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Chicago Stories

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

The stories of everyday Chicagoans as told to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

36:26 | Mar 2nd

Author Alex Kotlowitz burst into the public 25-years-ago with his seminal work "There Are No Children Here." Now he's out with its bookend, "An American Summer," about the lives affected by gun violence. Tune in as Alex and Mayor Emanuel share a hone...Show More

43:39 | May 17th

Thanks for listening! On this final episode of "Chicago Stories," Mayor Emanuel swapped mics with legendary broadcaster Bill Kurtis for a look back on his own life and career, from his first steps in politics, to the countless lessons he learned in t...Show More

31:55 | May 7th

How do you win the speaker's gavel twice? One vote at a time. Tune in as Mayor Emanuel sits down with the one and only Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for a wide-ranging discussion on politics and power, leadership and public service, and why after...Show More

36:41 | Apr 25th

Theaster Gates is many things, but he doesn’t see it that way. Tune in as Mayor Emanuel talks to the world-famous artist about connecting art with neighborhood development, discovering the spiritual life of abandoned spaces, and the “aha” moment that...Show More

35:54 | Apr 19th

Chemi Peres is a man on a mission. Tune in as Mayor Emanuel speaks with the venture capitalist and chairman of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation about impact investing and peace through technology, Israel and its recent elections, and his wor...Show More

34:33 | Apr 15th

Foreign policy is never what it used to be. Tune in as Mayor Emanuel joins Council on Foreign Relations president Dr. Richard Haass for a sweeping conversation on America's evolving role since the Cold War, his advice for 2020 candidates, how to prio...Show More

27:01 | Apr 5th

Dr. Helene Gayle has made a career out of making a difference. Tune in as she and Mayor Emanuel talk about her early career fighting HIV/AIDS, how to create inclusive economic growth, what brought her to Chicago, and her vision as president of the Ch...Show More

29:08 | Apr 1st

Chicago is the best sports town on Earth. Period. Tune in as Mayor Emanuel and sportswriter and radio host David Haugh dive into the dizzying highs and crushing lows that comes with being a fan in this city, from our greatest coaches, to our unsung t...Show More

41:34 | Mar 15th

Eddie Bocanegra's life is a story of choices, mistakes, leadership, and redemption. Tune in as he tells Mayor Emanuel about his transformation from gang member and convicted felon, to trailblazing leader at the Heartland Alliance's READI Chicago prog...Show More

28:59 | Mar 8th

Think the Supreme Court brings about social change? Think again. Tune in as Mayor Emanuel sits down with Supreme Court historian and scholar Gerald Rosenberg to talk about the true impact of landmark cases, the court's long history of politicization,...Show More

39:27 | Feb 22nd

"Order vs. Disorder." "Non-Linear Accelerations." "Mirroring Mother Nature." Mayor Emanuel was joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and author Thomas Friedman for a spirited conversation about the complex forces shaping our world, where they ca...Show More

44:36 | Feb 16th

It's been 50 years since Lyndon Johnson's presidency, but his impact continues to reverberate across our culture, politics, and society to this day. Tune in as historian and director of the LBJ Presidential Library Kyle Longley takes a deep dive with...Show More

36:29 | Feb 8th

Everyone knows about the connections between politics and performance, but it turns out mayors and theater critics have a lot in common as well. At the start of both Chicago Theatre Week and the Year of Chicago Theatre, the great drama critic Chris J...Show More

29:25 | Feb 1st

Famed political and moral philosopher Martha Nussbaum stopped by City Hall for a conversation with Mayor Emanuel about ideas and ideals, the role of philosophers in the public arena, and the churning emotions of our political moment she laid out in l...Show More

34:11 | Jan 25th

Ben Bernanke’s goal during the Financial Crisis was simple: get people back to work. Doing it was a lot more complicated. Tune as Mayor Emanuel and the former Fed Chair take a deep dive into the heady days of the Great Recession, its turbulent politi...Show More

27:09 | Jan 18th

"I look at space as I would look at the way in which one choreographs a work." Renowned visual and performance artist Nick Cave dropped by City Hall to talk to Mayor Emanuel about how he approached his immersive new work at the CTA's Garfield Green '...Show More

44:27 | Jan 13th

What makes a good leader? Do we create false leaders? What role does context play in leadership? Gen. Stanley McChrystal joined Mayor Emanuel for a fascinating conversation on the myths and realities of leadership and how they continue to shape our s...Show More

24:01 | Dec 21st, 2018

You know Pat McGann, whether you know him or not. On this week’s episode Mayor Emanuel sits down with the Beverly-native to hear how he went from selling boxes to telling jokes, along with his take on Chicago humor, how his family's an endless supply...Show More

40:28 | Dec 14th, 2018

Trump! House Dems! Rural voters! Liberal hubris! Ohio! 2020! Legendary political strategist James Carville dropped by City Hall for some lively shop talk with Mayor Emanuel on everything under the political sun, from strategy and values, to the impor...Show More

29:16 | Dec 7th, 2018

Recorded in Begyle Brewing Company on Chicago's "Malt Row," Mayor Emanuel and beer writer Josh Noel plunged into Josh's new book, "Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out," to explore the story behind craft brewing, the community it created, which new Chic...Show More

36:49 | Nov 30th, 2018

Derek Black was the heir apparent of white nationalism. Now he's speaking out against it. Tune in as he and Mayor Emanuel talk about his journey of personal awakening, along with the movement's political strategy, Chicago’s place in its ideology, and...Show More

37:07 | Nov 21st, 2018

For our special Thanksgiving episode, Mayor Emanuel welcomed the great American historian Doris Kearns Goodwin to City Hall to talk about her new book, "Leadership in Turbulent Times," as well as the lessons of history, the responsibility of historia...Show More

34:08 | Nov 16th, 2018

J.B. Pritzker wants to be the best Chief Marketing Officer Illinois has ever had--and a whole lot more. Fresh off his win for Illinois Governor, J.B. Pritzker dropped by City Hall to talk to Mayor Emanuel about his big plans for the state, starting w...Show More

34:17 | Nov 10th, 2018

Belonging, identity, faith, and self-acceptance. These are only some of the themes Fatima Farheen Mirza explores in her masterful debut novel, "A Place For Us." Tune in as she and Mayor Emanuel--a big fan himself--share a funny and sensitive conversa...Show More

31:09 | Nov 2nd, 2018

Chicago is Pizza City, USA. Just ask Chicago food critic Steve Dolinsky who went on an epic journey to over 100 pizza spots in search of the perfect slice. Tune in as he and Mayor Emanuel deep-dive into Chicago's 10 unique styles, even sampling four ...Show More

30:20 | Oct 26th, 2018

Right on the heels of their opening night performance of "Swan Lake," Mayor Emanuel visited the Joffrey Ballet's artistic director Ashley Wheater in their downtown studio for a live conversation on this year's new works and reinvented classics, the i...Show More

37:16 | Oct 19th, 2018

What makes a great war president? Can U.S. presidents be great without a war? Mayor Emanuel sits down with presidential historian Michael Beschloss to tackle these questions and a lot more in a rollicking discussion that stretches from the birth of o...Show More

31:23 | Oct 13th, 2018

Multi-talented director, actor, producer and writer Mario Van Peebles is known for creating seminal movies like New Jack City and Baadasssss!, where he portrayed his father Melvin Van Peebles, who spearheaded African American filmmaking and directing...Show More

27:27 | Sep 28th, 2018

Jane M. Saks wants all of us to participate in our own stories. Mayor Emanuel sits down with the President and Artistic Director of Chicago-based arts collective Project& to talk about its upcoming opera "Pan," creating social impact through artistic...Show More

27:28 | Sep 21st, 2018

30 years ago trades were pushed out of public schools, but today they’re roaring back. Tune in as Mayor Emanuel sits down with Dunbar Career Academy High School instructor and IBEW electrician Mario Miller and one of his students, Javier Lopez, to he...Show More

23:08 | Sep 14th, 2018

Denise Sauriol's first Chicago Marathon 24-years-ago ignited an empowerment engine she never thought possible. Today, she's a running coach working to inspire others to do the same. With this year's race just a few weeks away, Mayor Emanuel sat down ...Show More

30:32 | Sep 8th, 2018

Since age 16, Bill Kurtis knew he had a golden gift — his voice. Mayor Emanuel sits down with one of the most legendary anchormen as he recalls vivid moments in Chicago’s history, including the ’68 Convention, the “Battle of Michigan Avenue” and the ...Show More

33:35 | Sep 1st, 2018

Jonathan Eig never thought he'd be a biographer. The best-selling author of works on Muhammad Ali, Al Capone, the birth control pill, and others, talks to Mayor Emanuel about how he chooses his subjects, what surprised him about each one, and what he...Show More

25:01 | Aug 24th, 2018

Pat Tomasulo is a funny man on a serious mission. Mayor Emanuel sat down with the sportscaster, stand-up comic, and host of WGN’s “Man of the People” who’s also fighting to fund research and raise awareness for people suffering from neuropathic disor...Show More

37:20 | Aug 17th, 2018

There's no way singer and actor Miguel Cervantes is throwing away his shot. Tune in as the star of Chicago’s “Hamilton” gives Mayor Emanuel his take on the smash-hit musical, shares the story of his hard-won career, and talks about his biggest role o...Show More

16:54 | Aug 10th, 2018

Just before joining his weekly Peace Gathering in North Lawndale, Mayor Emanuel sat down with Pastor James Brooks of Harmony Community Church in Chicago’s West Side to hear about his journey of faith, how he's fighting neighborhood violence, and what...Show More

30:11 | Aug 4th, 2018

Former Vice Lord Benny Lee is a counselor, activist, mentor, and college professor, but he didn't start out that way. Tune in as he and Mayor Emanuel talk about his inspiring journey from gang life and death row, to education, advocacy, and helping o...Show More

33:02 | Jul 27th, 2018

Historian and long-time Chicago Tribune columnist Ron Grossman probably knows more "Chicago Stories" than anyone else. Tune in as he and Mayor Emanuel "kibbitz" about Chicago's old Ward battles, evolving ethnic neighborhoods, the Albany Park of their...Show More

25:37 | Jul 21st, 2018

Actress and comedian Erica Watson stopped by City Hall to talk to Mayor Emanuel about her roles in "The Chi," her new movie "BlacKorea," and the growing strength of Chicago's film and television industry. They also shared a frank conversation about c...Show More

24:07 | Jul 13th, 2018

Mayor Emanuel welcomed Chicago ragtime pianist, composer, and scholar Reginald R. Robinson to City Hall to hear about his unlikely story as a self-taught artist, the highs and lows of his creative process, being a MacArthur "Genius," and ragtime's pl...Show More

27:27 | Jul 7th, 2018

Mayor Emanuel turned the tables on Val Warner, host of the Chicago's popular Windy City LIVE daytime talk show to ask her everything from parenting, faith, and family, to how she got her start, and the secrets of a good interview.

31:49 | Jun 29th, 2018

Mayor Emanuel stepped inside the mind of economist Steven Levitt, co-author of the wildly successful "Freakonomics" series, to hear how he comes up with questions, rationality vs. incentive, the value of change, public policy, the new ideas he's expl...Show More

18:28 | Jun 22nd, 2018

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Mayor Emanuel have a lot to say about preparing Chicago's students for the future. Listen in as the two Clinton Administration alums talk digital training, corporate leadership, female empowerment, and making the world ...Show More

16:57 | Jun 16th, 2018

On this week's Father's Day episode, Mayor Emanuel was honored to be joined by his own father, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, for a special conversation on parenthood, as well as a look back on his own life and long career. Tune in as Dr. Emanuel shares stori...Show More

25:48 | Jun 8th, 2018

"Chicago Stories" is celebrating its first birthday with bus driving, world-touring blues artist Toronzo Cannon. Tune in as he talks to Mayor Emanuel about writing songs on his route, the difference between West Side and South Side blues, how he bala...Show More

21:00 | Jun 2nd, 2018

Nashone Greer-Adams is doing amazing things. Mayor Emanuel had the privilege to be joined by the founder of Little Angels Learning Center in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood to talk about the importance of early-education, serving the whole family, h...Show More

19:59 | May 25th, 2018

Fresh off their wins on "Top Chef" and "MasterChef Junior," Mayor Emanuel sat down with Chicago culinary wizards Joe Flamm and 11-year-old Beni Cwiakala to learn about their signature dishes, their favorite restaurants, and conquering cooking's tough...Show More

31:14 | May 19th, 2018

He’s adopted Chicago as his home, and Chicago is better for it. You know Steve Cochran as the host of his eponymous morning show on WGN Radio, but hear him as Mayor Emanuel’s guest as they discuss Steve’s own story of adoption and the importance of f...Show More

25:50 | May 11th, 2018

Iran, North Korea, Syria, China, Russia, and much more. Mayor Emanuel sat down with Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, to help make sense of the news, its major players, and how America...Show More

21:38 | May 4th, 2018

Phillips Academy High School has won two football state championships in the last three years and has no plans on stopping. Not bad for a team that finished 2-7 as recently as 2010. Tune in as Coach Troy McAllister tells Mayor Emanuel how it happened...Show More

23:46 | Apr 27th, 2018

Rainn Wilson took a break from his star turn at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre to stop by City Hall and talk to Mayor Emanuel about acting and service, his Baha'i faith and his current play "The Doppelgänger (an international farce)," and, of course, ...Show More

36:41 | Apr 21st, 2018

Auschwitz survivor Fritzie Fritzshall shares her firsthand account of the Holocaust with Mayor Rahm Emanuel in this special live podcast episode at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. She’s joined by Susan Abrams, the Museum’s CEO, on...Show More

28:32 | Apr 13th, 2018

After a Cinderella story for the ages, Loyola Ramblers basketball coach Porter Moser took a break from his busy off-season to talk to Mayor Emanuel about his whirlwind ride. Tune in as Coach Moser shares memories from the Final Four run, learning fro...Show More

37:08 | Apr 4th, 2018

50 years ago today, the world lost one of the greatest civil rights leaders of our time. The death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sent shock waves around the globe, and nowhere more so than here in Chicago. To commemorate this anniversary, Mayor ...Show More

43:39 | Mar 30th, 2018

Peter Sagal is a man of many interests, which you’d expect from the host of NPR’s long-running “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” Listen as Peter and Mayor Emanuel look back on his unlikely career, the growth of news and comedy, and swap stories on marriage...Show More

30:24 | Mar 23rd, 2018

David Eigenberg’s time on “Sex and the City” may have given him notoriety, but it’s his turn on “Chicago Fire” that’s been the role of a lifetime. Tune in as Mayor Emanuel talks to David about Chicago’s bravest, moving back home, and everything that ...Show More

30:02 | Mar 16th, 2018

Entrepreneurial guru Howard Tullman sits down with Mayor Emanuel in Chicago Stories’ first live podcast to dive into Chicago's surging innovation scene, taking a look back at his story of reinvention, 1871’s world leading expansion, and how Chicago b...Show More

28:32 | Mar 9th, 2018

Tom Skilling loves the weather, but his focus has increasingly turned to the urgency of climate change, or as he also puts it, "climate disruption." Tune in to hear his discussion with Mayor Emanuel about his remarkable career, the importance of foll...Show More

30:04 | Mar 2nd, 2018

George Saunders is a man of many careers and characters, but his voice has only one home. Tune in as Mayor Emanuel sits down with the acclaimed essayist, short-story writer, and first-time novelist as they talk about "Lincoln in the Bardo," creativit...Show More

45:36 | Feb 24th, 2018

Ben Austen’s new book “High-Risers” focuses on Chicago’s infamous Cabrini-Green complex, the people who lived there, and the past, present and promise of public housing as a metaphor for cities and America at large. Mayor Emanuel sits down with the j...Show More

32:03 | Feb 18th, 2018

Her restaurant The Boarding House was just named a 2018 James Beard Award semifinalist for "Outstanding Wine Program," and she was the youngest women and only South Asian in the world to become a Master Sommelier. Mayor Emanuel chats with Alpana Sing...Show More

33:35 | Feb 9th, 2018

Even before “Friends” David Schwimmer became a household name, he was a passionate actor, director and activist rooted in Chicago’s cultural community as a founding member of the Lookingglass Theatre Company with a work ethic that is second to none. ...Show More

47:56 | Feb 2nd, 2018

From driving a cab to driving the national debate on immigration, Congressman Luis Gutiérrez tells Mayor Emanuel how it happened in a wide-ranging conversation through Chicago's neighborhoods, Puerto Rico's countryside, the halls of Congress and the ...Show More

32:29 | Jan 27th, 2018

Chicago is on the road to the Oscars! Local film company Kartemquin Films, which has been making powerful independent films for over 50 years, has just been nominated for not one but two Academy Awards this year for "Abacus: Small Enough to Jail" (no...Show More

25:18 | Jan 19th, 2018

Graham Elliot knows the secret to the perfect grilled cheese. The celebrity chef stopped by City Hall to talk to Mayor Emanuel about everything from Chicago's food scene, to his new projects, his advice for young chefs, and, of course, that grilled c...Show More

35:02 | Jan 13th, 2018

99-year-old Timuel Black is one of Chicago’s most influential activists and civil rights leaders. His experience serving in World War II in Normandy and witnessing the horrors of Buchenwald concentration camp led him to devote his life to the fight f...Show More

31:07 | Jan 5th, 2018

The tables are turned as Mayor Emanuel interviews David Axelrod, host of "The Axe Files," about his 40-year career in politics, his daughter's battle with epilepsy and his unique view of Chicago as a former Tribune reporter in the 1970s. You won't wa...Show More

27:39 | Dec 22nd, 2017

University of Chicago distinguished law professor Eric Posner co-wrote a powerful Op-Ed in the New York Times about the Logan Act and Robert Mueller's investigation. Hear him discuss its legal dimensions and possible outcomes with Mayor Emanuel.

29:10 | Dec 16th, 2017

Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, speaks with the Mayor about his recent visit to Puerto Rico for relief and recovery efforts and shares his thoughts on immigration and DACA, the role of religion and faith in addressing violence in the ci...Show More

33:33 | Dec 9th, 2017

Meet Anthony Moseley, Artistic Director of Collaboraction, a contemporary theater company part of “Night Out in the Parks” that explores race, culture and social justice issues across the city. He’s “surprisingly fresh” in his approach to tackling to...Show More

32:40 | Dec 1st, 2017

Mayor Emanuel sat down with XS Tennis founder and 2017 U.S. Open champion coach Kamau Murray to talk about Chicago's grit, mentoring young people though tennis, and growing the game.

31:13 | Nov 24th, 2017

In honor of the 30th Anniversary of Mayor Harold Washington's death, his top aide Jacky Grimshaw sat down with Mayor Emanuel to look back on the life and legacy of Chicago's trailblazing leader.

24:35 | Nov 18th, 2017

Chicago Architecture Biennial artistic directors Mark Lee and Sharon Johnston discuss architecture's role in creating sustainable beauty and inclusivity amid ever-changing cities and spaces.

28:19 | Nov 10th, 2017

Pilsen native Stuart Dybek, one of America’s great poets and writers, reminisces with Mayor Emanuel about Chicago’s working-class roots and neighborhoods that he calls “eyes into the City’s soul.”

28:57 | Nov 4th, 2017

Jahmal Cole, Chatham resident and founder of My Block, My Hood, My City, talks with Mayor Emanuel about his journey and how he came to believe that "exposure is key" to helping Chicago’s youth discover new opportunities and embrace their city.

38:46 | Oct 27th, 2017

MacArthur “Genius” and Palestinian-American activist Rami Nashashibi dives deep into an honest conversation with Mayor Emanuel about breaking barriers and building bridges from the land of Jerusalem to Chicago’s Southwest Side.

26:21 | Oct 21st, 2017

Chicago and Apple don't just share a long history, they also share the same values. Tune in as Apple CEO Tim Cook talks to Mayor Emanuel about the equalizing power of education, the need for diversity, the definition of America, and much more. This w...Show More

28:05 | Oct 13th, 2017

Richard Thaler's path to the Nobel Prize began with a bowl of cashews. It was the light-bulb moment that set him on a career of predicting irrational behavior. Think of it as being right about being wrong. Tune in as he and Mayor Emanuel discuss irra...Show More

19:21 | Oct 6th, 2017

What do Operation, Radio Flyer, Cards Against Humanity, Beanie Babies and Pinball have in common? They were all invented in Chicago. Mayor Emanuel chats with Mary Couzin, founder of the Chicago Toy and Game Group, about why Chicago is the toy and gam...Show More

23:07 | Sep 29th, 2017

Meet Leah Guenther, a Chicago Public Schools teacher in Englewood who uses her love of Shakespeare to help struggling students vastly improve their reading levels in a very short amount of time.

26:25 | Sep 22nd, 2017

Comedy legend and lifelong Chicagoan Charna Halpern shares her stories about spotting stars, saving the world from black holes, and unlocking the secrets of the universe with the scientists at CERN. Pretty much what you'd expect from the Mother of Mo...Show More

24:36 | Sep 8th, 2017

Air Force veteran Claude Lamb shares his story about overcoming “physical and mental” homelessness, rebuilding his life, and going to community college in his 70's.

23:53 | Aug 25th, 2017

"Let me add life to my years and years to my life." Alphonso Johnson talks being a husband, father, and building a new life after prison with help from the CTA Second Chance Program.

26:08 | Aug 19th, 2017

Mayor Emanuel interviews the inspiring Michael Patrick Thornton about how he founded Chicago's Gift Theatre, a quintessential storefront theater, and about his acting and directing career as a person with disabilities, including on ABC's "Private Pra...Show More

23:51 | Aug 11th, 2017

Mayor Emanuel visits 1871 to meet Shaniqua Davis, who used to apply to jobs using the name "Shawn" to get more response from employers. Then she founded Noirefy, a startup focused on diversity in hiring across all industries. Hear her Chicago story.

18:43 | Aug 4th, 2017

As the iconic Chicago Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza celebrates its 50th anniversary, hear what its original unveiling was like back in 1967 according to Tim Samuelson, the City's official historian who was there, and Eric Keune, SOM Design Directo...Show More

15:46 | Jul 28th, 2017

Mayor Emanuel meets with Ken, Patti and Dan Raskin, whose family has run Manny's, a Jewish deli and beloved cultural institution on Chicago's Near South Side, for 75 years. (Bonus: Find out what the Mayor's favorite sandwich is.)

16:55 | Jul 21st, 2017

Mayor Rahm Emanuel personally meets with Arturo and Daniela, two students who graduated this year debt-free from City Colleges of Chicago thanks to the STAR Scholarship, to discuss their hopes and ambitions.

21:35 | Jul 14th, 2017

Tiny Tapp owner Mark William Johnson discusses Chicago's craft cocktail scene and the revitalization of the Riverwalk with Mayor Emanuel at City Hall on this week's episode.

31:52 | Jul 7th, 2017

It's Korean fine dining vs. Southern BBQ. With the Taste of Chicago in full swing, Mayor Emanuel invites Charlie Robinson, founder of Robinson's Ribs, and Chef Beverly Kim of Michelin-starred Parachute restaurant to City Hall.

25:43 | Jul 1st, 2017

What if you were given a second chance at life? Listen as Mayor Rahm Emanuel reunites with AJ Mohammed, a wounded warrior competing in the 2017 Warrior Games in Chicago whom he met years ago at Walter Reed Medical Center.

32:15 | Jun 23rd, 2017

Mayor Emanuel talks about spoken word's home in Chicago, the creative process and the joys and lessons of fatherhood with poet and artist Harold Green.

26:30 | Jun 16th, 2017

Mayor Emanuel chats with Allison Tingwall, Principal of Curie High School, about how she came to teach and lead a Chicago Public School and her views on education.

29:33 | Jun 9th, 2017

Mayor Emanuel sits down with Barbara Gaines, Artistic Director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, on the eve of the opening of "The Yard."

23:31 | Jun 2nd, 2017

Mayor Emanuel kicks off the inaugural Chicago Stories podcast by sitting down with Haymarket Brewery on the eve of the launch of the first Friday Night Flights, a summer series of craft beer festivals around the city.