Under The Hood


ho͝od · wäˈ · zē )
1: the radical-but-block class
2: revolutionaries in relative opacity
3: Chicago and America’s only bi-weekly underground live, live-streamed and web news show disseminating block-optic and radical perspectives on culture and politics occurring in different gentrifying neighborhoods every episode


The Pieces.

Each Hoodoisie episodes delivers radical perspectives, knowledge and clarity through five segments:

The Call: An introduction by host Ricardo Gamboa recapping recent events in culture and politics through cultural criticism and stand-up.

T-Time: A roundtable discussion on current events with host Ricardo Gamboa, Hoodoisie collective members and audience members that frequently get up and participate.

The Breakdown: An informational breakdown on issues ranging from Trump’s immigration memos, to water scarcity, to race, science fiction and liberation.

The Feature: Interviews spotlighting radical activists, artists, politicians, professors, fulanitos, fulanitas, fulanitxs.

Gotchu Last Commentary: That part of the show when Gamboa serves radical genius through brief reflection.

The Musical Guest: Performances by emergent or underground musicians or sonic fugitives of the culture industry.

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The Politics.

The Hoodoisie provides a means for everyday people and communities of color to engage the conversations or discourse that shapes their lives but from which they are often excluded. We call our work knowledge and media justice.

So often authorities and experts debating issues are not those most directly affected by those issues. Everyday people are deprived of forums and education and tools to formidably participate. The Hoodoisie educates everyday people on issues and invites them to engage those issues and the surrounding discourse.

Who gets to be credible bearers and producers of knowledge and who does not so often reflects greater social inequalities. Our show gives free, critical education on every conceivable social issue through year-round episodes. Unfortunately, distribution of knowledge and media is as problematic as its production. Corporate, mainstream media and news excludes poor people, people of color, etc. and more often than not protects private interests as the Sinclair Broadcast scandal demonstrates. In this landscape, The Hoodoisie aims to provide an entertaining, necessary, and trustworthy alternative while building community, transforming audiences into co-producers of knowledge and media, and arming them with radical information and compassion to carry-out radical change and have radiant effect in their communities.


The Players.

Ricardo Gamboa (Founder, Host, Producer) is an award-winning artist, activist, and academic working in their native Chicago and New York City, creating radically politicized work. In Chicago, Ricardo is a member of the Free Street Theater, the Goodman Theater Playwrights Unit, a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, and founding adult creative partner of the controversial, politically-charged ensemble The Young Fugitives. In New York City, they are a fellow of the EmergeNYC program at Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics and a member of the New York Neo-Futurists. They are finishing their doctorate degree at New York University’s renowned American Studies program and are a Critical Collaborations Fellow (2016-2018) at the Tisch School of the Arts, where they received their M.A. in Arts Politics (2013). Ricardo has won several awards including a Joyce Award and an International Connections Award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. They have worked with over 5,000 young people in the hemisphere. Their current projects include the underground live news show and podcast The Hoodoisie, the audience- and critically engaged, community-based theater piece Meet Juan(ito) Doe and BRUJOS, the genre-bending, ground-breaking web series about four gay Latino doctoral students who are also witches (co-directed with Reshmi Hazra Rustebakke and Robert Stockwell).

Crew Bios

Daniel Kisslinger (Producer) is a Chicago-based producer, working in the worlds of radio, live events, digital, and community building. He is the Cohost and Co-Executive Producer of AirGo. He serves as the Executive Producer of the Chicago Poetry Block Party, an annual festival engaging community with poetry, as well as for VS, a podcast presented by the Poetry Foundation hosted by poets Danez Smith and Franny Choi. He is a Vision Core member of the #LetUsBreathe Collective, a grassroots alliance of artists, journalists, and activists harnessing creative capital and cultural production to deconstruct systemic injustice in America and worldwide. 

Ellen Mayer (Producer) is a Chicago media gal about town, reimagining local journalism as a form of collective care. She is a reporting fellow at City Bureau and the host and producer of the podcast IlliNoise, which aims to make information about local government more accessible and engaging to people who need it. Ellen was a founding team member at the journalism startup Hearken, where she taught other journalists how to listen to and collaborate more with the communities they serve. She has also produced and reported for WBEZ’s Curious City and for the music podcast Pitch.

Olivia Curry (Head Cinematographer) is a producer and junior director/editor at Cinema Libertad, a Chicago-based production company. Her last short film, It Turns Out was a Daily Pick on Film Shortage, and closed out the 2017 Palace Film Festival. She was a 2013 Chicago Filmmakers grant recipient for her short docu-series Chicago Glove Project, which looked at a segregated Chicago through the lens of neighborhood boxing gyms. In 2017 she produced Ricardo Gamboa's web series Brujos, about four gay Latino grad students who find out they are witches and must use their powers to battle white supremacy and hetero-patriarchy in Chicago. She enjoys telling compassionate human stories with honesty and artistry. 

Alejandro Reyes is born and raised in Back of the Yards on the Southside of Chicago. Reyes is a self-taught photographer and filmmaker, focusing on using consumer technologies to make filmmaking and photography more accessible without compromising quality. He is also an actor and most recently performed in Free Street Theater acclaimed production, Meet Juan(ito) Doe, for which he was a contributing writer.

Selected Collective and Co-Hosts Bios

Steven Beaudion received his Conservatory Degree from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles. He is an actor and teaching artist for the National Museum of Mexican Art’s Yollocalli ArtsReach, and is currently teaching theater at Foreman High School. Steven has held teaching residencies at Free Street Theater, where he directed the youth ensemble play Crazy. He is a company member at Barrel of Monkeys Theater Company and performs in their weekly review That’s Weird Grandma, and is a member of the Southside Ignoramus Quartet. Other credits include Ricardo Gamboa’s Real Life Adventures of Jimmy De La Rosas and Chicago Fire.

Laura J. Ramírez is a mother of 2 Chicago Public School students, she was born in Mexico City and raised in Nezahualcoyotl and Little Village from the age of 13.  She holds a doctorate in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work to advance a quality public education for all children at the local, national, and international levels spans the gamut of grassroots organizing, policy advocacy, collective responses to injustice, community building and healing, and radical acts of resistance. In 2011, she became part of the 43 day sit-in for a library and fieldhouse, known as “La Casita” in the heart of the Mexican neighborhood of Pilsen in the city of Chicago. She has also helped to build an international network to demand accountability from the Mexican government in the enforced disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students.

A Spanish teacher by training, she has taught in Chicago area public schools and she has also worked for over 13 years as a youth worker and human rights enforcer. Through her work, she has shared her knowledge with young people of color and parents and provided tools for them to become advocates for their human rights. Additionally, she helped to pass the Chicago City Council’s ordinance ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2009. She has also helped develop socially conscious teachers who are grounded in community understanding through her work as a professor in teacher preparation programs including the Urban Teacher Education Program at the University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Elmhurst College.

She is also a writer who focuses on political and cultural critiques. Her philosophy of life goes hand in hand with her belief that in our society it is the duty of all people to demand that their human rights be respected and that it is everyone’s duty to hold their government and institutions accountable for their actions in our communities. She believes that education is a necessary tool for people to develop their full capacity and ability to think, as well as love more fully. She knows firsthand the incredible power of transformation held in the development of a critical consciousness and she has committed her life to advancing a world where love and liberation are the foundational practices of how we engage and support one another.

Jenny Casas is a California Chicana now based in Chicago and a producer for USA Today’s podcast  The City. She has reported on race, class and power for St. Louis Public Radio, and most recently covered restorative justice and criminal law in Cook County for City Bureau, a south Chicago based civic journalism lab. Before landing in the Midwest, she started her radio career interning for KQED and following federal legislation for Countable, a San Francisco civic tech start up. When Jenny is not cutting tape, she's listening to cumbia or daydreaming about the ocean.

Hilda Franco is a cultural worker, radical Educator and trainer. Hilda was born and raised in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. She graduated from Benito Juarez High School. As a Posse Scholar and first generation student, Hilda received a full tuition scholarship to Carleton College, where she received a B.A. in History. As an advocate of accessibility to quality education, Hilda also carries a strong passion for the arts and views learning and teaching as acreative process. She worked for The Chicago Freedom School for 4 years. She is trained peace circle facilitation and uses transformative justice as a pillar to all of her intergenerational work. She has trained several youth and adults in youth leadership development strategies and understanding oppression in order to dismantle oppressive systems. Her passion for presence and construction of social space makes her work

She is particularly interested in understanding the pervasiveness of adultism in society. Hilda has taught and led youth activism programs in various educational locations across the city, intersecting components of organizing, arts, social consciousness and history in her trainings. She took her skill set into the classroom, where she was a full time educator at Rudy Lozano Leadership Academy, a social justice alternative high school. Hilda designed and taught youth development and history courses through a radical lens. Some of the courses she taught were U.S. History: A legacy of Colonization, Hip Hop Philosophy, Latino Studies: An intro to Humanities, Media: A study of Cultural Politics. Leading after school social action teams such as Conscious Souls in Action and We are Women, where students learned to embody and act on the knowledge they received in class.

She continues to train adults and youth in socio-political consciousness in order to dismantle existing forms of oppression in educational spaces. She is currently in the process of a Masters in Teaching History from UIC. She is recently working on designing curriculum for the Student Voice Committee at CPS. She is the program coordinator and facilitator for Student Voice and Activism Fellowship. Hilda plans to continue dedicating the academic and radical work to dismantling our concept of age and training educators to create safe spaces for youth to radicalize and lead us into the just world only youth can image and lead.

Kristiana Rae Colón is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, Cave Canem Fellow, creator of #BlackSexMatters and co-director of the #LetUsBreathe Collective. She was awarded 2017 Best Black Playwright by The Black Mall. In 2016, her plays good friday had its world premiere at Oracle Productions, Octagon its American premiere at Jackalope Theater in Chicago, and but i cd only whisper had its American premiere at The Flea in New York. Octagon was the winner of Arizona Theater Company's 2014 National Latino Playwriting Award and Polarity Ensemble Theater's Dionysos Festival of New Work, and had its 2015 world premiere at the Arcola Theater in London. In 2013, she toured the UK for two months with her collection of poems promised instruments, winner of the inaugural Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize and published by Northwestern University Press. Kristiana is an alum of the Goodman Theater's Playwrights Unit where she developed florissant & canfield, an epic reimagining of the Ferguson protests, which was featured in the 2016 Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival. She is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and one half of the brother/sister hip-hop duo April Fools. She appeared on the fifth season of HBO's Def Poetry Jam. Kristiana’s writing, producing, and organizing work to radically reimagine power structures, our complicity in them, and visions for liberation. 

Ashley Ray grew up in Rockford, IL. In 2013, she graduated from Williams College where she majored in English and History with a focus on international media studies. Her academic work focused on the history of black television and the representation of minorities in international media. Since then, Ashley has used her wit and insight to become a TV and cultural critic for sites like The A.V. Club and the Chicago Reader.  She has been featured on panels and podcasts that revolve around representation, gender, race, sexuality and pop culture. 

In 2015, Ashley began turning her personal essays and stories into live performances. She has quickly become an exciting figure in both the Chicago storytelling and comedy scenes. She has performed at iO, Steppenwolf, The Laugh Factory, Write Club, You're Being Ridiculous, Helltrap Nightmare, Clickhole Live and at a number of other showcases. In 2017, the Chicago Reader voted her the "2nd Best Chicagoan to Follow on Twitter," which she finds hilarious.  Ashley is also founder and creator of the Badass Black Women's History Month Project.

LaSaia Wade founder of the Tennessee Transgender Justice Project, member of the Chicago’s Trans and Gender Nonconforming Collective and Trans Liberation Collective, Executive Director of Brave Space Alliance and the first Trans woman in Illinois History to be honored in Women’s History Month.

Richard Wallace is a Chicago native and dually an organizer and artist in the fight to end economic violence, in all of its forms. He gained recognition in Chicago by developing strategic campaigns to build power for Black communities, and moving decision makers to support policies that build equity for Black and marginalized Chicagoans. Wallace is a graduate of Roosevelt University, where he received their prestigious Matthew Freeman Social Justice Award and where he founded Roosevelt University’s student chapter of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. He has received many honors throughout his young career, most recently by Atlantic Philanthropies, who inducted him into the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity, their inaugural cohort of Atlantic Fellows (2018-2019). Over the past decade Wallace has led numerous campaigns ranging from public health initiatives to policy reform efforts to change the conditions of the people most affected by social inequality in Chicago.

Complete list of collective members

Steven BeaudionJenny CasasLillianna Marisela ChavarriaKristiana Rae ColónHilda FrancoGabriela IbarraDaniel Kisslinger, Ellen Mayer, Jesse MenendezKarari Olvera OrozcoCharles Alexander Preston, Xavier Ramey, Laura RamírezAshley RayDanielle Roper,  Richard Wallace

Karari Olvera Orozco is an advocate, writer, and makeup aficionado. They co-founded xQsí (“porque sí”) Magazine, an online LGBTQ Latin@ multimedia publication based out of Los Angeles in 2009. In 2010, they joined the board of United Latin@ Pride, assisting in the organizing of the Midwest's first and only week-long celebration of LGBTQ Latin@ Pride. In 2016, they joined the national board of the TransLatin@ Coalition, a national advocacy organization dedicated to empowering trans Latinx people. They are currently part of the production team for America in Transition, a documentary webseries sharing the perspective of trans people in marginalized communities.

Charles Alexander Preston was born in California, but raised in Chicago. Since the age of four, Charles A. Preston is an activist-organizer, published writer, artist, and spacemaker. Preston graduated with a Bachleor's Of Arts in African-American Studies from Chicago State University. He has been published in the Chicago Defender, Chicago Magazine, and In These Times. He founded and hosts #ChurchOnThe9, a street-based open mic for the Chatham community; was Lead Organizer of the #SaveCSU campaign, a campaign to save the closing Chicago State University in the midst of the 2015 Illinois Budget Crisis; and is former Communications Co-Chair of BYP 100's Chicago Chapter during Laquan MacDonald demonstrations, the #SayHerName campaign for the termination of Officer Dante Servin.

Danielle Marion Roper graduated with a Ph.D from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University in 2015 where she defended her dissertation Inca Drag Queens and Hemispheric Blackface: Contemporary Blackface and Drag performance from the Andes to Jamaica.  Upon completing doctoral studies, she taught as a Core Curriculum Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at New York University. Roper is from Kingston, Jamaica and has an M.A in Performance Studies from NYU and B.A in Hispanic Studies (cum laude) from Hamilton College.  Her research on Performance Studies, Caribbean Queer and Feminist Studies, Race and Visual Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean has appeared in e-misférica, as well as in anthologies with University of the West Indies Press and with Palgrave Macmillan Press. In 2006, she was the recipient of the Thomas J. Watson fellow for her project “Political Humor and Social Transformation in Latin America and the Caribbean: A study of stand-up comedy, cartoons and popular theatre.”

Roper has published in several national newspapers across the Caribbean about human rights and environmental justice.  She has appeared on national and regional television and radio programs in discussions around U.S/Cuba relations, citizenship rights in the Dominican Republic, blackness in Argentina and has done advocacy work on LGBT rights in the region. 

Currently, she is preparing her book manuscript by expanding the scope of her dissertation.  In her book manuscript, she develops the concept of “hemispheric blackface” to examine the function of parodic performance in relation to nationalist discourses of mestizaje, multiculturalism and non-racialism in Latin America and the Caribbean. Challenging traditional geographic paradigms, it uses Peru, Colombia, and Jamaica as case studies in order to investigate the function of blackface and drag performance in different locales and to argue that these representations of blackness and queerness are not unique; they are part of a regional network embedded in global economies of representation. She attends to the specificity of racial formation in the region by investigating blackface and gender-bending in a cartoon, an Andean fiesta, an ambulatory transvestite museum, and an Afro-Latina art exhibit. Studied together, they reveal how a shared regional history of colonialism, slavery, and imperialism continues to inform contemporary representations of black, queer, and indigenous subjects in the region.  Through the creation of a regional parodic archive linking the Anglophone Caribbean, Pacific and the Andes, hemispheric blackface decenters U.S blackface minstrelsy and northern theories of parody, and it elucidates the ways parodic forms are taken up to uphold and/or counter nationalist discourses of mestizaje and non-racialism in the region.