Meet our Bloggers
Shore's Associate Publisher and Editor Pat Colander brings you up-to-date on what's going on in the Shore universe-evenings, weekends and all times in between issues.
From play and restaurant openings to premiere parties and red carpet movie screenings around Chicago and Northwest Indiana, columnist Philip Potempa reports on celebs and notable names from near and far.
Food/Wine columnist and features writer Jane Dunne never runs out of ideas when it comes to cooking for family, entertaining at home or dining out. Her blog covers the gamut-literally from soup to nuts.
As with Shorecast by Fran Smith, which appears regularly in Shore magazine, the 12 sun-signs are highlighted; here, the focus is on how every planetary move affects each of the 12 sun-signs. Its contents include specific-and fun-information that readers won't find anywhere else.
Food correspondent-at-large Jane Ammeson will travel far and near to write about her latest foodie finds. From tastings to chef profiles, Jane will whet your appetite.
As expert analysis of contemporary fashion morphs up to fine art, Marcia Froelke Coburn knows who, what, when and wear this season. From celebrity statements to fashionistas in the streets, this blogger and bold face name's commentary channels the mind behind the designs.
A couple of special days in Douglas and Saugatuck: My connection with Saugatuck and Douglas started some years ago when I met some Saugatuck VIPs. One was Julee Russo, originally a New York celebrity, who wrote many cookbooks and two very successful classics with her business partner Sheila Lukins before the tidal wave of food-ism began --- The Silver Palate Cookbook and then The New Basics Cookbook. (They are both well-written, illustrated and exceedingly useful even to a person who seldom cooks.) The books are still for sale at the Wickwood Inn, a high-end bed and breakfast that Julee, who grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan and often spent summers in Saugatuck, established with her husband 20+ years ago.
There were other significant players in the tourism business throughout the years, but the other B&B proprietors I met that turned into veterans and community stalwarts were Chef Shaun Glynn and Peter Ta who ran the Belvedere Inn just off Interstate 196. Like Julee they had left the big city to open a small business in the historic and scenic beach town. (Oval Beach in Saugatuck consistently makes the top 20 list of great beaches in the world.) Peter had been a trader in Chicago and Shaun, though originally from Ireland, was brought to the U.S. by Hilton Hotels and worked downtown for years.
Shaun is and was a fabulous cook and artist in every visual way. The Belvedere has a two dining rooms with a limited fixed price menu and in season (and probably out of season as well) the place is packed. Years ago, my brother asked for a recommendation and ended up staying at the Belvedere many times and can’t get enough of Shaun’s cooking or the hospitality of the place. When my brother realized that he could rent the house owned by the Belvedere that sleeps 8 for the week starting on the 4th of July he grabbed it. A family reunion of sorts was born. Of course, we ate at the Belvedere on Saturday night where I grasped that the menu is more than a little bit French, one of the few restaurants where you can order foie gras and sweetbreads in the same meal (outside of Chicago or possibly Grand Rapids). I love both. My husband managed to split a Chateaubriand for two, which he remembered was a house specialty, with my sister-in-law Linda. What a feast!
Shockingly wonderful developments in tragicom by Donna Blue Lachman in Three Oaks and trying a low-key family Fourth of July in Saugatuck for 2014.
An Improvisational Weekend in Chicago and Michigan: This started as a nostalgia trip for Judi Stone (author-editor at multiple national magazines including Prevention, McCall’s, Good Housekeeping, O, Sunset and currently Dr. Oz and author of the book When She Was White basis for the movie Skin.), Screenwriter and Shore Contributor Denise DeClue (who were both in Second City touring companies) to catch the 4 pm show at the historic theater---there are several theaters and twice as many companies of actors in residence at Second City now. The show was funny, but tame, full of quick-take blackouts, audience-friendly improv bits, very slick and professional. That was Saturday.
On Sunday, we joined about 250, maybe more, who packed the house at the Acorn Theater for the debut of “Mixed Nuts,” a 7-scene inter-related sequence theatrical piece created and developed by Donna Blue Lachman and her company of players including Dani Lane, Ric Heath, Bunny Fisher and others I don’t know as well who worked on the show for the past five months. (I am working on a story about the surge in personal narrative and improv workshops and theater among the-not-so-very-ancient Baby Boomers.) Ironically, this was a show very much more like the original Second City, where the work was personal, edgy, politically incorrect, surprisingly good and shockingly relevant. The production---complete with music, also ala Second City---was free but the audience was networked into the players from across the area including part-time residents who also live in Chicago and the increasing numbers who live in Northwest Indiana and Southwest Michigan full-time. Donna Blue Lachman, a transplant from the city herself, famous for her outstanding and award-winning one-woman shows, has done an incredible job. Small wonder she gets a lot of support from the Four Winds Pokagon fund, matched by community enthusiasm.
Welcome to “Starcast” – an absorbing look into what the Cosmos has in store for the 12 sun-signs. One of those interesting cycles in our solar system occurs today – the Sun entered the stunning sun-sign of Cancer, the Crab, last Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 5:52 a.m. (ET) – and a week later, the New Moon (when the Sun and the Moon are in perfect alignment within the same sun-sign, signifying “dazzling new starts”) occurs in Cancer, the Crab, today, Friday, June 27, 2014 at 3:09 a.m. (ET). And all of this ongoing, not-to-be-stopped activity has a direct effect on everyone. It matters, not in the least, where you exist on Earth. You’re part of it all.
And here’s why: Everyone (remember, no one is excluded) has the captivating sun-sign of Cancer, the Crab, ruling one of the twelve houses within their own birth chart. So, everyone is influenced – in a very personal way – by whatever planetary activity occurs with this particular sun-sign. Therefore, when the New Moon (which is always very good) takes place in the protective, tough, and glamorous sun-sign of Cancer, the Crab, today, Friday, June 27, 2014 at 3:09 a.m. (ET) – it creates a superb force field that unfolds favorably over the 10 to 12 days that follow. In fact, this singular New Moon promises to exude its own remarkable qualities; namely, the essence of incredible protection, a strong defensive action, and an unrelenting desire and intent to advance its own emotional and material life, regardless of the opposition.
Now, think of a numerical (1 through 12) clock or wristwatch. That’s the zodiac wheel – that’s your birth chart. And each pie-shaped wedge (5 to 4 o’clock, for example) is a house, an area of activity (love, money – in every currency imaginable – work, and so on) in your day-to-day world, one of which Cancer, the Crab, governs in your birth chart. Know, too, that this influence (the New Moon in Cancer) exists and moves forward – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It never stops.
Prepare for John Cain’s 60th birthday and an ArtBash for the first time hosted at Lubeznik’s fabulous lakefront location and this weekend New Buffalo area artists open their gallery doors for ARTigras.
Birthday Party for South Shore Arts ED John Cain: Just as I stopped reverberating from the multi-talented John Cain’s passing the mid-century mark, which involved a Sunday brunch that led to a dinner party, including hours of dancing at Miller Bakery Café, he is now turning 60 on July 18th this year. And of course, South Shore Arts will again be throwing a benefit-party for the occasion. This year, the money will go to the exhibitions fund. In the interest of full disclosure, I must say that not only am I a board member at South Shore Arts but I am on the committee for this party so when we discussed what area needed funds---exhibitions stood out right away. SSA has had some outstanding, hot topic exhibitions over the years with fascinating work ranging from Norman Rockwell to Andy Warhol. And of course, the price of shows and the cost to venues continues to rise as well as the competition for the most interesting work that is well-curated. (Even though South Shore Arts has built and curated many outstanding local shows by networking with artists and gallery owners across the country and the globe.) There is not a contingency fund in case of a moment of serendipity with a show on the horizon. Now, hopefully there will be.
The birthday event will be held Friday, July 18th at the Center for Visual & Performing Arts, during the traditional summertime Happy Hour from 4-6:30pm. There will be lots of surprises, music, appetizers, beverages and other extravagances. Tickets are $75 and reservations can be made by visiting the SSA web site or calling South Shore Arts at 219-836-1839.
Take a deep breath because there are a zillion events this weekend and construction on the upper I-94; taking this in order starting from the northwest corner of the Lake with the Ed Paschke museum debut in Jefferson Park, Chicago.
Ed Paschke Arts Center opens Sunday in Jefferson Park, Chicago: Opening day of the arts center, which would have been the artist’s 75th birthday, will feature a party “Paschke in the Park” across the street from the center. The art center will hold the largest collection of Paschke’s work from 1969-2004 and will also showcase other Chicago artists and eventually, an artist-in-residence program. Upcoming events include a Paul Natkin photography exhibition; collaboration with Luminarts, a cultural foundation that supports and encourages rising Chicago artists; and a Steve Schapiro photography exhibit: Andy Warhol, Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground..Ed Paschke Arts Center, 10am-7pm Mon-Sun, Jefferson Park, Chicago. 312.533.4911 or visit edpaschke.org. http://www.edpaschke.org/
Barrymore event at Miller Arts District: “The performance Saturday night by Chicago actor, Jeffery Baumgartner, was extraordinary….,” Karren Lee enthuses, best one-man show in NWI ever. If you weren’t able to make it last weekend, the second and final performance is Saturday at 8 pm. The Miller Beach Arts & Creative District in partnership with Chicago City Creatives is presenting the production at the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts, 540 S. Lake St. in Miller. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door and can be ordered online at Eventbrite.com. Also, a very impressed patron loved the play and is offering 25 tickets free on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Welcome to “Starcast” – an incredible look into what the Cosmos has in store for the 12 sun-signs. On Earth (where human beings live), there’s always so much going on – who has the time to worry (or wonder, for that matter) about what’s taking place in our solar system? Just a few. Nonetheless, what actually takes place – like the planet, Mars (raw energy) now in Libra, the Balancing Scales – does influence each of us. And it’s all dial-adjusted to fit our individual sun-sign. Here’s how it works: Whatever your sun-sign, this powerful planet placement (Mars in Libra) affects you directly – because Libra governs one of the twelve houses within your birth chart (also known as the zodiac wheel).
In your mind’s eye, scroll back to last Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 12:41 p.m. (ET). That’s when Mars entered the charming sun-sign of Libra, the Balancing Scales – and will be traveling through there until Friday, July 25, 2014 at 9:25 a.m. (ET) – when it leaves and enters the no-nonsense sun-sign of Scorpio, the Scorpion (definitely, a “Starcast” for another time). Ruled by the powerful planet, Venus (love, close relationships, and creativity), Libra is engaging, yet strangely fearless. This is an invaluable time during which you’re energized to change things for the better, to move situations forward; and possibly, to place outside of your Life whatever and whomever is holding you back. Pace yourself – mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually. And keep your thoughts, optimistic; your actions, strong and subtle.
Look at a numerical (1 through 12) clock or wristwatch. That’s the zodiac wheel – that’s your birth chart. And each pie-shaped wedge (7 to 6 o’clock, for example) is a house, an area of activity (love, money – in every currency imaginable – work, and so on) in your existence, one of which Libra, the Balancing Scales, governs in your birth chart. Now, know that this influence (Mars in Libra) now energizes your thoughts and actions. Still, don’t discuss this divine and ongoing activity with anyone. It’s all the more powerful for being kept hidden.
Two Romeos open and close; Patsy Cline in Beverly Hills, Chicago and a whole lot of improv at Acorn in Three Oaks.
The Lake Michigan area is kind of theater-crazy this year with community productions, improv groups and open mic nights are proliferating around the Lake Michigan area.
Donna Blue Lachman Directs: Here’s screenwriter and columnist Denise DeClue’s preview of MIXED NUTS, a new show devised by Donna Blue Lachman and some wonderfully seasoned players, which will premier at 7 p.m. (Michigan time) on June 29 at the Acorn Theater in Three Oaks, Michigan. In the meantime, the veteran actress and director is doing other weekend performances all month.
The return of outdoor movie night drives in to Miller Beach and downtown LaPorte; and a Dunes benefit in Michigan City on Saturday night.
The Return of Friday Night Movies: Tomorrow night in downtown LaPorte they’re showing “Despicable Me 2” at dusk in the parking lot on the corner of State and Monroe Streets. Free popcorn will be provided by The La Porte Savings Bank with food, ice cream, and refreshments for purchase by B & J’s American Café and Temple News Agency. Bump n’ Jump Playhouses will have bounce houses for the kids starting at 6 p.m. until movie time. (LP minion t-shirts will be for sale for $8.) Also on Friday, in Gary’s Marquette Park, outdoor drive-in movie night will get underway this weekend with a double-feature of “Frozen” and “The Hunger Games 2.” Tickets are $10 per car and $15 for vans. Food and beverage vendors will be there. The lakefront location will also have an inflatable fun area for kids before the movie starts.
First In-Water Boat Show at the New 31st St. Harbor in Chicago: Chicago’s debut boating event on Lake Michigan, the Progressive Insurance Chicago In-Water Boat Show, kicks off tonight with hundreds of new boats and marine accessories for sale, on-water activities for all ages, boating and sailing lessons and daily entertainment. The boat show runs Thursday through Sunday, June 5-8 at Chicago’s newest marina, 31st Street Harbor.
The other day, my daughter Nia told me that Maya Angelou had died. Nia knew about Angelou from an early age as I had returned from a trip to her home near the campus of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. with a copy of her children’s book she had inscribed to my daughter. I had been there to interview her for an airline magazine story and one of the first things that this bestselling author of a series chronicling her life, the first being "I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings" and her poetry book, "Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘For I Diiie", won a Pulitzer Prize nomination, talked about was zucchini.
Angelou had made a decision that late summer morning that she must go to the market to buy a zucchini and not just any old zucchini but a perfect one.
“I want to make a ratatouille,” she explained and then we began talking about food. She was the author of two cookbooks, "Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories With Recipes", and "Great Food, All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart". In the first, she often told stories about the recipes, how she came to cook a white bean and sausage casserole for noted food writer M.F.K. Fisher who called it the “first honest cassoulet I have eaten in years.”
A recent visit to South Carolina, sparked my recollection of all the wonderful cooking that comes from the "Lowcountry". One of my favorites dishes, popular in Charleston and Savannah, is Country Captain, an Anglo-Indian-Southern recipe supposedly brought over by an English sea captain in the spice trade in exchange for rice. But it's more likely the British colonials brought it with them when they settled along the coasts. Either way, Country Captain became a mainstay and is definitely a keeper.
As you read the recipe, I'm sure you'll think it labor-intensive and I won't say it doesn't take time to put together, but it you get all the prep work done first, you'll zoom right along as you put it all together. Best of all is that, apart from the final baking, you can prepare the dish a day in advance. In fact, I urge you to do it as it gives the flavors a chance to meld before it goes into the oven. Friends seem to love this dish, and I hope you will try it.
Country Captain (6 servings)