Debut post: Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz talk 'The Interrupters,' and limes finally explained

July 11, 2011

Hello! And thank you for checking out my debut post on WBEZ.org.

It’s an honor to be part of an organization that I’ve enjoyed for so long as a reader and listener, even that year they decided to broadcast a show every night about what was going on in Canada.

When site producer Justin Kaufmann asked me to be a blogger, my answer was a no-brainer: “Can I immediately post something positive about Springsteen after every time DeRogatis insults him?”

Honestly, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of WBEZ.org — though I was (and still am) intimidated by the lineup Justin had already built.

Along with DeRogatis (my all-time favorite writer about music, Springsteen notwithstanding), there was also Amy Krouse Rosenthal! And Lee Bey! And Achy Obejas! And Steve Dolinsky, before he quit because, rumor has it, the WBEZ lunchroom refused to put his headshot up in the window. ("The best vending machine in the city. Thanks for the Beech-Nut gum! — Steve")

So, I hope my blog measures up. I’ll be brief in my description of what this space will be about: For the last eight years or so, I’ve written a humor column, and for the last three I’ve hosted The Interview Show, a talk show at The Hideout. This blog is a chance for me to bring those worlds together.

Today, let me start with something from The Interview Show.

We recently had Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz on to talk about their new documentary, The Interrupters. It’s the story of CeaseFire — in particular, three people who work for the organization trying to mediate disputes, help individuals turn away from violence and, in general, be a support system for Chicagoans hoping to build more peaceful communities.

Steve (Hoop Dreams, Stevie, At the Death House Door) and Alex (There Are No Children Here, Never a City So Real) collaborating on a project has me as excited as, well, when my 6-year-old son found out there was a movie in which Batman and Superman team up. And they don’t disappoint. Steve and Alex, that is. The Batman and Superman Movie is kind of a dud.

Here’s our interview below. (The film opens its run at the Gene Siskel Film Center on Aug. 12. More info can be found here.)

“Even though we may share many universalities and hopes and desires, I think one of the things that films can do, and books can do, is make people understand the extraordinary obstacles some people face in trying to realize those.” — Steve James

IN OTHER NEWS . . .

I was at Whole Foods the other day because I like buying cookies and chips there and thinking they're healthy. Anyhow…do the folks at Whole Foods really think they need to include a description of what limes are?