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Carnivale Caper!–Jazz icon Ramsey Lewis and cultural, civic and community icons Lester and Nancy McKeever receive prestigious Humanitarian Awards at Ada S. McKinley Community Services’ 18th Annual Gala, “Carnivale!,” on Oct. 25 at

Carnivale Caper!–Jazz icon Ramsey Lewis and cultural, civic and community icons Lester and Nancy McKeever receive prestigious Humanitarian Awards at Ada S. McKinley Community Services’ 18th Annual Gala, “Carnivale!,” on Oct. 25 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago hotel. Also on the honor roster: Ch. 9’s retiring Merri Dee, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Demetrios Crawford, a client in the agency’s adult services division, receiving the Rev. Robert S. Moore Achievement Award. Gala guests can expect to enjoy an evening of dining, dancing, entertainment and carnival-like festivities with proceeds from the $300 per person ticket benefiting over 12,000 clients in 43 program sites in Chicago, Wisconsin and Indiana. Outside the Crystal Ballroom, there’ll be silent auction items and unlimited hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and entertainment.

In keeping with “Carnivale” tradition, a rousing brass band will lead guests into the ballroom for dinner and the program. The Gentlemen of Leisure with special guest performer, Maurice Mahon, Chicago Idol winner, will provide dancing music, promising to “go the distance,” so comfortable shoes are recommended. After dinner, guests may move to the patio area and continue to enjoy the “Carnivale” ambiance under the stars while viewing a colorful fireworks display designed especially for the evening. Attire for the benefit is “formal and festive.”

Corporate sponsor is U.S. Cellular, and its Greg Hinton, an Ada S. McKinley Community Services alum, is gala chair. Honorary chairs: U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and Mayor Richard M. Daley. The agency’s executive director is George Jones Jr. Contact Ken Johnson at (312) 554-0600 or by e-mail at kjohnson@adasmckinley.org.

Whazup! Whazup!–Calling all Fisk U. alums, friends and relatives. “Jubilee,” a founder’s day celebration, is Sunday, 3 p.m., at Parkway Balroom, 4455 S. King Dr. Call (312) 925-6511 or visit www.cfua.net.  The folks at Reo Movers & Van Lines host a book signing for Dorothy Tillman’s Hang Onto Your Hats: A Pictorial Journey on Saturday, 4 p.m., at 7001 S. South Chicago Ave. Call Ed Lucas at (773) 753-4788.

Seal It!–Thanks to friends at Ch. 11, I was in the audience last week when that super sexy British soul singer and songwriter, Grammy-winning Seal (Sealhenry Olusegun Olumide Adelo Samuel) taped a concert to be broadcast as part of the new season of WTTW’s Soundstage premiering in January. Of course, he sang what’s considered his signature song, Kiss from a Rose (Grammies for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1996) that was featured in the Batman Forever film.

Seal’s first set included A Change Is Gonna Come (dedicated to Sen. Barack Obama without ever saying his name and performed twice because of a technical snafu the first go-round), I Can’t Stand The Rain, It’s A Man’s World, Knock On Wood, If You Don’t Know Me By Now, I’ve Been Loving You, Here I Am, People Get Ready and Stand By Me. And his second set: Amazing, Killer, Love’s Devine, Loaded, My Vision, Right Life, Future Love and Crazy. The entire mostly under-40 audience (I was the exception and not the rule!) was on its collective feet, singing along and swaying throughout the taping, sitting only during intermission or set-ups. (Even then, Seal sang several audience requests.) I was simply awe-struck and mesmerized as Seal gyrated and rolled his hips to the beat of the music. (Shame on you, Teesee!)

Also taping for Soundstage showcase a couple of nights later: legendary blues royalty B.B. King. I’ll let you know when both tapings are scheduled to air! In the meantime, check Seal on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= qXH13skpsNo. And, by the way, caught a glimpse of Oprah’s guy, Stedman Graham, in the studio.

Sippin’ Sistahs–Dena Byrd, Sylvia Dabney, Gwenetta Blackwell- Greer, Sandy Harris, Rendy Jones, Carol Redding and Iris Sewell, a group of sister friends and wine enthusiasts known collectively as DIVAS Sipping, have partnered with ChicaGourmets!, a social dining club, and Sinha, a Brazilian restaurant at 2018 W. Adams, to host An Evening with the Grape, a grape harvesting and winemaking event, Friday, 5:30 p.m., at Sinha (seen-yah), and we’re all invited. For only $35, we’ll experience “Urban Vineyard: Muscat Grape” and participate in harvesting grapes, learning how to make and taste wines, experience a delectable Brazilian feast as well and enjoy live entertainment in a fun and spirited atmosphere. DIVAS Sipping, founded in 2006 to explore the world of wine via education, sharing knowledge and enjoyment with like-minded pals, meet bi-monthly. A presentation is provided by the host member or a wine expert. DIVAS Sipping also attend wine tastings and visit wineries, locally, nationally and internationally. To date, they’ve tasted some 75 wines. ChicaGourmets! is a 12-year-old social dining club focusing on new one-of-a-kind dining experiences, ethnic cuisine diversity, meeting restauranteurs and cookbook authors. Members are introduced to a wide variety of our area’s best and most intriguing dining establishments.

Sinha offers home-based Brazilian cuisine for any occasion. The food preparation is authentic Brazilian with an international flair. Owned by Jorgina Pereira, it’s only open for Sunday brunch; other days she caters parties on or offsite. Her effort of growing organic herbs and grapes in her backyard is part of her passion to use the freshest ingredients. To reserve your spot for Friday, you must call (312) 671-4013 in advance! Sounds fun! Cheers!

Newsy Names–Happy b’day to retiring Senate Prez Emil Jones, Lerone Bennett Jr., Dr. Mae Jemison, ABC 7’s Karen Jordan, V103’s Troi Tyler and Ra-monski Luv, who celebrated at the Marmon Grand; Dr. Carrie Filer Davis, Shaun Marshall, TUCC songbirds Angela Coley-Adams, Scydonia “Sam” Walls, Lillie Calhoun, Patricia Montgomery, Beverly Roberts and drummer Marlon Parks.

And 42nd year anniversary wishes to Bob and Betty Brewer, who sipped cocktails with their pal, Atty. Jerome Butler, at an impromptu party to celebrate his promotion to assistant secretary of the Ill. Dept. of Human Services, at M Lounge, a trendy new watering hole in the South Loop at 1520 S. Wabash owned by Reginald and MaryAnne Marsh. They’ll host an Obama-McCain Debate Watch Party on Wednesday.

Think Pink!–October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Sisters, have you scheduled your yearly mammogram screening? Early detection can save lives, you know!

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