Dwight Casimere

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Wine of the Week Brunello Di Montalcino

The palatial Gold Ballroom of Chicago's historic Drake Hotel was the setting for Benvenuto Brunello, the first tasting of the 2013 Brunellos for 2018.

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Dianne Reeves at Jazz at Lincoln Center

Despite an enthusiastic sellout audience in JALCs acoustically challenged Rose Theatre, Dianne Reeve's highly anticipated Valentine's Weekend concert amounted to nothing more than a truncated exercise in lackluster vocalese. Backed by a stellar roster of musicians, including pianist and Music Director Peter Martin, the sole standout of the evening, the esteemed bassist and heir-apoarent to the great Ray Brown, Reginald Veal, drummer Terreon Gully, who was allowed little more than time keeping duties and Brazilian acoustic guitar master Romero Lubambo, the entire program lacked focus and Reeve's customary energy. Save for "The Twelfth of Never" and perhaps one other tune, there was a marked paucity of love songs for what had been billed as a Valentine's Weekend concert, Even a tepid rendition of Richard Roger's musical anthem "My Funny Valentine" would have been more welcome than Reeve's meaningless vocal meanderings, Wayne Shorter's jazz classic "Infant Eyes" should have been stricken from the program entirely as it maintained intonation problems throughout and was devoid of any real momentum. Perhaps the announcement that the evening's performance would proceed without intermission should have been a warning as Reeves seemed to falter at times and struggle to gain solid vocal footing in the barely one hour prrformance.

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2018 Chicago Auto Show Feb. 10-19 is 110th Edition

The nation's oldest and largest auto show, the Chicago Auto Show, is now underway at McCormick Place now through Feb. 19. Featuring a healthy list of debuts, concept cars and high-performance vehicles, the show has a dazzling array of debuts that will fit every need and desire. This year's cars do everything but drive themselves, with innovations in performance and handling.  There are even opportunities to experience the thrill of performance driving with indoor tracks featuring the Camry Thrill Ride and Camp Jeep indoor performance track. Ironically, this 110th edition of the show mirrors the main attraction of the very first show held at the old Chicago Coliseum back in 1901 with the aforementioned performance track as the centerpiece of what was then a 10 car display. This this year hundreds of vehicles are on display, spanning McCormick Place's massive North and South Halls.

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Wine of the Week Day Owl Rose - $15

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. It's a perfect opportunity to select a wine that perfectly complements a romantic evening.

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Wine of the Week: Chateau Prierre – Lichine Margaux – 2015 -$48

The Union Des Grand Crus De Bordeaux presented a spectacular collection of wines from this French capital of winemaking during a national tour that included Chicago, New York, Denver and San Francisco.

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Wine of the Week: Yarden Galilee Gewurztraminer 2016 - $16

From Israel's Golan Heights in the northernmost region known as the best wine-growing area in the country, comes this beautifully crafted white wine that is perfect for drinking for all occasions and with a wide variety of foods.

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Wine of the Week: Bervini 1955 Rose Extra Dry 2017 - $18.99

Bervini 1955 Rose Extra Dry 2017 ($18.99) is one of the best tasting and most complex and elegant sparkling Rose wines you could imaging.

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The Shape of Water Nominated for Six Golden Globes

Director Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim, Pan's Labyrinth) has struck genre-laden gold with his latest film, The Shape of Water, currently in theaters, which was nominated for a Golden Globe in seven categories. The film was presented as the Closing Night Presentation in the 2017 Chicago International Film Festival, with Red Orchid Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre alum, Joseph Jefferson Award winner and Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon, who plays the film's government issue bad guy, in attendance. Nominated for both Best Motion Picture Drama and Best Screenplay (Guillermo del Torro, Vanessa Taylor), the film is also nominated for Best Original Score (Alexandre Despla)t, Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), Best Supporting Actor (Richard Jenkins), Best Actress (Sally Hawkins), and Best Director (Guillermo del Toro). The film is a genre cross-breed, somewhere between the horror suspence of Creature From The Black Lagoon and the romance of Beauty and the Beast. There's even a small song and dance number thrown in to lighten things up with a campy feel. The story takes place in a drab Baltimore government laboratory during the Cold War. A human-like sea monster is transported from the Amazon rain forest and kept in a tank. The creator is subjected to all varieties of inhumane torture and probing, not the least of which is a cattle prod (evoking the Bull Connor antics of Civil Rights era), wielded liberally by the square headed lab supervisor Richard Strickland (played by Shannon). Richard Jenkiins plays the gay neighbor Giles who, along with Zelda, the lab assistant, played by Octavia Spencer, form a circle of sympathy with lab assistant Elisa (Sally Hawkins), who bonds with the creature and eventually falls in love with it.

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Wine of the Week: Murrieta’s Well Dry Rose 2016

Step into 2018 with a new wine attitude! Try a brilliantly elegant Dry Rose from Murrieta's Well from California's Livermore Valley.

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One of the world's oldest alcoholic beverages takes a dramatic new form in the New Year of 2018. HEAVENSAKE, the first Franco-Japanese sake brand of its kind will come to the US. This innovative marriage combines the Champagne making expertise of Regis Camus, one of the grand masters of France's world famous Champagne region, with the art of sake as practiced by the House of Dassai in Japan. 

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