Dateline: Chicago, Summer 2012. You are plunged into the past when you enter the home of Lookingglass Theater on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois — the space sits in a lovely refurbished warren of auditoria in the pre-fire Chicago waterworks, all glass and scabrous iron gleaming dully in the inverted light. The new production of “Eastland” (inspired in part by events related in my 2004 book THE SINKING OF THE EASTLAND) leads you into its performance space in somber light, down boardwalk aisles, the seats rough hewn like the pews of a church or the gallery of a ship. The lights go down, and… and… wait. You must see this for yourself! You MUST! I know I’m biased but Good Lord this is a theatrical masterpiece! Conceived and written by the great Andrew White, music by the brilliant duo of Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman, and directed with savage beauty by the inimitable Amanda Dehnert, “Eastland” is a high-lonesome ode to the wake left by tragedy, a blue collar ‘Night to Remember,’ and believe me, this is a night in the theater to remember! If you’re reading this before the end of August and live within a lightyear of Chicago, buy tickets immediately HERE.

An early warning to collectors, avid Bonansinga readers, and bargain shoppers. In the upcoming weeks, a series of original, all-new, never-before-published Jay Bonansinga works will become available here on this site and selected venues. For a limited time only. Everyone’s a winner. Bargains galore. The quality goes in before the name goes on. “Step right up,” as Tom Waits says. These works may not remove embarrassing stains, but they will provide you with hours of reading enjoyment.

Stay tuned!


This summer – 2012 – we lost a keystone to our cultural heritage. Ray Bradbury was to fantasy fiction what Hemingway was to literary fiction – the alpha and omega, the seminal influence on generations of storytellers. Bradbury was also the reason I became a writer. I still read his work to my kids, and they’re teenagers now, and they are still in awe of the butterfly effect in “A Sound of Thunder” and the heartbreaking dream of “Frost and Fire.” Born in 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois – a stone’s throw from where I currently live – Bradbury grew up writing of green towns and wondrous and horrible miracles. He wrote – occasionally on brown butcher paper — some of the greatest short stories in the English language. I still have my dog-eared copy of R IS FOR ROCKET, which I purchased for 75 cents when I was twelve in Peoria, Illinois… another green town with the same sounds of summer running as Waukegan. I bring all this up not only as a brief tribute to a mentor but also with great pride – pride that my work briefly met the Maestro’s eyes shortly before he passed. I was fortunate enough to sell to the stalwart editors Sam Weller and Mort Castle a short story called “Heavy” for their new anthology in celebration of Bradbury’s legacy, SHADOW SHOW (William Morrow, July 2012). Bradbury wrote an original introduction for the book just weeks before he died. Mort is a dear friend of mine, and also a mentor, and I owe this honor to him. Order your own SHADOW SHOW today HERE.



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