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Jessica’s Story

I had never picked up a video camera in my life before I interviewed Jessica, a low-paid mother of four, for the 7 Days @ Minimum Wage project. Her searing story and her quiet eloquence, both of which emerged absolutely spontaneously, blew me and the ACORN/AFL-CIO project team in D.C. away–so much so that her interview is being shown in its 13-minute entirety, with one small edit to protect her privacy. View that story here.


As I begin work on the 7 Days @ Minimum Wage video project, I keenly remember when I first moved to the Windy City in 2003. I moved midwest on the shaky strength of a job offer that shook apart just as I was arriving. Now here I was, with an urban planning masters degree, without an apartment, and with the sinking feeling I was about to return, albeit temporarily, to the crap jobs of my college days. I wish it had been that easy.

Fear of Falling

Walking out my front door and into the remains of a bank robbery this evening brought to mind the absurdity of life. Never knowing where it’ll take you, it’s always best to be prepared for any eventuality. Like hearing the tornado sirens go off. Or wondering what happened to your parachute. Or finally finding out you’re a talented writer, for that matter.

How I Helped CHICAGO MAGAZINE Pimp Gary Kimmel

Kimmelgate has officially hit the fan, and score one for the blogosphere. The October 2006 issue of Chicago Magazine, hitting newsstands now, features a lengthy, scathing profile of Marina City’s alleged ‘pimp dentist’, Gary Kimmel–with several quotes from Yours Truly.

“Welcome to (Whose?) New Macy’s”

This weekend, as the respirator plug is pulled on the Marshall Field nameplate once and for all, Federated will finally get to see how well their big advertising push to lure old Field’s customers to the new ‘Macy’s on State Street’ has worked. My guess is not very. One look at the campaign’s commercials and printed ads easily shows why: where’s Chicago? And why would anyone in Chicago–or anywhere else–cares about Macy’s arrival, anyway?

CHICAGO CARLESS Tips Citywide Media on Macy’s Blundered Signage

Yesterday, my blog post about signage in the new Macy’s State Street that invented names of Chicago streets made citywide news. Then it made national news. And none of that would have happened if Federated staff had simply bothered to look at a map of the Loop. Or proofread. Or realize that the correct street names are already printed above every exit in the former Marshall Field’s flagship store.

Pioneering in Polk Street Canyon

I have the Malcontents of Polk Street Canyon to thank for my boyfriend’s new apartment. Unhappy with the fratty scumminess of his downtown condo building, in May, Devyn dragged me around town to scope out new digs. We didn’t have to look very far. On a shopping trip to the Roosevelt Road Target, we found ourselves wandering through Printers Row. And smack into the hands of the malcontents–who sold us on the new building whose construction they’ve been trying to prevent.

The Out-of-Towners

I suppose it’s rude to take stock of people you know in public. Luckily, I have no such reluctance. I’m from New York. And so are Vicki and Adam. Two thirtysomething New Yorkers living in Lower Manhattan, paying an obscene rent, and just maybe looking for a change of scene. Adam scored an interview with a Chicago firm a few weeks ago. Not knowing anyone in Hogtown, Adam Googled the city to get the lay of the land and found my blog.

I Survived the Gay Games VII Opening Ceremony

If the Gay Games VII organizers hadn’t refrained from taking a pig-blood stained bow after Saturday night’s disastrous opening ceremony, I would have sworn I was back sitting in the last row of the ill-fated Carrie: The Musical, Broadway’s most infamous flop. Bad choreography, poor staging, cheap costumes, and an urge to take things too seriously plagued both alleged entertainments. But at least with Carrie, I got to leave before my butt fell asleep, in less than the four hours it took for the slow-motion car wreck of the opening ceremony to finish crashing.