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Heather Gabel

May 29th, 2018

Heather Gabel has always worked as a visual artist, but over the past four years she's discovered the joy and catharsis of musical performance as half of the dark electronic duo HIDE, who recently returned from a tour in support of their E.P Castration Anxiety. We drank a large amount of coffee and discussed true crime, asshole sound guys, Hannah Hoch, Eve Libertine, parenting, Hollywood, and that amazing feeling you get when you realize that you can just start a band and people will find out about your shows and come see you.

I’m being haunted this week

May 23rd, 2018

It seems fitting that Philip Roth passed away while I was interviewing Sam Szabo tonight. Sam is one of my favorite cartoonists and one of the funniest people I've ever met, and we've bonded over our weirdo Jewish identity and our love/hate relationship with middle-class liberal cultural icons. I was in the midst of editing our talk when Audacity crashed, corrupting the original recording and turning it to silence. I think we're being haunted. I still have the data files, and I spent hours trying to figure out how to reconfigure them and recover our talk-it was maddening to hear six-second clips of Sam's voice but not be able to re-order the clips and piece them together. If anyone has any advice, PLEASE let me know. In the meantime, I've learned an important lesson about backing up interviews before I begin editing them. And now, I'll leave you with the first few lines of The Breast by Philip Roth: "It began oddly. But could it have begun otherwise, however it began? It has been said, of course, that everything under the sun begins oddly and ends oddly and is odd."

Aay Preston-Myint

May 15th, 2018

Aay Preston-Myint has worked diligently for many years to build his thriving fine-art practice, but he's also devoted a tremendous amount of energy to collaborative projects that have improved the quality of life in Chicago for his fellow makers, and queer artists in particular. As one of the founding organizers of Chances, a series of dance parties, Aay helped to create a nightlife space where it was cool and safe to be both weird and queer,  fostering community and funding creativity with grant money raised from the proceeds. As a partner in No Coast, a print-focused collaborative, an Editor of the arts and literary journal Monsters and Dust and an organizer of the Chicago Art Book Fair,  he's learned valuable lessons about management and communication. We discussed the highlights (and a few low moments) from his multi-faceted career, and discussed strategies for letting go of criticality and getting in touch with the outside world- a tall order for introverts.

Carrie Vinarsky

May 9th, 2018

Over the course of our 16-year friendship, I've been in constant awe of Carrie. She's a brilliant artist and fellow musician, and she has a knack for problem-solving and tackling difficult tasks fearlessly. In the wake of a recent divorce, however, her coping mechanisms were severely tested. Realizing that she'd become isolated, Carrie reached out to a group of female friends for support and discovered hidden reserves of power she didn't realize she possessed. Although she's an atheist, she embarked on a spiritual journey that led to a thriving magickal practice. Since it's Spring, a time for new beginnings, I was excited to check in with one of my dearest friends to learn about her fresh start.

Janice Lim

May 2nd, 2018

As an undergrad, Janice Lim studied studied printmaking and photography, but she holds a graduate degree in art restoration, and she currently works at the Field Museum of Natural History making display mounts for rare and precious specimens including (currently) dinosaur fossils from Antarctica!!! She's also a highly skilled tattoo artist, and she garnered fans as the drummer for Civilized Man and Gula Gila, two influential Chicago bands. Given her many interests and talents, It's no surprise that she and I broke my record for longest recorded interview, and I loved every minute of it, even the heavier moments when the conversation turned away from lighter topics (old acid, drumming in a skirt) to more difficult subjects like grief and loss.

Gina Wynbrandt

April 25th, 2018

I am fascinated by funny people. Gina is both funny and fearless, qualities that make her a world-class cartoonist and an extremely engaging interviewee. Her book Someone Please Have Sex With Me was excerpted in the 2015 edition of Best American Comics and has been translated in Spain, Norway and Denmark, and she has continued to explore the themes of lust and longing in subsequent mini-comics. I'm so thankful that Gina traveled across the city to talk to me about, among other things, her apartment, her job, her art-making process, boys, capitalism, Puerto Rico, Dancing, fashion, isolation and the internet. And I learned the term "chuckle-fuckers". At the end of the interview, you'll hear Nuestro Planeta by Kali Uchis.

Molly Colleen O’Connell

April 18th, 2018

Molly Colleen O'Connell raids sewers and circuses to bring her trolls, clowns and eccentrics to vivid life. Via performance, painting, sculpture, video and cartooning she creates elaborate habitats and mindscapes that put the viewer in close proximity to creatures from the outer realms, but she imbues them with so much love and pathos it's impossible to come away unmoved. Buckle your spacewig chinstraps and get ready for an in-depth conversation about creativity, comedy, terry cloth and so much more.

Anya’s Really Sick Mixtape

April 10th, 2018

I have some kind of nasty illness, probably a sinus infection. I am very sick, and I can't deal with life. So instead of posting an interview, I made this mix for you to jam in the studio. Track list is in the intro. I hope you find this music as comforting as I do, and if you don't, too bad! This is the best I can do. Check in next week for (hopefully) more hard-hitting interviews.

Dain Daller and Amanda Speer

April 4th, 2018

Dain Daller and Amanda Speer left Chicago to live off the grid in Abiquiu, New Mexico Eight years ago, and I recently caught up with them by phone. They're both skilled artists and artisans, and the home they built in the desert, out of salvaged materials, is full of unique and beautiful objects they've made by hand. After learning loom weaving at a local fiber arts center, they began producing exquisite scarves, wall-hangings, blankets and garments, and their work is sought after all over the world. Check it out at http://www.warpzoneweaving.com/

If you've ever wondered what it's like to live off the grid, wonder no more-Dain and Amanda graciously answered all of my desert survival questions. At the end of the interview, you'll hear "Baby Wants to Ride" by Frankie Knuckles.

Deborah Garcia

March 28th, 2018

I met Deborah Garcia at Yollocalli Arts Reach, an organization dedicated to providing after-school arts programming to teens in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods of Chicago. First at Yollocalli and now at Enlace, another local non-profit, Deborah has dedicated a large part of her life to making sure that kids in the community have the opportunity to express themselves in a safe, creative environment. She's graduating with a Master's degree in Arts Administration from the School of the Art Institute this Spring, and her thesis project is an ambitious series of murals that examines the problem of gentrification in the area. If you are feeling overwhelmed by everything that's wrong with the world, this conversation will remind you that there are brilliant people working hard every day all around us to make the future brighter and more peaceful for everyone.

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