Second Annual POPS Ball: “Pops of Gold”

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The Second Annual POPS Ball took place Wednesday night at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. The black-tie gala started with an hour-long cocktail party, with passed hors d’oeuvres and souvenir photos being taken.

Governor Tom Corbett stopped by and greeted the guests. At 8 p.m. guests sat down for dinner in the Grand Ballroom where Frank Giordano, president of the Philly Pops, welcomed the guests before the Philly Pops took the stage. Maestro Michael Krajewski conducted a 45-minute Philly Pops concert that highlighted the season, with guest pianist/singer Tony DeSare performing a selection from his “The American Songbook Then and Now,” which will be performed in its entirety in March with the orchestra.

After dinner there was dancing as the 65-piece orchestra performed for another hour, featuring fun numbers like “Bandstand Boogie” and “Mack the Knife” and concluding with “In The Mood,” which had the dance floor packed. Proceeds from the evening go The Philly Pops concert series and educational programs. The emcee for the evening was Pat Ciarrocchi, CBS 3 Philly

Photos after the jump »

10th Annual Chefs’ Dinner for PAWS

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The Philadelphia Eagles were playing on the road Monday night (and they won another nail-biter!), so Philadelphia’s finest chefs took over the Linc for the sold-out 10th annual Chefs’ Dinner fundraiser for the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

Chefs Chris Scarduzio, Jean-Marie Lacroix, Jason Cichonski and Tim Spinner to name a few were on hand to create a spectacular epicurean 3-course tableside food-and-wine pairing for 12 guests each. The night began with a VIP cocktail party before guests sat down for dinner. There was an impressive silent auction where cases of wine were sold, and a very lively live auction where a trip to France which sold for $12,500. After the dinner there was a party with the chefs where guests danced to the tunes of DJ Eddie Tully.

Photos after the jump »

Fifth Annual JAM Party for Cancer Research

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On Saturday night at Union Trust, JAM, a Philadelphia philanthropic movement consisting of individuals whose mission it is to support cancer research, held its 5th annual party to raise funds for those living with cancer. George Azar, co-founder of JAM, is a 14-year survivor of cancer who wanted to find a way to give back and thus created this event with John Frederick and Brie and Justin Bernstein.

The event began with a cocktail party at the newly renovated Union Trust which is now a Finley Catering event space. For two hours, guests had a chance to check out an extensive raffle auction as well as catch up with friends. A buffet was served at 9 p.m., and dancing started afterward to tunes by DJ Montone. Proceeds from the evening went to the America Cancer Society.

Photos after the jump »

Wistar Institute Opens Robert and Penny Fox Tower

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Friday night the Wistar Institute’s new, $100 million seven-story research building at 3601 Spruce Street bearing the names of two of its most committed and generous supporters, Robert and Penny Fox, opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and gala. Founded in 1892, Wistar has been dedicated to improving public health, eradicating disease, and expanding the boundaries of knowledge through biomedical research and training.

The evening began with a ribbon-cutting, then guests entered the Fox Tower to enjoy a cocktail hour and program in one of the new laboratories on the sixth floor. Former Eagles coach and master of ceremonies Dick Vermeil paid tribute to his friends, Robert and Penny Fox, for their donation which will help Wistar continue as a world leader in scientific discovery. Afterward, dinner prepared by Stephen Starr Events was served in several rooms on the fifth floor, including the atrium, which is the space that connects the new building with the older building.

Photos after the jump »

Kimmel Cancer Center Jefferson Tribute Dinner

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On Friday night, September 5th, The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) held the Jefferson Tribute Dinner at the Linc, honoring the Philadelphia Eagles.

Stephen K. Klasko, MD, president and CEO of TJU, spoke of the groundbreaking cancer research going on at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, and the generous $110 million gift by the Sidney Kimmel Foundation which will allow them to go lighting-speed ahead toward a cure for the horrendous disease. He was also delighted to announce that now that Market Street East is called Jefferson Station, people arriving at the station will be greeted by a TJU shuttle to take them to any of the buildings on the TJU campus.

He then praised the Eagles for all they do to raise funds for cancer research, and introduced Don Smolenski, president of the Eagles organization, who accepted on behalf of the team. Smolenski was grateful for the honor, paid tribute to those he knew battling cancer, and paid tribute to Phillies president David Montgomery in his fight against cancer. After dinner and the program, guests boogied down on the dance floor to the tunes of DJ Brickhouse.

Photos after the jump »

Restoration of the Chaplain’s Office Murals at Eastern State

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Tuesday night at Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP) sponsors and board members gathered to celebrate the newly restored Chaplin’s office and murals at the popular tourist site.

The murals were discovered in 1995, 23 years after the active prison stopped housing prisoners, and two years after the Eastern State Penitentiary Task Force took over the building to preserve it. Now the crumbling murals are now restored. Active fundraising began in 2007, and the work started last summer with the restoration completed this month by a team of art conservators.

From June 2013 through August 2014, the team carefully removed the protective Japanese tissue paper and wax that had obscured the paintings for 18 years while preventing the total loss of the 23 murals that line walls of the two rooms used by the Catholic chaplain. (Learn about the process here.)

The murals were painted by self-taught artist inmate Lester Smith in 1955, who signed them “Paul Martin” after his two favorite saints. When Father Edwin Gallagher, the penitentiary’s Catholic chaplain (1952-1958), witnessed Smith painting in his cell, he invited the inmate to decorate the offices where he met with and counseled inmates. Smith covered nearly every wall space with a beautiful mural. The Lester Smith family donated photos of the murals to the museum and they were used to help restore the murals.

Photos after the jump »

PHOTOS: Dîner en Blanc 2014

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Dîner en Blanc was another magical night under the stars for which Philadelphians packed their own dinners (although some guests opted to order from Di Bruno Bros. or Garces and pick up their meals at the secret location), brought their own chairs and tables, and waited at pre-determined meeting places for the 6:30 p.m. phone call that would tell their dining leader where the event’s “secret” location would be. (The dining leader then led the group to the location which could be up to two miles away.)

Guests dressed in white to take part in the pop-up culinary event, the second-most-attended Dîner en Blanc in the U.S. behind New York City’s. This year, the event was held on the Avenue of The Arts, with City Hall as the backdrop for the thousands of photos that were taken by the record number of attendees.

Each year the event seems to grow: The first year 1,300 people attended; last year 2,500 people went; and this year 3,500 people went. The très chic picnic began in Paris 26 years ago and is now taking over 40 elegant public spaces around the world. It’s a great community-building event, bringing all walks of people together. This year two couples got engaged during the event.

More photos from Dîner en Blanc after the jump »

A Midsummer’s Eve at the National Museum of American Jewish History

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The Young Friends of the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) presented A Midsummer’s Eve at the museum on August 14, 2014. Over 300 people — many dressed fabulously in white, the ladies with daisy headbands — enjoyed a kosher dessert reception by Betty the Caterer
and an open bar. The even, a celebration of Tu B’Av, the Jewish holiday of love, was held in the ballroom at the NMAJH, which overlooks Independence Park. Guest mingled with other young friends, posed for photos in front of the step-and-repeat, enjoyed views from the expansive fifth floor terrace, and danced to the tunes of DJ Robbie Tronco.

Photos from the NMAJH’s Midsummer’s Eve after the jump »

2014 Philadelphia Geek Awards

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Excitement reigned on the sidewalk outside The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University on Saturday night as the 4th Annual Philadelphia Geek Awards got underway. Guests, nominees, and presenters walked the red carpet and posed for photographers before heading into the museum to enjoy the the 90-minute cocktail reception held among the many fascinating exhibits in the museum including full sized dinosaurs, fossils, live butterflies and animal dioramas. Some 400 guests were dressed in “Geek Chic” and ready to party.

The Academy staff was also circulating with live snakes, owls, lizards, and bugs, and many people — including yours truly — took #Selfies to share with the world on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (#PhillyGeekAwards). Then the moment arrived when Geekadelphia co-founder Eric Smith and editor Mikey Ilagan opened up the ceremony with witty banter and gracious appreciation of the sold-out crowd.

Throughout the 90-minute ceremony, awards were given and the audience was entertained by the humor of the presenters and winners. Those geeks are smart and funny. The after-party was held at North Bowl, and was well attended. Many of the ladies told me they were excited to take off the heels and slip into some comfortable bowling shoes.

More photos and full list of winners from the 2014 Philly Geek Awards after the jump »

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