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Erik Sorensen, NBC5 Street Team

So this is what it’s come down to, has it?

Taking the least respectable portion of a demographic and giving them a platform on which to embarrass themselves and everyone they represent? So has been, and continues to be the ongoing trend in reality television. Normally, you’d breathe a sigh of disapproval, change the channel and feel sorry for the city or culture that has just been misrepresented. This time is different, though. This time it’s personal.

According to www.oconnorcasting.tv, O’Connor Casting has begun searching for White Sox fans who live on Chicago’s South Side, who dislike the Cubs, and who (wait for it….)  resemble a  “”Jersey Shore” type of reality star.”   The casting call goes on to describe its criteria: ARE YOU THE NEXT “Jersey Shore” TYPE OF REALITY STAR? Do you live on Chicago’s Southside? Are you the GUY or GIRL who is awesome in oh so many ways? Are you sexy, crazy, fun, outgoing, outrageous, love to make things exciting, always up for an adventure, and a HUGE SOX fan who thinks the CUBS suck? If so, then we want you, your friends, your total awesomeness. CONTACT US NOW!”  View the entire casting call here: http://oconnorcasting.tv/castingboard/index.php?q=node/6

In other words — unless I’m mistaken — an excuse to manufacture a Chicago version of what has become one of the most socially protested, insulting, grotesque displays of human behavior in recent television history.  Already, I can hear the collective sounds of Chicagoans (myself included) hurling their lunches into their laps. White Sox fans and South Siders don’t deserve to be represented by the lowest common denominator of individual. We are one city, despite the connotation a show like this would suggest.

While the website does not disclose when, where or on how grand a scale the reality show will air, one thing is certain: whether you’re a Cubs fan, or White Sox fan, or don’t care for sports altogether – this is bad for Chicago. Period.

There is no benefit in plucking the most abominable members of any fan base, culture or city and parading them around as if they were the majority. “Jersey Shore” became a television phenomenon for all the wrong reasons. Its success came at the the expense of many who never asked to be associated with the stereotypes the show has created. And yet, it seems companies are tripping over themselves to clone and serve up the next batch of culturally destructive, two-dimensional, well…… “Hiney Birds,” as “HawkHarrelson might describe them.

Shame on any Chicago-based company that so willingly offers up its own people to be used as embarrassing pawns in the name of a reality television show. The Windy City deserves better.


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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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At last night’s televised portion of the Emmys, Ricky Gervais made the hilariously irreverent confession: “This is the greatest awards ceremony in the world, there’s no doubt about that. Definitely, definitely no doubt about that. The thing about the Oscars and the Golden Globes is they’ve got film stars there, with their jawlines and chiseled looks, making me feel bad. But in this room – I’m not being funny – I’m probably above average. Here, Steve Carell is considered handsome.”

Much the same logic could be used to describe what is usually wrong with the women’s fashion at the Emmys. Since the  Emmys lack the star power, prestige  and, most importantly, the audience of the Golden Globes and The Oscars, it’s rare that actresses bring their A fashion game because it is even rarer that  the top design houses  loan out their A rate dresses. This means that if an actress is not careful, in that room–I’m not being funny–the Housewives of Atlanta would rate above average.

And so it was last nite.  Jennifer Carpenter, Kara DioGuardi, Sandra Oh, Holly Hunter, Sigourney Weaver, Drew Barrymore and Christina Applegate brought it. That’s because they would look spot on even at a more prestigious event.

On the other hand, stars like Vanessa Williams, Debra Messing, Marcia Gay Harden,  Julia Louis Dreyfus, Jessica Lange and Glenn Close didn’t. That’s because they looked like “make under” versions of the OC housewives. Their dresses, and most of the dresses period, were so safe and boring that you could easily find them hanging on the rack of a high end department store.

Tina Fey and Toni Colette have always been two outsize talents who have been in desperate need of a good stylist. Ms Fey, it seems, finally found one. Ms Colette, it seems, found the Rachel Zoe School for the Newly Emaciated and Fakebaked.  January Jones, Kristin Chenoweth (a very deserving winner for “Pushing Daisies”)  and Leighton Meester used overzealous stylists. Kim Kardashian used an overzealous pimp.

And then there was the worst offender of the evening, Heidi Klum, with her TMI maternity frock. Good god, the only way for her to have been  more inappropriately dressed was to have  arrived in a hospital gown with Seal telegraphing the number of centimeters she was dilated.

The best dressed men were  Tracy Morgan (surprisingly so), Steve Carell (reliably so), Ricky Gervais (eclectically so), Justin Timberlake (youthfully so), and Simon Baker (hot damn so). Jon Cryer was by far the worst dressed, perhaps because he dressed as his character on “Two and a Half Men.”

For a photo gallery and a slightly different perspective than the one expressed here, click here.

TheBestDressedList.com

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NBC5meThe vision came initially in 1996 to husband and wife team Donzell & Aliza Starks. They just wanted to bring cinematic entertainment to inner city neighborhoods.  In November 1997, the Starks fulfilled  that dream and made history by bringing Hollywood back to the ‘hood in Chicago. Through a joint venture with one of the largest movie exhibitors, this dynamic duo of an investment banker and a marketing expert, accomplished what few thought possible – the revival of movie theaters in inner city communities on the south and west sides of Chicago.
 The project included the construction of three state-of-the-art complexes – ICE Chatham 14, ICE 62nd & Western 10, and ICE Lawndale 10. The Starks financed this $39 million project and all three multiplex theaters opened to the public on November 24, 1997.
Today,  twelve years later, ICE Theaters still brings moviegoers big screen motion picture entertainment right into urban neighborhood communities. And the goal of ICE Theaters remains the same – to symbolize the glamour of Hollywood, incorporate the latest technologies, offer superior customer service and add pride to each community it serves.

In keeping with the mission of the founders, Deon Taylor, a native of Gary Indiana chose the ICE Chatham Theater to host the world premiere of his suspense thriller “Dead Tone.” And to the moviegoers and my surprise, Hollywood actually showed up in full regalia on the red carpet, just arms length away from Jewel, Harold’s Chicken and Starbucks!  Onlookers snapped away on their cell phones as Cherie Johnson, Brian Hooks, Antwon Tanner and Deon Taylor made their way into the theater joined by special guests NBA star Bobby Jackson, and NFL stars Ray Crockett and Blaine Bishop.

Dead Tone Cast

“I couldn’t be more excited,” said director Deon Taylor. “This event brings Hollywood to Chicago and I look forward to sharing this high-energy film with the community, especially the area teens.”  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).

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tom_kolovos_wordpressnewTom Kolovos, NBC Chicago Street Team

Chris Rock once joked that as a father you have  only two responsibilities: to keep your son from winding up on the (crack) pipe and your daughter from winding up on the (stripper) pole.

After last night , I would add a third:  keep your daughter  from winding up on Donald Trump‘s “Miss Universe Pageant.”


Slideshow: Miss Universe Competition


Billy Bush was the host of the festivities and his main function was to repeatedly remind us that contestants would be sporting some of the hottest bathing suits. Ever. OMG!

All buttoned up in an ill fitting tux, he kept promising us that “lots of skin” would be on display.

He wasn’t kidding. As the top 15 contestants changed into their suits, we were treated to a photo shoot of contestants in (perhaps the tackiest of) string bikinis. When Flo Rida came out to perform, bikini clad contestants who were not lucky enough to make it into the top 15 were lucky enough to be able  to sashay behind him, in the manner of what used to be disparagingly called “a video ho” on MTV.

After the contestants were winnowed down to the top 10, we were  finally treated to a synopsis of their inner life, whilst they stood there in….. string bikinis.

Billy’s pithy revelations were limited to their ages and  their hobbies, which were almost exclusively limited to  exercising, shopping and watching reality television. Really? At least in the  pre-feminist ‘ 70s, pageant organizers wanted us to know so much more about the contestants, including their measurements and favorite color (peach used to be the most common, as I recall).

It is difficult to walk away from the telecast last night without thinking that the “pageant” should be properly retitled Donald Trump Presents:  I’d Like to Hit That (When Melania Isn’t Watching).” The top 15 we were told were chosen by an (unnamed) panel of judges and by representatives from the “Donald Trump organization.”

When we were introduced to the judges who were actually going to pick the winner, I couldn’t help but wonder what qualification any of them had to pick the winner of, well, anything.

Some of the judges (both male and female) were downright creepy in that sex trafficking sort of way. And because, unlike the Miss America pageant, the Miss USA/Universe pageant has never  bothered with the pretense that it is a scholarship competition in which some (dubious) talent is involved, sex–sorry, skin– is all it can traffic in.

Oh, it turns out Miss Venezuela won the title, even though Miss Dominican Republic was by far the most stunning and beautifully dressed of all the contestants this year. She had to settle for runner up.

I, simply, better settle down.

tomkolovos.com, TheBestDressedLIst.com

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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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adrienenAdrienne Irmer, NBC Chicago Street Team

Thursday, July 23rd, Sharon King, Chicago Casting Director extraordinaire, hosted the first in her Focus on Filmmakers Series at Columbia College’s Film Row Cinema. Emceed by Johnny “Koolout” Starks from WVON radio, four Chicago film directors showcased their short films and participated in a Q & A afterwards. This go-round featured Morocco Omari’s (Mis)Leading Man, J. David Shanks’ Trespass, Aaron Wallace’s The Fall and Barbara Allen’s Morning Due. Some heavy-duty material was covered in these films, but I won’t give any of it away, you can check these out on your own. I will, however, recommend coming to the next installation when it comes around sometime next month (date TBD).

Chicago is one of the largest cities in the nation, and events like this are meant to highlight local filmmakers of both the short and feature length and showcase the art emerging out of Chicago. Sharon also aims to help guide up-coming industry-related individuals with their art and then provide networking opportunities with established like-minded creators in their own city. Her next co-sponsored event is with the multi-Emmy winning Craig J. Harris: Breaking into the Entertainment Industry Seminar, Saturday, September 12th, 11:00 AM at Encore Talent Agency, 2635 W Grand, Chicago. If you didn’t know, now you do, because this is sure to be a worth-while investment for any aspiring artisits out of our fair city!

For more information about this event and to register, check out: http://www.craigharris.com

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