Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Chicago Part One


You may know by now that last week your humble bloggery correspondent was undertaking a near-winter vacation in The City Of Mighty Wind, Chicago. We have started visiting one of our favorite cities every year for the birthday of Mrs. PopCulteer, and this year we spent an entire week. As this was a vacation, yours truly took way, way fewer photos than he usually does. But we still have enough for a few brief photo essays to fill up this space over the next few days.

It was a great trip. As soon as we hopped off The Cardinal and got checked into our hotel, we were honored to be invited to take in a rehearsal of Dance Nation, the Steppenwofl Theater production of Clare Barron’s hilarious take on the world of competitive dancing, as seen on the show Dance Moms. Our trip was due to end right before the play opened, but we begged the kind folks at Steppenwolf, and they sort of like us (we did get married on stage there, after all) so they let us in to the final rehearsal before they moved into the studio.

As it was a rehearsal, without lighting or special effects, it wouldn’t be fair to review the production, but I don’t think anybody would mind if I say that, if you’re in Chicago while this play is running, you really need to go see it, especially if you’ve seen Dance Moms, or spent any time around anyone involved with dance squads.

The next night we made our way to Timeline Theater to see Rutherford and Sons, a revival of the 1912 play by Githa Sowerby. When we were in Chicago back in July we were lucky enough to spend a few minutes with the actor, Francis Guinan, while riding the Red Line back to our hotel, and he told us about this play, which was his next project after True West, which we’d just seen him in at Steppenwolf. This early modern drama about a wealthy family that owns a glass factory in a small Northern England town is a gripping look at status, social mores and family secrets, set in the industrial age.

The brilliant cast brings the play to life in a memorable and striking manner, and this is a great dramatic work that I’m glad I was able to see. This was my first exposure to Sowerby, and I’m eager to see what other works of hers I can find.

It’s also still running, so in the event that any of my PopCult readers are in Chicago at the moment, they should really consider seeing it.

Aside from our theatrical adventures, we also stopped at The Museum of Science and Industry and Millenium Park, and you’ll see a few photos from those stops later this week. We also attended a talk and book signing by Mark Larson, made a quick trip to Chinatown, walked the Magnificent Mile at night, and hit up two Christkindl Markets. In short, we had a bunch of fun. Here’s some pictures to prove it. (up top you see a shot taken from The Cardinal, as the skyline came into view)

In addition to the main Christkindl Market at Daley Plaza, they also have one just outside Wrigley Field, and this is their big ole Christmas tree. You get some killer hot chocolate here.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but no trip to Chicago is complete without a stop at Rotofugi.

And then we also have to stop in Lincoln Square to hit up Quake Collectibles, Enjoy: An Urban General Store, Laurie’s Planet of Sound and Gidding’s Plaza.

Walking the Mag Mile to check out the lights. That’s the famed Water Tower in the middle, flanked by the artist formerly known as The Hancock Building on the right, and some other tall building on the left.

The city at night. It’s pretty cool. I hate to say it, but this warms my heart more than mountains do.

Right before we checked out, I took this photo out of our hotel room. Not sure exactly what it means.

We’ll have more photos later in the week.

1 Comment

  1. Thomas Wheeler

    Looks like you had a great time!

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