Friday, October 17, 2014

Pamela Peeters: Eco Hero in New York

In this month's issue of Gazette van Detroit I have a nice chat with Eco Hero Pamela Peeters. 

(c) Willie Davis 

Pamela Peeters is an environmental economist who has specialized in sustainable development for more than 15 years and advocates for sustainable living. Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources and personal resources. At its most basic, sustainable living means living a lifestyle that uses as few resources as possible and causes the least amount of environmental damage for future generations to deal with.
Ms. Peeters consults with companies and personalities on how to "Go Green" and be "Sustainable". She has produced over 200 television episodes of the lifestyle magazine, Our Planet, various short films and several radio segments. She lectures internationally and contributes in making sustainable development topics become a part of the mainstream media. Since 2005, she has produced the Sustainable Planet Film Festival.
In 2007, her first book, Urban Ecology, was released. Recently, she published, Eco Hero, a book about a little girl who travels the world solving environmental imbalances often caused by human pressure. In the first book, she visits Sweden, makes new friends and solves the problem with this group.
Visit her website,, to learn more about sustainable lifestyle solutions. For additional information on Pamela Peeters click here!

Friday, October 10, 2014

The 'Great' Chicago Fire Weekend

Last weekend Chicago was all about Fire. On Saturday we went to the first ever Great Chicago Fire Festival , brought by Redmoon, a Chicago based theater company known for 'spectacle art'. Needless to say our expectations were high. And they even went sky high when my interviews with Jesse Spencer and Taylor Kinney, leading actors in NBC's prime time drama 'Chicago Fire', got confirmed just days prior to the event. My first celebs in the Windy City ! 

So yes, it is Saturday afternoon and I am indeed a little nervous, anxious maybe, to interview them. I brought my two boys with me - don't all guys like fire  ? - and we make the last minute decision to find each other after the interviews. A decision that will turn out to be a huge mistake. More about that later. You are probably dying to know how my meeting with Taylor and Jesse went, right?

Of course! 

Well, I have seen my fair share of press conferences, events and junkets before but this kind of chaos: never ! We are escorted through a maze under the Michigan Avenue Bridge and me and about fifteen other reporters, camera/sound men & women end up in a place near the water of maximum 50 square feet. Add the numerous pr managers and spokesmen and women to that and you have an idea of how we members of the press are obliged to fight for a spot near the designated interview space of about 4 square feet. Since NBC is the official 'Chicago Fire' network, they are the first to interview both actors. What happens after that is a little crazy: with my camera, pen, notebook ánd iPad in my hands I move towards Mr Kinney and Mr Spencer and kindly ask them for a couple of minutes of their time for Belgian media. "No problem !", "Of course !", they say with a huge smile on their faces. Me very happy, leaving Fox, the Chicago Tribune and many others behind me. Especially Australian native Jesse was is friendly and answers all my questions with that same big smile. I find out that Jesse never wanted to become a fireman, as in Australia being a fireman means being confronted with all those terrible bush fires. Such a nice man. Taylor, AKA Lady Gaga's boyfriend (or fiancé or even husband according to some rumours...) is rather friendly too and goes on and on about the fantastic people that live in Chicago. Thank you Mr Kinney! *

                                                        (Taylor Kinney & Jesse Spencer (c) Leentje De Leeuw)

And then some PR lady interrupts me: "I think we need to wrap thing up here ! Who are you doing this for anyway?" Haha, for Belgian media of course M'am ! And so my a 3 minute interview with the guys comes to an end. Fox TV is next and they get about 30 secs with the actors. Not bad for a guerrilla interview, no ...?

But five minutes later, while I am trying to reach my boys who were on the other side of the river, apparently no press area at all, I notice a very short grey guy. Wait, is that POTUS**...? It sure is, wow: President Josiah 'Jed' Bartlet himself is standing only a couple of feet from me, and so are the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel and the governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn. Wow, such big men in such a small space. I don't know how to react until one of my colleagues takes out his iPhone and tries to take a selfie with Mr Martin Sheen (who of course plays POTUS in one of my favourite tv shows The West Wing). I decide to take the photo for him, but only after he promises to take one of me and the Great Actor. And so it happens:

                                              (With the great Martin Sheen - photo taken by unknown colleague)

All of the above happens in about twenty minutes. The actors & politicians leave and we are left behind to cover of course the 'Grand Spectacle' ... No way I will be able to cross the river and find my boys ...  We are there waiting, freezing, waiting, freezing completely, ...  and the Great Fire ? Well it never comes ... Only after I will finally have left the scene to go home and join my boys who had given up the wait already, I will hear the fireworks behind me. No looking back, Leentje, no looking back! I feel really sorry for the very nice people of Redmoon that put so much time, effort and money ($ 2 million) in this 'spectacle', but even more for my two boys who were waiting in the crowd for ... nothing ...

Chicago Fire Sunday 

The next day we decide to get a ZipCar and drive to the Toyota Arena to watch the Chicago Fire play against Montréal Impact. (This is soccer people) Even though the game is kind of boring and it is rather cold out there: we have a fun time, enjoy our $2 beers and hot dogs and well: we even get to see some fire works!

Who knows what this Columbus Day weekend has in store for us  ... 

* I admit: he also talked a lot about the decent steak they serve here ...
** President of the United States

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Stromae: on the verge of becoming a global phenomenon

Brussels born and raised Paul van Haver, stage name Stromae, is well on his way to taking the world by storm. Not only the Belgians, French and German seem to love him, his Canadian and North-American fan base is growing every day.
Last week I attended his sold out show at Chicago's Metro and was an eye witness to the magic that happens when he gets on stage. FORMIDABLE!

Last Friday my review was published in Het Laatste Nieuws, Belgium's leading newspaper.

Today another piece is published in Joepie, a Belgian magazine for teens. 

Cesaria Evora

Also last week his new single, the fifth one taken from his album Racine Carrée, 'Ave Cesaria', a tribute to Cesaria Evora, was released. The video is on Vevo and YouTube and has English subtitles.
We love Cesaria, and we love Stromae!

to be continued ....