Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cornhole Comes to Soldier Field

Who doesn't like Cornhole? Well assuming you do and that you're good at the game then maybe you should check out the 3rd Annual Soldier Field Cornhole Classic on Saturday July 18th:
Soldier Field, in support with Cornhole.com and the ACO, will be hosting the 3rd Annual Soldier Field Cornhole Classic inside the stadium on Saturday, July 18th. Bring your baggo skills to the largest tournament around to compete for $4,000 in prize money. Social and Competitive Singles and Doubles Divisions are open. See below or visit www.SoldierField.net/SFCornholeClassic for more tournament info.
You probably won't see us there, because to be honest we're not very good. Regardless, it's probably a good time. Here is a video we found on YouTube from the 2007 edition of the classic:

(Image from soldierfield.net)

Monday, June 29, 2009

More Sloopin Retail Roundup

So two new things we noticed on Michigan Avenue:

Doctor's Choice
This new place is going in on the 1300 block of Michigan Avenue (between Homemade Pizza Company and The Art of Modern Dentistry). To be honest, we're not exactly sure what Doctor's Choice is, but we imagine it's a medical supply shop. Does anyone know anything else about this? We didn't find much online about it.

South Loop Pantry
The retail scene within the high rise at 1720 S. Michigan is pretty barren, but according to Everyblock Chicago, that could be changing. We will keep our open for more info on this.

Finally we wanted to give a shout out to the SouthLoopNews twitter feed. Although we're not exactly sure how often it's updated, we did find the info on the South Loop Pantry from them. We're not huge fans of twitter, but we know a lot of people are...hope you enjoy!

Lolla Low Down: Snoop D...O...Double G

Lollapalooza returns to Grant Park for it's annual rock fest on August 7-9, 2009. We are going to do our best to highlight some of the artists that we're excited to see. If you have someone you're excited to see let us know...

What can we say, we love Gangster Rap and for some reason it just makes us smile. Although this style of music is a thing of the past (to be honest that's probably a good thing), one of the pioneers of this movement is still more relevant now then ever. Formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, now simply known as Snoop Dogg has become a cultural icon not just because of his music but also because of his style and stature.

Initially the release of his critically acclaimed 1993 record, Doggystyle, propelled Snoop into the mainstream. But he's maintained his reputation mostly because of his range of talent and missteps. He was tried for murder, he's been in movies, he's had his own reality television show, he was pornography producer and that's just the tip of the iceberg. To say he's had a boring life would be disrespectful.

Although his music has evolved and moved away from its gangsta roots, it remains current and popular. However, let's hope he pulls out some of his classics on Sunday at this years Lollapalooza:

Shakeup at Spertus Museuem

It's been an interesting couple of years for the Jewish Spertus Museum at 618 S. Michigan. It's been around forever, but only 4 years ago it went through a massive and glitzy change to their headquarters for $52 million. The building is simply beautiful and a great addition to the historic Michigan Avenue street wall.

However, the museum has run into some problems. Today Crain's Chicago Business talks about some of the issues and their new CEO, Hal Lewis. There has been some controversies surrounding exhibits and most recently they cut some of the hours for their staff.

Interesting read if you're interested in the museum.

Should We Be Getting Nervous About the Olympic Bid?

So if you read this blog, you know we're all for Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid. However, we're starting to become a little apprehensive about some of the things associated with the bid.

Coming out of the IOC meetings in Switzerland two weeks ago, there was a ton of backlash from the public and Aldermen about Mayor Daley's agreement to sign the IOC host city contract as is. This essentially makes Chicago (if it wins the right to host the games) liable for any cost overruns. However, this issue is becoming more confusing and frustrating as Daley is now denying he agreed to this. Needless to say, we're not sure what to make of this.

Adding to this, we read an article today on the Chicago Business website talking about 'the next Olympic land mine'. Which talks about some issues with the idea around the development of the Olympic Village:

With as many as 3,000 units, the proposed South Side housing complex is the single costliest item in the $4.8-billion Olympics budget. Chicago expects private developers to pick up the construction tab, betting that they'll profit by converting the buildings to apartments and condominiums afterward.

But if Chicago is chosen to host the games, the city will have no choice but to cover any construction costs the private sector won't. That's what happened in London and Vancouver, which are slated to host the next two Olympics and had to write big checks when private funding for athletes villages collapsed.

We still are hoping for the Olympics to come to Chicago for a variety of other reasons...but it's starting to sound a little riskier and scarier to us.

Bar Crawling in the Sloop

To start off the weekend a co-worker organized a small bar crawl in the Sloop. Although we weren't sure how long we would crawl our itinerary was pretty aggressive:
So we got out of work early and rendezvoused at Kasey's around 2:30 on Friday afternoon. Everyone in the party was excited to check out Kasey's for a variety of reasons. One of our crawl patron's great grandfather owned the bar during the early part of the 20th century and from what we could tell the bar might have had some fixtures from that time (ie - the old school ceiling). According to their website it has the 2nd oldest liquor license in Chicago.

Overall our experience was great. The beer selection was robust and the waitress was knowledgeable and gave great recommendations on brews. However, after a couple rounds we quickly realized it was going to be tough to stay on track for the crawl (which seemed to be expected).

Based on some conversation within the group, we quickly called an audible on the itinerary and headed two blocks west to Villain's bar and grill (649 S. Clark). For the majority of the group it was a new spot. Upon entering the eccentric and dimly lit bar we quickly sat down at the first booth we saw. The waitress then brought us their brew and food menu. If you've never been, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the exotic and lengthy beer menu (which was even larger then Kasey's). After we studied the menu, we put in an order for a round and added some appetizers for good measure (Tatter Tots, Villains quesadillas and Mac-n-cheese bites).

After a couple rounds of good beers, a second order of Mac-n-Cheese bites and a couple random friends meeting up it was time to move on. Realizing it was already later then expected (maybe 6 or 6:30?), we decided to jump over a bunch of the planned bars and go straight to Reggie's. Upon getting out of cabs and descending on the music joint, we were quickly faced with a dilemma; the annoying $5 cover. These types of obstacles can easily derail a bar crawl and that's exactly what happened. Since this is America we put the decision to a vote and it was decided 4-3 to skip Reggie's and head towards Chinatown. As an FYI, Reggie's had a pig roasting that everyone could have ate with the payment of the $5 cover (it smelled delicious). Although we didn't go inside, Reggie's had a solid crowd from the looks of it and is something we hope to check out soon.

Anyway, off to Chinatown and Three Happiness (209 W. Cermack). This place is usually packed, but to be honest we've only been during lunch. For dinner, it was nearly empty which was fine because at this point nobody cared and we were ready to grub (or at least I was). We opted for the sharing method which was a good decision. Although it might not be the best Chinese food in the world, it hit the spot after a couple adult beverages.

All in all a good time in the Sloop. Although it didn't go as planned (what bar crawl ever does) it seemed like everyone had a good time. And come to think about it, can we even call it a bar crawl if we only went to two bars and a Chinese restaurant? Regardless, we're calling it a bar crawl.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

?uestlove at Marmond Grand Tonight

For those of you who saw our post a couple days ago about the Roots playing in the South Loop this weekend, the rumor had some merit. However, the Roots won't be playing...instead the Roots leader/drummer ?uestlove will be DJ'ing an after party at the Marmond Grand (223o S. Michigan). Here is a youtube video of the man with the fro doing his thing:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Atlantic Sums Up the Olympic Race

The Atlantic website chimes in on the race to host the 2016 Olympics. Again, not a ton of new information but they do a great job of making the case for Obama...we mean Chicago:

The favorite, since bidding began, has been Chicago. At least, that's the conventional wisdom. It's geography again. The past three Olympics have been in Australia, Greece, and China. Thus, the theory goes, it's the USA's "turn" to host.

As for the Windy City's narrative, a certain Chicago politician's move to the White House provided it. Obviously, all presidents have the power to help an Olympic bid. Obama showed that by creating a new White House Office of Olympic, Paralympic, and Youth Sport a day before the U.S. bid team made their presentation in Lausanne. But Obama, and especially his wild popularity overseas, changed the dynamics of the selection process. The lure of an Obamalympics may simply be too much for the IOC to resist: Awarding the games to his adopted hometown (and scheduled for what would be his last summer in office, in the event that he's reelected), would let the IOC, on behalf of the world, thank the American people for electing him. Yet another case of the president's near-preternatural ability to put himself at the center of events.

They also handicap the sports being considered for the 2016 games. According to the article golf has a good shot. Wouldn't it be fun to see a 40 year old Tiger Woods win the first ever Olympic Gold metal in golf at Dubsdread Golf Course in Lemont, IL?

Could Old Post Office Become Train Station?

We stumbled onto this article in the Sun-Times recently about the old Post Office (that is over Congress) becoming the central train station that the city wants:

"The old post office building would be the perfect central station for high-speed rail, given its unique collection of railroad tracks with access to all of the trunk lines serving Chicago, with indoor parking available for more than 400 automobiles," Hedlund said. He said it's available for express trains to O'Hare Airport, as well as light rail service connecting McCormick Place to Streeterville and Navy Pier, an idea akin to the unbuilt downtown circulator.

Although we don't know how feasible this is, we like the creative thinking. This building has issues, but maybe the city government could actually salvage it. Who knows...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Burnham Memorial in Front of Field Museum?

Ok, so this isn't really new news, but we still don't like where it's heading. As you might have seen on Sloopin, Chicago Journal or The Skyline, plans and discussions continue to progress on a contest to create a memorial honoring Daniel Burnham (the man who created 'The Plan of Chicago').

From what we've read, the tiered grass in front of the Field Museum (see red outline in picture above) is being tossed out as an option for the memorial. If you've read some of our older posts, you know how we feel...but what do you think about this idea (see poll on the right)?

You Like Free Festivals and Concerts!

So do we...

...especially Blues Fest and Movies in the Park.

Open Thread: Alderman Dowell

Open Thread about Alderman Dowell (who also oversees a small sliver of what we consider the Sloop).

Please let us know what you think about her. What she's doing right, wrong, etc.

Just West of the Sloop

So as you probably know at this point, we primarily try to keep a pulse of what's going on in the South Loop. However, we also try to take stock of areas surrounding our neighborhood.

With that in mind, we wanted to post a YoChicago video of Roosevelt Square which is directly west of the Sloop:

We actually used to live in this area and there are definitely some sketchy parts, but overall it's a relatively nice and interesting neighborhood...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sloopin Retail Roundup

Given the fact that we finally have some consistent warm weather, we've been walking around the Sloop more and have noticed some 'newer' retail places opening up:

Three Peas Art Lounge (75 E 16th)
This recently opened spot looks to be a great and unique addition to the neighborhood:
If you're interested in art but intimidated by traditional galleries, grab a drink and ogle the walls at this South Loop spot. Comfy armchairs and a small bar lined with stools provide plenty of space to lounge and take in the latest featured artwork in a laid-back setting.
We're looking forward to checking this place out.

The Grill (823 S. State)
This spot used to be Ufood Grill, but it seems to have recently went through a change in name. We couldn't find much about the new name or concept, but it looks very similar inside. It also looks like it's the same owner, but we're not sure about that. The restaurant looks to have changed its mantra from 'healthy' food to simply traditional grill food (ie burgers, fries, etc).

Greenleaf Food Mart (on Michigan between 16th and 18th)
Doesn't look to be anything fancy, but definitely a convenient spot for locals. If you want groceries then go to Jewel or Dominicks on Roosevelt. If you need a quick soda or a pack of smokes then this is your spot.

Bella Bronze Tan (1503 S. Michigan)
If tanning is your thing that you will be happy to see this new place opening.
(3 peas art lounge image from 3peasartlounge website)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

10th Annual South Loop Photo Contest

We know there are a lot of great pictures to be taken in the Sloop, so with that said we wanted to give a shout out to the South Loop Neighbors "10th Annual South Loop Photo Contest". For those of you who are interested, submissions need to be in by July 15th, 2009. There is a $30 fee for your first photo and $15 for every additional photo (there are discounts if you're a member of the SLN group).

Winners receive:
Grand Prize $500; First Prize $250; Second Prize $100. Four photographs will be selected to create note cards. The photographer of each image selected for a card will be awarded $50.

Winners will be announced at a special reception for the exhibition on Friday, Aug. 21, at 6:30 pm at the Chicago Community Bank. For more info check out this link.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rumor Has It: Will the Roots Rock the Sloop?

Rumor has it that the legendary Roots crew will be rocking the South Loop next Saturday (6/27). If you don't know The Roots, we strongly suggest you become familiar with them especially if you like Hip-Hop. Actually let's take that back...if you think you like Hip-Hop and don't know the Roots, who are you kidding, you probably don't like Hip-Hop.

Anyway, we've been fortunate enough to see them live a couple of times and in our opinion, it's gotta be one of the best Hip-Hop/Rap shows out there. Rumor has it that they will be playing a small banquet hall at 22nd and Michigan (called Marmon Grand). We've never been to the place, but will most definitely be there if this rumor is true. Stay tuned.

For your listening pleasure, the Roots at Lollapalooza in 2007:

(Hat Tip: LCR!)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Daley Puts Taxpayers on the Hook for 2016?

The big news last night from Switzerland, where the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Team is meeting with IOC members this week, is that Mayor Daley has agreed to sign a document which makes the city completely liable for any costs overruns associated with the games.

This is an alarming change, as Daley has repetitively said that Chicago would not need to sign this document and that taxpayers weren't going to be put on the hook for overrun costs.

There are already a ton of negative opinion pieces and posts out there in regards to this development (we personal found Greg Hinz's at Chicago Business the best) . Daley and the 2016 staff are also fighting back trying to explain why he agreed to this and what it means. Regardless of what this means...it's an interesting development in Chicago's attempts to host the 2016 games.

Sloopin Interview on Chicago Journal

Just wanted to direct people to an interview we recently did with Micah Maidenberg over at Chicago Journal. It gives some more background on our goals, opinions and intentions for the blog.

We assume most of you know about the Chicago Journal, but if not we suggest checking it out. They do a great job of covering the neighborhood and other things pertinent to Sloopers!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Buddy Guy and Friends Celebrate 20 Years of Blues at "Legends"

As we mentioned a couple of days ago our local South Loop blues shrine, Buddy Guy's Legends, is celebrating it's 20th year of existence and last night was the official anniversary party. Lucky for us we were able to attend!

Although it was a rainy and nasty Tuesday night in Chicago, you wouldn't have known judging by the packed club. If you wanted a seat you would have had to get there mighty early, but it would have probably been worth the wait. Not only were you treated to the sounds of Harmonica Hinds and the Brother John Band, but Mr. Legend himself, Buddy Guy, snuck on stage around 10ish for a surprise sit in.

It truly was a treat to see Buddy get on stage tell us about the blues and shred some metal with his scintillating solos. Besides the blues, Buddy seemed to get his fair share of booze while on stage (which is understandable, after all he does own the place).

All in all it was a great night and definitely reason to celebrate. Congrats to Buddy and the Club and let's hope for at least another 20 years of Buddy Guy's Legends!

Sounds Like Things Went Well for Chicago 2016 in Switzerland

Not a ton of opinions pouring out from Chicago's presentation yet, but from our initial scan it sounds like it went well. Here are two quotes from IOC members that were in Switzerland for the presentations:
Senior Australian IOC member Kevan Gosper said Chicago answered the financial questions "more than adequately.""There were no doubts left in the presentation about the capacity for Chicago to finance the games,"
Mario Pescante, a senior Italian member on the IOC executive board, said the Chicago presentation was a step above previous U.S. bids.

"I have seen lots of presentations by American cities over the years," he said. "This time it was different. They were more accessible and low-profile. It was important to stress the sports issues. In the past, it was more Hollywood style."

For the press conference transcript after the presentation here is a link. Stay tuned for more.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bigger Olympic News: No Games Chicago or Obama?

As we mentioned yesterday, Chicago's 2016 bid team is in Switzerland to make an important pitch to IOC voting members. As expected there is a lot of news around this. Today two groups with different missions added to this news cycle.

First, it was reported that three members of the anti-Chicago Olympic group "No Games Chicago" went to the doorstep of the IOC's headquarters in Switzerland to protest Chicago's bid. They also handed out books supposedly outlining why Chicago shouldn't have the Olympics. This shows some serious determination by the group and probably made some news inside the walls of the IOC.

Then later today, President Obama gave some of his old Chicago friends a huge boost by announcing that he will be creating a new White House Office of Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sport. I guess it's safe to say it's nice to have friends in high places.

So two big stories surrounding Chicago's 2016 bid. Which one do you think made more of an impact with the IOC? In our opinion it's a no brainer...Obama...he is the leader of the free world and for him to show his support in an unprecedented move means big things for Chicago's Olympic chances.

However, we gotta give props to No Games Chicago's determination and will...but your pushing water uphill if you're trying to combat Obama on the Olympics.

Chicago 2016 in Geneva for Big IOC Meeting

You may have heard that Mayor Daley and the 2016 Chicago Bid team are in Geneva, Switzerland this week for one of their last chances to make the case for our city. Ben Bradley from ABC 7 Chicago is in Switzerland and blogging about the happenings of the conference for those of you who are interested.

The importance of this meeting is that Chicago will have a chance to present and interact with approximately 90 of the 107 IOC members who will vote for the right to host the 2016 games. Many of these IOC members aren't that familiar with Chicago, so the bid team hopes to leave them with a favorable opinion of their vision and plan:

We will be following this closely as there is sure to be some interesting news about the Olympics this week.

South Loop El Stops See Massive Growth in Ridership

Today the Tribune has an article that looks into some of the best and worst stops on the El. Of interest to South Loop residents was that the Roosevelt CTA stop has seen the largest growth in terms of ridership since 2000 (164.8%). This shouldn't come as a surprise given the growth in the neighborhood and hopefully it will be a trend that continues for the next ten years.

Also of interest is the Red Line Harrison stop which saw a 79.28% growth since 2000. This would explain some why the city determined it would renovate and open a new exit for this stop.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Go to the Shedd This Week...It's Free!

We love the Shedd and hope you do to. If you have doubts or don't like to go because of the cost, well it's your lucky week, the Shedd Acquarium is free this week:
General admission is free from Sunday, June 14 to Friday, June 19. Visiting the oceanarium is discounted for the week-- $16.95 for adults and $11.95 for children (ages 3-11).

More News on Roosevelt Collection

Last week we read rumors that Roosevelt Collection was going rental and today Crain's Chicago has more on this story. Although it's not 100% sure, the article makes it sound like it's going rental very soon.

This is an increasing trend that we've been seeing across the neighborhood (and other places throughout the city) and obviously isn't good for developers. Crain's has this great map of South Loop developments and how many units are either leased or under contract for newly built buildings.

For us, the most interesting news in the article was the talk about the retail at Roosevelt Collection:
The Roosevelt Collection project also is struggling on the retail front. The more than 400,000 square feet of retail space planned there is now slated to open in summer or fall 2010 rather than later this year, although an executive of the Kerasotes cinema chain confirms that a 16-screen movie theater is to open around November or December.
At least we will finally have a place in the neighborhood to watch a movie!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Central Area Action Plan: South Loop

As we posted a couple of months ago, Chicago has unveiled a plan for many neighborhoods in the downtown area. Many of these plans affect various areas of the Sloop and as a result we are going to have some posts over the next couple of weeks looking into these changes. Some of the changes are already underway, but most are plans that could happen sometime before 2020. Will they happen? Who knows, but it's still good to consider.
South Loop
Although many areas within the near south side claim the name "South Loop", the central area action plan deems the area south of Congress, north of Roosevelt, Lake Michigan on the east and Clark on the west as the South Loop. This area has seen a lot of transformation in recent years and has seen many higher education institutions grow in this neighborhood.

As we looked at before, Roosevelt and Congress have been classified by the city as "signature streets". With this comes improved pedestrian initiatives as well funds for beautification. We are not going to rehash on this, but feel free to click here for more info on the plans for these two streets.

Within this section we're going to look at plans along Michigan Avenue, Grant Park and other areas:

1) Grant Park and Central Station Green Space
The city recently demolished the old rail station at Roosevelt road that serviced the Metra and South Shore trains. This station was a huge eye sore and probably very unsafe (or at least it looked that way). This area looks much better now, but still could be better. The plan calls for improvements to this area by adding green space. We hope they build a park over the train tracks, but don't make it as touristy as Millennium Park. The best part of this area is that it's still relatively residential, so hopefully they keep it this way and just build more parkland as opposed to monuments and art (ie Millennium Park).

2) Public Transportation Improvement
Similar to the area designated in "1" this area hopefully will be built over with green space (however this probably won't happen for a very long time). In the central area action plan, it calls for more functional improvements that would help make the road more useful for vehicles connecting from McCormick Place to the loop.

3) CTA Red Line Modernization at Harrison Station
This is already going on. See post here. This is much needed and great for the South Loop, Printers Row and all the colleges in this area.

4) Bike Lane Markings and Improvements
This is a simple one. Mayor Daley loves bikes, but so do we.

5) Pedestrian Landing at Queen's Landing
This is a very interesting project and something we feel would be a good addition (mainly for tourist reasons). Everyone knows about the beauty of the majestic Buckingham Fountain, but the fact that people have to cross Lake Shore Drive to get from the lake to the fountain is silly and probably pretty unsafe. Tourists and residents line up at intersections close to the fountain and just wait...wait...wait for a safe time to cross the street. Some stupid people even try to cross the street while speeding traffic buzzes by.

The plan calls for improvements at grade level (which means there would simply be better signals to cross at street level), but there is also an alternative plan to create an underpass. The underpass is obviously much more expensive, but probably the way to go (in our opinion). This is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Chicago and could use a safer option to get to the fountain. Abovie is a picture from the Grant Park Conservancy. They've been lobbying for this idea for awhile. It would be pretty cool...however not sure if this is going to happen.

6) Lighting Improvements on Michigan and Congress
Not really sure what this means, does anyone know about this? Maybe it would be a better lighting system for the sidewalks?

Finally, as we mentioned above many higher education institutions have been expanding in this area. Personally we like this, but know that some of our readers aren't in the same boat. Like it or not, a recent article we just read talked about Chicago's Loop being the "biggest college town" in Illinois. We think this trend is going to continue...

Friday, June 12, 2009

How Do South Loop Aldermen Feel About the Parking Meter Controversy?

The debate on whether or not the city botched the parking meter deal is still raging. Micah Maidenberg of the Chicago Journal has a post today linking to stories and quotes from our local Alderman (Fioretti and Dowell) on how they feel about the news that the city might have sold the rights to the meters for 46% under the value they were actually worth (which results in approximately $974 million).

Dowell obviously would be troubled if the analysis is true:
"I don't have any regrets for voting yes. I voted the way I did because I felt that the arguments the mayor's office made about the deficit, the hole in the 2009 budget, the possibility of layoffs, this struggling economy - they were all factors that made me support that position," she said.

What about the inspector general's estimate the meters were undersold by $974 million? Dowell said she didn't have a way of knowing if that number was correct or not.

"I think what we were presented with from the administration appears to be a cogent analysis, but I’d like to see how the inspector general came to his conclusions," she said. Of the report put out by the inspector general, Dowell said, "I wish he had released the report earlier. I don’t have a way of really judging if his numbers are better than the mayor’s numbers at this point."

Dowell wants a hearing where William Blair, the firm that advised the Daley administration on the deal, and Hoffman's financial team explain their calculations.

"But certainly if [Hoffman's] analysis turns out to be accurate, we certainly didn’t get what the parking meters are valued at and I would be bothered by that," Dowell said.
The lease could have been discussed more: "I think there could have been more deliberations. There were alternatives discussed. The alternatives were layoffs and service cuts."
It's still puzzling and frustrating how quickly this whole thing went down...

Pat Ryan Tries to Manage Expectations for 2016

As we posted earlier this week, 2016 was labeled the current front runner for the race to host the 2016 Summer Olympics by Around the Rings website and former USOC president Peter Ueberroth. First things first, this is a good thing. It's much better to be seen as a front runner then in last place.

However, don't get too excited yet. The race is still extremely close and Chicago is up by two points (whatever that means) on Madrid and three points on Rio and Tokyo. With that in mind Chicago 2016 Chairman, Pat Ryan, was trying to manage expectations recently saying that Chicago IS NOT the front runner.

In all reality who cares....this posturing and discussion about rankings is really a moot point. At the end of the day it's too tough to guess how this will go down. There is way to much politics involved in the IOC to truly know what will happen.

Like we've been saying all along, if Obama shows up to Copenhagen in early October (where the IOC will be voting on the bid cities) there is a good chance Chicago wins. If not, your guess is as good as mine.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kenny Chesney and Crew Sail Into Soldier Field

We've been touting the free blues fest but also wanted to make everyone aware of the Kenny Chesney Sun City Carnival Tour that comes to our Soldier Field this Saturday. Tickets are still available and if you're into country music it should prove to be a good time. We went last year and despite a person who doesn't like country a good time was had by all.

If you like pretty ladies in jean skirts, boots and an upbeat crowd check it out. If you're not familiar with Mr. Chesney here is one of our favorites (and personally I don't even like country):

Other groups at the concert will be Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Montgomery Gentry and Sugarland.

Trib Previews Some of Blues Fest's Best Shows

As we mentioned earlier this week, the 2009 Chicago Blues Fest kicks off tomorrow in Grant Park and today the Trib previews some of the can't miss shows:

Charlie Musselwhite 6:30-8 p.m., Front Porch
Eddie C. Campbell
8:20-9:30 p.m., Petrillo Music Shell

John Primer 5-6 p.m., Mississippi Juke Joint
Bettye LaVette 8:20-9:30 p.m., Petrillo Music Shell

David "Honeyboy" Edwards 3:30-4:30 p.m., Mississippi Juke Joint
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings 8:30-9:30p.m., Petrillo Music Shell

Roosevelt Collection Going Rental?

Lots of South Loop content on YoChicago this week, so yet again we're directing you to a post about the Roosevelt Collection on their site. Not a lot of information is coming out of the development company so they started a post asking for people to comment on their dealing/discussions with the company. We know there is a lot of interest in this development.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Developers Talk Michigan Avenue Tower II

Regardless of how you feel about high rises in the South Loop, it's interesting to hear developers talk about decisions and rational about their buildings. Below is a YoChicago interview with Jacob Bletnitsky and Alex Vaisman (of Russland Capital Group) who developed the Michigan Avenue Tower II (at 1400 S. Michigan):

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

$300K and the Old Chicago Post Office is Yours?

According to an article in the Trib, the old Chicago Post office that spans the Eisenhower Expressway is going to be auctioned. There have been many plans for the building in the past, but nothing has taken off. However, if you have $300,000 maybe it could be yours (which is what the suggested minimum bid is). Pretty cheap for a building that has over 3 million square feet...

Panorama's Galore

YoChicago must have recently spent some time in the Sloop judging by some of their newer posts. If you love pictures and panorama's then we suggest you check out there sweet shots here.

Also, they highlighted some of Burnham Pointe's (730 S. Clark) amenities.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ueberroth Gushes About Chicago 2016

Ok...don't get too excited (or too upset depending on you feel about the Olympics), but Chicago 2016 got some good news today as it is now ranked #1 in the race to host the 2016 Summer Olympic games according to the website Around the Rings. The rankings aren't official, so don't put to much stock into them, but it's still better then being in last place.

Even better news is Peter Ueberroth's recent interview with WBBM 780 in Chicago. Ueberroth, who was an influential USOC president in the past, obviously knows things about the Olympics and wow was is he loving Chicago's chances. There is a length interview at this link as well as a summary of his comments. Some of the highlights from his statements:
“Chicago is a sports fan’s town and embraces sports, Chicago has tradition. You’ve got the best mayor, the most recognizable mayor other than maybe New York, who is respected around the world. You can find enclaves of every possible nationality you can possibly list and so I think Chicago can introduce the Midwest to the world through the Olympic movement.”
"There's no question that if you take any of the four bid cities, economically the worldwide Olympic movement will do much better with the influence of Chicago and all the corporate communities around Chicago," said Ueberroth who noted the pool of potential Olympic Corporate Sponsors headquartered in Chicago and its suburbs, including 29 Fortune 500 companies. "You have more companies that are headquartered in the Midwest than any place else."
"Chicago is the best city in our country but in the rest of the world they would probably be more familiar with cities like Miami and certainly San Francisco with its skyline, Well, the Chicago skyline is every bit as good but it just hasn't been promoted in the same way in the past 20 or 30 years."
Best city in the country? Wow...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

American Outlaws Storm South Loop

If you were outside yesterday or if you had your window open enjoying the cool weather, you probably noticed a rather rowdy scene in the Sloop due to the World Cup qualifier that pitted the US vs. Honduras at Soldier Field. For most Americans, soccer is somewhat of an after thought in terms of sports priorities, but for the rest of the world it means everything.

That's why it wasn't surprising to see fans sporting face paint, crazy costumes, flags and annoying soccer horns. For those of you who don't know much about Honduras it's a small country in Central America with a population of about 7.5 million. Judging by the scene yesterday, it sure seemed like every citizen of that country was in the South Loop and all over the museum campus.

Although it seemed like the Honduras fans out numbered American fans, there was one group of yanks that made their presence felt, the American Outlaws. The group has a mission:
To support the United States National Team through a unified and dedicated group of supporters.
Seems peaceful, but if you didn't know any better (like us walking to Soldier Field on Saturday) you might be surprised to see what looked like an angry mob storming some country's consulate:

But that wasn't the case, it was simply rowdy American Outlaws cheering for their country's soccer team outside of the United States Soccer House (at 1801 S. Prairie Street).

Crazy scene on Saturday to say the least...oh and by the way the Americans won the game 2-1.

(Hat Tip: Nikki D)

If You Like Blues...You're in Luck

The festival season is underway and one of our favorites, the Chicago Blues Fest, begins next Friday June 12th. Although there might not be the big names we all know, we can promise that you won't be disappointed. The atmosphere is always festive and it's great to just wander.

For many blues aficionados the fest will be bittersweet this year as Chicago blues legend Koko Taylor just passed away a couple of days ago on June 3rd. I personally witnessed Koko for the first time at last years blue fest and although she was clearly past her prime, you could still appreciate and worship her dedication and presence. Here is some vintage Koko belting out Wang Dang Doodle:

Besides the festivities at Grant Park, don't forget about Buddy Guy's Legends (754 S. Wabash) as they put on a quite impressive couple nights of shows during the week as well. Their activities begin on Wednesday night. For the complete list of performers and acts check out this link.

And if that's not enough blues for you, don't worry; Legends has got you covered. On Tuesday June 16th, Legend's is celebrating their 20 year anniversary and has a good night planned with music by Brother John Band and Harmonica Hinds. There is a $10 cover for the anniversary party. We will see you there!

2016 Lobby's for Funds

One of the biggest pros we see in Chicago's attempt to host the 2016 summer Olympics was the potential of getting massive federal funding to help with infrastructure improvements as well as other things. Although we won't know until October whether Chicago will host the games, the committee is already ramping up it's lobbying initiative in Washington:
Chicago 2016 was active in Washington long before. Since September 2007, the privately funded bid committee has spent $480,000 for lobbying services, which have included making sure the federal government is onboard for picking up the costs of security for the Games, and lining up commitments from federal agencies that telecommunications and other services meeting the specifications of the International Olympic Committee will be available.
This is good news in our opinion and a huge opportunity for Chicago (assuming we win the chance to host the games).

On the other end of the spectrum Rick Telander, a sports columnist at the Sun-Times, doesn't think Chicago deserves the Olympics. His gripe, like many others, is the corruption and incompetence within Chicago's Government. Telander cites the city's parking meter deal as the icing on the cake for him. It's a valid point and a scary thought...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Slick Rick Does The Shrine

The Shrine is open and as rumored "national, well known acts" are coming. Old School rapper Slick Rick kicked off the "Eyes Wide Shut" series this past Thursday and performed classics such as La Di Da Di and Children's Story:

Of other interest for us Sloopers here are some observations about the place:
For those of you who moved to the South Loop because that condo was too good a deal to pass up, there's The Shrine, a new club for "culturally aware urbanites."
I like The Shrine's smaller, behind-the-bar stage because it gives the shows an intimate feel. More important, it might keep entourages off the stage and away from the mic. As much as I love hearing five nobodies yell into the mic, I prefer hearing the original artist sing the song alone.
A trendy, diverse crowd was on hand for the performance -- and by trendy, I mean it wasn't just dudes in dress shirts and jeans. I saw a few vests, fedoras and driver's caps.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sad to See Howie's Go

The writing is on the wall for Howie's (actually it's on a piece of paper on the front door but same difference). The local, no frills, but solid food and price dinner at 1330 S. Wabash is officially closed.

We mentioned that is was up for sale a couple of months ago, but it doesn't look like they could get a deal done. It's unfortunate because we thought this place filled in a good gap on the South Loop restaurant spectrum: A Low Priced Dinner.

R.I.P. Howie's...you will be missed!

Annual Printer's Row Lit Fest This Weekend

If you're a fan of literature and books, then you're probably aware that the 25th rendition of the annual Printer's Row Lit Fest starts this Saturday at 10am. It concludes on Sunday at 6pm. We've never been to the event (we still like books though) but have heard and read great things about the event.

The Chicago Tribune hosts the event and one of their columnists,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Roosevelt Collection Update

The peeps at YoChicago recently shot a video at Roosevelt Collection. Nothing earth shattering, but if you're like us, you're excited to see this one open up:

According to comments on the YoChicago post, closings are supposed to be happening in August. We will see if that happens.

(video from: YoChicago: Joe Adkins)

Monday, June 1, 2009


Segway tour spotted heading up the ramp towards the Shedd: