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Weekend Passport: Guide to NATO celebrity sightings

The lobby of the Blackstone Hotel, located at Balbo and Michigan (Flickr/900hp)

Many Chicago residents are gearing up for a quiet weekend at home in hopes of avoiding the downtown insanity that may accompany NATO summits. Commuters have been widely encouraged to work from home Monday, and with Lake Shore Drive closed from Balbo on south beginning at midnight Friday, many South Siders don’t expect to surface until Tuesday.

Anxiety regarding the international summit has been widespread since Mayor Emanuel announced that Chicago would host back in June of 2011; now it may seem like nobody is excited about the international gathering of political leaders, diplomats and dignitaries that has descended on our city.

Typically, we here at WBEZ like to consider ourselves above the practice of celebrity gawking. But to prove that we can edge in on the tabloid scene, we’ve asked global citizen Narimon Safavi to help Worldview put together a Weekend Passport guide to NATO celebrity sightings. Get your flashbulbs ready!

Some of Safavi's tips include staking out the lobby of major hotels like the Blackstone (Balbo and Michigan) and the Four Seasons (Delaware and Rush). Here are some other ideas:

  • What with this being his hometown and all, President Obama may not seem like a visiting dignitary, but as the leader of the free world, he’s kind of a big deal. He hosts a star-studded dinner at Soldier Field on Sunday night. Earlier on Sunday the First Lady will make a trip to the Gary Comer Youth Center on the South Side, according to the Chicago Tribune. If Lake Shore Drive closures don’t scare you, head down to catch a glimpse of those ladies in their spring finest.
  • Mayor Emanuel will also host a dinner Sunday night. His will be held at the Field Museum, where Chicago Business reports he has invited Carrie Nahabedian, chef and owner of River North's Naha to oversee culinary preparations. She will prepare a lamb dish for the delegates, who will represent over 85 countries. 
  • On Saturday night, 120 guests will honor the 60th anniversary of Greece’s NATO membership. The event will bring together Greek diplomats and Chicago’s Greek-American community, who hopefully will take an evening off from their country’s economic woes to toast to the future.
  • Saturday also marks your best chance to get a glimpse of Turkish President Abdullah Gul. The president’s first visit to Chicago will be celebrated with authentic Turkish music and food. The event coincides with Gençlik Bayramı, or Turkish Youth Day.
  • On  Friday, The United Macedonian Diaspora will host a Gala at the Hilton Chicago (Balbo and Michigan), to be attended by Macedonian President Dr. Gjorge Ivanov, Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Jansa, and Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.


We are also joined by Alessandro Motta, the Consul General of Italy, and Robert Chatterton Dickson, the British Consul General, who fill us in on what they’re up to when not busy with summit meetings. If you’ve got tips for NATO celebrity hot spots, leave us a comment, or give us a call at 312.923.9239 and spill!

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