“Into the Storm” Blu-ray/DVD Preorders go on sale at Amazon, October 26, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #22)
Date night at Grati’s! My hubby and I will soon be watching “Into the Storm” (ITS)
after it is released November 18th on blu-ray/dvd (image right, courtesy of Amazon), at home on the couch, popcorn at the ready. There is nothing cozier than sharing a laptop to watch a movie together.
The exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage (left via RANet’s ITS page) retweeted the WB’s tweet with the Amazon link for buying “Into the Storm” on blu-ray/dvd. Thanks for letting us know that ITS is on sale Richard!
However, I make all of my Amazon purchases–RA related or not–through the RANet (www.RichardArmitageNet.com) link because of them donating their Amazon Associate commission fee to one of Mr. Armitage’s selected charities. Below is the generic RANet Amazon Associate link information to find the Amazon link for your country:
Then click on your country page–the ITS region free version is also found under RANet’s UK Amazon link. Then sign in to your Amazon account after reaching each country page, in order for RANet (www.RichardArmitageNet.com, aka RANet to me) to receive credit for your purchase, and RANet will donate their commission fee to charity.
Special kudos to RANet Admin Ali for being the driving force and the guiding heart behind her wonderful Richard Armitage artistic project resource site, www.RichardArmitageNet.com
I’m pre-ordering my copy of “Into the Storm”–from the US. How about you!
And here is that official WB “Into the Storm” trailer #2 again for you to help encourage your interest:
Into the Storm Holds Strong at #4 in Latest Weekend Box Office Rankings, September 1, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #21)
According to Rentrak (below), Into the Storm is holding strong at the #4 position for last weekend’s box office of $15,400,000 worldwide–and a to date world wide box office total of $89, 643,370!
Personally, I think it is very impressive that not only has this $50 million budgeted film Into the Storm–with an additional $20 million plus marketing budget–more than easily made a profit after only three weeks since its August 8th U.S. World Premiere release, but that it continues to hold strong each week against some very heavy hitting films.
To me, the Warner Bros. Pictures film, Into the Storm is the little engine that could of a film. It took three years to bring Into the Storm into to the theatres due to their initial visual effects provider going bankrupt and then spreading out the Into the Storm cgi visual effects needs to more fifteen companies, per the film’s Director Steven Quale.
Chugging up that mountain toward film release, Into the Storm thought it could be a nice little Summer blockbuster movie, and it did become a nice little Summer blockbuster movie. Let’s enjoy the film’s trailer once more–before we go back into the theatres ourselves to go back Into the Storm (vid below):
P.S. And thanks to Faboamanto for tweeting the box office figures link above!
Stormy Saturday: Digital Spy–Into the Storm Joins the Disaster Movie Genre, with a Twist-er, August 16, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #19)
The importance of character development and story plots to films is essential. But now films have the innovation of special effects that can create additional characters such as other worldy Aliens from the puppet shop, Middle Earthian beings through motion capture, and CGI created entities be they fire, wind, rain, or dirt–or all mixed together, as they are in the recently released (in the U.S. and Canada, but due to be released in the UK August 20th) film Into the Storm’s visual effects.
So I was especially keen to read Simon Reynolds Digital Spy article yesterday–Into the Storm and the Changing Face of the Disaster Movie”— about the disaster movie genre. He gave several examples of disaster movies–the big films I remember seeing more than once are Earthquake, The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, the Airport 77 and other films, etc. These films all had international casts including U.S. film industry giants such as Charleton Heston, Ava Gardner, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Red Buttons, Jacqueline Bisset, Jimmy Stewart, etc., and you cared what happened to their characters. Just as I was concerned for the outcome of several of the characters in Into the Storm (but I will give no spoilers).
However, Reynolds lets Into the Storm (image left) Director Steven Quale explain people’s seeming fascination with dire situations made into movies:
“And why do we love the disaster movie? Quale has a very simple theory about living vicariously through big-screen entertainment. “I think audiences are fascinated with what terrifies them,” he says. “There’s a certain part of human nature, you want to see what it would be like to be right there in the eye of the storm.
“Many people are too afraid to go storm chasing and do it for real, so they go see a movie to get that experience and that sensation of living through it.””
Or as one of the Into the Storm film’s stars, the talented British Actor Richard Armitage—who portrays Dad and Asst. Principal Gary Fuller (right, in blue shirt; with eldest son Donnie portrayed by Max Deacon being cradled in his arms, and younger son Trey portrayed by Nathan Kress looking over his shoulder)– framed his response when asked a similar question:
Maybe, as Mr. Armitage suggests, we all hope that we will rise to the occasion if circumstances required us to try to save someone else’s life. Or, that we would persevere and pick up the pieces of our lives and move forward after a catastrophe.
So, I will undoubtedly see the film Into the Storm again–both for the human stories it presents, as well as, for the amazing visual effects on display, such as the firenado sequence.
Below is a teaser trailer of the Todd Garner Produced Warner Bros. Pictures film Into the Storm–with quite a lot of Richard Armitage’s character Gary Fuller in it–to further encourage your interest in seeing the film Into the Storm:
“Into The Storm – HD Trailer 2 – Official Warner Bros.” a video shared by Warner Bros. UK
Reblog–Stormy Monday: Grati’s “Into the Storm” Review and RA Fans Meetup in Chicago, Etc., August 11, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #18)
You may have heard that a certain not so little Warner Bros. Pictures tornado film called Into the Storm (poster left)–produced by Todd Garner, directed by Steven Quale, and written by John Swetnam–was swirling into towns across America and Canada this past weekend (other countries’ opening dates are here) and starring (in IMDB order, with most of the characters appearing in the image below):
*the rocking the stern dad of teenaged sons Gary Fuller portrayed by British actor Richard Armitage,
*the lovely and fierce scientist working mom portrayed by Dr. Allison Stone Sarah Wayne Callies,
*the annoyingly cocky lead storm chaser Pete portrayed by Matt Walsh,
*the next tween heartthrob shy elder son Donnie portrayed by Max Deacon,
*the adorably wisecracking younger son Trey portrayed by Nathan Kress,
*the smart and pretty high school it girl portrayed by Alycia Debnam Carey,
*the only sensible storm chaser portrayed by Arlen Escarpeta,
*and the worried for a good reason storm chaser portrayed by Jeremy Sumpter,
Heck! I gave them all descriptors so they wouldn’t feel left out. *wink*
And below is a pseudo family grouping of the lead actors (l to r: Kress, Callies, Armitage, and Deacon) taken at the August 4th, 2014 NYC Premiere of Into the Storm:
Embed from Getty Images
The general Into the Storm film plot is that half a dozen or more tornadoes devastatingly converge on the Middle
Plains state town of Silverton, Oklahoma–wreaking havoc and destruction everywhere. Storm chasers are racing toward the tornadoes to film a documentary about them. Townies are trying to get away from the tornadoes to save their lives. And during the timeframe of the film, ordinary people–in the person of dad and Asst. Principal Gary Fuller and scientist Dr. Allison Stone and others–become everyday heroes, because they have to. And there is a plot element alluded to of planetary climate change not being well understood as it relates to more severe storms happening.
I saw Into the Storm this weekend with some fellow Richard Armitage Fans in Chicago (more about that further down in this post). No plot spoilers here, other than to say that there are several tense rescue efforts moments–the outcomes of which were not predictable by me. I flinched a couple of times at the appropriate moments of cgi mayhem in the film–yet I appreciated that they were not gory. And yes, as we have seen from previously released trailer footage and stills, Richard Armitage has to dive into water yet again–poor guy. And finally, there are some really annoying idiots who seem to have beer induced stupid antics serving as the movie’s unnecessary comic relief. Since this film is rated PG-13–to court teen audiences–I just want to add–kids, don’t try those antics at home.
For my overall review of several key features of the film, here is a quick checklist (5 stars = Best):
Tornadoes and other special visual/CGI and sound effects were awesome and money well spent: 4.5 stars
*Photography, Set Design, Costuming, etc., complemented the scenes nicely: 4 stars
*Acting performances were credible, except for the annoying idiots mentioned above: 4 stars
*Middle West/Plains States accents by the British actors Armitage and Deacon were credible: 4 stars
*Plot/story were okay, but the film could have developed character motivations a little bit more before the tornado mayhem began, instead of giving film time to the annoying idiots: 3.5 stars
*Overall rating: 4 stars (It’s a nice little Summer movie.)
(N.B. On an unrelated note, the schlocky gory and violent horror story film trailers that we were subjected to before the film began: no stars and 2 thumbs down)
But the potential box office success of Into the Storm is really due to the large and concerted marketing campaign by Warner Bros. Pictures that has helped make Into the Storm’s opening weekend a respectable success with a projected $18 million take for August 8-10th (graphic below), as noted by Perry at her Armitage Agonistes blog. Into the Storm will make its movie budget and marketing monies back quickly–which is a win-win, considering the tornadoes were competing against turtles and guardians, among other films. And yet, Into the Storm ranks a respectable third in a sea of heavy hitters, according to Box Office Mojo. So congratulations to the Into the Storm filmmakers, cast, and crew!
P.S. And my hubby is rather an amateur weather geek–he gets up at 4:30 am every morning to read the temperature and precipitation instruments installed in our backyard by the regional National Weather Service office. So he looks forward to seeing Into the Storm, too. But since he rarely goes to the movies, he will wait for the dvd. So, there are also the dvd sales that Warner Bros. Pictures has to look forward to with regard to increasing Into the Storm’s overall gross. Ka ching, ka ching.
Back to Grati’s RA Fan Girls Group adventure in Chicago this past weekend for OpeRAtion “Into the Storm” 2014:
So when Richard Armitage’s new film Into the Storm finally got a release date of August 8th for the U.S.–three years from the start of filming in 2011 due to special effects suppliers issues–like a lot of RA Fans I made plans to see the film. Though my plans mushroomed into an RA Fans meet up called OpeRAtion “Into the Storm” 2014. Ha!
I co-planned (with SahRAobsessed and Obscura, Thanks!) and attended the Saturday August 9th Chicago gathering, while Marie Astra planned and attended the NYC gathering, and the Richard Armitage US Facebook folks in Atlanta were able to see the film early through preview tickets–thought I think they also plannedto see the film again Friday night. Other fans around the world have also expressed their interest in attending a screening during their country’s opening weekend–whether or not there is an RA Fans gathering event paired with it. But if you are planning an RA Fans meet up, please let me know and I will create an event tab and publicize your event news that you send to me (via the OpeRAtion Into the Storm 2014 site’s Contact Form).
So what I and others envisioned as a little grassroots campaign to encourage RA’s fans to see the film it’s opening weekends around the world to encourage box office sales–which is so important in movie success ranking comparisons–has taken root.
And this past weekend, a tidy group of eight diehard Richard Armitage fans new and long term made our way to Chicago for a RA Fans meet up and film viewing–which in my case, and a few others required an overnight stay since the film has no day time screens (the turtles got those). So for a reasonable $12 movie ticket (right) and upwards of $350 in travel costs–I told my hubby my trip covers me for birthday and Christmas gifts this year, and then some–Grati trekked to the big city of Chicago via Amtrak train.
The appeal of meeting with other RA Fans–including one lady whom I have visited with for other RA films or just for fun–was the additional bonus to seeing the film. Though RA Fans chat with each other over social media, to me it is still a little bit of a surreal experience–forming what I consider to be real friendships with some people on line without having ever met them face to face. So it is so lovely to meet ladies in reality whom I have chatted with virtually. I will give away no identities of our Chicago attendees–real or virtual. The ladies who attended may out themselves if they so wish. Ha! Lunch was a lovely sharing of our thoughts about RA–with a few of the ladies recounting meeting him briefly after a performance or for an event, or who are yet going to see Richard Armitage as John Proctor in The Crucible at The Old Vic in London. Lucky ladies!
Then as we split into interest groups, site seeing ensued to various places like the Art Institute or the Chicago Cultural Museum. Though I opted to fully check into my hotel and rest my legs (arthritis) and lungs (asthma) in the hotel air conditioning a bit. Chicago was slightly warm, but the weather was really beautiful with a cooling breeze with only a touch of humidity. And one of the gals joined me in my suite and we chatted and caught up with each
And I must say that the suite was gorgeous with a separate sitting room with a small kitchen (my pix turned out fuzzy and doesn’t do it justice, but you get the idea) suitable for business and extended stay travelers, and a comfy king sized bed bedroom (essential for my 6 ft four inch tall hubby) (my pix right)–at a really great price (half of what some other centrally located hotels charged). I recommend it highly–the hotel was the Homewood Suites by Hilton at 160 E. Huron St., Chicago.
And I promise the ladies that I will email them the group picture we took at the movie theater as soon as I can figure out how to get it off my new smart phone. Ha! The files seemed too big to email to myself. But here’s the thing, there were no Into the Storm movie posters at the AMC River East 21 movieplex for us to stand in front of for our group picture. So Warner Bros. Pictures should think about sending them some for display–and/or, reminder their movie theatre distributors to display the movie poster that they have already received.
After the movie, our RA Fan Gals group hopped on a city bus or walked from the movie theater to Chicago’s Navy Pier–there is also a free Navy Pier Trolley that runs in a circle from State Street down to Gateway Park at Navy Pier and back again. But it was packed. I opted for the cta due to my leg issues. And thanks to one of my RA Fan Girl friends for her using her cta pass for me, too! When we arrived, I finally realized how huge Navy Pier is (below). Just imagine ten cruise ships of varying sizes–including a beautiful 4 mast sailing yacht–moored end to end-with even more pier left after that.
And wouldn’t you know that the restaurant we chose was near the other end of the pier from the entrance–and with no alternate mode of transportation in sight. Frankly, it seemed like a daunting prospect to me as we wove in and around the shops and the crush of people inside the building before we made our way to the outside to complete our long long journey. I have been trying to increase my range with some golf over the Summer–although we use a cart. However Navy Pier is a whole other level of long walking–blocks and blocks of it.
But I have to giggle because when I get into a mindset of I need to reach my destination so I can sit down mode, I plow ahead with dogged determination and I walk at rather a fast clip–or so my RA Fan Friend with me told me that I walked fast. Somehow, amazingly, I eventually made it to the restaurant’s location on foot and we secured two four person side by side tables on the veranda. And we had a lovely view of Lake Michigan (image is also stuck on my smartphone). More amusing RA Fangirl discussions ensued as we waited for our food and then later our dessert.
At one point, we erupted into such a cacophony of prolonged laughter that we were easily the most fun tables to be at. Ha! As to the source of our merriment? All I will say is that there was a very amusing and unauthorized Into the Storm gif that provoked our giggles. There is something about seeing movements repeated over and over again out of context–suck, release, suck, release, suck, release–that lends itself to other interpretations. *wink* We were naughty saucy ladies–but very tame ones. Ha!
Then we wished each other farewell, hugs all around, as we headed off into our different directions–some to their homes nearby, others like me to their hotels. It was delightful meeting each one of my RA Fan Girl companions on Saturday. And I was thrilled that we had all traveled to be together. Enjoying Richard Armitage artistic projects is definitely better when shared.
Of course, I now had to traverse the length of Navy Pier again to get out of there. And by this time of the night, my left hip and my right ankle were toast–my arthritis is no respecter of RA Fan girl outings. So my means of locomotion could not charitably be called walking–more like pivot, drag, pivot drag, pivot drag. Igor from Young Frankenstein comes to mind–but I have better hair. Snap! Yet, I pushed onward–with one of my RA Fan Girl friends walking with me, keeping an eye out for me. Bless her heart!. And then my finally reaching a taxi that took me to my hotel where I managed to shower and then collapse onto my hotel bed to read some North & South fan fiction a bit until I had to try to go to sleep and ignore the constant ambulance sounds emitted from a nearby hospital.
I was doing no more walking Saturday night. Ooh! And it turns out that my ankle is still wacked today/ Sunday–even with a 2 hour train ride where I was off my feet. So I have iced and elevated it all day–with more tomorrow/Monday. It’s a good thing that I had also taken Monday off from work–I may even invoke my crutches to get around and not have to put weight on my ankle. But the moral of my story is not that I’m in pain and hobbling around. This too shall pass is how I feel about it.
Though I don’t talk about myself much, I feel that my sharing that I forged ahead with the Chicago trip –despite its known physical limitations challenges for me–will hopefully help others who are wondering if they should try to do something. You can do it–adapting as needed. And you’ll have fun.
But maybe a little bit like the characters in Into the Storm, who find that they must do more than what they think they are humanly capable of, I do that as well sometimes. And I draw my strength from enjoying the artistic projects of the exquisitely talented Richard Armitage (at the NYC Into the Storm Premiere August 4th, right; Purrr!) and from my RA Fan girl friends. And I will walk or hobble to support RAs artistic projects anytime.
Thanks and Cheers!
Reminders for Chicago August 9th–Richard Armitage’s Fans Gathering & Film Viewing for OpeRAtion Into the Storm 2014, August 8, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #17)
Hi RA Fans joining us in Chicago on August 9th for our gathering together for a fun day–capping it off with seeing our favorite exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage’s new film, Into the Storm,
We are looking forward to seeing you in Chicago, dashing around town, and enjoying Richard Armitage’s new film, Into the Storm!
Please print out our final event itinerary graphic below (click on the image to enlarge it and save it to your phone or computer first). Our itinerary summary will help you find us at any given time on Saturday if you are delayed in joining us–or if we split up for some of us shopping and some of us site seeing in the afternoon.
For links for the venues mentioned in the graphic above, please refer to this earlier post: “Stormy Sunday: Chicago Itinerary Checklist …” (on August 3rd). But note that we are no longer eating lunch at the Walnut room because they are catering a wedding.
By 12noon (CST) today/Friday, I will also email additional information to individuals who have completed this website’s Contact Form by 11:00am stating that they will be joining us. If you already completed the Contact Form once to indicate you are joining us, you don’t have to do it again. But if you don’t receive my email by 1pm, then please comment below, I will try to resend it to you.
The last official count for those joining us in Chicago is eight–down one due to Obscura developing an illness that prevents her from traveling far afield. She is bummed, but Obscura will be with us in spirit. And I’m sure that we all send her our very best get well wishes. Hugs!
And if you decide at the last minute that you can join us, but you haven’t had a chance to complete this website’s Contact Form to let us know? By all means, please join us! But realize that there will be important information in the email that I send out at 12noon today/Friday. So please try to complete the Contact Form by 11am today/Friday–to give me/Grati time to prep the email.
Please pose any additional questions you have in a comment to this post below–and I/Grati will respond to them in a comment–not via email (which is wonky when I’m on the road). However, I will be on a train heading toward Chicago as of 7:30am Saturday. So please pose your comment questions on the website as soon as possible Friday to insure that I can respond to you and everyone–since others might have a similar question to yours and it makes it easier on me to respond once. But while I’m riding the Amtrak train to Chicago on Saturday–and when I have reception–I will also respond to you.
Finally, however you are getting to Chicago–car, train, bus, plane, or stepping out your door and walking or bicycling–please have a safe journey to us.
The planning of this event was organized by three core individuals–Grati, Sahraobsessed, and Obscura. But all of you had a say in how our event planning evolved through your participation in surveys and your helpful suggestions and other contributions. Thanks!
So one final time–to build your excitement for seeing Richard Armitage in his new film, Into the Storm, its opening weekend–enjoy the video!
“Into the Storm – Official Main Trailer [HD]” by Warner Bros. Pictures
See you Saturday! We are going to have a blast! And remember, what happens in Chicago, stays in Chicago. Ha!
P.S. Don’t forget that Marie Astra is coordinating the August 9th New York City RA Fans gathering to view Into the Storm. So please email her if you wish to attend and/or have questions at email@example.com
Tornado Tuesday: NYC Premiere Clean Up Detail with Richard Armitage & Cast of Into the Storm, August 5, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #15)
@NBNathanKress (Thanks!) fan tweeted this lovely “family” shot of the main actors for Into the Storm at the NYC premiere (below):
This does it for me Monday night after a long workday that was supposed to be the start of vacation for me. So Tuesday will be the ReAl start to my vacation.
So let’s share all the lovely pictures, videos. etc., together on Tuesday.
Cheers! Grati ;->
P.S. I’ll try to post Into the Storm Premiere links in the comments below that I come across.But if you’re a blogger or RA fan with a picture/vid/article link or blog post about the Into the Storm Premiere, please share the URL and description below.
Stormy Sunday: Chicago Itinerary Checklist for OpeRAtion Into the Storm 2014 RA Fans Film Viewing Gathering, August 03, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #14)
If you are joining us for our planned Chicago or New York City RA Fans seeing the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage’s (image of his in character as Gary, right) new film Into the Storm on Saturday August 9th, hopefully you have already started your travel planning. We are seven days away from our RA Fans meet ups in Chicago and in New York City on August 9th.
Please be sure to complete the Contact Form by Thursday Aug. 7th on this web site (see tab on home page above) to let us know that you will be joining us. I/Grati need accurate counts for lunch and dinner reservations (everyone pays their own way).
And with all of the rave reviews coming from people who saw the film in previews, Into the Storm is sure to be an exciting film. In this interview hyperlinked here, Into the Storm Director Steven Quale.talks about the special effects challenges of the film.
But tornadoes are serious business–not for the faint of heart–and lives are devastated each year when they strike. So as a tie-in to the movie Into the Storm, there is a SpReAd the Love plan to make a donation to disaster relief organizations via the SpReAd the Love campaign with each act of kindness given or received. I’m donating a pint of my blood on Monday to our local Red Cross agency. Won’t you also consider sharing a kindness given or received–especially within the RA Fandom? Your sharing will put money into disaster relief organizations coffers via an anonymous donor. Thanks to Jazzbaby1 and Obscura for organizing this SpReAd the Love tie-in to the Into the Storm film.
Below is a Detailed Itinerary for our Chicago August 9th OpeRAtion Into the Storm 2014 RA Fans Gathering (everybody pays their own expenses):
11:45am meet at Macy’s 111 N. State Street Chicago at their Walnut Room (I’m making us a reservation for 10 people so far) for 12noon lunch (Macy’s was formerly known as Marshall Fields); arrive early at 11:30am and go to Macy’s lower level Visitor Center to buy a $35 Shopping Package (see right), the gift card may be used toward Macy’s purchases, including lunch at the Walnut Room; and you also get a neat Macy’s shopping bag and the traditional chocolate Frango mints, etc. Note that for the 10% off visitors pass part of the shopping package, Macy’s said that that promotion is only for people who live 200 or more miles away.
1:30 – 4pm site seeing and shopping (we can split up if people’s interests vary); here are some choices:
* shopping a bit at Macy’s after lunch (note that Macy’s shopping package deal mentioned above (and detailed in the graphic below)
* walking from Macys to the Art Institute, we could just take a leisurely window shopping stroll along State Street and Michigan Avenue
* please note that the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) has purse size limit guidelines and handy $1/item bag checking for items not allowed into the museum. And here is the Art Institute’s admission fees page (the range seems to be $14 – $23); Current AIC exhibitions (sample below) are eclectically divine for those of us who like the French impressionists (tons of Monet haystack paintings), modern masters, blown glass paperweights, art and artifacts from antiquity, etc. The AIC is a feast of cultures and histories from around the world and also from our own backyard. You will find me making a beeline for the blue hued splendor of the Chagall windows when we arrive. And as a finale to your visit, the AIC has the most fabulous Museum Gift Store!
* Millennium Park–an outdoor garden, playground, cultural venue that has, among other things, the much touted bean (that silvery mirrored thingy, ha!)
* shopping at Navy Pier; someone indicated that there is a free trolley or bus for transportation within Navy Pier’s shops and such
* Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower)–the tallest building in the world for a really long time
Art Institute of Chicago maps of exhibits:
4:30pm arrive for 5:00pm viewing of Into the Storm at AMC River East 21 Movie Theatre at 322 E. Illinois Street, Chicago; Please be sure to buy your movie tickets online days ahead of time at Fandango to avoid the problem of the movie being sold out; My ticket says auditorium 10, in case they are showing the film in two theatre auditoriums at the same time
7:00pm we head to dinner after the movie to decompress, unwind, and review the film (the restaurant is tba, the AMC River East 21 Movie Theatre has MacGuffin’s Bar & Lounge, or other restaurant at nearby Navy Pier that we decide upon) ; then after?
Please note that transportation between venues that are not within easy walking distance of each other will be by hailing a taxi at each individual’s expense.
P.S. My room at the hotel reservations I booked for Homewood Suites by Hilton Chicago that is centrally located at 160 E. Huron (formerly the Crowne Plaza) in Chicago, near Michigan Avenue. Their phone is (312) 585-9333 should you also wish to book a room–we do not have a block of rooms, but you might still be able to get a reservation. These are nicely sized suites that are the most economical I found–everything else for only a single room was 2 or 3 times this. And the Hilton hotel reservation folks cut me a deal as a government employee (for just under $200). Snap! So if anyone needs a place to stay Saturday night and wants to split this hotel cost with me, please contact me via this blog’s contact form. Thanks!