1993 interview with Gene Wolfe

Tor Books announced the news today that author Gene Wolfe has died at the age of 87. I interviewed Wolfe in 1993 when I was a reporter for Pioneer Press Newspapers in Chicago’s suburbs, visiting him at his home in Barrington. Here is my article, which was originally published in the Barrington Courier-Review on March… Continue reading 1993 interview with Gene Wolfe

Documentary in the works on Jay Bennett

Pioneer Press/Arlington Heights Post, September 21, 2017 — Two filmmakers are working on a documentary about Jay Bennett, the multitalented musician from Arlington Heights who died in 2009, eight years after leaving the Chicago band Wilco. … Read my story for Pioneer Press. Photo: Michael Walker/Chicago Tribune

Waco Brothers release first album in 11 years

Pioneer Press, February 16, 2016 — The Waco Brothers used to make studio records at a fairly brisk pace — releasing seven albums from 1995 to 2005 with their rousing mix of punk guitar riffs and country twang. “We thought it was a really solid string of records,” recalls Jon Langford, a singer-guitarist in the… Continue reading Waco Brothers release first album in 11 years

‘Now Arriving,’ a new book on Chicago airports

William "Billy" Rose (September 6, 1899 – February 10, 1966)[1] was an American impresario, theatrical showman and lyricist. He is credited with many famous songs, notably "Me and My Shadow" (1927), "Without A Song" (1929), "It Happened in Monterey" (1930) and "It's Only a Paper Moon" (1933).[1] For decades preceding and immediately after the Second World War Billy Rose was a major force in entertainment, with shows, such as Jumbo (1935), Billy Rose's Aquacade, and Carmen Jones (1943),[1] his Diamond Horseshoe nightclub, and the Ziegfeld Theatre influencing the careers of many stars. Billy Rose was inducted as a member of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.[1] After divorcing comedian Fanny Brice, he married Olympic swimmer Eleanor Holm.

Pioneer Press, August 20, 2015 — There was a time when you could walk into airports without worrying about metal detectors. You could greet friends — or even celebrities — as they exited airplanes, coming down stairs right onto the tarmac. “It breaks my heart that that era has vanished forever,” says Christopher Lynch, who grew up near… Continue reading ‘Now Arriving,’ a new book on Chicago airports

Sharon Jones interview

Pioneer Press, June 19, 2015 — Soul singer Sharon Jones sounded and looked as vibrant as ever when she returned to concert stages in 2014, less than a year after learning she had cancer. She’d had six months of chemotherapy. Told by her doctors that she’d beaten the bile duct cancer, she wasted no time getting back… Continue reading Sharon Jones interview

Mekons: 2011 feature

This article by Robert Loerzel originally appeared in Pioneer Press on September 29, 2011. See Underground for longer transcript of my interview with Sally Timms.  Which rock band would open a concert with short slideshow lectures, talking about obscure topics like “various breeds of pigs, real and imagined”? Which rock band begins the recording process… Continue reading Mekons: 2011 feature

Richard Thompson Q&A

This article by Robert Loerzel was originally published in Pioneer Press and the Chicago Sun-Times on September 1, 2011. In case you doubted Richard Thompson’s impressive credentials as a singer, songwriter and guitarist, he now has an official stamp of approval — from England’s Queen Elizabeth. The British musician … received the Order of the… Continue reading Richard Thompson Q&A

Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz discuss ‘The Interrupters’

This article by Robert Loerzel originally appeared in Pioneer Press on August 11, 2011. Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz live just a few blocks from each other in Oak Park. Both have been acclaimed for their heartfelt, thoughtful portrayals of people coping with problems such as poverty and crime. James portrays his subjects in documentary… Continue reading Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz discuss ‘The Interrupters’