plaza in West Philadelphia.
Photos after the jump »
At the Phillies home opener on Monday, the fans gave former Phillie and current Boston Red Sox star Shane Victorino an extended standing ovation for his first time back at Citizen Bank Park since being traded to the Dodgers in 2012. Shane told me he really appreciated the love given to him. Last night he and his wife, Melissa Victorino, hosted friends at an intimate dinner at Palladino’s on East Passyunk. About 45 people attended the private dinner party prepared by chef Luke Palladino, a fundraiser for the Shane Victorino Nicetown Boys & Girls Club, which the Shane Victorino Foundation helped renovate with a million-dollar donation in 2011. The proceeds from the dinner and raffle items will go toward supplies and sporting equipment for the kids. Shane and Melissa told me that Philadelphia would always be their adopted hometown: They have many friends in the area, visit occasionally and still maintain a house here. Wouldn’t it be great if he retired a Phillies player?
Photos from the Shane Victorino Foundation dinner and fundraiser after the jump »
Thursday night the Philadelphia Academies, Inc. threw their annual shindig “The Party” with 300 guests filling the Fringe Arts/La Peg Brasserie building at 40 N. Columbus Blvd. The theme this year was “Out of the Box,” which Lisa Nutter, President of Philadelphia Academies, Inc. (PAI, ) and First Lady of Philadelphia, says is about creating a career by following your own path, even if it doesn’t fit society’s norm. PAI supports Philadelphia public school students with career-focused programs that prepare young people for employment and post-secondary education, and student ambassadors from Roxborough and Abraham Lincoln high schools were on hand to espouse the virtues of the program.
During the event, David L. Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast, accepted PAI’s The Party 2015 Stand and Deliver Award in recognition of the company’s commitment to innovation. Also honored were 2015 honorary chairs David Devan — general director, Opera Philadelphia, and Seun Olubodun, owner, Duke and Winston. PECO was presented with an Academy Award, for the company’s deep commitment to the PAI model, accepted by Mary Krick, PECO’s vice president of human resources; as was ESM Productions in recognition of the agency being a long-standing partner of PAI, accepted by ESM president Scott Mirkin. After the program, guests enjoyed delicious food, spirits, and dancing by the dueling DJs.
Photos from Philadelphia Academies Inc.’s “The Party”
The Four Seasons ballroom was filled to the brim on Friday night for the 13th Annual Donors are Heroes Gala otherwise known as “The Party,” a title it richly deserves. As soon as you walk in the door you are swept up with the smiling faces of friendly people, some whose lives have been saved my an organ transplant — like co-founder of The Party Don Freeman (his donor’s mother was in attendance) — others who have donated organs to save a life — like Mary Pat Kessler who gave her sister a kidney — and others who are simply aware of the benefits of choosing “yes” to organ donation on their drivers licenses, and putting those instructions in their do-not-resuscitate documents. That’s where the funds raised at this party go to: maintaining public awareness programs, school summits and teaching initiatives, all of which are geared toward educating and dispelling the myths surrounding becoming an organ donor and emphasizing the need for life-saving, life-enhancing transplants. Guests at The Party enjoyed fine cuisine (Four Seasons, City Tap House Logan, Serafina, Brown Betty and Night Kitchen, to name a few) and spirits, during their break from the real party which was happening on the dance floor to the sounds of Eddie Tully and songstress Jessy Kyle.
Photos after the jump »
On Saturday night, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Eastern Pennsylvania held their 2nd annual Red & White Ball at the Westin Hotel in Center City. More than 500 well-dressed attendees wearing the colors of the night — red and white — walked the red carpet and posed for photos, before joining the cocktail party and checking out the silent auction items ranging from trips, to experiences to sports outings. There was also a raffle to win a brand new 2015 Mercedes-Benz SUV.
At 8 p.m. guests headed into the dinner in the Grand Ballroom to honor a courageous young woman, 15-year-old Karlee Hofmann, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) as a child and lost the use of her legs, but with treatment beat cancer. She attends Council Rock High School, has lots of friends, participates in many activities and is a remarkable cheerleader. (You can make a donation in her honor here).
Photos from the Red & White Ball after the jump »
Friday night The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra (PYO) organization hosted its annual gala and concert, an evening of music, art and dining at the Union League in Center City. Board chair Frank Giordano and president and music director Louis Scaglione were on hand at the cocktail party where they greeted guests who dined on light bites and checked out the art show and sale by the prestigious Studio Incamminati artists, many of who were on hand for the event.
After the cocktail party, guests headed into the Grant Ballroom for dinner. It was there that Mayor Michael Nutter was presented the Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Support of Arts, Culture and Education in the City of Philadelphia by Giordano and Scaglione. After dinner the guests headed upstairs to Lincoln Hall for the 75th Anniversary concert by the The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra.
Photos from the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra gala after the jump »
On Friday night, Philadelphia hosted its 3rd Annual United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Mayor’s Masked Ball at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The UNCF provides scholarships for 60,000 students attending 900 colleges and universities. It also provides financial assistance to 38 higher-education schools in its network, all of which are historically black colleges and universities. The Masked Award (Mankind Assisting Students Kindle Educational Dreams) honorees this year were Craig L. Adams of PECO, who was the co-chair of the inaugural gala, Joseph M. Casey, SEPTA General Manager, and former school superintendent Dr. Constance Clayton. There were several notables in the audience, including legendary singer Billy Paul, Tuskegee Airman Pierce Ramsey, Reverend Dr. Alyn E. Waller, First Lady of Philadelphia Lisa Nutter, Mayor Michael Nutter, Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO, UNCF, and Stephanie Humphrey, QVC host and mistress of ceremonies for the evening’s ceremony.
Photos after the jump »
The 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show opened on Friday, February 27, 2015, with a black-tie gala. Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail party under a marquee of beautiful flowers while surrounded by Caribbean pirates, playful rats, princesses, and chickens in the barnyard. This year’s theme is “Celebrate the Movies,” and as you may have guessed, there’s a large contingent of displays inspired by Disney movies as well as Hollywood classics. After the cocktail hour, dinner took place among the floral displays. As dinner ended at 10 p.m., guests joined the afterparty where DJ Montone and DJ Jason Weiss kicked off dance party which continued well after midnight. The Flower Show runs through March 8, with a schedule full of special events, celebrity appearances, and lots and lots of beautiful flowers and shopping.
More photos from the Flower Show Gala after the jump »
On Saturday, February 28th, the 2nd Annual Cheers for CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) was held at the Valley Forge Casino. This year the event was moved from the dance club to the ballroom to accommodate the 700 guests on hand. Philadelphia Event Planners gave that cavernous ballroom a night club atmosphere with reserved tables for 10, high tops and a communal table that ran the length of the dance floor; lining the walls were semi-private cabanas with their own servers.
The dance floor’s LED spelled out Cheers for CHOP, and to kick off the night the 1990s rap group Salt-N-Pepa (with DJ Spinderella) got the groove going by singing some of their biggest hits. DJ Bizz kept the party going by spinning till midnight, as guests enjoyed a banquet of food and dessert as well as specialty cocktails.
This year’s event raised $675,000 for CHOP’s Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy program — one of the first programs in the country to recognize the therapeutic value of play for hospitalized children. The evening’s special guest was 19-year-old CHOP patient Tom Gillin — who became Internet-famous last year with the Jay Z-inspired “Bald So Hard,” which he performed with Mike Mahoney. Photos from Cheers for CHOP after the jump »