Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

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.


**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.


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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


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 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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candace-small2Candace Jordan, NBC Chicago Street Team

I woke up Thursday morning, May 28th, to the most unusual emails.  “You’ve got to do it!”, “You’re our choice.”, “Email them now!”, “You’d be perfect for this!”….blah, blah, blah….only until I opened up the newspaper did I understand what they were talking about.  There in Bill Zwecker’s column, in big bold headlines read, WILL OUR HOUSEWIVES PASS THE TEST.   Now I got it!  I scanned the column—he always has the best scoops—and found what I was looking for …..the email for the production company, Towers Productions.  I immediately mailed in the prerequisite information they were requesting (name, age, photo, contact information and the area where I live) to be considered for the independent production of “Real Housewives of Chicago.”  I loved the housewives of New York and even a fellow playmate, Jeana Tomasino, appeared on the housewives of Orange County so I figured what the heck?  Becky Cattie is the casting director for this new show and she must really have her hands full.  She said, “the hope is to find women who could give this formula a new twist, showcasing a really unique group to represent the Midwest.”   The production team is seeking “a dynamic group of ladies leading extraordinary lives—modern housewives who juggle busy lives and look great doing it!  No wallflowers please.”  I think I’m one of their girls!!   If you think so too, please let them know by sending an email to casting@towersproductions.com Move over LuAnn, Jill, Bethany, Kelly, Ramona and Alex—the Housewives of Chicago are ready for their close-ups.   (Follow this link for the Sun-Times article today…http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/-1,060309wivesg.photogallery?index=3

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

Springtime weather has gotten Chicagoans all in a tizzy.  Hibernation season is over, which is evident by the outside tables being set up at restaurants all over the city.  Sure the seventy degree weather is what’s popular these days, but the talk of the town has been Chicago’s hottest new restaurant, Sunda New Asian.  Brought to you by Billy Dec and Rockit Ranch productions, this hip and modern designed restaurant has been the place to be since its grand opening.  Check out Fete Select TV, as Bill Dec gives me an inside look at the cuisine, cocktails and vibe of Sunda.


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Damaris Woodbury, NBC Chicago Street Team

This is just the coolest thing ever and something every up and coming Artist with big dreams yearn for!

Whatever your media: Oral, digital, paint, film, performance, music, photography, etc., this expo is for you! The only one of its kind in the entire nation, Chicago is hosting the Creative Chicago Expo on Saturday, April 4th from 10am – 4pm at the Chicago Cultural Center. This one-day, free event that is open to the public is intended to connect business, space, housing, and cultural resources with individuals and organizations in all artistic disciplines, including music, film, fashion, theater, dance, visual arts, design and new media.

In its 6th year, the Expo adds new exhibitors and additional workshops to its line-up. In 2009, the Expo introduces “Consult-a-thon,” a unique opportunity for artists to schedule appointments for one-on-one consulting offering Career coaching,and industry specific experts offering advise. The one-on-one consultations are $10 for 20-25 minutes with an expert in your field. The complete list of consultants and a link to make appointments are posted on www.chicagoartistsresource.org. Check it out! The link has been posted since March 16th so get your spot now!

They have free 45 minute “how to” workshops ranging from “Art Festival How-To” to “Building a Board of Directors” to “Time Management for Artists.” Click here for a list of “Ask the City” representatives that will be available to answer your questions as well as the latest list of exhibitors.

This is a network opportunity like no other! Get out there, network and be on your way to making your artistic dreams a reality!!!

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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team

This Friday, March 13th, Arthur Murray hosts the 4th Annual Dancing with the Chicago Celebrities at the Hyatt Regency Chicago benefiting the Chicagoland Area Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

I had a chance to “get the scoop” with some of the instructors of Arthur Murray, get a quick Salsa lesson AND EVEN got a sneak peek at performances by Ginger Zee and Daryl Hawks, both from NBC Chicago!

The deets…
Instructors from the dance studio have been paired with local celebrities to perform a ballroom competition followed by two professional floor shows! There will be a cocktail reception with a cash bar beginning at 6pm. Doors open and the main event will begin promptly at 7pm. Tickets are $195 per person, and may be purchased online at www.dancingwithchicagocelebrities.kintera.org.

2009 Chicago Celebrities scheduled to appear are: Pat Cassidy, Radio Personality on WLS 890 AM, Lourdes Duarte, Assignment Reporter for WGN 9, Daryl Hawks, Sports Anchor and Reporter for NBC 5, Evelyn Holmes, Assignment Reporter for ABC 7, Dana Kozlov, Assignment Reporter from CBS 2, Katie Lorenz, Miss Illinois 2008, and Robbie Ventura, Professional Cyclist from Lance Armstrong’s team

We’ll see you on the dance floor!

For more toe-tapping videos, check out JenChicago.com!

Find me on Facebook! (Search: JenChicago)

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street_cara_1_headphones_wordpressCara Carriveau, NBC Chicago Street Team

Who says the stars are only out in Hollywood.  So many TV shows are now holding exclusive premiers right here in Chicago.   In fact, I have the pleasure of moderating a TNT Kenneth Johnsonshow premier next week – actor Kenneth Johnson will take part in a Q/A session right after the premier of  “Saving Grace” is viewed at Chi Bar inside the Sheraton Hotel & Towers in Chicago…this Tuesday, February 24, 7pm-9pm.

If you want to take part in the fun, the good news is that it’s free to attend – but you’ll need to preregister.  Tickets are first-come-first-served, so hurry and shoot an email to savinggracechicago@gmail.com if you’re interested.

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

When I first moved to Chicago ten years a go, the hot spot to have cocktails and dinner was One Sixty Blue.  It had decent food, a nice crowd and of course it was owned by Michael Jordan.  Just the mention of MJ’s association with the restaurant had folks pulling up to valet park their rides.  However over time, like many other restaurants in the city, One Sixty Blue lost its luster.  Most guests didn’t perceive the concept as a once or twice a week place to dine, but as a special occasion place to have an expensive meal.  Well fast forward a decade later, as the new Executive Chef Michael McDonald is attempting to change their image.chef_mcdonald1

 McDonald, a former Charlie Trotter restaurant Executive Chef, created a new menu that will allow his guests to think of One Sixty Blue often.  Very often.  In-fact, Michael the basketball player sampled Michael the chef’s cuisine and gave the ultimate approval.  No doubt that MJ’s high regards of McDonald’s creations made him feel like a champion also.  He is attempting to blend vibrant seasonal flavors with modern traditions. 

Signature dishes include Potato Leek Soup, Blue Crab Ravioli, Wagyu Short Rib, and Creamy White Grits.  The menu has many “starter plates”, “side plates” and “main plates” options, but the daily five-course tasting menu is a must.  Appropriately titled “Dinner with Michael”, Chef McDonald prepares an exceptional array of courses to suit your palate complete with wine pairings.  He also prints and presents a copy of the five courses that were selected for you.  A nice touch for guests, especially for those who often try to relay their dining experiences to friends.img21

Main plates are priced between $19 and $35, making it more affordable to dine versus previous years.  One Sixty Blue has a nice wine selection and a specialty cocktail list that borders on traditional twists.  Although they’re located at the end of restaurant row in in the West Loop, their new menu could help diners remember that MJ’s joint is still a gem.

One Sixty Blue is located at 1400 West Randoph St. Chicago, IL. (312) 850-0303.  www.onesixtyblue.com

Watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net to check out the newest and hottest restaurants in Chicago.

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Justin Allen, NBC5 Street Team

“You’ve got to be f’ing kidding me.”

My friend Todd looked up from his beer and stared at the TV. The Dodger bench had emptied and the entire team was celebrating on the field. Joyous fans celebrated in the stands, while shots of dejected Cubs fans and players peppered the broadcast.

“Why would anyone want to be a fan of this team?” he asked. Even the faith of the most obsessive fans can be shaken after a 100 year drought.

Here come the man-tears.

Here come the man-tears.

“Seriously, why do we subject ourselves to this crap?” he continued. “It doesn’t matter what team they put on the field next year or the year after or ten years from now; it’s never going to happen. Never.”

My God.  What a thought.  There we sat, a table of the most strident fans the Cubs could have and we’re questioning why we do it.  And as we sat there debating the logistics of swearing off the Cubs forever, it dawned on me: we’re not going to give up the Cubs. Ever. Why? Because we’re fans. Not just any fans…CUBS fans.  More than any other fan in any other sport, we hold on to the notion that, regardless of how bleak the chances might be, there’s always still a chance the Cubs can do it.  There’s always next year.  And the year after that and the year after that and…

So for all my fellow Cubs fans out there, this song’s for you. It’s by the late Steve Goodman, a great American singer/songwriter and, just like you and me, a true, Cubbie blue, Cubs fan. I’m sure you’ll agree this pretty much sums up what being a Cubs fan is all about. Click here to check it out.

Until next year…or the year after that…

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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team

Brightly colored, simply shaped sheaths and columns  some with tweaking like ruching, a ruffle or a bit of beading here and there were mostly the order of the day.

When the dress is essentially very simple in construction, the color you chose to wear must be spot on flattering. For the most part, the women got that right. I’m not so sure they got the hair and makeup right. Mary Louise Parker, for instance, looked stunning in her dress but the hair, not so stunning. The danger of wearing a simply constructed dress is that with the wrong hair and makeup you can look like you are wearing a nightgown, a leotard or hospital gown (yes, Cynthia Nixon I am talking about you.)

Actresses that chose to wear dresses at or above the knee (Eva Langoria, Kyra Sedgwick) or what used to be called tea length (America Ferrera, Marcia Cross) missed the mark, not because the length was wrong but because they chose such unflattering dresses.

For the men, the shawl collar tux made a huge ( and long overdue) comeback, but the relative newness of the collar to  a younger generation would explain why so many of the first timers got it so wrong.


Christina Applegate, Felicity Huffman, Evangeline Lilly

The dresses were distinctly different on the surface, but I defy you to name a decade from the 30’s on in which each of those dresses could not have been worn by the chicest of women.

Sandra Oh. Oh my God, she’s never looked this good! Oh please keep it up, Sandra. Pretty please?

Terry Hatcher. Just plain pretty. How can you argue with that?

Julia Louis Dreyfus. I wasn’t a great fan of the dress itself ( an uncharacteristically awkward effort by Narciso Rodriguez), but she just looked drop dead gorgeous. Great hair and makeup and the color of that dress was stunning on her.

Vanessa Williams. The only risk of the night (a large scale print) that paid off!

Jean Smart. Perfect 40’s movie glamour and perfectly age appropriate.


Patrick Dempsey. This guy can do no wrong in a tuxedo no matter what style he wears. This time it was a shawl collar version worn with a bow tie.

Neil Patrick Harris. He’s never looked better. Actually, he looked kinda….. hot. Doogie Howser who?

David Boreanaz. How to look impecable in a peak lapel tuxedo.

Stephen Colbert. Turning into a perennial on most people’s best list.

Sean Combs. Very dapper.

And now unfortunately, THE WORST DRESSED: Read More


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

Sept. 16th  marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month which is celebrated in the US – a national holiday that began under President Lyndon B. Johnson and highlights the significant contributions Latinos have made on US culture.  Coca-Cola and Fete Select TV celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with an inside look at Mercat a la Planxa.  Inspired by Catalan cuisine, acclaimed Executive Chef Jose Garces’ new restaurant shows us why Latino chefs are making a huge impact on fine dining.

View Fete Select TV below and see why Mercat a la Planxa is one of Chicago’s best new restaurants in the city.  Check out more hot new restaurants on Fete Select TV at www.efete.net

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Cara Carriveau, NBC5 Street Team

Oprah is taping her season premiere at Millennium Park in downtown Chicago this Wednesday.  There was a post about it earlier but I wanted to make sure you knew that you couldn’t simply show up on Wednesday – if you want to get in, you need to come to Millennium Park TODAY (Saturday, August 30th) at 12pm for reservation information. Audience Coordinators will be located on the East side of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion along Columbus Drive just behind the McDonald’s Cycle Center.  Click HERE for all the details!

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Katrell Mendenhall, NBC5 Street Team

August is the month of MUSIC.  Let’s catch you up to speed… “She’s Back” was posted 6/12/08 about Chicago’s own Syleena Johnson’s long awaited debut.

After a four year hiatus from being in love and the birth of her first child, Johnson is ready to release her fourth album Chapter 4: Labor Pains, which is an in-depth look at her most personal struggles.  A total of 16 tracks and one of my personal favorites titled “Freedom” featuring Blues singer Syl Johnson (her father) is a hit.  Other local natives appearing on the album are Teefa and always holding down the Chi, Crucial Conflict.

Debuting an album is not the only celebration. Syleena amicably left Jive Records in 2006 and has now gone independent with her personal label Aneelys Records, a subsidary of Universal Music Group.  Normally, after hibernation and leaving a major label, it’s easy for an artist to fall by the wayside, but this is not going to be the case with Chapter 4: Labor Pains. The only way is UP!  The release has been pushed back from it’s original date (Sept. 2nd, her birthday) to January 13, 2009.  Wow, can you believe we’re only 4 months away? Time flies.  Check out the interview below and let me know your thoughts or who you’d like to see next. Also, check out www.myspace.com/syleenjohnson for more hot tracks. 

Check out the video of her performance and an interview from her album release at Rumba on West Hubbard.

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Lola, NBC5 Street Team

I’ll be honest, I was probably one of the last people to find out about Mad Men. My obsession was born out of a recent blissful if slightly embarrassing On Demand binge. (You can watch all the episodes of Season 1 in the TV Entertainment section) Since viewing all of the episodes (twice) I have been not so patiently awaiting the start of Season 2 in a meaningless blur of emptiness and sorrow. Alas, tonight is the night!

Mad Men portrays the lives and loves associated with a fictitious Madison Avenue ad shop in the 1960s. In what many industry insiders argue is an exaggerated tone, the all male ad executives

the cast wine, dine, womanize, and somehow find time to come up with genius ad campaigns. Realistic? Not really.  But the romantic idealism of the early 1960s is beautifully depicted and just as addictive as the cigarettes and day-drinking omnipresent in every scene.  

The only women at Sterling Cooper are the secretary pool,  all young and most beautiful. They dote on their bosses using any and all means necessary.  Joan Holloway, the hot to trot redhead secretary-in-chief instructs newbie Peggy Olson on her first day – “He may act


like he wants a secretary, but most of the time they’re looking for something in between a mother & a waitress. And the rest of the time well…” Peggy figures that one out before the end of the first episode.



On a more serious note, the show deeply explores the duality of Don Draper. He is Sterling Cooper’s star Creative Director, a devoted husband to picture perfect ex-model turned stepford wife Betty Draper, and oh yeah…a shameless philandering playboy. More of Don’s secrets are revealed with each episode of Season 1 and his mental state becomes oddly reminiscent of a Tony Sopranoesque hidden he-man depression. (Or perhaps not so odd, show creator Matthew Weiner wrote for The Sopranos)

Catch Mad Men tonight at 9pm central on AMC or have your DVR catch it for you. Season 2 takes place in the mid 1960s, as times start to change with more attention to civil/women’s rights. To use the vernacular of the time, it’s bound to be positively swell!

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Cara CarriveauCara “Cara’s Basement” Carriveau, NBC5 Street Team

I blogged about this event a few days ago, but just wanted to remind you about the Shannon Sperando Cancer Benefit Concert at The Double Door tomorrow (Saturday, July 5). Live music from Munroe, Dave Costa, The Chemist vs. The Computer, Facing Winter and Mer. Only $8 for five bands and you’ll be helping out a young lady with cancer.Rob, Cara, Zoraida

I had the pleasure of appearing on NBC 5 Today this morning with Rob Elgas and Zoraida Sambolin to chat about this event. Well, it wasn’t exactly a pleasure arriving at 5:30am but it was pretty cool being inside the NBC studio’s. Now that I’ve seen the video, though, I realize that I probably should have packed a brush in my purse and applied more blush for the bright lights – but that’s the kind of thing that happens when you stick a radio person on TV!!

Please click here to read my original blog (it includes more details) about this benefit concert.

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

The Taste of Chicago was born July 4th in 1980, and is now the second largest tourist attraction in Illinois. For ten days, this free- admission festival is the place to be, injecting the city with a spirit of hunger and attracting a few news stories along the way.  To add some spectacle to all the gluttony, there will also be a performance by Cirque du Soleil as well as live concerts daily by artists such as Chaka Khan, Josh Kelley, and more.


But when it comes to the food, how do you know what to try? With 65 different vendors serving well over 300 different food items, it’s easy to be intimidated. My friends, that’s where Hungry Z and my very large appetite come in. No need to walk around aimlessly and try random items you’re not sure you’ll enjoy. That’s my job. In an effort to create a comprehensive guide to the Taste, this Friday I will bring my large appetite to Grant Park, and sample something from all 65 vendors!


My quest for 65 is one I fully intend to achieve.  In an effort to resurrect my teenage appetite, I’ve been training! My regimen is as follows; I have hit the gym 12 out of the last 14 days, drinking a gallon of water each day, as well as eating 6 meals and 4 snacks each day.

To document this I will be making an appearance on the NBC5 morning news this Friday at 5:45am, Tivo it if you can’ wake up that early. I’ll also be live on the 4:30 p.m. newscast.11 a.m. and will hopefully finish at 5 p.m.  That means I have to try something new every 6 minutes. I’m going in order 1-65, so it’ll be real easy to track my progress. In addition there will be a live roaming Web camera Taste tracking my progress, which you can link to from this page, and I’ll also be doing a live blog right here so everyone can keep up with my opinions of each dish. I’m starting my eating at 11 a.m. and hope to finish up at 5 p.m.

To help me truly “Taste Chicago”, I could use everyone’s help. Stop by the Taste this Friday and show your support. High fives and cheering will be much appreciated. And don’t think that you won’t be able to spot me, I’ll be the guy with a NBC t-shirt on and a camera following him. Thanks, and here’s hoping that I don’t puke!

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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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Cara CarriveauCara “Cara’s Basement” Carriveau, NBC5 Street Team

I love martini’s and I love parks. So a place called Martini Park sounds like a perfect destination. I’ll be there tomorrow evening (Thursday, June 19) at 7:30 for the My Boys exclusive screening party.

My Boys is a comedy airing on TBS created by Northwestern alum Betsy Thomas. Since My Boys is set in My Boys on TBSChicago you’ll catch plenty of references to many Chicago landmarks including the Art Institute, Billy Goat Tavern, The Hideout and Guthrie’s Tavern. It’s about Sun-Times sportswriter P.J. Franklin (surprised they didn’t make the last name “Clarke” as in another Chicago landmark) and her “boys” including one radio DJ who works at a rock station that suddenly changes formats…something I can totally identify with!  I spent a few years happily rockin’ at Chicago’s Rock 103.5 spinning bands like Metallica and Anthrax, then suddenly one day it flipped to “Jammin’ Oldies”. Ugh. Bad memory.  And I digress.

If you come to Martini Park tomorrow evening you’ll get to meet and mingle with cast members Michael Bunin, Reid Scott, and Kyle Howard as you enjoy complimentary appetizers and win cool prizes from My Boys and WTMX.  You’ll watch the new episode on the big screen while sipping specialty martinis.  Great way to spend a Thursday night in Chicago!

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