Experience The Windy City With Michael’s Chicago Lecture Series!!!


Bring A Taste Of Chicago to your Organization, School Group, Company or Special Event with a fascinating Digital Slide Presentation about the city’s past or present. Michael’s Lectures are extremely informative, entertaining, and infused with a dry wit.





Hollywood On Lake Michigan: 100 +Years of Chicago and the Movies


Entrance to Essanay Studios (now St. Augustine College) in Chicago’s Uptown Neighborhood. Essanay first opened in 1907 and was one of the premiere movie studios on earth at the time.


This lecture is a companion to Michael’s coauthored book, Hollywood On Lake Michigan, 2nd Edition: 100 + Years of Chicago and the Movies. After an overview of Chicago’s pivotal role in the early history of film (when one out of every five films was made here); Michael continues with stories about and locations of famous Chicago films, descriptions of some great yet unknown Chicago films, and profiles of some of the movie people he interviewed for the book. Filled with behind the scenes photos and insider info.



The aftermath of a Limo vs. Train crash in the 1986 film Running Scared, which starred Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines. (Photo by Bob Janz.)



 The Columbian Exposition Of 1893


This spectacular vista is just one of the many rare Exposition images in Michael’s collection.

The Columbian Exposition was Chicago’s proof to the world that it had recovered from the Great Fire of 1871 to become a global metropolis, and is widely recognized as a pivotal event in the formation of the Modern Global Consciousness. Eric Larson’s Devil in the White City has brought the Exposition to the attention of the contemporary public, and is “suggested reading” before viewing this presentation.

Join Michael as he provides a brief synopsis of the genesis and construction of the Fair, followed by an extensive virtual tour of the buildings and grounds featuring over 300 images culled from his vast collection of 1890’s era books, lithographs and pamphlets. These rare and beautiful images are interspersed with obscure facts and riveting behind the scenes stories gleaned from period literature. A fascinating trip through what many believe to be the greatest peacetime event in human history.


The interior of the Manufacturers And Liberal Arts Building, which required more structural steel in its construction than the Brooklyn Bridge and had a footprint of over 13 Hectares.


The Midway Plaisance: Carnival And Culture


Several shops, attractions, and exhibits (including a railway ride that ran on ice) were clustered around the original Ferris Wheel.

Despite not being officially part of the Columbian Exposition of 1893, the world that sprung up along the Midway Plaisance had almost as great an impact upon the American psyche. This eclectic hodgepodge of ethnographic displays, food and liquor concessions, rides, exhibits and theatrical productions of varying degrees of propriety shaped America’s taste in popular entertainment well into the next century, and for better and worse influenced the young nation’s attitude toward other countries and cultures.

This follow up to Michael’s Columbian Exposition presentation features a virtual tour of the Midway interspersed with the fascinating, poignant and often hilarious stories of the polyglot mélange of humankind which inhabited a mile of boulevard in 1893.


The State Buildings At The Columbian Exposition


The Indiana Building’s immense porch was the place to be at midday in the Summer of 1893.

Although reviled by critics at the opening of the Exposition because their idiosyncratic designs clashed with the classical style of the Court of Honor and other major structures, the State Buildings became increasingly popular with visitors as the summer wore on due to their generously large porches and comfortable reception rooms. From Virginia’s exact replica of Mount Vernon to California’s sprawling Spanish Style structure, each building reflected their State’s populace and zeitgeist in a unique way. In part three of his five part Columbian Exposition Lecture Series, Michael explores all of the State Buildings and relates the fascinating stories of their creation, as well as tales of the countless parties and receptions which made that area one of the liveliest of the entire Fair.


A view of the northern portion of the State Building area with the Palace Of Fine Arts (now the Museum Of Science & Industry) in the background.


The Foreign Buildings At The Columbian Exposition


The Germany Building remained in Jackson Park as a restaurant & ice cream parlor until being demolished in 1925.

While the Columbian Exposition of 1893 was Chicago’s “coming out” party to the world, it also showcased dozens of countries who exhibited there; particularly the 19 nations that constructed their own buildings. These structures and the exhibits inside them had a huge influence on America’s cultural perceptions, foreign policy, and culinary & artistic tastes for decades to come. In Part 4 of his Exposition Series, Michael explores all of the Foreign Buildings as well as several other attractions ensconced in that area of the grounds. A fascinating foray for all Chicago History fans!


The Norway Building was taken apart after The Exposition and reassembled in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin; where it remains to this day.





Lecture Duration- 60-70 minutes with 20-30 minutes of questions following.

Fee: $500


NOTE: You Will Need To Provide A Laptop Computer (Windows) And A PowerPoint Projector.



No Responses to “ Chicago Lectures ”

Leave a Comment