I met a couple of the boys at McFadden’s Thursday to catch the KU/SIU game. As far as deals go, the bar’s $10 all-you-can-drink Bud Light and buffet special from 6 to 8 p.m. was pretty hard to pass up – even though I hadn’t been planning on going out that night. The place was packed, with a respectable Kansas contingency representing. I met a mullet-sporting couple from Topeka and a group of fans from the Kansas City area. It got me pining for my college days in Lawrence, the best four and a half years of my young adult life.

I had hoped to take things down a notch Friday with a stop at the boxing and fitness center GoTime – but that didn’t quite work out. I was there to watch a segment taping for Upscale TV: Chicago, a local magazine show hosted and produced by Bill Kelly that airs midnight Saturdays on WFLD, the local Fox affiliate. In the show, Kelly presents a sort of man-about-town persona, accompanied everywhere he goes by a gaggle of girls: you know, a guy who’s living the so-called good life – with a camera crew following him around while he stages scenarios portraying him as a Hef archetype. Kelly’s female crew on Friday consisted of a batch of strippers from the Bridgeview gentleman’s club Polekatz

At first, I didn’t really understand why 21-year-old strippers were in the boxing ring with Kelly, giving him lap dances. What does that have to do with a boxing gym? I wondered. But it was less about the gym and more about Kelly and his "access" to all things "upscale." Behind the layers of makeup and fewer layers of clothing, the girls were sweet and handed me a bunch of business cards, for the next time I find myself in Bridgeview in need of a strip club. (I did feel a sudden urge to wash my hands.)

On Saturday I came back to my safe place and got a group together to watch the KU game at Cans, sans strippers. After the disappointing outcome, I needed some cheering up, so I headed to an engagement party at Union Park for L. and D., a couple of friends tying the knot in Traverse City, Michigan, on 7-7-07, the luckiest day of the year.

I brought a date with me: Denver Boy. He and I have been FWPs (friends with potential) for months. Thankfully, The Marrieds went easy on him. After a few cocktails and some catching up, I had another party to attend: a friend’s 30th birthday at Citizen (364 W. Erie St.). I rejoined Team Lush to celebrate there; however, Citizen is a much better scene in the summer (the place was only about one-third full). One guy friend did manage to meet a girl he liked, but after putting in some quality talking time with her, she ended up blowing him off for a slick and tanned Aussie wearing a white sport coat a la Don Johnson, circa Miami Vice.

We left Citizen and made one last stop at The Underground with the birthday boy and his posse. On my way over, I sent a text to the owners to see if we’d have any trouble getting in. "Boys or girls?" the response said. I brought both – but the place was such a zoo, I didn’t last too long.

I covered a lot of ground over the weekend but learned one very important lesson: No matter how good the idea sounds at the time, never attempt to make mac and cheese at 3:30 a.m. after a night of party-hopping. And steer clear of strippers.

Celebrity Beat
I wasn’t the only one tossing them back on Saturday night. Comedian Damon Wayans, in town since last Thursday for his shows at Schaumburg’s Improv Comedy Club, partied with his agent and an entourage of buddies at Enclave nightclub until close. "He cracked jokes throughout the night," my spy reports. The star of Showtime’s new sketch show The Underground was drinking vodka-cranberries and taking shots of Patron tequila.