A Chicago Thing

music Archives

Interview with Jerry Bryant of JBTV!

Hey all! Amy Shah here from Billy's office sharing this story on JBTV. A few month back, Rockit Wrigley hosted a panel of social media experts including Jerry Bryant, the founder of JBTV. Our interactive marketing coordinator, Tim Toomey, had the chance to interview the dynamic Jerry Bryant- check it out!

Since 1984, JBTV, the music TV show based out of Chicago has been featuring exclusive interviews, music videos, and live performances and is Chicago's longest-running music television show.

As the host of the show, Jerry has aired over 3,600 weekly one-hour episodes that have helped local bands reach national level as well as featuring already well-known artists. Some notable musicians making appearances on the show include Fall Out Boy, the Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day & Pearl Jam.

With over 4,000 hours of original content and an audience of 11 million, it's no wonder the show has won multiple Emmy awards & two Billboard Music Video Awards for "Best Local/Regional Alternative Modern Rock Show."

JBTV airs new episodes weekly. Check out their site for more info!

Guess who all is headed to the 53rd grammy awards!

Billy Dec at the 2010 Grammys from A Chicago Thing on Vimeo.

I'm off to los angeles in the morning because its grammy time again- this Sunday the 13th! Here is a quick video of me on the red carpet last year after my twitter followers wanted more than just my tweetpics. How many people can you recognize?!? And who are your favs this year?

My favs as always will definitely include a lot of chicagoans! Here are a few to watch out for! best rap solo performance: kanye west (duh). best traditional r&b vocal performance; best contemporary r&b album: r.kelly. best contemporary r&b gospel album: aaron sledge. best classical album, best choral performance: chicago symphony chorus. best classical album, best orchestral performance, best choral performance: chicago symphony orchestra. best jazz vocal album: freddy cole. best contemporary blues album: buddy guy. best traditional blues album; best contemporary blues album: willie "big eyes" smith.

get a full list of grammy nominations here and a full list of chicago nominees here. And speaking of music, particularly the blues which I love, don't forget to check out my live blues party on saturday, february 19th for my 1st 10,000 twitter followers... That you can come to if you click http://bit.ly/e34PMN details!

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Macy Gray in Chicago at Glamorama w/ a New CD!

I'm sure you can tell from all my stories and pics on twitter that macy gray is not only my good buddy, but one of my favorite female singers of all time! if don't know her, she's a super sweetheart, a 2 time Grammy winner, a great mom, has sold more than 15 million records, and is just an absolute talent- and riot! (pic of us at grammy's this year)

I especially got to give her huge props for her newest CD, "The Sellout."  after not being happy with the outcome of her previous project, "Big," she holed up in a recording studio with just a few select friends and musicians, and killed it w/this new creation, as you probably saw in the past couple weeks on Jimmy FallonGood Morning America and The View... so spread the word and pick up her songs on itunes or Amazon today!

Oh, and if want to see her in person in chicago, she is performing at the annual Macy's Glamorama 2010 on August 13th to benefit the Ronald McDonald Charity which I love! This event is truly one of the best of the year-- a mix of fashion, music and charity always makes for a great combo.  Read more for full Glamorama info....

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Twitter pics of Piven, Mayer, Lookingglass, Cubs, Sox, Press, Mayhem & More!

If you follow me on twitter, you know my life is crazy, and that last weekend was no exception. Photos showed me splitting a bottle of patron tequila w/ buddy John Mayer at underground, vacuum packing Jeremy Piven's cell phone in rice after he dropped it in the toilet at sunda, jumping on a dozen tv & radio stations live talking about raising money for art & theatre programs for kids, taste testing more food than most eat in a week, trying to fit more crazy tasks & adventures in a day/night than humanly possible to do whatever I can for my team & city! 

It occurred to me though that some of you aren't following me on twitter and are missing out on it all! That's not good! So I included a sample of my tweetpics / life in the last couple days here so you can get a feel for what you are missing! It's always random, always crazy, always entertaining.. and most important.. a great way to stay in touch and create a relationship as I have with so many others! Enjoy- and then click here to follow me on twitter too!

Gallery sneak peek (57 images):

View the gallery...

Ellen Live TBS Show at Chicago Theatre!

I love to share awesome prizes, tickets, vip passes...to all the experiences I get invited to w/ all my friends and followers onfacebook and twitter (click on them to get in on it!). Yesterday I made up a fun lil contest to take a couple fans to Ellen's amazing live show at The Chicago Theatre...you got to see these pics & read this review that one of the winners wrote, it's awesome!  

Gallery sneak peek (10 images):

View the gallery...
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Who do you think is best in Chicago!?




Just voted for the Chicago Reader "Best in Chicago" awards online! Figured I would share my answers since everyone asks me on Twitter and Facebook about my Chicago favs! (BTW, sorry did these fast, was in a rush, sorry if missed anyone!) You should vote too! (Especially for my places! haha) Voting ends this weekend so go to http://bestof.chicagoreader.com/ now!

Best car wash :: We'll Clean
Best BBQ :: Fat Willies
Best Brewpub :: Goose Island
Best Coffee Shop :: Intelligestia/Aspire at home....chitowns peeps!
Best Cupcakes :: 3 way tie - Foiled (on twitter), Sweet Mandy B's (near my house) or Swirlz (for boxes to friends!)
Best Fashion Designer :: Maria Pinto
Best Interior Designer :: Nate Berkus
Best Thrift Store :: Salvation Army
Best brunch   :: Rockit on hubbard (live acoustic, gourmet bloody mary's, mimosa kits at your table, amazing brunch menu... come on!) Or riverside café in bucktown
Best shoe store  :: Niketown
Best garden store  :: kinsella landscaping
Best gym    :: HERO Fitness and equinox
Best home furnishings store :: smart rooms in merchandise mart
Best alfresco dining  ::  Patio at RBG Wrigley (in nice neighborhood, and can see Wrigley field scoreboard from table)
Best bagels  :: ashkenaz
Best college  :: U of I champaign urbana
Best gelato :: n/a, I eat peanut butter and chocolate skinny cows with extra crunchy peanut butter globbed on twice a day
Best grocery store   :: whole foods
Best Indian restaurant :: vermillion
Best margarita :: que rico
Best Mexican restaurant :: el tapitio
Best Middle Eastern restaurant :: reeza's
Best new restaurant   :: kith kin
Best burger  :: Rockit Bar & Grill  ("good morning america" gave chitown the nationwide recognition for the rockit burger to beat all cities out- love it!)
Best seafood restaurant  :: Joe's
Best splurge :: avenue at peninsula
Best sushi  :: Sunda (not many people get entire fresh fish anymore and cut them up right there and then, hands down best!) Best wine shop :: House of Glunz
Best liquor store  :: Binny's
Best pizza  :: connie's and malnatis
Best drink specials :: ½ off wine on Mondays at rockit (actually can get really nice bottles!)
Best cocktail list :: Sunda drink list is pure heaven- I invented the "bd superfresh sakitini" that should win this award in itself! Actually, they are all that good
Best dive bar   :: Richard's
Best 4 AM bar   :: underground, not many places still packed at 4am, 5am saturdays
Best night of the week to go out   :: Saturday, I know its so mainstream, but its just true, and I love people watching.                 Best smoking area :: far away from me
Best hotel for an in-town getaway   :: Peninsula
Best record store :: grew up going to dr. wax
Best local music blog :: www.assault.it
Best dance club  :: Underground, you know you are the best when don't have an actual cheesy dance floor but can make everyone dance!
Best local band  :: Plain White T's & Lovehammers
Best local hip-hop artist   :: kanye
Best local DJ   :: Rock City
Best local tribute band   :: South of 80 and elevation
Best bartender :: Andy Lee at Rockit River North
Best music venue to play   :: Metro
Best music venue to watch   :: House of Blues
Best music festival  :: Lolla
Best movie theater   AMC on Illinois
Best art gallery   :: Carrie Seacrist
Best museum exhibit   :: TRex Sue
Best public artwork  :: art institute and mca
Best touring play  ::  lookingglass "alice"
Best off-Loop theater company   :: Lookingglass
Best late-night theater experience :: wiener circle
Best stand-up comic   :: Conan O'Brien
Best sketch/improv troupe   :: improv olympic and second city
Best dance company  :: Loveabulls count?
Best burlesque troupe  :: Baton Club
Best antique store  :: Golden Triangle
Best bike shop   :: village cycle
Best mani/pedi   :: hasn't happened, yet!
Best massage  :: Maria at Backup Therapeutic
Best mechanic    victor castro at perillo on clark
Best movers   :: Bill & Phil Movers
Best place to adopt a pet  :: PAWS
Best Cubs bar  :: Rockit Wrigley, can see scoreboard from table while watching our tv's
Best Sox Bar    jim beam club, great buffet
Best billiards   :: rockit river north baby! The best.
Best bowling alley :: lucky strike
Best canoe/kayak rental :: Lincoln park
Best golf course  :: Medinah Country Club
Best dance class :: Arthur murray and  dance center chicago!
Best music teacher  :: Scott Arkenberg at St. Clement
Best yoga studio :: classes at peninsula spa

Glee Cast Loves Chicago Food!


The city of Chicago, especially the guests at my spot, Sunda, was all up in arms last night as the cast of Glee paid us a visit & dined late night. The cast were all super nice, approachable, generous and even were the ones that suggested taking this pic w/my sunda general manager aeron lancero when he mentioned his kids were fans (Sure ur "kids" are the fans aeron.. Haha).. Great sports.. Even took more pics w our guests and signed autographs... Must like us chicagoans!?
Actually, they must love us, they said usually eat room service when travelling, but said no way to that when hit chicago! I hear they're in town while on their national tour and performing tonight and tomorrow night at Rosemont. I'm not too familiar with the show but it's apparant a lot of you are - someone even told me you call yourselves "Gleeks?"
For those of you totally in the dark, Glee is a show on Fox that's still relatively new, been on for just 2 seasons now but has take the world by storm and has totally transformed the way people think about high school glee choirs! The cast does all their own singing and dancing and I guess that's the best part, the fact that they are all extremely talented!
Anyway, I hear they loved the food and atmosphere so much, they might be coming back again tonight? If you can't catch them at Sunda or attend their concert, Glee is on Fox tonight with their most talked about episode yet - all Lady Gagasongs....I can only imagine!

The city of Chicago, especially the guests at my spot, Sunda, was all up in arms last night as the cast of Glee paid us a visit & dined late night. The cast were all super nice, approachable, generous and even were the ones that suggested taking this pic w/my sunda general manager aeron lancero when he mentioned his kids were fans (Sure ur "kids" are the fans aeron.. Haha).. Great sports.. Even took more pics w our guests and signed autographs... Must like us chicagoans!?
Actually, they must love us, they said usually eat room service when travelling, but said no way to that when hit chicago! I hear they're in town while on their national tour and performing tonight and tomorrow night at Rosemont. I'm not too familiar with the show but it's apparant a lot of you are - someone even told me you call yourselves "Gleeks?"
For those of you totally in the dark, Glee is a show on Fox that's still relatively new, been on for just 2 seasons now but has take the world by storm and has totally transformed the way people think about high school glee choirs! The cast does all their own singing and dancing and I guess that's the best part, the fact that they are all extremely talented! Anyway, I hear they loved the food and atmosphere so much, they might be coming back again tonight? If you can't catch them at Sunda or attend their concert, Glee is on Fox tonight with their most talked about episode yet - all Lady Gaga songs....I can only imagine!

Man & Woman of the Year!

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has come up with one of the most amazing fundraising concepts I've heard about in a long time! It's called "Man and Woman of the Year" and this is how it goes..... it's actually a 10 week competition based solely on fundraising efforts. Every dollar raised counts as a vote for that person - they can throw parties, do car washes, anything to raise money! The candidates raise money in honor of local blood cancer survivors, and then that survivor is then deemed Boy or Girl of The Year! All the donations support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society programs, including research, patient services, advocacy, public and professional education and community services.
I am such a fan of the idea that I am helping one of the wonderfully giving candidates host a fundraising "karaoke party" at Rockit Wrigley this Friday. His name is Dr. Jeffrey Baker of Weil Foot and Ankle Institute has put on soccer games, boat cruises, you name it, just in the name of fundraising for incredibly important organization. If you can help spread the word and join Jeffrey & I (whether to sing your heart out or just laugh at/with people like me), in this amazing effort that will be a ton of fun, you would be supporting an amazing cause and so many people would appreciate it!  visit http://il.mwoy.llsevent.org/pledge/index.cfm?mid=JBAKER and we'll see ya there!
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The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has come up with one of the most amazing fundraising concepts I've heard about in a long time! It's called "Man and Woman of the Year" and this is how it goes..... it's actually a 10 week competition based solely on fundraising efforts. Every dollar raised counts as a vote for that person - they can throw parties, do car washes, anything to raise money! The candidates raise money in honor of local blood cancer survivors, and then that survivor is then deemed Boy or Girl of The Year! All the donations support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society programs, including research, patient services, advocacy, public and professional education and community services.
I am such a fan of the idea that I am helping one of the wonderfully giving candidates host a fundraising "karaoke party" atRockit Wrigley this Friday. His name is Dr. Jeffrey Baker of Weil Foot and Ankle Institute has put on soccer games, boat cruises, you name it, just in the name of fundraising for this incredibly important organization. If you can help spread the word and join Jeffrey & I (whether to sing your heart out or just laugh at/with people like me), in this amazing effort that will be a ton of fun, you would be supporting an amazing cause and so many people would appreciate it!  visithttp://il.mwoy.llsevent.org/pledge/index.cfm?mid=JBAKER and we'll see ya there!

Common Movie Premiere Party for "Just Wright"


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Thanks to whoever snapped this pic of me & common last night and tweeted it out! this is us walking into his premiere party for his new movie "just wright" (click here for trailer) w/queen latifa (who I met a couple times and have to say is one of the sweetest people ever!), in sunda's new private party room! (kr, you can link that to a sales page?)
I especially love this pic because not only is common from chicago (you must click here to hear us rap about our love for it!) (kr, that would be the 2016 vid), but of all the pro athletes there to support, so is nba star bobby simmons behind us from the bucks! Small world.
Most important of all, big shout out to you common, and you allied who produced the premiere, for bringing what probably should have happened in Hollywood, home to where you will always have us behind you, chicago!
Thanks to whoever snapped this pic of me & common last night and tweeted it out! this is us walking into his premiere party for his new movie "just wright" (click here for trailer) w/ queen latifah (who I met a couple times and have to say is one of the sweetest people ever!), in sunda's new private party room!
I especially love this pic because not only is common from chicago (you must click here to hear us rap about our love for it!) but of all the pro athletes there to support, so is nba star bobby simmons behind us from the bucks! Small world.
Most important of all, big shout out to you common, and you, allied, who produced the premiere, for bringing what probably should have happened in Hollywood, home to where you will always have us behind you, chicago!

My Cameo on "The Hills" because of "Chicago!"

Soooooo random I know! everyone hit me on facebook & twitter (some w/screen shots like above) like crazy when they saw me on "the hills" season premiere last night... many asked how that happened... and long story short... it was a chicago thing!
I actually most of the characters in chicago while visiting my restaurants sunda & rockit!  They have always been super nice and have kept in touch, and when heard I was out there, they invited me with- I just had no idea that it was to film! Thank god they didn't play 99% of what went on that night- omg, it was nuts.
As for deeper chicago connections, I interviewed brody about the chicago 2016 olympic bid (click here to see it), and kristien cavalleri is from here! She and I met on stage infront of thousands both hosting a victoria secret event at northerly island a couple years ago (here's a pic), and we have stayed friends ever since... guess staying friends w/ everyone leads to all kinds of things... til next time!
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Soooooo random I know! everyone hit me on facebook & twitter (some w/screen shots like above) like crazy when they saw me on "the hills" season premiere last night... many asked how that happened... and long story short... it was a chicago thing!
I actually have met most of the characters in chicago while visiting my restaurants sunda & rockit!  They have always been super nice and have kept in touch, and when heard I was out at the superbowl, we all hooked up- I just had no idea that it was to film! Thank god they didn't play 99% of what went on that night- omg, it was nuts.
As for deeper chicago connections, I interviewed brody about the chicago 2016 olympic bid (click here to see it), and kristin cavallari is from here! She and I met on stage infront of thousands both hosting a victoria secret event at northerly island a couple years ago (here's a pic), and we have stayed friends ever since... guess staying friends w/ everyone leads to all kinds of things... til next time!

World Malaria Day in Chicago

First of all- check this quick video made by 4th & 5th graders in Kyoto, Japan- about the horrible malaria problem in Africa they are trying to help- a fight that we here in chicago will be supporting this weekend!
In partnership w/ the Chicago White Sox, Malaria No More will recognize World Malaria Day on Sunday, April 25th during the White Sox/Mariners game in a variety of ways to raise awareness & funds to support their mission to end malaria deaths by 2015. The day will start off w/ my long time buddy, 3-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe winner Jeremy Piven throwing out the 1st pitch. Then American Idol Finalist, Elliott Yamin will lend his phenomenal voice to the National Anthem and God Bless America. Also in attendance will be our Governor, Pat Quinn, showing his support for the continent of Africa.
Why are all parts of chicago & the world coming together? Because every 30 seconds, a child dies of malaria in Africa. Approximately 250 million people are infected with it every year. 90% of those terribly unfortunate people, are under the age of 5 years or pregnant women. Malaria no more has set out to end these deaths in just five short years. Seems almost impossible, doesn't it? But oddly enough, it's not - and you can help! It's a known fact that malaria comes from malaria-carrying mosquitoes, but it might not be known that this disease and subsequently this epidemic can be solved with just a $10 mosquito net!!! You can donate a life-saving net by texting the word "NET" to 85944 - this will last for five years and can cover two people. It's so easy to help!
For more information about Malaria No More and what you can do to help - visit www.malarianomore.org
First of all- check this quick video made by 4th & 5th graders in Kyoto, Japan- about the horrible malaria problem in Africa they are trying to help- a fight that we here in chicago will be supporting this weekend!
In partnership w/ the Chicago White Sox, Malaria No More will recognize World Malaria Day on Sunday, April 25th during the White Sox/Mariners game in a variety of ways to raise awareness & funds to support their mission to end malaria deaths by 2015. The day will start off w/ my long time buddy, 3-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe winner Jeremy Piven throwing out the 1st pitch. Then American Idol Finalist, Elliott Yamin will lend his phenomenal voice to the National Anthem and God Bless America. Also in attendance will be our Governor, Pat Quinn, showing his support for the continent of Africa.
Why are all parts of chicago & the world coming together? Because every 30 seconds, a child dies of malaria in Africa. Approximately 250 million people are infected with it every year. 90% of those terribly unfortunate people, are under the age of 5 years or pregnant women. Malaria no more has set out to end these deaths in just five short years. Seems almost impossible, doesn't it? But oddly enough, it's not - and you can help! It's a known fact that malaria comes from malaria-carrying mosquitoes, but it might not be known that this disease and subsequently this epidemic can be solved with just a $10 mosquito net!!! You can donate a life-saving net by texting the word "NET" to 85944 - this will last for five years and can cover two people. It's so easy to help!
For more information about Malaria No More and what you can do to help - visit www.malarianomore.org
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Natalie Merchant for Poetry Center of Chicago

Poetry might not be the first form of entertainment that sells tickets or the most popular artistic method practiced among all, but realize it or not, poetry has been the inspiration and driving force behind countless songs, famous blockbuster movies, high end clothing lines, maybe even the fancy sports car parked in your driveway (or dreams). A special place that houses and nurtures this form of art right in this city is The Poetry Center of Chicago - an independent not-for-profit arts organization that was founded in 1974 and has been in residence at the School of the Art Institute for the past 14 years. Their mission is simple, to "promote poetry through readings, workshops, residencies and arts education, to make poetry more accessible to the general public, to stimulate and encourage young poets, and to advance the careers of poets by offering them professional opportunities."
True to their word, this Saturday - April 27th they are hosting an evening with famous songstress, Natalie Merchant at the Rubloff Auditorium of the Art Institute of Chicago. Natalie will be performing in celebration of her first album in 7 years and for a lucky few people that rsvp first, Merchant is conducting a workshop of how to turn poetry into music, a truly incredible opportunity for lyricists and musicians alike! Tickets are pretty reasonable but for a more personal experience you can purchase VIP tickets and enjoy special seating and access to the post-party with Natalie. All info can be found on www.poetrycenter.org
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Poetry might not be the first form of entertainment that sells tickets or the most popular artistic method practiced among all, but realize it or not, poetry has been the inspiration and driving force behind countless songs, famous blockbuster movies, high end clothing lines, maybe even the fancy sports car parked in your driveway (or dreams). A special place that houses and nurtures this form of art right in this city is The Poetry Center of Chicago - an independent not-for-profit arts organization that was founded in 1974 and has been in residence at the School of the Art Institute for the past 14 years. Their mission is simple, to "promote poetry through readings, workshops, residencies and arts education, to make poetry more accessible to the general public, to stimulate and encourage young poets, and to advance the careers of poets by offering them professional opportunities."
True to their word, this Saturday - April 27th they are hosting an evening with famous songstress, Natalie Merchant at theRubloff Auditorium of the Art Institute of Chicago. Natalie will be performing in celebration of her first album in 7 years and for a lucky few people that rsvp first, Merchant is conducting a workshop of how to turn poetry into music, a truly incredible opportunity for lyricists and musicians alike! Tickets are pretty reasonable but for a more personal experience you can purchase VIP tickets and enjoy special seating and access to the post-party with Natalie. All info can be found onwww.poetrycenter.org 


Chicago Office of Tourism Goes Deeper w/ www.explorechicago.org!

Not only let kiran and joyce and all at cultural affairs and tourism know about this blog when up- but also reach out to dot or actually who is lois' asst and let them know I promised her lunch and would like to take her to sunda in nxt couple weeks- mention the two awards won to when talking to all and let them know if having anything in may asian month let you know)
I have always been a big fan of the chicago office of tourism not only because tourism they rightfully & successfully promote our city as one of the best in the world creating international fans and big visitor income for the people of our city, but also because they have become an amazing resource for even life long locals like myself who love to learn new things about this deep, historic, diverse & exciting mix of communities, talents, cultures, backgrounds,.. that make up our great city of chicago!
Most impressive is how developed they have managed to build their site www.explorechicago.org which basically has become the 1st stop for all things chicago for way more than just tourists, offering more exciting things happening than you can possible do in a lifetime (all though that would be really cool to try!). not only have I heard many times from others that their site is an industry leader w/many even outside of the tourism industry using it as a model to follow, word is on may 25th they are improving it even further launching all kinds of expanded content & tools to explore & reveal all the history & character deep within Chicago's 77 distinct communities... to really get the feel for what we are made of....
Read more...... (do the read more function here.... btw kr, these all below can become future blogs themselves)
In conjunction with the promotion of Chicago's neighborhoods, the Chicago Office of Tourism will offer a variety of programs, activities, and suggestions for visitors and residents of all ages throughout the summer. Highlights will include:
Chicago Greeter - New Neighborhood Visits, Community Outposts and Greeter for Locals- FREE
The Chicago Greeter service will offer more opportunities to explore Chicago's neighborhoods this summer than ever before. In addition to over 30 neighborhoods currently being served, Chicago Greeter will offer visits to four more communities beginning May 1: Bridgeport, Albany Park, Norwood Park and Humboldt Park.
The popular Hyde Park Greeter Outpost at the Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell, will return and a new Neighborhood Outpost will open in historic Old Town at Second City, 1616 N. Wells. Neighborhood Outposts will offer free guided neighborhood visits on Saturdays, 10am - 3pm, from May 29 - October 9.
Back by popular demand in June and July will be Chicago Greeter for Locals. For the second year, Chicago residents can take a free Greeter visit and explore Chicago, a perfect way to take a "staycation" in your own city.
Family Adventure Days
June 25 - August 28, 9:30 am - 2:30 pm
You can experience a true Chicago adventure with your family on action-packed day trips. A neighborhood expert will be your guide for visits to one of six exciting neighborhoods including Bronzeville, Garfield Park, Hyde Park, Jackson Park, Lincoln Park and Pilsen. Participants will enjoy arts, crafts, and nature activities, play games, and tour museums and cultural attractions. Best for children ages 6+ with an adult. $12 per person; lunch and transportation included. Reservations required. Call 312.742.8497.
Scavenger Hunts Throughout City Neighborhoods - FREE
Fun and challenging scavenger hunts will provide a new way to explore Chicago's neighborhoods in Andersonville, Albany Park, Chinatown, and Devon Avenue. You will discover hidden gems and fun facts along the way with clues that can be picked up at any of the Chicago Visitor Centers or printed from www.explorechicago.org.
Chicago Neighborhood Week at the Family Fun Festival in Millennium Park - FREE
July 26 - July 31, 10 am - 3 pm
Chicago neighborhoods will come to life in Millennium Park with hands-on activities including piecing together a giant puzzle while learning about the city's diverse neighborhoods.
Chicago's Downtown Farmstand - Chicago Neighborhoods
66 E. Randolph St.
Local flavors will abound at Chicago's Downtown Farmstand throughout the month of July. You can taste your way through Chicago's neighborhoods and enjoy the Farmstand's wide range of local offerings through cooking demonstrations, neighborhood vendor trunk shows, and specially featured selections. In addition, the Farmstand team will share their favorite pairings of neighborhood items with summer's abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. The Farmstand offers food grown or produced within 250 miles of Chicago including fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs in season; a full range of condiments, preserves, seasonings and other dry goods items; locally-produced ethnic foods; baked goods, and other seasonal items when available.
Neighborhood Festivals and Parades
You can discover the many cultures, traditions, and lifestyles of Chicago communities while enjoying the summer air at various festivals and parades throughout the city. Some annual favorites include: the 57th Street Art Fair (June 5-6) in Hyde Park; the Taste of Randolph Street (June 18-20) in the West Loop; the Gay Pride Parade (June 27) in Lakeview; the African-Caribbean International Festival of Life (July 2-5) in Washington Park; the Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy (July 24) in Chinatown; Fiesta del Sol (July 29-August 1) in Pilsen; and the Bud Billiken Parade (August 14) on King Drive and concluding in Washington Park.
Chicago Neighborhood Tours
Half-day bus excursions will let you experience Chicago's many diverse neighborhoods from an insider's perspective. Tours this summer will include: Albany Park (July 17); Bucktown, Humboldt Park & Logan Square (July 9); Devon Avenue (June 12); Pilsen & Little Village (June 5); Hyde Park/Kenwood (July 24) and South Chicago (June 26).
Chicago Is a Community Garden - FREE
May 28 - September 19
Chicago Tourism Center Gallery, 72 E. Randolph St,
This exhibition will look at urban gardens, vertical farming in the city, and urban chicken keepers through photographs, architectural drawings, and installations. In conjunction with the exhibition, there will be a series of community garden walks throughout the city on the last Saturday of each month.
Neighborhood Experts at the Visitor Information Centers - FREE
The Visitor Information Centers will be offering a variety of programs featuring neighborhood experts at the Chicago Water Works Visitor Information Center, 163 E. Pearson St., and at the Chicago Cultural Center Visitor Information Center, 77 E. Randolph St. This weekly series will highlight the arts, history and culture of the city's neighborhoods through lectures, discussions and performances. Guests will be able to browse through maps and brochures about attractions, tours and events and plan itineraries with knowledgeable and friendly visitor representatives.
For more information about Chicago neighborhoods and events and activities throughout the city all summer long, visit www.ExploreChicago.org.
The study of neighborhood tourism assets was made possible by a grant from the 2016 Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods. Contributors to the 2016 Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods include The Boeing Company; The Chicago Community Trust; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; The Joyce Foundation; McCormick Foundation; Polk Bros. Foundation; Wieboldt Foundation, and one anonymous donor.
ExploreChicago, the City's Tourism Website
In addition to expanded neighborhood pages, www.ExploreChicago.org provides comprehensive event listings; multi-media content, including audio tours, podcasts and an itinerary builder; a virtual visitor center with downloadable brochures, maps and resources for international travelers; and stunning photographs showcasing the city's best assets. It also features Life by the Lake, a Flickr photo journal series where Chicago-based photographers explore the city and post their photos, and Insider Profiles of Chicagoans who share their favorite things to see and do in the city.
The Chicago Office of Tourism uses Foursquare, the location-based, social networking application for mobile phones, to encourage visitors and residents to explore the neighborhoods, and to promote restaurants and attractions. After following ExploreChicago at www.foursquare.com/explorechicago, you can "check-in" at over 60 eligible citywide locations to earn up to three Chicago-themed "badges", all celebrating Chicago traditions.
Other games on ExploreChicago include Picture Yourself in Chicago where you can create your own Chicago postcard by uploading photos and accessorizing your character and Chicago Neighborhood Express which virtually transports you to a randomly selected neighborhood to discover and explore.
Visitors and residents can follow us on twitter at twitter.com/explorechicago or become a fan on Facebook bit.ly/chifacebook to get daily alerts about fun and free things to do in Chicago. A Twitter Concierge Service (@explorechicago), staffed by visitor representatives who answer questions and provide information about events and activities throughout the city, is available daily.
The Chicago Office of Tourism, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, is the official City agency dedicated to promoting Chicago to domestic and international visitors and to providing innovative visitor programs and services. Visitors and Chicagoans planning to entertain out-of-town guests can receive Chicago brochures, reserve hotel accommodations and receive trip-planning assistance by calling toll-free 1.877.CHICAGO (1.877.244.2246) or visiting www.explorechicago.org. Brochures and information on Chicago events and activities are also available at the Visitor Information Centers located at Chicago Water Works, 163 E. Pearson Street at Michigan Avenue and the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph Street. The TTY toll-free number for the hearing impaired is 1.866.710.0294
Read more section above provided by the chicago office of tourism

I have always been a big fan of the chicago office of tourism not only because tourism they rightfully & successfully promote our city as one of the best in the world creating international fans and big visitor income for the people of our city, but also because they have become an amazing resource for even life long locals like myself who love to learn new things about this deep, historic, diverse & exciting mix of communities, talents, cultures, backgrounds...that make up our great city of chicago!

Most impressive is how developed they have managed to build their site www.explorechicago.org which basically has become the 1st stop for all things chicago for way more than just tourists, offering more exciting things happening than you can possible do in a lifetime (all though that would be really cool to try!). not only have I heard many times from others that their site is an industry leader w/many even outside of the tourism industry using it as a model to follow, word is on may 25th they are improving it even further launching all kinds of expanded content & tools to explore & reveal all the history & character deep within Chicago's 77 distinct communities... to really get the feel for what we are made of....



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Chicago's KAZY Rocks

hey all, as always, thanks for sending in all the local talent suggestions! This week I'm highlighting some local rock talent known as "kazy" that I got from a facebook friend who turned me on to this video I liked called "choke!"
this chicago rock crew is getting a ton of followers lately decribed as sounding like Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, and Radiohead, all of whom I dig. Catch kazy's upcoming shows in Chicago soon before they blow up too big! info on http://www.myspace.com/kazymusic. Enjoy!
hey all, as always, thanks for sending in all the local talent suggestions! This week I'm highlighting some local rock talent known as "kazy" that I got from a facebook friend who turned me on to this video I liked called "choke!"
this chicago rock crew is getting a ton of followers lately decribed as sounding like Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, and Radiohead, all of whom I dig. Catch kazy's upcoming shows in Chicago soon before they blow up too big! info on http://www.myspace.com/kazymusic. Enjoy!
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Lollapalooza Chicago 2010 Lineup Announced by C3!

Last night at sunda I got to catch up w/my old buddy Charlie jones, one of the 3 c's in "c3" that's responsible for the ever successful outdoor summer music festival in our sweet home chicago, "lollapalooza!" (check this video & you will see how much fun we have w/it!) I first met him when the mayor brought me, & a couple others like Charlie, into his office years ago to think of new ways to make summers fests in chicago even better, and I've been impressed w/their group ever since! Year after year they bring enormous talent & investment to our city... so whenever I see him like the other night, I am sure to let him know i appreciate it.
Speaking of appreciation, i also let him know I was psyched about all the buzz surrounding their ridiculously hardcore line up this year before it was even released! we laughed about how each year he can never keep his line ups a secret and joked that from now on the 3 c's are just going to keep it to themselves... hilarious! And of course, I wrapped it up like a big nerd saying "I can't believe you have lady gaga! can you intro me?!" he says, "sure if you support parkways foundation event night before." I say "done! really?" He says, "no, but support anyway." Again, Hilarious... but I agree, we all should support anyway... so sharing all the lolla and parkways info with you now...
Last night at sunda I got to catch up w/my old buddy Charlie jones, one of the 3 c's in "c3" that's responsible for the ever successful outdoor summer music festival in our sweet home chicago, "lollapalooza!" (check this video & you will see how much fun we have w/it!) I first met him when the mayor brought me, & a couple others like Charlie, into his office years ago to think of new ways to make summers fests in chicago even better, and I've been impressed w/their group ever since! Year after year they bring enormous talent & investment to our city... so whenever I see him like the other night, I am sure to let him know i appreciate it.
Speaking of appreciation, i also let him know I was psyched about all the buzz surrounding their ridiculously hardcore line up this year before it was even released! we laughed about how each year he can never keep his line ups a secret and joked that from now on the 3 c's are just going to keep it to themselves... hilarious! And of course, I wrapped it up like a big nerd saying "I can't believe you have lady gaga! can you intro me?!" he says, "sure if you support parkways foundation event night before." I say "done! really?" He says, "no, but support anyway." Again, Hilarious... but I agree, we all should support anyway... so sharing all the lolla and parkways info with you now...
For parkway foundation info.... And lolla tix.....
Here is the lineup!
Soundgarden, Green Day, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, The Strokes, Phoenix, Social Distortion, MGMT, Jimmy Cliff, Hot Chip, The Black Keys, The National, Spoon, Devo, Cypress Hill, Cut Copy, The New Pornographers, Erykah Badu, Slightly Stoopid, Grizzly Bear, Gogol Bordello, Chromeo, Wolfmother, Yeasayer, X Japan, MUTEMATH, Metric, Dirty Projectors,AFI , Mavis Staples, Matt & Kim, The xx, Drive-By Truckers, Blues Traveler, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Temper Trap, Jamie Lidell, Frightened Rabbit, F*ck Buttons, Deer Tick, Blitzen Trapper, Stars, Raphael Saadiq, The Cribs, Minus the Bear, Switchfoot, The Walkmen, Mumford & Sons, Wild Beasts, Rogue Wave, Los Amigos Invisibles, The Big Pink, The Dodos, Hockey, Cymbals Eat Guitars, B.o.B, Dawes, Warpaint, The Antlers, The Soft Pack, Rebelution, Balkan Beat Box, Wavves, American Bang, The Ike Reilly Assassination, Company of Thieves, Nneka, Harlem, The Constellations, Miniature Tigers, Mimicking Birds, The Kissaway Trail, HEALTH, Javelin, The Morning Benders, Foxy Shazam, Violent Soho, Royal Bangs, Freelance Whales, Semi Precious Weapons, Dan Black, The Band of Heathens, Dragonette, My Dear Disco, Shawn Fisher, Neon Hitch, Skybox, The Ettes, Jukebox the Ghost, These United States, MyNameIsJohnMichael
Spinning at Perry's:
2ManyDJs, Empire of the Sun, Digitalism, Perry Farrell, Tiga, Felix Da Housecat, Rusko, Erol Alkan, Kaskade, Wolfgang Gartner, Flosstradamus, Joachim Garraud, Mexican Institute of Sound, Caspa, Peanut Butter Wolf, Dirty South, NERVO, Cut Copy (DJ Set), Beats Antique, Steve Porter, Didi Gutman of Brazilian Girls, Ancient Astronauts, Ana Sia, Team Bayside High, Dani Deahl, FreeSol, DJ Mel, BBU, Vonnegutt, Only Children, Lance Herbstrong
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Chicagoan Michelle Williams in "Chicago" on Broadway!


If you follow me on twitter, you know I flew out to nyc this weekend to support my long time friend michelle williams (of "destiny's child, pic of us above backstage), watching her light up broadway in the production of "chicago!"  not only was it super cool to support a local Chicagoan friend making it back (she starred her in "aida") to the most significant theatre district in the world, (not to mention that I sat w/ her other friends beyonce and jay z!), but it was extra special that the story she was telling was a true one centered around another chicagoan's story!
michelle played roxie whose story was based on the real story of chicagaon Beulah Annan who in 1924 was accused of killing the "intruder" Harry Kalstedt. it became a front-page story in the Chicago Tribune when reporter Maurine Watkins realized the sensational appeal her personality could draw through her tongue-in-cheek reports about roxie's supposed pregnancy used to speed up the trial w/a sleek Hollywood like lawyer who helped define the media frenzy and the acquittal.  Later Tribune reporter Maurine decided to turn her experience with Chicago's famed murder-row darling into a comedy titled CHICAGO that reached Broadway in 1926. A film version was created two years later and a second film version, "Roxie Hart," starred Ginger Rogers in 1942. (more info on www.chicagothemusical.com)
After I came out of the production raving about michelle's performance, many friends on facebook and twitter asked me how long it was playing... The answer is that this great "chicago" story will probably always be playing somewhere, but my advice is to do what ever you can to see Michelle in it as roxie!  She was absolutely amazing as always!  I'm really proud of her... now unfortunately her Broadway run ends April 13 (get out here if can!), but you can catch her in it in los angeles from April 20-May 9! don't miss her!
IMG01523-20100403-2242
If you follow me on twitter, you know I flew out to nyc this weekend to support my long time friend michelle williams (of "destiny's child," pic of us above backstage), watching her light up broadway in the production of "chicago!"  not only was it super cool to support a local Chicagoan friend making it back (she starred here in "aida") to the most significant theatre district in the world, (not to mention that I sat w/ her other friends beyonce and jay z!), but it was extra special that the story she was telling was a true one centered around another chicagoan's story!
michelle played roxie whose story was based on the real tale of chicagaon Beulah Annan who in 1924 was accused of killing the "intruder" Harry Kalstedt. it became a front-page story in the Chicago Tribune when reporter Maurine Watkins realized the sensational appeal her personality could draw through her tongue-in-cheek reports about roxie's supposed pregnancy used to speed up the trial w/a sleek Hollywood like lawyer who helped define the media frenzy and the acquittal.  Later Tribune reporter Maurine decided to turn her experience with Chicago's famed murder-row darling into a comedy titled CHICAGO that reached Broadway in 1926. A film version was created two years later and a second film version, "Roxie Hart," starred Ginger Rogers in 1942. (more info on www.chicagothemusical.com)
After I came out of the production raving about michelle's performance, many friends on facebook and twitter asked me how long it was playing... The answer is that this great "chicago" story will probably always be playing somewhere, but my advice is to do what ever you can to see Michelle in it as roxie!  She was absolutely amazing as always!  I'm really proud of her... now unfortunately her Broadway run ends April 13 (get out here if can!), but you can catch her in it in los angeles from April 20-May 9! don't miss her!

Style Wars 2010 Strikes Back!

STYLE WARS 2010 from PROJECT VYNE on Vimeo.


I liked it so much I agreed to come on as a judge! Others who are supporting and taking part in this amazing celebration are the chicago fashion foundation, vyne,
FACTOR MODELS, ARTISTS BY TIMOTHY PRIANO AGENCY, GAP, SUGAR AND SPICE COSMETICS, FGS- INC, FIG MEDIA, AGENCY PR, SCIORTNO, CHICAGO TWENTY SOMETHING, UNDERGROUND, MANOR, NV PENTHOUSE, AKIRA, SURREAL CHICAGO, Candace Jordan (Candid Candace)
Jane Stewart (Stewart Model and Talent)
Nancy Good (Priano), Nikki Lynette (Becoming Nikki Lynette)
Gordon Wood (Chanel)
Kristen Amato (K.Amato)
Heather Kuzmich from Americas Next Top Model (ANTM),
So join us on earth day, Thursday, April 22, 2010 from 7:00 PM
THE PALACE
1240 W RANDOLPH, chicago
w/the afterparty at the underground!
For tix and info Go to www.stylewars2010.com

Just when you think the economy might have us down, and the market might be slowing, the ever resilient talent of the great city of chicago fashion & design community strikes back w/ "Style Wars!" I just love that name.. and I love for what it stands for! Style wars is a new runway competition concept giving innovative designers a spotlight in chicago to show their top designs.... crazy, innovative, avant garde,.. art, fashion couture, visual performances,.. featuring artists, designers, models, socialites, media,... bringing light to socially sustainable issues through art, culture and high fashion, on earth day! See, that's a lot!

I liked it so much I agreed to come on as a judge! Others who are supporting and taking part in this amazing celebration are the chicago fashion foundation, VYNE, FACTOR MODELS, ARTISTS BY TIMOTHY PRIANO AGENCY, GAP, SUGAR AND SPICE COSMETICS, FGS- INC, FIG MEDIA, AGENCY PR, SCIORTINO, CHICAGO TWENTY SOMETHING, UNDERGROUND, MANOR, NV PENTHOUSE, AKIRA, SURREAL CHICAGO, Candace Jordan (Candid Candace), Jane Stewart (Stewart Model and Talent), Nancy Good (Priano), Nikki Lynette (Becoming Nikki Lynette), Gordon Wood (Chanel), Kristen Amato (K.Amato), Heather Kuzmich from Americas Next Top Model (ANTM),

So join us on earth day, Thursday, April 22, 2010 from 7:00 PM - THE PALACE - 1240 W RANDOLPH, w/the afterparty at the underground! For tix and info Go to www.stylewars2010.com

Kidd Russell : Chicago Talent Pick of Week!

While a guest on WGN 720Am Radio this weekend (click here for podcast), I was excited to hear all the interest in the way this blog has been highlighting new Chicago talent offering them a shot at much needed exposure... and just wanted to thank all of you who have made all the suggestions to me via twitter, facebook, in person,... its all about you and them... and I thank you for letting me be a part of it!

In that spirit, I thought I would share something that really caught my attention today that someone just sent me on twitter about a local performer whose latest song and video will for sure stick in your head (watch above)! His name is Kidd Russell, a former college football player turned indie music favorite. While in school, Kidd took a radio production class and started to realize and appreciate the music business. After his first five years in the music business he teamed up with producer Matt Jenkins in 2008 and started Junkyard Productions. Since then, Kidd has had songs featured on MTV Jams, MTV2, Foxsports, CW,...

He describes his music as sounding like "the Midwest, fall leaves, flannels, hoodies, love, football, Friday night lights, snowy mornings, wine on a summer night, friends and hard times song over original reggae, rock, hip hop and the occasional rockabilly beats." Check out his blog - www.kiddrussellmusic.com - where he shares his thoughts, new music, fun random videos and his latest hit "E North Ave" featuring Ross Golan of Glacier Hiking.

offering them a shot at much needed exposure... and just wanted to thank all of you who have made all the suggestions to me via twitter, facebook, in person,... its all about you and them... and I thank you for letting me be a part of it!
In that spirit, I thought I would share something that really caught my attention today that someone just sent me on twitter about a local performer whose latest song and video will for sure stick in your head (watch above)! His name is Kidd Russell, a former college football player turned indie music favorite. While in school, Kidd took a radio production class and started to realize and appreciate the music business. After his first five years in the music business he teamed up with producer Matt Jenkins in 2008 and started Junkyard Productions. Since then, Kidd has had songs featured on MTV Jams, MTV2, Foxsports, CW,...
He describes his music as sounding like "the Midwest, fall leaves, flannels, hoodies, love, football, Friday night lights, snowy mornings, wine on a summer night, friends and hard times song over original reggae, rock, hip hop and the occasional rockabilly beats." Check out his blog - www.kiddrussellmusic.com - where he shares his thoughts, new music, fun random videos and his latest hit "E North Ave" featuring Ross Golan of Glacier Hiking.

Hip Hop Allstars in "The Chicago Vault"

As everyone knows, Chicago's Hip-Hop talent, like Common, Kanye West, Twista, cool kids, rhymefest, kid sister, lupe fiasco,.. are all celebrated as world class! And I am sure as they will tell you, it all starts with our support on a grassroots level.  So today, giving a shout out to one of the biggest supporters of Midwest hip-hop over the years... DJ & Producer Naki the Beatman. (thanks to a suggestion on twitter!)
As a DJ at two of Chicago's biggest rap and R&B stations, WGCI and Power 92; Naki championed artists before they were accepted by the mainstream. After stints on radio & MTV, where he hosted events like NBA All-Star Weekend & MTV2's Hip Hop Countdown, Naki become the CEO of Life Music Group, where he recently dug through his archives to create "The Chicago Vault" (dropping 5/11) compiling unreleased tracks from some of the biggest names in Hip Hop. A two minute preview of the album is available for download now at http://bln.kr/CSV .. enjoy!

Picture 4

As everyone knows, Chicago's Hip-Hop talent, like CommonKanye WestTwistaThe Cool KidsRhymefestKid Sister,Lupe Fiasco,.. are all celebrated as world class! And I am sure as they will tell you, it all starts with our support on a grassroots level.  So today, giving a shout out to one of the biggest supporters of Midwest hip-hop over the years... DJ & Producer Naki the Beatman. (thanks to a suggestion on twitter!)

As a DJ at two of Chicago's biggest rap and R&B stations, WGCI and Power 92; Naki championed artists before they were accepted by the mainstream. After stints on radio & MTV, where he hosted events like NBA All-Star Weekend & MTV2's Hip Hop Countdown, Naki become the CEO of Life Music Group, where he recently dug through his archives to create "The Chicago Vault" (dropping 5/11) compiling unreleased tracks from some of the biggest names in Hip Hop. A two minute preview of the album is available for download now at http://bln.kr/CSV .. enjoy!

Chicagoans Support Artist Jesse Palter Live

Thank you all for sending me great chicago talent to feature & support, keep em coming! The latest of talents was into'ed to me by several people that follow me on twitter, a friend that works for Oprah, and from a handful of raving comments made on my facebook fan page, and so I'm sharing it all w/you now, meet jesse palter!
Jesse Palter is a young up & coming songstress gaining a huge following and making a big time name for herself in the music scene as we speak. Jim DeRogatis, a Sun Times Music Critic, put it as.. "...Lady Gaga, watch out!"
Her bluesy, jazz vocals infused with an ever-so-catch pop tone is impressing audiences from coast to coast. I love that she has the all natural combination of an amazing voice, she writes her own music and that she has organically built a loyal following that has aggressively sought out more exposure for her through every medium, which for example, has lead to my support here and now!
Check this new super cool sensation out at one of my fav lil jazz joint hangouts called "Pops for champagne" on State St this saturday (3/20) at 9pm. There's a $15 cover- but well worth it to say you saw her live in chicago 1st, when she is walking up for that grammy one day soon.. Enjoy!
Thank you all for sending me great chicago talent to feature & support, keep em coming! The latest of talents was intro'ed to me by several people that follow me on twitter, a friend that works for Oprah, and from a handful of raving comments made on my facebook fan page, and so I'm sharing it all w/you now, meet jesse palter!
Jesse Palter is a young up & coming songstress gaining a huge following and making a big time name for herself in the music scene as we speak. As Jim DeRogatis, a Sun Times Music Critic, put it as.. "...Lady Gaga, watch out!"
Her bluesy, jazz vocals infused with an ever-so-catchy pop tone is impressing audiences from coast to coast. I love that she has the all natural combination of an amazing voice, she writes her own music and that she has organically built a loyal following that has aggressively sought out more exposure for her through every medium, which for example, has lead to my support here and now!
Check this new super cool sensation out at one of my fav lil jazz joint hangouts called "Pops for champagne" on State St this saturday (3/20) at 9pm. There's a $15 cover- but well worth it to say you saw her live in chicago 1st, when she is walking up for that grammy one day soon.. Enjoy!
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Chicago artists, musicians, performers, talent....of all kinds....

one of the reasons I started this blog was to give amazing people in chicago a platform to share their talents with a lot of cool people... like you! If you have anyone that you think deserves some attention, just hit me on twitter or on my facebook page, and will check them out!
in meantime, enjoy this chicago band named "fly phoenix" that Kinelam who follows me on twitter sent in... love that they are rocking michael Jackson on guitars in a garage sounding great getting a ton of youtube comments from girls loving their look...just haven't seen that a lot lately... can't wait to see what you send in!

one of the reasons I started this blog was to give amazing people in chicago a platform to share their talents with a lot of cool people... like you! If you have anyone that you think deserves some attention, just hit me on twitter or on my facebook page, and will check them out!

in meantime, enjoy this chicago band named "fly phoenix" that Kinelam who follows me on twitter sent in... love that they are rocking michael Jackson on guitars in a garage sounding great getting a ton of youtube comments from girls loving their look...just haven't seen that a lot lately... can't wait to see what you send in!

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Grammy Red Carpet, My Bday & The Chicago Recording Academy!

Untitled from A Chicago Thing on Vimeo.

If follow me on twitter you got to join me on the red carpet at the grammys last weekend! Every year I find it exciting, but this year with twitter I was surprised to see how many were loving the tweet pics (kr, Can you link the word tweetpic to the actual page/images maybe that has all of them ?) I sent in real time- couldn't believe the numbers of hits from you all! Thank you! Anyway, w/the responses from you all I got a ton of requests for video of the chaos so cut and pasted some together here! Pretty crazy huh... so random...
(for links to celebs below- thinking you link to the tweetpic link of me and them when can????)
Shout out to buddies common, Giuliana rancic, black eye peas,.. who were super fun to hang out with on the carpet... as well as nick cannon who you will see as well in the video who is actually coming out to chicago next week for his wife mariah carey's performances at the chicago theatre and to dj my "twitter/blog one year birthday party" that you all requested! Amazing timing I know- His wife is performing down the street, he was my blog launch dj a year ago,.. it all just makes sense!
And omg I can't believe its been one year, I learned a ton and have enjoyed blogging here and tweeting w/ all of you so much- thank you for the opportunity and I promise way more fun to come! So speaking of fun, my twitter/blog bday party is Saturday February 13th at the underground! Trust me, this will be one party you do no want to miss!!! (comment below for big requests for tables, vip list,... will do our best)
Oh, and one last huge shout out, the recording academy that is responsible for the grammys has a tremendously respected and all around amazing chicago chapter right here in our own backyard that anyone remotely interested in the music industry needs to check out and be a part of- I have enjoyed it for years and highly suggest it! For more info go to... web= (KR)))

If follow me on twitter you got to join me on the red carpet at the grammys last weekend! Every year I find it exciting, but this year with twitter I was surprised to see how many were loving the tweet pics I sent in real time- couldn't believe the numbers of hits from you all! Thank you! Anyway, w/the responses from you all I got a ton of requests for video of the chaos so cut and pasted some together here! Pretty crazy huh... so random...

Shout out to buddies common, Giuliana rancic, black eyed peas,.. who were super fun to hang out with on the carpet... as well as nick cannon who you will see as well in the video who is actually coming out to chicago next week for his wife mariah carey's performances at the chicago theatre and to dj my "twitter/blog one year birthday party" that you all requested! Amazing timing I know- His wife is performing down the street, he was my blog launch dj a year ago,.. it all just makes sense!

And omg I can't believe its been one year, I learned a ton and have enjoyed blogging here and tweeting w/ all of you so much- thank you for the opportunity and I promise way more fun to come! So speaking of fun, my twitter/blog bday party is Saturday February 13th at the underground! Trust me, this will be one party you do no want to miss!!! (comment below for big requests for tables, vip list,... will do our best)

Oh, and one last huge shout out, the recording academy that is responsible for the grammys has a tremendously respected and all around amazing chicago chapter right here in our own backyard that anyone remotely interested in the music industry needs to check out and be a part of- I have enjoyed it for years and highly suggest it! For more info go to http://www2.grammy.com/Recording_Academy/Chapters/Chicago/

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Sundance Celebrity Party Performers Live!

If you read my blog post yesterday you know I have much respect for Sundance- to me its probably the most respected independent film festival in the country, featuring not only Oscar winning talent, but complete unknowns that come in each year and blow minds with pure originality (like the 10 I met at event in post yesterday).
If you follow me on twitter, you also know I got invited to ridiculous celebrity parties & gifting suites that sundance also is starting to be known for (for better or worse). And since many of you said you loved the behind the scenes access I shared on twitter so much and wanted to see more in video, I thought I would oblige here. Just don't hold the tequila shots and random ridiculousness against me!
Here's me literally partying before 1000+ screaming fans w/ Mark Ronson's protege "Wale" who's collaborated with the likes of Amy Winhouse, Maroon 5, Lily Allen, Lady Gaga, John Mayer,... not only rising on the Billboard Top 40, but called the next "Jay-Z" by GQ Magazine! You said you wanted to be close to the action too- here's how silly it can get!
If you read my blog post yesterday you know I have much respect for Sundance- to me its probably the most respected independent film festival in the country, featuring not only Oscar winning talent, but complete unknowns that come in each year and blow minds with pure originality (like the 10 I met at event in post yesterday).
If you follow me on twitter, you also know I got invited to ridiculous celebrity parties & gifting suites that sundance also is starting to be known for (for better or worse). And since many of you said you loved the behind the scenes access I shared on twitter so much and wanted to see more in video, I thought I would oblige here. Just don't hold the tequila shots and random ridiculousness against me!
Here's me literally partying before 1000+ screaming fans w/ Mark Ronson's protege "Wale" who's collaborated with the likes of Amy Winhouse, Maroon 5, Lily Allen, Lady Gaga, John Mayer,... not only rising on the Billboard Top 40, but called the next "Jay-Z" by GQ Magazine! You said you wanted to be close to the action too- here's how silly it can get!
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Chicago Music Awards this Weekend!


Picture 1

In the 29th year since it's inception, the Chicago Music Awards has featured and honored some of the most acclaimed artist in the history music, including : Kanye West, Smashing Pumpkins, Lou Rawls, Chaka Khan, Robert Townsend, R Kelly, Jennifer Hudson, Curtis Mayfield, Buddy Guy, The Mighty Dells, Jerry Butler, Oscar Brown Jr., Albertina Walker, Ramsey Lewis, Dick Buckley, Sir George Solti, The Chi-Lites, Pop Staples, Patty Jo Timmons and Von Freeman - to name a few.

The CMA's were founded by Ephraim Martin of Martin's International Culture (who also produces the International Reggae & World Music Awards). He originally set out in the early '90's as a not-for-profit group trying to promote African/Caribbean music, arts and culture. Not before long, he realized that there was already a wealth of all kinds of great culture and music right in his own town of sweet home chicago, thus the CMA's we born.

The Chicago Music Awards take to the stage again this Sunday the 24th at the Alhambra Palace where you can see Chicago's own Wilco and Jeremih perform live. Check out info and get your tix at www.martinsinterculture.com

my 1st chicago tweet 'n meet party!

Alright all my friends on facebook, twitter & www.aChicagothing.com, you asked for it, let's have a party!
Yes, I took down all your suggestions & requests on what you would want at this party, and yes, the party will have it! (well, a majority of it, some of the requests were completely silly & ridiculous, go figure!)
Here are some details:
-It's this Saturday night, January 9th from 9p-2a @RockitWrigley (3700 N. Clark) w/ some of my favorite rock mashup djs, musical performers, fun friends, and more!
-there will be a private reception from 9p-10p for my followers on twitter w/specialty drinks & hors d'oeuvres!  To attend from 9p-10p you and your guests (who better be fun!) must be following me on www.twitter.billydec.com and RSVP to KatieRose@RockitRanch.com asap as space is limited!
-for those like me who want a table for dinner at rockit before the party, Katie rose can accommodate you as well- enjoy and see you there!

Twitter-Logo

Alright all my friends on facebooktwitter & www.aChicagothing.com, you asked for it, let's have a party!

Yes, I took down all your suggestions & requests on what you would want at this party, and yes, the party will have it! (well, a majority of it, some of the requests were completely silly & ridiculous, go figure!)

Here are some details:

-It's this Saturday night, January 9th from 9p-2a @RockitWrigley (3700 N. Clark) w/ some of my favorite rock mashup djs, musical performers, fun friends, and more!

-there will be a private reception from 9p-10p for my followers on twitter w/specialty drinks & hors d'oeuvres!  To attend from 9p-10p you and your guests (who better be fun!) must be following me on www.twitter.billydec.com and RSVP to KatieRose@RockitRanch.com asap as space is limited!

-for those like me who want a table for dinner at rockit before the party, Katie rose can accommodate you as well- enjoy and see you there!

Backstage exclusive w/ Gossip Girl Leighton Meester

What a way to kick off the new year! Last night crowds of crazed gossip girl, underground & www.achicagothing.com fans got treated to a live performance by Leighton meester who plays blair waldorf on "gossip girl!" and it was definitely a raging time! (most of the free tickets came through twitter as they always do so if not following me click here so don't miss out anymore!)

My partners Arturo Gomez, brad young & I like to thank our supporters a couple times a year with surprise celebrity performances, and I have to say, even though we have had john mayer, ashlee simpson, kanye west,... and dozens of other high profile stars perform live at our places for all, this group of fans got just as crazy for their girl Leighton!

Check out this video of me & Leighton chilling backstage at the underground before her show thanking you all for all your support... on behalf of www.achicagothing.com& rockit ranch productions... we appreciate you! Oh, and much more to come in 2010... stay tuned! 

updated : January 4th - 10am :: here's some press from leighton's performance....

Page Six - http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/we_hear_c7zIsfKYIVv8HAsX3yMrBK 

NBC - http://tr.im/JpCv 

Chicago Tribune - http://tr.im/JpOK  

song of the decade?

Woke up to the song "crazy" by gnarls barkley on the today show saying rolling stone called it the song of decade? I'm not feeling that- but couldn't come up with one to sum it all up- so asked my friends on twitter and facebook- and here is what the first 10 people to respond said:

Jim Cavanaugh Notion or Use Somebody by the Kings of Leon!

Carlos Escabedo Beyonce's 'Put a ring on it

Roselynn LaMontagna Empire State of Mind

Stacy Atchison Reed Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling"

Toula Gregory Sideris I Gotta Feeling!! I agree!

Howard Sims anything from the movie "Nine"

Mehpara Angelina Suleman Umbrella or lollipop??

Givon Ward Empire State of Mind by,JAY-Z AND ALICIA KEYS

RockRollGhost I totally see that. Maybe it should have been "Hey Ya", but "Crazy" was an INSANE hit. Genre defyingly so.

Katie Rose Cronin : toss up between Kanye's "Jesus Walks" or Coldplay's "Scientist"

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Gossip Girl Leighton Meester tickets for Live Chicago Performance!

Ok- I haven't had a chance to watch "gossip girl" but sure seems like everyone loves it! And since it's such a hit, i have to say I am pretty interested in meeting one of the main characters leighton meester who plays "blair waldorf" on the show this Friday night when she performs live for her chicago fans at the underground!! (I especially got excited when watched her "best of" video mix above, it's pretty good/funny)

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you know I surprised my twitter followers with some free tix last week! (btw, click here to follow me on twitter so stop missing out on all the tix I give out to great stuff). Anyway, I just got more.. and of course had to share with my blog supporters too!

The idea is I'm giving tix to a handful of people dining at my other spot rockit wrigley earlier that night (1/1) where I will be eating and prepartying myself w/friends- oh- and I got us all a trolley to take us to the concert after dinner! Fun right?!? If interested, call rockit wrigley 773.645.4400 and say you want a reservation for dinner there on 1/1 & want to join me for leighton's performance later that night at underground... good luck and see the lucky ones there!

Continue reading...

Chicago to Make A Wish for the Holidays by guest blogger : Bo Osacky, Team Rockit Ranch


Picture 1The holidays are here - Tis the season to make wishes come true! No organization makes that happen more often than the Make-A- Wish Foundation, which granted 702 wishes last year to terminally ill children throughout Illinois. In December, Make-A-Wish will grant close to 100 wishes alone!  The organization has been fortunate to have great supporters but, like most organizations, the economy has had a direct impact on the number of wishes they are able to grant this holiday season.  Make-A-Wish is extremely proud that in their 23 year history, they have never had to turn down a wish child due to lack of funds. They are all working very hard to honor that record and be able to grant 700 more wishes this coming holiday season and into 2010.  Here is a great local Make-A-Wish success story with a way you can help make those wishes come true...
(kr see if can condense this nxt paragraph down half the size)
Robert Heidkamp III - Bobby is a charismatic eighteen-year-old boy. While Bobby has many good friends, he remains reserved and what his family calls, "an old soul." He loves to play his guitar, write songs and is an avid reader. In November of 2008, Bobby was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He underwent a first round of chemotherapy and just started a second rotation of treatment. Although it makes him weak, Bobby continues to put up a good fight - all the while maintaining his amazing sense of humor. When asked to wish BIG, Bobby wanted his band, A City Sunrise, to perform at the Warped Tour. Thanks to the efforts of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois, his wish was granted! Bobby and his band mates got to sing for twenty minutes in front of a 200-person crowd. Bobby's parents said, "It helped Bobby stay positive in a way no one else could." Thank you for giving Bobby and his family the priceless gift of hope. You have turned his dream into reality!
One way you can help is to join us this Thursday night (12/17) for the annual The Grinch Who Gave Back X-Mas @ the underground.  A donation of $20 is suggested at the door with a private reception from 9 to 10pm.  DJ Eric CubeeChee from Bravo's hit show "Launch My Line" will be spinning all night long for this great occasion!  RSVP: VIP@rockitranch.com


Picture 15776_131086888668_711648668_3179954_2844222_n

The holidays are here - Tis the season to make wishes come true! No organization makes that happen more often than the Make-A- Wish Foundation, which granted 702 wishes last year to children with life-threatening diseases throughout Illinois. In December, Make-A-Wish will grant close to 100 wishes alone!  The organization has been fortunate to have great supporters but, like most organizations, the economy has had a direct impact on the number of wishes they are able to grant this holiday season.  Make-A-Wish is extremely proud that in their 23 year history, they have never had to turn down a wish child due to lack of funds. They are all working very hard to honor that record and be able to grant 700 more wishes this coming holiday season and into 2010.  Here is a great local Make-A-Wish success story with a way you can help make those wishes come true...


Robert Heidkamp III - Bobby is a charismatic eighteen-year-old boy. While Bobby has many good friends, he remains reserved and what his family calls, "an old soul." He loves to play his guitar, write songs and is an avid reader. In November of 2008, Bobby was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He underwent a first round of chemotherapy and just started a second rotation of treatment. Although it makes him weak, Bobby continues to put up a good fight - all the while maintaining his amazing sense of humor. When asked to wish BIG, Bobby wanted his band, A City Sunrise, to perform at the Warped Tour. Thanks to the efforts of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois, his wish was granted! Bobby and his band mates got to sing for twenty minutes in front of a 200-person crowd. Bobby's parents said, "It helped Bobby stay positive in a way no one else could." Thank you for giving Bobby and his family the priceless gift of hope. You have turned his dream into reality!


One way you can help is to join us this Thursday night (12/17) for the annual The Grinch Who Gave Back X-Mas @ The Underground.  A donation of $20 is suggested at the door with a private reception from 9 to 10pm.  DJ Eric CubeeChee from Bravo's hit show "Launch My Line" will be spinning all night long for this great occasion!  RSVP: VIP@rockitranch.com

Philippine Island love in Chicago by guest blogger : Aeron Lancero, GM of Sunda


I am of Filipino decent and had the opportunity of receiving my education in the Philippines and living there a great deal of time. My Executive Chef Rodelio Aglibot was born there and raised in Hawaii, Rockit Ranch Productions' founder and CEO Billy Dec is half Filipino and has been there over a dozen times, and our sushi chef Jesse is Filipino American as well. As we all have ties to the Philippines, clearly it was a priority to do something to help the victims of the terrible typhoons so tomorrow night, Tuesday, December 15, beginning at 6 p.m., Sunda will co-host a very special dinner with Gawad Kalinga, benefiting Operation: 
Walang Iwanan (Leave No One Behind) in our new Sunda private room on the second floor. 
I am of Filipino decent and had the opportunity of receiving my education in the Philippines and living there a great deal of time. My Executive Chef Rodelio Aglibot was born there and raised in Hawaii, Rockit Ranch Productions' founder and CEO Billy Dec is half Filipino and has been there over a dozen times, and our sushi chef Jesse is Filipino American as well. As we all have ties to the Philippines, clearly it was a priority to do something to help the victims of the terrible typhoons so tomorrow night, Tuesday, December 15, beginning at 6 p.m., Sunda will co-host a very special dinner with Gawad Kalinga, benefiting Operation: 
Walang Iwanan (Leave No One Behind) in our new Sunda private room on the second floor. 


12 15_gawad kalinga

I am of Filipino decent and had the opportunity of receiving my education in the Philippines and living there a great deal of time. My Executive Chef Rodelio Aglibot was born there and raised in Hawaii, Rockit Ranch Productions' founder and CEO Billy Dec is half Filipino and has been there over a dozen times, and our sushi chef Jesse is Filipino American as well. As we all have ties to the Philippines, clearly it was a priority to do something to help the victims of the terrible typhoons so tomorrow night, Tuesday, December 15, beginning at 6 p.m., Sunda will co-host a very special dinner with Gawad Kalinga, benefiting Operation: Walang Iwanan (Leave No One Behind) in our new Sunda private room on the second floor.  

Continue reading...

Chicago Marketing, PR, Event Production, Entertainment & Hospitality Intern Search!

I have been getting a ton of questions about our intern program on twitter & facebook... and thought better to show you visually what's up... so check this video to actually see who you would work with and where... as an intern for rockit ranch productions... the chicago entertainment company that creates, markets & manages our own restaurants & nightclubs like Rockit Bar & Grill, our New asian concept Sunda & The Underground!
Email ilysa at myintern@rockitranch.com with any questions asap as we are interviewing this weekend... and btw, in the video, my intern is writing a guest blog for this site that thousands will read... which you will be able to do too... and you will see a ton of the team running the company around here that were all interns before... so our intern program is pretty intense!
Because the intern program is so great, we really are looking for the best. We need passion & skills. If love working & talking with people wanting to make them super happy, and have strong skills in the world of interactive marketing, social media, creative event production & promotion, and/or graphic design... and want to use it all to deliver the most amazing events, experiences, food, drinks, music, atmosphere, fun,... to the best guests in the world... we want to meet you asap!
I have been getting a ton of questions about our intern program on twitter & facebook... and thought better to show you visually what's up... so check this video to actually see who you would work with and where... as an intern for rockit ranch productions... the chicago entertainment company that creates, markets & manages our own restaurants & nightclubs like Rockit Bar & Grill, our New asian concept Sunda & The Underground!


Email ilysa at myintern@rockitranch.com with any questions asap as we are interviewing this weekend... and btw, in the video, my intern is writing a guest blog for this site that thousands will read... which you will be able to do too... and you will see a ton of the team running the company around here that were all interns before... so our intern program is pretty intense!


Because the intern program is so great, we really are looking for the best. We need passion & skills. If love working & talking with people wanting to make them super happy, and have strong skills in the world of interactive marketing, social media, creative event production & promotion, and/or graphic design... and want to use it all to deliver the most amazing events, experiences, food, drinks, music, atmosphere, fun,... to the best guests in the world... we want to meet you asap!
Continue reading...

Victoria's Secret "Sexiest in Chicago" w/ "Angel" Alessandra Ambrosio!

If follow me on twitter (click here if you don't), you were in nyc w/me for the actual live Victoria's Secret show! Thought I would show you a small video I took after the show from my flipcam above... the look on my face is pretty stupid I know, and I really had nothing to say, but that's just how good the show was! (and as you can tell, the girls were just shockingly stunning all out there at once strutting so close to me)
On the home front, Victoria secret angel allesandra amrobrosia flew out to host the private vip tv launch of the fashion show right here in chicago a couple days ago at my club "the underground" handing out awards to "chicago's sexiest" winners from their online contest! Here are the results below... and having won for "sexiest club" the underground & "sexiest restaurant" sunda... my super hard working team of 500 & I humbly thank all of you who allow us to serve you!
Blues/Jazz: Green Mill
Male Celebrity: Vince Vaughn
Female Celebrity: Giuliana Rancic
Restaurant: Sunda
Designer Label: Akira
Neighborhood: Wicker Park
Architecture: The Modern Wing of The Art Institute
Bar/Club: The Underground
Beach: North Avenue
Sports Team: Chicago Bulls
City View: The Signature Room
Happy Hour: Hub 51
Hotel: Sofitel Chicago Water Tower
Spa: Allyu
Band/Musician: Lupe Fiasco
Athlete: Derrick Rose
Kiss: Ferris Wheel Navy Pier

If follow me on twitter (click here if you don't), you were in nyc w/me for the actual live Victoria's Secret show! Thought I would show you a small video I took after the show from my flipcam above... the look on my face is pretty stupid I know, and I really had nothing to say, but that's just how good the show was! (and as you can tell, the girls were just shockingly stunning all out there at once strutting so close to me)

On the home front, Victoria secret angel alessandra ambrosio flew out to host the private vip tv launch of the fashion show right here in chicago a couple days ago at my club "the underground" handing out awards to "chicago's sexiest" winners from their online contest! Here are the results below... and having won for "sexiest club" the underground & "sexiest restaurant" sunda... my super hard working team of 500 & I humbly thank all of you who allow us to serve you!

Blues/Jazz: Green Mill

Male Celebrity: Vince Vaughn

Female Celebrity: Giuliana Rancic

Restaurant: Sunda

Designer Label: Akira

Neighborhood: Wicker Park

Architecture: The Modern Wing of The Art Institute

Bar/Club: The Underground

Beach: North Avenue

Sports Team: Chicago Bulls

City View: The Signature Room

Happy Hour: Hub 51

Hotel: Sofitel Chicago Water Tower

Spa: Allyu

Band/Musician: Lupe Fiasco

Athlete: Derrick Rose

Kiss: Ferris Wheel Navy Pier

Continue reading...

Carrie Underwood brings out a little country - in our big city! by guest blogger : Ilysa Bass, team Rockit Ranch Intern




Yes we live in the big city- but we have a  whole lot of country lovin in us! If didn't know, chicago actually has a hidden music industry reputation on the road as being a great stop for country singers... there is so much support here, yet we aren't really publicly known for it!
Most who are in the country know, listen to our country station US99.5... who by the way puts on a huge live country concert series celebrating the release of new country music to our city- and this year, Grammy award-winner and American Idol Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood will be performing at it- and its tonight at Joe's! 
Being a huge Carrie fan myself, I've seen her in concert two separate times and she is amazing- one of which was actually here in the chicagoland area at Ravinia Pavilion in Highland Park!  Anyway, tickets to this event can't be purchased, but you can still win them today by checking out LINK and calling (312) 591-8799! Hope to see you there!! 
Picture 2

Yes we live in the big city- but we have a whole lot of country lovin in us! If didn't know, chicago actually has a hidden music industry reputation on the road as being a great stop for country singers... there is so much support here, yet we aren't really publicly known for it!

Most who are in the country know, listen to our country station US99.5... who by the way puts on a huge live country concert series celebrating the release of new country music to our city- and this year, Grammy award-winner and American Idol Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood will be performing at it- and its tonight atJoe's

Being a huge Carrie fan myself, I've seen her in concert two separate times and she is amazing- one of which was actually here in the chicagoland area at Ravinia Pavilion in Highland Park!  Anyway, tickets to this event can't be purchased, but you can still win them today by checking out  http://tr.im/Gx3G  and calling (312) 591-8799! Hope to see you there!! 

chicago's "rock for kids!"


If you've been down w/the Chicago Music scene over the past 20 years, maybe you've heard about this great non-profit organization called Rock for Kids (RFK) started by volunteers in Chicago's music and entertainment industry, who wanted to give back to the community. RFK provides support, hope, inspiration and assistance to underserved children and teens, and since they believe that music can be a positive influence in kids lives, they offer free year-round music education for children in need.  
Even though RFK started out as a holiday shopping program that gave holiday assistance to agencies in need while also supplying Chicago's homeless children with toys and necessities for the holidays, the volunteers realized they all shared a love for art and music especially, so the organization shifted gears and started bringing free, quality music education into the lives of Chicago's under-served children.
On 12/4, I will be supporting RFK at their 21st Annual Rock and Roll Charity Auction, as I do every year, at the Park West (322 W. Armitage), and you should join me!  At the event, they auction off some pretty cool items, featuring autographed guitars, posters, and experiential packages, mostly related to the music world.  Participants will have the chance to bid on items from famous musicians including Led Zeppelin, Elton John & Billy Joel, Wilco & Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, Steely Dan, AC/DC, The Swell Season and many more...but most importantly, the proceeds go to the support of free music education to at risk kids, predominantly in shelters or other similar living environments. Visit http://rockforkids.org/ for more info! 
Picture 3
If you've been down w/the Chicago Music scene over the past 20 years, maybe you've heard about this great non-profit organization called Rock for Kids (RFK) started by volunteers in Chicago's music and entertainment industry, who wanted to give back to the community. RFK provides support, hope, inspiration and assistance to underserved children and teens, and since they believe that music can be a positive influence in kids lives, they offer free year-round music education for children in need.  

Even though RFK started out as a holiday shopping program that gave holiday assistance to agencies in need while also supplying Chicago's homeless children with toys and necessities for the holidays, the volunteers realized they all shared a love for art and music especially, so the organization shifted gears and started bringing free, quality music education into the lives of Chicago's under-served children.

On 12/4, I will be supporting RFK at their 21st Annual Rock and Roll Charity Auction, as I do every year, at the Park West (322 W. Armitage), and you should join me!  At the event, they auction off some pretty cool items, featuring autographed guitars, posters, and experiential packages, mostly related to the music world.  Participants will have the chance to bid on items from famous musicians including Led ZeppelinElton John & Billy JoelWilco & Barack ObamaBruce SpringsteenGreen DaySteely DanAC/DCThe Swell Season and many more...but most importantly, the proceeds go to the support of free music education to at risk kids, predominantly in shelters or other similar living environments. Visit http://rockforkids.org for more info! 

"New Kids On The Block" Donnie Wahlberg going Underground in Chicago!


I have to admit, I don't know much about Donnie Wahlberg, besides the fact that he was one of the members of New Kids on the Block, the supposed first ever "boy band" that ruled the music charts, and broke millions of teenager hearts across the country in the 80's and 90s.  I have heard however that his newest single, "I Got It," (featuring Aubrey O'Day of Danity Kane) is getting a ton of buzz.... especially on twitter where I hear from him all the time! (if you aren't following me on twitter, click here)
What I do know very well is that I am giving him a shout out for kicking off his huge tour in his #1 city of choice... chicago!  It seems like a lot of tours, theatre performances, product launches,... always start in chicago and from what I hear it's because we are a great indicator of what the rest of the country will love... we give new things credibility and great cache... and we are so emotionally responsive that we build their confidence... and all sorts of other good things you can't find anywhere else!  And I think that is pretty cool...
Anyway, in honor of Donnie making such a great location choice in which city to start in (which by the way is not only in chicago, but in my club the underground!), I am giving some tickets away to some amazing "fans" (of his, and of my facebook page), to be there for his very first live solo performance Friday 11/13 @ 9pm!  Just make sure you are signed up as a "fan" of my facebook page www.facebook.billydec.com and comment right there as to why you must be there!  (and hint, yes its true, I especially like to pick people who spread the good word about my fb page and this blog!)
164935__new_kids_l
I have to admit, I don't know much about Donnie Wahlberg, besides the fact that he was one of the members of New Kids on the Block, the supposed first ever "boy band" that ruled the music charts, and broke millions of teenager hearts across the country in the 80's and 90s.  I have heard however that his newest single, "I Got It," (featuring Aubrey O'Day of Danity Kane) is getting a ton of buzz.... especially on twitter where I hear from him all the time! (if you aren't following me on twitter, click here)

What I do know very well is that I am giving him a shout out for kicking off his huge tour in his #1 city of choice... chicago!  It seems like a lot of tours, theatre performances, product launches,... always start in chicago and from what I hear it's because we are a great indicator of what the rest of the country will love... we give new things credibility and great cache... and we are so emotionally responsive that we build their confidence... and all sorts of other good things you can't find anywhere else!  And I think that is pretty cool...

Anyway, in honor of Donnie making such a great location choice in which city to start in (which by the way is not only in chicago, but in my club the underground!), I am giving some tickets away to some amazing "fans" (of his, and of my facebook page), to be there for his very first live solo performance Friday 11/13 @ 9pm!  Just make sure you are signed up as a "fan" of my facebook page www.facebook.billydec.comand comment right there as to why you must be there!  (and hint, yes it's true, I especially like to pick people who spread the good word about my fb page and this blog!)

Art, Culture, Film & Entertainment.....and my roots


A lot of people who follow me on twitter freaked out this week when I mentioned that I liked the little kid in the movie "up!" because he was half asian like me!  people couldn't believe I was half asian?  it was so crazy to me... but guess I maybe I don't talk about it a lot out side of my asian restaurant sunda, so figured I would here, in my normal tone of celebrating chicago culture, art, entertainment, performance,... especially when for a good cause...
 
My mom is from the philippine islands, and not only have I visited many many times, but I still have family there.  Well, as you may have been watching on the news, starting in September, the Philippines has suffered through 4 devastating typhoons that have caused immense damage to a tremendous amount of people.  The first typhoon alone drenched the island with its heaviest rainfall in 40 years, and three more have hit over the past month. Needless to say, it has been a priority for me to help the struggling victims get back on their feet in my own way, which I have done through gawad kalinga (www.ancopusa.com), but wanted to share a great way for all to get involved if can locally with some amazing people and entertainment.  
 
Some energetic, fun, and driven local Chicagoans have put together a special benefit to raise money for this cause on this Saturday, November 7th.  The benefit "Kapwa" is an Arts-Infused fundraiser for Typhoon Victims in the Philippines, and should be a blast, w/drinks, food & entertainment!  The event includes a Gala event and ends with a pay-what-you-can Variety Show complete with Lam Jam and the Sexy Blues Band (who come from Copenhagen where they represented Chicago for the 2016 Olympic bid!)  For more info about this event, or to RSVP, email: kapwabenefit@gmail.com and lets show our support for people in need! 
 
And for those into even more of an artistic look into my family's Filipino community & culture, check out the 6th annual Chicago Filipino American Film Festival starting this Friday the 6th going until the 8th at portage theatre. If you hit up www.cfaff.org you can get the film lineup, view trailers and rsvp to the after parties! Mabuhay! (our way to say.. live long and prosper!) 
cfaff_promo_front

A lot of people who follow me on twitter (if missing out, click here to follow me) freaked out this week when I mentioned that I liked the little kid in the movie "up!" because he was half asian like me!  people couldn't believe I was half asian?  it was so crazy to me... but guess I maybe don't talk about it a lot outside of my asian restaurant sunda, so figured I would here, in my normal tone of celebrating chicago culture, art, entertainment, performance... especially when for a good cause...
 
My mom is from the philippine islands, and not only have I visited many many times, but I still have family there.  Well, as you may have been watching on the news, starting in September, the Philippines have suffered through 4 devastating typhoons that have caused immense damage to a tremendous amount of people.  The first typhoon alone drenched the island with its heaviest rainfall in 40 years, and three more have hit over the past month. Needless to say, it has been a priority for me to help the struggling victims get back on their feet in my own way, which I have done through gawad kalinga (www.ancopusa.com), but wanted to share a great way for all to get involved if can locally with some amazing people and entertainment.  
 
Some energetic, fun, and driven local Chicagoans have put together a special benefit to raise money for this cause on this Saturday, November 7th.  The benefit "Kapwa" is an Arts-Infused fundraiser for Typhoon Victims in the Philippines, and should be a blast, w/drinks, food & entertainment!  The event includes a Gala event and ends with a pay-what-you-can Variety Show complete with Lam Jam and the Sexy Blues Band (who come from Copenhagen where they represented Chicago for the 2016 Olympic bid!)  For more info about this event, or to RSVP, email: kapwabenefit@gmail.com and lets show our support for people in need! 
 
And for those into even more of an artistic look into my family's Filipino community & culture, check out the 6th annual Chicago Filipino American Film Festival starting this Friday the 6th going until the 8th at portage theatre. If you hit up www.cfaff.org you can get the film lineup, view trailers and rsvp to the after parties! Mabuhay! (our way to say.. live long and prosper!) 

Dare To Dream Chicago w/ Gavin Rossdale from Bush!


Talent and philanthropic efforts go hand in hand in the great city of chicago... if you follow me on twitter, you know i give the behind the scenes from those efforts all the time... speaking of, tomorrow (11/5) at chicago's historic house of blues, there is an amazing party/concert that is a great example of that, when Gavin Rossdale of the band "Bush" hosts & performs live at a super successful annual event called "dare to dream" to support pediatric cancer research!

I am a huge supporter of the effort, and give major props to gavin for coming in to throw down for it, so would like to treat some of you, my much loved readers and facebook fans, to some tickets to this amazing experience & his private vip afterparty at the underground!  It's best for the kids suffering to give the tix to whoever helps the organization the most, so go to www.facebook.billydec.com and tell me what you are doing to spread the word on twitter, fb, myspace, email,... whatever you can!  (you can also tell your friends to do the same!)  I will pick winners tmrw/Thurs... so check my fb then and good luck!

n2my9x.jpg

Talent and philanthropic efforts go hand in hand in the great city of chicago... if you follow me on twitter, you know i give the behind the scenes from those efforts all the time... speaking of, tomorrow (11/5) at chicago's historic house of blues, there is an amazing party/concert that is a great example of that, whenGavin Rossdale of the band "Bush" hosts & performs live at a super successful annual event called "dare to dream" to support pediatric cancer research!

I am a huge supporter of the effort, and give major props to gavin for coming in to throw down for it, so would like to treat some of you, my much loved readers and facebook fans, to some tickets to this amazing experience & his private vip afterparty at the underground!  It's best for the kids suffering to give the tix to whoever helps the organization the most, so go to www.facebook.billydec.com and tell me what you are doing to spread the word on twitter, fb, myspace, email... whatever you can!  (you can also tell your friends to do the same!)  I will pick winners tmrw/Thurs... so check my fb then and good luck!

Chicago 2016 Olympics w/ Grammy Nominated Plain White T's

My guys from the plain white t's are a straight up "chicago band" in my book... not just because they are from here, but because they are down to earth, loyal, sweet, smart, talented, giving guys... tom actually was super nice enough to come out and play solo for me when I launched as host of an nbc show "24/7" a couple years ago, and really all the guys seemed to have always supported our venues at one point or another by just hanging out while in their home town city...
which really brings me to what is most important to me about these guys, they call chicago home, they are proud of it, and they really just support and celebrate our city... by keeping us in their music and videos! I love that so much, I integrated some of their work into their interview here... as they talk about how great chicago is, and how amazing it would be to have the Olympics here in 2016... it's a beautiful thing! thanks guys and good luck!
My guys from the plain white t's are a straight up "chicago band" in my book... not just because they are from here, but because they are down to earth, loyal, sweet, smart, talented, giving guys... tom actually was super nice enough to come out and play solo for me when I launched as host of an nbc show "24/7" a couple years ago, and really all the guys seemed to have always supported our venues at one point or another by just hanging out while in their home town city...

which really brings me to what is most important to me about these guys, they call chicago home, they are proud of it, and they really just support and celebrate our city... by keeping us in their music and videos! I love that so much, I integrated some of their work into their interview here... as they talk about how great chicago is, and how amazing it would be to have the Olympics here in 2016... it's a beautiful thing! thanks guys and good luck!

my celebrity interview blog post a day until I get to Copenhagen on oct 2nd is almost coming to an end... we only have 10 days left!!!! Now more than ever we all need you to share these videos by phone, face to face, email, facebook, twitter... to let the world know how great chicago (& the usa in general) is and how much we want to welcome the world for the greatest sport, cultural and friendship making event in history! 

speaking of music in chicago, this friday we have the amazing ting tings performing live at rockit  bar & grill river north!!! sponsored by 101.9 the mix - i have 20 tickets for the people that best tell me, in comment section below,  what their favorite 2016 celeb video is and why! winners will be announced wednesday by 5pm. 

Chicago 2016 Olympics w/ Grammy Winner Jermaine Dupri

When I told you all on twitter that music industry mogul Jermaine dupri and I were hanging at sunda, and I was going to interview him before he dj'ed at underground, my phone blew up like crazy with everyone asking me to ask him about his supposed break up with his girl janet Jackson... well, as much as I wanted to, I just couldn't with it being so close to the unfortunate death of her brother michael Jackson (atleast not on tape)! I did however ask all of you other questions!
Check out how Jermaine has always had a super sweet spot for chicago! He not only shows his love for our country... but also for our city, our sports, our talent,... I especially love how he can speak on behalf of those that have actually had a chance to experience the olymics in the usa! I sure would love to experience that... Check it out...

When I told you all on twitter that music industry mogul Jermaine dupri and I were hanging at sunda, and I was going to interview him before he dj'ed at underground, my phone blew up like crazy with everyone asking me to ask him about his supposed break up with his girl janet Jackson... well, as much as I wanted to, I just couldn't with it being so close to the unfortunate death of her brother michael Jackson (at least not on tape)! I did however ask all of your other questions!

Check out how Jermaine has always had a super sweet spot for chicago! He not only shows his love for our country... but also for our city, our sports, our talent... I especially love how he can speak on behalf of those that have actually had a chance to experience the olymics in the usa! I sure would love to experience that... Check it out...

my celebrity interview blog post a day until I get to Copenhagen on oct 2nd is almost coming to an end... we only have 10 days left!!!! Now more than ever we all need you to share these videos by phone, face to face, email, facebook, twitter... to let the world know how great chicago (& the usa in general) is and how much we want to welcome the world for the greatest sport, cultural and friendship making event in history!

Chicago 2016 Olympics w/ musicians Josh Kelley & Ryan Cabrera

First of all, shout out to my buddy josh Kelley for adopting a wonderful baby girl! So funny, when we filmed the piece above lil while ago, we sat over a huge dinner at sunda talking about life, family, future,... (we actually twittered at the table about it so nothing too personal here!) and as much as we joked at times about how many dogs his wife Katherine heigl kept bringing home (he lovingly joked, think they have like 6 now?!), it was obvious that it was just the beginning of what josh wanted to build for his beautiful family life, with so much more to come, so was not surprised to hear of the beautiful addition so quickly after!
Anyway, ryan cabrera also has been a long time friend, and happened to be visiting me at the same time, so we all got together to eat, talk, have fun, and just rap in my office about why they love chicago so much, why their fan base is so ridiculously huge here, why they know this city is perfect for the Olympics, who would beat who in ping pong, and all that! Enjoy!
First of all, shout out to my buddy josh Kelley for adopting a wonderful baby girl! So funny, when we filmed the piece above lil while ago, we sat over a huge dinner at sunda talking about life, family, future,... (we actually twittered at the table about it so nothing too personal here!) and as much as we joked at times about how many dogs his wife Katherine heigl kept bringing home (he lovingly joked, think they have like 6 now?!), it was obvious that it was just the beginning of what josh wanted to build for his beautiful family life, with so much more to come, so was not surprised to hear of the beautiful addition so quickly after!

Anyway, ryan cabrera also has been a long time friend, and happened to be visiting me at the same time, so we all got together to eat, talk, have fun, and just rap in my office about why they love chicago so much, why their fan base is so ridiculously huge here, why they know this city is perfect for the Olympics, who would beat who in ping pong, and all that! Enjoy!

Btw, Its getting really crazy that my celebrity interview blog posting a day until I get to Copenhagen on oct 2nd is almost coming to an end... we only have 13 days left!!!! Now more than ever we all need you to share these videos by phone, face to face, email, facebook, twitter... anyway possible to let the world know how great chicago (& the usa in general) is and how much we want to welcome the world for the greatest sport, cultural and friendship making event in history!
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I Love the Chicago Jazz Festival!

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Very excited that the Chicago Jazz Festival starts today for labor day weekend in grant park!  I love riding my bike w/my dorky picnic backpack down there to just chill, enjoy, respect & love.   I've been going for about 20yrs myself... but it's been around for about 30! 

Duke Ellington passed away in '74... and a bunch of chicago musicians got together to hold a festival to honor him at the old bandshell in grant park... 10,000+ duke & jazz music lovers came that year, and annual memorial concert crowds kept growing... then there was a big memorial thrown for john coltrane in '78 in the same spot that also was quite successful... and then a year after that the jazz institute of chicago started producing their own jazz fest.... All of which lead to 3 annual jazz gatherings in the same spot all at the end of august!

Well, the mayor's office of special events knew that if the 3 groups came together to combine all the talent, energy & passion, our city could have one the greatest jazz festivals on earth- and they were right!  The first chicago jazz festival was born w/ 125,000 people there to support, listen, dance, picnic in the grass... and its been growing dramatically ever since... now known as one of the most extensive, respected & celebrated free jazz festivals in the world!  Hope you get a chance to be there too this year.... Thanks to http://www.explorechicago.org for sharing all the great info, pic, love for the best city in the world....  

chicago 2016 olympics w/ "american idol" david cook

if you follow me on twitter, you can get in on all my "behind the scenes" experiences as they are  happening. like the time i told you all on twitter that i was about to interview david cook from "american idol" before his big dinner at sunda, and you all hit me w/ hundreds of tweets back wanting me to ask him specific questions! well, as promised, i gladly asked him some of them here for you....enjoy! 


oh, and i thought since i am launching one celebrity interview here a day until i land in copenhagen on oct 2nd to see if chicago/usa wins the honor of being the host of the 2016 olympics, that it would be particularly great to release this one today since ryan seacrest texted me that he is in town casting for the next "american idol" today! you know you have that one friend that needs to know about these auditions! that and it only helps chicago (and the entire usa in general) if you spread the news about these celebrity endorsements to help get the olympics back in our home country....so spread www.achicagothing.com anyway you can! 

for details on "american idol" auditions go to.....www.americanidol.com/auditions 

chicago 2016 olympics w/ grammy nominated busta rhymes

busta rhymes is one of my favorite rappers....has been since the 90s....so it was a dream come true to have him perform live at my aChicagoThing blog launch party while nick cannon dj'ed and a packed room of chicago's movers and shakers went bananas! 

he is a big fan of chicago and our rap talent, even picked up chicago management (what up jon jon!), but what really struck me was his american pride and determination in improving our outlook to the rest of the world...that and his ability to stand in the middle of our room with a mic and freestyle with no music making the crowd go crazy....enjoy! 

remember all, how can you show your love for the chi (& the usa as a whole)? take one minute today to tell all your friends & contacts by email, twitter, facebook, phone calls, whatever....& ask all to listen to these wonderful personalities share their stories so the rest of our world knows how great our city (& country) is and how we want to share & strengthen friendships with the rest of the world! don't forget, i am posting one new celeb interview per day here until the oct 2nd announcement that chicago (& the usa) will be home of the 2016 olympics! so keep checking out who's next! thx and...best of luck to all! 

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chicago 2016 olympics w/ "america's got talent" nick cannon

my buddy nick cannon takes a quick break every once in a while from his new show "america's got talent" and his lovely wife mariah carey to visit friends in chicago, dj at the underground, host events like the last one he did a couple months ago at rockit ro celebrate his new "executive" position at nickelodeon, and to search out all the talent that resides here!

he even says in our video above that "america's got talent" started their nationwide search right here in chicago because not only do the biggest celebrity performers come from here, but last year's winner of the show is from chicago! with all of that, nick was more than happy to get on camera with me to talk about how much he loves our city, our country and the greatest display of talent in the world....the olympics!

remember all, how can you show your love for the chi ( & the usa as a whole?) take one minute today to tell all your friends and contacts by email, twitter, facebok, phone calls, whatever....& ask all to listen to these wonderful personalities share their stories so the rest of the world knows how great our city (& country) is and how much we want to share & strengthen friendships with the rest of the world! don't forget, i am posting one new celeb interview per day here until the oct 2nd announcement that chicago ( & the usa) will be the home of the 2016 olympics! so keep chekcing out who's next! thx and....best of luck to all!

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chicago 2016 olympics w/ grammy winner john legend

I first met john on the roof of a tall building in Beverly hills where super famous Hollywood actor/exec types sat around sipping champagne at a fancy vip party not only shocked that someone was able to get a piano up there, but that the man playing and singing was a no name guy that blew every single one of them off their feet... next thing you know I see him at the grammys... then at the inauguration playing for the president... and so on...

I most recently met John at the underground, and although he had been reaching the highest of accomplishments, he was still a solid, humble, smart,... Midwesterner... that just loved Chicago, and Chicagoans! In fact, he had so many chicago connections, that he was very happy to take a moment to sit with me at his hotel before his last chicago concert, and share that love for our city, and the idea of having the Olympics here in 2016! Enjoy...

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chicago 2016 olympics w/ destiny's child michelle williams

Michelle has been a sweet friend for years so was hard to actually interview her all serious... but had to since she is huge in gospel, huge on stage (she is performing in "chicago" in London right now),... and of course, is a huge part of the number one female recording group w/ the highest female recording group sales in history, destiny's child. It was cool that we got to shoot this at a chicago recording studio while she was making music right in her hometown... she cracks me up.... hope you enjoy!

oh, and don't forget, I'm posting at least one new celebrity interview a day here until I land in Copenhagen on oct. 2nd to hear the official announcement that (hopefully) chicago/usa wins the title of home to the 2016 olympics! How does that happen? you help spread the news! twitter, facebook, myspace, email blast,.. whatever you can to get everyone in your city, country, world,... to watch these videos and hear how great Chicago is (and the USA is in general), and hear how much we want to host this cultural, sport, and friendship strengthening celebration in our home country in 2016!

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Chicago's best dancers, FootworKINGz, finally "Take Flight!"

my favorite dance crew, Chicago's FootworKINGz, are blowing up! Been watching them on the internet for years, doing my best to share their talent so yet another "style" of entertainment can originate out of chicago culture, and catch on around the world! Slowly it seems they are making it big, breaking out nationally and internationally representing chicago on platforms like "america's got talent" (see video above), Ellen, VH-1, MTV, Rolling Stone, Madonna's World Tour,... and more!

Want to enjoy, share & support these chicago talents as they celebrate and claim right to their very own "chicago" style of dance?!? Join them on October 3rd at the Harold Washington Cultural Center Theater where the FootworKINGz will host a launch party for their very 1st DVD called "Take Flight!" And spread the news!

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