Teesee’s Town

Legendary Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Chaka Khan comes this way for a special one-night-only performance on May 20, 6:30 p.m., to headline WTTW’s annual benefit at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park.

Legendary Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Chaka Khan comes this way for a special one-night-only performance on May 20, 6:30 p.m., to headline WTTW’s annual benefit at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park. The R&B superstar and Chicago native will rock the stage with her full band in a 60-minute concert. Tickets at $125 will also include a post-concert reception. Call (773) 509-5525 or go online to www.wttw.com.celebration2010. The reception will be followed by an elegant dinner for high-level donors on the Rooftop Terrace, adjacent to the Harris Theater.

Khan, best known for her memorable hit songs I’m Every Woman, Ain’t Nobody, I Feel for You, Tell Me Something Good and Through the Fire, et al, was raised on the South Side, attended Calumet High School and Kenwood Academy high school before achieving breakout success with the funk band, Rufus. She’s collaborated with a wide and diverse variety of prominent artists and has remained a top-selling solo performer to this day. She has a connection with PBS: Khan recorded a new version of the theme song for its popular children’s series, Reading Rainbow.

And the folks at WTTW, America’s most-watched public television station, also want you to know that Khan will appear in the station’s up-coming new documentary, DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis, produced and written by Barbara E. Allen and Daniel Andries, which premiers June 7, 7:30 p.m. The Chicago Defender has been a partner with WTTW from the beginning of the project and has provided the most amazing archival photography that’s featured in the documentary. DuSable to Obama celebrates the remarkable history of African Americans in Chicago. Through interviews, reenactments and archival footage, it captures the extraordinary stories of the eminent and unsung, the everyday men and women who have helped to mold the city through politics, culture and business. Among the interviewees: historian Timuel Black, scholar-author Lerone Bennett, Third World Press founder Haki Madhubuti, patron of the arts Susan Cayton Woodson, actor-director Harry Lennix, Cook County commissioner and performer Jerry “Iceman” Butler, word artist J. Ivey and many, many others. Wanna know more? Visit www.wttw.com/dusabletobama.

Mark your calendar now! You surely don’t want to miss either of these two events! Benefit Bash – An overflow of kin, friends and supporters enjoyed an exciting, fun-filled afternoon at eta’s 27th annual Spring Board Benefit. Although the incomparable jazz vocalist Dee Alexander “wowed ‘em” with her splendid vocal renditions, it was the Celebrity Talent Show of “amateurs” that actually stole the show. Co-chairs: Debra Jennings-Johnson, director of supplier diversity at BP America, and Steve Baskerville, Channel 2 meteorologist, who doubled as emcee. Investor Stephen W. Blessman kicked-off the show with a bluesy harmonica followed by nurse Fran Gibbs who delivered a comedy routine that had the audience in stitches. Dr. Cynthia Henderson followed with a beautiful rendition of When You Walk through a Storm. The laughter continued when playwright Christine Houston (“227” author) presented an excerpt from her play, I Love You Nana. The second half of the show featured Rev. David Jones, whose booming Make Them Hear You from “Ragtime” was a crowd pleaser, followed by public relations guru Barbara Kensey’s jazzy renditions of Nature Boy and Lullaby of Birdland accompanied on piano by Corky McClerkin. Attorney Jim Montgomery’s The Impossible Dream accompanied on piano by his daughter, Dr. Jewel Montgomery, received rousing applause when he decided to start all over again. The celebrity talent show ended with Dr. William Earl Woods who gave a lesson in trumpet-playing before performing two jazz standards accompanied by pianist Theophilus Reed. Nancy McKeever, eta board chair, presented Michael A. Lewis, eta vice chair, with the distinguished Milton Davis Magic Award and thanked all for making the annual Spring Board Benefit “the best ever!”

Lovely Lena! – So very sorry to hear of Sunday’s passing of legendary Lena Horne, Broadway star and Hollywood actress. I saw her in the musical Jamaica in New York City in the late 50s and again here in Chicago performing at Drury Lane Theatre in Water Tower  Place with Tony Bennett. What a show! When I was a “shorty” I wrote her a fan letter. To my sheer delight, she responded with a beautiful autographed picture. It was the absolute thrill of my young life. For years, that photo occupied a special place among family portraits on the mantelpiece over the fireplace in our West Woodlawn home. Newsy Names – Gallery Guichard hosts the Inaugural Reception & Presentation of five Ted Ellis paintings to DuSable Museum by Allen Turner, philanthropist, this Wednesday, 6 p.m. The exhibit, “Common Bonds,” features fine art of Reginald Baylor, Tony Smith, Joyce Owens, Nathan Jalani Taylor, Andre Guichard, Daryl Harris, Dayo Laoye, Tia Richardson, Bruce Jefferson, Adam Guichard and others  … Happy b’day to Carol Adams, Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), Dorothy Tillman, Ald. Carrie Austin (34th), Charles Thomas, Jacky Grimshaw, Dr. Felicia Blasingame, Lucille Robison, Brandi Williams and Kathy Hayes. Luv from “Teesee” – My heartfelt thanks to each of you who came out to help me celebrate my “diamond” (75th) birthday on May 5 at the Marmon Grand Ballroom. Special appreciation to the host committee: Greg Hinton, chair, Janet and Robert Conner, Ken Bedford, Ann Hinton, Bill Williams, Blanton Canady. Bob Dale, Larry Huggins, Everett and Tim Rand, Wynona Redmond, Roger Salter, Tyrone Stoudemire, Don Wallace who made “the magic happen” along with sponsors, R.J. Dale Advertising, McDonald’s Midway Wholesalers, Chicago Rat Pack, Riteway-Huggins, Sanmar Financial Planning, UPS, U.S. Cellular, and sooooo many others who deserve “very special thanks.” I love, love, love you all!!!

 Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender.

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