In 2015, the Cubs win the World Series. That's not a prediction, that's Back to the Future II. Still, there's legitimate buzz surrounding the North Siders this year. It's just one of the many things happening in 2015 that has Chicago primed for an epic year.
In the next 12 months, we will elect a mayor, welcome the NFL draft and christen a new elevated park. Lollapalooza hits the decade mark. Grant Achatz opens a new restaurant, and Japanese retail giant Uniqlo finally comes to the Mag Mile. This all happens as we wait for Star Wars and the other 50 films we can't wait to see.
Here are 10 major events that will make 2015 a legendary year in our city's history.
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The Wachowskis send Chicago back to the future
The Matrix creators have a film studio in Ravenswood and look to bring Chicago back to the future in 2015. The delayed Jupiter Ascending (out February 6), a philosophical space opera, looks gorgeous and worth seeing just for an eight-minute sky chase through downtown Chicago that took six months of filming. The siblings will also launch Sense8, a heady sci-fi series for Netflix shot around town.
Produced by DCASE, the inaugural Lake FX Expo + Summit will give practicing artists and creative professionals a place to meet and learn more about their craft. The four-day conference will feature keynotes by industry leaders, workshops, networking opportunities and showcases of local music and film. Confirmed guests include Sire Records founder Seymour Stein (pictured) and a Second City creative team. Registration for the free event will begin in January 2015.
Microsoft is holding its first Ignite tech conference in Chicago, inviting IT professionals from all over the world to learn about new innovations and Microsoft products. The week-long summit includes keynote address from industry leaders, hands-on labs and an expo where attendees can test new technology. IT and big data may not be the most exciting topic for a gigantic conference, but the afterparties will probably be wild.
The newest addition to Grant Park won't fully open until sometime in spring of 2015, but one section of Maggie Daley Park has opened up to the public ahead of schedule. Visitors can take a spin on the park's quarter-mile skating ribbon, which wraps around a 40-foot climbing wall on the northern end of the 20-acre plot. Future attractions will include a gigantic playground and a new fieldhouse.
Lollapalooza and Pitchfork turn 10
Hard to believe that Lollapalooza Chicago has been around since 2005 (the same year Time Out Chicago started, coincidentally), as Perry Farrell's face has hardly aged. Today, the festival has franchises in South America and Berlin (and possibly in Toronto soon). That same summer a decade ago, Pitchfork curated the Intonation Festival in Union Park, essentially the first Pitchfork Music Festival, kicking off its streak as the hippest gig in town. Considering the landmark birthdays, both fests should up their games in 2015.
April 30–May 2
In 2014, the NFL and its wishy-washy commissioner Roger Goodell met endless scandal, increasing controversy—and soaring ratings. Football proved itself to be the teflon sport, immune to scandal. No wonder our local politicians lured the league to Chicago. Much attention will be on where star Heisman QBs Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston end up. Bears fans will be dreaming of both, as their Cutler jerseys smolder. The event is being held in the Auditorium Theatre.
Our baseball teams matter again
April 5, 10
The Cubs and White Sox are all in. There was a bit of one-upmanship this offseason as both MLB squads dumped money into blockbuster contracts. The Cubs landed ace Jon Lester, All-Star catcher Miguel Montero and manager Joe Maddon. The South Siders brought in stud clubber Melky Cabrera, Yankees closer David Robertson and local favorite Jeff Samardzija. After a dismal 2014, the Red Line rivalry should heat up. We always say don't get your hopes up. But maybe? The Cubs open the season at home on April 5; the Sox, on April 10.
Oct 1–Jan 3
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events partners with the Graham Foundation to present a series of exhibitions, installations and events that explore the state of modern architecture and urbanism. Architects, designers and planners from around the world will gather during the Chicago Architecture Biennial to exchange ideas about the future of building. Maybe one of these experts can convince Trump to take down his gaudy sign.
An abandoned stretch of elevated railway track that runs through Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park and Bucktown will find new life this summer when it reopens as the 606. Named after the first three digits that begin every Chicago zip code, the 2.7 mile path will provide a quick way to travel east and west on the North Side, connecting several new parks and public art installations. With the help of the 606, you'll be able to grab a burger at Choppers in Bucktown and then bike 2.7 miles west for a drink at Weegee's Lounge in Logan Square. Barring any delays, the 606 will open in June 2015.
Rahm runs for re-election
For 43 years, our city was run by a Daley. So it still seems weird when a mayor of another name sits in office. After a mixed first term, Rahm Emanuel might already be in danger of getting the boot. If the Rahminator fails to earn an absolute majority in the February election, he heads into a runoff on April 7. Standing in his way is Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" García. Rahm has the coffers, the jump start on advertising and the allies, but this could and should be interesting.