Archive for March, 2007

Ben Soldinger, NBC5 Street Team (video)

After dinner this weekend, go to Kingston Mines. My favorite band, Vance ‘Guitar’ Kelly and the Backstreet Blues Band will be performing Tonight and Tomorrow Night! Check them out!

Ben’s Blog Archives:

Chicago – ‘Home of the Blues?’

PARLOR Restaurant

Wednesday Nights at Sushi Samba

Quiet Comfort Lounges

Guns N Roses

The Perfect Casual Italian Restaurant

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

I’m writing this blog entry on my laptop using a coffee shop’s free WiFi connection, iPod earphones in my ears and my Blackberry within thumbs reach as I text with a friend trying to figure out what’s up for the weekend. It’s safe to say that we live in a digital age where the latest technology is king.

But sometimes new isn’t necessarily better. Some things we got right a long time ago, like the art of grooming. That’s where State Street Barbers comes in. Your first clue that this IS indeed your grandfather’s barbershop is the blue and red swirling spindle outside the shop. Inside, the experience continues with a dark wood floors and Sinatra-era tunes on the sound system.

State Street Barbers is a Chicago-based chain geared toward men. It’s a place where not only can you get a haircut, you also receive the type of attention and detail that is ordinarily reserved for female-oriented salons and beauty shops. Not that there aren’t any females in here. Many of the stylists are women (and cute ones too!)

Services include shampoo and conditioning with every haircut, beard trims and full hot lather shaves with a straight-edged razor — not something you put in the hands of a novice! Did I also mention they offer
free beer?

The businesses were started by a couple of Kellog Business School students who soon opened another location in Boston. A third Chicago location recently opened at 3523 N. Southport Ave. Lines were long on the first day due to a 10-cent haircut special, but appointments should be a little easier to come by now. Getting your hair did never felt this good!

Slideshow: State Street Barbers

More Information: Check It Out On The Web

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Tapping into G3

Maureen Vana, NBC5 Street Team

A lot can be said in a few words. Joe Satriani’s primarily instrumental G3 Tour which included Paul Gilbert and John Petrucci is the proof. This years’ Chicago date was held on Saturday March 24th at the Congress Theatre. Each musician played their own 45 minute solo set followed by an end of the evening jam session with all three.

Paul Gilbert opened up the event shredding with his double neck guitar and red plaid suit. He offered the crowd material off his latest album and treated long time fans with a few songs from his Mr. Big days. With plenty of smiles and guitars to the sky, Gilbert set the mood for a night of real guitar heroes.

John Petrucci followed taking the audience on a silent journey of slow jams, triumphant climaxes and sounds that made us wondering how they came from a guitar. Without a word he left the crowd with jaws to the ground in awe. Before Petrucci ended his set with “Damage Control”, thanked Chicago and introduced his band, which included fellow Dream Theater member Mike Portney on drums.

A fantastic light show accompanied Joe Satriani, whose set closed out the evening. The added visual element allowed his mixture of blues and rock to leap from the stage and take on a whole new life. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of his first album, “Surfing With The Alien”, Satriani played several of the songs that were stepping stones to his current success.

During the end of Satriani’s set, Paul Gilbert and Joe Petrucci emerged from backstage to accompany him in a finale of grand proportions. Watching these three masters merge their skills was truly inspiring. They closed the show with a few covers which included their version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady”.

Click here to see photos from the G3 Tour to get the full experience.

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Women March On

Amanda Hunt, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

It’s March 2007, which is officially (for those who don’t know) Women’s Month and boy… or should I say girrrl… has it been a celebration!

I began the month at an energized affair thrown by the City of Chicago’s Advisory Council on Women. They, along with guest speaker Mayor Daley, addressed the necessity and strategy for creating a “bias-free society.” Denise Ferguson, a committee member with the Office of Women’s Affair, did an extraordinary job as the charming hostess while the room buzzed with interesting, successful individuals and finger-licking hors d’oeuvres. See www.uic.edu/depts/owa for more free events in March and April.

Slideshow: Women’s Month Events

On March 14th, I enjoyed a breakfast panel discussion with Crain’s Small Business Forum. Session moderator, Thomas Mucha took a refreshing approach to guiding each female speaker towards discussing issues they’ve experienced and overcome while building their businesses. A particular favorite was Catherine M. Lee, founder and president of CDL & Associates. Not only is her company an international consulting firm for communications and personal skill development, but she (after fulfilling the role of a full-time wife and mom) now sits as the president of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Chicago Chapter — the largest in the nation. Mrs. Lee, along with fellow experts Cheryl Mayberry McKissack, President and CEO of Nia Enterprises, LLC and Kathy Stevens, President and CEO of Scooter’s Friends Inc. honestly explained to a room full of eager ears what it takes to be successful not only with your company but also in balancing your personal life. Tip #1? Always keep wine in the house. Great info ladies!
Woman's Month Slideshow - Image From Amanda Hunt
Next was the highlight of my month — Jennifer Hudson Day, or should I say J-Hud Night. Sir Marcus Riley and his ultimate hook-up paved the way for shoulder rubbing with the ever gracious Jennifer Hudson. For the record, she is just as beautiful in person and quite the powerhouse. (Read Shlomi Rabi’s blog for details.)

Now what if you’re an ice cream and movie gal and not up for all the glitzy elbow rubbing? Take after PR specialist Karina Rosado with Nomadic Consulting who threw a fabulous girlfriend getaway with Karen Chung at Troupe Salon and Justin Herren at Mondial Spa. The afternoon was full of relaxation and services geared toward pleasing you, and with their top-notch attention to detail, simply add a few shrimp and 2 glasses of sangria, and ladies, you’re sure to close this month out with a bang! You can find Troupe Salon on 46 E. Oak, 312.587.2700 and Mondial Spa at 355 E. Grand, 312.329.0000. Whether you’re a girl on the go or one working from home — Happy Women’s Month!!

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Blagica Stefanovski, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

This past Saturday, I almost needed a wheelbarrow to take me home. I spent the majority of the afternoon at the Chicago Cultural Center enjoying the Family Farmed expo. Local farmers, cheese makers, distributors and cafes brought their yummy goodies for sampling and purchasing. I’m a fan of supporting homegrown food and business and this food fest was right up my alley.

I’ve been reading up on how our milk, meats, cheeses and most things under the sun are pumped with hormones and/or preservatives (little girls are becoming women faster these days). I’m slowly making the transition into food companies that have this conscientious mentality. It was refreshing to talk one-on-one with folks that can ship meat directly from their farm to your house (Good Earth Farms) or even send fruits and veggies fresh to a nearby neighborhood drop off (Angelic Organics). I ran into my eco-friendly friends at igo, too. If you haven’t signed up for this service, you should. Great service for big grocery runs or doctor’s appointments out of the CTA reach.
Blagica's Slideshow - Image From

Slideshow: Family Farmers

I grew up in a family that made our own buttermilk, bought meat fresh from the butcher and even made our own yogurt. I have memories of visiting my dad’s Macedonian village for summers at a time and being surrounded chickens, vineyards, lambs and cows. The food was incredibly fresh and the fruit was plucked straight from the trees – and flew into my mouth. Why can’t the consumer packaged food companies ‘get it’?

The good thing is, we as consumers, ‘got it’. Unfortunately, my grocery bills are higher to accommodate the organic foods, farm fresh veggies and raw milk, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it. Living in the Midwest has many advantages. We have the nicest people around, sure, but we also have some of the best natural food in our midst, too. Go get it!


Don’t forget about the Chicago Farmer’s Markets!
Starting this May

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Micaeh Johnson, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

A definition of Scoop – the comedic, deceptive, melodramatic movie Scoop with Woody Allen, Scarlett Johansson and Hugh Jackman. Then there is of course gossip with exciting and developing stories – love that. And for you sports fanatics and writers, there is Scoop Jackson – do your research. But for me and the world of fashonistas, there is Scoop NYC – the self described “Ultimate Closet.” This past week, I got all dressed up to go to the 10,000 square foot closet down from the 6 corners in Wicker Park. New to Chicago and borrowed from New York is the men’s, women’s and kids name brand, designer, apparel shop. The occasion was a Grey Goose sponsored men’s event with special discounts for the fellas, martinis for all and the best place in the city on a Wednesday night for some serious people and trend watching and a few celebrities like former Chicago Bear and current metrosexual, Jerry Azumah, spotted at the checkout. So what’s to the 10,000 square foot closet besides its massive showroom posing as a boutique? First there are the brands: Jimmy Choo and Kors shoes, Prada apparel and footwear, Citizens for Humanity, Zoe Tees, Marc Jacobs Handbags, M Missoni, Helmut Lang and of course the Scoop Brand to name a few. Next up, the aesthetics: floor to ceiling front windows, sterile white walls contrasting with your reflection in the numerous mirrors, a 6 foot 6 inch security guard, dressed to kill help and oversized ottomans for chilling out, where I spent the majority of the evening…gossiping and ‘window shopping.’ Finally, the experience: very simply put, it was great. The store paired up with a cheerful staff, a pure vodka, tasty hor d’oeuvres like chopped peanut chicken layered over cucumber squares and a colorful scene made my time at Scoop NYC well worth it. I plan on coming back when my pocketbook is P-H-A-T in search of a hot and unique find for that must attend summer event where everyone is sure to be. So thanks Big Apple for sharing the Scoop, we’ll be sure to pass the word.

Scoop NYC
1702 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60686
(773) 227-9930

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Dave Leonard, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

If you frequent some of Chicago’s hip-hop clubs or listen to the radio, then chances are you’ve probably heard the infectious hood anthem from the newest rap star out of the “Dirty South”…

I’m talking about none other than “Throw Some D’s” from Zone 4/Interscope Records recording artist, Rich Boy, straight out of Mobile, Alabama.

“D’s”, if you didn’t already know, are the abbreviated term for Dayton tire rims which Rich Boy likes to sport on his recently purchased Cadillac while “all dem haters wanna jack” (him for his rims that is)

I went to see this “rich boy” do his thing earlier this week at a concert at the Shadow Bar (811 W. Lake St.) presented by Donski Entertainment & Chi-Life Industries.

After several delayed flights and lost luggage, Rich Boy and his crew touched down in the Chi and made their way over to the Shadow Bar about 1AM after having to skip an impromptu meet’n’greet appearance at D’Vine (1950 W. North Avenue). The crowd inside the Shadow Bar was ready to “Throw” (not sure if was ‘D’s) after having to wait several hours for the man of the hour. In the meantime and in-between time, their hip-hop appetites were whet by the hardcore sounds of some of Chicago’s local artists such as the much buzzed about Vi and Hot 2 Def who were the opening acts.

Shortly after his arrival, Rich Boy made his way to the tiny stage with his two hype men and kicked it off exactly like his self-titled debut. The fellas and ladies were hypnotized alike as Rich went right into the gangsta intro, “The Madness”. Next, the boy with the extreme Southern drawl, kept that “Dirty South” flavor going with the marching band anthem, “Boy Looka Here”. The party didn’t stop as he told all the “balers” “Let’s Get This Paper”. As the show went on, Rich Boy began to remove the layers of clothes until he was shirtless, showing off his tattooed torso garnering a few “oohs and ahhs” from the ladies. He rewarded a number of them by pulling them up on the stage with him as he began to play DJ going into a few current radio hits from other artists including DJ Unk’s “Walk It Out”.

As the clock was ticking down, Rich Boy sent Shadow Bar into a frenzy as the crowd recognized the DeBarge written, “I Call Your Name” sample begin to play. We all knew what was coming now. Rich gave the crowd what they were waiting for as the opening bars to “Throw Some D’s” began to play. Everyone in the club held their hands high and sang every word along with Rich Boy (myself included) as he went into the chorus.

Rich ripped the stage in half until the lights came on and everybody seemed satisfied that they were able to see a good show.

Afterwards, I hopped in the limo with Rich and his crew and Donski and we headed over to Club 720 (720 N. Wells) to cap off the night, people watch, and groove to the sounds of DJ Timbuk2. A great night was had by all.

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