Since I started as the Events guy at public radio, the very popular Off-Air Series has presented a conversation between Eboo Patel and Krista Tippett at the Fourth Presbyterian Church, a celebration of the birthplace of Rock and Roll, original storytelling at the Chicago Children's Museum, in depth discussions of Chicago's theater scene, a biking event, a comic book discussion, two Drive-In Double Features, a high-end coffee tasting, and a "coming together" of Community Art Centers from around the city.
Over 30,000 WBEZ fans have attended these events and working with Breeze to create and execute such a diversity of topics in a such a variety of locations (including an urban farm in Englewood and a literature event in the Heartland Cafe) has been challenging and extremely rewarding.
This year, in its fifth season, the Off-Air Series has a new sheriff.
Our new Events team, headed by Executive Producer (and WBEZ Marketing Director) Vanessa Harris, is a lean, mean producing machine. Harris, myself, Chris Davilla and Tyler James Greene (coming in with a total of 40+ years of producing experience altogether) are primed and ready to take three of the Off-Air Series' most successful and wide-ranging events and make them better and add a brand new event for the summer that will blow your mind.
First, for the Fall is the pumped version of our popular Chicago Chef Battle, the Chicago Chef Battle Royale ("royale" sounded classier than "mega-chef battle" or "Chef Battle-orama") on Wednesday, October 24. Still only $15.00 ($12.00 for WBEZ members), we have moved the event from the Goose Island Loading Dock to the spacious and multi-floored Salvage One and have added a chef (from five to six). Additionally, the chefs will come from six different Chicago neighborhoods and present a travelogue of ethnic foods from around the city (both meat AND vegetarian option from all six).
This year's participants include traditional Polish, an Indian curry and soul food from the South Side, among others, all made with select Goose Island beer and fresh ingredients from Whole Foods Market. The Morning Shift's Tony Sarabia will host lively discussions with local food bloggers and personalities as well as live music and audience participation. At the end of it all, the audience chooses which neighborhood and food are the best! Added to the line-up this year will be Goose Island Root beer and Matilda Beer Floats made by Black Dog Gelato and delicious hot beverages from the fine folks at Intelligentsia Coffee.
It's going to rock and you can get your tickets HERE. Get them quick because this one sells out fast!
We'll be bringing back the Winter Block Party for Chicago's Hip Hop Arts, the Global Activism Expo and an event so "in the works" I can't even blog about it yet for the summer! Heck, Vanessa might even let me do a blow out storytelling event sometime in year.
Go get your tix to the Chef Battle Royale and stay tuned for the rest!
Click HERE for tickets and info.