"The Como Inn [currently closed for renovation, but reopening in spring 2002] is just on the outskirts of the downtown area. You feel like you're going into where Al Capone had dinner a few times. It has a wonderful old Italian feel. There are grape leaves and vines and hidden covered places, little booths that are private and drapes behind drapes. You can have a nice quiet meal and be very private, and yet there's an open dining area where you can visit with other people. Good pastas and sauces. For Mexican, there's El Jardin. That was a good hangout for us when we were doing theater. Wonderful Mexican food and great margaritas."
"There's a lot going on at the Navy Pier. There are restaurants, shops, clubs, even a Ferris wheel. Rush Street is always the spot to go to listen to music, especially the blues. You'll find live music all over Chicago, which is a great city for music. A lot of entertainers start out in these little clubs - sometimes coffeehouses - playing guitars and singing their songs or at the piano. Yak-Zies is like an underground bar. You step down into what looks to be the basement of a brownstone. There's a nice big bar in the middle and stand-up booths around the sides of it. That's a good place to meet people. The bar scene is very active in Chicago. It goes until 4 in the morning on weekdays and till 5 a.m. on weekends."
Lunch And A Show
"Around the holidays, if I could do one thing, I would have lunch at Marshall Field's in the Walnut Room overlooking the Christmas tree. It's a perfectly formed tree with giant ornaments. It's completely decorated and very, very, very tall, up to the ceiling. It just feels like Christmas. I would have a festive holiday lunch there and then maybe go to the Goodman Theatre and see the production of A Christmas Carol to get me in the spirit."
"There's ice skating downtown near the Picasso statue, which is just off State Street. That's a wonderful thing to do. Bring an old pair of skates; the skating is free. They have it all lit up and the Christmas music is playing. The statue is an original Picasso, who had been commissioned to do a sculpture for the city. It's Chicago's Statue of Liberty."
ONE INSIGHTFUL DAY IN CHICAGO
"The first cop I ever played was in a play called 'Cops' at the Organic Theater Company with Joe Mantegna. We played off-duty Chicago police officers. In our preparation, we would frequent restaurants, bars, wherever we saw police officers hanging out. We would try as inconspicuously as possible to observe them, watching their mannerisms and how they behaved around other people. We were just trying to develop a general way of acting like policemen. We had done this for quite some time and one day we were driving down the street in my father's old Chevy, which did not look unlike an unmarked police car, and we said, 'I wonder if we're believable as cops yet?' We decided to pull up to a corner where there was a group of guys who looked like they were up to no good. We got out and just walked toward them to see how they would react. We were just in our street clothes, but we had leather jackets and we were trying to carry ourselves like police officers without saying a word. We were either going to get into a lot of trouble, or our experiment was going to work. Thankfully for us, they took off! We looked at each other and I said, 'I think we're doing the job.'"