Fame is a bee. It has a song— It has a sting— Ah, too, it has a wing. - Emily Dickinson How to Sell America! in the Twenty-First Century, or Exhibits on the Withering Effect of Eternal Light Exhibits: I. Conversations with a Serial Rapist II. Meryl Streep Thanks God III. When the Blood Dries, Sell It IV. The Fear Mongrel’s Bark V. A Selfie with the Hindenburg VI. Monetized Schizophrenia and Other Benefits from Living on a Flattened Earth VII. When Superman Declines, Who Will Wear the Cape Prod...more
11.22.XXXX A Day in America A tragedy told in XXXX acts, set in XXXX, USA during the year of our Lord XXXX, A.D. Produced by The Champagne's Electric, Chicago MMXVIII
Ruina Imperii or Our Feet Still Wet from the Riveredge or A Mournful Addendum for Dr. Sagan (A Dirge in Six Parts) First, a content warning: The following piece is composed of some of the most disturbingly violent events ever recorded, most of which are presented with scant editing and at full volume. It includes graphic audio clips of suicides, murders, and man-made disasters. (I am obligated to also note that the most-featured clip details the implicit murder of many young children by their p...more
Portions of this episode are presented in Korean with no accompanying English translation. Produced by Elise Byun and The Champagne's Electric. Chicago, MMXVIII --- LOUISE - Kangaroo. COLONEL WEBER - What? LOUISE - In 1770, Captain James Cook's ship ran aground on the coast of Australia. He led a party into the country and met the aboriginal people. One of his sailors pointed to the animals that hopped around with their young in pouches, and asked what they were called. The aborigine replied "K...more
“For each fire is all fires, and the first fire and the last ever to be.” - Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy INTERMISSION, from 54:09 to 1:01:24 This essay is dedicated to Shamiya Adams, Samuel Walker Jr. and the silent dead of this city. I also owe an undying gratitude to Cecilia Vaisman, Martine Granby, Ritesh Sharma and Alex Wroblewski.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sigh...more
riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. Sir Tristram, violer d’amores, fr’over the short sea, had passen-core rearrived from North Armorica on this side the scraggy isthmus of Europe Minor to wielderfight his penisolate war: nor had topsawyer’s rocks by the stream Oconee exaggerated themselse to Laurens County’s gorgios while they went doublin their mumper all the time: nor avoice from ...more
These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, Which, as they kiss, consume.
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd; But thy eternal summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st; Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal...more
The Young Man's Last Words, said with Confidence to the Devil Unbeknownst. "Bet you won't."
We Real Cool, by Gwendolyn Brooks THE POOL PLAYERS. SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL. We real cool. We Left school. We Lurk late. We Strike straight. We Sing sin. We Thin gin. We Jazz June. We Die soon.
Chapter 2, beginning now.
Hanns Jones wanted to die. And so he drove to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida and jumped. 200 feet down, reaching speeds that kill, he hit the water like watermelon against a brick wall, 75 miles per hour. He should have died. Should have.
While reporting on the Battle of Fallujah in 2004 for the Washington Post, Jackie Spinner found herself sitting at a table with Anne Garrels, a Foreign Correspondent for NPR. For Spinner, Fallujah was an initiation to war, and Garrels an experienced reporter whom she admired. As they sat, Garrels slid Spinner a sheet of paper. Written was the name of Garrels' husband and his phone number. Spinner looked at the slip and realized that Garrels, a veteran of many conflicts, was afraid that she might...more
Colt Cabana only wanted to be a professional wrestler. He watched pugilists moon-eyed as a kid: He-Man, Jean Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport, but especially the turgid giants of the squared circle. He loved the stories, the characters, the conflict. He dreamed of of being one himself, living to endure the slog of travel, the pain of performance. As soon as he could, Cabana became a professional wrestler. His life was training, traveling, performing, repeat. He saw the job push some to drugs. Ste...more
Antione Day spent a decade in prison for a murder he didn't commit. While there, he witnessed physical and mental abuse, beatings and killings. Day finds it hard to forget the incessant noise of prison, the dank must of the air. But Day adapted. He created his own world, choosing to exercise, read and eventually, work on his own case in hopes of having his conviction overturned. With the help of the late Howard Joseph, a lawyer who worked pro bono on Day's case, Day was eventually granted a new ...more
When the Robert Taylor Homes was finished on the South Side of Chicago in 1962 , it was the largest public housing project in the United States. Spread over large swathes of land, the projects consisted of 28 identical 16-story buildings with wide plots of grass in between. Secluded intentionally from the white neighborhoods by a highway, the project deteriorated in the decades that followed. Police refused to patrol the area. Buildings and elevators became unsafe. Residents were said to refer t...more
When Joshua Ryan was five, he accidentally set his family's trailer ablaze. Though he and his mother were able to escape without harm, his two-year-old brother was caught in the fire. He suffered third-degree burns over most of his body. His parents divorced. He felt an odd combination of guilt and envy towards his brother, who now received a majority of the attention dolled out by his parents and others. The emotional scars from the fire stay with him even today, some 20 years later. Later, t...more
Christopher Hale woke up a year ago to find that he couldn't see fully out of his left eye. He was told he'd had a stroke, three quarters of his vision gone. Hale was over 300 pounds, depressed, and was told by doctors that he was lucky to have survived the blockage with only vision loss to show. During the decade leading up to the stroke, Hale had gained more than a hundred pounds. The additional weight coincided with the death of Hale's father, a retired Chicago Police Officer, a man Hale says...more
As a young man, Don Catherall shook hands with John F. Kennedy minutes before he was assassinated. When told of the Kennedy's murder, he thought it a cruel joke. Catherall's father, a quiet man who seldom talked of his service during World War II, was shot in the spine and temporarily paralyzed in battle, his comrades forced to leave him under a pile of bodies overnight to avoid enemy detection. For her part, Catherall's mother was a caretaker from an early age, eventually losing both her own m...more
Father Michael Pfleger knows the pain of loss. As a Catholic pastor for a Faith Community on the South Side of Chicago, Pfleger has been to more funerals than he cares to remember. He is passionate. He is honest. Sometimes to a fault: like when he mocked Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Primaries and became cannon fodder for 24-hour news networks. But Pfleger understands this; that he's liable to say things he'll later regret. He says what he feels, knowing well that he'll have to back it up af...more
It's raining hard on the South Side of Chicago. A photojournalist and his wife have already put their two children to bed when a series of loud cracks brings them to their window. They see a man scampering over a fence and yelling for help. Near the curb they spot another man on his back, floating in a deep puddle. They run outside. There's a gun on the grass; broken glass on the street from a car that's already gone. The man has been shot. His eyes are open, gazing at nothing. He inhales shar...more