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Television Wed Apr 23 2014

"My Chicago" Premieres on WTTW this Friday

The producers of "Check, Please!" are launching a new half-hour series about Chicago, focusing on local residents and lesser known locales. Hosted by The Interview Show's Mark Bazer and WBEZ journalist Odette Yousef, "My Chicago" premieres this Friday at 8:30pm.

"We interview people at a place that has significance to them," Bazer says, "their workplace or home, or someplace they hang out a lot, and then drive around with that person in their neighborhood. Sometimes we pick up a second person who sits in the back seat -- for example we interviewed (Chicago comic and Vocalo personality) Brian Babylon, and during the segment we picked up Peter Sagal (host of 'Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!') Having a second person provides an interplay between the two."

"Having a second person changes the interplay of the conversation," Yousef adds.


Did you get a lot of nominations for interview subjects?

Odette: We got about 30, mostly along the lines of "I nominate myself." For the first season we wanted to get people who were local notables to give the show a little bit of credence. We were pleasantly surprised at how many people said "yes" for a show that had no track record. We both had our wish lists for people to have on the show. Not all of them are attainable.

Mark: The people producing the show did Check Please! so they have a good track record. It's a testament to Chicago that people are usually up for sharing their time and stories.

Do you think you could get Rahm Emmanuel to do it?

Mark: Rahm might do it; put down that he's doing it.

Odette: He does random media.

Mark: We interviewed (Cook County Board President) Toni Preckwinckle, and (Congressman) Luis Gutierrez. We picked him up at his home, then he left his house keys in the car.

What are your hopes for the show?

Odette: My hope is that people call us to do the show, and it's important to get a real diversity of people from all kinds of neighborhoods and backgrounds who have had all kinds of experiences. I want to continue to do that.

Mark: I learned a lot about different places in Chicago, even places close to where I live, I hope it opens people to different places than they would usually go to. I interviewed Stephanie Paul from the Albany Park Theater Project, and I didn't really know what it was. I had an inkling, and I know they had a show at the Goodman, but for whatever reason hadn't explored it further, so I picked up Stephanie in Albany Park, and hopefully people who are watching the show are like "OK, I didn't know about that, this person is great," and it will be on their radar now.

Who else have you interviewed for the show?

Mark: Phil Ponce, and on Thursday we'll be on "Chicago Tonight." We interviewed Phil for the show, we went to this coach house where the family hangs out. He rides a bike, it looks like Pee Wee Herman's. He's the nicest guy in the world. His sons are really nice, they're singers, so they sang a song in the car.

Odette: It was like the Von Trapp family sitting in the car. No spoilers -- I won't say what song they sang.


"My Chicago" premieres this Friday at 8:30pm on WTTW. If you'd like to nominate someone for the show, fill out the nomination form on the WTTW website.

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randolf hurts / April 24, 2014 10:59 AM

this might be one of the worst interviews i read. which is sad as i'm interested in the show.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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