It took six months of research and more than 30 interviews for senior editor David Bernstein to construct this month’s cover story, Daley vs. Daley, comparing Chicago’s two Mayors Daley—Richard J. and Richard M. “They’re mayors who have come to symbolize Chicago,” Bernstein says. The Daleys are complex, he discovered. “Chicagoans often look at them in terms of black and white, good and bad,” Bernstein says. “But there are more shades of gray there.” Between the story in the magazine and all the colorful anecdotes that wound up on the cutting room floor, he accumulated enough material for a book—which he’s not writing. “I’m a little Daleyed out,” he says.
Laurence Booth, the subject of Robert Sharoff’s article The Turnaround Artist, has come into the public eye as the architect for a potential high-rise in Evanston that is dividing the community. The controversy has shone a light on Booth’s impressive four-decade career. “Booth has always done excellent work and he’s won dozens of AIA awards, but he’s always been, at least to the general public, a little under the radar,” Sharoff says. This fall, Sharoff and William Zbaren, a photographer and Sharoff’s partner, publish a book about another Chicago architect, Lucien Lagrange: The Search for Elegance, with Images Publishing.
Finding the people to talk to for The Audacity of Hope, Marcia Froelke Coburn’s oral history of the play Bleacher Bums, meant tracking down scattered sources, especially Dennis Franz, who was someplace inaccessible in Idaho. “Joe Mantegna had a way he could leave him a message,” Coburn says, conjuring images of chalk markings and microfilm. Several people mused on whether the magic of the play would be broken if the Cubs went all the way this year. “It’s kind of interesting that that [could] be the end of the play, like it’s the end of the curse,” Coburn says. But part of the play is universal: “There will always be an underdog.”
While at an art fair talking about the New Miniaturist art movement, Victoria Lautman heard from an Art Institute curator that one of the artists on display, Saira Wasim, lived in Lombard. Lautman, who knows the local gallery scene well, was flummoxed by Wasim’s lack of local recognition. “It’s very possible that there are legions of émigré artists in this country,” she says. Her Arena article “Her Quiet Riot” introduces Wasim to a Chicago audience. Writers on the Record, Lautman’s series of interviews with authors, no longer runs in Chicago but continues at the Harold Washington Library. She interviews Junot Díaz September 12th at 6 p.m. For more info, visit VictoriaLautman.com.
For weeks, Ryan Robinson was searching for an attic. When he finally found one, he arranged to rent some stuffed squirrels and pigeons from a taxidermist in Irving Park, and voilà!—the set for the photo shoot with Rick Wilberschied, a nuisance wildlife expert and the subject of Bryan Smith’s The Critter Hunter. Robinson says Wilberschied was initially skeptical about the portraits. Once he relaxed, though, “he started telling stories, and then I couldn’t get him off the phone,” Robinson says. Also for The Critter Hunter, Esther Kang, Chicago’s online editor, rode along with Wilberschied for a day of evicting varmints from places they didn’t belong. “On any given day, he never knows what to expect,” Kang says. One stop was for a bat job—not ideal, given Kang’s dislike of flying animals. She soldiered on and produced a slide show and a video interview for Chicago mag.com. Things didn’t improve on the next call anyway. “I don’t like squirrels, either,” she says.
Photography: (Bernstein) Joe C. Moreno, (Sharoff) Selena Salfen, (Kang) Megan Lovejoy