Aside from high-calorie edibles and booze, the concourse of the United Center before a Chicago Bulls game offers fans an ecclectic array of distractions. The team has a fairly open-door policy about its arena's pre-tipoff amusements; performers submit applications, and the organization considers all comers. For a random sample of the Chicago entertainment community—bands, DJs, a balloon sculptor twisting latex into hats—that liberal attitude has made the concourse a sort of stage. It's a warmer high-traffic spot to busk than, say, the Jackson Blue Line station. (Although soliciting donations is verboten, tip jars were visible at a recent game.)
The U.C. concourse performers aren't famous, but there is one regular act that's perhaps better known than certain Bulls bench-warmers: Manny the Frenchie, an Instagram-famous bulldog touted as "the world's most popular and followed French bulldog."
When Manny poses for photos with Bulls fans on the concourse, meeting each iPhone flash with a grin, he wears a double-zero jersey or dons a bowtie. And like a true celeb, he comes with an entourage in tow: owners Jon Huang and Amber Chavez, and Dani Majer, Manny's marketing manager.
Manny has more than 450,000 Instagram followers, who can't get enough of the camera-friendly dog's mugging. Compare that to Bulls power forward Taj Gibson, an active 'grammer with merely 215,000 followers. On Twitter, Manny's followers number 17,900—not too shabby for a canine tweeting about his penchant for naps.
Get a photo with Manny on Sunday, March 9, before the Bulls-Heat game at the United Center.