Introduction and Welcome to Chicago (Pt. 1 Entertainment)

ALA Welcome Logo 1So much is happening in Chicago during ALA that you’d think it was a conspiracy to befuddle the out-of-towners. Do not despair! In my role as social butterfly, I have taken it upon myself (and the LITA Blog authorities have given me access!) to try and help you make sense of this embarrassment of riches.

Of course, you’ll be spending most of your time at the conference. Nevertheless, you’ll hopefully still have opportunities to step out and sample life in the Windy City. The first thing you should do is pick up a copy of the Chicago Reader. This is our alternative weekly and it lists within seven days more things than a normal person could do in a whole year.

If you dip into it, you’ll find that the “Big” event during ALA is Taste of Chicago. The “Taste” as they call it in these parts, takes place in Grant Park and features food, music and the combined populations of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. If that’s your idea of fun, don’t let me stop you — though frankly, you can get a whole lot better eats just about any place else. (More on this later.)

Also taking place in Grant Park is SummerDance which runs Wed-Sun (6/22-6/26) and where you can learn everything from Salsa to Swing. The City literally provides people to give you lessons.

Not too far away is Navy Pier. There, WIRED will be holding its NextFest over the weekend (Fri-Sun, 6/24-6/26). This “world’s fair” of the future will feature “robots, flying cars, private space planes, homes of the future, fuel-cell concept cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, hypersonic sound beams, invisibility coats, and much more…”

Of course, the big event a bit further north, is Gay Pride. There’s a large street fest on Halsted and Addison on Saturday (6/25, 11am-9pm). Entertainment this year includes Rupaul and Naked Boys Singing. The very next day (Sun. 6/26) is the big Gay Pride Parade. It starts at noon and features wildly enthusiastic people both marching and massed on the streets.

Wrigley Field isn’t too far away (Clark & Addison). As you’d expect on this Weekend Mirabilis, the Chicago Cubs are playing the Chicago White Sox (Fri-Sun, 6/24-6/26) — not an ordinary occurrence! Unfortunately all the action is taking place at Sox Park so you’ll have to hop on the Red Line and get off at 35th St. Good luck on getting tickets.

[ Tomorrow Part II: Dining Out. ]get.php