Archive for April, 2007

Detox For Spring

Amy Tara Koch, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

The sun is finally poking through and, instead of feeling jubiliant I was feeling sluggish, the aftermath of a winter filled with lattes, York Peppermint Patties and many a flute of Veuve Clicquot champagne. Time to purify. Oh, to spend a week fasting and hiking at the celeb detox haven We Care Spa in Palm Desert. But, alas, no time or budget. So, I began investigating my options right here in the Third Coast. I discovered Spa Soak, a chic little day spa in Bucktown known for homeopathic treatments designed to de-stress, detox and harmonize the frazzled mind. I signed on for a saturday afternoon seaweed scrub; a half hour treatment which, through a scrub and body wrap, encourages toxins sweat through the skin. AS she scrubbed, My technician explained how the salt/seaweed combination drains the lymphatic system and increases circulation.While I was wrapped up, she performed a head massage which almost made me forget that I had to head to Whole Foods, Toys R Us and pick up my kids by 3pm. When I stood up, my skin was silky smooth and I felt as if I had slept for thirteen hours. I bounded out of the spa determined to stay on the straight and narrow. After my iced latte.


Want to try a home detox? Mix six drops of peppermint oil in a steaming tub filled with a few lemon slices, orange slices and sliced ginger.

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Sarah Vargo, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

This weekend started off early for me once again! I had several birthday parties all week and decided to enjoy the nice weather. I checked out industry night at Stone Lotus on Tuesday and celebrated my friend Rebecca’s birthday with several French Martinis with Chambord! Nevertheless, I took it easy on Wednesday and decided to venture back out on Thursday night. I went back to Stone Lotus for Funky Couture’s Jeudi Soir and celebrated my good friend Eloise’s birthday. From there we went to Sound Bar, The Underground and RiNo.

On Friday, I went to my usual haunts and ended the weekend on Saturday with an awesome birthday party at The Underground, where my friend James had a table. We danced the night away and even boogied with Stacy Kiebler (Dancing with the Stars and What About Brian). She was extremely nice and posed for a picture with me (left). My roommate Cameron was thrilled about it!

On Sunday, I couldn’t resist the wonderful weather and had to hit Stanley’s with RedEye columnist Liz Crokin for some karaoke, and then we went to Ryan Brooks’ birthday celebration at Krem. The night didn’t end there — we also went to Melvin B’s and Level. Needless to say, I’m exhausted but I‘m getting excited for the Playboy party tomorrow at Reserve. I’ll have plenty to write about in a couple of days!

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

When it comes to major news events in this society, every reaction seems to cause an immediate overreaction. Sept. 11? Ridiculous airport rules and some would argue an attack on our civil liberties. Virginia Tech? Rampant evacuations and intense scrutiny of students’ classwork. And finally, it’s possible that the Don Imus situation has left many of us feeling a wee bit sensitive when it comes to issues of race and censorship.

Fast-forward to this past Saturday at the Friends and Family Night at Room 21, Jerry Kleiner’s newest South Loop addition to his fantastic lineup of local eateries. The wine was flowing, laughter was in the air and a good time was being had by all. When the check came, all we had to take care of was the tip. As two of us at the table started pooling our cash, my friend — who happens to be Mexican-American — said she only had plastic and couldn’t contribute.

“No problem,” I said, as it really wasn’t a big deal. But she continued to insist that we meet up in a couple of days so she could give me her $10-$20 share, which I continued to insist really wasn’t necessary. Finally, I said “Why don’t you just hook me up with some tamales sometime?” This is when things quickly went south.

    Her: Just because I’m Mexican, means that I eat tamales? That is so offensive!
    Me: No, but you did say earlier that you like to cook, and there’s nothing better than eating an authentic dish from someone’s culture.
    Her: So if I would have asked you to hook me up with some fried chicken and cornbread you wouldn’t have been offended?
    Me: No, because it wouldn’t have made sense. I’m not black American, I’m Caribbean, but if you would have asked me to hook up some Jerk chicken, I would have said, “Cool!”
    Her: I don’t see why you couldn’t have asked me to make some lasagna or something.
    Me: Because you’re not f—- Italian!

Room 21 offers classic “American” fare in a space that used to be one of Al Capone’s old haunts. Ask nicely, and they might show you the tunnel that the mobsters built to provide a quick escape from the feds. Standouts included the huge NY strip, salmon, creamed corn (really!), the crispy mashed potatoes and the impeccable service. I’ll have to go back and try out the rest of the menu, although next time I’ll watch what I say — and I won’t try to order any tamales.

Room 21
2110 S. Wabash
Chicago, IL 60616

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Blagica Stefanovski, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

My Arabesque CD is blasting thru my iMac, attempting to put me back in the world of the Alhambra Palace. The music is doing the trick of making me want to dance, but my sage walls are far from the vibrant jeweled tones that seemed to creep from every crevice of Alhmabra.

Alhambra Palace (the real one is in Spain) is the brainchild of Souk’s (Souk is no more) owner, Dr. Naser Rustom, a man whose love for travel, other cultures and music is clearly depicted throughout his new palatial digs. Ok, so what EXACTLY is palatial? It all depends on what you feel like doing tonight. Alhambra offers everything from an intimate, quiet dinner to a hip-thrusting night of belly dancing, complete with live band.

Slideshow: Alhambra Palace Restaurant

Quiet Dinner, Please
No problem, when you walk in to the main entrance, hang a right and you’ll be at the Alhambra Formal Dining room. The walls are hand carved, the furniture imported from Morocco and dining chairs that are so big and cushy, an NBA basketball player would feel right at home. You also have a choice of cuisine, Moroccan or French, from esteemed chef, Eric Aubriot.

A Drink and a Nibble
Got that covered. The bar is right next to the dining area and offers a dark, but colorful setting of ornate décor and Moroccan Meza (aka ‘tapas’…my family calls it ‘meze’).

Dining and Dancing…and People Watching
Proceed through the bar to the monstrous Alhambra Room with Balcony. A jeweled chandelier in the center of the room makes you feel as if you’ve arrived to a royal party. The difference? A warm atmosphere complete with tables (with room to glide between them), walnut tables, a stage, palm tree and some of the most diverse people in Chicago. Order an entrée or two, have some baklava and get ready to shake your hips on that dance floor!

Some Cool Privacy, with a View
All over it. Yes, Alhambra thought of everything. There are ‘skyboxes’ that surround the main room. Six private rooms that seat 15 people each are mini alcoves. Each of these alcoves has a stellar view of the stage and area down below through a balcony. I can imagine having one of my pre-wedding parties here in a heartbeat. There is a fee to rent each skybox (I don’t know what that is).

Family Party
The second floor of Alhambra contains a 6,000 sq. ft. banquet hall that holds 300-400 people. You also have your pick of food up here, French, Moroccan, or continental

Overall, I had a terrific time. Looking at the imported furniture, paintings and mosaics alone kept me occupied. Every single corner of Alhambra has a story, a theme and the use of Dr. Rustom’s careful eye. I heard it took him three years to shape the Palace to his tastes. I do think the outside of Alhambra was a bit cheesy looking, at first, but when I walked in, I understood what he was going for – soup to nuts feeling of being in a true Palace.

The music. Oh, the music. Regardless of your background, I guarantee you’ll want to dance a bit to the sounds of Middle East mixed with French mixed with hip hop, mixed with slow ballads. Dancing not your style? You’ll have plenty to see and eat!

When Michael and I left Alhambra, I needed to take a double take. I spent four hours in another world and had to adjust my mind to thinking, ‘oh, this is the West Loop’. I do love this town, but now and again, it’s nice to ‘escape’.

Alhambra Palace Restaurant
1240 W. Randolph
Web Site

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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Art Chicago was once the country’s most prestigious
international modern and contemporary art fair. Due to
mismanagement and the resounding success of Art Basel
Miami, Art Chicago became something of a glorified
street fair.

Art Basel Miami is where the major players, both
buyers and dealers, are to be found in the art world
these days. This year the New York Times dubbed the
fair in Miami “a billionaire’s playground” where the
parties and the guest lists were as lavish as the art
on display.

How, then, do you compete with that if you’re Art
Chicago? The answer this year seems to be: reposition
the event as part of “Artropolis,” a citywide
celebration of arts, antiques and culture. The most
influential business, civic and cultural leaders in
Chicago have joined forces to create a “destination
weekend” comprising a wide rage of cultural events,
museum experiences and lively arts performances.

At the Mercahdise Mart you can attend five concurrent
art and antiques fairs: the “renaissance” of Art
Chicago; the Merchansise Mart International Antiques
Fair; The Artist Project, which is an exhibition and
sale of independent artists undiscovered by the
gallery community; the Intuit Show of Folk and
Outsider Art; and the Bridge Art Fair which will focus
on emerging and contemporary work in all media.

Throughout its run April 26th -30th, Artropolis will
also include lectures, guided tours, music, theater
and dance performances, and even a fashion show
presented by Chicago Social Magazine.

Miami it ain’t, but one hopes that combining the
city’s cultural institutions and resources can bring
back some of the glory that was Art Chicago. Go ahead
Chicago, give it a try this weekend!

For tickets, times, venues and additonal information
go to artropolischicago.com

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Irit SilvermanIrit Silverman NBC5 Street Team (Video)

The hottest event this weekend will have a runway show, free drinks, and will be raising money for a great cause.

This Friday night (April 27) catch the Imerman Angels Fashion Show at Crobar (1543 N. Kingsbury St). Imerman Angels is an amazing charity that connects cancer fighters, survivors, and caregivers for one on one support. Featured designers for the show will include TKMen, Anne Fontaine and Sylwia Wilczynska.

Doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 10pm with complimentary vodka and beer served from 8-10:30pm.

For more information on Imerman Angels or Friday’s show, check out the website http://www.imermanangels.org.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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

Amy from NUDE HIPPO here! Hey Chicago – This weekend is one of my favorite weekends in Chicago; it’s the 2007 Chicago Improv Festival!! This entire week there has been shows every night all over the city with guest appearances from Chicago alumni who are now on shows like Saturday Night Live and MADtv…for Friday night, out of all the shows, my personal pick is to go check out the midnight “Late Night” show at the Annoyance Theatre with Chicago’s own comic genius Susan Messing and MADtv’s Ike Barinholtz. It’s amazing to see what scenes unfold when these two improvisers get together and play. The Annoyance Theatre is located at 4840 N. Broadway, tickets are only $10!!

On Saturday my pick of the night is the two main attractions for the Improv Festival that is at Park West at 322 W. Armitage. First up is the 8pm show MADtv Writers on Hiatus. Every year for the past five years, MADtv’s writers store up their favorite censored and rejected scenes from that season and put together a one-time performance of these scenes at CIF. Since their first performance at CIF, MADtv’s producers have watched to see how these censored and rejected scenes play to live audiences. If you’re a fan of the show, you definitely don’t want to miss this. Tickets for that show are $37.50

The 10:30 show at Park West features The Upright Citiziens Brigade. This will be the first time in 6 years that all four team-mates of UCB, Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh will be performing together at the festival. Why stay home on Saturday night at 10:30, watching SNL, when you can catch Amy Poehler LIVE right here in Chicago for $25?! That’s practically the price of going to the movies these days…

The beauty of this festival and of improv in general is that everything is a one time performance; if it’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen, live in the moment and enjoy it, because you’ll never see it again…

Now there’s obviously other events going on in the city this weekend as well.

If your stomach is cramping up from laughing you’ll be doing Friday night at the festival, you can partake in a free Yoga class on Saturday April 28th at the Alternative Health Group located at 1834 W. North Ave, they’re offering classes at 2pm and 4pm and that is in honor of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month. (That one’s for you Damaris…hang in there girl!!)

And on Sunday the fun doesn’t have to stop; my pick for your Sunday activity is to go check out the Girlie-Q Variety Hour at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo Dr. Local artists perform lesbian-themed striptease, dance, comedy, drag, vaudeville, magic and more in a ’60s and ’70s tribute. This monthly event is a complete *blast*!! I went last month and the entire show is just done in such a spirit of fun and silliness, it is seriously contagious and tickets are only $10. It is live theatre done in the spirit of vaudeville comedy and is a great way to end the weekend on a high note!!

Got some suggestions for next weekend!?! Send them to nudehippo@nbc5.com

Be sure to check out Our Street Team Blog!

For videos and tons of other fun things from the show, go to www.nudehippo.com.


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