Breakfast Bash–Renowned mezzo-sopra no Tracie Luck comes this way to help kick off the Chicago premiere of Margaret Gar ner, an epic new American opera with libretto by Toni Morrison, based on one of the most significant and controversial cases of a

Breakfast Bash–Renowned mezzo-soprano Tracie Luck comes this way to help kick off the Chicago premiere of "Margaret Garner," an epic new American opera with libretto by Toni Morrison, based on one of the most significant and controversial cases of all pre-Civil War fugitive slave stories. The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, the Chicago Urban League and the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms co-host a breakfast reception and preview on Monday in the Chicago Cultural Center’s G.A.R. Hall & Rotunda. Luck, who stars in the upcoming production, will preview songs from the opera and will return in the title role Nov. 6, 8 and 9 at the Auditorium Theatre. Denyce Graves, also a critically acclaimed mezzo-soprano, opens and performs the role on Nov. 1 and 2. Stefan Lano conducts the Chicago Sinfonietta. A gala at the Palmer House on Nov. 2 is co-chaired by a quartet of our town’s cultural icons, Sandra and Timothy Rand and Andrea and William Zopp. The "Margaret Garner" project co-chairs are James and Mary Bell, Bob and Marjilee Blackwell, Gail Waller and Tim Schwertfeger, another group of cultural devotees who are responsible for the opera coming here. Tickets for the five-performance run are currently on sale. Call (312) 902-1500 or visit

And More!–Hats off to Tim Rand, president of Midway Airport Concessions, on his unselfish generosity and benevolence last week. Tim, along with his twin brother and business partner, Everett, and Larry Huggins, of Riteway-Huggins, conceive and execute the Chicago Football Classic each year. When Tim heard that valuables were stolen from the touring 20-voice SIFA African Children’s Choir, he gave $10,000. Missing were laptops with financial and tour info, irreplaceable video equipment, passports and photographs of the orphan children’s families, many of whom died from HIV/AIDS in the African epidemic. The five-month U.S. tour was organized to raise funds to build a school and orphanage in Masaka, Uganda where many of the choir members will learn and live. Tim’s check, given on behalf of the Chicago Football Classic, came on the fourth anniversary of the passing of his dad, Thomas Rand, a prominent South Side business man. After using most of the money to replace the stolen items, the remainder will help build a house in Mr. Rand’s memory on the grounds of Glory Children City Project in Masaka. Tim hopes the $10,000 will help repair Chicago’s reputation in the eyes of the African youngsters. What a great guy!

Gala Tribute–The Dramatics, presented by the good folks at State Farm Insurance, headline Friday’s fifth Breast Cancer Awareness Gala/Tribute in memory of Anaia Bed ford, who lost her battle to breast cancer in 2004. Also on the entertainment tip: jazz sax man Ray Silkman, and as an added bonus, vocalist Marzette Griffin. Chairing the ABCAP (Anaia’s Breast Cancer Awareness Program) fundraiser at Galleria Marchetti, 825 W. Erie, is buddy Ken Bedford, ABC7’s camera man, who, as founder, faithfully carries out the mission to raise awareness among women of color of the importance of mammograms for the early detection of breast cancer. Proceeds pay for screenings for uninsured or unemployed women. Honorary chairs: Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Mayor Richard Daley, State Senate President Emil Jones, Secretary of State Jesse White and Atty. General Lisa Madigan; co-chairs: Rev. Willie Taplin Barrow, Abe Thompson, Sandra Wilkes, Pam Blackmon, Art Norman, Craig Gilmore, Wynona Redmond, Ralph Hughes and Teesee.

Reunion Union–Didja grow up in Woodlawn? If so, Dicky Adams (Reo Movers) is looking to see you on Sunday, 10 a.m.-dusk, for the annual Woodlawn Reunion Picnic at Dan Ryan Woods, 8301 S. Western (shelter #1). Other hosts: Richard Chaney (no, not the VP!), Herb Hedgeman, Bob Hughes, Mark Wallace, John Holmes, Dr. Albert Newman, Cliff Towns, Rutherford Wilson. Jazz music by Jimmy Ellis Quintet and DJ Larry Mitchell. Yep, we’re there! A ’58 grad of Parker High School? Your classmate, Dr. Carolyn Conrad Williams, has issued a clarion call for your 50-Year Class Reunion Weekend, Sept. 19-21, at the Holiday Inn in Matteson. On the agenda: Friday’s Dusty Record Set, Saturday’s Dinner Dance and Sunday’s Farewell Brunch. Wanna sign on to rekindle old friendships? Call Beverly Gray Bracey, (773) 752-8366, or email

Newsy Names–R&B superstar legend Jeffrey Osborne entertains for the Eighth Annual Living Legends/Passing the Torch Awards hosted by the Black United Fund of Illinois on Oct. 4 at Harold Washington Cultural Center.

Happy b’day to a fave co-worker, Defender reporter Wendell Hutson, who celebrated over the weekend at a big bash hosted by his wife, Maizell, at the Dorchester Inn, and Everett and Tim Rand.

Congrats to Sandi Lynn, CMP (certified meeting professional), who heads Sandi Lynn & Associates Inc., conference planning consultants and hospitality industry trainers. She’ll teach Special Events in Roosevelt U’s School of Hospitality & Tourism this semester. The class is already at capacity and enrollment has been cut. “It’s my opportunity to give back,” she says, “by sharing decades of experience in the event planning world. Back in the day, there were no classes. Now there are certificate programs as well as B.A. and M.A. level programs. Roosevelt is one of the schools in the nation that has stepped up to professionalizing event management.” Visit or call (708) 503- 9775.

To Good Health!–Twenty Pearls Founda tion Inc. of Lambda Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sponsors its annual AKA Health Expo on Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at River Oaks mall, with health screenings, vendors, African dance and drum troupe, Macy’s fashion show, LA Fitness presentation, raffles and a Kiddie Korner. Call Ursula Carter at (708) 647-1340.

Step Up!–UNCF’s Chicago Inter-Alumni Council hosts Steppin’ for a Cause Thursday, 7 p.m.-1 a.m., at Mr. G’s Supper Club, 1547 W. 87th St., with special guests, Casper (“the slide man”), DJ Mellow Khris, Pete Frazier, giving steppin’ lessons, and J.V. Cook of Inside Stepper’s magazine. On tap, says Atty. Gina Davis: door prizes, raffles and giveaways. Supporting UNCF is supporting students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and remembering “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste!” Benefit tickets: $10 and $12.

Hats Off–to Linda McGill Boasmond and Colette Holt, who receive the 2008 Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year Rising Star Award and Advocacy Award, respectively, from the Women’s Business Development Center at its 22nd Annual Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference today at Navy Pier. The two will be saluted at WBDC’s Annual Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon. Fashion designer Eileen Fisher, a women’s advocate, keynotes. The oldest and largest conference of its kind in the country also features the Women’s Business & Buyers Mart, workshops and opportunities for networking and business collaboration. Boasmond is president of Cedar Concepts Corp., a WBE-certified company that processes surfactants, lubricants and chemical intermediates for other companies. Holt, a lawyer in private practice, is the primary attorney and national consultant on protecting and defending federal, state and municipal affirmative action contracting programs for women and minorities. “These women are extremely successful business owners who have a proven passion for their businesses and a commitment to support other women,” says Hedy Ratner, co-president. Register at or call (312) 853-3477.

Classic Happenings–Leading up to Saturday’s Chicago Football Classic at Soldier Field (West Virginia State U. vs. Central State U.), there’s lots going on: Thursday, 5:30 p.m., Presidents’ Reception, South Shore Cultural Center; Friday, 9 a.m., Golf Outing, Harborside International Golf Course; noon, Battle of the Bands preview, Daley Plaza; 2 p.m., Coaches’ Luncheon, Harborside International Golf Course; Saturday (Game Day), 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., HBCU College Fair; 11 a.m., High School Bands Parade; 1 p.m., High School Battle of the Bands; 1 p.m., Greek Step Show; 1 p.m., Vendor Fair; 1:30 p.m., Mayor’s Reception, Soldier Field; 2 p.m., Pre-Game Entertainment (Apostolic Men’s Choir, Pleasure P and HotStylz); 4 p.m., Kick-Off; Half-Time Entertainment (J. Holiday) and then The After Party! Title sponsor: Nike; tickets, $15, $25, $30, $40. For more info, visit or call (312) 559-1212, (773) 874-8000 or (773) 734-1600.

This Just In!–Condolences to the family of dapper don vivant Marshall Garner Jr., who passed while visiting in Mississippi. His daughter, Malorie, is planning a memorial service. Watch this space for details!

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