Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Chasity Chaos, NBC Chicago Street Team

Since this weekend is destined to be blissfully chaotic, I thought I drop you a line to let you know what’s on my agenda for the next 72 hours…

Khari B., the Discopoet, is holding a CD release party for his long awaited sophomore album, I’MMA BAD MUTHA: The Rockstar Poetry Project, 7 p.m. today at the Dusable Museum of African American History, located at 740 East 56th Place.

The CD has been described as a live instrument experiment and studio album that brings together a ferocious 12-piece Funk/Rock ensemble of some of Chicago’s undisputed music champions.

Tickets for the event are $25 and include a CD. For more info, visit http://discopoetry-rss.eventbrite.com/.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed or not, but I’m back in Chicago! I wouldn’t be Chaos if I snuck back into the city all quiet and low-key like… So I, in conjunction with BlackWater Marketing Group, am organizing a massive event called The Flavor Mosaic to celebrate my arrival back to Chicago and my birthday.

The event begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday and will end at 3 a.m. on Sunday. It will be held at Galleria Unico located at 44 E Superior. Come indulge in zesty beats from over 10 deejays, an open bar filled with exotic drinks, ethnic delights and grilled goodies, and enjoy tarot card readings, massages, trunk shows, live musical performances and art shows… But most importantly, come kick it with me! I’ve missed you Chi-Town!

Entry for my shindig is $35 for women and $45 for men. The entry fee includes access to all of the events for the evening and access to the open bar and food. For more info visit http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=121844361512&ref=ts. To RSVP email BlackWaterMarketing@gmail.com.

To wrap up my weekend, I will be spending Sunday night at Bytch Fest 2009. Bytch Fest is a feminist punk event that’s goal is to create an environment where women can freely express themselves without the judgment of a critical society which seeks to wipe out creativity. The event will be held 9 p.m. Saturday at Fizz, 3220 N Lincoln Ave. The affair will include burlesque performances, performances by feminist bands and more.

Entry for this event is $20. For more info visit http://www.myspace.com/bytchfest2009

As you can see this is going to be a busy, but a kick ass weekend! I hope to see you guys out!

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Glenn Murray, NBC Chicago Street Team

While I sit here in Orlando (ready to go cheer for the Lakers to beat the Magic) my mind is actually on the busy weekend coming up in Chicago. So here are a few of my prime choices ranging from cultural, to culinary and even comical, for this coming weekend.

Friday, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli visits Allstate Arena to date, the international star has recorded over twenty pop and classical albums as well as seven complete operas. He has sold over 65 million albums worldwide. Tickets are still available at all Ticketmaster Outlets

Saturday, Studabaker Classic Cookieswill hold its official launch party. The event is free and open to the public The Launch event will be held at Kitchen Chicago located at 324 N. Leavitt from 7 to 10pm , enjoy lots of samples of their all natural cookies as well as an opportunity for more information. To find our more visit http://www.classiccookies.net

Also Saturday Night, visit Second City and catch “Rod Blagojevich Superstar,” Second City’s musical parody of the former Governor’s rise and fall. The improv company announced the real Gov will show up during the show to help announce the extension of the satirical spoof through Aug. 9. Blagojevich will also take part in the improv set that follows the show.
Tickets: http://www.secondcity.com

If you’re not too tired on Sunday, visit the Chicago Blues Fest and catch the finale at the Petrillo Music Shell featuring Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.

That should fill up your dance card for this wonderful June weekend. I Can’t wait, I’ll be rooting my heart our at the Amway Arena tonight, but I’ll be on the first plane back to Chicago Friday morning…

See you this weekend.

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LaShonda Matlock, NBC Chicago Street Team

It’s been a productive and lucrative year so far for OctoMom Nadya Suleman. Not only did she accept some much-needed help from Angels in Waiting but she’s also scored herself a half million-dollar home in La Habra, CA. The 2583-foot four-bedroom, three-bathroom house boasts a huge yard and is conducive to building add-on rooms. Just perfect for a mother of 14! The official buyer is Nadya’s father, Ed Doud.

Michelle Obama covers The New Yorker’s biannual Style Issue, which hits newsstands this week. To no surprise, much of the article focuses on the First Lady’s arms. This is just days after an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, in which the author proclaimed: “The only bracing symbol of American strength right now is the image of Michelle Obama’s sculpted biceps. Her husband urges bold action, but it is Michelle who looks as though she could easily wind up and punch out Rush Limbaugh, Bernie Madoff and all the corporate creeps who ripped off America.” Well said!


Comedic political commentator Bill Maher and political host and commentator Ann Coulter will speak at the Chicago Theatre on Wednesday, March 11th. Start time is 7:30 p.m sharp!

And…the word from Twitter to 312Diningdiva is that super group U2 is officially in Chicago right now and the secret location for their highly anticipated appearance tonight is The Metro!  Good luck getting in!

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 LaShonda Matlock, NBC Chicago Street Team
Of all the issues surrounding the White House these days, believe it or not, fashion is causing an uproar.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s green, sleeveless, tea-length dress was a hit Feb. 25 when she presented the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize to Stevie Wonder. And with all eyes on the First Lady, Obama choose another unknown designer for the high profile event, Wonder’s wife Kai Milla.

But the First Lady’s affinity for unknown designers and modern taste has come with its share of criticism. And her main love for all things sleeveless seems to be the source of the controversy.

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

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LaShonda Matlock, NBC5 Street Team

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is in full gear in New York, and CHICAGO is definitely in the HOUSE! But the buzz from the fashion world Monday wasn’t on the runway, instead it was reserved for Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour sitting with her “special guest“, White House Social Secretary and Chicago native Desiree Rogers.

Ms. Rogers attended three shows alongside the fabulous Ms. Wintour but noticeably after attending only the firstdesiree-rodgers-2 desiree-rodgers-1show by designer Carolina Herrera, The Huffington Post reported that Desiree made a quick change of wardrobe from her slight above the knee skirt to a pair of more of conservative black slacks.

Desiree was spotted later Monday afternoon at the Donna Karan’s Collection Show wearing the same jacket, knit top and slacks. When asked about her morning change of attire, she said,  “It’s really chilly here.”

But my inside source tells me that’s not the true reason for the change of wardrobe. My source states that Desiree’s beautifully toned bare legs were the real cause for the fashion switch-up, making quite a bit of a stir that morning at the Carolina Herrera show.  Leaving some fashion attendees questioning whether Ms. Rogers’ fabulous attire was a little too revealing for her high profile status. 

Rogers, who wore a Carolina Herrera gown to the inaugural balls, has always preferred the classic silhouettes of Herrera’s designs and was featured in the February issue of Vogue Magazine.

Also, spotted among the fashion elite was none other than Ikram Goldman, owner of  the now famous Ikram boutique, who is considered by many to be First Lady Michelle Obama’s unofficial stylist!


Click here to see more pictures from Desiree’s day in NY.

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Justin Allen, NBC5 Street Team

On November 4th, 2008 I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the Grant Park celebration for then President-Elect Barack Obama.  And while I wasn’t one of the fortunate million to be on the National Mall for our 44th President’s inauguration, I was in the next best place: Chicago.

The front page of yesterday’s Sun-Times said it best, with the headline proclaiming, “Chicago’s President.”  It’s true.  You don’t have to be a high-paid network political pundit to see that.  You could see the pride in the faces of the several hundred Chicagoans gathered in Pioneer Court on Michigan Avenue, as they watched history unfold via jumbo-tron.  So armed with a camera and assignment from my client, Ragan.com, I embraced the bitter cold to find out how President Obama’s speech resonated with the crowd.  The result is the following video.

Special thanks to Mike Zaruba for the production help.

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 tom_kolovos_wordpressnewTom Kolovos, NBC Chicago Street Team

The real news about Michelle Obama’s fashion choices for the Inauguration is not necessarily in the details but in the larger picture.

As of yesterday, there is a very good case to be made that, amid the rumors about whether Anna Wintour, the uber poweful editrix of Vogue magazine is about to be replaced,  America’s new First Lady  is now the de facto most important and powerful  champion of American fashion.

Click here to read the rest of this story on nbcchicago.com.

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Justin Allen, NBC5 Street Team

Last night’s celebration for President-elect Barack Obama in Grant Park was unlike anything I’d ever seen.  An estimated 125,000 people all gathered to celebrate, and despite the ever-present of throngs of people everywhere you turned, the long lines for food, and no less than five security checkpoints, the mood was electric.  In my mind I couldn’t help but think this it what it will feel like when the Cubs win the World Series in 2108.

Undoubtedly, if you were lucky enough to be able to attend the celebration last night, you know what I’m talking about.  But for those of you who were unable (or unwilling) to see it live, below is a brief inside look at an emotional and historic night here in Chicago.

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Itika Oldwine, NBC Chicago Street Team

An interesting thing happened the other day.  A locally based multi-media website dedicated to the Hip-Hop lifestyle called 247hh.com launched an Election ’08 PSA that was meaningful, insightful and even tear jerking at times.  And to garner more exposure for the video, as well as bring local Chicagoans from the world of hip-hop together, they hosted a screening of the film at a lounge in the West Loop’s meat packing district.  

Now, of course, the purpose of the screening was to get exposure for their video and motivate people to vote on 11/4 but I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to acknowledge the amazing venue where the event was held.  The 247hh Cooler makes you feel like you’ve been transported to the artsier side of the meat packing district.  The walls are covered with paintings by local artist Chad “Wick” Christian, there are two projectors that bounce images off of the exposed brick walls and the hand painted floors in the bathroom, yes I said it… the bathroom, are truly beautiful.

But I digress, because hands down, the show stealer that evening was the remarkable video featuring popular artists from the world of hip-hop such as rappers, The Game, Young Jeezy and Chicago’s own Common, as well as folks from the world of hip hop that are not as recognizable but still have something powerful to say about politics in America.   

These types of screening events are something that will be on-going for 247hh.com.  Their goal is to regularly and frequently launch and screen videos with purpose and relevancy to give folks from the world of Hip Hop a platform and invite people from Chicago and beyond to come and view their vids in a group setting.

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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.

For this week’s Word On the Street segment, we headed to Lumen nightclub in the West Loop. If you haven’t been out to Lumen yet, it’s definitely worth a look. The contemporary spot employs clean designs, and is known for it’s state-of-the-art lighting system. The organizers for Fashion Focus Chicago held a kickoff party there last week. Fashion Focus continues until Oct. 8, with several events still on tap. Log on to Chicagofashionresource.com for more information.

Next weekend, head over the the Chicago Country Music Festival, which will be held at Soldier Field Parkland October 11 – 12. Gretchen Wilson and Taylor Swift are the headliners. Expect three performance stages in all, a Kids’ Corral tent and a dance tent. Admission is free. Log on to www.chicagocountrymusicfestival.us for more information.

With one more month left until the election, more and more attention is being paid to the issues surrounding the campaign — if it’s even possible to give it more coverage than we’ve already seen. If your interest lies more toward the satiral side of things, check out “No Experience Necessary,” a sketch comedy at the Greenhouse Theater. The theater troupe, MPAACT, is known for its cutting-edge material, and this latest effort is written by up-and-coming Chicago comedian and actor Kevin Douglas.

Next weekend, get ready for one of the most significant annual events in our fair city, the Chicago Marathon. It’s truly an amazing event to witness live as thousands of runners take to the streets. Whether you’re cheering on a particular runner or supporting the masses, there’s plenty of locations around the city to do so. Click here for spectator information.

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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 


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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team
I’m back!

I have not blogged for almost 3 months and over the next few moths maybe I can find the time to tell you why.

Let’s start with why I’m back to begin with. Since I started blogging for nbc5.com, I’ve been posting my picks for the best and worst dressed celebs at the major awards shows. Hey, it’s frivolous fun and at the end of the day not a dumb thing to do when your website is called TheBestDressedList.com.

Since the Emmy Awards will be handed out tonite, I will post the obligatory list tomorrow.

But in a week in which the headlines have been about the  surprise(?) enormous mismanagement of the U.S. economy and the reality that we face an international global economic collapse that would make the Great Depression look like a trip to Disneyland, I’ll be honest with you, the list of who is wearing what will be frivolous.

As an image consultant, I’m sometimes asked a really important question: “Can a client who has very little substance, make up for it by finessing great style?” Quite frankly  I’m surprised I’m not asked this question more often. My answer is always: “No. Not in the long run.” 

The reason I believe this to be true is because if great style, or any style at all, could be a substitute for substance, it would have to be based on smoke and mirrors, misrepresentations and, a word we are uncomfortable using publicly, lies. Eventually, the truth will come out and the charade is over.

Or maybe not. Maybe not if we all really want to collectively continue to believe the charade because it’s more comforting than the truth.

As I write this, I defy anyone to suggest to me that ordinary Americans have the slightest clue about the global economic implications of the last week. While I’m at it, I defy anyone in the Bush administration to have explained it to me sometime before this week.

It’s going to take a long time and, OMFG, a lot of my money and yours before the charade is exposed and we can go back to hitting our collective “the fundamentals of the economy are strong” snooze button. 

Funny enough–well, funny only in a black comedy ( and I don’t mean The Jeffersons)– the political landscape in the country is facing an equally crucial wake up call. I had no idea how utterly naive it would seem in 2008, when it seemed perfectly logical in 2007, for me to tell USA Today that: 

“This is an election, maybe the first one since Kennedy-Nixon, where appearance really does matter, because we have credible female, black, Hispanic candidates, style and substance may actually be competitive, or even equally important to the public.” 

Suddenly, it doesn’t really matter how many sources have picked up that quote or in how many foreign languages. As of the day Sarah Palin joined the the Republican presidential ticket, substance has taken a seat at the very back of the political tour bus. How Ms. Palin, and therefore John McCain,  has been packaged to the public in this election will make it possible for those of us who grapple with image, either for a living or academically, to think, rethink, publish, blog and (maybe even blush) for years to come.

After a lot of thought and head scratching, I have lots to say on the subject of image and politics in this election. I will share them with you in blog size bites in the next few week/months. (Yes, Marcus, I know this blog is too long….)

Enjoy the Emmys tonite.


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Fayth aka Relaxocat, NBC5 Street Team

Last week, I happened to meet Nicholas Freeman, Executive Director of the Finch Gallery. The conversation didn’t begin with talk of art or his gallery, but rather friends, L.A., and some clubs. Later, it came up that his gallery has an opening this week. What came of that chat was my introduction to the photographer, Karen Hoyt, and now I’m pleased to introduce her to you.

Some cultures believe that a photograph captures one’s “spirit”, thus some believers do not allow photos to be taken of them. Others believe that the best photographers have the ability to capture a subject’s spirit in a meaningful, insightful way. It is the photographer’s eye and sensitivity that best captures those images. Karen Hoyt definitely possesses the qualities of both vision and sensitivity and you can see that in the images she produces. On Sept. 19-20 the Finch Gallery will be hosting opening receptions for “Presidents of the United States”, a photographic exhibit of Karen Hoyt’s photographic work.

This body of work has been captured on film, not digitally, which is quickly becoming a lost art. The portraits are photographed candidly in the city, depicting urban African Americans in urban life. Also, Karen’s show is accompanied by a catalogue//book of the same title, and co-authored with John Gossage, a renowned photographer known for his books and photographs on urban environments.

Karen Hoyt’s work will be on display from Sept. 19th to October 25th, with opening receptions this Friday and Saturday from 6-11 p.m. Join me there on Friday, or see the work at your own leisure, but definitely see it.

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Cara Carriveau, NBC5 Street Team

I love my husband more than words can say. Seeing him happy makes me so happy. Without a doubt his favorite rocker is Eddie Vedder and his favorite sport to watch is hockey – specifically, the Detroit Red Wings. As he would say to anyone who questions his loyalty to the Wings…two words: Stanley Cup. Lot’s of ’em. So what a thrill it was to be with him last night as he got to experience them both together.

Pearl Jam is an amazing band to see live and I’m happy to say we’ve had the pleasure many, many times. Part of the appeal is not only the band but also the fans – everyone seems to be instant friends at every show which is pretty cool. We saw Vedder with The Who and on another occasion with Robert Plant (my all time favorite rocker) at the House of Blues – wow, those were spectacular shows. We were pleasantly surprised to see Vedder walk out onstage during a Springsteen concert at The United Center a few years ago (absolutely the highlight of that show even though he sang my least favorite Springsteen tune, “My Hometown”). But this was a rare Eddie Vedder solo tour and we were ecstatic to be at the closing night in Chicago.

We made it to our seats in the Auditorium Theatre about 10 minutes before Eddie Vedder hit the stage, just in time to see Chris Chelios walk out onto a balcony holding the Stanley Cup! The crowd went absolutely crazy. My first thought was “does he carry that thing around every where he goes?” and my second thought was “I want to touch it!” but unfortunately we were too far away.

Eddie Vedder was in top form, his voice and guitar playing perfect and his interaction with the crowd at times halarious. At one point he told a drunk heckler to shut the F-up, then said “That was impolite. I meant to say shut the F-up…please.” Later in the show he said he wasn’t going to get “too political” and then someone walked behind him on stage with a massive “Vote For Barack Obama” sign. Vedder wore a white lab coat, making him look either like a crazy scientist or the musical genius he is. Included in his song selection were many mainstream and deeper Pearl Jam songs, four Who covers and selections from his soundtrack to the 2007 film ”Into the Wild.” After the last encore he brought out “Into The Wild” director Sean Penn (who it turns out was singing backup onstage – I was too far away to realize it), opener Liam Finn, and many other people he credited with making his solo tour such a great success.

Excellent show. But the best part was seeing my husband smile nonstop for hours, from the time he saw the Stanley Cup until his head hit the pillow when we got home.

(There’s already video popping up on the internet from last night’s show)

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Kim Katz, NBC5 Street Team 

I was in Las Vegas a few weeks ago covering the CineVegas Film Festival, just chillin’ by the Luxor  pool  and chewing my nails over which celebrity I could get to appear on my new BuzzNews.TV show, when I got the call from my editor that an email had arrived for me in our general mailbox from Kevin Costner . Kevin actually remembered a positive review that I had given him and his band last year, and was inviting me to attend his upcoming concert in Chicago. Kevin and his band, Modern West, are a top notch group of musicians who play a pleasing blend of original  country/rock with a little bluegrass feel to it, and they totally rocked the House of Blues last week. 

"The Greenroom with Kim Katz" and guest Kevin Costner.

"The Greenroom with Kim Katz" and guest Kevin Costner.

It was kind of surreal when I  walked into the soundcheck with Kevin Costner onstage singing. I tried to keep cool as he came down and introduced me to his friends as a person whose writing he admired. Hey, my  best buddy and editor, Ken Payne, was there and was blown away too, so it’s not just a girl thing.

Kevin then gave my show “The Greenroom with Kim Katz” a really thoughtful exclusive interview about his music and band which you can watch below.

If you are a big Costner fan and  you want to see the whole interview complete with hugs and kisses (MEOW!) and read what I wrote about his concert in detail and his new political comedy “Swing Vote”  which opens August 1,  check out my regular column “The Katz Meow” in Buzz Magazine at www.BuzzNews.Net and the full length video on www.BuzzNews.TV.

The  House of Blues concert was really energetic and fun, with the entire audience standing , dancing and cheering pretty much the entire time. I brought my mom along  and to have a super nice superstar like Kevin Costner give her a hug at the after-party  was absolutely a dream come true. I tell you this to give you an idea of how gentlemanly Kevin is for real, and ladies, if you are wondering how he looks in person — he is tanned, TALL  and hot, hot, hot. 

I’m  proud to be an NBC5 Street Team member so honk if you were at the concert -and be sure to leave me some feedback here, I’d love to purr about the night with some  rockin’ loyal Costner fans! 

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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team

“Are you sure you’re just a fashion writer?” reads one of the comments on my  recent blog about Michelle Obama’s appearance on “The View.” I’ll take the compliment, thank you very much, but I’ll feign outrage: Just a fashion writer? Just a fashion writer? Just?

Just as Harper’s Bazaar produced it’s worst issue ever, just as Christie Brinkley can’t resist another ugly public divorce, just as I’m waiting for Steven Meisel’s 100 page photoshoot in Italian Vogue which exclusively features black models to arrive on these shores, my copy of the July issue of W has arrived at my door.

This issue is a must read for anyone concerned about the intersection of image, politics and the corporate world, (even if only a handfull of Bruce Weber’s photos in the otherwise cliche 36 page photo shoot are worth your time. Check out the real treat of David Slijper’s photographs instead.)

First up is “Party Time,” pp. 46-50, an exceptionally thoughtful piece on how international political leaders use and understand the power of dressing.  The deputy mayor of Paris, Christophe Girard, makes the point I make all the time. (Smart guy, he. And not just a fashion writer.) “Political life is no longer separated from real life, and political women and men know their image matters like [those of] a model or an actor to attract the public. But it’s a real danger when politicians are more concerned about their image than their ideas.”

Next, there’s “Money Honeys,” starting on page 64, about the hedge fund industry’s use of pretty young women and even models as “marketing executives”  which “has  become all but synonymous with a blonde in Theory trousers.” It’s a fascinating read into what amounts to the semi-prostitutional nature of “corporate work” for women in the financial sector.

And finally, the always fabulous and priceless pseudonym protected Louise J. Esterhazy, p.116, will confess that she “can never be president. Of course, the main stumbling block is that I’m Austrian. But it turns out there’s an even greater impediment: I’m an elitist. And what’s wrong with that?”

I suggest you spend your weekend catching up on your reading, especially since the gay Pride parade this year won’t be worth attending  just because Dick Devine retired (from his position as Cook County State’s Attorney and thus will not be atop anyone’s float. Alas, hope floats–away. Dick, you will be sorely missed!).


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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team

Given the national reaction to my last blog, I’ve decided that, if you care to indulge me this summer, I’ll be posting more of my running musings on substance, style and popular culture.

Music videos are by definition a triumph of style over substance. You literally have only 4 minutes to savor the hope of attaining your 15 minutes of fame.

There are no more videogenic singers on the planet right now than Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and Rihanna, he the Magnum XL cum laude graduate of the Bryan Ferry dripping-with-detachment-school-of-personal-style, she the Barbados born beauty of the legs that start somewhere around her earlobes and end at the floor.

Both are perfectly matched in their vocal inability to (thankfully) make it past the top 12 on “American Idol.”

While they have each made compelling visual statements in their own videos, who knew that they would be so perfectly matched in the most palpably erotically charged and relevant music video of 2008 for the single “If I never see your face again?”

It’s a refreshing alternative to the insufferably pretentious Madonna and Justin Timberlake collaboration “4 minutes to save the world,” which wears its misguided attempt at substance right in it’s title.

“4 minutes” tries to sell us on the (yesterday’s news cliche) Madonna-as-cougar-Justin-as-boy-toy but the sexual tension comes off as pathetically Oedipal.  Justin is no more than the wind machine to her current Stevie Nicks-like inability to move coherently or gracefully. “Stand back, stand back” I keep thinking to myself.

(Note to Mad: You’ve really lost your touch and missed the cultural vibe entirely, just like the other gal who was recently peddling her experience in an effort to save the world .) 

“If I never” on the other hand, has it’s visual finger right on the jugular of the cultural moment. (To anachronistically combine Bill Clinton and Barak Obama’s political playbooks, “It’s about change stupid.”)

Unlike the pedantic “4 minutes,” “If I never” brilliantly oozes studied nonchalance both lyrically and, most importantly, visually. The on screen pairing of Adam and Rihanna is frought with at least as much transgression as that of the anscestoral Adam and Eve.

There’s no apple or serpent here, just a microphone which is audaciously wielded about like a shared sex toy and (given the political moment) as a middle finger to the historical interracial intolerance of the miscegenation laws.

Lyrically, the song reminds me of the best line of dialogue  ever from an American movie. In “The Fabulous Baker Boys,” a film which oddly enough is famous for a scene involving a piano and a microphone, Michelle Pfeiffer confronts Jeff Bridges about their “relationship.” Bemused, he asks her: “Relationship? What relationship? All I did was [expletive] you twice!” 

I assume that’s the exact same response we would get from our current president, as the next election looms, if we were to confront him as an electorate about our collective 8 year relationship.

And if he were ever to find it within himself to say sorry for the economic and military  reality he created and is leaving behind, I can hear Rihanna singing her current solo single “Take a Bow” in its entirety, sort of an “Exhale to the Chief: “Don’t tell me you’re sorry cause you’re not. You’re only sorry you got caught.”

Click here to see the video of “If I never see your face again.”


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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team

Oh my, how times (and The Times) have changed. Or maybe they haven’t. I wish Amy Spindler were still alive to sort through all of this for me.

It’s been 46 years since 1962 when Carole King wrote “He hit me and it felt like a kiss,” and 2008 when Leona Lewis sang the megahit “You cut me and I keep bleeding love.” Somewhere during that time there was a women’s movement(?).

photo by Steve Fenn/ABCIt’s been been 46 years between Jacqueline Kennedy’s 1962 televised tour of the White House and Michelle Obama’s tour de force guest host appearance yesterday in a White House Black Market dress (retail value $150) on ABC’s The View.”

Yesterday, Michelle Obama definitively made it clear to her critics– with humor, warmth and (dare I say it) that dress— that they better move on to an easier target.

If you listen to the conventional view, Ms. Obama has an image problem. Yesterday’s New York Times ran the front page story “After Attacks, Michelle Obama Looks for a New Introduction.”

She more than found that introduction on “The View,” where she was able to make good on her remark at the end of the article: “You know, if someone sat in a room with me for five minutes after hearing these rumors, they’d go ‘huh?’ They’d realize it doesn’t make sense.”

I won’t rehash the unfounded criticisms leveled against her–read for yourself, from any source you’d like–but I will put them in context for you.

I told USA Today last fall that “this is an election, maybe the first one since Kennedy-Nixon, where appearance really does matter. Because we have credible female, black, Hispanic candidates, style and substance may actually be competitive, or even equally important to the public.”

Comparisons to Jack and Jackie abound for Barak and Michelle. He gets compared to JFK for his political style and she to Jackie for her sense of style.

Last week, The Times ran the article “She dresses to Win” by Guy Trebay in its Style section. Mr. Trebay points out correctly that on the night her husband clinched the Democratic nomination “what grabbed the eye was the sleeveless purple silk crepe sheath made for Mrs. Obama by Maria Pinto.” She did indeed look stunning in that dress.

“But it was particularly the color Michelle Obama chose Tuesday night that seemed symbolically rich, even if its message may have been so subtle as to be subliminal.” The article makes the arguably misguided attempt to point out that that, despite the dress’ $900 price tag, purple might have been the color of choice because it is the color achieved by mixing blue and red (states, get it?).

I say arguably misguided because even I instantly thought that the populist, budget conscious, black and white sleeveless number she wore on “The View” was worn with such drop-dead-gorgeous-sans-culottes insouciance and was, therefore, so deliciously subversively ironic that it couldn’t have been accidental. Could it?

What I do know is that, while a woman of such accomplishment as Michelle Obama can be lauded for understanding the power of dressing, she cannot simplistically be reduced to the choices of her outfits. Yes, we all want to be considered people of substance and style. But, take it from someone who gets paid to make this call, it is a dangerous mistake to think that style is ever a lasting substitute for substance. Yes, it’s an advantage if you know how to use it to your benefit but that advantage has its limits.

I do wish the dimwits who were responsible for the film version of “Sex and the City” understood this. As Manohlia Dargis put it in her deservedly scathing review of the movie, “It isn’t that Carrie has grown older or overly familiar. It’s that awash in materialism and narcissism, a cloth flower pinned to her dress where cool chicks wear their Obama buttons, this It Girl has become totally Ick.”

And speaking of it, I’ve never been able to resist the opportunity to tell the following story because it is, well, irresistable. And suddenly pithy.

Three years ago, at a party given by Barney’s to benefit the Comer Children’s Hospital, Michelle Obama and the designer Narciso Rodriguez were the guests of honor. At that party I introduced her to Mr. Rodriguez as “the wife of Senator Obama.” She graciously corrected me by addressing Mr. Rodriguez: “Hello. I’m Michelle. I also work for the Children’s Hospital. Actually, I wear many hats.”

Thinking he’d get the joke I was about to make, I turned to Mr. Rodriquez and said “Do you make hats?” Perplexed, he looked at me and then at Michelle and said “No, but I can make you some really beautiful suits.” (I still wonder if he ever got the joke.)

The problem her critics have with Michelle Obama is that she is a woman of both style and substance. She is the coolest chick in the country wearing an Obama button.

In 2008, why is that such a bee in our collective bonnet when it should be a feather in her cap?


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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team

Life is strange. At 44 years of age, I’ve lived long enough to have buried a lover, a mother and a few hatchets.

Death is ever stranger. Especially the death of strangers.

I never met Phyllis Hyman but in 1995, when she committed suicide at the age of 45, I felt a very real sense of loss. That exact same sense of loss came over me again on Friday when I heard that Tim Russert had died from a heart attack.

I’ve never met Tim but he has been in my home on most Sunday mornings for something like 15 years. NBC’s “Meet the Press” has always been mandatory viewing for me even as I have found the amount of television that I care to watch has changed in inverse proportion to the number of channels on the cable box. (“Deal or no Deal?” Are you kidding me? No, seriously, are you kidding me?)

I don’t know about you but I live in a world where all the network weekday morning news programs have morphed into infotainment; a world in which the real news on the evening news is that America is still not ready for a female anchor let alone a female president; a world in which the cable news channels offer programming and personalities mostly reminiscent of the WWF; and a world where, Monday through Thursday, the only real news analysis can be found on “The Daily Show.”

Phyllis Hyman was one of the best vocalists ever to make music. Her “Greatest Hits” and her penultimate record, the masterful 1991 “Prime of My Life,” are primers on how to sing any songbook (or phonebook). “Gonna Make Changes” on the former and the title track on the latter were, it turns out, as cruel a choice of words as can be found in life’s playbook.

Tim Russert was quite possibly the last practitioner of intelligent broadcast journalism. Presidents, Princes (of Darkness known as Cheney) and Kings will still have occasion to meet the press, but it’s difficult to imagine (today) that, without Tim presiding, it will evermore be done with such diligence or accountability.

I began by saying that life is strange. How strange, you ask? Well, walk this way.

Just last week I walked into Zolla/Lieberman Gallery and saw the most ravishing painting by Chicago native Maria Tomasula. I’ve known and admired her work since 1995, but her newest painting “Royalty,” is something to behold. (You must see it in person because the reproduction here does it, and her talent, no justice.)

I intended to devote a whole blog next week to the exhibit of her work, but I found myself thinking today that her own description of this exceptional piece is a more fitting tribute to the legacy of Tim Russert (or any of our dearly departed) than I could have come up with myself. She writes:

This painting began as a meditation on the relationship between being and not being and how that relationship is imagined by different people. For some people, death is the end of life on earth but the beginning of something else. [T]his painting advocates the idea that death is final, and that while death (represented by the skull) is crowned with an image of life (the halo of fruits emphasizing succulence, sensation, fecundity, pleasure), the skull is at the center, irrevocable and final. But, for me, this isn’t a cause for lamentation. Instead, it is to say that our paradise is in this life that we live right now. And far from being simply an advocacy of hedonism, for me, there is a call for responsible action imbedded in this view. If this life is it, as far as we know, then we have a responsibility to do everything we can to bring into existence the most just society we can, because if we want to enjoy our lives, we want to do so in a society that makes the pleasures of life accessible not only to us but to the greatest number of people possible.

The exhibition of Ms. Tomasula’s work runs through August 23rd at 325 West Huron in Chicago.


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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team

I get the giggles when I think about what people get paid to write.

Apparently you can get paid to write an anonymously sourced 9,500 word article for Vanity Fair insinuating that Bill Clinton is having extramarital affairs with B-List actresses and defend yourself by admitting that you’re only insinuating. Way to go Todd S. Purdum. Dude!

It’s someone’s job  to come up with the names of paint colors. Who are these people and where do I get that job?

It’s someone’s job to write more books than she’s read. (We all know that’s Ann Coulter and that job is safely hers. Dude!)

And then there’s the people who come up with descriptions of scents. You could spend weeks deconstructing some of this stuff. I though you might all get a giggle from  the perfumeemporium.com descriptions of 5 of my favorite fragrances which, coincidentally, would make for great Father’s Day gifts!

Touch by Burberry  The spicy masculine notes of Burberry Touch are warmed up by mandarin hints. It’s unique violet-scented middle note is enhanced by woody tones lingering into an elegant layer of musk.  The wooden cap, carved in ash tree has the natural look and feel of the veins of the tree.

Extreme by Paul Smith  An updated version of the classic Paul Smith fragrance, Paul Smith Extreme cologne for men a spicy, light scent with top notes of Bergamot, Rosemary, Hesperidia, Nutmeg and Cardamom. The scent of choice for Jude Law, Paul Smith Extreme offers a more individual fragrance that’ll really amaze.

Antidote by Victor and Rolf  Like a rare flower pinned to the lapel of a tuxedo jacket, it is an expression of classic masculine elegance with a flair of sophistication. A rich, woody oriental, Antidote opens with a refreshing burst of mint leaves and Italian bergamot, sparkles with spicy facets of black pepper and cinnamon, and yields to the warmth of sandalwood, ebony and patchouli. 

Pure by Jil Sander (Note: despite what follows, this is a unisex fragrance.) Jil Sander Pure is a simple, fresh, everyday scent that was designed for the active, urban woman. The heart of this soft scent is pure air molecule, coupled with cyclamen flower, fresh petal jasmine, and lush sap, cooled with the caress of white musk, sandalwood, and ambrette seeds. Notes include Pure Air Molecule, Cyclamen Flower, Fresh Petal Jasmine, Lush Sap, White Musk, Sandalwood, Ambrette Seeds.

Comme des Garcons Man 2  Comme des Garcons 2 Man cologne has an intellectual presence with a twist of humor for a man who sets his own rules. The mixing of extremely classic and unusual elements expresses a distinctive, masculine, and powerful signature. The scent’s personality comes through a blend of complementary and contrasting mossy and woody notes. Notes of Nutmeg, Incense, Saffron Flowers, Vetiver, White Smoke.



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 Reggie Brown, NBC5 Street Team

 For the past 15 years, students in Jane Canepa’s Special Events and Promotions class at Columbia College have been required to choose a nonprofit organization and promote a fundraising event.

This year’s Jammin’ with Jane event was held at Pint at 1547 N Milwaukee and benefited the development of the PACODES Panyijiar Community Development Services’.  Their goal is to construct a library for the people in the Panyijiar community in Southern Sudan.

Jeremiah Hammerling, Danielle Barrera and Dr. Roy Hammerling

I was invited by Danielle Barrera, a student of Jane’s and former Street Teamer, and was happy to see that they had a great turnout, the room was packed ,and the energy was high.   Check out the documentary God Grew Tired of Us. It is a testament to the will and perseverance of a group of Sudanese refugees that sought a better way of life for themselves and their homeland. The Lost Boys Of Sudan is an organization that was set up to increase awareness and assist in providing continuous development to the much-needed and deserving region of Sudan. With the combined efforts of the students, The Lost Boys, members and supporters of  PACODES and the rest of the world, we have the ability to supply a war torn and impoverished region of the world with the simple basic tools they need to provide education and empowerment for their people.  

I  was able to catch up with the highly accredited Dr. Roy Hammerling (co-chair of Pacodes), and his son, Jeremiah, at the event. This dynamic duo is in the development stages of shooting a new film documenting the construction of the new library.  It is inspiring to see and be a part of an amazing group of people that are actively making the world a better place for everyone. I challenge you to do your part.

(Pictured Above:Jeremiah Hammerling, Danielle Barrera and Dr. Roy Hammerling)

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

Visit SaveChicagoCulture.org now and sign the petition. Here’s why:

I just got back from a run along the lake front. What is normally an almost-vacation-like experience for me as I head toward the beautiful city skyline with Lake Shore Drive on one side and Lake Michigan on the other was, today, bittersweet.

On my mp3 player were songs by The Attraction, Disonic, Lucid Ground, On The Front, Section 4, Mindsight, Seven Day Sonnet – all Chicago bands. Local music is my passion, but if the Chicago City Council gets its way on Wednesday, those bands could cease to exist or be driven to other, more arts-friendly cities.

On May 14 the City Council will vote on an ordinance requiring any event promoter to have a license and liability insurance. That doesn’t sound so bad, except the language is so broad individual bands and theater groups could be included. Most are operating on such tight margins this would effectively put them out of “business”. Problem is, musicians and actors and other artists are in the business of creating art. The venues are in the business of providing a safe environment and already have licenses and insurance. This is duplicate regulation versus enforcing laws that are already on the books.

This also means that publications like The Local Tourist, Chicago Acoustic Underground, Chicago Music Guide, Gapers Block, Chicagoist, and Time Out Chicago would have to be licensed if we want to put on concerts showcasing the talent we feature. For example, Chicago Acoustic Underground and The Local Tourist are putting on a benefit concert. Even though we both have established solid reputations for our support of local music, AND are hosting this event at a venue with insurance, proper licenses, and a history of safety, we would be required to apply for this promoter’s license and get additional, duplicate insurance.

Performers are exempt from this ordinance, with one glaring exception: if the performer “exercises no other financial or non-performance-related operational responsibility in connection therewith.” Bands are often required to sell their own tickets. So are actors. They do their own advertising and promotion. Some venues will book one band and require them to choose the rest of the lineup. All those bands I listened to this afternoon have been in those situations and therefore would need to get a license.

There’s some question about whether or not it will even be enforced, considering the city doesn’t enforce the existing legislation (which would have prevented the E2 disaster), but that’s a moot point. Reputable venues will comply with the regulations because they’re reputable.

Of course, the city is exempt from this, which seems even more ridiculous considering the response Efrat Dallal Stein, the spokeswoman for the Department of Business Affairs & Licensing, gave to Jim DeRogatis during an interview. Stein said this was also meant to combat overcrowding. “Say, for example, the capacity of the venue is 200 people, and they promote it to 1,000 people, and they have 500 people that show up. They have an issue of overcrowding, they have an issue of 500 people who cannot get in who are standing out in front of the venue.” What, like when the city ran out of wristbands at Looptopia so that thousands of kids were roaming downtown in the middle of the night with no place to go, and there was a mosh pit in Millennium Park with police chasing kids down Michigan Avenue, both on foot and in cruisers? Besides the hypocrisy in that statement, when’s the last time you heard of 500 people being turned away at Metro?

There have been some comments that event promoters should be licensed just like any other business. Yes, some actors and some musicians go on to make ridiculous sums of money, but the overwhelming majority struggle day to day, put in hours of practice after working full-time jobs, and receive little to nothing financially in return. Their “job” is to entertain. It is the venue’s job to provide a safe environment, and there are already laws in place to ensure that safety.

The arts have a long history of patronage. Today’s artists don’t have wealthy benefactors to support them while they create something beautiful, moving, thought provoking, amusing, or entertaining. Instead they have us – the patron that will gladly pay our $5 or $12 or $15 to experience their creativity.

Please, if you feel half as strongly as I do about protecting our vital and vibrant arts and music scene, visit SaveChicagoCulture.org and leave a comment. Chicago Acoustic Underground and The Local Tourist will be presenting comments from this site to every single Alderman and to the Chicago City Council. On the site you can also find your specific representative to contact individually.

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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team
I owe John Galliano an apology.

I’ve never really been one that cared much for the theatrics of fashion. I’m far more impressed by the actual garments and their construction, fit and wearability. Many of the fashion shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris are not presentations of visionary design but bi-annual excercizes in egotistical masturbation for coked up designers, models, fashion editors and assorted courtesans.

Gosh Tom, you say, doesn’t that sound fun?

Apparently, not anymore to Donatella Versace who, having recently kicked her decade/s long habit with blow, produced the most extraordinary spring couture show in recent memory.

One of my absolute favorite designers, the late Franco Moschino, used to call the whole idea of runway presentations “the fashion vampiress” because it really does suck the blood out of real creativity when you have to present a collection regardless of whether you have anything worthwhile to present.

Today, a client sent me an AP article on the polygamist wives and it brought to mind two of my least favorite designers, John Galliano and Marc Jacobs. (Yes, I am a fashion heretic.)

I’ve never really cared for Galliano’s vision of how women should dress and all the theatrics he engages in on his runway for Dior have never been able to distract me from that point . (As Leann Womak once sang, “I just hate her, I’ll think of a reason later.”)

I can be much more direct about my dislike for Marc Jacobs. Copying other people’s work (sure, you can call it paying homage, if you want to look the other way) and putting your label on it year after year, collection after collection is not my idea of genius. Oh, that reminds me to CC Tory Burch on this.

So, enter the polygamist wives, who are apparently taking their fashion cues from Ann B. Davis’ character Alice on “The Brady Bunch.” Some of us fashion buzzards are  wondering how influential their look might become, given that “inspiration” in fashion is serendipitous.

Alluding to Mr. Jacobs’ penchant for “homage,” Susan Cernek, the fashion editor of glam.com wrote that the womens’  look “sounds like a good Holloween costume…or Marc Jacobs Spring ’09.”

Well, I’ve got news for Ms. Cernek. John Galliano beat him to the punch(line) in his Dior Spring ’07 collection. It was a collection so dreary, one wonders whether he was way ahead of the rest of us by researching fundamentalist Mormon sects. Maybe, just maybe, I’m wrong about him and the man is a visionary and a psychic!

Read the AP story on cnn.com  which does a good job of explaining some of the sociopolitical aspects of these womens’ appearance and a review I wrote of the Dior exhibit when it appeared at The Chicago History Museum.


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