Stories by Erica Gunderson

Ask Geoffrey: What Happened to Andy Frain Ushers?

For many years, sports fans in Chicago were welcomed to games by clean-cut and friendly Andy Frain ushers. Geoffrey Baer has the story of the man behind the house of ushers.

Chicago Gets Dressed Up For the Holidays

Audrey Jones of AB Art Window Painting (Chicago Tonight)

Around Chicago, windows decorated for the holidays are a sure sign that Christmas is on its way. Meet a local artist whose festive fancies could be swirling across a storefront in your neighborhood.

WTTW Documentary Takes Fresh Look at Chicago River

Like the city that grew around it, the Chicago River is constantly changing. Get a preview of “The Chicago River Tour with Geoffrey Baer.”

Ask Geoffrey: Neptune’s Follies Make a Splash at Century of Progress

Geoffrey Baer takes a peek at a 1930s burlesque-style show and remembers the Chicago Daily News sporting events of yesteryear in this encore edition of “Ask Geoffrey.”

WTTW’s ‘Nutcracker’ Documentary Goes Backstage at Joffrey Ballet

Temur Suluashvili and Lucia Connolly in rehearsal for “The Nutcracker.” (Photo by Todd Rosenberg)

The new documentary “Making a New American Nutcracker” premieres on WTTW. We speak with the Joffrey Ballet’s artistic director and the film’s producer.

Police, Community Must Have ‘Mutual Respect,’ Says Author

(dwightsghost / Flickr)

How can citizens avoid trouble when getting pulled over by the police? We speak with Dwayne Bryant, the author of a manual that explains how to safely handle a traffic stop.

Large-as-Life Dinosaurs Frighten and Fascinate at ‘Jurassic World’

(Courtesy of The Field Museum)

An exhibition at the Field Museum aims to be an immersive experience that brings the 2015 movie and its gigantic reptilian stars to life. 

Ask Geoffrey: What Happened to the Hamilton Statue?

What happened to the Alexander Hamilton statue in Lincoln Park? Geoffrey Baer tells his story in this encore edition of “Ask Geoffrey.” 

Ask Geoffrey: The History of Houseboats on the Chicago River

Geoffrey Baer gets ready for a new voyage along the Chicago River with viewer questions about the history of our city’s favorite Y-shaped waterway.

Ask Geoffrey: What Are Those Faces on Michigan Avenue?

Geoffrey Baer gets eye-to-eye with some sky-high building ornament and gets beneath the surface of a towering metal figure in this week’s edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: White Castle Inspired by Chicago Water Tower?

Was the design of White Castle restaurants based on a Chicago landmark? Geoffrey Baer has the answers you crave.

Viewer Feedback: Soda Pop is the New Tea

The soda tax repeal was met with cheers from some Chicago Tonight viewers.

Ask Geoffrey: Neptune’s Follies Make a Splash at Century of Progress

Geoffrey Baer takes a peek at a 1930s burlesque-style show and remembers the Chicago Daily News sporting events of yesteryear.

Ask Geoffrey: A ‘Pipe Dream’ of the 1893 World’s Fair

Geoffrey Baer explores an eccentric architect’s wacky proposal for the World’s Fair in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: The Warrior Walls of General Jones Armory

The walls of a South Side armory tell the history of warriors throughout the ages. Geoffrey Baer shares that story and more in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Chicago’s Great Forgotten Food Festival

The Taste of Chicago may be the granddaddy of local food festivals, but it was not the city’s first. We remember a 1977 event that offered another “taste of Chicago” at McCormick Place.

Ask Geoffrey: Who’s Holding Up This Southeast Side Building?

Since about 1915, a 7-foot-tall stone man has been shouldering a heavy burden on the corner of a Southeast Side building — more than hundred years without a break! But there’s some debate as to exactly who he is.

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman was an anarchist, feminist and freethinker at a time when just talking about birth control was enough to get you imprisoned.

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to Ruth Hanna McCormick

To honor the first female senator – who was an agriculturally minded lady – we concoct a drink straight from the farm: a dairy base that gets a spark from corn whiskey and would work hot or cold.

Ask Geoffrey: Why No Ketchup on Hot Dogs, Chicago?

Geoffrey Baer explores why hot dogs and ketchup don’t mix in Chicago in this encore edition of “Ask Geoffrey.”

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to Esther Saperstein

This week, we raise a glass to the moms who hold it down in the House (and the Senate) with a concoction as American as apple pie—fragrant applejack, tough whiskey and snappy lemon and ginger. 

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to Anna Langford and Marilou von Ferstel

To honor the first women of Chicago’s City Council, we mix smoky mezcal and bright grapefruit juice. It’s sweet but not too sweet, sharp but never bitter, and tough enough to duke it out with the best (or worst) of ‘em. 

Ask Geoffrey: The History of Freemasonry in Chicago

Secret handshakes, arcane symbols and initiation rites are all hallmarks of the Freemasons, an organization shrouded in mystery. Geoffrey Baer explores their history in Chicago in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to Margaret Horton Potter

From the start, young Miss Potter was a virtual word machine, publishing a book of verse at age 12. This week, we mix up a deceptively delicate cocktail inspired by the original pink drink. Cheers!

Ask Geoffrey: What Happened to the Young Abraham Lincoln Statue?

“Young Lincoln” by Charles Keck

Geoffrey Baer has the story of a statue's journey from a library to a North Side park in this encore edition of “Ask Geoffrey.”