Chicago, My Kind of Town

Sweet Home Chicago

Sweet Home Chicago, filled with stunning views, architecture, character, and history

White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle threw a no hitter.

White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle throws a no hitter on 7/23/09. The whole state was amped up!

It felt like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, only better.  My colleagues and I enjoyed 5 days of business and pleasure in the windy city.

We experienced everything from a double decker bus tour of all the downtown landmarks (where Ferris had everybody Twisting and Shouting) to singing Karaoke at Harry Caray’s. I played Whirly Ball and Lazer Tag for the first time and finally got to have some deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s. (Even though Lou’s was delicious, Oakland Pizza in my hometown of Jersey, is still my favorite.)

On the business side, we had the opportunity to improve our performance skills at the famous Second City improv theater on day one, then to hone our CEO skill set from a former Burger King Corporation executive on day 2, and then to stimulate our creativity in an Apprentice competition for the finale.

Chris Farley, Bill Murray, Mike Meyers and John Belushi trained at SC

Alumni- Chris Farley, Bill Murray, Mike Meyers & John Belushi

Second City trainers, Robyn and Colleen. Watch out Tina Fey!

Second City trainers, Robyn and Colleen. Watch out Tina Fey!

I competed with and against 35 other entertainment-based entrepreneurs from all over the country to produce a Black and White themed dinner party at the Chicago Hilton.

We had 8 hours to brainstorm, hit the phones, work our butts off and bring our vision to reality.  The idea was to stimulate and challenge our logistical prowess, leadership qualities, teamwork  capabilities  and delegation techniques.   I’m delighted to report that the local event experts who came in that evening to judge the two teams, chose our over-all production as the winning effort.

My teammates included professional event producers and entertainers from Arizona, Miami, New York, Connecticut, Nashville, Los Angeles, Washington and Boston.   Everybody rolled up their sleeves, handled the intense pressure and made it happen.

Black & Whitle table design and decor

Black & Whitle table design and decor

Spandex screens and live shadow dancers

Spandex screens and live shadow dancers

Jamming with Chicao's Finest, New Groove

Post victory jam with Chicago’s ‘New Groove’ band

Our concepts that came to life included an 11 piece band/dj combo, live shadow dancers, a Michael Jackson impersonator, plasma tv’s playing vintage black and white film footage, casual yet elegant table settings, a modern yet relaxed decor, and a group sing-a-long to the classic music video, Ebony and Ivory.

The judges were impressed and my team was pleased with my contribution,  I couldn’t ask for more than that.   It was a very rewarding way to end a great week.

Special thanks to my good friend and teammate from Miami, Jeffrey Greene, for sharing his photos for this entry.

PS – I didn’t want to take all the credit for being a good luck charm, but Mark Buehrle just happened to throw his no-hitter when I was in town.  🙂

Encore Gallery:

Our Micahel Jackson impersonator Alex, was a winning touch

Mr. Trump telling the competiton, "You're Fired!"

L.E.D feature bar with custom b&w footage on 3 plasmas






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