Archive for February, 2007

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

Tony from NUDE HIPPO here! So I’m running in the Shamrock Shuffle on March 25th with Mariana, my buddy & the director/producer of the show. We agreed to run together cuz this is our first race and we are slightly frightened of not being able to finish a 8K (5 miles) race.

However, ever since we agreed to do this, we haven’t seen each other that much. We are both using our free time to train for the race…I can not speak on how well she’s doing. I guess I’ll just have to catch up on where she is by reading Mariana’s blog.

Lately, I have not been very motivated to train for the race…I needed some help & guidance. So I went over to visit the professionals at Fleet Feet Sports on North Avenue. They have been very supportive and have set us both up with running shoes, sweat absorbent socks and a Shamrock Shuffle training schedule.

According to the schedule, we should be up to 3 miles by now. YIKES! I am barely at 2 miles on a treadmill.

Something that I can consider, Fleet Feet has set up a whole program for people who like to run or need help training.

The Fleet Feet Racing Team
. This sounds exciting enough. The racing team is a group of runners who simply enjoy running, racing and having fun. There are two branches of the team — the club team (the main branch) and the local elite team.

Maybe joining a group would help keep me on track, literally. I hope so. I do need to get back into the routine.

Awhile ago, Mariana did asked me how sitting on her couch watching a movie helped me train for the shuffle? – LOL OK, it probably doesn’t, but doing things with others help motivate you and keep one another in check. This is more mental than a physical challenge at this point. Joining a racing team might just be the cure.

E-mail me at NudeHippo@nbc5.com or just watch more videos and read the NUDE HIPPO Blog at NBC5.com/nudehippo

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Izzy, NBC5 Street Team (Images)

I was lucky enough to have a ticket for the Oscars, but due to some nasty legal issues, I need to stay out of the state of California for awhile. Minor misunderstanding.

That’s why I was glad to have another option — Chicago Magazine’s Oscars party at Zocalo restaurant. I’ve been meaning to check out Zocalo’s upscale Mexican cuisine anyway, so this was a way to kill two birds with one stone. Plus, there was an open bar till 8 p.m., so the party was on!

I’m not a big fan of watching TV in public — the chairs tend to be uncomfortable and it can be kind of hard to hear, which was a bit of a problem last night. But the always foxy LeeAnn Trotter emceed the event, and handed out prizes such as the Best Dressed Male. Did you see the dude they gave it to? Blazer, jeans and a T-shirt. Did they not see my green pants and rainbow suspenders? I was robbed, but I’m over it.

Food was good. They served an assortment of appetizers that I assume are on Zocalo’s menu. Standouts included the wonderfully tender chicken skewers, the beef flautas and the tilapia bruschetta.

Funny thing about open bars — the longer the night goes, the friendlier the patrons get. And let me tell you, those margaritas were strong as fire! I’m told they have decency regulations on this blog, so I won’t tell you exactly how things ended up, but let’s just say it was enough to make my hair stand on end! Holla at me in the Comments section below (especially you ladies).

Slideshow: Oscars Party At Zocolo

Slideshow: Izzy Gets Busy

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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

1. Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow
Absolutely fabulous. Faultless. Stunning. Who would have guessed that Reese and Gwyneth would be head and shoulders above the rest? Last year, Reese looked much too prim, proper and “ladylike” in a second-rate vintage Dior gown, but this year she came out in one of Olivier Theyskens debut dresses for Nina Ricci looking ferociously sexy and undeniably classy at the same time. Don’t try this at home! Gwyneth has lately been a fashion victim, so who could have guessed that she would suddenly make a 180-degree turn and show up in this beautiful Zac Pozen gown looking both completely modern and evoking Veronica Lake at the same time. If you want to confirm that both of them were spot on, compare them to Nicole Kidman who just didn’t get the gown, the makeup or the hair right.( That gown needed an updo, not her overlong distracting hair. The bow was distracting enough.)

Slideshow: Red Carpet Photos

The real fashion news of the night can be summed up this way. Two young designers, Theyskens and Pozen, upstaged the more high profile red carpet warhorses, especially Armani, Valentino, and Wang, all of whom fared poorly this year.

3. Jada Pinkett Smith
The color of this Carolina Hererra gown is beautifully suited to her skintone and the shape is remarkably constructed without being overwhelming (memo to Penelope Cruz). Keisha Whitaker looked beautiful in a similarly colored gown.

4. Beyonce
In the red dress on stage (in that instant classic production number), not the mint Armani pageant gown she arrived in. What a difference a dress makes!

5. Rinko Kikuchi
This dress made up for the preposterous Chanel disaster she wore to the Golden Globes.

6. Penelope Cruz
I’m conflicted about this choice, because she looks undeniably striking but there are also many styling mistakes to point out. First of all, the color of the Versace dress makes her glow but the poufy overworked lower half of the dress is too much. Her makeup is flawless but her hairstyle, while technically brilliant, is completely unsuited to the shape of her face. It makes her look elflike, her eyebrows look odd and her ears look enormous. But she looks undeniably striking…….go figure!

Why do some men look perfect in a tuxedo while others don’t? There are really two rules one needs to follow. First, it should fit you (almost like a second skin). Secondly, the width of your tie, collar and lapel should be perfectly proportional.
1. George Clooney
2. Peter Sarsgaard
3. Greg Kinnear
4. Jerry Sienfeld
5. Mark Wahlberg

….and now for the WORST
I chose these women from a long list of poorly dressed celebrities and singled them out because, while they have the pick of any dress and any designer in the world, they still got it wrong.

1. Cameron Diaz
Plain and simple, the dress is ugly.

2. Jennifer Hudson
The biggest disappointment of the night. The shape of the Oscar de la Renta gown was flattering as was the color. But there were better dresses out there. For one, the Vera Wang gown worn (awkwardly) by Jodi Foster would have looked much better on Jennifer. The real problem (aside from the python bolero), and it was a glaring problem, was the unflattering hair, makeup and jewelry. She looked like a tired bridesmaid at a Ramada ballroom.

3. Meryl Streep
She looked great at the Golden Globes but showed up in a Prada Holloween costume. What the devil?

4. Cate Blanchett
Proof positive that just because a dress is Armani couture does not mean it is flattering on any figure. A column dress should not taper at the bottom. Design 101.

5. Jennifer Lopez
Why would you wear a dress that makes your breasts look as if they are hanging in a used condom? A very unflattering bustline on a dress whose upper half makes no design sense whatsoever. The gown was by Marchesa but Mark Wahlberg’s wife had on the company’s best effort. On the bright side, her hair and makeup was gorgeous.

6. Ann Hathaway and Kirsten Dunst

If you’re going to improvise or riff on a tuxedo, you better have impecable taste and look twice in the mirror. These guys failed on both counts.
1. Quincy Jones
2. Philip Seymour Hoffman
3. Robert Downey Jr.
4. Eddie Murphy
5. Gael Garcia Bernal

Tom Kolovos for www.TheBestDressedList.com

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Brook Jay, NBC5 Street Team (video)

So this lucky Chicago girl is getting to partake in one of America’s notorious entertainment events, the Academy Awards! I am attending the awards in the official capacity of “date.” My date, Bob Badami, is one of Hollywood’s most respected music supervisors. Bob has worked on movies from American Gigolo to the Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy. He is an Academy member and award winner! But most of all he is a great person and friend.

I’ve quickly learned that the Oscars are not nearly a one day event. They are more like a month-long affair between all of the pre-awards dinners and lunches, gifting suites and parties. But for most women who attend, the best part is getting the dress and then rocking the red carpet!

My gown search began and ended at the same place (however not on the same day) Lulu’s at Belle Kay (3862 N. Lincoln).

Owner Laurie Davis specializes in vintage gowns and clothes from all eras. Honestly, I wasn’t totally on board with the idea of a vintage gown at first. I thought I had to be in a Versace or Dior in order to stand my ground on Oscar night. But aside from the fact that those dresses amount to a down payment on a house, there was also the question of being authentic.

Since I don’t have the style status of Beyonce, Gwyneth or Angelina, I had to use my resources (a.k.a. money), and my personal assistants (me, myself and my mom), to develop the ultimate Oscar week wardrobe. Therefore, Lulu’s and Owner Laurie Davis became my Oscar Team!

I was able to purchase three vintage gowns, great accessories and have alterations done all for the price of what I paid for one Vera Wang back-up dress. That dress is now back at its home on the 6th floor of Nieman Marcus!

If you will allow me, I would like to take you through my adventures in Hollywood during the next few days while I get ready for the big night!

I am including some initial images of my fittings, as well as this gold vintage gown I landed as my primary dress. I am shown here with owner Laurie Davis. The striped disco top I am wearing was an added buy! Alvera the seamstress at Lulu’s is so talented that we re-worked the back of this dress so that it went from a full skirt to a fitted skirt with a great detailed back panel. Alvera also altered two 1970s-era Disco dresses that looked like they came right out the back door of Studio 54.

Aside from the clothes it is all about hair and accessories. I made fast friends with Derek Collins, hair and makeup king! Derek works at the Argyle Salon and Spa. He is a veteran of the beauty and entertainment world and an all-around great guy. We shared a laugh, since only in LA can you have your hair and makeup consultation for the Oscars while your stylist gets a paraffin wax treatment! (see picture)

I wore one of the dresses last night to the opening of Damien Hirst’s art show.
is a world class artist who my friend Bob knows through Joe Strummer of the Clash.

Damien’s work is amazing in and of itself (see link). He makes these massive paintings that look like stained glass by gluing and painting 1000’s of butterflies to canvases. Damien’s rock star artist roots also made for a great audience at the gallery and the post-show dinner at Mr. Chows.

Guests included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lance Armstrong, Flea, Courtney Love, Marisa Tomei and John Waters. And no, this is not some kind of acid flashback! I did get a chance to talk to Mr. Waters and Flea. Both are total characters, both love Chicago and Flea said although he can’t remember most shows that he plays, he really enjoyed Lollapalooza. Yeah Chicago!

Stay tuned, more to come!

Slideshow: Check out my pics!

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Heidi Barker, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Pssst! Wanna know “The Secret”?

It’s the name of the best-selling DVD and book that’s sweeping the world. (www.thesecret.tv) You’ve got to get it… life-changing stuff! “The Secret” is the Law of Attraction: the energy that you put out into the Universe you get back in return. It is NOT karma- it is a spiritual and psychological law and way of life that’s been practiced globally for centuries, and is now being taught by visionaries like Dr. Michael Beckwith, leader of the Agape International Spiritual Center outside of L.A. (www.agapelive.com)

Dr. Beckwith and the other Masters of “The Secret” were recently here in Chicago for the “Oprah” show. (www.oprah.com). They discussed how all of us can apply the Law of Attraction to all aspects of our lives: work, finance, health, relationships, etc. One basic example: if you have a stack of bills to the ceiling, focus your energy on “financial FREEDOM” instead of “debt”. Speaking or dwelling on the concept of “debt” will only lead to more debt. Your words and thoughts have power and energy, so you speak “financial FREEDOM” into the Universe and the Universe will in turn work to achieve that freedom for you. At the root, it’s the power of positive thinking, though that simple phrase does not do this Law justice.

While in Chicago, Dr. Beckwith also lectured at the Chicago Center for Spiritual Living (www.chicagocsl.com). I covered the event for the Street Team. It was a standing-room-only crowd full of spirit and energy. I cannot begin to convey all of the knowledge Dr. Beckwith reinforced that night. (I use the word “reinforced” as these are concepts we already know- we just don’t apply.)
Check out the links I’ve provided for more info, but here are a few spiritual tidbits from Dr. Beckwith’s session that I wanted to share:

*You are a Gift of Divinity.

*HAPPINESS is a pre-existing condition.

*Recognize and celebrate the prosperity of others. We share one Life, one Universe, so someone else’s joy is actually YOUR joy too!

*Strive to live in the NOW moment.


This is just scratching the surface- go buy “The Secret” and apply the lessons if you want to change your life and this world for the better.

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Forget Foxy, It’s All About Zella Brown

Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team

Well, it’s safe to assume that nothing in life comes with a guarantee. So despite my truly madly deeply good intentions of getting everything just right in 2007, it all turned, well, upside down. Or inside out. Or whatever the expression is. Anyhoobie, bottom line is, a recent horrendous flood in my unit forced me to shut down temporarily, go through all of my personal belongings to see what could be saved, disconnect myself from the world, and seek therapy. Lots of it. And by therapy I mean shopping. And no, not shoes, or ties or even Cher wigs. But stuff for the house.

The first place that has allowed me to assuage my capitalist itch was Zella Brown in Wicker Park (1444 N. Milwaukee Avenue). Oh, the joy. Some people seek confession time at church, I seek swatch samples for custom-sized area rugs. And while some might go for a bucket of ice-cream and watch “The Devil Wears Prada” in times of pain, I go, well, for the same- but!- only after I have had my fix of Mod accent cushions, Indonesian wall hangings, Victorian style sconces, and, of course, electric orange lacquered consoles, all of which I found at Zella Brown. Owner Trisha London’s store boasts prices that are more than reasonable, and that anyone can enjoy. If you want to start 2007 with a splash, Zella Brown is your place. Or my house.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

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The Chief’s Last Dance

Irit SilvermanIrit Silverman NBC5 Street Team (Video)

After 81 years of performing and 2 decades of controversy, February 21, 2007 Chief Illiniwek performed his last dance.
After the pressure of a recent NCAA ruling, the decision was made to retire the long-standing University of Illinois mascot. A sea of fans dressed in orange packed the sold out Assembly Hall to bid their final farewell and witness this historic event.

Whether you are an avid Illini fan or have never heard of the Chief, this halftime was unbelievable. I have watched playoff games, championship moments and big performances. But, Wednesday night, an enormous collective spirit resonated the relatively small town of Champaign in the hearts and cheers of fans supporting the end of a tradition.

After the halftime buzzer sounded, a video montage of past Chief performances played on the giant screens as names of students who danced as Chief Illiniwek since 1926 scrolled below. As the band began to play, fans rose and clapped in unison to the rhythm. As the Chief entered, the crowd cheered shouted a collective “CHIEF!” When he began dancing, camera flashes lit the Hall. During the school anthem (which always plays mid-performance), the Chief stood in the middle as students lined the court with arms around each others shoulders to sway and sing along for one last time. The Chief resumed his dance to even louder cheering and clapping.
Chief Illiniwek
As the dance ended, he began to exit past cheerleaders lining a traditional path. Midway through his exit, the Chief abruptly turned and marched back to the middle of the court. I have never heard such a loud, emotional collective cheer in my life. He opened and lowered his arms in gratitude to the four corners of the Hall- his way of saluting the end of the tradition, thanking fans, and saying goodbye. He stomped his foot and made his final exit. Usually a time punctuated by silence, fans cheered and shouted “CHIEF!” as their farewell before turning their attention to another deviation from tradition. The giant screens showed a lone camera following the Chief as he walked down the hall to the locker room, turned and stood fighting back tears as fans continued to cheer. Students took their orange shirts off to reveal their black shirts underneath in a silent protest. That was it. The majority of fans remained standing for the remaining 8 minutes of halftime. I’m not sure if it was out of respect or just because they didn’t know what else to do.

To many, the Chief wasn’t about halftime entertainment or politics or media. He represented different things to different people. When I saw the tears in my usually stoic father’s eyes, I knew it was about the end of a long fight supporting the Chief, remembering old college days, and most of all memories of family bonding moments. He still reminisces about putting my brother or me on his shoulders so we could share in the excitement of the halftime show. To the people raised in Champaign (like me), it was a piece of our childhood memories that had ended. To those holding their young kids, it was a tradition that their kids would never get to see. To students, it was a symbol of their school’s spirit that they held close and didn’t want to let go. To others, it was the end of a long battle that had finally ended.

And no matter what ties or feelings anyone had toward the Chief, I know that no one at the Assembly Hall on Wednesday will ever forget the Chief’s last dance.


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