Archive for February, 2008

Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

Traditionally when two people get engaged, it’s the man that does the proposing, but there’s a little known tradition that on Leap Day, it’s the women who drop down on one knee. While in our modern times it’s acceptable for a woman to propose, that wasn’t always the case. When the rules of courtship were stricter, women were only allowed to pop the question on one day every four years. That day was February 29th.

Well ladies, grab your man and head over to “David’s Bistro” in Des Plaines where this Friday and Saturday they’re having themselves a Leap Day event! Chef David Maish will serve a four course meal that will have your man screaming yes! Don’t let the word Bistro scare your man into thinking this is just some “chick” place to eat. Fear not my male friends, Chef David had you in mind when he came up with the menu.

First course: Hearty chicken Marsala with portabellas and garlic toast.
Second course: Martini layered chopped salad with blue cheese.
Third course: Kobe beef burgers with Parmesan pomme frites and two unique dipping sauces.
Fourth Course: Chocolate banana rum tower.

If you would like to attend this event call them at 847-803-3233. Reservations are still available. “David’s Bistro” is located at 623 N. Wolf Rd. in Des Plaines on the corner of Wolf and Central. I’ll be attending this Friday, so stop by and say hi if you see me and I will give a full report come Monday.

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

“Chicago’s one of the most passionate cities in the country about music.” John Reese, co-founder Taste of Chaos

Ya’ just gotta love Chicago. Even when it’s cold enough for your hair to freeze if you leave the house while it’s still wet – not that I’ve ever done that, especially not this morning, because that would just be dumb, and I like to think I’m not stupid, still, if I HAD left the house with my hair wet it would most likely have frozen because it’s so darn cold…ANYWAY – even when it’s below freezing we still go bike riding, and running, and swimming in the lake. Like this Friday, for instance, there’ll be a few hundred Chicagoans cycling the winter streets as part of the monthly Critical Mass ride. By the way, if you’re driving and you get stuck in the middle, just go with it. Roll down your window, crank the music, and give those crazy fools a few high fives.

Runners are their own kind of crazy, but they know what they’re doing. Burn enough calories and you can eat whatever you want, and at the end of the Wacky 5K this Sunday they can gorge on a veritable buffet of snacks. To the participants in the Polar Plunge those joggers are taking the easy way out. Jumping into frozen Lake Michigan – now that’s a real Chicagoan.

Eating is nearly a sport in this city, and we’re nearing the end of the first ever Chicago Restaurant Week. If you haven’t had a chance to visit any of the participating restaurants yet, some of them are only serving this special through Thursday, so check the list today!

Thursday night my good friend Julie Cameron of Urban Shop Guide is hosting a special evening at NV Penthouse Lounge. The private event benefits the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation with cocktails provided by YES Vodka and gift bags for the first 75 people.

Now, this is outside of downtown, but Friday night Disonic is playing at Metro. This is one of my very very favorite bands. Seriously. I know every word to every song (except for the new stuff) and will be right in front of the stage like the rocker chick that I am. I have a few tickets that will get you into Metro before 8 for free, and after for only $5. Email me if you want some. They’re playing as part of the Chicago Metal Factory concert, but don’t let that scare ya’. They go on at 9 so you can get in, find out why I’m such a fan, then head over to Elbo Room to catch another of my favorites, Lucid Ground.

I could go on and on, because there are some really cool events this weekend, like Art Against AIDS and Return To Disco Mountain and The Best Of Everything In Chicago (now that’s an ambitious title!) and my personal favorite, 13 Dead Husbands: New Comedy About An Oft-Widowed Woman. But the more of your time I take here, the less time you have to actually go out and DO some of this fantastic stuff!

Have a great weekend!


p.s. Museum of Modern Ice ends Friday! It’s melting, it’s melting…

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

Bunnies are known more for hopping than leaping, but on Leap Day 1960 the very first Playboy Club jumped into the Chicago scene. Hugh Hefner was actually inspired – right down to the bunny costumes – by another Chicago private club. What was the name of that club and who founded it?

Email your answer and address to trivia@thelocaltourist.com.

Chicago Dine Around - Progressive Dining TourOne of the best things about Chicago is the food, and this week’s prize lets you try three of Chicago’s top restaurants in style. Chicago Dine Around is a progressive dining tour that takes you in style from one location to the next. The winner can choose to take a public tour (minimum reservation of 2), or elect to take $300 off a private tour (minimum reservation of 10).

Congratulations to Jim Bryan! He knew that George “Cap” Streeter was the enterprising rapscallion whose shanty sat in the spot underneath the Hancock Building.

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Buried At The Underground

The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

The night started off well enough. I had been told media check-in was at 8:30pm and I arrived right on time. The bouncer confirmed my name on the list and I headed into the bowels of the club. My guest, Marq Withers of Disonic, arrived shortly after, dropped my name at the door, and was ushered inside.

Ashlee Simpson VIP Media Pass at The UndergroundWe were at the Rockit Ranch Winter V.I.P. Party with a private performance by Ashlee Simpson at The Underground. I had received a personal heads-up from my contact at Rockit, and also a media “Invitation to Cover” and was looking forward to talking with her. She loves Chicago and dates Fall Out Boy‘s Pete Wentz, a Chicago boy, and I wanted to get her take on the city and her favorite spots. Josh Kelley‘s appearance a few weeks before at Rockit Bar & Grill had been hosted by the same company and my quick chat with him had gone so well the opportunity to have another nationally recognized artist extol the virtues of this city was exciting. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way.

Marq Withers of Disonic with Master Sommelier Alpana SinghMarq and I talked while I waited for instructions. And waited. And waited. The room began to fill up and Alpana Singh walked by us. Marq’s an enormous fan of the Master Sommelier, so he introduced himself. Meeting her was to be the only positive aspect of the whole fiasco.

We kept waiting. I approached a person also wearing a media badge and he told me we were supposed to wait by the stairs. So we waited. And waited. I confirmed with another media wrangler where I was supposed to be and she pointed me up the stairs to the raised section by the stage and said that’s where Ashlee would be and I could wait there. So we moved. And waited.

People kept piling into the club and we were jostled and pushed and shoved. I was almost thrown off balance a few times by enormous purses large enough to hide a Volkswagen. The cocktail servers were polite. The bouncers, in their mock-commando attire, were aggressive. The poor guys sweeping up were just trying to do their jobs in a place where they were deemed nearly invisible by the moneyed clientèle, but they still had to maneuver in the over-capacity crowd.

Finally, after 2 1/2 hours of waiting and jostling and mind-numbing insipid music droned out by the DJ, Marq had to leave. He had promised Section 4 that he would catch their show at The Note. They were going on at 11:45, and it was already 11. They’re a fantastic band (they’ve been featured on TLT) and I wanted to go with him, but I had been invited and I needed to stay.

He quickly came back to get me. Ashlee was finally there and was by the entrance/exit. Which was blocked off by security. I flashed my media badge – that’s why I was there, after all – but they wouldn’t let me through. OK, I got it. She was there late and there was limited time to talk to the media and TLT has a smaller audience. Since I obviously wasn’t going to get a chance to talk to her it was time for me to go as well. The only problem was they wouldn’t let anybody leave. They had set her up by the coat check and the exit and completely blocked everyone in. For almost half an hour we stood there as Billy Dec and crew milled about nonchalantly. We could see the coat check and the stairs and our escape to freedom. A young lady next to me was almost in tears because someone was waiting for her. Marq and I were growing more and more angry and frustrated, knowing that if we didn’t get out of there soon we were going to miss some of Section 4. A woman with a coiled cord sticking out of her ear while keeping us herded like cattle suggested I get a cocktail and relax. I thought about the irony of being trapped in a fire hazard across the street from a fire station. They finally ushered Miss Simpson past and we exploded towards the coat check, followed by a line of similarly angry and frustrated people. One of whom happened to be from Geffen Records – Ashlee Simpson’s label.

Section 4 performing at The NoteBy the time Marq and I arrived at The Note Section 4 was already playing, and someone handed us both PBRs. We immediately felt a transformation. Dive bar, great music, cheap beer. Ahhh, now that was more like it. I’ll take a head-banging vibraphonist over piped-in synthesized notes, and a singer whose voice responds to her almost whimsical demands over engineered industry creations any day. After they finished a DJ took over, and his abstract hip-hop helped to drown out the memory of the banal, lifeless tripe that had harangued our senses for three agonizing hours.

I’ll admit I’m not a club-goer. I have no desire to wait in line, pay $20 to get in, pay another $11 per cocktail (minimum), and then pay $300 for bottle service if I’d actually like to sit down, but the complete disrespect The Underground showed its V.I.P. patrons that night was over and above the normal entitled atmosphere the club culture exhibits.

If I’m invited to cover similar events in the future (which is doubtful, after this review!), I’ll have a decision to make. Do I go for the quick quote about Chicago from the visiting artist? If I can, I probably will, but my focus is and will remain on the hard-working, talented, under-appreciated musicians this city produces and attracts at an overwhelming rate. Next time there’s a conflict between a nationally recognized act that already has media clamoring to get their sound-bytes and a local band that’s struggling just to be heard, I’ll choose the latter.

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

CanastaThis week’s band has received a wealth of great press, ranging from The Reader to The Onion to NPR. They’ve headlined Metro and Double Door. They played SXSW and sold out shows at Schuba’s. They recently performed at the Obama fundraiser with Wilco, Macy Gray, and 3rd Eye Blind. And you’ve probably never heard of them.

Canasta’s a sextet that plays “ultra-melodic, orchestral pop music,” according to singer Matt Priest. Their sound goes beyond “it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.” It’s fun and light, yet layered and varied. I prefer to let the music speak for itself, so listen to Microphone Song from their “We Were Set Up” CD below.

Like it? So do a lot of Chicago’s other artists, who have remixed songs from the CD for the just released “We Were Mixed Up”. The whole thing’s available for download, and the release show is this Saturday at Beat Kitchen.

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LaShonda Matlock, NBC5 Street Team

According to an interview with Johnny Gill on V103 last week, Johnny is not gay, nor is Eddie Murphy. But I STILL have my “doubts”……

Snoop Dogg is doing a private listening party for industry insiders before his concert on Wed. at The House of Blues. Let’s see if he shows up….

Beyonce is rumored to stay at The Peninsula hotel when she visits Chi-town over the next few months for her new big-screen movie role.

My spies tell me that New Chicago Bulls players Shannon Brown and Larry Hughes are definitely living up the high life with “groupies” at NBA FAVORITE nightspot Club 720.

Hotspot Enclave nightclub hosted the VIP fundraiser The LuxGiv and Pursuit of Passion on Saturday night.

R&B singers Trey Songz and J. Holiday are in town for their performance tonight at House of Blues. Now, if only J. Holiday would make a statement about his recent arrest…..

The Foo Fighters will be performing at Allstate Arena tonight and the fans will probably pack the place!

Tickets for Kanye West’s ‘Glow In The Dark Tour’ Chicago date are completely sold-out! I know big shock there!!

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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

The big news for spring in a store near you is going to be COLOR. And just in case you were inclined to miss the point, the women at this year’s Oscars won’t let you forget. They brought out every color of the Crayola box, which was refreshing to see. What wasn’t so refreshing, was that the designers and the stars seemed to forget that the color of the fabric alone does not make for a beautiful dress. You still need good design. We saw many awkward interpretations of dresses but very few beautifully designed and flattering dresses.

Slideshow: Oscars Red Carpet

Did none of the Hollywood stylists see the Versace couture show? It was a master class in dressmaking, or more appropriately, gown making, and quite frankly none of the dresses last nite were of that superb caliber.Do yourself a favor and go to style.com and see for yourself what you should have seen last nite.

Okay, enough complaining. Here’s the good news:

1. Katherine Heigl. She wore the red dress the best. It had just enough detail to make her shine with out overpowering her — note to Anne Hathaway and Heidi Klum.
2. Jessica Alba. OH, momma!.
3. Hilary Swank. Yes it was black, but it was the best black dress — by far.
4. Cameron Diaz. She spent all of last year on my worst dressed list. What an improvement!
5. Keisha Whitaker. WHO? That would be Forest Whitaker’s wife, who put the major stars to shame (as I thought she did last year as well)

1. George Clooney. In a category all his own. Guys, pay attention.
2. Josh Brolin
3. Patrick Dempsey

There were sooo many to choose from, it made my head spin.

1. Marion Cotillard. Given that she wore a stunning Nina Ricci gown to the SAG awards, I was expecting great things from her.
This hyper designed Gaultier mermaid body stocking wasn’t it. She looked silly. Compare her to Cameron Diaz, and the point is easily made.
2. Tilda Swinton. Morticia Adams was having a garage sale? Apparently so.
3. Nicole Kidman. I thought it was her husband who had the substance abuse problem not her stylist.
4. Ellen Paige. “Sweetie, you’re young and pretty, so why are you dressing for the biggest nite of your life as if you were a middle aged doctor’s wife at Lutheran General Hospital’s gala in Park Ridge?”
5. Cate Blanchett. BCBG was having a sale at its factory outlet? Apparently so.

1. Javier Bardem. “Sweetie, you’re young………”
2. Ryan Seacrest. And you thought Johnny Cash was dead……
3. Johnny Depp. Doctors in Park Ridge are now apparently very fashionable…..

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