Archive for September, 2008

Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank
As the only person to work for both Chicago baseball teams as both a player and as a broadcaster, current White Sox radio color analyst Steve Stone is the foremost authority on Chicago baseball. Stone or “Stony” as he is nicknamed, has also done television broadcasts for ESPN and TBS and will become the Sox television analyst in 2009. Stony, also 670 The Score’s lead Baseball Analyst, is well known and loved for his baseball predictions, the high rate at which these predictions comes true, and the multitude of products that he has endorsed over the years. From 1983-97, Stone was the WGN color commentator for Chicago Cubs telecasts, working with Hall of Fame announcer Harry Caray for 15 years.

As a player, Stony won a Cy Young and The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year award in 1980.

I had an exclusive with Stony on Saturday night before the Sox-Indians game. Here’s what he had to say about the Cubs and their postseason prospects:

“They’re certainly capable of beating anybody, but I think they scored 17 runs, total against the Dodgers for the season. So the Dodgers are a team that can shut them down, not saying that they will, but I do think the Dodgers can create a more difficult match-up. And then probably the other team is Philadelphia. The first round is when you’re more likely to be knocked out by a team you’re actually better than. In 3 of 5 a lot more so than in 4 of 7. Although in 4 of 7 the best team doesn’t always win either.

On his bold predictions, and how often they come true…

This year when I said the Cubs would win their division by 8-10 games and most people in this city thought I was crazy, I stuck by that. They were actually up 11 before they took their foot off the gas pedal, but they could have pretty much won the division by whatever margin they wanted to because they were far and away better than anyone else in the division. I remember on June 11th when I did {ESPN’s} “Pardon the Interruption,” I said to Cub guy Mike Wilbon, I want to have it on record that I told you the Cubs would win the division by 8 and 10 games, because they are a far superior team to Milwaukee.

To read more from this interview Click Here.

To check out my blog, “Chicago Blue State” on the Washington Times website, go here.

For more Chicago sports analysis and discussion go here.

Read Full Post »

Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank As the only person to work for both Chicago baseball teams as both a player and as a broadcaster, current White Sox radio color analyst Steve Stone is the foremost authority on Chicago baseball. On September 13th, it was announced that Stone, a Ford C. Frick award nominee, will take over for Darrin Jackson as White Sox TV color analyst, signing a contract that will run through 2014. Stone or “Stony” as he is nicknamed, has also done television broadcasts for ESPN and TBS. Stony, also 670 The Score’s lead Baseball Analyst, is well known and loved for his baseball predictions, the high rate at which these predictions comes true, and the multitude of products that he has endorsed over the years. I had an exclusive with Stony on Saturday night before the Sox-Indians game. Here’s what he had to say about the White Sox:

“They’ve always had the ability to win this division, but we’ve seen at times they’ve also had the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the bullpen hasn’t been getting the job done, it’s been an inconsistent offense, they just came off a bad road trip at 3-7, but this has always been a good team, not a great team.”

On how Chicago’s baseball summer of 2008 ranks all-time. I asked him to compare and contrast it with other seasons (like 1977) when both teams were in contention late into the year…

“I was player in the late 70s and as a player you tend to become myopic towards the team you play for. As a member of the South Side Hitmen in ’77 and ’78 I didn’t pay a lot of attention to what the Cubs were doing, because I was a White Sox player. When I played for the Cubs in ’74-76, I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to what the Sox were doing because I was a Cubs player. I know it would be a unique experience to have both teams in the postseason. They certainly are not making it any easier on this side of town. On the other side of town they have already clinched and are doing whatever they can to see the Mets in the first round.”

I’ll be back soon with his thoughts on the Cubs. To read more from this interview Click Here.

To check out my blog, “Chicago Blue State” on the Washington Times website, go here.

For more Chicago sports analysis and discussion go here.

Read Full Post »

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Need I say more? The third annual Wine, Women & Shoes event will be held Thursday night at the River East Art Center.

It’s a benefit for the Midwest Regional Office of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

The fashion fundraiser, benefiting UNICEF’s Accelerated Child Survival Initiative, will have a wine tasting bar, appetizers, silent auctions and the opportunity to browse and buy shoes.

Guests will also have the chance to mingle with celebrity judges such as Robbie Gould, kicker for the Chicago Bears, CNN and former NBC anchor Don Lemon, NBC5’s Anna Davlantes and Steven Rosengard, Project Runway Season 4 contestant, who will vote on their favorite reds and whites and decide which shoe pairs best with each winning wine.

Auction packages include guided neighborhood shopping tours of Chicago and private cocktail parties at two of Chicago’s hottest restaurants, Landmark and Perennial.

Last year, more than 650 guests raised $140,000 at the event. General admission ($85) and VIP ($185) tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/37229.

Read Full Post »

Blagica Bottigliero, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

It was one of those weeknights that are  pretty common these days. I have a business meeting or speaking event around 6, I finish around 7:30, swing by Eno to see my the Windy City Wine Guy (aka my husband, Michael), then hop on the red line or bus to head home.

Last week, however, the wine bar was busy, I was starving and I needed some food – pronto. I also wanted to relax (have a brewski, perhaps) and be alone with my thoughts.

I decided to venture down to Billy Goat Tavern. As soon as I swung the door open, I knew I made the right choice. Multiple baseball games were on, the gal at the counter smiled and no one gave me a funny look for being a single girl entering a tavern. Perfect.

I ordered my Double Cheese, root beer, chips and settled into a cozy corner. The White Sox game was in front of me and tables were scattered with business groups and other solo diners.

I ate my meal, yelled at Jim Thome a few times and had an across-the-room conversation with the other guy watching the game. With my tummy full, I packed my things, said goodbye to the folks behind the corner and head to the red line.

It make me smile knowing that under the rumblings of busy Michigan Avenue, we have a Chicago staple that was the home of so many writers, politicians and other city busy bodies. I’m proud to be one of those people carrying the torch!

Read Full Post »

Jennifer and Brooke, NBC5 Street Team

It was built in 1871 after the Great Chicago Fire and is the last remaining riding stable within city limits. It’s location is a little tricky to find and may not be common to most. But if you happen to take North Avenue to Orleans and go south, you will find one of the most intriguing theaters in town.

Over the weekend, Brooke and I attended a birthday party at the Noble Horse Theater. The theater reminded me of a smaller version of Medieval Times, with its dimly lit castle-like auditorium complimented with hostesses dressed in 19th century wardrobe. Once I got past the smell of horse excretions, the aforementioned factors made the venue seem both intimate and inviting. (Who am I kidding — I never got over the smell.)

The feature presentation was the famous Washington Irving folk legend, the Legend of Sleepy Hallow, which will be performed now though November 6th. Not surprisingly, the kids were both amused and engaged by this horse-themed show. After all, who wouldn’t like to see a headless horseman, especially around Halloween?

There was a woman dancing with fire and classic horseback riding mixed with amazing tricks. At the end of the show, pony rides were offered to the audience for a small fee. The only thing that was ill-fitting about the performance were the lengthy breaks in between the narrated story. Somehow the transitions from one scene to the next seemed a bit awkward at times.

But aside from the annoying breaks, Brooke and I had a wonderful time, and plan to catch the Noble Horse’s rendition of the Nutcracker.  I will just be a little more careful where I park on our next go-round.  While taking a short-cut through the side alley, my tires engaged with some horse patties. Needless to say I had to go straight to the car wash.

Brooke’s Blog: My favorite part of the show was watching the scary girl dance with the real fire! It was awesome and lots of fun because I got to ride in the horse-drawn carriage and I even rode on the actual horse too! 

Read Full Post »

Cara Carriveau, NBC5 Street Team

Anyone who grew up in Chicago and listened to the radio in the 60’s have fond memories of Clark Weber. I didn’t move here until 1989 but I’ve heard about him over the years and was very excited to pick up his new book, “Clark Weber’s Rock & Roll Radio: The Fun Years, 1955-1975”.  It’s a really cool coffee-table book with lots of great pictures and extremely entertaining stories.  The best part is the CD that comes with it with plenty of radio clips from back in the day.

I am so glad that I made a point of meeting him at a book signing.  He’s had quite an interesting life & career in radio.  I admire him and consider him a mentor.   His book is a must for anyone who is a fan of radio or a fan of music from the ’50’s-’70’s.

Read Full Post »

Natalia Avilez, NBC5 Street Team

The one good thing about bars — besides the obvious — is the fact that you will meet the most interesting people! As I was sitting at the my neighborhood bar unwinding after a long day of work, a bunch of Dutch men and woman walked in with clogs and cameras in hand. Because the Journalist in me was screaming to come out, I approached the only female in the group to find out what they were about. The first words that came out of her mouth was Solexclub De Tjoptjoppers. Um, could you repeat that please?

She continued to explain that TjopTjoppers, are Velosolex (a fuel efficient cross between a motorcycle and bicycle) riders from Holland who were embarking on a nine week journey along the historic Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles on their Velosolex 4800. Not only is this ride being done in honor of the club’s 10-year anniversary, but will also be a ride for charity where three different organizations will receive some of the proceeds.

Today marks the first full day of the Velosolex adventure, where this 19 man and one woman crew will ride 2,666 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica along the Pacific Coast. Some of the donations collected during the Route 66 operation will go to Indoshelter, an organization that assists homeless children and families in Indonesia with housing, education, and food. If you would like more information log on to their site at TjopTjoppers, or if you find yourself along Route 66 and see a bunch of clog wearing riders, say hallo!

Read Full Post »

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Watch the weekly “Word On The Street” segment on 24/7 Chicago: Secrets of the City,” at 12:05 a.m., immediately following Saturday Night Live on NBC5.

This week we headed to the Crimson Lounge in the Sax Hotel, the House of Blues swanky hotel, for our Word on the Street segment. It was the preview party for the Chicago International Film Festival, which runs October 16 – 29. Each film at the festival will be a premiere, so every night is an opening night, according to festival organizers. This year’s festival is dedicated to Roger Ebert.

As for events going on in the city this week, there’s no question that Fashion Focus Chicago is the most anticipated event. It’s the fourth year for this showcase, an opportunity to feature Chicago’s up-and-coming fashion designers. Who would think of Mayor Daley as a proponent of keeping our fashion scene on the cutting edge, but give him props, he conceived of this idea and has made it happen. Check out my interview with the City of Chicago’s Melissa Gamble previewing the event.

Geek alert! Wired Nextfest kicked off today in Millenium Park. Don’t know what it’s about? Then you’re probably still rockin’ a Sony Walkman and predicting the Internet is still a fad. For the rest of you, get more info here.

It may not feel like Fall, but make no mistake — the calendar will soon say October, and you’ll be making your Halloween plans. Well, while the weather is still a bit less than frightful, check out Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America through November 2. Six Flags will transform from theme park to scream park! OK, that’s their words, but if you’re into this sort of thing, this is the place to be. Click here for more info.

Read Full Post »

Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank
-The Weber Ultimate Tailgate, located on the Southeast lawn (outside Gate 6) of Soldier Field, is free and open to the public. The Tailgate will open two hours prior to kickoff for the first four regular season home games: September 21 vs. Tampa Bay ; September 28 vs. Philadelphia ; October 19 vs. Minnesota and November 2 vs. Detroit. Fans will be able to enjoy music, receive autographs from Bears alumni players (this week Otis Wilson and Dan Jiggetts will be appearing), and compete in a variety of football skills competitions. Festivities start at 5pm Sunday.

-Dennis McKinnon to Host 2nd Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament And Pre-Event Party “Dance Da Shuffle” at Excalibur Nightclub. 640 N. Dearborn 6-11 PM on Sun Sept 29th.

For the second consecutive year, a local charity is benefiting from former ’85 Chicago Bears wide receiver Dennis McKinnon’s passion and hard work. McKinnon, the Illinois One Family One Child (IOFOC) foundation, Empress Casino, Chandler’s Chophouse, Signs By Tomorrow, Hunt Media & Management and Project 85 are partnering to bring fans the second annual celebrity golf outing “Dennis McKinnon’s Old School Open.”

Proceeds from the outing, silent auction, and dinner will benefit the IOFOC, an organization meant to raise money for underprivileged youths. “I’m extremely proud to have my name and several of my former teammates behind such a great cause,” McKinnon said. “Everyone who comes out will make a big difference in the lives of kids.” The soiree will also be a Bears game watch party, as the Monsters of the Midway take on the Philadelphia Eagles at 7:15.

-The golf outing, formerly known as the Bad Pants Open, is set for an 11 a.m.
shotgun start on Sept. 30 at Schaumburg Golf Club located at 401 N. Roselle Road.

Although the name has changed, the concept has not – players still embarrass themselves, wearing the worst golf outfit they own topping it off with their “old school” jersey. Besides McKinnon, other 1985 Chicago Bears are slated to appear and participate in the event include – Willie Gault, Richard Dent, Dave Duerson, Jim McMahon, Steve McMichael, Emery Moorehead, Matt Suhey, Otis Wilson, and Jim Covert.

For more Chicago Sports analysis and discussion click here.

Read Full Post »

Jon Ibrahim, NBC5 Street Team

The cool thing about this city is that there’s an endless number of great venues…and every once and a while they host some pretty worthwhile events.  A great example is this Sunday the 28th at Cubby Bear where they’re hosting PAVE’s Fear No Fashion fundraiser–a cause near and dear to my heart.

PAVE (Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment) is a national multi-chapter non-profit organization who use education and action to shatter the silence of sexual and domestic violence.  Their mission is simple:  to stop domestic and sexual violence before it even starts.  PAVE’s founder, Angela Rose, is herself a survivor of a sexual assault.

But don’t fret!  With such a sensitive topic the event will be anything but depressing!  PAVE, along with their other host, neighborhood salon Lather Chicago, has some awesome entertainment planned like fashion shows from local designers Borris Powell, Christopher Anthony, and Evlove Intimates custom lingerie (hubba hubba).  There will also be some cool burlesque acts and appearances by Nadia Underwood from Beauty and the Geek III, Josh Mora from Comcast SportsNet, and model / TV host April Rose.  There will also be a silent auction of some great items.

But most of all it’s for a great cause!!  Doors open at the Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison, from 4 pm – 8 pm.  Tickets are $ 20 each and can be purchased at the door.  You can find out more about PAVE at www.pavingtheway.net.

Read Full Post »

Reggie Brown, NBC5 Street Team

When I say ‘ Fashion’ and ‘Party’ ‘in the same sentence, you know I’m talking about AKIRA. The stars have aligned in perfect sequence and tomorrow, Sunday September 28th, (My golden birthday), AKIRA’s 5th Annual Garden of Eden fashion show is going down at the Galleria Marchetti.

Tickets are only $15 if purchased in advance, $20 at the door. Word to the wise, get your tickets in advance, I’ve seen the lines from the previous years and they are impressive to say the least. Paradeisos will feature Ford models showcasing the hottest fall fashions from AKIRA inspired by Greek gods and goddesses. The event starts at 4:30 with the fashion show expected to jump off around 6:30.

This is the second consecutive year AKIRA is teaming up with Chicago based Immerman Angels and donating all proceeds from ticket sales and a portion of boutique sales to the not-for-profit organization.  Immerman Angels is a 100% free service that teams up caregivers and cancer survivors with cancer fighters to offer one on one support through their battle with the disease. It’s a great organization that has helped countless people who have had cancer or their lives affected by the disease.

In addition to the fashion show, there’s so much to get into, the evening is packed full of  different activities. There will be a silent auction, an AKIRA boutique, live musical performances and even massages and manicures provided compliments of Zazu Salon. Come on out and celebrate my 28th with me and my friends at AKIRA and Immerman Angels!

Galleria Marchetti 825 W Erie

Tickets can be purchased at AKIRA stores and on the AKIRA and Immerman Angels websites.

Read Full Post »

Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank White Sox fans, if you think watching the battle back and forth for first place in the AL Central requires a stress relieving object, try being one of the Sox players or coaches. After the Sox lost three games (and their first place standing) in Minnesota, they came home and got beat by the Cleveland Indians in a very sloppy game where their pitching collapsed. It was extremely frustrating to watch the bullpen forget where the strike zone is located. 

“You can get mad, I got mad, breaking stuff up in the clubhouse…I think it’s the worst first five, six innings we’ve been through in a long time. Hitting guys. Walks. Base hit with two outs. Wild pitch. Terrible. And we got 40,000 people looking at this stupid baseball game the way we played today,” Ozzie said in his post game press conference.

By the way, if you haven’t seen the Mad TV parody of Ozzie Guillen, click here. If you thought Ozzie was a difficult person to lampoon, then you really need to check it out.

“I’m not going to lose my health for a baseball game, I got three kids and a wife waiting for me. I’m not going to kill myself in this ballpark over losing and winning, it’s not worth it,” Guillen said. For baseball fans that hate the White Sox, the second most polarizing figure, arguably, is catcher A.J. Pierzynski. A.J. was asked if Ozzie’s trashing of his own office surprised him. “No, it’s an emotional time and he’s pissed off, I’m sure he’s frustrated like the rest of us and it’s good. Sometimes you need to get that out. And I’m the last person to get on anybody for showing emotion. So good for him and hopefully, it will carry over to tomorrow,” Pierzynski said. When asked about the same thing, first baseman Paul Konerko responded: “He could have been ripping up offices for the last three weeks; we’ve had a lot of these.”

So the next time you feel like cursing at the television and throwing objects in frustration, “don’t look back in anger,” as Oasis used to say. Remember these quotations. They will remind you that the White Sox themselves are feeling the same emotions you are. For more Chicago Sports analysis and discussion click here.

Read Full Post »

Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank  As the back and forth of the White Sox AL Central race concludes this weekend, I’ve had more mood swings than Naomi Campbell and Lindsay Lohan combined. The “Hunt for Black October” roller coaster ride gives me so much tension and anxiety, that an outside observer might assume I was an AIG shareholder. On Thursday night, I left my house happy and confident with the Sox up 6-1 in the 5th inning. I attended the Stephanie Izard (Chicago Top Chef winner) Diva Series event at Madame Tartine downtown. It was a fun time partying with fellow Street Teamers Desiree Prieto and D.C. Crenshaw as well as hostess Sarah Vargo. But the party became a lot less fun (for myself anyway) when I found the television at the end of the bar and camped out to watch the Sox lose the biggest game of the season in extra innings at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. For some reason, following the game online with my brand new Smartphone made blown leads seem more calming. My text messaging back and forth with the Soxman fails to alleviate my anxiety. Getting into very mean sounding, but ultimately hilarious text message wars with the lead Twins writer of my site, Peter Christian is an enjoyable pastime, but it still doesn’t soothe my nerves.

On Friday night, I watched the Sox lose a home contest to the Cleveland Indians (and fail to recapture first place from the Twins who got blown out at home by the Kansas City Royals that same night) from the Press Box at U.S. Cellular Field. Coincidentally, there was a Tampa Bay Rays media guide laying near my seat in the press box. Given that Tampa is the team the Sox would most likely play in the postseason, I think this is more than serendipity. I think it’s a sign. Or at least I hope. In my next segment, I’ll tell you what manager Ozzie Guillen and the players themselves have to say about handling their pennant race stress.

For more Chicago Sports analysis and discussion click here.

Read Full Post »

Jennifer and Brooke, NBC5 Street Team

As if going to the kids’ section of Borders wasn’t already enough of a treat, ON Saturday, Borders will up the ante by hosting a Kids Party.  From 2pm to 4pm, there will be games, storytimes and activities for children of all ages. Check out their new area devoted to kids’ graphic novels and manga, fun toys and games, along with the hottest new series.

You can’t have a party without tasty treats! During the event, don’t forget to pick up your free cookie with the purchase of a large beverage from Seattle’s Best Coffee Café. Make it a great weekend!

Read Full Post »

Fayth a.k.a. Relaxocat, NBC5 Street Team

A few weeks ago. the NBC5 gang got together at J Bar.  What fun that was, and for me there was the added fun of running into one of Chicago’s most well known DJ’s and producers, Jesse De La Pena, who was spinning there later that night.  I hadn’t seen him in a long while so it was good to catch up, hear what he’s been up to, and hear what he’s been listening to.

If you’ve ever picked up the Reader or any other Chicago event listing publication, chances are you’ve seen his name and maybe you’ve heard him spin “back in the day” with Liquid Soul, or around town at venues such as the Funky Buddha Lounge, Smart Bar, or most recently, on Thursdays at J Bar.  In particular, Jesse has had many shows at Darkroom spinning all sorts of sets, and bringing in a whole host of other DJ’s to spin along with him.  This month Jesse celebrated his birthday, and this Saturday, Sept. 27th, he’s going to be celebrating with all of us at his Birthday Bash at Darkroom.  Guest DJ’s Major Taylor, Uncle Milty, and others spin too!  The Birthday Bash will also mark Jesse’s last set at Darkroom, so be sure to get over there and dance, dance, dance!

Read Full Post »

Theresa Carter, The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

Oh, I am envious of all of you. This is going to be one of the best weekends of the year in Chicago, and I’m going to be out of town. My 20-year high school reunion (yes, in case you’re wondering, I did graduate when I was 9 – ha!) is in Carmel, Indiana, so I’m trekking south on I-65. I haven’t seen most of my classmates since graduation, so this will be an exciting event.

For those of you who aren’t traveling down memory lane, there are so many really cool events I almost don’t envy your struggle to choose!

The first ever Chicago Gourmet sets up on the Great Lawn at Millennium Park, and celebrates Chicago’s world-class cuisine. There will be gourmet samplings and premium wine tastings and celebrity cooking demonstrations in the gorgeous Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Also in Millennium Park is the WIRED NextFest. For my fellow geeks, this will be like giving kids free reign at Great America with no lines and unlimited tries at the whack-a-mole – “oh, look at that! wait – let’s go over there! wow, I want one of those!”

Down the street, the Art Institute is opening “360 Degrees: Art Beyond Borders“. This year long celebration brings together several of Chicago’s leading institutions to explore art and culture around the world. Check out the exhibit on Saturday, and everything else this amazing museum offers, for free. Then you can cross the street to Symphony Center for Macy’s Day of Music. Also free, the home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is hosting concerts starting at 2 in the afternoon and running all day, on four different stages!

Banned books are the bane of any democratic society. As a member of the Fourth Estate, I especially abhor the idea that someone can tell me what to read or what to write. That’s why I’m particularly disappointed that I will miss Saturday’s Banned Books Week Read-Out. Several authors, including Judy Bloom, a favorite from my youth, will be reading passages from books that some high-minded authoritarian figure thought should be removed from our lexicon. Forgive my soapbox, but I’ve been on it since Wednesday when I heard that the city’s asking bars around the baseball stadiums to stop serving alcohol after the 7th inning during the playoffs.

While I’ve gotten you all riled up, also consider checking out Sacred Spaces Fundraiser and Art Show. This event will raise money for a church in New Orleans that survived Hurricane Katrina but was destroyed by the city. Since the event’s in Downers Grove it’s a bit of a hike, but you can make a donation online.

Well, I can’t leave you like that, so we’ll end on a much happier note, talking about the Blues. The first ever Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival will be at the Congress Theater on November 22. 16 bands for only $31, and right now they’re looking for that last band – the Last Banjo Standing. If you or your friends are in a Bluegrass or Blues band, submit two songs for a chance to be on the same stage as the Avett Brothers and The David Grisman Quintet. Submissions end October 1, so be sure to enter right away! For those of you who are fans, I’ll be offering ticket giveaways.

Have a great weekend!


Read Full Post »

Theresa Carter, The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

Donald Trump sure knows how to throw a press conference. As we waited to be led out to the 16th floor terrace, servers offered champagne, wine, and a “Chicago Sunrise”, a drink made of mango puree and soda water with a splash of pineapple juice and blueberries. Vitamin water, bottled water, and mini bottles of Coke products were displayed. Hors d’oeuvres like prosciutto wrapped caprese bites and wonton wrapped shrimp kept the champagne from having too much of a kick at 3 in the afternoon. It was all very fitting considering the sumptuous environment of Trump Tower.

Trump’s appearance was to celebrate that his tower is nearing completion, and he did talk about that some, but a couple of questions steered him towards a discussion of the economy. He was pretty heavy on the doom and gloom, throwing out the word “depression” a couple of times. It was quite a contrast to the multi-million dollar condos and hotel suites that cost $2,000 a night that were towering above us.

After answering a few questions he introduced Alderman Brendan Reilly. Then Trump and his three children made hand impressions in concrete, which will become part of the building.

Ivanka & Donald Trump make hand impressions in concrete

When I’m not drinking champagne at 3 in the afternoon with The Donald, I’m – well really, if I’m not doing that, does it really matter? Oh well. I spend the rest of my days sans celebrities writing about things we normal people can do in Chicago.

Read Full Post »

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Ain’t no party like a Flirty Girl party cuz a Flirty Girl party … well, you know the rest.

I’m not a big fan of watching football in public settings other than the stadium itself. It’s kind of hard to pay attention with so much going on around you, the seats are usually uncomfortable, and quite frankly, I’d rather walk to the fridge for a cold one instead of saddling up to the bar and paying for an overpriced one.

I may have to change my philosophy this Sunday when the Bears square off against the Eagles on the Sunday Night Football game on NBC. That’s because the gals over at Flirty Girl Fitness are throwing a huge viewing party and an after-party to boot. If you haven’t been over to their West Loop location — and guys, those opportunities can be few and far between — this is a pretty good excuse to get over there.

Tickets are $20 ($25 at the door), and they’re offering free beer between 6 and 7 p.m. According to the Web site, there’ll be lots of oversized screens, a “super sexy Flirty Girl Halftime Show full of pole dancing and coyote ugly, five cash bars, outdoor patio and valet parking.

The after-party takes place across the street at Bon V with current and retired players. All in all, another example of why I love football season!

Click here for more information.

Read Full Post »

Cara Carriveau, NBC5 Street Team

With the price of concert tickets becoming increasingly unaffordable, whenever there’s an opportunity see a band for free you should jump on it.  This is one of those opportunities…

Chicago’s own Plain White T’s, who have had a HUGE year thanks to the immense success of their catchy song “Hey There Delilah”, will be performing an acoustic set at the Best Buy in Downers Grove tomorrow (Friday) at 4pm.  I have the honor of introducing them on behalf of 101.9 WTMX “The Mix”.  Stick around after their set and you’ll get to meet them and even have them sign a copy of their new CD “Big Bad World” (it’s on sale now) for you.

Read Full Post »

Jim Grillo, NBC5 Street Team

Osteria via Stato’s Parties & Events Manager, Allison Gallese, offers a worry-free solution for hosting intimate celebrations.


The Italian approach to entertaining is to keep it simple-great food served with great wine. Parties & Events, Manager Allison Gallese has a simple approach to entertaining: The Chef’s Table. All you need to do is arrive with your guests and let the Chef take care of the rest with great food and great wine waiting for you at the table.

AMBIENCE: The Chef’s Table is a culinary adventure with the chef as your personal tour guide sharing cooking techniques and methods as you and your guest enjoy seasonal dishes. It’s just like being invited by the Chef at his table.

INVITES: As you plan your guest list, keep in mind that our antiqued-farmhouse table can accommodate 6 to 18 guests. Remember, this is an intimate gathering with the Chef and guests both sharing their love of food and cooking.

MENU: The menu selected and prepared by the Chef and begin at $75 per guests excluding your wine selections, tax and gratuity. The menu is a progression of courses that will include antipasti, primi, secondi and dolce. However, expect small bites and surprises along the way.

Founded on Chef David DiGregorio’s Italian ancestry and travels throughout Italy, Osteria Via Stato, a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, embraces Italy’s heritage of seasonally-prepared dishes featuring artisanal ingredients. The award-winning restaurant offers candlelit ambience, an extensive all-Italian wine list, and genuine hospitality—extending Italy’s passion for food, wine and celebration.


For a unique group dining experience in Chicago for your next business meeting, client dinner, birthday party, rehearsal dinner or corporate event, contact Osteria Via Stato, Chicago’s best italian restaurant in the heart of downtown located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. Salute!


Osteria Via Stato is a Planner Preferred Vendor on Hereschicago.com, Chicago’s Event Planning Resource Guide for Meeting and Event Planners seeking Chicago’s top restaurants, event venues and service providers.


Read Full Post »

Chicago Is…Red Hot

Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team

The Apparel Industry Board, the legendary organization dedicated to serving Chicago’s local fashion designers, will present the ninth annual CHICAGO IS…RED HOT! fashion show this Friday, September 26 at Northerly Island. The glamorous event will feature lines from Chicago’s most esteemed designers as well as a special salute to Chicago’s own Fashion Visionary, Dorothy Fuller. The fashion extravaganza takes place from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Ticket prices to the event begin at $75, with proceeds to benefit The Apparel Industry Board. Don’t miss out on this eye-opening opportunity to explore the world of Chicago’s most prominent designers and their rise to distinction among the fashion landscape! Complimentary trolleys will be available to Northerly Island from The Peninsula Hotel.Valet parking is also available at Northerly Island. Additional information is available at www.aibi.com or by calling 312.836.1041.


Read Full Post »

Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team

During the past few days I’ve been trying to put the finishing touches on the redesign of my website. A Higher power willing, the new home page will be up today with the rest of the pages gradually coming along in two weeks.

One of the pages I still have to redo is the “about tom” page, which essentially serves as my virtual/online resume. 

Watching Sarah Palin speed date her way to foreign policy cred at the United Nations yesterday made me think how much more impressive my fashion credentials would be if I followed her example:

met Calvin Klein once in Chicago and saw him once walking the boardwalk on Fire Island with David Geffen.  I’ve stood in line with Christy Turlington at O’Hare waiting for a limo. I’ve met Todd Oldham and Zac Pozen. I’ve had dinner with Rubin Singer and his staff. Rubin worked for both Oscar de la Renta and Bill Blass. 

I’ve dished about Condoleza Rice‘s wardrobe with Albert Kreimler of Akris.  

I’ve  rescued away Thierry Mugler from hangers on by asking him to tell me how his then recent interview in Time magazine with the art critic Linda Nochlin (whose essays I used to teach, not ban) came about. I was wearing a Dolce and Gabbana vest. This happened on Mykonos, no less.

You can, if you wish really hard, see parts of Turkey, our strategic NATO ally in The War Against Terror, from Mykonos.

I’ve slept with someone who’s slept with Marc Jacobs (and who hasn’t, you say) and no one got anyone pregnant.

Probably because none of our mothers were hockey moms.

I introduced Narciso Rodriguez to Michelle Obama. I styled the first magazine cover with Michelle who favors Maria Pinto‘s clothes. Maria Pinto used to be an assistant to Geoffrey Beene. Geoffrey Beene reprimanded Narciso for copying his clothes. So, by Palin logic, I’ve also met Mr. Beene, twice(!)–although he’s dead.  

Geoffrey Beene’s signature fragrance was called Grey Flannel, and tonite I will be wearing a grey Band of Outsiders three piece suit to the Giorgio Armani party sponsored by W magazine, which this month has Anne Hathaway on it’s cover. She was one of the stars of The Devil Wears Prada. Prada used to own Helmut Lang which is now designed by Nicole and Michael Colovos.

As Bette Midler (who I have seen in concert) would say: “Shall I go on?”


part 2 


Read Full Post »

D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

The Mrs. and I like hanging out in the Wicker Park area often for breakfast, brunch or lunch. That area has been bustling since the revitalization period started to take place when I arrived in Chicago about nine years ago.  We have some favorites on West Division Street such as Milk and Honey, Crust, and Smoke Daddy BBQ.  But now I can add a new spot to our list of Wicker Park places that I had never tried before — Moonshine! 

Moonshine, surprisingly has a cool and hip vibe that makes it a nice place to dine or watch the game. The menu consists of specialty thin-crust pizzas, sandwiches, appetizers and several hearty entrees.  While searching for a better brew to pair with its upscale bar cuisine, Moonshine decided to make beer in-house instead of looking elsewhere. 
They tapped brew master Reverend Bob Kitrell, a former Goose Island brewer, to handcraft quality beers with spirit and soul.  Although I’m not much of a beer drinker, I thoroughly enjoyed the two brews that I gulped down, while watching the thrashing of Ohio State at the hands of USC. 

Moonshine’s current brews on tap are Sin City, Chronic, and Alpha Dog.  The Alpha Dog went nicely with my mahi-mahi tacos.  Reverend Bob brews his beers primarily in the American tradition, using ingredients from the Midwest whenever possible.  Drawing from his own experiences is what made him an award-winning Brew Master.

But what makes Moonshine a great place to hang out is their music. There’s nothing like kicking back a few while listening to the DJ spin a mix of classic R&B, house and current hits.  Good food, great brews and jammin music…nuff said! 

Check out Moonshine at www.moonshinechicago.com
1824 W. Division St., Chicago, IL (773) 862-8686

As always, check out Fete Select TV for an inside look at the newest and best restaurants around the globe.  Or check out www.efete.net for more restaurant tips.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »