Chicago’s Most Beloved Treasure Hunt Continues this Summer with the Return of 200 Dealers from Across North America, Live Music, Food Vendors & More

The Official Press Release….Like great vintage pieces, the Randolph Street Market never goes out of style. 20 years strong and oh-so stylish, America’s largest and liveliest Urban Antiques Market is returning to the West Loop this July to continue their sun-soaked 2023 season from Saturday, July 29 through Sunday, July 30. Bringing together 200 of the top independent vendors, makers, dealers and designers from across North America to Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood (1341 W. Randolph St.) with a full lineup of shows through the end of the year, the festival will offer an ultra-curated, high-quality selection of antiques, vintage and modern goods ranging from fashion to art, jewelry, décor, retro home furnishings, global goods and more. Treasure hunters and entertainment-seekers alike will be thrilled by the continuous lineup of live musical acts, unique food vendors, refreshing cocktails and more to savor throughout the weekend. Tickets are on sale now with early bird pricing and a variety of packages and specials at randolphstreetmarket.com.

One of the nation’s most iconic names in vintage shopping festivals, the Randolph Street Market Festival has welcomed nearly 1.5 million treasure hunters to their nearly 200 events throughout the years since inception in 2003. The event has become a major source of livelihood for nearly 40,000 independent dealers, makers and designers throughout the years, accounting for approximately 12 million one-of-a-kind finds showcased on event grounds. Founded by events industry visionary Sally Schwartz, these market events have become a meaningful, long-standing tradition for Chicagoans and the top names in vintage dealing alike.

Attendees of all ages will have the chance to shop bespoke pieces, scout the perfect addition to their art collection, discover handmade fair-trade treasures from around the globe, score mint-condition albums from icons of centuries past and more all weekend long. A sampling of the 200 featured vendors this season include:

● Spotted Horse Collectibles – Knoxville, TN – Eclectic curated 1900s-1960s collectibles including vintage musical instruments, vintage cameras, vintage sewing and linens, pottery, modern furniture and more!

● Assassin Vintage – St Louis, MO – True vintage fashion for men and women, from Victorian through the 80s, lots of conversation piece clothing and accessories!

● Krava Galleries – Atlanta, GA – Classic, modern and contemporary paintings, emerging graffiti artists to mid century modern!

● Conservatory Vintage & Vinyl; Urbansalvage; World’s End Bazaar; Atlantic Posters; and Black Box Record Club – For lovers of old school spinning and collectors of vintage rock and music history, bringing tons of vinyl & rock n’ roll posters, memorabilia, & more!

● N Green & Sons – Real deal gems and watches from Antiques Roadshow appraiser Jeff Cohen!

The festival will feature a variety of savory and sweet treats as well as unique refreshing cocktails to enjoy, including everything from Lobster Rolls provided by The Happy Lobster to delectable varieties of pickles courtesy of Fisch Food’s Gourmet Pickles and a pop-up by Original Rainbow Cone. Attendees will also have the chance to indulge in favorites from Dinky’s Delights, J Spice Caribbean, Taco Factory and more. As is Randolph Street Market Festival tradition, the Market Bar will be buzzing with Candi’s Bloody Mary’s for shoppers to enjoy all weekend long.

Candi making her signature Bloody Mary’s…the best in town!!

A haven for entertainment lovers, the Randolph Street Market Festival will feature a range of top musical acts, from Jazz, Rockabilly, and Blues, to 80’s Hits, Country Western and the sweet sounds of everyone’s favorite tune spinners, DJ Crate Digga HasH and DJ Mike House all weekend long. The full musical lineup is as follows:

Saturday, July 29

● All Day: DJ Crate Digga Hash (Building Lower Hall)

● All Day: DJ Dave House (Building Ballroom)

● All Day: DJ TigsB (Outside Mainstage)

● 10:00 am – 11:30 am: Woodstreet Bloodhounds Bluegrass & Country Swing (Outside Mainstage)

● 11:30 am – 1:30 pm:Feel Good 80’s & Cover Band (Outside Mainstage)

● 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm: JP & Jenny James Rockabilly (Outside Mainstage)

● 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm: Maxwell Street Blues Band (Outside Mainstage)

Sunday, July 30

● All Day: Poems While You Wait

● All Day: DJ Dave House (Building Ballroom)

● All Day: DJ Crate Digga Hash (Building Lower Hall)

● All Day: DJ TigsB (Outside)

● 10 am – 12 pm: Tony Morrison Jazz Quintet (Outside Mainstage)

● 12 pm – 2 pm: Joe Wortell & Natural Good Country Western Band (Outside Mainstage)

● 2 pm – 3:30 pm: Contrabanda Latin Jazz Band (Outside Mainstage)

● 3:30 pm – 5 pm: Al Simon & The Saturn Kings Rockabilly Band (Outside Mainstage)

A rain or shine event, the festival will take place both out and indoors, offering visitors a chance to beat the heat and continue the fun with a massive air-conditioned indoor portion featuring market vendors, Andi’s Sunflower Café for delectable signature drinks including their Bananas Foster Latte and more. For added convenience, festival-goers will have access to a huge on-site parking garage.

The Randolph Street Market Festival will be open Saturday, July 29 from 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday, July 30 from 10 am – 5 pm. Tickets are on sale now at randolphstreetmarket.com with an early bird pricing of $12 ($15 at the gate), plus a range of exclusive packages perfect for groups and families featuring merch, food and beverage offerings as well as special entry rates for seniors, military personnel, students and first responders. Children under the age of 12 are free. The Market will also be offering an “Early Buy” ticket this year for $25, which allows entry an hour before open at 9 am, with all proceeds benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago. Parking for the festival is available with street parking around the festival or through a large onsite indoor parking garage on 1371 W Randolph St. with a $4 hourly rate. The festival will also be hosting a “West Loop Treasures” Giveaway this year for each market, including an exclusive package for two that features admission, Bloody Mary’s, Randolph Street Market Tote Bag, a stay at the Nobu Hotel, dinner at El Che, cocktails at Hide + Seek, sweet treats at BomboBar and gifts from Tribeca Boutique and The Fig. Winners will be announced on Instagram. For more information or 2023 season dates, please visit randolphstreetmarket.com.

About Randolph Street Market:

Now in its 20th year, the Randolph Street Market Festival is home to the world-renowned Chicago Antique Market, Indie Designer Market, RETROSPECT Chicago and the Holiday Market. Touted as a “mecca of cool,” “the best hotspot for antiquing” and “the Barneys of vintage” by magazines such as Travel & Leisure, The New York Times, Lucky, Architectural Digest, USA Today, Elle Décor, goop, plus numerous broadcast outlets, the Randolph Street Market Festival is Chicago’s most exciting shopping destination! Vendors from across the country showcase an unusual and stylishly-crafted mix of vintage and modern decorative objects, housewares, fashion for men/women/children, art, hostess gifts and more. Randolph Street Market is the spot to shop all year round while supporting Chicago charities such as Project Onward, PAWS, Chicago House, Chicago’s Children’s Charities, Chicago Lights Tutoring, I Grow Chicago and many others.

Media Contact: Heron Agency Gianna@heronagency.com


Sally and Nena at one of Nena’s first Randolph Street Markets as Fashion Director, photo by the late great Steve Starr! I’m wearing a fabulous Bakelite pin from RSM one of many in my collection.

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary year of The Randolph Street Market I wanted to tell you how I became involved with RSM many years ago. I was so pleased that Sally Schwartz agreed to answer my nenasnotes blog questionnaire in 2017. The following is how I began that two part post.

“Sally and I have known each other for many years and when I retired from Saks Fifth Avenue in November 2009 one of the many articles about me that appeared in the local press asked about my favorite things in Chicago…one was the Randolph Street Market. I had attended all of Sally’s endeavors through the years and never missed the RSM. Sally saw the article and asked if we could get together. Over breakfast at Ina’s (don’t we all miss that fantastic unique restaurant and Ina’s huge warm personality, at least we can follow her on Facebook, not quite the same!!!!) we discussed everything we could think of and I casually said, “if there is any way I can be of assistance to you, let me know”! Sally didn’t miss a beat and said come work with me!

Vintage compacts

My first RSM wearing my glorious vintage kimono accessorized with a spectacular beaded necklace from one of the many jewelry vendors always featured at RSM.

I became the Fashion Director for RSM in January 2010 for several years and assisted vendors in their presentations, did fashion lectures, fashion shows and, of course, brought in clients and helped them shop.”

I am no longer formally with the Market but am called upon to attend special preview nights and, of course, attend (and shop, naturally) the monthly Markets, how could I miss them! I love posting finds on my Instagram and Facebook sites as well as showing some of my RSM treasures in nenasnotes. What is more important is that Sally and I have become very close friends, a friendship I treasure! And now I write two monthly posts for the RSM Newsletter…one on fashion, one on collectibles….love doing them! Check the archives to see all the posts. Got to love our Sally!!!!!

Forever Friends…Sally and Nena!
Greeting you inside the vintage Plumber’s Hall where you will find three floors of treasures!











Each year it gives me great pleasure to let you know about the annual CHICAGO DANCERS UNITED event, DANCE FOR LIFE…it is a not to be missed event…get your tickets now…you won’t be disappointed!


Chicago Dancers United, which supports the health and wellness of Chicago’s professional dance community, announces the program for its 32nd annual fundraiser, Dance for Life, which takes place Saturday, August 19 at 6 p.m. at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive, Chicago, followed by an After Party at Venue SIX10, 610 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago.

The complete lineup of artists includes BOOM CRACK! Dance Company, Chicago Tap Allstars, Giordano Dance Chicago and South Chicago Dance Theatre, Hiplet Ballerinas, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, freelance performers Joseph Massarelliand Riho Sakamoto, Moonwater Dance Project, Muntu Dance Theatre, and, for the finale, choreographer Randy Duncan.

Dance for Life 2023 Co-Chairs are Ted Grady, Ross Slotten MD, Victor Alexander, and Maray Gutierrez.

Dance for Life raises money for The Dancers’ Fund, which provides Chicago dance industry professionals with financial support for preventative health care and critical medical needs. The event showcases the city’s unique variety of dance traditions and styles by bringing together professional dance companies and dancers from throughout Chicago, who unite to support their peers by generously donating their time, energy, and artistry. Throughout its history, Dance for Life has presented more than 50 Chicago-based professional dance companies representing a variety of genres, sizes, and histories and numerous choreographers, artists, and designers. An additional beneficiary of Dance for Life is AIDS Foundation Chicago.

The Program (in alphabetical order)BOOM CRACK! Dance Company combines hip hop styles with curated choreography in Decibel, an excerpt from an evening-length production choreographed by Trae Turner with music by Paul Mond. The work explores frequency and emotions attached to sound, with an eclectic score of lo-fi sample-based production, harsh electronic instrumentals, and energetic music.Chicago Tap Allstars, which features tap dancers from throughout the Chicago area, performs Birdland, a joyous dance choreographed by Bril Barrett and Mark Yonally with improvography from the dancers, to the music of Weather Report. Chicago Tap Allstars aims to amplify the excellence of Chicago tap dance by creating an equitable, healing, and inclusive community. Giordano Dance Chicago and South Chicago Dance Theatre join forces for Luminescence., created by Kia Smith for Giordano’s 60th anniversary season earlier this year. With music by Coldplay and U2, the work was created with the spirit of community at heart and is a celebration of humanity. Hiplet Ballerinas, the professional company of the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, performs React, choreographed by Trevon Lawrence and Anthony Sampson to the music of The Pussycat Dolls. From classical ballet to hip hop, this piece fuses tradition with the energy of dance. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago offers the full company in excerpts from BUSK by Aszure Barton, set to music by Daniel Belanger, Ljova, Camille Saint-Saëns, and David Wikander, which WTTW called “wildly eccentric and stunningly original.” The Joffrey Ballet performs excerpts of Gerald Arpino’s Birthday Variations, which was commissioned by Becky D’Angelo as a birthday present to her husband Dino, who owned Chicago’s Civic Opera House and loved the music of Giuseppe Verdi. Set to Verdi’s infectious opera-ballet music, the work is a sparkling showcase of classical dancing.Freelance dancers Joseph Massarelli and Riho Sakamoto perform On the Nature of Daylight, a pas de deux choreographed and staged by David Dawson to music by Max Richter. This work explores the idea of love as the ordinary and the extra-ordinary—the many possibilities of finding pure love, a task that binds us as human beings, and a search that happens continually around the world on a daily basis. The piece fully encompasses the idea that love lost remains unforgettable.Moonwater Dance Project’s work Clarity, choreographed by Hanna Brictson to music by Murcof and Vanessa Wagner and Travis Lake, explores the challenge of finding transparency within oneself, taking the performers and viewers on a dynamic journey to discover purity and strength.Muntu Dance Theatre performs Djeliya, featuring Lamba, the dance of the djeli, or griots, who are highly respected among the Mandingue people for keeping the history and culture intact by playing special instruments and singing. Choreographed by Regina Perry-Carr to music by Idris Daniel and Sekou Conde, Djeliya includes a drum procession.For this year’s finale, Randy Duncan revives and expands his world-premiere finale from Dance for Life 2021, As One, with music by Ira Antelis and costumes by Richard Dayhoff. Created in honor of longtime Dance for Life supporter Harriet Ross, As One drew inspiration from the marches and protests during the pandemic and the hate, but also the love and healing necessary, to survive in this climate.

Chicago Dancers United presents Dance for Life 2023

Saturday, August 19 at 6 p.m.
at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr.,
followed by an afterparty at Venue SIX10, 610 S. Michigan Ave.

Tickets—$500 for the performance and After Party,
$45–125 for the performance only—
are available at 312.341.2300, at
and in person at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office.
Group tickets (10 or more) are available by calling 312.341.2300.
All programming is subject to change.
The mission of Chicago Dancers United is to foster the health and wellness of Chicago’s professional dance community by providing financial support through The Dancers’ Fundfor preventive health care and critical medical needs. Anyone working in or retired from a professional capacity within Chicago’s dance community—dancers, technical staff, administrators, choreographers, instructors, accompanists, and more—is eligible.

For information, visit chicagodancersunited.org.

Photos top to bottom:
Arielle Israel, photo by Todd Rosenberg
BOOM CRACK! Dance Company, photo by Michael Mabbo
Chicago Tap Allstars, photo by David Harmantas
Giordano Dance Chicago and South Chicago Dance Theatre in Luminescence., photo by Anderson Photography
Hiplet Ballerinas, photo by Roshawn Lyles
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in BUSK, photo by Danica Paulos; courtesy of Jacob’s Pillow
The Joffrey Ballet’s Amanda Assucena and Alberto Velazquez in Birthday Variations, photo by
Cheryl Mann
Riho Sakamato and Joseph Massarelli, photo by Altin Kaftira
Moonwater Dance Project, photo by Ren Picco Freeman
Muntu Dance Theatre, photo by Marc Monaghan

Copyright © 2023 Chicago Dancers United, All rights reserved.


I’ve been MIA lately on my blog and I know you enjoy my book reviews…so here come two (actually three!) I recently featured, with the authors, on my monthly nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club. And, in my opinion, are MUST reads and adds to your library.

First a memoir, one of the most impactful books I’ve had the pleasure to read and share with my TFBC attendees in recent memory! The added attraction was not only having the author, Christine Barker, joined me in conversation but she also read the first chapter of her extraordinary story giving it so much more depth! How do I get advance notice of the books I feature on TFBC, actually several ways, sometimes the publisher notifies me (think RIZZOLI for an example), sometimes the author, sometimes I reach out to authors or publishers, or sometimes one of my TFBC supporters such as Jeffrey Banks, he recommended Third Girl From The Left…here is his quote for Christine’s book…”Christine Barker has written a beautifully crafted book about a life in the theater and the world of fashion set in the vibrant, yet turbulent time of AIDS, that I simply could not put down. Filled with many people I also knew, and who will also be familiar to the reader, this is not only a wonderful piece of history, but also a heart-rending memoir that simply begs to be read.” — Jeffrey Banks, two-time Coty Award and CFDA Award winning designer and author of Perry Ellis: An American Original Another nenasnote….and who I am privileged to call a dear friend…I said I was doing two books….make that three, I’ll talk a bit about Jeffrey’s monograph on Perry Ellis!)

Christine Barker with her incredible book, Third Girl From The Left!

We learn of her career in the theater, most specifically in A CHORUS LINE, where she joined the London cast and later went to the Broadway production, along with the ups and downs of day to day life of a dancer in a blockbuster, landmark show. It is the story of a military family, a large close knit one, most specifically her brother, Laughlin Parker, partner to Perry Ellis in life and business….a quote from publisher Delphinium “…Laughlin, divorced, a father, ex-military and a corporate lawyer—also makes his way to New York City, where he meets, and begins to build a life, with rising fashion star Perry Ellis. The two men enjoy a partnership and a financial success that Christine both admires. and envies.” As we progress through the years we learn so many details of both Christine and Laughlin’s life…a nenasnotes aside….I asked Christine if she had a photographic memory there is SO much detail in the book…her answer “I keep journals!”…I must admit it is one of the few regrets I have of my career, I did not! Since we are talking about the 1980’s and the world of theater, art and fashion we find ourselves in a health “issue” that no one understood and one that was killing many…too many, almost overnight…one with a name filled with dread…AIDS! This hideous plaque took Laughlin’s life first at the young age of 37. Perry followed shortly after. At that time obituaries did not mention AIDS. We, of course, now know there are treatments and it isn’t the hateful plaque it was and we still must fight for a cure. She not only lost a cherished brother and Perry but so many more colleagues and close friends in the theater.

Perry Ellis and Laughlin Barker

The memoir is heartwarming, heartbreaking and most certainly heart wrenching. It is an honest telling of family both real and acquired and told in minute detail. I was in tears remembering all the people in my life that succumbed to AIDS who could be here today if there had been more understanding of the illness and more aggressive treatments…I thank God that we didn’t lose more…it devastated so much creativity in the Arts and Fashion. I really need you to read this book…you will not only be deeply touched but will learn so much from a person who lived the story and was destined to tell it! Thank you Christine, I applaud you and your brilliant writing!

At our June nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club we began our 6th year and it has become a tradition that Jeffrey Banks joins us to discuss one of his brilliant books…in 2018 it was NORELL: MASTER OF AMERICAN FASHION…this year it was PERRY ELLIS: AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL.

Here I am with Jeffrey Banks and the first book we discussed, NORELL: MASTER OF AMERICAN FASHION!

PERRY ELLIS: AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL isn’t a new publication but is, most certainly, the best book on this amazing creator written with first hand knowledge by another unique creative talent the book has an extraordinary collection of photographs and sketches, a MUST for your fashion library. Again, I quote from the publisher’s notes (RIZZOLI) the book “….providing an insightful look at each season of his career, from 1976 to 1986, offering readers unique access to editorial and ad campaign photographs from the archives of brilliant photographer Erica Lennard, with whom Ellis worked almost exclusively. Included here are ephemera, a treasure trove of drawings, and never-before-published photos from the personal collections of the designer’s friends and family, adding insight to Ellis’s unique aesthetic while solidifying his place as one of the key contemporary designers of American fashion.” Jeffrey is not only an original voice with his fashion publications but a fabulous raconteur…the stories he can tell are FABULOUS! Talk about a photographic memory…need I say more. Another nenasnote…I did not personally work with Perry Ellis, more the pity, but greatly admired his versatility, while maintaining his own perfect interpretation of the fashion of the 70’s and 80’s, I did wear his designs and we devoted a huge department to his collections in the Saks Fifth Avenue Oak Brook store when it opened in 1982.

I have read ALL of Renée Rosen’s books, I believe the first one I read was WINDY CITY BLUES, which I loved (I believe I have reviewed several of her historical fiction books), the last being THE SOCIAL GRACES. They just keep getting better.

Renée Rosen

Here is a good example of how I choose my TFBC titles…in the back of THE SOCIAL GRACES (2021) with Reneé’s raison d’être, her next book was mentioned and would be on Estée Lauder along with Renée’s email….I couldn’t write a note quickly enough inviting her to be a guest at my monthly TFBC….she explained it wouldn’t be published for two years…I said great and the confirmation was made…fast forward to May 2023 and there we were in conversation! I actually thought I knew everything there was to know about Mrs Lauder but boy oh boy was I wrong….so many details (that’s why I love historical fiction it blends the “real” with the imagined). Since the Lauder Company and Saks Fifth Avenue were so intertwined I was quite familiar with that connection (and yes, I did meet Mrs. Lauder and was in her divine office which, I understand is still in the Lauder headquarters and I also did many events and launches for Lauder and their brands while I was at SFA!) and the book does definitely uses that as a catalyst for this intriguing story of survival, gumption and an extraordinary entrepreneur who definitely wouldn’t take no for an answer. I loved the story of a budding cosmetic company, the retail scene at the time, and, of course, Renée’s writing. By the way Renée lives in Chicago and I have already invited her to join us in 2025 to be in conversation about her upcoming book on Barbie!!!!!!

I’m sure, by now, you know my Independent Bookseller of choice is https://www.thebookstall.com in Winnetka, Illinois. All the titles featured in my reviews are available there.

You might also know, I don’t have sponsors, I’m definitely open to that…at the moment, my book reviews are sponsored by an avid reader who wishes to remain anonymous.