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Stories by Erica Gunderson

Chicago-Style Magic Reappears in Andersonville

Chicago has a style of magic? It does. We check out a North Side lounge that aims to recreate the spirit of Chicago-style close-up magic.

The Dirty Work of Keeping the Chicago River Clean

(Erica Gunderson / Chicago Tonight)

Keeping the river clean is no easy task, particularly during the summer months when the river is bustling. We spend a morning with one of Chicago’s trash-scooping river skimmers. 

Ask Geoffrey: Did MLB Stop Cubs-White Sox City Series?

Geoffrey Baer hits a triple with three questions about Wrigley Field. 

Christine Lahti Shares ‘True Stories’ From Hollywood

The award-winning actor and director talks about her new book, a collection of personal essays that explore her journey as a feminist.

New WTTW Food Show ‘Dishalicious’ Takes Competition Out of Cooking

Chicago’s status as a restaurant hot spot is undeniable, but not much food television has come out of our city. That’s about to change.

Ask Geoffrey: The Wild West History of Chicago’s Public Street Signs

Geoffrey Baer brings us the history of the Chicago Motor Club and its bygone penchant for posting traffic signs in the public way. 

Ask Geoffrey: How Now, Chicago Cows?

Some 20 years after they stampeded along Michigan Avenue, Chicagoans are still moo-ved by the memory of Cows on Parade. Geoffrey Baer revisits the 1999 art project.

At CPS, Playing Chess About Strategy Both On and Off the Board

The Chicago Public Schools K-8 chess championship is this weekend. We visit two schools whose students hope to capture the prize.

One Year Later, Chicago Jeans Makers Size Up and Keep Humming Along

(Credit: Get it Got)

A year after launching their business making jeans in a Garfield Park factory, things are starting to look a little different at Dearborn Denim. We go for a look.

Niles Tower’s History Mystery

We climb to the top of the Leaning Tower of Niles, where centuries-old bronze bells lay quiet – for now.

Preservation Chicago Announces 7 ‘Most Endangered’ Sites of 2018

Hotel Guyon (© Gabriel X. Michael)

The annual list of endangered Chicago buildings – and this year, paving materials – sounds the alarm about historic structures the preservation group believes are in danger of being erased.

In ‘That’s What She Said,’ Author Aims to Get Men on Board

(Cozendo / Pixabay)

How hiring and promoting women can help businesses succeed, and how men can make that happen. We speak with author Joanne Lipman about her new book.

Madigan Under Fire for Handling of Harassment Claims

Should House Speaker Michael Madigan step aside? The latest on the fallout from allegations of sexual harassment in his political offices.

Ask Geoffrey: The Fascinating Story of Antoinette Rich

Geoffrey Baer has the keys to the story of a symphony orchestra made up of all pianos – and all women. And: The story behind a colonial-inspired park district field house in the Austin community.

West Town Textile Studio Finds Common Threads with Community

On Chicago’s West Side, an artist-run production weaving mill and a social service agency work together to weave adults with intellectual disabilities into the fabric of their community. 

Ask Geoffrey: How Does Edens Expressway Stay Billboard-Free?

(Ken Lund / Flickr)

Most Chicago-area expressways are littered with billboards. How did one expressway escape the same fate? Geoffrey Baer drives by with the answer to that and other viewer questions.

North Side German Club Lets the Good Times Roll

Many immigrant communities in Chicago formed ethnic clubs to help maintain their traditions. One such club has celebrated the German tradition of Karneval for over a century. We take a look.

Screened Out: How Tots and Tech Can Work Together

(Øyvind Holmstad / Wikimedia Commons)

Is there a safe level of technology use for kids? We discuss “The Art of Screen Time” with author and NPR education correspondent Anya Kamenetz.

These Commercial Bread Bakeries Set the Stage for Chicago’s Favorite Foods

We have some fun on a bun in commercial bakeries that make the bread for two iconic Chicago foods.

Ask Geoffrey: What Happened to ‘World’s Greatest Newspaper’?

Geoffrey Baer has some newspaper history hot off of yesteryear’s presses, and dives deep into the fishy story of storm drain covers.

Duerson Act Debate: Who Should Decide on Tackle Football for Kids?

Former pro football players are joining the effort to ban tackling in youth football. We talk pros and cons of the newly introduced Duerson Act.

2018 Academy Awards: A More Inclusive Age of the Oscars?

“Get Out” actor Daniel Kaluuya speaks at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con International. (Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

This year’s Oscar picks for best picture are an unusually mixed bag of genres, including the comedy-horror film “Get Out.” Two film critics weigh in on this year’s nominees.

Ask Geoffrey: Where Are Those 1950s Giant Stuffed Bears?

A viewer remembers a tall and terrifying bear in the former Marshall Field’s building. Was this just a figment of a child’s imagination?

Niles Tower’s History Mystery

We climb to the top of the Leaning Tower of Niles, where centuries-old bronze bells lay quiet – for now.

Biometric Data: Are We Safer in Illinois, Or Just Having Less Fun?

Close-up of “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci

The latest social media craze of matching your face with faces in works of art left Chicagoans out in the cold, thanks to Illinois’ strict laws on biometric data. Do these rules keep us safe or leave us behind?