Prince performs, celebrities attend Hobson-Lucas wedding reception on Chicago’s lakefront
By ALLISON HORTON Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org June 30, 2013 12:36PM
FILE - In this June 16, 2013 file photo, George Lucas, left, and longtime girlfriend Mellody Hobson arrive at the 40th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. A Lucasfilm spokeswoman on Monday, June 24, 2013 confirmed the "Star Wars" creator married Hobson in a weekend ceremony at Skywalker Ranch north of San Francisco. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Updated: August 2, 2013 7:25AM
More than 500 guests came to the wedding reception of “Star Wars” creator George Lucas and Chicago businesswoman Mellody Hobson on Saturday at Promontory Point, where Prince entertained the crowd.
Guests were ferried from the West Side of Lake Shore Drive at 55th Street through a tunnel to Promontory Point on the lakefront. A specially constructed boardwalk lined with planters of purple and blue hydrangeas guided guests to a huge tent, according to a party guest.
Hobson and Lucas greeted guests in the first room of the tent, which had a garden-party setting and comfort food hors d’oeuvres such as mini-pigs-in-a-blanket, hot dogs, grilled-cheese sandwiches and tiny deviled eggs, according to a party guest. Guests were mostly Chicago and national corporate and political elite including former Mayor Richard M. Daley; his brother, former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and his wife, Bernie; JP Morgan Chase Chairman and ex-Chicagoan Jamie Dimon; the Rev. Jesse Jackson; the Rev. Al Sharpton; Judd Malkin; Desiree Rogers; Linda Johnson Rice, and Chaz Ebert.
The couple’s Hollywood friends and other well-known personalities also attended, including Robin Williams; Al Roker and his wife, Deborah Roberts; actor Andrew Shue; Graydon Carter; Gayle King; Tina Brown; Paul Begala; film director Chris Columbus; White House decorator Michael Smith and his partner, and HBO honcho James Costos, who’s in line to become the next U.S. ambassador to Spain .
After cocktails, a huge doorway in an ivy-covered wall of the first room opened to the main “ballroom” — a huge, column-lined venue with multiple buffet lines and bars and plenty of unassigned seating areas for guests.
The Gentlemen of Leisure band kept the 500 to 700 guests moving on a dance floor .
One of the highlights of the evening occurred when curtains parted to reveal a stage with Prince and his 22-piece orchestra and backup singers, who entertained guests for more than 90 minutes, according to a party guest.
On Sunday, picnickers and pedestrians were happy to return to Promontory Point after being turned away during Saturday’s reception.
But visitors had to share the South Side lakefront park with the remains of the massive tent and other debris left from the celebrity party.
Workmen were dismantling the sprawling white structure, removing flooring, air-conditioning units and electrical equipment. Dumpsters overflowed with trash and construction debris from the party.
“It’s kind of ugly today, but it’s not a big deal,” South Sider Arielle Hirschfeld said as she strolled with a friend through the park at 55th Street and Lake Shore Drive.
“I’m only mildly peeved,” said her companion, Dmitry Kondrashov, though both were glad the park had reopened, giving visitors at least one weekend day to enjoy the sunshine and lake views.
“It would have been pretty annoying if it had been shut today,” said Kondrashov, 37, who also lives on the South Side.
Both had watched earlier as crews put the finishing touches on the party venue, hauling in planters of flowers and other decorations.
“We saw a wall of greenery and a big chandelier. We thought they were shooting a video,” said Hirschfeld, 28.
The fact that Lucas and Hobson had selected the site for their wedding reception erased some irritation about the earlier closure, as did the fact that Hobson is a Chicago native.
“I’m kind of flattered they chose our park,” Hirschfeld said.
Other park visitors said they felt the same way.
“I can understand people being annoyed, but it’s only for one day,” said Sharif Atkins, 38, as he played catch in the park with his 10-year-old son, Noah, and a friend.
“I work in film production, so we close streets all the time,” said his friend, Gregory Cooke, 42.
A Chicago Park District spokeswoman on Sunday declined to comment on the use of the park by Lucas and Hobson, including the rental fee.
Visitors noticed, though, that the pedestrian underpass leading to the park had been repainted last week and crumbling asphalt at the entrances also had been patched recently.
“At least we got that. If a few crumbs fall to the little people, that’s fine,” Kondrashov said.
Visitors questioned how much restoration work would be done to replace the grass damaged by the tent and walkways.
A park advocate said he hopes the park ends up in better shape than it was in before the big party.
“If you rent out public land, you restore it to better than it was for the public good,” said Bob O’Neill, who heads Grant Park Conservancy. “That’s how it has to be.”
The long-running Lollapalooza music festival in Grant Park sticks to that standard, he noted.
Contributing: Dan Rozek