Archive for November, 2007

Shreyas Shah, NBC5 Street Team

Party peoples, check out our party this Saturday, everything’s free with RSVP!

A free party. Free food. Free drinks. Free gift bags. Free manicures. Yes, this is the season of giving. Good for Party and The Silver Room inaugurates M.O., our in-the-know newsletter for all things fashion in Chicago. M.O is a definitive guide of what to wear, and where to get it guide to fashion trends, local boutiques, designer shops, thrift/discount stores and fashion events in Chicago. Join us as we celebrate the launch of M.O. at The Silver Room with music, food, and of course, hot girls wearing cool clothes. Rahaan, Jay Cee, Leonard Part Sixx and Silver Room owner Eric Williams DJ.

Saturday, December 1st
The Silver Room
1442 N. Milwaukee Avenue
RSVP to: rsvp.goodforparty.com

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

“I’d rather be a lamppost in Chicago than a millionaire in any other city.” William A. Hulbert

I have been up to my ears in music lately. With all the studio recordings, interviews at the House of Blues, and numerous shows I’ve seen I’m beginning to feel like a bona fide groupie. The guys from Lucid Ground probably think they’ll have to get a restraining order on me – including their studio recording at Chicago Acoustic Underground I’ve seen them five times in the last two months. And I’m seeing them again tonight. They, along with another TLT featured band Abstract Giants, are competing in the Bodog Battle of the Bands.

One of my recent recordings was with Maura Lally & The Pickin’ Bubs. This bluegrass band met years ago at Old Town School of Folk Music, and I bet they’ll be at the 50th Anniversary Party on Saturday, along with several other talented alumni.

There’s a lot more to do in Chicago than just hear live music. Now that Thanksgiving is past the holiday season is in full swing – Casino Swing, that is. The 16th annual black-tie optional gala lets you pony up for numerous children’s charities. Speaking of ponies, there’s a new betting parlor in town. Stretch Run Sporting Club & Grille not only provides kobe burgers, prime beef, and wings, it also lets you lay your money down on televised horse races. Prefer to wager your money at the table? Ante up at Aces UP! Celebrity Poker Tournament.

I’ll bet you’re getting tired of all those gambling references, and I know when to fold ’em. It’s now that time of year when holiday parties take over. The Hardrock Hotel is hosting the Peppermint Holiday Party, Eshe Day Spa is providing free mini-treatments for its party, and Pops for Champagne is putting on a candlelight concert.

If, like me, the idea of shopping the weekend after Thanksgiving is akin to being surrounded by thousands of Gollums all clutching their selections and hissing “precious”, it’s not too late to get some early shopping in. Stop by “Jingle.Mingle.Shop.” in Lincoln Park Zoo’s Cafe Brauer for gifts created by local artists. Be sure to stop by Sugar Bliss’s booth and try Teresa Ging’s cupcakes (chocolate peppermint and vanilla eggnog – need I say more?).

This weekend is also the grand reopening of Spertus Museum. Besides unveiling the gorgeous new architecture, the opening reception and the open house help bring Judaism to life.

As always, there’s much much more going on. Check out the events calendar for more, and have a great weekend!


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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

OK, if you haven’t figured it out from my blog postings, I like to save a buck or two. I prefer the term “thrifty” as opposed to “cheap,” but in an expensive city like Chicago, you can go broke pretty quickly if you don’t watch your wallet. Hence the new “Cheap Date” series our bloggers will occassionally be contributing to on this page.

Let’s start in my hood, the South Loop. A new Sam’s Wines & Spirits recently opened on the the northeast corner of Wabash and Roosevelt. The 16,000 square foot store is a welcome addition to an up-and-coming neighborhood still starving for a bigger retail presence. But this is more than just a place to buy booze. A wine cafe is located inside the store! You can buy any bottle of wine in the store, and for a measly $1 corkage fee, they’ll provide you with the stemware to drink it at stools set up along the windows and bar, or you can settle in on the comfy leather couch and chairs. There’s also tables set up with regular chairs and a chess set that I may take advantage of next time.

You can also purchase a cheese plate for $12 – $18. Me and a couple of my fellow SoLo Street Teamers checked it out over the weekend and had a great time. Not a bad outing for $30! Sam’s plans to open a rooftop deck in the spring, which will make things even more interesting.

As for the romance factor in suggesting a liquor store as the destination for a potential date — I’ll leave those tactful details up to you. But there’s something to be said for spending $12 for a bottle of wine that would cost at least three times as much in a lounge or restaurant. Now THAT’S sexy.

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LeeAnn Trotter, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

When you get tired of shopping for gifts and toasting the holidays at countless parties, why not chill out and enjoy some entertainment? There are tons of shows and or activities from which to choose….so why don’t you let me help you whittle down your choices?

A Christmas Carol @ Goodman Theatre
Although it’s a tad long (well over 2 hours), you will enjoy this timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, a bitter old man who finally discovers the true meaning of Christmas.
Sun Times Theatre Critic Hedy Weiss highly recommends it.
The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones also recommends it.
“A Christmas Carol” runs through December 29th.


The Nutcracker @ Steppenwolf Theatre
This is always a family favorite, although this House Theatre production is not particularly child friendly (for those under 8). Here’s what Steppenwolf has posted on it’s website.

“The House’s completely re-imagined version of The Nutcracker isn’t the dusty old ballet you remember. It weaves together riveting dialogue, astonishing puppetry, beautiful song, spellbinding spectacle, and a thrilling eight piece string orchestra to tell a darkly moving story of magic and mystery that you never knew existed. From the creative team behind the recent Chicago hits The Sparrow and The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz, The Nutcracker is a fresh and startling take on a Christmas classic that’s perfect for adults and kids to enjoy together.”


Black Nativity: A Gospel Song Play @ Goodman Theatre
This Congo Square Theater version of the classic nativity story centers on the African American experience, only this year, they’ve added an African storyline to tie into what’s happening in Darfur. I had the opportunity to meet and hear some of the performers…they are wonderful!!


Caroling @ Cloud Gate
This is a great end-of-the-week after work activity. At 6pm every Friday until Christmas, you can hear various groups singing holiday songs under Cloud Gate (better known as The Bean) in Millennium Park. And….you are welcome to join in!!

Here’s a rundown:
November 30thChicago Gay Men’s Chorus
December 7thBella Voce
December 14thChicago Mass Choir (gospel)
December 21st- Chicago Children’s Choir


Zoolights @ Lincoln Park Zoo
This is an amazing event…and so picturesque!!!! The animal houses are aglow with holiday lights, and new this year: 20 foot snow globes featuring characters from popular holiday films. There is also ice sculpture, and of course Santa!!
It’s 5pm – 9pm every Friday through Sunday, and starting December 14th, it’s open every day through the end of the year.

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Riot Riot

MaureenVana, NBC5 Street Team

Riot Fest took over the Congress Theatre in Chicago November 17th and 18th for it’s third year running. For ’07 the fest returned to its original 2 day format with headliners Naked Raygun on Saturday and Bad Brains to close out the event Sunday evening. The concert revved up around 2pm each afternoon filling the day with non stop music until late into the evening hours.

Throughout the day fans came and went staying only for their favorites or acts that have not performed in Chicago for awhile. Overall the attendance seemed thinner then last year’s, swelling to it’s peak for Stiff Little Fingers and Bad Brains. Although the crowd was smaller, the intensity was alive with pits, surfing, and even an attempt to breach the stage.

See Pictures From Riot Fest

The fest brought something for everyone to stop in for by providing over twenty punk rock bands whose hometowns range from Chicago to Ireland. Whether you came for one day, one band, or hung around for twenty, Riot Fest is always worth stopping in the Congress and staying awhile.

Saturday November 17th Line up
Naked Raygun
Stiff Little Fingers
The Queers
Lower Class Brats
The Methadones
Shot Baker
Heart Attacks
The Copyrights

Sunday November 18th Line Up
Bad Brains
The Casualties
Dillinger Four
The Bollweevils
Youth Brigade
Zero to Sixty
Flatfoot 56
Deal’s Gone Bad
The Frantic

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Blagica Stefanovski, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

As I mentioned earlier today, I had the proud moment of paying my tax bill. Let’s face it – whether you get married and buy a condo/townhouse with your man or buy a home on your own, you’ll need to know where to go in the city of Chicago and how to get there.

That’s where I come in :).

First, check out the following list. I took my tax bill and calculated the percentage of my total that went to various line items. I had a tax bill for my condo unit and another tax bill for my parking spot. That’s right. If you own a parking spot in the wonderful city of Chicago, you pay taxes on it. The percentages below are off by a few points because I didn’t add in my parking spot line items, but you’ll get the point.

What Your Cook County Taxes Go Towards
A Gals’ Guide to Getting How Chicago Works….

51% – Board of Education – to all you that want to go the private school route, look at how much you’ll be paying in taxes…that your kids may never use. Chicago does have some phenom public schools. You just need to research the heck out of them. I’m not even married yet and started a flowchart of school, neighborhoods and curriculum. I’m even going to schedule some elementary tours soon. Call me crazy, but if half of my tax bill goes to school, I’m going to do my darndest to make sure CEO Arne Duncan gives me some options.

5% – Water Reclamation
3% – Parks/Museum Aquarium Bond
7% – Parks
2% – School Finance Authority (um, what do they do exactly?)
4% – Community Colleges
1% – Library Fund
20% – City of Chicago…gotta pay to live here, right. I’d still like to see what this 20% goes towards exactly.
1% – Forest Preserve..
5% – Cook County
2.5% – Cook County Public Safety
2% – Cook County Health

Now, there is a big, massive building that takes up a block. This city hub houses our Mayor, along with City AND County services.Yep, you guessed it, the building is called The City Hall/County Building. You’ll need to know what side of the building you need to be on for various things you will need in Chicago. I’ve had many occasions of walking in and staring at the hallway in a confused sort of way, while city workers look at me and chuckle at me. I thought I’d break down the ins and outs of the building so you don’t have to deal with those awkward moments.

Though, I must say, I absolutely love strolling in that building and feeling the buzz of the city’s inner workings and wondering what Mayor Daley’s staff is cooking up.

118 N. Clark, entrance to the Cook County side(East)
Things you do here:

121 N. LaSalle, entrance to City Hall (West)
Things you do here:

  • Go to a city council meeting
  • Visit the Mayor on the 5th floor (well, you have to get thru security first)
  • Try to get a new condo built with approval from the zoning people
  • Say hello to all workers that work for the city

Lastly, a little known secret. Did you know that much of the city is connected with a sweet PedWay that goes underneath the City Hall/County building? Yep, when it’s cold outside, you can walk all the way to the condos at Lakeshore East! Check out the Google Chicago Underground Pedway Map here. Happy hunting!

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Treaty Of Paris

Erik SorensenErik Sorensen (Video)

224 years later, a new Treaty of Paris has been signed.
This time without the gunfire or funny wigs.

Freshly inked Chicago Rock Quintet, Treaty of Paris is the newest addition to the Airport Tapes and Records family. (Andrew McMahon’s imprint label.) And while the band’s name started off as a joke, the Idie Rock band is serious about turning heads.

It’s not easy to stand out in Chicago’s saturated music scene, but the guys are making headway thanks to a slew of successful hometown performances, a loyal fanbase and, oh yeah – good songwriting. After being well received at respected Chicago venues, i.e. Metro, Double Door, Schuba’s, etc., Treaty of Paris is looking to expand their reach. Something tells me they won’t have much trouble.

Forget smoke and mirrors, these guys have fun the old-fashioned way.
You need look no further than their live show or music videos
to understand why their easy to warm up to. The band’s modest and
passive-aggresive, comedic qualities are just as appealing as their

Their newly released debut album, “Sweet Dreams, Sucker“, showcases tracks such as “Waking Up The Dead“, “Roller Skates” and “Hello Nurse,” among others. The songs are impressively developed considering the band’s two-year lifespan, and equally as addictive.

Treaty Of Paris is currently out on a string of national tour dates, but returns to Illinois on Dec. 17th for a performance in Highland and again on Jan 5 at Chicago’s Metro. You might want to get tickets to this one.

224 years is a long time for a curtain call.

For tour dates and other info
visit: TreatyOfParisMusic.com
or MySpace.com/TreatyOfParis

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

I’m fascinated by the process of how products germinate from an idea in someone’s head to a full-blown success. Of course having a quality product is a good start, but a dose of shrewd marketing — and luck — is important as well.

That combination of forces is especially important in the cut-throat world of liquor. Having a rapper drop your product name in one of their songs can do a world of good for sales, but most brands have to resort to old-fashioned marketing to create the word-of-mouth buzz they crave.

One name you may be hearing in the near future is Kilo Kai rum. Chicago brand masters Brad Trayser and Michael O’Connor — part of the team that introduced Effen Vodka — is behind Kilo Kai. The spiced rum is attempting to get in on the market ruled by Captain Morgan, but positions itself as a hipper and better-tasting alternative.

I recently attended a Kilo Kai tasting, and was impressed with the smooth complex flavor. Forget the various fruity concoctions they suggest for mixing with Kilo, this stuff is great on the rocks (or as a Kilo bomb, dropped shot glass and all into a glass of Red Bull).

The company’s press release says “If Kilo were a woman, she’d make the first move, then leave you wanting more.” OK, that might be a bit much on the hyperbole side of things, but check it’s definitely worth checking out. Kilo is available at more than 100 bars and clubs throughout Chicago, and will soon be launched throughout the Midwest and West Coast. Kilo and Cokes all around!

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

This week’s band is three parts reggae, one part jazz, and a whole lot of cool. The Drastics have received acclaim nationally but always come home to Chicago. Their second release, “Chicago Massive,” boasts 27 tracks with 24 artists. Their next local show is at Reggie’s, 21st & State, on Dec 5.

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

Dust off the rockin’ chair, pour a pitcher of iced tea (or mint juleps, if you prefer), and relax. Maura Lally & The Pickin’ Bubs are comfortable, homey, and just plain fun. Michael Teach and I had the pleasure of chatting with and listening to this bluegrass band in Chicago Acoustic Underground‘s studio and we felt all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s the perfect sound for a cold winter’s day (and an overdose of tryptophans).

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Blagica Stefanovski, NBC5 Street Team (Video)


During this Wednesday’s Michigan Avenue shopping/errand Voyage in the Rain, I needed to buy a gift for a girlfriend of mine. I checked out the typical stores, shops and what not and remembered a place called Mark Shale. Mark Shale is in the 900 N. Michigan Avenue (aka Bloomingdale’s building), 4th and 5th floors. If you thought this store was only for your mom and dad, think twice.

I always thought Mark Shale was an older, more expensive store. Don’t get me wrong, the products are top notch, but you’ll recognize many of the brands from your normal department store shopping. I needed a dress for my wedding shower and remembered a gal pal telling me how much she liked shopping at Mark Shale. This gal pal is in her 50s, but when she said, ‘They offer lifetime alterations on their clothing’, I thought,’ Wow, I need to check out this store.’

I hit Bloomie’s, Nordstrom, J Crew, Ann Taylor, etc, but nothing looked like the kind of unique look I was going for. I walked into Mark Shale and immediately noticed a collection of dresses that were carefully chosen by someone. There weren’t many sizes in each style, the price points ranged from moderate to expensive and the feeling of the store was comfortable. I spotted a Design History dress that looked like a Missoni dress and fell in love with it. Here’s a picture of the ensemble (shoes courtesy of Nordstrom, they were fierce but WOO, taller than what I usually wear – ask for Reggie when you need help. He’s a terrific guy, I knew him back when he worked at Marshall Field’s and this time around, he talked me into these Cole Haan Brown Suede Mary Janes with built-in Nike Air cushion).


I went back to Mark Shale and picked up a gorgeous scarf for my girlfriend. The shopping experience is laid back, there is a seamstress on site, and the selection will surprise you. They have everything from scarves to hats to party dresses. Take your fella with you and he can peruse the Men’s side of the store, then relax in one of Mark Shale’s cool seating areas.

The ‘tip’ in this post is about selecting your clothing stores and looking at them as partners that will help build your wardrobe over time. I’m not saying to ONLY shop at one store, but heck, given how competitive things get these days, I’d rather shop at a place with a range of choices without feeling claustrophobic or harassed by a sales person.

Oh, after I bought my dress, I got a nice letter from the President of Mark Shale, thanking me for shopping and introducing me to the company. A nice touch. You can also shop online at MarkShale.com. Originated in Joliet, Illinois, Mark Shale has the following retail locations:

900 N. Mich Ave
Oakbrook Mall
Northbrook Mall
Elston Avenue Outlet

Atlanta, Georgia

Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri

Dallas, Texas

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Blagica Stefanovski, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Hello Ladies…

(this advice can also apply to the fellas, but it seems like you don’t care as much about getting wet.)

Woo Doggie. The weather in Chicago is nutty today. Rain and crazy wind coming from all sides. I just finished a mini errand and shopping jaunt on Michigan Avenue and, of course, have some tips for you.

On days like this, an umbrella is NOT going to help you, trust me. I saw so many umbrellas twisting and falling away from ladies – all while they tried to balance their over priced latte in their hands. If you have a quick jump from the bus to work or the El and work, fine, however I think many of you will be walking for a bit on your commutes. Here are some tips for tackling Chicago rain, along with what to wear:


1) Galoshes. A must. I just got a new pair of Sperry rain boots from Shoes.com. They come in multiple colors, are surprisingly warm and have a nice drawstring tie in the front. Also, Shoes.com is having a 20% OFF Sale on Monday. Enter code CYBERMONDAY at checkout.

2) A rain jacket. Think about it. If it’s in the 40s, yes it’s chilly, but you shouldn’t be wearing a thick wool coat – you’ll sweat your buns off. Take a lesson from the Europeans and layer. I wore a long sleeve cotton top underneath a sweater today. I topped all of that off with a rain jacket that went down to my knees. I scarf around my neck completed my warmth. This way, when you are out shopping, you can take a layer off or two and not have to worry about holding everything.

3) A hat, if possible. I have naturally wavy hair and didn’t feel like having it fro on me. I tucked my hair under a cap and was good to go.

4) A backpack or waterproof zip-up bag. Again, when it’s raining and if you are holding an umbrella, checking your cell phone and trotting around with your coffee, you’re asking for spills and a mess. I love to use my Swiss Army Day packpack and keep everything inside. The backpack is waterproof and ergonomically designed to fit well on my back. Then, I keep my hands tucked into my jacket pockets and can feel my phone vibrate when someone is calling me. Or, keeping a few bucks in the pocket, along with your CTA card saves you grief from digging into the backpack.

Here is a picture of the whole ensemble. Sure, I look like I’m about to go on some sort of military mission, but my backpack also housed cute shoes, for the chance I needed to go see a client or have an impromptu lunch.

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Chicago Trivia

The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

The Christkindlmarket is starting its 12th year in Daley Plaza, but the concept has been around for centuries. What year did the original one start, and where was it?

DeLaCosta logoEmail your answer and mailing address to trivia@thelocaltourist.com for a chance to win dinner for two at DeLaCosta.

Congratulations to Melissa A! She knew that the Magnificent Mile was originally called Pine Street. There was a Michigan Avenue south of the river, and on the north it was named after the free-standing pines. It was changed after the bridge was built to connect the two.

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

How often do you Google yourself? Don’t lie, you know you’ve done it. In fact, you probably should do it on a regular basis. Aside from satisfying your narcissistic tendencies, it’s a good idea to search for your name before a potential employer does. Might want to scrub that Spring Break picture of you licking whipped cream off that Hooters waitresses’ chest.

So is there a way to control your Google ranking? It’s a little more difficult if your name is, say, Sally Smith, but the Marcus Rileys of the world have a bit of an easier time of it. That was until a football linebacker with my namesake started making some noise in high school a few years ago. Ever since then, West Coast Marcus (pictured, right) and I have been battling for the top Google spot, and I’d be very surprised if he hasn’t been cursing Midwest Marcus for stealing his Web search thunder.

At times, he’s been on top, but I’ve managed to hold down the top spot for the last couple of years, even though he appears to have landed a scholarship at Fresno State. I would never wish any harm to West Coast Marcus — but I have noticed his Google ranking tends to go down when he’s injured. A couple of weeks ago I happened to be flipping channels late one night, and turned on the Fresno State-Hawaii game just in time to hear the announcer call a viscous hit by Marcus Riley on the quarterback (it’s kind of jolting to hear the guy on TV call your name!) The video is all over You Tube, and is steadily climbing up the Google rankings.

I wish West Coast Marcus the best. I hope he graduates with a solid G.P.A. and gets a respectable job in accounting or finance or something. Just don’t go to the NFL.

Oh yea, the point of this blog is to point you to www.naymz.com, a Web service that allows you to buy your online identity. You can create a profile ensure that you will get that top Google ranking. (Thanks to fellow Street Teamer, Blagica Stefanovski, for the tip!)

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

Last night I had the opportunity to actually see a band live before they’re featured, and Section 4 blew me away. Serena’s haunting voice soars and skims over the surface of the music and the whole creates an eerily sensual sound. Read what they have to say, and then listen.

Section 4“Section 4 is the janks! By janks I mean: Section 4 is the glimmer in a new born baby’s eye and the treble in a small chimpanzee’s laugh. We’re awesome, and you haven’t heard of us. Section 4 has played several Chicago stages, and we mean to play more stages, more frequently. Constantly compared to Beth Gibbons from Portishead, Romero’s voice is insane. We’ve got fans. Our fans drink. We will bring our fans. They will drink. Let us play. Let us play. Let us play (so say the people).”

Next Chicago shows:
Nov 30, Silvie’s Lounge, 1902 W Irving Park
Dec 14, Red Line Tap, 7006 N Glenwood

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Looking for Butterflies

Katrell Mendenhall, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Calling all ladies, all young ladies for ages 11-18! Do you have or know of young beauties that are trying to find themselves? They may be going through the pressures of today and struggling with being better for their future? There is a program that is designed to help minimize those pressures while strengthen their self awareness and self confidence that they need for tomorrow and years to come.

ReelBeauty Inc. is designed to allow these little cocoons to flourish into beautiful butterflies. Owner and creator of this fabulous outreach, Deida Massey started off in the corporate world working as a paralegal for Cook County. While realizing that her passion was not in law but in makeup, she has worked with celebs in Los Angeles from Shaquille O’Neil and wife Shane O’Neil to right here in our own back yard with Michael Jordan and ex-wife Juanita along with a host of other NBA stars and wives. Deida is currently the key makeup artist for Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child. When asked what she plans to accomplish she stated “Her goal is to get back to the basics in taking responsibility for our girls by restoring and revitalizing their mind, body and spirit.”

In her journey through makeup she wanted to develop a program where she could give back through her gift and reach out to young girls. ReelBeauty is not your ordinary outreach; as yes it teaches the fundamentals of what it takes to become a young woman but the curriculum is what’s exceptional. Make-up application is used as a tool to encourage and mentor young women. The courses consist of 4 workshops teaching self-worth, healthy relationships and self-confidence. Deida has put a unique creative twist to the final workshop, where the girls will experience ReelBeauty in its truest form. The girls have a photo shoot with an entourage of beauty professionals which assist in putting the girl’s individual style together.

Deida had an exclusive gathering to make the community aware of the program. The turn out was great and some of the graduates from previous session spoke on how ReelBeauty changed their lives. Let me tell you their wasn’t a dry eye in the house. To learn more about ReelBeauty and what it can offer an aspiring butterfly you know log on to http://www.realbeautyinc.com.

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

Tourist, that is!

When I first came up with the idea to feature local bands each week, I had a feeling that Chicago had a pretty hefty music scene, but I really didn’t grasp the depth and breadth. Now I know the pool of talent is as deep and wide as Lake Michigan and it keeps getting bigger. I’ve been privileged to share almost 70 of these bands with you, and to help expose them to more fans and to promote their shows.

Imagine my downright glee when I learned that all four bands playing tonight at the House of Blues have been featured on The Local Tourist! It’s an honor to be associated with them.

I’ll be interviewing all of them this evening, and then enjoying the show. Please join me! (It’s only $8 + fees.)

The Attraction – Touch You
Disonic – Walk Away
Blackbox – Girls Like You
The Lifeline – I Need A Knockout Plan

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Ben Soldinger, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Tommy Shaw from Styx and Jack Blades from Night Ranger will be at Joe’s on Weed Street Friday night under the moniker ‘Shaw/Blades‘. The dynamic duo is touring in support of a newly released cd called ‘Influences’, their take on classic rock covers that had inspired them to become musicians. Shaw and Blades have collaborated before under the Super Group, Damn Yankees (which included Ted Nugent). For those of you who remember that band, I predict this will be the prelude to a reunion ( you heard it exclusively here first on the Street Team ;). Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or by cash at Joe’s for only $20! Buy your tickets in advance as I’m sure this will be sold out because of the great value.

Ben’s Blog Archives:

Tavern On Rush

Chicago – ‘Home of the Blues?’

PARLOR Restaurant

Wednesday Nights at Sushi Samba

Quiet Comfort Lounges

Guns N Roses

The Perfect Casual Italian Restaurant

Into The Wild


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Blagica Stefanovski, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

The real estate world in Chicago plays like a Mexican novela, with a twist of the Sopranos, minus the murder.

First, the recent federal investigation of Bridgeport land dealings made me look at my Bridgeport-born fiance and say, ‘what are yous doing down dare in Bridgeport with Hizzonor’. Then, the news about the condo association’s issue with the Chicago Spire developer made me think, ‘good Lord, did Kelleher not do his research about the land required?‘.

Now, I just read an article about Chicago developer, William Warman and his recent purchase of a building at 300 N. Michigan Avenue. This is the same Warman that is being sued by the condo association at 1717 S. Prairie Avenue. The association is stuck with a special assessment between $3-$4 Million. The windows are leaking and they are suing Warman, from what I’ve been told, for construction issues. Also, I was told by friends that live IN the 1717 Prairie building that their turnover money seems to have gone ‘lost’.

It’s a free country and people can buy what they want to buy, but the fact that a developer can have a lawsuit pending and tell that association that he is bankrupt and then buy A NEW building (on Michigan Avenue no less) seems a bit odd to me?

Is it just me or does something smell like a rotten piece of Italian Beef that’s been in the garbage for a while?

One thing I forgot to note:
Developers can have various LLCs, dissolve them then conduct business under new LLCs. I think Warman was operating the 1717 Prairie development under 18th & Prairie II LLC, thus not attached to him as an individually, which presents less liability for developers. Sad that a few bad apples make it rough for developers’ reputations in the city.

Sorry, guys, but y’all should get some kind of pow-wow together to stop this sorta thing.

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—————- THIS WEEK’S —————-

Laura Lodewyck, NBC5 Street Team

It’s panic time. As Thanksgiving approaches, you’re rapidly running out of time to learn how to cook. Get some help from fabulous T-day workshops like at the ones at the Wooden Spoon, the Chopping Block, or Citizen Bar. The best part of dinner, though, is covered at Tipsy Cake: dessert. If the other element of Thanksgiving stumps you–and you’re female–you can take advantage of the Football 101 Clinic for Women at Catalyst Ranch. Continuing on the football theme, hit the Touchdown for Special Olympics Chicago at Moe’s.

But how to burn off the calories you’ve ingested sampling the various dishes that you plan to prepare for your Thanksgiving Feast? Ditch the boring spin class and try Lakeshore Athletic Club‘s free 45 minute yoga…a class called Paws and Flows, for both you AND your dog. Or, take the cycling outdoors in preparation to join the brave few for winter bike riding. Ladies, if you’re scared to be stuck with a broken bike, go to Women and TransMechanics Workshop, a class for women and trans-gendered only held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month. If that’s not for you, try dancing it out at TGIF Dance Parties in Swing on Sundays at May I Have This Dance. Or, just relax with Intro to Meditation at Bloom Yoga.

But where’s the booze? I thought you’d never ask: Beaujolais Nouveau Day at Pops for Champagne celebrates the release of the featured Beujolais nouveau, Joseph Drouhin 2007. You can of course always just slam some beer; but if you’re going to binge drink like you’re in college, you might as well cram some learning in as well. Round out the weekend with some science and learn about evolution at the Darwin Exhibit at the Field Museum; or environmental change at the Canary Project at The Museum of Science and Industry; or the great outer space at the Shoot for the Moon exhibit at the Adler Planetarium.

Or, if you’re just really tired and want some rest, get yourself thrown behind bars for a bit like Shia Labeouf. I know it’s old news, but it still cracks me up. Although he preached about being above all the Hollywood juvenile delinquency and looked the perfect little actor, there’s more to him than meets the eye. Yeah, I went there–who can miss a chance to quote the Transformers?

E-mail me at NudeHippo@nbc5.com and let me know about any upcoming events and be sure to watch some of the fun locations and events that NUDE HIPPO has covered at NBC5.com/nudehippo

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Chicago Trivia

The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

This Saturday is the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, which begins the “official” start of the holiday season with activities, a procession down Michigan Avenue, and fireworks. What was the original name of Chicago’s most famous street?

Email your answer and mailing address to trivia@thelocaltourist.com for a chance to win two introductory certificates to Sheila Kelley’s S Factor. Although this class is just for women, go ahead and enter guys. The holidays are approaching, and sexy self-confidence makes a great gift! (Read my interview with Sheila and my review of the class if you have any doubts.)

Christie Herr knew that Mickey Finn used to drop some drugs into his patrons’ drinks, and then rob them, so this lucky lady gets to dine at DeLaCosta (where I’m sure she’ll be safe). You can read more on Wikipedia.

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Le Passage is one of those nightclubs synonymous with the Chicago nightlife scene.

According to co-owner Matt Lindner, when it opened for the first time in the late 90s, it was the one of the first local clubs to introduce the concept of bottle service and complete VIP service in the city. While some may not view that as something to brag about, Le Passage has gained notoriety over the years for being a hot spot to shake your thing.

The club’s ownership changed earlier this year from Billy Dec’s Rockit Ranch Productions, and rebranded itself as Le Passage Discothèque and Drawing Room.

The menu is created by award-winning chef Shawn McClain and there’s a heavy emphasis on old-fashioned cocktails. I checked out the scene on Thursday during their media and VIP opening. Usually those events can be kind of stuffy, but as the night wore on, the dance floor was packed and people seemed to be having a great time. Le Passage may have left for awhile, but the energy appears to still be there. Check it out.

Le Passage

937 N. Rush St.


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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

I first heard The Attraction earlier this week after one of my favorites, Disonic, announced their show at House of Blues on November 16. To my pleasant surprise, when I checked the lineup I saw that two of the other bands have been featured on The Local Tourist. I figured if I liked three out of the four, The Attraction was bound to be good. I was right.

The AttractionDon’t just take my word for it. Read what they have to say about their sound, and then have a listen:

“It’s hard to come across a band with experience, talent, and the drive to create honest rock and roll. The Attraction successfully blends all the necessary talent, while keeping the integrity that is hard to find in today’s scene. With a sincere love for all things rock, and a passion for music resonating strong within all five members (ex-Best Days Behind, Drop the One, White Hot Knife, Miles From Midnight, The Eclectics, & The Gelheads), The Attraction is headed for success!”

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