Caught at the Underground

Super fan? Sure, I guess I am a super fan of very few things or people in the world and one of them being Duran Duran, since I was about 12 years old to be exact.

What kind of luck do I have? Not so good, really. If you know me, you understand this statement. So when I got the opportunity to meet one of my favorite people since I was a kid, lead singer, Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran last night, I thought I was going to DIE. No seriously, I thought I would seriously die from shock.

Lori, Jae, Billy Dec, me, and Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran at the Underground Nightclub

Friends at the Underground Nightclub with Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran
Photos courtesy of Jae Miller

Last night, my friends Lori, Jae and I went out to hang at the new Paris Club for a bit to unwind. Afterwards we wanted to dance, so we decided to go to the Underground nightclub.  

It took just a little bit of organizing and texting to get reservations but it was just a short walk from our original spot and once there, we were received at Underground, along with the red carpet treatment.

Early on, I find out that Duran Duran was due to show up for an after concert cocktail and dancing after their House of Blues concert performance which was right down the street. I was excited but not really counting on them showing at all. That’s usually my luck.

So when Simon Le Bon arrived with the club’s owner, Billy Dec, I reverted into a hyperventilating 12 year old super fan, all over again. But privately at our table, of course!!

After some prodding from my friends, I finally got the nerve to go over and say “Hello” to Simon and ask if we (my friends and I) would be able to take a picture with him and he did oblige. I walked away in a daze and burst into tears as we arrived back to our table. It was terrible, I know!! And NO, I wasn’t intoxicated. I think I was so taken back that I had finally been able to meet this person, in person, and at such a close and personal proximity that I was overwhelmed. (And more importantly, no one saw my quick burst and recovery, so it was fine.)

After about an hour I couldn’t help but use my last ounce of nerve to return to the mega star and ask for one more photograph before I’d promise myself to stay away and not act like the complete fool that I actually am for the band.

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Simon Le Bon and I at the Underground Nightclub
Photo courtesy of Jae Miller

When I asked him and he agreed but all I could say was, “since I was 12…I’ve loved you all since I was 12…” I had no charm, no ability to speak, nothing. Simon noticed but he was so nice that he grabbed my hand kissed the top of it like a true gentleman, hugged me tight and posed for the picture. It took all my strength inside me not to burst into tears again but I restrained myself, regained my composure, thanked him kindly, and then walked back to my table. I was thrilled and immediately began texting my best friend and counter-Duran-a-maniac (at 2 a.m.) about what had just happened.

My life (for that night) was complete. At that moment, I was content with everything in the world. It was pure happiness.

Who would think that after 20 years of being a mega fan of a person that I would just bump into them at a random place or even a place as cool as the Underground?! Really?!  Not in my lifetime I never have such luck. But today, yes, in my lifetime, it really had happened!!

It just goes to show, you never know what can happen or where. My life is GRAND!!! I can only hope to have another day like it again, soon!! 

Special Thanks to Jae, Lori, Billy Dec, Ahmed Braimah. Arturo Gomez and the very charming Simon Le Bon (and Duran Duran) for making my night the best night EVER!!!

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Ricky Martin Brings Nueva Vida a Chicago

Chains, whips, leashes a little bit of tasteful S&M…and freedom. Ricky Martin
made it more than clear, tonight more than ever, that he’s free from
any shame or bounds that may have had him gagged prior to his huge
announcement last year. 

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Ricky
Martin performs at Allstate Arena – Photo by Andrew A. Nelles, Special
to Chicago Tribune- Copyright 2011, All rights reserved- used with
permission.

Ricky’s new album “MAS” (Musica + Alma + Sexo) dropped and of course this year’s first tour of the same name, in almost 4 years was on!! He was in Chicago!!

Ricky
brought his new life, his famous pelvic thrusting dance moves, along
with a stage full of dancers, and a 10 piece band to the Allstate Arena
for a reunion full of fun and pride.

Opening with “Sera Sera”, wearing his famous leather pants and vest, Ricky proved he still has his positive energy and sheer appreciation and love for what he does. He also made it known he was back and he is a changed man as he leapt off the three story high structure where his motorcycle helmet wearing dancers caught him at the bottom. He immediately moved to “Livin’ La Vida Loca”, “Shake Your Bon Bon”, “Loaded” and “She Bangs”. When he belted out “Vuelve”, he gave me chills.

It was a message, a new beginning. It was a leap of trust between Ricky and his fans, that adore him, that no matter what, he was back!! From that point on, every moment was filled with energy, pride, happiness and dancing!!

Ricky displayed two separate videos between sets where one of his fabulous back up dancers, and again later one of his talented rock guitarist, were able to tell their individual stories of struggle. Not just anti-gay struggles but also anti-racist messages were delivered.

Ricky demonstrated how much he cares about all struggles, health, child welfare and of course his homeland, Puerto Rico. He shared his passion to help people who struggle by delivering his through through his music. He shows the ability to be a voice for all he cares for and uses it through his music.

During another between set video, different than the first, he showed off his yoga moves and bared his soul. Concentrating, meditating, chanting and expressing his new found power, being himself. It was a complete tease. It was a magnificent piece and an opening to the real man. 

The intro to “La Bomba” brought the audience his love for his homeland, Puerto Rico. Huge pictures of la isla were on the jumbo screens showing off the beautiful paradise. They were shown to entice the audience and lure them (like a tourism promotion) as the place to be “if you’re sick of the rain and cold”. Fans were ecstatic and I was tempted to leave immediately! 
 
After a compilation of ballads, more visions of his beautiful island, the show was more high energy then I could have ever expected. The brass section took center stage again and ended with “Lola, Lola” which wrapped the show up.

Ricky didn’t take long to come back for his encore sporting a t-shirt that said Tu You=Me Yo and finally announcing to his standing ovation before his final goodnight, “I don’t want more rights, I just want the same rights for everyone!”

Te amo Kikito!! Come back to Chicago soon!!

Photos courtesy of Javier Enriquez – tojavierenriquez@yahoo.com

Photos also by Andrew A. Nelles, Special to Chicago Tribune Company, Used with permission, All Rights Reserved.

Juanes ROCKS Chicago

Juanes is sensual and sexy without hips flying all over the place or a stage full of dancers  and I was totally taken by surprise by this. Juanes is a Columbian born, 15 Grammy award winning Latin performer superstar and he brought his passion and incredible voice to his beloved fans in Chicago, at the Rosemont Theater.

I’m a huge Juanes fan and have been for years but I’ve never seen him perform live before this night so my first impression of this man since he has so much to say through his music, he had multiple guitarists and more percussionists on the stage than I’d ever seen before, a magnificent band supporting him and lots of adoring fans singing along to his hits, was that I was won over if I wasn’t a super fan before.

Juanes’ energy and love was apparent in how he performed for about 2500 adoring fans that night and it was top notch. He performed hits from his newest release, “P.A.R.C.E” along with some classic favorites. He did great job spreading his message of political, emotional and sentiments of love through his personal views and his music. He also never failed to bring his true alt rock and roll roots to the surface for his fans to enjoy.  

Although the house was not completely sold out, true Juanes fans showed their love for the Latin performer with standing ovations. Juanes opened the show with “Yerbatero” and while his band was incredible and kept up with the rock star, the roaring audience seemed to enjoy the entire performance.

Juanes also included many classics that of course, have the rhythms of Columbia. Those were the sounds that filled the theater for the rest of the night. He also covered Joe Arroyo’s “La Noche” beautifully and included hits such as “Odio Por Amor”, “Regalito“, “La Camisa Negra” and (one of my recent favorites) “A Dios le pido“. Juanes closed the night with “Me Enamora” but added a few more songs, just for his real fans, for the encore.

It was great to finally see Juanes live and I can’t wait until he returns with more love and messages through his music.

Photos courtesy of Javier Enriquez – tojavierenriquez@yahoo.com

 

 

Elda de La Rosa Premiers Spring/Summer 2011 Collection

Class, elegance and talent are a few of the things that run through my mind every time I arrive at an Elda de La Rosa fashion show. I’ve known the couture designer for over 2 years and I’ve been to many of her shows. She never fails to entice, intrigue or surprise me along with her growing fans and followers. I don’t admit to many but I do have a great adoration for Elda’s class, elegance, talent and let’s not forget, her style.

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Elda de La Rosa Spring Summer 2011 Photo courtesy of Dean Paul

Elda premiered her Spring/Summer 2011 collection at the Allerton Tip Top Tap Ballroom, on Michigan Avenue, in nothing less than high fashion fare. She presented a cocktail reception for her fans some including; Borris Powell, Cece and Melinda, Shaun Raja, Benjamin Cottrell, Marco Foster, Horacio Nieto Jr., just to name a few, family, as well as many friends and admirers.

Elda’s fashion forward shows are always equip with the ever beautiful local models and of course goregous guest such as Chicago’s Style Icon, Candace Jordan, ABC 7’s Diana Palomar and WCIU’s Jeanne Sparrow. Even junior models have a place in Elda’s show.  Madison Terry, Paige Fishman and flower girls Laila Almonaci, Araiana Zuniga and Makenzie Capers brought their best to the catwalk especially for Elda to show off the junior collection.

The fashions from beginning to end were no less than amazing. Elda always pushes the fashion forward button with high class style along with innovative new looks for each of her lines. She has said since I met her, “I make clothes for the real woman’s body.” That which is totally true. Elda’s Spring/Summer 2011 is no different with lots of blooming spring colors, plunging backs, with some held together with lace accents, tea and knee length dresses, formal wear and the junior collection. Also some silk pieces with lace pieces to die for and lots of pleated and layered gowns for the ‘real woman’s body’, Elda keeps it real and all her own. She never disappoints her fans and true fashion followers. Hair and make-up were no exception and adorned by Genacelli Salon, of Lincoln Park.

Plus size pieces were showcased in bold beautiful colors, along with new art deco pieces that looked fresh and new for the season. Bridal party floor length gowns and more pleated pieces were also incorporated along with bride favorites from Elda’s past collections.
Jewelry was designed and exhibited along with the collections courtesy of Sophia Forero Jewels. Sophia was on had before and after the show to talk about her jewelry designs in and out of the show as well as how she came up with some of the striking pieces. Big stones and crystals were a plenty on the trinkets and lots of bold colors to help pull the pieces together. Some had matching earrings and bracelets but all for sale after the fashion show along with some of Elda’s sample fashions.

Elda De La Rosa’s Evening of Glamour was a hit for all involved and the fashionistas in the audience. It was the first time since I’ve begun attending shows to pick up my very first fashion show momento (ok, a coat) from any collection. I couldn’t help it. It was a great coat and at a great price!! I am now the proud owner of my first Elda De La Rosa piece but I’m sure it won’t be the last. In this growing city of fashion icons I should learn now to leave my credit card at home!

BRAVO ELDA!!! BRAVO!! 

Photos courtesy of the always great Dean Paul
deanapaul@mac.com

and the ever talented Steve Starrssstarrlight@gmail.com