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Former Boston Women’s Fund board member Ivelise Rivera and her daughter Renata Caines, who’s home for the summer from Hofstra University in New York were among the attendees at “Take A Stand.” (Photo: Colette Greenstein)

Author: Colette GreensteinFormer Boston Women’s Fund board member Ivelise Rivera and her daughter Renata Caines, who’s home for the summer from Hofstra University in New York were among the attendees at “Take A Stand.”

From Hollywood to the Hub

Queen Latifah was in the Hub last month to receive the “Activist Woman of the Year” Award from the Boston Women’s Fund for her advocacy of women-led philanthropy.  The Boston Women’s Fund was celebrating their (sold out) 25th anniversary event called “Take A Stand” at the Mandarin Hotel. The air was bubbling with excitement and anticipation at having Latifah at the event.  Even I must admit that I was excited to be there.  After the presentation to Latifah, she spoke briefly about growing up in Newark, N.J. and her experiences as an African American woman in the music and entertainment industry.  She then surprised the audience by taking a few questions in-between “beat-boxing” for the young girls.

It was truly a wonderful event all-around and yours truly, along with Lisa Simmons, had the chance to briefly chat, if you can call it that, with the Queen. Up close she is truly radiant!  During the meet and greet, you have 20 seconds, if that, to say hello, take a picture and hopefully say something intelligent.  I moved forward to meet her and with rapid-fire succession squeezed in the following: how much I enjoyed her new romantic comedy “Just Wright” … before seeing the movie I had been rockin’ out to her first album “All Hail the Queen,” especially the house cut “Come into my house” because I love house music, and that I’ve really enjoyed her work over the past several years … My brain was telling me to stop but I couldn’t. As I blabbed away and all the while hoped that I didn’t sound too crazy, she was smiling very graciously. It all happened so quickly. We posed, smiled, took the photo and then I was on my way, graced by the presence of her royal highness, Queen Latifah.

Oh yeah, and lest I forget, the Boston Women’s Fund mission is to support community-based organizations run by women and girls in the Greater Boston area.  In addition to Latifah being honored, there were several other honorees including:  First Lady Diane Patrick, First Lady Angela Menino and retired WBZ-TV journalist, Sarah-Ann Shaw.  WHDH-TV’s Janet Wu kept the evening running smoothly as Mistress of Ceremonies.

Julia Jones at Wheelock Family Theatre

I’ve previously mentioned that my girl Pebbles (from JAM’N 94.5) is a huge, I mean huge “Twilight” fan and so I gladly accompanied her to the Wheelock Family Theatre for a private meeting with Julia Jones. During the hour-long QandA, the Boston native discussed her passion for acting and the difference between working in theatre versus working in film and her experiences on the set of “Eclipse.” It was kind of like Bravo’s “Inside the Actors Studio” with James Lipton except the interviewer was WGBH-TV’s Jared Bowen.  Jones was absolutely charming and delightful and seems really grounded, but I thought the most interesting thing of the night was seeing the reaction of two fans of Jones who jumped for joy upon hearing that Pebbles was in the house.  No more than five minutes after we arrived, a 12-year-old girl by the name of Justine Morgan and her cousin Amber Sermabeikian immediately came over and asked for her autograph and started talking to her about their love for the “Twilight” books and films, and how they’re huge fans of hers and the morning show.  

It was fascinating to watch all of this transpire right before my eyes and to realize how much people in this town love my friend Pebbles.  It made me realize, who needs Hollywood heavyweights when you have someone with true star power like Pebbles?

Pitching In For Kids Benefit at Ned Devine’s

Off of a huge win against Kansas City, the Red Sox were in great spirits for the Pitching In For Kids Benefit hosted by Red Sox hurler Tim Wakefield and catcher Jason Varitek.  More than 400 people came out to support the annual fundraiser held at Ned Devine’s in Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The fundraiser included a silent and live auction, a live band, a wall-to-wall buffet of local restaurant tastings, a cocktail reception and stand-up comedy with local comics Steve Calechman, Jim Dunn (one of my favorites) and Tony V. The highlight of the evening was the Texas Hold’ em Poker Tourney where you could play alongside Wake, ’Tek and other local celebs.  

Joining in the fun at the tables were “Big Papi” David Ortiz, pitchers Johnathan Papelbon and Clay Buchholz, infielders Bill Hall, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and former Sox player and current Comcast SportsNet analyst and reporter Lou Merloni. I also spied Red Sox players Josh Beckett and Adrian Beltre and owner John Henry in the packed house. One of the hugely anticipated live auction items of the night was the “Trip to Paradise,” which included a three-night stay at Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas and two roundtrip tickets. The bidding was so competitive that two trips were won for $4,500 each — one by Papelbon and the second by a gentleman from Wellesley.

Pitching In For Kids provides services and funds for hospitalized children and their families throughout New England and supports organizations such as the Ron Burton Training Village.

Coming up

This Friday, June 4, six-time Grammy Award nominee Nnenna Freelon performs at Scullers Jazz Club.

On June 15, World Music/CRASHArts presents legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge.

Mix and mingle every Monday night at “Martini Mondays” at XandO Ultra Lounge in Stoughton.  The fun kicks off at 6 p.m. with DJ T. Clark spinning the best in RandB/Soul, a little bit of jazz and hip-hop.

Hear and see amazing talent at Artist Live Boston at Ryles Jazz Club in Inman Square in Cambridge every Monday night at 8 p.m.

If you would like me to cover or write about your event, email me at: