Our Writers

In addition to the editors on the About page, these Chicago writers contribute articles, reviews and interviews to Third Coast Review. If you’d like to write for Third Coast Review, please fill out our Contact Us form (in the footer) and include a short bio and links to writing samples. Or do the same and email it to us here.


Adam Ramos lives in lovely Logan Square and is excited to bring his experiences covering indie rock in Chicago, reviewing the most exciting up-and-coming acts when they make their way through the city.




hertzberg photoAndrew Hertzberg is a writer and reader, sometimes more of one than the other. You can find him biking around all over the city, volunteering at Open Books, contributing to various (on)/(off)line avenues, or at any of Chicago’s finest TV-deficient, cash-only bars. He tweets at



Andrew Lagunas is a freelance photographer from Naperville who specializes in portraiture and concert photography. He has an Associate in Arts degree from College of DuPage and is always looking for new creative outlets.




Andrew Struska is a writer, Chicago native and marketing professional. He has written on a variety of subjects ranging from video games to food, to travel to local business since 2008.




Arthur Haynes is a Black fiction writer, feminist, backseat freestyler and juris doctor. He is a student and enthusiast of all things creative. Much to his fiancée’s dismay, Arthur is fond of launching into hour-long rants about obscure books and movies that no one else seems to care about.



Bob Benenson is publisher/writer/photographer of Local Food Forum, a new newsletter that covers the broad sweep of the Chicago region’s food community. He is a longtime advocate for a better, healthier, more sustainable food system and is an avid home cook who gets most of his delicious ingredients from local farmers.



Brandon Smith is a freelance writer, frequent concert attendee, and occasional Twitch streamer. He’s usually at the nearest taqueria or attending the concert of an artist he discovered while surfing the internet.




Brent-200x300 (1)Brent Eickhoff is a director, writer and educator. He’s a founding member and co-artistic director of Blue Goose Theatre Ensemble. Brent has worked with A Red Orchid Theatre, Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co., Arc Theatre, the Public House Theatre, Something Marvelous, Whiskey Radio Hour and The Burrowers. He’s the educational coordinator for Silk Road Rising and has also taught at the Children’s Theatre Co. in Highland Park. While Brent has worked with a variety of Chicago theater artists, he doesn’t let that get in the way of writing unbiased reviews of any production he covers.


SelfieCameraBIO (001 of 001)Chris Riha–better known by his instagram handle @Superbia454–is a multimedia photojournalism student at Columbia College Chicago. Chris has studied alongside legendary Chicago photojournalist John H. White, and barely survived a three-month internship at the Chicago Reader. He is rarely seen out in the wild without a camera or three around his shoulders. When not covering arts and culture, he can be found chasing and photographing politicians and protesters on the streets of Chicago.


tcr colin smithColin Smith listens to garage rock and reads theory by the Frankfurt school. He led his college’s newspaper, wrote features for a magazine in Kenya, and wrote a thesis on the cultural iconography of the guitar. He edits reviews for Pop ‘stache and plays pop-rock music. Follow him on Twitter.


Dan Santaromita is a native of suburban Northbrook and lives in Lincoln Square. He has written for NBC Sports Chicago, Pro Soccer USA and Suburban Life among other outlets since graduating from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. You can find him ranting about soccer, video games and Mizzou football on Twitter @TheDanSanto.



3cr-DaniellePic2016Danielle Wilcox holds an M.F.A in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago where she currently works in the News Office. She is the co-creator of LDOC, a free bi-monthly arts publication, and the recipient of the 2015 Crusade Engagement Grant. She lives in Humboldt Park with her husband and her cat.


3cr-elifgeris-headshot (1)Elif Geris is a concert addict, who also can’t go a day without feeling a musical hum in her throat, and the trickle of her fingers across the keys. She has a background in journalistic writing and radio production, currently working as a producer at WGN Radio. UIC is her alma mater and where she began connecting with Chicago’s music scene.


tcr-amandatugadeF. Amanda Tugade is known as the girl in the back of the bar standing on her tippy-toes, trying to take a cool photos of the show on her iPhone and posting it on IG. She’s currently hustling as a freelance reporter. Follow her every move @followmetugade.


James Brod recently graduated from  Dominican University, with a degree in political science. Ironically, he had previously considered majoring in journalism, but didn’t want to write for a living. Funny how things turn out, isn’t it? You can find him wandering the northwest suburbs, or on Twitter at @JamesBrod12.


3cr-JessicaMlinaricheadshotJessica Mlinaric is a writer, photographer and cat mom. Her first book on the strange and secret corners of Chicago is forthcoming from Reedy Press. Jessica founded urbnexplorer.com in 2010 to share stories about cities and their cultures. Right now, she is probably at a concert or volunteering at 826CHI. She tweets at @urbnexplorer.


Jessica Nikolich was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs. After going to journalism school in Columbia, Missouri, and working at a small-town Michigan newspaper on the banks of Lake Huron, she’s back for good to soak up as much live music, culture and craft beer as humanly possible. Her writing can be found in Chicago magazine and Chicago Innerview Magazine. In the real world, Jessica is a marketing specialist at a law firm and survives her CTA commutes binging podcasts.



Tankboy resides in the body of Jim Kopeny and lives in Mayfair with Pickle the Kitten. He had a beagle named Betty (RIP) who may have actually been slightly more famous than most of the musicians slogging through the local scene. He’s written about music for longer than most bands you hear on the radio have existed. He also swears that it wasn’t him who did that and has learned that “deny everything” is a basic tenet of existence. He was also the senior editor of A&E at Chicagoist from 2005 until the site’s shuttering in late 2017. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and check out his website.


JT Newman (she/they) is a food and cultural reviewer, home chef and media maven who has been writing for a variety of Chicago publications for more than 25 years. They were one of the founders of Third Coast Review in 2015 and were a regular contributor to Gaper’s Block, Nightspots and Windy City Times. Their work has been published in the Chicago Not-For-Tourists Guide, A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago, and Windy City Queer. They host a weekly queer food podcast, Lez Eat, available on Apple and Spotify, among others.


June Sawyers has published more than 25 books. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, New City, San Francisco Chronicle, and Stagebill. She teaches at the Newberry Library and is the founder of the arts group, the Phantom Collective.



Karin McKie is a Chicago freelance writer, cultural factotum and activism concierge. She jams econo.



Kate Scott Daly specializes in music journalism. Her body of work includes live documenting over 200 bands, reviewing several albums and concerts, and multiple artist interviews. Kate continues to brave the photo pits of major music venues and outdoor festivals throughout the Chicagoland scene.


Katie Priest recently returned home to Chicago after receiving her BA in English from the University of Washington in Seattle. She works for an environmental nonprofit where she writes and researches grants and manages social media for expanding agroforestry in developing countries. Katie is pursuing her long-time passion for reading and writing through the exploration and review of the arts with Third Coast Review.


Katie Steensma says, “If you want to learn what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph.” Outside of picture taking, Katie lives in Old Town, can easily finish a bag of chips in one sitting, never wears color, and cries constantly when listening the DJs Porter Robinson and Madeon. @steeeeenz.


TCR-kimCheadshotKim Campbell saw the tidy bowl blue of Lake Michigan for the first time while chugging down Lake Shore Drive with a car full of cats and books. 24 years later, she still misses east coast pizza but considers it a fair trade off for the arts & culture scene in Chicago. She writes with equal fervor about theater, circus, dance and food. Kim is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association. See her tweets at @kimzyn or follow her on Instagram. Email her here.


Mariel Fechik is a musician, writer, and program coordinator for a Chicago nonprofit. She fronts the band Church Booty, sings backup for Chicago musician Emily Blue, and also recently started a duo project with Blue. Her poetry has appeared in various literary journals. She holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois, as well as an Illinois Professional Educators License.



Matthew Nerber is a performer and theater artist in Chicago, and a former literary contributor with the Generation, the University at Buffalo’s longest running alternative newspaper. When not seeing or making theater, Matthew can be found at the Music Box or expanding his classic rock vinyl collection. He is a 2019 Fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.



Michael Kocourek is a Berwyn native, now living on the north side. He is a marketing professional, but beyond the corporate world, his passion involves sharing live concert experiences with the masses. If he isn’t curating a playlist or sharing a new song, he’s likely eating at a Chicago restaurant or cooking.




Nick Blashill is a native of Downers Grove who has recently returned to the Chicago area. By day he works in market research, but he is looking forward to sharing the experiences with Chicago’s craft beer and music scenes that fill his free time.


Patrick T. Reardon is a Chicago historian, essayist, poet and writer who was a Chicago Tribune reporter for 32 years. He is the author of nine books including the forthcoming The Loop: The ‘L’ Tracks That Shaped and Saved Chicago (SIU Press).



3cr-Dailing-Headshot-186x300 (1)Paul Dailing writes The Chicago Review of Terrible Books for Third Coast Review. Whether it examines the Derridian logocentrism of hopping on pop, the speculative fiction of Ray Comfort or the narrative framing structures of a Chilton repair guide for a ’78 Dodge Aspen, the monthly series is a searing, penetrating eye by a literary luminary of whom South African playwright Athol Fugard once said “I have consulted my attorneys and will seek legal action if you do not refrain from attributing fictive laudatory quotes to me.” Dailing writes f’realsies at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.


Pearl Shin is a writer and photographer, passionate about music, film, art, culture, and all things geek. When she’s not being an overthinking nerd, she’s out exploring the city, going to concerts, and looking for the best cafes in Chicago. Get to know Pearl via her siteInstagram, and Twitter.


profileRobert O’Connor is a writer and editor in Chicago. Last year he wrote the book “Hiroshima Nagasaki: An Illustrated History, Anthology, and Guide” for Odyssey Publications. His work has appeared in Lumpen, Mash Tun, Proximity, Spike, 3:AM and Gapersblock.


Sam Kayuha is a writer and journalist from Columbus, Ohio. He is a graduate of Ohio State University and has been writing about music, sports, politics and the arts since 2013. His collected work can be found at medium.com/@skayuha.



Sarah Brooks is a native Chicagoan with a penchant for words, music, art and this magnificent city of Chicago. Raised on The Beatles and learning the violin at age 9, Sarah’s passion for music began early in life. Her musical obsessions include Wilco, Otis Redding, Neko Case and Real Estate, but they truly change daily. She can be found at a concert, trying a new restaurant, or running along the lakefront path. Find her Tweets here and email her here.


Steve Prokopy is our chief film critic. For nearly 20 years, he was the Chicago editor for Ain’t It Cool News, where he contributed film reviews and filmmaker/actor interviews under the name “Capone.” He’s also a contributor at /Film (SlashFilm.com), Backstory Magazine, and the Music Box Theatre website.



The voices in Terry Galvan’s head compel them to write about Chicago’s people, culture and ghosts. As an excuse to learn about the voices in other writers’ heads, they contribute author interviews and book reviews to Third Coast Review. They also love malort. Follow terrygalvan.com @TerryGalvanChi.



3CR Alumni Club

Emma Terhaar is one of the founding editors of Third Coast Review and former editor of the Lit page. She reviews books, plays and music and is an active volunteer for both 826CHI and the Old Town School of Folk Music. In July 2018, she moved back east to fulfill her dream of attending culinary school.


tcr-bencannonmugBenjamin Cannon holds a few bachelor’s degrees and is doing nothing related to what they prepared him to do. In addition to 3CR he is a freelance contributor for The A.V. Club. His passions are design, culture, comedy and Epicurean pursuits. Find him on Twitter or at his website.


TCR-ZachblumyheadshotZach Blumenfeld. Zach, a native of suburban Lincolnshire, graduated from Vanderbilt University in May 2015 and began writing about music and culture as a way to both put off grad school and see as much live music as possible. Zach was the original calendar curator for Third Coast Review, but sorrowfully, he’s now gone on to attend law school in New York. He has been a regular contributor at Performer Magazine and Pop’stache and an editorial intern at Paste Magazine. He loves Twitter followers. 


Chris Zois has been roaming around Chicago since graduating Roosevelt University in 2011. He has been a copywriter and reporter since shedding his cap and gown, working for Fanatics and No Limit Agency. His ramblings deal with his gripes of recent viewings at the multiplex and interviews some of his favorite bands from Chicago. He now lives in Orlando with Katelyn.