Archive for May, 2007


Amanda Hunt, NBC5 Street Team

Memorial Weekend is over and your mind is still on vacation. You’re typing 60 words per minute while saying to yourself, “I really could have used two more days.” Trust me, you’re not alone! I propose we go away together. You know, fantasize the perfect rendezvous (let’s face it you’re already surfing the net on company time), so let’s dream!

Seasoned travelers know that any worthy excursion begins with the planning of attire. So, we must first go shopping….at Intermix, a quickly expanding and ooh so chic boutique that has recently opened two locations in Chicago this spring. Featured pieces (be it jewelry, handbags, or dresses) exude contemporary style with classical swagger. What else would we expect from brands like Chloe, Stella McCartney, and Diane von Furstenberg draping the racks. Chi-chi poo-poo baby, and just the garments needed for our flight…. to Sorrento ….I know just the guy.

Ken Indart, the ever so charming and well connected agent of Blue Star Jets– your true passport to the luxury of flying private. Whether you desire a conservative interior or swanky layout, Blue Star supplies full-service air transportation with as little as 5 hour notice. I’m talking, helicopter, curb side limousine drop off, any jet, any time, any place. Now that’s VIP honey, and to be expected when you’re out with you girl- a card carrying member of the Billionaire Boys Club.

BBC founders Joel and Jerod Johnson with LPYP, did it again, gathering Chicago’s high-end luxury suppliers in one room at the Tavern Club for an evening of fun and old fashion elbow rubbing. Guest enjoyed an extravagant view of the city while meeting specialists in sushi, jewelry, Rugby- a Ralph Lauren line, and sailing. Speaking of sailing, we should head back to Chicago and seal our day off with a cruise. A night aboard Odyssey Chicago will do the trick.

Odyssey spreads out an illustrious experience of sights, sounds, and sensations. Since 1991, Odyssey has separated itself as a premier vessel, sailing all year-round from Brunch hours to Moonlight Cruises. Every detail is engulfing: crisp cocktails, fresh hors d’oeuvres, rich dinning, warm hospitality and Chicago’s famous skyline; it is the perfect ending to our day together. And don’t fret suga’ – I took pictures.

Amanda’s Daydreaming Slideshow

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

It’s a pretty big day here in the NBC5 newsroom. Brian Williams, the anchor of the NBC Nightly News, is in Chicago today and will be anchoring the newscast from the Shedd Aquarium (5:30 p.m., NBC5).

It always amazes me to see the amount of work that goes into a production like this. On the second floor of the NBC Tower, we have a department that works exclusively for the network, but there was at least that many people in Williams’ entourage today — executives, promo people, photographers, producers and more.

Part of his day was spent here in the newsroom meeting folks, and shooting promos with our main anchors, Warner Saunders and Allison Rosati. I’m sure we’ll have the video outtakes online soon, because at one point they were laughing so hard that they had to bag one of the promo teases altogether.

I was in line to do a podcast interview with Williams, but as the afternoon wore on, my 10 minutes turned into five, and then possibly two. I managed to squeeze in 3 1/2, despite the frantic gestures from various news executives to “wrap!” I must say it’s rather nerve-wracking to try and flawlessly read your intro and conduct an interview with one of the Big 3 — someone in the same lineage as Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite, Peter Jennings and various other journalists I’ve emulated throughout my career. Check out our interview below.

Click here to listen to our podcast interview.

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Danielle Barrera, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Ancient Americas is a permanent exhibition that opened March 9th at The Field Museum. This exhibit gives you the opportunity to take a look at life in America before the Europeans arrived. You are given the chance to walk through an 800-year-old pueblo replica, learn about ancient pottery, and obtain knowledge about a culture that shaped America into the country she is today. It simply is an interesting and beautiful exhibition. If this all sounds interesting to you, I suggest checking it out this Saturday or Sunday because The Field Museum will be hosting Ancient Americas Festival Days, which is an outdoor festival that is free with general admission. Experience craft demonstrations, dance performances, and programs aimed towards adults and children. The fun starts at 11am and runs till 2pm.

For more information visit http://www.fieldmuseum.org or call (312) 922-9410.


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Slap Happy

Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team

“So”, Carl said, “when we got there we were already pretty drunk.” He was telling us about his excursion to Saugatuck (aka Homoville, Michigay) with his partner Jeff. “The club wasn’t even that full so the strippers were pretty desperate. This one zebra-thong-wearing stripper, who was obviously straight, told us that ‘For twenty dollars I’ll give both of you the lap dace of your life’, so off we stumbled to the back, and little did we know.” Carl stirred his drink and added more vodka to dilute any remnants of the strong cranberry flavor. “Ohmygod, his dance was the lovechild of Awkward and Slutbag. Apparently his stripping mentor was epileptic. He wouldn’t stop slapping his thighs and his ass. Then he began slapping our thighs. It was agony.” Carl proceeded to take another sip of his bucket-size refresco and added “He then told us ‘For another twenty dollars I’ll take you guys to The Next Level.’ We assumed he was going to upgrade to bitchslaps so we got the fu[dge] out.” Unfortunately for us and future generations of homoettes, we will never know what ‘The Next Level’ was. Sad.

But who cares! Because if there is one thing that we do need to know is that next Saturday, June 2nd, anybody who’s doing everybody in Chicago will be going to the Stoli Promise at the Hilton Towers. The event is sponsored by Stoli Vodka (aka Shlomi’s Headache Medicine) and promises to be the Only place in Chicago worth attending that night. The theme is Prom Night and includes appearances and performances by Gun Julie Brown, Terri Hemmert of 93XRT and comedienne Jessica Halem. The event is open to anyone with style and fun- be it straight, gay, bisexual, bicurious, biquestioning, or bicycles. So go right ahead, look for that white polyester tux and the puffy-sleeved green number with the bow on the butt, and thank your lucky stars that you’re not getting your thighs spanked in Michigan.

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Erik SorensenErik Sorensen (Video)

If you live on Chicago’s South Side, the only question easier than “Who won the 2005 World Series?” is “What are you doing Memorial Day Weekend?”. That’s because from May 25th – May 28th, Gaelic Fest will take place in Chicago’s Gaelic Park.

The fest has been a South Side tradition for years, and is a no-brainer for weekend activities. If you live in Cook County, anyone will tell you that it is a part of their Childhood, some of their best times in High School, a reason to come home from College, and a place to take your kids and reunite with old classmates as an adult.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Most people go for the food, the beer and the music; but expect to get much more out of it than that. This year’s fest, like always, offers a whole lot more. A short list of events includes: Irish dancing, an Irish imports tent mall, theatre productions, Gaelic Athletic Association Football, children’s petting zoo and free pony rides, children’s entertainment tent, carnival rides and some of the best tribute, irish, and local bands around. Check out the website to see who’s playing and for more events.

If you’re worried about the weather, don’t be. Most of the activities take place under huge tents. But Irish Fest is one of the few places where the weather is almost as big a tradition as the event itself. You just might wind up utilizing a pair of sunglasses, a poncho, some sunscreen and a windbreaker all in one day. The forecast is usually more up and down than the carnival rides and part of the fun is going, rain or shine. It’s sunny, it’s muddy – but that’s Gaelic Fest.

$15 – General Admission
$12 – Adults 65+ and kids 12 & under
FREE – Children 3 and under

Includes UNLIMITED Carnival Rides and FREE on-site parking


Memorial Day Weekend

Friday: 3pm-11pm
Half Price Admission 3pm-4pm

Saturday: Noon-11pm

Sunday: Noon-11pm
Mass at 10:30am
Monday: Noon-8pm

Irish Fest 2007 Website

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Irit SilvermanIrit Silverman NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Millenium Park was jumping with jive, rhythym and blues as the Dr. Teeth Big Band played today. And this was only the beginning. The London based band was in town kicking off their 2007 U.S. tour.

Clad in very Beatle-esque dark suits, the eight piece band made their mark the moment they stepped on to the stage. The energy and enthusiasm of the band quickly radiated to the audience as they clapped (and danced) to the beat of this vibrant band. Fronted by Chicago native Stephen “Dr. Teeth” Steinhaus, the Dr. Teeth Big Band plays old school jive with a contemporary twist. They call their music “New Breed Swing” which is also the title of their first album. But that’s old news. Today, the majority of the tunes were from their newly released second CD “Rhythm Is Our Business.” And judging from the response, business is pretty good.

For those of you who missed them at Millenium Park, you can still catch them at another location before they head back to their side of the pond. For more information on the band and upcoming concerts, check out their website www.thedrteethbigband.com.

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Blagica Stefanovski, NBC5 Street Team (Video)
Inauguration Day, May 21st, 2007…

I was excited to hold a simple invitation from the Office of the Mayor. It read something to the effect of: “Mayor Daley invites you to an Open House on Inauguration Day. 2-3:30 pm. ” For about a week, I was imagining a somewhat intimate setting with politicians, tea and perhaps a few media people. My plan was to take care of some early afternoon meetings, prance over to City Hall, say hello to Mayor Daley, ask him his thoughts on CondoPerks, then go home and cook a mean dinner. Boy was I wrong.

I left my usual Wi-Fi spot at the Randolph Argo Tea, said goodbye to Michael (he was upstairs studying for his wine exam) and trotted down to City Hall. Well, I didn’t trot, I was concentrating on my steps. Working from home, I usually run errands in Pumas, ballet flats or anything else comfy. I love my heels, but woo, honey, when you’re not used to a daily ritual of 3 inch heels, your dogs start barking at other people.

As I came closer to the Mayor’s Digs, I saw a line. It was 2:15 (the Open House started at 2) and I saw a sea of people halfway down Randolph. Now, I don’t see myself as some special a-list anybody, but this was my first official invite to anything Mayoral. Come on, I was excited. I didn’t how many other people would be in line to see good ole’ Dick Daley. I stood in line, which actually moved at a good pace and made friends with folks in line. At first glance, I noticed that most people were senior citizens. Where were the young folks? I think I received my invite because I went to a Women for Daley breakfast, but what do I know? I thought I was getting some quality one one one time with the man that was partly responsible for keeping my butt in Chicago, but instead, joined fellow Chicagoans in greeting the man. Oh well, it was a mutual respect that we all shared for Daley, so who cares if there was a line, right?

One word. Ouch. As I teetered and tottered from one foot to the other, trying desperately to not take my shoes off and expose my undone toenails. The women I befriended in line told me, ‘Oh go ahead, honey. If I was you, I’d be hurting’. There I stood, creeping my way around the corner to LaSalle. That’s when we realized the line continued around Washington, with the entrance being moved to Washington. I slowly made my way to the entrance, black bottom feet and all. I was embarrassed to enter City Hall barefooted, so I slid my Nine West’s back on….only to take them off on the marble floor when I realized I was in another creeping line.

City Hall staff handed out water (it would have been nice to get some H2O outside) and we made our way to the elevators. In groups of about 10, we were guided to the 5th floor where another, you guessed it, line waiting for us. This time, the line came complete with more staff, a metal detector and large signs reading ‘NO CAMERAS’. I gotta say, this whole event could have been a bit more organized. Everyone was grumbling as the invites did not elude to such a lengthy process of waiting. I took a deep breath, handed the Chicago cop my belongings, which she didn’t even inspect, and made my way to the door of all doors – entrance to the Mayor’s office. A big guy that could easily have gone by ‘Tiny’ or ‘Big Lou’ was there ushering us in to the doors. For a moment, I felt like I needed to know the South Side Bridgeport secret handshake, but with a smile and a nod, I was led through the corridor.

The Mayor’s team had representatives lining the passageway to his office hideaway, cheering us on with ‘almost there’ as if we were running a marathon. That was kinda funny. As I was laughed at the last two hours of inching my way around this massive building, I saw him. Red faced and glassy eyed from all of his hellos, the Mayor was at the front of his office door, receiving folks in a fast and efficient way. I made a mental note to invite him to my wedding next March and waited my turn to say ‘hiya’.

To Mayor Daley’s left was another aid. She got the name of the person coming in and in lightening speed, told that name to the Mayor. The Mayor then repeated the name with a hello and a handshake:

Aid: ‘Name’?
Me: ‘blah-gee-tsa’
Aid: ‘This is Blah-gee-tsa’
Mayor Daley: ‘Hello Blah-gee-tsa’

Here it was. My moment. The moment to redeem myself from the only words I uttered to him years back: ‘Great job on the snow removal’. This time around, I thanked him for supporting one of the South Loop’s local small business owners (Cafe Society) and told Mayor Daley we were neighbors (kinda, he’s on 16th and Indiana and I’m on 11th and State, but take strolls by his house about 3 times a week). With that, it was over. My millisecond of greeting Mayor Daley was followed by aches coming from the bottom of my feet.

Was it worth it? Definitely. Would I have worn different shoes? Sure. There’s nothing like waiting with your fellow Chicago folk, talking about the weather, politics, sharing recipes and patiently snailing your way around a large building to see the one man whose bullish and passionate leadership reminds folks we aren’t a ‘second city’. C’mon. It’s a no brainer!

To Da Mare!

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