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Philadelphia

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Sofitel Philadelphia: Art Exhibit Returns, as does Pride

Last week Sofitel Philadelphia at Rittenhouse Square and J. Nunez Gallery present a special happy hour, art reception and influencer mixer on Wednesday, May 4, 2022. After a pause during the pandemic, Sofitel is excited to bring back its monthly, quarterly and annual signature events – including new art installations in the Sofitel lobby. It was a beautiful event, fun to see everyone out and about, enjoying themselves and the highlights on Liberté’s new spring menu. It’s good to see the folks at the Sofitel, Anthony Geistwite, (r) and the team at Sofitel Philadelphia. There’s a lot of plans in the works, as Philly and events bounce back, especially at the Sofitel, not only is it a hotel with a restaurant but it serves Philly as a community advocate. The exhibit is Travel by Colors by artist Dana Salzone (c)

Angela Bauer, the hotel’s general manager “Sofitel Philadelphia is passionate about supporting our local community,” said Angela Bauer, the hotel’s general manager. “We are prouder than ever to celebrate June as Philly Pride Month and fly a giant Philadelphia Pride rainbow flag outside the hotel to publicly show our commitment to inclusiveness.”

No hotel in Philly celebrates Pride with gusto as the Sofitel. The Sofitel in Rittenhouse Square is preparing to expand its annual observance of Pride Month with a lineup of special events. The hotel is also bringing back its Drag Afternoon Tea series each Saturday in June from 2 to 4 p.m. at its restaurant Chez Colette Brasserie. I will definitely be there the first Saturday June 4th, with my pearls on.

Proceeds from the drag series are being donated to the William Way LGBTQ Community Center to support its ongoing programming and services.

On June 4, Brittany Lynn is hosting one of three afternoon teas. Lynn runs Philly Drag Mafia, a drag performance collective featuring nearly 20 artists and performers. Lynn is the creator of Drag Queen Story Time at Philly’s schools, parks, libraries and museums. 

On June 4, Brittany Lynn is hosting one of three afternoon teas. Lynn runs Philly Drag Mafia, a drag performance collective featuring nearly 20 artists and performers. Lynn is the creator of Drag Queen Story Time at Philly’s schools, parks, libraries and museums.  (Then we can head to the Roots Picnic)

Through June and the rest of the year, Sofitel will donate $1 per each banquet menu item sold that features the William Way Community Center logo to the LGBTQ organization. 

Additionally, for every Liberté cocktail sold in the Liberté Lounge during June, Sofitel will donate $1 to William Way. Proceeds raised from the drink special will go toward William Way’s programs for LGBTQ elders, as well as its Trans Resource Center. 

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University of the Arts Celebrates

In 2018, UArts announced Uniquely UArts: The Campaign for Creative Capital to support four initiatives: enhancing the student experience, investing in faculty, re-envisioning campus and developing innovative programming. The goal was to raise $50 million.

Last month UArts President and CEO David Yager announced that the campaign far exceeded its goals and raised $67.2 million in a ceremony at UArts.

Nate Hamilton, who’s grandmother, gave “The single-largest donation to the campaign was $25 million from the estate of Dorrance “Dodo” Hill Hamilton, the late Campbell Soup heiress who served on the school’s board for decades, a number of them as board chair.” and Brian Effron, “I am honored to serve as the chair of this campaign,” said UArts Trustee and campaign Chair Brian Effron.”

Money from the just-completed campaign, dubbed “Uniquely UArts: The Campaign for Creative Capital,” will be spent and saved for a variety of efforts including the biggest chunk, about $24 million, will be kept in perpetuity in endowment.

Jon Lovitz, and Brenton McClosky

About $17 million is being used for capital projects, like a new student center in the former Gershman Y building at Broad and Pine Streets, the Laurie Wagman Recording Studios, and “Living Steps,” a new gathering space for students.

Lynn Sullivan, Marian M and Eleanor Davis
Lawrence Taylor and Ralph Cintino

Restricted funds totaling about $14 million are being used for programs and academic disciplines.

About $5 million is being set aside as discretionary funds — for expenditures like tuition relief, housing costs, food expenses, and art supplies.

$5.5 million will go toward scholarships.

Nate Hamilton, Harriet and Larry Weiss with Councilperson Mark Squilla

The University of the Arts Students

One of the recent improvements in the Hamilton Hall was the creation of Uarts Living Steps. Check out how they were created HERE

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Pixs: Stratus Lounge Spring Awakening and Refresh

Everything’s coming up roses, especially after two years of dormancy including the Stratus Spring Awakening Party which kicks off their outdoor season. Stratus Rooftop Lounge, the chic rooftop venue on the 11th floor of the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Old City at 5th and Chestnut, welcomed the warm weather with it’s annual “Spring Awakening” party on Friday April 19.

This go-around was dubbed The Ultimate Spring Partyrife with live music from Snacktime Philly (they’re everywere, at Condessa today and last night) and noted DJs spinning vinyl, effervescent cocktails and bubbly, elevated hors d’oeuvres, burlesque, roller skating dancers, and so on, on – and they were right on the money!! It was a party not to be missed. (I missed it though as I had a friends surprise bday party (Happy Birthday Angela Val), but thanks to team snapper Andre Flewellen he was on the scene and captured the happening!!

“Our annual spring kick off has always been the showstopping event of the year – and we’re thinking the long-awaited return will be bigger and better than ever before,” said Eric Johnson, General Manager of Stratus Rooftop Lounge. “The goal is for The Ultimate Spring to be the celebratory party we’ve all been looking for after the past two years. Plus, it marks a new, vibrant, and fun-filled spring and summer ahead at Stratus Rooftop Lounge!” 

Michelle Shannon, Center City District and Bruce Shannon
Scensters Brandon Edelman (Bran Flakes) and Kirk Wilson

Jennifer Grayson, Samantha Schwartz, Aiden Hamilton, Maura Kranzel, and Jasmine Nguyen

Spencer Brennen, General Manager at Birchtree Catering, LLC and Laura Swartz, Philly Mag
Richard Simango and Lloyd Shoriwa
Beth and Ty Annick-Hyle with Danielle Paurmard-Grodek
Alex Holley, Fox29 – Good Day and The Feed and Miguel Martinez-Valle, NBC10 and Telemundo
Donielle Powell, Sadie Sadie Married Lady – Congrats >> Kylie Flett,and Chandra Robbins
James Zeleniak,, Punch Media PR, Max Barna, Managing Editor: @choppersmagazine and Chris Lorenc, PA
Greg Viola, Tashna Seaton-Smal and ,Tavone Stone
Jen Nagle,Laura Burkhardt, and Daniel Briones

The lavish soirée previews the newly launched seasonal cocktail menu courtesy of Lead Bartender Christopher Devern and includes elevated fare (think: oysters, caviar, sushi, etc.) from the talented culinary team at Stratus Rooftop Lounge. As for entertainment, local DJs – including the fan-favorite DJ Romain, DJ Vanya, and DJ Hollywood – will spin vinyl throughout the evening, and Philadelphia’s go-to seven-piece brass band Snacktime Philly is set to wow the crowd during 30-minute sets in between DJ acts.

Charity Gala

Roaring Back: Abington Health Foundation Gala

On Saturday April 23, 2022 Abington Health Foundation roared back to celebrating their 100th Anniversary, which was scheduled to take place April 18, 2020 before the pandemic pause. The delay just made the night so much sweeter as nurses, doctors, staff and friends gathered to celebrate life on so many levels, as will be all celebrations moving forward. We, us collectively will never forget the horror we all endured, and for the many who were affected. Thank you Front Line Workers for your sacrifice.

Michael and Erica McKiernan, with Brad and Meghan Fryer

“Slick your hair and wear your buckle shoes… and all that jazz!” Guests had a fabulous time at the 1920’s style Spring Celebration last weekend. Proceeds benefit the Image Recovery Center at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center- Asplundh Cancer Pavilion

Judy McGruther, Mark Kerschner, Maureen and Corey Evans

Maryann Watson, Claudia Lyles, Lauren Farrell and Alyson Kaplan

I love how folks really got into the spirit.

Claudia and Greg Lyles

The June Fete Fair/Horse & Pony Show returns in 2022! We are so excited to be back and we need your help! This event relies on our dedicated volunteers – visit jefferson.edu/junefete for details on how you can join us!

A New Era for Neuroscience

When patient Melissa B. turned to the Neurosurgery Division at Jefferson Abington Hospital to have a spinal tumor removed she said, “At every step of the way, from the neurologist’s office to the Emergency Trauma Center to my operation and inpatient stay, I was treated with compassion and empathy. I always felt I had chosen the right place for my care.

Lisa and Paul O’Moore

We are proud to share that the AHF Women’s Board has made a generous gift to the Durham Fund for Nurse Wellness at Jefferson Health – Abington. To join in and make a gift as we celebrate #JeffersonGivingDay, please visit www.Jefferson.edu/GivingDay.

Abington Health Foundation

Abington Health Foundation is a nonprofit Philanthropy Pillar Program that financially supports the efforts of Abington Hospital – Jefferson Health, Abington – Lansdale Hospital and its affiliates to benefit the health and well-being of our community. In 2015, Abington Health and Jefferson completed a merger that will bring exciting changes in urban/suburban access to health care. One thing will stay constant: All charitable gifts to Abington Health Foundation will still be directed to Abington Hospital, Abington – Lansdale Hospital and our affiliate locations throughout the community, just as our donors wish.

Part of Jefferson Health – Abington and the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, the Image Recovery Center brings the amenities of a luxury spa to patients interested in restoring their appearance before, during, and after the side effects of cancer treatment. Our staff is specially trained to provide professional, high-quality services, with careful consideration for patients who may have compromised immune systems stemming from cancer treatment.

Thanks to PCC Team Photographer Andre Flewellen for shooting this event.

Around Town With HughE

Positano Coast in Old City, Philadelphia Reveal

Photo: Adriano Martino

Aldo Lamberti and family are proud to introduce and unveil the new Positano Coast in Old City, Philadelphia. The award-winning Italian and seafood restaurant, bar, lounge, event space and outdoor dining destination has been renovated inside from top to bottom.

I had a chance to go the other day, which was not a twist your arm kinda thing as it is one of my favorite restaurants, and the Lamberti family is like family. They make everyone feel that way. I love all their places, but the new space, the new menu wow so good. It’s like a new restaurant opening. I had never had the veal chop, it was delicious. Yes I ate this whole thing. Yes I know, I am mostly plant based, but as my friends will testify not out, usually. There were good vegetarian options as well but when I saw someone nearby order this beauty, it was all over.

Danielle Avarez, Sip on What and Toi Storr, Toi Time

Congrats to Danielle who recently got engaged. She met her beau at one of these Kory Aversa media/influencer events I’ve been told.

Nothing says spring like Lilly and a nice yellow sweater.
Chelsea Logan and Penny Gsell, Penny in Philly

I thought I’d have fun tonight while covering this event. I asked guests “Do you sleep with your phone?” I am guilty. I know, radiation. No good reason except I’m too lazy to put it on the end table, plus I wake up and I am always curious of the time. Not much else. I also go to sleep with my ear pods in either listening to the news, Luther Vandross, or some scary podcast. Yes I have interesting dreams. Chelsea tells me she does not sleep with her phone in HER BED EVER!!! She stressed!! Penny sleeps with it right her head, in bed, to my relief. I see Penny and I have other things in common too. Love that Veal girl.

GNOCCHI 24
potato dumplings, cream of zucchini, lemon zest was Chelsea’s dish. A new menu item.

George Bank ,Laura Swartz, Kelly Meerbott and Ernest Owens

George, and Laura both sleep with their phones. Leadership and Team Development Coach Kelly doesn’t, and she probably recommends that to her clients I imagine. Congratulations to Ernest Owens who revealed his book cover “The Case for Cancel Culturethe other day, he says when he is asleep, the phone is in the other room. Now that is disconnecting.

Rachel Viggiano, @rach_ontheradio sleeps with her phone under her pillow. Mario LoVerde, @mano__loverde on the bedside, Dhruvi Shah @dhruvii__S under her pillow and Vybar Hiraesave @why_be_10 on the nightstand.

Davida Janae @vidafashionista is an under the pillow gal as her phone also acts as a baby monitor and she wants to know Cora is alright at all times.

Compatible: PHL Date Night Francesca Geonnotti with friend Anastasia Geomotti are definite no’s on sleeping with their phones.

Ray only lets Miguel sleep in the bed, but the phone is nearby to keep abreast of news on his Rebuild Philly projects. Happy Birthday Sunday to Alex Holley, who jetted off with friends to a tropical location for non-stop celebrations with the gals.

Josh Moore @josheatsphilly, Rebecca Neckritz @phillyfoodladies and Kaitlyn McLaughlin @phlmyplate

For more about the new menu and the history, visit https://www.positanocoast.net/. For reservations visit Open Table or call 215-238-0499.

Around Town With HughE

Rupert Grint Spotted, M Night New Movie, Shakespeare Book Store,

Good Monday morning. I hope you had a fantastic weekend. It seems a bit cooler this spring, but the beautiful colors have inspired all of us to go out and enjoy the day. Folks have been writing me to ask what is currently being built on the Art Museum Steps, it’s The Philadelphia Show (4/29 – 5/1)

Guess who I just met todayyyy! Rupert Grint (aka Ron Weasley) from “Harry Potter”! He’s gonna be in town for a little while cuz he’s filming a new movie. So, I was at the zoo, checking out the red pandas and all of a sudden, him, his girlfriend, and their baby were right next to me, checking out the red pandas too! I saw Rupert and I thought to myself “No. freaking. way. Rupert Grint’s actually here! And he’s right next to me!” (Instagram)

Rupert Grint has been in town for a bit of time filming M Night’s popular Apple TV series Servant, which is filming it’s final season, season 4. I just finished watching season 3 on Apple and am shook, can’t wait for season 4. Night has stopped production on Servant at episode 6 to begin filming his new movie “Knock at the Cabin”, starring Grint, Dave Bautista and Nikki Amuka-Bird. He will resume filming Servant in mid summer I was told, where he will film at his custom studio in Garnett Valley as well as on location on the 2100 block of Spruce Street. As I wrote on my Instagram 3/16/22, filming for Knock at the Cabin will be done in the Philly area, as well as in South NJ my sources tell me.

Say it ain’t so. Shakespeare & Co. has lost it lease and is now looking for space? What a unique bookstore. Sad to see it has to move. With all the empty store fronts the landlord couldn’t work on keeping them here? Such nice owners and staff too. Hope they find a suitable location.

Let’s Go Sixers!!

Philly To Do, Uncategorized

CITRS 2022 Dancing for Character

Noelle Palazzo Burg, HughE Dillon, Lauren Conlon, Sue Jacquette, Kristin Daly,
Kristyn Aldrich and Scott Brown participated in the CITRs Dancing for Character Charity Dance last month. The amateur dancers took time from their busy schedules as ace real estate brokers, student, moms, and entrepeneurs to learn to dance at the Danza Dancing Studio in order to seem like “stars” on the dance floor, and I’d have to say all of us succeeded.

Clay Hamlin is the CEO and co-founder of CITRS, as well as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Character. Its mission is of comprehensive character development. CITRS partners with school districts and youth organizations to develop character-centered environments where students thrive ethically, socially and academically and provides resources and tools to educators and organizations to help urban youth be successful in life.

The event was held at Cescaphe’s Vie on North Broad. They always do a great job with production and food.
Brendan & Tessa Petersen,Michael & Suzanne Bracci
Molly & Joe Dickerson
Karen Cox and Jen Su with Illustrator Denise Fike
Josianne Legare and Stacy Distefano
Chris Smith,Heidi Kivi,Maureen Burling,Stephanie Jacquette,
    Layla Peterson
Nichole Davis Moore, Director of Scholarships & Financial Aid Penn Vet and ,Nichelle Davis Ahmaddiya, Chief Operating Officer of CITRS
Lynsie Feinberg and Bari Gilbert both of CITRS

Fundraising is a hard thing to do. Kudo’s to Lynsie Feinberg on the tremendous job she did producing this event. She did an excellent job while managing so many movable pieces, and a pandemic as the planning for this event began in 2019..

Lauren Conlon
Stephen and Sylvia Fineberg
Chris Smith,Heidi Kivi,Maureen Burling,Stephanie Jacquette,
    Layla Peterson
Jasmine Hendri ,Stefanie Wenzel, Bernadette Armstrong, Nikai Iovino, and
    Danielle Renzi
Genna Rufo, Gokcen Gurk and,Watsuki Harrington
Robert Fisicaro and dancer Kristin Daly
Sue Jacquette,
Kristyn Aldrich
Scott Brown
Jen Corea and Hughe Dillon
Thanks to this crew for coming out to support me, as well as a few others who were camera shy, and those who donated and couldn’t be there. I appreciate it so much.

Thanks to PhillyChitChat team member: Andre Flewellen for photographing the event. It was sooooo hard for me not to shoot an event I attended, but he of course did a fantastic job capturing everyone and the elements.

There was a Tie for Winning Dance:
Noelle Palazzo Burg and Sue Jacquette,

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The South Street 89th Annual Easter Promenade

An Easter tradition returned to South Philadelphia for the first time since the start of the pandemic Sunday April 17, 2022, drawing hundreds of people excited to enjoy the festivities. The South Street Headhouse District (SSHD) returned with its 89th Annual Easter Promenade! Hundreds dressed up in their Sunday best, took photos with the Mr. and Mrs. Cottontail and grabbed delicious bites at some of South Street’s iconic restaurants.

The Easter Promenade, known for the extravagant Easter costumes, was led by Henri David, the fantastical Master of Ceremonies, also known for his exuberance and particular skill in throwing the most magnificent parties. The promenade hosted contests for people of all ages who wanted to dress up for the occasion. All contestants received an Easter bag with delicious goodies thanks to Frankford Candy. Nearly 200 infants, children, families and pets entered the contest for categories such as Best Dressed Family, Best Dressed Pet, Best Bonnet, and Best South Street Razzle Dazzle. 

The Promenade ended at the new Headhouse Plaza (2nd and Lombard Streets) for the contest judging. The contestants of the Easter Promenade’s best dressed contest were judged by  South Street business owners and friends  such as Shannon Maldonado, Owner of Yowie on S. 4th Street, a SSHD business, Monica Monique, Owner of Oxymoron Fashion House on S. 4th Street, a SSHD business, Mark Squilla, Councilman of City Council’s First District, P.A. House Representative Mary Isaacson, and Jillian Pirtle, a Vocalist, Actress, and TV Personality. 

Best Dressed Girl (Ages 6-10) – Lake Bryant-Pressley
Best Easter Bonnet – Terry Gsell and Luis Martinez

Winners received gift cards to  Ham + Bone, Head House Books, Moon + Arrow, NEWSBOY Hats, Philly AIDS Thrift, Queen & Rook, Scoop DeVille, Spread Bagelry / Cozette Pizza, & YOWIE.  Check out more photos Metro Philly, Phila Tribune and PCC IG Reels (it’s become a thing) Have a great day!!

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What Philly Wore Week of April 10th

Hello readers, this past week I started a new series on Instagram “What Philly Wore” , which has turned out to be fairly popular. I was thinking on Fridays or Saturday I will post some of my favorite shots of What Philly Wore on ChitChat. I love the photo above. I stopped by the newly opened Van Leeuwen Ice Cream spot near Rittenhouse Square. Fox 29’s Good Day Alex Holley was “celebrating” her birthday with a namesake ice cream flavor, lavender birthday cake, probably not the official name but what I was tasting. It was delicious. The photo above are people waiting to come inside, with Sofia Pignitor, Cashman & Associates looking on (left).

How wonderful: One of the first photos I shot was this person walking down the street with angel wings on. If that wasn’t a sign of success, I don’t know what is…

If you write me like this young man, I will send you your photo….

A neatly and stylishly dressed man can be described as dapper.

Shoe Power with orange accent hair

These two didn’t know each other before I took this photo, but they do have similar taste. (WDAS Women of Excellence)

We are less than one month away from the second annual AACR Day of Giving. Save the date for May 6 as the entire AACR community comes together to raise critical funds for cancer research. Visit the link in our bio and help us reach our goal of 250 donors by donating. #researchsaveslives

The filming of a commercial in Rittenhouse Square. Not sure if it was part of the big production filmed in No Libs and Old City earlier this week, but thanks to my readers for tipping me off.

At the Young Friends Soiree at Barnes Foundation Thursday 4/14/22: Trell and Jus Rome

Never too much to wear something that makes others go wow. I wish I wasn’t running so late to dinner to meet Brandon Szeker at Mixto (hadn’t been there in a decade, still as delicious as ever), cause we all want to know where was she going dressed like this on a Tuesday night. She had just paid for parking.

What are you doing for dinner this weekend, how about Louie Louie

Two shereos who save lives through their work: Sheryl Lee Ralph, actress, activist and part time Philly resident who’s been married to Sen. Vincent Hughes for nearly 20 years (2005) and Dr. Ala Stanford, founder of the Black Doctors COVID19 Consortium both were honored at the WDAS Women of Excellence luncheon.

Tulip Season

Thank You: The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society planted 70,000 bulbs in Philadelphia’s iconic Logan Square this past fall season which are now reaching their peak bloom. They will wrap this iconic Philadelphia location in a beautiful array of rainbow colors, welcoming the spring season. These blooms are now at their peak and are expected to retain their beauty (depending on weather) through April 22, 2022.

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WDAS Women of Excellence and Eye Popping Fashion

Hello my friends. I am slowly catching up, and you will see your photo/event soon. Life is great. I’m having a good time looking for my balance. Check out this fun event I covered over the weekend.

A sold out, fashionable, excited to be together once again group of women came out for the The 6th annual WDAS-FM Women of Excellence Luncheon, Saturday April 9th at Live! Hotel & Casino (900 Packer Avenue, Philadelphia).

There was shopping, and networking. Mingling and catching up. The ladies brought the fashion, and it was beautiful!!

These two got a kick out of twining, they didnt know each other but loved one anothers taste.

Award-winning actress, singer, author, and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph received the inaugural “WDAS-FM 2022 Women of Excellence Legend Award.” Ms. Ralph is married to Sen. Vincent Hughes, 7th Senatorial District in Pennsylvania and splits her time between Philadelphia and LA, where she is currently starring in the hit TV series Abbott Elementary. Her speech to the audience touched on many issues, stressing that women do not have to settle with what society tells them to accept. Strive for your excellence!! Also “you are in control of your health”, now more than ever the doctors aren’t as concerned. You can eat healthy, you don’t have to accept diabetes as a way of life. Exercise, etc. Live longer. She also said bad things happen, life is sometimes troubled, things don’t always go your way, but it’s how you react to it. She just continues to be positive and doesn’t react to negative situation – I hear you girl, she’s speaking to me too. I’m so happy for my friend, and her huge success. So glad to have gotten to know her over the past decade.

2022 Trailblazing Woman of Excellence recipient, the phenomenal Dr. Ala Stanford, founder of REAL Concierge Medicine and The Black Doctor’s COVID-19 Consortium. Dr. Stanford spoke about health inequities, and how she took things into her own hands to correct the imbalance. She was qualified as she had a proven record of providing medical care through her career. There are no shortcuts, and it gave her the foundation to which she was able to use it to save lives. She thanked her team, many who worked without pay as they worked feverishly to get people tested, then vaccinated. –

A true shero in every sense of the word!!

Tracy Davidson, Anchor, NBC 10 News Today, NBC 10 Philadelphia with a viewer

Other honorees included:
Bumi Fernandez West, Chief Executive Officer of The Odunde Festival
Tracy Davidson, Anchor, NBC 10 News Today, NBC 10 Philadelphia
Anita T. Conner, Managing Partner, Anita T. Conner & Associates
Tiffany Tavarez, Senior Vice President of Technology Diverse Segments, Representation & Inclusion (TDSRI) and Technology DE&I Council & Director of Communications, Wells Fargo
Catherine Hicks, President of the Philadelphia NAACP and Publisher of the Sunday Sun Newspaper

Thank you WDAS for honoring these trailblazing women!!