Most Puerto Rican evacuees in Chicago didn’t benefit from FEMA hotel program

I’ve been working on this lengthy investigative piece — on how the potential for a federal program designed to help hurricane evacuees has been, for the most part, squandered in Chicago — for several months, with Kari Lydersen, Gwen Aviles, Isabel S. Dieppa, Hannah Wiley, Jessica Villagomez, and Carla Minet, of the Centro de Periodismo … Continued

Voices From the Rust Belt

In 2014 I wrote a monologue about urban gardening, seeds and weeds, and the redevelopment of the old rail line by my apartment into a bike path and walking trail. I performed it that summer, and then, some months later, revised it into an essay and it was published on Belt Magazine. A scant three years later, … Continued

Into the darkness

When Rick Perlstein asked me to participate in the Writers for Dan Biss event he was organizing for January 27 at In These Times, I asked him what I should prepare to read — what was the theme? He said something about truth, justice, and the American way. So, I decided to talk about Norway. … Continued

The long tail of the storm

“Today is the first day I have been able to tell my story, I feel like all I have been doing until now is surviving, and today I am able to start living.” I’ve spent the past two months working on a story about Puerto Rican resettlement in Chicago in the wake of Hurricane Maria, … Continued

A Memory Palace of Fear: The proof

A propos of just about nothing, except that everything everywhere is still as terrifying today as it was at Halloween, here’s a just-finished video snippet documenting A Memory Palace of Fear, the haunted house/immersive theater piece/art experiment I staged with Andrea Jablonski and Theater Oobleck in October. Video footage and editing by Cat Jarboe.   … Continued

Rust Belt Chicago Winter Sales

Wouldn’t this look cute under a tree? In a gift bag? Stuffed awkwardly into a stocking? You can make it happen! I’ll be selling Rust Belt Chicago and other Belt books at a few holiday sales and other events around town in the coming month. They’re listed below — but if you can’t make it … Continued

Press for “A Memory Palace of Fear”

I’ve been working on a … play. Or an art installation. Or something perhaps uncategorizable. In any case, it’s been a lot of fun. Here’s a lovely, thoughtful review of our “silly, irony-soaked inversion of the traditional haunted house,” from Justin Hayford at the Chicago Reader. And here’s Third Coast Review critic Karin McKie on the … Continued

Belt Publishing in LitHub

“After the 2016 presidential election, Belt yet again found itself on the defensive, confronted with the imperative to elucidate the region’s cultures, histories, and communities at a time when the mainstream media was consistently reducing the diverse flyover states to the sole terrain of an angry, white working class who believed Trump’s voice was loud enough to … Continued

Baffler 36: Utopia Parkway

IN THE WANING DAYS OF MARCH 2017, as Donald Trump busied himself taking photo-ops with truckers and dismantling Obama-era environmental protections, a young man named Austen Allred did what young people do these days when they have a thought. He took himself to Twitter. “I’m just waiting for someone to buy up an entire city in … Continued