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Dwight Casimere

Stories by Dwight

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Wine of the Week: Villa Sandi ll Fresco Proscecco - $15

TREVISO, ITALY--Prosecco, once considered the stepchild of Champagne, has truly come into its own. It is the sparkling beverage of choice among millennials and is now the widest selling sparkling wine in the world. This golden gift from northeastern Italy, is fueled by the shifting tastes of wine lovers and gastronomes alike. Spicier, lighter international cuisines with lighter staples, such as seafood, various rices and pastas and an ever-widening array of produce and charcuterie has increased demand for the light, refreshing taste of Prosecco. Who would have thought that kale would become as common on the plate as iceberg lettuce once was, or that dishes such as sautéed squid linguine with black ink sauce would become as ordinary as Fettuccine Alfredo.

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Wine of the Week: Old and new barrel aging techniques combined to create California Zin blend

1000 Story California Blend 2015/2016 Zinfandel Bourbon Barrel Aged-$19

In the early days of California wine, vintners employed used Bourbon barrels in their winemaking. French oak was nearly unheard of and American oak, well, that was used strictly for making whiskey. Enter the modern day of California winemaking and men such as Mike Grgich and Robert Mondavi, who happily employed French winemaking techniques and expensive French oak barrels in their winemaking, to achieve stunning results. They created wines so magnificent that California wine was put on the map at the Paris winemaking competition in 1974. And the rest, as thy say, is history.

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Wine of the Week: The Trip to Bountiful – HALL Winery Napa Valley

St. Helena, NAPA Valley, Ca. - Thursday, September 13 is a landmark day in Chicago wine history. That is when Kathryn Hall, owner of HALL Family Winery will visit the Windy City to host a tasting event of her new releases. The kathryn Hall Release Party will be held at the W Hotel, City Center, 172 W. Adams in downtown Chicago from 7 to 9:30pm.In addition, Katherine Hall herself will be leading a pre-event vertical tasting of her signature Cabernet Sauvignon. Tickets to the public are available on Eventbrite. The esteemed wine critic Robert Parker has recently singled out HALL’s wines as among the best that the Napa Valley has to offer. He referenced the wine in recent reviews as reflecting "the Art of Cabernet Sauvignon" winemaking. A personal visit to the HALL Winery tasting room along Highway 29 in the heart of the Napa Valley only confirmed that high praise.

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Serena Williams Breezes Past Venus

Flushing, NY--If Serena William's victory over her sister in last week's match at the US Open, she is well on her way to her 10th straight US Open quarterfinal. That fact was confirmed by her defeat of Estonian Kaia Kanepi on Sunday. Kanji knocked over No.1 seed Simona Halep in the first round. She will next face Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, who was the last player to beat her at the U.S. Open in the semifinals in 2016. What was expected to be a Battle Royale turned out to be nothing more than a tepid tennis clinic, in which Serena showed off her superlative serve toss and ability rack up multiple aces. The only hint at drama was a turned ankle after the first set, that seemed to do little to dampen her capabilities. Venus rocketed the occasional shot past Serena to just inside the baseline, just to let her know she's still the big sister.

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Wine of the Week: Raimat Family Vineyards Rosada Rose 2017 – Organic wine from Spain $16.

One of the great bargains of the season is Raimat Family Vineyards Rosada Rose 2017. It's a dry organic wine from Spain that sells for only $16.80 a bottle. The wine is a light-bodied blend of two red grapes that have been crushed with only minimal skin contact to create a delightfully delicate pink color. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% native Tempranillo is the blend and with a relatively low 12% alcohol content, it has achieved that perfect balance of fresh fruit flavor; think ripe raspberries and hints of lime and tangerine notes that give it just the right amount of tingle on the palate. This is a great wine for summer salads and seafood.

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Wine of the Week-4 Anna De Codorniu Brut Rose-$16.97

The name Codorniu is legendary in the realm of Spanish Cavas, which is their version of Champagne. Codorniu is Spain's oldest and largest producer and the wines, produced in the authentic Methode Traditoonalle, are among the finest. So comes the appealingly packaged Anna De Codorniu Brut Rose, moderately priced at $16.97. This delightful pink sparkler is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay.

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Wine of the Week: Department 66 Fragile Rose 2017 - $18

From the historic wine growing region of Maury, France, nestled high in the Pyrenees-Orientales Mountains, an area known as France's Department number 66, comes Fragile Rose 2017 ($18). Maury is a village that is legendary for its legacy of growing grapes. Locals drink a succulent bright salmon-pink colored wine made with a blend of old vine grenache, syrah, mouvedre and carignan, all rustic old grape varieties that are native to the region. The rich, multi colored soils of black schist and red clay angle on steep hillsides revealing striking shades of black, gray and Orange. That, combined with the region's warm climates and blustery winds, makes for one of the most compelling wine producing regions in all of Southern France.

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Final Day Newport Jazz Festival

Artemis, the all-female musical ensemble led by brilliant pianist and composer Renee Rosnes featured Melissa Aldana on Saxophone, Anat Cohen, clarinet and reeds, Noriko Ueda, Bass, Ingrid Jensen, trumpet and Allison Miller on explosive percussion electrified the Newport Jazz Festival's final day. The icing on this all-female celebratory cake was a vocally superlative Cecile McLorin Salvant, who proved with her artful phrasing and towering jazz vocal improvisations, that the human voice is just as potent a musical instrument as any of those assembled onstage. The group's collective effort on Monk's Brilliant Corners, set the tone for the performance under blazingly beautiful summer skies, with the ambiance of boats in the harbor serving as the backdrop to a delightfully swaying capacity crowd. Savant, looking slim and lovely in a simple white summer linen dress, laid claim to her own musical legacy, with a tribute to Billie Holiday, singing Fine and Mellow, a simile that can easily be applied to Ms. Salvant. Artemis similarly gave musical flight with takes on the Beatles (Fool On The Hill) and an appropriately innovative take on Stevie Wonder's If It's Magic, creating a musical alchemy all their own.

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Day Two 2018 Newport Jazz Festival-Stars, Fans Battle Inclement Weather

The 2018 Newport Jazz Festival's second day of stormy weather did little to dampen audience enthusiasm or the talents of the brilliant performers on multiple stages at the festival on the isle of Fort Adams. Pat Methany returned to perform the next day on the main Fort Stage in driving rain, yet he delivered an electrifying set that rivaled the hurricane level wind and rain with his intensity. Vocalist and saxophonist Grace Kelly kept things moving swimmingly (pardon the pun) in the shelter of the Quad stage, paying musical tribute to festival Artistic Director Christian McBride in a stunning display of vocalize and launching into her own uniquely refreshing brand of jazz fusion which she proclaimed was inspired by a film on female superheroes. Musically, she can claim the same encomium for herself.

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Wine of the Week: Zonin Cuvee 1821 Prosecco D.O.C. $31.97

Zonin Cuvee 1821 Prosecco DOC is the benchmark for great Prosecco. This is one of the highest rated Italian sparkling wines that I've written about this year, and one glass tells you why. It has all of the hallmarks; a delightful pale straw color, persistent pearlage (that steady stream of tiny white bubbles that ascends from the bottom of the glass) a nice foam, and a creamy feel in the mouth with flavors of lemon and lime peel and a hint of peach stones and a just a little bit of mineral taste to give it some backbone.

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Part One of Three-2018 Newport Jazz Festival Honors established Legends and Rising Stars

Like a painter digging deep into his palette of oils and water colors, newly-appointed Artistic Director Christian McBride extracted a 2018 Newport Jazz Festival program that showcased the full depth and breadth of the musical genre in a kaleidoscope of colors. Legendary lions bellowed from the caverns of time; the guitar great Pat Metheny on Opening Night at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, site of the original festival in 1954, and Charles Lloyd, celebrating his 80th birthday in a trio of settings, and rising stars such as teen wunderkind Matthew Whitaker and the scintillating baritone Jose James streamed across the Newport Bay sky like so many multi-colored musical fireworks. This was no artifice, but the referencing of a skilled hand presenting a weekend calendar of artists designed to please both the seasoned aficionado and the jazz neophyte alike.

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2018 Newport Jazz Festival Opening Night; Jose James Honors Bill Withers

OPENING NIGHT 2018 NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL AN ECLECTIC MIX

At Opening Night of the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival, the esteemed young baritone Jose James appeared inexplicably in a retro getup reminiscent of either Jimi Hendrix or Prince. The unfathomable wardrobe reference appeared to have little to do with the subject of his concert, a musical tribute to composer and singing artist Bill Withers. It was particularly baffling since through his entire career as a performer, Withers eschewed any trappings of the popular recording industry. In fact, his memorable, quietly soulful hits (Grandma's Hands, Hello, Like Before, among many) were, by design the very antithesis of the commercial pop/funk/soul that dominated the music scene at the height of his career.

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Wine of the Week – Dry Creek Sonoma Old Vines Zinfandel 2015-$28.98

A bold, beautiful wine, full of rich red fruit flavors of blackberries, dark plums, dried oregano, and cracked pepper with hints of dark unsweetened cocoa on the finish, this is the perfect wine to go with a well-aged Cowboy Rib Eye steak, right off the grill or a slab of Baby Back Ribs in a dark molasses sauce. The wine has a dark ruby-red color that is appealing.

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Wine of the Week -9Lives Reserve 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, San Pedro - $12.95

Argentina is quickly gaining recognition as one of the most important wine growing regions in the world. Its historic development and cultivation of Europe's most recognized and prized grapes and its nurturing of its own indigenous varieties has only increased its appeal. Add to that the country's ideal growing conditions, from high elevation vineyards in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, to valleys in the shadow of Mount Aconcagua. Some vineyards are planted at some of the highest altitudes in the world. Malbec is the country's most important planting, followed by Cabernet, Tempranillo and Chardonnay. Coming up close behind is Sauvignon Blanc. Increased demand and appreciation for white wine varietals has boosted the world's appreciation for this white grape. With its bright lemon and citrus flavors and hints of herbs, like tarragon, oregano and thyme, the grape and its resulting wines have subtle complexity that makes it ideal for spicy foods, fusion dishes and international cuisine so popular among millennials. Everyone is looking for versatility and Sauvignon Blanc delivers on all counts.

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110th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac marred by bad weather, man lost at sea

Choppy seas and sloppy weather conditions marred the start of the Chicago Yacht Club 110th Race to Mackinac, considered the nation's premiere yachting event. Further, a man lost at sea following a report of a man overboard, on the race boat, Imedi, in the Turbo section, considered the largest and fastest of the 306 boats in the race, resulted in 39 boats returning to the Chicago Yacht Club, ending their race participation. The missing sailor has been identified as 53 year old Jon Santarelli of Lincoln Park.

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GAUGUIN: VOYAGE TO TAHITI, JULY 20 IN LIMITED ENGAGEMENT AT GENE SISKEL FILM CENTER CHICAGO

Edouard Deluc's exquisite film Gauguin: Journey to Tahiti is in limited engagement beginning Friday July 20 at The Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago's Loop. A fictionalized account of the tortured genius's phenomenal life, the film recounts his eschewing of the life of 1890s Bourgeois Paris and its contrasting Bohemian culture, Abandoning his wife and five children in Paris, he ventures to Tahiti. Vincent Cassel, with his deep set eyes and craggy face of lines dug in like the wood block etchings Gauguin created to depict his magical new world, gives life and breath to the artist's angst and brief moments of exquisite joy . Deluc's deft directing and sweeping panoramic lens captures the all -encompassing glory of this strange new world of Tahiti and its mystical mountains, hills, and valleys. Tuhei Adam's is luminous as the artist's common law wife Tehura.

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Stacy Keach is Ernest Hemingway in Goodman Theatre’s Pamplona

The esteemed television, stage and film giant Stacy Keach's onstage transformation into that giant of the literary world, Ernest Hemingway, in Goodman Theatre's World Premiere production of Jim McGrath's play Pamplona, directed by Goodman Artistic Director Robert Falls, is a miracle to behold. Originally scheduled for last spring's season, Keach had to bow out following 11 preview performances after suffering an onstage seizure on opening night. Those who attended this season's opening were richly rewarded for their wait, for Keach delivered a performance of monumental proportion. The play takes place with Keach pacing the confines of a rundown hotel room in Pamploina Spain like a caged animal, in a set crafted with creative genius by Set Designer Kevin Depinet. Faced with a looming deadline to write a magazine article on a duel between two famous bullfighters, Hemingway is facing the twin demons of writer's block and deep personal depression. Just a few years on the heels of winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, the famous writer finds himself at a dead end. Fighting desperately to get past the opening line of his article, writing and re-writing the words until they almost become a mantra to failure. The bullfight becomes a metaphor to Hemingway's deepening dilemma.

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Wine of the Week – 9 lives Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, San Pedro - $12.95

This wine has the nine lives of a cat! Direct from Chile's Central Valley comes 9 Lives Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, San Pedro 2016 at a phenomenal price of $12.95. Extreme versatility is its signature feature with bold fruit flavors of ripe berries, Black Figs and hints of vanilla and baking spices from careful oak aging.

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Wine of the Week – Antonelli Montefalco Sagrantino 2012 -$40

Treat yourself this summer to one of the truly great wines of Montefalco, made exclusively from Sagrantino grapes, Antonelli Montefalco Sagrantino 2012-$40. This is a powerful wine with rich, complex flavors of wild berries and aromatic herbs with hints of mint and oregano and a surprising splash of tart citrus. The complexity and structure along with persistent tannins make it perfect for steak or ribs done on the grill, game meat, like venison or wild boar, roast pig, or a fatty grilled fish like grouper or salmon and, of course, a board of well-aged cheeses. One of my favorite summertime dishes on the grill is skewered steak cubes made with ti-tip or top sirloin alternated with cubes of onion and alternating slices of red and green pepper. Brush with an oregano and balsamic glaze when it’s right off the grill for added flavor. Serve with a side of Orzo tossed with light olive oil, Basil and Fontina cheese.

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Wine of the Week – Perticaia Montefalco Rosso D.O.C. 2014 $24.00

Summer is here and the most likely gathering place is at the backyard grill or on the patio's outdoor kitchen. Popping corks of chilled bubbly or sparkling rose are typically the order of the day, but I'd like to share a little secret with you. A lightly chilled glass of red wine from Italy's least recognized regional star, Umbria, is the perfect pairing with grilled meats. Umbria has lived in the shadow of its more famous regional neighbor, Tuscany, for many decades, but thanks to the dedication of local producers, such as Arnaldo Caprai, Umbria and its sub-region, Montefalco, in particular, are quickly gaining in both stature and popularity.

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Wine of the Week – 1000 Stories Gold Rush Red 2016 - $19.99

Share the big, bold spirit of the California Gold Rush in this seasonal wine that is just for summer. 100 Stories Gold Rush Red 2016 is under $20 (listed at $19.99-it's also been selling online for as low as $15.99), the wine is made from grapes selected from the finest hill and valley vineyards of the Golden State, blended and then aged in new and old Bourbon Barrels to give a unique, robust flavor to a wine that is already bursting with big jammy flavors of ripe fruit, candied dark cherries, cinnamon sticks and hints of ripe peppercorns. Get the grill smoking with copious amounts of Applewood or pecan wood and toss a marinated skirt steak over the coals for just a couple of minutes on each side while you savor the first sips of this expressive wine that summons up all the courage and boldness of the California Gold Rush. Fajitas with all the fixin's is my first choice for a meal, but buy an extra bottle for sippin' with some flavorful cheese like Humboldt Fog or Danish Blue or a nice chunk of Stilton.

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Goodman Theatre: Father Comes Home From The Wars

Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Park's Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2, and 3) clocks in at a whopping 3 hours and 15 minutes (including two 10-15 minute intermissions), but audiences will find themselves preening their ears to hear every word, with unwavering attention. The play tells the story of Hero, a Texas slave during the time of the Civil War (played with resounding conviction by Chicago theatrical favorite Kamal Angelo Bolden (Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Victory Gardens, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), who is faced with a dilemma; join his master as his servant during the Confederate army with the (alleged) promise of freedom, or stay behind as a slave on the plantation. Not much is said in the history books about the role of slaves who served on the side of the Confederacy, but it is a fact that many were brought into the war by slave holders, some as man servants to their masters and others who fought willingly and vigorously, many with promise of freedom once the war was over.

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Goodman Theatre-Having Our Say through June 2

Goodman Theatre veteran Resident Director Chuck Smith's revival of Emily Mann's Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years, is the triumph of the Chicago theatrical season. The play, starring Ella Joyce (Goodman's Jeff Award-winning Crumbs from the Table of Joy) as Bessie. and Marie Thomas (Broadway's Don't Bother Me I Can't Cope, TVs L.A.Law, Amen, Knots Landing) as Sadie, is an historical time-travelogue, narrated by the two sisters who speak to the audience from a magical set by 30 year Goodman veteran Set Designer Linda Buchanan. It recreates the living room and kitchen of the Delaney's Mount Vernon, N.Y. home. The back story of how they managed to purchase the home in 1957 in the then-segregated lily-white suburb is one of the play's many narrational gems. Goodman's veteran Costume Designer Birgit Rattenborg Wise also deserves praise for her spot-on designs as does the creative work of Lighting Designer John Culbert and Sound Designer Ray Nardelli. The artful use of historic photographs projected on screens above and around the stage, by Projection Designer Mike Tutaj, further enhances and advances the story-telling.

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In Praise of Greek Wine-Greek Wine Producers In U.S. Tour with New summer Wines

For Greece to be one of the oldest wine producing regions in the world and the first to introduce wine and winemaking to most of Europe, it is mind-boggling how little today's wine drinking public is familiar with wines from that country. Perhaps the popularity of Retsina, a saccharin-sweet wine that became the national beverage of Greece in the 1960s, cemented the perceptions of Greek wines in the public mind. It has been an uphill effort ever since to reshape the image of Greek wines as being those of unique character and exceptional quality. Greek wines have their own distinct flavor profile and are made from indigenous grapes with names unfamiliar to most wine lovers; Assyrtiko, Roditis, Malagousia, Debina, Moschofilero, Robola, Savatiano, Lagorthi to name but a few of the hundreds of locally grown grape varieties that comprise the universe of Greek Wine. Currently, several groups of winemakers from all of t he Greek wine growing regions are touring the United States, conducting tastings at venues in all of the major cities, introducing their latest vintages. The wines are exciting. Their unique flavors are perfect for today's ever-changing culinary scene with its emphasis on ethnic and fusion cuisines and current trends for lighter and more flavor inhanced fare, which incorporates a kaleidoscope of new flavors from the Mediterranean and beyond.

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MOUNTAIN, NARRATED BY WILLEM DAFOE, OPENS EVERYWHERE IN THEATRES

MOUNTAIN, the sweeping cinematic and musical journey among the world's highest peaks, opens this weekend in theaters everywhere and is available on all video platforms. Narrated by three-time Academy Award winning actor Willem Dafoe and directed by British Academy Award (BAFTA) nominated director Jennifer Peedom, renowned for her documentaries SHERPA, MIRACLE ON EVEREST, LIVING THE END and SOLO, it also features a musical "narration" scored and played by the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Showing in IMAX and other large screen formats in a number of theaters, MOUNTAIN is a complete sensory immersion in the world of big-league mountain climbing. Large screen format is the most-recommended form of viewing for this particular film. The film had its North American Premiere at the Australian International Screen Forum in New York City.

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Wine of the Week – Arnaldo Caprai Montefalco Rosso 2015-$25

Bordering on Tuscany and right above Rome is the lesser-known and lesser-traveled region of Umbria. It’s Italy's best kept secret and its been hiding all along in plain sight! Home to some of the country’s most delightful, yet undervalued wines, the region is starting to get some respect thanks to its flagship grape Sagrantino.

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Wine of the Week – Chateau Belingard Rouge 2015 - $9

Love Bordeaux wine but not the price? Let me be among the first to introduce you to the wines of Southwest France, deemed the Wine Region of the Year by Wine Enthusiast.

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Goodman: “Until The Flood” lays bare the soul of Ferguson and the nation - now

Dale Orlandersmmith's Until The Flood, playing in the intimate Owen Theatre at Goodman Theatre now though May 12 is exactly what the Greeks had in mind when they invented theater.

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Tribeca Film Festival 2018-Momentum Generation Wins 2nd Place Audience Award Documentary

MOMENTUM GENERATION CHRONICLES THE RISE OF SURFING FROM A DANGEROUS HOBBY TO A WORLD CLASS EVENT

From an Executive Producing team led by Robert Redford comes one of the best sports movies in a generation, Momentum Generation, which is screening in the final days of the 17th edition of the Tribeca Film Festival. The film tells the story of a rag-tag group of surfing enthusiasts from some of the unlikeliest coastal backwaters and socio-economically starved communities and some of the unlikeliest places (try Chicago) to spawn an interest in the then-unlikely sport of surfing. Their various backgrounds were all but ideal. In fact, most of them grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. More than one of the subjects might well have spent a lifetime of dodging the law or in jail, were it not for the love of surfing. Surfing is probably one of the most dangerous endeavors you can engage in, but it has spawned a following of cult-like enthusiasts around the world. All that's needed to participate is a wooden surf board, not much bigger than an ironing board, and a steel-willed daring to brave the elements and possible death at the hands of an unforgiving sea. Using archival footage, much of it shot by the participants themselves, the film traces the rise of the sport from a mere personal interest into the big moneyed international phenomenon it has become today, complete with sponsorship, corporate endorsements and big money.

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Tribeca Film Festival 2018-Blue Note Records: Beyond The Notes-World Premiere/Feature Documentary

The history of American Jazz, social movements and evolving cultural landscapes are inextricably twined in the carefully constructed Feature Documentary Blue Note Records; Beyond the Notes by Director Sophie Huber. The film had its World Premiere screening at Tribeca Film Festival with a post performance by Common and some of the movie's principals Robert Glasper, Kendrick Scott and Derrick Hodge at Spring Street Studios. Blue Note Records was born in the maelstrom of the Holocaust. Founders Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff fled their native Berlin as German-Jewish refugees and arrived in New York. The two had already developed an early interest in jazz and set about recording the stride piano and early jazz artists such as Sidney Bechet, Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis. That trend continued for a while until Blue Note musician, and Alfred Lion's confident Ike Quebec took Lion on a trip up to Harlem in 1947 to meet a young pianist named Thelonius Monk. His music was like nothing heard before. It was unorthodox, to say the least, but with a captivating and haunting power to enthrall the listener. It was indefinable, yet it inspired other musicians to reach for their creative heights. Interview subject Robert Glasper describes Monk as "the first Hip Hop pianist" in the film. His words are prescient as we will later see the socio-musical thread that would later spawn the burgeoning form in Blue Note's later years.

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Tribeca Film Festival-The Gospel According to Andre-New York Premiere

VOGUE MAGAZINE FASHION TITAN BATTLES RACISM, HOMOPHOBIC STEREOTYPES IN

Andre Leon Talley is a giant in the fashion industry, both literally and figuratively. Standing regally at some six feet, seven inches tall, he is best known for his flamboyant entrances at the Museum of Modern Arts annual costume ball and in numerous TV appearances as the long-time creative director of Vogue Magazine. Considered an arbiter of fashion and style and one of the industry's most ardent promoters of African American designesr and a proponent of designers including more Black models on the runaway, little is known about his humble beginnings. The superb documentary, The Gospel According to Andre, directed by Kate Novack, who with her husband, fellow-director Andrew Rossi, was nominated for a 2012 Emmy for their work on the documentary Page One: Inside The New York Times, unfolds the story of Andre Leon Talley from his humble beginnings in Jim Crow Durham, North Carolina, to the fast-paced trend-setting world of New York's fashion scene. The grandson of a sharecropper who was influenced by his fastidious grandmother, Bennie Francis Davis, who worked as a domestic, his earliest influences came from the pages of Vogue magazine, which he purchased religiously as a Sunday treat. As a teenager he would walk to the newsstand in the white part of town, the only one open on Sundays, and then spend hours poring over its pages with Talmudic fervor.

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17th Edition of Tribeca Film Festival Opens with Premiere of SNL's First and Most Famous Star

Tribeca Film Festival's 17th Edition could not have opened with a more appropriate film, the exuberant portrait of Emmy and Grammy-winning comedian Gilda Radner, Love, Gilda. Director Lisa D'Apolito, best known for Goodfellas (1990) and Gynotician (2013) carefully constructs a documentary tracing the brilliant performers' rise from a Jewish middle-class upbringing in boom-time Detroit to her destiny-changing matriculation in Toronto, where she failed to complete studies at the University, but found her real calling in the burgeoning comedy scene. Largely told in her own words from rediscovered audio tapes, diary excerpts and archival footage of comedy sketches, the film also includes the words of her collaborators from her earliest days in Toronto,where she cut her comedic teeth at Second City, to her ground-breaking days at Saturday Night Live.

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Wine of the Week: Miner Napa Valley Chardonnay Napa Valley 2016 - $32

Spring is finally here. It's time to welcome a wine that ushers in the season with style. Miner Napa Valley Chardonnay 2016 ($32) is a perfect example of everything you'd expect in a Napa Valley Chardonnay and more.

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Bright fruit and balanced acidity make it perfect for spring

Bursting with the flavors of spring; sweet cherries and luscious ripe strawberries, Anna de Codorniu Brut Rose ($12.95) is the perfect Spanish Cava to welcome spring. With its composition of mostly Pinto Noir (70%), with the rest Chardonnay (30%), the flavor balance is perfect.

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Wine of the Week: Harper Voit Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – Strandline - $36

Oregon's Willamette Valley, at 150 miles, is the longest valley in the Pacific Northwest region, and that state's largest wine producing region. Its rich alluvial soils, caused by Ice Age flooding, produce some of the most luscious grapes imaginable. Chief among them is the delicate Pinot Noir grape. Finicky and hard to grow in most environs, the grape is right at home here in the cool, mineral rich terroir of the Willamette Valley.

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Spring in NYC-Hotel Elysee/Il Gattopardo Restaurant

Spring is finally here! Its a terrific time to take a spontaneous weekend trip to the Big Apple to stroll its brownstone lined streets, enjoy a cup of cappuccino at a sidewalk cafe, spend a weekend at a lovely boutique hotel and dine in a fine continental restaurant. There are just as many blossoming trees to be viewed while meandering through many of the city's charming neighborhoods as there are in Georgetown. Contrary to stereotype, there are a number of quiet, cozy areas of the city ticked away along the side streets, where you can find a lovely English-styled hotel with complimentary buffet breakfast and a delightful complimentary evening cocktail with an intimate library and expansive views of the charming surroundings.

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Wine of the Week: Volcanic Wines Heat Up The Wine World

Volcanic Wines are heating up around the globe!

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Winnie Mandela dies in South Africa on heels of documentary Winnie release

The announcement that the "Mother of South Africa"--Winnie Mandela--has died at age 81 comes just weeks after her legacy was honored with the release of the Sundance Best Director Award winning documentary "Winnie" across the country.

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Winnie Mandela Dies in South Africa at 81 as new documentary Winnie is released

The announcement that the "Mother of South Africa." Winnie Mandela has died at 81 comes just weeks after her legacy was honored with the release of the Sundance Best Director Award winning documentary "Winnie" across the country. "The U.S. was given a very sanitized version of the transition of power to Nelson Mandela," French director Pascale Lamche said of the film, " and a rather confusing and conflicted portrait of Winnie Mandela, which either presented her as a saint or drug her down to the level of sinner in the days after the fall of apartheid," Instead, the film gives a rather complex and nuanced portrayal of the actual events that surrounded Nelson Mandela's incarceration, and the concurrent movement, led by Winnie Mandela, that kept her husband's memory, legacy and cause alive and which led to the firestorm that swept him into power. Her thanks was a humiliating public trial for sedition, which was played out in cringe-inducing detail in the film. Chief among those who betrayed her was her closest friend, Bishop Desmond Tutu, an act which elicited both tears and the subsequent ire of Winnie Mandela. The vicious attacks led by her enemies and the subterfuge of the ANC are all explored in depth in the film.

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Wine of the Week: Grgich Estate Posip - $23

One of Napa Valley's most famous winemakers, Mike Grgich, founder of Grgich Hills Estate and credited with creating the wine that won the Paris Competition in 1974, which put California wine on the map, has reached back to his cultural roots to create an outstanding portfolio of wines from Croatia. Not a great deal is known about Croatian wine, but the country has been producing wine for two thousand years, after grapes were introduced by the Phoenicians and Ancient Greeks. Located just across the Adriatic Sea from Italy on the Dalmatian Coast, the region has ideal climate and soil conditions for growing wine grapes. Much of the white wine is made from the native Posip grape or the dry Grasevina grape and reds from Malvasia of Piavac Mali.

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Wine of the Week: A Goldmine of Planet Bordeaux wines arrive

Bordeaux, France, the world capitol of fine wine, is one of the most progressive regions in the world in terms of its commitment to creating sustainable wines.

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Wine of the Week: Champagne Henriot: A powerful statement from an early woman winemaker

Vinexpo brought a host of new and old wine favorites including a selection of Champagne from the house of Henriot, which was founded by a woman. The House of Henriot was officially founded by Apoline Henriot in 1808.

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Wine of the Week: Frescobaldi Remole 2016 from Tuscany - $9.99

The recent Food Network South Beach Food and Wine Festival was a showcase for some of the world's greatest wines and an opportunity for members of the public to taste the newest wines to come to their favorite wine shop this spring and summer.

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Wine of the Week: Simply Italian Great Wines Americas Tour 2018

The much anticipated Simply Italian Great Wines Americas Tour 2018 descended on Downtown Miami's architecturally stunning Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts to present a symphony of wine aromas and flavors from Italy's great winemakers, who were on hand in person to pour their wines, and tastes from a collection of Miami's most outstanding Italian chefs and restaurants.

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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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