Thursday, March 29, 2012

B.B. King Live in Chicago at the Houe of Blues

B.B. King photo by James Currie
House of Blue Chicago - Chicago, IL, USA - March 22, 2012
By James Currie 

The thrill may be gone at times, but the King keeps going. B.B. King played the Chicago House of Blues, this past Thursday and Friday, to sold out crowds of adoring fans. While he did play an hour and a half set, he didn't seem to be on his top game.

B.B. King, long considered the worlds greatest Bluesman, rocked and souled the joynt Thursday night, but not without taking notice to something off. King is known for his long-winded stories from his regal high back chair, but this time seemed more airy and disconnected than usual. Given, this is a 86 year old man with diabetes, still touring and playing most of the year to fans from around the world, but something just wasn't right. He did make brief mention to a sore throat as well.

The night started with his band playing an almost half hour jam intro before he graced the stage and took the throne. After which, he ruled the stage with his Queen Lucille by his side, stories with his court and even special surprise guest appearance by Jazz legend George Benson, who seemed to impress King so much that he just watched Benson play at his side at times. King even made comments like, "I can't play that fast" and "Time to get to work."

He played 7 or 8 crowd favorites like, "The Thrill is Gone", "When Love Comes to town" and "Everyday I have the Blues", but they were spaced out with long pauses of deep thought, band conversations and introductions, muttled stories of days gone by and George Benson-lore. Many times, you could hear the crowd over what was happening on stage. King seemed lost in thought and even out of time on the guitar some playing and cues. King even stated during another round of band introductions, "wait, we already talked about that, but hey at my age, you know, things happen like that."

At the end of the performance, he remained on stage, sat and passed out handfuls of guitar picks to adoring fans in the front, almost like he was feeding the pigeons in the park. He really seems to respect his fan base and show a true appreciation for their presence.

It wasn't terrible by any means. He is still without a doubt, the King of the Blues, but just seemedly, not on the top of his game. It was great to just be there in the same room as him. He and his band command a vibe that can't be ignored. I would like to have heard more music and guitar solos, but it was still impressive to see this man going as strong as he does, at the age he is.

B.B. King will continue touring from now until the end of Summer this year including stops in Canada and Europe. To find out more like tour dates, albums purchases, news and events, visit:

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Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony

Scheduled for Saturday, May 26, 2012
Dedicated to Those Who Served in the Iraq War and Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Taps

The City of Chicago has scheduled its annual Wreath Laying Ceremony and Memorial Day Parade for Saturday, May 26, 2012. The Wreath Laying Ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza (Dearborn and Washington Streets). The parade will step off at noon and proceed south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street.

In addition to honoring all men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country, this year’s parade will be dedicated to soldiers who fought and died in the Iraq War, which started in March 2003 and ended in December 2011.

A special recognition of the Illinois Gold Star Families will be included in the ceremony.

The parade will also commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Taps. In 1862, Oliver Wilcox Norton wrote what he called “the hardest 24 notes to play”. The parade this year will feature a special tribute to this all too familiar cadence of notes first played by Wilcox during the Civil War.

The Chicago parade is now considered one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the nation. Participants in the parade include area high school Marching Bands, Drum and Bugle Corps as well as many Veterans’ groups, 6,000 JROTC students and the military.

Memorial Day has a rich history. It began shortly after the Civil War ended when General John Logan proclaimed that the 30th day of May be designated for the purpose of decorating the graves of soldiers who died; the day was called Decoration Day. It was first observed on May 30, 1868. The modern day event is similar, but the original idea has been expanded and now honors all fallen soldiers.

The Chicago Memorial Day Parade is presented by the City of Chicago. For more information please call the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events at (312) 744-3316 or visit

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Amelia Cotter, Supernatural Author, Signs Copies of "Maryland Ghosts" at Horrobles

Amelia Cotter
Amelia Cotter, writer, author, and paranormal explorer, came out to Horrorbles in Berwyn to greet fans, discuss the paranormal and sign copies of her latest book, "Maryland Ghosts: Paranormal Encounters in the Free State."

Find out more about Amelia Cotter or how to get your copy of "Maryland Ghosts" at Facebook, This House, Black Oak Media, and

Amelia Cotter
Horrobles in Berwyn
Berwyn, IL, USA
March 24, 2012
photo by Adam Bielawski

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Friday, March 23, 2012

America's Beauty Show 2012 Highlights

Extensions and Texture all the RAGE at America’s Beauty Show 2012
By Sommer Thornton
If America’s Beauty Show 2012 is any indication of the hottest trends in hair and cosmetics then it’s all about fresh faces and big hair. This year, America’s Beauty Show went au natural√© with many organic hair care, styling, and skin care exhibitors. But the stars of the show were texture experts and extension brands showing off their new techniques and creative styles.

Texture and natural hairstyles have become the crossover trend of 2012. “Texture,” as the mainstream hair industry has coined it, refers to ranges of curly hairstyles. But in the African American hair industry, the same definition describes hair free of a chemical relaxer, which will yield a range of “natural” curls. Stars like Kelly Rowland, Rihanna, and Alicia Keys have rocked their curls through 2011. And now the experts in texture finally get their shine.

On Saturday, demos held by top professionals Enzo Milano, Chris Curse, and Arrojo, presented fresh texture styles for an everyday look and for high fashion. American’s Beauty Show also moved the special Texture! Show to the main floor and experts Mizani, Avlon, Hair Rules, Jessicurl, Tigi, and Farouk gave demos from the runway.

As if big hair ever needed to make a comeback, this time around it’s more about variety. Now hair extension lines are making a killing by providing discreet techniques specialized for all ethnicities. Tony Odisho, a chic extension brand demonstrated a strand by strand technique for fuller, natural looking options. While Hothead Hair Extensions boasts that they are the first application method that enables a stylist to apply a full-head of extensions in less than 45 minutes, while remaining light and thin with seamless tabs. Other dynamic shows were from Wella, the Major League Barber, and Avlon who features a number of texture products for women of color and for diverse grades of hair. Needless to say, when it comes to hair in 2012, women want it all. That means it has to look good, feel good, and be fresh and natural. Still today’s women want variety variety!

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Jennifer Morrison Celebrates in Style with Michigan Avenue Magazine

Jennifer Morrison
Actress and Chicago native Jennifer Morrison celebrates as cover girl for Michigan Avenue Magazine. Niche Media had a celebration for their latest issue at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago.

Michigan Avenue Magazine celebrated its March 2012 issue with cover star and Chicago area native Jennifer Morrison at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago on Saturday, March 17, 2012. Publisher Dan Uslan and Editor in Chief Susanna Negovan, along with Chicago tastemakers and elite, toasted the Once Upon a Star at the evening soiree.

Jennifer Morrison has starred in The House, How I Met Your Mother and currently on the ABC (Channel 7 Chicago) series Once Upon A Time as Emma Swan.

Jennifer Morrison
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
Chicago, IL, USA
March 17, 2012
photo by Adam Bielawski

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Victoria’s Secret Angel, Erin Heatherton, Introduces “Very Sexy Tour” in Chicago

Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy Tour Lands in Chicago with Angel Erin Heatherton at the Michigan Avenue Store

Victoria’s Secret Angel Erin Heather ton stopped in her hometown of Chicago as part of the Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy Tour, to launch new styles of the Very Sexy Collection. Heatherton has walked in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show for the past four years and is recognized all over the world as one of the brand’s iconic Angles.

Erin Heatherton hosted a customer event at the Victoria’s Secret Michigan Avenue Store for fans to be photographed with the Supermodel in front of a Sexy backdrop.

Victoria’s Secret states The Very Sexy Collection provides lift and cleavage beyond compare. All styles incorporate Infiinity Edge technology that eliminates lines for invisible look under clothes. The four styles include Push-Up, Deep-V Push-Ups, Multi-Way and Demi

Erin Heatherton, Victoria’s Secret Angel
Victoria’s Secret on Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL, USA
March 15, 2012
Photo by Adam Bielawski

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Anne Rice To Be Spotlight Guest At Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2)

Legendary Author to Appear on Panel and for Signing

Anne Rice, the legendary author who has defined vampires for a generation of readers and writers, is the latest addition to the star-studded line up of authors and other guests and talent at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2). Ms. Rice became an international phenomenon in 1976 with the publication of Interview with the Vampire which has become one of the best-selling novels of all time. She has written 31 books including The Vampire Chronicles, Lives of the Mayfair Witches, and The Songs of the Seraphim, among many others. Ms. Rice will be appearing at C2E2 to discuss and sign copies of her new book, The Wolf Gift, on Sunday, April 15. A daring new departure, The Wolf Gift offers a whole new world – modern, sleek, high tech – and at its center, a story as old and compelling as history: the making of a werewolf, reimagined and reinvented as only Anne Rice could create.

Providing literary distinction at a pop culture event replete with major guests and artists from every part of the pop culture universe, Ms. Rice joins previously announced best-selling author Charlaine Harris at C2E2. Other writers who will be greeting fans and signing books include Rachel Caine, Christina Henry, Mari Mancusi, Chloe Neill, and Veronica Wolff. C2E2 will take place April 13 – 15, 2012 in the North Building at the McCormick Place Convention Center.

“I am very pleased to be adding Anne Rice to our already rich list of literary participants at C2E2,” notes Lance Fensterman, Group Vice President for ReedPOP and Show Manager for C2E2. “She is a pre-eminent author who is in the very top ranks of her field and who joins other celebrities who will be appearing at C2E2 and who are also in the top ranks of their fields including Neal Adams, John Barrowman, Anthony Daniels, Chris Hardwick, and Joe Quesada, among others. Our guests appeal to a wide cross-section of the pop culture universe and their involvement in our show reinforces the popularity and importance of C2E2.”
In addition to the guests noted above, other notable appearances at C2E2 include Axel Alonso, Josh Gates, Adam Hughes, Stephanie Izard, Tom Morello, and Claudio Sanchez to name just a few! For further information about other guest and activities at C2E2 as well as purchasing tickets, please visit

ABOUT ANNE RICE: Anne Rice was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.

She is the author of 31 books, most recently The Wolf Gift. Her first novel, Interview with the Vampire, was published in 1976 and has gone on to become one of the best-selling novels of all time. She continued her saga of the Vampire Lestat in a series of books, collectively known as The Vampire Chronicles, which have had both great mainstream and cult followings and are widely assigned in high school and collegiate English and philosophy classes. Anne Rice is also the author of The Witching Hour, Servant of the Bones, Merrick, Blackwood Farm, Blood Canticle, The Feast of All Saints, Cry to Heaven, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana, Called out of Darkness, Angel Time, and Of Love and Evil.

Anne Rice lives in Palm Springs, California.

ABOUT REEDPOP: ReedPOP is a boutique group within Reed Exhibitions which is exclusively devoted to organizing events, launching and acquiring new shows, and partnering with premium brands in the pop culture arena. ReedPOP is dedicated to producing celebrations of popular culture throughout the world that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences for consumers and fans. The ReedPOP portfolio includes: New York Comic Con (NYCC), Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) East & West, Star Wars Celebration VI, Fantasy Football Fest, and UFC Fan Expo. The staff at ReedPOP is a fan based group of professionals producing shows for other fans, thus making them uniquely qualified to service those with whom they share a common passion. ReedPOP is focused on bringing its expertise and knowledge to world communities in North America, South America, Asia and Europe.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

2012 Line-up Announced for the Chicago Blues Festival

Artie White Performs at the 23rd Annual Chicago Blues Festival
 DCASE Announces All Acts for 29th Annual Chicago Blues Festival
Blues Music Past and Present Celebrated in Grant Park June 8-10

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) has released the complete lineup, including the artists performing on the popular Bud Light Crossroads Stage, Mississippi Juke Joint and the Pepsi Front Porch Stage, for the 2012 Chicago Blues Festival, held in Grant Park June 8-10.

In January, the festival announced Grammy® winner Mavis Staples will headline at the Petrillo Music Shell on Sunday, June 1, along with Texas Johnny Brown on June 8 and Floyd Taylor on June 9.

The day stages add to the festival’s reputation as an internationally acclaimed and free admission event. The 2012 line-up celebrates the genre’s rich tradition and heritage.

At the Mississippi Juke Joint Stage on Friday, June 8 the festival will kick off its centennial celebration of Lightnin’ Hopkins with a panel discussion at 11:30 a.m. Lightnin’ Hopkins was a legendary blues singer and songwriter from Houston, Texas best known for his unique guitar style. Named as one of the top 100 guitarists by Rolling Stone, Hopkins died in 1982.

The panel is followed by several performances that include classic sounds from the young members of the Ol’ Skool Revue from the Delta Music Institute of Delta Stage University and a jam session with Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith. Saturday, June 9 brings more classic blues sounds to the festival with Terry “Big T” Williams and a family of young artists from Mississippi, Homemade Jamz Blues Band. On Sunday, June 10, the stage will be set to rattle and roll with The Rising Stars Fife and Drum Band and “ladies sing the blues” on the final day with Eden Brent and Pat Brown.
Fans will flock to Jackson and Columbus for the Pepsi Front Porch Stage with a line-up on Friday, June 8 that includes Blues in the Schools featuring Stone Academy with Erwin Helfer, Katherine

Davis and Eric Noden, Fernando Jones and My Band and Big James and the Chicago Playboys. On Saturday, June 9, fans get a second chance to see Friday night Petrillo headliner, Rev. K.M. Williams, followed by the Sam Lay Blues Band and a special Tribute to Hubert Sumlin. Lurrie Bell and Eddie Shaw and The Wolf Gang, take the stage for the festivals final day on Sunday, June 10th.
Located at the “crossroads” of Jackson and Lake Shore Drive, the Bud Light Crossroads Stage kicks off each day at 11:15 a.m. Highlights include Zora Young and Joe Louis Walker on Friday, June 8. Bob Jones with Ronnie Hicks and the Masheen Company Band featuring Mike Wheeler followed by Chicago favorite, Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues on Saturday, June 9. Scheduled to perform sets on Sunday, June 10 are Demetria Taylor and Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials.
The Chicago Blues season begins April 29 and continues through the festival with many citywide events, concerts, lectures, films and tours. Highlights include the Tuesday Blues Lunch Break Series at the Chicago Cultural Center starting May 8 at Noon and continuing each Tuesday in May. The Chicago Public Library Blues Programs will feature lectures and performances at various locations around the city and is free to the public. Programming includes the Blues Trio on May 12 at the Woodsen Regional Library, Play & Singing the Blues on May 26 at the Sulzer Regional Library and Speakin’ of the Blues on June 1 at the Harold Washington Library.
Also in May, blues enthusiasts can enjoy a special showing of the documentary film, The Blues According to Lightnin’ Hopkins on Thursday, June 7 at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater at 6:30 p.m. On, Monday, June 4 at Noon, Melvia “Chick Rodgers, Deitra Farr & the Blues Machine Band will perform a special set on Daley Plaza to preview the festival that weekend. All events are free to the public. For a full schedule of events, please visit
The 29th Annual Chicago Blues Festival is presented by the City of Chicago and produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events with the following sponsors: Bud-Light, Pepsi, Mississippi Development Authority, 93 XRT Applitite, Aquafina, Chicago Jazz Magazine, Communications Direct, Chicago’s Essex Inn, LaGrou Distribution System, Rosa’s Lounge and CTA. For more information please call (312) 744-3316 or visit for updates. Join the blues conversation on Facebook at the Chicago Blues Festival and follow us on Twitter, @ChicagoDCASE. Full line-up is attached.

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) presents large scale and small high-quality FREE festivals, exhibitions, performances, parades, sport events, farmers markets and holiday celebrations in venues throughout the city each year. DCASE is dedicated to promoting and celebrating the arts in Chicago as well as supporting the people who create and sustain them.

(Schedule Subject to Change)


  • 11:15 am – 12:15 pm The Jimmy Reed Family
  • 12:45 pm – 2:00 pm Quintus McCormick
  • 2:30 pm – 3:45 pm Zora Young
  • 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm Joe Louis Walker
  • 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Panel Discussion (Lightnin’ Hopkins) with Roger Wood, Chris Strachwitz & Alan Govenor
  • 12:45 pm – 1:30 pm Ol’ Skool Revue from the Delta Music Institute of Delta State University
  • 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm Eddie C. Campbell
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Vasti Jackson
  • 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm Johnny Rawls
  • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Jam Session with Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith
  • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Blues In The Schools w/Stone Academy, Eric Noden, Katherine Davis & Erwin Helfer
  • 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Fernando Jones and My Band!
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Matthew Skoller Band
  • 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm Big James & The Chicago Playboys
(A Centennial Celebration of Lightnin’ Hopkins)
  • 5:50 pm – 6:35 pm Rev. K M Williams
  • 7:00 pm – 8:05 pm Milton Hopkins and Jewel Brown
  • 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm Texas Johnny Brown



  • 11:15 am – 12:15 pm Tommy McCracken
  • 12:45 pm – 2:00 pm Diunna and Blue Mercy
  • 2:30 pm – 3:45 pm Bob Jones with Ronnie Hicks & The Masheen Company Band featuring Mike Wheeler
  • 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues

  • 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Panel Discussion of Malaco Records (Tommy Couch, Jr., Wolf Stephenson, Brett Bonner & Alex Thomas) 
  • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Terry “Big T” Williams 
  • 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm Mark “Muleman” Massey
  • 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm Homemade Jamz Blues Band feat. Ryan, Kyle & Taya Perry
  • 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm Jam Session w/ Ronnie Hicks & The Masheen Company Band


  • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Columbia College Blues All Stars
  • 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Rev. K M Williams
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Sam Lay Blues Band
  • 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm Tribute to Hubert Sumlin featuring Steady Rollin Bob Margolin, Eddie Shaw, Dave Spector , Bob Corritore, Johnny Iguana, Kenny “Beedy Eye’s” Smith & Bob Stroger  

  • 5:40 pm – 6:10 pm Paul Kaye (Tribute to David Honeyboy Edwards)
  • 6:35 pm – 8:00 pm (Celebrating Muddy Waters Disciples - Pinetop Perkins, Willie Big Eyes Smith & Mojo Buford ) featuring Steady Rollin Bob Margolin, Mud Morganfield, Kenny ”Beedy Eye’s” Smith, Barrelhouse Chuck, Lil Frank, Bob Stroger & Joe Filisko
  • 8:25pm – 9:30 pm Floyd Taylor



  • 11:15 am – 12:15 pm Demetria Taylor
  • 12:45 pm – 2:00 pm Mary Lane and the No Static Blues Band
  • 2:30 pm – 3:45 pm Charles Wilson
  • 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials


  • 11:30 am – 12:15 pm Howlin’ Wolf B-Day/Panel Discussion with Barbra Marks, Sterling Plumpp & Dick Shurman
  • 12:30 pm – 1:25 pm The Rising Stars Fife and Drum Band
  • 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Eden Brent
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Pat Brown
  • 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm Patrice Moncel
  • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Mississippi Jam Session w/ Dexter Allen

  • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Homemade Jamz Blues Band featuring Ryan, Kyle & Taya Perry
  • 1:30pm – 2:30 pm Lurrie Bell
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Omar Coleman and Friends
  • 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm Eddie Shaw & The Wolf Gang


  • 6:00 pm – 7:20 pm Celebrating Women in Blues – Tribute to KoKo Taylor, featuring Melvia “Chick” Rodgers, Jackie Scott, Deitra Farr , Nora Jean Brusco and The KoKo Taylor Blues Machine Band
  • 7:45 pm – 9:00 pm Mavis Staples

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Honky-tonk rockers Paperplanes Tour Hits Chicago March 24 @ Ace Bar

Based in Long Beach, California, Paperplane shave been crafting their songs in studios and stages for over a decade.

What originated as a lo-fi songwriting vehicle, has worked its way to being one of Los Angeles’s most acclaimed country-rock bands.

Following 2008’s Rhinestone Republic,  Paperplanes released Buried Where I Stand.  In support of Buried Where I Stand, Paperplanes
toured the West Coast USA. Following the success of their West Coast Tour, Paperplanes then brought their brand of rockin’ country to the Southwest. This tour found them reaching a new audience in California, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Now in March 2012, Paperplanes will be playing in 12 states across the USA.

In 2003, OC Weekly called Paperplanes “the greatest rock & roll music we’ve ever heard in our lives.” In 2004 their music was featured in the movie Electric Mayhem. 2008’s Rhinestone Republic received 4 stars from ALTCOUNTRY.NL, and received favorable domestic and international reviews. In 2009 Paperplanes were featured in the District Weekly “Best of Long Beach” issue. For the past 10 years Paperplanes have seen constant rotation on traditional and internet radio. They have had multiple residencies and gigs sharing the stage with a variety of local and national acts including Silversun Pickups, Mike Stinson and Exene Cervenka.

Paperplanes are finishing their fourth full-length album with the help of Jonny Bell (Crystal Antlers) and his new studio. The songs are an extension of the music that Paperplanes have been working on the last few years. Twangy-rock n-roll, along with straight-up country, some straight-up rock songs, even some noisy fuzzed out delayed guitars at times. Continuing to write music inspired by everyday living, there are some great new songs that the band is really proud of.  As well, Paperplanes have invited some notable guest to add their touch, with instruments like pedal steel guitar and organ. The record is set to be released in Spring 2012 Check Paperplanes out on a tour in USA in March 2012!

For tour and band information:
Live footage, Paperplanes at the Long Beach Roller Derby:

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Hyatt Regency Chicago and The Greater Chicago Food Depository Team Up to End Hunger

Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 East Wacker Drive, has teamed up with The Greater Chicago Food Depository to raise money and create awareness to end hunger in the Chicago community. A specialty drink, Maker’s Heart, is being sold at Hyatt Regency Chicago’s BIG Bar. 100% of the proceeds from Maker’s Heart will be donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository from March 1st - 18th, 2012. With St. Patrick’s Day soon approaching, help Hyatt Regency Chicago in the fight to end hunger and watch as the Chicago River is dyed green! Join us today in BIG Bar and toast to a great cause.

If your St. Patrick’s Day journey leads you beyond the river, stay with us in one of our newly renovated guest rooms. Rooms start at just $179 with views of the Chicago River and the Magnificent Mile. Slainte!

About Hyatt Regency Chicago
Hyatt Regency Chicago, the largest hotel in the Midwest and Hyatt property in the world, features 2,019 guest rooms, 228,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and six restaurants and lounges. The hotel is located at 151 East Wacker Drive, along Chicago’s Riverwalk in the heart of downtown. Hyatt Regency Chicago borders the Magnificent Mile and is only blocks away from Chicago’s premier theatre, cultural, shopping and dining districts. For reservations, visit or call (800) 233-1234.

About The Greater Chicago Food Depository
The Greater Chicago Food Depository is a nonprofit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. The Food Depository distributes donated and purchased food through a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters to 678,000 adults and children in Cook County every year. The Food Depository’s programs and services for children, older adults and the unemployed and the underemployed address the root causes of hunger.

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VH1 Announces Cast for Mob Wives Chicago

VH1 Travels From The Big Apple To The Windy City To Announce The Cast Of “Mob Wives Chicago ”
Franchise’s First Spin-off to Premiere Spring 2012

As the second season of VH1’s ratings hit “Mob Wives” continues to captivate fans with the never-ending, real-life drama in New York, the network introduces a new group of “Syndicate Sisters” with the debut of the franchise’s first spin-off, “Mob Wives Chicago,” to premiere Spring 2012.
“Mob Wives Chicago” follows the lives of five women allegedly connected to “The Outfit,” Chicago ’s version of the Mob, as they bear the cross for the sins of their Mob-associated fathers. With lives that are right off the pages of a story book, each woman has chosen her own way to live her life in the city that was once home to Al Capone, sometimes in spite of and many times because of who her father is. Along the way these women battle their friends, families and each other as they try to do what’s best for themselves and their children. But ultimately, it is the ghost of their fathers they battle, living and dead, as they try to overcome and persevere in the face of these men’s notorious legacies.
Meet the cast of “Mob Wives Chicago ”:
RENEE FECAROTTA RUSSO:  Renee is a strong independent businesswoman who was raised by her uncle, “Big John” Fecarotta, following the death of her father.  An alleged loan collector and hit man for “The Outfit,” Fecarotta was Renee’s mentor and best friend until being gunned down by fellow mobster Nick Calabrese.  Fiercely loyal to his memory, Renee still abides by the “code”: never associate with rats…take it to the grave.
NORA SCHWEIHS:  Nora is back in Chicago to take care of some unfinished business.  Nora’s father, Frank “The German” Schweihs, was reputed to be one of the most notorious hit men for the Mob.  Schwiehs, whose alleged “hits” were not limited to the Mob, has long been rumored to be responsible for the death of Marilyn Monroe.  Shortly after his death in 2008, the government confiscated his remains before he could be properly buried.  Nora has returned to Chicago to learn the whereabouts of his body.  Despite growing up hearing stories of his viciousness and brutality, Nora idolized her father and she continues to defend him… even to his grave.
PIA RIZZA:  Pia may have a mouth like a trucker, but she’s spoken zip about her father since she was a little girl. Vincent Rizza was a dirty Chicago cop who worked for the Mob, testified against the Mob and then went into the Witness Protection Program.  Pia has struggled all her life to hide from the shame of having a “rat” for a father.  It’s been especially difficult to avoid the judgments and finger pointing in a town that celebrates the folk heroes and glory days of the Mob.
CHRISTINA SCOLERI:  As an unemployed divorced mother of a 9-year-old, Christina is struggling to provide a stable environment for her daughter.  Christina is the daughter of Raymond Janek, a one-time thief and alleged fence for the Mob.  Serving 20 years off and on for various offenses, Janek finally went straight in 1987, and his relationship with his daughter remains distant.  Christina’s father is a reminder of her own unstable upbringing, and she’s determined not to repeat the sins of her father. 
LEAH DESIMONE:  Leah is the over-protected daughter of William “Wolf” DeSimone, a supposed “associate” of the Mob, but Leah’s keeping mum.  Leah never knew, and knew never to ask what her Dad did for a living.  Leaving one day in a suit, Wolf would return days later in street clothes with no explanation and none expected.  Now “retired,” Wolf still keeps tabs on his little girl.  But as vigilant as he is of her safety, Leah is equally secretive of her Dad’s profession … if you’re “connected,” you NEVER talk about it!
For additional information about “Mob Wives” visit the official VH1 Mob Wives site at Viewers can also find series updates on Facebook at and on Twitter @VH1 with the hashtag #MobWivesChicago.
Created and produced by Jennifer Graziano of JustJenn Productions, “Mob Wives” is produced by The Weinstein Company (Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, and Meryl Poster), Electus (Ben Silverman, Jimmy Fox) and Left/Right (Banks Tarver, Ken Druckerman, Nina L. Diaz, and Jack Tarantino), with Electus International distributing the series internationally. Executive producers for VH1 include Shelly Tatro, Kari McFarland, Rick Hankey and Jeff Olde.  Sean Gottlieb serves as supervising producer for VH1.
VH1 connects viewers to the music, artists and pop culture that matter to them most with TV series, specials, live events, exclusive online content and public affairs initiatives. VH1 is available in 99 million households in the U.S. VH1 also has an array of digital channels and services including VH1Classic, VH1 Soul, VH1 Mobile, and extensive video on Connect with VH1 at

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Wendy George Valasso Performs at Singer Spotlight.

 See her perform by clicking on the video.

Who is Wendy George Valasso
THEATER-CHICAGO born and raised, Wendy George Valasso is one of the newest up and coming, hispanic actresses of our time...Making her theater debut with Clockwise as 'Fernanda' in Tanya Saracho's "Kita and Fernanda" opening July 30th 2010, in the Chicagoland area, she is not new to the entertainment world.
PRINT-Between LA and Chicago,Wendy has  gained worldwide recognition with print ad campaigns,even more so with her BACARDI SILVER BILLBOARD that was featured in the critically acclaimed Tom Cruise film, "COLLATERAL"
TV/FILM-As an actress, Wendy has been featured in motion pictures as well as worked countless national television appearances and commercials with  Fox, ABC,NBC,WGN, Telemundo, Univision and CAN-TV. Most recently, she was featured in the newest American Cancer Society commercial.
Wendy was in Juan Frausto's  movie "Once Upon a Time in the Hood"  which was awarded 2nd place at the Hispanic Film Festival. Wendy will be featured in a Dave & Buster's commercial coming out this fall. What sets Wendy apart and gives her ongoing versatility is being able to perform bilingually, both acting and singing.
VOCALS-Wendy started with music in the 90's with performing bands around Chicago and the group "Hi-Tec", a euro-dance duo. MC Roc and Wendy received critical praise when their dance hit "Move Your Body" hit the top ten charts in Europe.She went on to join various local bands in Chicago and with multi-listed Chicago based talent agencies for FILM and TV. She is featured on and Currently, Wendy is a public speaker for JAGUAR CARS nationwide. She is featured on and Currently,  
RADIO-Wendy is an on air personality, working on air w/Scott Alan at WJJG AM1530 "The Scott Alan Show w/Wendy-City News" freelance media..

Aka Wendy George Valasso, she was the Hispanic model on the Bacardi Bilboard on top of the cab in the Jamie Foxx, Tom Cruise film, Collateral. This makes her one of the most well known Bacardi Girls in America.

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Stacey Jackson Performs in Chicago on March 16... Don't Miss this UK Star

U.K. Dance Sensation Stacey Jackson Returns For New North American And Uk Tour Dates Amid Continued Success On The Charts

Never heard of Stacey Jackson?  Well, it won’t be long. The unsuspecting Dance artist is smashing UK charts and turning heads with an impressive new sound that is sure to catch on nationwide.  With a string of recent dance hits under her belt overseas, this ‘mother by day, rocker by night’ has an inspiring story to tell.  Her runaway singles include one of the biggest UK dance tracks of the year - ‘I am a Woman’ - and more recently ‘Live it Up,’ which featured international rap superstar Snoop Dogg and soared to number 2 on the dance charts behind Katy Perry'sLast Friday Night.’  Now, with a cover of White Snake’sIs This Love’ being released in the US on February 14th, Jackson proves that her unique spin on an iconic song is not to be missed.  A forthcoming video by established director Luke Biggins is currently in the works and promises not to disappoint Stacey Jackson’s fans worldwide.

Chosen As A Presenter For 2012 International Dance Music (IDMA) Awards
Performed At London Fashion Week
Honored By Alma Mater Jpps-Bialik In Montreal

Chosen As A Presenter For 2012 International Dance Music (IDMA) Awards
Performed At London Fashion Week
Honored By Alma Mater Jpps-Bialik In Montreal
It may be the middle of winter, but Stacey Jackson is about to heat things up with a string of new North American tour dates.  The dance/pop diva gained much notoriety after the release of her song “Live it Up” featuring Snoop Dogg in the U.K., which propelled her all the way to #2 on the dance charts behind Katy Perry.  Since then, Jackson has toured consistently in multiple countries and built an impressive following.  The mother of four just released her latest single stateside – a cover of Whitesnake’s “Is This Love” – and proves  with every belted note that it’s never too late in life to follow your dreams and find success.

While updates and new appearances are constantly being added to, lucky fans in these areas can check out Stacey’s electrifying live show in the coming weeks:

March 3 - Cardiff, UK - Club Wow
March 16 - Chicago, IL - Roscoe’s Night Club
March 17 - Las Vegas, NV - Krave Night Club
March 18 - West Hollywood, CA - Here Bar
March 20 - Miami Beach, FL - (Score Bar)
March 23 - Toronto, Ontario - Fly Nightclub
March 24 - Montreal, Quebec - Sky Nightclub

“Is This Love” continues to impress Jackson’s core fans in the U.K. as well - the song just cracked the Top 30 on the Pop Charts BEFORE it’s release date and continues it meteoric climb.  Here is what Radio has to say:

Real Dance Radio – UK, TempoFM – Lil Cee Mix – “This one is so wicked. I can’t believe my ears!”

Time FM – Essex – Ray Roc & Phillip Deluche Radio Edit – “a UK HIT!!”

Sirius/XM – Sam young Radio Edit “This track is off the hook…!”

FMQB – “Pick Of The WEEK!”

All of this success has started to catch the attention of people and organizations around the world, many of whom have chosen to honor Stacey for her talent and contributions to dance music.  The International Dance Music Awards (IDMA) recently chose Jackson to serve as a presenter and paired her up with Dance Superstar Chris Willis for the annual ceremony recognizing the best in Dance and Electronic music to be held in Miami on March 22nd.

Stacey’s alma mater – JPPS-Bialik in her native Montreal Quebec – will in turn present her with an esteemed award for her achievements in the music industry at their annual Concert Gala fundraiser on March 25th, where the singer will also perform live. Other past recipients of this award include world-famous contralto, Sir Wilfrid Pelletier, former conductor of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Jonathan Mann from CNN and others.

The single has also sparked the interest of the Fashion Industry.  Jackson also attended multiple fashion shows and she was asked to perform for MTV’s Runway Rocks.

Jackson is thrilled to be back on tour and couldn’t be more at home than on the road once again performing for her passionate fans. More information can be found at and the latest single “Is This Love” is available for purchase on iTunes.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Van Halen Hits The United Center

The ’70s metal giants - Van Halen dropped into Chicago at The United Center on Friday February 24, 2012.  This was their third date on their 'A Different Kind of Truth tour.

From what I saw (being a photographer we only see the first three songs) any problems they may had in the past were all behind them.  They were all interacting with each other and looks like they were having fun.   David vocals were almost up to par.  Not as many high  but it seems to be the same range as the low pitch vocals David Lee Roth had back from 1984 days.

Both him and Eddie are getting old.  I did not see any flips from David or any high jumps from Eddie.  But the main point they were having fun and making rock and roll fun again.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Victoria's Secret Angels Introduce Very Sexy Collection with Very Sexy Tour

Gentlemen, start your engines! The Victoria's Secret Angels are descending on four very sexy cities to celebrate the new Very Sexy Collection. Adriana Lima, Candice Swanepoel and Erin Heatherton kicked off the Very Sexy Tour yesterday in Miami. The Angels greeted customers last night at the Victoria's Secret Aventura Store introducing the new Very Sexy bra collection and Very Sexy Touch fragrance. Shoppers were encouraged to take a picture with the Angels and meet the new shapes of Very Sexy, now sexier than ever just in time for Spring!

Victoria's Secret's most popular push-up collection, Very Sexy, features 4 styles including the newest addition, the Deep-V Push-Up bra. With the lift women love and new super soft plush padding, the bras comfortably contour to curves for the sexiest shape imaginable. This bra has a low plunging front so it can be worn with daring necklines; it's also very versatile because it can be worn 5 different ways. Additional silhouettes include the Push-Up, Multi-way and Demi.

Tempting and sensual, Very Sexy Touch is the newest scent from the seductive Very Sexy fragrance collection. Very Sexy Touch goes beyond desire with luscious fruits and vibrant florals. Gilded Apricot blends brilliantly with lush Italian Iris and warm Amber Wood to create a fragrance so flirtatious it tantalizes with every spritz. Available as an Eau de Parfum, a Fragrance Mist and a moisturizing Body Lotion, Very Sexy Touch is the perfect complement to the Very Sexy bra collection.

The Very Sexy Tour continues in New York (March 13th), Chicago (March 15th) and Dallas (March 22nd). More details are available at VS All Access on, or follow @VictoriasSecret on Twitter with #VSVerySexy.

New Very Sexy Collection by Victoria's Secret Collection is available for purchase at, in the Victoria's Secret Catalogue, and in Victoria's Secret stores nationwide.