Thursday, April 8, 2010

Be a Jet Setter This Spring!

Guests enjoying Steppenwolf Auxiliary Council's "Red or White Ball" at Salvage One in 2009. (Photo: Kyle Flubacker)

Chicago's always been known as a party kind of town, but when spring hits it's on a completely different level.

That's when it's prime-time benefit season, as most young professional groups hold their annual charity events.

The Steppenwolf Theatre's annual Red or White Ball, happening at 8pm Friday, typically attracts a sophisticated, arts-loving crowd, but this is definitely not a stuffy collection of folks.

It's put on by the Steppenwolf's auxiliary board, and guests get to mingle in Warehouse District art gallery Salvage One. A premium open bar and deejay spinning danceable hits also contribute to getting this crowd in a festive mood.

Get tickets here. $150 (general admission); $250 (for 7pm VIP reception). An after-party happens at Underground.

More charity parties to keep you busy all season:


The Art Institute goes After Dark this month as an all-out party occurs to celebrate the arrival of the Matisse exhibit. Party includes apps, a cash bar, and groovy beats from Midnight Conspiracy and DJ Madrid. Theatrical ensemble Collaboraction also performs. Benefits the Evening Associates. 9pm-midnight April 9. $25. Get tickets here.

Beards for Babies kicks off April 11 at Mahoney's and continues through the Blackhawks playoff season. Men and women can participate by registering during the kickoff party and signing a hockey puck for the Beards for Babies Wall of Fame. They must make a pledge that they'll raise a minimum of $1 a day through the playoffs. The party includes $4 Jameson, Guinness and Irish Car Bomb specials, half price menu items (until 5pm) and a $30 all-you-can drink package (4-7pm). All proceeds benefit the March of Dimes.

The guys behind 20/30 Club have two massive events this month. Golf enthusiasts can join them April 10 for the Masters Pub Crawl. It kicks off at 1:30pm at Augie's in Lincoln Park, then stumbles to eight additional area bars. Of course, there's some sort of golf-drinking challenge. And the annual Casino Swing party happens April 17 at the Chicago History Museum. Black-tie optional event combines casino-style charity gaming, live music and dancing. Get tickets here. 7pm-2am. $125.

The 10th-annual Blackboard Affair is put on by the Working in the Schools program, which promotes literacy among children. It goes down 7-11pm April 30 at the Chicago Illuminating Co., and includes an open bar, appetizers and a silent auction. Get the $95 tickets here.

A runway show by designer Pierre Colorado, who is teamed up with Chef Takashi Yagihashi for "Fashion Plates." (Photo: Blake Standard)


The Auxiliary Board of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago throws a Cinco de Mayo-themed party as part of its Flirting for Disaster fundraiser at Rockit Bar & Grill. Your $25 will get you appetizers, discounted cocktails and live music. 6-9pm May 6. Tickets available here.

Chicago's most fashionable crowd is expected to turn out for the first-ever Fashion Plates, happening at the Chicago Cultural Center. "Top Chef" meets "Project Runway" as local designers pair up with noted culinary stars like Randy Zweiban (Province), Martial Noguier (Cafe des Architectes), Takashi Yagihashi (Takashi), Carrie Nahabedian (NAHA) and Rick Gresh (Primehouse) for a delicious approach to high fashion. It's hosted by the Chicago chapter for Les Dames d’Escoffier International and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs Culinary and Fashion Divisions to benefit the McCormick Boys & Girls Club. Get tickets here. 6-10pm May 10. Tickets start at $175.


The Great Chefs Tasting Party is back at the Sheraton and spotlights some of the city's top restaurants, including The Purple Pig, Osteria via Stato, Lockwood, Mike Ditka's Restaurant and Carnivale. 5-9pm June 3. Get tickets here. $125 for general admission. After-party's at Underground.

And it's a Totally Animal '80s theme for the Auxiliary Board of Lincoln Park Zoo's spring soiree at the zoo. That's gonna be one helluva interesting combo of guests dressing up black-tie and channeling Madonna, Duran Duran or Tears for Fears. A deejay spins an all-1980s soundtrack. Appetizers, open bar, silent auction. 8-midnight June 11. $125.

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