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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)

THE WOMEN
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!

THE MEN
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
THE WOMEN
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

THE MEN
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.
Damien
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.

*Embrace an ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE.

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
(Video)

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.

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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.

WATCH THE VIDEO

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Tavis talks to Chicago

Amanda Hunt, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Monday evening, I gathered with hundreds of others to listen to the clarion call of the highly-acclaimed author, lecturer, TV/radio host, and political analyst Tavis Smiley. Mr. Smiley is a man deemed “one of the top 50 leaders for the future” by Newsweek, The Washington Post, and Time. While on a 20 city tour promoting his second New York Times best seller, “The Covenant In Action,” Mr. Smiley, along with Eddie Glaude — associate professor and protégé to Cornel West at Princeton University — made a scheduled visit to Chicago to share their personal insights regarding the current condition of America as a whole and the necessary improvements needed in the African American community.

After leaving New Orleans two days prior and constantly traveling, it was inspirational to witness these gentleman — in spite of a certain level of fatigue –still driven with determined poise to motivate America. With unpretentious moral authority, Mr. Smiley told the crowd, “you are the leaders that we have been looking for. Do the best you can with what you have, where you are. Form an image of yourself to which the future must conform.” He said that in order to accomplish this, you must have courage, conviction and commitment. “You can’t lead if you don’t love, and you can’t save others if you don’t serve.” He also asked, “What is the depth of your love and the quality of your service?”

As a seasoned host of Tavis Smiley, a late night talk show on PBS, and a weekly, two-hour segment on Public Radio International, Mr. Smiley challenged every listener to seek out his/her own personal greatness. “Success is not greatness but greatness is success,” he said.

Find out more about Tavis and his agenda at http://www.covenantwithblackamerica.com/ .

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Ben Soldinger, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Entourage restaurant in Schaumburg is one of the premier restaurants in all of Chicagoland. Entourage is more than just a beautiful restaurant where attention to detail is the motto. The details are in each dish where you may find garnishes of caramelized bananas with your fresh tilapia….yum! The steaks and chops are of a Morton’s quality. The extra special attraction to Entourage is it’s party atmosphere where some Chicago Bears have been seen to hang. You can also dine in their ultra lounge or sit at the bar where you can find the only vodka tap in Illinois made out of ice! Flatscreen TVs are abundant in the lounge/bar.

This Friday the 23rd, Entourage is having a wine event with Cosentino Winery. There will be 25 different wines to try from this world-class Napa Valley winery. Within the selected tasting will be some of Cosentino’s library wines that are only sold and tasted at exclusive events like these that do not happen very often…if you like wine, do not miss this one! Gourmet food stations will be provided along with a jazz band. Call Entourage or click here for more information.

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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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Hong Kong Or Bust


Erik SorensenErik Sorensen (Video)

For those of you who might not have time to fly to – say – the other side of the planet for a flick or two, the Gene Siskel Film Center’s “Hong Kong Film Festival” might be the next best thing.

Renamed after the famed movie critic, the Gene Siskel Film Center hosts a monthlong festival, February 2nd through the 28th, in the spirit of the Chinese New Year. Not into martial arts? Not a problem.

The Festival presents a wide array of new films embodying the Chinese Culture; from Romance to Action to Horror – and more. This year’s fest also showcases a number of films by acclaimed director Johnny To, including a sneak preview of To’s most recent masterpiece, “Exiled”.

The Center’s cozy facilities make for a refreshingly intimate movie-going experience. Credit this to its beautiful theatres, sleek interior, and a lavish concession stand equipped with everything from gummy bears to beer. (Although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend those two items together.)

Gene Siskel
once cited the theatre as one of his favorite things about Chicago next to Michael Jordan and Mayor Daley. After attending one of the screenings over the weekend, I can see why.

If your only experience with Chinese Culture this month comes from a trip to Panda Express, here is your chance for a slightly worldlier adventure.


Gene Siskel Film Center

164 North State Street
Chicago Il 60601
http://www.SiskelFilmCenter.org

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New Venue Opening!

Ben Soldinger, NBC5 Street Team (video)

On Wednesday February 21, The City Saloon 151 W. Ohio Street (Ohio & LaSalle) will be reopening its doors after extensive renovations. The new renovations have been overseen by the new management under Ed Suqi from Sugar Dessert Bar and Narcisse fame. The City Saloon plans to highlight their Wednesday nights promoting it as ‘Blues Martini Night’. Every Wednesday, you will be able to see world class blues and get specials on Martinis. The Reopening Premier will showcase the extraordinary talents of Melvin Taylor! Come on out for some fun and support 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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The Nigerian Rock Star!


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

Saturday night, we got the opportunity to attend the Listening Party of our good friend Obi @ Tsuki Lounge. We won’t pretend to be music critics but we can say that Obi sounded great, looked even better and put on a show like a self proclaimed “Nigerian Rock Star” should. Obi’s CD is titled ObiSoulStar and quite appropriately we might add!

No shameless plugs, but if you wanna learn more about Obi, check out the link below. www.myspace.com/obisoulstar

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

We are certainly into entertainment, the Arts and all things fun! But believe it or not, neither of us could really claim to be all that interested in Poetry. Don’t get us wrong, we appreciate and respect poetry, but we never really broke our necks to patronize a poetry set. That is until we met Naima Dawson, creator of “All Hype Poetry Entertainment“.

All Hype Poetry Entertainment features poetry based productions that have ranged from soap opera themes about love triangles, to improvisational skits performed by various actors and poets, all with obvious comedic timing. So far, we’ve seen 3 of the diverse productions and we always left happily with a pain in our sides. When you get a chance, check out All Hype Poetry.

www.allhypepoetry.com

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What a Weekend!


LeeAnn Trotter, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Saturday night….we went to check out Delirium….the Cirque Du Soleil concert at the United Center. Amazing! Seriously…if you’re a Cirque fan, maybe you can still get tickets for tonight’s show, which is the last one before it leaves town. It’s a bit different than a traditional Cirque show, in that this production focuses on the music, not the performers. (However, the performers are very very good) What’s really cool is these two GIGANTIC screens which simultaneously show what’s happening on stage….mixed with music, and recorded images. It’s kind of hard to keep up…but that’s part of the appeal.

Oh…then Sunday night I was craving Sushi, so a friend and I went to Coast Sushi Bar on Damen. Yummie. Everything we ordered was delicious. It’s BYOB, so don’t forget your wine (like we did) .

Click Here To View Photos From ‘Delirium’

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Dream On


Enrique Gonzalez, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Have you ever had a haircut at midnight inside a bar or nightclub? Well that’s what happened to me last Thursday while at was at the infamous Smart Bar. A group of professional hairstylists were offering haircuts at no cost to promote their hair salon. That’s right, for free! It was so cool to get the haircut that I have always wanted … I’m sure you’re going to love it!

“Dream ON” also holds various similar events like this featuring DJ Gene Hunt and other resident deejays, plus Be Free Studios, who exhibited artwork and live painting! How cool was that! Check out their website www.dreamon.com to find out about future events.

946 W Newport
Chicago, Illinois, 60657
phone: 773-549-2125

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Ben Soldinger, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Hard rockin’ band, Winger, who had a prolific amount of hits in the 80’s is back with their first new cd in fourteen years and a U.S. tour. Winger ‘IV’ is available and is a terrific collection of new material that has layers of melodies that will take the listener many times over to truly get the depth of these compositions. I like music like that. This cd is ambitiously dedicated to our troops abroad, which is apparent by the thought provoking lyrics and cd cover art. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Tonight (2/18), Winger brings their act to the House of Blues. Being a loyal fan, I’ve gotten the chance to meet these Rock Stars and have been happy to find out they are down to earth nice guys. If you don’t catch them at the show tonight, they will be on the XM Satelite station ‘The Boneyard’ tomorrow (2/19) at 12:00pm and replayed at 12:00am. You’ll also find them on the Mancow show on Tuesday morning. You can catch the Mancow show on the internet through the Cable Radio Network website (go to the right side of the page to find the Mancow link during show hours).

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Fun New Orleans style


LeeAnn Trotter, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

I know I’m jumping ahead….but let’s fast forward to Monday. It’s the day before Fat Tuesday….and we will be partying @ Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn. I’m one of the celebrity judges for their 13th annual Jambalaya Cookoff! They’ll be giving out free tastings, and the New Orleans band, “The Iguanas” will put us all in the right mood! Come join us!

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

Tony from NUDE HIPPO here! A couple years ago I participated in Hustle Up The Hancock. If you don’t know what this is all about, then
where have you been? According to The American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago, which created and manages Hustle Up the Hancock, this event attracts climbers from around the country and participants 4 to 78 years of age.

Imagine climbing up 94 four floors in less than 10 minutes…, that’s about 6 seconds per floor…I have trouble comprehending that, but that is exactly what last year’s winner Terry Purcell, an Australian now living in Springfield, did. He has had the fastest time for five years in a row.

My media buddies Rob Johnson & John Garcia both have done this too. Hey even Mr. Wert (NBC5 President/General Manager) can do this. They can complete the Hustle in the range of 30 minutes or more…so I thought, I’m an avid walker…I may not be able to beat the record, but I should be able to do the Hustle and, plus hey, it is for a great cause, to raise funds for lung research, advocacy and education.

I don’t want to spoil the end of this story and tell you how I did…Especially since the entire thing was captured on video for all to learn a very important lesson before getting into the Hustle Up The Hancock! I wish I could have saw this video before I did it.

Watch this here now or later at www.NudeHippo.com

Next blog: My 2nd attempt, but instead of the Hustle, I’m doing the Shuffle, the Shamrock Shuffle!

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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Pasta Please!


Susan Noble

Citysearch is a useful tool for finding services in the city, even when it is not quite accurate. I have been using it to find ‘bring your own bottle’ restaurants in Chicago and had a taste for Italian.

Cafe Ciao popped up on my search and is near my home in the West Loop. So, I called for a reservation and learned that they have a liquor license. You are welcome to bring your own wine. Their corkage fee is $10.

Not sure why the place was empty at 7:30pm on a Saturday night because the food was great! I had cheese ravioli which was some of the best I have ever tasted. My friend said the angel hair with marinara was delicious. And the house Sangiovese was pretty good, too.

So, if you are looking for a small, quiet place to enjoy a plate of pasta with someone special, give Cafe Ciao a try.

Susan’s StreetTeam Blog Archive
Quest Continues
Gettin’ Ready for OTBN
Fun For All

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

We all have our passions in life, but it’s always interesting to meet people who’ve managed to translate that passion into their life’s work.

Gail Ambrosius is one of those people. The Madison, Wisc., resident is gaining a reputation for making some of the most decadent chocolates in the Midwest. We’re talking about drippy caramel hearts, port-filled truffles, sour cherry treats and what she claims to be the ultimate delicacy — the 99 percent truffle, almost pure cacao, dusted with gold powder.

This isn’t the typical boxed chocolate you buy in the store. Gail wants you to approach her creations as you would baked goods. They’re preservative-free, and individually hand-dipped, meaning they have a limited shelf life. But trust me, the temptation may be too much to keep them around for long!

ENO, a new wine, cheese and chocolate lounge located in the Intercontinental Hotel (505 N. Michigan Ave.), is one of only two local spots where you can buy Ambrosius’ treats. Buy them here, or if you can’t wait to take them home, hang around and pair them with one of ENO’s many wine selections. The lounge is currently offering Gail’s Chocolate Sensation — three types of chocolate perfectly paired with the Liquid Love Flight.

Of course, if you want to buy some sweets for your sweetie, there’s still time to act in time for Valentine’s Day. Buy them online at www.gailambrosius.com and have them shipped directly.

After all, a person’s passion is not something that should be stifled.

Slideshow: Gail’s Chocolate Sensation!

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Blast From The Past!

Amanda Hunt, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

You are too old to go “clubbin'” and dining out is out of the question until you drop that holiday fat. So here’s an alternative. Throw a 70s party. Am I joking, you ask? No. Really, I’m so serious. My girlfriends Pinky, Rebekah and I went to this fly 70s party in Hazel Crest (yes of all places, the burbs) thrown by Gerry and his charming wife Chan. We enjoyed a blast from the past that was completely retro. Seriously, nothing but plaid and polyester, groovin’ to the sounds of Gladys Knight, Rick James, Donna Summers, and The Jackson 5.


The night kicked off at 10pm and didn’t stop until … well, you know how it was done back then. All night folks kept pouring in, some in butterfly collars others on roller skates and everyone doing “The Bump” and infamous “Soul Train Line.” Here are the perks to having your own 70’s party:

  • Everyone knows everyone somehow, so it’s real cozy.
  • Mature crowd only — no riots and binge drinking.
  • Easy tunes grant easy traveling down memory lane.
  • You don’t have to wait until Halloween to justify wearing a sexy wig and go-go boots.

    So I dare you. Do it! Throw the wildest soiree this millennium has seen, and be creative. You can rock your MC Hammer parachute pants and dippity-do gel for an 80s shindig, or party in your spiral curls (Mariah Carey) to The Macarena like it’s 1999. In the meantime, comment below and share your memories of yesterday with us.

    Slideshow: View Pictures From Party

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    Need a Nerd?


    Danielle Barrera, NBC5 Street Team (video)

    If cupid left you heartbroken or without love this Valentines Day, don’t sweat it. Pick up a nerd. It’s a fact; we’re all a little nerdy at heart. So why not embrace it? Two working gals caught onto this great detail and put together Nerds at Heart, a nerd friendly dating event. At their events, daters will receive a complementary drink, play board games, and for V-day, take part in a Valentines Day themed trivia. Two events are this week, one is today Monday, Feb. 12 and the other is Feb.13. Both events start at 7 p.m and are held in the back room of Guthries Tavern. Find out what day is for you, and register at www.nerdsatheart.com for twenty bucks, or pay twenty-five dollars at the door. If you’re a little nerdy and have nothing to lose, I encourage you to attend.

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    Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

    I was cleaning out a closet over the weekend when I came across a book I bought a couple of years ago, and it seemed appropriate to bring it up so close to Valentine’s Day. It’s called “The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists,” and when I first came across it in the bookstore, I couldn’t put it down. I’ve also turned several of my female friends on to it as well, because of the many truisms it entails.

    Apparently there’s dozens of underground online groups that claim to have the best theories and techniques for picking up women, aimed mainly for guys who have trouble doing so. The author of “The Game” decided to infiltrate several of these societies, study their tricks and write a book about it.


    After leafing through the book this weekend, I was again mesmerized. The “players” have a theory that no matter what city you’re in, or what situation you find yourself in, if there’s a group of women present and you follow certain techniques and guidelines, you can exponentially increase your odds of scoring, regardless of your looks or social status. In short, if you actually pay attention to what you’re doing, you put yourself at a decided advantage in a setting such as a nightclub, which is about as far removed from any semblance of normal life as you can get — with alcohol added.

    The PUAs (pickup artists) have a term called chick crack. Chick crack is any psychological or spiritual subject that appeals to most women but does not interest most men, such as astrology, tarot cards and personality tests. I’ve certainly noticed that the vast majority of women I meet seem to have an acute interest in zodiac signs, even if they don’t know what they’re talking about. “You’re a Scorpio? Oh, my!” they’ll say with mock horror. When pressed for more information, usually you learn that she doesn’t really understand the subject on any kind of analytical level at all. But regardless of her knowledge base, the subject still appeals to her. So guys, think of the advantage you’ll have if you’re able to turn that around, and give her the astrological detail that she seeks? Ain’t nothin’ but chick crack y’all…

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