Disappointed by the relative lack of comedies at film festivals, independent filmmaker Jessica Hardy founded Chicago Comedy Film Festival last year as a much-needed outlet for comedic expression. Now in their second year, Hardy and her staff have picked another round of humorous flicks to the screen over the three-day, second-annual laugh fest, screening both independent feature films and shorts.
Films on Friday include Servitude, starring Kids in the Hall and NewsRadio actor Dave Foley as the manager of a Western-themed restaurant’s overworked staff. Earlier in the day is the screening of Close Quarters, a flick starring renowned local actors T.J. Jagodowski, Susan Messing, and Gregory Hollimon as they debate love, friendship, and jealousy—all over some coffee.
On Saturday, catch the Midwest premiere of Bad Parents, where Janeane Garofalo and Cheri Oteri play stressed-out soccer moms trying to communicate with their inanimate soccer-ball children. On Sunday, those with VIP passes can attend the award ceremony, as well as the after-party at Rockit Bar & Grill.
Hollywood Palms Theater, modeled after Hollywood Boulevard and the legendary Chinese Theater, engages moviegoers with its opulent design, a restaurant and bar, and seat-by-seat service. Winning praise from myriad press outlets, the movie house boasts nine distinctive auditoriums, each dressed to a cinematic theme, including Coconut Grove and The Rainbow Room. Within the confines of each theater, rows of high-backed leather chairs comfortably cradle bodies, while the latest Dolby surround sound swathes ears in the tummy rumbles of on-screen actors. An attentive wait staff takes orders throughout films from an extensive menu that includes burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, beer, wine, and cocktails.
The cinematic alter ego of the Vic Theater, Brew & View splashes retinas with recently released and cult-favorite films in a historic 1912 vaudeville house outfitted with three full bars. Weekly schedules flaunt a mix-and-match of cinematic adventures, drawing viewers in with high-speed action scenes, star-crossed romances, and historical intrigues concerning off-brand wig-powder usage. All three bars serve cocktails and microbrews until the end of each triple feature, which often leads to viewers reciting the dialogue and responding to the movie out loud?a character trait the theater is proud of. They also welcome guests to order food from nearby restaurants and have it delivered directly to the venue.
Steeped in entertainment history, The New 400 Theaters showcases new and recent Hollywood films inside its four-screen movie house. Opened in 1912 and originally dubbed Regent Theater, the single-screen Rogers Park locale presented 725-seat audiences the chance to witness eclectic vaudeville acts and to shout technique critiques to sword-fighting actors during moving-picture showings. Regent transmogrified into the "400 Theater" in 1930—a name taken from the term for the top 400 society folk—and then into a city-crushing ladybug in 1955, before settling into its current configuration in 2009, with refurnished venues, multiple screens, and a recently opened full-service bar.
Akira swaddles customers from clavicle to toe with a collection of trendy apparel from more than 200 designer brands crafted by foreign, domestic, and Chicago fabricsmiths. Women, men, and mannequins can browse a selection of clothing and accessories that includes the signature looks of Jeffrey Campbell and Boy London. Akira has cooperated with such endeavors as Generation Y, which fosters artistic expression in Chicago public schools.
With its gargantuan ballroom space, the Congress Theater is just as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the ears. The former movie palace, which boasts a curved upper deck lined with red-velvet seats, beckons concertgoers to its lushly vintage confines for country-music shows, bluegrass festivals, and electronic-music performances. Regardless of the act, audience members revel beneath an ornately decorated domed ceiling that's perfect for jetpack escapes when the dance floor gets too crowded. The theater also is branching out into its surrounding neighborhood by filling attached storefronts with restaurants, small grocers, and other community partners.