Windy City West party guest list filling up fast

THE GUEST LIST for the 25th Windy West Party in L.A., bringing together Chicagoans in the Hollywood industry and Chicagoans flying in for the occasion, is growing longer as we speak.

A sampling of some of the guests: Gary Goodman, EVP Lionsgate; director Peter Billingsley (“Couples Retreat”); Steve Papazian, president production, Warner Bros.; Andrew Alexander, EP/SCTV Network; Bill Zwecker, Sun-Times and Red Carpet Host, Ernie Banks, who needs no introduction, producer Gigi Pritzger (“Drive”), director Andrew Davis (“The Fugitive”), producer Chaz Ebert, casting director Jack Gilardi, actor, director/producer Jerry Kupcinet, Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich, producer Ron Yerxa (“Little Miss Sunshine”), CRC VP Mike Gullickson, producer Bob Teitel (“Men of Honor”), Dean Cole, Conan O’Brien writer and Windy City Party founder Ginny Weissman, and many more.

And there will be actors aplenty: Jane Lynch (“Glee”), Richard Kind (“Luck”), Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Jim Belushi, Shelley Long (“Cheers”), Jennifer Beals (“Chicago Code”), Ali Cobrin ( “Friends with Benefits”); theatrical composer/lyricist, writer Jim Jacobs (best known for “Grease”),  Sonal Shah (“Scrubs”), Max Arciniega (“Breaking Bad”), Linara Washington (co-starring with Brad Pitt in “Cogan’s Trade”), Andrew Rothenberg (“The Walking Dead”), PJ Byrne (“Horrible Bosses”), Chet Grissom (“Criminal Minds”); TV actors Glenn Davis (“Jericho”) Adam Mayfield (“All My Children”),   Michael Muhney (“The Young and the Restless”) , Larry Bates  (“ Expecting Mary”) and oodles more RSVPs arriving daily.

Guest of honor is Chicago Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts.  For the 25th time, comedian Tom Dreesen will MC the party produced by Brenda Sexton’s Chicagolink Productions.

The 400 guests will meet, eat Chicago favorites and mingle at the M Street Kitchen in Santa Monica. For ticket info, click here.

The Waldorf Astoria Chicago (formerly the Elysian), Harry Caray’s, Cinespace Chicago and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises are the party sponsors.

KUDOS TO NATE GRANT and the organizers of the excellent Feature Films and Financing weekend seminars that brought together about 200  attendees to hear some of the city’s savviest insiders: producer Abe Thompson, who entertaining told the basics of the film industry; entertainment attorney and financing expert Corky Kessler; Grossman Jack talent agent Vanessa Lanier who told an SRO roomful of experienced actors exactly how it goes here in Chicago, a terrific panel of screenwriters, moderated by Columbia College’s dynamic Vaun Monroe and led by Colin Costello, a producer screenwriter and so many more.

Cinespace studios was the ideal venue, offering a large central meeting room and several theatre and meeting spaces for the breakout sessions and “The Playboy” standing set for Sunday’s production overview, led by writer/director Regina Taylor.

Pleased with the number of attendees and their enthusiasm for the overall event, Grant promises to repeat it next year.

THE TV ACADEMY’S MEMBERSHIP PARTY will be held Tuesday Feb. 27 at the Greek Islands, 200 S. Halsted, 5:30-7:30 p.m. 

VOICEOVER HARLAN HOGAN’S performance on “GI Joe,” a TV commercial for the Truman National Security Project,” won the top 2012 Campaign & Elections Magazine Reed Award for “Best Use of Voiceover Talent.” The Reeds – often referred to as the Grammy’s of politics – recognize excellence in campaign management, political consulting and political design. See the spot here.

DIRECTOR/DP/PHOTOGRAPHER Craig Barker is being repped by Foundation, L.A. and first up for him is a music video for Foundation’s new young directing duo, Frankie. 

THE CAF’S MARCH 13 MEETING is sure to be a sellout with speakers Susan Credle, Leo Burnett North America’s creative honcho, and  Lisa Cochrane, Allstate’s SVP/marketing give an insider’s look on how Allstate’s award-winning Mayhem” campaign was created – and became one of the most talked-about campaigns in years.  The luncheon at the Marriott Hotel, 540 N. Michigan, starts at 11:30 a.m.

COLUMBIA COLLEGE’S CINEMA SLAPDOWN, Round 37: “The Lion King PREY: A semester of Eat. Prey. Love” also takes place March 13. The debate will ask if Disney’s “The Lion King” a fable for the whole family or a lesson in political correctness ironically given by a corporation better known as “The Evil Empire?  Makeover: Disney Edition?”

Presented by Columbia’s Film & Video Department at Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash, starting at 7 p.m.

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