HughE Dillon: Those Philadelphia Union Soccer Players Are Hot

Plus: A wine tasting at the Capital Grille, and celeb sightings about town

Longtime readers of my blog, know I often go behind the scenes at photo shoots for Where Magazine. Last Friday, I was invited to photographer Christopher Gabello’s studio to watch him shoot the tourism mag’s September fall fashion issue. The models were two hot players from the Philadelphia Union soccer team, who are playing a big exhibition game against Manchester United tonight at Lincoln Financial Field.

Prepping the guys for the shoot was Ettore of Ettore’s Salon & Spa at the Downtown Marriott. ABOVE: Philadelphia Union team captain Danny Califf is a 30-year-old central defender from California. Danny’s known for some of his crazy hairdo’s; he went with crazy sideburns this week. Makeup was applied by Ettore’s Marlene D’Ottaviano. At one point Danny asked an assistant to take a picture of him getting the makeup put on so he could send it to his daughter who is always trying to play makeup with him; he’s says he’s gonna have a hard time denying her now that he’s had it done.

Danny Mwanga, who turned 19 the next day, listens to Ellen Shepp talk about the Y3 clothing he is wearing. Danny’s from Oregon State University, and was a first overall selection pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft.

Danny Califf has three kids with wife Erin; they are Paige, Blake and Jude. Their names are tattooed on his chest. Pretty awesome … beats those baby books you always lose.


Monday evening I was invited to cover a wine tasting with the Manchester United coaches at the Capital Grille.

The coaches were running late, having just finished practicing at the Novacare Center in South Philly and tucking their the players in for the night. Sir Alex Ferguson runs a tight ship and wants the boys in bed early to get their rest before the big game tonight. ABOVE: Trainers Neil Hough, Rob Swire and Steve McNally.

By happenstance, Mayor Michael Nutter was eating in the restaurant too and asked to meet the visiting soccer team. ABOVE: Mayor Nutter greets Manchester United’s head coach Sir Alex Ferguson, as wine producer Concha y Toro’s Sebastian Lopez and Giancarlo Bianchetti look on. To the left is Miguel R. Miranda, managing partner of the Capital Grille.


Another British invasion happened last night when founding guitarist of the legendary band Queen, Brian May stopped by the Philadelphia Library with co-author Elena Vidal.

They discussed their collaborative book Village Lost and Found. It was a fascinating chat, with a 3D slideshow; and 3D souvenir glasses were provided (eBay here I come). The auditorium was at capacity, and the overflow crowd watched it in the simulcast room upstairs. It was an enjoyable talk regarding the history of stereo photos, the equipment used and the book. Brian May is funny and could have a second career doing stand-up. The event organizers were strict and stated Brian would only sign Village Lost and Found. But for the fans who knew that he was staying at the Ritz-Carlton, their all-day wait paid off as May signed albums and posed for photographs as he left for the event. (I was there.)



While waiting for Queen’s Brian May to leave the Ritz-Carlton Tuesday, a few eagle-eyed fans spotted Meatloaf leaving the hotel.

After a show July 15th at Giant Center in Hershey, the American Idol tour bus rolled into Philadelphia for the night. Seen at the after-hours club Pulse were second runner-up Crystal Bowersox and contestant John Park, who was voted off before the Top 12.

Kim Woodburn, co-host of the British television program How Clean Is Your House? was in Philly last week and was spotted at Ettore’s Salon & Spa at the Marriott on Market Street. She was in town visiting friends.

In A Dream, the documentary about Philly mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar, was nominated for two Emmys. Congrats to Herzliya Films! Be sure to visit Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens; you won’t be disappointed. I enjoyed the film too; it was directed by his son, Jeremiah Zagar.

Last night Walnut Street’s Cool Kids party pulsated at Strongbox as the doors were closed at midnight with the room at capacity. The event’s hosted every Tuesday by Jackiem “Jacky” Wright and Reggie Berry, and was off the hook as they celebrated NBA Player Jason Thompson‘s birthday, with guests former NCAA player Kyle Hines, NBA Agent Andre Buck, Kanye West tour DJ Aktive, and many friends and fans.