Chicago Fund-Raisers Get Nostalgic (or Just Thrifty)

By Jenny Berg September 16, 2008, 4:46 PM EDT

In Monday's “Taking Names" column, Crain's Chicago Business writer Shia Kapos remarked on an upsurge of “older musicians and pop culture nostalgia” at local charity events. To wit: The Beach Boys performed at last weekend's fund-raising gala for the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, and blues musician Buddy Guy and former Styx band member Dennis DeYoung served as headline entertainment at last Wednesday's Northerly Island event for the Children's Memorial Hospital.

Reports from our own summer archives provide a case in point for this trend of “pop culture nostalgia.” Take, for example, Macy's Glamorama fund-raiser, where Cyndi Lauper and MC Hammer provided live entertainment, or Bette Midler's performance at the opening of Horseshoe Casino.

Acccording to Jodi Wolf, president of Paulette Wolf Events & Entertainment, who's produced events ranging from the Fort Lauderdale Air & Sea Show to Disney movie premieres, the “throwback talent” trend could have less to do with nostalgia and more to do with simple economics. ”The reason people are booking these old-time perfomers is that they cost less money,” she mentioned to us. ”Unless you're talking about the real classics, like the Donna Summers or the Bon Jovis of the world.” Wolf also noted that '80s-themed events are currently ”very in,” so performers like Cyndi Lauper don't necessarily fall into the “budget-conscious” talent category.

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