Zoo's lighting cold winter nights

Heart of the 'hood

12/26/2012 10:00 PM


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Ean Pam, 2, finds some cool friends to chill with at ZooLights.

If you’re looking for some holiday magic, bundle up and head over to the Lincoln Park Zoo’s ZooLights, running through Jan. 6. It’s an enchanting winter wonderland that can be enjoyed by young and old.

A record-breaking 240,000-plus people have attended the free and fabulous festivities so far, during which two million lights illuminate the place nightly. And this is the third year the zoo has participated in the One Warm Coat program, collecting new and gently used winter clothing for local charities. (Donation boxes are in Gateway Pavilion and Park Place Café).

“Lincoln Park Zoo is very pleased to make the holidays warmer for people across Chicagoland, and we are grateful to all of our guests who have donated so far,” said media relations manager Tiffany Ruddle.

Singing their hearts out… Skyliner/cabaret chanteuse Carla Gordon has penned a beautiful tribute to the children of Newtown, Conn., “ABC’s In Heaven.” Gordon’s cousin, Mitch Bolinsky, is the State Senator-Elect from Newtown and she learned about the shootings on Bolinsky’s sister’s Facebook page, which said her nephew, who attends the high school adjacent to Sandy Hook Elementary, was in lockdown.

“There was an hour or two of absolute panic until he could call from his cell phone to say he was safe,” said Gordon. “I immediately e-mailed and called Cousin Mitch. Mitch is a super articulate guy, a salesman who is the son of a salesman. But what Mitch e-mailed was, “....there are no words.”

“But words is what I do, words are how I cry and the next day I wrote a lyric called ‘ABCs in Heaven,’” said Gordon. She then sent the lyrics to her writing partner, Wayne Richards, who had a melody in about 10 hours. Then after receiving a little help from her friends Bob Moreen, Beckie Menzie, David Edelfelt, Eric Brown, and recording partner Mark Burnell, Gordon’s dream song became a reality. You can find it on YouTube---Carla Gordon ABC’s In Heaven

“I think why I want to tell this to you is that maybe the cabaret community is perceived as a bunch of canaries doing one more show in one more feather boa,’ said Gordon. “But sometimes, we put our hearts out there and do something that is loving and right. This was one of those times.”

Want to help? … On Jan. 6, Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., is holding a benefit to support the Sandy Hook Elementary Victims Relief Fund, presenting a one-night-only reading of “The Warriors for Newtown,” by North Sider Mary Hollis Inboden, an actress who at 12-years-old survived the Westside Middle School massacre in Jonesboro, Arkansas. It was March 1998, and Inboden’s best friend and four others were shot and killed on the school playground just feet in front of her.

Hollis Inboden recruited an ensemble of her former classmates to help capture their stories, not of the tragic event that unites them, but of the daily battles and triumphs that define their present.

Tix are $15 and all proceeds go to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. Donate at https://newtown.uwwesternct.org/.

Here’s to… Dan Haley, the savvy publisher who has kept Skyline alive the past few years and who it has been a real pleasure to work with. The same goes for former Skyline editor Ben Meyerson, who left the paper last week.

As for me, well, I’ll see you next year, the second week of January, hopefully in this same spot. Until then …

“A little smile, a word of cheer, a bit of love from someone near, a little gift from one held dear, best wishes for the coming year…” — John Greenleaf Whittier

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