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Who is Akoo?

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In a small windowless, Rosemont room, a pretty and effusive young woman stands in unnaturally bright light, between a green wall and a video camera.

"Hey, it's Elena, and you're watching 'The Buzz Blender,'" she says, part of a series of bumpers she's recording for that program, which combines music videos, celebrity chatter and chances to win hipster swag.

Her producer warns her against getting too "squinty." While waiting for the TelePrompTer to load, she sings a fragment of a Kristin Chenoweth song. One time, she says "iPod" for the giveaway item, instead of "iPad."

And, in a kind of inadvertent metaphor, the producer, Bill Connell, asks the host, Northwestern University theater major Elena Besser, for "a different inflection on 'AkooTV.'"

"Buzz Blender" is the daily afternoon show of AkooTV, a closed-circuit network that plays in the food courts, mostly, of 166 shopping malls and on 25 college campuses across the country.

Last month Akoo added a new location. As the result of a five-year, $1.5 million deal, the former Rosemont Theatre now bears the name Akoo Theatre at Rosemont and a fresh new sign that says so.

It's part of a coming out party for the company, a "different inflection" for it, if you will. Last year, in July, Akoo moved from Elmwood Park to slickly designed offices atop a Rosemont office building, just up River Road from the theater. That building, too, bears a big Akoo logo.

But what, those who learned of the new theater name might ask, is an Akoo?


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