College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Centers & Institutes > DePaul Humanities Center > Events > Horror of the Humanities
Learn more about this year's participants below:
LINDA D. ADDISON is an award-winning author of five collections, including How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend, recipient of the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award, HWA Mentor of the Year, and SFPA Grand Master. Addison has published over 370 poems, stories and articles. Learn more at: www.LindaAddisonWriter.com.
THOMAS ALÁAN is a Chicago singer in search of meaning through music, place, identity, relationship…all the good stuff. Sure, he likes singing Monteverdi and Bernstein like a girl, but what do the complex relationships between performer, composer, audience, and sounds in this specific time and space mean at this moment? Yes, someone awarded him a doctorate for being perpetually infuriated with deep (sometimes trivial) questions, and he currently confuses students with his ramblings. However, and most importantly, he likes cats, and this is something everyone can get on board with.
BRANDI BERRY BENSON is a violinist and 3Arts awardee whose “four-string acrobatics” and “indispensable skill” (TimeOut Chicago) have been praised as “alert [and] outstanding” (Chicago Classical Review), with “riffs…powered by a flashing blur of bow arm, [as they] roll out with irresistible glee” (Washington Post). She has appeared with numerous ensembles including Newberry Consort, Kings Noyse, Ars Lyrica Houston, Ensemble Phoenix Munich, Apollo's Fire, Soli Deo Gloria Orchestra (viola d’amore), Mountainside Baroque, Bloomington Early Music Festival Opera Orchestra, St. Louis's Kingsbury Ensemble and as soloist/concertmaster with Chicago Arts Orchestra. BENSON has performed throughout North America including at the Library of Congress, Festival de Musica Virreinal de Durango, Mexico City’s UNAM, the Boston, Berkeley, Indianapolis, and Madison Early Music Festivals, Early Music Now, and others. On air, she has appeared on WFMT, WGN-AM, WNUR, and Wisconsin Public Radio. She serves on the faculty of DePaul University where she teaches Baroque Ensembles and Ornamentation, and is Artistic Director of the Bach & Beethoven Experience (bbexperience.org).
LOGAN BERRY is the author of Run-off Sugar Crystal Lake (forthcoming from 11:11 Press this Halloween).
RYAN BLACK is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, mixing engineer, show producer, and a faculty member at Columbia College in Chicago. Trained as a classical and jazz musician, as well as a sound engineer at the University of Michigan, he brings a refined ear to projects from symphony orchestras to rock bands to pop artists. Black is president and chief mixing engineer of REB Records.
BARRY PAUL CLARK (BM 2009, Mannes School of Music—New School University, NYC) is a classically trained bassist, composer, improviser, electronic musician, and educator. Clark has been a section bassist in many of the symphony orchestras throughout southeastern Wisconsin, including Festival City Symphony, Kenosha Symphony Orchestra, and the Racine Symphony Orchestra. He is an interdisciplinary collaborator with Milwaukee’s top dance/movement organizations including Hyperlocal MKE, Danceworks Inc, and the Milwaukee Ballet. Clark is also the co-curator of the monthly improvised performance series Unrehearsed MKE, founded in 2013, and a member of genre-spanning performance projects Tontine Ensemble, Argopelter, Lady Cannon, adoptahighway, Field Report, and the Tony Catania Trio. His work as a film composer can be seen in “Seeking Century City” (2017 short, directed by Wes Tank & Adam Carr) and “Plucked” (Official Selection 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, Good Credit Productions) as well as performance and string arrangement credit under the direction of electronic musician Lorn, for the 2013 Playstation 4 console title “Killzone Shadow Fall.” Further information on upcoming projects and events can be found at barrypaulclark.com.
JANAE CONTAG is a Chicago-based multimedia artist. Her practice spans performance art, songwriting, photography, and installation art. Contag's work deals with aspirational lifestyle culture, the suburbs, and the decline of indoor malls across middle America. Her performances in idiosyncratic places are evocative of the uncanny valley, and often incorporate a super-fun, 80s-inspired, original soundtrack. As her persona “NÆ,” she writes and performs original electropop music that uses allegorical satire to investigate systemic entitlement. Contag is also a commercial photographer and teaches photography and digital media at DePaul University.
L. C. CRUELL is a writer/director with over three dozen competition, festival, grant, and fellowship awards for her films, web series, shorts, and scripts. Her first feature, Cemetery Tales, is currently available on Amazon Prime, and her web series "31" is available on fifteen distribution platforms throughout the world. She is also a writer of numerous, critically-acclaimed feature screenplays, pilots, shorts, etc. An Honors graduate of both Duke University and Harvard Law School, Cruell has also been an author of over twenty-five published short stories, a film critic for multiple publications, an attorney, a freelance writer/editor, an entrepreneur, an inventor, etc. A member of Women in Film and Television, Science Fiction Writers of America, The Organization of Black Screenwriters, Mensa, and Triple 9, Cruell is also an American Association of University Women Professional Fellow, a James Clyburn Fellow, a NATPE Diversity Fellow (for her spec for Supernatural), a National Endowment of the Arts selectee (for her feature script Crimson based on her time at Harvard), a MAC grant winner (for her film Sacrifice), a fiscal sponsorship selectee by both Lumbee Rivers Productions and From The Heart Productions (non-profits promoting films that could change the industry and by those underrepresented in it), and winner of the SHUDDER/AMC NETWORKS SHUDDER LABS FELLOWSHIP. She has recently optioned two feature scripts and is in talks for a third, along with a co-showrunner position, all while working on her first graphic novel. Cruell is CEO of Cruell World Productions, LLC www.CruellWorld.com.
JOSHUA FARDON’s fully produced plays include 1=0 (2019, Theatre of NOTE, Los Angeles), The Condition (2016, The Annoyance; 2015 Naked Angels), Do Not Disturb (2014, NOTE), Julia Arbuck (2013 Brand Studio workshop), Shake, (2010 NOTE), and This Contract Limits our Liability – Read It! (2008, NOTE). One Acts have been produced at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Toronto Fringe, Pigs Do Fly, Sacred Fools, Saturn and Vine, The Secret Rose, Slap n’ Tickle, Stevedore, and the Yale Cabaret. He sold a pilot in 2016. Fardon is a three-time O’Neill semifinalist; a graduate of Northwestern University and the acting department of the Yale School of Drama; a member of the Writers Guild of America-East, the Dramatists Guild, SAG-AFTRA, and AEA; and the Creative Director of Naked Angels' Tuesdays@9 Chicago. He is currently working on a full-length musical.
RHIANNON FRAZIER is a creator from New Mexico. She is actively involved with the Naked Angels Tuesdays@9 Chicago branch and has written self-produced multiple pieces with the help of FUSION Theatre in Albuquerque.
BEVERLY FRESH is a song-and-dance man from the rural middle west.
NATHAN GLYNN is a software developer making video games, creative art installations, and educational workshops. Glynn has worked on VR projects with Marriott Hotels, United Airlines, and Oculus. His work in games can be found in Starcraft 2 and upcoming indie game Dad by the Sword.
STEPHEN JONES lives in London, England. A Hugo Award nominee, he is the winner of four World Fantasy Awards, three International Horror Guild Awards, five Bram Stoker Awards, twenty-one British Fantasy Awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association. One of Britain’s most acclaimed horror and dark fantasy writers and editors, he has more than 155 books to his credit, including the acclaimed illustrated histories The Art of Horror, The Art of Horror Movies, and The Art of Pulp Horror; the film books of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and Stardust; The Illustrated Monster Movie Guide and The Hellraiser Chronicles; the non-fiction studies Horror: 100 Best Books and Horror: Another 100 Best Books (both with Kim Newman); the single-author collections Necronomicon and Eldritch Tales by H. P. Lovecraft; The Complete Chronicles of Conan and Conan’s Brethren by Robert E. Howard; and Curious Warnings: The Great Ghost Stories of M. R. James; plus such anthologies as Terrifying Tales to Tell at Night: 10 Scary Stories to Give You Nightmares!, The Mammoth Book of Nightmare Stories, The Mammoth Book of Halloween Stories, The Lovecraft Squad, the Zombie Apocalypse! series, and thirty volumes of Best New Horror. You can visit his web site at www.stephenjoneseditor.com or follow him on Facebook at “Stephen Jones-Editor.”
DANIELLE MEIJER teaches philosophy at DePaul University and studies/performs eight dance forms from around the world, including Javanese court dance, Balinese ritual dance, bharatanatyam, belly dance, Argentine tango, hula, and, most recently, flamenco.
MARYSE MEIJER is the author of the novel The Seventh Mansion, the novella Northwood, and story collections Heartbreaker (which was one of Electric Literature’s 25 Best Short Story Collections of 2016) and Rag (which was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Pick and a finalist for the Chicago Review of Books Award for Fiction). She lives in Chicago.
LH MOORE’s stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in numerous anthologies and publications such as FIYAH, Apex, and Fireside. An historian who loves playing video games and classical guitar, you can find her online at lhmoorecreative.com, tweeting @ElleHM, or on IG: @lh_moore.
YVONNE NAVARRO is an award-winning author of twenty-three published novels, numerous short stories and articles, and a reference dictionary. She writes within a wide variety of genres, but favors horror or dark fantasy because, well, that’s just how she rolls. She lives way down in the southeastern corner of Arizona, fifteen miles from the Mexican border, is married to author Weston Ochse, and dotes on their rescued Great Danes.
BRETT NEESE is an artist, technologist, and student currently studying cybernetics through the School of Professional and Continuing Studies at DePaul University. His work focuses on how a cybernetic—or systems philosophy—approach can be used to understand and create more equitable social systems. Neese works to apply those ideas through the creation of performative new media art. You can learn more about his academic- and art-work on his website: https://queerinterfac.es/
PETE PARSONS is an Austin-based comedic content creator. You can find out more about him at PeterJamesParsons.com. Please send thoughts to Greg Abbott.
YVONNE POUGET is a freelance artist, choreographer, director, and dancer who also works as a natural health professional in the field of psychotherapy and is a member of the DGT (German Society for Dance Therapy). Pouget is internationally recognized as an artist and for her research concerning different systems of motion and nonverbal expression. Transforming personal emotions into universal ones, and thus makes spiritual worlds accessible to the audience, the spectator is prompted toward introspection in order to rediscover a respect for their own being and everything that it means to be human. For nearly two decades, she has devoted herself to research on the subjects of post-traumatic stress disorders, dissociation, female body image disorders, and the passing on of post-war traumas to the next generation and is widely considered a pioneer for the use of art, and especially dance, as therapy in these areas. Pouget was trained by Ko Murobushi and Charlotta Ikeda in Japanese Butoh dance, and developed Fascial Flow as a body-centered form of therapy. On stage, her work transcends both Butoh and classical contemporary dance, expressing a form of symbolic wish-fulfillment. She has described her performances as embodying “a magic quality of stage presence, a combination of technique and philosophical depth, touching tenderness and smashing power, united in the passion to destroy lies and illusions about ourselves and our world and to confront the audience with the truth of human life, with the pain and joy of being human, being lost, being loved.”
GLENN B. RUST is a playwright, actor, and theatre technician who grew up doing theatre in Eugene, Oregon. Since leaving Eugene, Rust has received two Irene Ryan Award Nominations, a Meritorious Achievement from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for his multimedia design used in The Tempest at Linfield College, and created/produced the Columbia College Chicago organization Playwrights Aloud. He has done internships at Remy Bumppo Theatre Company and Timeline Theatre Company for Development and Production Management respectively, and he graduated with a BA in Writing for Performance from Columbia College Chicago in 2019. Rust now heads up tech for Chicago Dramatists and teaches high school English remotely.
SUMIKO SAULSON is an award-winning author of Afrosurrealist and multicultural sci-fi and horror. Ze is the editor of the anthologies and collections Black Magic Women, Scry of Lust, Black Celebration, and Wickedly Abled. Ze is also the winner of the 2016 HWA StokerCon “Scholarship from Hell,” the 2017 BCC Voice “Reframing the Other” contest, the 2017 Mixy Award, the 2018 AWW “Afrosurrealist Writer Award,” and is a 2020 HWA Diversity Grant recipient. Saulson has an AA in English from Berkeley City College and writes a column called “Writing While Black” for a national Black Newspaper, the San Francisco BayView. Ze is the host of the SOMA Leather and LGBT Cultural District's “Erotic Storytelling Hour.”
EVAN SPREEN is an actor/playwright based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Spreen has studied and performed in Texas, Japan, and Poland. He has worked with companies such as Dallas Children’s Theatre, Tokyo international Players, and the Grotowski Institute. He has most recently been participating in the Chicago online reading series Naked Angels Tuesdays@9. Evan enjoys performing in horror shows the most!
H. PETER STEEVES (aka, Professor Faustus) is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Humanities Center at DePaul University. Steeves has published nine books and more than 140 journal articles and book chapters. Visit to learn about his latest publication. He has had a love of the art of magic since childhood and began performing stage illusions as part of his lecture-performances in 2008.
PATRICK “SULLY” SULLIVAN has worked as a songwriter for twenty-five years, helping produce songs heard on national radio and syndicated TV shows. He is a creative driver behind many of the shows, albums, and artists that REB Records has produced. As a co-leader of the band “Theft to the Gallows,” he dominates the stage but still finds time to work with many artists as a lyricist and songwriter.
ROBERT T. VALGENTI is an educator, philosopher, translator, drummer, modular synthesist, gardener, and cat dad. He lives in PA, but his heart will always be in Jersey.
JIM VENDIOLA is an award-winning writer/director, development executive, and three-time Newcity FILM 50 honoree. His work has been described as “highly stylized and casually transgressive,” frequently exploring ideas of heartache, longing, liminality, eros, and pathos. As a Filipino-American with immigrant parents, his work also ponders themes of identity, otherness, and alienation. Vendiola’s psychological horror short, VIOLETS, which reframes the genre's more common predator/prey dynamic, received the 22nd Chicago Underground Film Festival's Audience Award. His kink-positive follow-up, LIBRARY HOURS, is a reimagined approach to vintage erotica nominated for Best Short Film by NewFilmmakers LA. Vendiola’s debut feature—a supernatural thriller called HOMESICK—is currently in late development with Chicago Film Project. To learn more about his work, visit jimvendiola.com.
TRACY WHITESIDE is an award-winning Chicago-area photographer specializing in conceptual art. She is internationally published in art, literature, and fashion. Captivated by anything weird or magical, she wants to tell the story. In her past lives, Whiteside has worked in fashion, the talent industry, and musical theatre. All these experiences have provided many of the skills she needs for developing the narrative and the visuals for her images. A photographer since 2004, Whiteside is self-taught. Inspiration is everywhere, and she explores each element that stirs her passion. She wants to open the viewers’ eyes and mind, as well as encourage them to examine their own soul and spirit. Her art is meant to ignite the imagination as well as initiate conversation. For more information visit: https://www.tracywhiteside.com; and https://www.facebook.com/TracyWhitesidePhotography. Follow her on Instagram: @whitesidetracy