The next three days of my Chicago romp, I made many discoveries.
You can’t go more than a block without running into an exhibit or live performance. From Michael Dinge’s scrimshaw engraved laptops on display at the Chicago Visitor Information Center,
|(compliments of google images)|
to the chorus filling Millenium park with Defying Gravity from Wicked, and tunes from Mamma Mia, Phantom of the Opera and Rent during my insta-greeter tour—it’s EVERYWHERE.
Creepy fountain with face projections that smile and then spit water at you. Chicago definitely has a sense of humor.
I caught the image posted above on Wednesday afternoon during a one hour tour of Millenium Park through Chicago Greeter, a program that offers free guided tours of Chicago. http://chicagogreeter.com/
Chicago is a city that doesn’t shy from letting you in on the loop. Info is everywhere.
By the way, “The Loop,” is actually a district in Chicago around where the subway lines run parallel.
I also discovered that the first and second Wednesday of each month is free day at the Art Institute Museum (the really famous one featured on Ferris Bueller’s day off).
Some of my favorite exhibits at the museum:
Charles, my new megabus friend, in a recreated version of the original Chicago Stock Exchange.
Hyper-link exhibit (my dream home)
Their paperweight wing. (<--It actually exists.)
If you’re visiting Chicago on a budget and want to be crafty about it, this site has all the free museum dates.
On Thursday, I discovered even more about Chicago via speed-boat through the Seadog’s 75 minute architecture tour of the city guided by Jake (Phil’s roommate who was able to get us comp tickets).
The architect probably didn't intend for this building to look like corn cobs when he designed it..
Phil and Meg on our action packed tour. Two comedians with brilliant rapport. Hanging out with them is like an ongoing live sketch comedy act.
After our speed-boat tour, Phil and Meg made sure I saw an entirely different side of the city. They took me to the Billy Goat Tavern.
Made famous by SNL:
Before I even glanced at the menu, the guy behind the counter insisted, “Double-cheeseburger! I order you a double-cheeseburger.” Me: “Wait, but--” “It’s okay. Double-cheeseburger!”
Fortunately, I was hungry.
*Chicago is the site of the world’s first ferris wheel:
This is not the original designed by George Washington Ferris that debuted at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. The one at Navy Pier, stands in its honor. The original was melted down into a bridge that now sits in Pittsburgh. Maybe I’ll get to walk over it on Monday.
*Chicago is a city filled with clever bookstores:
*And the Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago's free zoo) is, bizarrely, guarded by playwrights:
Why is the Chicago zoo guarded by dramatists? And where’s Albee?
That’s me with Dusty Wilson (founder of Official Playwrights of Facebook) in the pic above. We’ve both been admins of the group since 2005. Best way to meet somebody in person for the first time: watching monkeys scratch their butts at the zoo.
These guys have the right idea.
Special exhibit in the monkey house: homosapien
While in Chicago, I also got my theater fill:
In addition to the devised piece I caught at Lookinglass on Tuesday, I saw:
Jesus Camp the Musical at a storefront theater.
Middletown by Will Eno at Steppenwolf, which I had the good fortune of ushering for Thursday evening.
David Henry Hwang’s play Chinglish at the Goodman (also through ushering). Chinglish is set to open on Broadway after it closes in Chicago on July 24th.
NYC has always been a top contender for where I’ll end up in 2013, but with the hundreds of theaters, the sense of artist camaraderie and the affordable rent, Chicago seems more and more alluring. This was certainly a motivating factor in me booking four full days.