When the Cubs’ Ryan Dempster hosts his annual Casino Night fundraiser, he and his teammates come decked out in white tuxedos with black bow ties. When fellow Cub Randy Wells hosted his benefit concert with Texas Red Dirt singer Stoney LaRue at Joe’s Bar Friday, a teammate would be considered dressed up if he was wearing a collar.
“I don’t want to make it stuffy,” said Wells, wearing his cap backward and sporting a Waco Fire Rescue T-shirt at his troops-focused Boot Bash. “That’s not me. I keep it low key. Dempster does the tuxedo one. That’s cool, but that’s more the demographic for that kind of event. This is what you would wear to a concert.”
Dempster said he asks teammates to wear tuxedoes because it’s fun and they don’t get to do that together very often. He doesn’t seem to mind the dressed-down parties though, judging by the Colt 45 T-shirt he wore Friday.
“I always get huge support from my teammates (at my event),” Dempster said. “Any chance I get to do that for one of my guys is nice for me.”
The benefit concert — which raised money for the Boot Campaign, a charity that helps veterans assimilate back into everyday life — opened with a performance by Midnight River Choir. LaRue followed, and had Wells join him on stage to play guitar for one song.
And, as usual at these kinds of athlete-hosted benefits, there was a silent auction featuring your standard autographed jerseys, baseballs and shoes — and your not-so-standard beverage coolers and autographed country music CDs and guitars.
Was Wells hoping to get guests hooked on Texas Red Dirt music at the benefit?
“That’s the plan,” Wells said. “This event is raising money for a great cause. And I hope it helps my friends get their music out there.”
Super Dad: Apparently you’re never too old to dress up as a comic book hero for Halloween – just ask Ryan Dempster. “I’m going to be a superhero this year,” Dempster said. “It’s up for grabs. But I want to go as the new Iron Man costume versus the old one.” The 34-year-old pitcher is no stranger to costumes. He said every day is like Halloween for him. “My son always tries to get me to dress up to go to the grocery store,” Dempster said. “I don’t limit costume time to Halloween.”
Heads up: Pro wrestler Lisa Marie Varon — currently known as Tara in TNA Wrestling (and Victoria during her WWE days) — is in talks to open a comfort food restaurant in Lincoln Park. “I have been scouting locations since I moved to Chicago in June,” said Varon by email. “… I'm hoping to finalize it in the next 30 days and then be open within 90 days after that.”
About this week: WGN radio’s ‘Chicago Blackhawks Live’ will broadcast live from Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in River North Monday and will feature appearances by Hawks legends Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull. The event – which includes dinner and an autographed photo – is sold out, but the monthly series returns to Harry Caray’s with current Hawks players November 30. … Fans can meet the ‘85 Bears’ Emery Moorehead at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines Monday before watching the Baltimore Ravens take on the Jacksonville Jaguars on “Monday Night Football.” … The 3rd Annual Jack Brickhouse and Rudy Malnati Sr. Benefit takes place Monday at Pizano's Pizza and Pasta in Glenview and benefits Children's Memorial Hospital. Bulls legend Bob Love, former Bear Bob Avellini and 1953 Heisman winner John Lattner are scheduled to attend.
Sightings: The Bears' Brian Urlacher visited Statesville Haunted Prison in Crest Hill, Ill. October 13 (Click here to see a photo of Urlacher at the haunted house). ... Bulls legend Scottie Pippen had lunch at Vivo in the West Loop Monday. ... The Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade had dinner at Sunda October 15. The Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews was spotted there Friday. … Randy Wells dined at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in River North Thursday. ... "Saturday Night Live" star and Northwestern alum Seth Meyers cheered on his Wildcats when they faced Penn State at Ryan Field in Evanston Saturday.