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With changing habits and interests, we've been hearing a lot about how retail is moving toward being "experiential." This is also leading many brands to get creative in how they connect with families, and that means creating the experiences themselves. For the folks at Whirlpool Corporation, that meant a fresh approach to their World of Whirlpool in Chicago, now open to the public as a new consumer experience center. At the media preview this week, I had the opportunity to experience it first-hand, and my immediate thought is that this is exactly what companies need to be doing because it's going to allow the general public to learn in ways that have in many cases been limited to media or expensive courses. Whirlpool is going well beyond the typical appliance showroom by teaching "life hacks" and culinary literacy that will help people save time, save money, and most importantly -  improve the time spent with family.

Published in For the Home

Rube Goldberg Machine ContestIf you've ever seen Back to the Future, played a game of Mouse Trap or watched a recent OK Go video (particularly "This Too Shall Pass"), then you've seen a Rube Goldberg Machine. These creations are elaborate, generally ridiculous machines that are crafted for the purpose of accomplishing a mundane task... like brewing a cup of coffee or feeding your dog. Rube Goldberg has been called "the grandfather of S.T.E.M." due to the enduring legacy of his iconic illustrations. Goldberg was a Pulitzer Prize-winning engineer and cartoonist, and his "invention cartoons" were the blueprint for countless contraptions that now bear his name. In 1988, things became official with the start of the RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINE CONTEST®, originally as a college competition. Three decades later, the annual contest encourages student inventors from across the country to create the best machines that they can, and for the 30th Anniversary, the 2018 contest came to a conclusion in Chicago.

Published in Tech

In 2019, Star Wars Celebration will return and it's celebrating its 20th Anniversary right here in my home town of Chicago! That's right, ReedPop (the folks behind the fantastic C2E2) and Lucasfilm will bring Star Wars Celebration to McCormick place April 11-15, 2019.  The full website and details will be coming soon, with tickets going on-sale June 5, 2018 at noon CST. The announcement was made on this week's installment of The Star Wars Show, and you can bet I will be spending quite a bit of time in the City proper come next April.  In the meantime, check this out...

Published in Movies, TV and More

With three decades of storied history, acclaimed singer/songwriter Kevin Lee continues to inspire generations as one of the best big-hook, power pop songwriters in the business. Flanked by his incredible band, The Kings, Lee recently released Sticks & Stones on Sigus Records. With an infectious sound of modern pop/rock packed with big guitars, indelible hooks, and soaring vocal harmonies, the songs deliver the kind of car-radio magic that turn winter nights into summer bright. Tracks like “On Top of the World,” “Tell the Truth,” the Tom Petty-esque, “All We Have Is Now,” and the ultra-catchy “Hold On to Yourself Tonight,” remind you of why you loved rock and roll in the first place. Ahead of some summer live dates and an upcoming performance at Joe's Live in Rosemont, IL to benefit Lurie Children's Hospital, our writers caught up with Kevin to talk a little bit about the new album, the music business and the Chicago sound.

Published in Music News

Don't play this with the kids around. Also, unless you work somewhere cool, you can probably consider this NSFW (not-safe-for-work) as well. Those helpful tips out of the way, today brings a third trailer for MGM's DEATH WISH remake, and this time around the Eli Roth-directed action flick is getting the GRINDHOUSE treatment. With a new, 70's-style trailer that recalls the 2007 Tarantino/Rodriguez collaboration to which Roth contributed the infamous "Thanksgiving," you can see the splatter-iffic action below. Again, don't show it to the kids. There's brains involved. 

Published in Movies, TV and More

Around these parts, I'm known for being "anti-football." I don't like the game, I despise the NFL, and I find much of the culture around the sport to be unsavory. But there was a time when I did like football, and it was when i was a child. I like to think that I just didn't know any better at the time, but living in Illinois, the '85 Chicago Bears were a big deal. I still have my 7" vinyl 45rpm copy of "The Superbowl Shuffle." I had the G.I. Joe figure of William "The Fridge" Perry that Hasbro put out. And funny enough, my first "acting" role was as "Little Jimmy" McMahon in a cable access spoof of "The Superbowl Shuffle" that aired in Park Forest, Illinois ahead of Super Bowl XX in 1986. Now, as we approach Super Bowl LII (which I have no plan on watching aside from the commercials and the halftime show), a new documentary is coming to theaters that spins it back to a time when I did like football. Check out the trailer for '85: The Greatest Team in Football History... brought to you by Fathom Events, in select theaters on January 29, 2018...

Published in Sports Entertainment
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