On the Town with HughE Dillon

Doug Kammerer's surprise birthday party. Plus, a fairy-tale wedding on the Radnor Hunt grounds, and Jennaphr Frederick's magic (?) bracelet

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was busy as I was out and about enjoying parties and photographing fascinating people. Friday was great; Dark Fields was filming across the street from my 9-to-5 job, which was distracting. Tomorrow I will be doing a special entry on the movie as I’ve had a few observations that you won’t find anywhere else.

Surprise!!! That’s what about 80 of CBS3 meteorologist Doug Kammerer’s friends shouted as he walked through the doors of Roosevelt’s Pub at 22nd & Walnut in Philadelphia. Doug’s wife, Holly Kammerer, tells me that Roosevelt’s is Doug’s little slice of Cheers. Owner Ellis Walding tells me he was happy to oblige Holly’s wish to have the party at his place because Doug’s a good friend. In fact, the ruse to get Doug to the pub was that they had moved card playing night to Saturday this week.

Doug told me that he had already had one of the best surprises for his 35th birthday when the night before his mom flew up from Florida. Funny story: He was wondering why his mom hadn’t called him all day to wish him happy birthday. Finally he called his parents’ home and his dad said she was out all day and at that moment was at the store. Next thing you know mom comes strolling through the front door at the Philadelphia Kammerer house to a very surprised and happy Doug. Brothers Devin, Danny and mom Dette. (Missing the event was dad Douglas Sr., and brothers David and Dustin. Yes all their initials are D.K.)

Also on hand were his football buddies, friends from high school, folks who flew in from other states and colleagues from CBS3, Fox29, and NBC10 (where Doug once worked). Top row: NBC10’s Justin Pizzi, CBS3’s Nicole Brewer, CBS3’s high-energy traffic reporter Bob Kelly, Carrie Kelly, CBS3’s Jim Donovan, and CW Philly 57’s Jen Connor.

Also in the house Lindsay Kravitz, Tony Rufo, Jr., Kaci Mitz, Drew Milstein, Kellen Economy, Justin Wineburgh, Brett Rosenbloom, Julio Gálvez, Sampan’s Randal (he’s channeling Madonna trying to go by one name now), Jessica Scott, Jamie Reibenbach, Lewis Ratti, Leah Como, Erin Como and Danny Schyler and newly engaged Dave Warren and Allison Frick. The couple is planning to get married in August near Dave’s family in North Carolina. Allison tells me it’s going to be a quiet affair, but very southern with activities over four days. They met through Allison’s sister Gigi Frick, who had just met Dave the night before but thought Allison and Dave would make a better couple. Allison, who was living in Florida, was here in Philly visiting her sick grandmother, and although she was only in town for a few days trusted her sister’s judgment and went out on a blind date with Dave the following night. Sure enough, Gigi was right and the rest is romantic history. 

On Saturday afternoon I drove out to Radnor Hunt to join in the celebration of the fairy-tale wedding between Lisa Gaudio and Jimmy Kazanjian. The two married 26 years after their first engagement. After meeting in high school, they began dating after graduation and got engaged. But after buying a house and planning the wedding, they called it off in 1982. Gaudio moved to the west coast and after she found herself divorced years later, she decided to call and check in on Kazanjian after she had a re-occurring dream for more than a year. Her dad, original Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio, walked her down the aisle on the beautiful, but windy day on the Radnor Hunt grounds. (Next week, I’ll be there for the famous Radnor Hunt Race.)

Gaudio wore off-white cowboy boots and a gorgeous Lazaro gown, while her horse of 24 years, Choices, stood by her. Katharine James designed the engagement ring, necklace, earrings and wedding bands. The bridesmaids wore cowboy boots to match their dresses as well.

Father Michael Marrone performed the ceremony, peppered with lots of memorable stories and blessings. The bridal party, left to right: Lisa’s children, groomsman Nicholas D’Amico and maid of honor Brianna D’Amico (caught the bride’s bouquet), Lisa and Jimmy, and Jimmy’s children, best man James Kazanjian and bridesmaid Kristina Kazanjian.

Longtime friend Jerry Blavat made the bridal party introductions, as the Chatterband played “December 1963 (Oh What a Night).” When the new couple was introduced, they came in to “The Second Time Around” by Shalamar. I got goosebumps and teary-eyed, as I’m sure many of the guests did.

Then Blavat introduced Huntingdon Valley native Jarrod Spector, who is currently on Broadway in “The Jersey Boys,” which is the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons (he plays Frankie). Jarrod serenaded the couple with The Climax Blues Band’s “I Love You”; and later in the evening for the father/daughter dance, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” Jarrod told me that he’s friends with Lisa and Jimmy, and he was honored that Bob Gaudio asked him to sing at his daughter’s wedding.

Fathers and daughters: Bob Gaudio, Toni Valli, Lisa Gaudio and Frankie Valli. Olivia Polci, whose father is another original Four Season, Gerry Polci, sang two songs for the couple: Nora Jones’s “Don’t Know Why” and an unbelievable, chilling-in-a-good-way version of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll.”  WHY don’t I have a video camera? It was so amazing, and she’s only 17 years old. Her mom tells me that she just finished playing the lead in her high school’s production of Gypsy.

My dance partners for the evening were Fox29’s Jennaphr Frederick and NBC10’s make-up artist Cari Brescia. I asked Jen why she had the “Kabalah” bracelets on. She explained that they are called Brazilets; Brazilian wish bracelets are supposed to bring you a good-luck wish when you wear them. But they are supposed to fall off within 30 days, and then within 30 days of that, your good-luck wish is supposed to come true. A few of her co-workers at Fox29 got them at the same time; Mike Jerrick‘s fell off after 10 days, and then his daughter got engaged. Jen tells me she has no idea why they haven’t fallen off yet, and even has had her kids pull her around by them. I say make another wish or help them along with some scissors.

Dancing the night away with friends Chuck Peruto, Jr., Carol Tamburino, Renée Marino, who met Jarrod Spector (on right) when they both played in “Jersey Boys” in Chicago. She played Mary Delgado, Frankie Valli’s first wife.  Jarrod told me that he was able to get “tonight off, but would be doing the matinee of Jersey Boys the very next day so there would be no cheesesteaks this trip.” Other guests enjoying the evening included Sabrina Tamborino Thorne, Steve Thorne, John Colabelli, Lauren O’Dorisio, Joseph Kotarski, Frederick Mingozzi, Shannon Gaudio, Michelle Fleury, Nancy Becker, Jennette Derderian, and Fran and Stewie Stone.

Did I mention there was no electricity on this magical night? The winds had blown down some trees on the property, and they landed on the electrical wires. The generator could only handle the band, the kitchen and a few lights. But the glow from the bridal party and the guests (and three dozen candles) were all that was needed to light the room. In fact I didn’t even realize the lights were out until I went to the bathroom and someone handed me a flashlight.

(Special note of thanks to my neighbor Judy Kasser who lent me her car when I discovered at the last minute my Suburu tire had a nice-size bolt in it. I would have been crushed to have missed Lisa and Jimmy’s wedding.)

Tune in Tuesday for a Dark Fields update: The film is at the midway point and a party was held at Fox & The Hound Saturday night. Bradley Cooper stopped by to party with the crew for about 30 minutes. Robert De Niro, who was just a block away at dinner with his wife Grace Hightower, skipped it.

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