Stargazing on the CTA? Good luck.

July 30, 2012|By Tracy Swartz, RedEye

Lollapalooza organizers revealed big-name acts on the CTA, but don't expect to see big names on the 'L.'

Ads hinting at the headliners for the three-day music fest, which begins Friday in Grant Park, began appearing on the CTA in March—but it's doubtful these artists will ride the CTA to get there.

This isn't New York, where star spotting on the subway is a sport. Earlier this month, Anne Hathaway was photographed kissing fiance Adam Shulman as he leaned against a train pole. Jessica Alba, Bradley Cooper and Kim Kardashian also have been spied on the subway. Anderson Cooper is a transit regular.

And though Chicago frequently attracts stars for film shoots, concerts, family visits, sporting events and appearances, it's rare to hear about boldface names on the CTA. Perhaps it's that a trip from O'Hare to River North, the Gold Coast or the Mag Mile requires a bus transfer from the Blue Line.

Or it could be that Lolla-goers will have to pack onto buses to get to the concerts.

Or maybe it's that the Chicago Red Line station, the closest stop to The Peninsula and other fancy hotels, doesn't have the best reputation thanks to last summer's flash mob attacks. Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan's brother reported being mugged by a group on the Red Line last year.

Still, there are a few stars who have made it onto the train. RedEye looks at a few "L"-ebrity sightings.

>> Working the line: Two weeks ago, celebrity chef-traveler Anthony Bourdain was in Chicago. After his car, nicknamed the "Pimpmobile," broke down, he found himself on one of the new rail cars with the aisle-facing seats. His producer tweeted that "Thankfully Chicago has an efficient (and air conditioned) alternative to pimping…"

>> Meanwhile, "Top Chef Texas" runner-up Sarah Grueneberg passed up a car as a prize, telling Going Public that she regularly rides the No. 146-Inner Drive/Michigan Express bus.

>> Just for sport: Knicks star Iman Shumpert, who played at Oak Park and River Forest High School, has a tattoo of the Green Line from Harlem/Lake to Central on his left arm. The tattoo is supposed to "remind him all the time where he is from," a Knicks spokesman told GP earlier this year.

>> In baseball, former Cubs manager Mike Quade made a splash last year when he took the Red Line on Opening Day.

Perhaps the best way to spot a celebrity on the CTA is to keep a close watch ... on your TV. Here are a few movies that show stars on the train.

>> "High Fidelity": John Cusack seems lost, not just in his personal life. He takes a confusing Purple Line express ride that goes underground.

>> "While You Were Sleeping": Sandra Bullock saves Peter Gallagher from a train and riders from any delays.

>> "The Fugitive": Harrison Ford is chased on the train—not because he forgot to pay his fare.

Talk to us

What are your CTA-Lolla survival tips? Send an email to tswartz@tribune.com. Please include your full name, age and neighborhood.

Stationary

A weekly dispatch from a CTA station of note

This week: Belmont Blue Line

This Logan Square station is one of the most popular along the O'Hare branch of the Blue Line—so popular that the CTA doesn't want you to leave. There's only one main entrance/exit to this station, which involves a stairway and a narrow escalator from the platform. This stop could benefit from more accessibility—especially for those hurrying to O'Hare with their luggage.

Next up: Chicago Blue Line.

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