Playbill, July 2017 — Arts agencies consume a microscopic fraction of the $4 trillion U.S. budget. And yet government funding for the arts is controversial; calls to eliminate it never fully subside. But there was a time when the government did more than just provide grants. For a few years, the government actually had its own theatrical troupes, with Uncle Sam paying actors, directors, and playwrights to put on shows in New York, Chicago, and other cities. …
Read my story at Playbill.
Photo: NYPL for the Performing Arts
Crain’s Chicago Business, April 4, 2017 — Can a flag improve your life? If your city just happens to have a municipal flag with a cool, eye-catching design that everyone seems to like, will that somehow make your city a better place to live? … Read the rest of my op-ed at Crain’s Chicago Business.
Medium.com, April 4, 2017 — Wallace Rice covered the floor of his living room with colorful rectangles. He’d spent six weeks combining shapes and symbols, trying to find just the right image to represent the city where he lived. He’d come up with hundreds of possibilities for a city flag design, and now he displayed his favorites on that floor. Anytime anyone visited Rice’s home in the Lincoln Park neighborhood — people including the author’s acquaintances as well as delivery boys and milkmen — he quizzed them: Which of these should be the city flag?
Read the article at Medium.com.
And visit the Chicago Tribune for a shorter version of the story, published on April 23, 2017, on the newspaper’s Chicago Flashback page.
Chicago Tribune, January 29, 2017 — Too many of Chicago’s cops weren’t doing their jobs. Slouching in unkempt uniforms, they drank whiskey in saloons when they should have been walking their beats. And they ignored crimes happening right in front of their eyes. These were the findings of an investigation in 1904 called the Piper Report. “Chicago’s police department was given the most unmerciful raking in its history,” the Tribune reported at the time. Read the rest of this article at the Chicago Tribune.
October 26, 2016 — Something on the sports pages caught my eye. It was a headline about a baseball game. A headline about a team called the Chicago Microbes. That stopped me in my tracks. What the hell was that? Read the story on Medium.
WBEZ’s Curious City, August 26, 2016 — My story answers the question: “What happened to the people displaced by the Eisenhower Expressway?” Read and explore the interactive story (with web design by Logan Jaffe) and listen to the podcast and radio version.
Chicago Tribune, March 6, 2016 — In 1904, Chicago got an early taste of how the competing interests of security and privacy would start to play out for law enforcement and the telecom industry — in an episode with echoes of today’s dispute between Apple and the FBI, over information that might be gleaned about the attack in San Bernardino, Calif. Read my story for the Chicago Tribune’s Flashback page.
WBEZ’s Curious City, January 26, 2016 — Explore my interactive story on tourism in 1910 Chicago (with web design by Logan Jaffe). And listen to the podcast and radio story here on Soundcloud.
Society of Midland Authors Books Blog, April 10, 2015 — The authors who gathered at the Auditorium Hotel in Chicago on November 28, 1914, didn’t expect a free dinner. But they were somewhat stunned when the writer who’d invited them, John M. Stahl, picked up the tab for everyone… Read my post at the Society of Midland Authors Books Blog.
Chicago Tribune illustration
Society of Midland Authors Books Blog, April 2, 2015 — As the Society of Midland Authors celebrates its 100th birthday, we present a history of the organization, starting with this look at its origins.
In 1914, Carl Sandburg called Chicago “Hog Butcher for the World.” Edgar Lee Masters, a Chicago lawyer born in Kansas, was giving voice to the common folk buried in a cemetery in the fictional town of Spoon River. Other writers scattered around the prairies, like Kansan William Allen White and HoosierJames Whitcomb Riley, were drawing attention with the craft of their words. The Midwest was teeming with creativity… Read my post at the Society of Midland Authors Books Blog.
Photo by Robert Loerzel