Monthly Archives

December 2008


PHILLY CHIT CHAT 2008 WRAP UP – Mission Accomplished

Happy New Year, a little wrap up of a few events and my thoughts about them.

A lot of people want to know why I started covering the Social Scene.i love people, what they do, say, how they interact and what they’re all about. I love promoting Philly, I especially love promoting any charity cause. These days with the economy faltering, newspapers cutting back and the obsession with celebrity, why can’t we celebrate Philadelphia and it’s people. That’s what I set out to do:
In January, Michael Nutter is elected and shakes about 5,000 hands of the voters. Everyone has high hopes and is excited about the future. This is one of my favorite photos, it says it all with the look on her face.
Anytime I can get a photo I took in Philly in a national magazine is a feather in my hat towards showcasing our City. Here Rendell & Nutter endorse Hillary and this photo shows up in Us Magazine about Hillary’s clothing choiceSomeone tipped me off to Wachovia’s plan to put remove the PNB letters and put a scrim around the bell tower. Now that Wachovia has been sold, plans are on hold. (thanks to for the improvements on my photo with the thumbsup/down)Every couple weeks I travel to NYC to photograph celebrity events, which is where I started my “event” photography career. A photo of Amy Smart I took during NY Fashion Week in February, appears in Us Magazine
February: I shoot “Taste of Philly”. This is the first time I ever get to see the Crystal Tea Room, I live a sheltered life. It’s one of the first charity events I photograph, and I think how great it is that all these people would spend $300 ticket to support the liver foundation and how really great it is that SPONSORS & VOLUNTEERS donate time, money and silent auction items for the benefit. I’m gonna enjoy getting the event just a little more press by blogging about it. I also got a photo in the Inquirer of Bam Margera’s mom. By the end of the year I am impressed by how many different ways the CT Room can be arranged,

especially during one Philly Style Magazine “Best of Party” where it is transformed into an amazing casino atmosphere. (This is the event where I didn’t know who this guy was and I had him spell his name. P*a*t B*u*r*r*e*l*l, then I thought to myself this would be a good shot for Inqlings, and I was right. Jayne Laychak, Nola Dabs, Megan Stecher and Sarah Haas at PSM Best of Party

March St. Patrick’s Day at McGillian’s. It was amazingly fun and garnered a lot of hits for PCC
March 24, 2008 I photographed America Ferrera at Bryn Mawr College where she was doing a “Get Out The Vote” for Hillary Clinton.
In April, Tigre Hill invites me to cover his wrap party for his new movie “A Barrel of a Gun” re: Mumia/Faulkener titled this way because I am sworn to secrecy about specifics. Larry Mendte is at the event; Originally I don’t post his photo or even offer it to Michael Klein as I didn’t know if it would hurt his reputation. This is one of the many times people in the business and friends remind me that I am there to observe, capture and report, I am not there to let my personal feelings make judgements, although I of course will always respect peoples privacy’s and when they say NO to a picture, I don’t take it.
South Moon Under Spring Preview with Lisa from Q102 and Nicole from the Biggest Loser. I’ll cover your store event, but if you have a Philly Celebrity I might even be able to get you press too. I love shooting all of Philadelphia Film Festival’s. People are excited about their projects where they put their heart, soul and money into and they are dreaming big. It’s always good to have a dream. Mary Patel & Joe Barber have sold their party house. I’m gonna miss that place, it was beautiful. Who wants to host a party?
I love candid shots
Professionallythe month of May was an awesome month for me. I took a lot of photos in Philly that appeared in the glossies, press and media around the world including Owen Wilson and Eric Dane, Jennifer Aniston, Parker Posey, and Demi Moore. There’s nothing like showcasing Philly to the world.

This Demi Moore photo accompanies an article in People Mag Online about Demi and Family eating dinner at the Continental at 18th & Chestnut Streets on Mother’s Day. Some of you may recall that the photo also appeared in the Inquirer with the story of how Ashton bought Demi the “Lago’s Key” Necklace (thanks to the person who told me the story at a party the day after I took the Demi photo of her leaving Tria on a Wednesday at 3PM), which to this day people still stop by the store asking to buy the Lago’s Key because they either read the story or saw the piece KYW did on me being the “Friendly” Philadelphia Paparazzi. This photo occurred because I asked for two shots, and promised never to bother her again, and for the next month I was tipped off left and right, but told the tipsters of my promise to her and refused to shoot her, especially on Mother’s Day.

I also went to NYC to shoot the “Sex in the City” Premiere. It was great, I am a huge fan. I get a photo of SJP in Elle Magazine. I love Cynthia Nixon.
Then in June I met Peter Breslow who invited me to shoot a few things at Pearl. I covered a party for the inaugeral Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car race to be held in NJ. The photo was picked up by Contact Music which features entertainment photos of the day. The Internet is a huge resource for photos and the demand for different images is high. Many times photos I take in Philly are picked up by websites, blogs, etc on the net. It’s all good, it’s good PR. (I don’t know when I went to featuring larger versions of photos on my blog, but for the better part of a year they were always this size. Kinda small and unreadable)

Transformers 3 filmed in our City, and then was nice enough to leave a few of their props behind which are now used as an outdoor cafe in the summer.
I am so excited to be shooting Phila Mag Best of Party. A magazine that I have been reading since I was about 14 years old.I meet about 5 fans of PhillyChitChat there. People actually recognize me and tell me how much they like the site. It’s bit embarassing, as I think Mom’s the only one that reads it, ok Mom doesn’t read it, but a boy could dream. One of the readers is Dr. Shareef Jandali with Erin Elmore. I also photograph Sabrina Tamburino and Nina Tinari for the first time.

The Barrymoore Awards
The Philly Style Magazine White Party. A few weeks earlier I had met John Colabelli, he told me he was a fan of Philly Chit Chat and said he would personally invite me to all their events. It was definitely a turning point in my mission of covering the Social Scene of Philadelphia. After this point my photos would appear in every issue of PSM which for me was really exciting.
Although I was covering the social set in the evening, I still like to catch the celebs that come through our town. I rely on generous tips from well I can’t tell you where they come from, but with any photo that is published it’s required to state who, what, where and when. Here’s James Taylor coming out of the Ritz Carlton. Originally this photo was only carried nationally as I took it on a Friday. The deadline for the Inquirer is Friday, so it wouldn’t have met the deadline for that week. But two weeks later I attended the unveiling of the chandelier at the Academy of Music where they announced that James Taylor would be the special guest at the Ball in January. Well then the photo worked, and I sent it in for consideration.
In September an organization called FBH Phila Fashion Week had a weekend event of fabulous fashion in the courtyard of City Hall. Amazing venue, horrible PR. The shows were poorly attended and it was sad because as someone who has covered the NY Fashion Weeks for 6 seasons, it is impossible to get tickets to those events unless you are in the biz, and everyone wants to go to those events, and it’s one of the top “google searches” on my blog “Confessions of a Paparazzi” because people want to know how to get tickets to the NY Fashion Shows, I have an entry that gives suggestions. SO PLEASE, please, please do your homework, get the word out and get the people in. If you build it they will come, but they have to know you built it!

Laura Burkhart invites me along to “shop” with her and Stewart Bradley as he prepares for an upcoming photo shoot. Laura gets me and what I want to do for Philly.
Sometimes when I go to NYC, I get photos of Philadelphian’s in the Inquirer – Here is the Will Smith family at the premiere of Kitt Kiderige produced by Julia Roberts.
Philly Style Magazine invites me to the Ladies who Lunch on the Mainline with Tory Burch. Thanks to Cashman & Assocs. to see the value in PhillyChitChat to arrange for me to run out there on my lunch hour. As a commentor said for this entry: [M]any of these women devote a great deal of their time, efforts and talents to charity, raising significant amounts of money for cancer, diabetes ( to mention a few). They also contribute significantly to the arts in Philadelphia. (It seems that we have a lot of similarities in our love for the people that help other people)
Then there’s my friend Jessica Hawkes who recommended me to Terressa Thomspson’s PR agency who has called me to cover over 4 events at aloft. I love the vibe there, and it was there that I met GN Kang, confessions that I had a bit of a crush on her. Having read a lot of her antics on her blog, and in Dan Gross’ column, I knew I needed to meet this girl, so much fun and interesting. And she is. I also met Meesha Miller or Michelle, I should ask her which she prefers, rounding out the fab trio is Ania Khalupsky, who I am just getting to know. She’s the quiet one.
Ladies who supper. If you’re eating at Table 31, Butcher & Singer, Del Frisco’s, Union Trust, The Palm, Capital Grille or anywhere the bill is $100 a person call me, I want to cover it. In fact if you eat at Applebee’s call me too, they advertise in the Metro and I appreciate them.

So much fun, hard work and very little sleep brought fulfilled a lot of goals I had set out for myself last year. Just know that I really appreciate you my readers, you probably wonder what’s in it for me, sometimes I do get hired, but 75% it’s just me and the satisfaction of covering the social scene, writing about the people and promoting the charities that appear on these pages. (I decided not to do advertising on the site for a couple reasons, so once in awhile I will hire myself out and in those cases I provide a CD of the photos so they may distribute them to various media outlets including, Philly Style, Philly Mag or some of the social pages in the papers in the surrounding area.)For about 5 months I filled in at the Metro with the “On The Scene” column. I knew it wouldn’t last, and it didn’t. It was tied in with some advertising and the contract was up. I was really disappointed that the paper didn’t think that their readers would be interested to see photos of peeps on the scene around Philly. Oh well, more the reason PhillyChitChat is relative.
2009 holds a lot of promise for my mission to cover the scene in Philly. The low hum is now a serious buzz, this town is happening. My goal is to bring it to you, to tell you a few tidbits, a few behind the scenes secrets, the details that go into creating the events, the people behind the events, and especially the CHARITIES that benefit from many of the events. Although Mission accomplished is in the title, there is still a lot to do. I just am excited that I set out to cover the social scene, not to be confused with the bar scene, and have done it. My readership was at 6,000 a month last January and now it’s nearing 20,000 unique hits a month (no pressure please).

Mission Accomplished, I set out to cover the “social scene” and believe that 2008 was a banner year for PCC and coverage of the under reported scene as I read about growing in the papers have disappeared; even the “neighborhood” section of the Inquirer has been cut.

Update: Forgot to mention big thanks to Mike who puts up with me going out to cover these events, then staying up all hours of the morning to write about them. Plus of course the Law Firm I work for who allow me to be very flexible and are big fans, my family who well, they’re less supportive and just think I am crazy, and of course I am grateful to all the friends I have made through PCC and who allow me to photograph their lives for your enjoyment as well as the people I don’t know who allow me to photograph them too.

OK I have a few things to talk about for the future, and well I’m outta time. I will fill you in in the coming days.

This week a photo I took of Ashlee Simpson at a CD signing in Philadelphia appears in Us Magazine’s 1/5/09 issue. So 2009 is starting off on a very good foot.


The Full Service Company The 400PTM Kick-Off Party at G Lounge Where it Still Matters a Year After it Opened, with DeSean Jackson

WOW here I am at the G Lounge, I hate to get all mushy, but it’s the end of the year and well WOW what a year it’s been for Philly Chit Chat, for me, and here I am back at the G Lounge where things really got rolling for me as an observer of Philadelphia’s Social Scene when I covered it’s opening a year ago.
Tonight, there was a lot of excitement, wrapped around a great idea with a lot of buzz and a needed service for the people who can afford and needs such hands-on personal management like our party hosts The 400PTM provide. The guest of honor was Philadelphia Eagle’s football player DeSean Jackson (in scarf and sunglasses)Their website states that their company is based on Samuel Ward McAllister coined phrase “the Four Hundred.” According to McAllister, this was the number of people in New York who really mattered as in were monied, should be on anyone’s social list and expected the highest quality of service. The 400 provides excellent life management services for people who need top notch attention, full service management from financial planning, legal advice, domestic care, everything you could imagine to assist a person with a busy life and the means by which they will grow accustomed to if they aren’t already there yet (don’t we all desire to achieve that kinda of personal service)
Another thing that matters, sponsors. And no matter how successful a company, to throw a party you know you need sponsors and face time to help it along. Thanks to and Fusion for their help. Marketing and PR executive Michelle Miller with boutique owner Marina Cogan. (More to thank towards the end of entry)

World Famous Janice Lim (in Miami this week, jealous) here with Curtis and Heather Fish

The crew Sabrina Strickland, who finally filled me in on how she knows the other Sabrina, with guest, Brett Perloff (New Years Eve at Monkey Bar

When: 9:00PM Wednesday, December 31st

and my girl Donna Coghlan
John Clark in as many days, super nice guy posing with Greta Baith, Jenifer Sherlock, Julie Kolstad, Ashlee Snyder (did I mention that I have a photo of Ashlee Simpson in this weeks Us Mag pg 24, baby) and a friend in the back next to John.Aly Green of Silencia with new pitcher Derek Brooks and guest. They are all hanging out in the VIP section of the G Lounge. Silencia, is a new Philadelphia based PR firm who orchestrated the event for The 400, made sure that the lucky 250 party guests also had a dream come true experience, full of one-on-one time with Jackson and a celebrity-esque experience complete with top shelf cocktails and champagne, paparazzi photographs and gift bags.

Dr. Shareef Jandali (who just operated on my guy Mike for wrist surgery), Janice Lin, super duper nice Jill Braunstein, and Matt SantoreThe 400 go to money guy Jared Poe, Lindsay Kravitz,Silencia Partners: Danielle Poe and Aly Green (Silencia’s mission is to provide members with remarkable upscale lifestyles that enrich each day, expand business and social networks and benefit noble and charitable causes, and frankly their easy on the eyes too, is that too Sarah Palin sexist of me? ok Jared’s cool too.)These two girls matter a lot to me – Sabrina Tamburino (I want a full report on St. Bart’s ie Letterman, Dontella, Marc Jacob sightings please) and Donna Coghlan. I had the most fun this year covering Sabrina & Steve Thorne’s engagment party. It wasn’t work, it was too much fun. If Phyllis Halpern and all the Cashman Girls were my IT girls for 2007, then Donna Coghlan is my IT girl for 2008. Thanks Donna for everything you’ve done for me. Oh and my It guy, Matthew Vlahos who has really brought me from A to Z. A few more folks that really matter to me Drew Carballo, Terressa Thompson and Jaime Boyd who consistently hire me, which I love. Thanks, it was great working with you this year, how much fun did we have?

No doubt Drew will be over at Pearl on New Year’s Eve saying good-bye to his friend DJ Excel who is on his way to LA in just a few weeks. Check out the fun at PCC fans, I can’t thank the readers enough. I really am so embarrassed with the riches that have come my way this year, by the kind words you say, your emails, I must get a 1/2 dozen emails a day as people don’t like leaving comments. A big thank you to you Kendra Kirk Wolfgang (2nd from left) and Natalia Gamarra with guest. Happy Birthday to Scotty Buck on the left.

Always fun to catch up with GN Kang (Her blog is so candid, fun, honest and a good read. Catch her in the AM on Wired 96.5) and Ania Khalupsky, who is the Luguna Beach Jeans East Coast Wholesalers, a favorite of Britney Spears. You can pick them up at

or at their store Fusion on South Street. (Ya like? I took this photo last night, I was in the neighborhood)So flattered I ran into another fan of PCC at this event, Autumn Ashley here with Evan Kline. Thanks I really do appreciate it. In January I will be having a giveaway to a fashion event that will be happening in February. So readers stay tuned.

Around Philly Girl Jamie Reibenbach and friends
In the meantime the 400PTM and their sponsors were generous to all the attendees and we were treated to very nice gifts in our bags as we departed. Godiva (Yum), Vitamin Water, Style of Man Calendar, Smith Brothers Coupons, Jack & Jill coupon (Check out their new store in Center City) Breathe at the Ritz-Carlton, Mission Grill $20 Coupon, Nail Bar $5, Axel Imports, $100 Coupon Wayne Edwards, $200 off Cruise Events, 20% Vanity Salon, XIX Cocktail, Sun Myst Tan, awesome Bellagio Sunglasses and a haircut at American Male. In fact I’m gonna give this gift bag away to the first person, who didn’t go to this party, who leaves a comment and emails me, and can pick this bag up at either my concierge desk at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave or somewhere near Broad & Chestnut next week. (I’m gonna keep the sunglasses and haircut coupon though, oh and I ate the Godiva w/i minutes of recieving the bag. I needed the strength to carry it) A star is born. Last week I hooked Erin Elmore up with a gig which fits the former Apprentice contestant like a glove and will really create a buzz in Philadelphia. I’ve talked about it to you before, or as I like to call it TMZ for Philadelphia. I am so excited that she and the StreetTalkin folks agree that Erin would be the perfect hostess to cover the hotness that Philly has become. So check out her first on air report here:


THE 6 Days of HughE Christmas

Tuesday the lighting of the Menorah’s for Hanukkah. I live in the Philadelphian where many of the residents are Jewish, and they had this nice event where the residents brought their Menorah and placed them at the front of the room and had a light the first candle ceremony. Here’s Ronnie Pleet. Her son-in-law is the actor Peter Coyote. On Christmas Eve it’s dinner at sister Tracy & husband Joe, in NJ. Here are my eldest nieces with Santa Walt
Even though Mike is Jewish, he still believes in Santa Claus and buys me nice presents, like a mini laptop so I can upload my photos to my agency while I take the red eye train back from a red carpet event in NYC.
Tracy is such a nice mom, she hangs all her kids art work on the walls (Tracy, Lauren & Judy)Merry Christmas at Margaret & Frank’s near Lancaster, Pa ! Here’s sister Crista and Mom
Rest on Friday. I noticed that the City did not have a tree at Love Park this year. It’s always been one of my favorites.
On Saturday Crista had her son William baptised. I think this is one of my favorite photos I took this year. Those Bateman siblings are so expressive (ie Megan).
Check out the look on Michael Sr as Michael Jr get’s baptised 2 years ago. (My sister’s Janine and Crista in the background. Howard Bateman Jr on right)
My partial family. My sibs Janine and Ray are missing. (Judy is in red and just finished Chemo, she looks awesome. She gave us all hand crochet scarves that she created during his illness.)

Mini me Michael. People think he looks like me when I was his age. I think I look like him now.Congratulations to Colleen and Dave. Just engaged. Dave hired a personal paparazzi to capture the moment. I think that’s a great idea. I think I’d like to do that on the side too.
Oh there’s my brother Ray and his girlfriend Andrea. We all had a nice reception at the Riverton Country Club.
There’s my niece Kelsey wearing her favorite Christmas present from her Uncle HughESaturday PM brought Mike and HughE to Mike & John’s holiday soiree. Here is John Crawford with David. They just celebrated two years together.Andrew, look alike of Andrew’s, James visiting from Germany, originally from NJ and Matt

Kory & Mike LaMonacaAnh & Dan under the Mistletoe
Mr PhillyGayCalendar himself, Steve McCann and Frank
Sunday PM over to the Trocadero to check out Action Park.
The bassist is my co-worker Grayson Papa. Great show. These shots were taken w/o flash. I love my Nikon. Or as I like to think of it at this time as my tax write off.
A nightcap at the Vlahos/Contreras house, thanks for dinner as I popped in unannounced; then it was home to blog and bed. Here’s Oliver wishing me a good work week. Where’s a good place to take an out of towner for dinner tonight, I am torn between Del Frisco’s, Table 31 and somewhere where I have a coupon.
P.S. I have a couple events that I need to get in before the busy Social Season begins in January, so just bear with me this week as I put them in. Hopefully I will be caught up by Monday, I will be blogging everyday til the world returns to work on 1/5/09


EARTHA KITT DEAD ON CHRISTMAS 2008 original singer of “Santa Baby”

In Feb 2006 I saw Eartha at an event on Broadway. When she exited the stage door I told Eartha I professed my love of her talent, thank her for coming to Philly and that I had seen her a show in a show at the Society Hill Sheraton in 1992, “It was a memorable night.” She purred where have you been for the past 10 years? (I snapped the picture at that moment)
Her first album, “RCA Victor Presents Eartha Kitt,” came out in 1954, featuring such songs as “I Want to Be Evil,””C’est Si Bon” and the saucy gold digger’s theme song “Santa Baby,” which is revived on radio each Christmas. (Here she is in 2006 performing at Washington DC’s lighting of the Christmas Tree)



CITY HALL TOURS ARE OPEN 9:30AM t0 4:30PM for observation tower go to Rm 121; Plus they have a visitors center, Obama merchandise too.

Independence Hall, Visitor Center at 5th and Market Street, and all the museums in the City are open. Don’t forget to visit Macy’s and see the Light Show and Dicken’s Village, go to the Reading Terminal and enjoy lunch, visit the Comcast Center building at 17th and JFK and see their Holiday Light Show.


Yakitori Boy, Sushi, Friends, Christmas Eve Eve & Karaoke does it get any better?

The Eve of Christmas Eve brought me to the front door of one Nina Tinari, where I was greeted by both the lovely Nina and her sister Mia. The invite came late last week from Mia, who had was just finishing her finals at Law School and she was looking for a release, and it came in a big way. First up, cocktails at Nina’s at 6:30PM, which included a generous spread. Mia is relaxing on her David’s lap, her fiance’s. The engagement happened in Memphis Tenn a few months back. The waiter brought over the first course, which was cooling under one of the stainless steel lid’s. When the plate was revealed, so was the ring. Very romantic and memorable.Nina and Diane hanging out with their favorite toys. Will someone please get a tree topper for that tree. Of course Nina is way ahead of the game than I am, my tree is still in the box. I hope to have it up by New Years. (Oh and btw, if you were expecting a card from me this year, I just didn’t have time. See end of blog for note)
A few folks were in on the festivities. Jimmy Contreas, Diane Johnson, Mia Tinari, Nina Tinari (this month’s it girl, and a finalist in the year end contest which will be determined by your votes), and Dave (Diane, Dave and Mia all went to undergrad together, although Diane and Mia were not in the same grade, neither were Mia and Dave, but Diane and Dave were in the same grade, get it, and this is before I even had one cocktail)
Nina’s got a rockin’ view of Rittenhouse Square. Would love to see this with snow! Got my digits?

On my way out the door I snapped this little nugget of Nina playing soccer in college. Sexy and sporty, can you stand it?It was then off toYakitori Boy for KARAOKE and sushi!! Yummy and Yuck, Karaoke. The last time I did Karaoke I cleared a room. AJ, Diane, Nina, Jimmy, Mia and DaveBut I was game. I do have to say Karaoke is like a juke box in a country bar, most of the songs are down right depressing.
Today is gonna be the day
That they’re gonna throw it back to you
By now you should’ve somehow
Realized what you gotta do
I don’t believe that anybody
Feels the way I do about you now
People are talkin, talking ’bout people
I hear them whisper, you won’t believe it
They think we’re lovers kept under covers
I just ignore it, but they keep saying
We laugh just a little too loud
We stand just a little too close
We stare just a little too long
Maybe they’re seeing, something we don’t, Darlin’

Christian DiCicco and Diane Johnson?
I love the City Skyline through the window. I love living in this city, this night, Philly Chit Chat – A Social Diary. I recently read that one of the local Mainline newspaper laid off it’s long time Social columnist and photographer. Not a good sign of things to come for local social people coverage, especially the charity events that I so love to cover and promote through PCC.
Dinner, yum. Do you think that Jeremy Priven really got mercury poisoning from eating sushi everyday for two years and that’s why he had to drop out of the grueling 8 shows a week play on Braodway this week?Let’s dance put on your red shoes and dance the blues
Let’s dance to the song
They’re playin’ on the radio
Let’s sway
While color lights up your face
Let’s sway
Sway through the crowd to an empty space
Poor Matt discovers that the black bowl is the discarded shoots from the edamame.

Did I mention that Mattthew Vlahos joined us for some frolick (OK I didn’t take this photo)Dave, Mia, Nina and AJ

Why do you build me up (build me up) Buttercup, baby
Just to let me down (let me down) and mess me around
And then worst of all (worst of all) you never call, baby
When you say you will (say you will) but I love you still
I need you (I need you) more than anyone, darlin’
You know that I have from the start
So build me up (build me up) Buttercup, don’t break my heart

Diane, Christian, Jimmy, and Susan. I don’t know who the thumb sucker is. (Diane introduced Matt and Jimmy, Jimmy introduced Diane to Christian. They say meeting mates through friends is the way to go. Is there anyone you want to meet that you read about here on PhillyChitChat, maybe we can arrange that; Maybe a PCC singles night)
I got chills.
They’re multiplyin’.
And I’m losin’ control.
‘Cause the power
you’re supplyin’,
it’s electrifyin’!

(OK I cleared another room)
Just a small town girl, livin in a lonely world
She took the midnight train goin anywhere
Just a city boy, born and raised in south detroit
He took the midnight train goin anywhere

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to the feelin’
But being with friends who are wild, crazy, and not afraid to sing in public made the night f’ing awesome. And I highly recommend Yakitori Boy for KARAOKE and sushi and I look forward to going there again.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HANAKAH, HAPPY KWANZA, HAPPY HOLIDAYS and Happy Mother Earth. I am taking the next 4 days off. Thanks for your readership.


DAROFF DESIGNS ANNUAL HOLIDAY PARTY hosted by Karen Daroff and James Rappoport

Baby it’s cold outside, and a few weeks back Interior Designer Karen Daroff and Architect James Rappoport invited me in to cover their annual holiday party
Their’s is a unique house set in the woods inside the Wissahickon Park. Nestle on the side of a hill, the house was designed by husband James Rappoport, Vice President of Daroff Design, while Karen designed the interior of the home. The house was featured in Phila Style Mag Spring 2001 and you can read about it here.Besides their fabulous house, the Daroff Design firm is responsible for many of the beautiful interiors in our City like the Loews Hotel, The Marriott, The Rittenhouse, The Comcast Building, Harrah’s AC, and a little further in NYC my favorite restaurant Mars 2112 and then there’s the renovation of the Cotemporary hotel in Disney. So a lot of places where I loved the interior turned out to be Daroff designs. Here’s their kitchen. This sofa faces a fireplace that divides the kitchen from dining area, cozy.Helping to plan and execute the party were Monique Curry and Samantha Brodsky, Karen’s right and left hands. The girls were dressed to the nines and ready to get the party started.
For me this was the type of party I always wanted to photograph, to reach a point where people knew me and trusted me enough that I would do a good job and be professional as the people invited to this party were some of the power brokers in Philadelphia, the people behind the scenes and out front that make up the decisions that drive our City into the future.
Developer Bart Blatstein (responsible for the transformation of the Riverview Plaza and the transformation of Northern Liberties), attorney Jim Schwartzman – As published in Philadelphia magazine, Jim was recognized as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer in 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004 by being selected by his peers as among the top 5 percent of lawyers in the Commonwealth; and former mayoral candidate Tom Knox (Knox is a self-made millionaire businessman who grew up in Philadelphia) Word on the street is that Tom may throw his hat into the gubernatorial race in 2010.
Parking magnate and Koi farm owner, Joseph Zuritsky and wife Renee with Jeweler Craig Drake and his wife Tania. Recently the Drake’s opened their homes for a charity house tour and according to the Phila Inquirer “Jewelry manufacturer and antiques buff Craig Drake and his wife, Tania, should be bathed with praise, because they have managed to bring an outdoor feeling to a very indoor activity. The house, on Spruce Street, has a huge balcony, decorated with Southwest-style plantings, overlooking South Philadelphia.” Lots of delicious shrimp were on ice. Food was provided by Melissa Branson of Uncommon Taste
Jim Tirchon with wife Stephanie Stahl and Lisa Roberts
Carol Saline greets Karen Daroff as Helene Batoff looks on

Hmm crab claws
Barbara Tiffany and Paul Bagga. You remember Paul Bagga who with his wife Kushia, welcomed us into his home last year to see a climate control presentation by one of Al Gore’s trained representatives.WolfBlock attorney Jerome J. Shestack and his wife, Marciarose enjoyed catching up with old friends. Marciarose was the first woman anchor person in prime time in a major media market. I was so excited to photograph her and meet her as I have long known who she was. Some of you know I talk about my friend Greta Greenberger; she and Marciarose are friends, and every other July 4th Greta & Alan either come to my home to see the fireworks, or to Marciarose’s condo just down the block. As gracious as ever Marciarose invited me to see next year’s fireworks from her balcony. I might take her up on it, she probably serves better food than I do.
Talk about spread, wow this spread was delicious. The caterers name is Melissa Brannon and she is the owner of Uncommon Taste
Oh but the women to the left is the owner of the caterering company, anyone know who she is?
Architect James Rappaport with Jim and Nancy Schwartzman
Susan Jacobsen, Michael Golden, Dorothy Binswanger and Karen Burcholtz
Elaine Levitt with Marciarose Shestack
Lisa Brown and Councilwomen Blondell Reynolds-Brown
Guests Derrick Pitts with Kent and Sylvia LeslieCraig Drake, Patricia and Christopher DiGeorge and Tania Drake
Hon Marjorie Rendell and Gov Rendell greet Monique Curry and Samantha Brodsky
Barbara Sylk chats with Tania Drake, Diane Semingson, and Patricia DiGeorge
GPFO Director, Sharon Pinkenson, Gov Edward Rendell and our hostess Karen DaroffRenee and Don Freeman of Freeman Interiors It was fun chatting with them, especially since I had just photographed them on Halloween night at the “Give the Shirt off Your Back” charity event at the Rittenhouse. I haven’t really written about it here as I was hired by Philadelphia Magazine and the photos belong to them, and have been on their website, but now I just got word that they will be in January’s magazine. SO if you are following along from last year’s resolutions, being published in Philly Magazine was on the list.
Paul Rathblott and wife Carol Saline (she doesn’t look any different than when I used to see her around the neighborhood when I was growing up in Cherry Hill and went to school with her daughter Sharon.)
A great night was had by all, I mean look at this photo these women look terrific, this was the last picture of the night I took after all the guests had left. Monique Curry, Karen Daroff and Samantha Brodsky had a terrific party and everyone really enjoyed themselves.


PGN Founder MARK SEGAL’S 25TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY PARTY w/Special Guest PA Gov & Judge Rendell

Let me first start off by saying, Please Save the Mummers, whether you love them, hate them or have never seen them, it’s our Philly tradition for over 100 years, let’s not let that disappear too. So please donate a little money and let’s Save the Mummers. Thanks HughE

Saturday night I attended a handful of holiday parties including Mark Segal’s 25th annual one. Although it’s a well attended party, it’s a closed list and hard to get on. One group that doesn’t have a problem getting on the list are Philadelphia politics’s especially the one’s that may be throwing their hat in an upcoming race. Although no official announcement I don’t think it’s a secret that two of these folks are planning a splash in the political field next year, look for announcements in January. Dawn Tancredi, Judge Seamus McCafferty and Dan McCafferty I accompanied the lovely Phyllis Halpern and Donna Cisowski again this year. I am lucky enough to be great friends with Phyllis and see her often, but it would be nice if I saw Donna a little more. These two are so much fun and know the who’s who and what’s of the political scene. Now that Mary Patel has retired her column at the City Paper, Brian Howard should give a call to these two know it alls.Dwayne Wimmer, Vertex Fitness founder and trainer does a body proud. I hadn’t seen him in a few months, and the boy has packed on muscle. He is what he does, check him out at his place Vertex Fitness if you are looking for that new body in 2009. And our friend Tigre Hill. Best known for the 2006 movie “Shame of the City” about the mayoral race between evil John Street and Republican Sam Katz, he’s now completed his next movie “The Barrel of a Gun”, another controversial subject regarding the Mumia shooting of Officer Daniel Faulkner. Look for a spring release.The following two photos courtesy of Tigre Hill who has them on his facebook with the caption:
If you saw my movie “Shame of the City”, you know how awkward these two photos were to take.
With Jonathan Saidel and his friend. Anybody who Saw my film “The Shame Of A City” knows how awkward this pic is! LOL
My other escort tonight, my partner Mike Toub, still recovering from his trip to Paris where all he brought back was a broken arm and shattered wrist (you can fall off a Segway if you go over cobblestones); with him is man about town Matthew Vlahos who just last year blew into town, in that short time has a thriving PR business, a man on his arm and a new cat Oliver, and Jimmy Contreras, the man on his arm. Things are going swimmingly for Jimmy and will have some good news to share in the coming months. If these two aren’t on the “People to Watch” list in the coming months, then someone isn’t doing their homework.
One of the best things about a Mark Segal party is running into old friends. On the right is Jim Madden who I met when I moved to Philly when it was just a suburb of Cherry Hill. We played softball together and spent times chatting over the years. He’s one of the most pleasant, easy going guys you’re ever going to meet. He’s also the owner of the Bike Stop in the gayborhood. He’s just celebrated 10 years with his partner Ritchie Madden, who spent hours talking tech stuff with Mike.
Then there’s my new friends, GPFO director Sharon Pinkenson and Joe Weiss. You know I am her biggest fan, and what a thrill for me when she came right over, gave me a hug and wished me a big Merry Christmas. If you have been following my blog for the past 18 months, you know I have had a mini crush on her for the past 6 years; I didn’t even talk to her for the first year I photographed her, now she knows my name and gives me hello hugs, aah amazing for a fanboy.I didn’t take a lot of photos at the party, and in fact left big Bertha at home again. I have to say I think the photos with my Nikon 7900 came out pretty good, and it’s tempting not to carry her around as much, but you never know when you might come across the photo that will be published in a magazine or newspaper so that’s really why it’s necessary to shoot with the big guns. Here comes the Judge and her husband, Gov. Ed RendellEvery year Mark has his political and “Bold Named” guest sing a few Christmas Carols. Last year it was the swan song for Street, plus Michael Nutter was on the bill. It was a sight to see, but last year there was a no camera rule and I abided by it. This year I saw lot’s of people with camera’s and even video, and since I didn’t get the “No Camera” notice, like last year, I just brought it but just took photos on a as needed basis. This next event I know you needed to see it.

The singing for this special 25th anniversary was reserved for Gov Rendell and Judge Marjorie Rendell to sing with the Philadelphia Singers.

As Mark directed the whole she bang and enjoyed himself

Songs sung were “Silent Night, “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”, and “The 12 Days of Christmas”, surprisingly no “Dreidal, Dreidal, Dreidal” especially since the host and Gov are all Jewish, which while singing “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” didn’t go unnoticed by the Gov who said, this just feels so weird being a Jew and singing this. But it was all in good fun as the room roared in laughter. For “The 12 Days of Christmas”, the Honorable Midge Rendell has the special solo part of singing,  oh wait you can hear it yourself: Guess who’s birthday it is on 12/21/08
Judge Rendell’s, and Mark Segal marked the occasion with song and a beautiful cake that was inscribed with “Five Golden Rings” “Happy Birthday to our favorite First Lady and Judge”I was in the right spot at the right time with the wrong camera. Still if Michael Klein wasn’t on vacation for the next two weeks, this would have his Inqling’s column written all over it.
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Tuesday was a late night for me as I was out at the aloft hotel for the BJ – The Kid From Chicago listening party. Another blast managed by Terressa Thompson and Jaime Boyd at Experience Event Marketing & Media
Grammy award winning, songwriters, producers Vidal Davis and Andre Harris greet the crowd.

High Maintenance girls or as they like to call themselves – The Clam Clan, or at least that’s what someone told me (is that true?). After this shot they asked me to do individual fashion shots, and a few head shots; I mean they are styling it, but really it’s called the BJ Kid from Chicago Listening Party, not glamour shots are us, even though you are rockin’ it. It was hard, but finally they let me go to shoot the main star as he was kicking off just as I took this picture.

But since they are rockin’ it I will throw them another photo for their Facebook, but remember the photo credit girls to PhillyChitChat – thanks!! Shanae Scruggs, Pamela Brinson, Melody Brinson, Jessica Bodle, Ciara Harvey and Gina Collazo cheldin barlatt, partner, i-g creative a boutique marketing and sales consulting firm and alison zimmer, marketing assistant, i-g creative

Bummer, I just heard tonight that DJ Exel is leaving the East Coast for LAX in January. Many of the parties I have shot these last few months, he’s been there laying decent tracks; he’s in demand and you can catch him maybe for the last time, on New Year’s Eve 2009 at Pearl’s Geisha and Glamour eventSabrina Ponders, Denise Beek, Kathy Bagli, Kyleen Shaw and Karen Conway

Although this party had it’s share of “celebrities”, these two guys were right up there under the word unique: Kirk Ellis is the championship “Guitar Hero” and Billy Gaines is the founder of the “World Series of Beer Pong” held every year in Las Vegas.

More stylin’ from Airin McClain and Nicole OliphantLet the listening begin
BJ takes to the “stage”. For years he’s been a back-up singer for Usher, who was supposed to be there, but because of the snow and ice didn’t make it. Take a listen:

Oooh ohhhh baby. A nice set he sang about 5 songs, and included a few of the ladies in audience participation. Bringing that level of heat to the party stirred one of these ladies and a gent to get a room which for a little romance, which was a good idea since we were in the aloft hotel.Christina Patti plans on hitting the JLS New Years Eve party at the Bellevue, maybe with fan of disc golf Nora Erickson and James Halloway. The girls were grooving to BJ, and although I wish I knew when his new CD was going to drop, we all did a sampler in our parting gift bag.
3Kingdoms recording artist Remy Hendrix and producer Curtis Brown
Somewhere a poor pink bunny is shivering

John Clark never far from a pretty women (John’s a stand up guy, and not pretentious when I asked if he had an “e” at the end of his name. He was like no problem. Some in the weather dept threw me attitude when asked a similar question.)

The very busy Matthew Vlahos, Teressa Thompson with Jimmy Contreras These boys have been keeping a low profile as they nest and settle in from much needed rest after the fall social season. Come January, following the week after the Academy of Music opens the winter social season with the annual Anniversary Concert and Ball, on Saturday, January 24, 2009, the Matthew Vlahos publicity machine will be having the seasons most celebrity studded, who’s who of Philadelphia at the opening of Union Trust steak house on Chestnut Street.

Sherman Beyer with 2009 Grammy Nominated writer Helen Bruner and co-writer nominated Terry Jones with record producer Craig White

Yameen Allworld and Laiya St. Clair

Maybe an ode to the purple one himself – Prince

BJ the Chicago Kid and Marsha Ambrosius of Floerty



If you haven’t bought your 2009 calendar here are a few choices specific to Philadelphia:

‘Boys of Philly’ 2009 Wall Calendar

  • 12 hot local guys with beautiful Philadelphia backdrops
  • 100+ local lgbt events already printed on the calendar
  • All major holidays
  • Fascinating local lgbt fun facts
  • 8.5” x 11” format (measures 11” x 17” when hanging)
  • Premium 100 lb. gloss cover stock
  • Calendars printed in full color, inside and out

Also sold at:
– Absolute Abstract (141 S. 13th Street )
– Giovanni’s Room (345 S 12TH St )
– Nevermore Inn (6426 Lower York Rd, New Hope)
– TLA Video (1520 Locust Street & 517 S 4th Street)

Or if you can’t get to any of those places, you can still buy them online at

TWO THOUSAND NINE. That’s the theme of our latest Philly Skyline, The Calendar, which is a good thing since its accuracy is required for punctuality, all next year.

The Skinny on the 2009 calendar:

• It’s glossy.

• It’s 11″ x 17″ (or 8½” x 11″ times two, vertically).

• It’s totally original, lovingly made right here in Philadelphia from someone who knows Philadelphia, not pieced together by some big production company with outdated stock photography.

• It’s full of original photos, which in a sense amounts to a dozen 8x10s you can frame when the month is out.

• It’s the only place you’ll find all the Philly info and birthdays you absolutely need in 2009.

• It’s only 20 bucks!

Your choices to buy Philly Skyline, The Calendar: 2009 are two: 1. You can buy it in person at Conspiracy Showroom (910 N. 2nd Street, across the street from North Bowl and Standard Tap in Northern Liberties) and 2. You can buy it RIGHT HERE on yr Skyline. All online payments are made through PayPal, the standard, trusted, secure payment source on this ‘ere internet. Shipping is a measly three bucks and covers the protective mylar envelope and the cost of shipping via USPS.