WBEZ | Celebrities http://www.wbez.org/tags/celebrities Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Nike opening store with only Michael Jordan items in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/nike-opening-store-only-michael-jordan-items-chicago-113461 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/16521749482_5aed601a6f_z.jpg" style="height: 327px; width: 620px;" title="The Jordan Store at 166 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn. (flickr/Maxim Pierre)" /></div><p>Nike is opening a Michael Jordan-only store in Chicago&#39;s Loop this weekend.The new Jordan Brand store opens Saturday.</p><p>The <a href="http://trib.in/1GrWtmt" target="_blank">Chicago Tribune reports</a> it will sell merchandise with the trademarked Michael Jordan &quot;Jumpman&quot; silhouette. Nike also plans stores in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto featuring the former Chicago Bulls star. Jordan Brand offers basketball, training, sportswear and kids&#39; products.</p><div><p>Nike Chief Executive Mark Parker says Jordan&#39;s popularity opens up a &quot;world of opportunity&quot; for the company.</p><p>Nike also said last week that it will report Jordan Brand financial results separately from its basketball division.</p><p>Sarah Mensah is general manager of the Jordan Brand in North America. She says consumers wanted a place to see everything Jordan-related. She says stores also will feature items chosen &quot;specifically by Michael.&quot;</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 22 Oct 2015 10:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/nike-opening-store-only-michael-jordan-items-chicago-113461 The legacy of Michael Jordan in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/legacy-michael-jordan-chicago-111803 <p><p>Everyone from superfans to the casual office bracket pool participant follows NCAA March Madness. We rally around underdogs. We&rsquo;re suckers for Cinderella stories. It&rsquo;s as much about these journeys as the sport itself. So as teams compete for the championship title, let&rsquo;s look at Chicago&rsquo;s biggest basketball legend. Our tall tale. Michael Jordan.</p><p>Jordan came to Chicago in the 1980s, and went on to have one of the most memorable careers in basketball. Briefly, Chicago had the best sports team in the country. <a href="http://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1998/06/22/244166/index.htm" target="_blank">We were known around the world</a> as the home of Michael Jordan and the Bulls. He brought home six NBA championship trophies in the &lsquo;90s.</p><p>Jordan&rsquo;s lasting fame in Chicago is what prompted a seventh-grader working on a history project to ask this question about him. (The student chose to remain anonymous.)</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>What was Michael Jordan&rsquo;s impact on Chicago?</em></p><p>Jordan wondered about his local legacy too. In 1993, he said this to a crowd at the opening of the Michael Jordan Restaurant:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;I want to say to the Chicago people, thank you for your support. Ever since I came to this city in 1984, you have taken me in like one of your own, and I&rsquo;ve tried to reciprocate that in my talents and playing the game of basketball. Hopefully the two is going to be a relationship that&rsquo;s going to last a lot longer than me just playing basketball.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>MJ did indeed leave the Bulls and the city in 1999. So, what did MJ leave behind? We consider possible economic impacts as well as his cultural &mdash; even spiritual &mdash; contributions, too.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Timeline: A brief history of Jordan</span></p><p>If you&rsquo;ve never been a Jordan fan, just need a refresher, or are too young to remember, here&rsquo;s a timeline of how Jordan&rsquo;s career intersects with Chicago history.<a name="timeline"></a></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="650" scrolling="no" src="http://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline/latest/embed/index.html?source=0Ai7E2pZ6aCZtdEczczVJNzlKNFlUakM0bW1MQlZvOEE&amp;font=Bevan-PotanoSans&amp;maptype=toner&amp;lang=en&amp;height=650" width="95%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Jordan&rsquo;s economic impact: A windfall for the Windy City?</span></p><p>In the 1990s, the Bulls were on fire. They won championships. More people bought tickets to games and wanted Bulls memorabilia. However, according to sports economists we talked to, it&rsquo;s difficult to find measurable economic impact on the city.</p><p>Allen Sanderson, an economics professor at the University of Chicago and editorial board member of the <a href="http://jse.sagepub.com/" target="_blank">Journal for Sports Economics</a>, says pro sports teams typically draw in-person audiences within a 25-mile radius. He argues that when all those Chicagoans and suburbanites bought tickets to basketball games, that very same ticket cash likely would have just gone elsewhere &mdash; say, to Chicago restaurants, malls, etc.</p><p>Economics and Business Professor Rob Baade of Lake Forest University agrees that during Jordan&rsquo;s time in Chicago, it was likely that local fans just shifted some of their spending from one entertainment choice to another. Bulls are on a hot streak? Spend Saturday night in the arena. Lackluster season? Go out to dinner instead.</p><p>These kinds of arguments, he says, continue beyond Chicago and Michael Jordan. Consider a more <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/17/lebron-james-economic-impact-cleveland-we-expect-too-much" target="_blank">contemporary debate about economic influence and famous athletes: LeBron James and the city of Cleveland, Ohio</a>. Sports celebrities have some effect, Baade says, but it&rsquo;s often modest.</p><p>&ldquo;If you make the argument that Cleveland&rsquo;s economy has ramped up during LeBron&rsquo;s return, you&rsquo;d have to look at the entire Ohio economy,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Whatever modest effect Jordan did have, though, likely got a bump from the fact that he got the Bulls into the playoffs, effectively lengthening the local playing season, and creating several more games.</p><p>&ldquo;You can make the argument that more people are coming in to watch playoffs. But that&rsquo;s not lasting,&rdquo; Baade said.</p><p>But what about Jordan&rsquo;s own spending? After all, by the mid-90s he was one of the world&rsquo;s highest-paid athletes.</p><p>Sanderson says the success didn&rsquo;t put money back into Chicago because that money was spent elsewhere. Jordan went on trips to Jamaica and other places that took him &mdash; and his wallet &mdash; outside of the city.</p><p>Jordan does still have a home in north suburban Highland Park. The mansion, complete with entrance gates adorned with the number 23, is for sale. Though he left the city more than 10 years ago, the house is still on the market. (Any takers? <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2700-Point-Dr-Highland-Park-IL-60035/4902463_zpid/" target="_blank">There&rsquo;s a gym and a basketball court (duh), and it&rsquo;s only $16 million.</a>)</p><p>What about the Michael Jordan Restaurant? It&rsquo;s closed (<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1994-01-14/entertainment/9401150342_1_waiter-plate-iced" target="_blank">possibly because of bad reviews such as this one</a>), but the Michael Jordan Steak House, which opened in 2011, still stands. The restaurant employs about 150 people. According to manager Myron Markewycz, the operation&rsquo;s doing well. Markewycz estimates that during the first few years it was open, Jordan visited the restaurant about 30 times. That was before Jordan divided his time between residences in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Florida. Now, while Markewycz can&rsquo;t give a specific number, he says they see much less of Jordan.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">The United Center: The house that Jordan built?</span></p><p>It&rsquo;s tempting for an armchair historian to credit the United Center&rsquo;s construction to Jordan and the Bulls&rsquo; success. After all, you can&rsquo;t miss the statue of Jordan that dominates one of the center&rsquo;s main entrances. And, a surface reading of the timeline lends some evidence: Jordan arrived in 1984 and the United Center opened for business in 1994, replacing the Chicago Stadium.</p><p>But actually, the United Center was a joint venture designed to house both the Bulls and the Blackhawks hockey team. And it was first planned in 1988, years before the Bulls&rsquo; first championship in 1991.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/UnitedCenter.jpg" style="height: 338px; width: 450px;" title="Chicago's United Center was opened in 1994. (Flickr/Esparta)" /></div><p>Sanderson says it&rsquo;s likely Jordan was just in the right place at the right time. Yes, Jordan excelled at the United Center, but basketball&rsquo;s popularity was the draw, not Jordan.</p><p>Jordan&rsquo;s rookie season was 1984, just as the NBA&rsquo;s popularity began to snowball. Until then, not many Americans watched basketball at the stadium or on TV. According to Sanderson, the playoffs were taped and aired later because not enough people wanted to watch them live. The sport gained momentum throughout the &lsquo;80s. Jordan and the Bulls, he says, rode the wave.</p><p>Sam Smith, a sports reporter who covered Jordan for the Chicago Tribune and authored two books about the star, says this rising tide compelled the NBA to push all teams &mdash; including the Bulls &mdash; to build new stadiums, fill seats and boost revenue.</p><p>&ldquo;They committed all of the franchises to have to get new buildings,&rdquo; he said, adding that if teams couldn&rsquo;t pull it off financially or politically, they were pressured to look for new cities to play in.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/MJ%20united%20center%20statue%20for%20united%20center%20section_0.jpg" style="float: left; height: 361px; width: 250px; margin: 5px;" title="Chicago Bulls' star Michael Jordan stands next to a 12-foot bronze statue of himself unveiled outside the United Center in Chicago, Ill., Nov. 1, 1994, during a salute to Jordan by the Bulls. At left is Jordan's mother Deloris. (AP Photo/John Zich)" /></p><p>&ldquo;Everybody was put onto this,&rdquo; Smith said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s why Seattle&rsquo;s team moved to Oklahoma City, as an example.&rdquo;</p><p>But Charles Johnson, the CEO of Johnson Consulting (a firm that works on stadium projects, among other things) gives Jordan more credit.</p><p>Johnson helped supervise the development of the United Center for Stein and Company. He says the previous venue, the Chicago Stadium, had become obsolete and that there &ldquo;was no doubt&rdquo; that the United Center would have been built at some point. Still, he says, Jordan &ldquo;absolutely&rdquo; drove the timing.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it is safe to say that this is the building that Michael built,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I do not think this can be said anywhere else, so emphatically.&rdquo;</p><p>Johnson, Sanderson and Smith agree that Jordan had a definite impact on the new stadium&rsquo;s capacity and other amenities &mdash; in particular, the high number of suites.</p><p>&ldquo;If MJ was not in the picture, that many suites would never have happened,&rdquo; Johnson said, adding that the decision to create additional luxury seating turned into an excellent revenue stream for the construction project.</p><p>Smith goes further, saying that the NBA pointed to Jordan&rsquo;s track record and crowd appeal as an argument to expand suites and other accommodations. He says the franchises listened.</p><p>&ldquo;You can make a case with Michael that he influenced all of these buildings everywhere,&rdquo; Smith said.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Charitable impact</span></p><p>Throughout the 1990s, Michael Jordan was the richest athlete in the world, raking in $78.3 million in 1997 alone. Even if Chicago felt little economic impact from the Bulls&rsquo; success, you might suspect that Jordan&rsquo;s personal wealth &mdash; and fundraising in his name &mdash; had potential to leave a more measurable mark on the city.</p><p>In 1989 Jordan and his mother, Deloris, created the Michael Jordan Foundation, a Chicago-based charity that focused on improving education on a national scale. It had two offices and twelve people on staff. Student who participated in Jordan&rsquo;s Education Club could earn a weekend trip to Chicago if their grades and school attendance improved.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/MJ%20econ%20impact%20AP_1.jpg" style="height: 345px; width: 450px;" title="Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan gestures during a news conference at Bercy stadium in Paris Wednesday Oct. 15, 1997. Michael Jordan is the richest athlete in the world, regaining the top spot on the Forbes magazine list for the fifth time in six years. Jordan will earn dlrs 78.3 million in 1997. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)" /></div><p>But in 1996, seven years after the foundation&rsquo;s start (and shortly after Jordan made his <a href="http://chicago.suntimes.com/basketball/7/71/450458/michael-jordan-proclaimed-im-back-20-years-ago-today" target="_blank">famous Bulls comeback</a>), he<a href="http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1996/Michael-Jordan-Pulls-Plug-on-Charitable-Foundation/id-0c0db7ac6126eb83ad42762939677c11" target="_blank"> pulled the plug</a>. Jordan told the press he wanted to take a &ldquo;more personal and less institutional&rdquo; approach to financial giving, and that he&rsquo;d rather &ldquo;pick and choose to whom I give my donation.&rdquo;</p><p>And, aside from a substantial <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=9999200019825" target="_blank">$5 million donation</a> to Chicago&rsquo;s Hales Franciscan High School in 2007, Jordan doesn&rsquo;t seem to have picked or chosen much else when it comes to local donations.</p><p>One Chicago charity to which MJ does still contribute is the James R. Jordan Foundation, an evolution of the Michael Jordan Foundation named in honor of his father. Deloris Jordan (Michael&rsquo;s mother) is the founder. Michael has little administrative involvement, a fact quickly asserted by the foundation.</p><p>&ldquo;He hasn&rsquo;t been here in how many years?&rdquo; said Samuel Bain, the foundation&rsquo;s director of development. &ldquo;[MJ] hasn&rsquo;t lived here, hasn&rsquo;t played here.&rdquo;</p><p>Bain says it&rsquo;s challenging to quantify the impact of the James R. Jordan Foundation on the city itself, but suspects it&rsquo;s benefited more local children and families than MJ&rsquo;s efforts in the early &lsquo;90s.</p><p>Under Deloris&rsquo; direction, the James R. Jordan Foundation partners with three Chicago K-8 schools, two of which are on either side of the United Center. Every student enrolled in these schools is part of a program called the <a href="http://www.jamesjordanfoundation.com/a-team-scholars.html" target="_blank">A-Team Scholars</a>, which awards scholarship money to students based on the letter improvements of their grades each semester.</p><p>Bain says the program has helped Chicago kids make it to high school and college. Some students have become <a href="https://www.gmsp.org/" target="_blank">Gates Millennium Scholars</a>, and a number of graduates from the James R. Jordan Schools have returned to Chicago as program mentors.</p><p>&ldquo;The impact shows in actual neighborhoods, in kids who are making it,&rdquo; Bain said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the result of making it to college.&rdquo;</p><p>As far as MJ&rsquo;s contributions?</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s a supporter like our other supporters,&rdquo; Bain said. &ldquo;We are not the Michael Jordan Foundation. We don&rsquo;t want the focus to be on Michael.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Second to none</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/MJ%20need%20you%20back%20pride%20section_0.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 5px; height: 381px; width: 250px;" title="(AP Photo) " />For a while, everyone wanted to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0AGiq9j_Ak" target="_blank">&lsquo;Be Like Mike.&rsquo;</a> Which means Chicago&rsquo;s identity got a bit of a makeover, too.</p><p>Before MJ came along &ldquo;if you were traveling and told someone you were from Chicago, people would say, &lsquo;Oh, Chicago. Al Capone!&rsquo; Now, it&rsquo;s &lsquo;Chicago? Michael Jordan!&rdquo; said Sanderson.</p><p>Sam Smith says that the city experienced a sense of pride that it hadn&rsquo;t had before.</p><p>For a long time, he points out, Chicago was the &ldquo;Second City&rdquo; to New York or Los Angeles.</p><p>&ldquo;Here in Chicago, sports teams have traditionally been unsuccessful. They were associated with losing and being made fun of,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>That sentiment turned around. The United Center&rsquo;s Michael Jordan statue, entitled &quot;The Spirit&quot; and completed in 1994, has these words emblazoned on it: &ldquo;The best there ever was. The best there ever will be.&rdquo; It was as if, when Jordan was playing for the Bulls in the &lsquo;90s, everyone was proud to be from Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;You can&rsquo;t be the best forever,&rdquo; Smith said, &ldquo;but for a while we were number one.&rdquo;</p></p> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 11:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/legacy-michael-jordan-chicago-111803 Chicago play takes on celebrity culture http://www.wbez.org/chicago-play-takes-celebrity-culture-107744 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/tomkatproject_photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Six actors file into a black-box theater dressed all in black.&nbsp;</p><p>Julie Dahlinger, who portrays Hollywood star Katie Holmes, acts out verbatim dialogue from a Seventeen magazine interview, as her overprotective family from Toledo, Ohio, tells the audience how Holmes got the leading role in the late 90s teen drama<em> Dawson&rsquo;s Creek</em>.</p><p>Walt Delaney, as a scrawnier version of Cruise, is heartbroken after the end of his relationship with Spanish actress Penelope Cruz. He&rsquo;s always had bad luck with women, Cruise and his agent explain, and he blames it on his abusive father.</p><p>These quick-paced vignettes kick off <em>The TomKat Project</em>, a two-act play that takes on the most public of Hollywood relationships: the marriage and divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes (known as TomKat in the tabloids).</p><p>The satirical play isn&rsquo;t just trying to be funny. <em>The TomKat Project</em> is trying to send a message about our obsession with celebrity.</p><p>The different characters in the play &ndash; 54 in total &ndash; are played by seven actors. One moment, an actress is playing Nicole Kidman. The next, she&rsquo;s playing Oprah for the public revelation of the TomKat relationship that comes, of course, through the infamous couch-jumping incident.</p><p>This world of celebrity gossip is all too familiar to the play&rsquo;s writer and narrator, Brandon Ogborn. He&rsquo;s an improv actor and aspiring TV and film writer with encyclopedic knowledge of the movie business. Tabloid chatter is like a newsfeed for his career.</p><p>But when news of the TomKat relationship flooded every media outlet, he got drawn into it as entertainment, like so many of us do.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll have, like, Yasmina Reza plays in my bag and instead of reading those while I&rsquo;m waiting somewhere, I&rsquo;ll be reading <em>US</em> magazine about Tom and Katie,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><p>When Ogborn started writing a play about TomKat, he thought the couple would make good comedy. The eerie Scientology rumors that surrounded the TomKat relationship gave Ogborn plenty of material to work with.</p><p>The TomKat Project is complete with humorous reenactments of auditing sessions, the routine therapeutic meetings in Scientology in which Cruise supposedly revealed very personal details to fellow church members. Ogborn made David Miscavige, the head of the Church of Scientology, one of the main characters in the play.</p><p>But halfway through writing it, Ogborn had a realization that changed his approach to his subject: He started to question why 14-year-old girls and 45-year-old women end up having opinions about things like TomKat and Justin Bieber&rsquo;s haircut. And Ogborn realized he was making the same mistake as some of the public&mdash;he was buying into a tabloid version of events that probably wasn&rsquo;t true, or at least was greatly exaggerated.</p><p>&ldquo;You might be an A-hole for thinking what you&rsquo;ve read in tabloids over the years is true about these people, and about most other human beings that happen to have jobs in film and television and also happen to be attractive,&rdquo; Ogborn said.</p><p>Ogborn takes that dilemma onstage in the second act, as he plays himself. He shows himself as the narrator and writer of <em>The TomKat Project</em>, questioning why he believes what he reads in the tabloids and why he even wrote a play about the VIP couple in the first place.</p><p>He physically tussles with the character of Maureen Orth (played by Allison Yolo), the Vanity Fair contributor who wrote a controversial cover story about TomKat last year. Ogborn accuses Orth of trying to make a name for herself by writing about celebrities. She accuses him of trying to turn lowbrow nonfiction into highbrow theater. Ogborn escorts her out of the theater.</p><p>Ironically, Ogborn himself is making a name out of writing about famous people. The play sold out most of its run at Lakeview&rsquo;s Playground Theater, and took the stage last weekend at Just for Laughs Chicago. Now it&rsquo;s heading to Second City&rsquo;s UP Comedy Club on June 20, then moving on to New York&rsquo;s Fringe Festival in August.</p><p>A DePaul University sociology professor who specializes in celebrity culture doesn&rsquo;t share Ogborn&rsquo;s conflicted feelings on dishing about them. Deena Weinstein recognizes the stars are easy targets&mdash;she calls writing a play on the TomKat relationship &ldquo;kind of like shooting fish in a barrel.&rdquo;</p><p>But she says gossip about other people is a tradition that goes way back in time, and she sees meaning in it.</p><p>&ldquo;When we lived in small societies, we could gossip about people we know. Living in the metropolitan area, we don&rsquo;t know very many people about whom we can gossip but we all feel we know celebrities,&rdquo; Weinstein said.</p><p>She said many people today are increasingly isolated. They live farther from their families, and they may have hundreds of friends on Facebook, but only know a few of them well.</p><p>Weinstein says talking about Hollywood stars can provide a false sense of intimacy, and that can help some people feel less isolated.</p><p><em>Diana Buendía is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/buendiag" target="_blank">@buendiag</a></em></p></p> Tue, 18 Jun 2013 09:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/chicago-play-takes-celebrity-culture-107744 Unfamous Kids Named After Famous People http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/unfamous-kids-named-after-famous-people-104821 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3467493336_73218b3d4a.jpg" style="float: right; height: 257px; width: 300px;" title="Flickr/Keith Allison" /><span id="internal-source-marker_0.4461371744547439">About a month ago, Drew Magary published an astounding little post on </span><a href="http://deadspin.com/5967948/2012s-definitive-list-of-unusual-baby-names-will-destroy-your-soul?tag=dadspin">Deadspin</a> about some of the most unusual names in 2012. My favorite is &ldquo;Donathan,&rdquo; just because it kind of makes sense, yet doesn&rsquo;t, sort of like &ldquo;Denjamin&rdquo; or &ldquo;Staniel&rdquo; or &ldquo;Misterpher.&rdquo;</div><p>Anyway, this got me thinking on the ways people name their kids. Our son is named &ldquo;Paul&rdquo; which is a pretty straightforward name, except my underlying rationale for doing so is maybe a little weird. He&rsquo;s named for a baseball player.<br /><br />My affection for Paul Konerko has been documented online before, although what used to be a crush has leveled off to a rational appreciation for his hard work, good attitude and odd ability to have a successful yet scandal-free athletic career. So the name &ldquo;Paul&rdquo; to me became imbued with those good qualities (incidentally, while the White Sox did lose the night my Paul was born, Paulie K. homered.)<br /><br />The more I thought about it, I was able to come up with even more good famous Pauls who have brought me happiness throughout my life: Paul McCartney, <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/2008/06/the_paul_f_tompkins_interview.php">Paul F. Tompkins</a>, <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/2008/09/httpwwwyoutubecomwatchv0qvqsza.php">Paul Scheer</a>, Paul Rudd, RuPaul. So why not a Paul for me? A good precedent had been set by the Pauls who had come before him.<br /><br />I&rsquo;m not completely alone. A friend of mine named Stephanie was nicknamed &ldquo;Stevie&rdquo; at birth due to her parents&rsquo; affection for the Fleetwood Mac singer Ms. Nicks. I know a child of some Bears fans who is named Keller because that&rsquo;s Mike Ditka&rsquo;s middle name.<br /><br />I must know other kids out there who were named after athletes and various other famous people, but my coffee intake is low and so I can&rsquo;t summon them at this time. So please share with me: who were your (or your friends&rsquo; or family&rsquo;s) kids named for that&rsquo;s in the pop culture realm, and why? Feel free to be totally judgmental of your peer&rsquo;s decisions.</p></p> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 09:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/unfamous-kids-named-after-famous-people-104821 A Queen in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-11/queen-chicago-103712 <p><p>Americans make such a big deal about royalty. Remember Princess Diana? But before her, there was Queen Marie of Romania. She made a tour of the United States in 1926, and it was front-page news every place she went. Especially here in Chicago.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/11-13--Marie%20portrait%20%28Wiki%29.jpg" style="float: right; height: 332px; width: 250px;" title="Queen Marie (wiki)" /></div><p>Marie wasn&rsquo;t Romanian. She was part of the British royal family and was married to the king of Romania. He was a cipher. Queen Marie ran things. Remember, in those days, in most countries, women didn&rsquo;t even vote.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">When she came to America, Marie was 51 years old. Her reputation preceded her. She&rsquo;d had some well-publicized love affairs, so people wanted to get a look at this powerful, notorious woman.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">She arrived at Union Station on November 13<sup>th</sup>, and it was the usual circus. Mayor Dever was at the train station, along with a few million spectators and a few million reporters taking pictures. Then Marie moved on to the Drake for dinner with some of the Important People. She smoked a few cigarettes&ndash;which showed she was a &ldquo;liberated&rdquo; woman&ndash;and told stories, and joked around, and charmed everyone.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The next day, they took her on a tour. She visited some sights and had tea with more Important People. At Lincoln Park she got out of her car and chatted with a few Romanian women, which put the whole tour way behind schedule. She did a radio broadcast. That night there was another banquet. The third day was more of the same, and then she left.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/11-13--Queen%20Marie.jpg" style="float: left; width: 258px; height: 335px;" title="A Queen in Chicago (Chicago Tribune, 11-14-1926)" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Queen Marie never came back to Chicago. Her husband died, and her son turned out to be a disaster as king. She died in 1938.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Marie wasn&rsquo;t like the other royal snobs of those days. She seemed down-to-earth and human, and she knew how to make the right gesture for the right occasion.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">I&#39;m thinking about the photographers here. When Marie first arrived in Chicago, she very sweetly asked them not to take flash photos of her when she was walking down stairs, because it blinded her and she was afraid of falling. That was reasonable, so the photographers honored her request.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Now, many Important People would have just let it go at that. Not Marie. At the closing banquet at the Blackstone, she was called on to make a toast. So she stood up, raised her glass, and said &ldquo;To the Chicago newspaper photographers!&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">That was Queen Marie for you.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 13 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-11/queen-chicago-103712