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Just a LITTLE Taste…

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The truncated, annotated, late-dated (as in “not during July 4th”) Taste of Chicago is underway. It does NOT seem to be getting embraced by the populace the way it used to be. Maybe part of that has to do with it being marked a “NTL” Zone- meaning- NO TURKEY LEGS!!! As I mentioned before, that staple of the Taste is not a part of it this year. There are fewer booths, there is a charge for a seat at the big musical shows (though you can listen for free from the grassy knoll next to the venue), and – of course, no 4th of July, no fireworks, and – is anybody broadcasting from there? Years ago, lots of radio and TV stations would broadcast live from the taste- take it from a guy who did plenty of live programs from there. I know I’ve written before about broadcasting live the year a huge, dangerous –wind-bearing storm hit, and I was pressed into service as an on-the-spot news/weather reporter! Nobody seems to be doing too many shows from there now, and it seems the whole thing has become- I don’t know- somewhat of a devalued event these days… what did it? The economy? The city tightening its belt? Rampaging brainless thugs who thought the event was the perfect place to go just to cause some trouble? Yesterday, as a welcoming gesture (?), they were handing out Asian carp sliders. Say what?!Yes, that nasty pest of a fish that we have been trying to stem from Lake Michigan with poisons and electric barriers was the catch of the day. “Eww! Lousy bottom-feeding carp?” was the first reaction- followed by “Oh? Free? Gimme!” (In actuality, one spokesperson said that the Asian carp is NOT a bottom feeder, swims in the middle depth waters, and eats plankton. So it’s got that going for it, which is nice.) When they were talking about the carp slider give-away on location on the Fox local morning show, reporter Nancy Loo made me laugh out loud when one of the guys touting this fine delicacy bragged about how the Chinese love it, and Nancy, who is of Chinese descent, shot back something to the effect of “I have to tell you, the Chinese don’t consider it a real quality fish…” In that same newscast, they were slopping down Slurpees at the anchor desk, in honor of the fact that 7-11s were, on the date 7/11 yesterday ,giving out free Slurpees (not big ones, just smaller cup versions…) This gave me an idea that would have been a fine synergistic public relations coup for the Taste- in co-operation with 7-11 stores, they could have given away Asian carp-flavored Slurpees! The first reaction would have been “Ewww!” followed by “Oh? Free? Gimme!” It’ll be interesting to see how the full turnout is for this year’s smaller, more low-key, more-efficient Taste…and what effect it will have on the future of the event. I have a tendency to think that, in its current form, perhaps its days are numbered. Then again, I was the guy who said, back when they cancelled the fireworks, that within a few years, THAT tradition would be restored. We shall see. If you’re looking for an event with even smaller specifics as far as food- as in wine and cheese- don’t forget the Theatre at the Center’s special event in Munster this Friday night, where I’ll be appearing before the “Little Shop of Horrors” musical! Once again, all the information can be found under the “appearances” tag here on our site. Besides, you KNOW I’ll be giving you reminders on this and Saturday’s G-Fest appearance before they occur…