Wild rumors play with imaginations of local bar patrons

Mike Saewitz

At the Mark II lounge – Northwestern’s late night bar – a huge poster of a smiling, dark-haired woman hangs on the wall near the bathroom. The woman is wearing a red tank top and Black Mini-skirt. Her fingers are curled around a Budweiser.

“Party with E! Wild On’s Brooke Burke,” yellow print on the poster reads. “Mark II is Wild On Bud. Wednesday, October 24. 12:30 a.m.”

On Monday, confused male NU students approached the poster. Some tried to steal it. Others “were kissing her breasts,” bartender Angie Anton said.

Most of us just stared in disbelief. How could it be that she was coming here? How could it be? More importantly, was it true? My friends and I couldn’t wait until next week to find out.

Burke is the host of E! Wild On, a popular late night show on cable channel E! Each week, Brooke visits a tropical vacation destination, bar-hops and interviews partiers. She often is on-camera in a bikini or less.

Anheuser-Busch representatives dropped by the Mark II, 7436 N. Western Ave., on Monday to put the poster up, Anton said. They explained little, but Mark II co-owner Tony Anton was under the impression Burke also would stop at the 1800 Club and Mullen’s Sports Bar and Grill, 7301 N. Western Ave.

“As far as we know, she is coming,” said Tony Anton. More than 50 customers called this week. “We didn’t put the time on there. They (Anheuser-Busch) did. She’s anything goes. No holds barred.”

The excitement traveled around the bar quickly.

“She’s one of the most beautiful girls I’ve seen,” said 35-year-old Mathew Weil, who was at the Deuce on Wednesday. “Besides Daisy behind the bar. And I’ve seen a lot of beautiful girls.”

Angie Anton, 43, said she’s a fan, too.

“I want to see if she’s as pretty in person,” Anton said. “I’ll make sure she’s here. They gave us a poster. She better be here.”

Many Wednesday night drinkers struggled to believe it.

“But if Tony says, ‘Yeah,’ I have to go with Tony,” said Reese D’Herckenes, 23, of Chicago.

“I’ll buy it,” said Neil Bazianos, 22, of Chicago. “I’ve met celebrities before.”

Before I went to sleep that night, I imagined that Burke was at the Deuce. I smiled at the thought of my friends meeting her and getting on television. Then I imagined that Burke didn’t show up. An equally pleasing thought came to mind. Those same friends were on top of tables, screaming and chanting and shaking their pints of beer. I wrote my column and went to sleep.

Thursday morning, I received a phone call from Anton.

She had talked to Budweiser representatives.

“It’s a farce,” she said. The excitement in her voice was gone.

Burke wasn’t going to be there. But Budweiser would, with beer specials, giveaways and prizes. The ultimate prize: a trip to Las Vegas to meet Burke. A Web site confirmed it.

“The sign’s misleading,” she said. “We raised hell. It’s ridiculous. She did ‘Wild On Croatia,’ and there were some Croatian guys who wanted to see her. I guess she’s too big. She’s a star.”

Before that phone call, I planned to end the column with the same ambiguity Deuce owners and bartenders spilled all over me. There are disturbing rumors and there are fun ones. I wanted so badly to spread this one across campus.

Like bar owners and patrons, I hate killing curiosity. Especially when it’s my own.