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Archive for December, 2006

Good Shepherd Gone Bad


Danielle Barrera, NBC5 Street Team (video)

As soon as I saw the preview for the movie Good Shepherd, I knew I just had to see it. With an amazing cast, and directed by Robert De Niro, I was ready to bedazzled. This movie had stars such as Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, Joe Peshi, Robert De Niro and Alec Baldwin. It after all was suppose to be one of best CIA films done in history…

UGH! Let me just say that I can appreciate a good long film. However, this movie had NO action. No twist. It jumped back and forth, from place to place, and from year to year. While understanding the bulk of the movie, I did not understand why certain scenes were even in the film. It’s one of those movies that you want to see again, not because it was that great, but because you just want to fully understand it. I figure that Robert De Niro may have wanted to make the movie very realistic, however, when I go to the movies, I like to get away from REAL life and enjoy a film with a little meat on its bones. I give it 3 stars, eh, why not 3 ½. After all it did have Matt Damon and Angelina, who we all know are easy to look at.

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Ibiza In Love


Amanda Hunt, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

New York and San Fran are notorious for hiding secret, one of a kind merchandise amongst busy streets; now Chi-town has got you covered.

Oprah put us in “the know” on how to wear our jeans, here is your exclusive tip on where to find them. Ibiza on 233 E. 47th Street is “bananas” or as our West Coast affiliates would say…”hot”! Hosting quality and expressive brands like Antik, Ed Hardy, and Citizens of Humanity, Ibiza provides truly fashionable options with personable customer service. As one private shopper put it, “Coming here is like having an club membership”.

Call Jabari Jackson or Craig Elliott at 773.924.5199 for your mean jean.

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Slideshow: Ibiza Images

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

I just started a new freelance gig as a nightlife correspondent for Taste, a very slickly-produced wine, cuisine and lifestyles show that runs on NBC5 on weekends (times vary, so check your local listings — or set your Tivo or DVR). It’s a job I REALLY would have loved to have 10 years ago when I was really out running the streets, but hey, that’s the way life goes sometimes. I’ll have to suck it up and “force” myself to hang out at all these cool clubs, lounges and bars for you, my dear blog audience and Taste viewers.

For my first segment I headed to Close Up 2, a brand new smooth jazz bar in the South Loop (416 S. Clark St.). Yon Kim, the president of CU2, says many years ago there was a similar jazz club in the area, and many of the customers who remember that spot are coming out in droves to check out her new establishment.

Even though a group of college exchange students from Ireland stumbled into the club the night we shot the piece, this is typically not a place where you’ll find a lot of 20-somethings. Smooth jazz tends to attract the more mature set, and general manager Frank Goss, who handles the music side of the club, says he’ll be reaching out to up-and-coming smooth jazz artists to perform at CU2.

My jazz tastes tend to run more toward the Miles and Coltrane era, and I’m personally not a huge fan of smooth jazz — an admission Kim was shocked to hear while we chatted after our interview. I’m personally lobbying for a jazz fusion night, where the jazz is slightly more up-tempo and the band might also include a live DJ.

But despite where your music tastes lie, CU2 looks like a great spot to take a date. The atmosphere is inviting and the vibe is very chill. Especially for those of us who can’t stay up as late as we used to.


Slideshow: Close Up 2 Jazz Club

Alternate Video: Taste Segment

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Check’em Out!


Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team
(Video)

Not too long ago, I read that squillionaire Steve Wynn sold a Blue Period Picasso for $139 million in a symbolic move to prove to Ron Lauder that HE was in possession of the world’s most expensivest painting, therefore putting Lauder’s $135 million Klimt to shame, shame, shame. Oh, the embarrassment he must have felt. It’s like showing up at a party wearing a lesser Chanel. I couldn’t even imagine. Anyhoobie, apparently Wynn’s money is not enough to repair the optical defect that limits his peripheral vision, and while giving a presentation on the painting post-sale, he accidentally tore a hole through it the size of a quarter with his elbow. Naturally, everyone’s first thought was “By Golly! Who knew Wynn had razors for elbows?”

Well, if you want to bypass the embarrassment of ruining a trillion-dollar Picasso, do yourself a favour and get your eyes checked at D-Vision Optical on Division. The place is chic beyond words, with the hippest collection of eyewear, from Oliver Peoples to Kazuo Kawasaki, La Font, Etnia, and my personal favourite — Face A Face. Additionally, the place doubles as an art gallery, currently showing works by Wendy Keller. That provides you with the benefit of appreciating the artwork, and reduces the chance that you’ll run your elbow through it, even if by accident.

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Do It BEFORE They Die

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

I felt I should do something Monday to mark the passing of James Brown, but aside from switching up the song on my MySpace page, I wasn’t sure where to start.

I sometimes feel a sense of loss when an artistic great dies, mainly because their talent seems to be taken for granted while they were alive.

One day my kids — or at this rate, my nieces or nephew — may ask if I ever saw James Brown in concert. Unfortunately, I’ll have to say no.

It does get me thinking about all the great, aging musicians who I should absolutely see at least once before they pass. The master of the sitar, Ravi Shankar (Norah Jones’ father), is always near the top of my list. If you’ve ever seen the documentary for 1968’s Monterey Pop Festival or heard The Beatles’ foray in Middle Eastern music, then you know what I talking about. Although it may sound a little morbid, every time he passes through the city I happen to live in and something else comes up, I can’t help but feel that I may have missed my last opportunity. Currently, he’s not touring because of an injured shoulder.

I’ve always felt the same way about legendary reggae singer Yellowman, because when he does make a rare public appearance, frankly, he tends to look close to death.

B.B. King is 81 years old and still going strong, and thankfully I’m able to say I’ve seen him a couple of times. I also have a 15-minute videotape of a candid one-on-one interview with him from the back of his tour bus that I need to dig out of storage, as I’m sure it will come in handy one day — but hopefully, not anytime soon.

So my question to you my dear blog readers is this: which musician do you absolutely need to see before they die?

Slideshow: James Brown

Slideshow: Celebrities Who Died In 2006

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Paul Jones, NBC5 Street Team

Recently I was invited to a wine tasting and dinner at Sage Grille located in Highwood, IL. First off, I would like to thank owners Paul Preston and Chuck Rhea for the opportunity to preview their new establishment. That being said, Executive Chef Greg Darrah and GM/Wine Director Mark Melzer did an exceptional job combining their talents to pair exquisite cuisine with a masterful wine selection. Greg and his team were awesome in the preparation and presentation of the entrées. Mark is an inexhaustible source of knowledge for those who aren’t quite sure about pairing wine and meals.

The décor of the restaurant is extremely stylish and contemporary. Comparable, and in some cases, surpassing anything upscale found in the “big city.” However, Greg and Mark bring a very small town and personable feel to the environment. Its so warm and inviting, you’ll want to kick your shoes off — but I wouldn’t recommend it! It’s a quick train ride north on the Metra or a nice drive on the Edens from the city, but regardless how you get there, it’s well worth the trip! Check out www.sagegrille.com for more information. Thanks also to Jim Lee and Chrissy Cox for hosting the event.

Slideshow: Sage Grill

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ErikaErika and Monika Simmons, NBC5 Street Team,
(Video)

Yes, yes ladies and gents. We are coming out of retirement. What retirement you say? Well, it’s the one where we only attend parties and events that are work related. Don’t get us wrong, we love our social life. Our “party with a purpose” attitude, epitomizes the perfect blend of fashion, fun and networking. But, we started to forget about, good old fashioned fun for the sake of fun.

Back in our “nothing to do but kick it ” days, (ages 19 to 25), we loved attending Phil and Nate parties, trips and events. But as we became more mature, and for that matter, more sober, we could barely stay up past 10:30 pm, let alone 3 am!!!

Now, we’re getting our second wind at age 34! If Phil and Nate productions can “Return to Greatness”, so can we. At least for one night that is:-) So come on out and join us Saturday, December 30th, at the House of Blues and dare to party, or at least stay alert!

Click here for ticket information

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team
(Video)

You know, being a Jew during Christmas really has its perks. For once, you know that your mailbox will be jammed with dozens and dozens of letters from adoring piglets and shrimps from around the world who thank you for not killing them. Be it from Alaska to Florida, they send in their pictures by the dozens, some posing next to national monuments, or taking a stroll in the farm, or just chilling on a rock with their kids for the 4th of July B-BQ. It’s a truly empowering feeling.

But that’s not all. Another excellent reason is the accepted rationale among many Ultra-Orthodox Jews that food eaten on the Sabbath does not convert into fat. Ever. That means that the Sabbath, by its holy connotations, is a fat-free day. Hence, holiness = slimnessticity. So now that Hanukkah is here(ish), it is perfectly, perfectly acceptable for us to deep fry those sufganiyot (donuts) in partially hydrogenated oil normally reserved for car tuning. A great place to indulge in such gastronomical debauchery is Tel Aviv Kosher Bakery (2944 W. Devon). But even if you’re not a believer, go ahead, have a bite, and enjoy. As the famous Jewish paraphrase goes: “Eat, whatever doesn’t kill you, will only only land you a husband”. Happy Holidays Everyone!

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New Year’s Eve

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Ask 10 people what they think of New Year’s Eve and you’re likely to get 10 different answers, as I’ve found out again this year. I remember back in my early 20s when I had a consecutive run of outstanding NYE revelry, but it wasn’t long before I hit a rut. Perhaps there’s too much to pressure to have a good time on this evening, which sets yourself up for disappointment. But the lure is always there. You have to appreciate a holiday where the only thing you’re expected to do is party — and kiss someone — or several people.

So this year, my plans are set, and I’m proud to say that me and NBC5’s LeeAnn Trotter will be hosting the Midnight Kiss New Year’s Eve bash at the W Hotel at the Chicago City Center. The dress code is Creative Black Tie (very cool!), and although I haven’t attended this event before, sources tell me it’s a very sexy crowd. I have seen Michelle L’Amour and her Sugarbabies, who’ll be performing at the event, and they’re definitely hot! (View Slideshow)

Several other members of the NBC5 Street Team will also be in the house. Click here for more information on Midnight Kiss.

Of course, there’s a lot of other options on NYE. I’ve compiled a list of events based on what’s come through my email inbox over the past couple of weeks. You can also add your own events below in the Comments section, or place it in our online Community Calendar.

Happy New Year!

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Ben Soldinger, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Chicago owns the moniker of ‘Home of the Blues’. Let’s prove it and support the music and musicians that we are known to have in our town. Vance Kelly and the Backstreet Blues Band are the best this genre has to offer. Check them out at Kingston Mines this Friday and Saturday (12/22 & 12/23). If you go, send me a comment as to what you thought of the show. For more information on Vance Kelly, check out my archive ‘Chicago – Home of the Blues?’.

Ben’s Blog Archives:

Chicago – ‘Home of the Blues?’

Wednesday Nights at Sushi Samba

Quiet Comfort Lounges

Guns N Roses

The Perfect Casual Italian Restaurant

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Family Fun in Savoy!


Erika and Monika SimmonsErika and Monika Simmons, NBC5 Street Team,
(Video)

Fun, Fitness and Fashion is what we’re all about! But, since we’re currently on a holiday hiatus from our workout regimen at the YMCA, and we’re always working in fashion, we’ve decided to incorporate some family fun into our lives.

So naturally, our first stop was Savoy, Illinois. We visited our favorite family, the Simpsons, which consist of our older sister Kimberly, her husband Marcus, our nieces Averi (9), and Aria (4), and our soap opera fine nephew Aaron (6). Our visit was highlighted by a spectacular Youth Christmas performance at church that featured the tripple A crew, and as usual we crocheted holiday ensembles for Double Stitch Fashionistas in Chicago, Detroit and even London. What fun!!!

What’s your idea of Holiday Family Fun? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

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Looking for a bite?


Angelynne Amores, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Funky, chic wrapped in delectable morsels of the freshest sushi — Yes, Mirai Sushi at Division/Damon in Bucktown is the hippest sushi restaurant in the city. Whether dining downstairs or upstairs in the secluded cove, Mirai is hot.

Four of us met at the sushi restaurant and tantilized our palate with a variety of delectable treasures. The presentation was outstanding and the taste simply devine. Spicy Crab, lush fatty tuna topped off with the best orange cranberry (as if the organes were squeezed that day in florida just for my drink.)

And, the service — attentive, helpful and not over-bearing.

I highly suggest Mirai Sushi for that special occassion or a great date spot. (2020 W. Division, (773) 862-8500)

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Melicious


Amanda Hunt, NBC5 Street Team (video)

You’re in Greektown craving anything but lamb and potatoes. You’d grab a polish but your doctor has strongly advised against it; plus you’re in the mood for eggs?!?!

Meli is your haven on 305 S. Halsted, (312) 454-0748. Breakfast is served all day and their healthy wraps are to die for… well live for. With an extensive menu created by chef Frank Georgacopoulos- Options should be his middle name. From crepes to paninis, benedicts to frittatas, you are sure to love this new deli named Meli. Taste the apple cinnamon waffles or my all time favorite chipotle chicken wrap (even the fries are guiltless); be sure to wash it down with their signature smoothie- banana maple crunch.

Ask for Denise Koutsis or owners Nick Karabelas and Yiannis Theoharis; they serve every dish with a side order of smiles.

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DAY & NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

Tony Lossano & Amy Zanglin, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Tony from NUDE HIPPO here! So I am looking forward to going back to the movies with my buddy Mariana Perin and this time we’re planning on seeing Ben Stiller‘s new film NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE – but I just don’t want us to see the movie, I want to make it an event! I am thinking of seeing the movie after spending the day at THE FIELD MUSEUM. Or should we see the movie first and then go to THE FIELD MUSEUM? Hmmm?

Fellow Street Team member, Ben Soldinger, already blogged about how great the King Tut exhibit is, so we’ll have to check that out before it leaves on January 1, 2007. Plus, during the three days after Christmas THE FIELD MUSEUM will have special holiday musical performances from local area schools and organizations!

THE FIELD MUSEUM is near downtown where it is part of a lakefront Museum Campus that includes the John G. Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. Admission is between $6 and $12, pending on age and residency. However, as a Chicagoan I can skip the admission and save as residents of the City of Chicago can check out a Museum Passport at all Chicago Public Library locations with their valid Chicago Public Library card and get up to four family members into THE FIELD MUSEUM for FREE!

As for the film, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, I am not sure that it is appropriate for the young ones, as it is rated PG for Mild Action, Language and Brief Rude Humor, (the best kind of humor if you ask me), but I know for a fact that the kids love THE FIELD MUSEUM. My nieces, ages 7 & 10, both love this place. So you should make it an all-day outing and join us…I hope to see you there!

Watch our report below as our 5 year old reporter Gabby visits THE FIELD MUSEUM.

Watch more videos and read the NUDE HIPPO Blog at NBC5.com/nudehippo

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krem de la Creme?


Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to slip out of town hours before the snowstorm hit Chicago and headed toward sunny South Beach. Alas, all good things come to an end, but last weekend — for a couple of hours at least — I was able to step back in recent time.

Krem (1750 N. Clark St.) is the newest nightclub to open in Chicago, and it has a very Miami feel to it. The walls and furniture are completely white, but the dim lights emit a purplish pastel glow. Very Miami Vice.

Crockett and Tubbs were nowhere to be seen, but there was a plethora of pretty 20-something types milling around. If you’re 25 and have the good sense to match your belt with your shoes, this is where you need to be. Friday was an guest list-only affair — not always the best indication of what a locale holds in store — but it’s clear what clientele this place will attract.
Young hotties hangin' at krem
The decor includes a long leather bed (white, of course), and a DJ bar which allows you to watch the DJ do her thing while eating from the varied menu or sipping premium liquor from the bar. The middle reserved seating is for bottle service.

Not many people took advantage of the dance floor, but spontaneous bursts of dancing did break out in spots. Best to have some sort of movement to stay warm, because it’ll be a few months before Chicago weather resembles anything approaching South Beach.

Slideshow: Pictures Of krem

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Party of Two


Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team
(Video)

So there comes a point in every gay man’s life where he is forced to really shed away those quotidian distractions, turn off the cell phone, ringers, plasma screens, and ipods, look himself in the mirror, stare intently into his own eyes, look deeply into his soul, and ask himself- do I have enough shoes? See, I have plenty of shoes, but not good shoes. I’ve always fancied myself too humble for high fashion, especially shoes, but with our trip to San Francisco two months ago, James showed me the light when he insisted that I buy a pair of Dries Van Noten shoes. The shoes were black and had what looked like pleating across the top, with a gold buckle on the side.

Back at the house, after countless hours of cooing and admiring (“they really look a lot like your feet”), we tucked the shoes in their little black box, pulled up the little velvet cover over their little shiny bodies, and wished them good night, sweet dreams, and may a convoy of drag queens escort you in your sleep.

But you don´t have to travel to SF to find great shoes. Apartment # 9 in Bucktown (1804 N. Damen) is the Mothership for men´s fashion in Chicago. Designers include Paul Smith, dSquared, Dries Van Noten, Ser San Viegnt, TSE, Mason, Ernest Sewn, Martin Margiela, John Varvatos, and Nicole Farhi. Owner Sarah Blessing has created a funky, chic and comfortable atmosphere that rebukes the stiffness found in most department stores. Catch them in the right mood and they might just offer you a glass of bubbly. With 30% off on select items, you want to make sure your next trip is to Apartment # 9. Or San Francisco.

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

As a guy, I’m not sure what it is that excites me about two girls duking it out. It certainly explains why certain establishments in town add jello or mud to the mix and hold special nights for the enjoyment of the male species.

But boxing — known as the sweet science — is different. Saturday’s card at the Park West Saturday was dubbed “White Collar Boxing,” which appealed to a more mainstream audience beyond hard-core fight fans. And yes, the titillation factor was there. Among the 14 fights on the card, bout No. 7 stood out. Woman against woman. Marisa Molinaro and Maria Cordova would square off to see who was the baddest b– … I’m sorry, I’m overhyping this a bit.
Marisa Molinaro and her trainer, Mike
Full disclosure. I’ve been friends with Marisa for quite some time, so when she told me about her fight, I asked if I could get full access and cover the event. Marisa is one of the fittest individuals I know, man or woman. When she’s not boxing, she’s often training for her next triathalon. Nuff respect.

It was also interesting to observe her boyfriend — restaurant king Jerry Kleiner (Carnivale, Victor Hotel, Gioco, Opera, Marche) — before, during and after the fight. It has to be strange to watch your girl get into a ring, potentially get her ass kicked, and not be able to do anything about it. He admitted as much, and told me he lost weight in the days leading up the fight.

As it turned out, these two fighters aren’t just good female boxers — they’re good boxers, period.

So who won the match? I guess the picture to the right kind of gives it away, but check out the
video
and pictures for the blow-by-blow action. Cuz ain’t nuthin’ better than a girl fight y’all!


Fight Club Chicago: Slideshow | Video

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Heart stopping Mayan action!

Tony Lossano & Amy Zanglin, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Tony from NUDE HIPPO here! This weekend I went to downtown Chicago to see the Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto flick. I took the lovely & talented Mariana Perin, my director from NUDE HIPPO.

Apocalypto is the story of the Mayan kingdom, and a tribe trying to survive from a bunch of bloodthirsty Mayan warriors.

We arrived to the theater right at the published showtime knowing that there would be a mess of trailers and ads, (or as I like to call ’em ‘t&a’), to cushion our chances of not missing the beginning of the movie. I try to avoid the ‘t&a’ as much as I can. Either the movie trailers oversell a bad movie or it gives too much of the plot and best lines away. Also saving us time, we had a meal prior to our arrival, which now I realize that most theater chains make the bulk of their money with their Goobers & Mr. Pibb, but until they serve something that I think is worth standing in that long line for, with those prices, I’ll go to a Pizza Hut or Starbucks. How about opening a Pizza Hut/Starbucks combo in the theater!?!

Once we got into the theater we had to hunt for a good seat together. We went up & down all of the aisles, swearing that we will not be stuck all the way up front of the theater by the screen…that there must be a pair in there somewhere. After a complete once over, we found seats…all the way up front of the theater by the screen.

It was probably best that we didn’t get any popcorn, as Apocalypto quickly became the most gruesome & violently graphic movie I’ve seen in a long time. A small village was attacked by another Mayan tribe, the females had their children literally ripped from their arms tossed aside, then the women were sold into slavery while the men were lined up at the top of a pyramid to have their hearts removed, be decapitated and have their headless bodies thrown down the front steps to the roaring crowd. (Thought that you were having a tough day!?!)

I can’t count the number of times that we jumped, cringed or had to look away from those scenes, though I’m still trying to recover from when Mariana jolted so hard that she took me and 3 other members in the audience out with her left foot. That said, it was an exceptional movie and the violent scenes made the experience that much more realistic.

Once it ended, Mariana asked me if I was one of those types that sit through the credit roll. I normally am, but this time I didn’t even pay attention to the scrolling names. I informed her that the only reason why I didn’t just jump up and head to the lobby is that I was too tense. She admitted that she was as well.

We began to recover and that is when I told her that I took a class on Latin America in school, which is why I was surprised to learn from Mariana that the Mayans never actually disappeared, neither at the time of the Classic period decline nor with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores and the subsequent Spanish colonization of the Americas.

She pointed out that they no longer wear loin-clothes and butcher one another to appease the Gods…Though I think that I would have figured that part out, even before seeing a trailer to the sequel, Apocalypto II: The Spanish Conquest of Yucatán!

Read Mariana’s Blog on her side of the Apocalypto experience at NBC5.com/nudehippo

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King Tut

Ben Soldinger, NBC5 Street Team (video)

This is a must see exhibit at the Field Museum. King Tutankhamun was the last ruler of 18th Dynasty to reign over ancient Egypt. The 18th out of 31 dynasties remained in power for approximately 300 years. The boy king took the throne when he was nine years old! His people believed he was a God and worshiped his Egyptian renaissance reign which unfortunately lasted only ten years. Young Tut’s death is still a mystery but his skeletal remains show that his knees and ankles were shattered a couple of days before his death. This family story itself is so intriguing, but not nearly as much as looking into a civilization that existed 3,500 years ago! Our early ancestors had a remarkable appetite for living well. You can tell by this exhibit that this culture had the finest sense in creating art in the forms of golden statues, jewelery, the detail made to their furniture and architecture, and of course their tombs made of solid gold. Once the tomb of Tut’s was discovered, there were eight layers of golden caskets until actually finding the mummy – fascinating! Be sure to call ahead and buy your tickets for this exhibit before it packs up and moves on before January 1. To get you in the mood for this breathtaking experience, check out this ode to King Tut by Steve Martin. Enjoy!

Ben’s Blog Archives:

Chicago – ‘Home of the Blues?’

Wednesday Nights at Sushi Samba

Quiet Comfort Lounges

Guns N Roses

The Perfect Casual Italian Restaurant

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Ben Soldinger, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Looking for something to do after dinner this weekend? Check out the best blues band in Chicago tonight and tomorrow night (12/15 & 12/16) at B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted. If you catch the show, let me know what you think. Enjoy! (For more information on Vance Kelly, see archive ‘Chicago – Home of the Blues?’)

Ben’s Blog Archives:

Chicago – ‘Home of the Blues?’

Wednesday Nights at Sushi Samba

Quiet Comfort Lounges

Guns N Roses

The Perfect Casual Italian Restaurant

Read Full Post »


Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

I’m not sure if I should say this in polite company, but I’ll be doing everything I can to stay away from the “holiday cheer” this weekend. I need a respite. All day yesterday the song “It’s Beginning To Sound A Lot Like Christmas” kept running through my head over — and over — and over again. Time for a break.

That’s why this Saturday night’s Louie-Louie and DJ FLX show is so timely. I discovered this pair over the summer at Cuatro restaurant in the South Loop (2030 S. Wabash). The energy was incredible as a diverse crowd of dancers and onlookers grinded and grooved to the music. It was so full, there were people dancing on the sidewalk! Normally I shy away from such packed venues, but this was different.

On the stage, DJ FLX was spinning an assortment of Afro-Latin house beats and Louie Louie was working a full set of percussion, including several bongos, shakers, a whistle and a number of instruments I don’t know the name of. What I do know, is that it was a bad-ass show! It had a very spontaneous feel to it, with the pair seemingly knowing what the other was thinking before they did it. Since that first night, I’ve been back to see the pair several times (they play Cuatro every three weeks). Sometimes they’ll also have a guest trumpeter or saxophonist on stage.

One thing I can guarantee — the “Little Drummer Boy” never sounded this good.

Slideshow: Louie-Louie And DJ FLX Show

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I Heart Ugly


Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team
(Video)

You know, they say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we all know that’s a lie. Everyone knows a book should be judged by its size, and by everyone I mean me. But that’s besides the point. Point is, if we are to really truly judge a book by its content (or size), we wouldn’t spend a squillion pesos on wrapping materials. It costs as much to wrap a gift as the gift itself. Whomever said gold thread curlicues are cheap was either lying or just not telling the truth.


Hence, in light of this fascination with making x-mas gifts misleadingly attractive, I say let’s forgo the hypocrisy and celebrate the ugly. And what a better way to do this than by throwing an Ugly Sweater Party. I threw an Ugly Sweater Get Together recently to awkwardly enjoyable results. It will definitely take the edge off of always looking at your best, and everyone will have their guard down. In the event you don’t have one- make your own like I did. So go ahead, whip out those reindeer delights, those sequined tragic visions, those cableknit deformities only a blind mother could love, and remember that part of having fun is making fun, especially of yourself.

Click here to upload a picture of your ugliest sweater!

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Patrice Fletcher, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

In the mood for some holiday fluff (and I do mean FLUFF)? ‘The Holiday’ – with
Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black – won’t win awards for acting or creative writing, but this slight film does have its moments. The plot: two strangers, women desparate to forget the guys who just dumped them, swap houses, one in LA, the other near London. Frankly, I think the men in this movie fare better than the women. Jack Black is a delight as the sweet and funny ‘guy next door’ who composes music for the movies. Eli Wallace, in a smaller role as a legendary Hollywood script writer, and his octogenarian buddies, made me laugh out loud. Even Jude Law comes off as a sweetheart.

But if opera better suits your mood, you can’t loose with the Lyric Opera’s handsome production of Charles Gounod’s, “Romeo and Juliet”. The singing is wonderful across the board, the acting natural and believable, and the costumes lush. The direction is some of the best I’ve seen in an opera, and is critical to making this beautiful production work well.

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