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Marquee Facade

Live and in person! Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli! (Sort of)

Author Rod O’Connor Illustration Peter Oumanski

globetrotting3CHICAGO – At the foot of a steel staircase, a stream of crisply dressed Chicagoans breezes past Liza Minnelli and Lady Gaga, who get the occasional double-take but not much more. The entrance to Sub 51, a swank subterranean nightclub in the city’s River North district, is neither guarded by beefy watchmen nor cordoned off by velvet rope. Gaga and Minnelli, milling about at the door, look as though they’d be open to a chat or a celebrity selfie.

The invitation to the party—a booster for Atlantic City tourism—had promised “lunch and entertainment” with “Legends,” which was an exciting (and vaguely worded) prospect. Samantha, the publicist for the lookalike live-tribute company Legends in Concert, allows that the invitation created confusion. “Several people called asking if it was really going to be them,” she says. Judging by the expressions on some of the faces here, the is-it-really-them? question is only now being resolved. “I told you,” hisses a young woman to her befuddled male companion. “I said.”

Still, there’s a reasonable amount of enthusiasm as faux Liza shimmies onstage in a red sequined dress, belting out “Cabaret.” Later, in black spandex and crazy shoulder pads, the mock Gaga vamps her way through “Bad Romance” with plenty of vigor but little in the way of verisimilitude.  

As the event winds down, the remaining guests busy themselves with platters of pork tacos, mini-burgers and roast chicken. “Hey,” says one guy through a mouthful of food, “at least the chicken legs are real.”

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