5 Questions: Freelance Writer and Photographer Robert Loerzel

A_bird's_head_in_Streeterville_October_16_2018_©_Robert_Loerzel A bird's head in Streeterville, October 16, 2018 | Taken with an iPhone 6s within the Chicago city limits | © Robert Loerzel

Robert Loerzel is a freelance journalist and photographer in Chicago. His historical nonfiction book “Alchemy of Bones: Chicago’s Luetgert Murder Case of 1897” was published in 2003 by the University of Illinois Press. His reporting and writing have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Reader, Chicago magazine, and other publications. He has reported on-air for WBEZ Chicago Public Radio, including stories for the Curious City show. His concert photography and reviews appear on his blog, undergroundbee.com. His Twitter account, @robertloerzel, has 12,800 followers.


 

1. What’s been keeping you up at night?

Just the usual stuff: the seemingly impending hellish global catastrophes, evil monsters occupying our nation’s executive branch, things like that. In a more positive way, I literally lose sleep sometimes when my brain is occupied with thinking about things I want to write.

A_worm_on_the_Broadway_sidewalk_in_Uptown_November_14_2017_©_Robert_Loerzel
A worm on the Broadway sidewalk in Uptown, November 14, 2017 | Taken with an iPhone 6s within the Chicago city limits | © Robert Loerzel

2. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or heard lately?

The Art Institute of Chicago hosted a daylong event, with musicians playing twelve different John Zorn compositions, each in a different gallery, juxtaposed with artworks that loosely corresponded with the music. Zorn was there himself, playing a couple of pieces (and urging audience members not to take pictures or videos with their cellphones or cameras). The diversity of the music was impressive, and it was just downright cool to see music being played without any amplification in incredible settings like that. My favorite moment was watching as Zorn had a huge smile on his face, even laughing, as he sat crosslegged on a gallery floor and listened to some string musicians playing a piece he’d performed. This was also a nice social event, as we audience members struck up conversations while walking from gallery to gallery.

A_coyote_in_Graceland_Cemetery_September_8_2018_©_Robert_Loerzel
A coyote in Graceland Cemetery, September 8, 2018 | Taken with an iPhone 6s within the Chicago city limits | © Robert Loerzel

3. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?

For a long time now, I’ve been researching and writing a nonfiction historical book about some crimes in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. How long have I been working on this? Fifteen years! (Gulp.) I haven’t gotten tired of the topic yet, and I still keep making interesting discoveries. And I *hope* I’ll have something to show for it … sometime soon.

A_cicada_on_a_sidewalk_in_Ravenswood_August_13_2018_©_Robert_Loerzel
A cicada on a sidewalk in Ravenswood, August 13, 2018 | Taken with an iPhone 6s within the Chicago city limits | © Robert Loerzel

4. If you could add anyone, alive or dead to your team, who would it be?

That depends on what the project is. I don’t really have a “team” as such, though of course I collaborate with various people on various projects. Rather than choosing some famous person, I might prefer paired with creative people I’ve never heard of, someone from a completely different background.

A_spider_outside_the_eleventh-floor_windows_of_the_Daley_Center_August_15_2018_©_Robert_Loerzel
A spider outside the eleventh-floor windows of the Daley Center, August 15, 2018 | Taken with an iPhone 6s within the Chicago city limits | © Robert Loerzel

5. When the movie of your life is made, what will it be called?

“Untitled.”

Milkweed_bugs_at_Wolf_Lake_September_30_2018_©_Robert_Loerzel
Milkweed bugs at Wolf Lake, September 30, 2018 | Taken with an iPhone 6s within the Chicago city limits | © Robert Loerzel
A_grasshopper_in_Horner_Park_October_11_2018_©_Robert_Loerzel
A grasshopper in Horner Park, October 11, 2018 | Taken with an iPhone 6s within the Chicago city limits | © Robert Loerzel
A_rabbit_under_the_Brown_Line_in_Ravenswood_August_6_2018_©_Robert_Loerzel
A rabbit under the Brown Line in Ravenswood, August 6, 2018 | Taken with an iPhone 6s within the Chicago city limits | © Robert Loerzel
A_butterfly_on_a_wall_in_Ravenswood_July_17_2018_©_Robert_Loerzel
A butterfly on a wall in Ravenswood, July 17, 2018 | Taken with an iPhone 6s within the Chicago city limits | © Robert Loerzel
A_mouse_outside_Graceland_Cemetery_September_8_2018_©_Robert_Loerzel
A mouse outside Graceland Cemetery, September 8, 2018 | Taken with an iPhone 6s within the Chicago city limits | © Robert Loerzel
Canada_geese_in_St._Boniface_Cemetery_December_14_2015_©_Robert_Loerzel
Canada geese in St. Boniface Cemetery, December 14, 2015 | Taken with an iPhone 6s within the Chicago city limits | © Robert Loerzel
Pigeons_in_Uptown_December_17_2015_©_Robert_Loerzel
Pigeons in Uptown, December 17, 2015 | Taken with an iPhone 6s within the Chicago city limits | © Robert Loerzel

 


Learn more about Robert Loerzel at his website, his blog, and the site for his  book.