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Archive for the ‘In the News’ Category

I’m all-in.

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

On May 13 former Chicago Bear player Jerry Azumah hosted nearly 400 guests at his Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament and Casino Night Event as a fundraiser for his non-profit organization ASAP (Azumah Student Assistance Program). All proceeds raised from the event went to ASAP’s scholarship program, which serves youth specifically at San Miguel Schools Chicago. Horseshoe Casino served as one of ASAP’s most generous supporters for the Inaugural Event.

During the event, benefactors received an opportunity to intermingle with some of the most well-known celebrities, tastemakers and everyday consumers in a relaxed and casual environment showcasing newly introduced and some of our favorite products and brands. Suites, retreats and exclusive bars were offered to some of our benefactors for private and interactive branding opportunities.


Aside from having some of the most fantastic, versatile and well-known guests, benefactors and supporters, the event was just fun. The ASAP Foundation wanted to provide our guests with an excellently executed and intimate event in which attendees were able to leave their cares behind so we could share the ASAP mission and goals and have an enjoyable time with the most influential people in the city. Guests walked away with prizes from some of the best retailers in the city as well as Super Bowl Tickets, trips to Las Vegas provided by Horseshoe Casino, condos in both Vail, Colorado and Miami as well as TVs and trips to our favorite getaways in the surrounding states. The process of creating awareness of the ASAP Foundation and the San Miguel Schools Chicago appeared to be trouble-free and simple because of the support and passion on which the event was built. With the help of our guests, supporters and benefactors as well as potential partners and additional attendees, we at the ASAP Foundation look forward to being able to produce this event and raising money for young impressionable minds for years to come. For more info and updates, visit or call 312.842.1042. Thank you to everyone who supported the ASAP Foundation’s Inaugural Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament!

To check out photos of the event, go to the ASAP Foundation website, and click “Fund raiser Event.”


Guests enjoyed spirits from: SVEDKA, Hennessy Black, Sprite Green, Fuze, PAMA, Anheuser Busch, Evan Williams, Becks, Red Bull, Lunazul and Hyponitq. Food was catered by ASAP partner Hotel Sax. Media partners included: Ruby, Michigan Avenue Magazine Chicago Public Radio Sister Station and NBC 5 Chicago.

Additional benefactors and supporters included: Gold Coast Bentley, the Gorman family, Impact 365, Skybox on Sheffield, Holm Audio, Gibson’s Restaurant’s, Custom Companies, Inc., David Barton Gym, PLP Studios and Solemates Chicago.

Celebrity attendees included: Antoine Walker (NBA Champion), Adewale Ogunleye (Pro Bowler and Chicago Bear), Richard Dent (former Chicago Bear and Super Bowl MVP), Bobby Simmons (NBA Player), Malik Yusef (Poet/Artist), Tom Thayer (Super Bowl Champion/Sports Analyst), David Kaplan (CTL Host), Israel Idonije (Chicago Bear), Rashied Davis (Chicago Bear), Ryan Baker (CBS Sports), Jenn Patterson (Comcast Personality), Richard Roeper (Chicago Sun Times Columnist), Robin Robinson (Fox News Chicago), Natalie Martinez (NBC Personality), Lance Briggs (Chicago Bear), Tiffany (Reality TV Star), Kelli Zink (, Susanna Homan (Editor in Chief, Michigan Avenue Magazine), Tone and Shag (Power 92 Personalities), Nawledge (Emcee).

About Jerry Azumah
Jerry Azumah – Born to West African immigrant parents and raised in Worcester, Mass., Jerry Azumah has had a fortunate life attributing it to the support he has received throughout his life, especially in his younger academic years. In 1991, Azumah enrolled at St. Peter Marian High School, a private school in Worcester where he began to fulfill his classroom and athletic potential. Without the assistance of a local Worcester donor, he would not have been able to attend the prestigious institution. Equipped with a remarkable early education, a BA from University of New Hampshire and a successful and admirable 7-year football career with the Chicago Bears (going All Pro in 2004), Jerry has been able to retire, maintain a healthy lifestyle and embark on new endeavors, all by the age of 30. In addition to his philanthropic and entrepreneurial happenings, he joined Cellular Bears Post Game Live for his first season as studio analyst for Comcast SportsNet in 2007.

About ASAP Foundation
ASAP (Azumah Student Assistance Program) Foundation.  With an inception in 2004, ASAP’s (License Number: Processing) primary goal is to provide scholarships for disadvantaged students in Massachusetts, Illinois and beyond. The Foundation’s first fundraising event, a golf outing, took place in Massachusetts and received remarkable attention and encouragement. The generous support Azumah received early in his life tailored his choices and outlook, his community, and his charitable activities. This support also serves as his founding inspiration to utilize his own personal and professional accomplishments to students in need. This year’s ASAP event is being used to support to San Miguel Schools, Chicago. More information on ASAP can be found at

Get outta there!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

You’ll probably go your whole life without hearing someone tell you with great urgency to “GET OUT OF THERE!!!!!!” but it happens in the movies.

All the time.

Onstage with Ditka and the Superfans.

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Ellen DeGeneres and Denis Leary have been booked for quite some time for the second annual Chicago Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, now Mike Ditka has been scheduled for an appearance as well.  He will be alongside the former “Saturday Night Live” Super Fans at the festival.  The show will be called, “Da Bears Movie Dat Wasn’t” and will feature Ditka, George Wendt, Joe Mantegna, Robert Smigel, Bob Odenkirk, and Richard Roeper. Tickets for the show go on sale on Saturday.

Sign of the Times

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Times Square evacuated. Again.

Don’t tase me, bro!

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

I think this was more about a heavyset cop running out of breath than a fan posing any real danger to the players…

“Kick-Ass” — WTF did she just say?!?

Monday, April 19th, 2010

From today’s Chicago Sun-Times:


Last Thursday night I was at a screening of “Kick-Ass,” a movie generating a considerable amount of controversy, with Roger Ebert calling it “morally reprehensible” and Leonard Maltin jokingly telling the Trib the movie signals “the destruction of civilization as we know it.”

Filmed in a frenetic style, “Kick-Ass” features an 11-year-old called “Hit Girl” who slices and dices and kicks and shoots the bad guys to pieces, all the while using language that would make Quentin Tarantino blush. (Or perhaps gush.)

I’ve seen more than a thousand movies in the last decade. Until “Kick-Ass,” I had not seen an 11-year-old use the c-word.

Late in the movie, there’s a scene in which Hit Girl and the title character are driving the car owned by Red Mist, who’s played by the kid who was McLovin’ in “Superbad,” and yes, I realize half of these names sound more like energy drinks or colognes than movie characters.

Anyway. The character of “Kick-Ass” has been bloodied, so he’s recovering in the passenger seat while Hit Girl is driving and they’re plotting their next move.

And that’s when the woman behind me at the screening said, “She’s driving! She’s way too young to be driving.”

So you didn’t say a word while Hit Girl was saying “m———–,” you didn’t utter a peep while Hit Girl was stabbing and crippling and killing one thug after another — but now that she’s driving you’re worried?

The headline on Mark Caro’s story in the Tribune read, “Is ‘Kick-Ass’ star a lil’ menace to society?”

“There was a kind of firewall between kids and violence, and that firewall is completely gone now,” film critic and author Neal Gabler tells Caro. “Kids sit around and kill people on video games.”

The Trib’s Michael Phillips “started hating this movie around the midpoint,” not so much for the language employed by Hit Girl as for “how stupidly relentless the gore is, from beginning to end.”

Gory, yes — but I found “Hit Girl” to be consistently entertaining, from the “real-world” set-up in which a high school kid with no superpowers whatsoever decides to try to become a superhero to the introduction of the Hit Girl character in a wickedly funny scene with her father (played by Nicolas Cage), through all the slam-bang action sequences.

Yes, “Kick-Ass” is relentlessly violent, but it’s framed and shot as a cinematic graphic novel, true to the style of the comic books that were created in tandem with the movie. (In fact, the back story of Hit Girl and her father is revealed as a character reads a comic book.) It feels hyperrealistic.

Many of the kills are executed, so to speak, in cartoonishly over-the-top fashion. The sequences in which Hit Girl whirls about, offing one mobster after another, are in quotes; they’re as stylized as the scene in “Kill Bill” where Uma Thurman’s Bride wipes out dozens of henchmen.

(Overall, “Kick-Ass” was actually received well by the critics, with a 78 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Box office was fairly soft: about $19.75 mil.)

Was I jolted by the sight of an 11-year-old girl using that language? Yes. Do I think most 11-year-old girls have heard those words, but know better than to actually say them? Yes again.

Chloe Grace Moretz, the actress who plays Hit Girl, is now 13. I met her in the WLS-AM studios last Friday as she was on a promotional tour for the movie. She seems like a nice kid. More self-possessed and confident than a lot of people twice her age — but that could be said of a lot of 13-year-olds these days.

“I would never in a million years say those words, because I was raised to believe cussing makes you sound like an unintelligent individual and I don’t want to sound like that,” said Moretz.

Note to self.

If the real issue here is the age of Hit Girl — well, this certainly isn’t the first time a child has been in a controversial, R-rated movie. Linda Blair in “The Exorcist,” Jodie Foster as a hooker in “Taxi Driver,” young Natalie Portman learning the ways of the hit man in “The Professional,” Dakota Fanning as a rape victim in “Hounddog.” All of those films were set in much more realistic worlds than “Kick-Ass.” (And in the fantasy genre, remember Kirsten Dunst as a child bloodsucker in the R-rated “Interview with a Vampire”?)

As for how these movies affect the child actors: Jodie Foster starred in “Taxi Driver.” Lindsay Lohan starred in “The Parent Trap.” Natalie Portman starred in “The Professional.” Danny Bonaduce was in “The Patridge Family.” I rest my case.

Of course there are dozens of factors that contribute to a child actor’s maturation process, but the type of material one performs as an adolescent doesn’t seem to hold much influence.

Talking about “Bet the House” on “Fox & Friends.”

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Talking about Bet the House on WGN-TV….

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

On the 3D craze.

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Talking about the 3D ‘craze’ with Leonard Maltin and Steph and Matt, hosts of “Hollywood Dailies” on ReelzChannel.

Questions 67 and 68.

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

5 Questions with Richard Roeper

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