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Hats Off–to Brenda Butler and David Rudd, presidents of the Chicago Chapters of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Black Public Relations Society (in that order!) for putting on one heck of a partay.

Hats Off–to Brenda Butler and David Rudd, presidents of the Chicago Chapters of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Black Public Relations Society (in that order!) for putting on one heck of a partay. “Soul Noel” brought forth a number of our town’s fave media and advertising public relations guys and gals who came to celebrate the Christmas-Kwanzaa-New Year season! The 2008 must attend holiday mixer was held at The Joynt on North Dearborn. On tap: a raffle with fabulous prizes, delicious appetizers and socially stimulating drink specials. It was truly an opportunity to network and hob-nob up close and personal with many of our town’s local celebrities in addition to dancing the night away with music provided by a super-swinging deejay! Yep, we were there!

Among other faces in the party crowd: Richard Steele, Lynn Norment, Barbara Kensey, Paul Davis, Dionne Williams, Ken Bedford, Jeff Johnson, Kyra Kyles, Wynona Redmond, Robin Beamon, Redessa Harris, Claudette Roeper, Milana Walter, Kiratiana Freelon, Emilie McKendall, Natalie Puryear, Joe Moore, Merry Green, Natalie Moore, Don Rashid, Marc Sengstacke, Monroe Anderson, Peggy Austin, Robin Price, Lance Lewis, LaRue Martin, Donna Harris, Dina Anderson, Dorothy Tucker, Bryan Monroe, Kirk Townsend, Crystal Hudson, Tony Shute, Ken Smikle, Veronica Clemons and George Daniels who celebrated his b’day the next night at Green Dolphin with pals Robin Robinson and Naughty by Nature.

Magic Music–Music icon Kelan Phil Cohran receives a Lifetime Achievement Award, and award-winning R&B vocalist Angela Winbush picks up a special Producer’s Award at the 28th annual Chicago Music Awards on Jan. 18 at Park West. The event recognizing Chicago music and musicians is being held in honor of Chicago’s favorite son, President-elect Barack Obama, who takes the oath of office two days later. Call (312) 427-0266.

And the folks who lay claim to serving on Loretto Hospital Foundation’s Board of Directors want us to save the date, March 26, when they host the annual Spirit of Achievement Award Gala at the Harris Theatre headlining renowned jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis and honoring Earl Jones, president and market manager of Clear Channel Radio, and Robert Blackwell Sr., founder of Blackwell Consulting Services. Call (773) 854-4200.

Milestones – Happy b’day to three fave Defender co-workers: Larry Gross, award-winning sports editor who’s a bit under the weather; Leanne Muller-Wharton (just back from a hiatus in Costa Rica) and Dyanna Lewis, a couple of top-notch advertising sales dynamos.

And condolences to the family of Beauty Turner, 51, an activist raised in public housing who led free Ghetto Bus Tours in and around CHA in an effort to give a voice to the voiceless. Ms. Turner, who wrote for and edited the Residents’ Journal, died last week. Sons, Larry and Landon; and a daughter, LaTonya Taylor, survive her. One of Turner’s nieces is former Defender co-worker, Anita Bryant. Services are Friday.

Smiling ear-to-ear, first-time grandparents, the Lou Ransoms (he’s the Defender’s executive editor; she’s Gerri)–the object of their affection: Aamir Lee Ransom, first born of Matthew and Princess of Pittsburgh.

‘Tis the Season–Rufus Williams is one of four selected by ABC 7 to be spotlighted on its encore Emmy-winning “People, Places & Things” presentation on Sunday, 4:30 p.m. It’s hosted by veteran newscaster, Harry Porterfield, with added reports from Cheryl Burton and Charles Thomas, soon to be elevated from street reporter to political editor. The program, sub-titled "The Gift of Giving," offers insight into the spirit of special Chicagoans who believe in “giving back” all year long. Williams created Real Men Read by having successful men come into the public schools monthly and read to students. These mentors work for leading corporations, are active in their communities and, like Williams, believe the best way to give back is by motivating young people to understand the value of reading. Rubye Wilson, producer, says the program is available on-demand at abc7chicago.com.

Farewell Fete–It was exactly18 years to the day when Rene Bradford opened C’est Si Bon, her popular upscale eatery and catering firm in Harper Court, that she shuttered its doors. Earlier in the year, the University of Chicago bought HC and the adjacent parking lot to build homes, and Rene knew her days were numbered there. So when she woke up one morning, she decided that was to be her last day. She called several friends and invited them to the restaurant that evening, and they called a few friends and they called a few friends and that’s how the party that lasted ‘til midnight started. Now if you feel you should have been there, just chalk it up to the fact that you weren’t home when the call came or your line was busy or you don’t have voice mail. Those of us who got the call dined sufficiently from a never-ending seafood buffet and sipped “the bubbly” until there was no more! Thanks, Rene! We all know there’ll soon be another C’est Si Bon!

Wha’s Cookin’–Executive chefs and celebrity experts taught the art of “Southern Cooking” at Macy’s Culinary Studio on the seventh floor of the State Street store. Classes for all interests and levels were held throughout the year. Any wonder they filled up fast? Participants were taken by the chefs on an adventure down south, teaching students to make authentic home delicacies full of rich, southern charm! The homestyle menu: biscuits, gumbo, fried catfish, blackeyed peas, fried green tomatoes and peach cobbler. Yum! Yum! Call (800) 265-COOK (2665) to sign up or to request a schedule for future classes.

Magic Music–Jazz trumpeter Orbert Davis treated Chicago Bulls fans to a righteous rendition of the National Anthem on Saturday.

Langston Hughes’ classic musical, Black Nativity, adapted and directed by McKinley Johnson, is playing at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, 777 N. Green, through Dec. 28 as its annual holiday tradition by Congo Square Ensemble. It features Congo member Alixis J. Rogers. For tickets, call (312) 733-6000, or visit http://www.theaterland.com; for group discounts, contact TaRon Patton, at tpatton@congosquaretheatre. org or call (773) 296-1108. Ask about “Target 2 for 1 Saturdays.”

Basket Bonus–Janet Nkubana, founder and president of the Gahaya Links Inc. and a basket-weaver from the Rwanda Path to Peace Movement, received a $5,000 check from Dr. Gwendolyn Lee, national president of The Links, Inc., representing proceeds from an auction of Rwandan baskets donated by Macy’s. Nkubana, recipient of the 2008 Laureate for the African Prize “for leadership for the sustainable end of hunger for her work with the Rwandan Peace Basket Weavers” was honored for her work empowering women to achieve economic stability. At the reception hosted by Ralph Hughes, Macy’s regional veep, Nkubana demonstrated weaving and signed baskets that are giving hope to women throughout Africa. Also shown: Alma Dodd, Links’ national program coordinator and Willa Shallit of Four Winds Trading.

Merry Christmas to all!

Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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