Archive for August, 2007

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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