Showing posts with the label Champaign

Beach Boys Still California Dreamin’ Decades Later

My first career in journalism began as a teenage entertainment reporter. I probably appreciate more now the things I got to do and see than I did as a kid at the time.  Even though I was young, I was enthusiastic and not only worked as an editor of the Post Pioneer, but I managed to get myself a gig as an editor for the short-lived New York’s Nightlife Magazine. One of my assignments was to cover a Beach Boys concert at the Nassau Coliseum (for those not familiar with Long Island, you probably know it as where the Islanders play hockey). My photographer, Joe, and I had front row seats and press passes. While we were getting set up, a gentleman came over to me and said, “I’ve got a great story for you. Come with me backstage.” That man was Bruce Johnston. He had recently started playing with the Beach Boys and was interested in getting me to write about his joining the group. Along with Bruce, I met Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine. They were

Re-Visiting Champaign with North Shore Distillery

I’m so busy traveling around that I often don’t get to go to some of my favorite places in my hometown. When my friend Sonja Kassenbaum of North Shore Distillery told me she was coming to town to visit some of the bars and restaurants that house her products, I decided it was a perfect time to catch up with both Sonja and downtown Champaign. We started the evening at Radio Maria , which I’m sorry to say I haven’t been to in a while.  Sonja was pouring cocktails made with some North Shore Sol Vodka (which has a citrus infusion) for the guests while I enjoyed one of my all-time favorite drinks – North Shore No. 11 Gin and Tonic. I was surprised at how many people had never had her spirits before, but not surprised that they kept ordering them the rest of the night. Radio Maria is in the heart of downtown Champaign and is known for not only a large selection of spirits, but their beer list. They had 27 beers on tap during my visit. The other thing Radio Maria is popular for is

The Lastest in Champaign - Being Home Is My Vacation

I’ve often said that a vacation for me is time at home. While I still had to work, I did recently get two weeks back in Champaign. I had a chance to discover a great new place in the neighborhood and a major change for another. When you go to your regular salon to get your haircut and find out that they’ve done a few renovations it’s not shocking, but when you find out they are building their own one stop beauty block, it’s a different story. That’s what I faced at Rod Sickler Salon & Spa in Champaign. The expansion has added chiropractic care, cosmetic dentistry, photography, personal training, a medical spa and a tattoo parlor! “We’re getting all ages, from teenagers up to people in their 60s.” says Rod Sickler himself. “We call it now a ‘Center for Art, Beauty and Wellness.’ Where else can get a tattoo and have it lasered off in the same place?!” In addition to the unusual set up he’s orchestrated, my reason for giving a shoutout to Rod is that he is very involved in char