The Loop will be bustling with activity from 6 PM Friday till 6 AM Saturday as the city stages its inaugural Looptopia multidisciplinary arts festival. Modeled on dusk-to-dawn cultural extravaganzas staged annually in Paris, Rome, and Madrid, the completely free event comprises roughly 75 offerings, including live music, theater and dance performances, film screenings, art exhibits, workshops, and more. Bobby Conn, the Ponys, and the Mucca Pazza marching band have the prime-time music slots at Daley Plaza (Washington and Dearborn) at 8, 8:45, and 9:45 PM, while at One South Dearborn Redmoon stages one of its family-friendly spectacles from 8 to 11 PM. Over at the empty shell of Carson Pirie Scott (1 S. State), the digital media collective MFChicago throws a dance party with dueling DJs and video projections starting at 5 PM; at 8 PM Macy’s (111 N. State) becomes Club Looptopia with DJs, Ping-Pong, and belly dancing, plus food and drink; and in the Chase Tower auditorium (21 S. Clark) Chicago Opera Theater puts aspiring Siegfrieds and Brunnhildes through their paces in the final rounds of Opera Idol, starting at 11 PM.
The Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington) is a hub of activity, with art exhibits open all night, live Indian classical music, tours of its hidden corners led by historian Tim Samuelson (2-6 AM), a knitting circle (10 PM-2 AM), a chess tournament (2-6 AM), a B movie marathon (2-6 AM), and lots more. The Auditorium Theatre (50 E. Congress) hosts a scavenger hunt (6 PM), a tour of the Adler and Sullivan-designed building (8 PM), and late-night sketch comedy (9 PM-1:30 AM); the Art Institute (111 S. Michigan) offers gallery tours loosely organized around various themes (“Decadent Delights,” “Dreams and Nightmares”) every hour on the half hour from 5:30 to 10:30 PM. It’s also your last chance to check out the whopping “Cezanne to Picasso” exhibit, though there’s a fee of $18 for adults ($5 for kids) for that.
The whole thing culminates in a sunrise celebration in Millennium Park, with music, yoga, and breakfast. See listings in this section and in Music for more; for a complete schedule see looptopia.com.