Posts Tagged ‘looptopia’

Emmy-Nominated NBC5 Street Team

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

It’s almost never a good thing to toot your own horn, but I would be remiss if I didn’t give a quick shout out and pat on the back to the NBC5 Street Team members and NBC5 employees who were recognized by the National Association of Television, Arts and Sciences with a nomination for Looptopia Live.

At the time of the event I said — and still believe — that this group often works on the cutting edge of journalism New Media, and this nomination is confirmation of that. The category we’ve been nominated for is Outstanding Achievement for Alternate Media/New Media Interactivity, and the aspects of our entry that I feel stood out were the live roaming Skype video feed, the continuous blog updates throughout the night on this site, the multimedia content and the utilization of Twitter. The entries have already been judged and a winner has already been decided (ceremony is being held Oct. 18), so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with showing the entry that garnered the nomination. Wish us luck on the 18th!

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Reggie Brown, NBC5 Street Team

Tonight was an exciting night for the Street Team at Trump Tower for the 2008 Emmy nominations party hosted by Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun Times. Congrats to the Street Team members who were nominated for the Outstanding Achievement for Alternate Media/New Media Interactive category for coverage of Looptopia Live, the nominees included: Marcus Riley, Zach Christman, Mark Luciano, Kaylee King, Theresa Carter, Erik Sorensen, (Yours Truly) Reggie Brown , Jim Grillo, Angie Gormas, Susan Noble, Shlomi Rabi, Jennifer O’Neal, Laura Lodewyck, Chasity Johnson, Blagica Bottiglero, Liz Holland, LeAnn Trotter, Nicole Thomas and Damaris Woodbury.  

The coverage of Looptopia was a groundbreaking and web spinning phenomenon that synchronized live video streaming, blogging, over the phone correspondence and data submissions on a level never seen before. It was a pleasure and an honor to participate in such an event and come October 18, I hope we can bring this one home. Words can’t express the joy I feel right now, until then, Street Team do your thing and continue to make me proud.

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Any motto will do: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. It’s times like this that separates the men from the boys. Yes, yes y’all, it’s 3:30 a.m. and there’s only a couple of us left out here.

The media room closed at 2 a.m., so we were relegated to the street. I blogged earlier that I was aching to experience Looptopia instead of hanging out in the media room, so here is my chance. But things are different than when I first ventured out a few hours ago. That same spirit that was in the air has turned into something meaner — and drunker.

I’m starting to think that getting caught in the middle of a fight could be a real possibility, so we ducked into the Palmer House Hilton Hotel — and my spirits were rejuvenated. The DJ is playing an up-tempo house-style music. Actually, I couldn’t quite put my finger on the exact style, but whatever it was, it was perfect. I’m bouncing in place and taking in the scene. Actually, I think I’ve stumbled across a hippie compound, which is a good thing. Ever been to a hippie concert? All peace and love baby, no drama, nothing but a good time and gals who just like to dance and dance and dance.

In fact, everyone is grooving and there’s a literal circus atmosphere as performers walk around on stilts, jugglers juggle and others act out their own individual versions of performance art.

It took me minute to figure this one out, but there were magazines littered all over the floor, and people cutting out pictures and pasting them onto pieces of paper. Turns out, they could go to another table and make t-shirts with their designs. Very cool. I thought I could stick this out until 5 a.m. when the hide-and-seek game started in Millenium Park, but alas, they shut it down early.

But a true Looptopian doesn’t let that faze him. One more motto: where there’s a will, there’s a way.

(I ran into a fellow Street Teamer, Nicole, who came in to do the graveyard shift. Check out her video below)

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Erik SorensenErik Sorensen (Video)

2008′s Looptopia is wet, but worth it; or at least to anyone who loves a night out in the city and doesn’t mind a few surprises along the way.

Earlier I dropped in for a live acoustic performance in Urban Outfitters by Chicago’s own, Company of Thieves. The atmosphere for a show like this is something you don’t want to miss. Unorthodox performances are almost always memorable, and that’s exactly what you’ll get while you sit along the trendy clothing store’s winding staircase for either a below, level or aerial view while enjoying the atmosphere of tonight’s unusual musical endeavors.

For those looking to explore their artsy side, Blick Art Supplies on State St. is just the place. Not only do you witness live painting by professionals, get your face painted and temporary tattooed – you’re able to take matters into your own hands by picking up a brush, some clay, or whatever else you need to express those emotions. Just make sure not to get too much emotion on the floor.

Along your journeys you’ll find a bunch of street performers and other knick knacks that might excite, entertain, make you laugh or confuse you. One of the performers I passed must’ve stolen a page out of Martha Stewart’s Hobo Handbook. She carefully demonstrated how you can create a pair of underwear out of a used t-shirt. …Something tells me it might be awhile before this hits stores.

Outside Depaul’s Student Center on State and Jackson, a ginormous video display was set up to showcase their student’s films. Other short features were screened inside, on the lower level and were the combined works of people from various schools and backrounds. The best part – no sticky floors or “Saw” 17 previews. You gotta love Chicago’s skyline as a big screen back-drop, too.

Along the path of adventure you might also notice some things I’ll just go ahead and call “street art”. I’m not exactly sure what this is, but it’s bright, shiny and kept a lot of people’s attention.

The Federal Plaza’s spacious stage will see lots of action tonight as acts from around Chicago perform, including “White Hot Knife”. In between sets the crowd can’t help but continue splashing around and dancing until the next act takes the stage. Try as the weather might; nothing’s raining on this parade.

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Reggie Brown, NBC5 Street Team

If you were walking down  State Street tonight between 7-10, there’s no way you could have missed  the extremely thought provoking, physical standout performances of Plasticene‘s ghostLIGHT. As I turned off of Monroe heading southbound I saw this guy posted up a mounted bike peddling away like Lance Armstrong but going nowhere. Further down the street was this  hauntingly masked woman in mourning lighting a candle with a silver, alien like wooden dollchild seated in a chair behind her. Every different act was intriguing and I couldn’t help but get lost in the Plasticene dream like world. My favorite had to be the gummy bear ninja. I stood and watched this woman for twenty minutes as she had a staring contest with a bowl of gummy bears. Yep, you heard me right. She would stare, stalk and then grab a bear and squeeze it with her chopsticks, all the while throwing in some kung fu poses. Some gummy bear must have done her wrong in the past, maybe she bought a stale pack one day and has ongoing issues from it. I don’t know, I have no idea what to think actually. All I was sure of was that I wasn’t gonna lay a finger on those gummy bears.


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Angie, NBC5 Street Team

Mind reading magician, world’s longest improv sketch in 3 minute repetitions, orange woman making string art, red couple building a book wall, man synchronizing LED lights to movements of passersby, woman in plastic with wriggling baby dolls at her feet, carpenter building things on a stage, woman sewing herself into a white cocoon of fabric, man reading stories to stuffed animals, woman playing strange string instrument while blindfolded, flame throwers and bongo drums, circus acrobats twirling around in hanging sheets, the only U.S. performance of the Virgin Mary speaking peace with her angels, a packed house of lounging late-nighters watching Broadway musical numbers in the Palmer House lobby, dancing a tango, hip hop tucked away in an 8th floor room…loopy loopy Looptopia…maybe next year I’ll try to make it all the way to the sunrise costume hide and seek game in the park.

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One of the real highlights of the evening for me was shooting a huge square dancing free-for-all on Daley Plaza. There was a band, a singer instructing everyone, and a thousand clueless people giving it their best. Everyone just let loose and had a great time trying to figure out all the steps.

Check it out:

And here’s one more video I had to throw in. The Cirque du Soleil promoters were a lot of fun, especially Leslie, who sent a shout out to all the people at home watching our livestream.

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Shlomi Rabi NBC5 Street Team

After watching clowns, acrobats, tattoo artists, painters, street musicians, performers, dancers, drag queen, prom kids and one or two (million) drunks, I decided to take a break.

It’s a minute before midnight, which means that in less than a minute the magical existence will begin to pulverize, and I will turn into a pumpkin. That said, I have covered just about every street corner in downtown Chicago, and I have to say, it felt nice doing it without having to charge for once.

Point being, is that after hours of rushing from one great happening to another, I have finally found my love; one, true love. And the best part? It’s everywhere.

It’s in the sweet scents emanating from all the small bakeries on every other block; in the zigzaging skyline along the lake; the El snaking around buildings like a magic carpet; the majestic lions guarding the Art Institute; the honking sighs of impatient cars; the flashing neon signs of pizza parlors; the restoration work on historical facades; the burgeoning of new buildings, and the flower beds resting along the sides of Michigan Avenue. But most of all, it’s the people–the thousands and thousands of people who have come out in masses to show their love and support for the best city in the world. It’s the livelihood. It’s the energy. My one true love, it seems, is Chicago.

Time to go home.

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Outside Macy’s on State Street, there were lots of street performers.  I passed by a couple of times, and saw girls riding huge tricycles with video screens on back … a troupe of kite-toting Cirque du Soleil promoters … and, oddest of all, a woman who had wrapped herself in clear plastic.

She was holding a bouquet of white flowers, and wore something that looked like a wedding dress.  And she was inside a plastic bag.  I mean entirely inside a plastic bag, head to toe.  At her feet were a bunch of mechanical baby dolls, also white, kicking and crying in futility.

Now, when I was a kid, my momma taught me not to stick my head in a plastic bag.  Intriguing as this performance artist was … well, disturbing may be a better word … I wonder if the woman in the bag didn’t miss this lesson at some crucial point in her childhood.

Check out the video I shot … I think it’s the crying mechanical babies that really gets me.

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Shlomi Rabi NBC5 Street Team

Being a proud OCD, I must say that few things in life give me more pleasure than watching order and cleanliness. I could spend hours watching super clean closets, and the sight of neat shelving units normally brings tears of joy to my eyes.

Which is why I was oh-so-confused when I saw the strange…activity on the display windows on Macy’s on Washington and State. What was UP with that? Stacks and stacks of books that were being taken down and then put back up?

Did an intern get confused? Well, whatever that was, for lack of a better term, it was “interesting.” And by interesting I mean “bizarre”. And by bizarre I mean “bitch please.”

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

So my role tonight as Looptopia has been to hang out in the media room and take calls from the various Street Team members and input them onto the blog. I guess you could say I am taking one for the team, but after hearing about all the great stuff going on, I had to participate. So I just left.

I decided to head toward Macys, which of all the blog postings I’ve seen seen so far tonight, it seemed like one of the most interesting spots — especially that 7th floor dance party.

I immediately encountered a mob of people on the sidewalk, but the energy was outstanding. People are generally in a good mood out here. Most of the crowd is young (high school, early 20s), but there is definitely a good mix of age ranges out here.

Spontaneity seems to be the order of the day. Groups of people freestyle rapping on the corner, a guy dressed in a Captain Morgan costume taking pictures with people.

When I finally reached Macys, I could not believe how packed it was. A security nightmare I would think, with all of the merchandise still displayed in plain view. I finally reached my destination — the 7th floor, and was pleasantly surprised by the scene in the Walnut Room. Mmmmm… Heinekin. On the other side, a DJ was pumping some old school house music and the dance floor was packed with gyrating bodies chanting “South Side! South Side!” and I joined in the fun by jumping in and chanting “South Loop! South Loop!” Ya.. Looptopia is good.

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Shlomi Rabi NBC5 Street Team

After seeing pins and balls getting juggled in the air (and that was even before we ever got to the circus people, a-hem,) I knew that this night would not be complete unless I found The One. So I am now at the Palmer House on Monroe and Wabash watching live cabaret (say something nice.) And what can I say? Oh, gurl. The place is packing more “sisters” than a convent. Better head down pronto because with that much talent, glamour, sex appeal (and falsetto), things are sure to heat up mucho soon. And this time we won’t even need any flaming balls. I’m feeling lucky here.

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Jim Grillo, NBC5 Street Team

We ran into a bunch of kids that could not get wristbands to stay and check out the activities after midnight. You could tell it was a bummer for them because you could tell they were very artsy, and that’s what Looptopia is all about — the arts, and they were truly here to support it, but are forced to go home or find something else.

Editors Note: According to the folks here at the media center, they have run out of wristbands. If you can get into your destination by midnight, you’re fine, but you won’t be able to get into another location after that. Move quickly.

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Laura Lodewyck, NBC5 Street Team

I just flew through the city of Chicago. Well, virtually. “Visible Gestures” appears at DePaul Center until midnight, and you should check it out — or at least participate remotely by text. Basically, the project is a virtual reality visual project, where a pair of glasses powered by a wii remote inputs your movement, allowing you to navigate the city with a turn of your head. Text messages received at VISIBLETXT@gmail.com (ideally, your answer to the question, “What do Chicago’s buildings symbolize to you?”) become your avatar as you move virtually through the city. The server then collects all the messages, where they remain in the text “graveyard”, where they can all be read later. I was told that somebody actually sent a book, so one text is close to 10,000 words.

True to my navigational ineptitude, I got stuck in virtual Lake Michigan. Nice. Let’s hope I can scare up some better directional skills in the real word so that I can make the most of the rest of the night!

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Kaylee King, NBC5 Street Team

I officially experienced my first Looptopia event and let me tell you there is nothing better than seeing my fellow Columbia College students doing something that totally rocks!

I just saw Raise High the Roof Beam, a band made up of Columbia students, at the Urban Outfitters on State. And they did a whole lot more than just raise high the roof. The 5-piece band rocked out to a crowd of probably 50 or so. Lining the steps in the store, people in ultra hip fashions and artsy haircuts were pushing their way through to hear them play.

All I have to say is way to go Columbia! And way to go Looptopia! If you are contemplating heading out for the action tonight, contemplate no more. This event is going to keep you guessing and not to mention entertain the heck out of you too. So even if you missed Raise High the Roof Beam, there is plenty more to do in the Loop tonight. The night is young my friends. Get your Looptopia on!

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Chasity Chaos, NBC5 Street Team Video

So, I arrived to Looptopia an hour and a half ago, right on time to be greeted by a downpour of rain (just my luck). I sought refuge in the entrance of a department store on State St. with numerous other patrons who were eager to see what the festivities have to offer.

After the hurricane cleared up (okay, I’m a bit dramatic), I was able to jump back on the street and begin to explore. As I looked up, I was taken aback by what I saw. There was a woman dressed in all white, standing on a stage around four feet tall. She had chopsticks in her hand and appeared to be finely executing Tai Chi. To her left was a huge bowl of gummy bears, that she seemed to be defending like they were her children. She sporadically picked up a gummy bear with her chopsticks, inspected it and carefully placed it back in the bowl and continued to dance around the bowl and protect her precious cargo.

As I continued along my journey, I encountered another man, on a similar stage also dressed in white who was playing the guitar for an assortment of stuffed monkeys and similar toys. Without forming an opinion on either of the installations I just saw, I carried on until my attention was diverted from my journey again.

I stopped when I saw a woman – also in white and on a stage – in a beautiful dress holding flowers, who was… completely covered in plastic. Weird, right?

At the time (and even now as I write this blog), I had no idea what any of this meant or the purpose of any of these displays of art. I don’t know what they were trying to communicate or what any of it meant. I don’t know why that lady was ever so diligently protecting her gummy bears or why that man was playing for his teddy bears, but for some strange reason… I liked it! I once heard Yoko Ono say, art is everything and can be anything. Now I totally understand what she means.

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Laura Lodewyck, NBC5 Street Team

Does anyone know what those white-robed people on the white-draped platforms along State street are doing?  I can’t figure out what the name of this performance art exhibit is, but I’d love to know.

One guy played guitar lovingly to a pile of chattering wind up toys and a box of candy Dots. Another woman in judo gear stared threateningly at a giant bowl of gummy bears. Someone else played the accordian as a human-sized replica of a child watched. My favorite, though, was the woman wrapped in plastic (“Well, that’s just not safe!!”, exclaimed my husband.) As we watched, Plastic Bag Woman slowly crumpled to a seat and stared a bag full of toy babies. I. don’t. get it. That’s ok, though, ’cause it was pretty fascinating. 

My question is: how long can she keep this up? If I come back in the middle of night, would she still be staring at those plastic babies, or would she be hanging out eating a sandwich?? Only one way to find out…I’ll let you know what else I find. Looptopia’s just begun!

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 Damaris Woodbury, NBC5 Street Team

Free makovers, fragrance samples, free food, patrons and employees losing all inhibitions and letting loose to the tunes being pumped throughout the entire floor.

The energy is extremely high and people are dancing alone and with each other in the perfume aisles. And this is just the first floor, people. Is this really Macys?

I heading straight for the food and stuff myself at the hot dog stand, and continue to indulge myself in the free popcorn and samples of the new organic Frangos chocolate mint — yummy!
I see little kids running around with elaborate face paint and I make my way up to the 5th floor, designated the family floor. There were face painters, balloon twisters, arts & crafts, fake tattoos, kids jumping up and down with musical instruments and singing included in the family entertainment. The parents were just happy to have bean bags to sit in around the FAO Schwartz section, while they let their kids run loose.
I hear sexy, pounding music above me.  The seventh floor of Macys has been converted to a lounge with a dj, free cocktails, intimate seating areas and a dark setting. Going to Macys has never been this much fun. 

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Blagica Bottigliero, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

(For more ideas, stories and my POV on life in Chicago, take a look-see here. You can also follow me on Twitter).Carpentar Man

I was JUST about to descend the steps to the red line when I snapped these photos. I couldn’t figure out what the exact theme was, but I’m thinking it’s art mixing daily household chores and carpentry? Take a close look at one of the photos – and see the kiddies hanging out with the tulips below.  Creepy, yet endearing at the same time…

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Shlomi Rabi NBC5 Street Team

Now that you’ve had your fill of psycho brides, crazy clowns and other live visual performances, come on down to the Cultural Center (Randolph and Michigan) to relax and unwind with the smoothest, silkiest jazz Chicago has to offer.

Several live bands are scattered around, surrounded by clusters of loving couples. The love and the mood will be here at the Cultural Center until midnight.

I think I’m in the mood to go find some loving of my own. Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how (or who) I do.

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Jim Grillo, NBC5 Street Team

It’s been a rough night of weather, but there’s a glimmer on the horizon. Ever since around 7:30, it’s been absolutely perfect out here.

If you’re sitting at home wondering if you should come out or not, don’t hesitate. Just do it!

The lights and the building in the city are spectacular. There’s a ton of activity, and the city is alive for those who weren’t afraid of coming out on a Friday night just because of a little rain. Those who persevered are receiving a huge payoff.

During the day there was certainly some lightning out here, but it can’t match the electricity of the people out here. I’ve lived in Chicago all of my life, but have never seen the Loop so alive at night. Looptopians unite!

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Susan Noble, NBC5 Street Team

Last year at the first Looptopia, I remembered thinking that the only way the weather could be worse would have been if it was raining. The planners expected 10,000 people to show up — 100,0000 came to play.

As I made my way across the Loop tonight amid the threat of thunderstorms tonight, the laser candy on the plaza of One South Dearborn matched the laser show in the sky.

The feet on the street look like a normal Friday night dinner and theater crowd. It’s gonna be an interesting night. Let’s see what’s great on State.


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