Friday, June 22, 2018

Chicago Detours >> July 7 Pilsen Food Tour Considers Neighborhood Change (Chicago, IL.)

"Changes and Spaces in Pilsen Food Tour"

July 7 Pilsen Food Tour Considers Neighborhood Change

Five-star-rated tour company Chicago Detours announces "Changes and Spaces in Pilsen Food Tour," an insightful and educational tour available as a one-off event on Saturday, July 7.

The tour focuses on the last 50 years of Pilsen’s history, which coincides with Mexican immigration here. Pilsen has historically been a working-class neighborhood, but it is currently being gentrified by young professionals. This tour considers the emotionally packed process of gentrification and what it means for the community in Pilsen. Tour guests will taste a variety of Mexican food, and they'll also reflect on their own role in neighborhood changes.

Additionally, as Chicago Detours brings tourists into less touristed neighborhoods, it seeks to be a socially conscious tour company. For this one-time special event, tour guide and Chicago Detours Executive Director Amanda Scotese will donate 100% of gratuities and a portion of ticket sales to The Resurrection Project. This Pilsen-based community organization will give to the Casa Studente, which is a new model of affordable university student housing that the group visits on the tour.

Groups will encounter dramatic contrasts of gentrifying change on the tour's various stops. They will see politically charged community murals juxtaposed with trendy street art, and ponder the differences between the two. Tour guests will peek through the dilapidated facade of a 19th-century building to see a manicured secret garden hiding behind. The irony of gourmet tacos, originally fuel for a working man, will be discussed.

Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski’s novel, Painted Cities, informs some of the tour's stories of both the beauty and brutality of life in Pilsen in the '70s. Using examples from his book, the tour explores the complex changes of Pilsen from the gritty inner city of the recent past to the Yuppie playgrounds of the present and future.

This Pilsen tour is a sort of "People's History” of the neighborhood. Instead of focusing on skyscrapers and mansions, this tour looks at the regular buildings that make up the spectacularly everyday cityscape of our Chicago neighborhoods. Guests will learn why buildings are "sunken" below the street level. At one site, the tour guide will explain why a hodgepodge of personal knickknacks is displayed in a former storefront window. The tour tells of the honorary street signs that pepper our neighborhoods and how they laud the everyday people who make this city great. Tour guests will also consider the role of artists in Pilsen, and the various eras of painted public art, from community murals, to graffiti, and the street art of today.

Three stops for authentic Mexican food are integrated into the exploration of the neighborhood. Since Chicago has the second-largest Mexican population outside of Mexico, guests will feast on delicious foods that reflect the culinary diversity of Mexico. Included is a meal of family-style grilled skirt steak inside the rustic, woodsy surroundings of Canton Regio, owned by the same family which ran the of the famous Nuevo Leon restaurant. 5 Rabanitos, owned by former workers of Rick Bayless' Frontera, offer a tasting of savory bites, such as plantains topped with ancho chile sauce and roasted pecans. Dessert is a guests' choice of fresh paleta ice cream bar, with flavor options from strawberries and cream to cinnamon rice pudding.

The tour will be guided by Amanda Scotese, the Founder and Executive Director of Chicago Detours. This tour is limited to an exclusive group of 14 guests and Chicago Detours is offering this special event only once this year. "Changes and Spaces in Pilsen Food Tour" will run from 2pm-5pm on Saturday, July 7.

Tickets to "Changes and Spaces in Pilsen Food Tour" are $52 and include expert tour guide commentary; meal of grilled skirt steak (arrachera) served with fire roasted chiles, grilled panela cheese and more; small tastes of vegetarian sope, chicken mole, and plantains; paleta sorbet or ice cream bar; and special gifts. Reservations are required via

The tour starts inside Pilsen Community Books, 1102 W. 18th St. Walking tour ends at 5 Rabanitos, 1758 W 18th St, a block from the 18th Street Pink Line CTA station.

Chicago Detours regular offers several tours this summer: Loop Interior Architecture Walking Tour, Historic Chicago Walking Bar Tour, Old Polonia and Wicker Park Walking Tour with Food1893 World's Fair Tour with Bars and the new Factories to Calories Fulton Market Food Tour.

Chicago Detours offers guided tours of the city's architecture, history and culture that bring people to explore stories and places locals don't even know. It is staffed by a passionate team of educators, historians, artists and storytellers, and is proud to be one of very few tour companies in Chicago that is rated five stars on both Yelp and TripAdvisor. These are not your grandma’s architecture tours! Led by passionate, expert guides, tours with Chicago Detours include an interactive dynamic, presentation of historic photos and videos, and gifts like artistically-composed photographic postcards.

For additional information:
Amanda Scotese
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Macys >> Lifestyle Blogger Helen Berkun and James Beard Award-winning craft cocktail bar, The Violet Hour, on Thursday, June 28( State Street, Chicago, IL.)

Macy's on State Street will host an interactive cocktail making and bar cart styling event with Lifestyle Blogger Helen Berkun and James Beard Award-winning craft cocktail bar, The Violet Hour, on Thursday, June 28 at 6pm. The class will be $25 per person. Helen will share some of her favorite tips and tricks for entertaining, followed by a Violet Hour mixologist who will teach guests how to prepare a classic old fashioned and the perfect summer punch in this hands-on cocktail making experience!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

NEW Burt Reynolds' Movie Trailer -- "Miami Love Affair"


"Miami Love Affair," the award-winning romantic comedy from writer/director/actor Ralph Kinnard, and his producing partner Julian Fernau of CoCo Productions, and Lance Paul of Ginger Knight Entertainment is currently on the film festival circuit. The producers have released the trailer online for the public.

The film, which stars Burt Reynolds, Monica Pasqualotto, Ralph Kinnard, Anisbel Lopez, Rusbeh Bani, Alan Klinger, and Ana Lucia Chaverria, won the "Best Ensemble Cast" award at the Flager Film Festival, and screened at the Miami International Film Festival. 

Over the past few months, the film has screened internationally as an Official Selection at the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival, Cityflix International Film Festival Toronto, Singapore Independent Film Festival, and the Nice Film Fest International.
In "Miami Love Affair" Burt Reynolds is a wealthy businessman and art dealer who is the personification of everything the elegant high-life the city has to offer. "Come to Miami! Fall in love!" he says. Reynolds' character, Robert, acts as the narrator and guide through the romantic escapades of those in his orbit. The story unfolds and follows three relationships as they sail through the highs and lows of the biggest international art fair in Miami. The couples (re-) discover their true passions and inspirations, their relationships to the monetary aspect of art, and possibly find love in the process. By the end of the art show, not all the twosomes are comprised of the original couples after being swept away by the Latin flair of Miami.

"'Miami Love Affair' materializes with a double meeting: A growing love for the city and an actual love affair promising a new beginning while threatening our characters' existing relationships," said Kinnard.
With gorgeous Miami beaches, cityscapes, and the Everglades, the film is visually enticing, and the city becomes another character in the story, seducing the couples who are all at important junctures in their relationships.

Couple #1: When Lucia, a talented artist from Latin America, meets Benedict, an arrogant German artist, sparks of disagreement fly immediately, although they have to share an exhibition.

Couple #2: Victor, an aspiring writer, travels to Miami with his girlfriend Anna, assistant to Robert, a wealthy art dealer. Anna is more in love with money and her job than Victor, so he begins to spend time with the adventurous free-spirit Nina.

Couple #3: Theo, Nina's boyfriend, paid for his first exhibition in Miami and is trying to 'make it big'. With the help of a 'PR Master' he successfully woos an attractive, rich older lady, owner of a Hotel chain, to commission hundreds of paintings. However, nothing is ever as easy as it seems: the cougar expects sex in return.
Miami is a paradisiac city to live in, with sunny weather, great international cuisine, an active nightlife, and a world-class growing art scene. Art Basel, the biggest art fair in the Western World attracting millions of visitors every December, was one of the inspirations for the script. 

About the Art in "Miami Love Affair"
For added authenticity, the production partnered with up and coming Miami artists who, in real life, are exhibiting in the galleries of Miami's hip Wynwood arts district.

Danilo Gonzales, an awarded artist originally from the Dominican Republic settled in Wynwood during its early days of gentrification. He lent his diverse art to two characters in the film: The art with 'black lines' to match Benedict's rigid German personality and the dreamier oceanscapes to go with Theo's naiveté. 

Venezuelan artist Gustavo Fernandez lent his colorful art to the character of Lucia. He valiantly blends fine color with the application of relief and textures. This offers the viewer an attractive, positive and sometimes tri-dimensional visual experience - there could not have been a better fit with Lucia's expressive personality.

Alfredo Borjas, a young Venezuelan artist, custom painted the white painting requested by the Alpersteins.

About CoCo
'Miami Love Affair' is the second feature film of writer/director Ralph Kinnard following Venezuelan/British feature 'A Mi Me Gusta' (2008) for which he has won best director at multiple international festivals. During just two years of partnering with producer Julian Fernau the duo realized their joint vision on creating 'Miami Love Affair'.
About Ginger Knight Entertainment
Building on their managing partners' reputation and success from prior Award-winning films, Producing-partners Lance Paul and April Kennedy's projects "A Walk with Grace" "Crepitus" and "Divine Appointment" are all at different stages of Global distribution. They are now stepping into the Comedy arena with "Miami Love Story" starring Burt Reynolds. Lance and Ginger Knight have always prided themselves on nurturing great relationships with distribution that has allowed them to build great working relationships with presold projects.


     Trailer is Now Online

"Miami Love Affair" online:

Kathleen Turner, Andrew Davis and More to Celebrate Michael Kutza July 14 (Chicago, IL.)


Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Bruce Rauner to Serve as Honorary Chairs of “Celebrating Michael” on July 14, 2018
Cinema/Chicago’s summer gala, honoring Michael Kutza’s extraordinary 55-year career leading the Chicago International Film Festival, is bringing together a remarkable assemblage of VIP guests from the film industry as well as key figures from Illinois. The event, “Celebrating Michael,” will be Saturday, July 14 at Loews Hotel Chicago beginning at 6 p.m. and will include the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Kutza.
Serving as Honorary Chairs are Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Bruce Rauner. The event chairs are Chaz Ebert, Candace Jordan and Maria Pappas. The list of film luminaries scheduled to attend and pay tribute to Kutza include Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actress Kathleen Turner (“Peggy Sue Got Married,” “Prizzi’s Honor”), director Andrew Davis (“The Fugitive”) and producer Paula Wagner (“Mission Impossible I-III,” “Marshall,” “Shattered Glass”). Other past Festival guests and honorees are expected to join in the tribute, either in person or via a special video message, including Geraldine Chaplin, Michael Douglas, Taylor Hackford, Helen Mirren, Martin Scorsese, Liv Ullmann and Robert Zemeckis. Producing the event are Donna LaPietra and Bill Kurtis.
Earlier this year, Kutza, Founder and CEO of Cinema/Chicago, announced that he will be retiring from his role at the end of 2018.
“We are pulling out all of the stops to make this the most spectacular Cinema/Chicago gala ever,” said Gala co-chair Candace Jordan. “No one has been more influential in bringing such a dizzying array of exceptional films and cinematic talent to Chicago than Michael Kutza. Those of us in Chicago, and his countless friends in the film community, are coming together to honor him for his tireless determination of more than a half century of working to bring the most interesting voices in cinema to Chicago.”
Any movie-lover will be excited to see the exclusive items available as part of the Gala auction.  To date, the list of movie memorabilia includes an autographed Black Panther movie poster, an autographed Special Edition Star Wars poster (only 25 were produced) and a signed poster from The Godfather. Other auction items include a guitar signed by Tom Petty, a luxury package for a trip to Naples, Florida including hotel accommodations, dinner and sunset cruise on a private yacht and much more.
Kutza founded the Chicago International Film Festival at age 22 in 1964 with silent screen star Colleen Moore; the Festival made its debut at the Carnegie Theatre at Rush and Oak Streets on November 9, 1965. Kutza served as Artistic Director through 2017, holding that title longer than any other film festival artistic director, at which time he passed the baton to Mimi Plauché and Kutza was promoted to CEO.
Over the course of his 55-year career, Kutza was responsible for supporting the early careers of directors who have gone on to be regarded as some of the film industry’s most acclaimed figures, including Martin Scorsese, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Krzysztof Zanussi, Claude Lelouch, Wim Wenders, Margarethe von Trotta, Tsai Ming-liang, Mike Leigh, Michael Moore, Oliver Stone, John Carpenter, Joe Swanberg and Taylor Hackford, among many others. He also continuously programmed cutting-edge films from across the globe to draw attention to previously untold stories and undiscovered new talent. Under his leadership, a who’s who of the film industry’s elite has attended the Festival and its special events, including Harold Lloyd, Bette Davis, Jack Lemmon, Vincente Minnelli, Sophia Loren, Jack Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine, François Truffaut, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, Liv Ullmann, Jodie Foster, Halle Berry, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, Sidney Poitier, Helen Mirren, Jane Fonda, Chadwick Boseman, Vanessa Redgrave, and many more.
“The Governing Board of Directors will be forever grateful to Michael Kutza for his tireless passion, vision, optimism, and service for more than 50 years,” said Executive Board Member Byron Pollock. “Michael has had a tremendous impact on the film industry world-wide as well as on the cultural vibrancy of Chicago. His love for film has touched countless individuals who acquired an appreciation for the cinematic art form and a broader worldview thanks to their attendance at the Chicago International Film Festival. We look forward to saluting him at the Gala on July 14 and to helping to make this year’s Festival a crowning achievement.”
Kutza has been awarded countless honors over the course of his storied career, including being named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, awarded by French Minister of Culture Jacques Lang, at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984. He also received the Silver Lion Award from the 32nd Venice International Film Festival, awarded for organizing a special section devoted to U.S. independent filmmakers. He received the Chicago Sun-Times award for "Exceptional Contribution to Chicago.” In 2010, Chicago Magazine included Kutza on their list of “Top 40 Chicago Visionaries.” In 2012, he received the Sydney Pollack Award from the American Cinematheque, honoring a person “who has been of critical importance and continuing influence in non-profit film exhibition, film preservation and/or independent film distribution.” In June 2015, Kutza was named a Chevalier de la Legion of d'Honneur by the President of the French Republic for his achievements as "an internationally recognized graphic designer, filmmaker and the Founder of the Chicago International Film Festival." And, in 2017, Kutza received the Onorificenza di Cavalierato, the highest honor awarded to a person in the arts, from the President of the Italian Republic.
Following Kutza’s retirement, he will become Emeritus CEO. Cinema/Chicago will continue to operate with Vivian Teng as Managing Director and Mimi Plauché as Artistic Director. No replacement has been named to succeed Kutza. Thee 54th Chicago International Film Festival will be presented October 10-21, 2018.
Tickets for “Celebrating Michael” start at $500 and tables of 10 start at $5,000.  Reservations can be made by visiting or by calling 312.683.0121 x108.
About Cinema/Chicago
Cinema/Chicago, the presenting organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, is a year-round nonprofit arts and education organization dedicated to fostering better communication between people of diverse cultures through the art of film and the moving image. Cinema/Chicago's programs include the Chicago International Film Festival, International Screenings Program, Chicago International Television Festival, CineYouth Festival, and year-round Education Program. Celebrating its 54th edition October 10-21, 2018, the Chicago International Film Festival is North America's longest-running competitive film festival. For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, and Twitter.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hilton | Asmus Contemporary >> Blue Ring Celebration and Fundraiser for Ocean Conservation, June 29 from 7:30-10:30pm (Chicago, IL.)


Celebrate your commitment to our oceans

You are cordially invited to the 
inaugural ocean celebration and fundraiser

Friday  *  June 29, 2018


Hilton | Asmus Contemporary
716 N. Wells, Chicago

$50 per person

Business or cocktail attire

Hors d'oeuvres by Boutique Bites 
Cupcakes by Swirlz Cupcakes

We at Hilton | Asmus are committed to making a difference in the world by supporting artists, poets, entrepreneurs, visionaries and organizations that are doing the work to make our planet a safer and healthier pace to live.  Whether it is bringing awareness about issues affecting our environment, human rights or animal rights, we are there! 
On Friday, June 29th, we are excited to host a fundraiser in our gallery to help a
dynamic, young millennial to kick off the first year of her not-for-profit called Blue Ring.  Alex Rose is not only an entrepreneur, but also the Science Editor for Ocean Geographic Magazine, a professional violinist, a fellow member of the Explorer's Club and a Master Diver with over 700 dives under her belt!  She is the quintessential AQUANAUT!

Alex created Blue Ring to offset the damage that we, the inhabitants of our planet, have inadvertently caused. I recently interviewed Alex for our video series on WomanScape and learned a great deal about what we are doing to our oceans and life on earth. click here to read more
For more information: call 312.852.8200 or
716 N. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60654
tel: 312.852.8200