Monthly Archives

August 2008



With a soiree at Vango on the top floor deck with a beautiful view of the City. I have to say this summer really went fast; I know our mothers always tell us that as we age the years go by faster and faster, and my mom was on target this year. Maybe it zoomed by because at the beginning my sister was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and I am hanging on to ever minute I can spend with her, maybe this summer I was forced to reevalute how much time I can put into Philly Chit Chat as I work full time, and Philly Chit Chat is full time, in the fall I am going to have to find a happy balance. Maybe it’s because I was going to have a big launch for Philly Chit Chat in September, now rescheduled for January.

But this is what you can expect. Philly Chit Chat will be covering the social scene, the details that go into executing a successful event, who does the flowers, who’s on the guest list and why? A calendar of events, and a few other surprises. Here are a few of my favorite people, Dino Minelli and Dana Lombardo.
Ellie, Krista and Holly
Many of the people invited to this end of the summer party were people that partnered on events that were thrown this past season. Here we have Tamara Vostok, Joe B., NBC 10’s marketing director Letizia Rubino and PR goddess Paige Wolf

Festivities Events Ian Shafer, Taylor Goddard, Laurie Satran and Alain Flambea
I’m amazed at how much really goes on in Philadelphia. Besides all the great restaurants, movies, people, the arts, museums, there are parties, openings, social events for everyone imaginable, and although there may be sites to cover some of these events, I want my readers to think, last night such and such happened, I bet Philly Chit Chat has the photos.
Kyle Ruffin, Melony Roy and Jamyra Perry
Jenise, Gregory Augustine of Augustine Interiors, Noel Bruno and Scott Barnes

Often these events bring together people for the first time that can be mutually benefiting for future events. On the right Melody, and Steve Butler work for CBS News, Tamyra works for WOGL and Paige Wolff has a PR Firm. Paige Wolff had lunch with Willingboro’s Olympian Carl Lewis the other day. laris Kresling, Tunde Kazeem and Gus Calabrase
Nicole Cashman and Cara Schneider (OK gotta work on that night photography and this new lens of mine)Happy Fall. The first exciting event of the season is this Thursday:
Rittenhouse Row’s Fall Gathering The annual fall fashion round-up on Thursday, September 4 at Marathon Grill, 1818 Market Street will feature XIX and JL Sullivan’s in the Cocktail Competition, and Polo Ralph Lauren featured on the runway. For information go to


Pearl Restaurant holds Pre-Party for Grand-Am/Ferrari Challenge/MotoST race weekend

The other night I received this invitation: Pearl and The WOT Group would like to extend an invitation for the upcoming Grand-Am/Ferrari Challenge/MotoST race weekend in Philadelphia. In layman’s terms it’s the Pre-Party of the inaugural Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Thunderbolt Raceway in Millville, N.J., Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series – Event Info (Which you should look into attending this weekend, not only for the fast cars, but for you women the hot race car drivers. Who knew when you wash the grease off such hunks lie below) Wh

Race Car Driver Bryce Miller, Owner Gregory Loles, Race Car Driver Dirk Werner. Dirk Werner has really opened a lot of eyes this year, especially having to partner with a number of different teammates, with Bryce Miller is joining him for this weekends race.

The DJ pumps up the volmune. Women and men dance in place, for the more aerobic freestyle dance, you can find scantily clad women grooving their love thing closer to the back bar where there is plenty of space so “everybody free, feel good”

Elaine Grabar and Nicole Grable, and some guy who wishes he was in the photo?

Race Car Driver Dirk Werner making nice with the a few friendly Philadelphian’s Tina Winston and Tiffani McDonough (Either I have the names wrong, or the girl above is a twin, or both these girls should go watch the “Parent Trap”!)

OK these girls gave me their personal pocket camera’s and their gadgets did a much better job at focusing, as I mentioned last night, I got a new lense and am learning on the job. Thank god I’m not shooting Fashion Rocks here, ok seguway, I got credentialed today to shoot Fashion Rocks next Friday, so excited, don’t be hating, I will be sharing photos and stories from the red carpet. Here’s the guest list: Beyoncé, Black Eyed Peas, Chris Brown, Kid Rock, Duffy, Fergie, Justin Timberlake, L’il Wayne, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Rihanna; OK back to matters at hand, these beautiful women are Nicole Birdoni, Elaine Grabar, Allison Parrish, Joanne Goodwin, Nicole Grable, and Aida Mancini

Jennifer DellaPenna and Amy Coccarone tear up the dance floor at Pearl

According to Philly Edge, “Pearl is a restaurant and a lounge, with the dominant discipline depending on what time of the day, or night, one visits. The later it is, the more likely that the dark upstairs lounge has overtaken the opulent dining area on the ground level in popularity.” John prepares to take a clean set glasses to the bar. Trust me its a fun crowd, not like the bridge and tunnel trying to be a fun crowd. But what I really recommend is the food. I ate dinner here right around the time they first opened, and the food was delicious very good best Thai/SE Asian. The design of the place is a far cry from the Little Pete’s decor that stood in it’s place for decades. It’s a great addition to the block. Now if only the Boyd folks could get their act together, it’s next door, and it’s an eyesore.

Audrey Lehr and Ali Weiner

Michael Himmelsbach and David Lloyd will race their motorcyle at the Millville track this weekend. In recent years they have combinded both racing events, cars and motorcyles. Motorcylist racers Michael Himmelsbach and David Lloyd. Both enjoyed the pre-party at Pearl in celebration of the inaugural Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Thunderbolt Raceway.

Ada, just Ada enjoying a night out with Erik Ringden and Robin Stellwagem

OK now these are the type of photos I wanna take, jumping on the banquette Michell Woolston, Marian Ahmad and Genisis Guevania strike a pose for me. I begining to like this new lens, it seems so sharp in the darkness of the popular club.

Philly Edge states, “The lounge provides a haven for well dressed drinkers, who enjoy seeing and being seen and prefer liquor-instead-of-beer – understandable, as the cocktail menu stems more from mixology than necessity. Thought goes into the drinks. Proof: No faux mint Mojito here, instead sample a refreshing blend of shochu, ten cane, soho lychee, calpico and shiso.”

Seriously, if you’re not doing anything, and you want to do something fun this Labor Day weekend in the Philadelphia area, check out this event. You won’t regret it:

Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series – Event Info


THE JONAS BROTHERS INVADE PHILADELPHIA re: 40 yrs after the Beatles the girls still scream the same for their idols

I have to laugh when the so called pundits in this town say that we don’t get celebrities; since I moved back here 18 months ago, I have photographed more than 3 dozen, but nothing tops the excitement, turnout and thrill the fans got when they lined up outside the Four Season’s hotel in Center City today to maybe get a glimpse of the Jonas Brothers. How did you guys know they would be here?
For these kids their generation Beatles are the Jonas Brothers.
I went to meet the Jonas Brothers to hear about their good news for the fans.Michele Wiltshire, Sheldon Jones, Kevin Jonas, Joe Jonas, and Nick JonasYou probably know this:

Joseph Adam “Joe” Jonas (born August 15, 1989) – Lead vocals, percussion, guitar (in the song “A Little Bit Longer”). Joe is the “middle Jonas.” He originally had no intention of becoming a singer; he wanted to be a comedian and work on the show All That.

Nicholas Jerry “Nick” Jonas (born September 16, 1992) – Lead vocals, guitar (usually a Gibson SG in the original red stain color), piano in the songs “When You Look Me in the Eyes” and “A Little Bit Longer,” and drums in the song “Australia.” Nick is the youngest brother in the band. On November 16, 2005 he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.[69]

Paul Kevin Jonas (II) (born November 5, 1987) – Lead guitar (usually a Gibson Les Paul) and backing vocals. Kevin is the eldest of the band. Goes by Kevin rather than Paul. Kevin helped produce the bands’ self-titled CD Jonas Brothers.
The Jonas Brothers have teamed up with Verizon wireless and Samsung to offer fans a vacation with the band in the Bahamas. Forty lucky winners will get round trip airfare, free accommodation at Atlantis resort, car services and premium tickets to a private concert with the brothers and $500 spending money.

During the press conference, the boys said they love their Philly fans, all Cheesesteaks are a like, but they’ve never had better sugar waffles than the ones they get at Bonte on 17th Street near Sansom.
The Jonas’ are known for their wholesome, family-friendly image. The brothers are all committed Evangelical Christians, their father is a former pastor, and they were homeschooled by their mother. In addition, they all famously wear purity rings on their left-hand ring finger and have vowed not to have premarital sex. Joe has said that the rings symbolize “a promise to ourselves and to God that we’ll stay pure ’till marriage,” and Nick had stated that “it’s [purity rings] pretty awesome, and the rings are just one of our ways of kind of like being different than everybody else out there.” They started wearing the rings when their parents, Denise and Kevin Sr., asked them if they wanted to.[62] They also abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.[63]
Customers who purchase or upgrade to Samsung Glyde or Verizon Wireless Juke by Samsung at participating Verizon Wireless or Circuit City locations between Sept. 2 and Nov. 1, 2008, register the purchase online and install Verizon Wireless’ V CAST Music with Rhapsody software on their computers will be able to instantly download four complimentary exclusive live versions of songs from the Jonas Brothers’ hot new album, A Little Bit Longer. Customers will also have the chance to be entered to win a trip to Atlantis to see the Jonas Brothers. More details are available at
I bought a new lens this week and am still learning to use it. On the job training is not recommended. I completely overexposed this shot, which would have been a killer if it was done correctly. Here the Jonas brothers wave to their fans outside the hotel. It was about this time that I promised myself I would have a Tylenol since the piercing screams of the fans were giving me a headache.As they return to their cars, which will take them to the concert venue in Camden for rehearsal, a few fans made it up to the sidewalk and got a handshake and ‘graph from their idols.
During the press conference, the boys said they just checked into the hotel at 5AM, they couldn’t believe that a few fans were outside waiting. They signed for them and then went to bed. Well 7 hrs later we see Franklin “Frankie” Nathaniel Jonas or bonus Jonas as he’s called, sporting an Eagles shirt. Maybe he packed it, maybe he bought it in the gift shop, either we appreciate that you are wearing our sports team on your shirt. Mom knows how to represent when she’s in the City of Brotherly Love!!The Jonas’ are known for their wholesome, family-friendly image. The brothers are all committed Evangelical Christians, their father is a former pastor, and they were homeschooled by their mother. In addition, they all famously wear purity rings on their left-hand ring finger and have vowed not to have premarital sex.
Here Kevin signs an autograph for a fan as he waits for the light to change.
A lucky fan showed me the ‘graph he got from the boys.
As the crowds line the streets the boys were off. Kinda reminded me of the time Prince Charles and Camilla came to town and stayed at the very same hotel.
Don’t be left on the sideline watching your idols go by, instead win a chance to vacation with the Jonas Brothers. And as much as you might want to buy a phone to download their latest tunes, you don’t have to to enter this contest, the Verizon folks tell me, so check out More details are available at for all the details.

You know how newspapers like the Inquirer or the NY Daily News is getting into video to support their news sources, well Fox TV News is getting into photos. The women next to me was shooting for Fox 29 with a small digital camera. You would think they would want to invest in a better equiptment if they want to blaze the new trail. Check out these photos:

Fangapvids posted this video of the event on youtube, and you can be there!


Intoxicating photographs of soirée! re: Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News bi-annual Photo Exhibit

Mary Patel is always looking out for me, pushing me, inspiring me, and she knows what’s good for me. She called me up a few weeks ago and said “HughE I know you admire a lot of the Philly Inquirer and Daily News photographers, and I want to take you to a photo exhibit that they have twice a year at one of their houses.”
I responded with the same trepidations that I do whenever I have a chance to meet someone I admire, I said no I can’t go. She insisted and well I went. Would I see one of my favorite photographers, ERIC MENCHER (WEBSITE), TOM GRALISH/PHOTOGRAPHER , TED ADAMS/PHOTOGRAPHER or April Saul?
Well I met Eric Mencher and his lovely wife of 23 years, Kass Mencher ; I also met Ted Adams, April Saul and a handful of others.
by Philadelphia Inquirer Photographer Eric Mencher.
Elliot Curson had a few political photos on display (I had no idea he was a photographer). One of his photos was my favorite.
Hillary Clinton purposely shot out of focusThe invitation stated:

Intoxicating photographs of soirées
and celebrations —
Or political
parties and party conventions.
Dirty dancing and leisure wear,
campaign trails and blow-dried hair!
indiscretions, lame-duck sessions,
I had a chance to talk to a few of the photographers and they all sensed a forboding sense of hopelessness, that maybe this was the last time that many of them would be showing here as a co-employee. One even said that occassionally they look out the window and expect to see the Ch3 KYW truck outside reporting that the paper has closed. It’s scary times for these folks who were dedicted to their field delivering photos in our newspaper that sometimes told the story better than the copy. In recent days there has been a lot of talk of more cut backs of the paper.

I wrote my friend John Taggert, who used to freelance for the Philly Daily News:

“The Philly Newspapers are in for a blood bath. 15 photographers are being let go. 15 columnist. Some of this could just be because of digital cameras and how easy it is to get the photos processed now; you need less people on the street because of turnaround. [Where will my photographers that I love end up? What will they do? ]I don’t want to see my paper go under.”

John, who currently shoots for the NY Daily News, writes back:
“its not because of digital cameras, its not because there is a lack of circulation, its not because people don’t read anymore, its all a bunch of shit, these papers need more people on the streets than ever with all of the government corruption , police scandals and other shit going on in our so called “free society” I am going to take a photograph of the constitution and enlarge the rights to a free press and put that on the fucking window of my car. This country is doomed buddy, save your self, tell Philly to say goodbye to the newspaper industry and let everyone start their own media crunching eye watching website, newspapers are dead, the sooner these hard headed journalists realize that, the better off we are.” Dead Men Walking, indeed. Check out my favorite philly Inquirer & Daily News Photographers linked through Eric Menchers site:
Thanks: Sarah Stolfa, Jenny Lynn, Tony Ward, Harvey Finkle, Elliott Curson,
April Saul, David Maialetti, Michael Mercanti, Harris Fogel, Laurie
Beck-Peterson, John Costello, Bunky & Rita deVecchis, Michael Perez, Richard
Bell, Kass Mencher, Sarah Berry, Angelo Benedetto, Meredith Edlow, John Gayusky,
Ed Snyder, Phil Taylor, Mike Zebe, Ted Adams and others.


Patriots, Pirates, Heroes & Spies: Stories from Historic Philadelphia book launch

As part of my “Cleaning house” and posting about events that have slipped through the Philly Chit Chat crack I bring you an event that occurred way back in July, but is still relevant today, and dare I say for the holidays that are just around the corner. It’s only 4 months away from Christmas as of yesterday and this informative book would be the perfect gift for someone you care about. From day to night, Historic Philadelphia has everything you want to see and do! One of the experiences that they bring you are storytellers who tell tales about Revolutionary War-era figures and other notable people and events from Philadelphia’s history, including:

  • The first bank robbery in the US
  • A Philadelphia witch trial
  • The invention of bubble gum
  • The hiking and camping adventures of a young boy who became a renowned artist and horticulturist.

Once Upon A Nation presents many of these stories in a collection of 20 of their most popular stories featured in their Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Program! The book launch took place at the Free Quaker Meeting House at 5th and Arch Streets, and attracted a crowd of volunteers and friends of Historic Philadelphia Inc.; Sandra Mackenzie Lloyd, Editor of Patriots, Pirates, Heroes & Spies Distinguished guests included HPI Board Chair Wayne Spilove, Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation,
These enthusiastic and knowledgeable storytellers ring their storytelling bells and invite visitors to sit on beautiful semi-circular benches placed in such locations as Independence Hall, Christ Church, and the National Constitution Center (in Philadelphia)

or in Washington’s Headquarters (Valley Forge).

“This book is a long-awaited result of requests and positive feedback Historic Philadelphia, Inc. has received from our audience,” explains Amy Needle, President and CEO of Historic Philadelphia, Inc. “We are so excited to be able to create this colorful, hardcover, high-quality product that gives these memorable stories new life in written form.” Gov. Rendell holds up a copy of the book.
Once Upon A Nation is a unique Philadelphia attraction that truly brings history to life. The storytellers who share these stories bring history to life for visitors in Philadelphia and Valley Forge.

It was after this event that I really got a good look of the Independence Hall area since they finished the landscaping and construction was complete. It was very impressive and the vision the city planners envisioned look like they were met.


John Heinz Refuge Photos re: it’s easier to shoot people than nature

Philly Chit Chat realized this weekend that with his busy schedule he has barely communed with nature this year and decided to travel to John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum with his friend Marty who is an avid birdwatcher and nature lover .
It went fairly well, but I prefer to shoot people as they seem to stay put longer than the birds, butterflies and dragonflies.
It was a beautiful day
I was excited to see wild turkeys.
Marty spotted an opposum in a tree, he’s got a good eye
I do love that we have nature in our own backyard.I hope a lot of you got out and enjoyed the beautiful day. Great Blue Heron

The path is well marked so you could bring the whole family to explore, but be quiet so you don’t disturb nature
Objects are larger than they appear
Great Egrets

It’s hard to believe that Fall is just around the corner Black and White orcolor?

Philly Chit Chat is busy getting ready for NY Fashion Week Spring 2009. I will be up there from 9/4 – 9/8, and if I don’t exhaust myself too much, 9/11 & 9/12. But during that time I will be writing about my experience. This week I will be doing a little catch up posting events I haven’t had time to report about, and then next week I will be writing behind the scenes of what my week during Fashion Week will be like. It’s like the Super Bowl of celebrities, models, personalities and events. Also if you are around Tuesday night, Bernadette Peters is playing at the Mann Music Center. It should be a spectacular night with music and great weather. Hope to see you there.


HBO’s The Black List, Vol. 1 Screening at Philadelphia’s Prince Theater Premiere’s Monday 8/25

On August 25th HBO will air The Black List, Vol. 1, ostensibly the first in a series of documentary films featuring segments of interviews with noteworthy African Americans. The film (part of a larger project including a touring photography exhibition and a book of portraits and interviews), conceived of and executed by photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and critic Elvis Mitchell, highlights the stories of prominent figures like author Toni Morrison, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and reigning lord of squeaky-wheels Rev. Al Sharpton. Refreshingly, it also showcases some unexpected people like guitarist Slash, curator and museum director Thelma Golden and Philadelphia’s own basketball player/coach Dawn Staley (Why oh why wasn’t she at the screening?) Last week Philadelphia’s own Prince Theater had a screening for the film. L-R writer, Elvis Mitchell and director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders pose on the Red Carpet for the photogs. Ought oh here comes trouble, and trouble is on the phone. A lot of times you might come across a celebrity going into or out of an event on the phone and they are just using it as an excuse not to pose; I use this method now when passing the eons of money asking folks around town, whether it’s the kids who may or may not be part of the (pick one) Baseball/Football/Basketball/Cheerleading team, the homeless guy on the corner who wants my attention or the Greenpeace $12 hr guys who want me to save the planet.Rev. Al has a manpurse and he has someone else carry it. I was trying to snoop to see what he was pulling out, but the bag was such a mess. I wonder what his office looks like?

I thought the set-up on the carpet that the PR firm of GaileyMurray was great. Chris Murray directed the folks onto the carpet, posed them and then after they walked away ID them all for us. In Philly that’s important as there are ofter folks that you really have no idea who they are, but when you send them to your photo agency, or write about them on a blog, it’s important that they are ID’d properly, or the photo just can’t be used, well on my blog I would use them!! Elvis Mitchell, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Rev. Al Sharpton and Payne Brown, whose day job is vice president of strategic initiatives at Comcast, shares executive producer credit with his Philly-based Freemind colleagues Chris McKee, and Michael Sloane, who shares producer credit with Mitchell and Greenfield-Sanders, is based in Blue Bell, and has been instrumental in the restoration of the Ambler moviehouse. I would have like to have gotten a shot of
of Philly Famous Paul Levy of the Center City District, a man who is responsible for the agency that cleans the sidewalks in the City, and has a hand at shaping and influencing the aesthetic of the City, and his wife someone who influences us on which films to see, Phila Inquirer film critic, Carrie Rickey, try and sneak past the Red Carpet as if my readers wouldn’t want to get a gander at them. Actually in the last year that I have been doing this, I have never seen them together at a function.

Unlike the lovely Sharon Pinkenson, who’s husband Joseph Weiss, was not by her side at the screening tonight. Sharon, who we saw a few weeks ago with a cast on, has recovered from her foot surgery, and is moving around just fine these days.The Rev on stage, say what you may, but this guy is smart. He was impressive in the 2004 debates. Everything else about him is a train wreck. I was trying to get the wording on the screen behind him, but realized that
I would have to shoot it straight without flash. I have an ISO of 2500 and all the professional camera’s there’s hardly any visible grain or blurr. Now I just have to get that white balanced
The Hargrove sisters are into fashion. L-R, Alexis is wearing Michael Kors and has her own fashion website, her sister Amanda is a doctor, has no idea what she is wearing, but looks fabulous in yellow, don’t you think?
R-L Oluwatoyin Adegbite Moore, Bonnie Motley Bowser, and I kid you not Marilyn Monroe. Seems it was the nurse who tended to baby Marilyn that was the huge fan. Mom and Dad Monroe hadn’t picked out a name yet, and the nurse said, Marilyn Monroe has a nice ring to it. Marilyn tells me she often gets the best tables when she calls for a reservation. Maybe they think she is the rumoured daughter given up for adoption?
Joe Brown of the Prince Theater poses with some of the subjects in the film. Joe has a wall of celebrity photos where they are posing with him.
Fox 29’s Sheinelle Jones and Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. I had a chance to talk to Greenfield-Sanders not about the movie but about his grandson. I had seen photos on my agencys site of the NY Screening and he had taken his grandson to the screening. Said it was the first time, the 3 year old was well behaved, and worked the red carpet like a pro taking looking at each photographer for 10 seconds before moving down the line. I told him that I wish 90% of my subjects had that clarity.
Justin Weintruab introduced me to John Westrum, heard about, maybe saw his photo, but never met. Seemed like a nice guy, but must be tough as nails to have the Trump like impressive CV he has. He’s the CEO, Westrum Development Company. Loves building stuff that revitalizes has-been neighborhoods. Recent projects include Brewerytown Square, a $200 million, well-known North Philly rehab, things are still going well, mostly sold out; His excited about the construction going on with his adult living communities in the Northeast and West Goshen; Finally Casino’s, he has a property that was once under consideration at 61st and Passyunk, maybe he knows something Rendell and Nutter are keeping to themselves.

Trivia: His first real estate deal, in Upper Dublin Township, sprang from a class project while he was still in college. It sold out before construction even started.
Al works the crowd inside the Prince.
Attendence was at a premium.
There was a Q&A afterwards, where Elvis called Timothy his big white chocolate brother. One of the things mentioned on stage was that the “Black List” was going on the internet. In conjunction with AOL Black Voices, they are going to start a project where everyday black folks can have a voice and tell their story. The target date, Feb09 Black History Month. So look for it. Sadly I didn’t get to see the show, for some reason photographers didn’t rate and I was told to wait in the lobby, I will tell you that several of my friends saw it that night, and they said it was powerful, moving and a great experience, and that was just the white peps. My African American friends can’t wait to see Vol 2, which Elvis says is practically already written.
From the NY Post two weeks ago: Film critic and KCRW host and writer of The Black List Elvis Mitchell was stopped recently at the U.S.-Canada border between Detroit and Windsor and a search of his luggage found a box of contraband cigars and nearly $11,000 in cash. That’s above the $10k threshold you are supposed to declare, so the feds want to keep the money. Mitchell tells today’s Page Six: “I have a fear of banks, so I keep cash in my house and I grabbed the wrong box. I took it into the country and out. The cigars, well I should have smoked them before I left.” Mitchell has filed papers to get the money back. “Apparently a black man with dreads can’t carry that much cash, but I think there are a few worse things to be embarrassed about. I haven’t cheated on my wife like some in the news,” Mitchell said. (He likes his cigar, he smoked one on the red carpet too)


SNOOP DOGG IS A DOG re: Scooby Snacks at G Lounge

Snoop Dogg commandeered the Mogul Room at Center City’s G Lounge in the wee smalls hours a few weeks back, after his show at the Festival Pier. Here are a few of his “fans” cooling their heels waiting for an audience with the Dogg.
Sorry guys, Snoop did not want you sniffing around his tail and the guys were left outside the vault door as some of their wives & girlfriends left them in the dust for the Dogg. (I thought he said to his wife, last year, on their “reality show” that it was just an act he was a ladies man?)
Dogg’s bodyguards escorted young women, three at a time, back to the rapper, who held court in a curtained-off section of the subterranean club.
I ready for my close-up Mr. Dogg
The air was thick with an herbal aroma as Dogg offered hugs and sips of Landy Cognac, for whom he is a spokesman.
NFL Network analyst/former Iggle Brian Baldinger was among guests
Others included Detroit Pistons’ Rip Hamilton.And music/marketing exec Jessiah Styles (marking his 35th birthday with his wife, Beat 100.3 radio’s Janita “Applebaum” Styles); Clothier to the Stars Baba Taiye Renfrow , of Distante (1510 Sansom), could also be found hanging late in the club’s VIP area.

I have to say since meeting these three people are some of the most genuine, really nice folks around. You probably have seen Janita and Jessiah several times on my site, and it’s because they really are making the scene, bringing it with style and sincerity. As for Baba, wow he is just a super nice, a great memory. Since I met him this first time at G Lounge I have run into him a few more times. He’s always remembered my name, and for some of you you know how weak I am in that department, and always a contagious smile. So if you see any of these folks, give a nod, say hello, they’re for real. And as for Snoop I just can’t say that for him. He’s a character, but I think he lives up to his reputation. Although I had been “credentialed” to shoot the Dogg, he refused to allow me into the pound for a photo. Thankfully there were no fire hydrants in the curtained off section, and
Snoop had to use the public restroom; one of the sympathetic bodyguards tipped me off as I had waited patiently for 90 minutes. Right after I took this shot, another bodyguard slapped my camera and said no pictures.
It was too late, I only needed one. It’s great how the Inky tweaks the photo oh just a little more and it looks like a professional took it.


Philadelphia Valanni Restaurant : Belgian Family Brewers Beer Pairings Dinner; Here’s the Menu with Pixs & Thoughts

6PM on a Tuesday night Valanni’s has a packed house, I think the folks of Philadelphia are looking for specialty events like this where the chef and the beer meister come to your table to talk to you about what you are about to eat and drink. The price $55, a bargain anyway you slice it. Update: at the end of the night I got the figures for the attendance. Two dinner seating’s: 120 people, not including the bar area. Here we find Sarah Cooper Bobersky and Matthew Vlahos listening intently to Wetten Importer Bruce Wright (in mirror) discuss the various beers that will accompany the dinner they will be eating.

1st Course
Kasteel Triple
lobster, scallop, Striped Bass seviche
Ancho chili, avocado, fresh mango, cilantro
Sarah doesn’t like seafood, although that is a big whopping piece of lobster she is about to gobble. She enjoyed the Kasteel Triple and said it went well with the citrus flavor of the dish; Matt thought this was the best pairing of the night, and also enjoyed the citrus’s beer. I don’t drink so I will just be commenting on the food. HughE: Hmmm yum seafood and cuban bread.

It’s a family affair as Jack, Mike & Mark Ferguson took their friend Joe Russen’s (green shirt) advice and came out for Beer night. They like beer, as if the pairings weren’t enough they also had a few bottles on the table. They are Irish after all, and if it’s one thing we Irishman like, it’s our beer.2nd Course
Brigand Golden Ale
Salad Lyonnais
poached egg, Frisee, Belgian endive, lardons, crispy potatoes, red wine vinaigrette, olive oil
Sarah: Terrific alone, terrific together. An explosion of flavors in your mouth; Matt: I’d like it for breakfast [I wasn’t sure if he met the salad or beer] HughE: I really enjoyed the salad, especially the added touch of the pouched egg.

Thom Cardwell and Mary Patel; One of the first events of this kind I attended was a Thom’s Table event at Mantra. (I covered it for PCC) He did a terrific job and I do hope he brings Thom’s Table back. He hosts the event at different restaurants and does pairings and lectures. Really terrific. Mary just got back from LA where she is hammering out details on her latest movie. She also had lunch with Elliott Gould, very exciting, the guy who has a child with Barbra Steisand. OK and he is an actor in his own right.3rd Course
Kasteel Rouge
Tamarined-Ginger Glazed Pork Ribs
rutabaga puree, white asparagus
Sarah: Beer too sweet, even with pairing. Ribs were out of this world, the meat just fell off the bone; Matt: Beer alone too sweet, with ribs much better. Interesting, really enjoyed the rutabaga puree. HughE: Hmmm ribs love them. I picked them up even though the meat was falling off, ribs are meant to be man handled.
Now these guys are experts in the field of food, but they were at the 2nd sitting and I didn’t stay long enough to ask their opinions. Maybe they’ll leave a comment if they read my blog. They all work at the World Cafe Live. Lisa Margraff, F&B Director, Jameson O’Donnell, Cafe Chef, Ryan Starr, Manager and Matthew W. Babbage, Executive Chef. Ryan Walker and Adrienne Roth. Ryan lives in the neighborhood and saw the menu outside and thought this would be a good night to try out the neighborhood restaurant. They were both excited about the menu, and really enjoyed the beers. Well Adrienne also thought the Kasteel Rouge was too sweet, but again the guys liked it.
A lot of Irish folk here at Valanni’s tonight. The Casey Family, L-r Dan, Ray, Nell and Ali, and next to her Ford Haegele. Enjoyed everything, Ali didn’t have any lobster in her first dish, I think Sarah got her Crusteacian
4th Course
St Louis Framboise
Bing cherry sorbet
Matt reacts to an explosion of Grand Marnier soaked cherries in his mouth, he didn’t realize his fruit was pickled. (He’d like these for breakfast too, he said)

Donna and Lester Weinraub enjoy Lester’s birthday gift from a friend who knows he appreciates a good beer. 5th Course
Gouden Carolus’ Grand Cru of the Emperor
Grilled white mission
Figs, Rogue River Blue cheese, Grand Cru-port reduction

Sarah: Is full, isn’t a fig fan, but when I tell her about the white chocolate hazelnut praline, suddenly gets her appetite back. Matt: Is a big Fig lover. HughE: Not so much, blue cheese with figs and chocolate, not the same as cheese in a canolli like I was imagining beforehand, but loves anything that has the word chocolate in it. M&S: Love the St Louis Framboise which was served with the last dish, but these two must be getting looped as they are two fisting their drinks by the last course. If you look you can see the next one waiting for them in the lower left hand corner.
Thanks to our hosts for the night Chef Evan Turney and Bruce Wright who put together the brilliant menu of Belgian beer and food pairings, Chris and the beautiful Jennifer, who was doing double duty because as you may know from my earlier postings, she hosts Kinky Quizzo every Tuesday night at Valanni at 11PM, 10:30PM in the fall. Valanni’s next big event is the annual fashion show in October, and then a wine pairing dinner in December. 1229 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Tel: (215) 790-9494