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Archive for August, 2007


Blagica Stefanovski, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

What a week. Comiskey passed away.
Neighborhood activist, and one of my heroes, Florence Scala passed away.
And the idea of getting city-wide Wi-Fi passed us by.

Is anyone as upset as I am about the Municipal Wi-Fi project going away? Here is the in-depth article as to why.

From what I gather, other cities in the U.S. are having similar municipal Wi-Fi issues. Ok, that’s fair. But after all the Chicago style grandstanding about being the first city in the U.S. to cover everyone home, hobbit, office, condo, etc. with Wi-Fi, I’m not happy.

I understand that plans change, etc, but couldn’t the team responsible for this project conduct more interviews or due diligence ahead of time? Did they visit other cities to see how things are done there?

For the record, Daley Plaza is supposedly a free Wi-Fi hotspot, but I’ve planted my tukus in that plaza multiple times and couldn’t pick up a free non password signal. I do not want to pay T-Mobile every month to use their hotspots, nor do I want to use the signal at Starbucks (since the Michigan Avenue Fruit Fly incident, I don’t give Starbucks any business). I enjoy going to my public libraries and using their free Wi-Fi, sure. But at the same time, I respect my fellow bookworms and don’t want to be talking on a cell phone or conducting a biz meeting.

Chicago reversed the flow from Lake Michigan.
Chicago hosted a monumental World’s Fair.
Chicago rebuilt itself after a massive fire.
Chicago gave birth to Improv and some of the best comedians around.
Chicago is the homeland of unions.

Chicago can get municipal Wi-Fi. Mayor Daley, if you need some help, I’m your gal. Sign me up.

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Maureen Vana, NBC5 Street Team

The beautiful weather last Sunday was perfect timing for the first live performance act at Crust. Crust, located at 2056 Division, is Chicago’s very own certified organic restaurant and the first of it’s kind in the Midwest. The menu includes a variety of fresh and visually spectacular dishes including pizza, lunch/dinner options, desserts, and drinks.

The back patio hosts additional outdoor seating for those that wish for privacy from the hustle and bust of Division in front. The patio also is equipped with enough porch space to host live performances while customers enjoy there meal or stop in for drinks. The Ditty Bops were proud to be the first ever live performers at Crust on Sunday afternoon.

See Photos From The Ditty Bops at Crust

After a sold out show at The Old Town School of Folk Music the night before, The Ditty Bops held a laid back set 1pm. The group’s performance of folk with a little rock flare was a wonderful addition to the afternoon atmosphere. When the set had come to a close, the group spent time with fans signing autographs and chating while enjoying some of the Crust dishes.

The event was a hit and hopefully encouraged Crust to continue holding live performances for the remainder of the summer and into early fall. You can visit Crust’s website at www.crusteatreal.org and check out The Ditty Bops currently on their Farm Tour 2007 www.thedittybops.com.

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Put some clothes on!


Rikki Greenberg, NBC5 Street Team

I’ve always been kind of indifferent about Rihanna. I never really liked her voice but somehow her music always grew on me.

Unfortunately, I’ve lost respect for Rihanna over the last couple months she’s been out. Like all other young female musicians before her, she has gotten to know her slutty side and to be honest, it’s just too much.
Brian Bredder/Getty Images
Her video for her latest single “Shut Up and Drive” is a classic example of in-your-face sexuality that seems more staged than real. I understand that it’s not driving that she wants to do here but do you really need to rub up against every car in your “Let’s not wear clothes” repair shop to get people to understand that?

Not to mention the fact that it seems like she forgot to wear a shirt without holes in it and shorts that look more like painted on underwear than a piece of clothing.

As a female, this is not something I wish too see. When a female is reduced to the same value as the car she is groping on, we have some problems. Now, I’m all for celebrating the fact that your hot but in Rihanna’s case, I just want to say that the jig is up. We get it. You’re hot. Now can you please put some clothes on!

I hope that Rihanna understands that you don’t have to wear leather booty shorts and a leather jacket that looks like it would fit my 5-year-old cousin to be taken seriously.

The girl has some talent but it’s hard to see that when she is treated more as an object than an actual person. I just think that it would be refreshing and kind of nice to see a young female musician I can respect rather than be disappointed by.

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Blagica Stefanovski, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

In town this weekend? I have just the ticket for you – The Bash on Wabash is taking place this Saturday and Sunday, September 1 & 2. Here are the main details. I’ll be working, so come on down and say Hola…along with seeing how the South Loop is exploding with fun neighbors, new restaurants and down home good vibes. See you then!

The South Loops’ premier outdoor event, Bash on Wabash, marks its fourth year by honoring New Orleans. The 2007 music line-up will reflect the rich musical heritage of New Orleans, featuring top name national and regional Zydeco, blues and jazz acts.

The Greater South Loop Association hosts this unique event, which showcases Chicago’s hottest, trendiest neighborhood. Just blocks from downtown Chicago, the South Loop, home of Chicago’s Mayor Daley is undergoing a renaissance, and is now a vibrant, culturally rich, diverse yet tightly knit community.

This lively, colorful festival mirrors the South Loops’ vibrancy and diversity offering something for everyone. Bash on Wabash features top name, national music headliners, continuous live music, a wide variety of food choices, including some top area restaurants, beer and wine, upscale arts and crafts, and an elaborate kid’s area with games and rides such as Willie Wonka, Moon Walk and climbing walls.

Entertainment
Saturday
6:30 p.m. – Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Cha’s
8:30 p.m. – Terrance Simien

Sunday
8:30 p.m. – Buckwheat Zydeco

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Rikki Greenberg, NBC5 Street Team

The only reason why I look forward to getting mail is the surprise gifts of the assortment of magazines I get each month. I was shocked and intrigued when I received my September issue of Allure in the mail with none other than Britney Spears as the cover girl. I hate to admit it, but I couldn’t wait to read the interview.

I know Britney Spears gets a lot of heat for the being Britney Spears but the girl never fails at keeping people interested. Since she has been through so much, I was curious to read what she had to say.

I flipped through the gorgeous glossy pages, only to realize I almost missed it when the last two pages caught my eye. “Britney on Hold” it said, followed by a rather seductive picture of Spears on the right.

I start reading but quickly became confused. The “interview” starts out with the author sharing background information on Spears and her anticipation about the interview…but there’s no interview. No questions. No fascinating quotes set aside in bold, red print. Just pictures.

All that excitement for pictures? I decided to backtrack and read the editor’s letter, hoping she would have the answer to the millions of questions swirling around in my head. It turns out the author who was in charge of interviewing Spears was never able to get a hold of her. Not too surprised but OK. She had to come up with something so she wrote about her efforts in trying to track down Spears.

I thought that was pretty neat and probably the best interview I ever read. It was smart, witty and contained no traces of any bitterness. The fact that the piece included no direct information from Spears herself was the most genius part.

Honestly, I never underestimated Spears in her ability to keep the people wanting more. I think she did the right thing by not giving an interview. The mystery of what she might of said is far better than what she would of said anyway.

I hate to say it but…Oops! She did it again!

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Blagica Stefanovski, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

It’s been a week of giggles for your truly. Between Vladimir Putin’s glamour shot and Nicolas Sarkozy’s love handle disguise, nothing surprises me any more with our global leaders. I started wondering, would Mayor Daley ever go to the extreme to either a) show us his guns or b) make sure his extra Italian Beefs were photoshopped out?

First, Russian President Vladimir Putin, had some photos taken of him during a fishing trip. Putin was hanging out with Prince Albert II of Monaco up in the Siberian Mountains. Check out the body shot of Russia’s comrade/president/beefcake:

Yes, I am a fan of French culture and politics. I cracked up when I read the recent story that Nicolas Sarkozy, the new French president, had his love handles ‘Photoshopped’ out.

Mr. Sarkozy was vacationing in New Hampshire and was canoeing with his son. The Associated Press snapped a picture of the President doing his vacation thang and the next thing you know, French celeb magazine, Paris Match, photoshopped his love handles outta the picture. Hee Hee. Check it out. I don’t think Sarkozy asked for the photo to be fixed, however, his good buddy, Arnaud Lagardere, is rumored to have ordered the fat removal. Arnaud owns Paris Match.

All this posturing made me wonder, would Mayor Daley ever be a part of either scenario? Would he ever eat too many Polishes that he told his head creative staffer to erase away the evidence? Or, would the Mayor get himself in such amazing physical shape that he’d stage photos of himself kayaking down the Chicago River? I’m thinking no.

This post isn’t to make fun of these two global leaders per se (Ok, maybe Putin, kinda…come on, we all know you stage the shots). Sarkozy claims to not know about the love handle disappearance. Either way, the pressure is on for global leaders to look their best.

****************
On a sad note, Charles Albert Comiskey II, grandson of the founder of the Chicago White Sox, died this weekend. Perhaps he and his grandfather can send new vibes to the team and get them back on track for 2008….Brooks Boyer can use the marketing help, too.

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

If you read this blog regularly, you know that “Entourage” is one of my favorite shows on TV, although after this week’s episode of “Weeds,” I’m not so sure. But I digress. When I heard that Kevin Dillon, aka Johnny Drama, was going to be in Chicago, I had to be there.

Dillon plays the loser older brother of Hollywood superstar Vinny Chase on the show, and his escapades are definitely one of the highlights of each episode. In fact, I have a running discussion with a co-worker about whether he’s the best character on TV. It’s debatable, but the fact that he’s even in the conversation, means he must be doing something right.


Slideshow: Johnny Drama At Crobar


Art kind of imitates life, in that Kevin Dillon also has a famous brother — Matt Dillon. But he doesn’t have to take a back seat to anyone these days, and he definitely seems to be enjoying life and his newfound fame.

Dillon stopped through Crobar on the first leg of his 42nd birthday weekend, which culminated with a bash in Vegas. And of course — I had to ask him about the whole Plushie thing, which I blogged about a couple weeks ago. Check out the interview below. Victory!

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Trevor Burkins, NBC5 Street Team

So as I am sitting at my desk, perusing around the different media outlets for interesting stories to cover, I stumbled across what most would deem unbelievable.

No, I am not speaking about finding the Holy Grail or even O.J. being found innocent.

The marquee on the New York Post makes the claim simple- “LOHAN ESCAPES DRUG CHARGES IN DUI CASE”. What a shocker. For those of you who don’t know, the troubled Hollywood fallen star was arrested for suspicion of DUI on May 26th in Beverly Hills. The police found a little surprise in her purse- about .04 grams of cocaine. Oops, it’s not mine. I swear.

From what the Associated Press is reporting, Lilo, L2, The Lohan, whatever you’d like to call her is not facing felony charges for cocaine possession. She is simply being charged for having cocaine in her system. That makes sense- not. The law states that in order to be found guilty of cocaine possession, one would have to have .05 grams of cocaine in their possession. Looks like Lilo just barely made it.

With Lohan facing jail time, many are wondering as to what could, if at all possible, revive her fading career. Could only the meltdown known as Britney Spears upstage her? Let’s only hope the kid can get some sort of good publicity. Make a Public Service Announcement. Do some charity work. After all, she’s going to have loads of time to think about stuff in between breaking rocks and rockin‘ that fashionable orange jumpsuit. R.I.P. Career of Lindsay Lohan.

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Susan Noble

Cocktails are making a comeback on the social scene and with a vengeance. Recently, I learned why when I enrolled in the Academy of Spirits and Fine Service sponsored by Southern Wine and Spirits of Illinois and the United States Bartenders Guild Illinois chapter.

Though the name is kind of stuffy, the content was fabulous! Twelve weeks of tasting — aperitifs, beer, brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, whiskey (both bourbon and scotch), and wine — combined with lab exercises designed to unleash your creativity on the classic cocktail.

Mixologist Bridget Albert was our instructor. Bridget honed her skills as lead bartender at the Bellagio Las Vegas. You may have seen her compete with Chef Gadsby, if you were watching Iron Chef March 8, 2007. Bridget brought a wealth of knowledge and tremendous enthusiasm to our classroom.

Our guest speakers included Master Distiller Fred Noe, great-grandson of Jim Beam whose own great-grandfather Jacob was the first distiller of Jim Beam products. For an hour, we sat together and sipped bourbon while Fred shared insights on his family’s contributions to the world of spirits.

Beam Wine Estates Director of Education Luis Torres was our guest instructor for the wine lesson. Now this was no ordinary wine tasting. Our time together was spent educating our palates on pairing wine with food.

Sadly, I learned that my tongue must have fewer taste buds than the average person because my pairing preferences were clearly in the minority. Ah, but therein lies the fun…we can like different combinations yet each have a wonderful dining or tasting experience!

The summer session of the Academy was taught at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. Our student population included experienced bar and restaurant professionals as well as students from CHIC.

Earning special mention was Charles Joly. His ‘Nooner’ bourbon cocktail won our final exam competition. It is an amazing taste and presentation experience! Watch for it to appear soon on a cocktail menu at one of the Three Headed locations.

Charles’ success really demonstrates why cocktails are popular again. There is a creativity and an excitement involved in preparing and serving a cocktail that you just do not get when pouring a glass of beer or wine. I fully expect to see restaurants recommend a cocktail — and a beer — pairing along with wine for featured entrees on their menus in the near future.

My Street Team Blog Archive

Taste of Chicago….Wine Anytime

Wine 101

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Brangelinia In Chicago

I know you, like most Chicagoans, are waiting with baited breath to hear about Brangelina’s latest move. Yes, the Hollywood darlings have been seen out and about in Chicago over the past few weeks, sending paparazzi into a tizzy.

It’s not New York or L.A., but there is a pretty significant group of media based in Chicago dedicated to uncovering every minute detail of the stars’ personal lives. One of these journalists is Liz Crokin, who writes the weekly “Eye Contact” column in the RedEye, and has her own start-up blog called These Boots Are Made For Stalking.

Liz and I first met when I worked in Indianapolis during the Indy 500. I was lobbing some softball questions during a press conference with Andrew Firestone who had just finished his stint as “The Bachelor” on ABC, when this chick from Chicago started firing some pointed and uncomfortable questions his way about the state of his relationship with Jen Schefft. It was even more uncomfortable because Schefft was there as well. (Later that night we ended up running into Anna Nicole Smith and Howard K. Stern, but that’s a completely different story). I’ve been smitten ever since, and now that I live in Chicago, Liz is a regular drinking buddy and contributor to our Entertainment Podcast.

This week she gave me the lowdown on Brangelina’s Chicago stay, including a possible fight between the pair, Brad’s possible follicle issues and some sibling rivalry.

Brangelina Podcast:

Glamorama: The Good, The Bad & The Beautiful

Of all the annual parties held in Chicago, Macy’s Glamorama is without a doubt my favorite. This year’s event will be held a month earlier than usual, scheduled for this Friday at the Chicago Theater.

Glamorama starts off with an extremely well-produced fashion show, and culminates with a fabulous after party that takes over an entire floor of Macys’

I must admit I wasn’t thrilled when I heard about this year’s country music theme — especially when last year Beyonce was the headliner, and the year before, the B-52s — but organizers insist this will be country with a kick, and nobody will walk away disappointed.

The tickets are exactly cheap — about $200 for full access — but if you have the urge to splurge, this is a good way to do it!

Glamorama Preview Podcast:

Glamorama 2006: Beyonce Headlines Fashion Show
Glamorama 2006: The After-Party
Glamorama 2005: B-52s Headline Fashion Show

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Maureen Vana, NBC5 Street Team

The horns ushered in a line up fit for a king last week at the Congress Theatre. Milwaukee Ave. was a rumble with music that could only end in mass dancing and good times. Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Streetlight Manifesto, and Against All Authority quenched the thirst of Chicago ska fans currently dealing with a lack of touring bands in their genre.

The show started almost an hour before it’s listed time causing many, including myself, to miss out on the openers Against All Authority. As a long time fan of the band, I was truly disappointed to find out my early arrival was really late. I swallowed my initial sorrow of the evening and looked ahead to the remaining seasoned performers on the bill.

By now the crowd had filled out and Streetlight Manifesto took the stage to a screaming audience. Security pulled surfing body after surfing body over the railing as the horn section danced away between riffs. The set climaxed with an all venue sing-a-long to the Catch 22 ska anthem “Keasbey Nights”. Streetlight put on a performance of headliner caliber and set the pace for the bands to come.

See Photos From Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, and Streetlight Manifesto

Less Than Jake followed with a stage made to look like the long time running show The Price Is Right. The performance included fan participation in games like “Plinko” to choose what albums Less Than Jake would play from. The result led to the band performing material mainly from Hello Rockview and Losing Streak. The crowd gave there mass approval and the song list included “Scott Farcas Takes It On The Chin” and “Just Like Frank”.

A jumping, dancing, guitar wielding Aaron Barrett led Reel Big Fish to close out the night of fun and games. The band is out supporting their latest studio album “Monkeys for Nothin’ and the Chimps for Free” while bringing their lively stage show to venues around the country. The set list spanned there 10+ years of music including tracks “Beer” and “She Has a Girlfriend Now”.

Performances by all the bands reinforced the idea of a concert as an atmosphere for camaraderie. No CD or computer screen could ever provide the certain something that being a part of the crowd gives. The tour finishes up its run later this week in Iowa and fans across the nation will be sure to keep an eye out for the next round.

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

The Primo Center for Women and Children held it’s annual fund-raiser Saturday at the new West Loop hot spot, Bon V.

Red Hot Midnight Kiss was designed to raise money for the homeless shelter and the big draw was an appearance by Carmen Electra. Yes, I heard more than one smart comment about having a woman of questionable talent representing such a serious cause, but hey, it’s tough to get attention out there! After all, the Beyonce after-party was being held at the same time only a block away at Alahambra Palace.


Slideshow: Red Hot Midnight Kiss


Carmen turned out to be a little shy, but sweet, and the night went off without a hitch, raising around $90,000 for the center.

Bon V — which stands for “the good life” in French — has the potential to be a nice little spot as well (1100 W. Randolph St.). The DJ was mixing it up well Saturday night, and a hype-man with a microphone roaming the club was a nice touch.

The nightclub scene is getting more crowded by the minute. Red Kiva is so close to Bon V I thought they were the same club.

Anyway, take a look for yourself by checking out my video below for
Nude Hippo.

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Blagica Stefanovski, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

I had a phenom opportunity to represent the NBC5 Street and help NBC5’s Kim Vatis out with an upcoming segment. Oprah’s make-up wizard, Reggie Wells, is on a mission to help women with make-up application tips. Reggie hosted a “Day of Beauty” on April 18 at the Palmer House Hilton. The two and a half hour class was $300 and aimed to spread some of Reggie’s make-up lessons to the masses. I headed to Bloomingdale’s a week before the class and got some pointers. The video is below.

I showed up with little, if nothing, on my face. Kim was interviewing Reggie and I hung out with the ladies of the Smashbox counter for a bit. Reggie’s been using Smashbox cosmetics for years. I didn’t realize that Max Factor’s great grandsons formed the make-up line. Smashbox Studios is a bonafide photography studio and the make-up line was a product of needing better products for the camera. Who knew? I just learned a new piece of trivia. Also, Smashbox prides itself in being created by actual artists. Thanks to Amber for giving me some cool free samples and prepping my face before Reggie went to work!

The whole set-up was funny. I was sitting in a director’s chair at the entrance of Bloomingdales. Folks gathered around thinking I was a celebrity. So many lights and what-not. Reggie was really nice, but I’ll admit, it took me a while to get used to his style. This is how it would go: Reggie would do one half of my face, then I do the other. Cool.

Reggie worked on my eyes first. I liked his basic combo of one shadow on the lid, coupled with a contrast to my bone. What surprised me, and what I don’t agree with, was being told I have small eyes. For my entire life, I’ve been known by my large eyes (my nickname with my sister is still Bug Eyes) and Reggie suggested my eyes were small. I didn’t get it. I agreed with Reggie in that I had deep inset eyes, cool. But small? Nope – I still think I have some good size sockets☺! A hint of eyeliner was added to my upper lid and then came mascara. This was HILARIOUS. The cameraman wanted to get me placing mascara on my eyes and by the time I was done, I looked like a raccoon, LOL. Reggie was laughing and reminded me that we needed good camera angles. Ok, no problem. Keep in mind; this was my first time doing a ‘shoot’ like this.

Next came the cheeks. This was a fun lesson for me. I was used to the whole ‘smile and place the blush on the apple of your cheek’ routine. Reggie had me start right under my eyes and blend in and down. I liked the effect quite a bit and will continue to use this method.

Lastly, the lips. I did like the notion of using your lipstick as the lip liner versus pencil. Reggie lined my lips, but actually went half an inch over my normal lips to give me more oomph. Hmm. I went with this idea. I also couldn’t help but to giggle when the NBC5 camera guy had me stare at myself in the mirror to get the cool ‘peer in’ shot. When my lips were done, I must admit, they were pretty voluptuous, but I didn’t feel like ‘me’. If I didn’t need to drink, eat or wipe my mouth with a napkin, cool. Otherwise, I think I would have had a difficult time keeping up my new lips for a whole night out. Either way, I liked the new look of my pseudo Angelina Jolie lips☺.

Reggie Wells has over 20 years experience in the world of making women look good – heck Oprah looks terrific every morning. As for me, I’m a pretty natural gal and I’ll keep all the tips Reggie provided me aside from the larger lips. I also know the foundation Amber applied was for the camera, but woo, I was happy to wash it off when I got home!

Reggie mentioned something to me when I sat in the chair – this is what actresses and models go thru everyday, but even more than what I experienced. I heard him loud and clear – I’ll stick to my normal routine of as little make-up as needed, glam-ing it up at night when I need to.

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The Hills is back!


Rikki Greenburg, NBC5 Street Team

I love MTV.

But the thing I love most is their T.V shows. I’ve watched Real World for as long as I can remember and Total Request Live (or TRL if your really super cool) got me through my tumultuous high school years but the one show that I’m truly loving right now is The Hills.

The Hills stars a young girl named Lauren Conrad, who got her start on the teen-driven Laguna Beach, as the girl next store with a serious crush on her sweet, but sometimes jerky, best friend. Laguna Beach ended and Conrad got her own show, The Hills.

The reason why I love The Hills is because the main character goes through situations that are extremely familiar to the audience. For example, Conrad gets stabbed in the back by one of her supposedly “best” friends when she (or Jen Bunney as she’s called on the show) hooks up with one of Conrad’s love interests.

It’s situations like these (well maybe not situations exactly like these but stuff like this does happen) that some twenty something women go through and it’s refreshing to watch a show and see things like this happen and go “I’ve been there too.”

The Hills also includes Conrad’s posse: Audrina, Heidi and Whitney. Together, they make an exciting and adventurous cast that travels to the hottest clubs and coolest restaurants in Los Angeles.

So if you sick of One Tree Hill and still watch Dawson’s Creek reruns, The Hills is the perfect solution. It’s real, entertaining and most of all addicting. Check it out and you’ll see what I’m talking about!

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

I had a nice laugh this past weekend when I discovered the bar across the street from me was holding auditions for “Flavor of Love.” Years ago, I predicted
that reality TV shows would go the way of the Dodo bird, but they appear to be showing no signs of letting up.

So, if you dream of being on a reality show — and need to lose some weight — an open casting call will be held this Saturday at the NBC Tower for the “The Biggest Loser.”
Producers are searching the country for individuals or teams of two who want to compete together on the Biggest Loser season five.

You need to bring a non-returnable photo of yourself to the open call, and if you’re auditioning with a partner, you’re encouraged to bring that person with you.

Open call lines will begin forming three hours before the start time and producers guarantee to see the first 500 people in line.

The producers are casting twins, family members (including but not limited to: parent & child (18+), cousins, siblings, married couple, engaged couple, grandparents, etc.); co-workers; friends; retirees and individuals.

Last year’s winner lost 214 pounds and won $250,000.

The casting call will be held between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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This And That

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Obama Girl

My future wife Obama Girl, (who I wrote about a few weeks ago), has finally managed to elicit a response from the presidential candidate’s camp. Barack Obama says that that his 6-year-old daughter, Sasha, has noticed news coverage of the video and is concerned.

For those who haven’t seen the video, “I Got A Crush On Obama” stars model/actress Amber Lee Ettinger, who proclaims her love for Obama in a very sultry and convincing way.


“Sasha asked Mommy about it,” Obama said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press. “She said, ‘Daddy already has a wife’ or something like that.”

Something tells me Obama, while stern about the issue publicly, is more than happy to receive the free publicity. Three million hits on You Tube? C’mon. I suppose the alternative is having the cool factor of a Chris Dodd.

We’re No. 1!

As a proud graduate of West Virginia University, it’s always nice to see my alma mater recognized for excellence. In this case, the Princeton Review has named WVU the top party school in the country.

This is the seventh time in the past 15 years we’ve topped the list. It’s not something you list on your resume, but in certain circles it holds a lot of cache. I, for one, can attest that those endless college nights filled with bar shots, drinking games and Greek parties have made me into the man I am today.

Oh, WVU is also listed No. 3 in the AP football poll this season. Guess where the party’s gonna be this fall?

An Inconvenient Truth

Many Chicagoans are lamenting the end of summer and how fast it seemed to go by, and if you’re like me, you’re checking off all the things you meant to do this summer, but never got around to.

Near the top of my list was checking out an outdoor movie. If the weather cooperates, I’ll get my chance on Wednesday. NBC5 is a sponsor of an outdoor showing of “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning documentary about global warming.

As more and more attention is being given to the Going Green movement and increasing numbers of people are wondering how they can lessen their footprint on our environment, this is a must-see film.

Check it out Wednesday at Grant Park at 8:15 p.m.

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

No, I didn’t go to the Beyonce concert over the weekend at the United Center, and judging by the reactions of my friends who did go, it seems like I missed out.

I’m told Queen B. rocked the stage for about two hours, and didn’t let up from start to finish in an amazing performance. I think entertainer know that you have to come correct when you play Chicago, or else they’ll let you know.

Big ups were also in order for Robin Thicke, who turned out to be an extremely able opening act. Thicke, who could probably have any woman he wants in America right now, had a huge challenge in going on before such a mesmerizing headliner, but word has it that he more than held his own.

Did you go? If so, I’d love to hear your reaction on the Comments link below. Meanwhile, click here to check out some pictures from the concert, plus some bonus pics I took from Beyonce’s performance at Glamorama last year.

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Rikki Greenburg, NBC5 Street Team

I know everybody writes about celebrities but I can justify this 100 percent.

I religiously watch the show Entourage. It’s one of the best shows to come from HBO since Sex in the City and I love watching it. If your still not familiar, Jeremy Piven stars as the agent and Adrian Grenier is the hot shot celebrity, Vincent Chase.
Jaime Reina/Getty Images
Adrian Grenier is pretty cute (he’s not really my type but that’s besides the point) and he seems like a decent person. So being a huge fan who always puts his best interest at heart, can someone please explain to me why he is “hanging out” (we all know what that means!) with Paris Hilton? Please?!?! A garbage can is a better option than her…hell the turkey sandwich I threw IN the garbage can is better than her!

So what the hizzle? There are millions of hot girls that are on the show every episode…he couldn’t of picked one of them? Or their sister? Or maybe even the dog if he doesn’t like them or any of their siblings?

I’d imagine he would have to converse with her about something. I don’t know how he would do that except maybe point to something and then she would say “That’s hot.” But we are talking about Paris Hilton…so maybe conversation wouldn’t be the number one list on their things to do.

I just hope that Adrian Grenier gets out of this haze and realizes who he is spending his time with. Maybe then he’ll finally give my turkey sandwich a chance before I throw it in the garbage…again.

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Dawn Washington, NBC5 Street Team, Video

What is a Fassytail?

FASSYTAIL: Noun; a colloquialism for “fast tail” which is slang to describe sexual dispositions, mannerisms, and behavior among young girls and teens.

Written, directed, and cast by local talent on Chicago’s south side, Fassytails is about the cute and annoyingly naive preteen, Lisa (Toya Turner), who for various reasons learns hard lessons surrounding her physical development and sexual activity. This story of growing pains was shown to a nearly packed theater at The Gene Siskel Center as a part of August’s Black Harvest Film Festival http://www.artic.edu/webspaces/siskelfilmcenter/.

Contrary to what Ms. Thelma, Lisa’s “motherly” maid/guardian, believes, it’s not Lisa’s “fassytail” girlfriends who pressure her into premature sexual activity but the well-mannered, well-bred, Stevie (Andre Truss) who also wins over Lisa’s evasive mom (Marlo Stroud).

Apart from this film’s horrible video, audio and soundtrack, script continuity, set design, select actors, painful, overly dramatic, and confusing plot elements, unnecessary melodrama and a host of other technical and visual elements, Fassytails is a reasonably responsible shot at tackling the mishandled and illusive “sex talk.”

The topic of sex amongst girls and boys seems to have carelessly been left into the powerful and highly influential hands of viperous media moguls and advertisers who have single-handedly pressed the mute button on parents everywhere. Parents are either silenced by adult-themed movies, videos, web material, and music or they quietly retreat into their corners of denial and avoidance, much like Lisa’s mother in this film. Fassytails tries to show young girls and their parents the consequences of their actions (or lack thereof) and their decisions.

Encouraging about this flawed film are a few wisely-cast and promising actors, particularly Cassie Walls who plays one of Lisa’s fassytail friends. Walls sells her character in a convincing performance that doesn’t seem contrived or scripted.
Roxxy Coley, the film’s executive producer, writer, and director delivers a hilarious performance as “Ms. Thelma” until an overdone script eclipses her acting talent.

I also found it encouraging to see young girls and their mothers at the film’s showing. Most likely Fassytails will serve as a catalyst, prompting mothers, guardians, and parents to have a much-needed discussion with their growing girls about their bodies, feelings, pressures, and other life aspects they are bound to face.

However, I wouldn’t recommend parents to sit their child in front of this movie and expect it to do all the work–Fassytails is more a lesson for parents than for kids. Filmmakers missed their mark to caution young girls by making the plot way too complicated, melodramatic, and at times grotesque. But as a compliment to a caring and straightforward mom & daughter talk, Fassytails has potential to be a success, at least among the families it encounters.

To find out more about Fassytails, it’s cast and crew, log onto http://www.gracefilms4.com/.

The Black Harvest Film International Festival of Film, Video, and TV is “a lineup of talent on both sides of the camera…and an annual celebration of the black experience on film and video.” The festival is ongoing until August 30th.

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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

“Swimming pools, movie stars! Ya’ll come back now, you hear?”

This summer we’ve seen the cast of “Ocean’s 13”,
Christian Bale and Brangelina in Chicago. Now, you
can add Gwyneth Paltrow to the list.

But unlike her Hollywood counterparts, she didn’t come
to Chicago in her capacity as an actor.. She came to
Macy’s on State Street Friday as the spokesmodel for
Estee Lauder and to introduce the company’s new
fragrance Pleasures Delight.
Tom's Street Team Slideshow - Image From kari skaflen
Macy’s was sure to point out that this would be
Gwyneth’s only North American appearance in a
department store this year.

That’s good I thought to myself, because I would hate
to think that Estee Lauder would force her to look
radiant in a Marc Jacobs dress and Prada mules day
after day like she was some kind of…… Sarah
Jessica Parker (who never met a department store she
wouldn’t appear in to sell a bottle of fragrance).

But the more I thought about it, the more troubled I
became. Does this mean she still has to go to
department stores in Central and South America this
year? Europe? Asia? Antartica?


Slideshow: Gyneth Paltrow Appearance


Anyway, it turns out that Phyllis Iriat came all the
way from Hammond, Indiana and was the first to get in
line at 9:15 in the cosmetics department of Macy’s.
She bought the $65 bottle of the fragrance and waited
3 hours to have Gwyneth autograph it.

She was thrilled.

It wasn’t clear if it was because she was the first,
because she had an autograph or because she had ever
so briefly met Gwyneth. But thrilled she was.

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The Climax Lounge

Chasity Johnson, NBC5 Street Team

Leopard print walls and a scantily clad woman hanging and flipping around on a sheet that’s attached to the ceiling… No I’m not talking about Cirque Shanghai, the Chinese acrobatic production that’s currently being showcased at Navy Pier; I’m talking about one of the hottest most eclectic lounge’s to hit the scene in a minute — Climax.

Yep, that’s right. The name of the spot is Climax and you should definitely come (no pun intended). This new posh spot, which is strategically located at 324 W. Chicago Ave, embodies a unique combination of sultry ambience and titillating spirits that will most definitely hit your spot … Um, I mean the spot.

The 6,250-square-foot lounge, brought to you by the owner of Moda, features a plethora of Old World architectural pieces and contemporary designs. Not to sound too girlie, but this four-room, three-bar spot that sports various color schemes ranging from tans to reds to leopard print, which are accented by hardwood and concrete floors in addition to various types of stone, gives us ladies a chance to hang out at a bar that matches our outfits the best (I know, I know! That was such a Paris Hilton thing to say!).


Slideshow: Images Of Climax


Trees and grass are placed behind the main bar and in a back room (don’t ask me why) that features extremely high ceilings and an impeccable skylight.

When the moment is right, a DJ jumps down from a hole in the ceiling, lands on his hands, and proceeds to mix records with his feet. Okay, so I’m lying, but that would be cool, wouldn’t it? The DJ may not swoop out of the sky like Superman but he does play a pretty good combination of techno and dance music in a side room with ample dancing space. Did I mention that the side room the DJ spins in is decorated with pictures of nearly nude extremely beautiful women? That comment was for the fellas.

All and All, I had a great time when I stopped through the lounge to check it out for a NBC5.com Street Team review. I came to Climax once and I’d love to come again.

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Maureen Vana, NBC5 Street Team

The Allstate Arena surged with a thunderous power on Monday night for Marilyn Manson and Slayer’s co-headlining tour. The crowd comprised of two very different, yet very similar groups meshed well together to enjoy a night complete with a full set from each performer. The Rosemont date marked the halfway point of there 25 stop stretch that’s focusing on fan favorite music as well as a visually stimulating atmosphere.

Stepping through the curtains of the Allstate felt like walking into the depths of the underworld. Fog rolled around a packed floor of sweating bodies surrounded in red light as the tension built awaiting Slayer’s arrival. Chants for the band turned into cheers as the opening riffs of “Flesh Storm” brought down the curtain and started the performance. Two mosh pits exploded side by sided in front of the stage and heads banged all the way to the back of the arena. The highlight of the performance was a back to back onslaught of “South of Heaven” and “Rain in Blood”.

See Photos Marilyn Manson And Slayer

The audience then shifted and a slightly younger group clad in make up and a creative display of Gothic attire pressed against the barricade. Marilyn Manson sang his first words of the evening and the crowd smashed forward straining to get a closer look at the unpredictable performer. Complete with a dagger shaped microphone and elbow high black vinyl gloves, the rocker was true to form bringing his eerie presence to the stage. The elaborate light show and robotic/corpse like movements from the rest of the Manson band was a perfect compliment to the music. The visuals, the sounds, and the energy of both Manson and the crowd combined for an excellent close out to a late Monday night double header.

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

Tony from NUDE HIPPO here! For almost a year now, I’ve been wanting to check out a restaurant called ORANGE. After hearing several people rant and rave about it, including Johnnie and Kara (I must give them props), I got tired of listening to all of the fuss and decided to find out for myself whether or not this place was worth the parades.

I went with Rachel Gaffen from the show. She loves this place and has been telling me about for awhile now. So, what is so unique about this tiny little tucked away joint named after a fruit? Well, first of all, we walked up to the place and there as a line out the door and down the block. I was skeptical about waiting that long for food because we were in the south loop and there are about a million different places to get good pancakes, but Rachel insisted that the food was too amazing not to wait for. We waited only fifteen minutes before being called in and lead to our table by one of the neighboring college’s students. Besides the orange grove decor and the juice bar that had all the makings of a Dr. Seuss-ish fruit killing machine, the menu was what really caught my eye.

It had the strangest selections I had ever seen including breakfast orders like the Green Eggs and Ham (which is self-explanatory), and the Pancake Flight which is a selection of four different types of pancakes made four different outlandish ways. This week the theme for the Flight was old fashion pudding. So they made pancakes with chocolate and banana and vanilla and butterscotch on each stack.

After browsing through the four page multi colored menu, I settled on the French Toast Kabob. I was then caught with the dilemma of what juice to order. The freshly squeezed juice menu lets you pick a base juice which could be anything from orange to apple to celery, but to be different I went with carrot. Then you could add other fruit or vegetables from three column list, I added grape and banana…but you can pick your own juice combination. When our food was brought to the table, my plate was a visual masterpiece.

The menu read that the kabob was made with cubes of brioche soaked in coconut milk that were baked and then grilled and put on two skewers with strawberries and pineapple, but my plate was piled high with delicious looking and not to mention tasting scrumptious culinary delights. Look out mom’s French toast, here comes Orange! Rachel ordered the fabulous Cinnamon Roll Pancakes which are topped with candied pecans and sweet vanilla glaze, garnished with powdered sugar. Think cinnamon rolls in pancake form that are bigger than the size of your head, unless your Barbara Walters of course.

To top it all off, our check was delivered with a personalized drawing of our waitress saying thanks. There is so much to talk about, including their cucumber water and the cool paintings on the wall, done by local artist, but you’ll have to visit them yourself to experience it all.

Orange: 75 W. Harrison St., Chicago – (312) 447-1000 Fax: (312) 447-0226

E-mail me at NudeHippo@nbc5.com and tell me what you think and be sure to watch other fun locations that NUDE HIPPO has covered at NBC5.com/nudehippo

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