The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Free Arts, Cultural Offerings, and Oh Yeah, Dodgeball

By Olivia Leigh in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 11, 2007 6:20PM

We tend to keep the 10 p.m. local news on for background noise as we work on perfecting our next blogging masterpiece. Night after night, the stories tend to be about the same – a few robberies, some new business merger, speculation about the Bears future, and a health piece about how some food that will really make us fat may also help us fend of diseases.

But on Tuesday night, our ears perked up a bit at the news of a giant “dodgeball match in a Plexiglass cage” and a “silent dance party.” Friends, prepare yourselves for Looptopia.

2007_01_dodge.jpgAmerica's first-ever all-night cultural celebration will begin at 8 p.m. May 11 and run through the night until 6 a.m. on May 12 in the mysterious “East Loop.” (While we’re only familiar with the West and South Loop as being any identifiable region, the event will take place in the area bordered by Wacker, Congress, Dearborn and the lake.)

The event is modeled after White Night events in Paris, Toronto, Montreal and Rome that celebrate and encourage artistic interaction, with free exhibitions and museum and galleries open through the night.

Looptopia, which is possibly expected to draw 100,000 people, will be serving up more than free art galleries, however, with many events that seem, shall we say, slightly Americanized? Opera Idol, anyone? The aforementioned community dodgeball match, which sounds ripe for injuries, or the party of people silently busting a move to the sounds of their iPods in order to comply with ordinances? If you don’t think you can make it through the evening, you won’t need to try to find your way home at 4 a.m. Instead, just pop over to the Harold Washington Library, where you can take part in a giant sleepover. You can even pick up breakfast and take a yoga class in the morning at Millennium Park.

Of course, the $1 million event put on by the Chicago Loop Alliance, will also feature some of the best of the Chicago arts scene, with a performance by the Joffrey Ballet in Millennium Park at sunrise, early morning hours at the Art Institute, and other offerings by some 50 of Chicago's artistic and cultural partners.

While we do chuckle a bit at the idea of busting out our PJs at the Harold Washington or watching folks break out the cabbage patch in silence, considering we shelled out some $23 for our culutural enrichment at the Shedd last weekend, being able to see some of Chicago's best performers for (mostly) free sounds like it deserves a place in our calendar.