Tinseltown takes notice of Chicago

Chicago is tired of being used.

Sure, Hollywood loves to set projects in Chicago, which is understandable. They fall in love with the place. It’s not bad looking, after all, and our extreme weather certainly looks dramatic onscreen. They can’t resist our better-than-fiction brand of colorful corruption, our mob nicknames.

It seems to be the only city they can think of where “normal” people might live. We do not correct them on this.

Uncategorized

The business of being Bethenny Frankel

For the summer 2012 issue of Michigan Avenue magazine

By Paige Wiser

Bethenny Frankel has achieved the impossible: She gives reality TV a good name. The Bravo star conquered the cruelest medium by using it to publicize her brand and now is embarking on the next episode of her career with her first novel and her own talk show. All this, and she still has her dignity, too.

Being “real” is rare enough in reality television, but Bethenny combines her big-city brashness with an irresistible combination of approachability, humor, and resilience—the kind that you can only get in Chicago.

Uncategorized

The original power couple: The Lincolns

Chicago, which has long been the center of the universe, has its share of power couples. The Obamas. The Burkes. The Crowns. Mike and Molly, who may be fictional, but who have nonetheless conquered Monday nights for CBS.

They are all impressive. All to be toadied to.

But the top spot? The prom king and queen of Chicago?

Don’t even bother fixing the ballot box, because the titles are taken. Permanently.

Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln have never been hotter.

Uncategorized

Chicago in living color

For the March 2012 issue of Michigan Avenue magazine

By Paige Wiser

When Chicagoans are thinking about winter ending, there are two things we refuse to believe:

1.) There is technically a season called “spring” – yes, even here; and 2.) It’s time to give the black clothes a rest.

The weather itself is not likely to give you any clues, but the time has come to retire your stark noir winter wardrobe. Relegate them to storage, along with the “parking dibs” chairs that have been staking out your shoveled spot.

Uncategorized

Sweeping beauty: Profile of Jennifer Morrison

For the March 2012 issue of Michigan Avenue magazine

By Paige Wiser

Jennifer Morrison has been tasked with saving a magical town in Maine. But with a little luck, she just might end up saving network drama, too.

One fall TV season, not too long ago, there were not one but [ital]two[unital] new shows based on fairy tales unleashed on the public. The people did not rejoice. Fairy tale drama is a tough sell to the masses, long accustomed to watching youngsters screeching at British judges, and trophy wives clawing at each other’s fake eyelashes.

Uncategorized

Chicago’s dubious distinctions

For the February 2012 issue of Michigan Avenue magazine

 By Paige Wiser

It’s the start of a new year, traditionally the time to feel bad about ourselves and set impossible goals. As Chicagoans, it’s a time for us to pull together and ask some tough questions about our place in the universe. Questions like “Is this who we want to be?” “Are we doing our best?” And “Do we get extra credit for having the most comfortable footwear in the country?”

If I may answer for the rest of us: no; no; and for God’s sake, have some pride.

Uncategorized

Hair force: Profile of Mario Tricoci

For the February 2012 issue of Michigan Avenue magazine

By Paige Wiser

Mario Tricoci starts his days in a cashmere robe that makes him look like Obi Wan Kenobi – according to his grandsons, at least. He nibbles at a bowl of fruit, sips a double espresso, and swims 20 laps in the pool. Very civilized. Very European.

But there is one area of his life with no sense of order whatsoever: his hair. For a man who built his career on precision cuts and impeccable styling, his own coiffure is awfully chaotic. Mario uses some of his own hair product, of course, but makes no attempt to tame his mane. He scrunches his shock of white hair, and “then I let it be,” he says.

Uncategorized

Santa’s hit list, Chicago division

For the December/January 2012-13 issue of Michigan Avenue magazine

By Paige Wiser

During the holidays, we make all kinds of lists: wish lists, shopping lists, lists of all the people we’re taking off our Christmas card list because they never reciprocate. But the most important list is still the big one: Santa’s Naughty List. Unless he’s come up with some more high-tech method to rank the unworthy, he’s still making that scroll and checking it twice. The Chicago portion of the list probably looks a lot like this:

Uncategorized

Chicago’s most notorious all-nighters

For the November 2011 issue of Michigan Avenue magazine

By Paige Wiser

In his new memoir, Life Itself, Roger Ebert devotes a chapter to the legendary O’Rourke’s. It was a dive on North Avenue, a place where you could get sloppy drunk, but in a literary way. Ebert tells about one night that involved movie star Cliff Robertson, a bagpipe player, a Spanish Civil War veteran, a dominatrix named Jake, and a Chicago Sun-Times delivery truck.

That, my friends, is a party.

Uncategorized

An interview with Judy Greer

For the November 2011 issue of Michigan Avenue magazine

By Paige Wiser

Judy Greer was built for ’30s screwball comedy, with her enormous eyes, long limbs, and a melodic voice that sounds like it’s asking a question even when it isn’t.

But bit by bit, Greer has tried on just about every character role imaginable: as a nerd (“Jawbreaker”), a mean girl (also “Jawbreaker”), a suicidal file clerk (“What Women Want”), a nervous assistant (“The Wedding Planner”), a literary muse (“Adaptation”), and a member of the Jewish Justice League (“The Hebrew Hammer”). In just 12 years, she’s done around 80 projects in TV and film.

Uncategorized