CLAIM TO FAME: Creator of Louder Than A Bomb, the largest youth poetry festival in the world; this year’s 16th annual event (Feb. 13–March 19) will include 1,300 participants on 130 teams. “This is the best theater in Chicago, and I think it’s the best political platform in Chicago.”
EARLY INFLUENCES: Hip-hop: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message,” Newcleus’s “Jam On It,” Run-D.M.C., KRS-One.
KIDS THESE DAYS: “Every year I am amazed by the courage and brilliance and ingenuity of young people in Chicago.”
MY CHICAGO: “I go on graffiti tours to see what artists are doing in the streets; the old Damen silos at 31st Street are a haven and a hall of fame that I love.”