Ramon and I are excited. We got invited to perform at the Arts Midwest Conference which is from September 9 to September 11, 2015. Our booth will be at Exhibit 425B under Chicago Improv Production. We are showcasing at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown, Bennie Moten and performing Thursday at 10:45 PM and Friday at 10:45 PM. Joining us is Sandrell Ross who's a member of Southern Diapers, a musical parody. I'll write an update and add to the blog as we get to meet people and network at this wonderful convention. We are grateful and feeling truly blessed.
Labor day weekend started off early for us. Ramon’s Mom aka Mama Cakes was in town visiting from Puerto Rico. We showed her around town and I think the highlight of her visit was when Mama Cakes rode Ramon’s BMX bike. Here she is a mature woman on a BMX doing trix that she ended up with a flat tire. I guess you can say you’re never too old to ride a BMX. Hasta La Vista Mama Cakes. Have a safe trip back to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.
Ramon had an idea of posting a picture of our dishes on Facebook and the person that guess will be invited to be our special guest for our Mr and Mrs Smith Talk Relationship Podcast. And the winner is Paul Aquino. By the way, Paul is not having a baby. If you want know what’s the special news. Tune in on Itunes.
Saturday, we met up with the Sandrell Ross and Mickey Housley. They are married couple who are also comedians. Sandrell is part of Southern Diapers which is Ramon’s parody musical comedy group. We had rehearsal for our Mr and Mrs Smith Comedy show. People think we are so brilliant that we just come up with ideas - well we all wish for that however comedy is a lot of hard work. We actually sit down bounce off ideas, work on it, write it down, perform it until the sketch is perfected. After the rehearsal - is the after party! We walked down to the South Loop Beer and Wine Festival and guess who headline the show - ⅓ of RUNDMC - DMC. What a great performance. Old school hip hop in full effect.
Sunday, worked on comedy. Ramon had rehearsal for the play Tren al Sur. I hung out with Brandie Denise, Mickey Housely and Sandrell Ross. We went to Hollywood beach. Our original plan was to BBQ at the beach but you know plan change. I brought a ginormous tarp to lay on so we can chill. We played this board game called Trouble. By the way, who plays board games on the beach? A bunch of comedians that’s who. We were all so competitive. We acted like there’s money to be made and kids to be save. A bee keep on buzz buzzing and we had no choice but to get rid of it. Its either kill or bee killed- no pun intended. We did bury the Bee. However, I think he sent messages to his Bee friends because a few came to attack us. All we can say was #blacklivesmatter but we are sure the Bee is saying #beelivesmatter.
After the beach, I went back home to meet Ramon. We went back to South Loop Beer Festival walked around and wanted to say hello to Mary from M Lounge but she wasn’t there so we walked some more and ran into the cutest dog name Brooklyn. We chatted with Jose who’s Brooklyn owner name Jose. Jose had so much knowledge about dogs on how to train, how to take care, how feed them - if it’s about dogs he knew the answer. He might just be the Domican dog whisperer. Got hungry and walked to Burger Bar and met the cutest couple. Kim was Chinese Teacher, ex cop from Chicago and Giorgio is an Italian guy. They both shared their passion for traveling and enjoying life to the fullest. In fact, they were so jett lagged because they just got back from Hong Kong.
Sunday July 26th marked the 4th annual Chicago SUP YACS Classic, which gave everyone in the Chicagoland area a chance to come down to Montrose beach and STAND UP for Young Adult Cancer Survivors (YACS) through stand up paddle board (SUP) races, relays and family-friendly beach activities.
This event was co-founded and hosted by True North Treks and Surfrider Foundation-Chicago. True North Treks is a non-profit organization dedicated to support teens and young adult cancer survivors and Surfrider Chicago is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our lakes and beaches for all people, through conservation, activism, research and education. Together, and with the support of Kayak Chicago and Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center it is a thrill to be having this annual event, from which all proceeds will benefit young adults with cancer.
The race event features a men's and women's sprint and long distance races for recreational and elite competitors. But the one race everyone looks forward to, is the annual 4-person relay. This race gives Chicago companies the opportunity to register their 4-person team and compete against other companies or organizations. It's the final event and everyone's attention is on this race. The stakes were high this year but team Pacifico managed to take the victory flag! If you want to have a blast with 3 of your co-workers and represent your company or organization for an amazing cause, check out the SUP YACS website for more info.
But as I previously mentioned, this event had family-friendly beach activities as well. For example Matt Lennert from BlkBox surf brought a few paddle boards for people to sample and purchase if interested. I live in an apartment and I cant fit a regular board, so I tried out the inflatable ones he brought and they were just as good as the regular ones. Kayak Chicago gave out SUP clinics for people who've never tried paddle boarding before. It was interesting to see my friends get on the boards for the very first time. It was like they were learning to walk again! Mary Lou Cerami from Chicago SUPYoga gave a free beach yoga class and Jason Phillips from The Fitness Surgeon also gave a free Beach bootcamp session for all to enjoy. It really was a good turn out this year and even WGN news' very own Lourdes Duarte took time to give paddle boarding a try and share the story of SUP YACS with the city: wgntv.com/2015/07/27/wgns-lourdes-duarte-paddle-boards-for-a-good-cause/
After a day of racing and the trophy awarding, now it was time to relax and unwind at The Dock at Montrose Beach for the after party. We listened to the tunes of The Luxmen and enjoyed cold Pacifico beer. During the band's break a raffle was held and many prizes were given away that included: Chicago Cubs tickets, Jack Daniels single barrel, a Blk Box paddle, a Pacifico bike, backpacks and gear, gift cards from Windward Board shop and more.
All in all this was in my opinion a great day to spend with friends and family, having a good time for a good cause. Through this event the organization was able to raise over $10,000 dollars for the True North Treks and the adolescent and young adult program of The Lurie Cancer Center. As a member of Surfrider Foundation Chicago I would like to thank everyone who supported and participated in this event. And hope that you continue to help spread the word and make this a bigger and better event each year!
What? No plans for the 4th of July weekend? This is nuts. Ramon and I, usualy host our annual BBQ in Wicker Park where all of our friends gather and celebrate AMERICA’S Independence day. However this year, we didn’t plan it in time, so we decided to play it by ear.
July 3, 2015
What started out with no plans ended up being adventurous. I suggested to Ramon that we should go for a long run. This is nuts right? I’m challenging the man who loves to run. Ramon loves to run, bike and swim, really whatever outdoor stuff or endurance sports. I, on the other hand will stay home and wait for him to finish running or be a cheerleader on the sidelines. Of course Ramon said yes. I pretended like I forgot that I said that at 730 in the morning and he said "Are you getting ready to run?". “D'oh!” I said in Homer Simpson’s voice. “Yes, I’m getting ready, today I plan on running long distance.” I was really lying to myself. I’m not a runner, far from it. We got outside and the weather was perfect for runners, around 60 degrees, but for me it was too cold. All I could think about was: where is my Northface jacket?!!! I started running and used this app called map my run and listened to Pandora's MIA chanel. As we ran, Ramon said I was too slow, so I said go ahead remember its my long run. He sped up and was gone like the wind. I was freezing so I figured the longer I ran the warmer my body would get. I kept on running past 31st beach and on to 41st and to 43rd. I saw Ramon running back and I waved at him and gave him a wink. The problem was there was a girl in front of him and she thought I was flirting with her, until she realized it wasn’t for her. Seeing Mr. Smith gave me the confidence to keep running further than I thought I could go. I turned back around after 44th street. I was so happy and running with a big ‘ole smile. I stopped for water, took a picture and sent it to my BFF Hai. Hai inspires me to run and always tells me there’s no excuse you don’t have any kids, I have 2 and I’ll be doing the IRONMAN. She’s right. I passed Soldiers Field on my way back home and there were a bunch of Greatful Dead fans there looking for tickets. This was the weekend of their final concert. It was crowded on my way back but I just kept on smilling from ear to ear. On this day, I’m able to accomplish my goal of running almost 10 miles! The traffic jam with the Deadhead fans wearing Tie Dyed shrits and flowers in their hair reminded me of Haight Street in San Francisco! This weekend is going to be awesome.
After we got home and showered, we decided to go to the Rib Fest in Uptown. Yeah mouth watering Ribs! I texted our friend Angie O-Poet, Singer, Actress, you name it she can do it - to meet us up in Uptown. Ramon and I were waiting for Angie and ran into Rob Wilson and his girlfriend. Rob is one the members of Blackout Improv. Rob and his woman were in line for THE WORLD FAMOUS ARKANSAS BBQ Ribs!!! Where a half of slab is $15...and that’s where the music stops. “Ahh hello, $15 for 6 bones?!” That’s when Ramon and I looked at each other, our minds synced and we both said "let’s go to Smoke Daddy’s!" Off we went.
I got up and went to the gym. I felt like after eating all that bad food, I needed to do something productive and keep up with my work outs. I took a Spin class and Yoga. I’m not into Yoga but the teacher was brutal. I was working muscles I didn’t know existed. Ramon texted me that he went for a bike ride which was 25 miles. Crazy right? We got home, got ready and off to yet another bike ride to North Avenue's Beach, Castaways. We had no clue that everyone was out at the Beach, it took us forever to get to the beach Not because I’m slow but because of all the traffic from people blocking up anyone’s way on the path. By the time we got to Castaways, I was starving. We ate and decided to go Stand Up Paddle Board. Ian who owns Chicago SUP gave us a great deal because Ramon and I belong to Surf Rider Foundation, Chicago Chapter. It was amazing as I layed on the board, sat around on the board and people watched. I got scared when I realized, there’s 20 feet of water below us. Yikes! Ramon paddled and I followed, this time I was able to Stand Up without falling off the board...Go Leah!
After we got tired, we decided to bike to Millenium Park at the Pritzker’s Pavillion. They had the Chicago Symphony play all types of true American music. There were a lot of senior Vetaran’s from the Army, Navy, Marines, and Airforce. It was nice to see them stand as the war music played in their honor! The night culminated with a great fireworks display from Navy Pier that drew thousands of people to the lake front.
The next day we headed to Reggie’s Rock Club. They had some kind of deal where you come at before 12:30 PM and get free Chicago White Sox tickets, a ride to the game plus you get unlimited food. What a deal! Since we both wanted to make sure we got a ticket, we arrived at Reggie’s at 10 in the morning. I was like “No one will be there it’s too early to drink.” I completely forgot we are in Chicago. There’s an old saying it’s 5 o’clock some where. There were a lot of at the roof top. It was a combination of Chicago White Sox fans and Greatful Dead fans plus Mr and Mrs Smith.
At the game, it was sweltering heat of 81 degrees and I wasn’t going to complain. After all, winter is brutal in Chicago. I’d take 81 degree anytime as suppose to minus 40 degress. After a few innings in the heat, which I have no clue what’s going on. I don’t understand Baseball at all, it’s like a different language. I just go for the fun of it all. Anyhoo, Ramon decided to walk around and get beer and ran into my fabulous Hairstylist Logan. I said hey Logan!!!! She introduce us to her boyfriend and oh!... that loud guy, pointing her finger is my crazy Dad. We left a little early and went home to shower. We walked to Reggie’s to get something to eat for dinner, after all part of the deal was unlimited food! By this time its about 5:30 PM and guess who we ran into?... Logan and her crew! We laugh, we talked and found out her Dad is interested in Acting. We invited the entire crew to Mr and Mrs Smith Comedy Show on July 18, 2015 at The Silver Room. Never a dull moment for the Smiths!
No plans! No problem.
I remember it was a beautiful summer Sunday morning. This was many years ago when I had my first two roommates here in Chicago, Jerry and Jose. Jerry and I were single at the time, so we had gone out the night before as single men do on a Saturday night, while Jose stayed home to watch Sabado Gigante -a Spanish variety show- with his girlfriend at the time who didn't understand a lick of english. Anyway, I was suddenly awaken by this sweet cinnamon, maple bacon aroma that ran through the apartment. It was like I was back at home as a little boy and my mother was cooking Saturday morning breakfast! Do you remember this moment? When you would smell the bacon in the air and the aroma of blueberry pancakes being made and you stayed in bed until your mom would call out "Breakfast is ready" and everyone ran to the table to see this wonderful spread of food! Endless strips of bacon, mile high stacks of pancakes, a sea of grits, scrambled eggs with cheese, sliced cantaloups and honeydew melons. It was a feast to remember!
And now back to the future! As the aroma continued to fill the apartment, I couldn't resist the temptation to get out of bed and discover what was this amazingness being cooked. I got up, dressed myself then walked out of my room towards the kitchen to find Jose's girlfriend cooking away over the stove. Not a bit surprised it was her as I knew none of the guys knew how to cook! I walked towards her and said "wow that really smells great, what is it?" She looked at me never skipping a beat as she stirred whatever was in the skillet and said "eggs". I said "eggs?" she said "yes". So I began to walk closer to her and said "wow, what did you do to them to make them smell so great?"
She says "nothing, I just added some onions, ham, salt and pepper". In disbelief I approached the skillet to verify if this was true. And to my dismay, she was telling the truth. It was a watery mixture of chopped onions and diced ham and something that looked like fresh crushed pepper. I was amazed at this and how good it smelled so I asked again "why does it smell so good?" She smiled and said "I don't know". I mean these eggs smelled like cinnamon, maple and bacon at the same time. I was confused! But one thing I began to notice was that all along we were having this conversation, the eggs never got harden. She was just stirring away for what now had been a good three minutes. And not counting the fact that she was already cooking these eggs before I left my bedroom. Now I began to put two and two together as I knew this was an apartment that three men lived in who never went shopping for food. So I said to her "I didn't know we had eggs, did you bring some?" and she said "no, there was a carton of the ready made eggs in the fridge". Confused I went to the fridge to see and said "I didn't know we had that, where is it?" She said "on the door slots". As I looked around the fridge I didn't see anything but a few bottles of beer, an half empty mayo jar, a few other odd things and a carton of EGG NOGG! She was cooking egg nog that she mistakenly thought was instant egg mix!
Oh my goodness I couldn't contain the laughter! I was laughing for a good five minutes before I was able to wake the rest of the guys up to tell them of what I had just witnessed. It was the funniest thing I'd ever experienced in a long time. I told that story to almost everyone I encountered! I apologized to her of course, for making fun of the matter. But this was something that couldn't go untold. I mean the fact that she took the time to dice the onions and ham and I'm sure she was imagining how happy Jose was going to be as he woke to have breakfast already made for him with love! Priceless! Still till this day I remember this and it always brings me to laughter. I hope it did to you as well!
It was a sunny Tuesday afternoon so I decided to go for a swim in Lake Michigan, to prepare myself for the Bigfoot Triathlon I am doing this weekend. After the swim I developed an appetite, so when i got home I began to search the web to see what restaurant close to me had good specials for the night. The first one I checked was Reggies Rock Joint and I noticed they had 40 cent chicken wings for the night. There was nothing else to decide!
My plan was to get some wings and maybe have a beer and watch some sports on the many screens they have. But quickly that plan was deviated. As I entered the roof top from the stair well -because it was such a nice day, the roof top seemed like a great idea- I walked into this sea of people that gathered around the bar, a pool table and the many picnic tables with large umbrellas. I saw what was a guesstimate of maybe 150 people, all enjoying 40 cent chicken wings, beer and great conversations as a band played music on the roof or the building next to the roof top. It was a really cool sight!
As the bouncer looks at my I.D. he says to me "this is a communal area, so sit were ever you like. I must admit I was a bit perplexed at the beginning, not knowing what table to choose as my chicken wing destination. So I proceeded to the bar as a reason to hide my shyness and not sit with a group of complete strangers. That was not a good idea! The bar was at least three deep and the bartenders looked busier than bees making honey. I turned around to face the sea of people once more and decided to take a leap into the madness. I spotted a table where a group of people had just left and there remaining were to young ladies who didn't look like they would mind me sitting with them. I approached the table and they said "hello" and I said "may I sit here". They nodded as in saying yes. Soon the waitress arrived and we all ordered chicken wings and all was well. Soon we were joined by a couple who seemed very friendly and then my beautiful wife arrived as the conversations became more frequent between the people at the table.
I look at my watch to find that its 11pm and time has flown by through conversations about the couple's kids and my wife and I being comedians and doing shows at The Silver Room in Hyde Park. For a plan that contained a quiet night eating chicken wings, it turned out to be something I hope to repeat and enjoy through out this summer. I truly recommend a nice summer night on Reggies Roof Top.