Blackhawks, Bulls ready to add muscle to Auto Show, 'Project X' stars coming to Chicago, John Cusack, Theo Epstein dine together

You don’t need to be a car buff to enjoy the Chicago Auto Show taking place Friday through Feb. 19 at McCormick Place. The 104th edition of the show will once again feature several Chicago athletes appearing on behalf of various manufacturers.

Guests can line up to meet the Bears’ Earl Bennett Friday and Feb. 18, the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews Sunday (maybe you’ve seen their Chevy commercials?) and the Bulls’ Joakim Noah and Ronnie Brewer Feb. 17 and Feb. 19, respectively.

Manufacturers will likely book more celebrity appearances at the last minute, as in years past. Each will have its own set of rules for the meet-and-greets. Chevy is limiting fans to one autographed item and no personal photos during Kane and Toews’ appearance, but other manufacturers might be more lenient.

“(Blackhawks legend) Bobby Hull was here last year with Bridgestone and he signed everything but the dinner check,” said Paul Brian, spokesman for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, which produces the Auto Show.

Guests likely won’t see any cars from the entertainment world such as the Batmobile or Bumblebee from “Transformers.” Brian said you’re more likely to see those sort of cars at World of Wheels, set for March 2-4 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. But the Auto Show has featured its share of stars from the entertainment industry, including actors Kevin Bacon and Anthony Edwards, singers Cyndi Lauper and Kelis, and “Entertainment Tonight” host Nancy O’Dell.

“Cyndi Lauper danced on the hood of a Mercedes SL when she performed at First Look For Charity (in 2004),” Brian recalled. “She dug her heels into the aluminum and left her heel prints. They had to replace the whole hood of the car.”

Help wanted: The people behind “Ace of Cakes” and “Flipping Out” are looking for married and soon-to-be daughters-in-law and mothers-in-law who have a “complicated” relationship for a new cable reality show. If you fit that description and would like to resolve your issues, call 323-250-2278 or email motherinlawcasting@gmail.com with your name, contact number, email address, city/state and a description of the relationship. The show’s producers will be in Chicago next week to meet with select applicants.

On the record: "At guard, No. 1, his favorite movie is 'The Notebook' -- Derrick Rose." - Actor Will Ferrell, who handled player introductions before the Bulls-New Orleans Hornets game at New Orleans Arena Wednesday.

Heads up: “Project X” stars Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper and Jonathan Daniel Brown will meet with media in Chicago February 23 to promote the upcoming comedy. “Project X” hits theaters March 2. … “E! News” host Giuliana Rancic will appear at Fab-Fest 2012 at the Four Seasons Hotel April 15. Sign up at fabfest2012.org. … Former WWF Superstar Ultimate Warrior will appear at the Oak Lawn Pavilion in Oak Lawn March 24. … “Degrassi” cast members Luke Bilyk, Jahmil French, Aislinn Paul and Melinda Shankar will attend the “Party with Degrassi” screening at Harris Theater in Millennium Park Monday. For tickets, go to Degrassi's Facebook page.

Sightings: Actor and Cubs fan John Cusack and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein had dinner at Chicago Cut Steakhouse Tuesday. Cusack is a regular at Chicago Cut Steakhouse and celebrated his 45th birthday there in June. … Director Spike Lee had lunch at Wave in the W Hotel – Lakeshore Wednesday.

Twitter @aboutluisgomez

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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