Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hop To It at Westfield Old Orchard Mall!

By: Lucy Rendler-Kaplan

March 30, 2013 Westfield Old Orchard Mall had a fun event for kids and families alike, from 10-1 Saturday in the “new” (while the real children’s area is being remodeled) children’s area outside Bloomingdale’s.

The highly attended event featured an annual Egg Hunt at 10:30 and 11:30 am for kids 3-6 years old. There were also art activities for the kids, with California Pizza Kitchen offering a decorating station, where children could design their own pizza boxes with Easter stickers and markers, while parents received a $5 off coupon for children’s meals, with any purchase over $10. They also offered the chance to win a Westfield Gift Card, for the person who correctly guessed how many jelly beans were in a jar.

Subway was also on hand, handing out free cookies and Frisbees. Not to be outdone, Corner Bakery was giving out free mini-bundt cakes.

Besides taking pictures with the Easter Bunny, the children were most excited with the petting zoo, which featured baby chicks, a bunny, a few adult and baby goats, and roaming ducks.

Two face painters were on-hand, decorating children’s faces with intricate pictures of bunnies, tigers and princesses.

Parents were also invited to take part in the fun, with hand massages provided by Kiehl’s from Bloomingdales, and the chance to win a $1000 gift certificate from Evanston Subaru in Skokie.

This promises to be an annual event that will draw bigger crowds every year!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Post-SXSW, The Cringe Talks PR and Upcoming Plans

By: Lucy Rendler-Kaplan @arkaymktg


I had the incredible opportunity to sit down with John Cusimano, lead singer and songwriter of The Cringe, after watching them play at SXSW. Though the name of the band, “The Cringe,” has its origins back from when Cusimano was high school, playing “indie absurdist” garage punk with a “rough around the edges” feel, the present version is anything but cringe worthy.  Their sound is reminiscent of early Foo Fighters and Smashing Pumpkins, along with heartfelt ballads sung masterfully by Cusimano.

In Austin, a city The Cringe calls one it’s favorite place to play, (mainly Stubb’s, a location you might associate with one of the biggest parties of SXSW, thrown by the wife of Cusimano) the band was playing shows to sold out crowds, promoting songs off their fourth album, “Hiding in Plain Sight.” With the success of this record, and radio ready songs such as “Lord Jim” and “Get Me Some,” it will definitely be hard for the band to hide in plain sight for much longer.

Writing this originally for the Public Relations Society of America, I wanted to get John’s take on the changing landscape of PR for bands. Few very short years ago only the largest bands such as the Foo Fighters would hire publicists, but now bands popping up each day in your backyard are making use of everything public relations has to offer. The Cringe has worked with several PR firms and has also brought the function in-house.  Cusimano believes “because of the growth of the internet and social media, it is increasingly easier and less expensive for a band to promote themselves.  That being said, it is quite helpful for an experienced PR firm to get a band noticed and breakthrough in an increasingly crowded market place – ideally a PR firm should help an artist move up the long tail and maximize his/her consumer base.” Most recently The Cringe worked with “the esteemed and wonderful Girlie Action (PR firm) on the release of their most recent album “Hiding in Plain Sight” (available on Itunes and everywhere else online).” For one of the PR campaigns The Cringe has run, Trendsetter has proven indispensable in promoting their video “Deep Girl” – the views of that video keep going up and up . . .

He goes on to tell me, “The internet has changed the publication landscape from print to online fairly drastically, thereby opening up the market place from a few large and expensive PR firms to a lot of smaller firms, many of whom focus almost exclusively online and need to and can move as quickly as the online world requires.” He believes this will only continue to expand.

Upcoming plans for The Cringe involve their current tour off of “Hiding in Plain Sight” and the very near future has the band looking forward to a bunch of April dates with one of their “hero” bands (and one of Kurt Cobain’s favorites)  – The Meat Puppets.  You can learn more about The Cringe and follow their tour dates at ? or on Facebook   Cusimano also encourages fans to chat with them on twitter and to check out his own personal photos on Instagram, under the handle thecringe. 

Currently, The Cringe includes:

John Cusimano, vocals, guitar and keys

 James “Roto” Rotondi, guitar

 Jonny Blaze, bass

 Shawn Pelton, drums

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dose Of Adolescence Earns Spot on Vans Warped Tour

By: Lucy Rendler-Kaplan

What do you picture when you hear the band name “Dose of Adolescence?” Angst filled teens playing heavy garage rock? Young rockers trying to make their mark on the music scene, with songs that are too long and too filled with gratuitous guitar solos? If that’s the case, you’d be way off.

DofA, as they’re often called, were named to signify a time before people become jaded by life. It represents the inner child that doesn’t know any other way than to be completely honest. DofA’s music strives to convey a message of truth, hope and realism while combining new school punk rock with old school heart.

Playing since 1999, brothers Timmy and Jimmy Ray Brown Jr. are finally winning the respect they’ve long deserved. Adding to their accomplishments, including placing 5th in the D'Addario strings online voting contest, being nominated for the best Rock/Hard Rock Song in the 11th Annual Independent Music Awards, headlining the Wahoo’s Scion Tour and attracting the attention of sponsors such as Active Ride Shop, Anenberg Clothing, Battlefield Drums & others, the band has recently been added to the 2013 Vans Warped Tour, playing almost daily shows from July 16-July 25th. On July 25th, Chicago will get the chance to watch the band in person, on one of the bands Warped stops.

However, it hasn’t always been all sunshine and beautiful music following the band everywhere they go. Brothers Timmy and Jimmy Ray Brown Jr. also started the band originally with their best friend Stephen Madigan. After a few short years, Stephen was in an alcohol-related car accident and passed away, reminding the brothers how precious life is, and how quickly it can be taken away. After their friend’s untimely death, Timmy even found it difficult to play music.

 “It took me a while to even pick up my guitar again,” he said. “(It was) the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life, by far.”

Being added to many dates on this year’s Warped Tour has always been a dream of the band. Until recently, they would play just outside the gates, giving away CDs to gain more fans, and simply happy and humble for the opportunity to play and share their music.

Current members of the band are:

Timmy Brown, vocals/guitar

Jimmy Ray Brown Jr., vocals

Roger Esparza, bass & vocals

Colin Andersen, guitar

Tyler Armenta, drums

For more information, please visit
Check out their music and let me know on Twitter (@arkaymktg) if I'll be seeing you at their Chicago Warped Tour stop!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Shades of Green
                                                                By: Lucy Rendler-Kaplan
      Unless noted, photo credit: Lucy Rendler-Kaplan

What do YOU think of, when you think of St. Patrick’s Day? Reliving your youth, playing drinking games with beers oddly tinted green? Wearing as many green items of clothing as you can to school, along with your prized 4-leaf clover sparkly headbands? Guys in leprechaun costumes with green pointy elf shoes and their female dates in the shortest of short beer maid outfits?

You may not even know, or care, how St. Patrick’s Day started, but we’ll offer you a little history lesson, courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia. Saint Patrick's Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, "the Day of the Festival of Patrick") is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland.

The day generally involves public parades and festivals and wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day.

While it’s certainly fun to dress up your kids for school that day, and increasingly popular to dress your dog, let’s leave this TO the kids (and dogs) and class it up a notch this year. Agreed?

From simple and affordable tees and dresses, to the more couture items straight from the runways of Fashion Week, we will help you look great, while “going green.”

The Gap has put together some great outfits that can be worn only on St. Patricks Day, but also lend themselves very well to going into the office.

A simple layered look like this would look great going into the office, enjoying Sunday brunch with friends, or simply going to a Farmer’s Market. The pop of green allows a classier look for St. Patrick’s Day.




Stripes are all the rage this season, so not only will this sweater/tee combo put you in the holiday mood, you’ll also be right on trend.


Old Navy has super chic, very affordable options, incorporating both the classier, simple look for St. Patrick’s Day outfits, as well as the traditional.
These tanks will take you right into spring, while staying in the holiday theme.

Do you have to go into the office on St. Patrick’s Day? Simply throw on this collared button down over a pair of skinny jeans, cute wedges, and you’re all set!


Is there any more fun reason to throw on a cute summer dress than a holiday? You can wear this  alone, but bring a jean jacket or camo jacket with complimentary colors with you if it gets chilly!


You’re “never fully dressed without a smile…” or a great bag. You can add this to your green ensemble, but I’d recommend wearing this bag with a collared button down shirt, skinny blue jeans, and wedges.

Too embarrassed to go fully green, but still want to take part in the office celebration? These sweet ballet flats are just the thing!


Now for the kids in your life! Again, Old Navy has some really fun options for your children’s class party on St. Patrick’s Day.



This year, more and more brands like Hello Kitty, Peanuts, and McDonald's are making sure they’re a part of everyone’s celebrations:


                                                Can’t forget your pets!

If you’re looking for something a bit more glam, here are some fashions directly from the runway (photo: This is a dress you can rent just for St. Patrick’s Day evening parties, from Rent The Runway.

This ring features a real 4-leaf clover under glass, ensuring you can take a little luck with you wherever you go.

If you’re not yet convinced, and still want to take the “traditional route” for St. Patrick’s Day, I’d recommend checking out Urban Outfitters, for more “tongue in cheek” garb, with options for both men and women.
Post some pictures on our facebook page so we can see what YOU’VE decided on and if you’ve gone the usual dress up route, or the more “Green Couture” route