Libby Ellis, founding editor
Libby Ellis has been writing and editing professionally for about 10 years. Her career highlights include: Interviewing Joan Jett, getting to stand on Wrigley Field and Soldier Field during the same week and visiting a Canadian vineyard owned by a member of Bob Marley’s family. She earned her MA in Writing and Publishing at Emerson College.
Away from work, you’ll usually find Libby on a yoga mat or at a card table. Her favorite things include Canasta, Hearts and headstands. She likes listening to Dick Biondi on the oldies station, cooking green things and reading magazines like Wired and Good. She doesn't enjoy condiments of any sort.
Libby lives in Chicago with her boyfriend and a 350lb sculpture of a beer-swilling bunny.
For more information about Libby, check out www.redbirdeditorial.com.
ARTICLES BY THIS AUTHOR
Joe Goodkin, founder of Chicago-based Quell records, is your regular renaissance guy. In addition to holding down jobs as a paralegal and guitar teacher, he plays in bands, runs a record label and travels to local high schools performing his original folk opera based on Homer’s Odyssey.
Going into business for yourself takes chutzpah. This week, in the first of a two-part series, meet two local Jews—Michael Farah and Jeremy Bloom—who found the inspiration, money and guts to take their big ideas and run with them.
My sometimes-combative relationship with food started during The Great Squash-Off of 1985. I was eight, my friend Bevin was over for dinner, and we were told we had to try to the squash. This was the first time in my life my dad insisted I eat something I didn’t want.
As of last Sunday*, the Chicago Cubs have the best record in baseball. We’ve heard that a lot this week, but somehow it never gets old. Last Friday morning, in the midst of the team’s seven-game stomping of the Colorado Rockies, I arrived at Wrigley Field to talk to Jason Marquis.
The night before, Marquis had pitched. Coincidently, I’d been there with friends sitting behind the much-loathed pole in section 228. The next morning, I had a better view waiting in the dugout for Marquis to arrive.
As I write this, Leah Jones is in San Francisco—and pictures from the trip are available now on her Flickr page. She’s enjoying herself, but she’s feeling out of sorts because, though she shared a three bedroom in the city’s Mission neighborhood during the summer of 1996, nothing looks familiar. She hasn’t told me any of this personally. In fact the last time (and first time) we talked was the Friday before her trip to California. The truth is, I don’t know Leah.
When Annie Coleman takes the stage in her cowboy boots and bright red lipstick instructing people to form squares for ”Dip the Oyster,” some couples fall right into place, secure in their knowledge that a square is composed of four pairs and that your position at the dance's start is "home." Many of these confident types are rockin' cowboy hats.
A Bay Area transplant, Josie A.G. Shapiro spends her days as the Membership and Program Director at Temple Sholom of Chicago. She helps members connect to the to things that interest them, whether that might be spiritual discussions with rabbis or social gatherings like sushi Shabbat. Her goal is to make sure newcomers—40% of new members are in the 20s and 30s— feel comfortable calling Sholom Chicago home.
Joanna Rudnick doesn’t wake up every morning thinking, “today’s the day I will get cancer.” But the documentary filmmaker does live with the knowledge that she’s more likely to develop cancer than other women her age, in part because of her heritage.
Geri Bleier and her Beta Fish Bert live in Lincoln Park and when Geri travels—most recently to Connecticut to visit her new nephew Beck—Bert hangs out at Yogaview, where Geri teaches classes five days a week. The full-time yoga instructor grew up in the Detroit suburbs before relocating to Vail, Colorado for six years. After some quality time in the mountains, Geri wanted to be in a city; while in Vail she met Tom Quinn and Quinn Kearney, who offered her a job at their studio here in Chicago.
Yael Naim isn’t upset about being known as, “the chick that sings the song in the Apple commercial.” Instead, the Israeli-raised, Paris-dwelling singer/songwriter is grateful. “You can’t be unhappy if people know only one song, I’m so happy and I’m thankful for every good thing that has happened,” Naim says.
Former Lakeview resident Matthue Roth has always been a writer, spending many of his early teen years running home after school to write science fiction stories. His new novel, Losers might not be about outer space, but the story of a Russian Jew named Jupiter Glazer’s struggle against loser-dom does have elements of a stranger in a strange land.
When the men were gone and she could no longer think of the word for the thing she used to light cigarettes, my grandmother, Barbara Russakoff—Bubba to those who loved her most—gave up, wrote a note, and overdosed on anti-depressants and applesauce. And it didn't work.
In October 2007, Joel Stein was sitting in the parking lot in Old Orchard, waiting. Alone in the car, he started to laugh — the word sadorachmonesism had popped into his head. Using the root word rachmones (pity, sympathy) he created a new noun: sadorachmonesism. Defined as: the act of your mother telling you that you look “a little thick” in your new dress, then handing you her credit card to go buy something “more flattering.”
Northbrook native Traci Fein spent her teen years modeling for local institutions like Marshall Fields and Carson’s. At 19, an agency scooped her up and brought her to Paris. From there, she spent years traversing the globe. But Traci Fein is more than just a pretty face – when she returned back to the Chicago area, she started her own makeup agency, specializing in weddings and other special events.
In 2005, Lisa Alcalay Klug wrote two articles about being Jewish. One for the San Francisco Chronicle about how cool it is to be a Jew in the Bay Area, and another for The Forward about eight nights of Chanukah kitsch. “These two stories had something essential in common: a pride in being Jewish, an embrace of kitsch and a reverent irreverence—an irreverence based on a real love of being Jewish. When I thought of a concept to encapsulate that, the word Heebster lit up in my brain like a neon sign,” Lisa says.
When I was in high school, some friends and I piled into my best friend Sam’s mom’s minivan and drove from Oak Park to Chicago. Unlike previous trips to go to a show at the Metro or have coffee at Scenes, this time we were headed to a meeting for LBGT and questioning teens. And we were lost.
BIG NEWS: 18-26 year olds can now register for winter 2015/2016 and summer 2016 free Birthright Israel: Shorashim-JUF Chicago Community trips! Make sure to choose Shorashim as your trip organizer to travel on the only trip that leaves from Chicago!
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
Wednesday, October 14 | 6 p.m. - 9:45 p.m.
Did you know that while everyone faces a risk of cancer, Jews with an Ashkenazi background are 10 times more likely to have a BRCA mutation than the general population? Or that the mutation is not only connected to breast cancer -- it also increases the risk of ovarian, prostate, pancreatic and melanoma?
Find out what resources are available in your back pocket on October 14! Expert panelists in fields ranging from medical oncology, surgery and gynecological oncology to genetics and advocacy will discuss strategies for identification of high-risk families and options for interventions.
The cost to attend is $18. For information or to register,