How did this month’s once-in-a-lifetime cover come about? To explain, I have to describe how the sausage—er, hot dog?—is made.
We’ve gradually done away with the “cover story,” a central part of our existence for the last three decades, in favor of a cover that draws from aspects of a feature story or two for design inspiration, but that lives as its own thing. There are many reasons for doing this, not the least of which is that every issue, including this one, has typically four or more stories that could have been cover stories in our past.
Most of our bigger feature stories come together for us in a straightforward way; a writer pitches an idea to an editor, or in some cases an editor pitches an idea to a writer. But that does not explain where those ideas come from.
Take this month’s “Paper Chase,” for example. Writer Dave Hoekstra is friends with photographer Paul Natkin. Paul introduced Dave to his neighbor, Tom Greensfelder, who told Dave about his lifelong obsession with paper models and showed them to him. Dave then pitched us the story. The story then inspired us to create a cover that is a functional paper model that is the first fold-out in our history.
Matt Bergstrom is a creator of paper models—he’s mentioned in Dave’s story—who has created a number of extraordinary paper models of Chicago, including the Thompson Center, the Metropolitan Correctional Center and the Ohio House Coffee Shop. (See them at buildyourownchicago.com.) We asked Matt to create something for us, perhaps drawn from Chicago’s iconic vernacular, like a hot dog or Italian beef stand. Matt responded with the idea of a full-scale replica model of a Chicago hot dog, and we bit.
We then asked longtime contributor Monica Kass Rogers to photograph it like she would other food arrangements, and here you go. To add relish to the whole thing, it turns out that dining and drinking editor David Hammond’s new book, with co-author Monica Eng, about iconic made-in-Chicago foods is coming out this month, so we asked him to craft an excerpt that included the hot dog. And voila, two stories converge in one cover. We hope you have fun assembling it after you read the issue.
Look for Newcity’s March 2023 print edition at over 300 Chicago-area locations this week or subscribe to the print edition at Newcityshop.com.
IN THIS ISSUE
Madness, the Mother-in-Law and the Truth About Deep Dish Pizza
Big questions about Chicago’s original foods
Trying to piece together how a mother’s life was disrupted
Ode to the Pasty
Where a handheld meat pie is, well, everything
Tom Greensfelder’s model life
“Self-Portrait Lined by Robert Desnos”
A new poem from Simone Muench and Jackie K. White
And so much more…