Former VIce Lord Benny Lee now works as a community leader and activist. He remember his time as a gang leader and reflects on how the culture of the seventies changed the consciousness of the Conservative Vice Lords. 

This audio piece was part of Report to the Public, an exhibition about the history of the Conservative Vice Lords.

I'm Living Testimony

In the '90s, Derek Brown was part of the Insane Vice Lords, a violent street gang that sold drugs. He finally left the gang after several run-ins with the law, and was inspired by his own experiences and the history of the CVL to start a boxing gym for youth. 

This audio piece was part of Report to the Public, an exhibition about the history of the Conservative Vice Lords.

Back in the Heyday

In the mid-sixties, several Vice Lord leaders were struck by the problems facing the youth of Lawndale -- lack of services, few programs for young people, and poverty. One afternoon in a pool hall, they decided that no one could tackle these issues better than the Vice Lords themselves.

This audio piece was part of Report to the PUblic, an exhibition about the history of the Conservative Vice Lords.


Don't Call Me a Lunch Lady

Julia O'Grady is a food service worker at the Academy for Global Citizenship, a charter school on Chicago's South West side that is dedicated to a dynamic food curriculum and healthy cafeteria food for all of its students. O'Grady's daily work planning menus, serving and preparing food, and interacting with students is critical to the mission and implementation of the school's vision.

This audio piece was part of the exhibitions Unfinished Business: 21st Century Home Economics.

Who Owns the Fish

In Leelanau County in Northern Michigan, a small American Indian tribe has struggled for generations to survive economic and social hardships. The tribe has always been deeply connected to the lakes economically and culturally. The latest threat to that connection is environmental degradation, particularly invasive species.  But the tribes are forming unexpected alliances with old enemies to fight the threat.

Produced with Shannon Heffernan for WBEZ's Front and Center, July 14, 2011.

Chicago's Gangster

Every July 22nd, a group of Chicagoans gather to memorialize the death of infamous and beloved bank robber John Dillinger, who spent a year evading the authorities and winning American hearts before he was shot dead in July, 1934.

The Third Coast International Audio Festival presents Chicago Sound Drops: short audio works that conjure the city through sound, story, and imagination. "Chicago's Gangster" is part of this series. 

Where You Least Expect It

During his days as a maintenance man at The Waynflete School in Portland, Maine, Michael Macklin’s world is filled with sawdust and kids. At night, his world is filled with poetry. This story starts where these two worlds come together.

Produced at the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies. Aired on the Third Coast International Radio Festival's Re:Sound.

Puppets Take Manhattan

Every October 31st, puppeteers walk up sixth avenue wearing paper mache heads and gauzy tunics to celebrate Halloween. The story of these puppets starts in a barn on the banks of the Hudson River in Rhinecliff, New York where Sophia Michahelles and Alex Kahn host a community event they call a puppet raising. Volunteers from across the country sew plastic bags, paint, cardboard, and glue masks every weekend for two months to get the giant puppets ready for the parade. 

Aired on WNYC, October 31, 2007