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The Reader's Guide to New Year's Eve 2001

What's Happening in Special Events, Restaurants, Music

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ATHLETES UNITED FOR PEACE LAST RUN OF THE YEAR

Heartland Cafe

7000 N. Glenwood, 773-465-8005

The last race of the year, this 5K run and walk starts at 8 AM at the Heartland Cafe, weaves through Loyola Park and along Lake Michigan, and then returns to the restaurant for breakfast. Racing fees--which include a T-shirt and grub--are $20 for those over 21, $15 for those 12 to 20, and $10 for children under 12. See www.heartland-cafe.com for more.

BUCKINGHAM FOUNTAIN

FIREWORKS

Congress Parkway and Columbus Drive, 312-744-3315

This year the city is asking people to assemble for the Monroe Harbor fireworks display at 11:40; the pyrotechnics will be preceded by "a fountain-style countdown to the new year." The free display will be accompanied by a mix of recorded pop, rock, and classical music.

CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD/HOLIDAYS OF LIGHT

Museum of Science and Industry

57th and Lake Shore Drive,

773-684-1414

The tradition of inviting local ethnic organizations to decorate holiday trees for the Museum of Science and Industry's "Christmas Around the World" celebration began during World War II as a "salute to the American allies." Sixty years later, it features nearly 50 trees and three creches representing countries from Armenia to Wales. The "Holidays of Light" exhibit includes displays honoring the Chinese New Year, Diwali, Kwanza, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Visakha Puja Day, and Saint Lucia Day as well as demonstrations of winter solstice rituals from around the world. Also on display are items from the Robert Lesser Collection of Robots and Space Toys, which date from before World War II through the 1960s. The museum is open today from 9:30 to 5:30. Admission is $9 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, and $5 for children ages 3 to 11, with discounts available for Chicago residents. See www.msichicago.org for more information.

CRYSTAL COUNTDOWN 2002

Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier

600 E. Grand, 312-222-9123, ext. 312

This dinner buffet catered by Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants takes place among dancing fountains, palm trees, and lots of glass, through which revelers will get a prime view of the pier's Ferris wheel countdown and fireworks display. In addition to dinner, the $150 price tag includes appetizers, an open bar, a midnight champagne toast, and dancing to Nancy Hays and the Robert Benson Orchestra, not to mention tax, tip, and a raffle ticket. It runs from 8 PM to 1:30; semiformal dress and reservations are required. See www.stefanirestaurants.com.

"Future Forward" NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY

Marriott Hotel

540 N. Michigan, 312-555-1212

Organizers of this bash say they "have revisited every element of our first New Year's Eve party to take the event to new heights." General admission tickets are $75 in advance and include admission to multiple lounge "environments" and two large ballrooms: one features female DJs, including DJ Dayhota, DJ Angelist, and Shaka23, while male DJs John Curley, Mark Buxton, Chris Walsh, and Chad Sommer spin in the other. There are also four hours of a premium open bar, hors d'oeuvres, pasta, party favors, and a midnight champagne toast. A limited number of $125 VIP tickets include express entry privileges, better food and drink, and admission to three private lounges. Rooms for the night are $139. See www.urchicago.com for more information.

IMPROVOLYMPIC

3541 N. Clark, 773-880-0199 The comedy theater presents three shows: at 8 PM, The Dana & Julia Show plays upstairs and resident troupe Baby Wants Candy downstairs. Tickets are $20 and include a free drink. At 10:30, the Those Guys troupe opens for The Dana & Julia Show. Tickets are $45 and include hors d'oeuvres, champagne, and party favors. Performers and audiences will converge after the final curtain for a midnight countdown and dancing till 2.

THE JACKIE WILSON STORY (MY HEART IS CRYING, CRYING...)

The Black Ensemble Theater

Uptown Center Hull House,

4520 N. Beacon, 773-769-4451

The $50 ticket price for this special 8:30 PM performance of the hit show, in which Chester Gregory II dynamically re-creates the sound and moves of the 60s soul singer, includes a postshow fete with champagne, hors d'oeuvres, an open mike, and dancing till 2. A 7:30 dinner before the show is an additional $50.

NEW YEAR'S EVE AT THE HYATT

151 E. Wacker, 312-552-2000 or 312-559-1212

There are fewer frills at the Hyatt this year--the 500-pound pyrotechnic ball won't be making an appearance--and prices have been slashed. For $99 ($109 after December 15) you get a dinner buffet for two (minus booze, tax, and tips); access to two parties with live music, a DJ, an open bar, appetizers, and party favors; and an after-hours party at the hotel atrium's Big Bar--the longest freestanding bar in the U.S. Another $99 buys an overnight stay on either the 30th, 31st, or 1st.

NEW YEAR'S EVE POWWOW AND TEEN DANCE

American Indian Center

1630 W. Wilson, 773-275-5871

At $4 a head, the AIC's family-oriented (alcohol- and drug-free) powwow is one of the best deals in town. It starts at 8 with a potluck dinner, which will also feature traditional foods such as fry bread. At 9 there will be exhibition dances and drumming, with lots of chances for audience participation. At midnight there's a "sobriety special" honoring people who have maintained the straight and narrow. Doors open at 7 and it's $4 for adults, $2 for seniors and children ages 6 to 12 (kids under 5 are free). The teen dance starts at 8 in the Tribal Hall.

NEW YEAR'S EVE ROCK 'N' ROLL BALL

Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier

600 E. Grand, 312-836-4299 or 312-555-1212

This year's lineup includes Cheap Trick, Poi Dog Pondering, Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise, and a great view of the Navy Pier fireworks. As a bonus, DJ Roland will spin rock-based dance music in the Tom Tom Lounge. Tickets are $75, which includes ten food and drink tickets redeemable at a variety of food stations and martini and champagne bars; VIP seats in the balcony are $115 and also include ten tickets.

ODYSSEY NEW YEAR'S EVE CRUISE

Navy Pier

600 E. Grand, 630-990-0800

The Odyssey hosts the fanciest of the local NYE cruises, featuring lobster and filet mignon (with kosher and vegetarian alternatives available by request), live entertainment, a premium open bar, champagne, caviar, hors d'oeuvres, and a front-row view of the midnight pyrotechnics. But the prices have come down this year: it's $225 per person for parties of two, or $200 a head for parties of three or more. Boarding starts at 8 PM, and the boat will cruise Lake Michigan from 9 until 12:30.

S.A.F.E. NIGHT IN CHICAGO

Multiple locations, 312-747-2606

It's the seventh year running for these all-ages celebrations sponsored by the mayor's Office of Substance Abuse Policy (the acronym stands for "safe, alcohol-free, family events"). Activities vary by location, but all sites will offer food, soft drinks, decorations, party favors, goody bags, giveaways, raffle items, and a midnight countdown. Locations include Advocate Ravenswood Medical Center (4550 N. Winchester, 773-279-5917), Spirit of Truth Full Gospel Church (16 W. 103rd, 773-821-0813), the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club (5480 S. Kenwood, 773-268-1356), Jack's Place Sober Club (2917 W. Armitage, 773-252-2877), and the Gateway Foundation's West Side Center (3828 W. Taylor, 773-826-1916, ext. 2838). See the OSAP's page on the city's Web site at www.ci.chi.il.us for more.

SECOND CITY

1616 N. Wells, 312-337-3992

SECOND CITY E.T.C.

1608 N. Wells, 312-337-3992

Second City's main stage features Embryos on Ice! or Fetus Don't Fail Me Now, while the smaller Second City E.T.C. presents The Second City All Stars, featuring an ensemble of current and former Second Citizens. Each show has two performances, at 7 and 10 PM. Admission is $25; audiences at the later shows can stick around for champagne and cocktails.

SPIRIT OF CHICAGO NEW YEAR'S EVE CRUISE

Navy Pier

600 E. Grand, 312-836-7899

Tickets for the Spirit of Chicago cruise are $175 per person (down from last year's $199) and include a four-course dinner, a premium open bar, two live DJs, beer, wine, champagne, snacks, party favors, and a view of the fireworks. It boards at 8 PM, leaves at 9, and returns to the dock at 12:30.

UGLY DUCK

NEW YEAR'S EVE CRUISE

Navy Pier

600 E. Grand, 888-534-3516

Leave it to the Ugly Duck to buck the trend and raise prices on "the most colorful, casual New Year's Eve party" around. The $125-per-head admission fee includes a "creative" buffet, a DJ, a champagne toast, unlimited beer, wine, and soft drinks, and--of course--fireworks. The boat boards at 8:30 PM and the cruise lasts from 9:30 to 12:30.

VIETNAM VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR NEW YEAR'S PARTY

3935 N. Marshfield, 773-327-5756

This annual gathering of "old movement friends" at the home of vet and activist Barry Romo is an opportunity to "look back, reflect, repair and prepare," which takes on somewhat more meaning this year. It starts at 9, and the $7-$10 requested donation includes beer and chili.

WINTER WONDERFEST

Festival Hall at Navy Pier

600 E. Grand, 312-595-7437

The ongoing, family-oriented Winter WonderFest features over-the-top holiday decorations including hundreds of live and artificial trees, lights, and a town square. It's open from 10 to 8; the $8 admission lasts all day and also includes access to an indoor ice skating rink, a kiddie train, games, a climbing wall and obstacle course, crafts, and live entertainment. As usual, the outdoor skating rink and the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows are free.

WORLD PEACE MEDITATION

Unity in Chicago

1925 W. Thome, 773-973-0007

This annual tradition dates back to 1986 and is meant to link "churches, faiths, and peace-affirming individuals" worldwide. Unity service includes "prayers and wisdom" from Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, and Native American traditions. It starts at 6 AM, which translates to noon Greenwich mean time.

ZEN BUDDHIST NEW YEAR'S EVE

Zen Buddhist Temple

1710 W. Cornelia, 773-528-8685

Instead of eating, drinking, and blowing horns, the Zen Buddhist Temple ends the year with meditation, chanting, and a candlelight ceremony in which everyone participates. There's also an opportunity to write down last year's events on a slip of paper, which is burned by the temple, "thus formally leaving those events in the past, clearing the mind for the new year." It starts at 8; the requested donation is $10.

√°suburbs√°

FIRST NIGHT EVANSTON

Downtown Evanston

847-289-4248

This year's theme is "hot entertainment on a cold winter's night" and the party features over 50 acts on 23 indoor stages, free parking, and free shuttle bus service. Entertainment includes the West Indian Folkdance Company, Mariachi America, Melissa Thodos and Dancers, Hillybillys From Space, the Experimental Funk Quartet, "Diamond" Jim Greene, Belize Breeze, the South Shore Drill Team, improv comedy, and flame throwers. It concludes with a midnight conga line through the streets of Evanston. Events start at 6 all over downtown Evanston. Admission buttons are $12 for adults and $6 for children between the ages of 6 and 12; children five and under get in free. See www.firstnightevanston.org for more.

NEW YEAR'S EVE ROCKIN' ROLL DANCE FEST

Highland Park Country Club

1201 Park Avenue West, Highland Park, 847-433-3663

"The only thing that's smokin' is the band," say the organizers of this cigarette- and cigar-free event. The band in question is Kevin Purcell and the Nightburners, and there's also a buffet featuring healthy food. The $45 admission includes drink tickets, parking, and funny hats. It runs from 8 PM to 1.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustrations/Mr.Fotheringham.

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