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Culture Dot Com

The British sexologist Havelock Ellis once said that every artist writes his own autobiography. Ellis died six decades before the advent of the Internet, but time—and the rapid expansion of the blogosphere—have proved him right. Here’s a who’s who of local cultural blogerati who are telling the world about their lives and their art.

Photo: © Mark Nomura

Edith Frost
Local singer-songwriter building a name for herself on the indie circuit
Blog: www.edithfrost.com/index.php/weblog/category/C35
What is it? A musician struggles with elusive fame
Sample entry: On losing her voice this past spring while on tour: “Over the past few days I’ve been testing it out, trying to get it together, but at the moment I sound more like a billy goat than a chanteuse.”
Bookmark rating: 1
An autobiography and All My Children updates wrapped into one

Photo: P. R. Brown
Billy Corgan
Pumpkin and poet
Blog: www.billycorgan.com/ (Blog currently inactive)
What is it? Corgan testing the waters for a memoir
Sample entry: Listed under the header The Marked rocks Florida [1986]: “I have a little 4-track cassette that I have bought with my pizza delivery money, so I make tapes by myself. . . . I don’t really have a sound in mind so much as I just want to ‘be’ different from everything else.”
Bookmark rating: 3
Aha! Now the songs start to make sense.
Photo: © Suzette Bross
Mary Anne Mohanraj
Wicker Park–based fiction writer
Blog: www.mamohanraj.com/journal/index.php
What is it? Life off the page
Sample entry: Defending a young Harvard writer recently accused of plagiarism: “As someone who grew up reading 10-20 novels a week, some of them several times over, I know just how strange and fallible memory is. I can still quote passages from a book I read twenty years ago, while many other books have fallen by the wayside, entirely forgotten. How many passages are partially lodged in my memory by this point?”
Bookmark rating
: 4
One of the longest-running journals on the Internet
Photo: David Roth
Rick Rizzo
Eleventh Dream Day founder
Blog: www.sharkforum.org/rizzoblogs.html
What is it? A ballsy Chicago musician’s views on bands, movies, and sports
Sample entry: “Overall, the Eighties was an exciting time for music . . . That’s not to say that possibly the most god awful crap ever reared its ugly hairdo in the Eighties in the form of ABC, Haircut One Hundred, and Flock of Beagles. Ugh. Bands like Great White created legions of Guitar Center noodlers that still plague us today.”
Bookmark rating: 2
Rizzo’s musical tour through the decades, from the 1960s (“I buy my first record") to the 1990s (“major feeding frenzy/dead fish handshakes")
Brian Dickie
British expat, general director of Chicago Opera Theater
Blog: briandickie.typepad.com/my_weblog/
What is it? A peek behind the curtains of a feisty opera company
Sample entry: “What seems to have been forgotten, maybe because it caused no end of trouble for him after 9/11, is the advice of Pierre Boulez-‘the most elegant solution for the problem of opera is to blow up the opera houses.’ The fact of the matter is that the opera houses are too large.”
Bookmark rating: 3
If only to attempt to decipher what’s between the lines (“People who know me and know the business can sometimes get a message,” he says)
Photo: Ben Brandt
Elizabeth Crane
Chicago-based short-story writer
Blog: www.elizabethcrane.com/blog/
What is it? Riffs by a woman with a passion for celebrities and crafting
Sample entry: “This morning I woke up from a dream in which I went surfing with George Clooney, and it was AWESOME. We rode this wave (on the same surfboard-did you know you could do that?) for like, ever. I never thought about surfing before but now I totally want to go surfing with George Clooney.”
Bookmark rating: 2
Where else can you find entries like “How to Justify Watching Swimfan On the WB on a Friday Night Instead of the Six Books You Should Be Reading"?
Photo: Jon Gittelson
Erik Wenzel
Blog: artoridiocy.blogspot.com/
What is it? Edgy art reviews, critiques, and angst-y digressions
Sample entry: On the new two-story Blick Art Materials store on State Street: “Dick Blick will probably make about 80% of its money off of Art Institute students rushing to class from the dorms. If only they also sold drugs and used records.”
Bookmark rating: 3
Frequent appearances by Wenzel’s signature cartoon dog. Take that, Corgan.
Edward Lifson
Host of WBEZ’s Hello Beautiful!
Blog: hellobeautifulblog.com
What is it? Diary of an unabashed culture vulture
Sample entry: “Once in Berlin, I was riding my bicycle, I had no idea which part of town I was in, and I turned a corner, and then BOOM! It knocked me off my bike. I had to throw my foot out to the side and stop cold to keep from falling over. Right there, right in front of me, was Peter Behrens’ AEG Turbine Factory. It’s a monolith, it’s a monster, it’s a heavyweight fighter. ‘Nuff said.”
Bookmark rating: 2
Hello melodrama!



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