Society Confidential: Ugly sweaters and Festivus

Susan Whitall and Chuck Bennett

It seems this is the year “ugly Christmas sweaters” took over. It’s the theme of every office party, and even schools have Ugly Sweater Days. The Hajjar family, owners of the Commerce Township-based, say their elves are working overtime to meet the demand.

The company has been commissioned to design 250 tacky holiday pullovers for Republic Records’ upcoming holiday party in New York. Republic Records artists include Drake, Lil Wayne, Lorde and Nicki Minaj. The company’s sweaters have also been featured on numerous TV shows, including “Good Morning, America.” The Hajjars also are giving back this season, partnering with Project Runway designers with an online sweater auction to support Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Leave No Paws Behind through Dec. 18 and taking part in a charity party benefiting Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation at the Townsend Hotel on Dec. 23.

Aaron Neville in Macomb County

A Macomb County man, Chuck Pasque, has some major plans for Aaron Neville after Friday night’s Macomb County Habitat for Humanity benefit, “Home for the Holidays.” Pasque, the former chairman of Warren auto supplier the Paslin Co., has not only purchased a full VIP table for the event, but he’s hoping he can get Neville and his band to go back to his crib for a late-night jam session.

It may not be that far-fetched. Pasque has a full-scale recording studio at his house, and two of his friends have worked with Neville — Rob Russell, a Grammy-winning mixing engineer, and famed Detroit bassist Ralphe Armstrong. Armstrong recorded his last album in Pasque’s home studio, and he’ll be playing bass on stage with Neville. The 6 p.m. bash at the Mirage Banquet Center in Clinton Township includes dinner, live and silent auctions, and a private concert by Neville. Tickets are $100; $150 VIP; go to or call (586) 263-1540. All proceeds benefit home-building programs for low-income individuals and families.

A Festivus for the rest of us

There’s a full-on Festivus celebration happening at 5 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market, offering a rare local appearance by our favorites, the Detroit Cobras, as well as the Howling Diablos and Royal Blackbirds. This shindig even includes Festivus traditions, such as Feats of Strength, a celebrity Airing of Grievances, and an unveiling of the Festivus pole. There will be food trucks and concessions, and Festivus gifts for sale. Tickets, $15, benefit the South Oakland Shelter, and are available at

Planning ahead

Popular NPR radio journalist Diane Rehm will appear in Ann Arbor’s Literati Bookstore at 7 p.m. March 17, presented by Literati, in support of her upcoming memoir “On My Own.” The event will take place at the Rackham Auditorium on the University of Michigan campus. After Rehm’s reading, she will take part in a question-and-answer session with Cynthia Canty of Michigan Radio’s Stateside program. Tickets are $30 — which includes a copy of Rehm’s book — and are on sale now at the Literati Bookstore, 124 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor, or online at