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Archive for February, 2009

Tickle Yourself Pink

Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

One of the hottest charity events of the year is set to launch on Friday.


Tickled Pink
has the reputation as the charity event where the young — or young at heart — come out to party.

After taking a year off, the party has a new location — River North hot spot The Underground (56 West Illinois St.).

Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team
Chicago has been the breeding ground for some of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences‘ biggest names: Jennifer Hudson, Bill Murray, and Frances McDormand to name but a few. Therefore, it only makes sense that some of the hottest and hippest LGBT locales will be honoring the event, unofficially recognized as the Gay Super Bowl.

Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.

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Rewind the clock to 1920s Chicago when consumption of alcohol was prohibited by law. Thirsty Prohibition-era patrons found solace in a little place along the Fox River.

Back in 1927, Gladys Reitmayer and her husband owned Al Capone’s Hideaway. They made beer in a hidden cellar behind the chicken coop, and pumped it to patrons through a copper tubing system that remains underground to this day.

Thankfully, the folks at Al Capone’s Hideaway & Steakhouse (35W337 Riverside Dr.) in St. Charles no longer depend on copper tubing and gangsters to serve patrons their suds, although it truly is a hideaway. In fact, finding this place is half the fun! Poorly-lit streets, hills, and a forest are all things you have to encounter to reach this unique restaurant.

Log on to nbcchicago.com to read the rest of this post.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

The new River North restaurant Blue 13 is heating up Chicago during these cold winter months.  Executive Chef Chris Curren prepares contemporary American food in a casual, urban atmosphere.  The eclectic menu changes seasonally, but the cocktails are consistently on point.  Although the vibe is rock & roll chic and upscale the service is unobtrusive.  Get an inside look at Blue 13 on Fete Select TV below.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team When you saw the box score of #16 Illinois’ (21-6, 9-5) 38-33 home loss to unranked Penn St. (19-8, 8-6) on Wednesday night, you might have thought you were glancing at a Girls’ high school basketball result. In football, the two schools combined to score 62 points last fall, in roundball just nine more. If you ever wondered why the Big Ten, the 2nd highest rated conference in RPI, doesn’t nationally receive the respect it might deserve, it’s because of ugly games like these. Wednesday night’s affair made the Dick Bennett “stall-ball” era at Wisconsin look like Magic Johnson’s “Showtime” years at the Great Western Forum. This contest was about defense, but it was much more about ludicrously bad offense. The Illini motion attack stood still, and the Nittany Lions (notice how their team name starts with N-I-T) got an offensive boost from the officials.
The home crowd at the “House of Paign” were boisterously critical of the refs, and perhaps rightfully so, given the disparity in free throws: Penn State attempted 11, Illinois zero. “Very flat, not moving, didn’t get good cutting,” Illini coach Bruce Weber said of his team’s non-existent “O.”trent-meacham

Illinois Senior guards Trent Meacham and Chester Frazier “led” (I can’t make air-quotes strong enough to invoke the necessary sarcasm) the Illini with 7 points apiece. The other three starters contributed 6, 5, and 4 points. But at least the scoring was balanced. “They played good defense all night, we missed some shots we usually make, it was a combination of both,” Meacham said. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was in attendance for this game: which was to offensive fundamentals what his predecessor Rod Blagojevich was to ethical governance. In the nearly 50 year history of Assembly Hall, this game broke records for: lowest winning score, fewest combined points, worst combined field-goal accuracy, and fewest point scored by Illinois.

Penn State Coach Ed DeChellis was asked if he had seen anything like this in all his years of college basketball. “It was uncharted water, sometimes I looked up at the score and I didn’t know what half we were in. At the end, we set this back a few years, Naismith must be rolling over in his grave,” the winning headman replied.

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the Washington Times and The Sports Bank

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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team

I’m always looking for cool, new, fun things to do… It’s kind of my shtick. So when I heard that on the first Friday of every month, the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) hosts a happy hour party, featuring a hip local artist, I knew I had to peep the scene. And I am so glad I did! I had some great chats, ate some killer brownies and even made a Valentine card for my love… Chicago.

Curtis Mann, is the artist of the month and I just loved that guy. What a cool and interesting dude! He started out as an engineer of some kind (not a details girl) and now… he’s an artist. You gotta hear about how he creates his art (hint: Clorox bleach) and THEN you gotta go check it out for yourself!

MCA has their happy hour First Friday every month, and one of the things I really like about the party, is that it gives people a chance to meet a TON of new people (I mean a TON) and have something “real” to talk about. Art is a beautiful thing. And it works magic on the brain. Kinda puts you in the mood to love… and maybe not always romantic love… but love, just the same.

For more artistic videos, check out JenChicago.com!
Find me on Facebook! (Search: JenChicago)

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Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

If you’re fascinated by the era in history when bands of ruffians pillaged their way across the seas, then you definitely don’t want to miss the Field Museum’s latest exhibit.

Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship” will open to the public on Feb. 25 and runs through Oct. 25.

Click here to read the rest of this post and video on nbcchicago.com.

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LaShonda Matlock, NBC5 Street Team

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is in full gear in New York, and CHICAGO is definitely in the HOUSE! But the buzz from the fashion world Monday wasn’t on the runway, instead it was reserved for Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour sitting with her “special guest“, White House Social Secretary and Chicago native Desiree Rogers.

Ms. Rogers attended three shows alongside the fabulous Ms. Wintour but noticeably after attending only the firstdesiree-rodgers-2 desiree-rodgers-1show by designer Carolina Herrera, The Huffington Post reported that Desiree made a quick change of wardrobe from her slight above the knee skirt to a pair of more of conservative black slacks.

Desiree was spotted later Monday afternoon at the Donna Karan’s Collection Show wearing the same jacket, knit top and slacks. When asked about her morning change of attire, she said,  “It’s really chilly here.”

But my inside source tells me that’s not the true reason for the change of wardrobe. My source states that Desiree’s beautifully toned bare legs were the real cause for the fashion switch-up, making quite a bit of a stir that morning at the Carolina Herrera show.  Leaving some fashion attendees questioning whether Ms. Rogers’ fabulous attire was a little too revealing for her high profile status. 

Rogers, who wore a Carolina Herrera gown to the inaugural balls, has always preferred the classic silhouettes of Herrera’s designs and was featured in the February issue of Vogue Magazine.

Also, spotted among the fashion elite was none other than Ikram Goldman, owner of  the now famous Ikram boutique, who is considered by many to be First Lady Michelle Obama’s unofficial stylist!

 

Click here to see more pictures from Desiree’s day in NY.

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Cara Carriveau

Cara Carriveau, NBC Chicago Street Team

American Idol’s very first winner Kelly Clarkson is proving once again that she is the most worthy of winning in the entire span of the series.  No other AI winner had even come close to her level of success.  Her new single “My Life Would Suck Without You” has even set a record as the quickest jump to number one on the Billboard charts, going all the way from number 97 to number 1 in just one week!

What’s even more amazing than her success is the fact that she somehow has remained genuine and sweet.  The music industry can be anything but genuine and sweet, so Kelly Clarkson sure is a rarity.

I talked to her about her career and also delved into personal stuff.  I’ve always wondered if she is really different than the image we have of her…for instance, does she really go home and crank out Megadeth and rock out???  You may be surprised at her answer.  I also got her to declare her love for me.  Twice.  So not only is she genuine and sweet, she also has marvelous taste.

This conversation with Kelly Clarkson is currently the featured interview in Cara’s Basement.  Give it a listen!

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

A burger is a burger right?  Wrong;  Well, at least not to foodies and culinary experts.  In-fact, I bet that most folks around Chicago can probably tell you where to find their favorite burger, even if they aren’t foodies.  I recently tried a burger that is vying for the “best burger” title at the “Amstel Light Burger Bash” and I liked it.  I really, really liked it.5512207d252591e7d5c632fa8c8135851

Carol Wallack, is the Executive Chef at Sola restaurant and one of two Chicago chefs (Rick Bayless) invited to participate in the “Amstel Ligh Burger Bash” competition.  Hosted by Rachel Ray, the event takes place  in Miami on Thursday February 19th and is part of the 2009 Food Network South Beach Food & Wine Festival.  The South Beach Festival is one of the premiere culinary and wine events in the country and features some of the biggest culinary stars in the industry. 

Chef Wallack is competing against some top notch chefs, but I think that her “Wagyu Beef Burger” may have a chance.  The signature “Wagyu Burger”, which has taken Chef Wallack over 20 years to perfect, is Allen Brother’s Wagyu Beef, cambazola cheese, house-made bacon, carmelized onions and arugula all squeezed between a soft pretzel roll.  The Chef likes to serve the burger medium, which I normally don’t do, but her suggestion went over very well.  Of course, you can’t have a burger without their truffle fries, which were the perfect complement to the beef.

In celebration of the “Burger Bash”, Sola is serving the delectable burger all weekend  long (February 19th – 22nd).  The burger is normally only served during lunch and dinner on Thursdays and only during lunch on Fridays.

Sola is located at 3868 N. Lincoln Ave. (773) 327-3868.  For more information log onto www.sola-restaurant.com.  Watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net to check out the newest and hottest restaurants in Chicago.

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Janelle Rominski, NBC Chicago Street Team

Kat Von D, the star tattoo artist featured on TLC’s Miami Ink and now LA Ink was in town at the Schaumburg Borders bookstore last night. She is on tour promoting her latest creation – her book, High Voltage Tattoo. Hannah from LA Ink was there as well.

katvondAs a big fan of art, tattoos and rock music, I knew had to stop by Kat’s book signing.

High Voltage Tattoo takes you though a journey of Kat’s life and love for tattooing and rock ‘n roll.

Kat is currently dating Nikki Sixx, the guitarist of Motley Crue, who wrote the foreword in the book.

The book is filled with stunning visual design and tons of pictures followed by descriptive wording. My favorite part of the book is her very own ‘Tattoo Directory’ which explains the reasoning behind each of her tattoos. Kat has a tattoo inside her lip that says “Truth” which is a reminder to her to keep her words honest.

High Voltage Tattoo is also the name of Kat Von D’s tattoo shop that is seen on LA Ink. The book features a plethora of photos of Kat’s work. She has tattooed many well-known people including Lady GaGa, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Nikki Sixx, etc.

The book is available at Borders bookstores and online.  You may browse a few pages of the book and buy it here.  It retails for $29.95.


Want more Rominski reads? Read more right HERE!

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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team

Thursday, February 5th, the ladies of the NBC Chicago Street Team were the featured “divas” at Maven’s Diva Series. The Diva Series honors strong and confident women making a positive change in Chicago. I got to have some great chats with these ladies, that we have all come to love.

Find more videos with pretty girls at JenChicago.com!
Find out about other cool events on Facebook! Search: JenChicago

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Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

A few months ago, Chicago restaurant guru Jerry Kleiner took 24/7 on a tour of some off-the-radar restaurants that don’t exactly register in the Zagat survey. In typical Kleiner fashion, the tour veered off from the original plan, and he ended up improvising.

Click here to see the video and links to the places we visited on the tour.

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team

Last week, Baseball Prospectus predicted the Chicago White Sox to win just 73 games and finish dead last in the AL Central. Although the formula and prognostications of sabermetrician geeks sounds bleak, remember almost no one predicted the Sox to win the AL Central last season.

Back in the World Series year of 2005, most people predicted the pale hose to finish third! Lots of people forcasted the Sox to win the division in ’06 and ’07, yet they controlled the division for just 36 combined days during those two seasons. In summation, it’s wide open.

One guy with White Sox knowledge second to none is Soxman, who offered his spring prospectus.

Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team Last weekend included St. Valentine’s Day, a time of year that more women than men look forward to quite frankly. But once it’s over, Major League Baseball pitchers and catchers begin reporting to spring training, which is to most guys what chocolate, jewelry and flowers are to women. Since we’re talking love, I consulted Soxman, the person who loves the White Sox more than any other individual on this Earth about what occurred in the offices on 35th and Shields this winter. You might recognize Soxman from…pretty much anywhere local media may roam.

On the Javier Vazquez trade:

“After his miserable play-off performance, almost every Sox fan would agree that Javy wore out his welcome on the Southside. The trade was crucial in rebuilding our anemic farm system as it yielded two of the top 20 prospects overall in the Braves system,” Soxman said.

2B/SS Brent Lillibridge is the player to watch in 2009. He’s expected to battle Chris Getz and Jason Nix for the starting job at second base. Kenny Williams believes he’s capable of stealing 40 bases if he gets 500 Abs.

Tyler Flowers could develop into the Sox next big slugger and 3B prospect Jon Gilmore has drawn comparisons to Scott Rolen.soxlogo

The Southside Dark Knight also opined on the signings of the so-called “Cuban Babe Ruth” Dayan Viciciedo and Bartolo Colon.

“Sox fans should not expect Viciedo to immediately perform like Alexei as he’s only 19,” the Soxed Crusader articulated. “There’s a ton to be excited about however. He slugged over .500 in two of the past three seasons in Cuba and was an All-Star in Cuba’s top league at age 16.

“Colon is exactly the type of pitcher I expected Williams to sign. The once awesome, aging pitcher plagued by injuries, trying to revive his career…at an ultra cheap price. In limited action with the Red Sox last season, he looked very good.”

In the case of Bobby Abreu and Jermaine Dye, we spent weeks listening about trade deals and prospective signings only to see no moves made. It kind of felt being stood up on a date. I asked the love interest of female Sox fans everywhere what he thought of the non-deals- the trades that didn’t happen.

“I was surprised the Sox did not go after Orlando Hudson as he still has not signed with a team, “ Soxman replied.

Finally, Soxman offered his predictions as to whether GM Kenny Williams has a major move or two left in him before the first pitch is thrown April 6th.

“With the economy it is pretty much a buyers market right now ,” Soxman said. “I think Kenny will see how the 2-3 position battles pan out and if any bargains fall his way, he’ll pounce.”

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the Washington Times and The Sports Bank

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Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

It happens every year. You didn’t put in the requisite amount of training, and when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, you’re not prepared. You planned to party all day long, but you conk out sometime in the afternoon because you don’t have the stamina.

Don’t let it happen this year. Streeterville’s “St. Practice Day” Pub Crawl will take place on February 28, and is designed to get you in fighting — well that’s a bad choice of words — in tip-top shape for the big day.

It all kicks off at 8 p.m. at Timothy O’Toole’s Pub (622 N. Fairbanks Court) and will move to various Streeterville bars, spending approximately 30 to 45 minutes at each location.

Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.

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Real Music is Back


Katrell Mendenhall, NBC Chicago Street Team

Let’s take a trip down memory lane.  Remember your alphabets?  The letter E always comes before P, but there is power when the two (“EP”) come together.

Although, there is nothing elementary about CEO, Earl Powell of Eptone Productions it is always important to remember how things are created.  Native Chicagoan has made a mark for himself working with singers like Jennifer Hudson, Syleena Johnson and Slique just to name a few.  As if that wasn’t enough the producer, song writer and actor can be seen turning heads on the big screen as Powell has also worked along side Debra Messing in “Nothing like the Holidays”.  All that’s missing is a clothing line and he’s got you Diddy. 

One of the many definitions for the word “real” is true or authentic.  The talents at Eptone Productions represent every bit of what real music should and used to be before it became more about looks and less about talent.  Artist like Slique are burning up the Billboard with hit tunes such as “Your Body” and can’t forget our other native, the beautiful songbird Jenifer Hudson always holding it down with “Stand Up” (Deluxe Edition).

Eptone Productions has produced tracks for many independent and established artists.  Eptone has also produced songs for RCA and Platinum Records.  I caught up with Powell, Slique and S at the Victor Hotel for a meet and greet. 

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Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

If you can’t be in Rio — or New Orleans — to celebrate Mardi Gras, there are some options in Chicago.

Brazilian Carnaval is considered the biggest party on earth, and the musical group Chicago Samba is doing its best to duplicate that flavor in the Windy City.

Carnaval 2009 will take place on Saturday at the Logan Square Auditorium (2537 North Kedzie).

Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team Only one NBA team, the Utah Jazz, contains two members of the 2008 Gold Medal winning Team USA Men’s basketball team on their roster. The “Redeem Team,” which conquered Beijing included Jazz point guard Deron Williams and power forward Carlos Boozer. As Chicago’s final bid for the Olympics became public a few days ago, I thought it the perfect time to revisit the exclusive conversations I had with each of them in Milwaukee recently. Shortly before the Jazz contest with the Milwaukee Bucks, both of them gave me their endorsement for Chicago’s 2016 Olympic Bid. boozerwilliams“Huge sports town, great fans, very committed, great venue, great to have it here in the states, we haven’t had it since Atlanta. And I think it would be well received, we’d have a great turnout here I think, other countries love to come play here,” Boozer said of Chicago before later adding, “I had a chance to see the plan. They have a great plan for it too.” Boozer is one half of a powerful inside-outside combination that currently reminds Salt Lake City fans of past legends John Stockton and Karl Malone.

The dynamic duo’s other half is Deron Williams- the highest draft pick in Illinois basketball history and the best player the program has produced in modern history. “There’s a lot of Illinois fans in Chicago, so they treat me great. I love Chicago, it’s my second home. I love being there and spend a lot of time there in the summer. It’s a great city,” Williams said of The Chi.

D. Will told me about competing in the Olympics “It was a great experience, a chance to represent my country, my organization, my family and win a Gold medal, something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life,” and also endorsed Chicago’s prospects for 2016: “They’d be a great host, I saw the 3D plans for what they want to do with it, how they’re gonna change everything around, all the facilities, it looks amazing,” Williams responded.

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the Washington Times and The Sports Bank

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Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

As if the over-30 crowd needed another reason to visit River North’s “Playground for Grownups,” along comes another — the food.

Martini Park (151 W. Erie St.) is known for its upscale lounge concept with a variety of live and DJ music every night, but now the River North hot spot also offers a full dinner menu in addition to its signature shareable plates.

Some of the new items include appetizers such as Pan Crisp Chicken Dumplings with Ponzu dipping sauce and Deep Fried Sweet Corn Risotto Balls and Tomato Fondue.

Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.

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Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

Our first Word on the Street segment on the season premiere episode of 24/7 Chicago took us to the very hot
Hub 51
restaurant. Hub 51 is without question one of the hottest spots to see and be seen these days, both in the upstairs restaurant, and the cool downstairs lounge, appropriately named Sub 51.

If you can’t be in L.A. for the Oscars, Hub 51 isn’t a bad second choice. Movie critic Richard Roeper is hosting an Oscar viewing party on Feb. 22. The awards ceremony will be shown on several large projection screens, and there’ll be lots of food, contests and raffles. Click here for more information.

This week is the perfect time to get out and sample some of the city’s best restaurants. More than 130 restaurants are offering three-course, prix-fixe lunches for $22 and $32 for dinner.
Click here for a list of participating restaurants.

There’s a lot of buzz around Xanadu, playing now at the Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place. Tickets range from $25 to $87.50. Click here for more information.

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Dude, Where My Party?

Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

When The Big Lebowski first hit theaters in 1998, it wasn’t a commercial success. But it’s one of those movies that’s gained fans over the years and evolved into a cult favorite.

Brownstone (3937 N Lincoln Ave.) is hosting the Big Lebowski Fest on February 26, an evening filled with activities that would make The Dude proud.

The night kicks off at 8:30 p.m. with a showing of “The Big Lebowski.”

Click here to read the full post on nbcchicago.com.

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Damaris Woodbury, NBC Chicago Street Team

With 2009 here, how many of us made resolutions of some kind?  I won’t do this? I won’t do that?  I’ll lose this?  I’ll learn that?.  Sounds familiar, huh?  Well, I decided to not make any resolutions in 2009.  My only goal is to honor my word.  Do what I say I’m going to do and work to create huge possibilities in areas of my life that I feel may be “just good enough for right now.”  That includes learning new things.  One of the things I’ve wanted to learn is how to crochet.  I know, I know, out of all the things I can learn, I choose crochet?! Anyway,  I happened to be sitting in a cafe on Chicago’s South Side and saw that the cafe was being used by Erika and Monika Simmons. 

Simmons Sister, Co-Owners of Double Stitch

Simmons Sister, Co-Owners of Double Stitch

The Simmons sisters co-own a business called Double Stitch, for which they crochet clothing and sell it to local boutiques.  They offer FREE workshops on how to crochet and provide the tools to learn.  Beginners and experienced crocheters (is that a word?) are welcomed.  I was surprised to see people of all ages from teens to grandmothers in this workshop.  Somehow, I had the misperception that crocheting was something young adults do. Erika and Monika are very good, patient teachers!  And, they are authors of a book of patterns called “Double Stitch:  Designs for the Crochet Fashionista.” They will be doing a book signing at Macy’s on State Street during their mini-trunk show event on February 18th and 19th from 11am-6pm.  Come and shopt their clothing designs.  Then, buy a book and ask them when the next workshop will take place!

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