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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team
If you have been checking out my last few posts, you may notice a theme… Live music and The Joynt. I moved here a year ago from Austin, TX (also known as the live music capital of the world) and maybe that has a little something to do with my love for live music. And undoubtedly, my love for dance, draws me to The Joynt. Now, I can break it down with the rest of them to a hot DJ (like Tim Spinnin’ Schommer that is guest DJ-ing tonight) but there is just something about a live performance. You know what I’m talking about. That sizzle in the air. The energy.

Jacqui Horton is my friend. And we became friends from me hearing her sing, totally falling in love with her as a person, and then asking her if she would like to be my friend. (She said “yes”.) Jacqui loves people, loves life and has a beautiful heart! I feel it when I talk to her, and I DEFINITELY feel it when she sings! I tell people she gives me goosebumps… and she does.

I shot this video at The Joynt last Saturday to give you a little taste of what you may not even know you are missing in your life! I make no apologies about the video, save this… There WERE a lot of people dancing around me… AND I was in heels. So cut me some slack on the shooting, eh?

This group of musicians work incredibly well together and as you can see, the crowd loves every second of it! Like any live performance, a recording isn’t quit the same as actually feeling the energy of the room. Luckily for you, you can check out the real deal on Saturday nights at The Joynt! You will have a good time because “We’re gonna boogie-oogie-oogie ’til we just can’t boogie NO MORE!

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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team

Any given night of the the week, The Joynt has something great going on and Monday nights are no exception. Last week, though still tired from the weekend, I went in to The Joynt thinking I would sit quietly and simply enjoy listening to one of my new favorite bands. Well, it wasn’t long at all before I had hopped up out of my seat an on to the dance floor! I couldn’t help it! Eyes Manouche will help you find energy you didn’t know you had!

From the website:

Gypsy jazz, aka Gypsy swing and jazz manouche (which means literally “traveler jazz”) is a Paris-based style of music that memorably blends traditional Roma (gypsy) forms (which are already a hodgepodge of various cultures) with elements of American jazz and swing. With its chugging rhythms, sweeping melodies and inventive improvised stretches, this enormously popular and profoundly influential instrumental tradition is as nearly synonymous with the French capitol as accordion-led bal musette, to which it also owes a considerable debt.

The guys are amazing and I managed to stop dancing long enough to record these little samples for y’all. Enjoy. I hope to see you at The Joynt on a Monday night!

Adis Sirbubalo: Accordion, Nikola Dokic: Guitar, Robert Palos: Guitar, Cole Blodget: Bass, Daniel Crane: Drums

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JenChicago, NBC Chicago Street Team

It’s funny how life has a way of teaching us. It brings us the lessons that we need exactly when we need them. Then, it is our choice, whether or not we use that insight, as we navigate through life.

How many of us were speechless and reminded not to judge a book by its cover when we heard Susan Boyle sing on “Britain’s Got Talent” this season? I personally got goosebumps and teary-eyed.

Or how inspiring is it to you to know that the man in this video, is the same Michael Jordon that didn’t make the Varsity basketball team the first time he tried out? That’s right, but good ol’ MJ wasn’t about to let that stop him!

And when I met Mike Berkson, I was inspired again. I met Tim Wambach, the president and founder of the Keep On Keeping On Foundation (KOKO), at the Share the Love Date Auction. After chatting with Tim for a just a few minutes about the foundation, I wanted to know even more. Tim told me if I really wanted to understand, that I should talk to Mike. So I did.

I met Tim and Mike at The Gage (LOVE that place!) and we talked about life for well over an hour. I was so moved by our chat, I called family and friends that afternoon and told them how much I loved them. I reminded them how fortunate we all really are and about my renewed perspective. Mike can’t even scratch his own nose, and yet he finds meaning, purpose and gratitude for life.

We can all find reasons to be happy. Obstacles can be opportunities, if we choose to see them. When we think we’ve been knocked down, we can wallow in the dirt, or we can get up. We can brush ourselves off. We can choose our focus… and we can “Keep On Keeping On”.

PS: Help us spread the word about the Keep On Keeping On Foundation (comment, forward, digg, linkback), volunteer or donate!

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JenChicago, NBC Chicago Street Team

It was a HUGE success! Arthur Murray’s Fourth Annual “Dancing with Chicago Celebrities” raised $67,000 for the Chicagoland Area Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®,and what a fun way to do it! All of the toe-tapping fun went down on Friday, March 13, 2009, when Chicago celebrities paired with Arthur Murray professional dance instructors at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

The winning team included Dana Kozlov, Assignment Reporter from CBS 2, and her Arthur Murray partner Edgar Chavarria. The MVP went to Robbie Ventura, who along with his team raised the most – $4,680. Other celebrities competing included 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, and Katie Lorenz, Miss Illinois 2008. The night’s emcee was NBC 5 Sports Anchor, Mike Adamle. WGN Anchor Dina Bair, NBC 5’s Meteorologist, Ginger Zee and ABC7’s Traffic Reporter Roz Varon also returned as alumni.

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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team
One of my favorite spots to hang in all of Chicago is The Joynt. The place just oozes “cool” with phenomenal live music, stiff drinks and private parties, like the one last week for Chazz Palminteri and his one-man show, A Bronx Tale. Overall, the biggest “take away” I got from this night of fun and excitement was succinctly put by Chazz himself… “Don’t waste your talent.”

Word up, Chazz. Advice taken.

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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team

Last week I had a chance to learn about an organization called Hadassah. Hadassah Chicago Chapter is a Jewish organization that started in 1913 and promotes Zionist ideals in the United States, Israel and throughout the world. What these women and men have been able to accomplish in the past 94 years, is nothing short of outstanding. From funding hospitals and colleges to being the leader in stem cell research, Hadassah is making a huge difference in the lives of so many.

Hadassah Chicago Chapter alone raises TWO MILLION each year to support their programs! The group continues to grow in the Chicago area with events like the one I went to recently at LUXBAR. The food was outstanding and Bridget Albert, the Master Mixologist, whipped up some delightful concoctions with some of my favorite new liquors, like Pama. Everyone was kind, informed and obviously very dedicated to the cause. I learned so much about Israel, after chating with Howard Kaplan, that it is now on my list of “places to visit”! Howard described the Israeli landscape as “downtown Miami beach” and even went on to call Israel a “junior America”!

Overall, this is an amazing organization that knows very clearly their purpose and the impact that people can make when they join together for a common goal. In the words of Fran Givertz, President, “Yes, times might seem tough, but Hadassah is tougher.”

To find out more about Hadassah Chicago Chapter check here. If you are ready to help support the initiative, on April 30, Chicago Hadassah hosts their largest fundraiser of the year starring hot Israeli dance company Renana Raz and teens from the Hadassah Neurim Youth Village. All proceeds benefit Hadassah Neurim, which each year gives 1,200 at-risk Israeli children the education and confidence building they need to succeed and help their country. For tickets and sponsorships, call 847.675.6790.

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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team

So Sarah invites Staci and me to go with her, and some friends, to Zanies, for a showcase. It was my first time at the Chicago laugh stop and we had a great time! Those guys and gals on stage should get big props for getting out of their comfort zone in pursuit of their dream.

Stand-up is hard. Trust me. I’ve tried it.

So we go to the packed show and then we skipped on down to Fireplace Inn where I enjoyed some great food, a cold beer and a fun chat with K-von. He’s fun and funny!

PS: Kvon just likes to go by Kvon. You know, no last name. Which is fine by me. (Although, I DO get him to spill it in the video.)

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