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stephanie_small1Stephanie S. Green, NBC Chicago Street Team

 

 

 

It was only because of the invitation from my best friend who was visiting from out-of-town that I went to Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement 1956-1968 at the Field Museum.  It just kinda seemed old hat – I’ve studied civil rights and didn’t think I had anything to gain from the exhibit, so it wasn’t really on my radar.  But, as I viewed the exhibit and rounded the corner from the first wall, I found myself frozen in place and time, and in tears.

The Road to Freedom is the largest exhibit of civil rights photos and memorabilia that has been assembled in twenty years.  As soon as I entered the space, I was struck by the solemn and reverent air, an ambiance created by low lights, deep blue paint, the continual looping narrative of a video tape about the civil rights area and, of course, the photographs. The solemnity was so profound that people spoke in hushed tones and there was the occasional “shhhhhhhhh” directed toward children.

Alone . . .

Alone . . .

While the civil rights era is not a new subject for me,  nor for most of us, the images were compelling.  I was struck by the youth of the people photographed, unknowns as well as Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond, John Lewis and, of course, Dr. King.  But, my breakdown occurred when I reached the photos of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High. Young Elizabeth Eckford did not get the message that the date for the African American students to start school had been pushed back by one day. So, this fifteen-year-old girl arrived alone and was the target of unimaginable venom. Even as I look at the picture today, I get chills as I think of the strength it must have taken for her to keep moving.

The exhibit gave a clear sense of the commitment people had to this movement that lasted not days, weeks or months, but years. Years to attain basic civil rights. Years.  Commitment.  Personal danger.

As I moved further through the exhibit, I was captivated by photos of people on the sidelines. African-Americans cheering on the protesters – both Black and White.  Whites glaring as protesters passed in front of their homes.

I remember after Roots aired, a popular Black male comedian joked with great braggadocio about what he would have done to massa if he were Kunta Kinte.  The Road to Freedom made me wonder: what would I have done if I were alive then? Would I have been on the front line or would I have been on the sidelines cheering the protestors on or would I have been too scared to participate in any way whatsoever.  I then asked myself – is what I’m doing now reflective of what I would have done then? What about you? Are you a participant or a spectator? Are you committed to a cause? Passionate about it?

I urge you to visit the Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement 1956-1968, and take your children or a child in your life and ponder these questions.  It is a powerful reminder of changes that can be made with sacrifice and commitment.  The exhibit ends on September 7th.

Stephanie!
Looking for more To-Do?  Visit www.so-LAZE.com!

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Eric Smith, NBC Chicago Street Team

On location at the Millennium Hotel, Thursday August 6.

So what brings you to the Windy City?
What brings me to the city is that I’m promoting my new album called “Imperial Blaze”…comes out August 18th.

I see you’ve sold over 10 millions records. Let’s talk about that journey and how you got started from there to Imperial Blaze.

In Stores August 18th.

In Stores August 18th.

For sure…my career started with me just lovin’ music. A friend of mine got into music at the end of high school and it came to pass that I got introduced to studios and people started to like the voice and like the flow. Like the first thing was being on a big stage in Jamaica called “Sting” back in 1998, it featured people like Busta Rhymes from the hip hop world. After that I was able to do a song with DMX who was one of the biggest artists in Jamaica at that time. Then there was a song called “Here Comes The Boom” from the movie “Belly” that Hype Williams produced and what not. And then the song “Deport Dem” really got big in New York City and got a lot of play.

And then about a year after that in 2001 my second album was coming out “Dutty Rock” was comin’ out. The song called “Gimme the Light” got a very big spread. Since I’ve had a couple of songs rank as high as #1 on the Billboard Charts such as “Get Busy”, “Temperature”, a song featuring myself and Beyonce which is a song called “Baby Boy”. A song with Keyshia Cole went to #3 on the BillBoard charts, a song called “Like Glue” went to #7…”I’m still in Love” featuring Sasha went to number 12. So we have a lot of repertoire coming up to this day, man. And those are all different steps, help me to pave the way to be sittin’ here in front of you, ya know what I mean…tellin’ my story of what’s up next in Imperial Blaze.

Now I got started producing festivals with Super Cat. The first time I heard you I was like, “That’s Super Cat!” And they were like…no, no that’s Sean Paul.
The Superdor, Superdor he’s still the Super. Cause you know, he’s my pops in the business! He helped pave the way…I got to give respect to him.

Let’s talk about “So Fine” which is the rockin’ new single out now. Talk about that single and when you know a song is hot and going to blow up.

Well I mean…I try and put feeling into my songs, to my artwork. Feeling is what artwork is about…I think it is about that feeling deep down in your and soul channeling it and bringing it to the rest of world. In “So Fine”, I loved the melody, I loved the chords that was being played in the riddim, so it just took off from there… it’s a club banger cause da riddim is so hot.

So you got any upcoming shows in Chicago?
I’m gonna be here tonight and tomorrow night, so I’m probably just going to go into to clubs and sing and DJ a couple verses, couple line to let people know what’s up. However you can stay in touch with me on allseanpaul.com. It got blogs about reggae and dancehall. It’s got what I been doing lately on it, shows. It’s got a tour schedule dat should be printed up, probably by November this year. People can order my album out August 18th or pre-order it to. Also, like every now and then there’s competitions that run on the site. Like I had an “Ultimate Fan” competition running for about 3 to 4 weeks now, which just ended like this week. So I designed two chains…white gold and diamonds then I gave it to two of my favorite fans who won. Things like that gone happening every now and then on the site.

And one last thing…Sean Paul is it Henriques…? You have a Latin back ground…?
So I got a lot of different blood in me from Black, Portuguese, White from England and Chinese. My father’s family has Portuguese and Black blood. My Chinese and England bloodline comes from my mother’s family.

Well you know, me and my peeps are considering putting together another festival “Metropolatino” and you know we are interested in having you headline to get that moving.

For sure I got that blood there so let’s do it…you can’t keep me out!

Download the audio to hear the entire the Sean Paul “Imperial Blaze” interview!

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stephanie_small1Stephanie S. Green, NBC Chicago Street Team

Father’s Day is right around the corner and this year, try something different with the father figure in your life.  How about getting him to try something old, something new, something borrowed or something blue?
 
Something Old:   Real Men Cook” is a time-honored Chicago Father’s Day tradition, and this year, it’s more impressive than ever!  On Sunday, June 21, Real Men Cook moves to an expansive (and technologically and architecturally impressive) venue – Kennedy King College.  The Washburne Culinary Institute provides fantastic cooking facilities and there are ample grounds to allow fathers, foodies and more to spread out at this indoor/outdoor To-Do.  You’ll be amazed by the wonderful variety of food, prepared with love, that you’ll be able to savor!
 
Health and Wellness is an important component at Real Men Cook and at events leading up to the main event.  On Saturday, you can join Real Men Cook’s Father’s Day Wellness Weekend Walk & Health Experience and start your morning off right at the beautiful 63rd Street Beach!
 
Just the Two of Us - Al Hawkins

Just the Two of Us - Al Hawkins

Something New:   How about an new exhibit at one of many art galleries on the South Side?  Yes – many!  On Thursday, June 18, check out eta’s opening reception for “Through My Eyes,” an art exhibition by Al Hawkins, before taking in the play Pill Hill, opening this week at eta.  Or, at Gallery Guichard, both the novice and experienced collector would enjoy the Collector’s Champagne Preview.   On Friday, June 19, the Bronzeville Art District Third Friday Trolley Tour resumes just in time for this Father Day weekend.  Hop on board and enjoy the ride as you meander through opening receptions at FaiE African Art, Gallery Guichard and South Side Community Art Center. 

Something Borrowed:  Pappa’s gonna be livin’ on borrowed time if he doesn’t take care of himself!  So, on Saturday, June 20, get him (or yourself!) on over to the the Thapelo Institute’s Health & Fitness Experience for African and African American Men.  With a variety of programs offered during a seven hour period – learning opportunities are abundant!  The Thapelo Institute is a taking a holistic approach to dealing with the health issues of African and African-American men.  Free testing for a variety of common issues will be available, and you’ll also find workshops that address body, mind and spirit.  And – it’s Free!
 
Something Blu(e):  So, its Thursday evening, you’ve spent a couple of hours at the Collector’s Champagne Preview, you’ve enjoyed some wine and hors d’ouevres and now you want a little more.  Well, plan ahead and make reservations for dinner at Blu 47 and enjoy a one-set performance by Yaw at Illuminata – A Father’s Day Celebration. If you’ve been to the Events by Eve Summer Breeze Jazz Concert Series, you know that you can expect a mature set of predominately African-Americans, who dress appropriately without being told!  Come in your favorite jeans or come in some sparkles and feel completely comfortable either way!  If that’s not enough blue for you, douse yourself in cool, blue vibe and and energetic sounds at the Close Up 2 Indoor Smooth Jazz Festival.  From Thursday, June 18 through Saturday, June 20, enjoy live entertainment by Detour JazFunk, Corey Wilkes, Marqueal Jordan Project – and more.

Still want a little more To-Do?  Visit www.so-LAZE.com for tons of options!

 
Happy Father’s Day!
Stephanie!

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

 

Arturo Gomez and Megan Klehr (Photo by Tyler Curtis)

Arturo Gomez and Megan Klehr (Photo by Tyler Curtis)

It’s not every day that you run into billionaire Kenneth Griffin (#97 on Forbes 2008 list of the 400 richest Americans) but he was one of  many donors, art enthusiasts and collectors who attended the sold out Young Modern event last Friday. More than 1,200 guests attended the late night celebration which was part of the Art Institute of Chicago’s two-week festivities surrounding the opening of the new Modern Wing.

Mother and son duo Margo and Jason Pritzker co-chaired the event which included much more than gallery hopping and cocktail sipping.  Those appreciating the art of fashion enjoyed a show featuring local designers Marisa Swystun and Michelle Barone. Music was also a large component and included celebrity DJ’s Tommie Sunshine, Dark Wave Disco and DJ LoPro, with additional performances by Deep Blue Fields, Goran Ivanovic Group, Kalyan Pathak and Jazz Mata. Performance art by Industry of the Ordinary, and Igor Josifov took place in various galleries in the Modern Wing. Famed music and video director Vincent Haycock of Debonair Social Club transformed a portion of the space into a club-like atmosphere complete with multiple bars, lounge furniture and yes – servers holding out pizza boxes offering up slices of sustenance.

Nate Berkus and Friends (Photo by Tyler Curtis)

Nate Berkus and Friends (Photo by Tyler Curtis)

The event in itself was a work of art and could not have been executed without some of the city’s young executives, artists, entrepreneurs and nightlife impresarios. The Art Institute assembled a host committee which included Toni Canada, Glenn Eden, Claudia Gassel, Roxy Goebel, Arturo Gomez, Ted Haffner, PJ Huizenga, Brook Jay, James Kao, Sam Peter, Eric Sheinkop, Marisa Swystun, Stephen Tourell, Patrick Wood and Alex Zamiar. Sponsors of the event included Deloitte LLP, NAVTEQ, FIJI Water, PricewaterhouseCoopers, POM Wonderful and Grey Goose.

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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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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

Music, Art, Food and Drinks!
Friday, February 6. 6-10pm. $7-$15.

Looking for something artsy and happy-hourish all on the same night? The MCA hosts First Fridays monthly and features an up-and-coming Chicago artist. Tickets include free Wolfgang Puck appetizers, live music from local DJs, the world’s only iMac G5 digital dating bar, creation stations and a cash bar. Get cultured and have a great time kicking off the weekend! Order your tickets online for a discount. Guests must be 21 or older to enter.

Though the cash bar closes at 9:30, the party keeps going as you and all of your new artsy friends head out to the MCA’s after-parties at a Chicago hotspot. The museum is a great place to meet new and old friends alike. Being surrounded by art, food, music and drinks can only help conversations and ensure that everyone has a great time! Buy your tickets in advance to get VIP admission.

We’ll be shooting a video of MCA’s First Friday, so be sure to drop in, say “hi” and check out some art!

Museum of Contemporary Arts
220 East Chicago Avenue
Magnificent Mile
312.397.4010

Keep up with JenChicago events and videos on Facebook!

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