Ariel Parrella-Aureli

I'm a freelance journalist in Chicago and the editor-in-chief of the hyperlocal news site LoganSquarist, dedicated to Logan Square. I'm also a digital content producer at WBBM Newsradio. I write for Chicago Magazine, Block Club Chicago, Sojourners and have been published in the Chicago Reader, Psymposia, Univision Chicago, Streetsblog Chicago, Curbed, Newcity and more.

Portfolio


Kimberly Dowdell builds equity in architecture

Kimberly Dowdell looks down at her iPhone, which blasts red app badges and notifications from a cluttered screen. She has thousands of messages, e-mails, and calls that beg her attention, but she merely smiles at them and closes her phone case. The 36-year-old architect and director is used to it by now. Dowdell is a senior principal at Chicago's HOK architect firm, where she is settling into her new role as the director of business development, which began last May. Her life is bubbling with m

Women Writers to Watch in 2020

Add these women writers to your to-read list. We are barely into 2020 and there are already dozens of women writers with compelling work that deserve recognition. While some of these books have already been published, they have received widespread local and national attention this year from media, podcasts, book clubs and events around the country. These refreshing perspectives, many of which are debut works, are incredibly vital in the 21st century. As we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women's Day.

New Lawsuit From Logan Square Landlords Aims To Stop Affordable Development — But It Won’t Work, Officials Say

LOGAN SQUARE — Supporters of a planned Emmett Street affordable housing complex say they aren’t worried about a lawsuit filed by a group of Logan Square property owners that aims to block the development. The lawsuit, filed by prolific Northwest Side landlord Mark Fishman among others, takes aim at city leaders and the nonprofit Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, which plans to begin construction this year on a seven-story, all-affordable complex at 2602-38 N. Emmett St.

Confronting Spain’s Sexual Assault Problem

After graduating college in 2012, Erin decided to move to Seville, Spain, for two years to teach English. During a night out with friends and local tour guides who they’d met on a recent trip, she remembers drinking only one beer before things got blurry. As the night wore on, she felt less in control of her body and her memory came in and out. That was the night she alleges she was sexually assaulted and drugged by local tour guide operator Manuel Blanco Vela.

Dollar Town Leaving Milwaukee Avenue After 23 Years: ‘Logan Square People …They’re My People’

LOGAN SQUARE — Longtime retail and convenience store Dollar Town is packing up its Logan Square shop and moving to West Town at the end of the month. The business at 2754 N. Milwaukee Ave., which sells a plethora of affordable items from kitchenware to beauty supplies and linens, is moving to a smaller location at 1559 W. Chicago Ave., taking over the 47-year-old Jerusalem General Merchandise shop and downsizing to carry only linens, said owner Sami Rashid.

Logan Square’s Aloft Circus School Becomes City’s First Circus Performing Arts Venue

LOGAN SQUARE — The city’s only circus has officially arrived in Logan Square. Aloft Circus Arts, housed in the 111-year-old church at 3324 W. Wrightwood Ave., has offered up classes on everything from trapeze to trampolines since 2015. Recently, Aloft’s owners have been waiting to hear from the city on whether it would become the only permanent, legal circus-specific venue in Chicago.

Vaginal Davis, a groundbreaking artist and performer, now has a groundbreaking show at the Art Institute, ‘The White to Be Angry’

In the 90s, genderqueer performance artist Vaginal Davis created comedic movies on Super 8 and 16mm film with no budget that were constantly rejected by gay and lesbian film festivals. She was often considered to be on the fringe of both the LGBTQ community and the alternative punk scene. Instead, she created her own community and was part of the founding Homocore movement, a nationwide scene that reinterpreted hardcore punk through queer cultures, zines and music groups of the decade that influenced the feminist punk Riot Grrrl movement. Now she has a video show at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Logan Square Mushroom Farm Offers Chicago Chefs A Super Local Option For Their Menus

LOGAN SQUARE — Logan Square restaurants will soon start serving up an array of locally-grown mushrooms. Four Star Mushrooms, 1919 N. Springfield Ave., is one of only a few mushroom farms in Chicago and the first on the Northwest Side of the city. It features locally grown mushrooms in an indoor, climate-controlled environment that creates a yearlong growing season. Founder Joe Weber started the company in late September with the mission of changing the mindset around agriculture production and

Kennedy Shanks speaks up: The 16-year-old south side native is creating an artistic safe space for youth to express their voices.

At 16 years old, Kennedy Shanks wears her confidence like a favorite sweater. She navigates the maroon hallways of Lindblom Math and Science Academy in Englewood with an air of humor and poise, proud to have a reputation of acceptance, mentorship, and friendship within her student community. "Everyone calls me mom," Shanks says with a laugh.

Celebrating Logan Square's Beloved Christmas House: After Owner Dies, His Legacy Lives on (PHOTOS)

When I first moved to Logan Square, the Christmas house was one of the first historic sites I learned about. It’s been in the neighborhood since 1983 and has been a longtime crux of holiday cheer, family joy and community. For 35 years, the house (2656 W. Logan Blvd.) always brought peace and love to anyone walking, biking or driving past the boulevard. Every time I passed it, I stopped to take in its beauty, snap some pictures and wonder about Frank Lopez, the owner who made it all the ornaments at his company.

Getting into Rhythm with Musician Elijah Berlow

After a long workday, there’s nothing like flipping your shoes off and letting your hair go wild. Brew a pot of coffee and light some candles, breathe out the day and find your guitar nearby. That’s the wind-down remedy for Elijah Berlow, a local musician and barista who has immersed himself in the music pulse of the neighborhood in the last four years. Although Berlow lives in Humboldt Park, he is often in Logan Square, hanging and playing at the many music venues that are home to the Northwes

Festival Brings West Ridge Stories to the Stage

Ten weeks ago, Bina Mangattukattil didn’t think of herself as a writer. But the clinical social worker and West Ridge resident had a story: Growing up in Chicago in a traditional South Indian Catholic family, she converted to Islam after grad school, but she didn’t tell her parents until she was pregnant with her daughter. Now, her play “A Beautiful Path” is part of the first-ever West Ridge Story Festival, which highlights 11 original ten-minute plays written by immigrants, refugees, and longtime residents.
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