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Chicago Live! Movin’ on to UP Comedy Club

Posted on December 16th, 2011 by

Chicago Live at UP Comedy ClubThe essence of Chicago will be wrapped into a nice 60-minute block starting in February.

The Chicago Tribune will be moving their Chicago Live! performances to the UP Comedy Club at 230 W. North Ave. Chicago Live! will be held on Thursday evenings starting at 6:30 p.m. from Feb. 2-March 22.

Rick Kogan, a Tribune reporter, author and WGN Radio personality will host the hour-long stage shows. Chicago Live! will bring the Chicago Tribune to life, and will feature interviews, arts performances and comedy from The Second City.

All the acts in the show will have a Chicago spin. Each installment will have Kogan’s popular “Chicago Almanac” segment, where he focuses on a certain year in history through words, images and music.

Chicago Live! at UP Comedy Club

Chicago Live! has always been about sharing the stories of the entire city,” Kogan says. “So we’ll continue – with a few surprises – to inform, entertain and enlighten our audience from this new perch.”

And if that’s not enough, the theater will have a full-service restaurant and bar selling well-know Chicago food items like Eli’s cheesecake, Lou Malnati’s pizza, and Vienna Beef hot dogs.

The show was previously held at The Chicago Theatre Downstairs, and its fall 2011 season had six shows. Guests included U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, former Bears’ safety Gary Fencik, White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams, actor John Mahoney, and Chicago comedy/horror legend Svengoolie.

The winter 2012 roster and ticket information will be announced in January. Can’t make a show in person? WGN Radio 720 will broadcast the shows on Saturdays at 11 p.m.

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Santa with his Shoes So Bright

Posted on December 7th, 2011 by

Santa Visits Brunch in River NorthSanta Claus himself will be at Brunch, at 644 N. Orleans St., Saturday, Dec. 10 from 7:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. And, like many of the restaurants patrons, he will stop in to get his shoes shined.

Children can meet with St. Nick that morning, and families can try some of Executive Chef Joseph Pierro’s holiday creations, like sweet potato buttermilk pancakes, spiced pecans and s’mores French Toast.

One of the major calling cards of Brunch is their shoe shine booth, where business folks can get spiffed up in an instant. The restaurant is tailored to the white collar, also offering a board room, an express station, WiFi, a teleconference system, and a newsstand.

The establishment also separates itself by featuring a wood interior, artwork by artist Kristin Corna, and a wide variety of food. Brunch not only has classic dishes from its namesake, like pancakes, waffles, omelets and pastries, but also sandwiches, burgers, soups and salads.

Brunch makes efforts to go green and honor local products. All their coffee (from local coffee maker Intelligentsia) comes in mugs donated by customers, and if you bring your own mug to use you will get a discount. Pastries come from Bennison’s Bakery, and root beer and orange soda from Filbert’s.

Brunch is open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Santa Paws is Coming to Town

Posted on December 5th, 2011 by

santa paws at Hotel AllegroWho says visiting Santa is just for little kids? Kimpton’s Hotel Allegro, at 171 W. Randolph Street, is hosting Santa Paws from 2 to 4 p.m. on December 10 and 11, where pets and their owners can meet and greet with Santa.

The third-annual event will feature jolly old St. Nick, and people can bring their pets to take photos with Santa, sample holiday treats, and see the hotel.

Hotel Allegro is all inclusive, welcoming both hotel guests and people from the community and their pets. And even though dogs constitute the majority of the pets that visit Santa, any type of animal is welcome. Want to bring your pet Tarantula? That’s quite alright.

Chicago’s Anti-Cruelty Society will be there to accept donations, and the organization will also bring a few shelter dogs that are available for adoption.

Allegro is a luxury hotel in Chicago’s downtown theater district, and pets are allowed with no height or weight restrictions.

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Holiday Brews

Posted on December 2nd, 2011 by

Glunz - Anchor Christmas AleIn the anticipation of the holidays and the (probably) long winter Chicago will experience in 2012, Louis Glunz Beer has announced their seasonal beverages for this year.

As you might have guessed, these are high quality crafted beers perfect for Christmas, New Year’s, and the winter.

Six types of sets are available. Anchor Christmas Ale is an annual beer, but the recipe changes every year. Glunz has said the intent of the Christmas Ale is to promote “joy and celebration of the newness of life.”

Chimay Blue is from Belgium, brewed in the tradition of Trappist monks. This is a smooth, dark beer with a strong fragrance and deep, rich flavor. It comes in a 11.2 oz four-pack, or 50 or 101 oz magnums.

Gouden Carolus Nöel is Belgian beer tailor-made for Christmas, and has a warm, coppery color and rich bouquet. Hinterland Winter Land, from Milwaukee, is new to Chicago and has a deep brown color with a rich, roasted malt flavor with a hint of hop bitterness.

Lindemans Lambic Gift Pack with Glass is a set of two lambics. One is Lindemans Framboise, a raspberry flavor, and the other is Lindemans Pomme, an apple variety. It also comes with a brewery glass with a flute shape, logos and gold rim. Unibroue Diabolic Pleasures Gift Pack, meanwhile, has Maudite (a strong red ale with a distinctive taste) and Eau Bénite (a Belgian tripel with golden hue).

“These beers are an affordable luxury, so there is something for everyone on your shopping list,” craft and import brands manager for Glunz Beer Anthony Norkus said in a press release. “Whether it’s a gift pack complete with a specialty glass or a celebratory magnum bottle, holiday beers will make a big impact.”

About Gluz Beer, Inc.

Founded in 1888, Glunz Beer is among the oldest beer distributors in the United States and is still family-owned and operated. For product descriptions, food pairings, and a list of local retailers through a “Find it near me” ZIP code search, visit

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Explore the City’s Sacred Places

Posted on December 2nd, 2011 by

Holy Trinity Cathedral Chicago IllinoisThis weekend, you can see some of Chicago’s most sacred places.

Literally sacred, though. Not, “Wrigley Field because it’s so old” sacred, or “People really love the Willis Tower” sacred.

Sacred Spaces Tour – Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum is hosting “Sacred Spaces,” a tour guided by Rolf Achilles. The once-a-year bus tour will be held on December 3, from 1-5 p.m. Achilles, who has been a tour guide with CHM for over a decade, will impart his wisdom with guests; Achilles is an art historian, museum curator, professor and author.

Among the places featured will be St. Mark’s church, and St. Anne’s church Holy Trinity Cathedral. Located in Ukrainian Village-Wicker Park, Holy Trinity is the oldest Orthodox Church in Chicago, and was designed in the 1890s by famous architect Louis Sullivan. The church based on Russian Provincial Architecture, and is known for its octagonal dome and a frontal bell tower.
The tour does not just focus on Christian landmarks. In the past, Sacred Spaces has toured synagogues and other places with connections to spirituality. On the tour, Achilles will point out these sacred spots’ artistic and design impact, and how it expresses spirituality.

Tickets are $45 for non-members, $40 for members. A three-tour package is available for $115 for non-members and $100 for members.

Other Chicago Events

Looking for additional things to see and do in Chicago? Make sure to check out’s event calendar for timely happening’s around town.

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Start the Holidays off Wright

Posted on November 28th, 2011 by

Wright in the City Holiday Open House at The Rookery and Free Family Fun Days at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio

Come celebrate Christmas at… the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio this year? Come on, you have to think outside the box, like the famous architect himself. Christmas and Wright go well together, just like a house with a waterfall under it.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust will host two free holiday events: Wright in the City Holiday Open House on December 1 and Family Fun Days at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio on Saturday, December 10 and Saturday, December 17.

Wright in the City Holiday Open House

The Open House will be held at The Rookery (209 S. LaSalle St.), and will go from 5 to 7 p.m. Guests can sip champagne and listen to music performed by the Motet Choir, and enjoy a tour of the central light court portion of the building that was remodeled by Wright himself.The festive evening features a 20% discount on all purchases over $50 at the ShopWright store and product giveaways.

The ShopWright store, as well as, houses one of the largest collections of Frank Lloyd Wright and Prairie period designs in furniture, accessories, jewelry, art, and home decor products. Purchases directly support the restoration, preservation and education programs of the Preservation Trust. Complimentary gift wrapping for purchases will also be available.

Family Fun Days at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

Family Fun Days will be two mornings from 9-11 a.m. filled with fun. The morning’s highlight is a Victorian Christmas Tour of the Wright family home decorated for the holidays. Kids can play with Froebel blocks (which inspired Wright to be an architect), drink hot chocolate, and hear stories how the Wright family celebrated Christmas at the turn of the century. Family Fun Days will be held at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, at 951 Chicago Ave. in Oak Park.

To RSVP for these amazing holiday events, please visit

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Rare Finds at One of a Kind

Posted on November 22nd, 2011 by

If you like rare artistic objects and decorations, then you simply cannot miss the One of a Kind Show and Sale this December.

For only four days (Dec 1-4, 2011), guests at the Merchandise Mart can shop for a wide variety of handmade, aesthetically pleasing gifts, crafts and knick-knacks.

This is the 11th annual One of a Kind Show, and more than 600 artists from across North America will bring their imaginative and creative handmade works of art, and the artists will be there to discuss the pieces and give demonstrations.

One of a Kind will have an array of works for sale, including sculpture, wood, metal, paper, fiber art, furniture, jewelry, ceramics, and painting pieces. Some of the items include chess sets, socks, pottery, stationary and dolls.

Also, live music will be performed. Jazz clarinetist Kaliq Woods, jazz violinist Samuel Williams, folk rock singer-songwriter Claire Corriveau, guitarist and singer Lupe Martinez and saxophonist Tracy Leonard will all be playing over the four days. Fashion shows featuring the innovative art of the event are scheduled for each day of One of a Kind.

Hours & Tickets for One of a Kind Show

A ticket allows guests in for all four days, and they are on sale for $12. Tickets for seniors and students are $9. The hours are 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 1; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 2; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 3; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 4.

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Concierge of the Week: Magen Kimball

Posted on November 21st, 2011 by

Magen Kimball, Concierge at CESWWMagen Kimball loves a challenge.

Magen works as a corporate concierge for Concierge & Event Services World Wide, and it’s her job to make the seemingly impossible possible. Is it a Friday night and the Signature Room is booked? Magen tries to get your party a table. Are you looking for tickets to a sold out show? She will work to get you a seat. Is your group of 400 looking for a place to eat? Don’t fret, because she puts the effort into finding a locale.

“I love the unique and fun challenges,” Magen says. “I love the impossible ventures.” Magen is a corporate concierge at the 100 N. Riverside Plaza building, and she works in a building with around 20 companies, including a Fortune 500 company. If any of the businesses in her building are bringing clients or visitors into Chicago, Magen will suggest hotels, attractions and restaurants for the guests, and will also work to get them into places. The people who work in the building can receive help from the corporate concierge as well.

Just how many requests, on average, does Magen receive in one month? It typically hovers at 200 and can be anything from making a dinner reservation to planning an event for 900 guests. On average, Magen helps the tenants of her building spend $3,000 most months, but with the holidays almost here, that number will be closer to $30,000 a month.

From Holiday Elf to Ultimate Insider

Becoming a concierge is an interesting story for Magen. She was involved in theater, and was working as a holiday jester at Water Tower Place one Christmas season around six years ago. People would come up to her, asking for directions and suggestions, and Magen would respond. A concierge supervisor saw her helping the guests, and a new door was opened for Magen. “It’s not your traditional route,” Magen says with a laugh.

Magen’s Advice, Tips & More

Visit Magen’s MyChiGuide profile as she shares her insider’s tips and highlight’s Chicago’s can’t-miss hotspots around town. Added bonus? Since she has a one-year old child, Magen is completely in touch with family attractions and can offer her advice and tips for places like the Chicago Children’s Museum and Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier. For dinner? Her favorite places to direct visitors to include restaurants with breathtaking views, find out which ones here.

And it doesn’t matter if those places are booked or not.

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Turkey Time! McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade

Posted on November 21st, 2011 by

It’s a Chicago holiday tradition that’s up there with dying the river green for St. Patrick’s Day and lighting the big tree in Daley Plaza: The 2011 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade will be held on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 24, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Santa Claus, Ronald McDonald, and many, many more will be marching in the parade this year. Tons of helium balloons, colorful floats, local marching bands, talented horse riders, and skilled performance artists will be there to entertain, and both area and national celebrities will attend the parade as well.

The parade runs north on State Street, from Congress Pkwy. to Randolph St.

A few tips for people attending the parade:

• Arrive early, and get a good spot close to the road. If you arrive on time or late, you may have to watch from an uncomfortable position, or you may not be able to see much at all.

• Dress warm. In Chicago, it’s quite cold in late November, and being stationary watching a parade doesn’t warm you up. Bring enough clothing to keep warm.

• While there may not be a “bad” place to watch the parade, a good place to watch may be near the end of the route near Randolph Street, where the TV Zone is.

• Portable bathrooms, handicap bathrooms, and handicap viewing areas are stationed around the route. For a quick bite to eat, McDonald’s and other fast-food options are located near State Street.

• Keep an eye out for Concierge Preferred’s Concierge Correspondents who, like the rockstars they are, will be in the parade waving to fans from convertibles.

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Shoreline Sightseeing Water Taxi Routes During Mag Mile Lights Fest

Posted on November 18th, 2011 by

Shoreline Sightseeing Water Taxi to Magnificent Mile Lights FestivalIf you’re riding the train into Chicago for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on Saturday, November 19, then you may be wondering how to best cover the distance between the train stations and Michigan Avenue. Taxi? Bus? Walk?

Fortunately, the Shoreline Sightseeing Water Taxi will be in service tomorrow, hauling people from Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center to the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Taxis will depart toward the Magnificent Mile every 15 minutes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. After the procession and fireworks, taxis will leave toward the train stations ever 15 minutes until 7:30 p.m.

There is a bonus to the water taxi option, too: fantastic views of downtown Chicago, and up-close views of some of the famous and major buildings downtown, like NBC Tower, Trump Tower, and Marina City.

The tickets cost $4 for adults and $2 for children 12 and under. Children 2 and under ride free.

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