Chicago Convention Blotter

News and notes from Chicago’s convention venues, including McCormick Place -- that Windy City mecca for chicken cutlet lunches and shake-down-style Union work rules.                  

  • Special Coverage: NATO Summit 2012 (May 19-21)
    • Welcome to Chicago NATO! As you see, we enjoy the world’s least congested roads. Can I interest you in locating a tax-exempt business here?
      For my series of lampoon videos about Mayor Rahm Emanuel, click here.
    • With NATO in town, it’s easy to confirm who’s a Secret Service agent. Just ask them, “Where might a fellow business traveler find an affordable escort?”
    • Dumb me. I thought Chicago was hosting the NACHO Summit this weekend. Now I’m sweating outside Rahm’s home in this very silly costume.
    • Most common comments from attendees: 
      • “Chicagoans aren’t thrilled by all the disruptions, but it’ll be worth it if Rahm can get a NATO base located here.”
      • “Did your NATO gift bag include $10 million in TIF funds too?”
      • “Why is there a charge on my bill for cleaning up that Afghanistan mess? What?! McCormick Place’s union rules don’t allow us to even clean that up ourselves?”
    • For downtown residents, the NATO Summit gave a taste of life in a gated community. Street parking is discouraged, the neighboring kids are ill-tempered, and the smiling security harbors secret resentments.
  • Nov. 1, 2011 - Following up on negotiating Union wage changes at McCormick Place, Mayor Rahm Emanuel strikes pact with escort services to help lure back cost-conscious conventioneers.
  • Sept. 30 - National Bridal Market opens at Merchandise Mart. Interesting trades welcomed. 
  • Sept. 21 - McCormick Place News: “Quality Assurance Expo please come to Lost & Found. We have your pallet of misplaced Six Sigma books.”
  • Aug. 26 - In keynote address, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford offends Southern Ideal Home Show by touting Argentine gaucho decor. 
  • Aug. 11 - “World Vegan, World Peace” conference starts today in Chicago, where meat eating is taken so serious even our baloney has a first name.
  • Aug. 8 - Chicago Mens Wear Show to observe “Dress Left Tuesday” with free showing of “The Adjustment Bureau.” 
  • Aug. 5 - Just in from today’s Black Women’s Expo: Andre Dawson named favorite black Expo. 
  • July 25 - Gov. Quinn, Mayor Emanuel talk labor reforms at McCormick Place, but rumble with Teamsters after caught busing their own lunch trays.
  • July 18 - Five booths banned from Sept.’s Graphics Art Expo for language and extended sequences of intense violence.
  • July 16 - McCormick Place advises DUB Auto Show attendees to use more than a whale tail to cover-up lower-back tattoos. Keep it classy Chicago.
  • July 7 - Facial Spackling Convention on Oct. 9-12 confirms Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath as keynote speaker.
  • July 4 - Walkie-talkie message: “Can first Teamster back from lunch turn lights on in Hall D. The Tea Party Convention remains in the dark.”
  • July 1 - McPier Newsletter tip: begin speeches with a simple joke. Sample from this week’s diverticulitis convention: “Not to be tripe, but don’t you hate puns.” Killed with gastroenterologists.