On June 14, 220 young professionals kicked off the weekend at 10 E. Randolph St. — not at an underground nightclub or a pop-up restaurant but at Joffrey Ballet headquarters.
The building's fourth floor was the site of the Blue Masquerade Ball, Joffrey's auxiliary board's first summer fundraiser. The board, whose members are professionals under age 40, has held a winter gala, Pointe of Departure, for the past three years. Board members believed summer might be a good time to rustle up some dollars, too.
The idea for a masked ball “came about over drinks one night,” said John Walcher, gala co-chair and a specialist in fine furniture at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago. “We thought it would be fun.”
Guests apparently agreed. Many showed up in masks, ranging from simple foil pieces to more elaborate affairs. Terese Walton, owner of Living Made Easier, a personal-assistance service for seniors, showed up in a Cleopatra mask with a matching headdress. Danny Buxbaum, a graphic artist, wore a Joker-style mask with full facial coverage.
“The mask idea was a great conversation starter,” said Alanna Chiefari, a client associate at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management's Wolf Beckwith Group in Chicago. Ms. Chiefari's own mask was bright purple, with a dollop of rhinestones and feathers springing from her forehead.
The evening began at 8 p.m. with cocktails and donated nibbles — hot dogs, pretzels with dipping sauce, mini sliders, cheese and crackers and a sweets table. Around 9 p.m., local drag queen Cyon Flare, wearing a royal blue gown, black studded hat and 3-inch eyelashes, beckoned the group to an adjoining dance room. DJ Madrid spun while a photographer snapped pics of party guests leaping into the air, Joffrey-style.
The gala grossed $20,000 for the Joffrey Ballet.
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