The Fuel Detroit event has tongues wagging all over town with its explosive lineup of speakers, which included designer John Varvatos, Martha Stewart, Michael Strahan, Shinola President Jacques Panis and Capt. Mark Kelly, a space shuttle commander.

We heard our pal, Fox 2 News personality Roop Raj, was hanging out at the conference back stage all day (in addition to speaking), so we dialed him up to see if he’d share any juicy scoops with us. So probably the hottest question of the day would be for Strahan pertaining to the recent unexpected announcement that he’s leaving his co-hosting position on “Live! with Kelly and Michael.” “That wasn’t happening,” says Roop. “We were told right away that there would be no interviews with anybody with Strahan regarding anything to do with ‘Live.’ But Roop did get a quick one-on-one with Martha Stewart for Facebook Live. “She said she loves Facebook Live,’ Roop said. “She sets aside one hour each week to talk to her fans on Facebook. She likes it because there are no interruptions and she has a direct connection to those watching.”

Roop went on to say that Stewart was very nice, even though she was very particular about details. (Would that be particular like one of the speakers was in a Green Room and was suddenly asked to vacate so Martha could occupy)? “I found her very delightful,” Roop continued, not ashamed that he asked her to help him boost his Facebook viewers. “We talked. We laughed. And I’m really happy I got to meet her.” To see Roop’s Facebook Live interview with Martha Stewart, visit his Facebook Page: Fox2’s Roop Raj.

Karmanos annual dinner has a Hollywood feel

Karmanos Cancer Institute’s 34th Annual Dinner on Saturday was like something out of the movies — literally. Held at the Michigan Motion Pictures Studio in Pontiac, the stunning design theme masterfully brought the glitz and glamour of Hollywood right to Metro Detroit. More than 600 guests shelled out $500 or $750 each for the event that benefits cancer research at the highly respected cancer center.

The party was aptly titled “A Night at the Movies Meets the Ultimate Awards Show.” Leading the team of party designers was Christopher Webb, senior creative designer at GM. “Once the location was set at the movie studio, and with Transformers 5 about to start filming — we used set props courtesy of Paramount and filmmaker Michael Bay — it was easy to settle on this concept of all things movies,” he says.

Webb said much of the inspiration came from the iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in L.A., particularly the plush red-carpeted grand entrance. Other highlights included a dazzling oversized crystal chandelier, innovative florals by the Petal Ladies, and we would certainly be remiss not to mention the phenomenal catering by Forte Belanger — more than 600 duo entree meals (filet Fiorentina and seared sea bass) delivered hot and tasty to each place setting in about 10 minutes. The party theme was the vision of GM chairs Steve and Paula Keifer. GM also donated the first retail production of the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport Collector’s Edition, which brought in a whopping $170,000 at auction. The Karmanos Cancer Institute Annual Dinner raised more than $2.4 million.

Barristers Ball a dream come true for honoree

As a young man growing up in Detroit, philanthropist Horatio Williams always heard great things about the Barristers Ball and hoped that one day he’d be invited to attend. Little did he know that he would not only be invited, but he would be a deservedly honored guest. The Wolverine Bar Foundation presented the 55th Annual Barristers Ball at the Renaissance Marriott on Saturday, with the theme “The Legend’s Ball: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.” Keeping with that, they celebrated two leaders who have made contributions in the fields of local and national law. Honors were given to Williams, whose eponymous foundation addresses the needs of inner-city children, and attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Trayvon Martin, who was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in Florida. More than 1,000 people attended, who were mostly leaders and professionals from the legal, business, civic and political fields. The event commemorates Wolverine Bar Association’s 90-plus years of commitment to diversity and excellence in the legal community of Metro Detroit.

Chuck Bennett is the creator of the Social Metro. Visit

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