The past BriForums have been in some unique venues. 2005's inaugural BriForum was at the AFI Silver theater in Silver Spring, MD (pics), 2006 was at the National Press Club in Washington, DC (pics), and the first ever BriForum Europe was at the The Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics in Darmstadt, Germany (pics). This year's U.S. BriForum is no different...well, actually, it is.
This year, BriForum will be held at the Gleacher Center, right in the heart of downtown Chicago. Emily Monaco and I just got back from a trip there to tie up some loose ends and begin planning our strategy to make this the best BriForum yet, and we took a few pictures along the way.
First, let me start off by telling everyone that in February, Chicago is the coldest place that you can imagine. Period. I know the thermometer only said -7, but it LIED. The Chicago River told the truth:
Everyone we talked to assured us that late April is a fine time to visit, and that this cold spell is very unique for Chicago. They seemed sincere.
After getting over the urge to try walking on the river, we took a look at the venue. It was my first trip there, and I think everyone that attends is going to be thrilled. We've had some points of congestion in the past, but this time around everyone should be able to go where they want without any trouble.
Here's the main drag through the 6th floor:
At each end of this floor, there are rooms used for presentations, podcasts, and sponsors, as well as lunch and social rooms. The photos along the wall on the left side are all the Nobel laureates that have worked for/attended the University of Chicago, of which the Gleacher Center is a part. We also have cool theater-style rooms on the first and second floor, and a room on the fourth floor.
Here's a shot from just outside the main room where the keynotes will be held:
You can see Lake Michigan in the background behind the Sheraton, and the bowling alley where we are having our Monday night party is directly across the street, just out of frame. While I don't have any pictures of the bowling alley, it is super-cool.
If you're attending and bringing your family, you'll love the fact that the hotel, conference center, and bowling alley are two blocks away from Michigan Avenue - The Magnificent Mile, with plenty of shopping, bars, and tourist attractions to keep you occupied when you're not getting your fill of technical information. You're also a short walk away from Navy Pier - maybe the biggest tourist attraction in the area.
That'll do it for the first look at the Gleacher Center. We hope to see you at BriForum this year. With all the new technologies being released by Microsoft, Citrix, and a bunch of other companies (maybe even...ahemBrianMadden.comahem), you don't want to miss it!