Tuesday, December 07, 2010

See Me Improving at Stop Smiling

Travis Nichols has written a book of poetry titled "See Me Improving" and to celebrate its launch, some of us will be performing previously untold "talents and amateur attempts" at his book release party at Stop Smiling, tomorrow, Wednesday December 8, starting at 6:30 p.m. (1317 N. Milwaukee Ave). I'm told that among the amateur skills being celebrated are: mixology, headstands, and for my part, I'll be demonstrating my newfound adeptness at applying "smoky eye" makeup. See above for the dramatic difference that it can make. For more info, go to Travis' blog, See Me Improving.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ragdale residency

In November 2009, I received a Ragdale Artist Residency and spent a spectacular three weeks there, working on my short fiction collection in Lake Forest, Illinois, writing, thinking, dreaming. Some pics are attached, and here's a Literago post I wrote on my time there.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chicago Tonight books roundtable

A few hours ago, I had fun appearing on Chicago Tonight (as Literago.org co-founder) to chat about books  to give/read during the holidays. My fellow roundtablers Professor Al Gini and author Brigid Pasulka had impressive lists to share and now I have WAY too many books on my "to read" list. The video is here, and all of our lists of recommended books are archived here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New short story in Proximity Magazine

A new short story I published in Proximity Magazine is up at their site, along with the beautiful illustrations of Rob Funderburk. (Reading it over, I'm realizing it needed several more drafts, at least, but anyway.)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Interview with Amy Guth of ChicagoNow

During last week's Printers Ball, I spoke on camera with Amy Guth of ChicagoNow's Chicago Subtext about the Ball, Chicago publishing and books, and Literago.
Gretchen Kalwinski at Printers' Ball from Amy Guth on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Printer's Row, audio

At last month's Printer's Row Book Fair, I was invited by the Poetry Foundation to read a poem from the Poetry Tour at the Printers Row Book Fair. Audio from the event is archived here.

WLUW interview

This week, I spent a fun 10 minutes talking to Mike Stephen with WLUW's Outside the Loop radio show for their literary-themed edition (to correspond with the Printers Ball). Some info is here, and the direct link to the streaming audio is here.

Book review for Stop Smiling, 7/28/09

Just published: a new book review for Stop Smiling, of Nelson Algren's Entrapment. The mag does a thing called "Two Takes," where they have two writers review the same book; then they publish the two reviews alongside each other. Beth Capper wrote the "alternate take."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Vosges Catalog; Valentine's Day; Gypsy-Theme

I recently did some copywriting for Vosges Haut Chocolat's catalog -- the Gypsy-themed Valentine's Day issue. It's not available online, unfortunately, but here are some excerpts from the mailer, "A Book of Chocolate Love Spells."

[The word Gypsy refers to the Roma people, a wandering ethnic group that originated in northern India around the 9th century. A creative people who live outside modern rules of ownership and property; the world is their home to wander.]

[Gypsies are said to travel with magic carpets and snakes and are notoriously private--it is almost impossible for an outsider to penetrate a gypsy band. Because so much of gypsy lore is shrouded in secrecy, popular culture tends to either romanticize or demonize them, focusing on their mystical powers.]

[The Gypsy woman was a muse for Bob Dylan's "Spanish Harlem Incident." He sings "Gypsy Girl in the hands of Harlem / Cannot hold you to its heat / Your temperature is too hot to taming feet are burning up the street..."]

[The pagan practice of men showering their sweethearts with roses started when early practitioners of herbal medicine learned that eating rose hips (the fruit of the rose that remains after the petals have fallen) assisted in many aspects of female health. So on Valentine's Day, bask in the knowledge that by enjoying roses, you are taking part in an ancient ritual.]

--Gretchen Kalwinski

Cavalier Inn, Website Copy

Cavalier Inn
(About Us section of website)
Serving the North Hammond neighborhood and Polish Community for generations

Known simply as The Cav by those who frequent it, this Polish restaurant and bar has served the North Hammond neighborhood and Polish community for generations. The Cav is owned and managed by Wally and Mary Kasprzycki and their son, Wally. Wally Sr. arrived in the United States in 1938 and opened the Cavalier Inn 1949. The Cavalier Inn thrives not only because of the consistently wonderful Polish food (best pierogis and potato pancakes in town), but also to the welcoming atmosphere instituted by Wally and Mary, and carried on dutifully by their son.

There is something for everyone at The Cav. It accommodates the after-work dinner crowd, who fill up the paneled back room in the rear of the building, sitting in the cafeteria style tables, chatting with neighbors and friends, and waiting for their food. There is also the evening bar crowd who come in after 5 for a boilermaker. Then there is the late-night straggler who sits at the bar and keeps Wally company (or is it vice versa?). Finally, there is the Saturday afternoon crowd, who stop in for a plate of pierogis and game of pool.

The atmosphere in every scenario is the same-welcoming and accommodating. Located off the intersection of Gostlin and Torrence in Hammond, across from the Roller Dome, The Cav is easier to find these days due to outdoor ornamental lighting, facade improvements, and a new blacktop parking lot. The Hammond Urban Enterprise subsidized those improvements through the Business Facade Rebate Program. The City of Hammond contributed to the neighborhood by repaving Torrence streets and sidewalks and adding ornamental street lights. The decor includes wood carved Polish eagles, figurines in traditional folk dress, pictures of cavaliers, and a photograph of Wally Jr., a High School All-American in his Northwestern football uniform. The eclectic jukebox features Bear Down Chicago Bears Polka, God Bless Our Polish Pope, In Heaven There is No Beer, as well as tunes from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, John Cougar Mellencamp, and NSync.

There is more than just old-fashioned quaintness to The Cav; there is a history inherent in the walls of this building. Wally is not only a business owner and an immigrant, he is also a sponsor of many other immigrants since World War II. Wally sponsored hundreds of families from Poland and enjoys his patriarchal role in the community. The Cav serves as a comfort zone for those immigrants and their families, because it is the business owned by their first friend in the United States, and a familiar gathering place for many unsure new American citizens. The food is generous and filling. The menu includes pierogis, potato pancakes, czarina, stuffed cabbage (golabki), sausage and sauerkraut (kielbasa z kaputsta), lake perch, and American dishes such as burgers and chili. Mary Kasprzycki runs the kitchen with Dina and Teresa. She works approximately 12 hours per day six days a week or a total of 76 hours per week with her husband, intermittently greeting friends that come to eat. Two nights a week, Mary stays up until the wee hours of the morning making pierogis with her kitchen help.

A cavalier is a symbol of pride for Polish people. A Cavalier's Cross of Merit is Poland's highest civilian honor and a mark of distinction. Therefore, the Cavalier Inn is a gallant and proud name for a small-town restaurant and bar. When you visit, look for the kindly bartender with soft eyes and his friendly and stylish wife, who is responsible for so many well-fed Polish immigrants, their children and grandchildren in Northwest Indiana. On the cold winter days ahead you'll want plenty of meat and potatoes, pork chops, fish, and "kraut", and the Cavalier Inn does them just right.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Moi, in Chicago Tribune (o so briefly)

Last weekend, I read with a group of authors--authors way, way more illustrious than I; Bill Savage, Stuart Dybek, Marion Coleman, Marc Smith, Ellen Wadey, Peter O'Leary--at a Printers Row Lit Fest event presented by the Poetry Foundation. The Trib listed it here, along with my bio.

The Chicago Poetry Foundation presents the Chicago Poetry Tour Premier. Saturday 5 p.m. Arts & Poetry Stage.
Gretchen Kalwinski: The co-founder and managing editor of the literary Web site Literago.org. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Stop Smiling, The Chicago Reader, Chicago Magazine and Punk Planet.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Time Out Chicago; Issue 217 : Apr 23–29, 2009

I wrote a few pieces for Time Out Chicago's recent "DIY issue," including an article about making your own deodorant (so cheap!) and another about teaching myself to sing that actually inspired me to start voice lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Time Out Chicago; Issue 209; Features; Polish drinking

....Also for the TOC Polish issue, I co-wrote an article on how to drink Polish. Nadrowie!

Time Out Chicago; Issue 209; Features; Polish-American essay

For Time Out Chicago's "Polish Issue," I wrote articles about growing up Polish-American in Chi-town and old-school versus new-school Polish Chicago.

Time Out Chicago; Issue 209; Features

I pitched a "Polish Issue" of Time Out Chicago that was published last week. In cahoots with that, I posted this at the Time Out Chicago blog: "TOC's Polish Roots are Showing"

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Time Out Chicago; Issue 206; Feb 5, 2009

In Chicago, wintertime spa visits are crucial. For Time Out Chicago's Spas issue, I got to enjoy spa treatments and write about Lisette Paez, maestro nail-technician at the Four Seasons, plus spa-etiquette, and DIY spa treatments.

Time Out Chicago; Issue 206; Feb 5; Travel

In celebration of Abe Lincoln's 200th birthday, I spent a weekend in Springfield, Illinois, and wrote about it. Now, I never need to go back to Springfield, Illinois. Whew.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Time Out Chicago; Blog post; Jan 12, 2009, New Wave Coffee

I'm thrilled to have a new coffee shop in my 'hood, and posted about it on the TOC blog.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Time Out Chicago; Issue 201; Jan 1, 2009; Travel

Birmingham, Alabama: it's prettier and hipper than you thought. Here's my travel essay about what to do during a weekend trip to the Magic City.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Literago.org posts

I co-founded and edit this literary website. My posts can be found here.