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Archive for the ‘Chicago’ Category

Cara Carriveau, NBC Chicago Street Team

No doubt, Chicago is jam packed with incredible musicians.  We are so lucky.

Here’s a talented lady who I’ve been fortunate to see perform at several shows and she completely blew me away every time - her voice, her personality, her charisma – wow, she’s got the whole package going on!  Be sure to catch Jen Porter this Thursday at Martyr’s as she celebrates the release of her new CD “Closer To The Surface“, recorded right here in Chicago.  It might just be one of your last opportunities to catch her in such an intimate setting…with any luck it won’t be too long until she’s touring the world promoting this CD!Jen Porter Party

Stonecutter Records

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JenChicago, NBC Chicago Street Team

There’s something funny going on in River North on Tuesday, October 20th. Sarah Vargo of Maven and Fred Farris of Key Management have teamed up with The Joynt to host Stand Up Against Cancer which benefits local charity Imerman Angels. The party and the awareness are going down at 650 N. Dearborn (@ Erie) and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate all the good things that are happening under Johnny Imerman’s inspiration!

The show starts at 6:30 and features a laundry list of talented comedians along with headliner Kira Soltanovich, from Girls Behaving Badly and The Phony Phone Booth on The Jay Leno Show. Have you seen this bit? It’s hilarious! What WON’T people do for a free picture?!?! You can find the clips here or check it out in this week’s edition of The SAUCE, hosted by Yours Truly, below. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door with limited seating.

*PRESS RELEASE*

**Hugs and Kisses from JenChicago.com!

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Cara Carriveau, NBC Chicago Street Team

If you’re a fan of rock music then you must be very familiar with the legendary guitar riff’s of Rik Emmett.  He was part of the amazing power trio Triumph, providing killer licks in great songs like “Fight The Good Fight”, “Lay It On The Line”, etc.  Here’s an opportunity to catch him in an intimate environment and also help out a great cause, Pizza’s 4 Patriots:

Wow, what killer line-up.  As it turns out, several of those artists have appeared in my podcast Cara’s Basement:

Rik Emmett-


Ronnie Platt-


Kevin Chalfant-


See you at Durty Nellies on Saturday, October 24!

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Aristotle famously declared that “man without a city is either beast or god,”  by which he meant that communal participation is the defining characteristic of being human.  So when Anthony Luciano, the New York based accessories designer whose newest collection of lux handbags is flying off the shelves at Neiman Marcus, responds aphoristically in an email that “I’m not participating in the recession,” you have to  wonder if he is some glib beast whose head is stuck in the economic sand or, quite possibly, the incarnate deity that  every retailer could use  at the moment.

Anthony Luciano
Anthony Luciano
“I can only expand,”  he wrote in another email exchange, ” by saying I believe that even in tough economic times people are still drawn to beautiful and unique things which is what I do best. I have, of course, put more price conscious items into the line to attract a more discerning client but I will always do special custom made lux accessories.”
Eureka. Who needs any more bedazler logo crazed “status” bags? Who ever needed those in the first place?  In his current collection, Mr Luciano’s uses soft waxed and hand painted python to remarkable effect, producing, for instance, weightless hobo carryalls with over exaggerated leather tassels and irresistibly soft clutches with feminine floral touches. The waxing and painting produces solid colored  surfaces that remind one of licorice or liquid, even. Colored python skins have a subtlety akin to watercolors.
Even in July of last year someone had the good sense to point  out to Women’s Wear Daily that “if you want people to part with their money, they have to feel like they are getting something for it.” One wishes more retailers and designers shared WWD’s and Mr. Luciano’s insight. People don’t want basics in a down economy. They already have plenty of those. And they’ve already had it with  items whose prices bear no relation to craftsmanship.
purple python clutch
purple python clutch
Even  if you’ve only recently started pinching your pennies, giving you something for you money is not a new concept for Mr. Luciano. Inside each of his handbags you’ll find he has sewn in a penny, his trademark since he started his company in 2000. “It’s an Italian tradition. When you give a handbag or wallet as a gift you should put money in it first for good luck.”
WHERE: Neiman Marcus Michigan Ave on Thursday October 8th and Friday October 9th
WHAT:  Meet Anthony Luciano and  watch him construct pieces by hand on the selling floor. Take the opportunity to collaborate with the designer and choose from a variety of hand picked frames from his vast collection to create a custom bag.  Anthony will help you choose the perfect leather and sketch a design and make your unique piece.

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Lindsay_small_2Lindsay Saewitz, NBC Chicago Street Team

Old Towners rejoiced as Old Town Social opened to the public in late August, adding a much-needed casual yet sophisticated spot to Old Town’s roster of pubs, dive bars, and fratty hang-outs. But the locals weren’t the only ones excited…North Siders and Downtowners alike came together to welcome the new bar to the neighborhood.

The first thing you’ll notice when you walk in to Old Town Social is the unique decor, combining turn of the century style with IMG_4298modern day chic. The bar is filled with rich mahogany wooden structures, draping red curtains, bold chandeliers, and even a reading room complete with books and a fireplace. The main bar area lives up to the “Social” part of its name by featuring long, communal tables, but tucked away you’ll find a handful of intimate table-for-twos embedded into the wall. Venture to the back of the bar up a few steps where you’ll find more intimate booths and an additional cocktail area with its own bar. Not only will you get a drink quicker in this spot, but you’ll also be in the perfect position for some people watching.

Old Town Social’s menu is quite impressive, featuring upscale bar food and small plates from a former Blackbird sous chef. You will also not be disappointed with the drink selection, which includes an extensive list of craft beers and seasonal specialty cocktails.

The classiness may start to dwindle as you party into the wee hours and suddenly notice you’re back in an overcrowded bar with 90′s hip hop blaring over the speakers. But fast-forward a few weeks to when the novelty dies down and the bar has solidified its identity, and I think you will find that Old Town Social is just the new thing that Old Town has been waiting for.

IMG_4293Old Town Social
455 W. North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60610
312-266-2277

http://www.oldtownsocial.com

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Desiree, NBC Chicago Street Team
Listen up all you recessionistas and recessionistos: Pipeline B2B announces its Fourth Quarter Launch Event! On October 1, 2009 from 6PM – 8PM, small businesses, entrepreneurs, freelancers and contractors are invited to the swank Three Peas Art Lounge in Chicago’s South Loop. The fun networking event, which will include like-minded and talented peers with diverse backgrounds, is intended to accelerate business opportunities through meaningful exchange.422011247

So come on out and get motivated with your 2009 goals! The event includes targeted strategic partners and leads, as well as Pipeline B2B’s Founders, Patrick Smith and Barbara Maldonado. Their network-savvy career experiences and social media practices have helped them jumpstart their own successful projects, inspiring the evening’s event. “At the end of the day,” Barbara says, “It’s about making a deal.”

Tickets, which include beverages and appetizers, are only $30, with proceeds of the evening’s event benefiting the non-profit, Jobs for Youth. Please RSVP ahead of time, and log on to the Three Peas Art Lounge website for a taste of the venue. What better place to learn how to turn your goals into success, than in a gallery created by emerging artists “on the cusp” of a successful career themselves? See you there!

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Natalia “Bat Girl” Avilez, NBC Chicago Street Team

If you were one of the many comic book fans who either missed out on, were disappointed in, or simply crave more Comic-Con; this is your chance.  On Saturday, September 19th, Chicagoans  are getting a second chance to indulge in Chicago’s finest Comic Book Convention — the Windy City Comicon(WCC) . Now in its second year in the running, Windy City has lined up a fantastic array of local comic book creators, artists, writers, and publishing companies for your viewing pleasure. But wait there’s more! Not only will you be able to  meet industry guests  but will also get a chance to  get great deals on comics, attend  panels, indulge in games and receive a gift pack.

“It’s organized by Chicagoans and many of the 85 creator guests are either hometown products or now call Chicago home,” co-promoter Christopher Neseman said.

Guests include  artists Jenny FrisonTim Seeley, Skottie Young,  Mike Norton and Sal Abbinanti. Publishing companies include: Moonstone, Olympian, Topshelf and Shortpants

“Chicago has one of the richest and most vibrant comic book communities in the country, and Windy City Comicon is a showcase of that,” Neseman said.

Challengers, Comics + Converstationwill be kicking off the event with the official Windy City Comicon preview party on Friday night at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets for the show are $10 and can be purchased either at the door or on the WWC site. The Convention will be held at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, between the hours of 10 a.m.-6 p.m. WCC is offering the first 500 guests a gift pack, so be sure to arrive early.

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Eric Smith, NBC Chicago Street Team

Starting out as an invitation to a great party on Chicago’s hot music scene at the EnVent West Loop venue turned into an opportunity to take a closer look at the new KIA Soul vehicle and The Soul Collective.

The KIA Soul urban passenger vehicle was designed by Mike Torpey, who found inspiration for the vehicle while on assignment in Korea after watching a television show on wild boars. Believe it or not, the vehicle’s shape is derived from his sketch of a wild boar with a back pack, and as he states it is… “tough, rugged…with a cool stance and is ready to go places…”

The New KIA Soul

The New KIA Soul

After having test-driven the vehicle it is all that and then some. KIA Soul is a cool urban vehicle perfect for city living. Its design is sleek, tight and compact with out being too small, rugged in posture-yet smooth around the bends. Definitely holding it’s own against other similar vehicles in it’s class like the Honday Civic, Scion xD and Sukuki SX4, this vehicle will surely stand out with many options for personalization and with the upcoming signature releases-Denim Soul, Ignition Soul, Light-Up Soul and more.

KIA Soul defines “a new way to roll” by partnering with Collective members Janelle Monae, Jonas and Francois, Jeff Stape, Jeffery Kalmikoff and Major Nelson. As stated by Katherine Cima, Manager of Sponsorships and Promotion for KMA, “Soul is a state of mind. The Soul Collective members have their own unique style and personality, they don’t roll the way the rest of us do. And as part of this campaign, these tastemakers are articulating how they roll, with KIA Soul-connecting with Gen Y at their passion points which are music, fashion design and art.”

Stating further, “The Soul Collective 10 city tour events are a fun place for people to come mingle, hear great music and test drive KIA Soul. Taking place over the course of three days and culminating on the last day in each market, a free concert only for those who take a test drive.” And she was right on point, I had the opportunity to see Chicago’s own Moneypenny

Money Penny Headlines Opening Night

moneypenny

do her thing opening night, those in attendance were more than ready to mingle and I got tix to the closing ceremony with The Walkmen because I test drove the new KIA Soul!

For additional information and tour dates visit KIASoulCollective.com.

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

 

If you want a sneak peak of Old Town Social before its grand opening (Street Team Leader Marcus Riley reported on Old Town’s soft opening here), then you’ll get a shot this Thursday. The best part? You’ll be at a “Party for a Reason.” The evening of fun and philanthropy is hosted by GiveForward, a Chicago-based social venture committed to helping individuals and non-profits raise money for good causes. The “Party for a Reason” is a kick-off to supporters and runners of the Chicago Half Marathon taking place this weekend, where they’ll be “running for a reason” and raising money for various charities. Guests will enjoy appetizers and two hours of open bar including specialty cocktails, vodka drinks and beer. Looks like you may have to get a jumpstart on your weekend – but don’t feel guilty. Ticket poceeds will go to various charity partners of GiveForward.

Old Town Social

455 W. North Avenue

September 10th- 7pm-10pm

Tickets: $25. Available at www.party4aReason.com

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

  

It’s no secret that Chicago has an amazing restaurant scene full of new and established talent. You could literally pick a new place each week and still not cover everything, let alone come up for air.  While there are some fabulous events in this city dedicated to the art of the eats, the TOQUE Dining Gala: An Evening With Chicago’s Culinary Masters, is at an entirely different level. NBC -logo_toque09_sm

Taking place this Thursday, the event is an amalgamation of food stations and a formal sit-down dinner, all prepared by Chicago’s finest. But it’s not just an excuse to come eat. Philanthropic partygoers will feel good knowing that proceeds from the evening  (tickets and a live auction) will benefit Children’s Oncology Services, Inc. (COSI), which will help send children with cancer to camp with their One Step At A Time programs.

This year’s event is emceed by Bill Kurtis, journalist and founder of Tallgrass Beef Company, along with Michael Kornick of MK Restaurant who is returning as chef coordinator of the event. Along with four fine dining courses (prepared by Art Smith, Michael Kornick, Mindy Segal and others), guests will also enjoy wine pairings and a cocktail hour with chef inspired bites from several other top notch contributors.

Need some advice?  Skip lunch this Thursday.

The event takes place at the Harold Washington Library Winter Garden at 6:00 pm.

Visit www.onestepcamp.org for additional information and to purchase tickets.

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stephanie_small1Stephanie S. Green, NBC Chicago Street Team

 

This Labor Day Weekend, the African Festival of the Arts celebrates its 20th Anniversary at Washington Park!  It is always a favorite and highly-anticipated way to end the summer and this year will be no exception!  Enjoy vendors with a variety of fabulous merchandise:  art, photography, clothing, accessories, body products, jewelry and so much more; delicious food; and, fantastic musical acts, including The Ohio Players, Booker T. Jones, Ahmad Jamal, George Clinton and many more national and local artists, fashion shows and dance.  Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and spend the whole day with plenty to keep you occupied and plenty of room to spread out, relax and regroup, and then continue to check out the vendors in the African Marketplace! 

Theres Something for All Ages!

There's Something for All Ages!

And don’t forget about the Pavilions where you will find activities to suit every taste!  At the Children’s Pavilion youth of all ages can learn and enjoy games, music, dance, storytelling, theater, arts and crafts all day long! Contributors include: Hyde Park Arts Center, the Field Museum and other family-focused institutions that offer fun, educational and interactive programs. Many social service agencies will be represented in the pavilion to provide answers to family, parental and children’s questions.

The ICE Theaters Film Pavilion presents daily screenings of short and full-length films that interpret the culture and experiences of peoples living in all parts of the African Diaspora.  They’ll also feature a showcase of films produced mainly by black filmmakers from around the world, including a section of works produced for and/or by black youth. Enjoy free popcorn, get free movie posters and learn more about Black World Cinema, an independent film series available only at your neighborhood ICE Theaters.

Ohio Players & George Clinton, too!

Ohio Players & George Clinton, too!

The Festival is world renowned for its assembly of artists from around the Diaspora featuring original paintings, sculptures limited editions, prints, photographs, and ceramics. This year, the Fine Arts Pavilion will include artists such as Stacey Brown (festival artist of the year), Emerson Williams, Uwa Hunwick, Bayo Iribhogbe, Frank Frasier, Melvin King, Rondell, Nii-Oti, Akosuah Bandele, Marvin Sims, Ousmane Gueye, Dana Easter, Dimali, Isodor Howard, Samuel Akainyah, and Dayo Layoe.

Visit the AFA Pavilion Page for more on the Chrysler Financial Pavilion, Author and Book Pavilion, Meet the Artists Media Tent, The Drum Village, Spirituality Pavilion, Health and Wellness Village, Cyberspace Pavilion, Quilting Pavilion and the HipHop Stage and Pavilion!  Visit the Festival Schedule Page for the full entertainment schedule, created by Soleil’s To-Dos and featuring the wonderful, interactive calendar features that you’ve grown to rely on!

Just Chillin

Just Chillin'

But wait – there’s more To-Do!!!  That’s right – be sure to visit the “All Chill Zone” at the Soleil’s To-Dos booth.  (You’ll find the booth number and location at www.so-LAZE.com, on the Facebook Page, through our Twitter Feed or by calling (773) 268 To-Do (8636).)  We’ll be stone cold chillin’ and giving you the perfect spot to catch up with friends, sit and eat, slap a few cards, wax poetic and groove to the beats – including live music!  Yes, thanks to Sam Martin, the Idea Doctor, you can expect some special guests to stop through and grace us with some mini-performances.  BYOChair, or cop a squat in one of ours, if available, and chill for a while!  We’ll also be doing some special giveaways including theater; concert tickets; dinners; and, for one lucky woman, a one-hour photo shoot with Lee Bey Photography!

So, whatever your plans this weekend, be sure to make a visit to the African Festival of the Arts!  The Festival runs from Friday through Monday, from 10am-10pm.  General Daily Admission, $10 in advance; $15 at the gate; Seniors and Children (Under 12 – over 65), $5; Daily Family Pass (2 adults and 4 children under 12), $30; Adult (4-day) Weekend Pass, $30.

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

Some business people have the ingredients for success.  They find something that works and try to duplicate it.  Restaurateur Jerry Kleiner is a perfect example of opening several restaurants very similar in style and experiencing a level of success.  His restaurants include Red Light, Carnival, Giocco, Marche and most recently 33 Club.  Those venues are located in the city, but Kleiner has ventured out to Hinsdale to open Il Poggiolo and is making his mark in the burbs.

Salmon Dish

Salmon Dish

Il Poggiolo is located on the site of Hinsdale’s first silent movie theater and means “The Balcony”.    The interior is typcial “Kleineresque”, rich in colors including vibrant red upholstery.  The atmosphere is warm, classy, casual and elegant.  Big picture windows allow for a nice view of the outside.  Like a lot Kleiner restaurants the food is solid.  Nothing will really blow you away here, but dishes are nice, savory, and satisfying.  Favorites to consider are the Arancini (rice balls filled with mushrooms and taleggio) and the Pesce Spada con Caponata (sword fish, vegetables, raisins, pine nuts, capers).  The Lamb Shank special was good, but could have been a little more tender and their Risotto del Giorno with corn, leaks and mushrooms met, but didn’t exceed expectations.  The Pan Roasted Halibut and Pan Roasted Seabass rounded out other solid dishes.  The Fig Tart dessert was something special and comes highly recommended by yours truly.

Il Poggiolois a nice addition to downtown Hinsdale and should continue to provide Kleiner with a string of successful hot spots.  The vibe and location could make it a fan favorite for the locals.  Il Poggiolois located at 8 East First Street in the historic Harold R Zook building.   Log onto www.ilpoggiolohinsdale.com for more information.  Check out www.efete.net for more reviews on the newest and best restaurants in Chicago.

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by April Lawson

NBC5me

It’s official. Hollywood has gone completely south… in the windy city, that is. They’re rolling out the red carpet on 87th street this Thursday with the premiere of the movie DEAD TONE.  In the tradition of Scream and When a Stranger Calls, Dead Tone is a horror slasher about a group of college coeds making a game out of murderous crank calls. Stars Rutger Hauer, (Blade Runner) Jud Tyler (Charlie Wilson’s War, That 70’s Show) and Antwon Tanner (One Tree Hill). The star studded affair starts with a red carpet at 6:30pm, and the show begins at 7:30pm at the ICE Chatham 14 Theater on 210 W. 87th Street. So, grab some popcorn and a friend to scream with.

Dead Tone

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Dave Leonard, NBC5 Street Team, (Video)

I recently got to talk to Vanessa Simmons ( of MTV’s “Run’s House”, “Daddy’s Girls”), Wesley Jonathan (“What I Like About You”, “Roll Bounce”) and producers La Monde Byrd and native Chicagoan, Mekita Faiye (who also plays one of the lead characters) about their hilarious new comedy “Speed-Dating: The Movie” which will be released in the coming months. Check out what they had to say…

DL: Tell us about the “SPEED-DATING” movie and the great ensemble cast you’ve put together…

MEKITA: Oh wow, “SPEED-DATING” will be the must-see movie of 2010! It’s about these three guys who come up with this scheme that involves speed dating to raise money for their club and to meet women. It’s kind of like “Wedding Crashers” and it takes you on a wonderful journey with a lot of laughs along the way. The cast includes Wesley Jonathan, Chico Benymon who many know from the show “Half & Half”, Leonard Robinson of MTV’s “Wild’n’Out”…we have Vanessa Simmons, of course, from “Run’s House”, Emmy award winner ChriPoster #4 of 9s ElliottHolly Robinson-Peete, Clint Howard (brother of Ron Howard) who was recently in “Night At The Museum 2”, rapper Chingy, Kelly Perrine…the list goes on and on.

DL: Where did you come up with the concept for the film?

LA MONDE: The writer and director Joseph Elmore originally came up with the idea and from there we took it, shaped it, developed it a bit and then the actors breathed life into it.

DL: Wesley, you play the lead character “TOO COOL” in this film and your career spans decades in film and television, what attracted you to this project?

WESLEY: I just read the script and it was funny to me. I originally wasn’t the first choice to play “Too Cool”, but time had passed and the project sort of came back around to me and I also found out that Chico and some my partners from the business were in it so that was an added plus because I like working with my friends.

DL: Vanessa, we got to see on the “Daddy’s Girls” show that you prepared for your role by going on an actual speed dating event. What was that experience like?

VANESSA: Oh man, I had a lot of fun! I like a lot of hands on experience to prepare for roles that I’m doing, so the fact that I got to go on an actual speed dating event for the first time was actually kind of fun, but weird at the same time because the guys thought they were going to go on a real date afterwards.

DL: The “TOO COOL” character was a bit of a ladies man/womanizer…were there any real life “players” you drew from to develop this character?

"Too Cool" (Wesley Jonathan) meets "Kiki" (Camille Mana) in "Speed-Dating"

"Too Cool" (Wesley Jonathan) meets "Kiki" (Camille Mana) in "Speed-Dating"

WESLEY: Nah, not really. I was able to play this guy pretty straightforward because he was just being cool. In films like “Roll Bounce” and other projects I’ve worked on, I’ve definitely borrowed from other characters. I did get to adlib and improv and be silly during the filming of some of the speed dating scenes.

DL: Vanessa, ironically your character ELIZABETH is the “church-going” girl who gets involved with the DOG character played by Chico Benymon. Everyone knows your real-life Dad is the legendary Rev. Run of Run D.M.C. , so do guys get intimidated by you having the “preacher’s kid” stigma?

VANESSA: Unfortunately, yes! I’m like, listen guys, if I love you and I like you and I’m bringing you home, my Dad’s gonna give you that benefit, I think, until I turn my back…so I’ve heard. I just usually have to prepare guys when they meet him, but he’s a Dad like any other Dad. As far as Elizabeth, I like the character a lot and can relate to her in a lot of ways because she’s the good girl and she’s not doing the crazy things the rest of the girls are doing.

DL: Mekita, you did double duty in this movie as Wesley’s love interest and producer for the movie. Were you nervous going into your first starring role and wearing hat as producer?

MEKITA: It’s funny you ask that. It was definitely a challenge and I look back on it amazed at how I got through it, but I owe that part to God.

DL: What’s next for everybody?

WESLEY: I’m in a new movie coming soon called “The Obama Effect” directed by Charles Dutton and another called “B-Girl” and I’m currently working on a new project “Four to the Floor” with Evan Ross.

Vanessa Simmons

Vanessa Simmons

VANESSA: As you know my sister [Angela] and I have the Pastry clothing line which is doing very well and we’re expanding right now and couldn’t be happier. “Daddy’s Girls” is in its second season and Vanessa’s making her way around Hollywood and has some upcoming projects on the horizon.

LA MONDE: Stay tuned for “SPEED-DATING” to be released soon. This film is testing well with men AND women in the preliminary screenings and I think we have an incredible project on our hands. I’ve got to give a quick thanks to Blacksingles.com and HurryDate.com as well!

To check out the trailer and find out more regarding “Speed-Dating: The Movie” you can go to www.speed-datingmovie.com

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Dave Leonard, NBC5 Street Team, (Video)

The Midwest continues to represent in a major way on the music tip this Summer! Here are a couple of new releases that recently dropped that you will definitely need in your collection:

In late 2007, Chicago’s own HotStylz dropped a hilarious and creative hip-hop anthem called “Lookin’ Boy” which was based on “The Dozens”, a hood tradition of good natured trash talking and two or more competitors trading witty insults. This song featured Atlanta rapper, Yung Joc, who also signed HotStylz to his Swagg Team Entertainment label and became an instant classic. Virtually, nothing was heard from the trio for almost two years…until now.Hotstylz-ADD-Front

Thanks to Swagg Team/Jive Records and UIC Radio’s own DJ Moondawg, Hotstylz’ Raydio G, Krayzee, and Meatball are back with a funny, yet innovative major mixtape release, “A.D.D. : The Mixtape”. In this day and age of rappers talking about money, cars, and clothes, Hotstylz brings a great deal of comic relief, realism, creativity, and originality to the game. On “A.D.D.” they pick-up right where “Lookin’ Boy” left off with catchy hooks and infectious club beats. Standout tracks include “Michael Phelps”, the “laugh out loud” “Auntie Booty”, “Go Dutch” and “Thik & Fye” which features fellow Chi-town MC, Twista. Of course, Hotstylz’ true comedic talents shine on the hilarious skits. Check out the “Dead Beat Dad” skit and you will probably have tears in your eyes from laughing so hard. You can download this mixtape for free at DJ Moondawg’s website at www.djmoondawg.com

Shadowkat Nightson came to bring the pain…and it’s called “The Hurt Game”. This impressive collaborative effort brings together some of the Midwest’s best with a majority of them hailing from the Indianapolis area. “Nightsons Presents: The Hurt Game” presents a hard-hitting, unflinching soundscape that also has a very organic feel to it with a diverse collection of MCs rockin’ over beats provided by the Nightsons camp.

nightsons

Shadowkat and his fellow Plugg City family, Chi-town’s own Rhymefest let you know what time it is right off the top with the sickening title track where “they ain’t playin’ no word games”. They keep the energy going with the pulsating “Breath Control” which features alpha.live and it’s pretty much a straight listen from start to finish from there. Check out “Money Bags”, “Full Blown”, and the head bobbing “Cold Case”. Don’t let this one pass you by! “Nightsons Presents: The Hurt Game” is now available at iTunes and Amazon.com. For more info or a preview of the album you can also go to www.nightsons.com

Last but not least, the anticipated debut release from Chi-town MC and Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music affiliate, Really Doe “First Impressions”, dropped via Cartel Records. Ever since the MC showcased his unique rhyme flow on “We Major” on West’s multi-platinum “Late Registration” album alongside the legendary Nas, hip-hop heads have wanted to hear more and Really Doe delivers on his first effort.reallydoecoverWEB

“First Impressions” has a lot of soulful hip-hop on it courtesy of producer Griffin Guess. “Sew It Up”, “RPS (Rock, Paper, Scissors)”, and one of my personal favorites, the unapologetic “My City” are indicative of that. Another single to check for on “Impressions” is the first single, “Mesmerized” which features vocalist Danny Klein and has a slightly similar sound to Lupe Fiasco’s “Superstar”. Other standouts to peep are “Follow Me”, “Million Dollar” and Mr. West even shows up on “Plastic”. Really Doe has been grinding for a while on the hip-hop scene and it’s good to see the hard work finally paying off. Hit up iTunes or Best Buy and cop this one for the iPod. He makes a good “first impression”…really doe.

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Cara Carriveau, NBC Chicago Street Team

Wow, this is a way cool bang-for-the-buck concert experience. Don’t miss your chance to see The Plain White T’s in a very intimate setting tonite (8/28/09). Only 1500 tickets are being sold for Lake Effect, a charity show they are headlining tonight at The Palmer House.

$75 includes three bands performing (Plain White T’s, Chicago blues artist Melvin TaylorPWTs Dave Tirio, Cara Carriveau and Tom Higgenson plus the Gentlemen Of Leisure Band which happens to be one of President Obama’s favorite Chicago bands)…it also includes an open premium bar, an amazing array of food stations created by the Palmer House’s Executive Chef Stephen Henry and Pastry Chef Fabrice Bouet…and, as an added bonus, a limited number of behind-the-scenes tours of Palmer House will be conducted by docents from the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  Most importantly…100% of the proceeds benefit the Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care’s Good Mourning Program (providing support for families and children of all ages in overcoming the loss of a loved one).

Don’t pass up this opportunity to help out a wonderful organization while enjoying a phenomenal experience.  Got o www.LakeEffectParty.com or call 847-692-8897 to purchase tickets.

Tom Higgins from The Plain White T’s just spoke to me about this show – listen here:


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stephanie_small1Stephanie S. Green, NBC Chicago Street Team

 

 

 

It was only because of the invitation from my best friend who was visiting from out-of-town that I went to Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement 1956-1968 at the Field Museum.  It just kinda seemed old hat – I’ve studied civil rights and didn’t think I had anything to gain from the exhibit, so it wasn’t really on my radar.  But, as I viewed the exhibit and rounded the corner from the first wall, I found myself frozen in place and time, and in tears.

The Road to Freedom is the largest exhibit of civil rights photos and memorabilia that has been assembled in twenty years.  As soon as I entered the space, I was struck by the solemn and reverent air, an ambiance created by low lights, deep blue paint, the continual looping narrative of a video tape about the civil rights area and, of course, the photographs. The solemnity was so profound that people spoke in hushed tones and there was the occasional “shhhhhhhhh” directed toward children.

Alone . . .

Alone . . .

While the civil rights era is not a new subject for me,  nor for most of us, the images were compelling.  I was struck by the youth of the people photographed, unknowns as well as Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond, John Lewis and, of course, Dr. King.  But, my breakdown occurred when I reached the photos of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High. Young Elizabeth Eckford did not get the message that the date for the African American students to start school had been pushed back by one day. So, this fifteen-year-old girl arrived alone and was the target of unimaginable venom. Even as I look at the picture today, I get chills as I think of the strength it must have taken for her to keep moving.

The exhibit gave a clear sense of the commitment people had to this movement that lasted not days, weeks or months, but years. Years to attain basic civil rights. Years.  Commitment.  Personal danger.

As I moved further through the exhibit, I was captivated by photos of people on the sidelines. African-Americans cheering on the protesters – both Black and White.  Whites glaring as protesters passed in front of their homes.

I remember after Roots aired, a popular Black male comedian joked with great braggadocio about what he would have done to massa if he were Kunta Kinte.  The Road to Freedom made me wonder: what would I have done if I were alive then? Would I have been on the front line or would I have been on the sidelines cheering the protestors on or would I have been too scared to participate in any way whatsoever.  I then asked myself – is what I’m doing now reflective of what I would have done then? What about you? Are you a participant or a spectator? Are you committed to a cause? Passionate about it?

I urge you to visit the Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement 1956-1968, and take your children or a child in your life and ponder these questions.  It is a powerful reminder of changes that can be made with sacrifice and commitment.  The exhibit ends on September 7th.

Stephanie!
Looking for more To-Do?  Visit www.so-LAZE.com!

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The University of Michigan Club of Greater Chicago is kicking off its new Young Alumni group with what you would expect from a young alumni group…a giant party with lots of food and booze! Join the UMCGC tomorrow, Thursday August 27th at LaSalle Power Company, for the Young Alumni Launch Party and celebrate with Michigan’s second largest alumni group in the country.

The party starts at 8:00 PM and will feature a three hour premium open bar, food provided by Lincoln Park’s newest hot spot Sarks in the Park, and prizes from all around Chicago including a reserved table at Duffy’s for football and dinner for two at Rockit (co-owned by Michigan alum Arturo Gomez).

The cost of the event is $40; tickets can be purchased online by clicking here and will also be available at the door.

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Cara Carriveau, NBC Chicago Street Team

My jaw hit the floor when I heard that Jordin Sparks was touring with Britney Spears on the second leg of her “Circus” tour (coming to the Allstate Arena September 9).  C’mon…Jordan is a sweet innocent 19 year old that proudly wears a purity ring and just spent the summer on the road with super-sweet-goodie-guys The Jonas Brothers (also known for their purity rings)…if I was Jordin‘s mother I’d be very nervous knowing she’ll be on the same bill as Britney.  They’ll be spending a lot of time together on the road.  Do I really need to list the reasons why it’s worrisome?  OMG.  Heck, maybe Jordin‘s behavior (ie, morals) will rub off on Britney…wouldn’t that be special!

I just spoke to Jordin Sparks for WTMX and she is thrilled about all of the things going on in her Jordin Sparkscareer.  She’ll be part of “VH1 Diva’s” airing live on September 17 hosted by Paula Abdul, and Jordin is very blatant about her opinion regarding Paula no longer being a judge on American Idol.  Listen here:


Catch Jordin Sparks at “Skate For The Heart” September 19 at the Sears Centre Arena.

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

Sooo many restaurants to try and sooo little time to try them.  In-fact, most of us get so caught up going to the same restaurants week after week that we forget about the fine dining options that the city has to offer.  One particular example is Aria, located in the Fairmont Hotel.  The New World Asian restaurant offers a contemporary twist on conventional dining.  Chef de cuisine Ronnie Aleman prepared a meal that was memorable and that deserves to be revisited.

Aria Main Dining Room

Aria Main Dining Room

Aria’s culinary team brings a diverse ethnic influence to the menu.  From the start of their “amuse” to their “dessert flight” the cuisine boasted flavors and spices that prompted an eagerness to take the next bite and to try another course.  The following menu items is a guide to Aria’s New World Asian experience.

Amuse:

“aria spiced” grilled shrimp, sweet summer watermelon, cilantro basil cucumber broth

Appetizer Flight: 

Hot and sour baked rock shrimp, sweet and sour chili glaze

Spicy citrus calamari, lime zest, scallion

Shrimp and pork potstickers, ponzu

Aria “sushi poppers” (created by Ronnie Aleman)

 Salad: 

Organic Heirloom Tomatoes, sherry marinated shallots, English cucumbers, brioche croutons, extra virgin olive oil, organic green and opal basil, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper 

Fish:

Soy and mirin glazed Black Cod, organic pea puree, sugar snap peas, hon shemedji mushrooms, organic pea tendrils

 Meat:

 Wagyu strip steak, butter glazed organic carrots, summer baby squash, wild mushroom demi glace

 Dessert Flight: 

“Banana Split” sorbet: banana, strawberry, chocolate, pineapple sorbets

Take Five:chocolate cheesecake, savory pretzel crust, peanut butter ganache, caramel sauce

Banana Bread Flan:  spicy oaxacan sorbet, candied walnuts, banana bread tuille

Aria Dessert

Aria Dessert

Ambiance and service at Aria is what to be expected from a fine dining environment.  The service is attentive, detailed and knowledgeable.  The rich colors of the restaurant makes it a comfortable and warm place to dine with friends or a significant other.  The Aria Bar is an upbeat diversion from the main dining area and is highlighted by an illuminated sushi bar.  Communal style tables make it easy to share dishes or meet new friends.  It’s a perfect place to meet for sake or a glass of wine from their extensive wine list.  In 2008 Aria’s Bar received an award for “Chicago’s Best Date Spot”.

Aria is on the ground level of the Fairmont Hotel, 200 N. Columbus Dr.  For more information visit www.ariachicago.com.  To get an inside look and a review of the newest and best restaurants in Chicago check out Fete Select TV on www.efete.net.

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

You can always tell if an event has swag because there’s usually a crowd that forms as thick as pea soup. Similar to sample day at the grocery store, most folks don’t care what they’re getting as long as they get it — and it’s free. But how many times have you started out feeling victorious because you actually claimed a bag (and made it out alive), only to get home and dump out a pile of pamphlets on the kitchen table?

Click here to read the rest of this post on NBCChicago.com.

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Fayth a.k.a. Relaxocat, NBC Chicago Street Team

Go see The Livers tonight, August 22nd  at Quenchers Saloon.  When you do, don’t make the mistake of trying to have a conversation during their set because you might just miss something.  Let your curiosity guide your view to their big screen as a four piece band reveals itself as two live guys, Scot and Luke, the same two guys projected life sized and providing the rhythm.  The LiversSounds gimmicky?  Not in the slightest.  Scot and Luke, two indie musicians, sought a way to be a two-man, 4 piece band without compromising a live show.  “We started talking about pre-recording the rhythm and playing over it.  But that didn’t seem like a band to us.  Part of a seeing a band is seeing them play their instruments.  If only there was a way that we could show us playing…all…the…instruments.”  Video production was initially the guys. “Our limited knowledge of video production was born out of necessity really.  Someone would have to do it.  They’d have to be patient, unpaid, barely acknowledged, and get along with Scot and myself.  That narrowed it down to Scot and myself.”  Soon they were joined by a talented counterpart, Andrew, who brought with him a background and experience in production.  Together they all created a very polished show.

It’s not just a show of two guys and their filmed images either.  The Livers are a band that delivers not only a solid, tight set (they play remarkably well with themselves), but also fully entertain their audience with a clever, witty show that has some hysterical surprises.  Surprises like a guest appearance of their cat, Fruitbat,  and quick mid-set break for whiskey shots.  It’s just too entertaining to properly explain  – this show is a must-see.  The Livers are truly one of the most entertaining bands to visit Chicago this summer.

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

palmwrap[1]

Palm Wraps

The song “When You Wish Upon A Star” was made famous in the Walt Disney movie Pinocchio and includes the lyrics “Anything that your heart desires will come to you”.  The song has some other inspirational lyrics such as, “If your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme.  When you wish upon a star as dreamers do”.  Well the folks at Nozumi Japanese Cuisine must have sang that song a few times, because their “wish” has come true.  Nozumi is the newest Japanese restaurant to open in the North Western suburbs, but the 45 minute drive out to South Barrington is well worth the trip.

The literal translation of Nozumi is “wish”.  Their wish is to take you on a journey of the five senses while exploring their Japanese cuisine.  Nozumi’s culinary team consists of world travelers that give their own interpretation of the menu items, therefore they soar above the traditional approach to sushi.  Nozumi is all about sharing and Executive Chef Andy Park created the menu with that in mind.  Even the Nozumi Menu Box – a collection of five books, or menus, are meant to be shared.  This new approach is distinctly separated into a beverage menu, plates menu, sushi menu, sweets and treats menu, and a chefs daily special menu.  I had numerous favorites out the fourteen dishes that were shared, but the following were at the top of the list.

Scallop Ebisu – seared scallops, saffron cream couscous, asparagus, tomato confit, soy balsamic reduction.

Shinju Crab Cake – Shiso remoulade, scallop puree, sawgani, haricort vert, shitake vinaigrette.

Chef’s Special Signature Roll – Roasted pepper seasoned spicy tuna, cucumber wrapped in nori topped with Japanese sea bream in ponzu sauce.

Togarashi[1]

Togarashi Maguro Penne Pasta

Nozumi doesn’t only serve sushi, but meat and pasta dishes.  Don’t leave the table without trying their tender Taiyou Short Ribs.  The Kobe Steak melts in your mouth and the Togarashi Mauro Penne Pasta has a sun-dried tomato cream sauce and big eye tuna combination that will have you biting your fork.  Dessert is a must with the Shokura Dream chocolate layered cake and the Natsuki Apple Brulee

Nozumi is simple yet stylish.  The sushi bar area is upbeat and vibrant, but a separate dining area appears to be more relaxed and chilled.  The bar area is roomy enough to enjoy a cocktail and an entree without being too crowded.  Owner Fred Hong was certain to hire a staff that was knowledgeable about their cuisine and serious about their service. 

Yes, Nozumi appears to have had their wish fulfilled, but the true test will come from the wish of their customers.  Nozumi is located at 100 W. Higgins Road in South Barrington.  For more information log onto www.nozumirestaurant.com.  Also check out www.efete.net and Fete Select TV  for an inside look at the newest and hottest restaurants in Chicago.

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