Archives for March 2014

Close To Home: The Magnificent Mile

By Shannon

By Shannon


Over the past few months, I (and others) have highlighted interesting and great places to see around Chicago. In an effort to keep close to “home,” also known as the Hyatt, I’m focusing on Michigan Avenue this month.

Michigan Avenue ( stretches north and south from the hotel and is home to more stores and eateries than I can count. Like Lake Michigan and Millennium, wandering Michigan Ave is great free entertainment. If you’re interested in stopping along the way, check out these highlights:

Water Tower Place ( 835 N. Michigan Avenue

  • Water Tower Place is a multi-level mall at the North end of Michigan Ave in downtown Chicago. Macy’s is on the ground floor and variety of restaurants and stores are throughout the other levels.

Hershey’s Chocolate World ( 22 N. Michigan Ave.

  • A great place for a sweet treat

Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop ( 830 N. Michigan Ave.

  • An additional delicious stop and right across the street from the Hershey’s

The John Hancock Center ( 875 N. Michigan Ave

  •  The John Hancock Tower, close to Water Tower Place, provides amazing 360 degree view of Chicago at the top.

Garrett’s Popcorn ( 625 North Michigan Avenue

  • Garrett’s popcorn is famous in Chicago. Their famous Chicago mix, cheese and caramel popcorn, creates a line out the door. If you’re trying to find Garrett’s the quickest way is by your nose — you can smell the popcorn within a block

Chicago Cultural Center ( 78 E. Washington St.

  • The Chicago Cultural Center was once the main branch of the Chicago Public Library (which is now a bit south and west). It not only provides helpful information about the city and free community programming, but has beautiful interior and exterior decorations.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation ( 224 South Michigan Ave

  • Find a variety of different types of tours (on foot, by EL, by boat) to learn about the history and architecture of Chicago

Bonus: Navy Pier ( 600 E. Grand Ave

  • Navy Pier is well-known for its iconic Ferris wheel and fireworks. You can find the pier directly east of Michigan and Grand

Bonus: Macy’s on State Street ( 111 N State St

  • Macy’s on State Street occupies the one of Marshall Fields’ original buildings, which is recognized as National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A number of unique tours are available, including the Historic Store Tour, which highlight some of the building’s most unique features. Macy’s is worth a stop in Chicago not just for the merchandise but for the delicious Frango mints.

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MLA Tour of International Museum of Surgical Science

The History of the Health Sciences Section of MLA is sponsoring a pre-meeting tour of the International Museum of Surgical Science at 1524 North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. The group plans to meet on Friday, May 16th at 9:30am at the conference hotel (Hyatt) main entrance and take public transportation to the museum which opens at 10:00. The group will receive a tour discount price of $8.00 each and tours are usually 2 to 2 ½ hours long. Some of those attending will plan to stop for lunch (on your own) somewhere along Michigan Avenue on the way back to the hotel. The Newberry Library is very close to the IMSS and is open to the public, so some may want to stop in there instead of heading back.

Please contact Joan M. Stoddart (, Past Chair of the History of the Health Sciences Section, by April 15th if you are interested in joining the tour.

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Need Ideas for Building Your Case to Attend MLA? Check Out These Great Suggestions!

It’s a fact we can’t get away from – attending MLA costs money. We don’t have to figure out how to justify the expense of our attendance alone, though! You can now check out all the entries to the “Build Your Case” contest, which provide examples of successful strategies for securing funding.

Congrats to Emily J. Glenn, AHIP of St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) and Geetha Sridaran of the Sid E. and Nell K. Williams Library (Life University, Marietta, GA) for their winning entries in the “Build Your Case” contest! They have each won a $500 prize for the most original, interesting, and compelling “asks” for funding to attend an MLA annual meeting. Thanks also to everyone who took the time to enter and share their success stories.

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Guest Post by Jean Gudenas

Jean Gudenas, Head of Collections Management at Loyola University Health Sciences Library, has nicely contributed a guest blog post on the Chicago comedy locations. You can also read Hilarious Chicago in the January MLA News.  Thanks Jean!

Hilarious Chicago  by Jean Gudenas

Chicago is the breeding ground for some of the best comedy in the country, and great comedy is not just limited to large festivals or weekend shows. Although Chicago has gained popularity with TBS Just for Laughs (the largest comedy festival in the country), Chicago has always been a favorite location for headliners and serves as a training arena for those who think they are funny. Second City is especially notorious for starting the careers of many comedians ranging from classics like Joan Rivers and Bill Murry to current favorites such as Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey. To say the least, Chicago has a plethora of comedy venues that will appeal to any sense of humor.

Because many comedy events are often not scheduled until a month or two before the show, check out these venues prior to May to see what will be happening and who might be staring!

Zanies is for the die-hard fans of standup. Zanies has hosted original standup since 1978 and served as the stage to many influential comics like Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld. While there are several locations, the first location in Chicago’s Old Town remains the most popular. Tickets start at $25.00 and is open every night.

Perhaps the most recognizable comedy name in Chicago, Second City has been performing sketch comedy and improv for over 50 years. It seems that many known comedic actors have at one point trained and performed with Second City, and regardless of which show or troupe is seen (typically there are 3 different troupes touring the Mainstage and the E.C.T stage), most likely a future talent is performing. Note that weekend shows often sell out 2-4 weeks beforehand, so it is recommended to reserve tickets in advance. Ticket prices vary depending on show and troupe.

The Playground Theater is a nonprofit cooperative “dedicated to the art of improve comedy.” While this BYOB venue is not the most chic of stages, talents like Jack McBrayer from the show 30Rock obviously feel comfortable to try their brand of comedy. Be prepared for experimental comedy and witnessing potential rising stars. Tickets range from $5.00-$15.00

Best known for training entertainers like Mike Myers, Amy Poehler, and the Upright Citizens Brigande, iO Improv  is an improv and sketch show with an underlying philosophy that distinguishes it from any other venue. As opposed to the improv-game that is popular (for instance, Whose Line is it Anyway?), iO concentrates on long improvisational structures coined by Del Close, iO’s founder, as “The Harold.” One cannot explain The Harold without experiencing it, and thankfully with shows 7 nights a week, there is always a chance to understand The Harold! Ticket prices vary depending on the performing show

A nightclub four nights a week and a comedy club three nights a week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), The Comedy Bar is partnered by Jim Belushi and features a range of new and established comedians for a rather affordable cost with no drink minimum ($10-$15 a ticket, depending on the show). Located in the North River District on Ontario Street, this is a great venue for experiencing comedy Chicago style.

For additional information on other venues or to learn more about comedy in Chicago, ComedyofChicago is an excellent blog that “supports and promotes the Chicago (as well as national) standup comedy scene.”

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