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Entries in Chicago Reader (3)


My Reader Failure

So the Chicago Reader, where I've had the good fortune to publish a couple pieces, ran this issue on Summer fucking Festivals a while back, for which I wrote this little number, which they ended up not using, but which I nonetheless found amusing. Enjoy.


OK, Chicago. It’s spring, no?

How can you tell? The reappearance of cargo shorts and flip flops all over the North side, sending throngs of dudes lumbering their foot-spanking way through Wrigleyville that makes summer the pedestrian equivalent of getting trapped behind a Zamboni on the interstate. And, may I say: THANK you, gentlemen. The sight of those blanched and hammer-toed Hobbit feet is precisely the harbinger of sunnier days we’ve all been longing for.

And when our thoughts turn to summer, that can only mean one thing: getting our bods beach-ready!

[Note to those on the coasts: this is the Midwest, so for us the phrase “beach body” is very much not the same for us as it is for you. So in your mind’s eye, just cinch a pair of swim trunks around a Ziploc bag filled with sausage gravy. It’s similar to how we refer to somebody who walks up the escalator as a “gym rat”, and what you call a “competitive eater,” we call a “foodie”.]

Luckily for us, the only fitness regimen we need is rolled out for us each and every weekend from here till like October – I refer, of course, to living off the bounty offered up at street festivals, which permit us to partake of a wonderland of foodstuffs that’s best described as a Cheesecake Factory menu filtered through a Guy Fieri fever dream.

As you gear up for summer (or “Street Food Season”), remember these tips:

So remember – if it fits in a hog trough, it’ll fit in your gut, and if you’re not hoarsely hollering the word “party!” with the repetitive single-mindedness of Andrew WK, you run the very real risk of people not realizing precisely how much fun you’re having.


Hot Doug's. And My Death Wish.

So the Chicago Reader is letting me do infrequent pieces for their online feature "The Contrarian."

My first one was about the death of Justice Scalia. Nobody gave a rat's ass.

My most recent one was about an overrated hot dog place

Response has prompted my playwright pal Mark Chrisler to observe: "This is the piece that will make you the Salman Rushdie of Cook County."

Another playwright pal, Bilal Dardai had this to say: "Ian Belknap: The Captive-Bolt Gun for All of Your Sacred Cows." Which may be the highest goddamn praise I've ever received. Whatever his intentions may have been.

Dummies take it as an attack on Doug Sohn, or on hot dogs generally. Which it is not. It's about hype, dummies, and your susceptibility to it. 


Bring Me the Head of James Franco

Latest solo show, 

Bring Me the Head of James Franco, That I May Prepare a Savory Goulash in the Narrow and Misshapen Pot of His Skull

runs 10/19 ($25 - opening night) thru 11/16 ($15 rest of run)

Please to attend. Tix HERE

Good wise-assed fun HERE and HERE

Advance press for show - Chicago Reader: 1 of 8 shows to see this fall; Chicago Tribune: Theater Sneak Peek; Chicago Sun-Times feature on the show; Red Eye feature here