Archive for December, 2007

The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

What better way to ring in the new year than with a super, American, happy, fun, good time jam band?

From the band: “The Super American Happy Fun Good-Time Band are a bunch of cool dudes who like to have fun and perform music. The band plays a wide variety of musical styles that are intended to stimulate ones feet into a dance like motion. TSAHFGTJB is noted for having different sets of music each performance which range from rock, funk, bluegrass, disco, fusion, latin, jazz, and electronica.

They started off as an an experiment in improvisation for local jam musicians. Every week they would put together a different lineup and see how the jams would change from show to show. As of 2007 a solid lineup had formed and now try to play outside of their weekly gig.”

Next Chicago show: Jan 11, Double Door

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Blagica Stefanovski, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Let’s see. The dollar is in the crapper, the housing market is in a slump, developers are experiencing entire building foreclosures and ex military folks are having a difficult time finding a job.

Happy New Year to you, too.

In the zany world of economic ups and downs, a recent Chicago Sun-Times article about a Lakeview condo association’s legal win put a smile on my face. In a nutshell, the iconic high rise at 330 W. Diversey didn’t like the idea of St. Joseph Hospital expanding into their turf. The Association sued the hospital along with our fine city of Chicago and won.

I used to live at 2909 N. Sheridan and know exactly what the dwellers of Commonwealth Plaza are talking about. The office expansion and the increased traffic this would bring spells bad news for the neighbors. That stretch of Surf is so tiny – I can only imagine the new congestion. Yack.

It took over a year to overturn the City Council’s vote for development plans, but that’s OK. Congrats to the Commonwealth Plaza Condo Association for sticking together and seeing this issue to the end. Here’s a former neighbor passing over a high five from the South Loop!


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Erik SorensenErik Sorensen (Video)

Company of Thieves hit the ground running in 2007 and haven’t stopped since. And while few things in 2008 can be predicted with certainty, this act’s success is a safe bet.

I caught up with the guys (and girl) after their most recent performance, and it seems the weather isn’t the only thing that’s changed since the last time you saw them. Brad Sawicki (bass) and Jim Ratke (drums) are the newest additions to the lineup, and former Wax On Radio member, Scott Heatherly has assumed permanent keyboard duty, as opposed to select appearances from Ryan Gray. Fresh off a group of East Coast performances, including the Yahoo! Billboard Live! showcase in New York City, the band returned to Chicago for it’s biggest hometown gig to date with the new lineup, which served an even larger purpose.

Joining Company of Thieves on the Metro bill were: Skybox, The Young Sea and Sars Flannery: All of them playing for Illinois based chairties. The Tolbert Refugee Assistance Foundation as well as the Dave Eggers 826CHI Organization (dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills) both benefited directly from the elaborate performance.

C.O.T. Vocalist Genevieve Schatz recently collaborated on a track with Kevin Prchal (The Young Sea), Adam Krier (Lucky Boys Confusion, American Taxi),Ryan O’Neil (Sleeping at Last), Mikey Russell (Wax on Radio), and Dan Monahan (Last Fast Action). The song can be purchased at www.myspace.com/theyoungsea. All proceeds go to the Bryan House charity.

A special thanks to Daniel Shaughnessy (dshaughnessy47@gmail.com) for filming/editing the event and interview.

For donations and information on the 826CHI and Bryan House charities, visit:
http://www.826chi.org/ andhttp://www.bryanhouse.org/

Info and showdates:

Click here for a previous review on Company of Thieves.

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Rikki Greenberg, NBC5 Street Team

Over the years I have accumulated beauty tips and tricks from various educational sources. I’ve tried putting vinegar in my hair to make my deep chocolate hue more intense (did not work, smelled awful) and spreading a delightful mixture of yogurt and oatmeal on my face for a radiant glow (sort of worked, smelled pretty good actually) but the results have been less than stellar.

So I am here to tell you some tips of my own that I have developed throughout the years and don’t leave you smelling funky or people asking “What do you have on your face?”

1) Healthy Roots
In order to have shiny, bouncy hair, you have to start at the roots. Before you go to bed, take about two drops of olive oil and massage them into your scalp. This tip works best at night because you have more time for the oil to sink in. Voila! Shiny, happy hair at a discounted price.

2) Strong Nails
Cursed with a habit of biting my nails that never seems to stop, I began meticulously applying lotion to each nail. I was amazed at the result and couldn’t stop staring at my glossy, thick nails. The great thing about this tip is that you can do it anywhere, anytime and with any lotion. Although it has not cured my habit entirely, I am much less tempted to bite my gorgeous, non-stumpy nails!

3) Glowing Skin
After consuming 2-3 cups of green or white tea with various added ingredients every day, I noticed a significant difference in my skin. The real trick to this tip is that after I drank the tea, I rubbed the tea bag all over my face and did not rinse it off. As weird as this may sound, it really does work and pretty soon, I was getting compliments from the shampoo lady at my salon. True story!

4) Smooth legs
As a woman blessed with thick, coarse hair, I have exhausted every option to get smooth legs. At the urgency of my roommate, who applied lotion every day and never had to shave a day in her life, I began to do the same thing. Pretty soon, I became a woman obsessed (shocker) and applied Vaseline Intensive Care Total Moisture Dry Skin Lotion almost every day. The lotion made shaving a breeze and kept my unruly hair at bay. I no longer looked like I got into a viscous fight with my razor!

I promise you these tips do work and you will love the results as much as I do. Now you don’t have to spend a fortune on gloss treatments, skin care products or cuticle creams because the same results can be found in your very own kitchen or bathroom!

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized.” Daniel Burnham, 1910

Where, oh where, did 2007 go? It feels like it disappeared, until I look back at all the changes and improvements The Local Tourist has gone through. I hope you, also, have had similar successes and plan for more in 2008!

If you’re having a hard time letting go, or are really really excited about the new year, you’ve got two nights to celebrate instead of just one. It seems that December 30th is the new New Year’s Eve. In addition to the annual Eve of the Eve at Union Station, there’s also an event at the Santa Fe Center and a cruise on Lake Michigan. If you haven’t yet made your plans for New Year’s Eve, there’s still time. Check out the parties or make reservations for dinner on TLT’s NYE Guide. You can also have your champagne a little early at Binny’s champagne tasting this evening, or take a champagne cruise complete with a four-course dinner this weekend.

Get a jump start on your resolutions this weekend at the Holiday Sports Fest. There’s no admission to the huge indoor gym set up in McCormick Place, and there are interactive zones and tournaments. There’s also a Critical Mass ride tomorrow night. For the uninitiated, this is a huge, traffic-stopping bike ride through the city streets of Chicago. For motorists there’s no way to plot out an evasive route, so if you plan on driving just be prepared to be swarmed by hundreds of cyclists. I got caught in a one a couple of months ago and the enthusiasm is so infectious I couldn’t help but smile and stick my hand out my window for all the waiting high-fives.

I’m off to reflect on the last year and plan the next. Have a great weekend and a Happy New Year!


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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Big ups to all the people who came through North Beach on Friday night for the official kickoff of the ChiTown DanceOFF. Despite the holiday season, a nice-sized crowd came out to check the festivities at North Beach in Downer’s Grove.

It didn’t take long to find 10 people to sign up for the contest. Check out the dancers and vote for your favorite at www.nbc5.com/danceoff.

Slideshow: DanceOff Kickoff Party

Each weekly winner will receive a $100 prize, and after 11 weeks, a $1,000 grand prize will given to the ultimate winner. Then it starts all over again.

Be sure to check out the schedule at www.nbc5.com/danceoff to see which club we’ll be hitting next, and thanks to our partners at ChiTown After Dark for putting it together.

It’s time to get your groove on!

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A Very Good EnGAGEment

Shlomi Rabi NBC5 Street Team

Put yourself in my shoes: I wake up one morning, the furniture around is vandalized, the paintings are shredded, the cats are missing, the windows are broken, the fridge door is left open to reveal a decapitated horse’s head, dead fish are lined in a pentagram, and the red inscription on the wall reads “You’re Next Bitch!” I leap out of bed, a million thoughts ricocheting in my head, panicking, covered in cold sweat I run around the house screaming: “Oh No! This can’t be!!! I couldn’t have missed Project Runway last night!!!” Only to remember soon thereafter it was a recap episode. *Sigh*… That was a close one. I’m ready to brush my teeth and start my day.

The day only got better, if you can believe it, and if for no other reason then because I got to go to Dirk Flanigan’s The Gage at night. It was Shahron’s birthday and I promised him I’d take him to the best new venue in town. Hot damn, did I deliver. The ambience was sophisticated and relaxed (think Tim Gunn meets Stacy London), the menu was as varied as Michael Kors’ plethora of mystique tan shades, and the wine was as delicious as Rami Kashou. Shahron and I shared the mussels (chosen as the Best in Town by every publication in town) which left us wishing we could marry them. Shahron then had The Gage burger, wishing he could divorce the mussels and wed the beef instead (no pun intended.) I had the seared Hawaiian tuna, which had me wishing I could practice polygamy and marry both my mussels and fish. The dessert was nothing short of amazing and could not be topped. I was ready to go home, gently shove aside the smashed disco ball, and go to bed.

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

The AudiansI met Sima Cunningham recently when she made a guest appearance at Chicago Acoustic Underground‘s studio with Jeff Brown (podcast coming soon!). She only sang for one song, but I was impressed with her voice and Michael’s a big fan, so when she told me she had a show on the 30th I invited her to submit her music. Obviously I like it! You’d never guess listening to their indie/rockabilly sound that The Audians are a group of teenagers. Check them out this Sunday at The Hideout.

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

OK, so he doesn’t really make them cry, but he does soften them up a bit.

Mike Ditka made an appearance last Thursday at the new Binny’s South Loop to sign bottles of his wine. Da’ Coach has his own wine, you ask? Yes – he may be synonymous with football, especially here in Chicago, but he also has a namesake successful steakhouse in the Gold Coast. And steakhouses are synonymous with wine, ergo, it’s not a leap to think that the famous leader of the ’85 Super Bowl champions would have his own wine.

Fans started lining up at 3pm, and although he wasn’t supposed to start until 6 o’clock, when I arrived half an hour early he was already autographing away.

I had come with Lee Roupas. Lee’s a professional bodybuilder and personal trainer, and he’s also the “Card Hard Guy.” If you’ve walked by a bar in Chicago you’ve probably seen him – the big guy on the poster daring kids under 21 to try to get in. In that role he’s got a contact or two, so we were able to skip the line that already snaked to the back of the store and waited patiently a few feet away.

Well, I waited patiently, anyway, as fan after fan approached the table with bottles of wine and memorabilia from books to mini-helmets. Some of them wore Bears headbands and others had jerseys, and everybody seemed thrilled to be this close to a man who, for many, symbolizes the blue collar work ethic Chicagoans prize. When Lee was motioned over to the table I could feel Da' Coach Mike Ditka with Lee Roupasthe gust of air as he raced over to finally meet his idol of 25 years.

After his picture was taken we left immediately, as if he didn’t want to spoil the moment with any lingering. We hit the cold winter night and he pumped his arm in the air and shouted “Yes” and had a grin that made this 6’3″ lumberjack of a man look like a 10-year-old. A couple of men heading into the store looked over and smiled and waved, and there was this unspoken bond of manly men acting like 6th grade girls at a Hannah Montana concert (without the screaming, of course). But that’s OK; it’s Da’ Coach, baby!

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Wu Tang Forever!

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Cash Rules Everything Around Me

C.R.E.A.M. get the money — dolla dolla bill ya’ll!

It’s almost been a week now, but I couldn’t let last week’s Wu Tang Clan concert go by without some sort of mention. In short, it was off the hook!

Wu came through The Metro last Saturday, and hundreds of people braved the snowstorm to check out these hip hop legends.

With all of sucker MCs out there, it can be hard for any individual group to stand out and keep it real, but when Wu first came on the scene in the early ’90s, there was never any doubt these cats were doing something different. Their debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), is critically acclaimed as a classic and one of the best of the 1990s. The group delved into those tracks and many more in a furious performance on Saturday that had the entire crowd in a frenzy, myself included.

Slideshow: Wu Tang Concert

The large contingent of rappers, most originating in or near Staten Island NY, have branched out into successful solo careers, TV, film, screenwriting and more, but the there never seems to be an ego issue when they get together on stage.

Perhaps the most memorable part of Saturday’s show was a tribute to fallen member Ol’ Dirty Bastard, who died of a drug overdose in 2004. The crowd sang in unison to Shimmy Shimmy Ya and Got Your Money and Give It To Ya Raw.

Check out the pics and special big ups to fellow Street Teamer Brook Jay and the All Terrain team for hooking up the VIP.

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Get Your Groove On!

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Here’s fair warning… you’re gonna be hearing about the DanceOFF competition quite a bit in this space. Get used to it!

The DanceOFF, hosted here on NBC5.com (www.nbc5.com/danceoff), and run by our new content partners, ChiTown After Dark, kicks off tonight in Downer’s Grove.

You have several opportunities to participate, if you feel like droppin’ like it’s hot. Show up at North Beach in Downer’s Grove at 8 p.m. to sign up, or, a few hours later we’ll also be at the Shark City Sports Bar in Bloomingdale where signup starts at 10:30 p.m. The first 10 people will be chosen, so get there early.

On Saturday, check out the Maxum Sports Bar and Grill in Hinsdale where the dance competition kicks off at midnight. Get there at 11 p.m. for signup. All information, including directions, is on the (DanceOFF page.)

The Downer’s Grove event also doubles as the kickoff party, so yes, tonight I’ll be leaving the city limits and venturing out to the ‘burbs. Would love to see you there.

In the meantime, check out LeeAnn Trotter’s piece she did Thursday previewing the contest.

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Shopping Spree!

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

So I glanced at the front page of the Sun Times Monday morning to see a cover story about Lance Briggs’ baby’s mama talking about how he’s not living up to his responsibilities as a father. Something about an “open pants policy toward parenting.” Ouch.

Despite the obvious salacious nature of the story, I was taken aback because I covered a story exactly a week before involving Briggs and 50 deserving kids who were treated to a shopping spree at Target. I knew I’d be posting the story this week for NudeHippo.tv, and the irony would be — well, I guess you can just insert your own joke here.

Slideshow: Lance Briggs Helps Host Shopping Spree

So anyway, the kids were selected for the shopping spree based on their grades, good citizenship, school attendance or merits received from Corps assistance and/or attendance. Ruben Brown is also a part of this project, but wasn’t present that night. His participation is an even better story, because Brown grew up poor and benefited from Salvation Army as a kid.

No matter what you think of pro athletes and their behavior in their private lives — and whether it’s even any of our business anyway — they do have the ability to bring attention to causes that may otherwise be neglected. Let’s face it, if the shopping spree had taken place but no Chicago Bears players were supposed to be there, would as many media members have showed up? Probably not. So as you’re busy spending way too much money on presents and gorging yourself with food this season, take a second to think about those who don’t have the luxury of taking those things for granted. Happy Holidays!

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Shreyas Shah, NBC5 Street Team

I sincerely hope you can make it to my annual holiday party tonight, Mistletoe.

The tradition of mistletoe goes back to the Roman festival of Saturnalia, where kissing under mistletoe was a ritual believed to confer fertility. The Druids believed mistletoe had the magic power of hope, symbolizing peace to all who entered. Enemies who found themselves under the mistletoe would drop their weapons and embrace, declaring peace on that day. Beyond the history lessons and theories; we’re simply celebrating the Mistletoe because it’s a nice excuse to kiss, so we’re putting them up all over the place. Come kiss, drink, dance, and be merry with us this coming Friday, Dec. 21st for a serious bash to bring in the holidays.

DJs JazIntellct and Mark Fullaflava spin hip-hop, soul, r&b


Funky Buddha
728 W. Grand Ave.
9pm – 2am
for discounted admission, RSVP to http://rsvp.goodforparty.com/

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LaShonda’s Scoop!

LaShonda Matlock, NBC5 Street Team

This has been a HOT week in gossip and here’s your DOUBLE-SCOOP!

Michael Jordan was sitting pretty in a sky box enjoying the Lakers vs Bulls game.

A special listening party was held at nightclub Redno5, for home-town rising rapper/star Lupe Fiasco’s new album “The Cool”.

The fabulous Regina and George Daniels charity drive was a huge success! Not only did all of the A-list people attend but Regina took this very special opportunity to show everyone just how well she’s moved on since resigning as publicist for R. Kelly.

Slideshow: George Daniels Holiday Party

And although Fantasia Barrino didn’t take the stage at Regina and George’s charity event to well after midnight the crowd didn’t seem to mind. But don’t believe everything you hear! Regarding those “pregnancy” rumors, a rep for her Broadway show, The Color Purple, states that Fantasia is “not pregnant”! Several blogs including myself have recently reported that the American Idol champ, 23, and rapper Young Dro were expecting. I still say she’s pregnant and doing a Christina Aguilera by not speaking!

Speaking of R. Kelly, Judge Vincent Gaughan will decide Friday (Dec. 21st) on whether he should revoke Kelly’s bond. Now this is on top of a “press conference” and concert all happening the same day. Let’s see what happens…….

And every rapper must SELL when is comes to their fragrance, no matter how bad it smells! Rapper Chingy (I know, who?) will be at the Ford City Mall Friday (Dec. 21st) to “hype” up his album/clothing line and his first fragrance-hopefully all of the above will be his last!

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TLT’s Cab Crusade

The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Cab Ride #1: It’s cold. It’s snowing. I have no cash on me, but my bank’s ATM is half a mile away. I’m running late, so I do what any city gal would do. I hail a cab and ask if he takes credit cards.

“No.” And he drives off.

Another one pulls up and I try again. “Do you take credit cards?”


Fine. I walk into the convenience store and use their ATM and agree to pay their fees and my bank’s fees and and sign a 10-part form that says I’m paying for 2 percent of the rental of the machine, and yes I accept these terms and conditions. I walk back outside, hail a cab, grumble my way downtown from Belmont and Sheridan when he takes LaSalle to Ogilvie Station, when any local knows that Lake Shore to Lower Wacker is about 10 minutes faster. Still, I tip him $2 on a $12 fare.

Cab Ride #2: This time I had 3 teenage boys with me. Being teenage boys, they have no concept of seasons and appropriate winter attire and therefore would freeze at a bus stop and the other two mothers would probably be a little ticked if I let that happen, so I flagged down a cab and we piled in.

A friend had informed me after Cab Ride #1 that my first mistake was asking if they take credit cards. “I just get in and give ’em my credit card at the end. They are required to take it, after all.” Since I’d tried several times in the past to be “considerate” and ask if I could use plastic and had been left standing on the street, I decided to take his advice. Besides, once again I had no cash and my bank’s just not that convenient. So this time I didn’t ask.

He turned right when he should have turned left and dropped us a block away from our destination in the middle of a snowstorm. I pulled out my American Express and, although he had one of those contraptions you slide a credit card through on his dashboard, he sighed. Loudly.

“You don’t have any cash?”


“The machine’s broken.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t have any cash on me.”

He grabs a stack of manual receipts. If you’re over 30 or make purchases in places where the lights flicker and the cash register still has push buttons and the drawer flies out with a loud “brring”, you’ve seen them. They’ve got blue boxes to put the numbers in, and the carbonless paper never transfers the information to the bottom copy. Anyway, they’re folded over and he wags them at me. “I’ve already got all these unapproved cards,” and he starts to flip through them.

“I’m sorry. I don’t have any cash on me.” Maybe he thought if he complained enough money would suddenly appear in my wallet. That’s never worked for me or anyone else I know, so still no cash.

“You should have asked first.”

I tipped him $2 on $9.50. Don’t ask me why.

Cab Ride #3: Cab driver’s response when I handed him my credit card?


My tip?

$2 on $7.50.

As I exited the cab into the blustery cold, I knew that I had over-tipped, again. Heck, with the attitude these guys were giving me they didn’t deserve a tip at all. Still, I wanted to be absolutely positive that they were required to accept credit cards before going into a complete hissy-fit. On Cab Ride #1 I’d written down the number posted on the back of the front seat for the City of Chicago, so I called and the nice lady (which was a pleasant surprise in and of itself) informed me that yes, cab drivers in Chicago are REQUIRED to accept credit cards. She also volunteered that if they say the “machine is broken”, then they need to call it into dispatch to get it repaired. It is not the fare’s responsibility.

Cabbies have to pay a fee to their company for each credit card, but she told me the main reason they don’t want to accept them is they’ll have to declare that tip. That logic fails me. They’d rather turn down a fare than have to declare it? What also escapes me is why you’ll get attitude if you don’t have any cash on you. These guys make their livings off of gratuity, which should be based on service.


My last three experiences had been awful, and yet I still tipped 20+ percent. I was guilty of reinforcing their negative behavior for no other reasons than I felt expected to tip and I’ve spent years in the service industry. (B. F. Skinner would have a heyday with that reflex.)

No more. I know there are positive, service-oriented cab drivers out there. Unfortunately, those with negative and entitled attitudes are so pervasive that, as a proponent of Chicago and someone who encourages tourism, I’m embarrassed to think my city is being represented in this fashion. It also just plain ticks me off. So, I’m instituting a set of rules to follow whenever I need to take a cab.

  1. I will not ask if he takes credit cards. He has to. Period.
  2. If he gives me attitude about the card, no tip. Nothing. Nada.
  3. If he also takes me the wrong way, or is on his cell phone, or curses, or shoves hand-written receipts in my face or is in any other way inappropriate, rude or disrespectful, I will call and file a complaint.
  4. If there’s no attitude, I’ll tip at least 30%. If possible, I’ll even tip with cash.

Join me, please, on my little crusade to reward those drivers who are good at their jobs, and to refuse to encourage those who aren’t. Just imagine if cab drivers knew their income rested solely on the merits of the service they provide.

City of Chicago: (877)244-2227

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

“We struck the home trail now, and in a few hours were in that astonishing Chicago–a city where they are always rubbing a lamp, and fetching up the genii, and contriving and achieving new impossibilities.” Mark Twain, “Life on the Mississippi,” 1883

Quick – what’s the first word that comes to mind when you hear “Mike Ditka.” Was it wine? No? Well, even though Da Coach will always be synonymous with football, he’s hoping to make a name for himself in the vintner’s world also. He’ll be at the new Binny’s South Loop Thursday to sign bottles of the wine he’s helped create with his new team, the Mendocino Wine Company.

Another heavy hitter in town this week is Brian Dennehy. The 6-time Emmy nominee is famous among Chicagoans for his portrayal of John Wayne Gacy, but he also played Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman”. Dennehy will be at the Art Institute on Thursday to discuss the playright’s, and Eugene O’Neill’s, works.

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is next Tuesday and the year ends a week later. This weekend also marks the ending of the Green City Winter Market in Lincoln Park Zoo’s lion house and the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. The Woman Made Holiday Bazaar runs through Sunday, so you can still drop by and get some last minute gifts.

I know you’ve got parties to attend and shopping to do, so I’ll let you get to it. Have a great weekend, and a Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate!


p.s. Thanks for the input on the (possibly) new events calendar. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do so and let me know what you think. New Calendar | Old Calendar

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Anybody but Orton!

Rikki Greenberg, NBC5 Street Team

So as soon as I learned that Orton was going to be starting for the Chicago Bears this past Monday night, I knew we were in BIG trouble.

I’ve always loved the Bears, but reached a new level of devotion a couple years ago, so I knew of Orton’s less than stellar performance. But I still had hope, like all Bears fans do. Its the only thing you have when your team takes 3 1/2 quarters to score a touchdown.

Within the first quarter, I was happy that there were no turnovers, but my goodness, what does it take to get a pass that’s more than 10 yards?!?! The defense was solid, so at least I knew they wanted to go out with dignity, but what happened with the offense?! Seriously…2 yards? For a carry? Are you kidding me?! I can run farther than that!

As the game progressed, Orton failed…once again…to get anything going on offense. Urlacher, of course, kicked major butt and if he could play all positions on the team, the Bears could actually win on a consistent basis.

When the fourth quarter started, the Bears looked like they might have a chance to win. They gained good field position and had enough time to get into the end zone. Here goes the snap, Orton has the ball, he scrambles, he looks, and OH MY GOODNESS, IT’S INTERCEPTED BY A VIKINGS PLAYER! Who could of predicted that?!

So close, yet SO far away, the Bears end their season with another horrible quarterback. And disappointing offense. And Rex Grossman doing some funny dance in the beginning of the game. I just don’t understand why they put Orton in. I mean, I know they didn’t have anybody else…but Orton? Gawd…seriously though…Orton?!

With 2 more games to go, I can only hope that the Bears will get something together. If they don’t, then there’s always next year.

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Leila Noelliste, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

My suede boots clicked against the pavement as I made my way to Reggie’s Rock Club and Record Breakers last Friday, a self proclaimed “music joint” in the South Loop. I had just left an office Christmas party and, with my friend Liz, was going to hear rapper Iomos Marad perform.

We both looked fairly buppie (black urban professional); me in a long grey skirt and beaded scarf, Liz in a plaid winter coat and dark wash jeans.

But as we entered Reggie’s – a big room with brick walls, cement floors, no seating, a crudely constructed stage and a bar – we realized that we had left Buppy-ville, and crossed the portal to the hip-hop underground.

I pushed my way through a swarm of dudes in baggy, hooded urban apparel, sippin’ beer and bobbin’ their heads to the music. “So dis where all the dudes at!” I thought as I looked around. For every girl (I counted less than ten) there were at least 12 guys. But it wasn’t a club; the dudes were there for the real hip-hop.

Liz and I found a spot on the floor, put on our best “I’m-on-dat-real-s***” expressions, and tried to blend. But when Iomos came on stage, we couldn’t prevent cheerleader-ish squeals from escaping our lips. Oh well. It’s not like our cover wasn’t already blown.

I could see that the crowd was absorbing the lyrics and, as a writer, I appreciated that; nothing better than an intelligent crowd. And the sparse furnishing wasn’t so bad either – the lack of visual distraction made for a more potent musical experience. (…at least that’s what I told my screamin’ feet.)

All in all, Reggie’s was a definite hit, and I will be checking for future shows.

…but next time I’ll be sure to rock my Pumas.

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MaureenVana, NBC5 Street Team

It was cold, it was late, and it was all the way on the 2100 block of south State st., but it was worth it. The Sword graced Chicago bringing with Valient Thorr and Black Cobra to play a late show at the recently opened Reggie’s Rock Club. The venue was a buzz as early as 8pm with fans hanging out at the bar next door or sifting through albums at Record Breakers upstairs. By the time Black Cobra had finished their opening set the club was packed.

Openers Black Cobra lured wallflowers hanging out at the merch table and broke up pockets of conversation with their infectious heavy sludge. Once they had the attention of the audience they held it to the end with building songs that kept us wondering where they would go next. The sound carried thick and energized making it hard to believe that it came from just a drummer and a single vocalist/guitarist. The twosome impressed those unfamiliar and left the stage to a bustling venue anxious to see what else was in store for the night.

See Photos from The Sword, Valient Thorr, and Black Cobra

Beards, jean jackets, and a pair of red suede-like boots was enough to make the very least interested person give Valient Thorr a double take. Beyond the eye catching apparel lies a beast of music that is a blend of metal, country, and some crazy 70’s rock and roll, that got all mixed together and shot into outer space. Some bands need to be seen live to understand and Valient Thorr brings something special to the stage that truly makes coming out to a show worth while.

The Sword took the stage at 11:30pm to play through the midnight hour into Friday morning. Their rich sound carried live almost as perfect as if you were listing to their albums at home on your stereo full blast. The crowd pushed forward whipping hair and fists into an ocean of movement that followed the ebb and flow of The Sword’s set. Their hour performance drew to a close with a two song encore that put a capstone on one of the best concerts of 2007 that I have had pleasure to attend. The group played material including “Winter Wolves” and “Barael’s Blade” off of their first studio album, “Age of Winters” and are at work on a follow up album slated for a March ’08 release.

Band of the Night Pick: Tie! The Sword and Valient Thorr

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

nullFrom the band:

“STUNATO creates a highly eclectic mixture of modern rock with elements of acoustic folk, punk, and blues. Rocking grooves, refreshing humor, and cutting, melodic, boy-girl harmonies give STUNATO its unique vibe. The band’s first single “WHEN BUSH COMES TO SHOVE” from the EP ‘TAG’ was featured on Italian Radio’s RADIO ROCK in Rome, Italy in 2006.”

“The EP is really impressive and we’ll continue to play it on our show! Break a leg!” Emilio Pappagallo, RADIO ROCK, ITALY

Next Chicago show: Dec 20, Silvie’s Lounge; Dec 29, Cals Liquors

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LeeAnn Trotter, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

There’s a new hangout place I think you might like: It’s very small (only seats 50 people), it has munchies (appetizers and dessert), and there’s a DJ playing all your faves. There’s even room for a little for dancing!

I’m talking about Connoisseur. It’s located on Grand just west of Carpenter (1141 W. Grand Ave.) Unofficially, it’s been open for a couple of weeks, but this weekend is their official Grand Opening. I had the chance to check it out last weekend, and I have to say I was impressed with the ambiance, the food was tasty and the music was kickin’.
Images: Click Here To View Connoisseur Tasting Photos

I highly recommend it!!

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

“I warn you, Jedediah, you’re not going to like it in Chicago. The wind comes howling in off the lake and gosh only knows if they ever heard of lobster Newburg.” Orson Welles as Citizen Kane

The wind continues to howl off the lake, but our tastes have certainly improved over the years. There’s even a new champagne and wine lounge opening this weekend called Connoisseur. And although there’s snow on the ground and ice on the sidewalks, foodies can still get their fresh food fix at the Green City Winter Market. It runs through next weekend in the lion house at Lincoln Park Zoo. Want to prove Chicago is tres magnifique? Enter the world of French film and wine while networking at the Alliance Francaise de Chicago.

If that’s all too high-falutin’ for your tastes, that’s just fine. Say Bye Bye Liver at the Chicago Center for Performing Arts. This fundraiser has drink specials, appetizers, and highlights from the sketch comedy show. Or, pull out your Santa coat and hat and drink your way through Rush & Division Streets. No, you’re not reliving last weekend’s SantaCon. This weekend it’s Running Of The Santas. Hopefully there will be a different Santa having breakfast with the kids at Hard Rock the next morning.

Another activity you get a second chance at is making a gingerbread house. Parents and kids can skate over to Park Grill and can make their own to take with them. Even if you have no interest in making one, you can stop in and see the 20pound Gingerbread Skyline on display.

On a separate note, I need your input! I’ve been searching for a way to add more neighborhoods while still having an easy to use events calendar. I think I’ve found it, but I need to know if YOU think it’s useful. Each neighborhood is color coded, and clicking on the address in the listing will bring up a map. Please, check out the sample calendar and let me know what you think. (I’ll make it prettier once I know you like it.)

In the meantime, the current events calendar works just fine for things to do downtown, so be sure to visit it to plan your weekend. Have fun!


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Brook Jay, NBC5 Street Team (video)

This morning I appeared on NBC5’s morning show along with two Chicago Blackhawks players, Adam Burish and James Wisniewski, to talk about what to get your guy for Christmas. In case you haven’t noticed this season, the Blackhawks are hot, so get down to the United Center and check them out! Here’s some of the items we featured:

Johnson Dreadnaught Acoustic Guitar, $119 plus tax

Tommy’s Rock & Roll Café

2548 West Chicago Avenue

Chicago, Illinois

(773) 486-6768

Xbox 360 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare game, $349.99 and $59.99

Best Buy

2100 N. Elston

Chicago, Illinois

(773) 486-0142

Killerspin RAD Ping Pong Table, $1,549 plus tax

Order from dealers online at http://www.KillerSpin.com or


33 W. Monroe, 17th Floor

Chicago, Illinois

(866) 577-5291

Garmin nüvi 770 GPS System, $965.00

Order from dealers online at www.Garmin.com or at retail store.

Garmin Store

663 N. Michigan

Chicago, Illinois

(312) 787-3221

Chicago Blackhawks Tickets & Jersey

Tickets Retail from $10.00 to $85.00 and Jerseys are $125

or call (312) 455-7000

Jersey: Fandemonium Stores, United Center

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