Friday, January 9, 2009


Here are the photos from this event:

The 2009 Philadelphia International Auto Show Black Tie Tailgate Preview Gala is being held on Friday, January 30, 2009 from 7:00PM to 11:30PM at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Proceeds from the Black Tie Tailgate benefit the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia through the Auto Dealers CARing for kids Foundation (clever CARing) Below are some of the people responsible for this awesome event that kicks off the Philadelphia Auto Show beginning January 31, through Sunday February 8. L-R - Joe Magarity, Scott Lustgarten, Kevin Mazzucola with Dr. Stephen Altschuler President and CEO of CHOP, and Robin Austin, Director of Development at CHOPTonight's gathering was a cross between a tasting of the Auto Show's fundraiser the The Black Tie Tailgate Gala where you can purchase a ticket for a dining, dancing event the night before the auto show open's to the public. The event is held at the convention center among the cars that are shiny new and still have that new car smell. From 7 - 9PM cocktails in Hall D sponsored by Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors America - Eastern Region and Mazda North America; at the same time in Halls A, B and C dine on hors d'oeuvres and cocktails sponsored by Chrysler Quality Plus Ford Dealers, General Motors, Lincoln Mercury Dealers, Suburu and local Volkswagon, finally dessert and dancing in the Grand Ball room featuring luxury automobiles from lexus and Mercedes-Benz, dessert and coffee in the Grand Ballroom sponsored by Audi of America and Infiniti. This is the part of the gala that I really look forward to, not because I sampled the fabulous ice cream bar or Mexican Brownie from El Vez, but I have always wanted to attend a grand event in the ballroom where the trains of yester year dropped off the hurried Center City workers back in the day, and who's headhouse is now restored into a magnificent Grand Ballroom still with the soaring ceiling. Kevin Mazzucola Executive Director Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia greets the guests at tonight's event, fills them in on the details of the upcoming Black Tie event, and is basically the cheerleader of the event, while also conveying what everyone knows in the industry, car sales are slow but things will get better, and let's have a party, it's for charity after all. Another speaker was Starr Restaurant's Simon Powles who describe some of the delicious items that will be served during the Gala, and some of the food that people will have a chance to taste at last night's event. Starr Restaurant's participating eateries include El Vez, Barclay Prime, Parc and Alma De Cuba.Did I mention Pod - I didn't have much time to eat, but I did have enough time to sample Pod's offerings and well they are my favorite. We're talking quality food, upscale dining with Starr restaurants, so when I look at the ticket pricing not only does the money go to a wonderful charity, but I get to sample foods from several of Steven Starr's restaurants, it's a special night.
Lisa, Sarah and Chris Magarity (The Auto Show runs from 1/31 - 2/8, tickets are a steal at $10 during the week, $12 weekends and can be bought online here
El Vez is in the house. I love their Taco Salad and dining outside along 13th Street
Suzanne and Donald Franks J.L freed & Sons, of with Dominic and Karen Conicelli (disclosure, I don't know these folks but I have leased all my cars from them except my current Suburu, as they don't carry Suburu)

The legendary Carol Springer at work. I spoke with Carol and she tells me that because of a few cutbacks, she is now the only social photographer covering the Mainline. After a nuclear attack there will be Roaches, Cher and Carol Springer left.
Tickets to Black Tie Tailgate start at $200 each.
Your ticket purchase supports Children's Hospital of Philadelphia through the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation, and is partially tax-deductible.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Valanni Introduces “Forks + Corks” Series with a Wine and Paella Dinner on Jan. 20, 2009

A few months back we visited with Valanni when they hosted a Belgium Beer pairings dinner, well Valanni is at it again with another fantastic pairing this time with Wine and a Paella Dinner. The dinner includes four courses – tapas, cheeses, family-style meat and seafood paella and dessert – each paired with a Spanish wine. Turney added that there will be a vegetarian paella option available upon request. There are two seatings available on Jan. 20, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The cost is $55/person. Reservations for “Forks and Corks” are strongly encouraged, and can be made online at or by calling 215-790-9494.
Tuesday night a few people in the food industry media gathered at the invitation of Valanni's to try out their new “Forks + Corks” Series with a Wine and Paella Dinner which they are going to be featuring on 1/20/09 at two seatings. Sometimes before a restaurant debuts a new menu or a special menu night, they invite the media or foodie people for a sampling, so they have an idea about what they may be writing about in order to promote an event if they desire.I love going to these events, not for the meal as much as really enjoying spending time with my peers in the media biz. When I photograph people, celebrities etc in NYC, I have a lot of company in the sense that there are alot of photographers, fans & autograzzi's at the events I attend, but here in Philly it can be kinda lonely as I have no one really doing my thing at the events, so I really enjoy these nights. Plus when I shoot events, I try not to talk to too many people so I don't miss a shot that might manifest itself.

On January 20, not only will we be celebrating Change in the White House, but also celebrating Tapas for the Table and a new creation "Rabbit Wings" cooked in a chipotle-barbeque sauce, fresh cilantro and mint (it was very good, I wanted more, but it was a tasting darn) Plus the first course included ground lamb meatballs and crispy chickpeas and Chorizo, hmm hmm good. I missed the next course as I was talking too much, and well I had a captive audience in Drew Lazor from the City Paper and his friend Matthew Siwek (who was the perfect plus 1 as he works at El Fuego.) I have to say I am just blown away that I get to meet the people behind sites like the Foobooz duo Arthur Etchells and Kristen Henri and Lauren McCutcheon from Philly Mag, in the way back Philebrities Joey Sweeney & Ruth Carpenter, which I read two or three times a day.

Philly Style Magazine's Sarah Schafer, Where Magazine's Laura Burkhardt, Bruce Yelk and NBC10's Megan Stecher (Last week Megan filled in at the traffic desk did you see her, she's a natural.)

Matthew Siwek, NBC10's Mac Francis, Zelinda O'Hora, Jimmy Contreras, Valanni publicist Mathew Vlahos, and photographer Christopher Gabello, who takes a lot of the food photos for many restuarants in Philly including Valanni's.

“When I went to Spain, there was this little restaurant actually called ‘Paella’ in Madrid. They were known to have some of the best paella in the country – and I fell in love with the stuff, even bought my first paella pan right there from the restaurant,” said Executive Chef R. Evan Turney. “When I came back to the states, I started playing around with my own dishes. They use different rice in Spain, and I think the secret to our paella at Valanni is our rice. It has so much more flavor than traditional varieties.”

The well rested Philebrity, Joey Sweeney, Ruth Carpenter, Philebrity & Phoodie writer Collin Flatt and Laura Burkhardt

Breaking NBC10 news, are you listening Brooke de la Villanova I think there's something going on here, could you look into it please?

Although I was present for the entire meal, as I mentioned I was running my mouth for the entire meal, until this dish came out and I picked my jaw off the ground. OMG it was as delicious as it looks. I'm not kidding, I am a Seafood Paella expert, my fav dish used to be at a restaurant in NYC (and I would travel there monthly to have it), but no more this Seafood Paella was beyond spectacular, it was smooth, lightly spicy, chock full of seafood and did I mention delicious. I will be back, probably on January 20, 2009 because my Mike has got to have this. Megan also loved it stating "Lots of little surprises with each mouthful" (I didn't take this photo, it was provided by Valanni)
Desert wasn't on the table long enough to photograph: Oreo Beignets, with ice cream and warm Carmel. Drew loved it, Megan again with the winning quote "Best ever. 1000 times better than the ones on the boardwalk." So after you ring in the new year with our new president, I would highly recommend you enjoy this special night with the special someone and go to Valanni's and enjoy a four course dinner with a Wine and a Paella Dinner.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Linda Creed (December 6, 1949 - April 10, 1986) also known by her married name Linda Epstein, was an American songwriter who teamed up with Thom Bell to produce some of the most successful Philadelphia soul groups of the 1970s.A few months ago my friend Patti told me of her involvement with the Linda Creed Foundation and asked if I wanted to come out and cover it for PhillyChitChat. Of course, I said, I was a big fan of Linda Creed she wrote some of my favorite songs, she's a Philadelphian, and anything I can do to help get the word out about the Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation. In our discussions I asked if they had a photographer and how they were going to distribute the photos. Here is Lisa Brownstein who was a friend of Linda Creed's and put in motion of starting a this foundation in her friend's honor. "It just started when a few of us were talking at the kitchen table." with her is her aunt Carol Frieder

She mentions that they have never had a photographer, it's not in their budget, they this is their one event a year to raise funds for people w/o insurance to get the care they need when they are diagnosed with breast cancer, that the funds from this organization stay right here in Philadelphia and it all goes to the care of the patient. Say no more I will do what I can for youse. Lisa Nutter was supposed to appear in person, but a few days before the event pulled out because "something came up", but I was excited to meet a few of Linda Creed's relatives like her aunts Renee Kasepf and Shirlee Kaplan with friend Gini Peltz
There was a fashion show and 80 year old, 25 yr survivor volunteer Sally Harris took part in the catwalkSO the reason I am posting these photos so late is because I did try and get them in several publications, where I am usually successful, but because of the season and the run up to the New Year, no such luck. But they are just as tickled to be on Philly Chit Chat, and I am excited to tell you about the Linda Creed Foundation. The Board of Directors. L-R Mary Olssen, Patty Friel, Ferald Olsen, Isabel Momer, Maryanne Cascicato, and Kathy Latinee. Renee McNear, Sallie Harris Carol Muray and Alberta Crawford enjoy the day. Now this event began at 11AM and these girls were dressed, just every day girls touched by breast cancer in their family and out to spend the first December weekend sharing in the hope for a cure. I really enjoyed photographing this event. Everyone was just so into the day. Buying lots and lots of raffle tickets, talking fashion, excited for the holidays.And can say something, OMG I have been to a lot of events and the donations that rolled in for these folks were off the hook. I asked Patti how she did it, how did she get the Florida trips, the Movado Watch, everything. Patti is not a PR person, she's an assistant to a judge at Common Pleas Court, she could be retired but she's waiting for her judge to retire, as for the Movado watch, she was in NYC saw it in the window, walked in and said to the sales person "Who do I talk to to get that watch donated to the Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation Luncheon in Philadelphia" and that was it the ball was rolling. Thank you so much sponsors. All the items in these baskets were the ones where you bought the ticket and then dropped the ticket in a basket to win. There was a silent auction table too. Marcia Shprintz and Adele Miller
Katrina Keating, Catherine Ryan, Haley Rooney, Annie Finefan, Casey Rooney, Kolbe Keating, Carly Keating Christina Wilton (OK I realize I should have moved poor Kolbe from behind Carly's head)
The students from Villanova donated Four Hundred dollars
Shirlee Kaplan awards the the Gene Kaplan "Volunteer of the Year Award" to Karen E. Wheeler. I wish I had photographed her shoes, they were electric purple.
Every year the Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation provides over 325 mammograms and 200 diagnostic tests, breast health information to over 5,000 women, field numerous calls every week to women who have just “found” a lump, and help women and their families survive the financial crunch that often comes with cancer treatment. Do this, we depend on you. More than 75% of our income comes from individuals. Your gift of $50, $100, $1,000 or more helps make it possible. Janet Genardi on behalf of Genardi's Supermarket donated $107, 000 to LC Foundation. Please help out the Linda Creed Foundation, keep the money local and for the people suffering from this terrible disease that might not be so fortunate to have health insurance.
Other people recognized:

Gerard Olson, Ph.D. Linda Creed Volunteer of the Year Award

Lisa K. Jablon, M.D. Elaine M. Ominsky, Ph.D. Humanitarian Award

Banfield, The Pet Hospital Angel Award

Chestnut Hill Hospital Women’s Center Angel Award

Karen Wheeler Gene Kaplan Volunteer Award

Stephanie Forehand Spirit of Giving Recognition

One of the most famous songs Linda Creed wrote, "The Greatest Love of All" sung by Whitney Houston

Thank You Sponsor's: AirTran Aldo’s Lamberti’s Restaurants Alison II Restaurant Art Is Salon Bistro Cassis Bourjois Cosmetics Lisa Brownstein Bucks County Biscotti Co. Linda Camerota
Centre Bridge Inn D’Angelos Ristorante Dante & Luigi’s Derek’s Restaurant Diane Lovell DiBruno Bros. HughE Dillon Photography Ettore Salon & Spa Fogo de Chao
Fork Restaurant Pat Friel Janet Genuardi Barbara Gilhool Nancy Gustitis Giovanni & Peleggi Maureen Glanzmann Janet Jandura Shirlee Kaplan La Locanda Restaurant
Levinthal’s Loews Philadelphia Hotel Kathy Lentini Majestic Wines McKenzie’s Brew House Adele Miller Isabel Momenee Movado Mary Olson Marsha Brown Restaurant Naked Chocolate Fran Orodeckis P.F. Chang’s Bistro Panorama Restaurant PECO
Pierre & Carlo’s Salon & Spa Portofino Restaurant Rembrandt’s Restaurant & Bar
Rescue Rittenhouse Spa Rittenhouse Hotel Robert Mand Photography Steven Ruzac, Century 21 Sofitel Hotel Starbucks Coffee Sweet Lucy’s Smoke House Terme di Aroma
Thunder Hair Salon Wegman’s Markets

Monday, January 5, 2009


New Year's Eve, many people call it amateur night, I'm never sure exactly what they mean, but more often than not those people were probably disappointed by earlier New Year's Eve expectations and invites. Which brings me to invites, I know for me this holiday season I attended more parties than ever before; I had a party, invited 50, 25 came and it seems a lot of people were headed to Florida on this 4 day weekend, I don't blame them. Can you believe Evite was down that night, on New Year's Eve is that crazy? This season as I was out and about I heard about a few party mix ups with invites, for me one never came and people thought I blew off close friends (I contacted them, I knew I would've been on the invite and I was), other people I know had an open house and were surprised when expected friends didn't show and those friends were hurt as didn't get the invite or notice of an open house; and others may have been cut from lists as you do have to cut it somewhere, and if there has been no contact with your party hosts since the last party, well you deserve to be cut, unless you have a dozen kids below the age of 10 and then you shouldn't be at a party.I love a good party and I usually start mine at 8PM, but since Mike had his accident, he wanted to cut it back a bit so I put 9PM on the Evite. Do you know what that means, people show up at 10:30PM as they go to other parties, or dinner first. I really thought I was going to have a Mary Richard's party with Ted Baxter. (I may be dating myself with that reference.) Here's Bob, Mike and Steve Tyson. Bob was at Valanni's for the first seating and really enjoyed the spread.
This year I splurged and got a spread, I think I was inspired by all the parties I attended. So no dessert only, I went all out and got a tray. Mike was a bit freaked out when I invited 50 people this year, and although 22 RSVP'd a few brought their plus ones and we had a crowd of about 25. Meg Rider, Director of Events and Communications at Manna graced us with her presence. She had to duck out early to play Florence Nightingale to Natalie Hope McDonald Philadelphia Nightlife Examiner with my Mike.
Three old friends. Mark, Bill & Arthur. Mark and Bill have lived an adventurous life living the life of Riley in cities across the country. As of late they have settled outside of DC. Bill Rimmey is a South Jersey friend, also a huge adventurer having been in the travel business for about 25 years.Did I mention my cousin has move into town, into my condo building. I convinced her it was the right move. My baby sister moved in in 2004, and w/in 2 years met and married her husband; my sisters BFF moved in in 2005, met her man and is now engaged, and well Jessica girl has moved in and well you will meet her I will be dragging her around with me introducing her to the sights of Philly. Jared Poe are you single? Here are a few of my friends. Scott Righter, Marty Dellwo, Darren Fava, Steve Tyson, Jimmy Contreras, Matthew Vlahos and Phyllis Halpern
See that "closet" behind Mike and Jeremy. That would be the PhillChitChat office. Hmm what will that tax write off be for a 4 x 5 ft room?

I love my view New Year's Day - Dragged myself out of bed about noon, and oh didn't make it to Diane Johnson's brunch til 1:30PM (Hmm I wonder if she were cursing me out like I was cursing my friends out when they were 90 minute late the night b4) Jimmy, Diane Johnson, Christian Dicicco and Matt (Darn I don't think Christian is available for Jessica). Jimmy and Diane are rockin the New Year with those kicks, well Jimmy's looks like pimp kicks electric blue.
(Who is having next week's Eagle's Game Party, I have lunchmeat leftover?)
Can you imagine living in this pimped out crib? I attended a New Year's Day party here!

How awesome, for someone like me that always dreamed of living in the big city, if I didn't live where I do with the view of the skyline, I would want to live in the middle of it all as our next host Aly does, here with Drexel's PR Janet Guthart. Like Steven Tyson, Janet is not afraid of showing her shy side. A Nina Tinari sighting. Skipping my party she chose a sky high nest at the St James with a few friends. Fireworks were closer, but she missed the sounds of the booms with the soundproof glass encasing the place. L-R the beautiful Danielle Poe, Nina, Streetalkin's beauty Erin Elmore and my cousin Jessica. Rick, Christopher DiGeorge and John Westrum enjoy the awesome view for the balcony.
Amy and Colin Evan met at the Brassiere Pierre, which is no longer in business as of New Year's Day!! What a shock to read that they closed up shop. Although I only ate there a handful of times, I often bumped their tables as I tried to navigate the sidewalk along Walnut Street. And although that was a pain to do, it still added a lot of ambiance to the neighborhood. I remember about 10 years ago I spotted Brass in Pocket Chrissie Hynde eating at one of the outside tables. I went into City Sports and shot a few frames through the sweatsuits, but she got a glimpse of me and gave me the finger - LOL That was before digital so you'll have to take my word for it. (I would be remissed if I didn't mention that Colin Evan was one of the co-founder's of StubHub and later sold it to E-Bay so he's a gazillionaire and super nice and unassuming. In fact he has big plans for Philly's Brain Drain, so watch him do some important stuff in the near future.)
Next door there was a party going on which included a few Comics from the 2009 Mummers Parade. I was disappointed the parade ended so early, I like when they march into the early evening, as I was late getting to Aly's I only caught the tail end.

Lindsay Kravitz, Tony Rufo and Kaci Mitz. Kaci moved into the city at a new condo near Queen Village, she talked her friend Lindsay into moving right across the hall (Hello Rhoda & Mary [hmm another MTM reference, really showing my age here]). Unfortunately for her, she didn't meet the builder of the condo til after settlement, but I bet if she buys another unit he builds, she'll get a good deal. (Another good story of love, you just never know where you might meet your Mr or Ms Right!)Larry Farnese, have I introduced my cousin Jessica to you? Tomorrow Larry becomes the youngest PA State Senator as he is sworn in on a family heirloom Bible. He is looking forward to serving his district, and there is no doubt he did a lot to save the 2009 Mummers Parade. He's got the nicest parents too. With him Erin, and guest.

Mia and Nina Tinari got boots from Santa and he knows they have the same classy style A couple parties tomorrow then back to the Red Carpet events, ok probably not, they will start up again soon. Lot's of fun things and important events happening in the next coming months. Here is an important event, tomorrow night I will talk about the exciting new year charity events and Shecky's Girls Night Out Fashion Event coming up in February. My cousin actually asked me about it last night, she missed the last one and knew I would know something about the upcoming one.
By now you may have heard about writer Brian Hickey's ordeal recovering from a hit-and-run we've been following on the blog and in print. His progress has been amazing, but there's a long road ahead and he and his wife need all the help you can give them.

The Philadelphia City Paper and The Pen & Pencil Club invite you to join us for a beef and beer benefit to support fellow journalist Brian Hickey.
Pen & Pencil Club1522 Latimer St.Philadelphia, Pa. 19102
Jan. 10, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets: $50

100 percent of the proceeds go directly to the Hickey family.
Please reserve tickets in advance at
Send checks payable to City Paper, and mail to:
City Paper123 Chestnut Street, Third Floor Philadelphia, PA 19106
Food and beer donated by the Pen & Pencil ClubMust be 21 or over, or accompanied by an adult