2009 ShortDocs Challenge: Chicago Sound Drops


In 2009 the TCF changed it up, and instead of running the usual audio challenge, invited a large handful of producers from Chicago and beyond to produce short audio works - Chicago Sound Drops - that conjure the city through sound, story, and imagination.


The results are as varied, strange, noisy, and beautiful as the city itself. Take a sonic tour of the Windy City, and listen for yourself. Scroll down to find all of the Chicago Sound Drops.

Beat Street

An aging drummer takes his love of music - and his dreams of something bigger - to Chicago's Michigan Avenue.

The Big City

For the last 20 years, Sherwin Sleeves has traveled the country, composing "theme songs" for cities across the United States. Inspiration for Chicago's song strikes while he's eating dinner at the Green Mill.

Studs & Jimmy

Jimmy Yancey, the blues pianist and White Sox groundsman, and Studs Terkel, the broadcaster and author, may have lived at different ends of Chicago but they're both as integral a part of the city as the El...

Couple Two Tree

A loving examination of the Chicagoan language by four non-etymologists.

Chicago's Gangster

Every July 22nd, a group of Chicagoans gather to memorialize the death of infamous and beloved bank robber John Dillinger, who spent a year evading the authorities and winning American hearts before he was shot dead in July, 1934.


A Hoosier attends a show at the lofty, hipster-run Shape Shoppe recording studio, in Chicago.

Lovable Losers

Feel the passion, feel the pain of the faithful followers of Chicago's Lovable Losers.