• City Stories

    For Anyone Who’s Ever Read a Book

    I first discovered the American Writers Museum a year ago, when it received a write-up in the New York Times on the occasion of its opening. I clicked through to the article with a general curiosity about about this new space dedicated to the written word; I gave no thought to the actual location of the thing. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the story was a dispatch from right here in Chicago, the new museum located in the heart of downtown!  Fast-forward a year, and I still hadn’t carved out time to visit, and I’m not entirely sure why. Life and work and just not putting it at…

  • Cinephilia,  Travel Tales

    Food, Travel and a Whole ‘Lotta Heart

    After my trip to Paris last year (a city which I’d only visited previously for a whirlwind 48 hours in 2005), I returned home a bit perplexed about where to go next. I’ve always had someplace in mind, a next destination to save for and dream of; I spent nearly five years anticipating my trip to India! Enter Somebody Feed Phil, the Netflix food and travel show featuring Phil Rosenthal as he dad-jokes his way through some of the world’s most amazing cities, eating their most amazing food. Rosenthal’s claim to fame is being the creator of the turn-of-the-millenium sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. Apparently, set as he is with those syndication…

  • City Stories

    Chicago To Do: Summer Adventures

    I’ve been so focused on work lately (and adventures far and wide), it’s been ages since I took a look around a little closer to home for new experiences. One of my favorite parts of living in New York were the outings and random exploring I’d do when I found myself with a free weekend or day off. The same goes for Chicago. Even though the Windy City is endlessly more familiar to me, there’s no shortage of new ways to spend a Saturday afternoon. And as Spring gives way to Summer and the days are the longest they’ll be all year, I took stock of some of the ideas…

  • Work Life

    One Year Into the Big Leap

    A year ago last week, I officially hung out my shingle for 11th Street Lot Marketing & Publicity, taking a flying leap into the unknown to go into business for myself. I’d reached a breaking point with bad bosses, poorly managed organizations and generally not getting out of my work what I hoped to. So, when I left my most recent festival job in early 2017, I took stock of my options: track down another job working for someone else in the hopes it’d be a fit (both professionally and otherwise), or give it a go on my own. I am so, so, so glad I chose the latter. So…

  • Cinephilia

    Double Feature: Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and Hearts Beat Loud

    I don’t typically talk about two films in one post, but there’s so much to love about both Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and Hearts Beat Loud that it seemed only natural to write about them together. The former is a documentary by Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom) about Fred Rogers and the show he created, starred in and fought for for decades; the latter is a father/daughter story about music and growing up and family by Brett Haley (The Hero). Both exemplify the best of independent filmmaking, and both will renew your faith in the inherent goodness of the world and humankind, something we could use quite a bit of at the…

  • Travel Tales

    Four Days in Lisbon

    After four wonderful days exploring Madrid, I boarded an overnight train to Lisbon, eager to get to the city I fell in love with from a travel show. Arriving in Portugal, I was tired but energized, anxious to soak up another new location and culture for four days before heading back to Madrid and then back to the states. Day One My train pulled into Lisbon at just around 8a on Sunday morning, and I emerged from the train station to a city unlike anything I anticipated. From the first few moments, walking out into a massive traffic circle with a statue at the center surrounded by generations-old buildings, I…