This comes from reader Su Ki, who writes about her night at Looptopia. Enjoy.
This was Chicago’s first attempt at an all night festival, so I will try to be nice.
I started my Looptopian excursion around 7pm. I didn’t want to go right at 5:00 and battle people with no interest in the arts actually trying to leave work. And the 56 bus took forever to come so of course I was a little later than planned.
I watched a few musicians in Daley Plaza with my friends then went to Borders to watch friend’s coworker sing. Then someone pointed out that some of these events would be a lot better with alcohol. That tent in Daley plaza is definitely a programs tent and not a beer tent so we went to an overcrowded bar for a drink and then to a not so crowded bar for a drink where we didn’t have to listen to frat boys slam on tables.
But in between these 2 bars was “The Spectacle”. Red Moon theatre company promised spectacles all night. When we got there, tons of people were lined up down the street and nothing was happening. From the grumbles it sounded like some people had been standing there for a while. Finally the spectacle start. I am short and could only see the top half of it so if anything was going on ground level, I missed it.
First, a person in a rat costume comes out straddling a crane arm. The rat then gets into a big wheel and starts running and moving the wheel back and forth. Then some sparklers light up on the wheel (swear they smelled and looked like giant sparklers)! And a few booms and more sparklers late, one tired rat comes out of the wheel, bows and leaves.
What? The crowd grumbled again and debated the spectacularness of that spectacle. And that’s why we needed another drink.
At the bar we took out our trusty program, which oddly did not include the silent dance party that everyone was talking about, and tried to plan our next move. It was getting late now and the events were getting scarce. There were more spectacles listed but now we were jaded. My friends decided to go home and I went on to the Cultural Center to see “I am Robot and Proud.”
I took the train because I was getting chilly, walking alone now and those shuttle busses-didn’t see a single one all night.
I get to the Cultural Center and cops are directing people to a different entrance. I walk around the block and see the line. A huge line wrapping half the block. I stand in line and hope it moves. It barely does. I look at my watch and realize the robot guy would be finishing his set in 10 minutes and I still have a few hundred people ahead of me. I give up on Mr. Roboto and walk toward the Art Institute.
There were still a lot of people out, mainly talking on street corners, arguing with cops about public drinking and staring at programs. For an all night festival, there were not a lot of things going on at this late hour. The only real event I saw was watching movies or a chess tournament. Both things would put me to sleep. The program was now filled with those “events” that last all night like “Art Institute Garden open” but not the actual Art Institute.
While walking by Millennium Park I hear some noise and think maybe I’ve stumbled upon a non-listed event. I kind of did. I would call it a non-Looptopia sponsored event. A group of people gathered on one of the walkways and had their own little dance party. A few guys with drums and girls passing around tambourines and finger cymbals created a beat while the crowd chanted changing beats. “Ole! Ole! Ole!” changed into “Don’t stop! Get it, get it!” to “Southside! Uh oh!” and around again. I watched, took a couple pics and eventually danced along for a while. It had a good feeling, lots of different young people, different types all dancing to beats the crowd made up as they went along.
I left Millennium Park smiling even though I realized there was no way I was going to be bale to stay up all night watching sci-fi movies or looking at window displays. I walked to the train and wanted at least a half hour for my train to come and bring me to my bed.
So Looptopia, I would not call you an all night event because there were no late night events. At least none sponsored by the city. It was an event that ended around midnight and started up again at 5am with exercise and a choir. I’m not motivated by religion or the sunrise, I went to sleep.