5 Questions with...Tribune's Luis Gomez

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5 Questions with...Tribune's Luis Gomez

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of Communications
CSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the city's most popular personalities on the spot with everyone's favorite local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

On Wednesdays, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guest ... you know the guy that gets invited to all the cool club openings and gets to interview tons of film/TV/music celebrities when they come to town? Well, this is that guy. His About Last Night and About This Weekend celebrity media columns are a must-read in the Chicago Tribune for just about anyone who wants to know the inside scoop on the very latest celeb appearances happening here in Chicago ... a man who gets very little sleep with all those late nights, but definitely wouldn't trade it in for anything else, here are 5 Questions with ... LUIS GOMEZ!

BIO: Luis Gomez is the celebrity media columnist for the Chicago Tribune, penning the popular About Last Night and About This Weekend columns. His celeb interviews can take place anywhere from hotels, backstage or even on the red carpet, plus he provides readers with details of exactly where they hung out while they were in town.

Gomez parents were born in Colombia, but Luis was raised in the Chicago-area in Highland Park. Following his graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003, he interned at the men's magazine FHM in '04. In 2005, he joined the Tribune sports dept. and extensively covered the MLS Chicago Fire, along with the entire 06 World Cup in Germany. He became the Trib's celeb columnist in 09 and hasn't looked back since.

1) CSNChicago.com: Luis, hope you're not too groggy from your latest celeb reporting adventures to be in the 5 Questions with spotlight this week. Here we go ... your About Last Night & About This Weekend columns are a lot of fun to read, especially for those of us who don't get to see Hollywood's finest up close and personal on a regular basis. Naturally, you must get inundated with requests to cover events/celebs when they're in town. How do you decide which ones to cover that would be of greatest interest to your readers?

Gomez: When I first started this job, I went to everything I could, but I burned out after a while. Now I'm more selective. I choose the events and interviews that I think Tribune readers will find interesting. I take into account whats popular at that moment (why else would I do all these Twilight interviews?!) and which celebs have a local angle (if Common, Jeremy Piven or Kerry Wood are hosting a charity event, Ill probably cover it).

Every now and then, Ill pick interviews I find interesting, like when I interviewed Michael Kenneth Williams because I'm a huge fan of The Wire. I should point out that the colder months in Chicago are a different story. Fewer celebs are here, which means I cant be as selective.

2) CSNChicago.com: There has to be at least one or two celeb interviews you conducted where in your mind you were saying to yourself, I cant believe Im actually interviewing (THIS person). Very curious to know who those people were.

Gomez: That thought rarely crosses my mind during the interview. Im usually too busy thinking about the next question or my tight deadline. For example, Johnny Depp is my favorite actor, but I was too busy thinking about how I needed to file my story in less than an hour when I interviewed him at the Public Enemies premiere in Chicago. It usually doesn't hit me until after the interview.

In 2007, I interviewed Dan Marino, my childhood idol. I wore his jersey for days at a time as a kid and had a life-size cut out of Marino in my bedroom throughout college (how that wasn't a deal breaker, I'll never know). I figured if ever I was going to get nervous during an interview, Marino would be it. But once the interview started, all I thought about were my questions and his responses. I was even pretty nonchalant about the whole thing on my drive home as well. It wasn't until I got home and checked my email that the moment really hit me: His last name was my password.

3) CSNChicago.com: Sports fans may know this fact about you, but many others may not: you changed your last name from Arroyave to Gomez. Why the surname switch?

Gomez: While growing up, most people mispronounced my first name (its Luis, not Louis or Lewis) and nearly everyone mispronounced my last name. By taking my Mom's last name, I solved the latter issue. I also now hear more people pronouncing my first name the correct way. I'm guessing its because they know Gomez is a Latino last name, so they realize my first name is likely pronounced the Latino way.

4) CSNChicago.com: As big of a city as Chicago is, which includes a roster of some huge stars from here, we have very few celebrities that actually live here. Truth be told, our local celebrities really do tend to be the professional athletes from our teams here in town. With that said, who was/is your favorite former or current Chicago pro team athlete that you really have a good time hanging out with after hours?

Gomez: The only Chicago athletes I hang out with outside of an interview setting are past and present Chicago Fire players. But when it comes to hanging out during an interview, I've had a good time with Kerry Wood. I think it's because Wood reminds of the good old days when I used to be a huge Cubs fan (I was crushed by the Cubs playoff collapse in 2003 and never recovered). He's also pretty easy going and doesn't seem to take himself too seriously. Plus, he's a guy's guy. And considering I often interview teeny bopper actors and reality TV stars for a living, that's a nice change of pace for this former sportswriter.

5) CSNChicago.com: We have just a couple months left of summertime partying fun Luis -- quick, off the top of your head, what three bars/clubs should we hit up before the leaves start falling around here?

Gomez: Believe it or not, I only go to clubs for work reasons (or because my friends want me to help them get in). Ive always been more of a bar guy. Here are the three bars where you'll find me when I'm not working:

Innjoy: Not only do they play 80s and 90s music, but they also have slam dunk contests and WWF matches from that era on the TVs.

Merkle's: If I'm in Wrigleyville, I'm at Merkle's. They play sports with volume (which is never a given at sports bars) and have great wings. I also like the atmosphere on Friday and Saturday nights.

The State: Best place to watch football. Tons of TVs. Tons of eye candy. And it doesn't hurt that its a University of Wisconsin bar.

BONUS QUESTION! CSNChicago.com: Anything you'd like to promote Luis? Tell us ... CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it.

Gomez: You can read my celebrity interviews and sightings on my blog, which only features celeb news that is Chicago-related ... if you want national celebs news, you can watch Entertainment Tonight. And if you want to hear about celeb sightings and filming in Chicago as they're happening, follow me on Twitter.

Gomez LINKS:

Chicago Tribune ... Luis Gomez About Last Night blog
Luis Gomez on Twitter

Lane Tech-Taft: A rivalry gone digital

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Medill News Service

Lane Tech-Taft: A rivalry gone digital

Rosie Langello​
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

In 2003, Mahmoud Abdelfattah was standing at the foul line on Taft's Senior Night with two minutes left to play when a fight broke out in the stands. When he looked up, the entire student section started running towards him.

"Before I knew it, I didn't even have the ball anymore," Adelfattah said. "There was elbows and punches being thrown and security was trying to break up the hundreds of students."

That was a memorable moment in one of the most heated rivalries in the city. Taft and Lane Tech are the two largest high schools in the Chicago Public School district and stand only six miles apart.

But in recent years, the 25-year old rivalry has drifted from fist fighting, to keyboard punching.

"This has been going on for years and it's pathetic," said Lane Tech senior Almina Sabanovic. "Just recently we played Uplift High School, who is very good at basketball, and we got dunked on by one of their players. Taft printed out that image and they also posted it everywhere. It's very disrespectful."

Over the years, social media has exaggerated the rivalry and a lot of the tension has nothing to do with the players at all, said Brett Nishibayashi, in his 15th year as Taft basketball coach and an alumnus of the school.

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.

Ex-White Sox Jesse Crain hosting charity event featuring Paul Konerko, George Brett

Ex-White Sox Jesse Crain hosting charity event featuring Paul Konerko, George Brett

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Ex-White Sox pitcher Jesse Crain is hosting a local charity golfing event featuring Paul Konerko, Matt Thornton and Hall of Famer George Brett among others.

Crain, who pitched for the White Sox for three seasons and was an All-Star in 2013, and his wife, Becky, recently created the Crain Family Foundation to benefit children. 

The couple is hosting the Swing into Spring event at Top Golf in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Monday night, which is designed to benefit the Tandem Resource Center, Arizona RBI Baseball and Autism Speaks. Crain expects between 25-30 current and former players will participate in the event, which is open to the public.

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"Me and my wife had wanted to start a foundation for a long time with the platform that we'd give back to kids any way possible," Crain said. "We just want to be able to help kids in whatever capacity, whether through medical, hardships or whatever it may be."

Crain, who was at Camelback Ranch on Wednesday, said planning for the event began in October. Though he had wanted to begin a foundation during his playing career, Crain said after planning the event he knows he wouldn't have had the appropriate amount of time while he was an active player.

Among those scheduled to attend are Cody Ross, David Aardsma, Jonny Gomes, Nick Punto, JJ Putz, Brandon Webb, Justin Morneau, Matt Lindstrom, Scott Feldman, Nate Jones, Mark Melancon, Denard Span and Chad Qualls. Crain also hopes to convince a few more current White Sox players. He said reservations for the event or donations can be made through Crainfamilyfoundation.org.