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Archive for the ‘Weekend Activities’ Category

Erik Sorensen, NBC5 Street Team

It will be a somber St. Patrick’s Day for those of us slowly coming to terms with the absence of our beloved South Side Irish Parade. On March 25th of 2009, the South Side St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee announced that the event would be cancelled, indefinitely. The decision was welcomed by some, but widely regarded as the end of a cherished era by most.

For many, the parade was as much a staple for their neighborhood as any event; so much so, that it grew in popularity every year and eventually became too large to manage. Or so the explanation goes.

South Side Irish Parade Route

While there were many legitimate factors that influenced the cancellation, (namely public intoxication, trampled property, unruly behavior) none represent what gave the parade its heart and soul: the families. It was about gathering to celebrate our Irish heritage, but you always got the sense there was more to it than that. Droves of families and friends poured faithfully each year into Western Avenue like a green human river; walking distances from as short as their front lawns to neighborhoods miles away.

Some of my earliest and fondest memories can be attributed to that parade. I watched it with my family and relatives as a child; marched in it as a boy scout; attended it with dear friends as a teenager; played in it as part of the Marist High School Marching Band and returned to it as a spectator, and an adult. It was an event to share with your children, and your children’s children. A gathering of proud people surrounded by the buildings and streets they love. It was the celebration of the neighborhoods the event represented, and the stores you rode your bike to as a kid. It was the South Side Irish Parade, and it was ours.

(Replacing the event will be the South Side Irish Parade Family Fest, held on Saturday, March 13th, hosted by the Beverly Arts Center. The daylong festival features family-friendly activities including: bag pipers, an Irish soda bread contest, a small children’s parade, dancers, a best dressed “Irish dog” contest and an array of Irish-themed arts.)

TICKETS
Admission (from 11am-4pm): $10 Adults,
$7 Seniors, Free for children under 12
Admission (after 4pm): All tickets $25

http://www.beverlyartcenter.org

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Baseball season in the Chi doesn’t start for another 27 days, 4 hours and 21 minutes so you have absolutely no excuse for not attending this dazzling event brought to you by the Chicago Lions Rugby Super League.

The Chicago Lions RSL team will be opening their season with a spectacular display of elite rugby competition by taking on their cross-town rival, the Chicago Griffins, at Hope Field (2431 W. Roosevelt Rd. Chicago, IL) on March 20th at 1 PM.

 The Chicago Hope Academy, the Lions community partner in Lions for Hope, will start the day with a high school match against DeKalb HS @ 10:30 AM. The Lions RSL B side will follow the A side match @ 3PM. The 3 games will be followed by a post-match party on the Lions field. In addition to high level rugby, USA Eagles (USA Rugby’s National Team) Head Coach Eddie O’Sullivan, will be present to scout for the national team and available for meet-and-greet throughout the day.

 The Chicago Lions rugby match against the Griffins on March 20th has all the makings of a great day for the Lions and all of our supporters. Rugby is growing rapidly in popularity, especially with the recent release of Invictus and the addition of rugby 7s to the 2016 Olympics, and this is our opportunity to display rugby in its preeminent form to the people of Chicago. Together with the unique partnership of the Chicago Hope Academy, and the introduction of rugby to high school students, it will be memorable sporting event.

 For more information about this event, please visit the website at www.chicagolions.com or contact Chicago Lions RFC President Keith Brown at 312.952.1028. If you have any questions or seek more information about the Lions for Hope partnership, please contact Chicago Hope Academy President Bob Muzikowski at 312.781.2139 or visit their website www.chicagohopeacademy.com.

Hope to see you there!

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Eric Smith, NBC5Chicago Street Team

 On location at Binny’s Beverage Depot with Bianca Berger of TY KU-a premium Asian Wine and Spirits Company.

How did you become State Manager for TY KU?

Bianca Berger(c) TY KU-State Manager

Well, I have worked in the Adult Beverage Industry for over 7 years here in the Chicago area.  About a year ago I was approached by representatives of the brand and then came on board to use my expertise to help launch the beverage in Illinois.  It has been a lot of fun working for this new company and breaking it in this market.  TY KU has given us the freedom and flexibility to try new things in order to build the brand.

What are the most popular types of TY KU in this market?

TY KU LIQUEUR is the most popular type selling in the Chicago area.  It comes in a very uniquely shaped bottle with a bright green citrus tasting liquor inside-that people like.  TY KU LIQUEUR is made up of super fruits found only in Asia-including a combination of mangosteen and gogi berri-natural ingredients packed high in antioxidants and vitamins.

How does the brand differentiate itself?

The New Skin of TY KU

Currently, there is no clear leader in Asian Spirits in this market and this is where we’ve found our niche.  In addition, we are bringing to market a healthier alternative to most adult beverages due to the natural super fruit ingredients.   The TY KU LIQUEUR is packaged in a unique bottle that lights up at the bottom and this is another great selling point.  And our TY KU SAKE is poised for huge growth with it’s unique flavor-offering the same health benefits as wine.

Does TY KU have a target demographic?

No not really.  But we find that we are developing a customer base that is 21-30 looking to experience new flavors-willing to try something different.  And it is very popular among women.  (And this couldn’t be more true-new TY KU Fan-Alicia Tiffany stated, “Personally I liked the fruity sweet taste of the green one…the colors of the drink and the shape of the bottle really stood out.”)

What’s next for TY KU?

At the top of the year we introduced the new TY KU SOJU and have a major push behind this campaign.  And we have just launched the TY KU NINJAGETAWAY Sweepstakes because even Ninjas need a vacation! We are offering TY KU fans a chance to win a kick a$$ vacation to Paradise Island, Bahamas or Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The prize includes 4 days & 3 nights at the luxurious Riu Hotel & Resort, round trip airfare, spa treatments, water sports, beachwear, skincare products & much more! Enter daily to increase your chances of winning. Sweepstakes ends on April 30th, 2010

TY KU NinjaGetaway

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Eric Smith, NBC5Chicago Street Team

On Location at  The Shrine with Soul Songstress Aniba Hotep.

Who is Aniba Hotep-please explain for the world to know.

I am a Messenger of Peace-the person who sees the happy ending to the path of life.  Consider me a combination my unique life’s experience and applied knowledge-from mentors who have gone before me.  Living through these experiences-this is who I am.  Where it all began was in my hometown, performing in talent shows and composing my own music in an academic honors programs, which lead to a chance to perform at the famed Apollo theater as a young child.

Aniba Hotep

How do you define your style…is it Soul Music or is it R&B?

My style is absolutely Soul Music.  Originally from small town in Virginia, my musical roots were being established in the Church from age 11.  My sound is influenced by my religious upbringing-infused with the blues.  Listening to me perform-you can hear Southern based Soul a kind of Soul Blues-akin to many of the greats like Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Johnny Taylor, Al Green and Billie Holiday.

When I first heard you play you reminded me of some of the great disco classics from the days of Salsoul Records.  How do you feel about disco and house music?

Where I’m from-house is GoGo music.  And when I first moved here-I fell in love with the older stuff like First Choice and Loleatta Holloway-and you can hear some of these songs incorporated in my live sets.  However, I would not have labeled what I heard and listened to at that time as house music.

How does fashion play a role in your music?

Fashion is very much intertwined with my music.  When first arriving in Chicago-I started first expressing myself on the poetry scene and then transitioned into the music.  Even then, I wanted to leave a mark in all facets of this are.  When people see a show they deserve a visual-and fashion would never not be a factor.

What do you enjoy most about your art and performing?

Aniba Hotep-Live

I enjoy the songwriting aspect of my art.  I write most of my material and music.  Building a song that people appreciate-pleases me.  Once an audience is engaged in my art-that’s when I am most comfortable and closer to finding a love for the stage.

What about the city of Chicago influences you?

I became an adult in the city of Chicago.  It has always influenced me musically.  Before arriving I was always in record stores listening to and looking for records from Chaka Khan, Ramsey Lewis and Booker-T-the Chicago taste in music was similar to what I was listening to and what I like to give in my shows.

What’s in store for your fans in 2010?

I plan to continue with the“All Souled Out” concert series-we already have a growing fan base.  The next time you can come to see me play will be at The Morseland-Friday, February 26 at 9pm. We plan to perform at the upcoming Chicago Soul Music Festival and will look to book an overseas tour.

Come on out an see the most soulful band out of Chicago since Earth, Wind and Fire-Aniba Hotep and The Sol Collective!

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

It’s rare to find a restaurant in the burbs that I really like which is not in the city. I found such a gem in the western suburbs a couple of weeks a go. Prasino, the new eco-friendly restaurant in LaGrange, promotes “green” and is doing it very well.

Prasino (means “green” in Greek) is the first eco-friendly restaurant for Chicago’s western suburbs. With an eco-chic design, and family friendly environment, this 200-seat restaurant is committed to promoting organic agriculture and supporting local growers & artisanal food producers whenever possible. General Manager Peggy Maglaris Kopley was inspired to start the concept after her husband was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2007, that brought the family’s attention back to the importance of “all things fresh.” She soon started buying organic products from the grocery store and attributes her husbands recovery to his organic diet.

Prasino’s menu appears to have similar menu items that you can find at other restaurants, but the key is that they’re organic and healthy. For example, their “Blue Crab Nachos” appetizer are served on baked yukon gold crisp with steamed blue crab, mango salsa, and cilantro bearnaise. The “Grilled Fresh Monterey Calamari” features blistered cherry tomato, braised cannellini beans, baby spinach, sea salt crustini, and a truffle mustard vinaigrette. Prasino has an attractive list of meat and seafood entrees, but I chose to sample the “Miso Chili Glazed Alaskan Black Cod” and the “Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna”. Both dishes were extremely fresh, delicate and complemented by steamed basmati rice and baby bok choy. The flavors were light but present and the wasbai cream added a pleasant touch to the tuna. Side dishes range from “Grilled Asparagus” to “Roasted Cauliflower Gratin”. I thought the “Asparagus & Corn Risotto” made with truffle oil and lemon butter would be a dream, but it turned out to be a little too salty.

Prasino has a drink menu that works for everyone. Besides the standards of specialty coffees and teas, other organic highlights include fruit and veggie blended juices, sodas, smoothies, bottled beers and ciders, and sparkling wines. They have nice red and white wine selections, but Prasino’s specialty alcoholic cocktails take the blue ribbon. Be sure to order my two favorites, the “La Grange Manhattan” and the “Rose Hipster”. Top off your dinner with the apple waffles or bread pudding, although the latter of the desserts was very average.

Prasino is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has affordable prices. The atmosphere has a friendly family feel and the service was good. It’s a great place to dine with kids and is located steps from the Metra station in downtown LaGrange enabling easy access from the city and other suburban areas. My wish is for Prasino to bring their concept to the city. Check out Prasino at http://www.eatgreenlivewell.com. Visit www.efete.net/blog.html to view my “Tru” ratings for Prasino.

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JenChicago, NBC Chicago Street Team
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Or even better, WATCH all about it! The weekend starts early with a performance and celebration this Thursday at The Joynt. Cellist Ian Maksin will be performing, with special guests, songs from his new CD, Solo Flight. The night is also the launch of the newly released CD, so expect plenty of celebrating to go along with the unique and soulful music of Ian Maskin. No cover. Doors at 8.

Want a little taste? Watch below as I host a “Gimme 5!” interview with “The Cello Man”, himself!

For more info, check out this week’s Time Out Chicago! See ya there!

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

After a disappointing experience at the grand opening of the new restaurant Epic, in the downtown River North area of Chicago, I was a little hesitant to return for dinner.  The event that evening was far too crowded and a little unorganized that left me pondering the concept of the new hot spot.  I didn’t know whether they it was a club or a restaurant, so I decided to go back and check it out, after receiving a sincere message from their Maitre De.

Upon arrival, I again had the same thoughts.  Is this a club or a restaurant? But as soon as we were seated in the main dining area, the concept became very clear.  The downstairs bar area provides more of a lounge atmosphere with hip music, couches and hi top bar seating.   The upstairs space is where the feasting takes place.  The entire place is massive complete with four levels, including a rooftop terrace.  Epic’s design is simple and straightforward.  The architecture has a loft like appearance with elements of exposed brick, steel and concrete.  It didn’t wow me, but it got my attention.

Epic’s dinner menu is filled with beef, chicken, pork and fish entrées.  Seafood items plaster most of the appetizer section and they have a nice selection of salads and side dishes to choose from.  Since I’m a connoisseur of lamb shanks, I opted for the “Spiced Lamb Shank” entrée.   Our waiter assured me that their lamb shank would be right up there with the best that I’ve had.  Well, I wouldn’t necessarily give it those props, but it was definitely tender and succulent.  The combination of spices complemented the shank and the lamb jus was pungently flavorful without sweetness.  My dinner guests enjoyed the “Chilean Sea Bass” and “Salt Crusted Market Fish For Two” entrées.  The presentations for both dishes were done well.  The “Brussels Sprouts” side dish prepared with bacon, honey and chestnuts tempted my taste buds.  The sweet and savory combination helped me forget that I was eating brussels sprouts for a moment, but sprouts are sprouts.

Dinner was capped with dessert.  The “Chocolate” and “Pumpkin & White Chocolate” desserts were sampled.  The former consisted of flourless cake, mousse and hot fudge, and the latter was made with toasted white chocolate cake, roasted pumpkin ice cream and chestnut caramel.  Both desserts were solid, but didn’t have me licking the plate.  The service started off a little slow, but picked up as the dinner progressed.  The atmosphere was festive, which helped the cocktails to flow more readily, although, I wouldn’t recommend Epic for a quiet evening at dinner.  Expect to drop $50 per person on dinner before getting your keys back from the valet and be prepared to hang out for after dinner cocktails in the downstairs bar area.  Overall Epic’s cuisine was solid with a good atmosphere and decent service.  My final “Tru” rating is TTt.

   To view my “Tru” rating system for Epic visit www.efete.net/blog.html.
 

 

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Glenn Murray, NBC5 Street Team

Your best bets for affordability and fun for New Year’s Eve have everything to do with your own personal style. From the big blow outs to the smaller more intimate events there is certainly something for everyone. Here is a sampling of the some of the options:

The Critic’s Choice: Chicago Scene Party at the Drake

Voted 3rd best NYE party in the country by AOL City Guide. Chicago Scene in association with Lonnie Rodriguez and Vince Anzalone of Genuine Entertainment will host a massive party at the Drake Hotel.

Special Guest performance by Your Villain My Hero Chicago’s hottest top 40 Cover Band. DJ Jernell Geronimo (Y-Bar, CRESCENDO) with Miro on Drums will be performing in the Grand Ballroom.
DJ JEM (Lumen, Cuvee) and Marty Kane are the newest DJ/Drummer Duo to hit the scene will be performing in the VIP French Room.

The Drake Hotel
140 E. Walton Place,
Chicago, IL

For Tickets and More Information
www.genuinechicago.com

    The Hard Core Party  Choice: NYE Soiree 2010

New Year’s Eve Soiree 2010 at the Westin Sponsored by KISS 103.5 FM
The Westin Hotel (909 North Michigan Ave) will provide not only a great New Year’s Eve party with all the requisite amenities: Top Shelf Open Bar All Night, a variety of hors d’oeuvres, specialized martinis, champagne all night, chocolates, celebrity djs, midnight confetti storm and so much more.. not to mention 3 nights of celebration. Purchase a ticket to the celebration and get free admission to the pre party Dec. 30th at Soundbar and the post party Jan 1 at Crobar.
www.chicagonye.com

The Elegant Choice: Pops For Champagne

Pops For Champagne  (601 North State)  will feature an open bar food and party favors and a special performance in their downstairs jazz club by the Ava Logan Quartet.

www.popsforchampange.com

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Janelle Rominski, NBC Chicago Street Team

Chicago is an amazing city for many shows to shine. Whether it is a pre-Broadway production, post-Broadway tour or a one night only concert – this city has many wonderful options to choose from.

With Guy Laliberté, Founder and CEO of Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil’s Banana Shpeel: A New Twist on Vaudeville is previewing at the Chicago Theatre until January 3, 2010 before it embarks on a new journey to Broadway in early February. The show has mixed reviews. It’s heavy on comedy and choreography, blending slapstick with tap and hip-hop dance forms. The show’s plot revolves around a producer named Schmelky who is trying to put together a variety show. This production is very different than other Cirque du Soleil shows. There aren’t as many aerialists, contortionists, etc. Come in with an open mind.

Another show that’s set to appear on Broadway is The Addams Family Musical, currently playing at the Ford Center/Oriental Theatre until January 10, 2010. Veteran actors Nathan Lane (Gomez) and Bebe Neuwirth (Morticia) star in this unique musical. The Addams Family musical takes place as Wednesday Addams is older and the show’s two hot topics were love and sex. Lane was amazing portraying Gomez and Neuwirth did a decent job as Morticia.

With Zachary James who plays Lurch and Kevin Chamberlin who plays Uncle Fester in The Addams Family Musical

In an interview, The Addams Family musical actors Zachary James (Lurch) and Kevin Chamberlin (Uncle Fester) noted the show has been cut down 30-minutes from the original time. It will be interesting to see what the show is like once it graces the Broadway stage.

The New Mel Brooks Musical, Young Frankenstein, just wrapped up their tour in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre last night. The production began on Broadway where 484 shows were performed. The musical features Desperate Housewives guest actor, Roger Bart, as Dr. Frankenstein. The actors in Young Frankenstein were brilliant and notable songs included “Puttin’ On The Ritz”, “Transylvania Mania” and “He Vas My Boyfriend”.

With Kleetus, Guy Fieri's friend and sous chef

With Kleetus, Guy Fieri's friend and sous chef

The Guy Fieri Road Show stopped for an evening of fun at the Rosemont Theatre. Fieri is known for hosting Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network. He says the show “is food, rock n’ roll and everything they won’t let me do on TV!”

The opener for Fieri was Australian native and World Champion Flair Bartender, Hayden “Woody” Wood. Wood was dancing, clapping and twirling bottles during his presentation. He made apple spice martinis, pear margaritas and eggnog.

Once Fieri took the stage, he got the audience dancing to good ol’ rock music. A DJ was supplying all the tunes while Fieri shared his cooking stories, Thanksgiving turkey mishaps and answering questions from the crowd. Fieri also had a karaoke contest and pulled members of the audience up on stage to sing for prizes.

Coming soon to Chicago theatres near you are the following shows: In The Heights (which opens tomorrow), The 101 Dalmations Musical, Mama Mia!, Annie, Dreamgirls, Billy Elliot The Musical and more!

For ticket information, visit www.Ticketmaster.com or www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

Want more Rominski reads? Read more right HERE!

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Glenn Murray, NBC5 Street Team



I don’t think it’s a stretch to call Aniba Hotep and the Sol Collective One of the best independent bands in the country. I mean all one has to do is take a listen to their mix of Jazz, Neo Soul and classic R & B . The tight arrangements , the out of this world horn sections and the ability to shift from smooth soul ensemble to rockin “jam” band in the blink of an eye.
At a recent performance they received comparisons to groups across every era of Soul Music (I’ve heard the Emotions, Badu, Kindred, Earth Wind and Fire) . It’s difficult to define a band with such vibrant personality, so why try? Rest assured that a performance from this band just keeps you wanting more.

The band returns to Hyde Park’s famous Checkerboard Lounge (5201 South Harper) for the second installment of its concert series “All Souled Out” this Saturday, doors open at 7PM, advance tickets are $20 ($25 at the door) Come see for yourself what all the fuss is about…

For tickets and more information visit www.anibahotep.com

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Glenn Murray, NBC5 Street Team

This Saturday the Legacy Initiative hopes to reverse a trend as it raises awareness of its mission with its first fundraiser this saturday 7PM at the Wine Consortium 110 East 23rd Street.

Our news media is inundated with stories of death and despair. There seems to be a self-inflicted endangerment to the lives of our youth. We are in a time of self-gratification and we have become short sighted in our decision-making.”This core issue led to the creation of the Legacy Initiative.

The mission of the Legacy Initiative is to assist in the establishment of an individual’s personal legacy of success, by making critical thinking their cornerstone. They establish a platform for making our students aware of programs, scholarships and opportunities that may not otherwise have been realized; provide a necessary pipeline of highly qualified candidates for educational, entrepreneurial and employment needs; and thus create a synergy between high school, college and technical schools, and various industries.

The non-profit organization whose solution will change the present self destructive course our underserved youth are travelling and are exposed to. That solution to the issue, is teaching them the habitual behavior of critical thinking.

 The donation to attend the event is $50 where the proceeds will help fund the organization’s ability to teach this essential, life altering behavior. Included in your donation will be a food provided by Lee’s catering. Dessert will be provided by Lizzie’s Confections. A hand-picked selection of fine wines will accompany the meal. A drawing for prizes including a grand prize cruise vacation for two.

Live music from Dudley Owens’ Jazz trio. A Spoken Word performance by Young Flame. Music throughout the night will be provided by the a special guest DJ I.N.C.

For more information on The Legacy Foundation, visit their web site at
www.tlionline.org

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Janelle Rominski, NBC Chicago Street Team

Chicago’s hit rock ‘n’ roll musical, Million Dollar Quartet celebrated its one-year anniversary this month.  Having rocked Chicago at the Apollo Theater for a year, this inspiring show has been extended through March 28, 2010.  In the springtime, Million Dollar Quartet is set to rock Broadway.

mdq_keyArt_horiz_copyMillion Dollar Quartet is inspired by an actual event that occurred on December 4, 1956, when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins came together at the Sun Records’ studio in Memphis.  Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll” discovered the four musicians and brought them together for the only time in their careers for one of the greatest rock jam sessions of all time.

You walk into the theater as if you’re in Sun Records’ studio where a drum set sits, an upright bass is rested on its side, a piano stands still, guitars are propped up ready to be strummed and four shiny, classic, chrome microphones lay resting on mic stands waiting for soulful vocals to be sung into them.

Picture 004The performers walk out and embrace the stage singing an unbelievable collection of featured songs including “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Who Do You Love”, “Great Balls of Fire” and many more hits.

The stars of the show have an uncanny resemblance to the star recording artists they’re portraying.

Their musical talent and acting abilities work very well together.

The production stars Eddie Clendening as Elvis Presley; Lance Guest as Johnny Cash; Levi Kreis as Jerry Lee Lewis and Rob Lyons as Carl Perkins.  Chicago’s very own Tim Decker plays the “Father of Rock ’n’ Roll” Sam Phillips, and Chicago-based actress Kelly Lamont plays Elvis’ girlfriend Dyanne.

Throughout the performance, audience members were tapping their feet, rocking their bodies, shaking their heads and singing along to the tunes.  This musical journey to the past is a “must-see”!

For more information visit www.MillionDollarQuartetLive.com

Want more Rominski reads? Read more right HERE!

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Glenn Murray, NBC5 Street Team

Authenticity Preview Party: 4 Guys, 4 Girls and a Board Game

This Saturday at Dream (1750 North Clark) games will be played, disagreements will be had, the audience will roar and if you’re lucky you might walk away with a cruise vacation. No, Dream is not about to move to a talk show format. The lounge will host a preview party for the growing in popularity relationship board game Authenticity. “We had so much fun we decided to do it again” said game creator Sheila Brown. “But this time we wanted to give the audience an even more realistic look at the board game complete with conversations that follow”.

If you don’t know about the game (www.playauthenticity.com) it’s great for couples, (dating or married) to get to questions that you may not ask in general conversation. The topics range from Sex and Romance, Religion, Family, Finance, Life and Real Life Situations. There are also some fun twists in the game like the “Pick Your Pleasure” Section and every turn around the board requires you to plant a kiss on your partner (helpful if you may not provide the “right” answer for your partner). All in all the game is design to help the relationship win.

The brave souls joining me on the panel answering questions from the game include: Theresa Carter (Street Team and Thelocaltourist.com), Melinda Joseph (Raymi Productions), Derrick Lane (Art After Dark), Luke Jensen (Luke Jensen & Company Management and Consultations), Tish Murray (actress, model), Michael Hahn (beyondthegoodlife.com), Zondra Hughes (author and editor of N’Digo Magapaper). The event is hosted by Sarah Vargo of Maven. Doors open at 7PM with a pre event reception and the game panel begins at 7:30. Attendees who purchase a copy of the game that night are entered into a drawing for a 6 day cruise vacation for two. Admission to the event is free. For more information call 1-866-533-9884 or email info@220communications.com.

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Eric Smith, NBC5Chicago Street Team

On location at TEAMiFIT Lifestyle Center-676 N. LaSalle Street-with Founder, President and Wellness Coach-Amy Leffel.

Speak a little bit about your background-life before TEAMiFIT and how all this happened?

I received my undergraduate degree at Indiana University in Exercise Physiology and Public Health.  I worked as a personal trainer and exercise specialist-teaching fitness classes at gyms across the city.  Then I went back to school to get my masters degree in Education, where I worked with kids from 1st grade all the way up to 8th.  While as a school teacher, I was also teaching fitness classes and working as a personal trainer on the side.  So I have about seven years working in fitness.  This has been my passion, so doing this doesn’t feel like work.

TEAMiFIT at Chicago Soul Music Festival

Amy Got Soul

The initial concept was exercise on location at different outdoor venues across the city.  What gave you the idea to get started that way?

I’ve had this vision a long time.  April through September every year we hold outside classes.  So you’ll have classes happening all around the city…Lincoln Park, West Loop, West Town, River North, Gold Coast, Lake View and South Loop.  We also take these classes to the beach.  And as the weather cools we bring this more of this action to our space here.

So what makes TEAMiFIT different?

TEAMiFIT Lifestyle Center

TurboKick

TEAMiFit is a one-stop shop promoting health and wellness!  You can come here and get fitness classes for adults and kids.  We have Strictly CORE, TurboKick, Zumba, Strength Boxing classes and more…we’ve got all kinds of flava flava-including Power Yoga and Power Pilates.  We’ve got specialized workshops like plyometric training focusing on high-intensity movements for high impact.  We also have small group personal training called ‘Armed and Dangerous’ for only six people, to work with a personal trainer at a discounted price.  And beginning in November we are going to have educational classes ‘Doing Life Together’, where our lifestyle coaches will educate based on personal experience using their expertise to focus on what our members want.  Topics will include like how to eat right when working out, how to balance life, how to spend smart over the holidays, educational self-massage, couples massage, etc.  The lifestyle coaches will be here to educate and build relationships with our clientele.  We’re basically doing life together.

TEAMiFIT

TEAMiFIT

Amy is definitely on the move in Chicago and wants to get your body moving.  For additional information and register for classes visit TEAMiFIT online and Facebook.  To hear the entire interview, download the audio casts below.

Part 1  Interview w/Amy ‘Body’

Part 2 Interview w/Amy ‘What You Waiting For?’

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Eric Smith, NBC5Chicago Street Team

In the fourth year of installment, Fashion Focus Chicago once again lit up the runway with the latest couture fashions this past weekend at Millennium Park. A gathering of the City’s upscale fashionistas and industry insiders, this was a collection of creative intellectuals on the scene-to push the envelope of Chicago’s fashion industry. A call to all in the know that although we are in the Midwest-far away from the East and West coasts, the Windy City is here-determined to make an imprint in the marketplace, and we will do so with our own sense of style and flair.

Chicagos Hot Couture

Fashion in Focus

Within minutes of arriving I was graced with the presence of Melissa Gamble- Chairwoman of the Mayor’s Fashion Council, Jason Felger-Executive Vice President of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, Alice Berry-Chicago Native-designer and Fashion Council member and the one and only Mayor Daley who launched the Council and subsequently Fashion Focus Chicago to establish the city as a fashion destination.

Most impressive was the fact that these collections debuted the next rising stars of top students from Chicago’s fashion design schools: Columbia College Chicago, The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago, Academy Chicago and the School of the Art Institute Chicago.

ChicagoRisingStar

Dress Code 2009

From the looks presented on the runway this evening, the goal of establishing a fashion mecca here is well in sight! To learn more and score event tickets visit
Fashion Focus Chicago.

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Cara Carriveau, NBC Chicago Street Team

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

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

Rik Emmett-

Ronnie Platt-

Kevin Chalfant-

See you at Durty Nellies on Saturday, October 24!

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

Funny thing about secrets, everyone knows one, and everyone wants to hear the juiciest one. It can be something as scandalous as infidelity, or something as innocent as that one ingredient you just can’t share. When it comes to dining out, everyone wants to be the one to discover that one great place no one knows about yet. Psst…I have a secret, Parker’s in Downers Grove just might be that place.parkerpizza

Away from the spotlight of the big city, Parker’s boasts a large menu with a focus on freshness. Glance over the menu and you will know exactly where your particular dish hails from. Our journey starts in Naples with their VPN (Vera Pizza Napoletana) certified Margherita pizza. Buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, and Basil adorn a thin crust with just the right amount of chew.parkersalad

Surfer dudes will make the trip to South Beach with a salad tower loaded with grilled salmon, avocado, fresh mango, scallions, ice berg, and drizzled with honey cumin dressing. Don’t head for land just yet, the cold water oysters Rockefeller are stuffed with baby spinach, parmesan cream sauce, and topped with melted Swiss cheese.parkeroyster

To warm up on a cool night the excellent bouillabaisse is loaded with king crab, mussels, and other favorites in a rich saffron tomato broth that pleases your soul. For a visual treat, the Lake Superior Whitefish Wellington is a show stopper. This is a case where all the ingredients should be enjoyed in each bite. On it’s own the whitefish is a tad dry, but when you add the Shitake’s, pine nuts, leeks, and the lemon beurre blanc sauce is when you discover its true harmony.

Fear not, carnivores shall not be left out in the cold. The lamb trio is a must try for the lamb lover. Two tender chops star in a dish accompanied by lamb sausage and braised shoulder. If low and slow is more your speed, then the red wine braised short ribs will have your mouth watering.parkercotton

You must not leave without dessert! While many fine choices are found on the menu, the absolute show stopper is the cotton candy. Oh yes, the childhood treat that you grew up with is available and is more fun than ever. Spun in house, this Vermont maple sugar treat will tickle your funny bone as well as your taste buds.

Entrée’s range in the mid twenty dollar range which is reasonable for this amount of freshness and fun. So the secret’s out! Parker’s offers comfortable upscale dining with a fun youthful twist.

Location

1000 31st Street

Downers Grove. IL

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]Glenn Murray, NBC5 Street Team

Authors and Artists Chicago celebrates its 6th year with a 3 event 12 hour day this Saturday. The event features independent writers, artists, and music acts at 3 different locations around the Chicagoland area.

Saturday from noon to 5 Azizi Books at Lincoln Mall in Matteson hosts a book signing featuring workshops on self publishing and how to write your first book. Featured author will be mystery writer Sylvia Hubbard, who founded the writer support group the Motown Writers Network and has held conferences on writing, self publishing and blogging. (For more information visit www.azizibooks.com ). Admission is free.

From 6 – 9PM the events moves back into the city for “Art Across Cultures” at Murphy Hill Gallery 3333 West Arthington 3rd Floor of the Homan Square Building. The super gallery will host over 20 artisans and also will host the featured authors for a book signing. Admission is free www.murphyhillgallery.com

Tonight at 9 Ai Japanese Restaurant will host “Unplugged” featuring performances by top independent acts Spike Rebel, Aniba Hotep and Paulette “Passion” Stinson. Admission is $25. As part of this event 2 lucky attendees will win 6 day cruise vacations in a special drawing.

For more information on the events visit www.authorsandartistslive.com

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Laura Lodewyck, NBC5 Street Team

The Chicago Horror Film Festival runs this weekend (9/25-9/27), prepping you for all the gory, slutty fun of the Halloween season with such features as a horror fashion show, “I Want to Hear You Scream” and “Zombie Pinup” contests, and of course, some deliciously disgusting horror films. Hosted by Mr. Willy and his beautiful minions, the festival promises to make good on its promise for “babes…blood…booze”.

300_Oktoberfest_logo_2006

But wait, you say, it’s not even October yet! St. Alphonsus’ famed Oktoberfest has got that covered. Their traditional celebration continues the heritage of the original German immigrants who founded St. Alphonus in 1882, updated with top local bands, activities for kids, and beer, beer, beer.

If that sounds a little too traditional for you, there’s always the No Pants Party at Crobar on Saturday… which is exactly what it sounds like. No pants (or skirts!) allowed. Attending in your  undies gets you in for free, no cover all night long.

NudeHippoNBC5

Email me at llodewyck@nudehippo.com with your favorite under-discovered events, and check out my reports with Nude Hippo  at NudeHippo.com and NBCChicago.com

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Eric Smith, NBC Chicago Street Team

On location at the Studio L’amour, West Loop. There is nothing better than an original, and Michelle L’amour is just that-dancer, choreographer, business woman, teacher, promoter and most of all Queen of Tease!

How did you become Michelle L’Amour?
My background training was in Classical Dance. But I didn’t get a chance to do Burlesque until after college when I was asked to choreograph and perform a Burlesque show. I didn’t really know what it was at the time but I said yes because I wanted to dance and perform. Then I heard the music and was completely hooked and knew that this is what I was meant to be doing.

So when you say you heard the music can you elaborate on that?
The music is the classic dirty jazz, bump and grind style music…it’s really great…great drums, horns…

Michelle L'amour

Michelle L'amour

What makes you different than most women in and outside of the business?
Well, one of my goals was to draw attention to the Chicago Burlesque scene and what I was doing here. I really wanted to pull attention to this city because I love this city and I think it’s great and deserves the attention. My first step in doing that was winning the Ms. Exotic World title in 2005, which is like the World Series of Burlesque. And then I did America’s Got Talent the first season so that definitely drew attention here. But I had also been teaching, because this was one of my goals, to educate the people in the city about Burlesque what it was and what it can be today. I’ve been teaching Burlesque for about 4 years now and have since opened my own dance school Studio L’Amour which has been open for about a year.

For those of us who don’t know can you describe what Burlesque is?
Burlesque is all about the tease. Exaggerating your femininity, showcasing the curves and really playing up the fact that you are a woman.

So would you define what you do more as art or entertainment?
I think art can be entertainment. And I think I do both.

How did you take something like this(Burlesque) and do it in Chicago visa vis New York or LA?
I really think that teaching women helped break the ice a bit. If you can get women on your side you are in good shape, we are harder to please. Women learn in class what it takes to do Burlesque, that it is not as easy as it looks and it is my job to make it look easy. So when they come to class using muscles they didn’t know they had, and let things jiggle that they didn’t think they were supposed to let jiggle one gains a large amount of appreciation for the art form. It’s something fun you can bring your boyfriend to-it brings sexuality in a great light.

Well enough read…to hear the entire interview click to download now.

Stay tuned for upcoming events at Studio L’Amour including:

StripTease Classes/Dr. Sketchys-Figure Drawing Class/LipShtick

Naked Girls Reading/Sex Body Fashion Show/The Tassel and Twirl Workshop

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

In West Virginia, at an elevation of 2300 feet above sea level, the Birch River begins its northwestern trek until it joins with the Elk River. Luckily Birch River Grill is located in Arlington Heights and is devoid of such Mountaineer delicacies as ground hog and squirrel. The décor employs plenty of birch wood and the busts of a few bucks to appease your inner hunter.

 Tempting choices abound all over the menu; luckily a good choice is easier than catching it yourself. Simple is often better, and a good simple appetizer to try is the crisp salt and pepper calamari. Accompanied by a horseradish marinara, these tasty rings of octopi are not the least bit chewy.birchsoup

 Sometimes you need a little something to warm your bones after kayaking down the river. Nestle up to a bowl of granny apple and onion soup. This twist on an old favorite adds a hint of sweetness to all the savory goodness that French onion soup already delivers. Those looking for something heartier should step up to a bowl of wild game chili. Loaded with bison, wild boar, and andouille sausage this is a chili for the man’s man.

 What goes better with all that meat, than more meat? The Yankee pot roast is loaded with slow cooked beef, braised carrots, Yukon gold potatoes, all swimming in a hearty red wine sauce. It’s like a warm hug on a cold West Virginian night. For those looking on the lighter side, the sun dried tomato and gorgonzola ravioli is a wise choice. Gone is the heavy marinara and in is a light tomato tarragon broth that adds flavor and not calories.birchcarrot

 The heck with calories! You’ve spent all day fishing, kayaking, and hunting so you deserve some dessert. Wild berry cheesecake is rich and filling, but the true star is Aunt Aggie’s carrot cake. Assembled like a Big Mac, this three layer beauty has cream cheese frosting between 3 layers of moist cake. It’s meant for two but I’m sure a few hearty soles will tackle it alone.

 With entrée prices ranging from $10 to $30, Birch River Grill can satisfy one’s hunger even on modest budgets. So whether you’re hunting for a buck or just looking for a good meal for you buck, Birch River has you covered.  

Location

75 W. Algonquin Rd

Arlington Heights, IL

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

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

Salmon Dish

Salmon Dish

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

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

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Cara Carriveau, NBC Chicago Street Team

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

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

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

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

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