Did Someone Say Ribs?!

Ribs, Ribs and more RIBS!!! That’s what I lived for Saturday at Moonshine’s 3rd Annual Rib-A-Que Smokeout in Wicker Park. It was one of the best food fests I’ve been to in a long time.

3rd Annual Rib-A-Que at Moonshine in Wicker Park

It was a beautiful afternoon in the Chi and I was starving so there was no better reason than that alone to accept an invitation from my MGO Salon friends to get to eating, promptly at 1 p.m. that day.

I headed over to the fest with a few friends, famished. We jumped right in to eat and judge so we were told our mission was for the day. We chowed down on ribs, coleslaw, corn on the cob and pablano mac n cheese all day! We ate from the time we arrived, noting on the scorecard for each on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best). I gave most a 3, a 4 for some as the food was extremely satisfying. I did give a only 1 a 5 and I’m not saying to who but just know that I loved the fest in itself.

It was a blast to be the “food critic” for the afternoon. It had me saying things like “this was too tangy” or “too dry” or “yummmmm, this one is falling off the bone”.  We were experts for the day and way to full for words once we left to go sort of sleep it off on my girlfriend’s salon sofa– quite comfy too by the way!

Some participating competitors included Socca, Smoke Daddy, Fizz, Top Shelf BBQ, Moonshine, Honkie Tonk BBQ, run by Dad, Willie which was also co-managed by the son and daughter team, Willie and Tillie Wagner along with a host of others that were provided a satisfying, delectable delight.

The declared “winner” for the day was Socca. A great triumph I’m sure. For me, all the participants were winners! It was a great environment, great food and awesome music in a perfect setting. What other way is there to out summer without a ribfest in Wicker Park?!


Mark Anthony and Ana Gabriel coming to the Chi!!

Marc Anthony’s first release since 2004, “Iconos”, will be set LIVE at the Allstate Arena, Friday October 2, 2010, announced Cardenas Marketing Network earlier this summer and I can’t WAIT!!


Marc Anthony along with Ana Gabriel to perform en Chicago!!

Marc has set out on the road, since September, to capture audiences with his the ballad Spanish album produced by Anthony and Julio Reyes. The playlist includes Marc’s rendition of original classics by legendary artists such as Juan Gabriel, Jose Luis Perales, Jose Jose and Roberto Carlos. Ana Gabriel will open the show so this will be 2 AWESOME performances that shouldn’t be missed.

I honestly can’t wait Marc, a 5-time Grammy Award winner, to come to my town!! I’ve never seen him or Ana perform live so this will be one show I can’t be missed!



Tickets are still available by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or online at http://www.ticketmaster.com. For more info, please call 312-492-6424.





Maestro Paul Freeman Passes the Baton

Chicago Sinfonietta Founder and Maestro Paul Freeman will retire as the conductor of the Chicago Sinfonietta, after 24 years at the post, at the end of the 2010-2011 season was the official announcement made by the Sinfonietta earlier this summer.

His successor was named as Mei-Ann Chen only after a more than a 2 year search once Maestro Freeman decided it was time to retire. Maestra Chen will be the first Music Director ever to succeed Maestro Freeman.

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Carmen C. Rivera, Maestro Paul Freeman and incoming Maestra Mei-Ann Chen

Photo by Zondra Hughes

I have adored Maestro Freeman’s performances for many years. I actually started going to the Sinfonietta, as well as other performances at the CSO shortly after my (now 15 year old) son began to play the violin at school when he was 8 years old. It has been a wonderful musical journey for the both of us and we have always looked forward to the Sinfonietta’s program, year after year.

I must admit, I was really unsure of how I felt about the whole thing when I arrived at the luncheon held for the retirement of the Maestro. As soon as I arrived to greet him, I gave him a hug and expressed to him how much I loved his work. He smiled proudly and as always, with his charm and graciousness, he assured me that we were in good hands. He has always been such an important figure in the industry and I was worried about what would be next.

The Maestro in true gentlemanly fashion made sure to introduce me to his successor, Maestra Mei-Ann Chen. I spoke with her briefly, explained my love for the Sinfonietta’s program as well as my adoration for Maestro Friedman. She was a very kind woman and clearly has her own love and dedication for the art. I’m certain after hearing her speak at the luncheon about her journeys and triumphs throughout her career; the Maestro has left us in truly capable hands.

I am not entirely won over just yet but will admit that I am pleased that the Chicago Sinfonietta’s executive board was careful to choose a person with the true passion that Maestro Freeman has created for the Sinfonietta… AND, Executive Director noted that Maestro Freeman would still be around to consult for a bit longer.

Maestro Freeman is a pioneering figure who has led the way for minority musicians and conductors but for the art itself and the true variety of guest conductors from all walks of life. I’ve never seen anything like it and I frequent performances at the CSO throughout all the seasons.

After dozens of performances and special guest conductors, my son is still in love with playing the violin. I’m grateful to the organization as a whole for that feat. It’s not easy keeping inner-city youth interested in such arts so I do hope the Sinfonietta continues to move in the direction it was created to move for– the right for any child, no matter what background, to be able to fill a seat at the CSO or any other orchestra hall in the world.

I, as well as many other fans of Maestro Freeman, will miss him dearly at the helm at Orchestra Hall. I wish him the best on his retirement and also welcome Maestra Mei-Ann Chen to our gorgeous city and all the culture and diversity it has to offer at Orchestra Hall. 

MoRokkin Wicker Park

Punk rock fashion is back with a PASSION!!!

MGO sisters, Michelle and Melissa Gomez of MGO Fashion Salon and Moonshine Restaurant teamed up and co-produced what was to be a no less than chic fashion show in the perfectly suited neighborhood, Wicker Park. The show was set to help support D.E.Y learning center for inner-city high school students of Chicago.

MoRokkin Fashion Fest

2nd Annual MoRokkin Fashion Fest Photo courtesy of Joseph Pape

A sidewalk sale took place during the shows, throughout the day, as tables of jewelry, fall fashions and beauty products lined the area that boarders Moonshine Restaurant. It was an impressive sight to be seen as all walks of life perused the fashion fares as afternoon and nighttime fashion shows took place to show off exclusive designers for the event. I personally scored some very fashionable jewelry from the MGO sale and was happy as can be with my new fall accessories!!

Showcasing their new designs were designers: Hector-Javier, Aniko- Boriss Powell-Paoo, Wanda Cobar, Steven Papageorge and MGO Fashion Salon. Hosts for the shows included meteorologist, Nelly Carreno, NBC5 Reporter, Natalie Martinez and Fashion Express producer/host, Aleah Burks-Patterson.

Music blared as DJ Karma set the show atmosphere. Lots of ruffles flowed and smooth garments of vibrant colors complimented the models while each one pounded the catwalk in the designs. I anxiously waited what would show next and had a chance to create a list of what I’ll need to completely round my fall wardrobe this season. Swim wear was also included in one of the collections so if any lucky show goers were on their way to the Caribbean for the upcoming season, they’d be well in style!

Rokk Vodka sponsored the event, as well as provided tasty vodka lemonades and a host of other fine drinks to accompany the delish appetizers that Moonshine supplied for all to snack on throughout the day. I had an excellent Margarita Pizza with my beverage and it was excellent! YUMMERS!! I was full and in fashion! It was a fun time.

It was a great day and night to be out in the summer and what a great event to hang out at all day. I can’t wait for next year’s show to see what some of these and hopefully new and emerging designers come up with. It was a truly adrenaline fun-filled show!

Photos courtesy of:

Dean Paul of Smart Chic Media; www.deanpaulcreative.com


Joseph Pape – www.midnite-fashion.com  j.a.pape@mac.com