Watching, Listening, Writing

I began my career as a freelance reporter/writer in Fall, 1983. That October, I traveled to the Rosemont Horizon (now the Allstate Arena) outside Chicago to cover both the wrestlers and the fans at a spectacular event called the Battle Royal.

Hulk Hogan

That night, I chased Hulk Hogan up a flight of stairs, calling out his name, at the Air Host Motel where the wrestlers stayed. At the top of the stairs he spun around, puffed out his chest like a cartoon Hercules, and bellowed, “What?” I asked him for an interview and he told me he didn’t have time. A number of other wrestlers as well as legendary ring announcer Gene Okerlund saw the exchange, presumably took pity on me, and granted me interviews. Thus I was able to write my first newspaper article for pay. I was hooked.

That’s so long ago there doesn’t even exist a link to the story.

Since then, I have covered all kinds of sports events, political campaigns, fires, war protests, a child molestation trial, art exhibits, music performances, and anything else that caught first my attention and then an editor’s. My specialty, my passion, has been the long-form personal biographical feature. I’ve interviewed a presidential candidate, scholars, historians, authors, filmmakers, a murderer, comedians, domestic abuse survivors, ticket scalpers, union activists, politicians (both venal and idealistic), other reporters, painters, sculptors, musicians, publishers, homeless people, a protester whose legs were cut off by a train, and perhaps the most flamboyant sports announcer this side of Howard Cosell.

I wrote for the Chicago Reader, one of the two or three most renowned alternative weeklies in the county, from 1983 through 2002. I also worked for any number of other publications, both large and small. Since I moved to Bloomington after spending the first 50 years of my life in Chicago, I’ve penned articles for The Ryder magazine and the Limestone Post. I’ve selected a few of my favorite representative published works. See the list below, with links.

Is B-town’s Tap Water Safe? A Full Report

Big Mike’s B-town: Wounded Galaxies, Where 1968 Intersects with 2018

Dada a la Bloomington — a 1920s ‘Anti-Art’ Hotbed

Atheist & Son: The Rob & Ricky Sherman Show, Chicago Reader, July 5, 1990

Sport of Sports: He’s the Master of the Jock Cliche, the Gladdest Hand in Chicago Radio. We’re Speaking, Of Course, of Chester William “Chet” Coppock, Six Feet Six of Pure Midwestern Ham, the First, the Only — Yes! — Postmodern Sportscaster, (cover story), Chicago Reader, August 23, 1990

Tough Yardage, (cover story, profile of Chicago Bears owner Michael McCaskey), Chicago Tribune Magazine, January 26, 1992

Fight Like a Man: Learning the Ropes with the Golden Gloves Girls, ( cover story), Chicago Reader, September 8, 1994 (selected a Notable piece, The Best American Sportswriting 1995)

Gang Green: Giving Federal Money Directly to Gang Members for Job Training? A 1967 Project Was So Crazy It Almost Worked, (cover story), Chicago Reader, November 13, 1997

Funny Girl: Before the Kids, Writer Amy Krause Rosenthal Was Just Another Subversive Chick. Now She Picks Brain Lint in Coffeehouses, (cover story), Chicago Reader, December 7, 2000

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