Robert Rodi is an author, spoken-word performer and musician who has served as Newcity’s Music Editor since 2014. He’s written more than a dozen books, including the travel memoir “Seven Seasons In Siena.” His jazz quintet recently completed a two-year residency at Uncommon Ground, and he regularly hosts a jazz singers’ jam at Lizard’s Liquid Lounge. His literary and music criticism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Salon, The Huffington Post and many other national and regional publications.
Craig Bechtel is a freelance writer and has also been a Senior Staff Writer for Pop’stache. He is also a DJ, volunteer and Assistant Music Director for CHIRP Radio, 107.1 FM, and contributes occasionally to the CHIRP blog. As DJ Craig Reptile, you can hear him play music on the FM dial or at chirpradio.org most Sunday nights from 6pm to 9pm. He previously worked in radio at KVOE AM and Fox 105 in Emporia, Kansas, and served as a DJ, music director and general manager for WVKC at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where he also won the Davenport Prize for Poetry and earned a B.A. in English writing. Craig has been working in various capacities within the hotel and meetings industry for over twenty years, and presently works at a company that uses proprietary systems to develop proven data strategies that increase revenue, room nights and meeting attendance. In his spare time, he also fancies himself an armchair herpetologist, and thus in addition to a wife, son and cat, he has a day gecko and a veiled chameleon in his collection.
Seth Boustead is the founder and Executive Director of Access Contemporary Music, where he has produced more than a hundred live concerts and created the Sound of Silent Film Festival, the ACM School of Music, the Thirsty Ears classical music street festival and many more programs designed to present classical music as, well, fun. Seth is the voice of the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial Minute video series, and he has given a TEDx talk about the future of classical music, which he persists in thinking is not bleak. He is also the creator and host of Relevant Tones, the country’s only weekly syndicated radio program about contemporary composers.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: sethboustead.com
Gerald Brennan earned a B.S. in European History from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University in New York. He’s the founder of Tortoise Books and the author of “Resistance,” “Zero Phase,” “Public Loneliness” and “Island of Clouds.” His writing has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Hypertext Magazine, The Good Men Project and Innerview Magazine.
Dave Hoekstra is a Chicago author, WGN-AM weekend radio host and documentarian. His latest book “The Camper Book (A Celebration of a Moveable American Dream) is available on Chicago Review Press. He co-produced the documentary “The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement,” nominated for a 2001 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award. Dave was a 2013 recipient of the Studs Terkel Community Media Award. His work can be found at davehoekstra.com.
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. His more than 2,500 interviews, essays, and reviews reflect Bill’s keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill’s work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues, and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian “Cannonball” Adderley’s final album. His first book, “Reinventing Pink Floyd,” is due from Rowman & Littlefield in February 2018.
Jake Krzeczowski is a multifaceted writer/publicist/media hired hand from Chicago, who has been instrumental in telling the stories of the Chicago Renaissance. Having covered artists like Chance The Rapper, Saba, Jamila Woods and many more for the likes of Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, The Sun-Times and others.
Bart Lazar is a Chicago-based independent music journalist, vinyl DJ, concert producer and record label owner. Bart has a monthly residency at Sportsman’s Club where he educates hipsters on fifty years of punk, indie and rock ‘n’ roll. In addition to Newcity, Bart’s writing can be found on his blog, oldpunksrule. By day, Bart is a partner at Seyfarth Shaw where he is one of the nation’s leading advertising and intellectual property attorneys.
Danielle Levsky is an arts and culture reporter, theater critic, essayist, poet, vocalist, technical writer and project manager. Born and raised in Chicago, she grew up speaking English and Russian, then later became fluent in French through her primary and secondary education. In addition to her work at Newcity, she has contributed news articles, arts/culture/music reviews, personal essays, interviews and editorial content to Mental Floss, HelloGiggles, Pittsburgh City Paper, Thrillist, Femsplain and other print/online publications. Danielle previously worked as a pagination designer and copy editor for the Chicago Tribune. When she’s not freelancing, Danielle writes poems on command with Poems While You Wait, sings with the Music Institute of Chicago Chorale and drinks copious amounts of tea.
Max McKenna’s writing has appeared in print and online in The Journal of Modern Literature, The Millions, Full Stop, Chicago Review, and elsewhere. He lives and works in Chicago.
Dennis Polkow is an award-winning veteran journalist, critic, author, broadcaster and educator. He made his stage debut at age five, was a child art prodigy and began playing keyboards in clubs at the age of fourteen. He holds degrees in music theory, composition, religious studies and philosophy from DePaul University in Chicago. Polkow spent his early years performing and recording in rock and jazz bands while concertizing as a classical pianist, organist and harpsichordist and composing, arranging and producing for other artists. As a scholar, Polkow has published and lectured extensively and taught at several colleges and universities in various departments. As an actor, narrator and consultant, Polkow has been involved with numerous films, plays, broadcasts and documentaries. As a journalist, Polkow helped co-create the experiential Chicago Musicale and Spotlight, the award-winning tabloid arts and entertainment section of the Press Publications chain of newspapers, which he later edited. He also created and ran the nationally recognized journalism program at Oakton College and was faculty advisor to its award-winning student newspaper; many former students went on to major media careers, including Channel Awesome’s the Nostalgia Critic. Polkow’s research, interviews, features, reviews and commentaries have appeared across national and international media and he has corresponded from the Middle East, Asia and Africa for the Chicago Tribune.
Anne K. Ream
Anne K. Ream is a Chicago-based writer and the author of “Lived Through This: Listening to the Stories of Sexual Violence Survivors” and the founder of The Voices and Faces Project, a global storytelling project. She is also a contributor to “The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan” and the creator of A Rock Shock to the Status Quo, the concert to end rape.
David Safran is a Chicago-based writer, musician, and producer. NPR Chicago called Safran “a rising musician” and New York Times bestselling author, Larry “Ratso” Sloman, described his songs as “impeccable.” In 2016, the Atlantic named Safran’s song, “Adult Things” as its Track of the Day and listed it among the magazine’s “Best Songs Based on Art and Literature.” Safran has lent his music to many brands and organizations—from Adidas to Amnesty International—and his shows have been chosen as noteworthy events by PBS Chicago, The Chicago Reader, NME, Brooklyn Vegan and have been named NBC’s Pick and Time Out Chicago’s Critics’ Pick twice. Additionally, Safran has performed or collaborated with many notable artists such as Academy Award winner Jorge Drexler; internationally acclaimed French songwriter Keren Ann; Grammy Award-nominated composer Susan Voelz and guitar icon Marc Ribot. Safran is currently producing an upcoming project with UCP, a premium content studio, under the NBCUniversal umbrella.
R. Clifton Spargo
R. Clifton Spargo is the author of the novel “Beautiful Fools,” award-winning short fiction, and music criticism in Huffington Post, “The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan” and The Yale Review.