Reviewing the Arts HN: Chuck Sudo

This is a review done by Chuck Sudo about the wood-grilled cheeseburger found at Nightwood in Pilsen. It’s an example of a good review, because it’s an example of the ‘less is more’ rule, and it follows the upside-down pyramid rule of thumb for a strong review. Sudo also backs up his claims by explaining more deeply what goes into the burger; obviously having done his research.

The second review, coming off more as a collaborative effort, is done with Sudo, Melissa McEwen, Lisa White, Benjy Lipsman, Gina Provenzano, Sophie Day, Joel Wicklund, Carrie McGath, Ben Kramer, Kristine Sherred, Erika Kubick, Robert Martin, and Katie Karpowicz. It’s a longer-looking review that is cut up into 25 short sweet and to the point reviews.

“Have a passionate interest in the particular field you’ve chosen to be a critic,” is the first thing that Chuck Sudo says in an online roundtable discussion, which started with the simple question of “What qualifies someone to be a critic?” He exhibits this in the first article, because he is a food critic. As a reader, it’s easy to tell he’s passionate about it because he’s able to eloquently describe his point, as well as keep it short enough to keep the reader’s attention until the end of the article. This is important, especially because the world we live in now can barely stay attentive to anything for more than six seconds.

In the roundtable discussion, Sudo said “There’s critics you read because you know they’ll be a train wreck.” Although nothing was blatantly staring the reader in the face on the second review, it’s a testament to that statement…but in the opposite sense of the phrase. There’s people who follow reviewers because they strongly identify with how they critique things; it’s probably how they decide what they want to try out on Saturday night with their friends or family for dinner. By doing a collaborative review, such as the sandwich list, Sudo was able to bring thirteen reviewers together, which, in hindsight, is probably thirteen different audiences.

The second review is also a good testament to how he reviews, because it’s showcasing what the internet can do for us. A hot topic in the roundtable discussion is if critics would continue to write their critiques even if they didn’t get paid, (spoiler alert: they would,) but the internet keeps making it easy for us to collaborate and work with others, even if we aren’t able to meet with them face-to-face.Sudo made it clear that he believes this when he said “For the writer who truly wants to work his craft, the internet can be invaluable.” By creating a group effort review, these thirteen writers were able to bring a variety of tastes, places, and ideas to the table to build an interesting review of sandwich joints all around Chicago. Since each writer only wrote a handful of reviews, (Sudo wrote the most, coming in at five,) it probably didn’t take nearly as long to put together this review as it would have if one of the critics did the whole thing themselves.

The end of the discussion hit home for me, though. As a student who is paying way more than se can afford to study a medium [radio] that many people believe is ‘dying’ (another spoiler alert: it’s certainly not,) I ask myself the question a lot of if I’d continue to do radio with my life, even if it’s unpaid. I find myself saying the same thing most of the critics said, including Sudo’s “Absolutely. Still do.” The students who come to Columbia come because we’ve fallen in love with something that is specialized, and it’s not offered (or at least not to the degree we want it to be, no pun intended,) at traditional schools. We come to Columbia because we believe we’ll gain the tools necessary to ‘make it’ in our chose career fields, and we’ve probably spent a large portion of our life already doing it without getting paid. Even when we graduate, we know to some extent that we’ll probably have to work another job for a little bit to pay the bills – but we’re always going to practice our art. Because it’s what makes us feel like a part of the world; it’s what makes us feel alive. 


Author: erikabunk

Raised in Northern Minnesota. BA in Radio/Business & Entrepreneurship. Painfully average marathoner. Spends too much time on Spotify, in search of the best record store in the world, and dreams of returning to Reykjavík.

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