I grew up three blocks from Piper’s Alley in Old Town, the new home for Chicago Live!, which begins its eight-week winter season Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.
As many of you know, and I was glad to see you in the audience, I previously hosted the show for five seasons in the downstairs space at the venerable and beautiful Chicago Theatre.
I enjoyed that tremendously, for even though it taxed my interviewing skills (how does one move from talking on stage with Cookie Monster one moment to Mayor Rahm Emanuel the next?), the space whispered to me of the history of the theater and the Loop.
History is important to me and one part of every Chicago Live! show is something called the Almanac, a sound-words-video look back at a specific year in the city’s past. This has been a challenging and rewarding thing to create and has taught me many things about the city in which I have lived and worked and played.
There is no doubt that being back where I came from in Old Town will help spark memories of growing up there, visiting the offices of 43rd Ward Ald. Mathias “Paddy” Bauler, famous for spouting “Chicago ain’t ready for reform” after Richard J. Daley’s 1955 election as mayor; playing baseball with Cubs’ great Billy Williams on the La Salle school playground; and long nights at the Ale House and O’Rourke’s ... well, maybe not those.
There is really no telling what will pop up in the Almanac or on stage. Feel free to come visit us in Old Town or at chicagolive.com, where you can find links to tickets and information about upcoming guests.
-- Rick Kogan