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Joseph Erbentraut
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HuffPost Chicago Editor Joseph Erbentraut has been writing ever since he had access to his mother's typewriter while growing up in rural Wisconsin. Enamored with the keys' clickity-click sound and the simple beauty of black, perfect words against a purely white background. The medium later became a computer and the young writer's life of reporting launched with the "publication" of the Sixth Grade Times, which offered in-depth coverage of school-wide assemblies, birthday parties and breaking playground gossip. Overseeing a staff of five with an angsty teenage fist, he sold issues for a dime apiece and caused quite a stir with one particular series of bag-lunch exposes.

A decade later, Erbentraut earned a B.A. in Journalism & Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and moved shortly thereafter to Chicago, a city he has grown to adore. In addition to his work with The Huffington Post, his writing has been featured in the Village Voice, Windy City Times, Chicagoist, Gapers Block, EDGE Media Network and ChicagoPride.com.

Entries by Joseph Erbentraut

This Chicago Train Performance Has So Much Energy, Passengers Can't Help But Dance

(0) Comments | Posted September 29, 2014 | 1:39 PM

Commuters on a Chicago train were recently treated to a very unusual ride thanks to a local band's spontaneous jam session.

A video uploaded last week by Teo Lopez captured a performance of his Afro-Puerto Rican band, Buya, singing and drumming aboard the CTA Blue Line...

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This $1,000 Ice Cream Sundae Might Actually Be Worth It (If You Have $1,000 Lying Around)

(5) Comments | Posted September 24, 2014 | 1:59 PM

Why would a Chicago hotel put an ice cream sundae on its dessert menu that costs more than many folks pay in monthly rent?

"Why not?" was the explanation offered to HuffPost by Scott Green, executive pastry chef at the Langham Chicago's Pavilion lounge and tea room.

...
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'Mindy Project' Season 3, Episode 2 Recap: 'Annette Castellano Is My Nemesis' Or Really, Danny?

(1) Comments | Posted September 24, 2014 | 9:34 AM

With Mindy Lahiri and Danny Castellano happily coupled, it was only a matter of time before the meeting of the parents re-commenced on "The Mindy Project."

The last time we were in a similar spot on this show, Mindy (Kaling) met Danny (Chris Messina)'s estranged father in California...

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Americans Think Chicago Is The Most Dangerous U.S. City, But It's Really Not

(24) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 5:47 PM

A new poll found that over half of Americans think Chicago is more dangerous than any other large U.S. city. But their perception does not match the reality of the Windy City's crime rate, which is actually falling.

The YouGov poll, published last week, found that Chicago is...

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David Bowie Exhibition Details How An Artist Became An Icon

(16) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 1:33 PM

There’s never been an artist quite like David Bowie, so it’s only fitting that a major exhibition chronicling the legend’s work is as diverse, expansive and exciting as his career over the past half century.

David Bowie Is,” opening Tuesday at the Museum of Contemporary Art in...

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Tennis Coach Hopes Chicago Center Will Become A National Hub For Minority Players

(6) Comments | Posted September 18, 2014 | 5:03 PM

When 33-year-old Kamau Murray first told his parents he wanted to buy out and take over the Chicago tennis center where he himself took up the sport, going so far in the sport as to earn a full-ride college scholarship, they thought he had lost his mind.

But they...

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'Mindy Project' Season 3, Episode 1 Recap: 'We're A Couple Now, Haters,' Or Whoa Nelly, Danny

(6) Comments | Posted September 17, 2014 | 10:37 AM

After what felt like four long months away, Mindy Kaling's "The Mindy Project" returned to the air Tuesday night with an episode packed with the sort of stunts the show's devotees love, as well as the haphazard sub-plots and cameo appearances its detractors loathe.

But all in all,...

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Protests Continue After Chicago Police Shoot 3rd Black Man In 3 Weeks

(47) Comments | Posted September 16, 2014 | 7:31 PM

Protesters again hit the Chicago streets after local police shot a young black man over the weekend, the third incident of its kind in as many weeks.

The rally, which took place in the city's Near West Side neighborhood, was held in direct response to officers shooting Denzel Ford,...

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Patti Smith Tells It Like It Is In Riot Fest Rant, Continues To Be Our F*****g Hero

(43) Comments | Posted September 16, 2014 | 12:40 PM

If anyone was wondering whether 67-year-old "godmother of punk" Patti Smith has lost her rebellious edge, this video should put any doubts to rest.

Capping off an emotional set at Riot Fest in Chicago's Humboldt Park as the sun set Sunday evening, the legendary singer-songwriter, poet and artist...

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Urban Wildlife Research Initiative Needs Your Help Spying On Animals

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 5:12 PM

In an effort to better understand the animals around us, wildlife researchers in Chicago are reaching out to the public to help them make progress on a massive backlog of data.

How can one help? Simply by doing what any Internet-using procrastinator is already very comfortable with: clicking through photos...

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15 Things That Make Riot Fest The Freakiest Music Festival In America

(2) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 1:52 PM

Large-scale music festivals have become a staple of summertime fun, but none of them get quite as weird or wonderful as Riot Fest.

Among the marquee events for Riot Fest's 10-year-anniversary in Chicago over the weekend was a panel that featured the Russian activist band Pussy Riot, whose members...

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Rarely Seen Photos Spotlight The 1970s Social Scene Of South Side Chicago

(21) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 3:11 PM

To say it was a different time is putting it lightly.

In the 1970s on Chicago's South Side, revelers in their finest packed into nightclubs, dancing the night away to the soulful music of the era while knocking back a drink or three at now-extinct blues clubs like Perv's House,...

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Wall Street Journal Video Tries To Explain How A Family Making $400,000 A Year Feels Broke

(204) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 4:30 PM

To any of the 50 million Americans currently living in poverty, an annual household income of $400,000 probably sounds like a dream come true. Even to the millions of people among the rapidly-disappearing middle class, that kind of money sounds cushy.

Not so fast, proclaims...

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7 Charged In Brutal Machete Attack Caught On Surveillance Video At Train Station

(39) Comments | Posted September 10, 2014 | 4:18 PM

Seven people, three of them juveniles, are facing charges after allegedly surrounding two brothers at a Chicago train station and attacking one of them with a machete.

The incident, which was captured by a CTA surveillance camera, took place about 12:30 a.m. Monday. A 26-year-old man and...

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Professor Who Lost Job Over Anti-Israel Tweets: University Setting A 'Perilous Standard'

(45) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 7:09 PM

A professor who left his position at another school to join the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -- only to see his job offer abruptly retracted as a result of social media posts criticizing Israel's role in the Gaza conflict -- has publicly addressed the controversy for the first time.

...
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Church Music Director Fired Over Same-Sex Engagement Fights To Get His Job Back

(22) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 4:05 PM

The former music director of a suburban Chicago church who was let go after becoming engaged to another man is taking his quest to get his job back directly to the head of the Chicago Archdiocese.

Colin Collette, who was let go from his previous post at Holy Family Parish...

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Rahm Emanuel's Money May Not Be Enough To Save Him

(43) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 9:40 AM

While Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's (D) approval rating among voters has continued to dwindle in recent polling, critics hoping to capitalize on the mayor's unpopularity have struggled to overcome their biggest obstacle to defeating Emanuel: fielding a major challenger to take him on.

That could soon...

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Youth Homelessness Is An Invisible Issue, But It Doesn't Have To Be

(1) Comments | Posted September 7, 2014 | 11:23 AM

"Is this the life I'm going to live for the rest of my life?"

Those are the words spoken by one of the three young people at the center of "The Homestretch," a documentary that offers an unprecedented look into the day-to-day lives of three of

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Donor Complaints May Have Prompted Controversial Professor To Lose University Of Illinois Job

(60) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 2:43 PM

A number of angry e-mails from university donors sent to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise apparently served as the impetus for the school to abruptly rescind a job offer to academic Steven Salaita.

The Daily Illini, which obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request,...

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Why This Chicago High School Has Only 12 Students Left

(11) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 6:07 PM

Classes began districtwide at Chicago's public schools on Tuesday, and the scene at most of the city's hundreds of schools was one of excitement as groups of students crowded into the campus doors.

This was not the case, however, at Dyett High School in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood on...

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