LooptopiaMay 11th at 5:00 pm marks the start of Chicago city event Looptopia, a dusk-til-dawn evening of theatre, music, spectacle, visual art, late night shopping and so much more, all in downtown Chicago’s Loop District. Hosted by the Chicago Loop Alliance, Looptopia boasts an extensive schedule of events, with programming to appeal to people from all walks of life.Some scheduled events include:

  • Live concerts, comedy improv and dance performances throughout the Loop
  • Art and design exhibitions that include do-it-yourself mural projects
  • “Opera Idol,” hosted by the Chicago Opera Theatre
  • An outdoor silent dance party that uses individuals headphones and live-feed video projections
  • Shadow games with large scale projections and puppetry performances
  • Special restaurant and hotel offers
  • Miss Looptopia pageant, featuring local drag celebrities
  • Yoga classes
  • Knitting circles
  • Late night retail shopping
  • Docent-led architectural tours from dedicated elevated trains conducted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation

And if you are in need of a baby-sitter, the Harold Washington Library will be hosting a sleep-over with storytelling, animated games and projected movies on the adjacent building for all the kiddies out there and their families.I, for one, am excited about the light shows and art projections promised, and am looking forward to enjoying a celebration of Chicago’s breathtaking downtown skyline.Let’s hope that more of these celebrations of art and architecture continue in the future!For more details, and a complete list of events, visit www.looptopia.com.

33 Comments so far

  1. tricia (unregistered) on April 30th, 2007 @ 10:51 pm

    I want to be there.

  2. jerry 101 (unregistered) on May 1st, 2007 @ 4:58 pm

    What about the most important thing? You know, getting inebriated? Are the loop bars staying open all night? Am I (and my rum infused Big Gulp) on my (our?) own? I guess it’d be cheaper, but what’s a guy to do once his big gulp runs dry?

  3. Erica (unregistered) on May 1st, 2007 @ 11:17 pm

    That is a really good question. There is a list of places to eat and drink here: http://www.chicagoloopalliance.com/looptopia/where_to.htm but it doesn’t say if they are keeping extended hours or having specials. My favorite place for late night downtown drinking is Rossi’s on State Street: http://centerstage.net/bars/rossis.html. They stay open till 2am on Fridays and 3am on Saturdays, so I would recommend to hit up the bars before they close, then enjoy the festivities!!

  4. Pepper (unregistered) on May 5th, 2007 @ 1:44 pm

    Cover charge? Age limit? Anything? :]

  5. Erica (unregistered) on May 6th, 2007 @ 12:40 am

    Nope! The whole thing is free! And there isn’t an age limit! I think some may be more age appropriate for children than others, but I think they are wanting to make this evening like a carnival type event like in Rome and Paris, where the city doesn’t sleep and celebrates the visual and performing arts. What’s not to love about that?

  6. Page Anttattler (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 2:11 pm

    Scandal Rocks “Miss Looptopia”
    Miss Michigan Avenue Voted Out of the Pageant

    Miss Looptopia Launch Party and Beauty Pageant
    Friday, May 11, 2007 – 6 to 8 pm
    Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, 230 N. Michigan, Chicago

    Dateline Chicago, May 9, 2007 – The tribe has spoken. And then there were 9. Elvis has left the building.

    Whatever the cliché, the Chicago Loop Pageant Tattler has learned that Miss Michigan Avenue, one of the favorites to win the title of Miss Looptopia 2007, has been unceremoniously booted out of the competition.

    Pageant officials aren’t saying much in the final days before Friday’s Miss Looptopia Launch Party and Beauty Pageant at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago. The party and “spoof” drag beauty pageant is an official launch party for Looptopia, Chicago’s all-night downtown arts, culture, music and performance spectacle taking place from dusk to dawn May 11-12, 2007.

    But an inside source tells the Pageant Tattler that Miss Michigan Avenue was voted out of the competition by the other contestants meeting over the weekend to pick up their depilatory creams and size 12 pumps. Speaking under condition of anonymity, our source said: “Miss Michigan Avenue’s personality clashed with the other contestants from the very beginning. The pageant officials were concerned that her negative energy might impact the competition and so when the other contestants asked to have her removed, they agreed.”

    None of the contestants will comment officially, but another source tells the Pageant Tattler that Miss South Loop blurted out at a Looptini tasting party: “She’s lucky she won’t be on stage with me. I’d have snatched that wig right off her head.” We suspect the possibility of an ugly incident on stage prompted officials to allow the change.

    Miss Michigan Avenue’s representatives declined to comment except to confirm she would no longer be competing. Businesses along Michigan Avenue seemed unconcerned about the change as Miss Millennium Park is now favored to win the competition.

    About Miss Looptopia
    Get your Looptopia evening started with the “Miss Looptopia Launch Party and Beauty Pageant,” a cocktail party with an interactive, improvised “drag” beauty pageant theme. Sip your special “Looptini” while asking Miss South Loop about her gown, Miss Millennium Park about world peace, Miss Block 37 for makeup tips, or dish the “dirt” on Miss Lower Wacker Drive. Performances throughout with short program at 7:30 crowns “Miss Looptopia.” There is no cover or RSVP required. Cash bar. “Looptopia Survival Pack” gift bag for all attendees. Sponsored by Chicago Loop Alliance, Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, GayCo, and Third Coast Marketing. For full details, visit http://www.looptopia.com.

  7. Bill (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 7:53 am

    Looptopia will have something for everyone! Don’t overlook cool stuff like a homeless choir, bedtime stories and lullabies, a play, and a midnight Taize service, all at the Chicago Temple, and a sunrise service at 6:30 at The Bean.

  8. maryland (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 10:45 am

    where exactly is it at? the main intersection?

  9. Erica (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 11:00 am

    The events will be scattered throughout the loop, but it looks like the parameters are Lake Street to Congress and Michigan to Clark Street.

  10. Wendy (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 11:14 am

    The website is down. I want the schedule to plan and map my night out.

  11. Anny (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 10:28 pm

    Why isn’t there a list for this event on-line, I can’t even see what’s really going on.

  12. Erica (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 10:59 pm

    Try Here:

    I also recommend just going down there–there are folks handing out maps and schedules on almost every corner. And take a sweater–it is chilly!!

  13. Rob (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 2:05 am

    Looptopia was a little slow to start, but the people (mostly under 30) started to roll in around 9pm and… in true loop fashion… EVERYTHING CLOSED!

    Here’s a cross section of the event- as this Looptopia was supposed to go from 6 pm – 5am, I’ll give a taste of what I noticed just before midnight-

    1. Hundreds of people sitting on the Art Institute steps looking for something to do. Hundreds more inside, funneling out to look for something to do.

    2. Thousands of people milling around in Millennium Park having a wonderful safe, drug and alcohol-free time. The bathrooms were locked, the funny face fountain turned off, and there was a lone park worker on a Segway trying to tell the crowd of thousands that the park was going to close in ten minutes. People were still pouring in.

    3. Thousands more gathered around the Cultural Center, one of the only places open with late night exhibitions related to Looptopia. There were so many people that the surrounding streets may have just been closed, as no traffic could get through.

    4.The only non- Looptopia things open at this time were Dunkin Donuts and Walgreens. Tens of thousands of people (and by that I mean closer to 60,000 than 10,000) were milling around downtown looking for places to eat, drink, shop, or hang out. What a missed opportunity for business.

    5. A visible lack of police presence. Thank goodness this was a peaceful crowd! The sidewalks were packed from Michigan to Dearborn, and Jackson to the river. I couldn’t tell if it extended farther north.

    6. Although the CTA still had 8 car trains operating, at 1:00AM they were packed like 5:30pm on a weekday. Since I was by myself and I didn’t feel like waiting in the huge lines, I decided to head home. The Red Line was uncomfortable until Clark & Division. It was packed until Belmont, and standing room until Sheridan.

    7. It was quite clear that most of the crowd was suburban or from out of the area. I heard people earlier in the evening remarking on how “This is just like New York” or “Wow, look at all these people!” Good job Looptopia. Later, it turned to “Well, the Loop isn’t known for it’s bars” and “Excuse me, do you know of any restaurants that are still open?”

    I know that it’s hard to gauge a first time event, but WTF? Shame on the city of Chicago for disregarding the event and throwing new visitors and potential dollars down the toilet due to lack of consideration and poor planning. This event had everything that it needed to be fully successful and the city and businesses ignored it.

  14. dm (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 10:15 am

    Uh, “Rob”, I don’t what part of the event you where at, but after these “peaceful and alchol-free” people left Millennium Park, it looked like a cyclone hit it and smelled of a frat house on a Sunday morning after a late night, all night party.

  15. Justin (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 2:54 pm

    I was there from Midnight on and it was not great.
    The maps were gone, the booths closed early, the information kiosks were never assembled to begin with – the people were completely helpless finding out what was available.
    The Cultural center needed police and security to help control the crowds who had no other place to go and things started to get out of hand at the parks.
    I’m sure there will be debate as to how unruly the mostly young crowd was but I was there walking around the area, and other than some people spilling out of in front of the Art Institute and blocking traffic there were no serious problems that I saw (I would argue that blocking 1/2 of an intersection at 1am is not that big of a deal).
    Sure I heard some glass break but that is what happens when you mix lots of open glass containers and concrete. Nobody was throwing bottles and I didn’t see or even hear of any physical confrontation.
    By 1 am the security and police started aggressively shutting things down and kicking people out of the parks that were supposed to be open all night. They started by blocking off the Bean then North Gardens at the Art Institute and the Cultural Center (including the stairs and the alley to the east), and finally the parks altogether.
    If, god forbid, you thought the event was open all night as was promised in the literature or the papers, and you walked down a closed alley or attempted to enter a closed Park the Cops and Security were overly aggressive.
    I watched as kid after kid got screamed at for unknowingly walking the wrong way.
    Sure it is tenuous when there is a large group of young people with high spirits but it was almost painful to watch the suburbanites with little or no Loop savvy get treated so badly.
    I talked to dozens of kids who had come in on the Metra and couldn’t go home till 6am; kids who had no place to go, no map, and no idea where they were let alone how to take the trains or cabs north to open restaurants and bars.
    I am not writing as an anti authoritative person with an agenda, but as a 30something volunteer who along with his wife watched as other volunteers and private security persons felt under prepared for and overwhelmed by the large crowds. The staffers’ radios were useless as calls for security went unanswered time and time again. When help did come in the form of supervisors the frustration was apparent and the powers that be just decide to close things.
    The event was a great idea and if we use the crowds as any measure it certainly was a success. I hope Looptopia comes back next year bigger and better prepared. I just hope the cops stay home, and the kids from the suburbs give the event another shot.

  16. payton (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 3:47 pm

    @Justin: my thoughts exactly. despite the projections that 100,000 people would show up, the event seemed completely overwhelmed — especially later in the evening. that said, the large crowds were overwhelmingly well behaved and the hard hand of the law seemed seriously unnecessary.

  17. Whitney Dumas (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 4:49 pm

    I think Looptopia was a chance to REALLY show that Chicago could host the Olympics! Everything was disorganized and shut down early and I didn’t see Downtown Chi “Dazzle Till Dawn”. I was thoroughly disappointed as I came all the way from Indiana for this. I don’t plan on going if they have another Looptopia and if it was up to me, Chicago wouldn’t host the Olympics either. Apparently, we can’t handle it.

  18. Holly (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

    I have already written a letter to the editor of the Tribune remarking on the disappointing festival. They can organize the Taste without a hitch, yet couldn’t plan for this amount of people? I did not get to see one single event. Macy’s wouldn’t let us in the club. We weren’t allowed to see the alley performances. The Cultural Center LOCKED US IN to attempt to keep more from getting in, but that then forced thousands of people to squeeze through one door. E nightclub, anyone? I have picture proof of the guards slamming the doors in our faces and not letting us out. Illegal and a fire hazard. Then we were ushered to Millenium Park only to be forced out not long after. Basically it was thousands of people wandering the streets. Good job, Chicago! I wonder what the morning ceremony was like, a couple bums and people there to laugh and point?

  19. Pete (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 6:57 pm

    Please allow me to be the latest entry to say what an absolute waste of time this event was. I met up with a friend from Elmhurst at midnight only to find the Goodman posting ‘sold out’ signs (everything was advertised as ‘free’), too many people in front of the Chicago Theater to get in, the Cultural Center shut down (I was told by an officer that everything inside was ‘cancelled’), and the art institute done for the evening as well. To top it all of they closed Millenium Park too. With nowhere to go we found a bar and hung out until 2am and then went home. I stayed up late for this?!?

  20. dm (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 8:08 pm

    Don’t blame “the city”, this was the Chicago Loop Alliances’ project.

  21. Jeff (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 9:09 pm

    Absolutly Terrible. As a native Chicagoian and someone who frequents many of the festivals around town, this had to be the most poorly planned event I have ever seen. Here’s a laundry list of the many problems and what to do next year if by some chance they have it again.

    1.) Not blocking off the streets for the evening was a complete and total mistake. There were people overflowing at the corners to watch some of the events and cars were whizzing by thier backs less than 3 feet away. Not to mention the fact that half the theater district is under construction with no sidewalks.

    The answer to this is to close off the streets and not allow traffic for the duration of the event.

    2.) What’s up with closing off Millenium Park with an ‘all-night’ event still going on, especially when it has special billing for events? Not using Millenium Park and some of it’s spaces, WHICH ARE SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR THIS TYPE OF EVENT, was a complete miss. People were wandering around the park wondering where all the events were. There are like, three promonade type spaces that could have hosted events.

    The solution: USE MILLENIUM PARK! This type of event is precisly what it’s designed for. They could have cut off State Street east to Columbus and from Jackson to Randolph. Have the events ON THE STREETS or IN MILLENIUM PARK. You get access to the stores on state and you have enough space to have the events without having to worry about people getting killed by cars.

    Not using Millenium Park and not closing off the streets goes to the heart of why this event FAILED. Seriously, there was so much potential to be had. Here’s a few missed ideas…

    Collaborative Mural: Cool Idea, but WAAAAY too small. This thing should have been put along an entire one block length of a street and it should have been 10 feet high (The construction area along State would have been perfect)

    Theater stuff or whatever: I saw the Goodman shorts and really, it was weak. A cool idea, honestly, I can see the potential, but a complete miss in my opinion. Too many people crammed into the lobby, etc. What they should have had were ‘arenas’ in the streets where ANYONE could reserve a block of time to do thier own theater, including the Goodman performers. I mean, there’s only a HUGE indie theater scene in Chicago, this was the perfect oppourtunity to showcase it. The Redmoon stuff was quirky and fit with the theme, a good start for ‘late’ events though.

    Showing of old Sci-fi flicks: Awesome Idea! Why wasn’t this shown on some giant screen in Millenium park where the bandshell was? You only have one of the most sophisticated outdoor sound systems in North America, why not use it?

    The whole thing was a miss. My god, you can plan the taste of chicago flawlessly, but you can’t plan this?

    I’m embaressed for the City.


  22. dm (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 6:43 am

    I am embarrased that Chicago has a resident such as “Jeff”, who sounds like someone who’s life is such a total loss that he is resigned to be an armchair quarterback.

    Hey Jeff, maybe you should put on the event next year ?

  23. Holly (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 9:12 am

    Hmmm. I’m mostly bothered that he claims to be a native “Chicagoian.”

  24. Anonymous (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 9:30 am

    Well, I intended to post a lengthy rant, but I can’t think of anything to add to the already comprehensive listings of the failure that was Looptopia. I wish I could have those five hours of my life back and I will NOT be attending this event again (if they make the colossal mistake of repeating it).

  25. Paul (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 9:40 am

    @DM: Yeah, I found it best whenever someone gives legitemate feedback about a public event to go straight into “character assassination” mode.

    The weather didn’t help things at all, but c’mon. The only events I was able to catch were the Ponys/Mucca Pazza and bits of the Redmoon show. Anything indoors was a wash, as 1000-5000 people jockeyed for seating in a 250-seat auditorium. I had low expectations, and STILL I was disappointed.

    Knitting circles? Are you kidding?

    But it’s a first-year. Lessons learned, hopefully. And there were some great ideas: the silent dance party, the spectacles, the DIY art projects. There’s a lot of potential in this festival, and hopefully next year’s fest will run much smoother.

  26. chick habit (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 5:01 pm

    I have to say this event was poorly planned, but I still had a blast. There was plenty to see and do, up until about midnight. Around that time my group was just wandering around trying to find something to do (inside preferably since we were kind of cold), but we found nothing. I can’t believe some of the bars and restaurants closed, they could of made a killing. We were trying to stick around until 2am for the Sci-Fi movies, but we all were too cold/tired/sore feet for that. We ended up at a dive bar and headed for the train a little after 1am. I sooooooo hope they have one next year. I’d definitely do it again. Mucca Pazza, The Weird Sisters, and Redmoon rocked and it was just cool to be downtown with that kind of crowd.

  27. Bonnie (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 6:43 pm

    I started my night at Columbia College’s Manifest- They had tons of people too but everything was well organized, fun and easy to find! Lupe Fiasco was awesome but when we made our way to the Looptopia which was supposed to be this big awesome event it was in shambles already at midnight!!! Next year we’re staying at Manifest!!!

  28. rick (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 10:51 pm

    i made it out to this event and was really disappointed. i hear some events were pretty good earlier in the evening with some djs, but when i got there about 11:30 it was pretty much over. I left another party for this and left pretty quickly when there was nothing to go to and back to zentra with people we met there. there is cool stuff happening around chicago, but the people that planned this are making chicago look bad. i have heard other places like toronto, nyc, and rome doing it well. i wanted to search online to see what people were saying about this event and found this site and pretty much agree with what most of the people here are saying. pretty much the best time i had was talking about what we would do diffrently. the people that went there were pretty cool though, no idiots starting stuff.

    who benefited most? maybe dunken donuts, taxi drivers and probably walgreens.

  29. Holly (unregistered) on May 14th, 2007 @ 9:12 am

    I can’t believe no paper has written a story on the bomb that was Looptopia. Are they just going to ignore it? Unbelievable.

    Unless of course it’s in today’s paper, then ignore this. I haven’t had a chance to look yet. But honestly, ignorance is the Tribune and Sun Times’ best policy.

  30. Andrea (unregistered) on May 14th, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

    I usually work the graveyard shift and thought “Wow, something cool downtown that’s on my schedule for once!” My sister works until 11pm so it was great for her as well or so we thought. We decided to meet at the Cultural Center sometime before midnight after she got off of work. I get there and find tons of people on the stairs being turned away. At first it was pretty chaotic as more and more people started to arrive. We decided to find a map but we couldn’t find any info even at the Art Institute garden that had a banner that said INFO! And the doors were locked there too. We ended up running into a friend and chowing down at a sub shop at Van Buren and Clark because it was open and lacking a crowd. Being the stubborn girls we are and intent on having fun, we tried to go to Millenium Park to pass time until the morning events in the park but found a cluster of police on the west side of Michigan not even letting people cross over. We eventually found our way to Harold Washington College and hung out there until they stopped showing films, locked the doors and opened them only to let people out. We waited in line for the Whole Foods free breakfast and then went home. Even though we spent most of the night wandering around, we had a good time catching up while getting in what must have been a weeks worth of power walking around the Loop.

  31. Ankit Jain (unregistered) on May 14th, 2007 @ 3:06 pm

    About time for Chicago and United States to grow culturally. Don’t take this wrong. I believe that Chicago has the best talent in the world. All nationalities and a zillion cultures live here. Why did we wait for Looptopia this long?

    My wife and I started at 4:45 pm and enjoyed till 1:00 am. We were able to see 2 out of 4 events and had a ton of fun.

    I am sure that next year Looptopia will return with more events and better organization.

    I will start with kudos to those who planned it. Thanks for brining this experience to us. Great event and good job considering that something of this sort is envisioned for the first time in USA.

    What can be done better next time.

    More events. People who complained this time that they didn’t get to see something, should have 100 choices next time.

    Free hand to artists and invite all hands to plan events and perform. Not a foot of loop spared without a performer.

    Plan it in June so that people are guaranteed to have warm weather.

    Plan events at bigger locations like Millennium Park.

    More lights, more decorations and more publicity.

    Don’t spend a dime on it and be very aggressive to get sponsorship. Loop can be divided in sectors and sectors can be sold to sponsors. Sponsors compete to generate maximum attention. Sponsors besides planning anything that they want with the approval of the organization committee also do what the committee tells them.

    What about big performers?

    Checkout some of the pictures that we took.


  32. rubi (unregistered) on May 14th, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

    i made it there a little late the dj’s in the alley were awesome until 11pm and then everything went down hill.Like many of the other people there we were able to make it to the doors and just as we were about to go in we were stopped and turned away. Next year if they decide to do this again they need to plan for the mass amount of people and close some more streets to accommodate all the events outside!!

  33. Crazy Z (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 10:47 am

    Given this is a first year event and the fact that I heard from a good source that the City was NOT behind the event at all from the get-go (hence no street closures etc) then I think they did a bang up job. Yes, there should have been more places for people late at night..but really who would have imagined that many people. The businesses in the Loop need to get on the band wagon and support events like this! Stay open late, put up some money, plan some events in the stores/bars…anything. I hope they do it again and its huge and even more successful.

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