Archive for November, 2006

JenJen Boyles, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Most of us just came off a long — not to mention filling — four-day weekend, so this one seems to have crept up. If it caught you by surprise and you’re not quite sure of your social schedule, we’ll help you combat snow-induced boredom and those few extra pounds after all those turkey leftovers! It’s probably time to get out there and shake it on the dance floor (do the mashed potato to work off those mashed potatoes!). If dancin’ isn’t your bag, you could hit up a comedy show and laugh your tummy back to normal. And though you may be sick of the consumer grind after Black Friday, check out some sheduled shopping and beauty events.


DANCE EVENT: Metro Area & Orchard Lounge @ Zentra: MORE INFO

DANCE EVENT: Mark Grant & Michael Serafini @ Ohm: MORE INFO

DANCE EVENT: DJ Icey, Keith Mackenzie & Tolgar @ Soundbar : MORE INFO

DANCE EVENT: Pete Heller, Nick Nice, and Chad Mindrive @ Smartbar MORE INFO

BEAUTY EVENT: Pajama Party @ Mojo Spa Natural Beauty Company and Nail Spa (1468 N. Milwaukee Ave.) It’s PJ TIME! Join the spa for a night of discounted beauty services, including $15 basic manicures, $35 basic pedicures and $40 for both services. Purchase $15 or more in services and receive a makeover, plus access to desserts and refreshments. RSVP required at launchparty@mojospa.com or 773-580-5391

ART EVENT: Bucktown Holiday Art Show @ Bucktown Loft Space MORE INFO


DANCE EVENT: Robbie Rivera @ Crobar

SHOPPING EVENT: Do Division: Holiday Shopping Party (Division Street between Ashland Avenue and Leavitt Street, 1900 W. Division St.) Noon – 7 p.m. Participating businesses include:
Pump, 1659 W. Division St.

Penelope’s,1913 W. Division St.


Steelo, 1850 W. Division St.

Porte Rouge, 1911 W. Division St.

Casa de Soul, 1919 W. Division St.

Public I, 1923 W. Division St.

Symmetry, 1925 W. Division St.

Plein Aire, 2036 W. Division St.

and more.

Afterparty locations include: Vintage Wine Bar, InnJoy, Small Bar, Moonshine and Enoteca Roma Winebar.

COMEDY EVENT: Comedy Jam II: Deray, Tony Sculfield, Cory Holcomb, George Wilbourn @ Arie Crown Theater in Chicago

COMEDY EVENT: Bob Saget @ Genesee Theatre (203 N. Genesee St. Waukegan,IL)

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Hot Chip, Cool Bar

Brian Battle NBC5 Street Team (video)

Remember the time when people said “synthesizer” instead of keyboards? Incidentally, it was also when fashionable gals were wearing like, tights under skirts, and um, leg-warmers. Well, my nostalgia-prone friend, for better or for worse, that time is back.

When Hot Chip (nay “Hawt Chip”) took the stage at The Metro earlier this month, four-fifths of them took their stations behind a wall-o-synths. Shaking the venue’s collective booty as much as 5 pasty Brits can shake an equally pasty crowd. For the encore they banged out a riotous version of “Over and Over” and a few days later someone reminded me I screamed “SYNTH GODDDS!” Yeah. I’m that guy.

Afterwards, while my friend was busy slurring tequila infused come-ons at Smartbar, we ducked into the most tolerable bar in Wrigleyville: The Gingerman Tavern. The mix-matched chairs, tables and billiard balls complement it’s equally eclectic clientele. That said, if anyone knows of a better Wrigleyville bar, I’d like to hear it, drink there, and then tell you why you’re wrong.

*More Awesomeness (words) Here*

photos by Pegs. Thanks Pegs.

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LeAnn Trotter, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

There is alot of buzz about Eleven City Diner. We covered it today in our Good Eats segment on NBC 5. I’ve been there a few times and I think they have great food, and adequate service. But if you look at some of the reviews out there, you’ll see that opinions vary. To be fair, one of the producers I work with here at Channel 5 didn’t particularly care for the food. I’m curious whether you’ve eaten there. Do you give it a thumbs up or thumbs down?

I will tell you this: the owner — Brad Rubin — is extremely passionate about his restaurant. He’s worked in the biz his whole life, and has gotten help and advice from a lot of his heavy-duty restauranteur friends.

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November To Remember

Enrique Gonzalez, NBC5 Street Team

What a weather, huh? This is probably not going to happen at least for the next 10 years. I had a great Thanksgiving up in Plainfield, that’s right! It’s all plain alright, but I had a wonderful time with all my nephews playing ball on Saturday morning. Although I have to tell you that I was really tired, not only because I haven’t play baseball in years, but I was tired for all that shopping on “Black Friday” at the Aurora Outlet. Great deals and discounts guys. Bought this great “Guess” brown blazer for 50 bucks — it was valued at at least $100. So really, it was worth it. Did you find any good shopping deals there?

I came back to Chicago Saturday evening, and stayed up until 5 a.m. — you know us Latinos — once you have the fiestas going, it never stops until you drop. I also went to the “Signature Room” at the Hancock. Although we had to stand in line, it was my first time going up there at night, and let me tell you, the view was very cool! We only had some drinks, and then we went bar hopping at Wicker Park and then to Lincoln Park. Thank God for the good weather. All i have to say guys is I had a great Thanksgiving — good deals and a fabulous weekend, but above all, I enjoyed this weather, and I even had my car top open! Yes it will be a “November to remember!”

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Erika and Monika SimmonsErika and Monika Simmons, NBC5 Street Team,

Monika and I have been into fitness & nutrition, ever since we were teens. In high school, we danced, ran track and even lifted weights. In college, we did much of the same. But, once thrown into the perils of “the real world” we quickly realized that group exercise was the perfect combination of choreography, music and camaraderie that fit our personalities.

That’s right AEROBICS!!! With a highly diverse collection of Bodies in Motion, Buns of Steel, and Denise Austin VHS tapes, the time had come for us to graduate from our living room into a real gym. As a College Grad with a bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology, I realized that I preferred community based environments over your run of the mill Health Club. In 1999, Monika and I , found our extended family 3 blocks away from our South Shore Apartment, at the South Side YMCA on 63 rd and Stony Island Ave. Now, I am not only a member, I am an instructor! Once my good friend, Sidra James (Y instructor), changed her schedule to exclude my favorite Advanced Step Aerobics class, I gladly acquired my certifications and took her place.

Throughout my time at the YMCA, I have taught a children’s fitness program, an abdominal & lower back toning class, African dance, Basic & intermediate step aerobics and high & low impact aerobics. My present schedule includes an Ab toning class, Intermediate Step Aerobics and Cardio Cross-training. I even get to make guest appearances at my boy Johns’, Boot camp Class at 6:15 in the morning!!! Those that are looking for a good time, great people and some fitness along the way, the YMCA may be the place for you. See ya in class!

Erika’s YMCA class schedule

Mon & Wed 8:15 am- 8:45 am AB ATTACK (abdominal & lower back toning)
Tues & Thurs 8:15 am- 9 am Intermediate Step Aerobics
Fridays 8:15 am-9 am Fun, Fitness, Fridays (cardio-cross training)

For more info. call the South Side YMCA information desk: 773-947-0700

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Guns N Roses

Ben Soldinger, NBC5 Street Team

11/28/06 – Chicago had the pleasure to have Axl Rose and his Gunners grace us with their presence last night at the All State Arena…or so Axl thinks. The rock concert itself was a fantastic display of bombastic effects of fire, explosions, great musicianship, and air tight renditions of the songs from their heyday. Axl Rose looked good, and sounded great. The problem was that he made his loyal fans in a sold out stadium wait until after 11:30pm on this MONDAY night before his band hit the stage. A note for all you concert goers out there, All State Arena closes all its alcohol sales at 10:10pm. Not that one needs alcohol to enjoy him/herself at a concert, but it might be fun to kick back and enjoy a couple of beers for a 130 minute performance. I left ‘early‘ at 1:30am. Perhaps this rock deity could have this sort of justification if he had new music out or his bandmates were the artists who originally wrote these songs that defined a generation and changed musical history forever. Somehow I can’t get overly excited about a rock riff or solo being performed knowing that someone else had created it. This incarnation of ‘Guns N Roses’ is nothing more than a glorified cover band performing material that other musicians wrote with Mr. Axl Rose. I loved hearing these songs played live, but that didn’t compare to how perturbed I was this morning getting up for work. I want a musical genius to succeed and inspire me, but this lack of respect for his fans clearly pains me to see that one of the leaders of a genre doesn’t get the fact it’s THE FANS that pay his bills. Then again, when did Axl Rose ever care about his fans? If you have tickets to tomorrow’s show in Milwaukee, I heard today that it was canceled. You are delusional, Axl and need to get help. Please consider it because I’d like to be a fan again.

Ben’s Blog Archives:

Chicago – ‘Home of the Blues?’

Quiet Comfort Lounges

Wednesday Nights at Sushi Samba

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Shlomi Rabi NBC5 Street Team

It’s been one of those weeks. You look around yourself: you have an inch-thick stack of bills to go through, work is slowly turning you into a xenophobe, your pantry is empty, your cats won’t stop nagging about wanting to go to Eurodisney, and you have still not won the lottery. Still. Yep, it’s a Tuesday. By this point there is only one thing for you to do: put on your magic boots, get out your cape, and hop on your magic carpet. Or, if your luck is as bad as mine and your carpet is still at the cleaners, go to the movies. And make sure that when you do, you go see Pedro Almodovar’s latest- Volver.

Describing what Volver is about is mutually exclusive with why the film is so good. It would be like trying to explain why brownie is the best dessert invention since, well, the sliced brownie. Anyway, in Volver Almodovar returns to what he’s best at: women. In his last two flicks he’s tried to protagonize men, but to mediocre results. Almodovar likes–no, make that loves–his women. He overlayers them with quirks, neuroses, and the most idiosyncratic of ticks. He imbues them with the sort of strength and the kind of explosive sexuality that make you forget that most times the plot is ridiculous. His attention to details (and, oh, the color red) continuously keep the plot vivid, throbbing, and the viewers engaged. It’s not short, but best things come to those who wait.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

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Partying @ PLUSH

LeeAnn Trotter, NBC5 Street Team

If you’re looking for a laid back, but bumpin’ place to hang for a couple of drinks, and/or some grub….check out Plush. A bunch of us went there Saturday night to celebrate a friends’ birthday. I had a Peach Tini….it was tasty. Also….I tried the Steak Tacos, which had feta cheese. Very Interesting! And the music was a mix of techno and house….sweet. It’s pretty simple to find and most of the reviews I’ve seen give it a thumbs up. Heve you been there before? What are your thoughts?

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Gioco Is Boffo!

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team

How often do you leave a restaurant and are left with a feeling of “wow.” I’ve been accused of being rather critical or picky in the past, but a recent meal at South Loop Italian restaurant Gioco (1312 S. Wabash), left an amazing impression on me and my dinner date.

The first thing you notice when you step inside is the decor — not surprising for a Jerry Kleiner restaurant, but dazzling nonetheless. The exposed brick walls and sensual mood lighting makes you think you’ve stumbled into an Italian villa.

But the first sign that we were in for something special was the wonderfully nutty flavor of the olive oil that we dipped our perfectly crusty bread into. We chose an exquisite Napa Red Zinfandel from the varied and well-priced wine list. Despite a detailed explanation of the tasting menu from executive chef Fred Ramos, we decided there were too many good items on the regular menu to pass up.

From that point on, we took a casual tour of Tuscan and Umbrian cuisine with the aid of our wonderful waitress Katia, who spoke with a thick Italian accent (nice touch). You know you’re in a good place when you can’t decide what to order, but Gioco makes that easy by allowing you to order half-entrees. It came in handy, because I’m not sure I would have ordered the Red Wine Braised Wild Boar Rigatoni Wide Ribbon Pasta, but it turned out to be the star of the group. Who knew wild boar was so tender and succulent? The Hazelnut-Crusted Grouper with Sarro Mushroom in Spinach Risotto was also a winner, as well as the Veal, Pork & Beef Meatballs served in pomodoro sauce & topped
with fresh mozzarella.

Since that meal, I’ve been raving about Gioco to anyone who will listen, and have been told by those in the know that the Sunday brunch is even better. Salute!

Slideshow: Gioco Restaurant

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DeVaughn Is Divine!!

Amanda Hunt, NBC5 Street Team

Location: Bronzeville, Blu 47
Drink: Courvoisier Strawberry Lemonade
Occasion: Performance by artist Raheem DeVaughn
Synopsis: I am impressed with how cool this guy is….

Google “Raheem DeVaughn” and you’ll find general information about his soulful background and hit single “Guess Who Loves You More,” but after seeing him perform for the second time, watching him sincerely greet his fans, and interviewing his essence — not his persona — I confess that I am impressed with how cool this guy is!

Amanda: Your music exposes a lot that has happened to you in life. That, coupled with your grassroots marketing approach, what pushes you to never quit?

Raheem: “Quitting is not in my nature and I’m happy with what I am doing. I just bought my mom a new house and my music says something.”
Amanda's Raheem DeVaughn Slideshow - Image From Amanda Hunt
Amanda: When, in your mind, did you become an artist?

Raheem: “2000, when I decided to be an entrepreneur and make my talent and gift lucrative, but I’ve got 10 CDs out internationally and have been in the game 15 years.”

Amanda: 15 years?!?! So what’s next for Raheem DeVaughn?

Raheem: “You can expect my Mix Tape (Vol.5) by the end of this week and my next album, “Love Behind The Melody,” soon. Also be sure to hit me at www.myspace.com/devaughnenterprises

In the entertainment business, it is rare to run across genuine people, but Raheem is cut from a different cloth. He is one of the most cool-headed and humble persons I’ve met. Treat yourself this holiday season to Raheem DeVaughn’s “The Love Experience,” in stores now.

Slideshow: Concert Pictures
More Slideshows: Red Star Soul Concert | John Legend | Mary J. Blige

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Mother Of All Thongs

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team

There sure was a lot of stuff going on this past weekend. Thousands hit downtown for the lights show, others, like myself went to the Jay-Z show or any number of concerts around the area. But it was a curious crowd that converged at a North Side location Saturday night.

A Chicago-based lingerie company, Evlove Intimates, has created what they’ve dubbed the World’s
Largest Thong, which they debuted during a custom lingerie show.

Made in Chicago and using enough black lace to cover a third of a football
field, representatives say “The Mother Of All Thongs” is 20-feet long, 17 feet wide and took two seamstresses five days to complete.

“Nothing says custom lingerie like a 20-foot black lace thong. Just think what we can do for a g-string,” Evlove founder and president Jenny Dombroski said.

I wasn’t able to hit the event myself, but I’m told a good time was had by all. And even better? We have plenty of gratuitous pictures from the lingerie fashion show!

Slideshow: Lingerie Fashion Show

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Heidi Barker, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

So, here’s what’s going to happen:

The media hype will scare you into arriving for your Thanksgiving flight 2 hours (or more) ahead of time. You will subsequently get through security and then seemingly have nothing to do for an hour til your flight boards. But, as a frequent flyer, I can tell you there are fun ways to kill some time at the airport. I am only mentioning my fave things to do in O’Hare’s Terminal 3 (American) as I tend to fly that airline most often.

First stop: The Back Rub Hub. This is a chair massage therapy center where you can get a tune-up on your neck and shoulders by licensed therapists. Whether you just have time for a 10-minute rub or can get a longer 30-minute session, this therapeutic “timeout” will relax and rejuvenate you before your flight. Of course, your muscles will tighten up again once you’re in that tiny airplane seat, but a little massage is better than none at all!

Second stop: Mrs. Field’s Cookies. As a certified chocoholic, I think it should be illegal to pass by a Mrs. Field’s without buying a cookie. My favorite: Milk Chocolate without Nuts. Have a long flight? Buy a variety of “nibblers” to munch on while you’re in the air. Share with your plane seatmates and you’ll have friends for life. (Hint: in addition to the cookies you see, there may be others that are fresh out of the oven! Just ask, “Hey do you happen to have anything warm right now?” and you may luck out.)

Third stop: Hudson’s Book Corner. Browse, or buy a magazine or a bestseller to read on your flight.

Fourth stop: Brookstone. So many gadgets, so little time! You’ll have fun exploring this store!

Final stop: Food Court. Note: Mrs. Field’s Cookies is near the front of the terminal, so you had to get dessert first. But in the food court, you’ll find your main grub, from Chinese to Pizza to Mexican to McDonald’s (btw, Mickie D’s new warm chocolate chip cookies rival that of Mrs. Field’s and are much cheaper!) Want to support Chi-town? Reggio’s Pizza is locally owned and operated. Take your food on the plane, because unless you’re in first class, they’re giving you jack to eat in coach.

Those are my favorite stops. What are your regular spots at O’Hare or Midway? Any helpful hints for your fellow travelers?

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

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Dive Bar Redux

Liz Grossman, NBC5 Street Team

Despite the blustery weather and the fact that I am over smokey bars, I had friends in town this weekend and simply had show them a few of my favorite, blast-from-the-past, hidden-gem taverns around East Village and Ukrainian Village. Needless to say, the trip down watering hole lane was a hangover-inducing blast, and it made me proud to live in the ‘hood. We didn’t cover every bar, but after filling up on tasty tapas and sangria at Cafe Iberico (how about that flashy new dance club entrance?) we headed West to Five Star. OK, so this place is still new, but it was a good place to begin before heading to the Innertown Pub on Winchester and Thomas. Smokey, packed and loud as ever, it was as fun as I remember. From there, we hit up the Chip Inn, a random little pub where the lights are bright but the beer is cheap. To make our night complete we made a quick stop at Underdogg, and were then off to Estelle’s for more late-night imbibing. While I will always have a place in my heart for 1056 and Lava Lounge, I’m happy to see that some oldie but goodies are still packing them ’em until the wee hours..now it’s just time to do something about the smoke!

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team

Chicago is a great entertainment city because there’s so much stuff going on. The problem is, you have to be pretty well-connected in order to experience a lot of it. That was the case with Jay-Z’s “secret” appearance at Uptown’s Riviera Theater on Saturday. Even with my usually-solid media connections, I wasn’t able to work my way in until the last minute, and certainly wasn’t allowed to bring in any equipment. But apparently, there’s hundreds of people who are connected, and the theater was packed.

Chicago was the fifth stop on Jay Z’s seven cities in 17 hours tour. He had also hit Atlanta, D.C., Philly and New York before hitting Chi-Town, and was scheduled to visit Vegas and L.A. afterward. The tour is in advance of Tuesday’s release of the supposed-retired Def Jam CEO’s latest CD, Kingdom Come, and was hosted by Cingular, who is aggresively making a play in the music world to promote their new phones that also handle music.
Musicpix.net Slideshow #3 - Image From Lyle A. Waisman
Jigga was only on stage for about 30 minutes, but take it from me — it was hot! He did a couple of tracks from the new CD, but also delved into some classic songs. At times they just turned off the music and let the crowd finish the song.

As I mentioned, you weren’t allowed to take any cameras into the venue — but curiously, there were plenty of flash bulbs popping during the performance — one from a camera I “possibly” snuck in.

If you were there and snapped some pics, follow the links to upload your own, and add to our collection.

Pictures: Jay-Z Performance

Video: Concert

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JenJen Boyles, NBC5 Street Team

Flosstradamus @ Town Hall Pub 11.15.06

If you’ve ever been to the Town Hall Pub for a Flosstradamus show, you know to wear attire you won’t mind getting beer poured over and shoes you won’t lament being stepped on to hell. That’s because these shows are always crammed to the gills with what seems like Chicago’s entire hipster population — white kids in gold chains. Grown men in Hypercolor shirts. Cute girls in side ponytails and a fresh coat of bright pink lipstick. This, folks, is the Chicago ‘juke’ scene.

Click here to see the debauchery.

Floss, as the young duo is called by their fans, are Josh and Curt — both twentysomething Chicago residents who whip crowds into a frenzy with their style that’s akin to DJs like Diplo, Low Bee, and other “kitchen sink” mixers. The two take to the turntables with records ranging from the latest and greatest hip-hop cut to a cheesy, inexcusable old 90s dance track. At this particular show they ended on a crazy note with Kernkraft 400’s Zombie Nation, but not before sending hands in the air with old “ghetto house” tracks by DJ Funk and a cut by Bloc Party.

Hitting up a Floss show — like the one I just went to, called “Get Outta The Hood” — is like stealing the life of the party’s iPod and chopping it up into a 2-hour-long song — then playing it in front of crazies who act like they’ve been on a musicless diet for years. It’s great.

Click here to listen to or download some FREE SONGS

IN ATTENDANCE: Qualo hip-hop stars Shala Esquire & Mo B.; Killa Kri$ (promoter from “Avant Trill” party at Buddha Lounge); “The Cool Kids” indie group

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A Fool for Shoes!!

Amanda Hunt, NBC5 Street Team

Shoes, shoes, and more shoes!!! What more could a girl ask for? And not just any shoe, but shoes that are “Unique for the Particular.” That’s the motto that the owner of Heelz Shoe Salon, James Newsome, has appropriately coined.

These exclusive jewels for your feet are so extraordinarily different and entirely delicious, they’re truly worth every penny paid. Prices start at about $160 and up, and with designers such as Sacco and Luciano Padovan, you’ll feel every bit as fabulous as you look.

Now’s the time to check out this South Loop gem, as a season clearance sale is under way. And although the green-eyed chick at the bar will hate you for it — you’ll be glad you did!

HeelZ Shoe Salon: www.Heelz.net

Click here to view pictures from the store.

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Danielle Barrera NBC5 Street Team

The Marine Corps birthday was November 10, and I was invited to the Marine Core Ball that took place on November 17. I felt like I was at homecoming, but four years later, and surrounded by much better-looking guys.

The food was approaching fabulous — missed it by 2 points — but, the open bar hit its target. The ball was invite only; however it is definitely something that all people should be aware of.

Why? Because no matter what political party you root for, you can still learn something from the Marines who attended. As I sat at my table, I could not help but look at each individual Marine. I looked at their smiles, their eyes, their dimples, and focused on their youth. The Marines that I sat with were all under the age of 25 and have all done at least one tour of duty. In fact, every Marine at the ball had at least done one tour of duty– The youngest Marine being 19.

During dinner, I asked my date why he went to Iraq. He looked at me square in the eye and said, “because I was sent.” He then told me that he doesn’t believe we should be in Iraq, but he continued and said as a Marine you have to do what you are told and some things you’re going to hate and some things you’re going to be extremely passionate about.

Many would think that this is a simple and safe answer. Before November 17th, I would have agreed. But in that moment, I looked around and accepted it. I didn’t accept the war, but I appreciated and respected the men that fought for us. Whether they are for the war, against the war, or impartial, these men risked their lives for their country. If you are anti-war, take what I’ve learned — support your troops — maybe not the war, maybe not even Bush, but definitely support the people who give up their youth and their lives in so many different ways for their country.

Happy Belated Marines!!!

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Heidi Barker, NBC5 Street Team

I know what you’re thinking.

How could a bowling alley be a “hot spot”?

Lucky Strike Lanes (www.bowlluckystrike.com) at Illinois and Columbus is the UNbowling bowling alley. In fact, bowling takes a back seat to the other action here. I don’t even bowl, and this is one of my regular spots! It’s right next door to the AMC Movie Theaters.

The bar area features widescreen TVs with your favorite sports games, comfy cool couches where you and your friends can chill and listen to music, and booths and tables for dinner service with a pretty extensive menu. (Try their famous turkey burger, BBQ Chicken Pizza, or Mac-and-Cheese Balls appetizers.) It’s a great place to grab lunch, or a cocktail and munchies after work, and a very cool spot to watch sports. Walk past the main bar/dining area, and you’ll find several pool tables where you can test your skills. In the back, you’ll find a couple of quieter rooms billed as “wine lounges”, complete with fireplaces and cushy pillows. The wine lounges provide an escape from the crowds- since Lucky Strike is within walking distance of Navy Pier, it can get quite packed.

Oh yeah, you can bowl there too.

I confess that one of the reasons Lucky Strike is on my list of hangouts is because the entire joint is NON-SMOKING. That leads me to ask you guys this question: How do YOU feel about smoking in restaurants/bars? What are your feelings about the citywide non-smoking ordinance that will go into affect here in Chicago eventually? Holla back!

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LeeAnn Trotter, NBC5 Street Team

Reviews of the new movie, “Fast Food Nation” are lukewarm….but let me tell you: WATCHING THIS FILM WILL MAKE YOU CONSIDER BECOMING A VEGETARIAN!!! Now..understand….I love me some meat! But after you see them slaughter…. OK, I won’t gross you out….but I’m curious what you think? No—I did not stop eating meat, but I’m at least thinking about what I’m putting in my mouth. The movie opens today. Let me know your thoughts!!!!

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Home Away from Home

Shlomi Rabi NBC5 Street Team (Video)

You know, back in the day, when I was rail thin but with an awkwardly large head, there were two things I was consistently mistaken for: smart, and a dancer. Now that I have gotten a little older and much, much wiser, I am only mistaken for smart. My days of passing for a lithe baillarin are long gone, and have been replaced by a slowing metabolism and a scientifically inexplicable desire to consume inappropriate amounts of chocolate in between courses.

Over the years I have transitioned from “skinny”, to “thin”, then “lean”, onto “defined”, then “muscular”, and later “beefy”, but have since plummeted into “animal-loving”, “fruity” and “gregarious”. So as part of my mission to gain back my sexy beefnessticity, I have decided that it’s time to hit the gym.

Right now, Fitness Formula clubs are offering some great deals, including a 70% discount on first time registration fees. There are about a dozen of them around town and are worth checking out. The one in Lakview (north Pine Grove) even has indoors swimming pool, three levels of facilities, and, most importantly, some serious eye candy.

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Ohm: The New Red Dog

Brook Jay, NBC5 Street Team

Last night I went to the friends and Family opening of Ohm Nightclub which occupies the legendary Red Dog space at the historic Damen/Milwaukee/North intersection in the heart of Wicker Park.

Ohm is an amazing 11,000-sq.-ft. space incorporating 5 bars, 2 musical environments and a 6000-sq.-ft. dance floor.

Walking into Ohm for me was like walking back into 1992. I ran into faces and people I hadn’t seen since I was a “barely legal” regular at Red Dog. It was great!! Now some of the club kids from my day had traded in their fabu drag and face piercings for designer cloths and jewelry of another kind, but trust me, we all still look good!

I was lucky to attend this event with a trio of 20 something influencers (Harper Reed from Threadless.com, DJ Matt Roan and Ms. May from the Funky Buddha). During the Red Dog’s heyday, these three were rocking out at their 8th grade mixers while I was kissing legendary Red Dog Host, Silky Jumbo, on the cheek as I breezed into the club.

One of my mom’s favorite expressions is: “There are no new games, just new players.” While Ohm is new, it is built on the well-respected skeleton of Red Dog. And while the opening night crowd was equally packed with the young guns of Chicago nightlife, the club is run by 30 year veterans of nightlife, Music-101, the same guys who bring you the Boom Boom Room every Monday night. This was the dynamic at Ohm last night! Old school and new school club kids united in the name of a true Chicago style clubbing experience.

I highly suggest you check out Ohm. Their opening weekend lineup is stellar. And if you are an old school club kid like me, it could be a great walk down memory lane for you too!

Ohm begins… W/ Jay-J, Mark Grant & Michael seraphim (11-17-2006)
Ohm begins… W/ CeCe Peniston, Ron Carroll, Jesse De La & More (11-18-2006)
http://www.music-101.com/ssps/events/events/564 (11-22-2006)
http://www.music-101.com/ssps/events/events/567 (11-29-2006)

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Missed Love Connections

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team

It’s happened to all of us at some point in our lives. You catch the eye of someone you like, but are too chicken to make a move. Or, even worse, you spend so much time contemplating your move that someone else — often less desirable — swoops in and grabs the object of your desire and holds their attention all night. Sound familiar? The eye contact made on the bus, grocery store, club or gym that you never followed up on? My, er, friends tell me stuff happens all the time.

And while you could spend a great deal of time contemplating why people are afraid to make that move in the first place, there’s a new Web site designed to providing a second chance. Kizmeet.com is dedicated to linking up these lost souls. The site allows people to post the time and location of the meeting, plus, a description of the encounter — or near encounter. Sound like a shot in the dark? Co-founder Mark Jaffe believes that as the site grows in popularity, love connections will abound. Just don’t mess up your second chance.

(I spoke to Jaffe via phone for an audio podcast. Click here to listen to our interview.)

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Circus … Check

Sarah Eck, NBC5 Street Team

There’s a little joke in my family where we make virtual check marks after we visit or experience an attraction … you know, like putting it in the “done” column. Disneyland, check. Architectural Tour, check. Chuck E. Cheese, check. This week we added the Ringling Brother Circus check mark to our cumulative destination tally. My youngest son just turned 3 and rather than try to host another “over-produced” kid’s birthday party (occupational hazard), I opted to bring the family to the Opening Night of the circus at the United Center. Having been to Sesame Street Live a couple years ago, I knew what we were getting into. In fact, the last thing I said to my husband and father as we left the house was “I hope you guys have enough cash on you, because this is going to cost us!” Anyway, to sum up: first, we dodged the animal protesters outside Gate 3 stopping to take a quick pic of my oldest with the picketers … built in civics lessons, thanks Ringling!. Then we dined on United Center concessions which seemed curiously inflated, perhaps to make up for lower than normal beer revenue. Not sure how we did it given that we were surrounded by merch kiosks every 10 paces and thousands of illuminated toys, but we successfully avoided the merchandising all the way through intermission, unless of course, you count the $20 bag of cotton candy that “included” a branded cloth circus hat. Just when I thought we’d made it out alive without giving in to the power of the brand, we got hit on the way out. The key is to keep walking, but you see, my kids had been “shopping” throughout the night, checking out everyone else’s selections, surveying the options. And we made the mistake of stopping for just a split second in front of the last merch kiosk closest to our exit. That was all she needed, masterfully trained, like a gunslinger in the OK corral, in the blink of an eye, the attendant assessed my sons’ gazes and whipped out not one, but two, spinning Power Ranger guns. We dutifully handed over another $34 bucks and walked out … I guess the elephants gotta eat.

As for the show … It’s hard not to become a circus snob after seeing 6 Cirque du Soleil productions, but setting that aside, I must acknowledge that the Classic Circus experience is defined by Ringling Brothers. Being at the circus was like being a part of history, it was nostalgic, it was something special that I remember sharing with my parents when I was a tyke. It was my job to move beyond the horrendous lip-syncing of corny jokes and share my kids’ marvel at the parade of elephants, Spanish web and even the clowns’ giant Food Fight (deprogramming is still in session!). This circus did not fail to deliver the awe and memories I was in search of. I know that because as we walked back to the car, my son broke focus on the spinning Power Ranger for a moment and exclaimed: “That was ‘ahhh-simmm’, I want to go to the circus again!!!” To which I responded, “You will get to go again … as soon as you have your own kids!”. Circus … Check! All Terrain Sarah

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