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Cirque de Loop

By Rachelle Bowden in News on Feb 6, 2006 11:22PM

The Sun-Times reports that The Chicago Loop Alliance plans to turn the Loop into an all-night party with “shopping, dancing, parades, fireworks, concerts, night-clubbing and Cirque de Soleil-type performances” as part of Looptopia, the group’s latest effort to “transform the Loop’s gritty urban look into a funky delight.”

2006_02_clown.jpgGreat. Because we’ve always hoped that Navy Pier and Rush/Division would get together and have a big, loud, tacky lovechild, and that when they did, it would be the place we go to work everyday.

True, Looptopia, which is scheduled for May 11, 2007, will be a one-day affair, and it doesn’t sound all bad. It will include the Columbia College Manifest Urban Arts Festival, a Chicago Park District urban gardening exhibit and the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s first nighttime tours on dedicated CTA trains. OK, so it’s hard to argue with the arts.

But is a “funky delight” really what we need in the Loop all the time? Chicagoist loves the energy in the Loop and thinks its “gritty urban look” is part of its appeal. This is the place where serious business gets done, so do we really want it to look like an amusement park? TV and movie directors don’t come to shoot scenes under the El tracks because they’re shiny and pretty.

The wheels of change in the Loop have been in motion for a while, so this new development shouldn’t be surprising. Construction is underway on the Rockefeller Center-inspired 108 N. State project. We’ve already lost points in the “of course we don’t have an inferiority complex” argument, so can’t we at least stop short of turning our business district into a circus?

Unless, of course, there’s going to be elephants. ‘Cause that would just be cool.

Thanks, Joanna!