DARK - art and words about night, lights out, deepest fears, and obscured perception.

Side Dishers

Head Chef

Emma Marie Martin is the founder and editor of Side Dish. She is a lifelong Chicagoan, archivist-in-training, painter of people and pet alike, and essayist. Emma is devoted to urban living, empowering women, her cat Florence Han Solo, and Joe Biden. A Twitter Celebrity, she is currently studying archives at the University of Texas, having already amassed various wisdoms and debts at the University of Chicago and George Washington University. 


Samantha Alfrey will also respond to Sam, Sammy, or Samwise Gamgee, even though she's never seen Lord of the Rings and is not really sure if being Samwise is a good or bad thing. Sam recently finished an Art History Master's thesis on ugly sculpture and currently works in four departments at three libraries in Chicago. She loves waking up early, drinking coffee, vying with Emma for Joe Biden's affection, biking fast on sleepy industrial streets, collecting antique glassware, blogging inspiring images (slynnal.tumblr.com), and reading books about revolution.

Amanda lives in Windsor, Ontario where she reads far more than she writes. She recently completed her B.A. in Literature and Classics and currently works with teens. She spends her free time biking, cooking, gardening, and wishing she were Kathleen Hanna. She tweets nonsense here: @rivermouthchild

Julia currently works as a therapist in Iowa City. She blogs about intervening in cat rape, accidentally working for drug dealers, and ruining other peoples’ vacations at j-bo.net. She is working on her first memoir.

Ian Brady is a Digital Designer from Chicago, although his head remains in some void between hunger and artistic frustration. Besides creating silly photos with words on them, he writes, creates “music”, constructs films, and envisions fantasies about sleep.

Sandy Caribou is a lady who lives by the phrase “good things come in small packages.” Measuring in at four feet, eleven inches, she prides herself on the fact that her birthday is also the same as her small stature. She likes Siamese cats and Katy Perry, and can’t get over the fact that KP named her own cat Kitty Purry. Leonardo DiCaprio is her favorite actor and she has seen the film Titanic more times than she can count. She also joined Greenpeace to get closer to Leonardo. While she likes to think of herself as the life of the party (any party, really), she does enjoy staying in to blog, read, cook, and impersonate Meryl Streep’s best Julia Child.

Brooks Courtright is an enthusiastic amateur. He lives with his lamp and his humidifier in Chicago, IL. 

Jess likes photography, art, music, pugs (especially hers), good beers, hanging with friends, Autumn, recycling, and taking pictures of people's front window displays in her neighborhood of South Philadelphia.

Sometime contributor to photoblog:

Jess' personal photoblog, which is exclusively photos of shopping carts in nature:

Corinne Ellis is currently mastering divinity in Connecticut, but her heart is in Chicago. She's an avid vegetarian cooker, crocheter, beer brewer, and runner. Too much of her time is spent watching videos of baby Italian Greyhounds. She enjoys working an interesting combination of jobs including dog runner, high school mission trip planner, and barista. She hopes one day a church in the fine city of Chicago will have her as a pastor, but until then she's really happy with coffee, teenagers, and black labs.

Lauren is a work in progress and proud George Washington grad residing Washington, DC, where she is taxed without representation. A native Connectican, she has resisted embodying most of the stereotypes ascribed to the region, save for being an unbearable one-percenter and a having deep affinity for lobster. By day, she fights against injustices committed by philandering politicians, and also the copier. By night, she IS a philandering politician. 

Brendon Foye is from a small country town in Australia that isn’t even worth mentioning. He is an avid video game lover and Twitter tragic and would rather spend his time laying in bed eating cereal with his cat. He is currently completing a degree in Communication and Media at the University of Wollongong with majors in Journalism and Digital Media. This is an attempt to land a job where he can sit on a computer all day instead of his current job working at the only bar in town open past midnight.

Addy Fraser is a New England native making her way up the (very rickety) book publishing ladder in New York City. She gets excited about a lot of things - stealing mics from strangers at karaoke, judging people who are bad at sports, doing the twist, wine-fueled book clubs - but she would never, ever use an exclamation point. 

Liisa Freeh is a master of the humanities, figure skating coach, health nut, classic film buff, mom to three big feline personalities, sometime artist, and renegade cook. She settled in Chicago after living in Boston, LA, St Louis, northern Ohio, and Detroit. Her heroes are her kid brother and Katherine Hepburn. In her free time she is generally to be found experimenting in the kitchen.

Ellen Grafton has lived in New York for the last three years, but she's been told she's not allowed to call herself a New Yorker until she's been there for at least ten. She enjoys making up pretentious names for the tiny dogs she sees on the subway, reading children's books, and discovering awesome stuff on the internet. 

Andrew lives in Austin, Texas where he works at the University of Texas School of Law. He volunteered previously with City Year San Antonio, an AmeriCorps program, serving in economically disadvantaged communities. This experience sparked his interest in social justice issues, which he explores through poetry. Lately he has taken interest in artistic collaboration. In partnership with photographers and musicians he has developed artistic pieces on his online blog declarativehill.tumblr.com.

Brian is a software engineer in his current life with a background in theatre growing up and an education in neither of those professions as a Cognitive Systems major. A self-described nomadic Canadian who enjoys watching hockey, curling, and figure skating and used to speed skate himself; he currently resides in Minneapolis with plans to get out as soon as he possibly can. When he is not busy cringing at the internet, using the metric system, or on one of his typical road trips anywhere, he is usually cooking or baking something overly extravagant.

Carmen Jaramillo is a hockey-obsessed amateur writer and an unapologetic Franco-Ruso-phile.  Growing up in suburban Minneapolis, she came to the Windy City in 2006 to attend the University of Chicago, where she learned to aspire to a life of virtĂș.  She spends spare time reading, writing, drinking beer, and wasting time on sports blogs.  She works on the fringe of academia by day.  

Tess' middle name could be Type A, so it's fitting that she is a compulsive copy editor by day and a meticulous baker by night. Aside from her passion for words and food, she will talk your ear off about feminism, films and books and collects weird animal art. A Minnesotan at heart, she's now an Atlanta transplant and tries to eat enough peaches and drink enough bourbon to be considered a local.

Elizabeth McKinley is a lover of history who enjoys whiskey and the occasional olive, sardine, and cheese smorgasboard. She struggles with most technology and looks forward to weekend crossword puzzles. When not embodying the spirit of an old man, she finds pleasure in biking, canoeing, and cooking. Elizabeth lives in Chicago and is currently pursuing a degree in the very lucrative and stable field of library science.

Gretchen is a librarian and student and general enthusiast of the written word.  She's bounced around the Midwest, but grew up in and outside of Louisville, Kentucky and is now (sort of) settled in Chicago.  She really likes writing about food.  Right now, she's trying to finish her master's in art history and writing a thesis about cookbooks, children's literature, and nostalgia.  She promises she'll stop going to school after this one, but a master's in history is really really tempting.  She's trying really hard to ride her bike and exploit all the free things in Chicago during the summer.

Laura Ross is an old soul at heart. An award-winning Home Ec. student, Laura has a cardigan for every day of the week and prides herself on rhyming, dancing, and singing. She's been known to write nonsensical short stories, dance in the grocery store, and sing while riding her bike around the streets of Chicago. Currently Laura uses these talents to entertain and teach children. 

Once called a walking contradiction, Megan is a student of acting and improvisational comedy in Chicago. She works at a research library, but that's totally just her day job, you know? In her spare time she takes classes, writes her own sketches, enjoys a brew or two on the town with good friends, and watches sappy movies with her roommates. She loves Jesus, singing, discovering new mash-ups, watching really deep movies (even sad ones, because they make you feel), writing in her dream blog, and making people laugh. Megan hopes to have many wrinkles when she is old and gray, for that will mean she had laughed much in her life, too. 

Sheboygan's wayward poet.

Likes cute stuff. 

Rose Truesdale loves nothing more than to feel like the odd one out: the vegan contentedly munching kale chips while sitting in lotus position at a very Midwestern, very meaty family barbeque; the lady rockin’ a tutu while you second guess your business suit, and the one flailing about like a Charlie Brown character to the endlessly looped Amelie soundtrack in her head while everyone else “bumps” and “grinds.” Whatever. Girlfriend vents her spleen and preaches health, happiness and additional hippie sh*t on her blog, rosieglowwellness.com. And unless you’re a creep or an asshole, she’d very much like to be your friend.

Andrew Wells, author of Purple Night: Poems 2013, has a quickly growing reputation in poetry for intense emotion and delicate imagery. His poetry owes much to the influences of the Romantics, WB Yeats, the Modernist movement, and Peter Irwin Russell.

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