Archive for June, 2007

Janelle Rominski, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Suburban Chicago metal band Lupara, is set to make their national television debut for their music video, “No Pity on the Ants”. The video features an un-masked Mick Thompson, the lead guitarist for the Grammy winning band, Slipknot. The video will be presented tonight on MTV2’s Headbangers Ball (TV-14) at 9 p.m. CT.

The band filmed their music video over a two day period with director, Frankie Nasso of FM Entertainment. Nasso has directed music videos for Mudvayne, Hatebreed and Sworn Enemy.

“No Pity on the Ants” is crafted to be a gruesome tale of a sadistic killer (Mick) who tortures his victims in his home and then kills them in the woods. The concept was collaborated by both Nasso and Lupara.

The first day’s shoot took place in Round Lake Park where Nasso, Lupara and Mick from Slipknot filmed the storyline of the video with the actors, extras, props as well as the indoor & outdoor footage. The second day was spent at a warehouse in Elk Grove Village for their performance scene.

Jeremy Wagner, the guitarist of Lupara, has been friends with Mick for years and they both have a mutual admiration for each other’s music. Once the music video treatment was confirmed and the perfect director was hired – they contacted Mick to see if he would be interested in appearing in the video. He agreed!

Mick made the drive from Slipknot’s hometown of Des Moines, Iowa to the Chicago ‘burbs to contribute to this video. Wagner says, “Mick is so intimidating and scary in the video… it’s great. He’s a perfect psychopath.” The band is grateful to have had Mick on board with this video.

Lupara has been together for over three years and got their name from the novels The Godfather and The Sicilian. In both novels the lupara is mentioned as being the primary weapon of the Mafioso soldiers in Sicily. The lupara is an extremely powerful and deadly weapon. “No Pity on the Ants” is an extremely powerful and deadly video.

Warning: Some might find this video to be offensive.

Watch Video: Lupara – No Pity on the Ants

Janelle’s Previous Blogs:

The Metal Of Marazene

Kama Sutra Comes To Chicago

Delicious Monkey Dish

Vince Neil Rocks Austin’s in Libertyville

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

I’m starting to notice a theme with the cheesemakers we’ve met today. Most of them are a little — shall we say — quirky?

Willi Lehner fits the bill, but certainly not in a negative way. When we first pulled up to Willi’s house in Blue Mounds, I thought our driver was lost and we were just turning around. On the outside, it doesn’t look like the type of place that produces fine cheese, but looks can be deceiving.

I thought I had seen every type of cheese-making operation today, but Willi is unique. He has his home set up with a solar operation that supplies his power — so much so that the power company pays him. But Willi doesn’t produce his own milk or make the cheese on his property. He makes the cheese elsewhere, and brings the wheels back to his home for curing.

As you can imagine, Willi isn’t producing a large volume of cheese. He compares his operation to the amount of beer that a brewery pub might produce in comparison to Budweiser. And about 95 percent of his cheese — mostly traditional cheddars — is sold directly to the consumer at Madison’s famous farmer’s market.

He has a small above-ground cave where he cures his cheese, but he’s currently building a larger below-ground cave with two rooms. The new caves will use the natural warmth and cooling of the earth to create the perfect atmosphere for curing cheese.

Willi, who spent his youth making cheese side-by-side with his father who immigrated from Switzerland, has traveled the world studying the art of cheesemaking. So far I’ve seen different methods of curing cheese, such as using a brine method or with plain salt, but you can consider Willi the king of experimentation. Right now he’s working on cheese that he’s wrapped in dirt to how it reacts using those natural elements in the soil. I know it sounds strange, but coming from Willi, it seems to make sense. Check out the video below and see for yourself!

Bleu Mont Dairy Co.
Blue Mounds, WI
(608) 767-2875

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

The cool thing about this tour is that I’m getting to see several aspects of the cheese-making process. In the town of Dodgeville, we visited the Uplands Cheese farm.

Cheesemaker Mike Gringrich makes the much-awarded Pleasant Ridge Reserve, which is the only cheese they make at the farm. It’s also unique because instead of bringing in the milk from elsewhere, they use milk from the 160 cows raised right on the farm — milk that isn’t heat-treated or pasteurized during the process.

I’m starting to learn how the smallest things can factor into the eventual taste of the final product. The cows are rotated among the 300 acres of pasture so that they’re always grazing new grass, herbs and wildflowers. If it’s not raining and they have to start feeding the cows hay because the grass isn’t growing — they don’t make any cheese. That’s also why they only make cheese in the summer months.

The milk Uplands produces is organic, but the cheese they churn out is not. Why not? Our guide, Joe Milinovich, told us they would only need to make some changes in the cleaning process to obtain that distinction, but the resultant price increase that would be passed on to the cheese isn’t worth it at this point.

We were also given access to the caves where the cheese is cured a minimum of four months. While we were there, one of the workers, Dora, was busy “washing” each cheese wheel, which is essentially coating each wheel with a liquid solution unique to each cheesemaker. During the curing process, each wheel will be handled a minimum of 50 times. Check out the video below to see this labor-intensive work in action.

Uplands can certainly make a case that smaller is better. A small percentage of the 2.2 billion pounds of cheese produced in Wisconsin comes from here, but Pleasant Ridge pulled off the rare honor of winning Best of Show twice (2001 and 2005) from the American Cheese Society.

4540 County Road Zz

Dodgeville, WI 53533

(608) 935-2502

Uplands Cheese Inc

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

My first stop on our Wisconsin cheese tour Friday took us to the Carr Valley Cheese factory in LaValle.

Sid Cook — a fourth-generation cheesemaker — bought the operation in 1986, and he’s one of only a handful of Master Cheesemakers in the country.

Carr Valley makes more than 60 types of cheeses, including blends of sheep, goats and cows milk, and has won an astounding amount of awards over the years. We tasted a wide variety of cheddars, and learned the distinction between a cheddar aged only a few months, to a year, and all the way up to 10 years. A 10-year-old cheddar crumbles fairly easily and jumps out at you as soon as you put it in your mouth. Sid also makes several flavored cheeses, including an chipotle cranberry cheddar and a goats milk cheese covered in cocoa that he called a truffle.

After a mere 5 minutes with Sid, you start to pick up on his sincere passion for the craft of cheesemaking. As closely as possible, he sticks to an Old World style, particularly with the milling process for the curd. They use steam heat instead of a wood fire to heat the milk, and a metal agitator instead of human might, but the overall approach is unquestionably old school.

During our visit, workers were busy churning out cheese curds, and I finally had a chance to try this local delicacy. It doesn’t have a lot of flavor, mainly because it’s young cheese that hasn’t been aged, and it makes a squeaky sound when you bite into a spongy morsel. Doesn’t sound appetizing? Well, plenty of people around here like it. The workers were busily shoveling curds into labeled bags and preparing to ship them out to local stores who make up the largest customer base for curds.

But word has obviously spread beyond the locals. On our visit alone, cars with license plates from as far away as Kentucky and Minnesota were in the parking lot. In the Chicago area, look for Sid’s Carr Valley cheeses at stores such as Pastoral and Binny’s and restaurants such as Bin 36, Pop’s For Champagne and of course, ENO. In other words, it’s not difficult to find out for yourself what Sid’s cooking up.

Carr Valley Cheese Company

S3797 County G

La Valle, WI 53941


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

Tony from NUDE HIPPO here! Last week I got to see Michael Moore‘s latest documentary “SICKO” which is about the HMO’s!

I’m not a fan of the medical world…No, not because of the great people who work in the medical field, heck my best friend in grammar school became a doctor, (which scared me, since I remembered him being that kid I did goofy stuff with and now he’s seriously saving lives and I’m still doing goofy stuff), then there is the nurse named Janet that I had a major crush on when I was in the hospital for an extended stay at the age of 9… plus all of those people in that ran around in those fashionable scrubs who have tended to my health issues over the years…so yeah, they I don not have a problem with…it is the individuals who don’t practice medicine but somehow decide what type of treatment that I receive, regardless of what my own doctor professionally thinks.

So, when I saw “SICKO” I wasn’t surprised by how this countries HMO is screwing up the health industry by turning a profit at the expense of individuals. What blew me away was how other countries health care is not only better but darn right amazing. Sure, some may argue that Michael Moore gives a slant on how he covers his subjects and knows how to get the message that he wants to convey out there…but there is a point where you have to admit that he is onto something here.

Even if you question the messenger here, this is one message that should be heard and considered. My point that I will push here from “SICKO” is simply, if the fire department, public schools, police, libraries, military all can be run by the government in the interest for the people and NOT with the agenda to turn a profit, why can’t the health system follow the same concept?

Go see “SICKO” and be a part of the conversation that may make a difference.

Let me know hat you think. E-mail me at NudeHippo@nbc5.com

Be sure to watch our videos and read the NUDE HIPPO Blog at NBC5.com/nudehippo

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

I’m not sure I’ve ever given much thought to the production of cheese, but over the years my palate has expanded beyond Kraft singles and Velveeta (yuck!) to more exotic choices like Muenster and Gouda. American culinary tastes as a whole have undergone the same slow transformation, allowing cheese producers like Roth Käse USA to thrive.

Roth Käse USA is located in Greene County Wisconsin and produces several varieties of cheese, including the only American-made Gruyere.

The first thing that struck me while touring this facility is the attention to detail. In one sense it reminds you of the wine-making process, but when making cheese, there’s not as much room for improvisation. Everything has to be exact. Every day, 400,000 pounds of milk are brought into the plant daily to produce the cheese at a 10 percent ratio, meaning it takes 10 pounds of milk to produce 1 pound of cheese. The milk itself undergoes stringent testing from a simple smell test to temperature controls.

I didn’t get to see the actual production of the cheese, but I was privy to the huge rooms where the cheese is stored and cured, a process that can take up to six months. This is where the human touch comes in, or what’s referred to as the artisanal method. While a wheel of cheese is being cured, it must consistently undergo a process called a smear — brushing it with a liquid concoction that keeps it moist. In one storage room we were shown, it takes two guys three days to smear each wheel of cheese individually!

There is a mechanical process involved when it comes to the production of the Gruyere. The Gruyere is smeared by a $500,000 European-made machine called Uncle Sam, the only machine of it’s kind in the country.

After the tour it was time to eat some cheese! I can honestly say I enjoyed every type of cheese I sampled, but I was particularly blown away by the Gran Queso, Reserve, the Gruyere and a cheddar that was much different than anything I’ve experienced on a burger.

So where can you find this cheese in the Chicago area? Kirsten Jaeckle, the director of marketing, lamented that the local distribution is not what it should be, but you can find the products in Whole Foods, Fox & Obel or ENO. You also won’t find it under the Roth Käse name, so check out the Web site to see the specific brands.

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

As I write, I’m headed toward Wisconsin to take part in a specialty cheese tour. Could it have been that long ago that taking vacation time meant a weekend of revelry in a place like Las Vegas or South Beach? Oh well, cheese is cool.

I really should get out of the city more. I’m a couple of miles outside Rockford, and just realizing how long it’s been since I’ve seen cows, corn and silos.

There’s actually a group of us going on this tour, mostly freelance Chicago food writers, a couple of PR types and the wine director and operator of ENO, located inside the InterContinental Hotel on Michigan Ave. As you can imagine, food has been the main topic of conversation.

Over the next couple of days we’ll learn firsthand why Wisconsin is the cheese capital of the country. Our first stop before we hit Madison will be Roth Käse USA, in Green County. Roth Käse USA is a renowned cheese manufacturer — but more about that later.

Why have I had two conversations today about poutine? As a Canadian, I’m very familiar with this delicacy. In case you didn’t know, poutine is french fries with gravy and cheese curds. Personally, I’m a fan of french fries and brown gravy (try it!), but the addition of cheese curds is definitely an acquired taste. And before you start making judgments about that crazy Canadian cuisine, y’all got your ghetto fries. And rocky mountain oysters. Not to mention the Bob Evans $7.99 all-you-can eat lamb fries in Lexington, Ky. Yup, been there — didn’t try it. I draw the line at sheep testicles. But I like cheese!

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