Following the aroma of freshly popped corn through Sundae’s Too Ice Cream Shop, guests find themselves standing in front of Bensenville Theatre’s two intimately sized, 130-person theaters. The twin screens flicker to life two to three times daily, showing a selection of recent Hollywood blockbusters during weekday matinees or nightly showings. A concession stand helps supply guests with popcorn for staving off hunger or stuffing shirts in an effort to emulate the muscular physique of Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Facilitating the fan-delighting collision of comic-book universes and intergalactic heroes, Wizard World organizes Comic Cons and pop-culture conventions across the continent. At each event, stars from the silver screen set down roots in booths across the convention floor, wielding markers for autographs and their photo-op-ready smiles. Past guests have run the gamut from William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and the cast of AMC?s The Walking Dead. Away from the crowds, stars also participate in talks and Q&A panels as part of the event?s programming. Along with beloved actors, Wizard World?s conventions grant guests a chance to interact with writers and artists as well as partake in activities such as gaming tournaments and costume contests.
The 'K' of the Chicago Sky's logo towers above the other letters, two thin prongs poking out from the top?a nod to the most famous of the city's iconic buildings. Fittingly inspired by the Chicago skyline, the Sky's uniforms have represented the Windy City since 2006. In those years, some of the WNBA's top players have donned the blue and yellow threads, including Candice Dupree, Epiphanny Price, and Sylvia Fowles?a defensive star who also wore red, white, and blue in London in 2012. In 2010, the Sky transitioned from the UIC Pavilion to a new, permanent home court, packing its neatly folded coaches into suitcases and moving to the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.
Twenty-two years ago in Sydney, Australia, then-high-school students Andrew Tierney, Mike Tierney, Phil Burton, and Toby Allen were drawn together by an anachronistic passion for Motown and doo-wop. Nine albums and a 2.5-year residency in Las Vegas later, the fresh-faced foursome are touring the land that spawned the music they love with a tour presented by Smokey Robinson, who joined in on the recording Get Ready on their album and also helped polish production values and fend off mood-killingly weepy clowns. Other classics in the crooning quartet's repertoire include "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Dancing in the Street," and an a capella take on "Just My Imagination."
Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame inductee Marco Antonio Solís brings years of ballad-crooning mastery to his live shows, tickling ears and riveting eyes with his magnetic stage presence. Buoyed by the effervescent, folksy tunes of his backup band, Solís's honeyed tenor soars to rarified heights while his trademark flowing mane hypnotizes audience members and fills wigs with impotent rage. Drawing on a catalog of chart-topping hits from his solo career, Solís fills ears with such familiar melodies as "Asi Como Te Conoci," "Tu Amor o Tu Desprecio," and "Ojalá." Solís will be joined by Mexican singer-songwriter and fellow hit-maker Ana Gabriel. Euphonic masterpieces will be crafted in the cavernous Allstate Arena, which boasts stadium seating and a protective roof that prevents dulcet tones from floating away and napping geese from entangling themselves in people’s hair.
As 2011 wanes into 2012, the annual Chicago NYE Ball sprawls through three rooms of gambling, drinking, and dancing until the wee hours. More than 10 local DJs with state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems fuel club moves before headliner Lil Jon leads the charge to midnight with party-themed hits such as "Get Low" and remixes of LMFAO's "Shots" and "Drink," riding the success of recent album Crunk Rock. Up to 5,000 revelers will fill the halls with jubilant rumpus from noisemakers and party favors. To give dancers a breather, 15 dealers staff a Las Vegas–style casino boasting craps, roulette, blackjack, and guess-how-many-jelly-beans jars, donating 100% of all proceeds to Kids Fight Cancer. At midnight, Lil Jon counts down to the new year before a confetti storm pelts partiers, letting couples embrace under the cover of vibrant paper snow. A strict dress code requires all attendees to wear ball-appropriate gear, such as dresses, ties, and glass shoes.