...Anybody Could Pull It Off. This coming Saturday, we kick off the second official season of "Chicago Public Radio Presents..." events.‚ Likely you've heard me plugging away on the air for the series in general and the Chicago Chef Battle.‚ Last year, during the Second Annual Global Activism Expo, one of the activists presenting looked around at the huge event (FACT: with 3,250 guests, the GAX is the second largest annual event produced by your friendly neighborhood Public Radio Station - the only thing we do that is larger in scale and audience is the annual Millennium Park taping of Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!) and asked how big our events staff was. "Uh...well, there's pretty much just Breeze and I, you know, on the ground.‚ There's Jane and Sabiha and, of course, our corps of Chicago Public Radio volunteers.‚ We get a ton of help from just about everybody at the station, but the main planning and execution is done by two people in total." She couldn't believe it, but baby, that's the Chicago (public radio) Way. This year's series is more ambitious and hardcore than last year's season was and we have this nifty brochure/passport thing that you can pick up at a number of Chicagoland locations to actually participate in the series itself, adding to your event goers experience. Passports?‚ We Don't Have No Stinkin' Passports! The road to these things has been a lesson in how many things can go wrong.‚ First, the artist we commissioned to do the graphics realized he didn't have the time, then our WBEZ Graphic Design wiz, Jane, found someone who could crank the illustrations out in record time.‚ Then we ordered them from an online printing house and waited.‚ When they arrived, it was obvious that the printer had used an old version of the files and not the version we approved.‚ Ordinarily, I'm the guy who looks at the flaws in things like this and says "Hey.‚ The audience won't know the difference - let's just press forth" but not this time.‚ So we bickered back and forth until we were granted a whole new set of passports which arrived at the station last Friday. So this weekend, Sabiha Roksana and I went hither and yon, delivering our placard posters and packets of passports to locations all over the place.‚ Not one who owns a vehicle, I was thankful for my Sketchers sneakers and the CTA. What the Heck Does One Do With This 'Passport'? Here's the skinny:‚ the Passport is a booklet (looks like a passport...duh) that includes a destination page for each of the ten events in the series.‚ For each event you attend, you get a stamp in your passport.‚ In June, following the final event, you turn your passport in and are rewarded for your traveler's diligence: 2 Events Stamped = one WBEZ mug or tote 4 Events Stamped = Chicago Public Radio media pack 6 Events Stamped = 2 VIP tickets to a Chicago taping of WWDTM 8 Events Stamped = behind-the-scenes WBEZ date: attend Eight Forty-Eight, Radio M or Worldview live, or sit-in on a Sound Opinions taping, PLUS enjoy lunch here at the station with a collection of WBEZ hosts 10 Events Stamped = Altec Lansing Home Entertainment iPod Sound System and an invitation to the above luncheon and a special crown I will make from cardboard and rhinestones proclaiming you the Ultimate WBEZ Geek. WHERE CAN YOU GET ONE?? Calm down.‚ Jeesh. Of course, you can pick one up at our studios at Navy Pier.‚ You can also pick them up at some select businesses including all fourteen SPEX locations, the Lincoln Restaurant, the Victory Gardens BIOGRAPH Theater, DePaul University Student Center, the Gene Siskel Film Center and more!‚ We'll have a full list of locations on our Events page by the end of the week, but until then, look for our sign in the window and ask for your WBEZ Passport. Ready for Some Chef Acrimony and Trash Talk? This Saturday is the kickoff.‚ Tickets are going fast - we're very nearly sold out for the event so get your tickets now!