Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dr. Martens in Bucktown: Me Want -more? -

Near the edge of a well known Bucktown intersection sits a new Dr. Martens shoe and accessory store. Dr. Martens opened in March 2012 at 1561 North Milwaukee Avenue; on the unofficial fashion strip of neo metro-sexual style and decadence.

Dr. Martens at 1561 North Milwaukee Ave The space is impressive, with a 15 foot mirror and illuminated shelves. They have a wide selection of boots, men and women’s shoes, loafers, square toes, utility boots, and even sandals. I even caught a glimpse of some purses and a few outfits. There were only a few styles that stood out from the brand’s traditional look though, like the floral print boots, and wedge heels.

Luxury 47 Boutique = Great Location for Urban Flair

At 47th Street and Martin Luther King Drive sits a new lady’s boutique with tons of flair. Luxury Boutique 47 has only been open 7 months. But owners Mack Posey and Mike Nigado house unique styles and a beautiful selection. There’s something for everyone at Luxury Boutique 47.

I saw a peanut colored jumpsuit along with a lot of dresses that were really cute. Sizes appeared to range from a 2 to about a 14. And I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer amount of styles and sizes at Luxury Boutique 47 – some vintage yet modern, others sexy and adventurous. They also have a selection of those asymmetrical mini dresses and those sexy leotards that would even look good on a music video or commercial.

Luxury Boutique 47 is black owned and operated and located in a great area ofHydePark-across from theHaroldWashingtonCulturalCenterand less than a mile fromHayesPark. Next time you’re in the area, check out Luxury Boutique 47, I bet you won’t be leave without buying something!

Luxury Boutique 47
358 East 47th Street
Chicago, Illinois

Read the full review with photos at

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Hip Hop Legends Tone Loc and Young M.C. Headline EXXXOTICA Chicago Stage

There's Something For Everyone on the xPeeps Entertainment Stage at EXXXOTICA Chicago With a Three-Day Schedule Full of Music, Dancers, Stars, Aerial Acts and More

The EXXXOTICA Expo isn't just about sexy stars and tantalizing exhibits. What separates the largest event in the USA dedicated to love and sex from imitators is the diverse collection of acts that appear on the Entertainment stage. Always one to take things to a new level, EXXXOTICA Chicago, taking place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center July 13-15, not only has burlesque shows, male dancers, aerial acts and star-studded panels and contests on stage, but now hip hop legends, American Music and Grammy Award winners Tone Loc and Young M.C. will be headlining the stage on Saturday night.

The Entertainment Stage at EXXXOTICA has never hosted stars as decorated as Tone Loc and Young M.C. Representing the "Golden Era" of hip hop, these industry pioneers The multi-award winning, hip hop legends feature resumes of Grammy and American Music Award trophies, chart topping singles, hit movie and TV credits, and combined sales in the millions around the world are a welcomed addition to an event that promises to be even bigger and better than last years record breaking show. Tone Loc is best known for his hit tracks "Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina," and Young M.C.'s hit track "Bust a Move" is one of the most well known singles in hip hop history. They will be headlining EXXXOTICA on Saturday, July 14th starting at 9:00 pm.

EXXXOTICA's stage line up for the three-day love and sex expo includes a varied group of talented performers who will be showcasing their unique skills to the tens of thousands of expected attendees. Adult superstar Belladonna will be performing her acclaimed silks routine, Cirque de Bella; AVN's 2009 Best New Starlet Stoya, will be performing on the aerial ring, as well as longtime EXXXOTICA fan favorite Rubberdoll, whose fetish performance always leaves the crowd wanting more, are just a few of the featured entertainers. Also appearing all three days is MEN – The Show, one of the most popular male revues in the country. Additionally, the always-popular "Everything You Wanted To Know About Porn" question and answer session featuring a who's who of the adult world, and EXXXOTICA's long time top flight M.C., Dan Diamond, will be hitting the stage with the show's resident deejay, DJ Geenius. Other acts include Silent Riot, the MB Phat Girls Fashion Show, and more.

No EXXXOTICA would be complete without the show's infamous Ms. EXXXOTICA competition. Previously making headlines around the country, some of its alumni have gone on to become stars in the adult world and beyond. The first round featuring entrants from all around the world begins on Friday night, with the finals and crowning of the fifteenth Ms. EXXXOTICA on Saturday night.

The complete Entertainment Stage schedule is available at

The 2012 EXXXOTICA Chicago takes place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, July 13th, 14th and 15th. For more information visit, and for tickets go to

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DOVE® Ice Cream Announces 10-City Tour Aimed At 'Adults Only'

MARS Chocolate North America announced the 10 cities that fans selected to receive a visit from the special-edition "Adults Only" DOVE® Ice Cream Truck, a fully loaded vehicle designed to help adults relive their childhood ice cream memories in a truly decadent, grown-up way.

The DOVE® Ice Cream Truck will make stops throughout the U.S. between late June and early August, all of which were chosen exclusively by fans following a nationwide Facebook vote. The Facebook polls are officially closed and the 10 cities that will experience the "Adults Only" DOVE® Ice Cream Truck are:

Detroit (Friday, June 29)
Cleveland (Tuesday, July 3)
Tampa (Monday, July 9)
Boston (Sunday, July 15)
Philadelphia (Tuesday, July 17)
Chicago (Tuesday, July 24)
Minneapolis (Thursday, July 26 and Friday, July 27)
Milwaukee (Wednesday, August 1)
Indianapolis (Friday, August 3)
Cincinnati (Monday, August 6)

The "Adults Only" DOVE® Ice Cream Truck is not your typical "I scream, you scream, we all scream" ice cream truck. Gone are the tinny tunes and screaming customers. For those 18 years or older, the "Adults Only" DOVE® Ice Cream Truck will be stocked with decadently delicious and free DOVE® Ice Cream Bars – including the newest addition to the DOVEBAR® line, new DOVEBAR® Mint Swirl Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate. And at each stop, the vehicle also will feature stress-busting activities – massages by licensed massage therapist, manicures and music – to help adults momentarily escape from their hectic days.

The exact truck locations in each city will be announced closer to the event date. For more information about DOVE® Ice Cream tour dates and how to visit the truck when it stops in your town, visit

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Capacity Crowds Fill Millennium Park For Ballet

Capacity Crowds Fill Millennium Park For Paris Opera Ballet Simulcast Giselle Plays To Full Houses in Two 

A capacity crowd of more than 11,000 ballet enthusiasts and casual dance fans packed the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park on Wednesday night to take advantage of the simulcast of the Paris Opera Ballet’s production of Giselle, currently performing at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance.   Last night’s production was the first-ever free outdoor simulcast of a live performance by an international ballet company at Millennium Park.

As the Paris Opera Ballet performed inside the Harris Theater, the performance was simultaneously shown by on a 16 ½ ft high x 32 ½ ft long LED screen that allowed thousands more to enjoy the show at no cost.

“As the enthusiasm and response of the live simulcast of the Paris Opera Ballet in Millennium Park demonstrates, residents from across Chicago will always come together to support the arts and creativity,” said Mayor Emanuel.  “I am committed to making Chicago a worldwide destination for arts and creativity.  With the Harris Theatre as its host, accompanied by our very own Grant Park Orchestra, this has been an unique opportunity for Chicago’s world class arts community to collaborate with the world-famous Paris Opera Ballet.”
The Paris Opera Ballet continues its engagement at the Harris Theater through Sunday, the launch of its 2012 North American Tour.

“This performance was extraordinary as was the experience of bringing this viewing by such an internationally-acclaimed company to thousands of Chicagoans for free,” said Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.  “This event, along with SummerDance debuting at Taste of Chicago and the return of the 6th Chicago Dancing Festival – culminating with a grand finale on Saturday August 25 at the Jay Pritzker Pavlion – Chicago is on its way to cementing a reputation as the nation’s dance capital.”

The simulcast was broadcast by Staging Solutions Inc. on a VideoBlades LED Screen, a product of Lighthouse Technologies and presented by the Harris Theater and the Grant Park Orchestra in collaboration with Millennium Park Inc. and the City of Chicago.

Sites At Once ---

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Profile: Khari B

By Toyin Alaka

Chicago native Khari B fuses his loves for poetry and music together in sweet harmony to create what he considers himself, a Spoken Word Musician. A veteran of the city’s poetry scene, Khari has garnered a strong, loyal following. UnRated Urban got a chance to speak with Khari earlier this year to learn about his past, present and future.

Tell me about your background: where you were born & raised

I am south side of Chicago born & bred, my mother is a retired teacher and my dad is a jazz musician

Tell me how you discovered spoken word? Do you prefer to be called a spoken word artist or to be called a poet?

I prefer to get paid…lol. I guess the term that I use is Spoken Word Musician because what I do is more music oriented, I can’t sing so I can’t actually just be a musician, so I’m a spoken word musician, that’s what’s working now.

Spoken Word Musician, I like that because you do use a lot of music in your work, it’s very heavily influenced, I think.

Yeah, it’s written as music for me and it’s been like that for ages almost as long as I can remember, every time I write, there is something rhythmic and musical going on in my head as I’m going along.

What’s your process, do you say I’m going to set aside this time to write or does it come to you and you have to scramble to find a pen and paper right now and get this all down right now?

Pretty much that’s it. It will come to me at anytime of the day, any day of the week, any moment and I keep a pen in my pocket and a pad on my side so that when the inspiration or motivation does come, I can get it down. I’ve probably lost twice as many poems as I’ve ever written because I either wasn’t prepared or couldn’t at that particular time. Unless it’s a commissioned piece, a lot of times if I’m working with different musicians they would want something specific so I have to find some time and find some focus and actually sit down and create what they want. What I always ask is what kind of feeling are you going for because that’s what’s going to determine how I write. That’s going to determine the calm or the excitement of it all.

How is your work different or similar to others who do what you do? I know people don’t really do what you because you are this wild rambunctious, wild child, you are like all over the place and I know for a fact that anyone who goes to your show cannot expect to just sit there and politely nod their head, absolutely not.

I personally find that very irritating, when they do because I’m working …..what may be different for me than a lot of artists but not all artists is that I that I really don’t have any hang-ups about it all, there is really little to no inhibitions in what I do so I just can completely let go and allow what’s going to happen to happen without giving any conscious thought.

While I can see where a lot of artists either get stuck where they are delivering just as they are and all of that or there are other artists who imitate other artists and I don’t have that problem or issue. I’m not going to move like Omarion or Usher or anyone, I’m letting go, there is no set plan. Any time you see me on stage, there is no plan, it’s just going to happen and I like to get a video one of these days so I can see what happens, cause typically I don’t know and I didn’t know for years.

What you were doing on stage?

Yeah, people would come up to me after and say oh my god you are so wild and I would nod and say ok. So I would like to see the video and separate myself as I watch and maybe say, yeah that dude is kinda crazy.

How many albums have you produced? what’s the difference between each one?

We have two albums thus far, the first one was: Wordsound This Ain’t No Punk Ass Poetry which was done with House of Twang produced by Bemaji done ages ago and the latest one is: I’m A Bad Mutha The Rockstar Poetry Project and also the name of the band The Rockstar Poetry Project.

On the first album I was really spoiled because Bemaji took complete and great unparalleled care of the music for me, he mixed it and flipped it and did all of this good stuff that at the time I was unfamiliar with. It was very soulful and I like it a lot, it has a slightly different demographic than the latest one which is more funk rock oriented, there is a lot more aggression and I had a greater hand in the production of it all because I have a better ear for what I want and how I want it to feel and there was a lot of material that was a lot more aggressive than what I had done previously that I really wanted to get out and that’s what this latest album is about.

This latest album is more politically charged I think, do you think that’s because of the sign of the times? and also in it you mix a group of things, for instance you touch on relationships, prejudice, racism… you mix it all in there without it all sounding like one specific thing. I like the correlations and how you make it sound like you’re talking about a relationship in one piece when it’s actually about politics and vice versa….I like that a lot, explain how that came about?

Right, yeah, for me people are multi-faceted and so their music should be too. The whole pigeon-hole that mass media has locked people into has limited their ability to think, however I believe that there is a great portion of people who are attempting to break out of those boxes and in that process they need to be nurtured and steered and given those things that reflect them breaking out of those boxes and that’s what my music is. I’m not going to come at you in one direction because your brain doesn’t work in one direction it’s all over the place, I know mine is.

So that’s what ends up happening, there is a lot more relationship oriented material in Imma Bad Mutha than people really know from face value because a lot of it came out of a major break up for me where I was sitting on tracks sad as hell, mad, sad and in the dumps, so a lot of that stuff I just kind of disguised… masked.

Exactly, however if you pay attention…you get it

Right, right if you use that multi-faceted brain that’s going in every direction, you will get it. It was written during a very politically charged time, the Bush regime was a major point in world history especially for those of us living in it. So I did speak to that and it’s still relevant and present because of all the damage that was done during that regime is still very present now and we are still trying to recover if we are even trying to recover at all thru that, so you will get a lot of that on the album. I had to address it, I couldn’t ignore it and I got at it the way that I could.

So at a poetry set that you previously hosted the discussion about authenticity came up. How is it determined if someone is authentic or inauthentic when it comes to what you do?

I don’t like people to make stuff really deep, I think it should be real simple, really easy, really digestible. The difference between authentic and fake shit is obvious, you know when someone is in front of you putting on airs, you know that they have no sincere connection to their work, they just want to be in front of you, they need that attention and what we’ve seen in art in the last five years or more is a bunch of so called artists who are really entertainers, part of the social engineering program that’s going on and they just need attention, they are not connected to that work.

Nobody can convince me that… I won’t give any names… a lot of artists mainstream or otherwise really would put out that material if they felt they had another choice or know they had another choice and you see that from the mainstream to the small poetry venues, folks are just getting up on the stage because they get to say this and get that attention whether it’s negative or positive, it’s attention and everybody is screaming out for attention they just don’t know how to get it in a manner that suits everybody. So over the past five years or so it’s become overly saturated and now it’s a thing where everybody can do it.

When you hear certain rappers rap and it’s so disgusting, below elementary and so low brow where you feel like oh, I can do that too and so the next piece of crap garbage comes and jumps up and does that. And we see that in hip-hop, we see it in poetry, we see it in R&B, Soul, Funk industry, it’s just everybody jumping on. A lot of people went away from the live music venues and poetry sets because of that, because they wanted that authenticity that we all felt at one point or another and so I’m trying to do my best to attract those that left and I’m doing my best to set up a comfortable ground with those who want to express that authenticity can and be those artists that we want to see where they have somewhere to come and be and do.

Which pieces on the latest album are your favorites?

umm… that’s hard, I guess Being Me is the Shit it’s just a fun piece, we’ve got three different movements to it and we got to really inject it with how I feel everyday and I wanted to share that with everybody else not just how I should feel but how you should feel, you know it’s not a piece about the sea, this is you, it’s about you. The crowd favorite became F U, I Love You which I never wanted to put on there.

Why did you?

Because that was a personal piece when I was in pain and couldn’t sleep and crying and calling my friends at 3 o’clock in the morning like why did she do this to me, I hate her. It was a personal piece that grew above ground and everybody wanted to smell that flower.

They absolutely did

Yup and everyone got a piece of that. I think the sleeper cut is going to be Weeding and I don’t know how that turned out so well it just did and it was probably the first piece written on the album. We recorded it and the mixer mixed it and I was like wow, that’s kinda…..moving and I think it’s going to catch a lot of people off guard.

The piece I enjoyed writing the most is Terrorism 101, that came out of a research project I did, I personally went down to the 9th Ward in New Orleans to interview people and the voices you hear are actual 9th Ward residents and conversations that we had and I learned so much and it was so rewarding to get the true story that I had not heard prior to going down there and talking to the people myself. I did it a year after Katrina and my intention was to do a larger project that would benefit those residents but it hasn’t manifested yet.

Chicago favs: hangouts, music & food

Chicago Diner is my favorite restaurant because it’s vegan and it’s good. New love is Brother Tim’s Vegetarian Fast Food. Music: Room 11, H2O Soul, Tina Howe and the Fellas, they always throw a killer show and I try to catch them any chance I get.

My band is composed of my favorite musicians prior to us getting together with Corey Wilkes, Frankie Blaze and my dad is on their playing baritone, Aum Muu Rah and everyone including Khari Lemeul who is doing great things. All twelve of us are some of my favorite musicians in the city. I also love Gallery Guichard on King Drive.

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Hollywood Cinemas Announces Upcoming Celebrity Appearances

Virginia Madsen, Zachary Gordon, Verne Troyer and Pam Grier are scheduled to appear this summer at the Hollywood Cinemas

(July 27 - 29th) Virginia Madsen
Not only did she receive amazing reviews for her Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated performance in Alexander Payne's hit film,Sideways (2004), but this Independent Spirit Award-winning actress has an illustrious resume of roles alongside the most notable and respected actors in the business.

(August 4 - 5th) Zachary Gordon
Star of the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series, will join us on Saturday and Sunday of the opening weekend of the next installment in the series - Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days.

(August 10 - 12th) Verne Troyer
Best known for his role as "Mini-Me," Dr. Evil's smaller and more concentrated pure evil protégé, in the hit comedy Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) and Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002). Even though Verne has become recognized as a "Big Man in the business," he has been working in show business as an actor and stuntman for several years.

(September) Pam Grier
Her most famous role of the 90s was probably Jackie Brown (1997), directed by Quentin Tarantino, which was a homage to her earlier 70s action roles, but she occasionally did supporting roles, as in Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! (1996), In Too Deep (1999) and her funny performance in Jawbreaker (1999). More recently, she appeared in John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars (2001) and co-starred with Snoop Dogg in Bones (2001). Her entire career of over thirty years has brought only success for this beautiful and talented actress.

Join Hollywood Cinemas on Facebook and Movie Club for weekly updates!

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ABC's Secret Millionaire -- Pitch For Chicago's Steve Kaplan Episode

Business Success Story And Millionaire Steve Kaplan Stays Close To Home As He Donates Some Of His Fortune, On Abc’s “Secret Millionaire”

On this week’s episode of “Secret Millionaire,” self-made multi-millionaire and author Steve Kaplan will travel locally via the famous “El” from his luxury home and lifestyle to the south-side of Chicago, an area stricken by gang violence, poverty and despair. During his weeklong stay, Kaplan will try to survive on the equivalent of welfare assistance. Leaving his teenage children and sheltered life behind, he will seek out deserving people and organizations that are making a real difference in the community -- including an after-school program to keep children off the streets, a low-income senior citizen living community, and a charity that collects everyday items to give to those less fortunate -- and ultimately surprise these heroes with donations of hundreds of thousands of dollars from his own bank account, on “Secret Millionaire” SUNDAY, JULY 1 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on The ABC Television Network.

Steve Kaplan is a self-made multi-millionaire and has made over 100 additional people millionaires in their own right. He is one of the world’s leading experts on success and achievement.

A two-time New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Week and USA Today bestselling author, Kaplan’s hands-on innovative approaches to success have helped empower and inspire tens of thousands of men and women around the globe. He regularly appears on a variety of media to discuss his experiences and help others achieve success. His books, consulting sessions and keynotes are full of proven tactics, tools and techniques to help people realize their passions and small businesses improve. Kaplan currently owns several businesses, including Steve Kaplan Live, and has served on the Executive Committee for EuroRSCG, which sets strategy for its 176-company advertising agency conglomerate. His savvy for no-nonsense strategy has elevated many individuals and companies to become market leaders.

Both in and outside of business, Kaplan believes that life should be an adventure, pursued with passion and vigor. Some of the adventures he has been fortunate enough to experience include: scuba diving with hammerhead sharks off the Galapagos Islands and Coco Island; running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain; gorilla trekking in the Congo; body sledging in New Zealand; white-water rafting; hot-air ballooning over the Masai Mara, and rappelling down water falls in Costa Rica. Recently Kaplan completed a climb to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding mountain in the world. It is this infectious passion and determination that has impacted every individual and business he’s touched. See more at

Based on the hit UK series of the same name, each episode of “Secret Millionaire” follows one of America's most successful business people for one week as they leave behind their lavish lifestyles, sprawling mansions and luxury jets, conceal their true identities, and go to live and volunteer in some of the most impoverished and dangerous neighborhoods in the country. Their mission is to discover deserving individuals who continually sacrifice everything to help those in need, and ultimately encourage others to do the same. Throughout this incredible, life-changing experience, the Secret Millionaires attempt to remain undiscovered, coming face to face with extraordinary people battling the odds every day of their lives. On the final day, in an emotional and dramatic climax, they reveal their true identities. Ultimately, the millionaires each give away a great deal of their own money, changing lives forever and encouraging others to keep giving back.

Narrated by accomplished actor Blair Underwood, “Secret Millionaire” is executive-produced by Natalka Znak, Claire O’Donohoe, Grant Mansfield and Leslie Garvin. Paul Osborne is co-executive producer. The series is a Zodiak USA Production. Zodiak USA is the North American operations for Zodiak Media, one of the world’s leading creators, producers and distributors of content for TV, film, radio and new media. Zodiak USA’s credits include “Celebrity Wife Swap” (ABC), “Secret Millionaire” (ABC), “Hardcore Pawn” (truTV),“Lizard Lick Towing” (truTV) and the upcoming “Killer Karaoke”(truTV), hosted by Steve-O. Zodiak Media consists of 45 production companies with a presence in 20 countries, including the U.S., the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia and Russia. The Group also incorporates an international distribution business based in London and Paris whose catalog boasts over 15,000 hours of content.

“Secret Millionaire” is broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC’s selected HDTV format with a 5.1 channel surround sound. A TV parental guideline will be assigned closer to air date.

Follow us on:
        @SecretABC, #SecretMillionaire

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Monday, June 25, 2012

American Idol Live! in Rosemont's Allstate Arena


AMERICAN IDOL LIVE! returns this summer for another hit tour to showcase this season’s talented top 10 finalists. Launching the careers of many, the AMERICAN IDOL LIVE! Tour is the first chance to see your favorites in concert! The tour launches in Detroit, Michigan at the Joe Louis Arena on Friday, July 6th and wraps up on September 11th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tickets are available via, and

As presenting sponsors of AMERICAN IDOL LIVE! Tour 2012, CHIPS AHOY! and RITZ are thrilled to bring the excitement of the tour to their fans in a number of unique ways, from cookie and cracker coupons to a one-of-a-kind consumer promotion. This year, audiences get to walk away from an exhilarating show feeling even better about their experience knowing that $1 of every ticket purchased is being donated to The Heart Foundation (

AMERICAN IDOL LIVE! gives fans the unique opportunity to be up close and personal with Idol finalists: Colton Dixon, DeAndre Brackensick, Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Heejun Han, Hollie Cavanagh, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips and Skylar Laine.

Allstate Arena
Rosemont, IL, USA
July 7, 0212

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Just for Laughs Chicago Comes to Chicago for the 4th Year in a Row.

About Just for Laughs Chicago
Founded in 1983, the Just For Laughs Group's growth is concentrated on four major focal points: Festivals (in Montreal, Toronto and Chicago); television production (most notably Gags seen in 135 countries and on 95 airlines); live shows (Canadian tour dates for Jerry Seinfeld, Jeremy Hotz, John Pinette, Louis C.K., the Capital One Just For Laughs Comedy Tour, North American dates for Family Guy Live!); and talent management. Its inaugural Montreal Festival 30 years ago is now the world's largest and most prestigious comedy event welcoming 2 million people each summer. The Group has offices in Montreal, Paris, Los Angeles, Toronto, London and in
a dark alley at the end of the street.

The Just For Laughs Chicago comedy festival hitted the Windy City on June 12-17 this summer, and line up  included Vince Vaughn, Aziz Ansari, Stephen Merchant, Bill Engvall, Billy Gardell, John Pinette, Patton Oswalt, John Oliver, Kevin Smith, Mike Birbiglia, Jeff Ross, Amy Schumer, The Dan Band and Henson Alternative’s Stuffed and Unstrung.

TBS Just For Laughs Chicago, the nation’s biggest comedy festival, kicked off its fourth year with an astonishing array of comedians, sketch shows, specialty acts and films will keep Chicago in stitches from some of its finest and most iconic venues.

Parks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari headlined two sold-out performances at the Chicago Theatre, before megastar and Chicago native Vince Vaughn hosted a special evening of surprises and hilarity that seen him perform alongside a group of his funniest friends.

Over at the Park West, English superstar Stephen Merchant, Co-Creator and Executive Producer of the U.K. version of The Office, gave a rare stand-up performance for three nights, while peerless comedic genius Patton Oswalt, star of Jason Reitman’s recent feature Young Adult, and Emmy Award-winning Daily Show with Jon Stewart correspondent John Oliver, who headlined shows at The Vic.

A trio of fan favorites, Blue Collar Comedy star Bill Engvall, Billy Gardell of Mike and Molly, and the always hilarious John Pinette joined forces to offer fans a night of triple-threat comedy at the Akoo Theatre (formerly the Rosemont Theatre), while the critically-acclaimed Mike Birbiglia had his hit show “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend,” fresh off its 15-week run in New York City, to Chicago for an extended stay at the Victory Gardens Theatre.

The festivities continue with film icon Kevin Smith treated fans to a special evening and Q&A, and Roastmaster General Jeff Ross returned to the Festival for a second time to give the people of Chicago our yearly reckoning. Meanwhile, Amy Schumer, breakout star of this year’s Roast of Charlie Sheen on Comedy Central, headlined her own night of comedic reckoning at the Park West.

Rounding out the announcement, The Dan Band took up residence at the House of Blues for a night of comedy and music, while Henson Alternative’s Stuffed & Unstrung (Puppets Behaving Badly)  performed a live, uncensored improv show at The Bank Of America Theatre. Featuring the Miskreant Puppets and The Jim Henson Company's renowned puppeteers, Stuffed & Unstrung whch was very unpredictable and irreverent show that’s never the same twice.

One of the biggest surprises were Sarah Silverman who was schedule to performed only at the Chicago Theater.  But she did a few television appears including Windy City Live along with two live appears at Up Comedy and the Park West.

For the past three summers, the TBS JUST FOR LAUGHS comedy festival has been a landmark event for Chicago, which is home to a rich comedy heritage, from improv and sketch troupes to some of the most familiar names in the business. TBS and Just For Laughs are also working with one of the largest independent promoters in the United States, Chicago-based Jam Productions, LTD, as well as Outback Concerts--- Read more at

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kevin Sorbo To Attend 2012 Wizard World Chicago Comic Con

A 'Herculean' Addition:  Kevin Sorbo To Attend 2012 Wizard World Chicago Comic Con

Top TV Star For More Than Two Decades Joins 50+ Other Celebrities, Dozens of Top Creators At Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, August 9-12
NEW YORK and ROSEMONT, Ill., June 20, 2012 – Kevin Sorbo, known across the globe for his portrayal of the title character in the popular “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” series, will appear as a special guest at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con, August 9-12 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.  Sorbo, who has enjoyed continuous success on television for the past 20 years, will meet fans, sign autographs and pose for photos at Wizard World's longest running and highest-attended show.

The immense popularity of five initial two-hour “Hercules” telefilms in 1993 resulted in the launch of a weekly series by 1994 and helped launch Sorbo's path to stardom. The series not only became a breakout hit by becoming the number one first-run program in syndication, it also passed “Baywatch” as the most watched TV show in the world.  The innovative action hour revitalized the entire action/adventure genre on television and fostered two spin-off series, “Xena, Warrior Princess”, and “Young Hercules”.  Sorbo also directed two episodes of the show, and co-wrote one installment.

Following the success of “Hercules,” Sorbo went on to star in the lead role of “Captain Dylan Hunt” in “Gene Roddenberry’s, Andromeda.” The series, based upon writings from the late “Star Trek” creator’s archives, debuted as the number one hour show in first run syndication and held that spot throughout it’s five year run from 2000-2005.

Sorbo will join other headliners like William Shatner, Stan Lee, Tom Felton, Scott Bakula, Jon Bernthal, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and WWE® Superstars CM Punk™ and John Cena®, notable artists Carlos Pacheco, George Pérez, Greg Capullo at the Midwest’s No. 1 Pop Culture Convention.

Wizard World Chicago Comic Con (August 9-12), produced by Wizard World, Inc. (WIZD.PK), will bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, graphic novels, comics, toys, video gaming, television, sci-fi, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more.

For more on the 2012 Wizard World Chicago Comic Con, visit

About Wizard World:
Wizard World produces Comic Cons and pop culture conventions across North America that celebrate graphic novels, comic books, movies, TV shows, gaming, technology, toys and social networking. The events often feature celebrities from movies and TV, artists and writers, and events such as premieres, gaming tournaments, panels, and costume contests.

The full event schedule can be found at

***** SAVE THE 2012 DATES *****
August 9-12, 2012 – Wizard World Chicago Comic Con
September 29-30, 2012 – Wizard World Ohio Comic Con
October 26-28, 2012 – Wizard World Austin Comic Con
November 30 - December 2, 2012 – Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con
TBD, 2013 – Wizard World Toronto Comic Con
May 30 - June 2, 2013 – Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

M. Shawn Crahan, Visionary And Percussionist For The Grammy-Winning, Multi-Platinum Group Slipknot, Announces 'The Apocalyptic Nightmare Journey' Book Tour

From the mind of M. SHAWN CRAHAN aka clown--the founder and visionary behind one of the biggest hard rock bands in the world, the multi-platinum, Grammy-winning Slipknot--comes APOCALYPTIC NIGHTMARE JOURNEY. His first-ever art book collection of photography, the APOCALYPTIC NIGHTMARE JOURNEY will be released exclusively through MTV Books beginning June 19 worldwide. As M. Shawn Crahan prepares to hit the road with Slipknot on June 30 as the headlining act on the Rockstar Mayhem Festival and the newly announced Knotfest, August 17 and 18, he’ll launch a series of book signings/Q&A’s in select cities; see list below.

The book tour kicked off in Chicago, IL (6.19 The Abbey) and visit the following U.S. cities including Madison, WI (6.21 Barnes & Noble), W. Des Moines, IA (6.23 Barnes & Noble), Overland Park, KS (Kansas City-6.24 Barnes & Noble), Omaha, NE (6.25 Barnes & Noble), Los Angeles, CA (6.29 Book Soup), Tempe, AZ (7.5 Changing Hands Bookstore) and Ridgewood, NJ (7.26 Bookends), with more to be announced. Click here for book store dates:

APOCALYPTIC NIGHTMARE JOURNEY is an art book collection with over eleven years of manipulated medium format Polaroids, each an exploration in darkness and light and a representation of Crahan’s second and equally powerful artistic outlet. Weird, wired, paranoid, and endlessly imaginative,  ANJ is Shawn’s hand-picked collection of over 187 giantnever-before-seen images in numerous styles. For a 25-Page digital book preview of APOCALYPTIC NIGHTMARE JOURNEY (MTV Books). Click here:

Lars Ulrich of Metallica penned the forward for Apocalyptic Nightmare Journey after seeing M. Shawn Crahan’s photography at a gallery show. From Ulrich’s forward:

“Let go of the bungee cord, do away with the safety net. Just go for it, and let the journey take you wherever the journey’s going to take you. And as you’re going on that trip through this book, occasionally imagine clown next to you. Imagine hearing his voice in your head talking about what these images and experiences have meant to him and where he was going with it. And you will end up on one fuck of a ride, that I can guarantee you will be unique, spellbinding, and potentially life altering. This book is everything that art should be.”

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Mynabirds live in Chicago

 If you click the photo you will get a live video.  Sound about the sound.

While front woman Laura Burhenn has been touring as a member of Bright Eyes, the Mynabirds have been anything but quiet. Last month they opened a string of shows for Bright Eyes, adding Richard Swift, producer of their 2010 release What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood, to the band's line-up. Photographer/filmmaker Shervin Lainez was on hand to capture some great behind-the-scenes footage of the tour and set it to WWLITFWGITF's "LA Rain". Mini tour documentary, music video -- call it what you like. You can watch it in all its black and white glory HERE.

If you're itching for some new Mynabirds material, keep your eyes and ears open. Laura's hard at work on new songs, even in the midst of the busy Bright Eyes touring schedule. This September, the Mynabirds will meet up with Richard Swift again in Oregon to record their second album. And they couldn't be happier.

Til the Mynabirds next release is fleshed out and pressed, enjoy that mini tour doc/"LA Rain" video. And say "Hi" to Laura if you make it to any of the Bright Eyes shows this year!

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Chicago Pizza Fest is just wrong.

Over the weekend I had the chance to check out the Chicago Pizza fest over by Broadway and Wilson.  You would think they would have a ton of Pizza place selling pizzas.  There were only three.  I have include more video..--- Read more at

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Many Faces of Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples hit the stage of the 29th Chicago Bluesfest which took place at the Petrillo Music Shell. She played all of Pop Staples hits and some of her own from her last cd.

 By Dan Locke for ---

The Virtual Reality Tour Comes to Chicago

Brad Paisley's The Virtual Reality Tour Comes to Chicago with The Band Perry, Chris Young and Miranda Lambert.  I have include photos and a couple of video review for your enjoyment.

Next was Miranda Lambert

And again my video review of her performance

And finally Brad, But no review.

Photos and review by Dan Locke for

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Interview with Billy Duffy of The Cult

The Cult are rock royalty. Billy Duffy has been co-piloting The Cult for almost 30 years. He and Ian Astbury are the driving shamanistic forces behind this amazing UK born band whose sound has never been pigeon holed to just one sound. This year marks the release of the bands 9th official studio album, Choice of Weapon. It's their hardest hitting record, closely resembling the classic Sonic Temple, in many ways including production values and writing styles, but still moving the band forward with a distinct sound that can only be described as The Cult.
I spoke with Billy Duffy about their almost 30 years together and the making of the new album. 

JC: Hey Billy, how's it going today? Thank you for taking the time in talking with us and happy belated birthday! (May 12, 1961) Your birthday is the same as my brother's birthday so it's easy to remember.
BD: Is it? Thank you very much. Well I bet he's a great chap. (chuckles)
JC: He is for sure. Did you do anything special for it?
BD: I actually did. I went to England to watch a soccer match.
JC: Oh that's right, you're a big Manchester City fan. You even had their logo on one of your guitar picks (and current pick is the team's powder blue color). I guess it comes from being from there too right?
BD: Absolutely. It was the day after my birthday actually. It could have been the worst birthday of my life or the best one and it was nearly the worst with about 30 seconds away from disaster.
JC: So did they win?
BD: They won the Premier League title for the first time in 44 years. It was quite a phenomenal, emotional experience and of course the irony was that if we hadn't won that game, our deadly rivals, Manchester United, the world famous, Yankees of Soccer, would have won their 20th title. So it was really intense to be in England, in Manchester of my hometown for that, with all my friends and family. I was a guest of the club. I was with one of the guys from Oasis and my mate Johnny Marr. We all went together. So, that was my birthday.
JC: Sounded very cool for sure. Well, hey, let's get into this. I know you're not so keen on interviews...

- Read the full interview at |

Macy’s Glamorama Starring Robin Thicke And Featuring Karmin Will Perform At The Harris Theater, August 10

In its 15th year, Macy’s Glamorama 2012 welcomes Robin Thicke, one of the most respected singer-songwriters in soul and R&B music today. Thicke has written and produced songs on over 20 gold and platinum albums and is currently featured on the ABC reality singing series “Duets” where he serves as a show "Superstar" alongside Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, and Jennifer Nettles.  

Karmin, made up of Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan, gained popularity through their collection of You Tube cover songs and most recently released the original tracks “Brokenhearted” and the blazing, rap-fueled “I Told You So” from the duo’s debut album, Hello.

Macy’s Glamorama is an hour-long high-end fashion show and musical production that not only will unveil the latest fashions from Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Sean John, but also showcases heart-stopping dance, lush visuals, staging as well as incredible musical performances by chart-topping artists. Past musical performers have included Cee Lo Green, Far East Movement, Macy Gray, MC Hammer, Beyoncé and more. The evening concludes with a new over-the-top after-party at the Harris Theater’s Rooftop Terrace. The event will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (RMHC®-CNI).
TICKETS:  Be the first to get your tickets with the American Express® Exclusive Pre-Sale from June 13 through June 19 for American Express cardholders only. Ticket prices are $50 and $75 for show only; $175 & $285 for show and after-party; $1,000 for VIP show and after-party. For more information, please visit

Beginning June 20 tickets will also be available for purchase through, as well as through The Harris Theater box office, 312.334.7777.        

Friday, August 10, 2012 at 8PM
Harris Theater at Millennium Park
205 E. Randolph Drive
Over-the-top after-party* following the show at the Harris Theater’s Rooftop Terrace. *included with purchase of $175 ticket or more.

Follow Chicago UnRated TAG for Macy's Glamorama

--- Read more at |

Rachael Ray To Appear At The Chicago Printer's Row Lit Fest

Rachael Ray, the #1 New York Times bestselling author and television personality, will appear at the Chicago, IL Printer's Row Lit Fest at the Chicago Public Library on June 9th, 2012 to sign copies of her 20th cookbook, "The Book of Burger," which was released nationwide on June 5th, 2012.

The Book of Burger features over 200 of Ray's recipes for burgers, sliders, sides, sloppies, hot dogs, sandwiches, sauces, and toppings — many using healthier alternatives such as chicken, turkey, seafood and veggies.

Beginning with Rachael's custom blend of meat for beef burgers, The Book of Burger also contains burger recipes by great chefs and essays by culinary experts to ensure that you construct the perfect burger.

The Printer's Row Lit Fest will be held at Harold Washington Library/Pritzker Auditorium, 400 South State Street, Chicago, IL. For more information, call 312-747-4300.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Did someone say, “BACON”!? Baconfest Chicago 2012

Baconfest Chicago 2012
UIC Forum
Chicago, IL, USA

April 14, 2012
Story and photos by James Currie

Yes, they did and it was a bacon lovers dream come true, but a cardiologist’s worst nightmare. On April 14th, 2012, the organizers of annual Baconfest Chicago brought back another pork belly filled event to Chicago.

As described by Baconfest, LLC, “Baconfest Chicago 2012 is a full day celebration of bacon: a Fest to end all Fests. Baconfest’s roster of bacon-foods, bacon-inspired crafts, and bacon-spirits comprises the greatest single culinary and cultural festival ever dedicated to Bacon and Bacon only.”

This is the fourth year for this cured meat themed gala and as usual, it sold out. Within minutes! Seems that Chicagoans can’t get enough of this salty meat treat. It makes you kind of squeal a little when you here it’s coming.

Baconfest was held at the UIC Forum and consisted of 107 restaurants, 9 alcohol sponsors (including bacon vodka), 18 entrepreneurs and 4,257 pounds of Nueske’s bacon.

The event has grown so large, they had to create two exhibition sessions for attendees. The first, lunch shift ran from 12:30PM- 3:00PM. Right at 3:00PM, they cleared everyone out to set up for the 2nd shift. The dinner shift ran from 6:30PM-9:00PM. The difference between the two; lunch had the small plate portions and dinner the more robust size morsels.

It didn’t matter which session you got into, you couldn’t finish everything in one shift anyway and it was all amazing. You’ll pig out for sure.

According to Baconfest promoters, “We estimate that over 3,000 bacon aficionados will visit Baconfest.”

They go on to say, “At the Bacon Vendor Expo, artisan bacon-makers and bacontrepreneurs will display, sample, and sell their multitude of local craft bacons and bacon-related products on the floor of the Vendor Expo.

At the Bacon Chef and Bar Expo, chefs from Chicago’s hottest restaurants prepare and serve small plates starring bacon. Chicago’s finest mixologists and brewers quench our throats made parched from all that delicious bacon with their refreshing bacon-based and bacon-inspired cocktails and brews.”

Baconfest is not just a great place to get yer’ oink on, but this is also being done for a great cause, The Great Chicago Food Depository. Although not set up as a charity, they do help raise funds and can food donations for the group. Last years event helped to raise $25,000 cash plus collected food totaling over 65,000 pounds.

Some of the other activities include awards presented to the ultimate baconites. Raffle tickets for insanely great bacon gift sets and “The Golden Rashers” award as they are called, go to pro and amateur chefs, poetry, video, song or other accolades of bacon.

This wasn’t just a bunch of folks just frying up bacon, not that, that would be bad, but they stepped up the use and creation of it making it a key ingredient in their dish. Plates ranged from bacon and egg sandwiches to bacon wrapped loin of rabbit with a ragu of local asparagus and morels. Yeah.

Other notable noshes included: bacon confit with tropea onion agrodolce, pork palooza burgers, bacon mac n cheese (a crowd favorite), bruchetta of bacon lardon, bacon custard filled beignets, potato bacon pancakes, bacon shepherds pie, bacon grenades (mini bacon bombs beer battered and deep fried), BLT pizza, bacon bourbon caramel corn, bacon tacos, Willy Wonka inspired candies with bacon, bacon bloody Mary’s, bacon kimchi mortadella, applewood smoked bacon-scented South African lobster cappuccino with crispy lardons and spring chive cream and of course bacon on a stick.

UnRated Magazine's very own James Currie
At the end of the shifts, 7 awards were handed out for best bacon creations, presentations and more:
  • Best Front of House Presentation (lunch): ZED 451
  • Most Creative Use of Bacon (lunch): Red Butter- Baconchile Gulab Jamun
  • Best Poem: Ryan Myers – The Quantum Dance
  • Nueske’s Cook Off: Judith Singer – Caramelized banana dish
  • Chicago Reader Amateur Cocktail: Zach Piper – Barded Black Bird
  • Best Front of House Presentation (dinner): 676 Wine Bar
  • Most Creative Use of Bacon (dinner): Three Aces – Bacon shake
Next year’s plans are tentatively the same, but for more “pig-tails”, check out their website, They also have a Facebook page dedicated to it. You can find special announcement, details on the chefs and their food creations, ticket sales and venue info. Oh, and be sure to watch close or you’ll miss the action as they usually sell out within 20-30 minutes.

Ok, so the puns in this review are pretty bad, but Baconfest definitely is not. If you don’t absolutely love this festival, you’re either sick or it's against your religion.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Drake Concert: Over 20,000 fans but sh!t for a photo journalist.

Drake (June 2, 2012)
The current Drake tour “Club Paradise Tour” most likely sold out or at near capacity at Tinley Park on June 2, 2012. First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre hosted more than 20,000 fans jumping in their seat with the highest excitement for the first show in this venue. It will be hard for LiveNation to outmatch the attendance count from June 2nd for the 2012 summer season.

Although the concert was something not to miss, however from my perspective as a photojournalist you have missed the show. This is another tour, another artist, another record company, and another public relations firm that is taking photos out of the magazine and provides very poor images to the fans and readers. This was what is called a soundboard shoot. For many of you that do not know, majority of the concerts that are covered are photographed from up-front and in-front of the stage. Usually photographers are escorted to the “PIT” area in-front of fans to photographer 1-3 songs. At most times these are the money shots, the great shots you see in magazine, books and televisions, which can make history and be iconic. However at times, (and quite often in the past few years), the powers that be and reasons that don’t make sense, credentialed working press “Journalists” are required to photograph from far distances at the soundboard. Although if you have the right equipment you can get photographs or shots; but that is all that can be said of the photos. These images most likely will never take your breath away…you can complete your assignment… and that is about all that will be said, or SAD.

To visually show you photographing artists from close vs. long distances I want to give you a comparison of Wacka Flocka Flame I photographed in 2010 and from last night, June 2, 2012. The photo on your left was from the Pit area in 2012, the one on the right was from last night, a soundboard shoot. Both photos used professional equipment, even a long extended lens for last night. I tried to choose one of my best images of last night, and it was Waka Flocka Flame, the other artists including Drake (see image above) are more or less very poorly lit with lights.  I am glad that Waka Flocka has some nice spotlights on him. Can you see the difference? How do you feel, what emotion does each image bring? Let UnRated Magazine know? If you believe that images from the Pit area is what you want, let us and the artists know, if you like the further back, we like to hear that too.

Waka Floca Flame 2010 (L) - 2012 (R)
I know that the photos I shot last night will most likely be archived and never distributed. They are all basically garbage, no use for much except a story if no one else has a picture from the event. This was a waste of time and money for me. However I am a working professional photo journalist and will have to deal with this practice of providing photos that just suck. I like to say that I am embarrassed of the images, but who should be embarrassed is the artist (Drake and the rest of the line-up), and everyone involved who created this policy for tonight’s performance. Photojournalists are trying to represent you with the best possible way, but if opportunity is not welcomed we do the best with what is given.

I have not gone into personal opinions of why many major artists are kicking photographers back because I can rap about it nonstop and all day. The practice of kicking working Journalists to the soundboard for very terrible photos can only be changed by you, the fan.

Club Paradise Tour 2012
Drake, J. Cole, Waka Flocka Flame, 2 Chainz, ...
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Tinley Park, IL, USA
June 2, 2012
Photos by Adam Bielawski

Related Links:

--- Read more at |

Friday, June 1, 2012

Nikki Sixx Interview from Chicago House of Blues

I was shocked, but stoked to hear I was going to be talking with Nikki Sixx as he, and his co-host Kerri Kasem came through town to promote their talk radio show, Sixx Sense. Being a fan like so many others of the Crüe, this was an amazing opportunity to get to know the man a little and what makes him work.

And work he does. Performing with a half dozen bands, producing and writing for other artists, guitar developer, clothing designer, photographer, author, radio DJ and charity organizer and more. Sixx knows how to keep busy and for good reasons.

Before heading into this event, I asked a few Facebook friends what they would want to know about the man, the legend, that is Nikki Sixx. Besides my own curious questions, I was looking for conversations that Sixx hasn't already talked to death about - topics that would be unique and things that a true fan would know or want to know. Thanks to that, I got a few, but because of the time constraints and publicity concerns, I only got a fraction of what I wanted. Here's how that all went down.

Our meeting took place at the House of Blues Chicago in the infamous Foundation Room.

Not only does Sixx rock out in, without a doubt, the most influential hard rocking metal band to come out of the 80's, Mötley Crüe, but a host of other bands too. Currently, he is or has been involved in 5 musical projects including several side bands and productions as "58," a project with Dave Darling and Steve Gibbs, named for them being born in 1958, "Spiders & Snakes," a band (London) he was in before Crüe that reproduced reissued material, "Brides of Destruction" featuring several x-band mates like Tracii Guns and John Corabi, "Sixx A.M." which was originally recorded for his autobiography, "The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star," and featured friends, James Michael and DJ Ashba, and of course his pride and joy, Motley Crüe. The band he founded with Mick Mars writing the soundtrack to the 80's rocker youth lives.

But even that's not all he's done with music. He's also helped write and produce songs for Lita Ford, Steve Jones (of the Sex Pistols), Alice Cooper, Saliva, Meat Loaf, Drowning Pool and even his band mate, Vince Neil's solo work.

Among other things, (clears throat), you can say music is in his blood. The man bleeds music. (continued at

Read the full interview at or

Queen Extravaganza Tour hits Chicago Friday, June 1

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Official Queen Tribute Show Produced by Roger Taylor Hits the U.S. on May 31 in Detroit

The Queen Extravaganza, a spectacular touring concert show designed to celebrate the glorious music and live experience of legendary rockers Queen, kicked off this past weekend with electrifying performances that dazzled Canadian audiences.  The accolades are sure to continue when the Queen Extravaganza makes their live U.S. concert debut on Thursday, May 31 at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.
During the tour opener at the Grand Theatre Du Quebec on May 26th, as well as concerts in Montreal and Toronto, the band was met with rave reviews by fans and critics alike.  La Presse remarked that there were “ovations at almost every song...the tour could have a long life," while Journal De Quebec stated that the sound was "mind-blowing."

The recent Canadian performances marked The Queen Extravaganza’s first live shows since their public debut last month on American Idol, when the group performed with Queen’s Roger Taylor and Brian May for an explosive rendition of "Somebody to Love."  USA Today noted that lead singer Marc Martel’s “ability to sound like Freddie Mercury remains staggering,” and the National Post imagined that “Freddie Mercury was giving them a thumbs up from the heavens as they hit every note bang on, just as he would have.”   Examiner stated, “if you missed Queen during the 70's and 80's, be prepared to be impressed," and FOX News raved that “the new band not only has musical chops, but they actually physically resemble the members of the original Queen, circa 1975.” summed up the Queen Extravaganza by simply stating that they “sounded magnificent.”

Conceived and produced by Queen’s  Roger Taylor, whose idea was to create the ultimate Queen concert experience in an electrifying road show featuring some of today’s best new music talent, The Queen Extravaganza touring band includes four vocalists and five musicians.   Taylor led the judging of an intensive 11-week talent search in which singers Marc Martel and Jennifer Espinoza; bassist Francois Olivier Doyon; guitarists Brian Gresh and Tristan Avakian; and drummer Tyler Warren were selected as winners of the competition.   Vocalists Yvan Pedneault and Jeff Scott Soto, and keyboardist/musical director Brandon Ethridge, joined the group earlier this year.

Killer Queen

In a two-set show that runs just over two hours, the band performs nearly 40 Queen classics drawn from a list of the band’s biggest all-time chart hits: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another One Bites The Dust,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Under Pressure,” “We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions,” “A Kind Of Magic,” “Radio Ga Ga,” “Somebody To Love” and “Killer Queen.”  The show also highlights some of the band’s finest heavy-duty rock anthems which have long been at the core of their live performances, such as “I’m In Love With My Car,” “Tie Your Mother Down,” “Seven Seas Of Rye,” and “In The Lap Of The Gods.”

In addition, the excitement on stage is enhanced with the inclusion of never-before-seen video footage, and a heavyweight production team headed by stage designer Mark Fisher, who has been responsible for some of the most memorable rock concerts ever staged, including The Wall for Pink Floyd and every Rolling Stones show since 1989.

For more information on The Queen Extravaganza, visit

Remaining Queen Extravaganza tour dates are:
  • June 1                   Chicago, IL                                           House of Blues 
  • June 2                   Minneapolis, MN                             The Brick      
  • June 4                   Cleveland, OH                                   House of Blues
  • June 5                   St. Louis, MO                                     The Pageant    
  • June 7                   Philadelphia, PA                               Theatre of Living Arts 
  • June 8                   Washington, DC                                9:30 Club      
  • June 9                   Wallingford, CT                                 Oakdale
  • June 10                 Bethlehem, PA                                 Event Center   
  • June 11                 Boston, MA                                        House of Blues \
  • June 12                 Huntington, NY                                 Paramount Theatre     
  • June 15                 Tampa, FL                                           Louis Lykes Ferguson Hall      
  • June 17                 Orlando, FL                                         The Plaza Live 
  • June 19                 Dallas, TX                                             Grand Prairie   
  • June 20                 Houston, TX                                       House of Blues 
  • June 23                 Las Vegas, NV                                   House of Blues 
  • June 24                 San Diego, CA                                    Humphrey’s     
  • June 25                 Los Angeles, CA                                Club Nokia     
  • June 26                 San Francisco, CA                             Regency
  • June 28                 Seattle, WA                                        Showbox
  • June 30                 Vancouver                                          Queen Elizabeth Theatre
  • July 2                     Calgary                                                 Jack Singer    
  • July 3                     Edmonton                                           Jubilee       
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