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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Deltaz Close Out Their Week in Chicago at Moe's Tavern Tonight

Southern California roots band The Deltaz are enjoying their peaceful stay in Chicago this week, which ends tonight with a show at Moe's Tavern on Milwaukee. Yes, like TheSimpsons, but real. The guys in the band, brothers John and Ted Siegel, are happy with our Midwestern oasis in the middle of a long tour that has shown them the best and worst of America's quirks.

But their week in Chicago has been uneventful. They like it that way, especially when compared with the nightmare imagery they saw in New Orleans recently.

Ted tells it best. I don't need to get all literary an interjection-y with narration.

“We saw two guys get jumped in New Orleans, like, bloody. That was kind of strange. It was horrific. We were coming out of a gig in New Orleans. We'd heard about how New Orleans is kind of crime ridden with violence. We didn't think too much of it. You know, you can be kind of ignorant when you're in a new place. We were coming out of a show and all of a sudden these two big guys, big touristy looking guys, come running up to us and they were covered in blood. It looked unreal. They were like, 'Oh my God, we were just jumped and robbed. Someone call the police.' They were covered in blood. It was actually kind of a frightening experience.”

John, recognizing the robbers could still be around, made a sound decision.

We just hurried back to our car and left,” he says.

They were glad to put that night behind them to focus on the rest of their time on the road.

On one hand, John is excited for their upcoming western swing to the mountainous state of Colorado, but he's also a bit reticent because of its uniquely challenging geography.

I used to have asthma … You get out of breath really easily,” John, the percussionist and harmonica player, says about regulating his breathing at altitude.

He says he's mostly gotten over it through the constant cardiovascular exercise that comes with being behind a drum kit. He says it helps that the harmonica is an instrument that allows the player to breathe both in and out while playing it.

But it's not all challenges on tour. They did a float trip down a Tennessee river and fired their first guns in Texas with a tourmate's ex-Marine brother.

“He heard we're from California and we'd never shot a gun before,” Ted says.

“We didn't just shoot one gun,” John says.

“We shot a whole range of guns,” Ted says. “We did shotguns and rifles and hand guns and all that stuff.”

“We're not really proud of it, but you should shoot a gun once in your life,” John says.

These are peaceful brothers. They're more interested in playing their shows at their local bar, the Old Place, which has been immortalized in their bluegrassy ode, “This Old Place” and where they occasionally get to hang out with Neil Young's touring bassist, Rick Rosas, and talk about the legends of their chosen profession.

“There's two archetypal figures in our genre, that would be Hank Williams, Sr., and Robert Johnson,” Ted says. “You can draw so much from [them].”

They have learned much, from the detailed story songs of Williams to the swampy, pinky slide-assisted blues of Johnson. Their music sounds like it is written and recorded inside a bog, with no over-production to be found, pure bare bones.

“There's this really diluted pop music” currently dominating the country charts, Ted says, and he and his brother look to remedy that, because the tradition they see in country and blues music is stronger than the fleeting songs we hear now about how good girls look in blue jeans.

“It's the most distilled form, American blues music,” Ted says. “We go through all these parts of the South and we get to play with all these different musicians, and it makes me at least proud to be an American.”

So grab a beer at Moe's tonight to send these American troubadours off to their next destination.

Child of Light is now Available on the Playstation Vita!

Does a videogame constitute art? This is a debate that has crossed the videogame industry more than once in it's brief history as an outlet for entertainment; recent releases have began to have a more concrete answer for this question!

Child of Light is one of these recent titles, and with a focus on an art style that is inspired by the Golden Age of Illustration it can truly turn heads as a form of art unto itself. The story follows a young girl from late-19th century Austria(The story lends itself well to it's art style.) who contracts a physical illness that causes her to fall into a slumber, only to awake in a fantastical world that is at odds with a wicked queen whom the main character must confront in a grand quest.

The small team of Ubisoft Montreal responsible for the development of Child of Light used Ubisoft’s powerful "UbiArt Framework," a development engine that allows programmers and artists to work more closely together than they would in a more traditional development environment by allowing the direct insertion and manipulation of concept art. This method has allowed Child of Light to maintain as close a vision as possible to the original concept the artists had. Mix this with the variety of character dialogue, which also uses hand drawn concept art to portray, and you have what could be the very definition of an "Artistic videogame."

With it's art style the game also takes a unique approach to game play that few titles in the past have, it utilizes the classic run and jump platforming of retro-era games with the RPG-esque elements that are common in the Japanese market of videogames.

With a release on all major consoles, Windows, and now (as of this month) Playstation Vita, Child of Light looks as though it is attempting to propose a direct challenge to those outside the mainstream gamer community, and more to those who would likely tell you a videogame cannot be art!

If you would like to know more about Child of Light, you can check out the game's page on Ubisoft's website.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Using Street Art to Get Kids to Stay Hydrated

Children can be difficult creatures. They're little havoc machines. They yell, they're hyper, their hands are sticky with who knows what. And they spill. Boy, oh boy, do they spill. That liter of Coke you had on the table for the family party? It's now on the floor, pooling around the cat. Your glass of wine? A tossed plush bear takes care of that. It may have something to do with them consuming sugar at alarming rates.

It's not necessarily a good thing for them to do that, despite what every television commercial break might make you think. This is something WAT-AAH, a bottled water company based in New York, is acutely aware of.

WAT-AAH's founder and CEO, Rose Cameron, said her kids' unhealthy eating and drinking habits made her rethink her own choices. As someone who used to do advertising and marketing for places like Hershey's Chocolate, Cameron tried to think of positive ways to impact her kids' lives.

“They were consuming sodas, Fanta, Coke, Sprite, [so] I said, 'I'm going to have to figure out a way to convince them [to drink water],'” she says.

Therein, of course, lies the rub. How do you convince children to do anything? Getting them involved and making them feel like they have a stake in their choices helps, Cameron says.

“The foundation of WAT-AAH is always to make water cool and exciting to kids, because to them it's boring,” she says. “The original bottle designs were done by my kids, actually, the boy with the big mouth screaming, 'Drink WAT-AAH!'”

Cameron thought more was possible to make her kids think water was a good, cool idea.

“They wanted something that's not conventional, something that would break the rules, one that would grab kids' attention,” she says.

Three years after beginning the brand, Cameron took a walk with her kids around New York City, where they saw a mural done by street artist Kenny Scharf.

“[Her kids] said, 'Mommy, you gotta put that on your bottle to make it even cooler.'”

Around this time, Partnership for a Healthier America, whose chairperson is First Lady Michelle Obama, began a program called Drink Up, and contacted Cameron about working on it.

“I said to myself, once I got to know [the organization], 'This would be a great opportunity to bring in that idea that my son had,'” she says. “Why don't I invite all these street artists and see if they're into it as much as I am to incorporate their art and their creativity to develop an original piece that would be translated into a label for the bottles.”

She contacted Scharf, whose mural had captured her kids' attention.

“He right away loved the agenda, said, 'I'm in,'” she says.

Scharf's reputation in the New York street art scene garnered interest from 14 of his peers, and they partnered with Cameron on an art exhibit in New York this past February, featuring the original artwork that would soon be translated into WAT-AAH bottle labels.

“My promise to Drink Up and the First Lady is to take this national,” she says, and they have already started with exhibits in Washington D.C., and last weekend they were in Chicago showing artwork at Moonlight Studios.

Cameron says these exhibits, and the bottle labels they help produce, go a long way toward making children eager to drink water over sugary cans of diabetes.

“Once you see those bottles, young and old, you gravitate towards them, you want to hold them, you want to drink them,” she says. “My kids explained this, 'I can now relate to the bottle even more.'”

This should be music to the ears of the artists whose work made up the exhibit, like New Yorker Smurfo U Dirty, who had two pieces and also pulled double duty as the event's DJ.

“[The pieces are] from a series I'm doing right now, called Monsters of My Mind,” which is inspired by what his mother said when she saw the first pieces in the set. “I'm making a bunch of monsters, taking different styles of cartoons and basically making them into my own versions of my own monsters and characters of myself.”

His work is a cuddlier, abstract version of the Cartoon Network style for WAT-AAH, not the darker places one's imagination might go when hearing those words.

And they, like the rest of the exhibit, are bright. Dayglow yellows, oranges, and reds are placed opposite pastels, with a sense of athletic fluidity to every brushstroke. There's urgency and activity to what Smurfo and his Drink Up cohorts do, and that trickles down to the labels they create.

I respect the whole agenda and the whole movement that WAT-AAH is doing, I think it's actually working,” he says. “I see a lot of kids [and] I'm getting a lot of enthusiasm from adults my own age – I'm 25 – a lot of people are on board with this.”

But Cameron and exhibit artists like Smurfo didn't want to be seen as carpet baggers from afar, and they recognized Chicago's street art scene as nothing to sneeze at. Cameron contacted Chicago artist POSE about doing a pre-show experiment with “young, up-and-coming graffiti and street artists” on a mural at Racine and Lake to promote the event and the brand's hydration message.  They combined with the original 14 artists to have a burgeoning exhibit of 35.

POSE says he spent the time “ kind of mentoring them through the process” of making a street mural, which some of them had not done.

In a weird way it was more fulfilling doing it with them than just doing it myself,” he says.

As someone who's spent his whole life doing graffiti and street art, I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to showcase my work for a good cause,” he says, because he's a father of two daughters. “Being someone who didn't have a preset plan and I was able to find something, it's really fun to be able to help mentor kids who maybe are sort of a mirror image of what I was, to help them see their vision through.”

From POSE's experiences, it sounds like WAT-AAH's and Drink Up's plans are coming to fruition.

“I appreciate them being so invested,” he says.

For more photos of the event, check out Rob's personal blog, Defeating Boredom.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post said Ms. Cameron had a daughter with diabetes.  It was misheard in transcription.  We regret the mistake.

Seeing Spots Roundup

Hey Halfstackers! Design intern, Shaylee here. We have put together a round up of all things polka dotted! Polka dots are a great way to add some funk to any outfit. We have found some trendy ways to bring polka dots in to your every day looks. Throw on a cute polka dotted headband with a chic dress for any occasion. Try some polka dotted pants with a simple top, or a polka dotted pullover with some trendy cut off jean shorts. Want to bring some polka dots to work? Try this polka dotted blazer with a black pencil skirt or simple polka dotted dress.

Image Credit

Check out our polka dotted items from brands like Forever21 and NastyGal! 

Event Recap – Art & Film Phest at The HUB

Last week I was delighted to attend the first of its kind Art & Film Phest, put together by Damian Moran and Amanda DiCosola with Bartend Chicago, ERA Galleries and Synergy Productions. The aim of this event was to bring together creative minds to network and showcase their work.

It was held at The HUB, an industrial workspace re-purposed as an event space for the first time, which turned out great. The main events for the evening were a screening of the short film Kicking Rooster by Blue Jacket Films and a live performance by ZOO.

There was also amazing artwork and vintage jewelry on display. Artwork by ERA artists Max & TJ and jewelry by EmilyCity.

As a pre-event to Phish playing this weekend, this turned out really good. It brought the community together to enjoy free drinks, food, art, music & film.

Sally Cox
HSM Account Exec & Event Blogger

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Windycity Smokeout Recap

A couple of weekends ago Halfstack had the opportunity to check out the Windy City Smokeout. It was a great weekend of good music and amazing food. This summer festival was one of the hotspots to hit this season for BBQ and country music.

With locals like Elizabeth Lyons (CMT New Featured Artist) and big names like the Eli Young Band, it's not a surprise that the event was packed all weekend long. The lineup was coordinated in partnership with Ed Warm, partner of Bub City and owner of Joe's Bar on Weed Street.

A slew of interesting, unique and hungry people filled a once empty parking lot at the intersection of Grand and River in the loop not too far from the East Bank Club right along the Chicago River. The event was sponsored by: Coors Light, Jack Daniels, Rib Shack Red, Giesen, Joe's Bar, Pub City, Pitmaster Q3, Uber, Chicago Speedway, Lettuce Entertain You, Martins, Yelp, Red's, Redbull, Leinenkugels, Don, La Columbe and Empire Cooler Service. The event highlighted and featured some of the best pitmasters from Chicago and nationwide.

Of all the spots we experienced, one pitmaster stood out from the rest. Lee Ann Whippen is best known for appearing on "TLC's Pitmasters Series" and "Throwdown with Bobby Flay". Yet, she is also the Chef/Partner of Chicago Q - Chicago's very own modern, urban Barbecue experience. The team was pleasantly surprised to Lee Ann on site at the event and took the opportunity to speak with her about the process of prepping her top dishes showcased at the Smokeout.

The Halfstack team tried Q's smoked ribs with their house spicy BBQ sauce on the side along with their specialty corn salad. When it comes to ribs, typically the sauce is what carries the dish. Yet, when the Halfstacker team took a bite out of the fleshy smoked ribs, there was  a taste explosion. The meat itself was juicy, flavorful and not bland. The ribs carried their own and the sauce was just the cherry on top. When asked what she did to ensure the meat was so flavorful, she shared some insider tips. Rather than utilize gas, they only use charcoal or wood driven smokes. That is what truly helps to ensure their ribs have that special taste.

They also utilize a special cherry wood for their smokes and they always liberally apply their very own pig powder dry rub to the meat with the back membrane removed. The removal of the membrane allows the dry rub to permeate through the meat and the team uses a apple sauce spray periodically to help add the finishing crunch. This special attention to detail really ensured that the end product was genuinely tasty and cooked well.

What struck us most was the fact that Lee Ann was out there in the field doing her thing. As a successful chef,  she truly takes a hands on approach to her work. Rather than staying behind the scenes or running her business from afar, Lee Ann believes that it is important for her customers to see where their food is coming from and to be there to ensure they get only the highest quality product.

Overall, this was a great opportunity for BBQ enthusiasts and music lovers alike to enjoy a weekend out in the city. Event attendees even had the opportunity to enjoy a special meet, greet and tasting with pitmasters like Lee Ann to learn BBQ tips, tricks and secrets straight from some of the nation's most successful experts. This is one event we will be looking forward to for next year!

Storefront Sets Up Shop In Chicago

I have heard of renting a car, hotel room or even a roller rink by the day, but a Store front?  That's a new one!  Storefront is a pop-up retail company that makes it possible for companies to rent out retail space, short-term.  Originally based in San Francisco, Storefront made it's debut in Chicago last week at Lacuna Artists Loft - Reverie Gallery.  

On July 1st, Storefront had a soft opening at Jackson Junge Gallery, 1389 N Milwaukee ave, to officially announce their expansion to Chicago.  Chicagoans were invited to view a pop-up art exhibit while enjoying tasty cocktails and appetizers.  

Private Event Manager/Gallery Assistant, Lauren Brescia co-hosted the event.  

Halfstack:  How did the partnership between Jackson Junge Gallery and Storefront form for this event?

Lauren:  Storefront contacted the gallery in the beginning of June inquiring about event rental.  One of their employees who recently relocated from Chicago to San Francisco, had lived in Wicker Park for a few years and was familiar with our gallery.  She told the Storefront staff that our space would be perfect for their smaller “soft launch” event.  Following the initial inquiry, there was a series of phone calls and emails that both explained the concept behind their company and resulted in Jackson Junge Gallery becoming a member of the Storefront community.  We now have our own profile and event rental listing.
 HS:  How do you think the event turned out?

LB: The event acted as a marketing tool, not only for this new enterprise for Storefront, but for our gallery rentals.  We were really happy that Storefront selected our space for their Chicago “soft launch”, because it brought in a lot of industry contacts that we were able to network with during the event. 

HS: What are your thoughts on the movement Storefront is bringing to Chicago?

LB:  I for one, am tired of Chicago being referred to as the “Second City”.  Chicago is booming in many ways right now, and I think we should have every business venture/opportunity that other big cities like New York and L.A. have to offer.  I really like the concept behind Storefront, in that it gives people a database of unique retail, event, and gallery spaces that are available to rent whether it be for one night or one month.  I am a huge supporter of pop-up spaces, as I actually operated my own pop-up gallery in the loop for three months, a few years ago.  There are so many great vacant and under appreciated spaces in the city that could be put to good use, hopefully Storefront will be able to capitalize on that.  Most importantly, Storefront will be giving small/independent businesses another method of bringing in additional (and often much needed) revenue.

For more information on Storefront and venue rentals, visit www.thestorefront.com

Monday, July 21, 2014

Designer Styles for Under $50

Hey Halfstackers! Designer intern, Shaylee here. We have put together your designer style must haves for items under $50. This mac cremesheen lipstick is one of my favorites to wear during the summer when you have a nice tan glow. Simple gold bracelets to go with any outfit are very expensive but we have found one for a great price! Also check out some cute jean products. For men, these nike items and under armor are great deals along with these trendy, affordable sunglasses. Happy savings!

Image Credit

Check out our designer items for under $50, from brands like Marc Jacobs, Nike, Mac, Under Armour and more!
Mac lipstick, Marc Jacobs Bracelet, Dress, Jean Jacket, Jeans , Sunglasses, Nike Sweatshirt, Under Armour Shirt, Shorts, Nike Long Sleeve

Vlogger Review with Sabrina - Baby Soft Skin with Sofi & Liv

Baby Soft Skin

Tan lines, peeling skin and fear of wrinkles.  I know exactly how you feel, I am in the same boat.  No matter how many times you read it or how many times your mom tells you that tanning is a bad idea, some of us (me included) feels like they look better with a bit of a golden hue.  I am sure some of you realize through trial and error that moisterizing heavily to keep that tan from peeling is the key to a gorgeous even glow.  But for those of you I see walking around looking like your back is peeling like a python...you may want to pay attention!  

I am here to share with you an amazing secret.   I found a product that not only moisturizes beautifully but is great for keeping a gorgeous tan.  Sofi & Liv is a natural skin care product made for mom's and families but is AMAZING for really anyone!  I have been using this product nonstop since the summer season hit, and I may be purchasing the product again before the season ends.  I use the soap in the shower and then moisterize my entire body from head to toe with the lotion.  This year I am walking around with some pretty awkward tan lines and I have yet to have any peeling (even on my shoulders), which is unheard of for me.

The product line is split in two, one for moms and one for families.  I have the entire line of two soaps and two lotions, including the famous 'Natural Bottom and boo-boo balm'.  At first glance this product seems as if it is for rashes and the obvious boo-boos but I have been using it every night on my hands before I go to bed.  Holy Cow!!  Amazing!  

Smooth.  Soft.  Glowing skin.  Just what every girl wants.

The product is all natural, so it is great for sensitve skin and it doesn't have any weird strong perfume smells.  It is amazing for you whether you tan or not, and is without a doubt one of the best products I have used.  Plus, it is not tested on animals and it's created by a female...can't get much cooler than that!  

I have the link below.  Be sure to check out the site, and leave a comment below letting us know how you like the product!  

Sabrina Victoria

Friday, July 18, 2014

Things to do - Taking back the streets Art Exhibit and WAT-AAH!

You know how we roll here at Halfstack, we live by the the mantra of do good, feel good. So, when a a company in Chicago is doing good for the community, we can't help but shout it from the rooftops. That's where this Friday edition of Things to do begins.

If you like art, like helping kids stay healthy and love the great city of Chicago, then you must definitely check out the Taking Back the Streets Art Exhibit brought to you by WAT-AAH! One of America's fastest growing water companies geared towards kids and teens. So, what's the whole event about you ask?
Working in the support of the Parntnership for a Healther America's National "Drink Up" campaign, the traveling art show is here to encourage all of us Chicagoans - in particular youth - to drink more water! Who doesn't need water? I know I should be drinking more water - here is a great take on the benefits of drinking more water including taking 10 years off your face: The Daily Mail UK.

The exhibit will be a weekend-long gallery show at Moonlight Studio that is showcasing some amazing artwork by nationally recognized street artists. Yes, Graffiti friends, the kind of graffiti that is legal, inspirational and most effectively empowering and sure to leave you in awe. Friday, though, the event is catering towards the youth with kids workshops that will offer creative tips for aspiring artists! I wanna go and I am almost 30! If you have kids, this is a must hit event, even if you don't have kids it sounds like it is going to be one helluva party. Hey, Chicago's very own FLOTUS made it out to the New York opening. So, let's do her proud and pack this event this weekend.

Halfstack had the opportunity to speak with the founder of WAT-AAH, Rose Cameron, about her journey down this path and what her goals were for the company! When asked what makes WAT-AHH unique from other companies slinging bottled water she highlighted that the brand focuses on children. Both from a product standpoint, branding as well as the fact that there is NO sugar in her product at all. She is working hard to ensure that she can make water a better source for thirst quenching. Rather than soda, juice or other carbonated drinks, Rose has spent the last 6 years working hard to make water a viable option for kids. As someone who came from a family that suffered from diabetes and health conditions, Rose worried over the health of her own family and launched a business to find a solution. She has made it a point to find a way to make water more exciting and even cool to drink!

That's pretty bad-ass if you ask us. Now, take a minute, if you will to check out WAT-AAH while you chug down a liter of the clear stuff and then check out some great art tonight, will ya!? See, do good, feel good - WAT-AAH keep living by that mantra and we are sure you will continue to grow!

Learn more here.

Moonlight Studios
1446 W. Kinzie St.
Chicago Illinois 60642United States

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Event Recap - Healthful Happy Hour

This week Halfstack had the opportunity to visit The Goddes and Grocer during the Healthful Happy Hour organized by Chicago's own Sarah Baker of balancedbabe.com! Tasty bite sized plant based apps were sampled, great sangria was consumed and interesting people were met. The food was delectable and sourced from the team at FarmedHere and cooked by the talented chefs at The Goddess and Grocer.

The concept behind FarmedHere is such a great direction to see Chicago participating in! FarmedHere produce is grown indoors in urban facilities, away from the bugs, diseases, pesticides, and weather that impact most produce today. They utilize vertical growing technology and local distribution methods to reduce energy use, travel time and costs tremendously. Their business model is considered one of the most sustainable ways to guarantee access to fresh, healthy produce in city centers, in any season.

The FarmedHere website explains, "On average a head of lettuce travels 1,200 miles to reach your plate, our greens travel just across Chicago, which is why they’re the freshest. Indoor farming isn’t new, but recent advances in lighting technology and farming methods allows FarmedHere produce to be grown more efficiently than on outdoor farms, while creating local city jobs and making post-industrial buildings alive again." This is truly an amazing business doing amazing things for our community.

If you haven't had the opportunity to visit The Goddess and Grocer, we highly reccomend heading to Bucktown for an early bite to go! It's a deli meets artisanal grocery store that also offers catering. It's a triple whammy people. The food is on par, they offer local microbrews and the staff is attentive and so helpful! What more could you ask for in Chicago? They are the perfect go-to

I was lucky enough to get some time with the G&G Team and they shared some great information on the brand. It's exciting to see the direction the Goddess and Grocer is taking as they continue to support local sustainable businesses. As a brand, they truly believe in sustainability and supporting local. They always strive for ever-greener practices. They recycle, donate unused food to Zero Percent, and have started switching to green packaging.

Supporting local vendors and small businesses is something they've been about from the start. They have made it a point to stock local brands and help local businesses grow. They have taken on the opportunity to help the brands they stock develop. They were one of the first shops to stock brands like Vosges, Jenni's Ice Cream and brews from places like Revolution. It's a beautiful thing to see the relationships and support that has developed among these local businesses helping to raise one another up.

The evening was a great opportunity to see great people doing great things and feeding the city plant based food that was actually really good. Sarah Baker of Balancedbabe.com did what she does best - organized a great event to showcase the benefits of a plant based diet! She has some more events coming up this summer and fall, so be on the lookout! You can keep up with her on twitter and Facebook.

Make sure to check out our quick video recap of the night below and subscribe to our youtube channel for weekly videos on events, fashion, beauty, grooming and lifestyle! You can do so by clicking here!

**Photography by Dwight Bejec.**

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pattern Remix For Him & Her!

Hey Halfstackers! Designer intern Shaylee here. Summer is all about wearing fun, exciting patterns. Check out this roundup we have put together of the hottest patterned trends. Rompers are very in this some, especially floral patterned rompers along with floral tanks and dresses. They add some pop to any outfit on a hot summer day. Men, check out these funky patterned shorts and t-shirts! Don't be afraid of some patterns this summer!

Image Credit

Check out these patterns from brands like Forever21, NastyGal, and Nordstrom.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Want some SATISFACTION? His & Her Review of this Controversial new Show!

Last week, Half Stack was invited to attend the exclusive media premiere viewing party of the new scandalous show called Satisfaction by USA network. Half Stackers Thom and Stella attended in order to provide all our fab readers a his and her review of this show and the premiere event that is sure to shock some viewers (or the majority of them).


Seeing the rollout of “Satisfaction” for the USA network was exceedingly thought provoking on so many levels.  It blew my mind. Chicago is not as sexy as LA or New York, so the opportunity to see a new show that is working it hard to be sexy and thought provoking was a thrill. The evening was beautifully orchestrated and the venue was sexy with stunning views of the city overlooking Buckingham Fountain as the sun set. The place had a plethora of exceedingly HOT men in tight, Black T-shirts with “Satisfaction” stamped across their chest. Each greeted you at the door slinging cocktails and amazing hors d’oeuvres that were delightfully prepared for the evening. There was a performance piece of art behind the bar that was like a silk tent hiding bodies bumping and grinding like they were under a bed sheet. Models strode through the audience taking a quick IPad survey about relationships and sex with the results given in a very cool panel discussion. The panel was composed of 2 couple therapists, the show's producer and a moderator. The panel component was where the night shined!

The Panel: Photo courtesy of Jeff Schear/USA Network

Satisfaction” centers around a late thirty something (perhaps early 40ish) man and his wife. He is a stock trader/hedge fund manager and she is a housewife that has just recently taken a job staging real estate for sale.  Overworked, he has lost connection to his wife and missed out on much of his 16-year old daughter's growing up. Under pressure, he finally cracks, quits his job in a highly preposterous manner, finds his wife having an affair with a high priced gigolo and decided to become a call boy himself. I did mention he was a workaholic stock broker right? Personally, I don't know that many men who work 70 hours a week and can still have the bod to pull off being called a "$5000 a weekend” lay.  Maybe a couple of hundred after a couple of drinks but 5K really? But this is not the only place this show was dubious. To be blunt, I found so much of the show’s casting and script amazingly dubious if not sickening. While I can take for granted the show is exceedingly white while most of America is not; that the couple is in the upper 1% of American earners while the American middle class is shrinking, that they have a teenage daughter who isn't pining for a car or at least a driver's license and needs to still be chauffeured? Ok — can we have a reality check please? I found the back story full of holes big enough to drive a truck. Can a wife hire an expensive escort on a regular basis without her husband question the deduction in the checkbook (hello — he's a numbers guy).

Would a person dismiss a Full bright Scholarship Award (aka a full ride) and put their career on hold completely for 16 years because she got knocked up? Ask yourself this; how does a couple manage in the world today? I don't know any couple of 20 year olds where both don't contribute to the bottom line financially. The kid usually goes to daycare or a grand parent.  I found it really difficult to buy into the validity of their existence! It’s not to say that a couple can't pull apart because of lack of interest, time and understanding of the other person, but there has to be more reality to the show. The show felt like a fairy tale and I found it almost impossible to like the characters because they were so flat and two dimensional.  If I was the husband, I would be bored with my wife too if she viewed me as nothing more than a walking wallet and saw me as a means of carrying her existence.

And conversely, I would kick my husband to the curb if he didn't see me as desirable and fun to be with other than just a mother to his teenage daughter. But instead she goes to a 20 something year old gigolo for sex and he dumps his job to become a gigolo? Not buying it USA network. Oh, and did I mention that the 20 something gigolo drives a Porsche? Really? A Ford Mustang perhaps but a Porsche and not the Boxter either.

The show could be so much more but it's not exactly on Showtime or HBO so the attention to detail just isn't there.  The show's producer was brilliant in the panel discussion when she mentioned that for a couple to work, both people have to be interesting unto themselves to be interesting to their partner. When a person gets bored with themselves, they loose interest and look to another to essentially validate their existence. I think she nailed the subject on the head. Stagnation and routine leads to boredom. Unfortunately given this brilliant insight, why didn't she give the viewer characters that we would actually like to want to watch. I can watch paint dry on my own. I guess what blew my mind on this experience was how such amazing fodder for a show could be so boring given the talent and in sight of such a brilliant producer.



Ok, I am not as detailed (seems like all details) writer as my counterpart Thom is. Instead I will say that I enjoyed the actual preview party! It was fun and like Thom mentioned, the models/waiters/bartenders that were hired were incredibly HOT! I definitely enjoyed that aspect of the event!! As it goes for the actual show, hmmm....I did enjoy the sex scenes (although they do not compare to shows like True Blood, but hey Satisfaction is on USA network).  The story concept for the show was awesome, it is something that happens to most couples (if they are willing to admit it or not), that sometimes in a marriage or relationship, it just gets stale. Hey that explains the over 50% divorce rate in this country!

The Bar at the Premiere. Photo: Jeff Schear/USA Network

I didn't relate to any of the characters, and yes I am married! I understand that marriages take effort and sometimes there are many issues! But in this show it was just unrealistic. I'm not going to go hire a $1000+ a day gigolo just because my husband doesn't talk to me...really? Us 99%ers cannot afford that! I don't expect my husband to just quit his job and become a gigolo and make a fortune sleeping with multi millionaire women who have to pay for sex. My gosh, just writing this down, the story concept is ridiculous.  So writers of this show, please make this more realistic if your goal was to make this show relatable to us everyday folk who don't live in million dollar mansions! Also give the characters some personality, right now they are as stale as their marriage.


Make sure to Check out Satisfaction on USA 7/17 at 9pm Central!!!!