Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’
There are dozens of Asian organizations and groups throughout Chicago: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Pakistani and many more. It’s diversity within the diversity of our city! The local Asian community joins together annually for a common celebration ahead of the Lunar New Year. The Asian American Coalition event usually attracts over a thousand people and I always enjoy being among the emcees for the annual gala.
All week, I worried about what to wear. I hate buying evening gowns. They’re expensive and little-worn. So I decided to just go with one of the dresses already in my closet. Would people recognize it? Is it out of fashion? How trivial. There’s nothing like reality to knock things into perspective.
The keynote speaker for the evening was Euna Lee of Current TV. She was quite emotional in recalling her 140 days of captivity last year within North Korea. Click here for a great synopsis by Dan Rozek of the Chicago Sun-Times. It was nice to finally meet Euna. She expressed true gratitude for the vigils we held here in Chicago while she and Laura Ling were prisoners. Laura had called me days after they were freed. I was touched she would take the time to call just about everyone who had a role in the nationwide vigils.
As Euna broke down during her speech last night, she was joined on stage by her husband and 5-year-old daughter, Hannah. All eyes were glued to the photogenic family on stage as Euna talked about the horrid situation that continues to play out along the border of North Korea and China. For many women there, evening gowns and what to wear are of no concern whatsoever.
Reporting on the streets of Chicago during the winter months can get downright painful. This morning, we had wind chill factors of 21 below so just preparing for work took a lot of pre-planning. I suppose that’s the case for every Chicagoan who needs to get anywhere on days like this. But as a reporter, I often have no idea what I’ll be covering until I call into the Fox Chicago assignment desk. I keep an assortment of hats, gloves and scarves in my work bag and at least two coats in my car. Just about every reporter and anchor in town agrees that appearance is far less of a concern during the winter. Dressing properly for the conditions is a matter of survival!
Depending on the story, it can get tough finding anyone to interview about anything. When it’s this cold, people just want to get where they’re going as quickly as possible. Those who do stop to talk with me tend to make their points quickly and then go on their merry way. There are watery eyes and runny noses along with numb extremities. We get what we need and jump back into the news van.
Thank goodness for my blogging pal Duong Sheahan. The long, down parka I’ve been wearing is hers! She didn’t care for it since it was so much coat to deal with while running her errands. Well, it’s perfect for me since I spend much more time out in the cold.
Frozen equipment is another concern. Sometimes, the mast on the live truck gets frozen into place after we’ve been at a particular scene for a long time. There’s always suspense when we wrap things up on a cold day. But it’s not a problem today and I get back to the studio in time to anchor the news at noon.
Actually, the next hurdle – my hat hair!
Ever since I started this blog, I’ve gotten a lot of advice from a lot of people. Write about this. Don’t write about that. Be sure to include keywords and embed links. Hello, Fox Chicago! Have you seen my Cool Websites list lately? How about my crazy co-anchor Patrick Elwood? I’ve learned a lot from other bloggers. I’ve decided to put some of their advice to a test with this post.
I heard that certain celebrity names can really drive up web traffic since people are always searching those names and clicking on the results. So, for no reason, let me mention Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Johnny Depp and George Clooney. I’m going to throw in Rachel Uchitel (Tiger’s alleged mistress) since her name is everywhere this week. Read the rest of this entry →
I often wake up with the same anxious feelings I had back in high school and college. Just like then, I have some kind of activity everyday. Is this some kind of Asian habit? It’s still amusing to me that I once served as President of my high school German Club! At the same time, I did cheerleading, gymnastics and student council. At all other times, I had to work at our family restaurant. I suppose watching my parents work so hard for so long made me eager to remain productive outside of work and school.
After work today, I presided over a board meeting for the Asian American Journalists Association. I’ve been serving as chapter co-president for the past two years along with Rummana Hussain, a reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times. Other board members include Lorene Yue of Crain’s Chicago, freelance journalists Sabrina Wu and Inggrid Yonata and Rui Kaneya of the Chicago Reporter.
There is a lot of work to be done. We’re behind in planning our annual Trivia Bowl – pitting media and business people against each other as we raise money for student scholarship programs. The event is always great fun with interesting questions about current events and Chicago history. There’s also a lot of kidding and trash talkin’ between all the media outlets. And now that the future of the Chicago Sun-Times is a little more secure, the paper’s team is eager to go for a three-peat as champions.
Also on the agenda today, chapter elections. There will be a call for nominations soon. I won’t be running. But I’m already feeling anxious about what I’ll do with more free time.
Last year, I got to learn firsthand how news anchoring and reporting aren’t nearly as nervewracking as singing in front of a live audience. So, I was more than happy to just be in the audience Saturday night for Chicago’s Newsapalooza, an annual charity event to benefit the Cystric Fibrosis Foundation. WLS Radio Host Roe Conn and Grammy-winning singer Richard Marx select news personalities to perform “out of their element”. Indeed, the result is interesting and entertaining.
Roe and Richard are passionate about the cause. Richard says, “Cystic fibrosis kills way too many people and a cure is imminent. We are very close!” Soon, we may be even closer because their event raised more than $100,000 for new research.
I’ll post the Newsapalooza highlights as soon as they’re available. But here’s Richard Marx and his band performing at the after party at the Hard Rock Hotel:
My assignment for our extensive Fox Chicago coverage of the Chicago Olympic bid had me on the South Side this morning, Reavis Elementary School is just steps away from Washington Park where an Olympic Stadium would’ve been built for the 2016 summer games. It is not to be.
Before the devastating news of Chicago’s ouster in the first round of IOC voting, nearly 400 kids heard from former Olympians Bob Beamon and Michael Bennett. Beamon won gold in the long jump at the ’68 games in Mexico City and Bennett was captain of the US Olympic boxing team during the 2000 games in Sydney.
A viewing party was planned and timed for the big announcement just before lunchtime. No one expected Chicago to get voted out before the kids would even make it to the school auditorium. As the news spread through the school, Principal Michael Johnson decided to go ahead with the assembly as a Chicago Public School official told me, “This is an ideal teaching moment,”
When I asked student Nicholas Holas what he learned from the entire process, he was smiling as he said, “You win some, you lose some. It’s only important that you do your best.” Chicago is already a city of winners.
Today, I went out of my way to stop in at Fontano’s Subs to see Gilda Fontano. She’s almost always at the store on West Polk Street . Yes, they have awesome sandwiches. But people also come in to see her. She’s a key part of the unique atmosphere at Fontano’s. Years ago, when Chicago raised taxes on cigarettes, Gilda put up a sign that read “Don’t bitch. Stop smoking.”
Gilda is turning 76 years old tomorrow but she has no plans to stop working. She tells me, “I just can’t stand still!” Never mind that she’s all of 4’9″ and well past retirement age.
I’m glad I stopped in because her husband is out of town for an Army reunion. They are apart for the first time in their 58 year marriage! The kids say the absence has only made her work harder.
Aniello Fontano is known as “Red”. He and Gilda opened the first Fontano’s back in the 50′s after immigrating from a small town outside Naples, Italy. I suppose they remind me a bit of my parents – new immigrants, running a restaurant in order to provide a better life for their children.
It’s Gilda’s birthday and she deserves so much happiness. She certainly provides a lot of it to many Chicagoans.
On another note, I had the pleasure of being a guest today on “The Alan Levy Show” on BlogTalkRadio. (Warning: This is about half an hour long.)
Chicago’s Chinatown isn’t the country’s biggest but it’s authentic and perhaps the friendliest. I usually drop in when I can for dim sum and Asian groceries. But today, I was there to emcee the China Day Parade marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
As I walked the parade route with Ping Huang, China’s Consul General to Chicago, he remarked “This is fantastic. Just amazing!” We were both impressed by the turnout of tens of thousands of people lining both sides of Wentworth Avenue up to the Chinatown arch.
I’m certain the China Day Parade in Beijing won’t be anything like the one in Chicago. Along with groups and representatives from every Asian community, there were rockin’ high school marching bands and even the Shannon Rovers in their traditional kilts.
Emceeing a parade can be a challenge. The list of participants seldom matches the actual parade lineup. And it never fails – big gaps develop between groups so the emcee has to fill the time.
Thank goodness for Gene Lee, Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Daley. He’s a key member of the Chinatown community so he’s awesome to banter with. Sure beats me tap dancing or singing Chinese nursery rhymes!