Curious City WBEZ's Curious City lets the public choose the stories we cover. You sound off on what's got you curious about Chicago, the region and its people and WBEZ works with you to get answers. Our investigations can morph into videos, comics, long-form articles and — yep—radio stories. This podcast serves up a steamy buffet of questions and answers we've found along the way. You can submit your questions and follow what we're up to at curiouscity.wbez.org.
Curious City

Curious City

From WBEZ

WBEZ's Curious City lets the public choose the stories we cover. You sound off on what's got you curious about Chicago, the region and its people and WBEZ works with you to get answers. Our investigations can morph into videos, comics, long-form articles and — yep—radio stories. This podcast serves up a steamy buffet of questions and answers we've found along the way. You can submit your questions and follow what we're up to at curiouscity.wbez.org.

Most Recent Episodes

The Radical Existence Of Lucy Parsons, The 'Goddess Of Anarchy'

In this episode, reporter Arionne Nettles tells us the story of Lucy Parsons, a Chicago labor activist and anarchist known for her fiery speeches and dubbed "more dangerous than 1,000 rioters." But who she was and what she fought for was complex — and just as complicated was her true identity.

A Most Unusual School Year: Part II

In Part II of our special series on education during COVID-19, reporters Susie An and Kate McGee share stories of two high school juniors going through the college application process during remote learning and several college freshmen experiencing a strange first semester. Some of those college students are studying remotely from the homes where they grew up while others packed up and headed off to campus, only to face a quarantine. Then, we hear from Curious City question askers and experts about what they're thankful for this year.

A Most Unusual School Year: Part I

We've spent the last couple of months reimagining the Curious City podcast and trying out some new ways to answer your questions. And now, the wait is over. We're ready to let you hear what we've been up to. We're still going to be answering your questions, but in this episode, we're collaborating with our audience a little differently. Two WBEZ education reporters share how a family and a teacher are coping with remote learning.

Where Does Your Poop Go?

In 2015, Satchel Lang was a curious five-year-old Chicagoan who didn't want poop's destiny to remain such a mystery. Now 11-years-old, we catch back up with Satchel and revisit the answer to Satchel's question that reveals how poop and pee in the Chicago area get processed by an agency called the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

What My Family's Great Migration Story Reveals About Chicago Blues

In the 20th century, millions of Black Americans who lived in southern states packed up and moved to northern cities — drawn by the promise of greater freedom and better jobs. Many headed to Chicago, and they brought a musical genre with deep African roots that reflected the realities of Black life: the blues. Reporter Arionne Nettles' grandparents were among those who came to Chicago from the South, and when they established themselves in the city, they found success in the growing blues industry.

What Chicago's Architectural Clues Reveal About How We Lived

If you've lived in or visited an older home or apartment building in Chicago, like question asker Biz Knapp, chances are it has an odd door or some other quirky feature that seems out of place today. But the evolution of apartment layouts signifies more than just a change in style or materials — They also provide architectural clues about the way Chicagoans once lived. We revisit those clues in this episode from 2017. Then, we catch up with Evanston elementary drama teacher Michael Rodriguez. You might recognize his voice from an episode back in August, when he shared his excitement for the new school year. Now, about two months into his remote learning routine, we hear if things are going the way he expected.

Chicago Residents Say Rats Are A Problem, So What Is The Solution?

We're back on the rat beat! Through WBEZ's Citizens' Agenda project, Chicagoans expressed concerns about the large number of rats in their neighborhoods. So we walk you through what you, your neighbor and your elected officials can do to tackle Chicago's rat problem. Later in the episode, hear from Chicago-based professional wrestler Colt Cabana, who wants to know your questions about the city's wrestling history.

What Was It Like To Dance At The Warehouse Club In Chicago?

House music got its start in the early 1980s — and it originated right here in Chicago. Many people say The Warehouse, a prominent house music club, is where the music genre got its name. Curious City talked with house heads (superfans) who danced at The Warehouse as teenagers to learn more about what the scene was like in Chicago. And, stick around to hear from a mother who has transformed her Logan Square garage into a remote learning classroom, where preschool, kindergarten and second grade all happen under one roof.

Carl Sandburg's Chicago

The famous poet and writer Carl Sandburg spent more than two decades in Chicago, from 1912 to 1930. In this archival episode from 2017, we explore how the city's people and places helped shape his work — and gives us a personal window into Chicago's past. Plus, the City of Chicago created programs to provide eligible Chicago Public School students with devices and free Internet access for remote learning. We hear from residents at a Back of the Yards community event about how these programs are working.

Here's How Climate Change Is Impacting Lake Michigan

Recent wildfires on the West Coast and Mayor Lightfoot's plan to replace lead service lines in Chicago have brought the environment to the top of our minds. And as reporter Monica Eng found last year, Lake Michigan is already being affected by climate change. For a look at what we can expect moving forward, we return to a question from 2019. Plus, we take another peek inside the new school year in the city.

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