Marla Seidell
Professional/Personal Overview
  Marla Seidell is a Chicago-based freelance journalist and arts critic. Her writing has been published in The Daily Herald, The Onion A.V. Club, Timeout Chicago, ARTnews, and Today's Chicago Woman, among other outlets.

Marla has interviewed prominent Chicagoans such as Bill Zwecker, Bill Kurtis, and Lois Weisberg. She has profiled numerous artists, musicians and bands, including Jason Pierce, Juliana Hatfield, The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, Anavan and Locrian.

Marla's mission is to report on the creative voices of artists (not celebrities). In food and travel, she aims to provide access to cheap and healthy international cuisine, in addition to affordable, eclectic trip ideas.

Drawing from her experiences in Amsterdam, Chicago, New York City, Washington DC, Washington State, and all over Europe, Marla's writing reflects her tastes and travels 'round the world. Read more at The Latest and Greatest (
Contact Info
  Marla Seidell
Chicago, IL 

Work Samples
Dining and Wine  
(The Daily Herald, 2/10/2009)
If you enjoy bona fide Thai food with a healthy, fresh composition, Buffalo Grove's Oishii Thai offers just what the doctor ordered. Dishes packed with flavor and vegetables at moderate prices, along with a pleasant, attentive staff, present an appealing dining option in a sea of strip-mall platitud
(The Daily Herald, 1/8/2009)
Those in search of a place to drink Guinness while watching the game or a spot to linger over food and extended conversation will find refuge at Citizen Kane Food & Spirits in Geneva.
(The Daily Herald, 1/2/2009)
If you opt for authentic Chinese over the Americanized version, you should be satisfied at Wonton Gourmet in Des Plaines, where fast service and generous portions at bargain prices offer hard-to-beat value in a recessionary economy.
(Citysearch, 12/15/2008)
If you're looking for old world charm brewed with a healthy dose of fun, look no further than Irving Park. Straddling eight neighborhoods and boasting stunning nineteenth-century architecture, world-class restaurants and nightlife, this stretch of urban pleasures has it all.
(The Daily Herald, 12/3/2008)
On a chilly Wednesday evening this fall, I discovered an Italian restaurant in Algonquin that doesn't skimp on the portions or romantic decor.
(Citysearch, 12/3/2008)
Lori Mukoyama's stunning black-and-white decor shows what a difference downtown makes. This sister version of Lincoln Square's Tallulah distinguishes itself from its predecessor with an extra coat of sheen.
(Citysearch, 11/25/2008)
Narrow but cozy confines of booths and high tables facing several wide screen TVs hanging over the bar makes for a perfect game watching on Sunday. But don't let the screaming blond girls in Urlacher jerseys drinking Coors with their friends fool you.
(Citysearch, 11/11/2008)
West Ridge, Chicago’s most multi-ethnic enclave, encompasses many cultures (Jewish, Irish, Korean, Indian, Pakisani and Bangladeshi) all in one neighborhood.
(The Daily Herald, 10/28/2008)
My passion for Italian cuisine led me to a sprawling banquet and restaurant operation in Des Plaines. Heaping portions at reasonable prices provided big bang for the buck, while mysteriously "secret" sauces added substance and form to simple, yet hearty American-Italian fare.
(Citysearch, 10/21/2008)
Getting more food than you ask (or pay) for sounds like a dream, but the emphasis at this pizza carryout and delivery house leans toward bang for your buck, from the ample slow roasted chicken dinners to overflowing sub sandwiches.
(Citysearch, 10/16/2008)
The young and fetching congregate here, so expect nothing short of pretty and preening. Even the rotating art on the walls reflects the urban stylishness of the 20-and 30-something regulars.
(Centerstage Chicago, 10/15/2008)
Kebob is king at the Blue Line Moroccan Grill and Bakery in Old Irving Park. But you don't realize this at first, upon walking in and being greeted by the gleaming case of mouth-watering pastries (read: cherry turnovers, cinnamon rolls, and cream cheese croissants) up front.
(Citysearch, 10/5/2008)
Known as the “Gateway to Chicago,” Jefferson Park straddles blue-collar sensibility and urban cosmopolitanism with flair.
(Citysearch, 10/2/2008)
One of the city's most iconic neighborhoods, Uptown Chicago continues its rich tradition as an entertainment district to this day.
(Citysearch, 9/10/2008)
With more than 70 wineries in Illinois--several with enticing bed and breakfasts--a trip to wine country is a must.
(Daily Herald, 9/9/2008)
Chowpatti caters to all types of eaters. Those with finicky palates, or in search of gluten-free, vegetarian and temperature-adjusted Indian fare, find sustenance here.
(Centerstage Chicago, 8/29/2008)
Like its predecessor, La Rosa's, Larsa's deals in fresh, handmade pizza. And the red pizza oven is still there, only now it cooks up pizza with a Middle Eastern (read: Assyrian) bent, and some of the finest flatbread pita outside the Persian Gulf.
(Citysearch, 8/18/2008)
With working class roots, a growing Latino population and timeless eateries, McKinley Park is a straight-up slice of no-frills Chicago.
(Centerstage Chicago, 8/15/2008)
Stepping inside this Rogers Park sandwich and pizza shop feels akin to being in a sauna, or better yet, a large, steamy oven. A bit cavernous and claustrophobic, the framed black-and-white photos on the walls of Italians from the old country add a sliver of hominess to an otherwise disheveled spot.
(Citysearch, 7/21/2008)
Falling in love and saving the planet – two seemingly challenging ventures – become a bit more feasible when paired together.
(Centerstage Chicago, 7/17/2008)
Getting frozen yogurt at Evanston’s Red Mango is a super-charged experience.
(Citysearch, 7/10/2008)
Like a good date, Belgian beers are long on attributes.
(Centerstage Chicago, 7/1/2008)
The duck and chicken carcasses dangling in the windows of Hon Kee might be stomach-churning to some. And menu items like chicken feet and pork stomach may seem a bit cadaverous. Yet for the Asians (Vietnamese and Filipinos) who flock here, these items are just a few of many delicacies available.
(Citysearch, 6/1/2008)
This little slice of Europe right off the Jarvis stop on the Red Line doubles as a wine and food emporium as well as a gathering spot for oenophiles. Divided by wines, beers and delicacies, the store caters to epicurean lust.
(Citysearch, 5/22/2008)
Devon Avenue may be a center for Indian and Pakistani food, but diners shouldn't discount this stop for Middle Eastern.
(Citysearch, 5/12/2008)
Edgewater may sound like a far ride on the El, but easy lakefront access, an abundance of ethnic eateries and vintage emporiums make this Far North enclave well worth the trek.
(Citysearch, 5/1/2008)
Salsa music and tangerine walls, vintage posters of Havana ladies make for a cheery and laid-back environment, complemented by the Perez family's friendly, homey service.
(Citysearch, 4/8/2008)
Contrary to popular belief, vegans--who swear off meat, dairy and refined sugar--are not deprived.
(Citysearch, 4/7/2008)
Belly dancing, low lighting, and hookah smoke lend a mysterious yet flamboyant vibe at this East meets West establishment.
(The Onion A.V. Club, 2/8/2008)
Can America's obesity problem be linked to cheese's recent spike in popularity? Perhaps, but there's more to the fattening dairy product than just riddled with flavorful bacteria.
(Gapers Block, 1/31/2008)
A serene and mellow atmosphere, the humming murmur of conversation intermingled with soothing indie folk rock playing in the background, this could only be one place — the new Uncommon Ground in Edgewater.
(The Onion A.V. Club, 11/22/2007)
Thanksgiving has long implied not only eating well, but also drinking well. In other words, people expect to get stuffed and sloshed, and in that order.
(Timeout Chicago, 6/21/2007)
Italians have a way with ice cream, opting for less fat in the recipe and minimizing aeration during churning, to make a treat that’s denser than what most Americans grew up with. Any gelateria worth its paddle offers nocciola (hazelnut), so we used that as our litmus test.
(Cafe Magazine, 3/17/2009)
The economy may be tanking and budgets being squeezed, but more than ever, fashion is taking a front row seat. Michelle Obama touting creations by Maria Pinto and Isabel Toledo exemplifies a celebration not only of American fashion but local, lesser-known designers.
(Newcity Chicago, 12/10/2008)
It’s almost 8pm on a freezing Thursday evening at Logan Square’s two-month-old hipster haven Whistler. Outside, Nicole Dudik’s mixed media installation, “Get Out Your Blue Mittens”—an abstract compilation of blue horizontal lines—lights up the storefront window gallery on an otherwise dark street.
(UR Chicago Magazine, 9/1/2008)
In today's uncertain economic climate, non-traditional schools that zero in on post-graduate job placement and networking are gaining in popularity.
(Legal Record News Bulletin, 6/18/2008)
Everybody knows air guitar, yet U.S. Air Guitar is its own animal. A combination of rock and performance art, air guitar is a creative outlet—a chance to be a rock star for a few minutes.
(UR Chicago Magazine, 6/1/2008)
Indulging need not be guilt inducing, at least not in the case of Temptation's non-dairy, egg-free, soy "ice cream," which doesn't skimp on the taste or originality.
(The Onion A.V. Club, 12/27/2007)
New Year's Eve isn't only an opportunity to make unrealistic resolutions; it's also a customary time of laying down a wad of cash to attend a fabricated evening of fun, where the food, entertainment, and guests are mandated by tradition.
(Gapers Block, 10/1/2007)
Oh the places you'll go, and the people you'll meet! For Chicago illustrator and graphic artist Mike Segawa, joining a blogging community afforded the opportunity for immediate feedback and recognition. "I used to draw in a void," says Segawa, who started freelancing in 2005.
(Gapers Block, 3/5/2007)
On a cold night in January, in the intimate environs of the Old Town School of Folk Music, David Perez and his ensemble heated up the room with an explosive, fiery yet absolutely stunningly meticulous dance performance, transcending the warmth and passion of Spain into the room.
(Gapers Block, 9/11/2006)
It's Sept. 1, and the demolition has begun. Bulldozers are charging in, pulverizing the seedy rooms of the Stars Motel, which has stood at 6100 N. Lincoln Ave. for more than four decades.
Arts and Culture  
(Newcity Chicago, 2/24/2009)
Local underground music wonders The Andreas Kapsalis Trio’s second album, “Original Scores,” takes its haunting melodic cues from experience composing film scores, including the 2006 Sundance premiere “Black Gold.”
(Newcity Chicago, 2/24/2009)
Local Eastern European folk and gypsy act The Megitza Quartet’s debut album, “Boleritza” (Kaprol Publishing), was one of the most impressive instrumental compilations to come out of Chicago.
(Newcity Chicago, 9/22/2008)
Isak Applin’s exhibit “Six More Miles” presents a case study on the life and times of an assemblage of various hipster types.
(Newcity Chicago, 9/17/2008)
The works of Kari Percival and Greg Cook, both Boston-based artists, couldn’t be more different in terms of concept and form.
(Newcity Chicago, 9/3/2008)
Many new and established art galleries function as gallery spaces and homes. Outside the clusters of galleries, these spaces, such as Pilsen’s Antena, Oak Park’s Suburban and Albany Park’s Swimming Pool Project Space make room for art beside the furniture.
(Newcity Chicago, 8/15/2008)
Aside from being intricately ornate and stunningly crafted, the brass sculptures in “Benin—Kings and Rituals: Court Arts from Nigeria” tell interesting stories about hierarchy, sex and class.
(Newcity Chicago, 8/15/2008)
Through a series of paintings of strapping young men Rob Bondgren reveals a fixation with the male body.
(Newcity Chicago, 6/26/2008)
As a whole, “Boys of Summer” presents a case study on the emotionally inhibited psyche of the American male. Zane Lewis’s acrylic cutout of a smiling Obama pushes forward an important question: is this a man or the caricature of a fantasy?
(Newcity Chicago, 5/1/2008)
When a dead soldier’s body returns home it’s draped in a flag, keeping death at a uniformed distance. In this series of thought-provoking screen prints at the Art on Armitage street gallery, conceptual artist Alan Lerner forces us to reexamine convention and form, and as a result, alters our ingrain
(Centerstage Chicago, 10/8/2008)
Forget quiet costume-parties and rotting your teeth away on corn candy and mini Milky Ways. The best bits about All Hallow's Eve (ghost stories and mischief-making) can be explored throughout the year, one wacky tour at a time.
(Matador Trips, 9/2/2008)
Traveling to the country that invented slow food? You need plenty of time to try everything.
(Matador Trips, 6/11/2008)
Contrary to Pulp Fiction lore, there’s more to Amsterdam than hash bars.
(Today's Chicago Woman, 3/2/2009)
Lois Weisberg has an uncanny sense for taking a creative idea and turning it into a stellar event. Take, for example, the Cows on Parade, which hit Chicago streets in 1999.
(Today's Chicago Woman, 12/3/2008)
The extraordinary career of award-winning journalist, documentary producer and humanitarian Bill Kurtis spans over 40 years.
(Newcity Chicago, 10/13/2008)
Edra Soto’s exhibition, “The Greatest Companions,” currently showing at Bridgeport’s Mutherland gallery, examines the changing portrayal of Latino women in mainstream culture, culling imagery from the artist’s childhood memories of watching television star Iris Chacon in her native Puerto Rico durin
(Today's Chicago Woman, 10/1/2008)
Michael Shrader is a stickler about food being fresh and of highest quality.
(Newcity Chicago, 9/22/2008)
Aviva Alter and Alan Lerner create works of art that examine the human relationship with war and disharmony.
(Today's Chicago Woman, 9/5/2008)
Sansapelle owner Margo Ten Eyck’s secret for success is a combination of old world service and devotion to accentuating her clients’ best features.
(Today's Chicago Woman, 9/5/2008)
Zwecker draws a line of appropriateness when it comes to writing about celebrities and enjoys meeting the Madonnas and Angelina Jolies of the world.
(UR Chicago Magazine, 9/1/2008)
According to Juliana Hatfield, letting to is a process you learn only by mastering the art of it. The singer-songwriter's 10th album, How to Walk Away, is rich with resilience and a positive attitude towards ending unhealthy relationships.
(UR Chicago Magazine, 7/1/2008)
The best works of art are often the hardest to finish. Jason Pierce, frontman of psychedelic band Spiritualized, took nearly two years to finish Songs in A&E, a record that takes the band's roots in psychedelic space rock and stirs it up with a heavy dose of gospel and blues.
(Gapers Block, 7/5/2007)
Mixing up a super-hypnotic mélange of hip hop, house, rap, electronica, pop and rock, Chicago's favorite and most famous DJ duo—Curt Cameruci and Josh Young, aka Autobot and J2K, otherwise known as Flosstradamus, is today hooking up with electro funk masters Chromeo for the start of what is the latt
(Gapers Block, 3/15/2007)
Is it a bird? A plane? No folks, it's one of Chicago's most charismatic DJs — DJ Major Taylor, the comic book inspired alter ego of Ralph Darden.
(Newcity, 2/11/2009)
I must confess that I despise Valentine’s Day with all my heart. Like Christmas and Halloween—crack for children, and a major nuisance for adults.
Work Info
Reporter 4 Years
Writer 4 Years
Copywriter 5 Years
Food 2 Years
Lifestyle 2 Years
Entertainment 3 Years
Total Media Industry Experience
5 Years
Media Client List (# assignments last 2 yrs)
Citysearch (11+), Gapers Block (11+), Chicago Center Stage (6-10), Today's Chicago Woman (6-10), UR Chicago Magazine (6-10), Newcity Chicago Magazine (6-10), The Daily Herald (6-10), The Onion A.V. Club (3-5), Cafe Magazine (3-5), Chicago Artist's Newspaper (3-5), Alarm Magazine (1-2), ARTnews (1-2), Legal Record News Bulletin (1-2), Matador Trips (1-2), Timeout Chicago (1-2)
Corporate Client List (# assignments last 2 yrs)
DDB Advertising (1-2), Mess Marketing (1-2)
Other Work History
Guest Editor, The Printed Blog, issues 5&6
Copyeditor, Hawwa Journal, Georgetown University, September 2006-present. Contributor, September 2006-present.
Flavorpill Chicago Contributor, 2006-2007
Copywriter, Metropolitan Planning Council (Taproot Foundation), January-June 2007.
Tornado Insider Media Newsletter Editor, June 2001-August 2002.
Project Manager (PR and event coordination), Ad:Tech Europe Awards 2000.
Computer Skills
Proficient in Microsoft Office, Photoshop, and InDesign.
Technical Skills
Proficient in photo editing and Web design.
Macintosh Powerbook, cell phone, Nikon D50 digital camera, digital audio recorder.
Foreign Language Skills
Fluent in Dutch with Italian conversational ability.
U.S. Fulbright Fellow, Netherlands (1998-99)
Phi Beta Kappa
Phi Alpha Theta
Although Illinois is my home state, I have extensive international experience. A former Fulbright scholar, I hold an M.A. degree in Modern European Studies (with a focus on history and culture) from the University of Amsterdam. Following completion of my M.A. degree I worked as a writer and editor (in the industries of new media, research, and marketing communications) for 5 years in Amsterdam. My undergraduate degree is in Interdisciplinary Studies (history and English) from Hofstra University, where I graduated Phi Beta Kappa, cum laude with honors.
Freelancer Availability
I freelance full-time. I live near Chicago, IL. I am willing to travel anywhere. I have a driver's license. I have access to a car.